Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Quest for Perfect

I have issues. Who doesn't? But I am struggling with how to keep my balance, my calm (this is not something that comes to me naturally) under pressure. The daily demands of raising three young sons, a husband who works a lot and travels often, a home that has never been described as organized (even on our best day), and the list goes on. Meanwhile, I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up but am desperately trying to find a way to define myself - for myself - as my identity seems to have been lost in the delivery room. I read self help books, I lurk on mommy blogs, I pray - sometimes beg - for patience and acceptance of things I cannot control...and life goes on. I try to be grateful for everything. The little things as well as the obvious. I try to remind myself that this is only a moment in time. It will not last forever and while some days seem eternal, I will be sad when they are gone. Just as I already miss so many things about having babies although the first year of life with triplets is something I doubt I have the strength of character to ever repeat! I am not inclined to discuss these things or even to write them down (I am a terrible journaler and even worse when I think of everyone being able to access my thoughts and feelings online - as if anyone reads this...). I am struggling. Whether or not peace and (internal) silence can ever be achieved I do not know. But growth - now I have lots of that going on. And that is good right? I think it is. I hope it is.

I just started what so far seems to be a fantastic book - The Mother Trip: Hip Mama's Guide to Staying Sane in the Chaos of Motherhood by Ariel Gore. Here's a brief excerpt from the Preface (titled Chaos Training):

Motherhood is not what we imagined. It is more delightful, more
heartbreaking. It ruins everything. It's not the calm after the storm we have been led to expect. It's almost more than a person can bear. Almost...

Our intuition isn't always accessible. We need each other's support and helpful words. What we don't need is junk-food advice that tells us to ignore our feelings, that undermines our confidence and insults our intelligence. It's just a recipe for depression. Because what is intuition? It's a capacity of the spirit. It's knowledge...But there is also a jumping off point from this circular equation, a point where we can recognize our exhaustion for what it is, give ourselves a break, and in that quiet hour begin to transform the energy our culture has taught to use to scrutinize and blame ourselves, and turn it outward, into something revolutionary.

We can juggle, run in circles, we can make ourselves manic, burned out, bummed. But here's the thing: Chaos comes anyway. It comes whether we want it to or not. It comes even if we pretend we don't see it coming. And here's the other thing: Chaos is good news. It's movement. It's change. It's revolution. It's scary. But like intuition, I think we can trust it.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Daddy's away and mutiny prevails....

I'm Still Here

But I have not been able to blog in awhile. Partly because I have been on my own for long stretches of time as this is the busiest time of year for Kelly and he is traveling more than usual. And partly because I have so much to write about - or at least to think about - that I do not know where to begin and am uncertain if these are things I want to share in such a public arena. So, I have not disappeared from this blog but am wrestling with what it is that I want from it and really short on time. In the meantime, I will try to keep posting pictures of and stories about the boys. There's always entertainment in the words of these little nuts and I'd like to remember it later - when I can use it against them :)

Here's an exchange we had in the car recently (I'd just put in a CD):

B: Is this Bob Marley?
Me: yes
B: Is Bob Marley in Heaven? (we have already had a previous discussion about BM no longer being alive - that was fun)
Me: I'm not sure - maybe
B: Is he playing music in Heaven?
Me: I think probably yes
B: Why is he always playing music?
Me; Because he has a gift. He is a very gifted musician. Everyone has gifts. Something you are very good at and that you love is a gift. If you can do something you love well then you will always be happy (or something to that effect - I was totally making this up on the fly)
B: I have a gift
Me: What's your gift?
B: Yep, I have a music gift too. My favorite instrument is the guitar and I am really good at it.
Me: Really? (He has never played the guitar)
B: Yes, the air guitar - I am really good at that and I love it - it's my gift

Monday, February 18, 2008

Monday Memory - Baby B

under the lights for jaundice treatment (aka the tanning bed)

Birth Day

first bath (2 days old)

3 1/2 years old (at the beach last summer)

One of the things I remember about B is how laid back he always seemed in the hospital. Honestly, had he not been hooked up to a monitor I woud have been checking for a pulse. The first to progress to room air and an open bed, he seemed to coast through the checklist of things he needed to accomplish in order to come home. The majority of his time in the nursery was spent getting bigger. And he did this well. Not the biggest (length or weight) at birth, he very soon overtook his brothers in both. Still at least an inch taller and a few pounds heavier than H or C, he is often mistaken for the older brother of twins. B's was the first diaper that Kelly ever changed - in his life. Through the arm holes of an isolette, it was no easy task. He (B) was the first of my babies that I bathed. Two days after his birth, I walked (very, very slowly) into the NICU and his nurse was just getting ready to bathe him. She asked if I wanted to do it - of course, I said yes. He was so tiny! Once the boys came home, there was a period of time that I wondered if this was the same baby. Always easy going at the hospital, B was our colic baby at home. His lungs got lots of exercise in those early weeks and I was more than a little scared of what was to come. Just like in the nursery, he has continued to thrive. He is the healthiest kid I know. And this brings me to another memory that is heart breakingly sweet and was a revelation to me just how much each of my little boys needs to feel special in his own right. H and C have had their share of chronic health concerns. Asthma and allergies kept us very busy with appointments to various specialists in addition to the pediatrician. Both have had multiple visits to urgent care and the ER as well. B, on the other hand, has been to the pediatrician maybe 3 times outside of well checks in all of his 4 years. So we're sitting in the kitchen one evening not long after one of the other boys had been to urgent care for something I can't even remember and B falls off the stool at the counter. I should note here that he's a bit dramatic about everything so hysteria over a stubbed toe is common. On this night, he hurt his finger. After attempting to comfort him and asking him a series of questions about where it hurt, having him squeeze my hand, feeling around, he was still pretty fired up. He insisted that he needed to go to the doctor. Alone. With me. And I realized that in his mind, every time I left with one of his brothers to go to a doctors appointment, that child was spending time alone with Mommy and he was not. So to the doctor we went - sort of. It was after hours and I seriously doubted this needed urgent care but I did not have the heart to tell him we were not going anywhere together. So I offered a stop for dinner in the way. We had a wonderful "date" at a local restaurant without a hint of pain in the finger. As we got back in the car, I mentioned that I thought he was going to be okay and maybe we should go on home. It was a lesson I keep with me as these little babies have become little boys. And the inspiration for dates with Mom (and Dad) that we try to plan with each child individually as often as schedules allow. B is still a little dramatic though these days it is more imaginative. He tells amazing stories with great detail and he is one of the coolest kids I know!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

I just found these... they are the first Valentine's cards we received as parents (2004)

(kindly made for us by the nurses at Northside Hospital)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Miniature Earth


I accidentally discovered this blog of a triplet family living in Hong Kong and came across this from an archived post

Who do our children see when they look at us? Do they see a cynical, busy person rushing around answering e-mails on the Blackberry? OR, do they see a calm, patient teacher... leader... or even Jesus? Similarly, who do we see when we look at our children? Do we see a naughty, cranky kid... OR do we see God's grace... innocence, love... or even Jesus?


Monday, February 11, 2008

Monday Memory

As we prepare for this year's March for Babies (formerly WalkAmerica), I've been recalling the early weeks of our boys' lives. Much like their birthday, this time leading up to the walk and the realization of the incredible gift we have been given causes me reflect on where we've been, what we've been through to get where we are today. In an effort to document some of these thoughts and memories, post more regularly, and to share the commitment we have made by choosing to support the March of Dimes by walking each year, I am going to start having "Monday Memory". While looking at some pictures from our NICU days this morning, I was overwhelmed by the raw emotion I still experience when I see their tiny little bodies, covered with tubes for nourishing, medicating, breathing, in plastic boxes (isolettes). I took a lot of close ups then so it is hard to tell how small and fragile they really were. There are a few [pictures] though with my or Kelly's hand, a regular sized (small) Ty Beanie Baby or some other normal sized thing in the picture as well and the perspective from those is shocking - and I was there - but it still is incredible for me to see. I think because I am so far removed from it now that is is kind of surreal to look at these crazy, healthy, wild, smart and unique 4 year old boys and know that they are lucky, blessed, to be alive at all.

C, our smallest and least stable baby (his NICU experience was filled with peaks and valleys, a roller coaster of good and bad days without any indication how things would ultimately turn for him) is the most amazing, determined, silly, sweet and stubborn little boy I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I have never articulated this to anyone, but there was a day that I went to see him - the morning after we'd received a midnight call telling us he was being moved back to Intensive Care from a less critical nursery - when I looked at my tiny baby and my heart was gripped with fear, pain and completely breaking because for the first time in the 4 weeks since the boys had been born, I did not know if we would bring them all home. It was the first (and only, I think) time I broke down - I mean really lost it - in the NICU. This was compounded by the fact that the nurse caring for him that day was the only one (out of many to whom I owe so much for their exceptional care of our boys) who I had previously felt was inattentive, distracted, patronizing (to Kelly and I) and - I realize this is harsh, but it was how I felt at the time - incompetent. Here was this baby of mine, desperately wanted and loved, whose life was literally hanging in the balance. There was not one thing I could do to protect him, to fix him, to save him. It was my worst day. I'd like to say that I felt comforted by the love and support of our families, by the prayers from all over the world for our boys, but at that moment, I had never felt so alone and unsure of what to do. There was nothing I could do. So that is what I did. Nothing. Nothing but sit and wait, next to the baby I could no longer hold because he was again full of tubes, and pray and hope and plead and beg for mercy and wait some more. If you've been to our blog before, you know that he [C] did come home with us and is our craziest punk of the bunch. There are lots of pictures of him as he is today (cute, huh?). Here are a few from his first days. We've come a long way Baby...

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Fun Day

Today we made snowboards out of some of the boxes that are still in our garage from Christmas...

Of course, we had to try them out on the hill in the backyard. Big fun for little boys who aspire to the X Games.

*click on the picture above to watch a video

Friday, February 8, 2008

To The Dentist

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H had his first trip to the dentist today. He was a trooper. X-Rays, full teeth cleaning and not a single tear. This is the photo they took for us to commemorate this momentous occasion. I suppose I am biased, but what a cute kid!!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

It Works For Us

I've been lurking on several mom blogs and picking up ideas about everything from homemaking to blogging and more. I've noticed that several have sections about things that work for them. Some are even themed (crafts, homeschooling, recipes, organizing). Over the last 4 years, we've figured out a few shortcuts and little things that seem to make life run more smoothly at our house. So, I think I'm going to post a few every now and then and tag the posts as "it works for us". Every family is unique so these are in no way intended to be one size fits all advice or claims to genius or anything like that. Just things that work at our crazy house with three 4 year olds, two dogs, three cats, a mom and a dad and a sister who may never move out (a whole other topic to be sorted out another day). Here it goes-the very first It Works For Us...

Our boys attend a Montessori preschool and we have been embracing much of the Montessori philosophy for early childhood at home as well. Recently this has carried over into independent food (snack) choices. The boys are becoming increasingly independent as they master new skills everyday. They are able to dress themselves and usually are given the freedom to choose what they wear (weather appropriate, of course). This results in some ensembles that would rival any worst dressed list winner - but they are happy and warm so who am I to judge? They have designated shelves in our home for their books, puzzles, games and art supplies so they may access any of them at any time. They get their own cups and water (from the refrigerator dispenser). And now, they choose what to have for snack and when. Much of our survival as a triplet family has hinged on efficiency. It is really the only way I've stayed (barely) sane. So this new freedom has been a difficult adjustment for Mommy who is used to running things on a tight schedule. But it has been really neat to watch how proud they are when we create an environment that allows them to do for themselves. So here is what we've done - and it is working out fantastically:

I cleaned out the pantry (agh) and left one low shelf to be designated for the boys. I bought a 100 pack of snack bags (smaller, sealable baggies) and filled them with appropriately portioned healthy snacks (Spelt pretzels, trail mix, raisins, craisins) as well as some pre-packaged cereal bars and fruit leathers and stocked the shelf. I also filled some up with carrot sticks and celery and placed them on the bottom shelf of the fridge. I use little plastic storage containers without lids to keep them separated and semi-organized. When someone says they are hungry (which is all day long around here), I say okay, you may choose a snack and they are so grateful (still, and we have been doing this over a month now) and excited to be able to do for themselves. They get their own, take it to their seat at the table, eat, clean up and go back to whatever they were doing before snack. No whining about when is it going to be time for snack, no work for me and no argument about what they're having because they picked it. And, they feel important, confident and proud because they did something on their own. It's a win-win and it works for us!


I recognize that there are no easy answers. I am saddened by the partisanship that does not allow for thoughtful, logical, rational discussion about solutions. And I am astounded at the waste (in all areas) of our tax dollars when there are children here - in the United States of America - without food, shelter and access to basic healthcare and education. Feeling a little overwhelmed by it all this morning...

Regardless of your political affiliation or your belief about whether or not government should respond to these injustices, we are all responsible for the children. The least of these, whom we are commanded love, cherish and protect. Where is Jesus in all the rhetoric? What are you doing to live your life in accordance with His commands?

I am asking myself these and other questions. Searching my heart and striving to live every day according to my principles.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

More Super Tuesday

Get the facts on those who control your future

Project Vote Smart

Monday, February 4, 2008

Super Tuesday

ONE Vote '08 is an unprecedented, non-partisan campaign to make global health and extreme poverty foreign policy priorities in the 2008 presidential election.

The next president will take office in a time of great hope: there are effective and affordable solutions that save lives. AIDS drugs can now cost as little as $1 a day. A $5 bed net can keep a child from dying from a mosquito bite. With the force of more than millions of members from all 50 states and a coalition of more than 100 non-profit, religious and charitable groups, ONE Vote '08 will educate and mobilize voters to ensure that the next American president is committed to using "strategic" power to end global poverty and keep America strong.

In deciding which candidates are ready to lead on issues like clean water, hunger and stopping global AIDS, knowledge is power. You can make a difference by visiting the On The Record website to learn more about the candidates' plans to bring strong American leadership to the historic opportunity we have to make poverty history.

The United States cannot win the war on terrorism unless we confront the social and political roots of poverty. We want to bring people to justice if they commit acts of terrorism, but we also want to bring justice to people. Colin L. Powell, No Country Left Behind
Read why this is so important here.

Lessons in Love

Love is patient.

And hard.

Love is patient. How can I be patient in the tipsiness of this domestic chaos? How can I be patient in the pain of now? When vocal cords pitch screams, when tears brim and fall, when the clock keeps ticking steadily ahead and we just keep sputtering, stumbling along? I want to strive ahead of here, into the future where we all stick to the script of buffed perfection.

Deep breathe. Love is patient. And it strikes me, an epiphany over the fry of bubbling pancakes, “Love can only be patient when it is first grateful for what is right now.”

Spending a few minutes to read this in it's entirety has made an impression on my heart. Take a moment and check out The Order of Love by Ann Voskamp

A Few More Fun Photos

We had an amazing weekend! Daddy was home with us and we spent much needed quality family time together. The photos are blurry - I've been playing with my camera settings and can't figure out what I've done just yet. They're still cute (I think). The boys visited the famous Fox Theater for the first time to see Go Diego Go Live and it was fantastic. Then some outside fun chasing squirrels at Piedmont Park and dinner with live music where 4 year old dancing skills were on display. Enjoy...




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Family Fun