Saturday, November 28, 2009

Giving Thanks, where Thanks is due

I have been missing in action for a while now. My creativity stifled by a broken computer and shoddy Internet service on an ancient laptop. And so there will be no pictures. Sad day, I know.

I wanted to come and say some words of thanks, though. 2 days after Thanksgiving, but these are things I'm thankful for always, so today will do just fine . . .

I am thankful for a husband who rarely sweats the small stuff.

I am thankful for a daughter who embraces her role as protective big sister, even if older only by 1 minute.

I am thankful for a son who always wakes up with a huge smile on his face and with hugs for his sisters, as though it's been years since their last visit.

I am thankful for my sweet baby S, who gently reminds me to "be nice, momma" when I begin to lose my patience.

I am thankful for a mother who still will drop everything to make me homemade lentil soup when I am sick.

I am thankful for a father who will patiently play choo-choos for hours with his grand Salad.

I am thankful for an older sister and BIL who joyfully invite us into their home and turn blind eyes, as we meticulously destroy their house, one room at a time.

I am thankful for a 10 year old nephew whose Christmas list included a robot and a Grow-your-own-Venus-Fly-Trap kit.

I am thankful for a younger sister who threw her self respect into the ocean and ran a kite down the beach on a day without wind, to make her nieces and nephew happy.

I am thankful for a BIL who makes R and I laugh so hard during Scatergories that we often can't catch our breath.

I am thankful for a SIL who wants to keep cousins close.

I am thankful for 2 beautiful nieces, who teach the Salad by example.

I am thankful for old friends who brought me magazines and chapstick while I was on bedrest, who came weekly - coffee in hand - to feed babies, who left diapers and dinners on my doorstep, who bring pumpkin cheesecakes and macaroons, and for new friends who understand that having 3 toddlers can bring you to your knees some days.

And while it seems sad to be thankful for the people who no longer are with me on this journey, I am thankful for the reminder to live a life with no regrets.

Friday, October 30, 2009

A plea

Dear blankets,

While I love that you keep 30 toes warm, I hate that you fall off in the night. I hate even more that 30 toes then get cold and owners of those toes cry out "Put my blanket on!" And then I have to get out from under my warm blanket (which incidentally does not fall off - please take some lessons) and go put 3 blankets back on 30 toes. Come on, blankets, do your job, for crying out loud! I am tired!

Thank you in advance,

Monday, October 12, 2009


You know that expression "peace and quiet"? I don't get it. I don't get the expression and I don't get "peace and quiet". There are moments when there is peace. But even peaceful moments here aren't quiet. Let's say, I need everyone to stay downstairs while I cook dinner. I may turn on Dora the Explorer. And everyone may sit still, but 3 minutes into the episode 3 soon-to-be-3 years olds are shouting, "Swiper, no swiping!" at the TV. So peace, but no quiet. Get it?

The other evening, R took the Salad downstairs after dinner, while I cleaned up the kitchen. I was so caught up in loading the dishwasher, I barely noticed as S quietly plodded up the stairs and plopped herself down at the kitchen table. She knelt on a chair and hunched over a Color Wonders coloring book that she had brought up with her. I watched her for a few minutes. My first inclination was to take advantage of the time I had with only one ingredient and strike up a conversation, but I caught myself. It was so quiet in the room, I could hear her marker scribbling on the paper. She looked intent on turning Tinkerbell pink. She looked calm. S had plodded up those steps looking for some peace.

And quiet.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The facts as I see them.

The Salad has active imaginations.

* I found A standing in front of S, who was perched atop an upside down container of Legos. A had the green shoestring they use for bead lacing in her hands, one end in her ear and the other end held to S's chest, "listening" to her heart say "ba boom."

* After one particularly loud clap of thunder during a storm a few weeks back, M gave me a confused look and asked if there was a "blender outside?"

* Sunday, I watched the Salad pretend to be lumberjacks. They used sand shovels as axes and plastic, battery operated, handheld fans as chainsaws. M disassembled our water table and laid the legs at the base of our tree. "Logs," he told me.

* While driving past an old factory whose chimneys were puffing out smoke, A pointed and squealed "Oh look, Mommy! A castle!"

* Not 1, but 3 Salad members insisted that the electric company trucks digging up a street in our neighborhood were most certainly digging a hole for the Easter Bunny.

* "It's raining!" S laughed as she banging her sippy cup on the table over and over, sending drops of juice onto her head.

* I found M clutching a pool noodle up against a wall. When I asked what he was doing, he told me he was climbing a "ladder."

* For weeks, M carried around 2 sections of track and the station from his train set, making a buzzing noise. "Weed whacking" was the explanation that time.

* Laughter erupted from the nursery during what was supposed to be naptime. I went to inspect the situation and what I found was the Salad sitting in a row in S's bed. S was at the helm, hands at 3 and 9 o'clock on her Fisher Price aquarium. It was a "steering wheel, ma" she told me, totally exasperated that I could not see that. They were "driving to see Poppy's choo-choos."

* My mom and Aunt Jo took the Salad out for a walk one day. M picked up a stick and pretended to ride it like a horse. In fact, he's been riding on it like a horse for about 2 months now. Wanna see why?

Because it really, really, really looks like a horse.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Sunny Day

R and I took the Salad to Sesame Place today. We figured it would get Elmo back in their good graces since the Great Pacifier Incident of 2009. Mission accomplished. All is well in Elmo's World. La, la, la, la.

We didn't realize how hard it would be to have 2 adults and 3 kids. I mean, of course we know it's hard. We are outnumbered everyday. I meant at an amusement park, wiseguys. Most of the rides allow 1 child per adult. So 2 waited with R and I rode with the third. I heart alone time with just one Salad ingredient. I got to watch M's eyes grow wide as we flew in the air on the Flyin' Fish ride. I cuddled A when she realized she wasn't all the crazy about how fast the ride went. And I actually got to hear S squeal and giggle and ask for more, without anyone talking over her.

For lunch, we spent $47.00 on 2 bottles of water, 1 hot dog, 1 chicken breast, 3 chicken fingers, 1 cheese burger, french fries, mac & cheese and apple slices. Pricey? Absolutely. Delicious? Not sure. A ate the chicken breast meant for me. No worries, I ate some cold mac & cheese when the Salad had had their fill. Around 3:30 we went back to the same Cafe for a snack. The kind girl at the cash register recognized us and took pity on me, giving me a discount on the food. Only $13.00 for 2 chocolate puddings, 2 cookies and 7 strawberries. Take that, Sesame Place!

The Salad rode and splashed and ran and bounced and laughed and cried and smiled for photos with Abby Cadabby and Elmo and drank juice and drew attention right through nap time, all the way up till dinner, when we scooped them up and left the park to eat dinner on the way home in the car.
The day was a glorious success. I am blessed to have a partner like R, who knows going into big outings that they are going to be hard and plows forward, nonetheless.

Truly though, the highlight of the day came when I was changing them into jammies. A volunteered to be first, so when she was changed, she ran to R and laid on the couch with him. This is the exchange I heard . . .

R: I love you. Do you love me?
A: No. Mommy.
R: What? You only love Mommy?!
A: No. I love you.
R: I love you.
A: I love you.

And so on and so forth for about 5 minutes. It made my heart feel full.

We brushed teeth, read and into beds the Salad fell. About 10 minutes later, I heard quiet singing coming from M . . . "Sunny day, mumble the couds away. On way to mumble air is SVEET! Mumble mumble to get. Mumble mumble Ses STEET!"

Seriously. My heart might just burst.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Peter Pan's Worst Fear

Translation - growing up.

There are many days, in the middle of someone's 19th tantrum, I wish this year of "terrible twos" away. Many days, I want to cry in defeat. And then the night comes and our home is quiet enough for me to think clearly again. And in those hours, I want this year to last a lifetime.

Because I realize I will be sad the day my son stops "earing the miscadas in the backnard" (translation - hearing the cicadas in the backyard.)

In 14 years, when my oldest girl is bored by the sight of me, I will long for the days that she squeals with delight "I so exciting!" (translation - I'm so excited!) when I offer to paint her toenails pink.

I know I'll feel lost when my baby girl can independently dress herself, when I won't need to tell her that her "cocks" (translation - crocs) are on the wrong feet and when she'll stop putting both legs through the same hole in her big girl undies. There will come a time, when after I fix these things for her, she won't say "Ca ca, Mommy" (translation - Thank you, Mommy.)

Someday, the Salad won't call every rabbit they see the Easter Bunny. They won't be enthralled by seeing an airplane or hearing a train whistle or watching a tow truck take Poppy's car away. They won't tell me that I'm pretty when my hair is wet. They won't ask me to kiss their boo-boos. They won't panic if I leave their room for the night and forget to cover them with their blanket or position their frog just so on his pillow. Someday, I'll have to do more than take them to a pet store to entertain them for a morning. The girls will realize it's not socially acceptable for them to wear M's big boy undies, even if they do have Elmo on them. Someday, S will understand the quizzical looks she gets when she puts together her own outfit. And worse yet, she may care about those looks enough to stop dressing the way she wants to. Ok. Maybe that last one isn't such a bad thing.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Elmo did what?!

The Salad loves Elmo. See?

The Salad also love their pacifiers. See?

One day, Elmo came to visit the Salad during dinner.
He was bigger than they expected and they were scared. See?
But then Elmo gave them treats in exchange for their pacifiers.
And the Salad loved him again. See?

Monday, August 17, 2009


Dear M,

I am sorry that I yelled at you right before bedtime tonight.

I am sorry that my calm didn't hold out just 5 minutes longer.

I am sorry that more often than not my frustration seems infinite and my patience seems finite.

I am sorry that many times I fail to be the mommy I long to be.

I am sorry that even though I said to stop, you persisted in shoving your crib into your sisters.

I am sorry that I almost cried when seconds later you looked me straight in the eye, with your big, serious, innocent expression and asked me to sing "Happy Birthday, Jellybeans" while I brushed your teeth. I choked back the tears as I sang, because suddenly I realized how fleeting the time is that you will let me brush your teeth, let alone sing to candy while I do so.

Because look how much you've grown up in just the past 2 years.

I love you, little buddy.


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sweet Exchanges

Last week, Ian brought over a toy whose base unit has a camera that plugs into the TV and allowed the Salad to sit at their picnic table and watch themselves eat lunch right in our living room. They were tickled pink. Which incidentally is A's favorite color. After the toy was unplugged, M was content to just carry it all over the house. But he's a small boy and there was a cord, so it was downright unruly to lug around. He's crafty though, and recruited help. I watched from the top of the steps as M carried the base unit, A got the middle of the cord and S followed behind, keeping the end of the cord from tripping them up. When they reached the top of the steps safely, M exclaimed enthusiastically, "Great job, everybodies!"

To ease the strain of potty training, we keep potties strewn about the house. 3 in the hall upstairs, 3 in the kitchen and 3 in our playroom. Earlier in the week, S and I were having a catch in the playroom when suddenly she stopped, dropped her drawers and peed on the potty. A happened by while S was cleaning up, peeked in the potty and like the proud big sister, patted S on the back. "Awesome," she said. "Really awesome, S!"

Friday, Aunt J, Unka By and Ian asked us to go watch planes take off and land at a small airport in West Chester. We were glad to oblige. A is still wary in large crowds of people and pressed me for info on the way to Aunt J's.
A: "Lots of peoples there, Mommy?"
Me: "I'm not really sure A. There may be, but you will be surrounded by people who love you, like Aunt J, Unka By, Ian and Mommy. And you will always, always, always have your brother and sister to care for you."
I looked in the rear view mirror to see if my answer had calmed her apprehension about our adventure. I saw sweet S reach for A's hand. She held it for a while and softly said, "Yep."
I saw peace and gratitude come to A. She wanted to let S know she appreciated her gesture. A shoved her almost empty bag of Pringles sticks at S and asked, "You want my last sticks, S?" S gobbled them down quickly, before A could change her mind.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

And so it goes . . .

that babies don't keep. They grow up. Too fast. I know everyone says it. But I have never one day in the last 2 years, 6 months, and 5 days felt it as deeply as I do today. I have never longed for the nights during early infancy when I woke every 1.5 hours to feed 3 very tiny babies. I have never wished the pre-walking days back, for I only have 2 arms and could never carry all of my babies at once. I have never regretted that I couldn't wait for their 1st birthday to come, so I could stop making gallons of formula and cleaning 24 bottles a day. But lately, the winds of change are blowing in our house. They are blowing so strongly and in my face, that I am gasping for air and wiping tears from my eyes.

No pacifiers, no diapers and no cribs anymore. Where have my babies gone?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Falls and Firsts

We had a busy week and except for a definite lack of napping, it was a pretty darn good one.

Two Saturdays ago, R and I took the Salad to Longwood Gardens. They have an Indoor Children's Garden where little ones can splash in fun fountains and pick flowers. They ask only that you refrain from splashing in display fountains and picking flowers anywhere else in the facility. We hadn't gotten 100 feet into the grounds before M tripped and fell. You guessed it. Right into one of the display fountains. Fear not, no flowers were picked.
Monday, we went to the Please Touch Museum. Tuesday, my mom and I took them to the Little Treehouse. The Salad had a great time playing with all the wooden toys and snacking on mini soft "petzels" (as S calls them). The day was going swimmingly. Until M kinda had a fall. Scrapping his hands and knees. On the concrete. Fear not, he didn't get hurt. At least, that's what I told him.

Wednesday, R took off from work and we took the Salad to their first movie. We made it about 40 minutes into "Horton hears a Who" before we had to leave. Not too shabby. It was a day of firsts, as we also took them to dine in our favorite Mexican restaurant. They split Pollo Asada. A couldn't shovel the rice in fast enough. She's a girl after my own heart.

Thursday, I went into the office to work for a while and my mom, sister and Ian watched the Salad. They dressed up as pirates, complete with eye patches. Sounded like they had a nice day. Except that S kinda had a fall. At naptime. Out of her crib. Fear not, she didn't get hurt. At least, that's what I'm being told.

Friday, we had a pool playdate in the morning. It wore the Salad out, because they finally took a lovely 2.5 hour nap, during which time I indulged in gossip and an early happy hour with Meglet, my high school friend who stopped over to visit. The Salad loved seeing her, except that A kinda had a fall. Down the steps. Onto her head. Fear not, she didn't get hurt. At least, that's what I'm telling myself.

So to recap, lots of falls and lots of firsts. Including the first time I've ever spoken the words, "Do not touch my piano with your penis fingers" and "You may use your sister's foot as a microphone, but I do not want to see you bite her toes again."

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Glimpses of the Future

Last Friday, R took off to get some rest from a marathon 30 hour work day. Of course, such it was that rather than rest, he took the minivan to get it's window fixed, brought home Starbucks (Iced Mocha for me and Banana Strawberry Viviano for the babies), made 37 trips to the potty with various and sundry 2 year olds, and put together the Adirondack chairs that I had purchased earlier in the week. At one point, M was assisting R by handing him tools and I was painting the girls' toenails fuchsia and braiding their hair. It was a glimpse of the future that even from the trenches of toddlerhood, looked pretty sweet.
Saturday, we were invited to our triplet boy friends' 2nd birthday party. We had fun splashing and sliding and riding and climbing. One the way home, though, the Salad got a little rammy and at one point the 3 of them were chanting in unison, "Playground! Playground!" R looked at me with panic and amusement and said "They're starting to join forces to rise up against us." That glimpse of the future, on the other hand, looks more than a little scary.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Story a la Golden Girl Sophia Petrillo

Picture it. Springfield, July 25 2009, a mom sneaks into a Salad's bedroom for one last check before she rests her tired head. Her smallest daughter is curled, bottom up, in her blanket. Her wild haired daughter, with arms and legs stretched, looks less like a baby and more like a young girl. She pauses over her sleeping son as she does each night, asking God to make her a better mommy for him tomorrow. She brushes her hand over his cheek before opening the door to leave. Just as she closes the door, she hears a tiny whisper rise up from his crib, "Night, Mommy."

The moral of this story? Always try to be a better mommy.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Toys and Toilets

I think at 2 days into naked bottom potty training/learning, it's perfectly acceptable for a little boy to mistake a Fisher Price cash register for a potty chair. That's totally normal, right? RIGHT!!??!!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Conversations between Cribs

A: "Manny? Manny? Manny?" (a close approximation to M's real name, but they just can't get it quite right.)
M: Silence. M is still sleeping.
A: "Manny? You sleeping, Manny?"
M: Silence. Guess he's learned to tune her out.
A: "Manny? Manny?! Manny!" (Panic is setting in.)
M: "Hmmm."
A: "Manny, you awake?" (Pleased as punch to have accomplished her mission.)
M: "Anni."
A: "Manny, you want pasta, Manny?"
M: Silence. The early hour (7:00AM) and suggestion of pasta for breakfast must have him confused.
A: "Pasta. Manny, you want to eat pasta?" (She's persistent.)
M: "Umm. Okay, Anni. Pasta."

Sunday, July 19, 2009

All in 2 weeks Fun

We've had a busy couple of weeks, trying to soak up the sun before the dreaded North Eastern winters take hold again. It's not the cold I mind going out in, but the logistics of taking 3 toddlers anywhere when there is snow on the ground or coming down, makes it damn near impossible. I guess I'm jumping ahead a bit though. Like 2 seasons ahead.

I took the Salad to the beach for the day 2 weeks ago. S hated the sand touching her anywhere and wanted to be seated on someone's lap the whole day. She kept calling it "dirt" and asking me to remove it from between her toes.

This past Monday we went with our good friends to the Please Touch Museum. M ran off only once to go back to the Septa bus display, and the rest of the time, I had well-behaved 2 year olds. They sat on big kid chairs and ate every bit of their lunch. I was a proud momma. Maybe they learned from our mishap the week before when A stood on a chair at the "pizza bus" (Peace A Pizza) and tumbled backwards. She scraped up her back a bit, but what really thew her for a loop was that she was drinking a bottle of water at the time and it shot straight up her nose.

We had a playdate on Friday at Linvilla Orchard with our triplet girl and triplet boy friends. I dressed them all in yellow shirts so I could do a quick head count, "1,2,3. 1,2,3." It really screws with me when some other mom has the nerve to dress her 1 kid in our color that day.

Saturday, Pop-Pop came over and we all went to a Freedom Playground event. They brought in tons of trucks and let kids climb on them and push buttons and honk horns. The Salad climbed on a fire truck, an army jeep, a bulldozer, a dump truck, an ambulance, a school bus, a cement mixer. They stood in a snow plow and ran up and down the ramp of a flat bed. Good, loud fun.
And while I do try to go somewhere most days, we spend many hours just tooling about our house.

The surprise hit of the summer are cheap squirt bottles that I bought the Salad at Target. I fill them with water and let them go to town. M usually want to play "hair dresser." My mom taught him how to sit your client down, say "Hello lady," and ask them what scent shampoo they'd like. Then he squirts the girls' hair and pretends comb it, usually with a plastic fork. The kid's got an imagination for sure, but that's another post, another time.

While we were enjoying the sun and water the other day, A took it upon herself to do my toes. She looked up at me with that little girl face and asked me "Mani and pedi, mommy?" She wielded her squirt bottle in one hand and a little paint brush in the other. She diligently squirted each nail and brushed on "polish." I start them young here.

As an art history/studio major in college, one of the things I am most excited about teaching the Salad is to create and appreciate art and color. Although, I think I may be expecting too much at such a young age. I saw this on a homeschooling website I frequent for craft ideas. So while they napped, I set up what I thought we might need to make adorable finger print art. When they woke up, I changed them into art clothes, sat them at the table and preformed a little How-To.

This is the finished product. While the mother in me sees the beauty, the artist sees, "Well, they're certainly no Ed Emberly."

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Coup de Trois

Everyone please lend your eyes to a guest blog written by my better half . . .

"It started with Mommy leaving to go to a baby shower with Aunt N. First M started screaming “Where mommy go, where mommy go?!” Then A cried “I want Mommy, I want Mommy!”
S looked around at the broken hearts and figured she'd better get in on the action, "Mommmmmmy!” Then she looked at the others to see if she should continue. She got the ok.

Of course the plan of action was to wave good bye to mommy, change some diapers and put the Salad to bed so I could take my weekend nap. Three little people had a different plan for me.

I sat on the steps thinking about what I should do. By this point, all three had thrown themselves to the ground, screaming and kicking. I decided my only chance to quell the uprising and to squeeze my nap in was to calm everyone down. I have heard my wife say she does this with bathes, so I figured that was the best course of action.

“Everyone upstairs, we are taking bathes!” They all stopped crying and walked up the steps. “I’m a genius” I thought. “Now take off your clothes and diapers!” They listened again. “This is a piece of cake!” Then the uprising started again.

“Potty, potty, me go potty?!” M yelled and of course the other 2 fell in line. Now there were three 2 year olds, naked and jumping up and down yelling “Potty! Potty! Potty!” I put 1 potty down and M sat on it. When I turned to grab another potty, M began jumping up and down with a potty full of pee screeching, “Chocolate, chocolate, two, two!” Referring to his 2 M&M rewards for using his potty.
By then, A had also sat down and used her potty. A started wiggling (because she can’t jump) around yelling, “Chocolate, me want chocolate,” as she spills her pee in an attempt to show me what was in the potty.

I quickly dumped the potties, shut the bathroom door so no one fell in the tub, ran downstairs to get their rewards, ran back up the stairs where all three blocked the top of the steps singing, “Chocolate Chocolate, two, two.” I pushed my way though the chorus line, opened the bathroom door, put the M&Ms down on the counter, and turned to shut off the water. When I turned back to get the Salad, I realized they had stolen the M&Ms and M was trying to wash the color off of his in the tub. Oh well, at least they were quiet. Another uprising stopped.

I put the Salad in the tub and decided the only way to stop more civil unrest was with a “Shock and Awe” display of soap, bubbles and rags. All three got water dumped on their heads, then the shampoo and a little scrubbing. They were looking around, trying to figure out what was going on. Washcloth to the back, front, arms, pits, bottom and feet, repeated twice. Finally they are laughing, but I am sweating.

Time to rinse, everyone closes their eyes and holds their breathe. S was the first one out, also the only one not to use her potty and she wanted revenge, “Me potty, me potty.” The bedlam starts again. A is out and screaming, “Mommy dry, Mommy dry.” I never thought a 28 pound toddler could battle for so long, but after a few moments and a creative way to use my legs, arms and 200 pounds, I finally won the drying battle. I turned my attention to the boy, the slipperiest of them all. I threw the towel on him, lifted him out the tub and dried him off before he could say anything. He looked at me, knowing he had been defeated. I nodded, thinking to myself “I win!” Resting on my laurels did not last long.

In my glory, I did not notice S standing with a potty full of pee which I knock into and spill on the floor. S started to cry, thinking she will not get her reward. She sobs, “Chocolate!” Then all three began chanting “Chocolate!” The balance of power was again shifting.

I made a battlefield decision, knowing they only get chocolate when they use their potties. I scream “Everyone gets chocolate….two pieces, one now and one after I put your diapers on," hoping it does not destroy months of my wife’s hard work, but at that moment, really not caring. The cheers erupt, I smile, they smile, and all was good.

Everyone got their chocolate, everyone got changed, and everyone got in their cribs without any problems. The ups and downs of the past 26 minutes (yes, 26 minutes) had made everyone tired. Everyone laid down for their nap, daddy included."

Monday, July 6, 2009

Rockin' and Rollin' and Whatnot

Two Saturdays ago, my doting husband surprised me by arranging childcare (thanks Mom & Dad) and whisking me off to New York City to see Rock of Ages, a fabulously cheesy Broadway show filled with music that only a child of the 80s could love. And love it I did, from the rousting rendition of Sister Christian right down to the "Hooray for Boobies" tee shirts, selling fast at the concession stands. It.Rocked.My.World. The reason I bring it up is that it was my birthday present.

And today is my 33rd birthday. Thank you very much.

It actually was a pretty typical day here in the Salad's compound. My mom (or Gigi as Sophia calls her) and I took the trio to the mall to ride the "carouself" and then to throw "monies" in the fountain. One bag of pennies per child provides 12 minutes of entertainment. It's the little things at this age.

Then off to California Pizza Kitchen for a special birthday lunch. I had looked up the menu online before we left home, so as soon as we sat, we ordered. My 2 year olds couldn't have been more well-behaved. Case in point? The waitress came to our table about 1/2 way through the meal and asked if there were any plates she could clear for us. M looked up from his plate full of mac & cheese long enough to answer "No thanks, lady."

After a lovely long nap, we headed out back to the pool, where Aunt J, "Unka By" and Ian joined us. They are still testing the waters (pun intended) with the pool, so while they all got in, it was short lived. Although A did think she might like it better "nakey," so I let her try skinny dipping. That was a no go, as well. The Salad ate dinner and when everyone left, I took them back outside to feed the birds. S and A got very involved in their sidewalk chalk art, or as we like to call it "toddler war paint."

When R got home, he helped me give them quick baths* and then we took off to another state, to pick up Mexican food from our favorite restaurant. During the car ride, I gave A a Toys R Us ad to read. She studied it for a long time before announcing to the car that she was "reading some pictures, by her big girl self." Miss Independent.

R wrapped up my hair band themed birthday by having S give me a card that read, "Some time to unwind . . . simply divine. Hope your day is Heavenly." Inside it played this song. Listen to it. It's awesome. I know it. You know it. And someday the Salad will know it.

*Stay tuned for a guest blog by R, detailing 26 minutes in his life.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Raspberries and Memories

Aunt J and I let us tag along for the (tractor)ride today while they went raspberry picking. S and A got into it a bit in the beginning, but 4 minutes in the boy was drenched in sweat, requesting juice and pretzels and to be picked up and for a ride on a choo-choo and to go to the playground, you know the drill, right? It was hot and dirty. But I loved every second, because when we got home, I nestled the Salad all snug in their cribs and now visions of raspberries are dancing in their heads.

As I wiped the dirt from S's knees in the van, it reminded me of something that happened about 2 months ago.

Memory Part Triplet

During the first heat wave of the season, I took the Salad outside with pots and containers and watering pails and spoons and old sippy cups and let them go crazy with water. While we played, R was doing some yard work and found an earth worth. He put it on the patio to introduce it to the trio and before I could stop her, S bent down and kissed that dirt-covered, squirmy earthworm.

My sweet, blond haired baby girl is seriously kickass.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Me and my Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad 9 hours

How cliche of me. I think every good mom blog must have a post titled this though, so really I consider it a rite of blogging passage.

My day started dark and early this morning at 4:35 AM, when R called me down to tell me the front door had been wide open all night. I watched him leave, locked the door and crawled back into bed, happy for 2.5 more hours of sleep. And then it happened. The air conditioner kicked ON which occasionally kicks OFF the dimmed light in the Salad's room. 1/3 of them screamed immediately. The other 2/3 followed suit.

And then we were all wide awake. S asked me to read her the Bible and falsely told me that she had pooped. A cried for the pacifier that Aunt J "broke" and for a blanket that had escaped crib confines. M realized his "monkey" (Curious George) band aid that was covering a fictitious boo-boo on his arm had fallen off during the night and was stuck in his hair. After I took care of all of those things and once again crawled back into bed, the cries kept coming. It was too dark. The batteries on S's aquarium didn't work. I hadn't said goodnight to Coolio (M's Build-a-Bear). Wasn't A's stuffed Sweet Pea cute? Another hug. Another kiss on the lips through the rungs on the cribs. A fallen pillow. A misplaced frog. Finally at 7:30 AM, I gave up and we went downstairs to eat breakfast. More crying. S wants the pink bowl today. A takes this as a personal offense. M wants peanut butter, not regular butter on his blueberry waffle! Milk?! They want juice! A wants to stab her waffle and eat it off of a plastic butter knife. Oh, the humanity!

And so on and so forth until I decide we need to get dressed and get out of the house. I think "Won't I be a nice mommy if I walk them down to the neighborhood park?" Approximately 1 minute into our leisurely stroll, S trips while she is holding A's hand and drags her to the ground. More crying. A bloody arm, a skinned knee, a head bumped on concrete, a wounded ego. M and S crowd around trying to console her with hugs and kisses and gentle patting, but she'll have none of it.

We make it to the park. We see a bunny. He runs for the woods. More crying. Where did the Easter bunny go? The Salad takes off to chase him into the brush. They stomp through and slip in mud. It's more than S can handle. There is more crying. She thinks it's poop. It's on her knees. Her Converse need to go in the "washing maclean". We have to leave. A wants to be carried the whole way home. It's 1000 degrees and an uphill walk.

We make it to our house. They need water to drink. They need tubs. They need lunch. A cries for 30 solid minutes. I'm not sure why. M pees in the potty and in his excitement to show me, he trips. Pee spills down S's legs. More crying. I settle everyone after lunch and sit to read them a story. M pulls A's hair for the first time ever. She screams. I reprimand M and he throws his sippy cup. It hits S in the left eye. She screams. They both want to be held. I try, but A wants no parts of sharing me with S. My head is pounding. I've had more than I can take. I put them in their cribs for naps. A screams. She needs to hug S. I tuck everyone, remembering to say goodnight to Coolio and take my leave.


All this, and me without a

Monday, June 15, 2009

Big = A lot of

This is new for the Salad. They all have said it in the last few days and it cracks me up. It's so interesting that they grasp the concept but just don't have the proper grammar yet.

I was in the kitchen when A asked me "What r u do-ning, Mommy?" I told her what I was do-ning was filling their cups with water. She went to the fridge and pulled out the V8 juice. I said we could put in a small splash and she questioned me with "big juice?"

During a torrential downpour this evening, M looked out the window and pointed to the "big rain." M promptly shouted, "Go away, raining!" (his version of the "Rain, rain, go away, come again another day" song.)

When I praised M for eating all of his mac & cheese at dinner, S sadly looked at her full plate and told me she still had "big mac & cheese left."

Hmmm? What's that?
S has big stickers covering her belly button?
Huh. I hadn't noticed.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Afore- Mentioned Number

10 - Number of diapers I have changed since 7:45 AM.

9 - Number of chicken fries in the Salad's Burger King lunch.

8 - Number of minutes it took me to load up Salad into cart at Babies R Us, walk into the store, walk out of the store in the midst of A's monster-sized tantrum because M sat on her untied shoe, and reload Salad into minivan without having purchased anything.

7 - Number of gray hairs produced by afore-mentioned trip to Babies R Us.

6 - Number of barrettes I had to buy at Target (that I didn't want/need) because M tore the packaging into little bits. Truth be told, I really only walked away with 5 barrettes because one fell down the rabbit hole through bottom of cart.

M slid down the rabbit hole!

5 - Number of minutes I debated hiding afore-mentioned barrettes in the toothpaste aisle so I wouldn't have to buy them.

4 - Number of times I have prayed to God today, asking him to help me be patient with afore-mentioned Salad.

3 - Number of toddlers comprising the afore-mentioned patience-draining Salad.

2 - Number of Minnie Mouse big girl undies purchased at the request of S, after stating this morning she no longer wished to wear diapers. Which is good, I guess, considering no diapers were purchased during afore-mentioned trip to Babies R Us.

1 - Number of times I have counted my use of afore-mentioned word "afore-mentioned". 7 to be exact.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I so happy!

I love when the Salad is excited.
As A polished off the last of her cheese/cherry tomato/spinach nugget/organic chicken burger/peach dinner, she squealed in her ultra feminine, high pitched voice, "I so happy!" Was it the food or my 100th rendition of Down by the Station I had sung? I wondered, so I asked.
Me: "And why are you so happy?
A: "I happy for Mommy"
Why, thank you very much, little lady. I happy for you too.

S is much more physical with her excitement. And it usually has a soundtrack. If there is music of any kind playing, S breaks into "her" dance - always with a giant smile and bright, blue, laughing eyes. One arms winds up over and over like a softball pitcher, and while her right leg propels her in a circle, her left leg stays straight as a pirate's peg.

My baby boy wants to share his joy with me. What brings my baby boy joy? Buses, mostly. But really any heavy machinery - dump trucks, UPS trucks, tractors, fire trucks, trolleys. Heck, I've seen him nearly burst when a mail truck happens into his view. A boy, through and through, I tell ya. It makes me smile each time I hear his deep, excited "Ma!" from the back of the minivan. It means "Wow, Mommy, look at this trash truck that we stopped next to at the red light!" or "I've spotted a school bus! It's 2 miles away and turning almost out of sight, but it's there!" But that's a lot for a 28 month old to say, so "Ma!" it is.

I so happy.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Life Lessons

Life Lesson #1
Always check the roof of a minivan before driving, you know, for coffee mugs, babies/toddlers, planners that are so jam packed full of your life, you can't even zipper them*, lest they fly (unnoticed) onto a busy street.
*Thank you, Ian and J for risking life and limb to pick up photos and magazine clippings and post-it note lists and coupons and lab slips, etc.

R took the Salad out for a walk when he got home tonight. When they returned, S and A immediately told me that they too had been taught Life Lessons today.

Life Lesson #2
Be nice to dogs and in return they will hopefully be nice to you.

Life Lesson #3
Do not touch poop. Although, I already had that one covered. Remember
this post?

I asked R if these were lessons they had learned the hard way. Had they actually touched poop again? Were they nasty to a dog they met along the way? Nope, I was told, he was just saying.

Good to know they'll always be safe in Daddy's hands . . . . .
and clean, I guess.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Random reasons why

I adore my husband.

He let M shove a diaper down the back of his pants to stop a

temper tantrum. To spare any embarassment on R's part,
the reason why M thought Daddy may need a diaper shall remain unsaid.
But come on people, let's read between the lines.

<---This is the best picture he took of our Memorial Day outing to the Morris Arboretum. "What's that?" you ask? Why, it's a hot dog riding along a train track, silly.

I took the Salad to Build-a-Bear this rainy morning. They each got to make a $10.00 and pick one accessory. Several times during our bedtime routine tonight, I heard R asking them if they were going to take their new bears to sleep in their cribs with them. He may have been more excited than they were.

I received a rather unusual text from my brother-in-law at 8:50pm. It was a photograph of what appeared to be a 9 foot chef statue, the message asking if we wanted it. I furrowed my brow and continued watching Bottleshock, but looked at the image one more time to be sure I had seen it correctly. R asked what I was looking at and when I showed him, without hesitation, he told me he wanted it. He was only slightly disappointed to find out that it was a 3 foot statue of a baker, rather than the larger-than-life chef, we had originally thought. On Saturday, we welcome the newest member of our family.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Today in my house, you will see

a pile of A's wet clothes dropped at the front door. She slid down the slide at the park into a puddle of rainwater and cried embarrassed tears until I changed her.
29 shoes in a basket next to the steps. That's 14 pairs and 1 lone Winnie the Pooh sandal.
a little boy with pink fingernails and toenails.
a Mike's Hard Cranberry bottle in the bathroom trashcan.
5 black bananas, waiting to be made into Pinkalious muffins.
a train table where my coffee table used to live.
3 Burger King crowns and 3 pet rocks on said train table.
2 Easter baskets.
1 guitar.
and some of this silliness . . .

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sadly, it's true.

'Twas the last week in April, a rainy, cold day.

Three small children were left all alone to play.

They ran down the hall, shrieking with glee.

“Suddenly it’s too quiet,” I thought with worry.

The children were huddled, studying my door.

Diapers were off, pants on the floor.

I walk up the steps, coffee and bagel in hand,

”What are you looking at?” I loudly demand.

When up from the door, there arose such a smell,

I took a step back. “What is that?” I yell.

Down to the floor my bagel I threw,

Put down my coffee, there was trouble, I knew.

The hallway was silent, I looked all around,

First I looked up, and then I looked down.

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

a door smeared with poo! 6 eyes full of fear.

”Who did this?” I say,

Each child looked away.

"She did!” “He did!” “She did!” I hear.

”Turn around then,” I shout, “I look at your rears!”

”Oh Anna, Sophia, and little boy Matty;

Wait till I call to tell your daddy!”

”Matty, we’ll have to give you a bath”

Sophia smiled coyly and let out a laugh.

Thinking she’d gotten away with it all,

She ran away, ran away, ran away down the hall!

I took off in a moment, a 10 foot dash,

Fueled by confusion, I caught up in a flash.

She held up her right hand, it smelled just like poo.

She held up her left hand, that one smelled too.

”How did this get here, what did you do?

We don’t play with anyone’s Number 2!”

Off to the bathtub, all four of us flew.

Scrubbed fingers and bottoms till they smelled just like new.

Now for the door, but wait there’s the phone.

“Wait till daddy hears what you’ve done!”

Silent he was, as I recounted my story,

3 toddlers and poo, in all of its glory.

He tried to hold his hearty laughter in,

I could hear it through the phone, a Cheshire’s grin.

Chuckling and chortling, like a jolly old elf!

And I laughed when I heard him, in spite of myself;

I heard him exclaim, “What else can you do

When faced with a door, 3 toddlers and poo!”

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Memory Part Deux

This morning when I was in our laundry room, sorting through wash, I listened to R playing with the Salad. They were screaming and laughing. He was hiding them behind his back and pretending not to see them. Suddenly I heard A shout, "Has anybody seen A?" She speaks so well and her vocabulary and fluidity grow leaps and bounds every day. Seriously. Every day.

I thought about a car ride the 5 of us took a couple of months ago and how much more confidently she uses words now. During our trip, A painstakingly unbuttoned every single snap on her floral pink and brown pants. Then hiked up her bright pink socks to her knees so she looked like a field hockey player. She shrieked with delight “Yeah! Me did it!” She said each word like it was it’s own sentence. Wanting to make sure her mouth got each new word just right. “Yeah! Me. Did. It.” So succinct. So perfect.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


I lost a battle of wills with an extraordinarily strong-headed 27 month old girl yesterday. I'm not going to rehash the whole ugly scene, let's leave it that one PIECE of Kraft Easy Mac & Cheese, two pacifiers, and a trashcan were involved. Marcus Fabuis Quintilianus said "When defeat is inevitable, it is wisest to yield." I yielded in favour of 75 minutes of quiet during naptime.
'Nuff said.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Memory Part 1

Part of Speech: noun
Definition: ability to hold in the mind

The ability to hold anything in my mind appears to be fading, and fading fast. Truly the reason I started this blog (and then promptly took a well deserved 48 day hiatus) is because I have so many small things I want to remember about the Salad. Details from when they were bitty 4 pound babies seem near impossible to recall with 820 days worth of new memories edging them further from the forefront. To start at the beginning makes the most sense, but doesn't feel stream of consciousness enough for me. So I will continue to blog and occasionally throw a Memory in the midst.

Today M got very upset when I told them that we had to wrap up Play-doh and wash hands to eat lunch. A typical 2 year old tantrum is anything but for M. Once he works himself up, he has a hard time calming himself. He tries. He looks for things that make him feel better. He'll search out his Blue Beary. He'll ask Daddy to wash his hands. He'll request alone time on the stairs. But most often what he seeks, what soothes his soul, what eases his mind, is me. Tears as big as rain drops make those mile long lashes clump together and while his chest heaves those heartbroken sobs, I'll catch it. "Mommy, hold like a baby?!"

And so I do. I scoop that 26 pound, 34" toddler right up and rock him until I feel the relief come to his little body.

I inevitably flash back to the infant days when I would stay up late, watching the minutes tick away until I could feed him his last bottle of the day. The girls had done away with theirs, but M was so tiny that I would sneak in and steal him away from his crib. I would sit on the couch downstairs, with the lights dimmed so low I could barely make out his face and try to get 4 ounces into him while he slept, the only way he would drink a bottle. He would suck it down in no time at all and I would hold him a while longer, studying his straight nose and perfectly round pumpkin head and suddenly his lips would pucker up, thinking there was more to be had and he would start sucking again. Then he would
sigh a tiny sigh. And then I would
sigh a tiny sigh and off to bed we'd go.
Sigh. Off to bed I go.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

T _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Yes, they were welcomed into the world on the same day, my oldest at 8:28am, my baby boy at 8:29am and my lil' bit at 8:30am. Something about using that word though, has always seemed off, when I'm talking about my babies. You know that word? The one that clumps them into a group. Makes Them seem that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I guess it's an easy way to Refer to them. It doesn't take their Individuality into account though. Perhaps, people would feel the same way I do if they knew that A hates touching cold fruit, but that M can shove 3 Peach halves into his mouth at once and that S Loves nothing better than finishing up her mandarin oranges by dumping the juice on the table, using it as finger paints and running her hands through her hair. Or that A puckers her lips to kiss, S offers you a cheek and M often sneaks up behind you to throw his arms around your neck and plants a juicy one on your Ear. Thank God for differences. Synergy be damned.

Monday, March 16, 2009

How did we get here?

An email to my oak, dated June 1, 2006 . . .

"This last year has challenged my deepest beliefs . . . that bad things don't happen to good people, that life makes sense, that we have control over what happens. I wish I could be more like you and admit to the difficulty and sadness of this situation, without being overwhelmed by it. I’m trying, I really am.

But when you want to be a mom so badly that it consumes your every thought, even the act of breathing can feel like a little too much effort sometimes. My body, heart and mind are tired and it’s frustrating because I just want to feel like myself again. There really aren't words to explain to another person what that feeling is like.

I wish I could make you believe that I know my life with you will be wonderful, no matter what blessings we may or may not receive. Our love has grown big enough to fill an eternity. But there will always be a teeny hole in my heart that only making macaroni art, reading “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”, dropping our baby off at school for the first time, teaching them to not be scared of roller coasters (like their mom is), etc., will fill. I know you don’t feel this same way (and that’s ok) but I felt like a mommy from the first time I saw those 2 little lines, and having that ripped away from me 3 times feels like I’ve been fired from the only job I KNOW I was meant to have.

I understand that sometimes life is very hard, and we don't always get what we want when we want while we watch blessings just seem to fall into the laps of people who don't even ask. But it’s our turn.

Love always and all ways,

You know what's amazing to me? I hadn't reread that email until today. And yet, the theme of the Fruit Salad's 1st birthday party was "The Very Hungry Caterpillar". I guess that book means more to me than I know.