Sunday, January 31, 2016

Love in the Age of Parenting Young Children

The stores are now filled with Valentine’s Day gifts, which has me thinking about love.  Really, seeing the giant oversized balloons and candy boxes make me laugh because they are so far from my idea of love right now. 

My husband and I have been married for almost 12 years, and we’ve had 6 kids in the last 7 years.  Every day is a marathon, where we hope to just crawl across the finish line and collapse into bed.  So right now, love isn’t big, romantic, make-me-swoon love.  It’s tiny love, every day, in so many ways.  It’s about helping out when I need it the most.  It’s about seeing me—really seeing me—and knowing that I’m working so hard to raise kind, loving little people.  It’s about being present and showing up to do the work every single day.  In short, love, in the age of parenting young kids, means so much more than those silly balloons and roses.  Here’s my list of what love really is in this crazy, small-kids season of life.    
  1. Love is picking up that perfect latte for me, because even though you hate fancy coffees, you appreciate that I simply cannot live without them.  You know that they are the nectar of the gods for me.
  2. Love is putting the entire crew to sleep so that I can go out with my girlfriends and catch up on very important conversations like the latest Real Housewives news.
  3. Love is understanding that when I text you and ask, how’s it going, what I really mean is, when will you be home? Please say soon
  4. Love is understanding that I have to text my best friends and sisters every single day to share the highs and lows of the day.  All 211 of them.  
  5. Love is sharing my hopes and fears about our kids.  It’s about worrying whether the kids are nice to them on the playground and when the babies will hit their developmental milestones.  It’s sharing the journey of parenting, even on the hardest of days, when it feels relentless.
  6. Love is reminding me that I’m a good mom, when I’m feeling frazzled and fragile.    
  7. Love is cleaning out my goldfish-crusted, milk-soaked mini-van without prompting or complaint.
  8. Love is ignoring the muffin top and all the extra pounds that have crept on with the arrival of each baby.
  9. Love is texting that you’re at the store, what do we need.  And waiting while I send you an enormous list of must-haves, including wine, wipes, milk, bananas, and eggs, and a million other things.
  10. Love is understanding that sometimes, I just. need. a. minute.  Even if that minute is spent drinking a glass of wine while locked in the bathroom, talking to my best friend during a self-imposed time out.
  11. Love is getting up to clean up the spilled drinks during dinner so that I can choke down my food.
  12. Love is making me laugh until I cry about the most mundane, silly things.
  13. Love is taking more than your share of turns to wipe bottoms and change diapers.
  14. Love is ransacking the cupboards at 3 a.m. for eardrops that will make our daughter’s ear feel better.
  15. Love is walking through the door and straight to the dishwasher because you know that I hate doing the dishes.  And so every day, no matter what, you do the dishes, even if you’ve been up all night working.
  16. Love is waiting in line forever for the balloon artist/fair ride/etc. because you know our girls are jumping out of their skin in excitement.
  17. Love is saying “what can I do to help?” when you can sense there’s a lot to be done.
  18. Love is appreciating our girls for who they are, and celebrating the funny, unique little people that they are, even when they’re different than you.
  19. Love is laying with the big girls until the fall asleep, day after day.
  20. Love is saying I’m sorry.  A lot.
  21. Love is sending me those funny parenting memes about the chaos of having toddlers who destroy everything.
  22. Love is picking up on “The Look” I give you that means, jump in and help out.
  23. Love is keeping up with the yard and planting new flowers every season, and letting the girls help you even though it will take you infinitely longer.
  24. Love is our family, our kids—and all the joy, worry, laughter, fear, and work that come with it.

To my husband—I love you.  I look forward to celebrating Valentine’s Day by celebrating our oldest baby girl’s birthday and falling asleep on the couch with some Veuve at the end of the day.  Save those giant teddy bears, balloons, and roses for your baby girls.  They’ll love them.   

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Three Reasons Why Having Triplets Is Awesome

My babies have been sick and I could talk about the reasons why having three sick babies can be hard (one vomits and the other plays in it, for example) but instead, I want to share three reasons why having triplets is awesome.  Let’s stay in the love and light for today and ignore that vomit (for now).

No unsolicited advice (or at least LESS unsolicited advice)

You know all that advice from strangers and friends alike about nursing, swaddling, pregnancy, cry it out, not crying it out, feeding, etc.?  You simply don’t get it when you have triplets.  When you say you’re having triplets, pretty much no one else can say, oh, when I was pregnant with triplets, I got this book and it worked like magic to get my babies to sleep all night.  People recognize that they know nothing about you or how you will raise your three babies, and that is so freeing.  It cuts down on the noise in your head about you should do or shouldn’t do.  It is refreshing when no one is telling you what to do or how to do it. 

That is not to say that you don’t meet other triplet moms who could offer their advice;  they just don’t assume you want their advice.  Instead, they listen.  They say, wow you’re breastfeeding, that’s awesome!  Or, you’re formula feeding? Glad you are getting some rest and taking care of yourself!  They listen when you complain, and they celebrate with you when you have small (and large) victories.  In short, they know that you may be on similar paths, but that you’re not walking the exact same path.

No one expects you to do it all.

No one expects you to do it by yourself all the time.  There is an implicit recognition that—IT IS HARD.  I wish that all mothers got this same grace, because let’s face it, it is all hard, whether you have one baby or three babies.  When you have your first baby and are trying to figure out nursing?  Hard.  When you’re working and also managing your house and getting two kids to daycare?  Very hard.  When your baby is colicky and just won’t sleep?  Hard.  When you’re trying to get three preemie babies to take bottles?  Hard.  You get the point. 

It is so refreshing for people to expect that you need help.  That paradigm shift—to saying, how can we help?, rather than, why do you need help?, makes you feel supported and connected.  In addition, since no one else expects you to do everything yourself, you don’t put that pressure on yourself either.  So for me, I didn’t have nearly as much mom guilt because I knew I couldn’t do it all by myself all the time.  I knew I needed help, and still do. 

You See That Sometimes It Has Nothing to Do with You

When you have three babies, you generally do the same things at the same time with all three, i.e., feed them at the same time, put them to bed at the same time, etc.  And when you get different results with all three, you realize that sometimes, it doesn’t matter what you do.  They are three different little people and baby A may be hard wired to sleep better at night.  Baby B may just always take long to get to sleep.  It has nothing to do with the choices you make as a parent.  There’s no reason to constantly beat yourself up over the choices you make when you realize, sometimes those choices don’t matter and baby A may just always sleep a little later.  No swaddle, white noise, etc. is going to change that.   Knowing that the sun does not rise and fall over every decision allows you to have some breathing room….  Which you will likely have to use when you are mopping up that vomit.  

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Snapshot of a Morning

Sometimes, it feels like I’ve lived a thousand lives before 8 a.m., especially on days like today.

6 a.m.  Jolt up to see what time it is and get out of bed feeling tired from waking up with two babies during the night.

6:05 a.m.  Run-walk to the coffee maker.  Coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee.  Hear all the babies talking as I walk by their room on the way to the coffee maker.  Good.  No crying.  Chug my coffee while making bottles.  Enjoy a few seconds of quiet. 

6:20  a.m.  Tell biggies it’s time to wake up.  Wake up. 

6:21 a.m.  Go to babies’ room.  Good morning!  They’re all standing up except Libby, who looks disoriented when I put the lights on.  Ruby jumps up and shouts HI! and grins at me.  Abby starts whining for me to get her. It never gets old when three babies are so happy to see you.  They all stare and wait to see who I’ll take out first.  Go with Ruby, who’s looking so enthusiastic.  Thankfully she doesn’t cry when I put her down to get Abby.  Abby also doesn’t cry when I put her down to get Libby.  Alright!  It’s going to be a great day!  Try to get them to follow me into the living room but they decide to head to my bedroom instead.  Seth is off today so they are wildly excited to see him.  He is usually long gone by the time the morning chaos begins.  Ruby screeches with delight and holds out a headband to him, so he obliges in putting on her.  She is so thrilled with herself and her headband that she takes off down the hall.  Libby decides she needs something on her head.  She excitedly presents Seth with underwear, so he puts it on her head and she toddles off after Ruby.  Seth and I laugh at how they walk the same and follow each other around.  Abby sits and cries because she can’t quite climb on the bench at the end of our bed.  That Abby, she’s a climber.

6:30 a.m.  Tell the biggies they have to GET.  UP.  No one moves. 

6:31 a.m.  Start changing babies.  One baby.  Two babies.  Three babies.  No poopy diapers so I know this means I’ll be changing them again in an hour.  Find clothes to put on them.  Wrestle Ruby into dress and leggings since she’s suddenly decided she hates all clothes. 

6:35 a.m.  Start fishing shopkins out of the babies’ mouths.

6:37 a.m.  Biggies are awake.  Get moving, girls.    

6:38 a.m.  They aren’t getting dressed.  They’re fighting.  How can you fight when you’re not even fully awake?!  Realize it’s going to be a tough morning. 

6:40 a.m. Wipe all the babies’ noses and put them in their triplet table for breakfast.  Let’s start with veggie straws, there is some semblance of vegetable in them, right?  Or is that just a marketing ploy?  Cut up strawberries too and hope they don’t get the babies diaper rash again.  Fill up sippy cups and wait for babies to throw them on the ground.

6:45 a.m.  Tell the biggies once again to get dressed.  Now they’re half dressed and fighting over 
earrings.  They’re trying to reach some trade agreement.  Lucy says giving Molly all her money for the earrings is not a fair trade and I agree.  Tell her that’s not a fair trade and that I wouldn’t do it. 

6:46 a.m.  Where is Seth? 

6:50 a.m.  Get Ruby out of seat because she’s trying to climb out.  Realize the triplet table’s utility may be waning as they learn to climb.  Sigh and feel sad about that because it’s so easy to wipe down versus regular high chairs.

6:52 a.m.  Text my friend/neighbor who graciously brings them and tell her I will have to take them there’s no way they’ll be ready.

6:55 a.m.  No one is dressed.  Start yelling.  Wonder if they should’ve gone to bed earlier? Wonder if they should take vitamins? 

6:57 a.m.  Girls alternately fighting and discussing how fun it’ll be to attend their first swim team practice today.  Tell them there will be no swimming at all unless they get moving NOW RIGHT NOW THIS SECOND.  They begrudgingly start moving and Lucy helps me out by tying Molly’s shoes (or did Seth appear and do this I don’t know).

7:00 a.m.  All babies crying at my feet.  Big tears.  Not letting go.  Find bottles from earlier.  Wonder how I’ll ever wean them from bottles.  

7:10 a.m.  Make peanut butter toast for biggies.  Tell Em if she’s coming to drop off big girls she has to get dressed.  Magically, she does.  Hallelujah.  Tell her ten times to find a jacket.  Tell her twenty times to find her shoes.

7:15 a.m.  Remember I need to pack school snacks for biggies.   They want hummus and veggie straws.   Look at us, we’re packing a healthy snack today!  Mentally pat myself on the back for at least getting this right.

7:18 a.m.  Put on my clothes and realize we’re late.  Crap.  Holler that there will be no swimming unless you get your clothes on, hair brushed and get in the car.

7:20 a.m.  Molly comes hobbling in the house, saying that she fell down the stairs on the way out.  Feel slightly less than sympathetic since the stairs didn’t sprout up there overnight.  How did she miss the stairs that she goes down every day?  Feel slightly bad for not being more sympathetic but remain convinced she’s actually not hurt.  Confirm she’s not hurt.

7:22 a.m.  Babies all crying.  Notice Em has found jacket but no shoes.  Find her cowboy boots.  Notice the shoe closet is a disaster but there’s no time to deal with it.

7:25 a.m.  Now crossing in to very late territory.  Announce to Seth I have to go, and all babies cling to my legs like static-y socks.  Try to peel them off.  Still crying.  They were happy earlier, do they know I’m leaving?  What is going on?  Babies don’t cry.

7:30 a.m.  Ok biggies in car.  But where is Molly’s backpack.  MOLLY!  BACKPACK.  You are in charge of your things!  She apologizes and scurries to find it.

7:45 a.m.  Quiz girls on ride to school about how we can make mornings smoother and how they will work on getting along.  Lucy suggests dividing the living room in half and she gets one side and Molly gets the other.  I note that they can still look at each other and sometimes that starts fights.  She agrees and says they have to agree not to look at each other.  I note that they can still talk to each other.  NO solution.

7:46 a.m.  Pull into school.  Do their hair in the parking lot.

7:48 a.m.  Get to morning assembly.  Stop.  Pause.  Focus.  I love you.  I hope you have a wonderful day.  You are going to have a great day.  Notice how tall Lucy has gotten as she walks away.  Notice how poised she is.  How is she growing so fast?

7:50 a.m.  Walk Molly to her classroom.  Stop.  Pause.  Focus.  I love you.  Think about how much I love her freckles and how I don’t want her to be frazzled and sad about crazy morning.  She hugs me back, not as hard as Lucy because she’s hurrying into class, but she agrees that the rest of the day will be better.  Stare at her through the doorway as she unloads her backpack and gets her journal set up.  When her teacher’s aide notices me, I tell her we’ve had a hard morning and I just want to make sure she’s doing ok.  She tells me not to worry, that she’ll be fine, and that she’s a sweet girl.  Agree with teacher’s aide.  Slink away with Emily, who’s wearing a blanket instead of a jacket because somehow she lost her jacket when she went from the house to the car.  She prefers the blanket, I think. 

7:55 a.m.  Have hard-morning regret.  Regret being short tempered and frustrated.  Wonder how else I can make things go more smoothly.  Call my mom and ask her.  Did we do this?  What did you do?  What else can I do?  Chalk it up to a hard day after a three day weekend that included Emily’s birthday party yesterday. 

8:00 a.m.  Feel hopeful that tomorrow will be better.  Wonder whether the girls have settled into their classrooms and are having a good morning.  Hoping they are. 

8:01 a.m.  Wonder if all the babies are still crying.  Feel nervous for the state of things at home and Seth’s patience.

8:08 a.m.  Walk in the door.  Don’t hear crying.  Winning.  Where are they?

8:09 a.m.  They all climb up me. 

8:15 a.m.  Realize it’s time to pack Emily’s lunch for preschool.  Pause.  Try to catch my breath.  Realize I can’t drink anymore coffee because I’ve already had a lot.  Remind myself that today was at least better than that day when we were late and then I discovered a raccoon had gotten in my car during the night.  Remind myself that no tears were shed by biggies. 

8:16 a.m.  Miss the biggies.  Think ahead to the afternoon and whether everyone will be happy.

8:17 a.m.  Take a deep breath, and continue the day.  There’s always work to be done.  And tomorrow?  Tomorrow will be a better morning.  

Post script--I wrote the above yesterday and today WAS infinitely better!  It just goes to show that predicting mornings is like predicting the path of hurricanes.  There's just no telling when the mornings will veer off their anticipated course.  Today, the girls were ready to go well before 7, all the babies were happy, and everything went off without a hitch.  Who knows what tomorrow will bring though....

Finally, I'm curious to hear what helps your mornings go more smoothly?

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

David Bowie, Under Pressure, and the Changing Soundtrack of My Life

I heard yesterday that David Bowie died of cancer.  I know he was a great artist and musician, though, truth be told, I really only know one song well—Under Pressure (by Bowie + Queen).  I know it well because it was a theme song of my later 20s, when I was working long hours as an attorney in Washington, D.C.  (Side note—Am I the only one who has theme songs running through her head at any given time?  I mentioned this to a friend years ago and she seemed amused and surprised by that notion.  But I do.).  Work was a series of fire drills, overnight research assignments, and short order filings.  As I did these projects, Under Pressure would play in my head as the soundtrack.  Da da da da-da-dum.  Da da da da-da-dum.  Pressure.  Pushing down on me. Pressing down on me, no man ask for.

Now that I’m no longer working (outside the house), that song is buried in the crevices of my mind.  But every once in a while, it resurfaces when I’m feeling particularly stressed.  Like, for example, a few weeks ago, when I was scraping stool samples out of diapers on the kitchen floor while all three babies sat in the car screaming.  And suddenly there was the beat in my head again.  Da da da da-da-dum.  Da da da da-da-dum.  Pressure! Pushing down on you!....  In that moment, I was reminded of my former work colleagues, and how our paths have diverged since I left D.C. in 2008; I was scraping poop out of diapers on my hands and knees on the kitchen floor, and they were doing Very Important Things like serving as White House Legal Counsel, serving as judges, or working as major partners in the corner offices.  And then there was me.  Scraping diapers on my hands and knees in the middle of the kitchen floor.  The hilarity and ridiculousness of it all hit me like a ton of bricks.  I wished someone were with me so we could both laugh at myself, and possibly cry a little bit too, but no one was, so I texted my best friends and told them that Life Has Come to This.   
And while the days at home can be long (sometimes unsufferably long, yes), the soundtracks in my head are now much more upbeat.  They’re cheery and bright theme songs.  I hear The Good Life by One Republic.  We all got our stories but please tell me what there is to complain about… Oh this has gotta be the good life This has gotta be the good life This could really be a good life, good life.  Because, it is. I hear You are the Best Thing by Ray LaMontagne and think about my daughters.  I hear Whatta Man by Salt N Peppa every time Seth does something really helpful (check out his birthday video set to that song on our Facebook Page, Roussel Six Pack!).

No, the days are not all perfect.  Sometimes I yell too much.  Sometimes I say the wrong things.  Sometimes it feels like I’ve got. Nothing. Left. To. Give.  Even still, it's a good life.  It’s a fulfilling life.  I end every day totally used up and worn out, and sometimes I end with yelling at my kids to GET IN BED, but damn, it’s a good life.  With a happy soundtrack to match. 

I just need to get the gym more so that I can hear my gym theme song—and one I love so, so much—Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror.  I’m starting with the man in the mirror…. Because if you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make the change.

Yes I’m a lil crazy.  And yes, I’m owning it.  

RIP David Bowie. 

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Breakfast Is Served

We did it today.  We went to a restaurant with the entire group, and it was not a disaster

We rarely go to real restaurants with wait staff these days.  It’s just… a lot.  A lot of loading kids, stuff, sippy cups, diapers, etc.  A lot of worrying about whether the babies will sit still in the high chairs, whether the big girls will fall off their chairs and spill their drinks.   A lot of dealing with stares, unplanned interactions, etc.  When we take the whole group out, we have to be ready.  We have to bring our game faces and our A-game.  We have to be ready to pick up sippy cups 13 times.  Ready to deal with the spills.  Ready to deal with the attention that we inevitably invite (which, as an aside, I totally understand). 

This morning, after a decent night of sleep for everyone, I was feeling READY.  I felt like we could bring our A-game.  So I floated the idea by Seth, who agreed.  So, at 7:15, I started telling the biggies to get dressed and get ready.  I started changing the babies.  Change a diaper, put on clothes, find shoes  (oh sweet Jesus where do all the shoes go all the time?).  Repeat three times.  And then repeat again when the babies poop because they always wait for a clean diaper to poop.  At about 8:30 we were all ready—hair brushed, clothes on, shoes on.  And we were off. 

And magically, this morning the stars were aligned.  There was no wait.  The restaurant was relatively empty.  We had a fabulous waitress.  The big girls sat nicely on their chairs and helped entertained the babies.  Everyone ate their food.  Abby waved at every single person who walked by.  Libby and Ruby stared at every single person who walked by (more another day on their different little personalities).  We felt the usual stares, but we kept on keeping on.  A sweet triplet grandma came by and told us how blessed we were.  Miraculously, no one cried. 

And, all things considered, breakfast out was a big success.  When this happens, and we manage to go out with the whole group without many disasters, I see glimpses of our life before the triplets.  A life where we were very spontaneous and would pick up and go on a moment’s notice.  We took unplanned trips to New Orleans.  We even once drove to Disney overnight.  In short, we made plans on the fly and usually everything turned out ok. That lack of spontaneity is probably the biggest adjustment for me with the triplets’ arrival, and it’s one that I still grapple with.      

I think my spontaneity is a trait I inherited from my dad.  When we were kids, we’d go camping on barrier islands after just a few hours’ notice.  (Can you imagine? Taking six kids out on a boat to go camping on an island where there is nothing and no one else? We did that regularly).  We took a spontaneous trip to Disney on more than one occasion.  New adventures were always within reach; everything seemed possible.    

Fast forward to the present, when I equate an unplanned breakfast outing with adventure and spontaneity.  But, that’s the season of life we’re in right now.  And soon enough, we’ll be able to pick up and go more easily.  With two babies walking, it has already gotten easier.  When they’re all out of diapers, it will be easier.  When they can each walk holding a biggie’s hand, it will also be easier.  But for now, we will just keep on keeping on with the chaos, testing the waters with small outings like today.  It is getting easier.  I can see it.  I can feel it.  And as it does, I look forward to bigger adventures like trips to Disney, etc., though it’s unlikely we’ll ever go camping on the beach.  Until then, I’ll have to settle for breakfast at a restaurant.  But maybe next time we’ll try dinner….

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Birthday Love

It’s the middle of BIRTHDAY SEASON in our house.  We have a birthday every month from October to February.  We have two in February, with mine being the  By the time my birthday rolls around, I feel like I’m lurching across the birthday finish line, and it is all I can do to get through it with a small celebration.   But right now, it’s mid-January, and I’ve got a lot of birthday party planning energy left.  

Now I know that birthdays don’t require big parties or endless celebrations, but the truth is, I LOVE BIRTHDAYS, and I love celebrating them with our kids.  I love the ritual.  I love the cake.  I love it all, and I love planning them too.  I have shameless birthday love.

I think my love of birthdays is due, in large part, to my family’s birthday celebrations growing up.  In my house, birthdays were always a big deal.  Cake, balloons, giant happy birthday signs, the works.  As one of six, it was one of those special days that was all about the birthday girl/boy and what she/he wanted.  We got to pick the dinner that night.  We got to pick the cake.  We got to open presents and have everyone else oooh and ahhh and take it all in.  And we always had fun, creative parties, even if they didn’t cost that much. 

It is similar in our house.  I usually have balloons or streamers in the morning, and we all wake up excited to celebrate with the birthday girl (or, boy, if it’s Seth, ha).  The birthday girl selects her cake.  And she gets to plan a birthday party.  I may do a lot of things half assed, but I’m all-in when it comes to birthday parties and birthday party planning.  Which is not to say that the party itself has to be elaborate; rather, I spend time making sure the party reflects my child’s interests and personality.  (Disclaimer: yes, the triplets' first birthday party was completely over the top, but hey we survived their first year!).

And so, right now, I am busy helping my sweet three-year-old Emily to nail down what exactly she wants to do for her birthday, which is in just two weeks.  First it was the trampoline park.  Then it was a princess party at the new toy store in town.  Today, it is ice skating.  Yes, my three year old wants to have her birthday party at the ice skating rink.  Nevermind that her friends won’t be able to do it.  Emily has declared that she will. Have. An. Ice. Skating. Party. 

Emily is, in many ways, my last baby, even though she has three younger sisters.  She was the last baby that I nursed all night on demand.  She was the last baby with whom I stayed awake a little longer to marvel at her tiny fingers and toes (there's not any extra time to do that during the night with triplets!).  She was a baby who was always happy to held, snuggling in like a little koala bear.  She was a chubby, radiant ball of baby and she’s stayed that way, minus the chubby part.  I was never hurried with Emily, and I enjoyed soaking in every moment of her babyness and littleness, because, as my third baby, I knew she’d soon be running circles around me. 

Sometimes, when it’s quiet and we’re all alone, she whispers to me that she’ll always be my baby.  Maybe that’s because I remind her, yes, we have three babies, but you’ll always be my baby.   And so, my baby will have an ice skating party if that is what she really, really wants.  She tries so hard to keep up with her big sisters.  As much as I want her to be little, she wants to be big like her big sisters.  She tries to stay up as late as they do.  She tries to run as fast as they do, and play as hard as they do.  She tries, but she doesn’t always succeed.  One time she recently did—ice skating. Over Christmas break, I took the big girls ice skating and she WAS able to keep up, with the help of milk crates that steadied her little legs.  She started off slow but soon took off, zipping up and down the ice rink without any help from me.  She had so much fun.  She was so happy to be keeping up with them, and doing exactly what they were doing.  And I can understand why she’s ready to do it again.

I can’t wait for Emily’s ice skating party.  It will be chaotic and fun.  She will skate her heart out and be so excited to with her friends, who hopefully won’t be slipping and sliding on the ice.  And then, when everyone gathers for birthday cake and starts singing happy birthday, I’ll wait for that moment I always wait for.  That moment—when everyone is singing happy birthday, and my daughter looks around and sees everyone smiling at her, loving her.  And my eyes will fill with happy tears, knowing that my daughter feels special and loved.  I wish I could bottle up that moment and carry it with me, and pull it out whenever they’re cranky (or I’m cranky).  But I can’t.  So instead, I’ll get busy planning the next birthday party.  Until next time….

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Resolutions, Schmesolutions

I've made a long list of resolutions this year.  I know a lot of people say resolutions are doomed to fail, but I like the idea of looking at the new year as a clean slate, with endless possibilities for good habits and new adventures.  It's like giving yourself permission to start over.

So here's my way-too-long list of goals for 2016:

--Konmari my house (is that even possible with six kids?). More to come on this.  I've already started and am ready to do my whole house.

--Exercise more and lose weight.  If you have triplets, can you multiply out the nine months up/down so that I have 27 months to lose it?  Let's say YES.

--Look at my phone less often.... However, my phone is my connection to my outside world and to my family and friends.  I will try but this will be hard.

--Spend more time with each biggie.

--Do what I love.  I am figuring this out.  More to come there.

--And finally... focus on a creative outlet.  So, here we are!  Or, here I am.  Welcome to my blog.  I thought about trying to do 365 days of blog posts, but January 2 came and went so I gave up on that goal.  Instead, I hope to post here as time and life permit.  I don't really know where this blog will take me, but I'm starting here today.  Maybe this will be a resolution I can keep.  Swearing in front of the kids, that one has already gone out the window.  Until next time....


Grandmas go by so many different names—Gigi, Mimi, Grams, MaMaw, or BB.  My mom, she is Grandma, just like her mother was to us. There’s no denying that having children gives you a whole new appreciation for your own parents.  You understand their worries.  Their sacrifices.  Their sleep deprivation.  Their late nights and early mornings on Christmas (right?!)…. The list could go on forever.
But lately, what I’ve appreciated the most, is her ability to pause time on my most frantic days.  She holds the babies and marvels at their new words, or their newfound steadiness in walking.  She notices when their hair has grown fast.  She notices when they have finally figured out the “more” baby sign.   And in that noticing, she reminds me that my babies will not be babies for very long, and that they are changing every day.  She doesn’t focus on the laundry that isn’t folded, the dishes that need to be done; in fact, she waves those concerns away as she sits and laughs and holds the babies.  She focuses on one thing—baby joy.  And that sparks such a joy in me.  I notice more.  I pause.  I don’t hurry through the day’s tasks but instead, I stop.  I notice.  I appreciate. I take the time to enjoy it all.   If only for a few minutes, I pause to breathe in the babies’ clean hair.  I notice their sturdy little feet, which are now so much bigger.

So in addition to all the normal things I appreciate about my Mom, I appreciate her for being Grandma.  For noticing.  For focusing on what matters, and for helping me to do the same.

We love you, Grandma.