Thursday, July 31, 2008

I've Become A Tree Hugger.

I now recycle. I have, in fact, placed the recycle bin in the pantry so it is a daily reminder that we are responsible for the planet on which we live. I also conserve water by giving the plastic Lean Cuisine trays and yogurt cartons to Kita to clean out so I don't have to waste valuable time (and natural resources) doing it myself. I also spend a good 10 minutes each day digging through the trash and picking up beer bottles as Brian is not as enthused by my green ways. Some battles are just not worth fight.

We use earth friendly, biodegradable, non-toxic household cleansers. This decisions was mainly made for the sake of the babies. Neither Brian nor I felt good about having a bunch of chemicals lying around to be mistakenly consumed, inhaled, or absorbed. It took a little explaining to get the cleaning lady on board, probably more of a language barrier, though... I switched to Clorox Green Works because they have a great line of products that smell great and aren't harsh at all. I bought them at WalMart and they are REALLY affordable, no more than "regular" cleaners. Because Clorox didn't have any cleaners specifically for wood floors or furniture polish I use Target's Method cleaners for those...a tad bit more expensive. I also use vinegar and water for cleaning all the baby's toys and highchairs and stuff. I've switched to ammonia for stains in the laundry. (If you decide to do this, please don't do what I did and open the jug and take a big whiff...I almost killed myself) I'm probably going to try vinegar for a fabric softener b/c I'm using the Downy free and I'm always up for an experiment.

I don't douse myself with body sprays or perfumes. O.K., except for my Nina Ricci which I only wear for special was a gift...and it smells really good... Other than that, it's lavender water for me, which smells pretty good, but has pretty much no lasting aroma. We use California baby products for the kids, for now (they're stupid expensive). There's this great website out there that rates cosmetics and other personal care products on toxicity, or something like that. Check it out, it's really interesting.

Knowing the above information now... I also wear non-aluminum deodorant. To be exact, it's made of liken. Liken may or may not be the green mossy stuff that grows on rocks. That's what Brian told me anyway, so I cannot vouch for the accuracy of that statement. He also likes to tell people I rub patchouli under my pits. So rude. As for the efficacy...on a scale of 1-5 I would rate it about a 3. By that, I mean I don't smell too bad when I finally sit down for a minute after the babies are in bed. Sometimes I have to add a little Dove at the end of the day, which may be defeating the purpose, but oh well. I am trying so give me a little credit. If I had the time to take a daily shower I would probably not have that problem. Not sure I should have admitted that. Have I reminded you lately I have three almost-8-month-olds?

I don't shave my legs. Not really. Just checking if you are really really reading this and not just skimming. I shave them a couple of times per week...see the above shower comment.

I obsessively keep the AC turned to 77 or above in the upstairs, 79 downstairs, and turn it off in our bedroom during the day. I also keep all unnecessary lights, ceiling fans, and small appliances turned off when not in use. This is really more of an electricity bill issue, but whatever. I say I am trying to reduce the need for nuclear power plants or something. I'm pretty sure they have to be bad for us.

We keep our water heaters off to conserve gas. O.K., again not really. To be exact, our water heater appears to be possessed and the pilot light goes out every day. Used to be every couple of it's a daily thing. There appears to be absolutely no reason for this to be happening...which makes it pretty difficult to fix, huh? Because believe me...we have some pretty smart people in our family that can pretty much fix ANYTHING...but not those dang water heaters. Oh yeah, we've also had two plumbers out as well. Nothing. To tell the truth, it was pretty obvious with the first guy he wasn't committed to figuring out the puzzle. The second guy actually tried, but told me before he left..."can't fix what ain't broke". I beg to differ. Something is definitely broke. So, I'm holding out for the ghost theory...or some sort of gas demon. I mean, what else explains BOTH pilot lights going out? I'm just using deductive reasoning, guys.

I use glass instead of plastic as much as possible. Of course, I'm pretty sure I alone have depleted the earth of about 400 trees considering the amount of paper plates we have consumed in the past 4 years. Oops. Look, I'm trying to make it right. No more plastic cups, plastic ware, or paper plates for me. Yeah, me alone. Brian is still using it, but I'm hoping he will see the error of his ways soon. I can live off of one bowl, glass, plate, knife, spoon, and fork per week. Good for me.

I buy organic as much as possible. Oh wait, I buy expensive as much as I can.

We use glass bottles for the babies and I use glass containers to store their food. This may change when they start holding their own bottles and bopping their siblings on the head. We'll see. I have heard a good alternative for plastic bowls are stainless steel or tin. That won't make a lot of noise when chunked across the room. They also make stainless steel sippy cups. They are roughly 4 times the cost of a plastic one. Oh well, so were the bottles. Instead of having 12 bottles I have 3 that we use and 3 stand-by's. It has worked well, I'm used to the washing, and is a lot less clutter on my counters. I don't like clutter.

I make their baby food. It's nowhere near as hard as it sounds. I swear. Of course, I have come up with some pretty strange concoctions, but no one has gotten sick yet. I have had a few funny faces, though. I bought this great book and frequent this great website. Between the two I have felt very informed, prepared, and enlightened. Most of the foods I buy organic, if I can. Clean it, chop it up, and steam it. Puree it with a hand mixer or a blender. Pour it in ice trays, freeze it, put it in baggies, and keep it in the freezer. Easy cheesy. I can control the texture of the food (sort of). Plus, I can do strange Bananacado...and Sweet Potatacado...and Butternutazuchinniapea. They have no idea that I am having so much fun at their expense. Ha Ha. Plus, I get to feed them stuff that looks like this...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Nothing is more memorable...

I am in the process of doing a major overhaul on the blog. I am so excited. But, you have to wait...

Today's story is a tale of inspiration...and of ingenuity. Today I discovered I am truly a genius...and quite possibly the world's greatest efficiency expert.

This story begins with the words below. I've been searching high and low for a saying, poem, quote, or inspiration on which to build my writing. Something that makes the loyal reader, casual fan, or accidental visitor to our little blog want to come back. I want ya'll to be inspired by our story, feel like you are part of our family, soar with the highs, and wallow in my self-pity during the lows. I read this and it spoke to my heart...and it immediately brought visions of the inspiration that you will see at the end. I hope you enjoy.

Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains; another, a moonlit beach; a third, a family dinner of pot roast and sweet potatoes during a myrtle-mad August in a Midwestern town. Smells detonate softly in our memory like poignant land mines hidden under the weedy mass of years. Hit a tripwire of smell and memories explode all at once. A complex vision leaps out of the undergrowth.-- Diane Ackerman

This is my inspiration... The diaper can. The whiff you get when you quickly open, shove more in, and slam the lid back is truly memorable. The poo detonates softly in my memory like a poignant (pungent?) land mine. So many explosions does it contain...

This is my solution. Take off the window screen, open it up, and toss the bags to the can below. (As you can see it's kind of hard to film and hit your target at the same time.)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Good looks run in the family.

Brian 1973...

Ben 2008...

Brian 1974....

Jack 2008....


Still not sure who Lily looks like. However, I am holding out that she will not go through the awkward years that "someone" did. One thing is for sure, I will NEVER give her a permed matter how much she begs.

Play Freebird.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Bennie! Don't kiss your sister!

Don't attack her head either!!!

...and the answer is, yes they are noticing each other quite a bit these days!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Few of My Favorite Things

There are a few things that have SIGNIFICANTLY improved my life while raising triplets. Some were gifts, some we happened upon by accident, and some were recommended by friends/family members. I thought I would create a list for those of you who have new babies, are expecting babies, or who know someone who is.

Boppy lounger.This is a MUST for preemie babies as well as new babies. I love it because it creates a little "nest". We used ours until the babies were 6 months old. For the first few months the babies were always on them because they were warm, we could put them on it and place them anywhere, and they were at a great angle after feeding. Even though it says not to let babies sleep on them, we even went through a phase where we swaddled them, put them on the loungers, and then placed them in the crib. We just felt better about keeping them at an angle while they were sleeping to decrease spit-ups. LOVE this thing! Many people use the regular horseshoe shaped boppees, which we use now. However, when they are little they just don't fit very well in them and you have to constantly reposition them. This is a must have, I swear.

White washcloths. I credit Nana for coming up with this. I remember opening a gift during one of my showers, pulling out the washcloths, and wondering when on earth I would need these. This is probably the single most used item in our house and has been since day one. We place them under their chins during feeds instead of big bulky burp cloths, they are small and easily stored, we use them to wipe up "spills", and they are great for all kinds of cleaning. Plus, you can bleach them as needed and they won't look too grody.

Kangaroo bibs. I was unprepared for just how messy feeding was going to be. If you have one baby to feed, you can keep on top of the hands in the food, food all over the face, and hands in the mouth after taking a bite. With three, you cannot. Unless you actually are an octopus, which would come in extremely handy. It's a disaster zone...times three! Food everywhere. These bibs are great. They can't put them in their mouths, they can't play with them, you can easily wipe them off, and they can't pull them off. They are like little plastic shields. Fantastic idea...couldn't live without them now. (As a small side note on this subject. Dear Dixie...I'm not sure I wrote you a thank you note for this. I know I meant to, but I just cannot remember if I did....If I DID NOT... This was a fantastic gift, one I didn't even know I needed, and one I am extremely thankful for several times a day!)

Here's some live action video of how great they are!

As a second side note... I have an extreme addiction to classic country as you will hear in this clip. Dinner time is also time for the babies to get a taste of my good you can tell I turn it up and let them enjoy it! I also take this time to satisfy any karaoke needs I may have and inflict an insane amount of bad singing on my children. I hope there is no permanent damage.)

Ziplock bags.
Organization is the key. If you are unorganized and you have triplets, God help you, I don't know how you do it. Baggies are a must for me. This is how I organize things in the diaper bag, travelling bags, and for baby food item storage. I have baggies of washcloths, bibs, clothes, bottle parts, swimsuits, toys, and lotions/creams just to name a few. I often need to find items quickly and this helps me. It also helps me to remember for each trip what I need. I just keep the bags packed and add as needed.

Rubber mats.
We keep these interlocking colorful mats all over our house. Upstairs we have it to protect the carpet from various spills, spit-ups, and other unsavory fluids. They are comfortable, easy to clean, and provide a good play surface. We keep them downstairs on the wood floor in the play room as well. Brian found these at Sam's and we keep buying more!

Disposable Washcloths
I am the predominant baby-bather around here and this is another item that has improved my efficiency. I use the Huggies brand. The soap is built in and you can throw them away after you use them. They contain more than enough soap, are tough and durable, and the soap washes off easily. Love them.

Inchbug BumpyName Orbit Labels
These are awesome! If you have more than one kid you have to have them. At various points we've had babies that have used different bottles, different nipples on the same bottle, and had different amounts in the bottles. This totally took the confusion out of it. We will use these for a LONG time to come. Love, love these!

My Triplet Stroller
I just can't tell ya'll how much I love this thing. It's so easy to maneuver, is really well-built, breaks down to fit in the trunk of a car, and we have received excellent customer service. This company is owned by the guys from Phil and Ted's Strollers. We did a lot of research and felt that this would best suit our needs and it totally has. (Pam-to finally answer your question, yes it does fit through most doorways. The website has the exact dimensions, but I haven't had any problems fitting through any public doorways so far.) The only downside is that it does come from New Zealand so we had to wait longer for it and had to add a fairly hefty shipping expense to the cost of the stroller. But, it was worth every penny. You do not need a double stroller, either, because you can easily pop the top seat off and it becomes a side-by-side double jogger. So, if you are out and about with another person they can push the third child in a single stroller.

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. After several months of BabyWise, I took the advice from some other Mom's of multiples and ordered this book. It was a life saver. It gave me great advice on how to handle various problems we were encountering, how to tell the signs of a tired baby, and how to create a good sleep schedule for the whole family. The best part of the book is that it gives you a variety of ways to handle situations based on your belief system...from a no-cry sleep solution, to a sometime-cry, to cry-it-out. The other thing I liked was that it gave good explanations as to why you were doing things. I really feel that we have such happy and healthy babies because we have worked very hard to create good sleep habits. We have also worked hard to make sure the babies get the amount of sleep they need.

I highly recommend these things. They are great gift ideas for new Mom's! Thanks to everyone who either gave us these gifts or told us about them.

Friday, July 18, 2008

We Love Our Cuz!

Lily, Jack, and Ben got to meet their cousin Taytum for the first time this last week. They all fell in LOVE! Being my favorite niece and all, I can completely understand their adoration. Taytum lives in Colorado and comes once a year during the summer to visit the Texas relatives. She's beautiful, sweet, easygoing, and makes a mean blueberry pie. We all had a blast and really enjoyed her visit. Here are a few pics!

Watching Saturday morning cartoons at the lake.

Lounging by the pool.

A little girlie time!

As always we thoroughly enjoyed her visit and we absolutely can't wait to see her again!

This Teething Thing is For the Birds...

In most aspects I definitely feel like babies have it made. They're fed, changed, bathed, cuddled, and generally loved on as much as possible. People even wipe their butts. I mean, come on... how hard could their life be? Of course, there is that stage where their hands go a little crazy and they beat their own selves about the head and shoulders repeatedly. Oh yeah, then there was that stage where they would turn over on their bellies and couldn't get back. That was funny. Unless it was 2 am. Then it quickly became annoying. AND there is the endless embarassing pictures! I have some incredible footage of a tiny little naked Jack getting his very first bath...I'm sure when he's sixteen he's going to love this fantastic little pre-circumcision video. Can we say blackmail?

Then there is teething. It's like an all-systems failure of their little bodies. There is the massive leakage of drool from their mouths. Which they swallow...the result being a massive leakage of the other end. Then there is the spit-up...of the drool mixed with whatever else might be hanging out in their little tummies. Yum. There is the fever. There is the grunting, crying, whining, wiggling, and the demon that takes them over. This is also accompanied by a fairly nasty diaper rash. Let's not forget the incessant chewing, chomping, mouthing, and licking of everything that is within reach.

This is where we are. Three teething babies. Fun times. Three uncomfortable, irritable, and sad little babies. They still find lots of smiles and love for us, but it is fairly obvious that they just feel like poop. Today, they are on a hunger strike. My babies that are super eaters don't want anything to do with their bottles. So you can add hunger pains to the list of complaints. Unfortunately, it hurts to eat...and they are so impossibly unreasonable at times.

Last weekend Lily had 3 teeth break through her gums in 2 days. HORRIBLE. This makes a total of 5 teeth for her! There's one more coming in on the bottom as well. Jack has two on the bottom and is apparently working on more somewhere. He has been really fussy the last few days. Ben FINALLY got one today!

It feels like this will go on forever and ever. You feel so sorry for them. There's just no relief. Here's a fun fact for you. Over the next two years or so they will have 60 teeth come in. That's right. There are 20 baby teeth...times three! Now I feel sorry for me. So, only 52 more teeth to go. When is my next vacation???

The anger!

The frustration!
The sheer madness of it all!

Friday, July 11, 2008

I'm taking a temporary blogging vacation. I will return Friday, July 18th. I have been busy with the holiday, birthdays, my niece visiting, and two out of town trips. I just wanted everyone to know so they don't think my family has tied me up and locked me in a closet. Yeah, right...How would they survive without me??? If anyone has any questions they are dying to ask is the time to do it. I realize my posts have been a little short...and mostly pictures, but I'm hoping to get back to my witty ways soon.
Love, Steffie