Monday, December 31, 2007

One Year Ago...

Last New Year's Eve the pregnancy test came back positive. :)
Happy New Year everyone!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Baptismal Bliss

We packed the triplets into the car, and drove Sunday morning to Richmond to have them baptized in the church Erin used to attend when she was younger. In attendance would be Erin's mom's family, her dad's family, and some family friends (the Hoyles). While Nana, Pop Pop, Great Grandma, and one set of godparents (Auntie Em and Uncle Eric) were unable to attend, two other sets of godparents (Aunt Allison, Uncle Matt, Aunt Heather,and Uncle Tristan) helped us out enormously during the service - though we were concerned that Aunt Heather and Uncle Tristan would show up midway through the service, as they were running late in a separate car.

The service went surprisingly smoothly. The triplets behaved for almost all of the service - Arthur kept jumping in my lap during the hymns, they didn't cry too much when the holy water was poured on their heads, and they acted extremely cute knowing the focus was on them today. Highlights include Arthur loudly kicking a prayer book to the floor, and their cousin in the row behind us loudly exclaiming about his brother - "Adam's sucking on the pew!" Afterwards, we had a pleasant brunch at Joe's Inn, the first time we've taken the triplets out to a restaurant.

Their baptismal gowns turned out wonderful. Grandma Toni had lovingly handcrafted them out of Nana's old wedding dress, and the triplets seemed to love dressing up in this fancy attire (though somehow during the changing process Coraline never got her shoes put on). While the satin and lace made these three squirmers difficult to hold during the service, everyone appreciated how attractive they were in them.

Great Grandma

So Great Grandma had a stroke, or more specifically, one of a number of TIAs (Transient Ischemic Attacks) that she's evidently been having. It turns out she has arthlesclerosis disease, which means her brain's small arteries are too thin, and clot too easily, cutting off the blood flow to certain areas. Nana and Pop Pop had to rush her to the hospital (doing 85mph), and decided to wait with her while all the tests were being run. Meanwhile, at the insistence of the family, we loaded up the triplets in the car to take them to their baptism on the other side of the state in Richmond. Since we wouldn't know the results of the battery of tests for a while, and there wasn't anything we could do for Great Grandma, they felt the church service in the morning should not be cancelled.

The damage done by the stroke, and the recurring mental confusion is especially upsetting, as their other great grandmother on this side of the family has end stage Alzheimer's. The possibility of losing another loved one in a similar manner that strips them of their cherished identity is almost unthinkable. She will remain in our prayers (and be with us for another week before flying back to her home in Florida), and we hope that her symptoms will resolve themselves in time.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

A Chaotic Christmas

So this morning we did a quick head count, and found that the number of occupants in the triplet commune had risen to 14 over the holidays. Besides the five of us, there was Nana and Pop Pop, Great Grandma, Auntie Em and Uncle Eric, Aunt Heather, Uncle Tristan, and their two children. With their cousins visiting again, it was fun to have 4 five-month olds, and an almost-three year old running around the house, but it did add to the chaos.

We noticed the bottle of advil was being passed around more frequently than normal (which is saying something), and Great Grandma's cold was quickly passed to Betty and Coraline, who then shared it with the rest of the household. With too many cooks in the kitchen, we managed to burn a rising loaf of bread and an early dinner was finally ready by 8:30 at night (with the sweet potato casserole arriving an hour later). The triplets were over-stimulated with all the guests, and went into prolonged crying fits at the end of the day. Each evening we attempted to watch a video we rented from blockbuster, but with putting down all the various children, by the time we were ready it was always too late at night (and the adults were exhausted). The family portrait never was taken, as we could never get the 14 people awake and in the house at the same time.

With all the suitcases, baby toys, and Christmas gifts scattered about the house, the place became even more hectic at the end of the vacation. Auntie Em and Uncle Eric had to pack up their stuff for their return trip to Singapore. We were loading baby stuff into our car for the trip over to Richmond for a few days for the triplets' baptism. Uncle Tristan and Aunt Heather were following us, before heading up to DC to catch a plane back to California. And then Great Grandma was rushed to the hospital.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Pictures

For those of you who didn't make the short list for Christmas cards this year (sorry, time and money are tight this year, but at least you are reading the blog!), we thought we'd share with you our Christmas photos. These were actually taken a month ago.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Second Cousin Rachel Visits

Continuing the whirlwind tour of family members meeting the triplets this holiday season, today brought their second cousin Rachel, along with her parents Sharon and John while they were en route to North Carolina. Rachel helped out with their feedings, and kept them company on the play mat. We tried to convince Sharon to stay and babysit the triplets, but she had to continue with her family to their Christmas celebration. Perhaps when Rachel grows older she'll want to babysit during the summer :)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Coraline Rolls the Other Way!

We had known for the past few days that Coraline was working on rolling over in the other direction (from her back to her stomach), as Arthur had mastered a bit ago. Erin was excited as she was off of work, and could experience the event for herself. However, with all of the family activities, somehow everyone missed it. We had put Coraline down on the play mat on her back as usual, and then when Erin looked at her again, she was happily laying on her stomach. Evidently she didn't want to make a big fuss out of this milestone. We're still waiting for Betty to choose to follow her siblings.

Tomorrow we're expecting Sharon's family to stop in for a short visit to meet the triplets. We can't wait!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Auntie Em, Unkie Eric, and Great Grandma too!

So Pop Pop came back safely from his surgery with a bandaged-up middle finger that hides a pin implanted to keep his ligament in place. However, because of the rigidity of the splint, his holiday greeting doesn't seem to be in line with traditional holiday spirit. Hopefully the neighbors will understand.

Tonight one set of the triplets' future godparents (Auntie Em and Unkie Eric) arrived to finally meet them in person - they hadn't made the trip to the states from their home in Singapore for more than 18 months - and they also brought with them Deb and Great-Grandma. Because they got in late, we look forward to spending time with them in the morning.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Ninety Minutes

We have been blessed with having a lot of family to help us raise the triplets, so rarely have the three kids been left alone with a single adult. Today though, Nana had to take Pop Pop to the hospital today for his surgery. They left at 1:30pm, and Erin wouldn't be back until 3pm. This meant that for the first significant amount of time, I would be left alone with the triplets. Ninety minutes. I thought I would blog my experience:

1:30pm - I am left with Cora asleep, and the other two in the swings
1:35pm - Betty starts crying
1:40pm - Betty falls asleep - that's two!!
1:41pm - Coraline wakes up
1:43pm - Give Cora the rest of her bottle
1:45pm - Text message picture of crying Coraline to remind Erin to come home early
1:50pm - Figure out 90 minutes is really only 5,400 seconds...
1:52pm - Still feeding Cora, Arthur finally falls asleep
1:54pm - Three asleep! Hey, this isn't too hard!
1:56pm - Coraline's up for good - off to the playmat
2:10pm - Still playing with Cora, and starting to feel like Kiefer Sutherland in "24"
2:13pm - Done with the kick piano on playmat, carry Cora around for a while
2:20pm - Put Coraline in the bouncy chair
2:25pm - Arthur wakes up
2:35pm - Put Coraline in the swing, try giving Arthur the rest of his bottle (he refuses)
2:44pm - Cora starts crying, put in her pacifier repeatedly
2:50pm - Move Coraline to the playmat
2:52pm - Arthur works on roll-over #3 (no success)
2:56pm - Notice Arthur has managed to scoot himself off the mat (again)
3:05pm - Cora crying horribly, carry her around. Betty wakes up. Arthur still trying to roll over
3:10pm - Betty starts crying. Put Cora in bouncy chair, move Betty to play mat
3:12pm - Arthur starts crying from his exertions. Pick Arthur up, bounce Cora's chair.
3:15pm - Erin finally returns home

Well, there you have it. Seems to have been a bit longer than anticipated. Hopefully the next two hours will go smoothly while we wait for Nana and Pop Pop to return home from the hospital.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Arthur Rolls Over, Pop Pop Breaks His Finger

It's been a busy few days here at the triplet commune. We had a pretty ice storm that gave Erin an extra hour one morning to spend with the kids. Arthur, for the past few days, has been working so hard at trying to roll over in the other direction (from his back to his belly). He'll grunt and moan and get completely on his side, but the arm he is laying on keeps preventing him from fully rolling over. So he'll stop, roll back to his back, and then vocally attempt the feat again. And then lo and behold, today after Nana set him down on his back on the playmat, he quickly rolled over onto his stomach, and then pushed himself back onto his back! Betty, of course, is none too happy about this, as she still has yet to attempt rolling over in the other direction.

Pop Pop, meanwhile, managed to dislocate the last digit of his middle finger while attempting the dangerous task of putting on his pants in the morning. I suggested that he make up some story about injuring it while catching a pass during a winter game of touch football or something. But no, it was the pants that did him in. And the orthopedist said it was the best case he'd seen in years. So tomorrow Pop Pop goes into surgery to replace a ligament and get a pin put in. We hope that it all goes well, but with Pop Pop's one hand in a splint from this "mallet finger," and with Nana's wrist in brace from her tendonitis, it looks like the triplet commune is falling apart!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A Year Ago Today

The hall monitors in Erin's fallopian tubes took a coffee break.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Arfur Gets a Toof

We came to two realizations today. First, Arthur has a name which will probably cause him enunciation troubles early on in life (which I can relate to, as I went by Zawed for my first few years). Second, Pop-Pop was right when he thought he saw a tooth in Arthur's mouth the other day. Sure enough, today we all felt a small tooth poking up behind his gum line. This realization was coupled with the fact that Arthur is feeling quite miserable. He wasn't able to sleep well at all last night, and has been quite fussy during the day. We went out and bought a bunch of teething rings, but he still has not gotten the hang of them. Until he does, the best we can do is rock him gently in his bouncy chair.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

One Leg at a Time

This week Erin managed to fit into one of her pre-pregnancy pants. Granted, it was one of the looser fitting ones, but it is a significant milestone for someone who put on 110 pounds while carrying the triplets for 35 weeks. She still plans on getting rid of the final 5 to 10 pounds, but perhaps this will wait until after the holiday season.

(Erin at 33 weeks)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

4 Month Checkup

Today we took the triplets to their 4 month doctor's appointment. We all eagerly looked forward to another round of 9 shots (plus 3 by mouth), and anticipated the horror of another long night of screaming - especially since their reactions are supposed to be worse the second time around. On the plus side, we could get their latest facts and figures about their growth.

The measuring part of the appointment went great. Arthur now weighs 14 lbs (going from 9th percentile at birth to 33rd), Betty weighs 13 lbs 10 oz (going from 5th to 54th percentile), and Coraline weighs 12 lbs 10 oz (from 5th to 32rd). The doctor thought they were all still doing well, and when she saw Arthur chewing on my finger, she said "Don't tell me he's teething already!" Yep, soon we're going to have a bunch of droolers on our hands.

The shots went better than could be expected. They all cried hysterically, but somehow it didn't seem as bad as their first round. Perhaps the fact that they have all been crying for the past few days (because they have been too tired to take naps) prepared us for today. Arthur recovered first, and took a long nap when he came home. Now we just have to help them get through the next 24-48 hours of soreness.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Coraline Rolls Over!

This morning Coraline rolled over! (That means we're only waiting on Betty) For a while now, the girls have been able to roll onto their sides, and it has only taken a slight push to topple them onto their backs or bellies. This morning though, Coraline went onto her back all by herself during tummy time. We text messaged Erin at work immediately.

Sadly we were not able to get video, as Coraline gave up on her next few attempts, pitifully putting her face down and crying into the play mat. Maybe tomorrow we'll see an encore!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Developing Babies

Grandma Toni came for the weekend, and allowed my parents a much needed break. We managed to get them out of the house and to dinner and a movie. With her help around the house, I also managed to put the final touches on the first volume of a series of ghost story books that I am writing. Hopefully I'll find a publisher for it soon.

In other news, the babies are growing up quickly. We've noticed a stray extra-long hair here and there on their heads, evidence that some new growth is occurring. They are drooling more, and seem to be starting to teethe (as they chew on Erin's fingers when they get the chance). Tummy time is becoming more productive, and the triplets love grasping and pulling on everything on their play mats. Socially, they all love smiling and babbling at people (or clocks) around. Arthur especially is enjoying sitting up for long periods of time (while propped), and we have started giving him toys and rattles to play with.

(And yes, we recognize we take more videos of Arthur than the other two, but he seems to be doing more active things than the girls, unless you count screaming and shrieking...)

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Triplet Cookies

Edible versions of Arthur, Betty, Coraline (and Sophie!)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

A Wintery Day

We had out first significant snowfall today (one that we could actually see), even though by noon it was almost all melted away. I took Betty and Arthur out to look at the snow and some of the Christmas decorations we've been putting up outside the house. It's been a relatively lazy day. I baked some Christmas sugar cookies (that I'll frost tomorrow), Arthur has been sleeping on the couch for a while, and Betty and the rest of us have just been watching tv waiting for Erin to come home from work.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Thank You WIC!

Each month WIC gives us 27 cans of formula for the triplets - that's a savings of $360! As you can see from this image, we are still getting more than we currently need, but we anticipate catching up one day. Besides this, they also give Erin 6 gallons of milk, 3 dozen eggs, 2 boxes of cereal, 6 cans of juice, and 3 packages of cheese. In addition, we have signed up for Medicaid for Erin and the triplets, which paid the remaining hospital bills from the triplets' birth, as well as their office co-pay. Being a family of 5 with no income certainly pays off!

But now that we finally have a better handle on things, Erin is going to be working for almost all of December and January. We hope that a position opens up for her at the school in February, but it seems that the student body is shrinking, rather than growing. Perhaps though, the teacher that she is substituting for will choose not to return from her maternity leave.

Monday, December 03, 2007

A Year With Triplets

Now that the triplets turned four months old yesterday, we've been raising these kids for a whole year. We figure that four months with triplets is the equivalent of 12 months with a single child. While some might question this math, the number feels very real to us. While we know that there is still much for us to learn and experience, we are proud of how far we've made it.

There have been obstacles along the way: Arthur's staph infection, Betty's current sickness, the girls' nightly scream-fest, their apparent water allergy, Erin's PPD, figuring out how to feed three hungry babies at once, endless breast milk vs. formula debates, and now dealing with Erin's return to work.

However, each of these were tempered by great moments: Arthur learning how to roll over, the triplets falling asleep in their cribs, the first laughs and gurgles, their impressive weight gain, figuring out a schedule that works, and Betty and Coraline sleeping the occasional 11 or 12 hours at a time.

But still, the four months feel like a whole year, and at times this daycare feels (and sounds) like a jungle. If you don't believe me, ask the triplets:

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Arthur Loves Clocky

Clocky, the wall clock, is a favorite friend of the triplets. They also are infatuated with the ceiling fan, the chandelier, and the kitchen lights. Were they to make a list of their favorite objects, we sadly believe their parents would rank fourth.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Sick Betty

So after surviving four months with the triplets without anyone getting sick (I don't count Arthur's staph infection, as that was a hospital issue), Betty came down with conjunctivitis in her left eye last night. We took her to the doctor's office this morning, and have eye drops for her to use three times a day. We just hope though that the other two don't catch it, as that would obviously be bad.

Today, while Betty stayed home sick, Arthur and Coraline went with Erin and Nana to a craft festival in Floyd. They had a great outing, and picked up a few christmas gifts at a local toy store on the way home.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Monday, November 26, 2007

Back To Work

Well after weeks and weeks of badgering the human resources department of Erin's school, they finally called this morning at 7:40am to let Erin know that she needs to be at an orientation that starts at 10am. The plan was for Erin to take over for a woman going on a 12 week maternity leave who taught essentially the same subjects Erin taught before the boy's school and the girl's school merged this summer. That was six weeks ago. The lack of communication between the school's administration, the HR office, and the corporate office, was so extreme that they literally gave her two hours notice to start the position. I am not sure how they could expect this of a normal employee, let alone one that has triplets!

So Erin is spending this week going through orientation and training again. New school, new system. Today she filled out tons of paperwork, and was shocked to see that on the Virginia tax forms, rather than claiming a 0 or a 1 (as in previous years), Erin had to claim a 12! She even called over the woman in charge to go over the figures to make sure this was right! On the home-front, the triplets survived a day without their mom, though Nana was a bit worn out from the experience. Send us an email if anyone wants to get in on the pool we are starting to see which of us cracks up first from the stress. :)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Beautiful Dreamer

So Betty has officially broken the record set by her sister. Last night she had her last bottle at 7pm, went to sleep in her crib upstairs, and then woke up again at 7am. That's 12 hours!! Half a day between feedings! Of course, to make up for it, she then ate 15 ounces in the next 4 hours (usually the girls eat around 5 ounces every three hours during the day).

In other news, we took our christmas pictures yesterday. They are too cute, but I won't post them for another month (or perhaps you'll see it sooner on a christmas card).

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Thanksgiving Miracle

Grandma Toni, Grandpa Carter, Aunt Allison, and Uncle Matthew all drove over for Thanksgiving, and brought the meal with them. Now even with their help, what would you imagine would be the odds that we could all sit down together for a peaceful dinner? Bear in mind, this would require having the triplets on the same feeding schedule, for the dinner not to fall during one of their feedings, for them to jointly decide to take a nap, and for those babies who fell asleep while being carried, to continue sleeping once transferred to a bouncy chair.

For some miraculous reason (without planning on our parts) this indeed was the scene when the meal was ready. We ate in the dining room and in the kitchen, and the triplets gave us a silent hour as they slept in the living room. For this we were thankful.

In addition, Grandma Toni brought a section of Arthur's baptismal suit for a fitting. It looks so cute on him, and is extra special because it is made from Nana's wedding dress.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Cleaning

With Erin's family coming over for the Thanksgiving holiday, we decided to finally clean our house. Our house, that is, that we haven't really lived in for the past six months. We had fully moved over to my parents' house during the last two months of Erin's bed-rest, as she preferred the centrally located futon in the living room (in front of the big screen tv). Other than the first few days home from the hospital, and a few failed attempts to move back in the months afterwards, our house has been the domain of our three cats except for the daily run to pick up the mail. So when we decided to make the place livable again for guests, we had quite a chore ahead of us. We had to throw out the accumulated pile of cat hair we removed from all the furniture, and now I fear our cats will miss their old playmate.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Jefferson National Forest

As the temperatures reached the upper 60's this week, we decided to take the kids for a hike in the Jefferson National Forest. It was a bit of a challenge at times to maneuver the triplet stroller on the trail through the roots and piles of fallen leaves, but we somehow managed it. We had a great afternoon, and later we all had a picnic near Pandapas Pond.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Parental Confession #236

"Sometimes it takes too long to get the ergo carrier set up, that the fussy baby puts herself to sleep on her own. On these occasions, I often feel like the ergo shouldn't go to waste."

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Swing Time!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Sleeping Like Babies

For the past few nights, the triplets have actually been sleeping in their cribs! Previously, we had carried them up to bed in their bouncy chairs. Recently though, the girls had not been as easy to put down in their chairs, and Arthur has been requiring more than half an hour of rocking in his before falling asleep. So we decided to bring the crib over from our house. Surprisingly, it turns out that all three can't fit in the crib anymore (we only had tried it the first few days home from the hospital). So the girls have their own crib, and we have Arthur in a separate smaller crib.

Miraculously, they all love the cribs, and have so far (knock on wood) fallen asleep almost instantly upon being set down in them. Arthur luckily has his own crib, as he flails around quite a bit. He rocks to the left, then to the right, arches his back, arches his neck, stretches his arms way out, all in an effort to find the exact softest spot in the bed. We think it's cute, but when he's older and climbing into our bed, he's going to his mom's side.

Friday, November 16, 2007

First Snow

Yesterday we had our very first snow of the season. Though there actually were only a few flakes here and there, these were the first the triplets had ever seen. Erin bundled herself up, put Coraline in the ergo, and I wrapped a big coat around the two of them so that they could enjoy a wintertime walk. Arthur, on the other hand, preferred to take a warm nap indoors. Sabine, our fourth baby, also found a warm spot for herself in a vacant bouncy chair.

In other news, we have confirmed the service for the baptism of the triplets for 10am on December 30th in Richmond.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Rollover Minutes

Arthur learned how to rollover today! It took him a few minutes at first, but soon he was able to rollover moments after we put him on his stomach. We think this may be the end of tummy time.

To celebrate this developmental milestone, we took all the family for a walk on the Huckleberry Trail. We've had a few days in the upper 60's, so we are taking advantage of them while we can.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Baby Tunnel Syndrome

Do you, or a member of your family, suffer from BTS? Do you find yourself having shooting pains in your arm from where you hold your babies? According to a recent scientific study, families of triplets are three times as likely to suffer from some form of Baby Tunnel Syndrome. Nana, whose BTS has flared up in recent days, was quoted as saying, "It is so comforting to now know that my pain has a name." While scientists have yet to find a cure from BTS, they are suggesting to feed babies on the opposite arm until the symptoms subside. For more information contact the specialists at 1-800-BABYPAIN.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Grandma Toni came to visit this weekend, and was lucky enough to experience her first Bath Day. So that the rest of you can partake of this special day (it doesn't come around too often), I've uploaded a highlight video for you.

And before you ask:
1) Yes, that is water
2) No, it is not scalding hot
3) Yes, we do bathe them often enough that this is not a novel experience for them
4) No, there is never a good Bath Day
5) And yes, I should have first suggested you turn your speaker volume down

Enjoy! (or not...)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Lazy Fall Day

Today has been a relaxing, if not unproductive, day. Outside the leaves have mostly fallen, and the air has taken on the crisp feel of late autumn. Mugs of hot chocolate have gone around, and a ham is warming up for dinner. The children are all bundled under layers of blankets in their bouncy chairs. A calmness has spread through the house, which may have something to do with the fact that today all three triplets have not been awake at the same time. Where this fall lull came from, we don't know, but it is much appreciated.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Yay Ethan!

The triplet's second cousin Ethan was born today! With the recent additions of Arthur, Betty, Coraline, Adam, and now Ethan, this means that my grandmother has had 5 new great grandchildren in less than 3 1/2 months! We hope to see pictures and visit Ethan soon :)

Friday, November 02, 2007

Happy 1/4 Birthday!

Well, the triplets have officially turned three months old, which means we've gotten through the unofficial "fourth trimester." Hopefully they will now be more aware, cry less, and feed and change themselves. Well, maybe not the others, but at least they are more aware of their surroundings. They all love playing on their mat, spending time playing the kick piano or with the new set of windchimes we installed.

We've also been able to get them to laugh more often (Arthur likes being poked all over....). Nighttimes are still hit and miss, with whether or not the girls decide to scream for no apparent reason. Luckily though, it seems the 8pm-10pm witching hour has reduced to a good (?) 30 minutes.