Friday, April 30, 2010

Another Looking Back Post

Found another picture that reminded me of something the kids did that I had forgotten already. This is how KJ would position his hands for every bottle for several months. Not sure why he did it, maybe it made him more comfortable. Whatever it was, we found it pretty darn cute.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Looking Back

Once again, I was looking through some old photos of the kids and found this one. It makes me giggle every time I see it. He really looks like he's watching TV here, but if I remember right, the TV was off.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Safety Tips

Having three kids at the same stage in development changes the way a parent thinks. Since they work together they seem to be able to get into trouble much quicker than a single child at their stage would. Because of this, Gretchen and I have developed the ability to walk into a room and scan it within seconds for safety hazards. Most times we can even come up with a simple rearrangement to prevent problems. This ability even covers our own home, we were very proactive in "baby-proofing" our home. And I think we've done a pretty good job. So I wanted to write a little about some of the products that we've been most impressed with, the ones that have helped keep our kids safe and secure when we might not be watching them, because, let's be honest, we can't watch them 24/7.

The kids' bedroom is on the second floor of our house, and the windows on the second floor are really low. The kids can easily look out the window, and have been able to since they could stand. In the warmer weather the only thing between the kids and a 15 foot drop was the screen, which can easily be pushed out. This scares me, or used to, before we bought Guardian Angel Window Guards from One Step Ahead. These are basically bars for the inside of your window. They mount to the inside of the window frame, and can easily be removed in case of emergency. If your children have access to second floor windows, I highly suggest these guards. They install easy and are very strong.

For another area of our house, where the drop would not be so severe, we've installed the Mesh Window Guard, again from One Step Ahead. This guard is not quite as sturdy as the Guardian Angel, as it is made of plastic and not metal, but can still withstand any amount of pressure a two-year-old child (or three) could put on it. This guard is also very easy to install and can also be removed quickly and easily in case of emergency.

For baby gates, we found the Safety 1st Perfect Fit Gate worked well in our standard size (less than 42" wide) doorways. The gate can be used as a pressure mount or a hardware mount. It can even be removed and replaced without tools when hardware mounted. The locking mechanism is secure, as long as it isn't broken, which is the one problem we had with them. If you have the gate extended just a little too far and try to lock it into place, you can break the locking mechanism, and then the gate doesn't work so well. Other than that, we were really happy with the gate. In fact, we had three of them throughout the house. We still use one of them to keep the dog in the kitchen when we leave him alone in the house.

So, there you have it, three great products to help keep your kids safe. Feel free to share any comments on these products, or any other products that you have liked or disliked, in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with nor have I been compensated by the companies featured in this post to provide my opinion on their products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely mine. I am merely relating my experience with these products. There is no scientific data to back up my claims.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Elisha's Story Time

Quite some time ago I captured this video of Elisha reading to herself. This was just before her second birthday, so around eight months ago. She has the book upside down and you can just barely make out most of what she's saying.

The other day I captured this video of Elisha reading to herself. What a difference eight months makes. It never ceases to amaze me how the kids learn and develop by leaps and bounds in such very short amounts of time at this age. It truly is amazing.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Traveling With Triplets

Traveling with the triplets has always been a challenge. When the kids were first born, we had an SUV and a pickup truck. We could fit three car seats across the back seat of the SUV, barely, but not the pickup, even though it was a quad-cab (had four doors and a full back seat). When we would take the kids anywhere, I would usually carry two and Gretch would carry one. I would have to put one child down, on the ground (in their carrier), while I seated the other carrier in the base, then I could pick up the other and put them in. This was all well and good when the weather was nice. Once the weather turned to cold and rain (or snow), I realized we were in trouble. Add to this the fact that we had to take two cars if someone wanted to come with us. I knew we had to make a change.

So we purchased a minivan. One with "fold flat" seats. This allowed us to have a staging area of sorts. An area inside the van were we could put the car seats down while we placed the others in their bases, protected from the weather. The van also gave us an extra seat when we needed it, which was greatly appreciated by  my mother, who would often join us on our trips to the pediatrician, eye doctor, and anywhere else we took the kids.

Another challenge was finding a place for the trips to sleep when we were not at home. For the first year or so the kids slept in pack n' plays whenever we would travel. While they are somewhat compact, convenient, and safe for the kids, those suckers are heavy! After we realized that the kids would soon be able to get out of the pack & plays and/or tip them over, we decided we needed something else. Gretchen did some research and found the Peapod Plus, by Kidco, Inc.

These things are awesome. They're just the right size, fold up nicely and come with an inflatable mattress. In my opinion, the "blue camo" version is the best because it comes with a self-inflating mattress. While the mattress is not really self-inflating, as the name implies, it does last longer than the conventional mattress, and is much easier to inflate. The conventional mattress comes with a hand pump, which works fine, but is rather tiring, especially when you have three mattresses to inflate. The conventional mattress is also, in my experience, more prone to leaks.

Another challenge we encountered is entertainment. While keeping the trips busy is easy on short trips, entertaining three toddlers on a two day drive across four states can drive anyone insane. Since my sanity was already in question, I was not looking forward to the drive. The first thing I did was have the factory DVD entertainment system installed in my van. The van did not have this option when we bought it, but the dealership was more than willing to install it after the fact, since they could get more money out of us that way. The kids were really into Elmo at that time, so they watched several Elmo and Sesame Street DVDs. I could barely stand to hear Elmo's voice again when we got back, but it was better than listening to three screaming children.

Gretchen also packed up some "travel kits" for the kids, which contained a few small toys, and a Crayola Color Wonder Stow & Go Studio for each of the kids. These are mess free coloring kits that have places to keep markers and tablets or paper, and a hard surface for them to color on. Since the Color Wonder markers only work on the Color Wonder paper, we didn't have to worry about them drawing on themselves, their siblings, or the interior of the van.

While traveling with the triplets has been difficult at times, we've found ways to make it easier. From sleeping arrangements to entertainment there are many challenges. I've always been a proponent of finding the right tool for the job, and with regards to the kids and travel, there is definitely a right way and a wrong way to do things. The trick is finding the tools and methods that work for you and your kids.

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with nor have I been compensated by the companies featured in this post to provide my opinion on their products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely mine. I am merely relating my experience with these products. There is no scientific data to back up my claims.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Remembering When: First To Crawl

The other day I was frantically looking through all of our archived videos to find the ones from our 2009 vacation to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina - the triplets first real vacation - and I found some other videos that I thought might be fun to share. The first of which is a poor quality cell phone video (which I started recording with the phone in the vertical orientation, then fixed) of Elisha crawling on her own for the first time. Of all things, we used a bottle of water to entice her to make those first moves. Who needs flashy, expensive toys, right?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cute Moment Amid Chaos

In the middle of all of the chaos created by having three sick two-year-olds and trying to capture the essence of that moment, I caught another moment. Something that caught me completely by surprise. Sure, I'd seen the kids play together before, but I'd never seen them do anything quite like this. A "special moment" between brother and sister. Elisha was trying to give KJ a hug. KJ, playing the part of brother perfectly, wanted nothing to do with it! I did not stage this or prompt them in any way, I just captured the moment as it happened. I'm glad I did.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Meet the Sicklets

I think we all can agree that nobody likes to be sick

But you do have to admit, it does have some advantages. 
You can sit on the couch all day and watch your favorite television shows

You get extra snuggles from the ones you love.

And you get to take it slow and spend some time together as a family.

If we can't change the situation we're in, we just have to make the best of it.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Chatty Elisha

Elisha was a rather chatty little girl on the way to my in-laws' last week. Luckily we had the video camera handy.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Beautiful Day for a Picnic

The weather was so beautiful out Wednesday that I decided that the kids should not have to come in from playing just to have lunch. So I made some PB&J sandwiches and served them up to the kids on their picnic table. My parents were there to help carry food in and out of the house, and keep the kids from eating too much off of the ground. It was a wonderful change of pace, and we all enjoyed the extra sunshine!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Afternoon at the Zoo

After spending the morning at the playground, we continued our Saturday adventures at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. The kids got to see monkeys, giraffes, several kinds of bears including a polar bear, and some seals. They had a good time, but faded fast due to the fact that they didn't nap at all. We plan to go back soon and see the rest of the animals.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Preston's H.O.P.E.

This past Saturday we met up with some friends for a play-date at Preston's H.O.P.E., a very nice, fully accessible playground in our area. The kids had an absolute blast. We are going to have to go there more often.

Juli decided that she needed to climb this.

She made it to the top with only a little help.

Gretch finally convinced Elisha to go down one of the slides.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Indoor Amusement Park

Last Friday my parents invited us and the kids to join them for an evening at the IX Indoor Amusement Park. From the moment we walked in, the kids' eyes were as big as saucers.

They were entranced by all of the lights and sounds. We decided that a ride where they could be accompanied by an adult would be best to start out with, since they've never really been on an amusement park ride before. There was a fire truck ride that just went up into the air. It wasn't too fast and looked pretty smooth. KJ went with my mom, and the girls went with Gretch and Aunt Katie. The girls looked like they really enjoyed it. KJ looked like he was checking out the whole place when they got to the top. It looked like he was planning his route for the evening.

After that one ride, they were old pros. KJ was even pulling whoever was holding his hand at the time to the nearest ride. It didn't matter what that ride was, he wanted to go on it. Of course we guided them towards the appropriate rides. There were cars, bugs, barrels, dragons, teacups, and a train.

For the rides that spun too much, I had to step in and let Gretch take the pictures (she get's dizzy if she spins around on an office chair). She did alright with my DSLR, even in the tough lighting conditions.

Grandma and Aunt Katie even put up with my enthusiastic spinning of the teacup!

I'd like to thank my parents, Aunt Katie and Uncle Steve for inviting us and for all of their help. Everyone had a great time, and the kids slept like rocks once we got them to bed.