Our family is complete! We continue the story of growing our littlest members. . .

Friday, March 22, 2013

I can still blog, right?

I'm going to jump back into this and pretend I didn't stop doing it over a year ago. Once in awhile I see someone who says they're so sad I stopped writing this, and truthfully I am too. Something had to give. Between grad school and work, having a kid who's starting to be involved in things and three other kids who are tearing my house apart (Triplets 3, Living Room Lamps 0), I lost time. I also stopped much of the cleaning at our house so it's not the only thing I let go.

My aunt LeAnn told me that when her boys turned one it was the thinnest time of her life because all she did was chase them around. I agree with the second part. . . we do a lot of chasing. And I'm happy to report that I'm only two pounds away from pre-triplet pregnancy weight. May still need a mini-tummy tuck, but we'll worry about that later, as I continue to work out and will see how much skin is left as the weight falls off. I bought a treadmill, a lifelong dream, and walk/run in the basement to get away from everyone sometimes, watching Netflix on the iPad (episodes of Extreme Couponing or B-list movies I never got to see).

The winter has been so oppressive, as it has for everyone, but with all the kids cooped up for weeks and weeks we're all going a little nutty. People marvel when I take them out by myself, but sometimes I just can't listen to them whine at home anymore! So we go to Target and/or Cub, which the little boys call "Popcorn" and "Cookie" respectively, because that is what they have to eat when we go to those stores. Their visual literacy is kind of amazing, as they recognize those logos and instantly start saying those words.

Yesterday we traveled to St Cloud to get haircuts (they all cried, except Axel I guess) and new shirts to wear for 2-year pictures. The triple stroller doesn't fit through doors so we take the double and do something with the spare kid...sometimes he sits on the front wheel, though when Eero fell off and clunked his head on the Herberger's floor a few weeks ago we stopped that. I then put Magnus (little guy) on the handlebars for a nice view, but he continually kicked the other two in the head. "Just so you know," a random JoAnn Fabrics shopper told me, "the one on the top is kicking the other two." Thanks, lady. Anyway, Axel is now big enough to be more help than hinder, so yesterday we rented another stroller in the mall and I made him push. He only ran into three people, one kiosk, one Gap clothing rack, and let the stroller roll down the ramp by itself twice. But no one got kicked in the head.

Brief recap of the last year . . . we traveled to DC with the whole famdamly in April and are going again this April, but leaving the little ones with Gamma Mary as it will cost an extra $1000 or so to bring them since they are now two. Last summer they would have lived outside if we had let them. They're very good eaters, sleepers, and entertain us beyond our dreams. We had a very fun Christmas and "Tractor!" birthday party - they love tractors and all things on wheels, as one would expect.

Eero is very mechanical and takes everything apart - empties drawers then puts them back together just as he found them as he is also a crazy organizer. He is the most emotional and laughs or cries without much provoking. Rex is so docile and lets life happen to him. He's particular about some things (which chair he sits in and what shoes he wears) but otherwise super easygoing. Magnus is the instigator and a pint-size bully. He's very silly and independent, and has no problem slapping people in the face if they don't do what he thinks they should be doing.

I will try to do a brief photo synopsis soon, when I get a chance.

Also we are aging . . . I have begun using anti-aging skin care products to combat fine lines and Jesse has way more gray hairs on his chin than he used to. But, life is good.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Very Triplet Circus Birthday

The fastest year of my life!  Our baby boys turned one.  On their actual birthday we gave them some bakery cake with blue frosting and watched them make a mess of it.  It was so fun to watch each boy treat it differently.  Magnus was kind of timid at first, and we switched to Rex, who totally annihilated the cake into a pile of cake rubble.  Back to Magnus, who must have picked up on this and really got into it himself.  Then Eero, who didn't use his hands at first and just stuck his face in it like a dog.  It was awesome.  Pictures below.

So that was actual birthday.  Baths for everyone afterwards!  I felt kind of bad working that day and not spending all day with them, but I only spent a very short time with them on the day they were born, so I guess it was okay. 

For their birthday party, we chose to follow along with the theme everyone imposes on us - a circus.  Sometimes it's silly to have themes, I think, but it makes it easier to figure out what to serve and how to decorate, etc.  I know they're only one and don't know the difference, but it's fun for the rest of us.  Circus peanuts for everyone!  Yes, we had the big orange marshmallow shaped like a peanut (Jerry Seinfeld refers to them as door stoppers).  We also had plates that featured elephants balancing on balls and tigers jumping through flaming hoops.  The centerpiece was a big top cupcake stand, and for an appetizer (which means our meal wasn't ready on time - huge shocker) we had popcorn in red striped bags.  We also had clown noses for everyone, which was maybe the best part!  I have leftovers if anyone would like one.

Here are the pictures from the day:

Axel the Clown
 Winston and Lorraine the Clowns (my grandparents - what good sports!)
 This is all Rex did with his birthday party cake - hold it lovingly.
 Magnus remembered how good it could be, and he started hard. . .
 Eero was not into it either, other than a few finger pokes and face rubbing.  I think I ate his cake.  Jesse made this homemade snow white butter cream frosting and it's heavenly.  Mostly Crisco and powdered sugar with a little almond flavoring.  Mmm.
 Now he's really getting into it.
 Studying his mess. . .
 This is blurry but such a good action shot!
 So pleased with his mess!
 What goes with chocolate cake?  Milk, of course!
 I think Rex misunderstood what to do with the clown noses.
 Here is a rare photo of the six of us.  Not bad.  The best part may be Winston & Lorraine in the background, who appear to be making a getaway.

I will write again soon, I promise!  I've added two blogs today, the other about losing my dad five years ago, which I started that day but didn't get to finish. 

Can you believe they're a year old?  Holy crap!

Another day we'll never forget . . .

Who else has failed their resolutions?  I tried to write on February 12, but somehow I turned the keyboard wacky and couldn't type normally anymore.  I haven't gotten to try since then.  Here is the post I started that night. . .

Exactly five years ago at this time, we were saying goodbye for the last time to my dad - passing away from cancer and leaving us with more sadness and heartache than I knew was possible.  I remember actually saying to Jesse at some point in the days before that moment that I didn't know someone could actually hurt so much.  Surely other people were aware of this, but I had yet to experience it.  It was a bad day.

And here we are, five years, four kids, and a world of difference later.  I wrote this for my weekly column - it sums up how losing my dad affects my life today.

Difficult Concepts

                When I was young my dad would roll up some money in his hand and tell me I could have that money if I ate something I claimed to dislike, such as coleslaw or a Subway sandwich with everything on it.  When I refused he revealed a hundred dollar bill.  This happened more than once until the time I actually agreed and ended up with a one dollar bill.  I still have no idea how he predicted that would be the time I’d fall for it.  I’m pretty sure he had magic powers.

                We were sitting in Subway a couple weeks ago; Jesse, Axel, and I were eating our subs of choice and feeding morsels of them to the babies.  I don’t really get my money’s worth there, as I get the meat, cheese, maybe toast it, and then no veggies.  We’ve already had this conversation – I do not enjoy vegetables.  Axel eats them like candy, and his subs are no exception.  He wants everything on it but the jalapenos. 

                This day was no different, and I told him how proud his Grandpa Dean (my dad) would be of him for his good eating habits.  Then we had a difficult conversation.  This week it will be five years since I lost my dad to cancer, and Axel, just having turned four, never met him.  When I told him Grandpa Dean would be proud of him, the wheels turned in his head while he chewed and finally he asked, “Will Grandpa Dean always be died?”

                Yes, I had to tell him.  When people die they are never going to be alive again.  Forever and never are hard concepts to explain to a little kid.  It’s like the time an elementary student I was reading with asked me what humidity was.  How does one explain humidity to a young mind?

                Then the questions came, not new questions as we’d talked about it before, but he wanted to know all at once – how did Grandpa Dean get sick? Who made him sick? Why? Where is Grandpa Dean? Where is that? Who else is there? Can I go there? So he’s not coming to my birthday?

                I try to talk to Axel about his Grandpa Dean when the opportunity arises so he knows him – what a wonderful person he was, how much we all loved him, and how he would have enjoyed Axel and his brothers so.  They could have tagged along in the truck, bugged him for Harley rides, or put barrettes in his hair like I did when I was little.  I suppose little boys wouldn’t enjoy that so much.

                I say, when it’s appropriate, that Grandpa Dean would be proud of him, such as when he orders a sub with the works, or is polite to strangers.  Axel also loves to watch the news and ask questions – he still wants to know why the cruise ship crashed in Italy and who put that rock there.  My dad watched the news, read the newspaper, listened to news radio.  He would be proud of Axel’s grasp on current events – it’s better than many adults.

                It’s hard to keep a memory alive without going overboard; I don’t want to depress Axel or his brothers for never having the opportunity to know this grandparent.  But I also want them to feel close to him and learn a little family history.  In addition to the news-watching and sub-eating habits, Axel is like my dad in many ways and I want him to have a connection to the man even though they will never meet on earth.

                I keep a couple of pictures of my dad around, and have his work boots sitting by our fireplace.  I think of him when I see anything related to Harleys, Peterbilts, supreme pizzas, big mustaches, brandy, practical jokes, Louis L’Amour books, the US Navy and anchor tattoos, the Vietnam War, beef cattle, John Candy movies, and sunrises, to name a few.  My brothers and I all have “Life is Good.” tattooed on our left forearms (his catchphrase for as long as anyone can remember), which is a daily reminder of his influence.

                This column about my love for my dad and my heartache for him never meeting my kids could fill up this newspaper and many others, so I will just leave it at that.  He was the most important man in the first 25 years of my life; even after I met Jesse it was probably still a tie.  I believe God sent me five other men, my husband and four sons, to help fill that loss.  I’m glad He did, as long as these four little men, descendents of Grandpa Dean, hold off on the brandy and tattoos for a few years.

 So today was not a good day.  I was doing fine with the idea of the anniversary, until this afternoon when I read my brother Adam's post on Facebook, remembering Dad, and I lost it.  Just a little, because there is a four year old here who keeps an eye on me all the time.  If I'm doing anything out of the ordinary he asks me a hundred questions about it, so I try to maintain a certain demeanor if possible.

It was hard to do that today.  Rex has some kind of phlegmy coughing sickness that he can't shake, so he requires extra attention.  I went to the Cities Friday night for a museum visit I had to complete before my Saturday morning class at Augsburg, so Axel was hanging on me more than usual.  Last night we had the fire department holiday party and didn't get in bed until after 2:00, which the babies don't know, so they were up by 7:00 or so, and Jesse was a big pile most of the day.  He's 36, so I'm waiting for him to know better.  No sympathy here.

I also fell down the stairs this afternoon, which didn't help matters.  My ass bounced off of every one of our wooden stairs, until I made it to the landing and rolled over, wondering what just happened and how I managed to do that.  I was not gawking around, carrying anything, in a hurry, nothing.  Just had slippery cashmere socks on and BAM down I went.  I had a huge purple bruise on my butt for a good week, but other than that was okay.  Thankfully.

Going to switch modes to a new post now - baby boys had a birthday!

Friday, January 20, 2012

A day we'll never forget

This date sounded familiar to me, January 20th, and though I have been thinking about it for a few days up til now I kind of forgot until about an hour ago. At this time, exactly one year ago, on January 20th, I had just landed on the roof of North Memorial Hospital and was in the process of being checked over by a never ending stream of doctors and nurses and residents and passersby.  I flew in wearing a hospital gown, had my purse but not my phone, and I didn't leave for almost six weeks.  What seemed like a normal Thursday turned into what will probably/hopefully be one of the craziest and scariest days of my life!

I would never have guessed that I'd be living in the hospital.  I'd bought and read a book about expecting multiples, which had quotes from mothers who had been through it.  One woman talked about spending bedrest in the hospital, and I remember telling Jesse about it and we both said, "that would suck." The first few days, it did.  But I kind of got used to it, and though I don't miss having a giant belly and proportionate back pain, or the incessant IV ports in my arms, I do miss having time to myself, my own bathroom, control of the remote, and three meals and snacks delivered to my bedside daily.

And here we are, a year later, preparing for Axel's 4th birthday party and chasing three little crawlers around. Three little boys crawlers - never would have guessed that either. Our house is a disaster most of the time, and we get half as much sleep as everybody else.  I'm only about 12 pounds off of my pre- triplet pregnancy weight, fitting back into my old jeans (okay, with a bit of a muffin top, but they zip).  Overall, we're happy and blessed.

I don't have much else to say right now.  If you're wondering what happened a year ago, check out the post from that time.  Must have been about January 22, if you're looking back through the old ones. 

A couple pictures, because it seems these posts just aren't as interesting without them.

Magnus is the little explorer. He doesn't sit still long, and he's not afraid to go off where no one is and check stuff out. Here he climbed under the changing table, and is always ready with a smile for the camera.

All three of the little boys get their turns, and this time Axel decided to focus on Eero. They are playing under a blanket on the floor.

This picture just makes us laugh, because Rex is so sedentary. He's starting to crawl now (last one), and maybe he'll tone up, though I hope not. All the other boys are so skinny.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Guess whose resolution is to be a good blogger!

Shout out to my cousin Cole who is on Facebook when he should be listening to a lecture.  You kids these days.

Hello.  You may remember me, I used to have a blog about having and raising triplets.  You know how when you have triplets and another kid and you don't have time for very much else?  Oh, it's just me?  Okay.

I'm a little slow to get started on this goal, but a resolution is to be better at my blog.  I've felt kind of bad about it actually, because I thought Oh, people are reading my column in the paper and know what's happening.  But I started writing this for the people I don't see or talk to very much, so I've let them down.  Sorry.  Had I not dropped off on this before Thanksgiving I could say it's been a year now since I started doing blogging, but I don't know if I can say that now since I haven't done it for two months.  Doh.

There have been some big things happening since last I blogged.  I started working again, that is, "working outside the home."  I can't say for sure it was the right time to return to work, but the opportunity may not have been there in the future.  I am the Community Ed Director for the school district here in Kerkhoven, and I am loving it.  It's a busy part-time position, two minutes from home, where I make my own hours and have my own office.  I even have a secretary.  It kind of rules.

I am only one class and student teaching away from my license, and I intend to finish it, but for now this might be the right thing for our family.  If I have to be gone one day, it's not the end of the world, and I can't very well run home and get something in the  middle of teaching, but I can at this job.  It is a little crazy, though - last week I had four meetings in three days, and at least once a week I work for ten hours straight without eating lunch.  I finally got smart and stuck some pretzel rods in my desk, but this might be the answer to dropping those last 15 pounds.

Also, on the day before Thanksgiving, the Escalade and I had a small incident with a post.  I will not go into the details, but we had to have some work done on it and it was gone for four weeks.  Tonight it finally returned to us - it pulled in the driveway and I swear it was the best day of 2012.  It was totally my fault that it was gone, and I missed it terribly.  We were driving around Jesse's 20 year old Suburban, which is dirty and smells and the radio doesn't work.  I think I will give the Escalade a hug in the morning.

Jesse and I were able to take a short but wonderful mini vacation in December - to NYC.  We had planned to go there last year to celebrate our five year anniversary, but I wasn't supposed to be walking or flying, so it wouldn't have been much of a trip.  We were there on our honeymoon and had so much fun, we couldn't wait to go back.  The same thing happened this time.  I was so sad to leave!  We love visiting there, and decided on the plane ride home that we will save and travel more often.  I suggested it, and Jesse had been drinking so he agreed, but I'm still going to hold him to it.  FYI, there is a B-Dubs at JFK Airport, and people eat wings and drink beer at all times of the day, even 8:30 a.m., which is when we were there.

Oh yeah, the kids.  Eero had tubes put in his ears, and seems to be hearing much better.  He also has not had any more ear troubles since then, so hopefully that solves his problem.  We also got to visit the good-looking ENT doctor, who did the procedure, and will see him again for a follow-up next week.  Yay.

In other news, the flu has been running wild in our house since Christmas.  Axel started it, was throwing up for a week, visited the urgent care on New Year's Eve and the pediatrician a couple days later, as he was getting dehydrated.  It was a long week, and we're glad it's over, except that then Jesse kind of got it, and now the babies seem to have it.  You know how when you have triplets and they all get the flu at the same time, and how exhausting that is?  Oh, that's just me again.  Babies puke for real, and I didn't know that.  And we have some serious bowel troubles here.  Our house smells pretty bad right now.  I have yet to succumb to the dreaded flu, but I think I have just decided not to get it and somehow that worked.  There is no time to be sick!

I don't know that I will be able to do this weekly, but if there is something newsworthy in our family I will be more diligent at sharing.  I hope you're still out there!  Now some pictures. . .

Our first self portrait in NYC - we went to the Late Show our last night there.  It was so cool to be there in person, even though the guest was Barbara Walters.

 You would think as an art major I would know more about this sculpture, but I don't.  Like it though.

Across from The Plaza there is a very cool Apple store (exterior below) where on the street all you see is a transparent cube,  then you go down an elevator or stairs and the whole store is below the street.  The above photo is looking up into the stairs.  What a cool place.  That Steve Jobs was so clever.

Fifth Avenue has some amazing Christmas decorations - the big bow is on Tommy Hilfiger, and the buckles are across the Fendi store.

Another self-portrait, so not quality, but you get the point.  The tree in Rockefeller Center.  Navigating this area is similar to the food building at the State Fair, in terms of the amount of people.  Like that comparison?  I'm from Minnesota.

The first time we were in New York, people were getting yelled at for photography during the show.  This did not apply at the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, so I took a picture.  The Rockettes were incredible.

We went to The Chew (twice) and actually got on the show - if you missed it, you can watch the episode online on the ABC website - December 23rd.  It was actually like the last ten minutes, but still fun to watch - I got to brush up against Clinton Kelly and he called me "sweetie."  It was a good trip.

This picture was from my phone, but I had to take it - we ate at the Carnegie Deli because the Food Network told us to, and it was delicious.  I had to try the pastrami there, which I did not know was beef bacon.  We shared this sandwich and we still couldn't finish it.  I highly recommend.

These next ones are some more recent photos of the boys - our Christmas card photo shoot.  That was quite an ordeal, but personalities were definitely captured!

Thanks for sticking with me - I will do better now, for everyone who doesn't get to witness our circus first hand on a regular basis.