5 Things Never to Say to a Triplet Parent

Disclaimer: This post is meant to be light-hearted and comical in nature. Any commentary that seems rude or unappreciative is unintentional.

Growing up, my two sisters and I sang together as a group called “The Smith Sisters.” We did the National Anthem, school concerts, cantoring at church, and even some recorded albums. As we sang more around town, more people began to recognize us. But when the opportunity grew more apparent to take our music further, my parents will tell you that I wasn’t very interested because of the everyday attention that might come with it (assuming we were even good enough for that to happen). I’d rather live my life as a simpleton, get married, become a mom, and keep music as a hobby.

Little did I know I would get the next closest thing to fame — triplets.

When you have multiples, there’s no covering it up. People will seek you out in public to talk about it. On one hand, it’s frustrating to know there will never be such a thing as making a quick trip out with the kids because we’ll get stopped a million times. On the other, it warms my heart to know that just seeing our girls and our family brings happiness to someone else’s day.

Here are the top five phrases we hear as triplet parents:

5. “Were you shocked?”

Translation: “I want to know the story of how you found out you were pregnant with triplets.”

You’re kidding, right? 🙂 I’ve concluded that people who ask this question aren’t dumb — they’re just excited to know our story and don’t know how to make an “in.” If you want to know the story of how a parent of multiples found out, just ask. I can’t imagine anyone not wanting to share such a pivotal moment in their life!

A more appropriate comment? “What was it like finding out you were having triplets?”

4. “I just couldn’t imagine…..”

Translation: “If triplets came into my life as it stands today, I would be overwhelmed.”

Who wouldn’t be? Luckily, pregnancy gives you time to prepare. People often say this because they think they’re not capable of handling something monumental. But they are. It’s amazing what we can accomplish when we’re put to the test. Humans have overcome great obstacles throughout history. It’s the great secret of biology and the things that are alive today — we adapt to our surroundings. We make do. We will it to work. Because we have to. You couldn’t imagine something as big as triplets happening to you? Try. The chances of conceiving spontaneous triplets are 1 in 8,000. The chances of conceiving identical [spontaneous] triplets are 1 in 500,000. Yet, I’ve met so many triplet parents over the last year who make the statistic seem smaller. I never in a million bajillion years thought I would one day have triplets or even twins. I never wanted to be a twin mom or anything like it. I don’t like “matchy matchy,” and I didn’t think I had the personality for having a lot of kids. But it happened. I wasn’t exempt. I used to see things on the news and say “that would never happen to me” — but not anymore. I’ve realized that none of us are exempt. God has a reason for choosing each one of us for a specific vocation. And more often than not, it’s something you never even thought about. I never wanted to be a mom of multiples — but it turns out I’m good at it, I love it, and it makes my family unique.

A more appropriate comment? “Kudos for making it work!”

3. “Did you use fertility meds?”

Translation: “Did you ask for this, or was it out of your control?”

This is an interesting one. I find this to be a deeply personal question that has become more common because of our culture and the high occurrence of families with multiples due to the use of fertility treatments in the past few decades. While it’s surprising to hear this question from a complete stranger, I still find myself asking this same question (NOT as the conversation starter, mind you) to fellow triplet parents I meet, only to know whether or not we have the “spontaneity” thing in common. Using fertility treatments means you at least know you have a chance of conceiving multiples, whereas spontaneous multiples is unknown, resulting in slightly different stories of how the parents found out. (Of course, it’s still a shock no matter who you are!) I like to hear all different sides. Nonetheless, asking someone whether or not they used fertility methods seems to send the message that it’s less special of an occurrence because the odds are higher. Or worse, they’re trying to figure out if you’re “crazy enough” to have asked for this to happen to you when you already had one so young. What does it matter? Both ways result in beautiful children. 🙂

A more appropriate comment? “Do multiples run in your family?”

2. “Are you going to have anymore kids?”

Translation: “You’re not going to have anymore kids, are you?”

I’m sorry……..do I know you? What could be more intimate than a married couple deciding whether or not to try for more children? Considering “where babies come from,” this questions seems to allow total strangers to invite themselves a little closer into your personal life than you might want. Here’s my take: someone who’s genuinely happy for you and your large family wouldn’t even ask this question. Someone who believes you have too many or “just enough” kids already will ask this question to force an opinion on you without explicitly stating it.

Now, notice that I’ve used the example of “strangers” here instead of close family or friends. It makes a difference who the “asker” is, doesn’t it? There are things you can tell your close friends that you wouldn’t tell just anyone on the street. Sometimes, this question is appropriate. But more often than not, it isn’t. We’re like tabloid magazines — always moving on to the next BIG thing (Who’s pregnant? Who’s getting a divorce?), rather than just letting the things in the moment simmer. Instead of worrying about what my family could look like, help me celebrate what it is now!

A more appropriate comment? “Congratulations on being blessed with such a full family!”

1. “You’ve got your hands full!”

Translation: “Your life must be crazy. Better you than me!”

I physically wince when I hear this now. This is by far the top comment we get as triplet parents. In the weirdest phenomenon I’ve ever seen, somehow everyone in the world is privy to the same obnoxious phrase. What kills me is that it isn’t a question or even a statement of value. It’s merely an observation that we’re forced to respond to affirmatively somehow. Funny enough, we only seem to hear this when our hands are physically not full — the girls are in their strollers, quiet and calm. The truth is, (and I’ve said this in blog posts before), having triplets isn’t exponentially harder. You work more efficiently as a parent of many, which makes things much easier. It also just becomes a way of life. So while it may be daunting for someone who doesn’t live it everyday, it’s not for someone who does.

Luckily, I met someone recently who gave me a perfect response to this statement. When someone says “you’ve got your hands full,” all I need to respond is “then you should see my heart.” What a perfect sentiment to describe how it really feels to have multiples.

A more appropriate comment? “What a big family! You look like you’re managing well.”

This blog post is not a rant. It’s not a venting session. It’s not an opportunity to make others feel bad or make our lives as triplet parents seem more important. It’s merely a glimpse into our lives (as this whole blog is) and the things we hear and see everyday from the people and happenings around us. It’s an opportunity to educate. We’re all human — and we can all fall into the trap of asking silly questions when we don’t know much about the topic at hand.

The next time you meet someone with a unique story — they have multiples, they’re from another country, they have a deformity, or something else you’ve never encountered — think first about what you want to ask, uncover what it is you really want to know, and consider how you’d feel if you were in their shoes. It might lead to more interesting conversation than you originally thought!

Life Comes at You Fast

No, I didn’t die. I didn’t go missing. I didn’t delete the blog. I’ve just been……….well, living life with four little ones.

"You must have your hands full!"

“You must have your hands full!”

A typical day for me goes something like this:

  • 6:45 a.m. – Triplets get up. Give bottles, change diapers.
  • 7:00 a.m. – Try to get ready for work while entertaining triplets
  • 7:45 a.m. – Babysitter comes
  • 8:00 a.m. – Throw a lunch together and try to run out the door
  • 8:45 a.m. — 5:00 p.m. – Work: meetings, emails, writing/editing, conversations, lunch, more meetings
  • 6:00 p.m. – Home. Eat dinner while trying to entertain triplets in highchairs.
  • 6:30 p.m. — 7:30 p.m. – Family walk and playing in backyard
  • 7:30 — 8:00 p.m. – Feed triplets solid food
  • 8:00 p.m. — 8:30 p.m. – Baths
  • 8:30 p.m. – Triplets’ bed time
  • 8:30 p.m. — 9:00 p.m. – Read books with Hannah
  • 9:00 p.m. – Hannah bed time
  • 9:00 p.m. — 10:00 p.m. – Cleaning spree: wipe up all the food off the floor that missed the kids’ mouths (most of it), wash bottles, collect trash, keep laundry running, pick up toys
  • 10:00 p.m. – Crash on the couch: catch up on some work and/or watch a little TV

As you can see, there’s little time left in the day for blogging, and when there is, the energy to do it may be low. And being the perfectionist I am about writing, taking an hour at the end of a busy day to craft a post isn’t always in the cards. No excuses. Just giving you an idea of where I’m coming from. 🙂

Hannah eating corn at the State Fair

Hannah eating corn at the State Fair

A lot has happened since the last time I wrote. Namely, Greg got a new job! He is now just around the corner from our house, teaching 7th grade science in our hometown school district. The [lack of] commute, the easier school schedule, and the overall demeanor of the school and district have been a blessing for Greg. Coming back to our alma mater was something we both wanted for our family — and though it happened earlier than we had planned, it’s proved to be an excellent decision. I’m so proud of Greg for landing his dream job!

Hangin outside with mommy

Hangin outside with mommy

We also said goodbye to our amazing nanny, Meghan, as she headed off to grad school in Michigan. We’ve missed her a lot and were nervous about finding another nanny with as much patience, kindness, and comfort around kids as her. But after some deep searching and asking around, we found our new nanny, Nina. Nina is a former daycare owner with a ton of experience around kids — even multiples! We were thrilled to find her and to learn that she couldn’t wait to care for triplets. So far, Nina’s been with us for a little over a month and she’s taught us and the girls so much. She’s helped us ween off of bad habits with the girls (rocking before nap time, streamlining eating schedules, etc.) and implemented curriculum with Hannah. I’m so excited for Hannah to have one-on-one learning time!

Triplet attack!

Triplet attack!

The girls themselves have also changed quite a bit. The triplets are now 8 1/2 months old and are crawling around like crazy. They’re constantly squawking and babbling. They’re pulling up to a stand every chance they get. They’re starting to eat table foods. And most importantly, they’re sleeping about 11 hours through the night! We’re at that stage in their development where things are fun and they only get better each month. It’s still a lot of hard work (they all whine for quite a bit of attention and aren’t sure-footed yet when standing, so they scream for help), but the rewards of smiles, laughs, new expressions, and sounds make it all worth it.

Mommy's favorite picture

Mommy’s favorite picture

It’s amazing to me to see how happy we are today and compare it to where we were just a short year ago. I was coming off my morning sickness and still wasn’t sure how to feel about the pregnancy. We were trying to sell our house and looking for a new one. Hannah was getting bigger. I was getting bigger. Greg was starting school. Who knew that just one year later, we’d be basking in the summertime with our sweet little girls and juggling the day-to-day lives we’ve become accustomed to? We can’t help but look into the future and imagine all the fun that lies ahead.

Happy Alex

Happy Alex

KristeenMaire-Photography-36-2719243124-OWe also had the triplets’ 6-month pictures taken (ok….7-month pictures. Mommy was a little late in scheduling. 🙂 ) Greg and I can’t stop flipping through them. What little ladies! Thanks to our “official family photographer,” KristeenMarie Photography, we got some beautiful shots showcasing each of the girls’ personalities — even Hannah! I even sent some of the photos to our former NICU nurses and Dr. Dunlop so they could see how the girls have grown. I hope it’s fun for them to remember us and see how the girls have grown this year.

Sweet Nora

Sweet Nora

Miss Lucy

Miss Lucy

Greg and I also celebrated four years of marriage at the beginning of August with a night out by ourselves. We actually split the girls up and took them to each set of grandparents for a sleepover. Greg and I got to have dinner downtown and go out to breakfast the next morning. It felt just like old times when we were newlyweds! As my gift, he got me tickets to see my favorite band, The Eagles!!! I’m so excited and can’t wait for our first concert together (I know, right?). This Saturday is also my 27th birthday. We’re keeping it low key (how can you top Eagles tickets?) and having dinner out with friends. I never thought I’d have four kids by the time I was 27! I also can’t believe how old I am now — just a few years away from 30. Wasn’t I just 8 and playing in the backyard with my sisters? As a teenager, I used to dream of the days when I’d be “in my twenties.” I’ve got to admit, it’s pretty cool so far. 🙂

My little cutie

My little cutie

A visit from Aunt Jenny and Uncle Chris!

A visit from Aunt Jenny and Uncle Chris!

Among these major events over the past few months, we also took a trip down to Holiday World with Hannah, started going on more outings with all four girls (park, restaurants, walks, etc.), gave the babies their first swimming experiences, had a visit from Aunt Jenny and Uncle Chris, and had play dates with various friends and family, among other activities. In general, our days are pretty regimented, but we try to throw in a few surprises here and there to keep the girls entertained — and ourselves sane! 🙂

Lastly, I want to give a shout out to my triplet mom friend, Sarah. I’ve never actually met her in person, but we have a mutual acquaintance and have communicated over Facebook about our kiddos. Sarah and her husband have four, just like us — a toddler and younger triplets — but all are BOYS. They’re a few months ahead of us in age, so it’s been fun watching her boys grow up and see what we have to look forward to. Just a few weeks ago, I came across an update from Sarah. She’s expecting again! And guess what? It’s triplets…….again!! I was astonished. Knowing what a triplet pregnancy is like (the physical strain, emotional ups and downs, and overall preparations), it all came rushing back to me. Sarah, if you read this blog, I want you to know that I haven’t stopped thinking about you and your family since I read your news. You’re an inspiration to moms everywhere, and I’m so impressed by your will to “do it all” for your kids. It’s clear that you value life, and despite what others may say about having a large family today, your commitment to your family is something to applaud. Congratulations and let me know if you want any pointers on those three GIRLS!!

Until next time…

The Day That Changed My Life Forever

This weekend will be the one year anniversary of the day I found out I was pregnant with triplets.

I remember that day clearly. It was beautiful, and I was getting ready for my first pre-natal visit to my new OB on the West side while Greg was getting Hannah ready for an appointment of her own. Greg wouldn’t be with me to hear the big news. We had known I was pregnant for a few weeks. Sickness and migraines had set in almost immediately, unlike my pregnancy with Hannah, which took a little longer to progress. Little had I known, my hormone levels were through the roof (three times the average to be exact), causing the excessive nausea.

I wasn’t exactly excited about being pregnant again. After all, I had a seven-month-old at home. But I had done a lot of thinking those first few weeks and had finally come to a place of acceptance. But that was about to change.

When I went in for the appointment, the first thing they did was an ultrasound. Most OB offices don’t do an ultrasound until 20 weeks, so I consider it providence that I was able to find out early that I was under “special circumstances.”

The technician began the ultrasound and paused. Calmly, she asked, “Are you on any fertility treatments?” I wanted to laugh. Why would I be on fertility treatments when I have a baby at home? But then it dawned on me—why would she be asking me that? She would only be curious about fertility treatments if I was having multiples. Of course, I was aware of the fact that twins run in my family, so I had known that was a possibility. In fact, I remember asking the ultrasound tech “there’s just one in there, right?” when I was pregnant with Hannah.

My heart jumped. “Twins?” I asked. “I see three,” she said.

People ask us all the time – “Were you shocked?” We always have to chuckle at such an obvious question. Yet, I’m not sure “shock” is quite the word to describe what I was feeling. It was like a dream sequence. That feeling when you’re scared, but you know it’s a dream and just keep praying to wake up. That’s what it was like – a dream. “There’s no way this could happen to ME,” I thought. Nothing out of the ordinary ever happens to me….

I’m assuming the ultrasound tech was expecting me to be shocked, but my negative reaction prompted confusion on her face. I quickly explained my situation – the migraines, the sickness, the fact that I had such a young one already at home. She got it, but in the moment, I was upset with her (though, of course, it wasn’t her fault). She could say anything she wanted to me. “It’s going to be ok.” “Congratulations.” “Hang in there.” But at the end of the day, she would get to go home and continue about her life. I, on the other hand, had a lot of work to do.

The rest of the appointment was a blur. I’m sure I was less than cordial to the other nurses and doctors who saw me that day. I kept hearing new words like “spontaneous” and “placenta,” and didn’t understand yet how they applied to my situation.

I went home to an empty house. I had expected to meet Greg and Hannah there, back from their appointment. Instead, they were on their way down to the Southside for a visit with Uncle Ben. “I need you to turn around and come home,” I told Greg on the phone. “Is everything ok? How did the appointment go?” “I’ll tell you when you get here.”

I’m old fashioned when it comes to sharing baby news. Always face-to-face, nothing less. With Hannah, I had even done it in a cute, creative way. But there was no time for that now.

Of course, Greg thought something was wrong with “the baby.” In the near-45 minutes it took him to turn around and get home, I tried to think of the best way to tell him. I tried to imagine what our lives were going to be like. I tried to “wake up.”

Was Greg shocked? Of course. But I’ll never forget the smile and chuckle that registered on his face too – the trademark of his happy-go-lucky nature, which set the precedent for his positive attitude throughout the pregnancy. From there, we got started planning. Greg rushed upstairs to start looking at houses on the South side. We called our parents and told them to come up to the house that Sunday for some important news. We even had plans for friends to come over that night. Of course, there was nothing else on my mind but the triplets, but I had to keep going like everything was the same.

And that’s how I remember it. The day that changed my life forever.

You may sense a negative undertone in my account, and that would be correct. But what’s so great about it being “one year later” is how happy we are now. This morning, I sat in the rocking chair with Hannah in my lap, the triplets on their respective play mats and bouncers, and the sun beaming in while experiencing a feeling of happiness, tranquility, and equilibrium. Time is a funny thing.

In fact, today is the triplets’ six-month birthday.

In that moment of fear and shock when I first found out about the babies, I never could’ve imagined one year later, when the girls would be six months old, eating solid foods, ready to sit up, and squawking up a storm.

Happy six months to my beautiful Alexandra, Lucy, and Nora!! I love you and am honored to be your mother. We’ve been through a lot this past year, but I can’t wait for what’s ahead. You are true miracles!

6 months

Alex, Lucy, and Nora

Sweet Summer Time

group picThis time of year is an interesting one for me. For the past two years, I’ve spent my Spring/early Summer in the first weeks of pregnancy. And you know what that means — nausea, migraines, fatigue…the classic symptoms. I have a new outlook this year, ecstatic to spend an awesome summer with my family. One year ago this week was when I found out I was pregnant. Granted, I didn’t know at that time that it was triplets, but it still took me by surprise. Thus, I’ve been reflecting this past month on what life was like a year ago and how things have changed in that short time. It’s amazing how life’s biggest challenges and tough times can work themselves out to the point that you’re happier than you could’ve ever dream just a year later.

Right to Life ad

Right to Life ad

But I’ll spare you the nostalgia. After all, I know you read this blog to hear about the girls!!

So, what have we been up to? A lot, of course. Here we go: the triplets turned 5 months old. Hannah turned 18 months. The babies hit about 13 lbs. each. Greg got me a Coach purse (my first!) for Mother’s Day. We bought two double strollers (off of Craig’s List for great prices!) to make walks around the neighborhood easier. We mustered up the courage to go on our first restaurant outing with the triplets. Greg and I had the chance to get out for a night to attend a Great-Gatsby-themed birthday party. Our nanny, Meghan, helped me haul the girls up to Ben Davis to visit Greg at school. I accepted an extracurricular position at work as Co-Lead of our internal Moms group. We got the blow-up baby pool and water table out for Hannah. The triplets were featured in a pro-life ad for the Right to Life of Southwest Indiana program guide. We finally got the chance to get outside in the nice weather, meet our neighbors, and do some landscaping!

Whew.

strollersI’m not gonna lie, our days are busy. And I don’t mean that in the way that most people casually say they’re busy. I mean that I’m CONSTANTLY moving. I’m constantly trying to increase my productivity. No minute is wasted. It’s funny talking to some of the other moms at work — when you’re a working mom, you know that you only have a certain amount of hours to get things done before you have to leave, so you use them wisely. Work has actually become “me time.” It’s where I get to do the things I like, interact with other adults, eat my lunch in peace, and use my mind for something more than divvying up ounces of formula. 🙂 But by 6:00, I’m home to scarf down dinner so we can be ready for when the babies wake up soon after. The next couple hours are usually filled with cleaning up dinner, playing in the loft, or taking the girls on a walk. From there, we do one last feeding and spend a good hour and half trying to get the girls to sleep. (They’re extremely well-tempered compared to most, but for some reason, evening hours are a struggle!) By the time all the kids are asleep, Greg and I have about one hour to ourselves. I usually spend it cleaning, making my lunch for the next day, cleaning, organizing, paying bills, cleaning, catching up on emails, or….did I mention cleaning? It’s like an endless battle — I could be picking up clutter and Hannah would be right behind me, making more mess. 🙂 But such is life with kids. I suppose I don’t mind clutter as much as dirt, and that’s what I mostly try to tackle by the end of the day. And if the girls don’t wake us up in the middle of the night, we wake up at about 6:30 the next morning to do it all again.

water tableSurprisingly, I’m not as exhausted as you’d think. I don’t fall into bed every night, and I don’t have to peel myself off the sheets each morning. I suppose your body adjusts to whatever you continually put it through. And that’s what we’ve done — created a norm. The number one question I get when people find out I have triplets is “how do you do it?” or something having to do with busyness, sleep, and exhaustion. But my answer always goes back to norms. We don’t even notice the difference anymore between having four under two and having a “normal” family lifestyle. Our bodies have adjusted, our brains have adjusted, and this is just our life. Remember the line from the opening segment of the old show Jon and Kate Plus 8? “It may be a crazy life, but it’s ours.”

I watched a movie recently (that’s right, I had time to watch a movie :)) called Motherhood with Uma Thurman. It was pretty cute — a tad bit weird and almost indie, but still good. It chronicles the day of a mother of two — her struggles, her hopes, her triumphs, her “seriously?” moments, and the times when there’s nothing more to do than laugh. I could identify with a good portion of the movie, but I felt like she brought some of her problems on herself. The best piece of advice I received when I was pregnant with the triplets (thank you Christy W.) was to be as efficient as possible. Make my house a machine. And you have to embody that in everything, down to what you wear. Keep your hair out of your face. Wear clothes that you can be flexible in — you’re gonna have to get dirty. Make meals that are not only easy to put together, but easy to clean up. Overcommunicate. Fold laundry in the living room while the kids are right next to you watching Dora. (I’m a big believer in multi-tasking.)

DSC_2354 DSC_2371 DSC_2553-2I’ve only got two years of motherhood under my belt, so I’m certainly no expert. I’m just sharing some things I’ve observed. Not gonna lie — we’ve definitely had some hellish days. But we’ve also had some days that went so smoothly because we have a routine and efficient planning. Help yourself. Put on your own oxygen mask before helping others. 🙂

As if the girls don’t already have enough drool and spit-up on their faces (sorry — gross, I know), we’ve added avocado to the mix! The triplets had their first experience with solid food the other night. And it was successful! They’re really doing well picking up on eating. Surprisingly, our best eater is little Lucy! It’s amazing how far she’s come — once the smallest one, she’s now caught up and progressing so well developmentally.

Big girl chairs!

Big girl chairs!

Hannah’s been a ton of fun lately too. We were so excited to spend some time with Greg’s brother, Ben, over the weekend as he tried his hand at her 18-month pictures! Informal and low-key, we just went to the local park to take some fun shots of her playing. Of course, we got some heart-melting pics. My little girl is growing up!

Especially excited for this month because I get to go on a personal vacation up to Minneapolis to visit my sister and brother-in-law! Can’t wait to get some one-on-one time with them that doesn’t include wrangling children while trying to have a conversation. Also excited to see their place (I’ve never been) and feel what it’s like to be on my own again! It will be an interesting feeling, and I know I’ll really miss the girls and Greg, but I’m super excited!

Lastly, I wanted to extend a huge CONGRATULATIONS to my sister, Lindsay, and her new FIANCE, Tony, on their recent engagement!!! Our whole family is giddy for another wedding, and I know I’m personally so excited to have another member of the family. I’m especially looking forward to taking our girls to the wedding next summer (it’s weird to think the triplets will be older than Hannah is now) and boogeying down!

Happy summer!

Finding Our Stride

I know, I know….it’s been a long time since my last blog. But at least this way, I have more to share! We’ve certainly been busy:

  • Returning to work. Making the transition back to work has been a tremendous success. I’ve already been back five weeks now, and I’ve found my stride again. I couldn’t have been welcomed back more warmly by my co-workers. I LOVE dressing up every day, going into the office, getting stuff done, and then rushing home to see my family. The first couple weeks took some adjustment in terms of child care (doing feedings before work, adjusting schedules, knowing how many care givers need to be with the girls at all times, having to do a feeding right as we come home from work), but it’s all evened out. I’m also happy to announce that I’m now on a 4-day work week! My amazing boss and company have been so supportive in letting me transition to a work schedule that’s better for my family, but still allows me to be considered a full-time employee. I love being able to put all the girls’ appointments on a single day so I can focus more at work and not have to take time off or come in late to accommodate for other things. It also gives me time to just be with them and bond in a way that’s not over a rushed weekend. Many thanks to our awesome nanny Meghan J. and our amazing caregivers and helpers, Grandma “Ree” Smith, Grandma Jansen, Diane D., Great Grandma K., and Barb J.
  • Our family on Easter

    Our family on Easter

    Easter. That’s right — I was bound and determined to take our whole family to church on the most crowded Sunday morning of the year. But we did it! The girls looked so cute in their fancy dresses. Hannah wore a new tan polka-dotted dress from Aunt Jenny — she was so cute. I love our family picture on the steps of the church altar. Afterward, we split the day between the Smiths and Jansens, hauling our crap (3 bouncer seats, 4 blankets, a thousand diapers, and snacks for Hannah, to name a few) from house to house. Luckily, we can easily relax around our families and we had a nice day of just sitting around, eating, and playing games. Holy Saturday was marked by a trip down to Haubstadt for Goedde Family Easter and my Grandpa’s 80th birthday. Greg stayed home with the babies and I took Hannah down South. She had her very first Easter egg hunt!! Being the only great grandkids of the family, Hannah and my cousin’s daughter had their own special area to hunt (a.k.a. a side yard where eggs were very obviously strewn about). Because I was pregnant with the triplet this past year, I hadn’t been down to visit the family since last Spring, so it was nice to see everyone again and catch up. It was also nice to relax and enjoy a BEER! 🙂

  • 3-month pictures. Like the new blog header? It’s from our 3-month photo session with the triplets. The girls were SO good and well-behaved — we couldn’t believe it! We seemed to time it perfectly between their naps so they were well-fed and not groggy or hungry. They were all smiles for us and the session only lasted about 30 minutes. Amazing! We also recently had our family picture taken for the church pictorial directory. It was a little stressful having to wait while they called us back (as the girls were in their car seats and crying), but by the time we got everyone into position, we were all smiles. We came out with an awesome picture that I ended up buying. Too bad it’s horizontal and they only take vertical pictures for the directory. 😦
  • Parents thank you dinner. Our parents have done so much for us since the day we first told them we were having triplets. But with so many things to do until the babies came and then getting through the delivery and holidays, it never seemed like the right time to appropriately thank them. So finally, now that the girls are a little easier to care for and we’ve got some time back in our schedules, we decided to host a nice dinner for all four parents, complete with cornish game hens (fancy, huh?), wine, and a “babysitter” (my sister Lindsay) for the girls while we enjoyed a cry-free, stress-free dinner downstairs. The night was lovely and we all had a chance to reflect on the past year and all that had happened. It was rewarding to be able to celebrate with those who had been there with us since the beginning.
egg hunt

Hannah’s first Easter egg hunt

Other than those specific events, the girls have also become much more alert in the past month. They coo and smile non-stop and are starting to sleep less through the day, making for more play time. Hannah can’t seem to get enough time outside, so we’re thankful for beautiful days where we can take her on a walk in the wagon or play on the swingset. Unfortunately, Indiana weather is such that one day, it could be 80 degrees and humid, and the next, it’s 30 degrees and flurrying. Thus, we’ve had to get creative with activities for those “inside days” to keep her entertained.

Babies first Easter

Babies first Easter

All in all, we’re loving life. Don’t get me wrong — there have been quite a few days when we’ve both come home tired, only to start our “second shift” in taking care of the girls. By bed time, we’re exhausted, but so deprived of personal time that we ignore the tiredness for just a little time to watch some TV or catch up.  But the trying times are forgotten quickly and the good times are the ones that are remembered. Right now, we’re giddy in anticipation of summer, where we’re hoping to get a lot of pool time with the girls, take Hannah to Holiday World, and have some FUN! Being pregnant the last two summers in a row, I’m personally looking forward to some sickness-free fun in the sun! 🙂 We can’t wait for the girls to get to the point where they’re sitting up, holding their own bottles (oh yeah), and enjoying their surroundings. And guess what? That’s only a few months away!

Until next time…

Back to Reality

Nora taking a look around

Nora taking a look around

I never could’ve imagined this moment — the night before returning to work from maternity leave after having triplets. I have vivid memories that I’ll never forget from the day I found out I was having triplets. A million things flashed through my mind, and from there, a series of events and planning began — tell our family, find a doctor, sell our house, buy a house, tell work, move, prepare the house for babies, prepare for birth, get help lined up, prepare for bringing them home, spend the next 12 weeks getting to know them. It’s been a long journey. But in all that time since that unforgettable day in June, I couldn’t imagine the day I would go back to work — the day all the preparations and “pre-work” would be over. Tomorrow starts a new chapter — the day the girls stop being newborns and start growing up. It marks the time when we start getting into a routine as a family and living our lives. The novelty has worn off. It’s time to get back to reality!

Alex sitting up?

Alex sitting up?

All four of my kiddos.

All four of my kiddos.

I’m sure people think I’m crazy for going back to work when I have four kids under the age of 2. But we’ve defied a lot of other things that people say about having triplets and I know we can do this too. I’ve certainly enjoyed being at home — it’s allowed me to spend some quality time with Greg and Hannah that I wouldn’t have otherwise had. And of course, it’s given me ample time to get the babies adjusted. But at least in the short term, I believe working will actually be a really good thing for me and the kids. I certainly know they’ll be in good hands while we’re gone through the day. With that confidence, I can do my work at 100% and be ready to come home to them at the end of the day. I’m definitely excited to go back to work — get dressed up every day, use my mind for more than just calculating “ounces drank,” and have adult interaction. I think it’s mommy’s turn now. 🙂

We’ve learned a lot these past few months. Here are some to name a few:

  1. Keep calm and carry on.
  2. There’s no doubting the power of prayer.
  3. Swaddlers are the greatest invention since sliced bread.
  4. There are still good people in the world.
  5. A good nap goes a long way.
  6. Everybody needs a little “me” time.
  7. Spouses can accomplish a lot when they work as a team.
  8. Brand name formula, diapers, and detergent are overrated.
  9. Anyone can become ambidextrous if they just spend a little time around triplets.
  10. A situation is what you make of it.
Sweet Lucy

Sweet Lucy

When I was pregnant, the number one question people would ask us after learning we were having triplets was “how are you going to do it?” It would frustrate me because after overanalyzing it (a common trait of mine), I would assume that meant that people thought we couldn’t do it. Over time, I started questioning myself, wondering “will I ever have a free moment again?” “Will I ever get to enjoy a meal or a hot shower again?” “If they all three start crying, am I going to break down in tears?” I remember discussing this with Greg just before the girls were born and he assured me “we’re different.” Just because we hear it will be difficult doesn’t mean it has to be. And he was right — bottle making is easy because we took the time to set up a “station.” Our girls sleep well because we’ve been diligent about routines. Hannah interacts well with the babies because we’ve taught her how. We haven’t pulled our hair out when times were tough because we held each other up and learned how to be patient.

Name shirts aren't just cute....they're helpful!

Name shirts aren’t just cute….they’re helpful!

Aunt Jenny's here!

Aunt Jenny’s here!

Hannah helping out

Hannah helping out

I’m not saying things weren’t rough — we certainly had our share of trying times these past 12 weeks. But they weren’t as tough as they could’ve been because we were determined to beat the norm. The same thing happened at our wedding. People told us the day would fly by, we’d be stressed out with all the different activities, we wouldn’t really have a moment to enjoy ourselves, and it’d be over before we knew it. But we made sure to keep each other in check and take moments to just stop and look around. Because of that, it was the perfect day.

I guess I’m just a little nostalgic tonight. I can’t believe we’re here. I know it’s certainly not over yet — we’ve heard the first 12 months are definitely the hardest with multiples. But the past year was definitely a tough one and going back to work symbolizes the end of one chapter and the beginning of another, which is a major feat in my mind.

I need to wrap up and head to bed so I can rest up for tomorrow, but I’ll leave you with some updates since my last post:

  • My sister Jen came and visited last weekend. She got to see how big the babies have gotten since she was last here when they were born. We had a great time.
  • The triplets are sleeping through the night!! I know…….amazing. They’ve consistently been sleeping 8 hours at time. Sometimes that starts at 10 p.m. (meaning a full night of rest for us), but unfortunately, sometimes it starts at 7:30 p.m. (meaning we still have to get up in the middle of the night). Either way, we’re thankful that their bodies have adjusted.
  • The girls seem to get bigger every day. Even our parents who are around quite a bit comment that they get bigger every time they see them. I’d guess that they’re around 12 lbs. now. No check-up this month though — we’ll wait til next month to see.
  • Despite the 1,200 bottles of hand sanitizer around our house, we did eventually get sick. It started with me and Hannah. I had it pretty bad — the classic cold. The triplets eventually caught it and we’ve been dealing with snotty noses, which makes for tough feedings since breathing is tough. Luckily, we’re past it now and flu/RSV season is winding down.
  • We had our first non-doctor, non-baptism outings! That’s right — we packed up our house and headed over to my parents to celebrate my dad’s birthday last Sunday. Picture all of our diapers, bottles, outfits, bouncer seats, and blankets — the whole she-bang. We also took the triplets to Mass last night. Since Hannah was spending the night at Grandma and Grandpa’s, we got a little ambitious and decided to try it. Of course, we sat in the very back, but the trip was a success. We planned it so it was between feedings, and the girls slept the whole time! We enjoyed being able to go to church together and everyone enjoyed seeing the babies out and about.

Until next time!

Triple Double

Being married to a sports fanatic, I’ve picked up on some of the lingo over the years. In basketball, a triple double refers to a player achieving double digit totals in three statistical categories. But in our household, it means the triplets have given us two reasons to celebrate in the same week.

SUCCESS #1: At our 2-month appointment last week, the girls weighed in at a whopping 11 lbs (Alex), 10 lbs 13 oz (Nora), and 9 lbs 13 oz (Lucy). Alex and Nora are so big that their measurements don’t even fall on the preemie growth chart anymore! They are now in the 50th percentile for weight for full-term babies. This brings me to success #2.

IMG_2543SUCCESS #2: We don’t have to be on special formula anymore! Since birth, the triplets have been on Similac Neosure, which is a high-calorie formula just for preemies to help them gain weight. Unfortunately, there are no generic versions of this particular formula, so we’ve been paying about $17 per 8 oz can. And when you go through one can in just a day and a half, the cost can add up. Luckily, stepping up to the next level of formula allows us to purchase the Kroger version, which only costs $13 for a can that’s three times that size!

See what I mean? TRIPLE DOUBLE.

Unfortunately, the week hasn’t been without it’s trying times too. As previously predicted, the triplets have become more alert — and thus, more fussy and difficult to care for — as they’ve gotten older, as opposed to the behavioral progression of full-term babies who start out fussy and become more docile over time. As preemies, the girls have slept for most of the past two months, and they’re just starting to wake up. The most frustrating part is that with a full-term baby, they’re usually cooing and smiling by the time they’re two months old. But since our girls were premature, correcting for their early arrival means behaviorally, they’re actually only 3.5 weeks old. This means we’re still in the fussy, sleepless, I-want-to-be-held-all-the-time phase. Usually the wanting to be held constantly isn’t a problem, as newborns often get plenty of attention and time in their parents’ arms. But juggling three kids and a toddler means having to divide this time up a bit. And I’ve only got two arms! So no matter how long we hold each one, it never seems to be enough. Of course, our parents and volunteers help out significantly with this. But babies can’t be fooled — they know their mommy and daddy. 🙂

Hannah's new desk, refurbished by my Grandparents

Hannah’s new desk, refurbished by my Grandparents

Another big change we’ve experienced lately is Greg’s return to work last week. It was a short work week, however, due to two days off for President’s Day on Monday and a school cancellation on Friday because of the ice storm. So perhaps it was the best way to ease into being without him. Of course, now that he’s back to teaching full days, there’s no time for naps during the day like there was when he was on leave. So this means we’ve had to work out a more creative nighttime schedule: Greg takes the last feeding of the day while I head to bed. But I take the feeding in the middle of the night while he sleeps. So he might have to stay up later, but he gets uninterrupted sleep so he can be more alert at school.

I’m happy for Greg that he’s gone back to work. We’re both similar in that we enjoy staying active and productive during the day. While there’s certainly plenty to be done every day on the home front, there’s no question that some days seem to fly by in a matter of minutes, leaving you feeling like you haven’t accomplished anything. Yet, in just three weeks, I’ll be back to work too, and who knows what tune I’ll be whistling when I’m on the other side. 🙂

Not much else to report, so I’ll leave you with some recent photos instead:

Little Lucy

Little Lucy

Alex

Alex

Nora the Snora

Nora the Snora

Fun in the wagon!

Fun in the wagon!

Three in One

Been wondering where I’ve been? As predicted, the girls have started to become more awake as they’ve grown, and they now keep us on our toes 24/7. We use the times that they don’t require our attention just to catch up on basic necessities — taking showers, eating, getting some rest. Luckily, through the generosity of friends and family volunteers, we’ve still been able to find time to ourselves to go workout, grab a bite out, or run some errands.

A special day for our family

A special day for our family

The triplets and their Godparents

The triplets and their Godparents

This past weekend was a special one, as the girls got baptized in the same church we were married in. It was a private baptism after Mass, performed by our parish priest, Fr. Vince. As the first time out in public with the girls for something other than a doctor’s visit, we were pretty nervous about the day. But with some extensive planning, preparation, and extra hands, we made it through with flying colors. We had been preparing for weeks prior, trying to find all the pieces of a baptismal outfit for three babies. Alex wore the gown that Hannah wore, which my mom made. Lucy wore the dress that my sisters and I wore as babies. And Nora wore a dress I bought online. Each baby wore matching sweaters and shoes (a gift from Greg’s parents), plus bonnets made by my Grandma Goedde, which are intended to be included in their wedding bouquets someday. (insert “awww” here) All of the girls’ Godparents (even Hannah’s) are within our immediate families:

Alex — Greg’s brothers, Peter and Vincent

Lucy — Greg’s brother and his wife, Ben and Sachie

Nora — My brother and sister, Troy and Lindsay

This doesn't look too much like Calvary, does it??

This doesn’t look too much like Calvary, does it??

We were certainly proud to have our brothers and sisters up there as Godparents for our children. While the ceremony got a little noisy at times with babies fussing, it was still very special. Afterwards, we headed back to our house for a nice lunch with everyone. The girls received gifts like Miraculous Medals, a rosary, a scrapbook and photo albums, money, and prayer cards — all very special items that will remain keepsakes. While the day was a success (and my entire house now smells like Chrism oil), it probably goes without saying that we spent the day napping and relaxing after everyone left. Whew!

Hannah's first ashes

Hannah’s first ashes. What a good little Catholic girl!

Despite the hectic week, the girls actually allowed us a very nice, quiet Valentine’s Day. We enjoyed a nice steak dinner together and exchanged funny cards (my preference). “No gifts,” you ask? Well, funny story — on his way up to the Northside for an eye appointment, Greg was listening to the Dan Dakich sports radio show to refute Dan’s claim that “you’re a schmuck if you don’t get your wife something for V-day.” Greg argued that having the added expense of triplets was a good excuse, correctly claiming that I had not asked for any gifts this year. Dan still protested (which makes sense — you’d think carrying around triplets for the past year would warrant extra gifts on Valentines Day 😉 ), but Greg forgot to mention that he was making me a nice dinner and told me to go on a shopping spree the following day. What a fun story! Greg was glowing the rest of the day.

This week, I also made my first trip into the office since October. (If you remember, I worked from home for the last two months of my pregnancy, and I’ve obviously been at home on maternity leave since the girls were born.) It was SO nice to get out of the house, put on some clothes other than jeans and a T-shirt, navigate downtown again, and catch up with my work friends. Usually, women who are on maternity leave at ExactTarget make it back in for a visit sometime before they officially come back to work and bring the baby to show everyone. As you can imagine, I wasn’t about to bring the big triplet stroller with me and walk around downtown. So unfortunately, my co-workers didn’t get to see the babies, but it was kind of fun to just be on my own and talk to people without being on “mommy duty.” At the same time, my writing team came to visit me a couple weeks ago and take a volunteer shift. You better believe I put them to work, having them trade in their wordsmithing skills for diaper changing and bottle feeding! 🙂

Matchy matchy

Matchy matchy

This weekend was also marked by a visit from my aunts who came up from Haubstadt to see the babies and try their hand at “triplet duty.” My mom, Aunt Amy, and Aunt Laura spent yesterday and this morning feeding babies, doing laundry, washing bottles, organizing baby clothes, playing with Hannah, and making meals. They’re Wonder Women to say the least! 🙂 What was I doing during all of this? Getting my hair done (I went shorter and darker!) and going shopping, of course. Greg even got out of the house for a bit to workout and do some things for himself. Many thanks for weekend off!!

I’m very thankful for the help we’ve continued to receive lately. Greg’s parents come over one night every week to let us get a full night of uninterrupted sleep, while my parents remain”on call” throughout the week to quickly come over if we need them. Our siblings continue to be excellent aunts and uncles, stopping by to see Hannah and the babies every chance they get. And of course, our core group of volunteers still come by and offer their help any time we need it. I also wanted to extend one last thank you to YOU for continuing to read my blog. I’ve heard the nicest comments from some of you and I’m glad you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it. Thanks for being interested in our life and listening to me ramble!

Until next time…

In Due Time

Know what today is? My due date. That’s right — if I were still pregnant, I’d be 40 weeks today. And if this were Hannah, the babies would be born tomorrow (40 weeks and 1 day). That means the babies have officially reached full term. And guess what? Growth wise, they’re all right on track with where a newborn would be. Well a newborn in my book, I guess. I mean, Hannah weighed in at a whopping 8 lbs, 10 oz! I’m used to big babies. 🙂 In fact, the girls are starting to fit a little snuggly in their newborn-sized diapers and onesies. It’s almost time to graduate to size 1. Can’t believe it.

Nora's happy she's a growing girl!

Nora’s happy she’s a growing girl!

I guess I always had this misconception that preemies stayed small their whole lives. After hearing from a ton of preemie and multiple moms and seeing how the triplets are growing, I know now that’s not true. Our pediatrician tells us that in their first year, we’ll have to correct for their prematurity in terms of growth and development, but by the time they reach the second year, they should be on track with other kids their age. I’d say we’re well on our way!

Anyways, all is good here. We had a great weekend and even got out for TWO dates — one for Greg’s brother’s 21st birthday and the other for the chili cook-off at church. It’s always nice to get out and feel like a young couple again. (Or should I say newlywed couple in our case?)  Sunday, we had a whole day to ourselves, just spending time alone as a family and feeding the babies on our own.

Today, I got to take Hannah to “Wonderful Ones” library time. It was SO adorable. There were carpet squares, “silly songs,” felt boards, story time, and dancing — everything a toddler library session should be. I remember my mom used to take us to library time, and we still have a lot of great memories from it. Hannah was very quiet and observant at first, but really warmed up by the end and I could tell she really enjoyed it. It meant a lot to me to be able to take my little girl out for some one-on-one time. While she certainly still gets her share of attention at home, I’m sure it can be a little like cabin fever for her — same toys, same rooms, no outside time when it’s too cold. It can get a little monotonous. This was just the ticket.

Tomorrow, I’m headed to my 6-week postpartum check-up, which not only means the girls are 6 weeks old — it also means my maternity leave is half over! If this time around is anything like the last, the hard part is over and I can spend the final 6 weeks getting to know my babies a little better. 🙂 Greg’s also closing in on his leave time. He’s really been quite amazing. He’s a phenomenal husband and father and seems to be the biggest advocate for letting me have time to myself. Today, he installed a wheelchair break on the triplet stroller after coming up with the idea, researching it, and ordering it himself. Now our babies are safe from taking off down the street when we’re out and about! 🙂 So proud of my man…

I’ll leave you with a fun video of Hannah. Remember, this is a video so you have to watch it on the actual blog site, not your email.

Look Mom…Three Hands!

We have officially achieved “super parent” status. Both Greg and I accomplished a solo feeding the other night, meaning we each handled all three babies on our own while the other one slept. We were pretty proud of ourselves. Really, it wasn’t as big of a deal as it sounds — we fed one baby first while the other two slept and then fed two at a time after the first one was back in bed. The only way this works is if the babies cooperate and don’t scream while you’re with the others. We just happened to get lucky the other night with well-tempered babies.

While the solo feedings were only a one-time thing so far, we have consistently been feeding two at a time. Through the night when we want to finish feedings sooner so we can get back to sleep, one of us takes one baby while the other person feeds two at a time. (Are you following all of this?) This is accomplished with lots of pillows, babies’ heads turned opposite ways, and yes…..some bottle propping. (Modern moms, look away…. 🙂 ) It does take some slight of hand, but it IS possible! Third hand not required.

Feedings have also been going more quickly since we bought regular flow nipples for Alex and Nora yesterday. We started to notice that they would become frustrated during feedings and almost give up halfway through a bottle. Thus, they’d fall asleep from working too hard to get their food and then wake up shortly after, still hungry. Now, they’re getting their food quicker and becoming more full. Lucy still needs slow flow for a little longer though. It’s a little too much milk for her at one time right now, but I’m sure she’ll catch up quickly.

Speaking of which, the girls had their second installment of RSV preventative shots today, as well as their one month check-ups. I’m happy to announce the girls’ current weights:

Alex — 8 lbs, 2 oz

Nora — 8 lbs, 1 oz

Lucy — 7 lbs, 8 oz

We were so excited!! The girls are growing so well, they even fall on the regular growth chart instead of the preemie chart. No correction for their prematurity needed!

Everything went smoothly today and we did pretty well maneuvering around for the two appointments. We weathered the cold, arrived everywhere early, successfully completed a feeding in the midst of it all, and even managed to pick up lunch for ourselves in between. It was a busy — yet rewarding — day. The girls even had the perfect personalized hats for our outing today. Thanks Amanda L. for the special gift! The nurses certainly appreciated having each baby already “labeled.” 🙂

Alex hat blocks Hannah bathtub lucy hat nora hat Stroller hats