Thursday, December 25, 2008

First Christmas

We are in the midst of our first Christmas. We've had our morning breakfast and bottle and opened some presents. The babies are all napping right now (an amazing thing - and WHY AM I NOT SLEEPING?!?!?!). They went down at different times, so I'm sort of expecting Clark to wake up at any time.

Santa came to visit the babies around lunchtime! What a treat - and a surprise (for Mommy and Daddy also). We got pics with Santa and the kids seemed to be just fine with their funny bearded visitor. Thanks Santa for taking the time out of your busy Christmas to stop by to see us!

We decided to put away their "old" toys (for now) to allow room for the new ones that have been arriving. Mrs. W came by with some really fun "Little People" toys that they really enjoyed. Of course, they were having fun with the wrapping paper, boxes and tissue paper too. Unfortunately, since everything ends up in the mouth, all of that fun was short-lived, but it was fun watching them really get excited about playing with tissue paper. Aunt Marsha and cousins David and Marshall were here the other day and dropped off a few gifts. The clothes are adorable! Aunt Karen and Uncle Tom, Nana and Tommy and Stephanie were also here delivering gifts. We haven't even begun to play with everything, but it will be a fun afternoon and weekend while we discover all of the new things we have. We will have a visit with Grandpa and Uncle Stevie and Uncle Albert in a few hours also. Hopefully, we can squeeze in a walk in the choo choo wagon because it's almost 60 degrees outside and beautiful!

Kendall has been sick with a stomach bug, so I just haven't been able to get anything posted here lately. I've been trying to keep the others from getting it, which required a lot of scrubbing and washing of toys. She is finally back to "normal" for the most part. It was so sad to see her out-of-sorts like she was. I kept commenting on how she was a totally different child, so we are glad she's feeling more like herself. She is still busy talking and standing up and crawling. She's lost a little weight, but I'm sure we'll get her caught back up soon.

Emma has really had a personality change in the last few weeks. She is just such a blast to play with and so interactive. But she is also able to take time to herself to look at books or play with toys. Her hair is getting much thicker and she is still working on more teeth. She is standing up and much more daring about moving around the baby super-zone. She's able to get back down (something Kendall doesn't do often) and go about her business without waiting for help. She loves to clap and still seems to really love music.

Clark is getting bigger everyday. He is crawling and trying to stand up more (with the help of the play zone walls). He loves to play with the toys - especially those that make noise. Another favorite trick is to throw everything down. It's loud and destructive and he seems to get a kick out of that. He is a little harder to handle at night as he seems to be waking up more and being pretty upset, but we haven't really figured out the problem there yet. He is also chatting more but we are still working on a "mama" or "dada".

We hope you all are enjoying your Christmas and we wish you many blessings in 2009!

Monday, December 8, 2008

What works...

Pics: Daddy and Kendall. Uncle Tom and Kendall with Daddy and Clark getting into the picture. Tommy, Stephanie and Ems.

I've decided to share a few things that "work" for us (I got the idea from another friend's blog). While not all of you reading this have triplets, hopefully you might find an idea or two that could help you and it might also provide a little insight into our world.

1.) Traveling with babies on what should be a 6-hour drive will only occur after babies have been fed, bathed and are dressed in PJs and on their way to sleepy-time.

2.) Pampers sensitive wipes - for diaper changing, face cleaning, nose-wiping, spit-up mopping. They are simply the softest, kindest cloths that don't lead to screams from babies (in most cases). They are great for adult spills and messy hands too, so don't think they are just for babies.

3.) Pampers diapers (Swaddlers as newborns and Cruisers for older infants) for bedtime. We used Swaddlers all day/night early on and then switched to using them just at night because they are pricey, but worth it to avoid leaks in the night.

4.) Luvs diapers during the day. Again, now that they are older, we think that these are adequate and "do the job" but for a much more reasonable price. They cannot, however, be trusted to hold up all night.

5.) Homemade organic veggies. Peas, green beans, corn, sweet potatoes. Using organic veggies makes me feel like I'm doing "right" for them. Homemade means that we are saving just a little money and it doesn't take that much time.

6.) Gerber Graduates Puffs - great distraction, not too messy (like biter biscuits - yuck), portable for car rides or trips to the relatives' house, good practice with finger foods, but don't feed them to the babies at dinnertime as they seem to keep them up at night.

7.) Adult incontinence pads (pee pee pads) in their cribs - put one under crib sheet, then another and layer another crib sheet and then repeat one more time. This way, if said diapers (What Works #2) DON'T make it through the night, or babies spit up, we can pull off one layer and get back to sleeping as soon as possible.

8.) Fridge and bottle warmer (AKA crock pot on "warm") upstairs near the nursery (at least early on). It was a lot easier to be able to grab bottles and throw them in the crock pot/warmer upstairs and still stay slightly asleep rather than dragging our tired behinds downstairs in the middle of the night. We have just recently switched to storing/warming bottles downstairs in the kitchen. Sorry, call me lazy, but it was really helpful for the first few months.

9.) Minivan. OK, so I never PLANNED to drive a minivan and like it. But it's OK. It has lots of space and traveling in it was pretty nice. We chose to spend the money to get leather seats and I think that was wise - even this early on, I can tell that we will be grateful to have the leather seats for spills and spit up issues. And I love the little "lazy susan" compartment in the floor. Too cool.

10.) Superyard XT with 10 panels. Eight panels were just not enough to accomodate three (growing - crawling) babies, their toys and a helper/parent/aunt/uncle or two. It was way too crowded until we added the other panels.

11.) A sofa in the nursery. Seriously, if you have room for one, it is wonderful. Even with one child it would seem that Mommy AND Daddy could hang out on the couch reading bedtime stories together as a family. And when there are nighttime interruptions, it's nice to have the couch to fall on when you just HAVE to lay down and can't quite get the baby to cooperate.

12.) Baby Einstein. OK, I know that some people argue that too much TV is bad for infants - especially under 2, but it's obvious that THOSE people don't have multiples. If I ever want to get anything done around the house, Baby Einstein DVDs are the best way to make that happen. And I DO think they learn something. Yes, I worry that my kids are going to be TV-heads and I've shed a tear or two over it ("I'm a terrible Mommy. My kids will be scarred for life."), but quite frankly, until you have three infants (or more) in your house at one time, you just might not be able to understand how important and wonderful these DVDs are. And that happy little caterpillar crawling across the screen has halted a screaming meltdown more than once, so I could just hug it sometimes. And Emma is quite fond of the FBI warning too. Good times.

13.) Overalls. I thought I hated them, but now I can see that they are valuable. The babies are busy trying to learn to crawl, climb, stand and walk and their pants and cute dresses only drag them down. Pants pull down when they crawl. Tops ride up when they are trying to climb. Overalls can be layered with short or long-sleeved onesies and you can even get a jacket over them without it looking too bulky. We love overalls.

14.) Craigslist. It's the best way to find things for the kids, the house, etc. And it's the free way to sell your stuff. There is no charge to run an "ad". The only downside is that you have to handle the finances (no Paypal) and you have to meet the buyer. I always meet in very public places. It was a great way to find formula at a LOW price. A lot of people sell the stuff that they get free from dr offices, samples, etc. Yes, it's shady. I mean, it's stuff that was free to them, but I was so glad to get it for less than half off (or better) that I didn't care.

15.) Gumdrops pacifiers. We got these when they were in the NICU. I don't even know how many we had in the beginning. Now we are down to eight. At one point, I know there were twelve, so I'm sad that we only have eight...and a little stressed. They aren't cheap (if you have to buy them 800-396-1550) and we are hoping that we will get them out of the paci-stage in the next couple of months, so I don't want to buy more. And they look so darn cute when they are sucking on them upside down. It's also pretty funny to watch them stealing pacifiers from each other. Hours of entertainment for the whole family.

16.) Praise Baby Sleepytime DVD. We play this at night as part of the bedtime routine. They eat dinner and then it's bathtime. We still do baths in a tub in the kitchen sink, so it's one-at-a-time. While the others are waiting, we often let them hang in the baby super zone and have this video playing in the background. I always select the children's voice singing the songs. It's just really sweet and comforting.

17.) IKEA plates and bowls. Aunt Tam gave them these and they have worked out great for meals. Easy to clean. Perfect size for little tots. Bright colors (a little too interesting for Clark as he always wants to grab them). And MUCH cheaper than the usual baby-ware.

18.) Coupons, CVS and Walgreens deals. And even better are places that double your coupons (like Kroger up to 50 cents and when K-mart offers double coupons up to $2)! I HATE cutting and sorting coupons and I'm determined to find a better way to organize my coupons, but I still get great satisfaction from knowing how much I saved off of my grocery bill or how many things I've been able to get for free. Ooohh how fun is that?!?! We left Kroger with $40 worth of baby food and spent nothing! I was so pleased. These sorts of trips don't happen often, but when they do, I just feel good all over.

19.) People magazine. Yes, it's trashy. Yes, I have a THOUSAND other things to do that are more important. And no, it isn't cheap. But it was my birthday present and I love it. It provides me with a little break and I can share it with Troy or the family or the baby helpers when they are here. It's just fun to be able to look through and read about other people instead of thinking about the piles of laundry or the sink full of dishes or the can full of dirty diapers.

20.) Step 2 Choo Choo Wagon. The kids were barely able to use this before the weather got cold, but they loved it. It's so much more interesting than a regular stroller. And they can sit up, look all around and NOT be able to kick the baby in front of them, or pull hair. Granted, it is also hard to get a nap going in one of the "cars", but obviously Kendall was able get in a little power nap on Halloween night. We've heard from other parents of multipiles that it is a lifesaver and even easier than a stroller.

21.) Bare feet. I apologize to those of you who love baby shoes and baby socks and worry about cold baby feet....sort of. I mean, I'm sorry if it is annoying to you that I avoid shoes and socks whenever possible (for them), but it's just so hard to keep up with them. And socks make it hard for them to crawl and climb and jump. Shoes just fall off or get pulled off (after being a sucking toy). And our babies love their feet. They love to see them, feel them, stick them in their mouths. So, I love bare feet. We are having cold weather, so they usually have on socks or tights, but once it warms up again those socks will be in the drawer and we'll be playing with baby toes.

21.) Family and friends who love (y)our kids. I can't begin to stress how wonderful it is to have people in our world who seem to love spending time with our babies. And the babies (very obviously) love to be with them also. We are so grateful for everyone who has been a part of their 10 months.

I'm sure I'll come up with more things as we move through this life with triplets and I'll be sure to share them. For now, it's late and I really do have to get to bed before someone starts waking up. Sorry that I'm not posting a regular "baby message" tonight. Let's just say that they are ALL TEETHING and it's a little crazy around here!!! But they are too cute. :)

Friday, November 28, 2008

So many firsts, so little time......and SO incredibly THANKFUL!!!

Pics: Emma in the walker. Kendall and then Clark in their jumpy swings. Kendall actually fell asleep on Chris' leg when she was in there playing with the girls. Lynn and Clark having some cuddle-time. Clark and Kendall watching Baby Einstein at Grandpa's for our family Thanksgiving. Daddy and Ems at the beach. Clark sleeping at the beach and Kendall getting in a power nap as well. Mommy, Daddy and Ems at the beach. Daddy, cousins David and Marshall and Ems. The Priesters. Daddy and Kendall kickin' it in the Kelty. Ems bundled in the stroller on the beach. The whole Louis party at Battery Park in Charleston. All of us at the pineapple fountain in Charleston. Ems, Kendall and Clark (separately) in their strollers during a day in downtown Charleston. Aunt Marsha, cousins David and Marshall and the Louis party of 5 at a park in Charleston.

OK, OK, OK...I know that it's been a while since I posted pics and I am getting your hate-mails. But, in my defense, it's been crazy around here as we are all recovering from colds/coughs (babies, parents and extended family too). Plus, we just got back from our first trip to the beach (thanks to Aunt Marsha and Uncle Bill). We headed to Isle of Palms, SC on Sunday with the entire Priester clan (including cousins, David and Marshall). Normally this is a 6-hour drive, but it took us 9 and 1/2 hours. We aren't experienced traveling triplet parents, so everything just took longer. This was the first time we had taken the babies anywhere outside of our area and neither of us are particularly skilled at the art of changing babies in a bathroom changing area or feeding them when not in high chairs. We had no idea what we REALLY needed and tried our best to scale it back. Mommy is not known for being a very minimalist-type packer, so we were worried that we would have to rent a U-haul to get it all there. Fortunately, Aunt Marsha was able to bring three pack-n-plays and took a few other things that wouldn't have fit in our van.

So, about that drive. Yes, 9 and 1/2 hours. And the last 30 minutes was the WORST ever as they had definitely had enough of the car, the car seats and Baby Einstein videos. Mommy was at wits-end also, but Isle of Palms was really a nice place. The house that Uncle Bill and Aunt Marsha rented was really nice and it worked out great with the babies. We brought along a smaller (not by much) version of the baby super zone which was good since Kendall is now climbing and not sitting still if she is unrestrained. Ems is also crawling anywhere when she has the opportunity. We learned a valuable lesson about traveling with triplets - drive when they should be sleeping. We KNEW this was probably a good idea, but didn't want to spend the couple of days trying to catch up on lost sleep from staying up all night during the drive. Our drive home (we left at 8pm - just as the babies were ready to fall asleep) took 6 hours. NO feeding and NO diaper changes. ***sigh*** It was heaven!

We enjoyed walks in downtown Charleston and one beach stroll at Isle of Palms. We all hit the Christmas light display (which is awesome) one evening. We had a really nice time at a new bakery/coffee shop, Baked, in downtown Charleston and had some of the most FABULOUS hot chocolate I have ever tasted. They had great chairs where we could change diapers (sorry but no changing tables in the bathroom) and large tables with bench/picnic table type seats that made it easier to feed babies. It was quiet and we had a huge room all to ourselves. It's fun to visit someplace with people who have lived there. Aunt Marsha and Uncle Bill could give us lots of info and had many stories to tell (including the place where Bill popped the question).

We celebrated our first Thanksgiving together yesterday. Most of the day was spent recovering at home after the long drive Wed night. We did have a meal at 5p with my family (we had celebrated with his family last weekend) and then headed home to get the munchkins to bed. They, of course, had their turkey, green beans, carrots and bananas so that their meal was sort of similar to what we had.

I will have more pictures to post soon, but wanted to get this first "round" of pics out there since I had been bombarded with emails about seeing the babies. :)

We did take some time on Thursday to reflect on the blessings we have been given this year with the addition of three wonderful children to our family. It's been a crazy year, but one that we wouldn't trade for anything. I can't imagine how we lived life without Kendall, Emma and Clark and can't wait to make handprint turkeys next year with them!
Beyond that, there are so many things we are thankful for: again, Kendall, Emma and Clark; our wonderful family; our amazing friends; the incredible people who continue to help out with the babies each week/month by showing up, praying for us, or just doing something nice; our warm home; Daddy's job; our crock pot which provides numerous hot, yummy meals for us after a long day; and for God giving us this life of ours.
Happy Thanksgiving!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

She said "mama" and "bye-bye" plus more of the latest from the Louis munchkins

First of all, I don't have any pictures to post now, but realized it's been almost two weeks since my last post and I owe some people an update. So, please forgive me for just giving you words and no photos, but I will work on that.

Little K (Kendall) said "mama" on Monday! What an amazing thing to hear! She's also starting to work on "bye-bye" and waving at the same time. It's too precious. And it's just another exciting part of watching them grow and learn. While we are discussing Kendall, I will also say that she continues to entertain us (and anyone who can see her) with her giggles, jumping and her big smiles. When she is demanding, she is demanding, but she is just so much fun to watch her play that the other stuff hardly matters (though don't ask me about that when she has kept me up all night or been fussy all day). She is so inquisitive and will spend a lot of time observing the details on a toy, blanket (especially the peek-a-boo quilt from Auntie Katherine in Hawaii), the floor, etc. K also loves to watch the new Baby Einstein video (I think it's "First Sounds"). I'm convinced that it's where she really started to try to talk more and has observed children waving hello and goodbye. She is also beginning to try to climb a large pillow that we keep in the "baby super zone" and looks like she is hoping to escape the confines of the area.

Miss Ems is still singing away each day. We sort of joke that we hope she doesn't have a hearing problem because she is still the loudest of the three - by a long-shot. But she just seems to love hearing her own voice. She is so precious when she plays in her crib in the early morning or later on after her nap. It's funny to hear her banging something against the crib and sort of humming to herself. She's also had fun turning on the mobile and changing the songs (that's about to change when her crib mattress gets lowered). She has begun to chatter a lot for the last few days, but still no specific words, though we all thought we heard a "da da" in there yesterday. We will wait to confirm this later though. The doorway jumpy seat is her best source of entertainment and she is a riot as she hops forward and swings back and yells often. She also crawls around much more now and is beginning to do the same "downward facing dog" pose that K was working on. We think that is the beginning of her effort to start standing up on her own.

Sweet Clark has been busy....well, he's been busy playing with toys, starting to chatter more and rolling around. He still has no interest in crawling and seems to get around the play area by rolling over. Of course, this leads to crying spells as he rolls over hard, plastic toys that are probably pretty uncomfortable (which I'm hoping will cause him to try out the crawling thing). He has this funny habit of pulling a blanket (or burp cloth, bib, monkey puppet, etc) over his face and starting to stuff it in his mouth and then giggling. He seems to get such a kick out of it and I get pretty tickled just watching him. He is also a big fan of the doorway jumpy thing and he can really get it bouncing and swinging. He often "chases" the dogs with the swing and laughs like crazy sometimes when Teddy (our dog) walks by him. He still opens his mouth VERY wide in great anticipation of food being shoveled in, though I don't think we are always as fast as he would like.

We had our nine-month check-up last Tuesday. All three are doing great. They had another flu shot as well as their polio vaccine.
Here are the stats:
Kendall weighed in at 17 lbs even and was 27 inches long.
Emma is still our little "peanut" at 15 lbs 10 oz and 27 inches long.
Clark has pulled ahead more significantly at 17 lbs 10oz and 28 inches long.

All of them are doing well in terms of the "percentiles" where they are compared to other children their age. The pedi compared them to 9 mos olds and also 7 and 1/2 mo olds (since they were 6 wks early - their adjusted age). Ems is in the 5th percentile in terms of her weight, but the pedi doesn't seem particularly concerned. She eats as much as the other two and often consumes more formula than either of them, so it looks like she just has incredible metabolism. Lucky her.

Emma also had an appt with a pediatric opthamologist (eye dr) on Monday due to the possibility of a "lazy eye". According to him, it looks like she is just fine and it's sort of an optical illusion because of the shape of her eyes and also because the bridge of her nose is somewhat flat. I guess that makes it appear that one eye is crossed, even though it isn't. He went through a few different "tests" to rule out any question of whether she had significant vision problems (blind in one eye, etc) and is not concerned that there are any issues at this time, but we will have it checked again in a few years just to be sure.

Aside from that, things are going OK. I had a back injury earlier this week and was told that I needed to try to avoid lifting heavy, do 17+ pound babies count? Because I can't avoid that. I tried to explain to them that it would be really cool if they could suddenly learn how to walk and pull themselves up just so that Mommy's back could heal a little faster, but I don't think they are really getting the hang of it yet. Daddy is fighting off a cold and I even took the advice of other triplet parents and bought masks so that he and I could wear them if we are under the weather so that we don't pass it on to the babies (or at least TRY not to share it with them).

We were denied the Synagis shots by our health insurance carrier. These shots are not vaccines, but help prevent serious complications should they get RSV (and according to doctors and the pediatrician, then WILL get RSV at some point). We are discouraged that the insurance company won't cover these shots, but they are very expensive - though a stay in the hospital for three babies won't be cheap either. For now, we will just be careful and hope that we get through flu and RSV season unscathed. We ask that anyone who will be around the babies to please be sure that you wash your hands frequently and change clothes if you are out in public before handling the babies. It sounds sort of extreme, but RSV spreads VERY easily and we really do not want to see them get sick. We also ask that if you are sick or have family members who are sick, please avoid coming around the babies for at least a week (or two to be REALLY safe). We are especially concerned about any sort of respiratory illnesses as those can cause the triplets the most harm since they were preemies and their lungs are not as developed as a full-term baby.

We thank you for your understanding and continue to be overwhelmed by the love, prayers and support that we receive from so many wonderful family members and friends.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Babies' First Halloween; 9 Months Old!!!

Pics: Kendall Bunny. Clark's first "costume" as a pumpkin. Emma Bunny. Emma trying to stretch out in the choo choo wagon and see the stars. Clark and Uncle Tom. Sleeping bunny (K) and the other two party animals going for a Halloween stroll with Uncle Tom in front of the house. Sleeping bunny (E). Ems and Uncle Stevie having fun. "Uncle" Tommy and Clark (once Clark had switched to his other "costume" as the new UT football coach). "Uncle" Tommy and Kendall. "Aunt" Teff and Kendall. Clark's new "smile" where he opens his mouth really wide. Aunt Karen with Kendall (being a ham) and Ems trying to drink her bottle shortly after K climbed on Aunt Karen to try to confiscate said bottle. Nana reading a book with Kendall. Ems on mohawk hair night after baths. Clark's mohawk. Kendall's mohawk.

I'll update later. Babies on the move (it;s now really Saturday morning).