Thursday, October 30, 2014

Fun Thursday

Thursday mornings mean mommy-dates at the coffee shop. There is a coffee shop across the street from Jackson's preschool where we meet. I look forward to an hour or two of relaxation with my friends. I am one of the only moms that bring kids because most all of our kids are in school. I hate spending money on drinks almost as much as I hate coffee, but I splurge on a chai latte once every month or so. 

I began joining this group at the coffee shop a year ago. At that time, the triplets were only a few months old and they slept the entire time. They didn't become really mobile until late spring, when the weather was warm enough for us to meet on the patio. The fall mornings are proving to be too chilly to meet outside. Today was the first time I've ever let the trio "play" inside. Breakfast (waffles, banana, and cheese) occupied them for nearly twenty minutes. Maddie enjoyed sipping her milk in comfortable chairs. Amelia ogled the pastry display case. James was bound to the stroller after multiple runaway attempts, including trying to pull out a strangers laptop cord. Of course, all three also spent time in the arms of my friends, whom have watched them grow up each week.

James has had a big afternoon. Perhaps he felt peer pressure from his sisters, or perhaps something is finally beginning to click. Whatever the reason, James spent most of the day standing up, taking a few steps, falling, and trying again.

After an abbreviated nap, we picked Jackson up. Jack requested (as always) to go to the museum. James was so content at the water table. Everyone else explored multiple areas, while James spent a half hour playing in the water. He was also especially intrigued with the legos. All of the pictures I took of Jackson, Amelia, and Maddie were blurry because they were constantly on the go.

After a brief respite at home, we spent the evening at the library for a Halloween party. Jesse met us straight from work. Jesse's mom accompanied us since she won't be able to see them this weekend while we're out of town. Some of the highlights of the Halloween party included petting the therapy dog, making crafts, getting Jackson's face painted, and playing games. Amelia was especially trusting of the dog owner. She walked directly in his arms and sat in his lap for quite some time.

Even after dinner and bedtime, our day is not over. It's time to get packing for the beach!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

15 Month Well Check

I put off scheduling the trio's 15 month well check. I was waiting to schedule it when Jesse would be able to go with me. Because we schedule all three kids at the same time, it's tricky finding back-to-back time slots. Ideally we would have taken the trio to the doctor on Monday when Jesse had a workday, but the clinic didn't have any openings.

Since we go to a children's clinic, we don't have to see the same pediatrician. I try to schedule it with the same woman, but they are especially busy with sick visits this time of year. I called last week and requested the first available appointment. The first time they could get everyone in was at 10:30 this morning, which meant I didn't have to bring Jackson with us.

Even though I take the kids out alone every day and I've taken all four to the pediatrician when one was sick, I was still nervous about taking the triplets to the well-check by myself. It's a juggling act trying to get everyone in, undressed, weighed, measured, entertained, talk to the pediatrician, comfort hysterical kids after shots, etc.

The highlight of our well check was the waiting room. The trio explored all of the toys while I filled out questionnaires on each child.

Some nurses go out of the way to help, other nurses do not. Our nurse today was among the latter. She did not even open the door when I wheeled the stroller through to the exam room. She watched me undress all three and waited for me to place each child on the exam table one at a time.

The most stressful part of the entire check up was weighing everyone. This is stressful for three reasons:
1. The scale is located in the check out area, which is a high traffic area.
2. At our practice, under 2 are weighed naked. No diaper.
3. The babies are mobile...and fast!

After the nurse got everyone's lengths in our room, I had to load James and Amelia back in the stroller and carry Maddie. The nurse didn't offer to push the stroller or hold Maddie, so I did both down the hall to the scale. I put Maddie on the ground while I took James' diaper off and placed him on the scale. While she weighed James, I took Amelia's diaper off. I had to put James on the ground in order to get Amelia on the scale. A naked James crawled halfway down the hallway. I chased him, put his diaper on, and buckled him in the stroller. Maddie walked into the bathroom while Amelia was being weighed. I picked her up and took her diaper off mid-air. I switched the girls on the scales, put Amelia's diaper back on, buckled her in the stroller, picked up Maddie, put her diaper back on, and walked back to the exam room. Of course, parents and children passed by throughout this ordeal, making the same comments I've heard a hundred times before (i.e. "You sure have your hands full!" "Triplets? Wow!" "Are they all yours?" etc)

The waiting time for the doctor was fairly entertaining. Of course the trio was all over the place. Amelia was the first to discover the ability to roll more paper onto the table. James was immediately drawn to the trashcan. Maddie was elated to push the rolling doctor's stool around. Then they would switch places.

The pediatrician was a bit more relaxed than I preferred, but he addressed each of my concerns. (Sidenote: He has a 15 month old son who is two days older than the trio. They also cloth diaper.)

The quick recap for everyone is:
-James still has loose stool, but not every day. I was told to continue regular probiotics. As far as his diaper rash, we are to let him air out in between diaper changes. The pediatrician even suggested using a hair dryer on cool setting. (Because that's practical!)
-I've been concerned about possible cognitive and speech delays with James. I gave a variety of examples such as how he continues to go head first down a step instead of reverse, refuse to let go of an object if I'm trying to buckle him in the car seat or get him dressed, etc. The pediatrician felt confident that James is more stubborn than delayed. Just while the pediatrician was there, James had moved the stroller to get to the trashcan, and go through my purse to find my phone that I had put away.

-I didn't have any concerns with Amelia. The only thing suggested was using hydrocortisone occasionally on her feet for eczema.

-He wrote a prescription for stronger steroid cream since Maddie is bothered by her dry skin and regularly scratches at the folds of her arms and ankle.
-He said, "According to our notes the neurologist was pleased last week." I bragged about Maddie's progress and let him know she would be using shoe inserts soon.
-After listening to her heart, he detected a heart murmur, specifically a VSD. He suggested we see a cardiologist again when she turns two. I didn't think much about it at the time, but after reviewing blog posts at home, I am quite confused.  Maddie was born with a PDA, but it had closed by 6 months. We saw a cardiologist at that time and found out via ultrasound that she had a PFO. However, no doctor has heard a heart murmur with a stethoscope since she was 4 months old. I sent a message to the doctor through Patient Portal and am a bit anxious about his response.

Here are their updated measurements:

6 lbs, 12 oz
20.5 in
6 lbs, 2 oz
20 in
5 lbs, 9 oz
18 in
4 Months
13 lbs, 5 oz
12 lbs
9 lbs
23.75 in
6 Months
15 lbs, 7 oz

14 lbs, 9 oz
11 lbs
9 Months
17 lbs, 6 oz
16 lbs, 11 oz
13 lbs, 5 oz
12 Months
21 lbs, 15 oz
20 lbs, 9 oz
17 lbs, 4 oz
15 Months
24 lbs, 13 oz
22 lbs, 14 oz
20 lbs, 9 oz

From the time the doctor left to the time the nurse returned with shots was an excruciating wait. The exam room is no bigger than a walk-in closet. Two chairs, an exam table, and a double stroller fill up most of the room without adding three toddlers. It was noon, which meant we had been at the clinic for over an hour and a half. The triplets were hot, tired, and hungry. 

The nurse was painfully slow giving the shots. Each child had three vaccines (DTaP, flu, Hib). She gave each vaccine one at a time, then applied a band-aid. And, she didn't wear gloves!

The triplets were finally loaded in the van by 12:30, which just barely gave us enough time to go pick up Jackson from preschool. What a morning!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Formal Wear Photos by the Lake

It was another 80° day. I dressed Amelia and Madeline in semi-formal dresses for no other reason than they will soon outgrow the dresses and they've never worn them before. I took them to a park where the branches created a natural archway. The fall colors were at their peak. Maddie and Amelia actually walked side by side for several feet as I snapped photo after photo. It wasn't until I had loaded them back in the van that I realized I didn't even have the memory card in the camera. I was so irritated at myself.

Desperate to take a few decent pictures while they were still in their dresses, we headed to a scenic park after picking Jackson up from school. I managed to capture a few photos that really portrayed the range of moods and interests for each child.





Teacher Workday = Park Day

Jesse had a teacher workday. He went in for an hour, but spent most of the day with the family. He even accompanied us to our park play date. It was an unseasonably warm fall day. Everyone brought blankets, toys, bikes, and scooters. We had a picnic lunch. In this picture, the girls had crawled to another blanket and began eating a friend's food. Oops!

The kids played in the beach volleyball court. I rarely bring small toys because the other moms always bring bags full. Sure enough, there were shovels, buckets, construction vehicles, and more.

The boys quickly made friends with Jesse. It's a rare treat for dads to join us.

James isn't making much progress walking, but he will occasionally let you hold his hand as if he's going to take off.

The girls practiced walking. I love being able to hold their hands and walk together, even if it's just for a few feet right now. I'm not sure where James will go, though...

Jesse took this sweet picture of Jackson. He is such a Daddy's boy!

Two of the boys brought their bicycles. Jackson doesn't ride his bike much. I was going to throw his bicycle in the van this afternoon because I knew my friend's were bringing their son's bikes, but it had a flat tire. Jackson kept up with them running.

We stopped to rest in a semi-gated area overlooking a creek. 

While the girls and I walked, the boys ended up playing a game with the strollers. I was really surprised that James could push the oldest and heaviest boy in the stroller. All four of them were laughing.

It was such a pleasant day to spend together as an entire family. Jesse only has three days of work this week, then we're all headed to the beach Friday morning for a fun weekend with my siblings and their families. Whoo hoo!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Trunk or Treat and Hayride

Our family decided over a month ago to have a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle theme for Halloween this year. I've looked at Target, WalMart, thrift stores, etc for reasonably priced costumes throughout the past month. There was an abundance of costumes that would fit Jackson, but I couldn't find any for the trio. Sunday was our unofficial deadline since we had planned to go to a trunk or treat event that evening. After the kids went to bed on Saturday night, I went out, desperate to return with anything that might resemble ninja turtles. Lo and behold, amid a rack of 5T superhero pajamas, there just so happened to be three 18-month pajamas and a 3T pajama set. It was meant to be!

Jesse and I went back and forth on what costumes we could create. I wanted to find a burgundy robe so one of us could be Master Splinter. We didn't think we could find/make anything to resemble Shredder. Jesse suggested I find something yellow to dress as April. On a time crunch, we divided and conquered, going to different Goodwill stores. Using our existing wardrobes and $10 worth of Goodwill finds, we became Casey Jones and April O'Neil. I bought a 97 cent hat in each of the turtle's colors. While I was at youth group, Jesse dressed the babies and even made me a "Channel 6" badge to complete the look. Here's our adorable TMNT family!

Even though I spent more than I wanted (just over $50 for the six of us), each of the kids will have a pair of warm pajamas and hat to last all winter. And I genuinely don't think we've bought the trio a single outfit in the past 15 months. So if I look at it that way, $50 is totally reasonable.

The pajamas came with a cape. I washed and dried a set on hot water and high heat because I was hoping Maddie's would shrink a bit since she's still a bit small for a lot of 18 month clothes. Unfortunately, the black shell on Maddie's cape completely peeled off. Lesson learned: turtle shells cannot withstand high temperatures!

The trunk or treat event was very small. It was just for our mom friends. Our kids are pretty cute.

As far as the trunk part of "trunk or treat" goes, I was not about to decorate the back of the van. The other moms had cobwebs and pumpkins. I just dumped our candy in one of the babies wagons and called it a day.

The kids had a busy afternoon playing on the playground, chasing one another, and eating the potluck dinner. Amelia and Maddie walked around the picnic shelter while James showered himself in mulch. I should have thought to take a picture of the four of them before they played, but they are still cute.

Since we were all dressed up, I asked Jesse if he knew of any other fall festivals in the area. I briefly contemplated the Renaissance Festival, but at a ticket price of over $20 and it already being 5:30 pm, we quickly ruled that out. Jesse recalled a fall festival at a diary farm near his work. When we arrived at the seemingly desolate farm, we considered going home before we even got out. I reluctantly got out of the van and asked the one person I saw if there was anything to do. She told us we could drive behind her house and see the animals.

I was really surprised at how close we could get to the livestock.

After seeing the animals, we wondered around trying to figure out what was going on. Just as we were going to leave, a tractor pulled up for a hayride. About fifteen people came out of nowhere and started loading onto the trailer of hay. Jackson was excited and all the kids were out. Jesse walked up to inquire about a ticket. The woman said, "We'll do $20 for all of y'all." I don't know if that was supposed to be a discounted rate, but Jesse and I kept looking at one another in disbelief trying to determine if we were really going to spend twenty dollars on yet another hayride.

The hayride ended up being a 30 minute tour of the farm. It was nice to curl up in a blanket and watch the sunset over pastures. We were riding along side cattle and goats. Apparently one of the goats had just given birth to a litter of kids that morning. Everyone was allowed to pet a baby goat. 

I'm still not convinced it was worth $20, but the girls could not have been happier on the hayride. James, who is infamous for being fussy past bedtime, was quite content. And Jackson got to sit between his Mommy and Daddy and take in all the sights.

To not have had any concrete plans or costumes the day before, we ended up having a terrific evening as an adorably coordinated family! Now we wait to do it all again this weekend, beach edition.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Mini Corn Dogs

I've made three batches of this recipe in a week. It's perfect for appetizers, lunches, and potlucks. This recipe makes 24 mini corn dogs.

4-5 hot dogs (depending on length)
1 box of corn muffin mix (8.5 oz)
1 egg
1/3 cup of milk
nonstick spray

Step 1: Prepare corn muffin mix according to package.

Step 2: Cut hot dogs into 1 inch pieces.
(Sidenote: I used all beef hotdogs and turkey dogs. The beef made the muffins a bit greasy. Turkey wins again.)

Step 3: Spray muffin pan.

Step 4: Fill each muffin half way with mix.

Step 5: Insert hot dog pieces in the center of each muffin. They will stick up, but the muffin mix will rise during baking.

Step 6: Cook for 10-12 minutes at 375 degrees.

Step 7: Cool for 5 minutes.

Serve with ketchup or mustard.

Random Updates From the Week

The major events of the week (the girls walking, farm field trip, neurologist appointment, ortho consult, etc) have already been blogged about. This post is for all the miscellaneous, but noteworthy events that occurred this week.

Monday we had the unfortunate pleasure of spending hours at the health department waiting for WIC vouchers. Appointments are every three months. This was an easy one and did not require any weight checks or blood work. Still, it's challenging to keep four kids seated quietly for over an hour. That is not to say that I am not grateful for assistance, but I am allowed to admit the stress of the WIC process. Jackson entertained himself by teaching the babies about various superheroes.

Immediately after our WIC appointment we had a pumpkin playdate with a friend. There were a lot of kids there and triplets were all over the place! I finally just let James sit on the table to paint his pumpkin. 

Monday evening I had the pleasure of attending a thoroughly planned and executed "Minute to Win It" game night with my mommy friends. There were 12 stations with fun, silly games. I am known for being competitive. My team came in second place. We laughed so hard and made way too many inappropriate jokes.

By far the most random occurrence of our week was when I opened my garage and two news anchors appeared in my driveway. This is the second time the kids and I have made the local news. (We appeared on the news last fall when I was interviewed about antibacterial hand soap in the park.) We have been dealing with delays, detours, and heavy construction for over a year now thanks to the building of a major interstate half a mile from our house. They just announced the opening would be delayed by several months. Apparently the local news station sent a crew to interview "frustrated" neighbors about the delay. I was carrying all three babies when the anchor and cameraman got out of their car. They filmed me buckle everyone in their car seats after the interview.

On Friday evening Jackson's MiMi and cousin, Levi, came over for dinner. Jesse's parents decided to have the boys over for a sleepover and day trip to the mountains. My favorite memories with my Granny were going (or attempting to go) to the mountains. It makes me so happy that Jackson can create similar memories with his grandparents. 

Dinner was a hodgepodge of tacos, mini corndogs, and cupcakes. In my mind, company is always an excuse to bake. And few things are more fun than decorating treats with icing and sprinkles. 

Saturday morning we witnessed our first instance of biting. James kept putting his hands in Maddie's face so she bit him. I suspect it won't be the last time.

Saturday afternoon Jesse and I stumbled upon the ultimate food find-a Mexican buffet. It was glorious. Truly, it was the most delicious assortment of Mexican food (and chicken nuggets and french fries). The trio devoured quesadillas, enchiladas, and the mystery desserts. According to the Facebook poll, the consensus is flan and an unnamed fruit/yogurt dessert.

The agenda for today is church, youth group, grocery shopping, Halloween costume creating, and small group. Whew, ready, set, go!