Monday, September 29, 2014

Apple Picking FAIL

For the past few weeks I have been wanting to take the kids apple picking. There are a few local farms to pick apples, though all are at least 40 minutes away. I wanted to go as a family but we were in the thick of or recovering from the stomach virus for the past two Saturdays. (The pumpkin patch was a spontaneous trip and is only 15 minutes from our house.)

I checked the Mooresville hourly weather forecast last night. They were calling for scattered showers, beginning around noon. I knew the skies would be overcast, but that actually takes better pictures without any shadows. I dressed the trio in cute clothes. Jackson wore his rainboots. We were in the van at 9:30, ready to arrive at the farm just after they opened at 10.

With only ten minutes left in our drive, huge rain drops cascaded onto the windshield. By the time I arrived at the farm it was pouring. I shut off the engine and tried to devise a plan with Jackson. 
Me: Jackson, I don't think we would have fun in the rain. What should we do now?
Jack: Hmmm. Go somewhere else!
Me: Where would you like to go?
Jack: I think we should go somewhere with a roof.

Oh, he makes me laugh. I had no clue what there was to do in the bustling metropolis of Mooresville so I just drove towards the interstate. Of all places, we ended up spending an hour inside a Big Lots. We were meandering up and down the aisles when Jackson exclaimed, "Santa!" 

I don't know why they already have Christmas displays, but we happily admired the lights and trees.

I finally bought some items to send a care package to my secret sister. I let Jackson pick one item out. He picked a random bag that had Batman on it. It contained cotton candy, but he didn't know that. Knowing that Jackson has never eaten cotton candy before, but he loves all sweet things, I bought it for him as a fun surprise. Even when he opened it he still didn't know what it was. He just laughed and asked, "Do I eat it?"

I totally planned to wait out the rain, but it was still raining when we left Big Lots. I felt bad that the babies were confined to their car seats and wagon all morning. By this point it was near lunch time and I had expected to be home already.  I knew we were going to have to stop somewhere. While I try to avoid fast food, I felt confident that we could find somewhere that had an indoor play place. I googled McDonald's locations with a play place; then my phone navigated us there.

I guess I should not have assumed the play place would be indoors.,,

By this point the babies were also confined to high chairs. At least they got to stretch during their diaper change. The kids were happy eating their chicken nuggets and apples.

When we walked into the McDonald's, an older man got up and held the door for me. He looked us up and down and said, "Ma'am, what are you thinking bringing all these yougins here?" I didn't know if he was referring to the fact that it was raining, or it was a fast food place, or they were so young. I just blurted out, "We had to get out of the car!"

Fifteen minutes later, the same man approached us after throwing his trash away. He said, "You're like watching a well-oiled machine at work. I've never seen four youngins sitting down eating so well behaved." He continued on about what a great family we were and I thanked him. Of course, I kept thinking, Three of them don't even talk or walk yet and the other one is stuffing his face with a cheeseburger! 

We managed to spend three hours in Mooresville and it never once stopped raining! I could have been disappointed, but after spending all of last week stuck at home with sick kids, I was rejoicing just to have something to do. Jackson could have complained, but he was truly happy looking at Santa and eating cotton candy and a cheeseburger. The babies could have fussed since they missed their nap, but they were perfectly content as well. By 1 pm, I abandoned my hope of picking apples.

Rather than going home, I drove straight to the rec center so the kids could burn off some energy. Each of the triplets stood up by themselves. Amelia claimed the riding toy as her own and didn't stop navigating the gym for nearly an hour. Maddie used the huge exercise ball as a walking toy. James played with several play sets. Jackson befriended some of his peers and played a game of hockey. 

All in all, we may have failed at apple picking, but we still had a fun day!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

My New Sunday

It's been a month since I began leading weekly youth group at my church.  This position was suggested to me by the pastor back in February, and I prayerfully accepted it in August. I absolutely love high school aged kids and enjoyed working as a youth director during college.

The youth decided to meet at 3 p.m. Personally, I'd rather meet later in the evening so my day isn't so choppy, but my weekends are always flexible so I don't mind. Here's my new Sunday routine:

7:30- Wake Up
9:00-Eat pancakes (This has been my Sunday breakfast most of my life!)
9:30-Clean, play with kids, prepare lesson/activity for youth group
10:30-Drive to church (Church service is 11-12:15)
12:30-Drive home from church
12:45-Eat lunch, clean downstairs, play with kids
2:30-Drive to church
3:00-Lead youth group
4:30-Drive home
4:45-Spend time with family, eat dinner
7:00-Put triplet's to bed, watch TV with the big boys
8:00-Jackson goes to bed. I read, blog, etc.

I don't feel like I'm missing out on time with the kids because the babies are napping during church and youth group. Jackson enjoys his Daddy time. I did have to switch my grocery shopping day from Sunday to Saturday because I felt like I was never home.

Random fun facts about our youth group:
-We have a very small youth group with an average attendance of 4-6 incredibly talented and thoughtful teenagers.
-Half of them are members of the Latino ministry.
-One of our goals is to participate in monthly service projects.
-I was one of the teen's 5th grade teacher.
-Our first month is a "road trip" theme. We're learning what rules to follow (love your God, your neighbor, yourself, your enemies), signs from God, and how to reach our ultimate destination.

I look forward to being challenged and inspired in this ministry.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Pumpkin Patch: Opening Weekend

After 36 hours without any vomiting, we finally got out of the house today! Jesse wanted to go to a community yard sale at his school so we took the whole family this morning. Along the way I realized two things:
1. The pumpkin patch opens the last weekend in September.
2. Jesse's work is only five minutes away from a pumpkin patch.
After the yard sale we went to the pumpkin patch to look around. We were a bit disappointed to find perfect pumpkins neatly displayed--with UPC stickers on the bottom! We showed Jackson all of the small, green pumpkins growing on the vines.  I will definitely return to the pumpkin patch in a few weeks because:
1. I want to be surrounded by fields of orange pumpkins growing on the vines.
2. I have to dress the babies in coordinating clothes so I can take cute pictures.
3. Official season doesn't start until October so they didn't have the hay maze, kettle corn, etc.
4. Jesse does not share my same love for the pumpkin patch so I prefer to go when the babies first wake up and I can take my time.
We still had plenty of fun and enjoyed our first pumpkin patch of the season.

Happy Fall!

Friday, September 26, 2014

House Arrest

People, we are on Day Eight of the never-ending stomach bug! E-I-G-H-T!!!

My household chores this week have expanded to include:
  • multiple loads of laundry each day
  • changing vomit covered pajamas and sheets nightly (Jesse has taken the lead on that one.)
  • wiping bottoms, changing diapers hourly
  • steam mopping at least once a day
  • using Clorox wipes and Lysol on every possible surface
  • boiling pacifiers, sippy cup straws, medicine syringes, etc after each use
  • rocking and cuddling with four needy children 
  • washing hands until my skin might fall off

I follow the 24-hour rule before I take the kids out in public. Unfortunately, at least one kid has been throwing up every day over the course of the week. Here's how we passed the time during this tortuously long week at home:


All four kids had an entire day where they needed to be held or they slept most of the day. Jackson spent almost eight hours on the couch watching TV or reading on Wednesday. I managed to spend a good bit of time reading while cuddling with a child.

Playing with Aspen 
Our new cat has proven to be a great source of entertainment for the kids. She is finally comfortable sharing space with the kids and even goes in their rooms and lets them pet her. The excitement of another baby sized creature in the house has not worn off for the kids. Maddie giggles. Amelia and James chase her under the bed. Jackson is able to pet her.

Going for Walks
The sun did not shine much this week. I took the kids for a walk anytime there was a break in the rain. It's getting chilly so I covered the babies' legs with a thick blanket. (Note: This was the only day we actually got dressed.)

You can't tell in this picture that this was one of James' worst days because he loves being outdoors so much.

The girls stopped to smell the roses, aka pull stems off and shove them in each other's faces.

Arts and Crafts
While the trio napped Jackson and I played with play-doh and painted several pictures. Our favorite picture was of Leonardo. I made a rough outline,

and Jackson filled it in with paint.

He did a really great job. He was so proud of it he took it up to his room and thumb-tacked it above his bed.

Play in the Playroom
Thankfully we have plenty of toys to entertain the kids. They spent more time in their playroom than they have in a while.

Dress Up
Jackson and I spent nearly two hours dressing up in random outfits and role playing an imaginary scene together. I put on my lab coat and we used his doctor set on the trio. He had me put on an apron while he was dressed as a firefighter. He pretended to put out a fire in the kitchen. Here we were as a king and queen. I didn't have anything to resemble a queen so this was my sad attempt at Princess Leia.

Again, with gloomy weather, we took advantage of outdoor time every chance we had. The girls were feeling better on this day.

Not Pictured

  • Sending frustrated texts to Jesse and sisters
  • Receiving kind offers from friends to drop off Pedialyte, crackers, lysol, etc
  • Locking myself in the bathroom and giving myself a pep talk
  • Cursing while trying to dispose of foul poop on cloth diapers
  • Bathing each baby in the sink at various times during the week
  • Going out for a late night dessert and drink with friends because I HAD to get out!
  • Screaming into a pillow because I was so irritable and disgusted with everything

Next week can only get better, right?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

My Personal Hell

Friday: The ONLY thing Jackson eats is 3/4 a sprinkle doughnut from Krispy Kreme.

Friday Night: We wake up to hear Jackson vomiting in bed. After a change in pajamas and bedding, everyone sleeps.

Saturday: Jackson throws up a few more times and has lots of nasty poops.

Sunday: All is well. Receive an email from Jackson's teacher stating:
I was just wondering if your child was vomiting last Thursday/Friday?  I have been informed there were several from our class that were! :(  I just want you to know I sanitize, wash and wipe hands frequently!
Monday: After hosting a play date and going to the rec center, Maddie projectile vomits a half-gallon or more. I begin to ache and my stomach feels twisted in knots.

Monday Night: We awake to hear James crying. He's also thrown up and requires a change in sheets and pajamas. I sleep (an interrupted) eleven hours.

Tuesday: Jackson goes to school. Triplets are clingy but otherwise seem fine. I cancel CBRS therapy just to be safe. I continue to feel like I've been run over by a truck and am nauseous.

Tuesday Night: We awake three different times to discover James, Maddie, and Jackson have thrown up in bed.

Wednesday: James throws up a few more times. Jackson stays home from school. When he's not in the bathroom he is glued to the couch. Amelia has two diaper blow outs that require impromptu baths. Jesse is nauseous and achy. Maddie has no energy and her eyes look sunken in. I cancel PT.

Wednesday Night: Please, please God, let this virus be over!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Rec Center: Hidden Gem

Sometimes I feel like the rec center is my little secret. Of course other people know about it, but so few moms take advantage of it. Today we were the only people at open gym. Jackson, being the introvert that he is, was at complete ease.

The gym is a contained area with ample space, games and activities available, nowhere to hide or get hurt, perfect for cold weather or rainy days, and free. It's basically a mother of multiples dream! Today, these four owned the gym.

It's only open for kids under five for an hour and a half each week. After the time ends, we typically play in the large play area. The triplets are too young to climb up the steps or go down the slide, but they have plenty of things to pull up on, crawl around, and climb.

The light just so happened to capture Maddie's silouhette perfectly when she was standing in the tunnel. I love when timing works out like that.

We don't go every Monday, but it's so easy and convenient for me to watch the kids play. Hooray for free fun!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Summer of Firsts

The kids had many new experiences this summer.

Jackson's list of "firsts" included:
  • watching a movie in the theater
  • having a friend/cousin spend the night
  • bowling
  • camping in a tent (in MiMi and PaPa's backyard)
  • playing in spray grounds and splash pads
  • meeting Clifford
  • going to the Panther's stadium
  • going on many playdates at the park
  • home haircut (Jesse used the clippers)
  • face paint
  • rock hopping
  • dress up fun (TMNT pizza party, Krispy Kreme Pirate Day, firefighter at fire station tour)

The trio had even more firsts, including:
  • standing, climbing stairs, cruising, taking steps
  • eating ice cream, doughnuts, hot dogs, grapes, peanut butter, and more
  • seeing sparklers/fireworks
  • birthday, birthday party, cake smash
  • trip to mountains/Boone/ASU
  • watching airplanes land and take off
  • swimming in a baby pool and using a float in big pool
  • going up and down slides independently
  • playing in sandbox, water table, playset, etc

I can't wait to see what fall has in store for us!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Krispy Kreme: Dress Like a Pirate

Thankfully my sister let me know about Dress Like a Pirate Day at Krispy Kreme today. I don't know if we love dressing up, eating doughnuts, or receiving free things more. It was a win for everyone. 

In order to receive the free dozen you had to have at least three of the following: eye patch, pirate hat, bandanna, peg leg, parrot on shoulder, pirate shirt, knickers, leather belt, silver or gold necklaces, pirate hook, pointy black boots, or ragged brown sandals. Jackson had a variety of pirate hats in his dress up bin. I made an eye patch by safety pinning black fabric scraps around one of the girls' elastic headbands. I cut one of Jesse's old t-shirts and used a shoelace to tie through for a pirate shirt. Here's the handsome pirate:

There aren't any Krispy Kremes within a 30 minute radius from our house, so it's a rare treat for our family to eat these melt-in-your-mouth doughnuts. There is one on the way to my sister's house, which is where we like to spend our Fridays.

Jackson fell asleep on the drive. Thankfully he awoke in a great mood in the Krispy Kreme parking lot. We didn't have a parrot but we took along a random stuffed animal.

In addition to our free dozen glazed doughnuts, I let him pick out a chocolate sprinkle doughnut. I told him he could take off his eye patch and hat once we got the doughnuts, but he continued to wear them.

The babies enjoyed their first doughnut. (as if it's possible not to enjoy it)

Amelia, aka our predictable heifer, finished her bite first and just glared at me until I gave her another bite.

We won't have any problem polishing off our dozen!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Park and Museum Ramblings

When asked, "Where would you like to go today?", Jackson will almost always reply, "the museum!" Since we have a family membership I take the kids every 1-2 weeks. The trio and I spent the morning at the coffee shop with some friends, which meant they had a late morning nap. I packed a lunch for the babies. After picking Jack up, we headed to the museum. We stopped by the park around the corner from the museum so I could let Jackson play while I changed the babies diapers and fed them lunch. 

We were the only van in the parking lot. I let Jackson run ahead and start playing while I changed each babies' diaper in the front seat of the van. A police officer pulled up beside me. I was incredibly anxious and felt like the police officer was going to say something about me letting Jackson play by himself even though I could see him. After I justified that I wasn't doing anything wrong I double checked to make sure Jesse put the updated registration sticker on the van. My paranoia was replaced by embarrassment when another car pulled up and the police officer quickly got out to grab his toddler and kiss his wife. To continue my crazy thought process, I then regretted not asking if Jackson could see inside his car. We've never been to a police station or in a police car, though Jackson has certainly asked.

We played no more than 15 minutes, then drove around the corner to the museum. We strayed from our usual routine. I somehow managed to avoid using the stroller for over an hour. All four kids weaved in and out of each play area. There were a few stressful moments when one would venture the opposite direction, but they really stayed together and played well most of the time.

Jackson tried to play doctor, but was annoyed that Amelia wouldn't stay on the scale.

I was utterly amused when Maddie Moo found interest in the cow. (HA! Puns intended.)

We interacted with a friendly mother and toddler for several minutes. While her son played with James and Amelia, the mother invited me to Little Gym. She really emphasized how much her 18 month old had gained from weekly classes so I finally asked her how much it cost. She answered, "We only paid $400 for the whole year for him, but I know they offer discounts for multiples." WHAT?!?!

Jackson briefly followed some strange exercise video for kids.

All four spent the longest amount of time in the restaurant. Jackson and I bake and cook together almost daily, so I'm always happy to let him take the lead in the play kitchen and hear his narrations while he "cooks". Yesterday Jesse said, "You know when we [Jesse and Jackson] were making pancakes he said, 'Now we add the wet ingredients'" I laughed and replied, "Of course he did. He knows what he's doing." I'm always proud of my sous-chef.

The trio practiced going up and down stairs while Jackson put his costumes on back stage. Jack put on quite a fashion show for us.

The only time I strapped the babies in the stroller was when we were in the grocery store. It was too open yet had too many hiding spots. When Jackson rang up the groceries the register actually showed an owed amount of $90,000,000!

Our final stop was the water table. James is notorious for drenching everyone in close proximity. To say that he splashes water is an understatement. James' entire outfit and Maddie's shirt was saturated.

Jackson fell asleep in the car. I let him sleep while I carried the babies inside since I knew he would need his energy for a night with his cousin, Levi.  After inhaling pizza the boys played together outside.

Their energy did not dwindle after we put the triplets to bed.

In fact, it's 8 pm and they're still going strong!