Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Clean Sweep

I nest every year.

NO -- I'm not pregnant!

I just feel the need to completely clean and purge the house to start out the new year. So, I over the past week (save the two days I spent curled up on the bathroom floor) I have gone through every cabinet, drawer, closet, nook, and cranky in this house and given it a thorough once-over.

I really don't throw out or donate that much stuff -- it's mostly just organizing. And WOW -- do I feel so good once it is all done! I mean, I know I'm OCD, but doesn't everyone like a clean and organized house?

I so wish I had thought to take "before" and "after" pictures. I swear, people would want to hire me if they saw what I can do with a overflowing sock drawer!

The two places I didn't touch are the basement and the garage ... those are Dan's domains. I did clean out the freezer and refrigerator in the garage, but the rest is still a big ole mess. He's "getting to it", as he told me last night. We then both laughed hysterically.

We are working together to get our basement storage all set up. Dan is building me a clothes storage closet for the boys future clothes, and I am creating a bin system to store all of our other stuff.

You know, bin system -- a bin for everything and everything in it's bin.

What? You don't have a bin for every holiday? Where do you store your St. Patty's Day items?

See, I told you people would want to hire me.

We have set a time line to have the basement storage done by April 1st. I'd like it to be done by, oh, I don't know, tomorrow ... but realistically, with Dan's travel and the fact that we only have about 3-4 hours free each weekend to work on it, we are shooting for completion in 3 months.

I will be sure to post pictures then!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

I Think It Was The Mussels ...

Oh Dear Lord ...

This is going to be the shortest post ever! But I wanted you all to know that I am alive (barely).

I have been sick and tossing cookies all day yesterday and today.

I'm praying to the porcelain god that the boys DO NOT catch this yuckiness!!

Okay -- back to my nest on the bathroom floor.

Friday, December 26, 2008

"My Name is Simon ...

... and I like to do drawerings!" (I'm on an SNL kick, can you tell?)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

24 Hours of Christmas

Just a quick blog because I'm spending some QT with the fan-damily! Our Christmas in a "nut shelly"!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I'll Run a Marathon When Pigs Fly ...

I have 129 days to get ready. Dan's already taking bets on what day I quit. It's a $1 per date ... or $5 for six dates.

I love his confidence in me.

I guess I should tell him that what we have actually signed up for is the four-person relay (me, Dan, my mom, and my dad).

My dad has run the Flying Pig twice -- the whole marathon ... TWICE!!

My mom has run the half-marathon.

I would hope Dan and I could run just 1/4th of the marathon -- my dad has even offered to give us the downhill sections of the course!

Guess we'll find out ...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Butt ...

I'm so glad the boys got Dan's cute butt genes. If they had mine, their butt would be too big to post here.

New Year's resolution, anyone? Mine is to loose a couple pounds ... and run the Flying Pig Marathon.

That got your attention, didn't it?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas is Coming ...

Every year we do a Christmas goose. It's our family tradition. It is SO good! Yes, it takes a little more work, but it is really worth it.

Plus, you have to have a large metal can to drain the goose fat into. We use a tomato juice can ... that is empty because we made Bloody Mary's, another wonderful family tradition!

Honk, Honk Honk!! I can hear the Grey Goose calling my name!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Random Pics

Hayden riding on Nanna's back!
Tanner hanging out at the mall playground!
Noel chilling in the stuff animal toy box!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

"Now Is The Time On Sprockets* When We Dance"

Nice ...

*Sprockets was a recurring fictional East German television talk show sketch created by actor, writer and comedian Mike Myers for Saturday Night Live. Myers played Dieter, a bored, disaffected East German expressionist and minimalist who would interview celebrities in whom he was barely interested and always bring the discussion around to his "limited" monkey Klaus.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Last night, while I lay thinking here,
some Whatifs crawled inside my ear
and pranced and partied all night long
and sang their same old Whatif song:
Whatif I'm dumb in school?
Whatif they've closed the swimming pool?
Whatif I get beat up?
Whatif there's poison in my cup?
Whatif I start to cry?
Whatif I get sick and die?
Whatif I flunk that test?
Whatif green hair grows on my chest?
Whatif nobody likes me?
Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?
Whatif I don't grow talle?
Whatif my head starts getting smaller?
Whatif the fish won't bite?
Whatif the wind tears up my kite?
Whatif they start a war?
Whatif my parents get divorced?
Whatif the bus is late?
Whatif my teeth don't grow in straight?
Whatif I tear my pants?
Whatif I never learn to dance?
Everything seems well, and then
the nighttime Whatifs strike again!

I have a lot of things that keep me up at night. I call them the "Whatifs", based on a poem I read as a kid by Shel Silverstein.

I've tried reading, bubble baths, even a glass or wine (or two) to try and relax my mind away from the troubles of the past, my turmoils of the present, and my fears of the future. My fears of the future are usually my most dominating whatifs.

I remember the first year of the boys life, I would wake up several times a night in a cold sweat because I was dreaming that couldn't find one or more of the boys. These dreams were vivid, and I can remember Dan having to physical shake me to get me to snap away from the whatifs that had invaded my dreams.

While those nightmares have gone away for the most part, I now find myself laying awake most nights creating my own whatif poem -- except my poem doesn't rhyme and it is so dark that I am having trouble even thinking about it now as I write this.

My two biggest whatifs:
1) Whatif there is a fire and I need to get three 2 year old toddlers out of the house?

(My best solution to date is to get a really big duffel bag that could fit all three boys and attach it to a rock climbing rope with a carabiner -- I would then lower the boys out the window in the duffel bag and follow behind by repelling down the rope.)

2) Whatif one or more of my boys is kidnapped?

I have no solutions here. Yes, I know about all the "Stranger Danger" teachings and code words and friendly strangers. But that is for when the boys are older -- 2 year olds don't get what a code word is yet. And nothing strikes fear into the heart of a mother than when she cannot find one of her children.

In big crowds, Dan and I usually set up a system where one of us is on one side of the room and one of us is on the other side of the room. We communicate back and forth to each other by holding up the number of fingers of the boys we have in our sight.

We were recently at one of my multiples club's holiday parties. There were 39 families there with triplets or more ... the number of children totaled over 150.

About halfway through the party, Dan and I were doing our regular "sign language" to each other -- both of us held up only one finger. My heart dropped like a rock. Tanner was missing. It took only about 2 minutes before we found him pushing buttons by the AV equipment, but it felt like an eternity.

Of course, we were at a holiday party in a local church with friends, so Tanner was safe (unfortunately, I can't say the same for the AV equipment). But, I cannot imagine if that had happened at a store or a local playground.

I don't want to shelter my kids. I want them to explore, discover, observe, devise, pioneer, reveal!

But I want them to be safe. I guess I'm having trouble finding that balance.

Whatif sometimes you have to learn as you go ...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Facebook and Lessons in Life

I recently caught up with technology and got a "page" on Facebook. Everyone warned me it was addicting ... maybe I'm just not doing it right, but I'm just not into all the "poking", "throwing snowballs", and "group joining".

However, I have discovered the voyeuristic side of me. I love finding out what everyone is up to at the moment. How cool is it to know at the click of the mouse what someone is doing ... be it baking cookies with their kids, coming back from an overseas trip, or just munchin' on some oranges in anticipation of our beloved Bearcats playing in the Orange Bowl on New Year's Day (sorry, shameless plug!)

Also, Facebook has been both a blessing and a curse as I have connected with long lost friends from high school, college, and my D.I.N.K. life before the boys.

One of my happiest surprises was finding one of my closest friends from high school after over 15 years ... and finding out she, too, has triplets. What are the odds, really?

One of my saddest surprises was finding one of my classmates developed a rare form of leukemia at 34 and passed away after only a six month battle. She left behind a 15 month old daughter. In high school, Kari and I ran in the same crowd. We were never close friends, more like friendly acquaintances with lots of mutual friends. I remember her as an outgoing, funny, inspiring person -- in fact, she inspired until the very end of her too short life. She had taped an appearance on Oprah to discuss her life, but she passed two weeks before it aired.

I wept as I went through her online journal detailing the last six months of her life. I realized how lucky I was to not only have my health, but the health of my husband, my family, and my boys. In this tough economic time and the "gimme, gimme, gimme" holiday season, I too easily forget to be truly thankful for the blessings I have.

I want to share with all of you a quote she posted on her site. It is so simple, so eloquent, so true ... it is a quote that perfectly fits my friend Kari.

“God only gives us as much as we can handle…. I only wish that He did not trust me so much”
-Mother Theresa

Monday, December 15, 2008

They Have Their Father's Eyes

Dan and I have joked around for years that we hope our kids have his teeth and my eyes.

My teeth were jacked up as a kid ... I had to have adult teeth pulled, I had to have my upper palate spilt, and I had braces for about 18 months. Dan, on the other hand, never had any orthodontic work done.

However, I have perfect vision -- no contacts or glasses. But Dan has worn glasses since he was in elementary school. And we're not talking regular old glasses, but coke bottle bottom type glasses -- he was wearing contacts when we met, thank goodness.

We had our second dentist appointment this week. Everything looked good in terms of cavities, but Noel has a slight underbite that we need to keep an eye on. If it gets worse, we'll have to start seeing an orthodontist when he is five or six. Hayden and Tanner were fine, so I guess two out of three with Dan's teeth is pretty good!

We have yearly eye check-ups, too, since the boys were premature. We haven't found any problems yet, but we thought we would see what the boys looked like with glasses, just in case.

Granted these are Mr. Potato Head glasses, but I still think they look darn tootin' cute!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

How I Spent My Saturday Morning

I spent Saturday morning making sure my P&G stock went up.

How, you ask?

By buying a gazillion Mr. Clean Magic Erasers. They work great to get off so many things, like blue and red pen, from walls.

How would I know this, you ask?

Hayden, my first born, and the first to desecrate our walls in the front foyer.

How do I know it was him, you ask?

The fact that he was singing "Poke, poke, poke!" and finding this surrounding the red and blue artwork on my custom painted walls tipped me off.

Unfortunately, Mr. Clean Erasers don't get out holes poked into your walls by a pen.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Two Year Stats, a.k.a. We Fed Our Children Bricks

At two years old, they no longer "adjust" you. I know that sounds like something only guys do while watching football, but what that means is that doctors no longer move your age down on the scale according to how many weeks you were born premature.

So ... the boys were 2.5 months premature. That means when they were really one years old, they were really only 9.5 months old -- make sense?

But now at the magical age of two, they are considered two, not 21.5 months.

This was a little scary to me because we have always been okay on the growth curves adjusted, but we have always been a little off on the actual growth curves.

I don't think I have to worry any more.

Here are our stats for two years old ... in birth order to be fair and balanced, just like my favorite news channel. BAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!

Hayden -->
Weight: 30.0 pounds and in the 75% for age
Height: 35.8 inches and in the 83% for age
Overall BMI: 16.5

Tanner -->
Weight: 29.2 pounds and in the 66% for age
Height: 35.8 inches and in the 83% for age
Overall BMI: 16.1

Noel -->
Weight: 24.6 pounds and in the 12% for age
Height: 35 inches and in the 67% for age
Overall BMI: 14.1

I asked the pediatrician about the weights for Hayden and Tanner being too much, and he was very happy with where they were at. After all, they had tofu for dinner last night, so they eat very well and very healthy ... most of the time.

As for the MMR shot, yes, we did it. They told us it could take 12-14 days for a reaction if they have one -- great, two weeks of no sleep for me!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Two Year Wellness Check-Up

We have our two year check-up today at the pediatrician. It's is smack in the middle of nap time, so it should be a fun, fun, FUN appointment!

We are scheduled for only two shots, but one is the BIG ONE ... Hep A and MMR.

However, the boys have been snotty since Halloween, so I may not do the MMR.

I really don't want to get into the whole vaccine controversy other then to say that I do plan on giving the boys all the vaccinations, but I am doing it on a schedule that is slightly off from the AMA schedule with my pediatrician's support and blessing. I have done a ton of research on vaccinations to come to that conclusion.

Here's my thing:
1) If you don't want to decide for yourself about vaccinations, just do what your doctor recommends.
2) If you do want to decide for yourself, then actually think about it for yourself. Inform yourself about the diseases and the vaccines and make a reasoned decision. Don't just go along with what you heard somewhere or what someone else is doing.

My husband feels a little stronger about vaccinations since it is his business ... literally. To his credit, there is evidence of the return of long-eradicated diseases, like measles. According to CDC, at least 131 cases have been reported so far this year, the most in twelve years and officials cite parents' refusal to vaccinate children as the leading cause for the jump. Most of the cases of measles are in children who were not vaccinated or were too young to be vaccinated. There have also been outbreaks of other childhood viral diseases, such as polio, and mumps, in recent years.

So, I'll update you tomorrow on whether we do the MMR or not. I'll also give some stats on wieght, height, etc!

Peace Out!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Steak 'n' Roll?

"Kids Eat FREE" the banner said in front of the Steak and Shake restaurant. Dan and I looked at each other and used our telepathic thoughts to agree that we would pull in and try it out for dinner.

Why telepathic thoughts -- there was no way we could have heard each other over the hungry screams of three boys who were sick and tired of running errands with their parents.

So, we pull in and unload. Walking into the place, I thought to myself, "Wow, it looks crowded." Now, you would think I would have learned to listen to my spidy-senses by now ... "Hmmm, crowded restaurant + three hungry toddlers = slow service". But, we went on in anyway.

We were seated pretty quickly, and as we got the three highchairs situated around the table, I noticed that they were on wheels. I thought that was pretty clever since it would making cleaning the floor so much easier -- I pondered having the same type at home.

The boys were hungry so I handed out the sippy cups of juice. All was fine until Tanner decide he didn't want his and threw it on the ground. On our hardwood floors at home, a thrown cup just hits and floor and rolls to a stop. On these tiled floors, a thrown cup hits the floor and shatters. Literally ... into a million blue plastic pieces and a puddle of Juicy Juice everywhere. Did I mention that it also splattered onto a very nice gentleman out for a quiet meal with his family?

The waiter finally came and gave us menus (which the boys threw), crayons (which the boys tried to eat or draw on the table with), and water (which prompted a chorus of "ice, ice, ICE!").

Dan and I scanned the menus and gave our orders. I asked about the kids eat free deal, and the waiter explained that for every $9.00 you order, you get one free kids meal. $9.00 at Steak 'n' Shake -- seriously? So, I quickly did the math in my head ... my meal $4.00, Dan's meal $5.00 = one free kids meal. No problem ... the boys could eat some of our food, too (I haven't had a complete meal in over two years now). I ordered one kids meal.

And then the waiting began ... we ran out of juice, we ran out of ice, we ran out of crackers, we ran out of patience. And then Tanner lost it all together -- Dan got up to walk him around while I held down the fort with Hayden and Noel.

I was helping Noel color on the placemat when I heard a peculiar sound -- like something being wheeled around the restaurant. I looked up thinking it was a cart or maybe the mop bucket to come clean up the lake of juice around our table to discover it was Hayden scooting himself around the restaurant in his highchair!

He had pushed away from our table and rolled to another table -- where he pushed himself again to be propelled across the room. Honestly, it was funny and I started to laugh ... until I realized I had to go get him and make him stop. I rolled him back to our table and went to put on the wheel locks on the highchairs -- no wheel locks. WTH? Who creates a highchair with wheels and no wheel locks? (FYI -- I spent the rest of the meal eating one handed so I could keep Hayden from cruising around the restaurant in his tricked out highchair.)

As I was pushing Hayden back to our table through the mass of patrons who were trying very hard not to laugh at us (I mean with us), Dan arrives back to the table with a much calmer Tanner and a story to tell. While walking with Tanner, the gentleman who had been doused with juice came up to him and offered to buy us our meal. We respectfully declined, but I thought how nice of someone to offer something so generous when we had just cost him a trip to the dry cleaners!

We ate our meal -- it actually went pretty smooth since the boys were hungry. And then we got our bill. And we were charged for the kids meal. Huh?

I looked closely at the bill ... my meal was $4, Dan's meal was $4.98 for a total of $8.98. We were two cents short of the $9.00, so they charged us for the kids meal. Icing on the cake for our wonderful evening out at Steak and Shake.

Or maybe the true icing on the cake was both Noel and Tanner projectile vomiting later that evening. Was it the Steak and Shake ... we'll never know because I don't think we are going back there any time soon.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

X-Rated Homework

I work for a school district ... I don't think that is a secret. If it was ... SURPRISE!

Anyway, I work on the central office side. Essentially, I make sure your child's school is clean, they get a nutritious lunch (stop laughing), and that they don't get killed by a school shooter (I'll bet that stopped your laughing).

I'll should talk about all the emergency management stuff I'm responsible for someday, but I find that my information either:
a. Depresses people
b. Scares people
c. A and B
d. All of the above

I could never be a teacher. I honestly think teaching is one of the most honorable jobs someone can do. Teachers are presented with so many different situations that they have to respond to professionally at all costs ... even the really funny situations.

For example, this assignment by a teacher is to draw your favorite thing:
Obviously, this is a pair of scissors, right? Why? What did you think it looked like?

This homework assignment was to draw "What you want to be when you grow up":The little girl's mom works at Home Depot and this is her selling a shovel, by the way. I know it looks like the mom is a pole dancer, but she's not. Really ... minds out of the gutter people!

Actually, I'm casting stones here because I totally thought that these were drawings of things other than scissors and a women selling a shovel.

If I had been a teacher and gotten one of these drawings, I would have been wondering why the parents didn't check their kids homework instead of praising the child for being so original and creative.

(This, of course, would be what I would be thinking after I got done hysterically laughing at the paper, probably causing the child to have to go through years of therapy to realize that their teacher was laughing with them not at them.)

See, I would be a horrible teacher. Better that I stay behind the scenes and do what I am best at: checking to make sure all the gum is scrapped off the desks, serving the "mystery meat", and making sure Columbine never happens again.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Our Top Ten List

So many of my new mommy friends (triplets or otherwise) come to me crying because they have made their first parenting"mistake".

I try to assure them best I can that they have not scarred their child(ren) for life, and that this is just the first of many mistakes they will make along the way. This probably isn't the warm and fuzzy feel-good advice they wanted -- especially the part about how many more mistakes they will make, but it is the truth.

This is an especially scary fact for mommies of triplets since these three wonders are usually our first and last children. There is no learning curve like parents who have children several years apart -- there are no "do overs". So, if you screw it up the first time, there is no comforting thought of, "Lesson learned! I won't do THAT next time!", because there is no next time.

That's a hard pill to swallow. If you screw up, you've screwed up ... no mulligans allowed. Yep, just some extra added pressure to make motherhood even more of a roller coaster! It's enough to paralyze you with fear.

So, I've read that one of the best ways to confront your fears is to let them out. So without further ado, here is my list of Top Ten Really Bad Things I've Done As A Parent. A quick disclaimer -- some of these Dan did, but we are parents together so I won't point out the ones he did in red or anything obvious like that.

1) Mixed up medicines and gave Hayden Noel's medicine, Noel Tanner's medicine, and Tanner Hayden's medicine. Confused? Good, you can see you it can happen.

2) Spilling hot coffee all over Noel as he pulled a cup off the kitchen table.

3) Had all three boys eating matches after we learned that baby proofing is NOT the same as toddler proofing.

4) Knocking Tanner off the step stool by the window causing a bloody lip and LOTS of crying -- Tanner was fine, I was the one doing all the crying.

5) Knocking Hayden off the step stool by the window causing a bloody lip -- took me twice to learn, but I finally moved the step stool away from the window

6) Knocking Noel off the step stool by the light switch causing a bloody lip -- the step stools are now put away

7) Finding Tanner running around the room with a knife because he had figured out those "baby proof" drawer locks (we now have the magnetic tot locks)

8) Burning Hayden's arm when he came to look at what was inside the oven

9) Opening a drawer right into Tanner's head as he was running past me ... with a pizza cutter in his hand he had found on top of a table

10) Finding Noel sitting in the cat box eating a kitty litter pee ball. Can I get a collective EWWWW!

Ahhh ... I feel so much better now.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Meet "The Incredibles"

Here’s our Christmas letter for this year …

“Hayden has the lead in our community play, Tanner was recently voted the most gifted and talented child in our church Sunday School, and Noel has begun playing nursery rhyme songs on his mini-piano. Jessica got a huge raise and was told she could take a couple days off each week since she is so efficient at work. Dan has been promoted to CEO of The World. We took three vacations last year to tropical paradises (see attached photos). We are truly blessed, and may God bless you.”

HA! Just kidding ... I was looking back on Christmas letters of years past (both received and sent) and it always seems like everyone is trying to one-up each other with accomplishments. I’m sure people don’t mean it that way – I know I don’t mean it that way – but it sure seems that way!

So, I am tackling the challenge of writing a Christmas letter that tells what we’ve been up to without seeming condescending towards everyone who reads it. It’s harder than it seems.

For example, if I write, “Hayden, Tanner, & Noel all loved splashing in the pool this summer; they learned to blow bubbles and kick their feet! We are looking forward to starting swim lessons this next summer.”, then it sounds like I’m subtly making sure everyone knows we have a pool and that our boys are going to be the next Michael Phelps.

But all I’m trying to say is “Yea, the boys are learning not to drown!” However, if I say that, then I’m being a smart-aleck. Which I am so NOT.

What? I’m not.

Most of the time.

Some of the time.

Okay, okay, WHATEVER … I still cannot say that in our Christmas letter!

So, I guess I’m stuck. I’m open to suggestions, please!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Happy Second Birthday

So, we are now “officially” in the Terrible Twos! However, I have heard the rumor that the Terrible Twos is not a statement that terrible behavior begins at the age of two, but rather terrible behavior lasts for two years. Grrrreat …

The cake turned out after all. I felt for sure it would be a “train wreck” – hahaha, I am so funny – but it ended up looking kinda cool. The boys kept on calling it “cars”, and Hayden kept saying “beep, beep, beep” and backing up whenever he saw the yellow cake (it really did look like a school bus), but I think if you looked at it sideways with one eye closed it resembled a train.

The “Choo Choo Choo, Hayden, Tanner, & Noel Are Turning Two” Cake

The boys were much less messy than they were last year. I was very thankful for that! I think our awesome smock/bibs from IKEA helped, too.

The boys got a bunch of fun new toys. The favorites ended up being cardboard bricks – they loved making towers and then knocking them down – and the Step 2 Kitchen. We only gave them a couple dishes, pots, and pans because they really don’t get what to do with all the food yet. Plus, I really don’t feel like cleaning up 150 different plastic food pieces every night.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Ho Ho ... Not So Much

We tried to do pictures with Santa today at our Triplets & Quads Christmas Luncheon. Maybe it because we had skipped naptime to go … maybe it was because there were over 150 kids there … maybe it was because Tanner was just being a grump-head.

Noel LOVED Santa and kept waving hi while waiting for his turn to sit with Santa. Hayden happily told Santa he wanted a “ruck” for Christmas. Tanner wouldn’t sit on Santa’s lap and wouldn’t let go of me to get a group shot of just the boys with Santa.

There was a professional photographer taking shots, so hopefully one of those will be better than our homemade, on-the-fly pictures. (But I’m not holding my breath.)

So … here are the best of the best. Oh well … they will be great blackmail against Tanner when he is older.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Our Christmas Card

I'm going to ruin the surprise and post our Christmas card because it is too freakin' cute!

I highly recommend this website for all of your photo card needs. Suzanne is a friend of mine and she does just amazing work -- she completely originally designed our Christmas card for us: http://www.changing-moments.com/about-us.php

So ... here it is:

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I'm SO Doing This!

I found a really creative new tradition that I am excited to start with the boys ...


Here's the scoop:

"Plagued by their desire to know how Santa really knew who had been naughty or nice, I searched through the Christmas decorations for a plausible explanation. Nestled among them was the answer; a small elf doll from my own childhood. With that discovery, the idea for the elf tradition was born.

At our home the elf would arrive around the holidays, usually at Thanksgiving. His sole responsibility was to watch my children's behavior and report it to "Santa" each night. The next morning after the children awoke, they discovered the elf had returned from the "North Pole" and was hiding in a different place. My children would race each other out of bed to try and be the first to spy him in his new position.

Over the years the tradition was perfected and rules were even introduced. For example, to better preserve his mystique the children were not allowed to touch him; however, they were allowed to talk to him. For obvious reasons, he was not allowed to reply. Eventually, my children even gave him a name - officially adopting him into the family.Unwittingly, the tradition provided an added benefit: it helped the children to better control themselves. All it took was a gentle reminder that the "elf was watching" for errant behavior to be modified.

I never dreamed this simple tradition would lead to so many Christmas memories for our entire family. It is my earnest desire that The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition will bring as much joy to your family as it has to mine."

Is that cool or what? And you can register your elf and get a certificate for him and everything! Just another example of an idea I totally wish I had thought of ...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

{Insert Graduation March Music Here}

Today is the day. Today, Noel graduates from Feeding School. What a long, exhausting roller coaster it has been since May 9th, 2007 to today.

May 9th, 2007 was when Noel stopped eating. The doctors told me, "Babies don't starve themselves; he'll eat when he's hungry." My mommy instinct was telling me not to listen, but these were doctors who surely knew more than me. I wish I had listened to my gut, I wish I had asked more questions, I wish I would have pushed harder, faster and sooner for answers.

But I didn't. I quickly learned my lesson after our first overnight hospital stay for dehydration and malnutrition. I no longer waited for doctors to find answers -- Dan and I sought them ourselves. We pride ourselves on the fact that we refused to let the doctors bully us into unnecessary G-tube surgery on Noel, and instead found medical journal articles that gave us a different path to try first ... a path that worked despite being told by the cocky young intern that we were doing harm to our son by not having the surgery and that we'd be back in a week.

But the true champion in this story is Noel. Noel, my "Baby C", who was snuggled closest to my heart while I carried the boys for 29 weeks, 4 days. Noel, the one who had so much spunk in him that he kicked a hole in his amniotic sac at 24 weeks, 3 days. Noel, who was named because I had the boys on the first snow of the year. Noel, who was first off oxygen despite being the smallest at birth. Noel, who I got to hold first after I was released from the high-risk ward. Noel ...

From being the smallest at birth ... to being the biggest of the three at our five month check-up ... to being the smallest again by almost five pounds at our two year check-up.

From five month old chunky monkey ... to twelve month old skinny minny ... to normal two year old toddler.

From Pediatrician ... to ENT ... to GI ... to Neurology ... to Neurosurgery ... to Genetics ... to Feeding School ... to Aerodigestive Team for follow-up only.

From blood test ... to urine tests ... to stomach x-rays ... to upper GIs ... to gastric emptying scans ... to visual swallow studies ... to pH probes ... to brain MRIs ... to me being accused of Munchhausen by Proxy ... to doctors finally admitting they don't know why Noel stopped eating.

From eating everything in sight ... to eating nothing at all ... to reflux medicines ... to having an ng tube ... to thickening formula with cornstarch ... to medicines to stimulate appetite ... to high calorie drinks ... to chipmunking food ... to chewing and spitting out food ... to Feeding School for four months ... to eating normally at each meal ... to his favorite food being broccoli.

From being my first to sleep through the night at three months old ... to throwing up in his crib every night unless falling asleep on Mommy ... to giggling and passing stuffed animals through cribs with his brothers before falling asleep on his own.

I'm so proud.

Noel Pictures

At 5 months ... I wasn't kidding when I said he was a "chunky monkey"
At 12 months ... you can see how skinny he is. What you can't see is his lack of energy.At 2 years ... eating well and feeling good!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Goodnight Mom

With much apologies to Goodnight Moon fans ...

In the messy green family room
There was a telemarketer ringing the telephone
A crying toddler because his brother just popped his red balloon
And a picture of -----

The cow jumping over the moon
(which someone colored on with a permanent marker)
And there was a missing teddy bear, and a girl with gum in her hair

And one to be scolded
And laundry to be folded
And a very hungry spouse
And something stinky in the house
(that no one else seemed to smell)

And a comb and a brush and a colicky baby who just won't hush
And a frazzled mommy screaming #*%#@

Goodnight messy room
Goodnight scribbled-on moon
Goodnight cow getting out while she can
Goodnight telemarketer and the popped balloon
Goodnight long-gone teddy bear
Goodnight cereal bar smeared all over the dinning room chair

Goodnight spitup
And goodnight leaky sippy cup
Goodnight much-too-little house and goodnight grumpy spouse
Goodnight comb and goodnight brush
And goodnight to a certain 2-year-old who just needs to hush right now I mean it

Goodnight Elmo
Goodnight toys we'll pick up tomorrow or the next day
Hello Chardonnay and TiVo
It's "me" time finally

by Sarah Jio ... Parenting Magazine 2008

Monday, December 1, 2008

And then we all hold hands and sing "Kum By Yah"

I know it's Cyber Monday and the deals are a plenty out there at many "big box" online stores ... but these site offers a really different kind of gift!


They have a network of farmers, dedicated to sustainable agriculture without chemicals or preservatives, who will deliver a share of their absolutely fresh harvest to your door or your gift recipient's door. For example, if you lease a coffee tree, they will send you the beans from your tree! If you lease a goat, they will send you chevre made from your goat!
Got to admit, it's a pretty cool idea. And I'm totally crunching on the pistachio tree gift idea!