Monday, December 31, 2007

Stick a fork in it

The year in review... isn't that what we're supposed to do on New Years Eve? Or is it to drink ourselves silly with strangers in a bar? I have never been into the whole New Years scene, I'd rather just spend it with Scott and the kids. So this afternoon we took Jacob to Funset Boulevard and we had a lot of fun on the bumper cars and playing video games, air hockey and trying to earn those tickets.

However, it is always worth reflecting on the past year or some of the events or people that have come and gone that have made an impact on me.

1) Take one day at a time and sometimes one minute at a time
When I was in the hospital "growing my babies", I was on Magnesium Sulfate to stop my contractions. This stuff was given through IV and made me really sick. Nausea and one of the side effects was the burning pain in my chest. It was so intense that it made me sick. So... I always try to look at the brighter side of things and I thought of people who were terminally ill or being treated for cancer and had to take "poison" to make them well. That's really what the Magnesium felt like for me. So I concentrated on the fact that my nausea would only last until my babies were ready to be born and that I really took one minute at a time. I didn't overwhelm myself with the bad stuff - that this would last until the babies were born and that could be weeks!
2) Its O.K. to cry
The babies were in the NICU at Theda Clark from April 3 to April 26th and April 28th. I met some incredible people during that time. The nurses that took care of me, the nurses that took care of my babies, the doctors at the NICU. One of the nurses, Ann, came up to me a few times and told that "its o.k. to cry." She had been in my shoes twenty plus years ago. She had a singleton 18 months older than her twins. She said that at times she would put all three in the stroller and just walk and cry.
I think she new I was putting a brave face on and she also knew what I had yet to realize... taking care of three infants and a then 3 year old is worse than you can imagine. So I think of her advice often and realize that I can't be perfect, my kids are needy, and its o.k. to ask for help.
3) Don't worry, put it in God's hands
During one of my many ultrasounds that I had during my pregnancy, the tech found a soft marker for Trisomy 18, Edwards Syndrome. The doctor came and told us about it after the ultrasound. Baby A, Matthew, had a cyst in part of his brain. About 1% of babies are born with cysts in the brain and of those a marginal percentage have Edwards Syndrome. So, the Doctor Acosta, Scott and I talked about it and we decided to do nothing. We could have more tests done, but that would risk miscarriage. So we decided to take what God had given us. For me, it took a couple days of worrying and stressing out to realize that it doesn't pay to worry. I needed to be calm during the pregnancy and think positively. I realized that worrying is a huge part of my life and some things I can't change or control, so I needed to let God take care of me. So, fast forward four months. Matthew was healthy, the NICU doctors did another ultrasound and said that he had two small cysts in his brain and they called it a variance of normal. Ultrasounds are being so detailed that they pick up so much compared to years ago. And we don't have to worry about it again. Ever.
4) Don't take your blessings for granted
It was March and I was still working and not pregnant with Jacob... so probably 2001 or 2002. A co-worker got a phone call - the kind we never want to get- her daughter had died in her sleep. April was 22 years old. The reason for her passing was unknown. Blood tests and the autopsy showed nothing. April's name was written in The Book of Life that day. What I learned from her mother Sharon was that you never take your time for granted. You love and cherish your children and count your blessings each day. Tell them you love them.
This year a woman who I had met through FVMOM had went for her 38 week appointment at her doctors office. The ultrasound showed that one of her twins had passed. An emergency C-section was done to save the other twin. This family found out that their 13 year old, Karly, had a rare form of ovarian cancer in November and is being treated aggressively with Chemo at CHW.

I think back to when I had to take Magnesium to stop contractions and felt like the film on the inside of the toilet and compare what Karly is feeling and going through. She's fighting for her life. It doesn't compare.

Now, about the monkeys.
I think their hair is growing by leaps and bounds. Brooke just may be ready for a barrette in a couple of months. Matthew has a warmth to his hair. i.e. red on the head He's got the same texture of hair as Jacob did at that age. Its got the same wave to it.
Brooke and John, on the other hand, are stick straight. John's literally stands out from his head and looks like he's been electrocuted. Brooke's hair lays down more. I'm going to have to get the conditioner out soon for the both of them.
I've been hearing more and more words and 2 and 3 word sentences out of them. When reading books, they say, "whats that?" or they name the object, and "theres the duck." However, their favorite means of communicating is still whining, screaming and pointing and saying, "eh, eh!" I think this next year will be a year full of temper tantrums and learning to share. Adults can't even share, so what makes it easy for toddlers to share?
Jacob went ice fishing today with Scott and his friend. Jacob caught a snake... a smaller Northern Pike. He just loves to be outdoors and loves to fish. He's such a good sport. Sunday morning at 9 a.m. I heard some shuffling and some closets being opened and closed. Jacob had put his boots, hat, coat, gloves and MY scarf on and went outside and shoveled. He thinks that the back patio has to be shoveled too. He spent an hour shoveling before coming in. His latest thing is turning off all the lights so we don't waste energy. So, I'll be in a room doing something and he'll turn off the lights on me. I'll tell him to turn them back on and he says that we don't need lights on for one person. I did ask the pediatrician if 4 year olds can be diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive syndrome and she said that they could, but it is more likely that they have some tendencies like OCS. (I'm not making this up, this was an actual conversation)
Another Jacob story... today, when we were driving to Funset, Jacob says to us, "that woman doesn't know how to drive" Scott and I looked at each other and raised our eyebrows. Scott said, "that was a man in the car next to us" and Jacob still mumbled something about women not knowing how to drive. WHERE DOES HE GET THIS STUFF FROM??? I've never heard Scott complaining about gender while driving and I don't either. Sometimes I just sigh and sigh and sigh...

Sunday, December 30, 2007

"Bee"zy Day

Yesterday my family celebrated my dad's birthday and we had our annual round robin. We went over to Julie's house and then to Jim's house for lunch. I didn't bring over any highchairs/booster seats. I figured they could just sit on laps or sit at the mini table. Well, I think Matthew was thrilled to sit at the table. He climbed onto a chair right away and just sat there. However, Brooke wanted to climb the stairs and was pretty determined to get up those stairs. So, one of us had to sit on the steps to prevent her from climbing. The problem is she doesn't sit when she comes down. She just puts her hand on the wall and walks down. Which may help her balance, but doesn't keep her from falling. She's also been into jumping off things. She was jumping off diaper boxes on Friday and yesterday she thought she'd jump off the stairs. I saw her jump of the second set of stairs onto the floor and she made it without falling on her face. I swear to you, she makes my eye twitch! (Janet Evanovich reference)

Jacob and I dropped the babies and Scott off and then went over to "Shell Dinter's" house. That's what Jacob calls her. She's a friend from when I used to work outside the home and Brooke's Godmother. "Shell" is part of the American Britney Rescue program and she just brought home a new puppy. I was explaining to Jacob on the way over that some owners can't take care of their pets and then Shell takes care of them until she can find another good home for the dog. How did Jacob interpret this? Shell sells dogs. Oh well, I tried. So we met Millie and went to The Bee Movie at the cheap seats. It was a pretty good movie with the usual adult jokes. Jacob got antsy about 1/2 way through and then sat on my lap.

Then when we got home, a few hours later, I started to get a sore throat. I started to ache, my ears hurt, my throat hurt worse. I was getting sick. I really haven't been sick more than two or three times since the babies were born. I think its because of the hand washing Nazi's at the NICU. We also use a lot of hand sanitizer here too.
So the babies went to bed and the Tylenol wasn't helping that I took earlier... so I dug in my box of goodies and found some Oxycontin. It was from my C-section... but still worked like a charm.
I'm looking forward to today because 1) the packers are on and 2) we're taking my mom, dad and Scott's mom to a casino tonight to have a little fun. Wish us luck!

Friday, December 28, 2007

My little Witness

Well, I just took off my nifty Dain Rauscher hat and my Sorels. I just shoveled part of the driveway so when Scott gets home from working he can park in a clear spot. It was nice to get outside while others are sleeping, or as I can see from my driveway into my next-door neighbors house, watching TV and smoking.

Jacob and I have a lot of meaningful conversations. He asked questions and I usually say, "Because God makes it that way or God gives people talents and abilities to do things." So basically when I don't know something I defer to God. Tonight as I was putting people to bed, he asked, "Is God busy making new people tonight?" I chuckled because all sorts of thoughts were going through my head. But as a parent, I just said, "Yes, he's making new people tonight." It was 8:45 p.m. I'm sure someone was doing something somewhere in the world. If he was a little older, I would have explained that this was the latter part of my usual explanation - God gives people the ability to do things...

(backstory) This summer Jacob was with my brother Jim and his family at some festival. Jacob had to use a port-a-potty. When he came out he asked my brother where the sink was to wash his hands. Jim told him, "Port-a-potties don't have sinks." And Jacob said matter-of-factly, "God just makes them that way." And THAT gave Jim a chuckle.

I may not be the best Witness to the world about my faith, but God gave me four children to mold into great citizens of this world. So far I think I'm doing pretty good.


The last couple of nights have been horrible for sleeping. I don't know what is with the babies and why they want to be with me 24 hours a day, but its unhealthy, its not normal and it ain't happening.

By now, I'm really comfortable admitting that I don't want to be with my kids, or anyone else for that matter, 24 hours a day - 7 days a week. It is good to have alone time to just meditate, relax, get something done, or sleep. Especially sleep. Lately if someone gets up at night and won't go back to sleep, I just take them in bed with me and lay them on my chest and they relax and go to sleep. Sometimes I can go back to sleep, but normally someones hair is tickling me or they do that jerking thing in their sleep which wakes me up. The last couple of nights my baby boys have been waking up at night, without fevers, with their NUKs and or/ diaper rags, and still have been crying. I'll rock them or change their diapers or give them something to drink, but they just want to be with me.

So last night after rocking both boys at the same time until 11 p.m., I had reached THAT point. They were going to cry until they fell asleep. (Now, I normally do let them fall asleep on their own and cry until they go to sleep, but not for hours on end) I went to bed and covered my head with the covers. It got kind of hot, but then the cries were muffled, so I made room by my nose so I got some fresh air and slept. I had to get up a few times during the night when I thought Brooke was crying. I heard both John and Matthew (mostly John) crying a lot last night.

So much to my surprise this morning when I got up... I looked at the clock it was 9:17 a.m. and my kids were in the living room with Mark and Luann who was nice enough to start getting them ready for the day. Scott usually leaves for work around 8 a.m. on Fridays and Mark and Luann come over usually around 8:30.

What I realized was that I had slept so soundly that anyone could have come in and taken the babies and I wouldn't have known. Cosmo, the watch cat, was probably sunning herself in the lower level and didn't come to greet them. I was feeling pretty bad about thinking that I may have just ignored their cries this morning until I talked to Scott. Scott got up this morning to Brooke SCREAMING. She had gotten herself sideways in the crib, both hands and feet caught in the slats of the crib. He "uncaught" her and gave her a NUK and she went back to sleep. He left at 8 a.m. and had heard nothing from any of the babies. Luann came shortly later, heard the silence in our house and figured we were sleeping. She and Mark came back later and then got the kids up and let me sleep. I SO appreciate that. I needed the sleep.

Mark and Luann come over Friday mornings. Mark is the only man besides daddy and the Grandpas that Brooke will sit by. She screams when other men get near her. Uncle Jim likes to tease her and pick her up or touch her just so she cries. He thinks when he teases his nieces and nephews, he's assuring future visitors to his nursing home when hes old. I'm sure that my kids will come and take away his cane and hide the remote... just for old times.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

security at its finest

Now wait! Before you call Social Services
about the babies being locked up, just here me out.
They have access to two rooms, the living room and the dining room, they get adequate light, have unsupervised TV privileges, have a bazillion toys, and they get out of the maximum security prison for at least one hour of their awake time for eating. They also get three square meals a day with two snacks and unlimited milk.

(Double click on any picture to enlarge it)

I've created the ultimate environment for them
that is safe and easiest for me to get something done without worrying about them in the kitchen getting at stuff or going up
and down the steps. I can't help it that they like to stand at the gate and shake it because they want out.
Sometimes I taunt them by eating in front of them and throwing NUKs or food at them. If only the San Francisco Zoo had as much security as I did.

In one of the pictures Brooke is utilizing the changing table as either a bunk bed or a play area. I don't know why she crawls in there because she just ends up crying to get out and I have to go help her.

I got Brooke a hat a Gymboree last night and
she and Matthew really like to wear it. All three kids had hoods on their tops today and wanted to wear their hoods up. I guess I'm growing a bunch of hood rats here.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Gender differences

My name is Jean and I'm a Gymbo-addict. I went to Gymboree to return some things tonight and they had their semi-annual red bin sale. Its irresistible. Its addictive. Its fashion at its cheapest. I found boys khakis for $4.99, 5.99 and 6.99. How can you go wrong???? Well, Scott just doesn't see the importance of this, kind of like when I don't see the importance of having 8 different guns or mounting dead animals on walls. I think these are called gender differences.

Today we had to take out Matthews borrowed crib so that the owners could have it back. I bought a different crib from a member of FVMOM and Scott was setting it up as I left for the some errands. Now, many or some or maybe none of you may be wondering why I'd bother getting a crib when the babies are 20 months old and why didn't I just put him in a toddler bed. Simple - its a control issue. Zoos have nice living areas for their animals, with adequate protection to keep them in their areas. Its the same way with toddlers and especially multiple toddlers. We also put up the crib tent so that the babies can't crawl out of their cribs, hurt themselves or wander around their room or around the house. The babies will stay in their cribs probably at least until they are three.

Keeping them in their cribs and especially in their rooms keeps them safe and lets me sleep in.

Just an update on Jacobs hands. Its after 10 p.m. and Scott just walked past Jacob's room. He was still up putting a puzzle together on his bed. Next to him he had his socks and Vaseline. He must really like his soft hands since he keeps doing this every night. He's my little metrosexual.

Looks can be deceiving

I took the kids to Sam's club today. I like that fact that they have double seater carts - or double wide carts- whatever. Matthew and Brooke sit facing me and John and Jacob sit in the cart. We got some food before we went shopping and then I'll go get another cart and just face the babies towards me and feed them.

The people that were behind us in line sat by us and were smiling at the babies. The lady remarked that the kids were so well behaved. I said thank you. Its nice to get compliments about your children and not these statements, "you've got your hands full! how do you do it? thank god its not me!" Whatever.
So now thats its dinner time, I gave the kids mixed vegetables first. It wasn't 10 seconds after all of them sat down that they ALL started throwing food. Brooke usually doesn't throw food. But they must have conspired against me and planned this as I was making their dinner. I pulled them away from the table and took video of them chanting, "Ball, ball, ball" Those &^$*(ing peas! So I cleaned up the mess and pushed them back to the table. Then I had to walk away... these are the days that either you get out the bottle and drink, go outside and scream, or go blog because you can't swear in front of the kids.

Christmas pictures

Here's a few more pictures from Christmas. As you can see Brooke likes to stand on presents/boxes. I've caught her today standing on her ride-on toys in the house. Maybe shes going to be a tight-rope walker.

There's a picture of our poor attempt at childproofing with boxes at Scott's parents house. They can climb over them, so we had to stack their highchairs right behind them so there was two layers that they'd have to climb over.
Matthew is just chilling with his raggies on Christmas Eve day.
The paparazzi got a picture of Brooke in the buff. She wasn't very happy and tried to kick the camera. She must have been watching video's of Tommy Lee and Sean Penn beating up photographers.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Back That Thang Up!

Back that Thang up! Baby won't you back that thang up!
After you back it up, then stopThen wha-wha-what, drop drop it like it's hotNow after you back it up, then stopNow, wha-wha-wha-what drop it like it's hotNow drop it like it's hot, drop drop it like it's hotC-M-B make you drop it like it's hotDrop it like it's hot, drop drop it like it's hotDrop it like it's hot, drop drop it like it's hotHa
I can't find my Gregg reference manual and I'm not sure when quoting a piece of work such as this by Juvenile that I should italicize it or put it in quotes.
And most people would think that I would blog about Christmas being its Christmas. Merry Christmas.
Back that Thang up was a theme for the last couple of days. First, if you've seen my kids lately (I did it again, called them kids) they have gotten really good at edging each other out because they use their behinds to move onto my lap and get the other little baby or babies out of it. So it goes like this - BEEP, BEEP, BEEP (sound of large vehicle in reverse) walking backwards with butt sticking out. Another baby? No problem, just sit on them or keep bumping up against mom before she finally makes room for you.
I think they have already mastered the art of defense. I can't wait to teach them how to dribble a ball and not just throw it.
Secondly, we got SO MANY presents that we almost had to get the trailer to haul them home. Jacob helped the babies open their presents. They were kind of interested in them, but Brooke was more helpful throwing the paper in the garbage bag, or my favorite, stepping on them. She must have thought they looked like steps.
At my Grandpa and Grandma Plamann's, Matthew was more interested in exploring the house. Only once did we find his hands in the garbage. John really wanted to be by me at first or someone else's lap later on. Nothing was broken, only a few crumbs were dropped. I'd call that outing a success.
However, today, Christmas Day we went over to Grandpa and Grandma Callaways. Well, for the first 15 minutes they didn't get into any mischief. But after that it kind of went downhill. Scott, Jake and his dad went to the hunting land quickly and left Kathy and I alone with the babies. Now, normally, I would suggest a one-on-one type defense against three curious and rambunctious monkeys in foreign territory. They turned the cable box on and off a few times, John broke a ceramic figurine (I think it can be glued), they found every open cabinet and just kept opening and closing them. John figured out how to get into the glass cabinet where the CD's and entertainment center is kept - twice. They figured out how to turn door knobs. So, it was a nice visit, but we went home after dinner.
While driving home, we went to look at lights. Matthew fell asleep right away because he was tired. Brooke fell asleep right before we got home. John was bright-eyed and bushy tailed like usual. He dropped him milk while we were driving and kept saying, "Ohoh,"pause,"ohoh,"pause, "ohoh" and it went on. During this Jacob was babbling and directing Scott towards houses that were lit up. After the 100th "ohoh", I finally went mad. I asked John to say something else - like dog, mom, cat, anything... It ACTUALLY WORKED! He said "mama" and stopped annoying the &*^% out of me. You may think I'm exaggerating, but I think 100 times is pretty accurate. And if you've met Jacob you know he talks ALOT. The apple never falls far from the tree!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Enough to share

Yesterday, I was at Barnes & Noble wrapping gifts with another lady from FVMOM. A young couple came up to us and got their gifts wrapped. They read our sign and asked us what we had. The other lady replied twins and I replied triplets and a 4 year old. The girl made some comment and the guy said something about the black market. I did a double take and didn't say anything. That comment would be funny if he were talking about drugs, bootleg CD's, etc... but not MY children.
I realize that I have enough to share, but I'm not going to give them away. I've loved them before I even knew that there were three. I loved them even more when I saw their hands and feet and faces on the ultrasound.
If this was a perfect world, I have a few friends that probably deserve to have babies before me. I'm not sure why I was blessed with four healthy children and they got none. Hopefully God will answer all our prayers some day!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Whats that?

Did you ever play the what's that game? You're in the refrigerator looking for the block cheese. You shove some food around and behind the Yogurt sticks you find this wrapped thing. Its in a Ziploc bag, so its smell has been preserved, but its turning colors. Morbid curiosity tells you to open the bag - smell what it is - but you resist. If you do open it, you'll probably gag and not want to eat the block cheese then.
The babies are into the "What's that" game, or when their NUKs in their mouth it sounds like, "Whaathaaa?" But its clearly a question. They have learned to raise their voices an octave at the end of a sentence to portray their never ending thirst for knowledge. We can look at the same book 100 times and I still get the same question. Page 1 of I SPY Christmas. "Whaathaa?" And I say, a bunny. They point to the next object and I say an angel. Next page, more pointing again, "Whaaathaaa?" What was it the last 100 times you asked? I think it was an apple! So now I've turned the tables on them! I ask them what the objects are. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Repetition is the way they learned. Then they should be potty trained by now.
Some cheery thoughts...
Jacob is 4 1/2 years old. The babies are 20 months.
We have probably gone through about 16,000 diapers with four children.
The babies drink about 25 to 27 gallons of whole milk a month, along with Jacob and mom's chocolate milk and 1% milk consumption of probably 8 to 10 gallons a month
I have given apprx 670 baths to the babies and 700 to Jacob. However, Scott and I have split Jacob's bath duties for awhile.
I say, "No" appx 65 times a day - to each child, and "do you need a kleenex" appx 10 times a day.

Happy Anniversary to my kitty cat Cosmo. I got her as a Christmas present 7 years ago today. She was about 6 months old and a beautiful little farm cat. I wish we could clone her...

Shriek - the sleepless chronicles

Last night, I stayed up late watching The 40 year old Virgin. I probably went to bed around 11:30, but wanted to finish the movie. Its a good movie, very funny and I can't believe some of the things that came out of their mouths!

So, I go to bed late and just as I'm falling asleep, John cries out. John is really good about finding his NUK, so he rarely wakes up. I open the door and there he is standing - Ohoh. He has his NUK in his mouth and his eyes are open. I change his diaper, lay him back down, cover him up and walk out. About 10 seconds later, I hear a cry I've never heard. Its a higher pitch shrill shriek that had to wake up the neighbors dog. I've never heard him cry at that intensity. So I know he won't go back to sleep and I go get him. I take him to bed to me and he just clings to me, shaking and shivering from being so upset. Its hard for me to fall asleep with the kids because I have to lay flat on my back and they make me really hot with their body heat. So after dozing for awhile, it seems John has calmed down and I put him back in his crib (and my bladder was full). So I put him back and I'm in the bathroom when I hear the same cry. So, I go get him again and we try sleeping again. I try not to look at the clock at night so I don't know how long I've been up, or how many hours of sleep I'm not getting. We both fell asleep for awhile and I put him back to bed. I know its after two a.m. since Scott is now home from work and that was when his shift ended. So, I'm tired today. And John is still clinging to me like a monkey's baby.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Socks are meant to go on your feet!

Only three more nights to Christ's birth. How very exciting for everyone! I still have a few presents to wrap, food to prepare, etc...
Jacob went fishing with Scott today again. They took my nephew Nick along too. Didn't catch a thing. (Scott's friend was on the ice yesterday and even with the warm weather there is still 8 inches of ice. )
They were home early because Jacob kept getting his gloves wet - all three pairs. His hands have been hurting because he doesn't always wear gloves. So for the last three nights we have been putting vasoline on his hands and then cover them with socks. And now he wants it on everynight.
Yesterday he brought up his favorite toy - Hotwheels and Matchbox cars - for the babies to play with! They love playing with them. Yesterday Brooke just kept bringing them over to me and Matthew and John played with them on the floor. They played with them for hours yesterday and today.
Tonight we went to the "Vegetable of Lights" in Oshkosh. My mom went with us since Scott was working. First of all, its raining cats & dogs here. Secondly its foggy. Shouldn't rain cancel out fog? Then about 1/2 the lights weren't working and I paid full price. Jacob enjoyed it, John stayed awake for it, but Brooke and Matthew did fall asleep. However they woke up when we stopped at McDonalds and they split a cheeseburger while Jacob had an ice cream cone and french fries. John had fallen asleep.
Jacob and I read Christmas books before he went to bed. His questions have stopped about heaven and dying ever since he watched All Dogs Go to Heaven. He really didn't like the movie, I think it was the mean dogs or cats in the movie. The probably better alternative would be to read a book about heaven - that's probably a better parenting choice.
Speaking of choices, why would anyone get a toddler (my children in particular) musical instrument(s). They are loud, noisy and loud and noisy! Why do some toymakers NOT put an off button on their toys, and what about volume control? I found the Sesame street line of toys doesn't have off or volume controls. I'm off my high-horse now...
I believe in the theory of "give a person a fish, they eat for the day, teach a person to fish and they can eat forever." So if my kids can use their "smarts" to get out of the baby gate, work their way over to the pots and pans and find lids to bang together, they just learned something. But the nice thing about today's gifts is that they usually come with gift receipts...

Friday, December 21, 2007

2.1 children

I just read yesterday that the fertility rates in the United States were on an upwards trend. Now the child rate is 2.1. Apparently it had fallen to under 2. Good thing that we are sustaining ourselves and that when its my turn for social security I may get a dime or two from the worker bees.
Now, this is the exact reason why I had four children (well, and God chose me to be their mother). Some day, I'm going to get old and someone has to take care of me. I try to remember this when my kids are crying in the middle of the night or they get up in the morning and I just lay in bed listening. SOME day, they may just leave me laying in my own mess while they try to get some extra beauty sleep. So, because I want them to have good memories of me, I do sometimes get up and rock them.

Matthew was crying tonight after about an hour of being asleep. For quite awhile now, it seems like he has nightmares or night terrors, or whatever they are called. You can usually tell by his cry that its more insistent than whiney. So I rocked him for the last 1/2 of General Hospital. Its the best thing in the world to be able to snuggle with your children. You feel needed, you feel physically close to someone, its just the best feeling.

Its one of the moments that you look around and know that everything is just the way it should be.

So I'm hoping that one or two of my four children will either a) live by me so they can take care of me b) let me live with them or c) at least call me to make sure that I'm alive every day.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Just give a little bit!

I'm all teary-eyed from reading a friends blog. She's a mother I met through FVMOM. She's got a 13 year old, Karly, that has a rare form of ovarian cancer. One in 80,000,000 get this type of cancer. That's basically less than 5 people in the good ole' U.S.A. She just got back from chemo at Children's in Milwaukee.
So today, I went and gave blood. I'm hoping to set up a blood drive at Karly's school in February too. I wish I could do more.

I can't imagine what this family is going through. And there are countless others out there that are not really enjoying their christmas. People grieving their loved ones, sickness, unemployment, financial stuff, etc... we really do need to stop whining about the little stuff and count our blessings.

Anyway, I really don't have much to end on. Jacob worked his stars back into the good area. So he may be going fishing again this weekend and also maybe Santa will bring him a little something this year.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

More wine please

Its six more nights to Christmas. Jacob has one star in the good area and four stars in the bad, sad, and sassy area. I'll give him one back tonight just because tomorrow is a fresh new day. I've threatened to take presents away, we've taken some of his favorite toys away, I've sent him to his room, and as of right now, he's not going ice fishing with daddy this weekend.

I had three, THREE!, glasses of wine by 6:30 tonight. I stopped there because it wasn't helping, so I made cheddar cheese popcorn with the pour-over cheddar. What drinking won't fix, eating will!

I can only imagine what stuff I pulled on my mother. And I bet underneath her breath she said, "just wait until you have kids". My pediatrician warned me that four was the worst of any age. I thought 2 1/2 years was a bad time. She's right, they are smarter, bigger and able to reason with you more.

On the other hand, Jacob today wanted me to get up the Christmas box of decorations. He decorated our whole lower level. He put the manger up, there are snowmen sitting on the top of the toilet in our bathroom, rudolph looks like hes going down the play slide, and I had to move a candle so I could use the mouse in the computer room. I know he's really excited for the holiday and then theres the whole break from school...

I got one (just one) of those plush character chairs from Walgreens yesterday for the babies because they only had one style - Dora. I brought it home and the babies were pushing and fighting over sitting in it. So, last night, I called all the Walgreens in the area and came up with two more. We now have a purple dora, a pink cinderella, and a light blue princess one. They are all happy to have their own chair.

Today at 10 a.m. I was still in my pajamas (and so was Jacob), the kitchen was not cleaned up from breakfast yet because Jacob and the monkeys were trying to unchild-proof the living room. Matthew got ahold of the Balmex and sat in my favorite chair, wiped it all over and then had some on his hands, but not in his mouth. Brooke tore a book and ate the paper. They opened the entertainment center probably 4 to 6 times before lunch and I don't know how many times they hit the buttons on the TV. What silly monkeys!

So on days like these, I go and look at them sleeping and know why I have the best job on earth! If you look closely at Jacob's wrist, he's sleeping with the camo bracelet he made!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

All Dogs go to Heaven

Today, while shopping at Walmart, Jacob said to me, " I wish daddy could stay home all day and you go to work." I know daddy is fun and has more creative play than mommy. But that still hurts. I took the high road and said, " I wish daddy could stay home all day with us too." I realize that with babies or even with one younger sibling, our play time has been cut to - almost nothing. But it does still hurt. At least the babies still like me over daddy.
Daddy keeps getting bit by John and then Matthew last night. I am not surprised that Matthew is passive aggressive, but I think John is just outright aggressive. Scott and I talked it over, since Matthew actually bit his toe through his sock, we theorized that Matthew actually thought it was his diaper rag. I've seen Matthew put socks in his mouth or anything that is clothlike and white.
The other topic that has been coming up a lot is death. Everytime we got by a cemetery, I hear, "Is this where I die? Are there dead people in there?" I tell him, "Thats where your body goes, but your soul or spirit goes to Heaven." And then I get the question, " What's heaven like?" And it goes on and on and on. So tonight I'm going to sit him down and we're watching "All Dogs go to Heaven." I think that will answer his questions adequately, I'm so glad Disney makes realistic movies that teach kids :) . We also have a children's book, "What's Heaven Like?" and we can read that too.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Wish list

Dear God:

I am blessed with beautiful healthy children. Thank you so much for all the gifts you have given us. I have a few things on my "wish" list. 1) Peas that aren't in the form of balls so that the babies don't think they should throw them. 2) An automatic shut-off button 3) A cat the would eat the scraps the babies do throw on the floor 4) more patience and 5) the ability to supersize me when I need to hold all three babies. Amen

Child proofing

I've learned quickly with one child how to child-proof a house successfully. But with three the same age, it can be quite difficult. The babies have access to two rooms, the living room and the dining room. I like to call it a gated community - others call it baby jail.
In these rooms, they have more toys than they know what to do with, there are couches, chairs, endtables, lamps and the entertainment center. The problem is that they have learned that if they work together, they can achieve anything. Teamwork is a four-letter word in my opinion. This summer we didn't want the kids to stand on the window seat and pound on the windows, so we put storage containers in front of the window with 40 lbs of weights in them. The babies quickly learned that if they pulled together, they could move these boxes. So I gave up and let them sit on the windowseat. I wish that was all they did, but they like to stand and pound on the windows. Some of the novelty of that has worn off, but days that they are feeling particularly bored or naughty, they do it again. The TV and entertainment center are another problem. There are buttons on the bottom of the TV and they can push them. I put cardboard over the buttons and then duct-taped it. That worked for a little while, but they learned that through patience and perseverance they can get that tape off. I did try one of those TV guards too. But one day I found it cracked and broken. I didn't want them to get hurt by pinching their fingers or cutting their hands with the crack, so I threw it away. The entertainment center. It doesn't have knobs on, its got magnetic closures. John learned last summer that if he bumps his head on the doors, they open. So I tape them shut. But again, with enough patience and lack of supervision, they can get those doors open. Another problem is that they like to unplug lamps. I've rearranged and rearranged furniture so that they can't get at the outlets and lamps, but only one is exposed. I'm guessing that between 5 to 8 times a day they unplug the lamp.

Now imagine taking them to other peoples houses. Most houses aren't child-proofed. I walk into a house and instantly my mom radar sees the following - sharp corner, sharp corner, paper on floor, plants, breakable object on table, tv, christmas tree, sharp corner, plant. Its a lot easier keeping one out of trouble, but three is near impossible. If they work together, one distracts while the other two find trouble and you just can't keep up with them.
We're going to my mother's for Christmas and luckily there will be enough people to (hopefully) keep them out of trouble. But she's got about 100 knicknacks and 20 plants.

Wish us luck!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A busy, busy day

Saturday I took the kids - I mean babies! over to my sisters house to decorate cookies. This has been a tradition to decorate cookies at Julie's house for quite awhile. I can remember each of my older nieces and nephew first times decorating sugar cookies. Its pretty special. And Julie plays Walt Disney Christmas music and also has the biggest kitchen in our family.

Before we went over, I put the kids down for a nap. Now, Matthew does fight his sleep and does cry for awhile before falling asleep. But unfortunately that day both Matthew and John cried for awhile and I eventually had to get them out of their cribs as Brooke slept peacefully. So off we go to Julies house with two kids that had no naps and we are going to let them in the proximity of frosting and sugar. GREAT COMBINATION! My brother-in-law Kelly took pictures as we decorated cookies.

As gender differences must dictate, Brooke was by far the neatest and daintly put her finger in the frosting to taste it. Her cookies looked quite nice. And as the Y Chromosomes must dictate, its a two handed race to mush frosting all over. John really wasn't interested in shaking the container, he wanted to touch the cookie and frosting and I feel sorry for anyone who gets his cookies. They look pretty sad. Now Matthew wanted to put the sprinkles container in his mouth and he also took his turn and smearing frosting all over.

As we were done with the cookies, we let the kids run all over Aunt Julies house. I admit I had a smile on my face because they could run and try and get into trouble at someone elses house and not mine. Matthew opened every single cabinet in the kitchen that he could. Brooke and John were more interested in running around and seeing what they could touch.

Jacob didn't participate in the cookie event this year because daddy and daddy's friends took him ice fishing on Lake Winneseptic - oops, Lake Winnebago. This was Jacob's first time ice fishing. Scott got an ice shanty so they could sit inside and jig and get out of the wind. Jacob had a great time fishing and last night and this morning asked to go again. I have to admit, one of my worst nightmares is to fall or break through the ice into the cold water. Just doesn't sound like a good way to go... So I was a little worried about letting my first born and my moneymaker go out on the ice. (As my sister-in-law would say, better put a life jacket on so we can find the your body for insurance purposes.) But Scott is respectful of ice and boundaries. You'll never see him walking out on a couple of inches of ice... so I cheerfully let them go and only called them twice. The ice was about 8 inches thick that day and they walked out...

Friday, December 14, 2007

Vegetable of lights

Tonight we went to see the "Vegetable of lights" in Oshkosh. This was our second time seeing it. Jacob loved it the first time and kept talking about it so we went back.
The first time I thought it was called Festival of Lights, but as we neared the entrance it was actually called Celebration of Lights. I told Jacob that and apparently he preferred "Vegetable of lights", which IS a catchier name.
Brooke fell asleep again before we even got down there. Matthew stayed awake this time until the ride home and John got to see the lights twice now.
The wait was longer than the actual drive through the park. And since Jacob has his Sunday school Christmas program on Sunday, we needed to practice his couple of songs. I put in the CD and told him we'd only practice once if he sang. He did sing here and there, but before the first song was done, he told me, "I need to rest my voice" and didn't sing anymore. I kept singing and told him to sing along to the CD, but he was done. (I'm sure Scott was willing him to sing just so he didn't have to hear me sing) This just proves the theory that love may be blind, but it is not deaf.

No need to call Keith's Haircenter for John. He's got more hair than any Callaway or Plamann children ever had! But whats the deal with his hair? Its always standing up, even as it gets longer. Its hard to tell, but hes even got himself a little rattail in the back. Now we never had a bloodtest done, but I don't think Billy Ray Cyrus was in town the fall of 2005...

Its got to be a recessive Gene.

Brooke is dressed in "boy" pajamas. Daddy got her dressed last night, and I'm guessing either a) he doesn't know where her pj's are b) her pjs weren't in her drawer or c) he felt that with her coloring she could wear the cooler colors.
We have to put her in pajamas that have that button over the zipper because otherwise she'll take off her pajamas.

Its a four year old thing

I'm "working" on the computer and Jacob is playing his games on the computer. He is playing Caillou kindergarten. Its driving me crazy because he picked the spanish version of the game and it reminds me of being in an international airport (its the announcers voice). "Buen Trabajo!" "Es Correcto" "Lo graste" "Puedo hasta blah, blah, blah" whatever. I ask him if he wants me to get the English version and he gives me a scathing look and states that he wanted to play that version. "You're wrong, I'm right." This sassiness has to stop. Guess what baby? I control whether Santa comes or not!!!
For those of you who have read my previous posts, Jacob has three stars currently with two being in the bad, sad, naughty and sassy area. He is a really big helper and is a very good big brother so I'm trying to play that part up.
He's going ice fishing tomorrow with daddy and one of daddy's friends and hes very excited. Scott and I told him he had to listen well today so he could go. But he told Scott last night that he doesn't know if he can go all day listening well. Its so HARD being four!
Jacob has show and tell each time he goes to school. We pick up another boy, Riley, and they always chat about what they brought for show and tell and what they are doing over the weekend. Well, Riley tells us that they go to hotels frequently and he says they are going to Wisconsin Dells. Jacob replied, "Mama and daddy went to a ho and tel last night." Which his last night can mean last week, yesterday, tomorrow,etc... (We actually got away last sunday). I laughed to myself because my friend Michelle's blog, who I met through the mother of multiples club, had stated that her 4 year old called it a ho and tell too. Jacob always tells Riley that he went fishing or that he has three babies. He tells EVERYONE that, even strangers.

Yesterday, the babies were watching a show quietly and I got sleepy so I laid my head down on the couch. This must mean, come jump on mama. So John came and sat by my feet. He was busy taking off my sandals. Brooke was trying to sit on top of my torso and jump. Matthew was on the floor next to the sofa and he took off with my shoes. So I figure if they can't see my face they'll leave me alone. I put my hood up, but my hair must have been sticking out. John came over and yanked, and I mean yanked, my hair. I sat him near my head, but he wasn't satisfied apparently because rearranged himself to sit on my head. Luckily I could breathe a little, but quickly moved him because I didn't want to smell his lunch. Finally, I laid him next to me to cuddle and he was still. Then I had Brooke sitting on me pulling up my shirt and pinching my back. She is a mean little thing. Matthew whined until I pulled him up and I sat him on my legs and he rode me like a pony. I am not suprised at all the bumps and bruises that I have...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

No more babies!

I caught myself twice today calling the babies kids instead of babies. Instead of saying, "the triplets need this or that, I ALWAYS say, the babies need this or that." The realization that they are closer to 2 than to 1 is very scary. I don't want them to get bigger. I love having babies (having them around, not HAVING them). The cuddling, looking at them sleeping in their cribs, the chubby cheeks, etc... The maternal instinct kicks in and I want more babies. But Dr. Acosta took care of that little issue during my C-section. He cut, tied and burned my fallopian tubes. Still, I have a 1 in about 500 chance that they will grow back. (I had a 1 in about 200 chance of having triplets too)

Its just hard knowing that these are my last babies. One side of me knows that a) Scott would move to Mexico if I hinted I wanted another child and b) we can't afford it. But on the otherhand there is nothing better than nursing and cuddling a little one. I love their sounds and smells. I guess the kids are going to be bathing in Johnson & Johnson for quite awhile yet.

About two years ago, on December 9th, 2005 at 2:45 p.m. Scott and I went in for an ultrasound because the Dr. thought I was measuring too big. I was 16 1/2 weeks at that point. The ultrasound tech smeared the goo all over my belly and she did that first initial swipe with the device. Even though the first swipe was probably only two to three seconds, I saw three heads on the screen very clearly. So a split second before she said, "I see three heads and I'm going to look for a fourth." I knew it. Its one of those situations I'll remember very clearly. I don't know if I said it outloud or thought it, but I said to myself, "you better not find a fourth" How scary is that? I don't believe in selective reduction. And I knew the chances of having three to full-term were slim to none... but four... almost none. And as Jacob says, "We get what we get and we don't throw a fit!" So I was praying for separate sacs and healthy children. Which if we fast-forward two years, we can see that they are very healthy.

So anyway, great memories, great experiences, but its all going too fast. I think I'm going to go crawl in bed with one of the babies. I'm sure the cribs can hold at least 150 to 200 pounds.
20 months and still growing!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

An Imp, a teddy and a bully

Years ago, when I was little my next door neighbor Jerry called me Imp and Beaner. Well, I can tell you that John is my Imp. He is just a little crazy and joyful at the same time. His teasing nature reminds me of my brother, however my mom assures me that my brother was a quiet child, so his rambucioniousness(sp) may be from me a or defunct Gene.

Brooke has been picking on Matthew, probably because he is so gentle he does't fight back. If he gets to close to her she'll push him away and inadvertantly (I hope) scratch his face from pinching him. Then when he starts crying she pats him on the back. When she does not get her way, she has "planned" temper tantrums. She looks back at the floor to make sure there is nothing there and then throws herself down.

My sweet little Matthew. If I could have ten of him I would. He is the first to laugh at Jacob's antics, he has the sweetest smile, and I've never seen him hit, bite or act out at the other kids. He is in a corner by himself building or playing rather than Brooke and John's silly antics with each other. He does interact with the other two babies, but just not as much as Brooke and John.

(Back story) When all three were in the NICU, Brooke and John used to turn to each other when they heard each other cry. I could tell right away that they were aware of each other and would be destined to be best buds. Matthew on the otherhand never reacted to the others crying. I think he would rather be an only child. Or at least born one at a time.

Although they can work together quite effectively when they want to. A few days ago I heard the TV go off from the other room. I walked in and saw that they had gotten the entertainment center open (which was duct taped shut) and were pushing at buttons and had pulled apart a manual for one of the boxes. So I scooted them out of the way, kept my back on the entertainment center until I could retape it and picked up the loose leaf paper. I put that back in the entertainment center, found the tape and retaped it back up. I must have knocked down the Gerber puffs when I did this, although I do not remember. But as I got done taping the entertainment center I noticed that Brooke had tape in her mouth and she was chewing it. So as I tried to grab her she ran away and I ran after her. I brought her back to the living room and found all the puffs on the floor with Matthew and John holding the container. I just had to laugh because what else can you do when they outstmart you. I swear they invented the game of Survivor - outplay, outsmart, outlast!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Baths are for babies

I'm up late because I forgot to make the stars for our "star system" which translates into, you be bad, sassy, or deaf to mama and you get a star taken away. You be good, kind, share and polite to others and you get a star. Jacob is getting quite wound up from all the hype of Christmas that I'm hoping this works to keep him grounded. We used it last year before Christmas and it worked well.

I told him tonight that Santa will still come and bring presents, but he may not get to play with them until he has all his stars on the wall. He cooperated while going to bed, so I've got my fingers crossed.

Tonight was bathnight for the babies. I don't really look forward to bathtime for one reason - poop. I never had to worry about Jacob "relaxing" too much in the tub. But these little munchkins are another story.
Starting at 10 months they all used to get baths together in the tub. They loved to splash in the water and crawl around. This continued for a few months until someone would poop in the tub and I'd have to try to grab all the kids quickly, dry them off, drain the tub, clean the tub, disinfect the tub and all the toys, keep the kids out of trouble in the bathroom while I did all this, and then start all over again. Seriously, this must have happened 5 times before I decided to give them baths one at a time and they are literally in and out in 2 minutes. No play time, no "relaxing" time. I feel bad because they all really love to splash and play in the water. And really John is the culprit... but in fairness to all the kids, I don't want to give two really long baths and John only a 2 minute bath. And what would I do with him anyway when I'm giving those long baths?
Funny story about John is that one day when all three babies were in the bathtub, I was rinsing Matthew and Brooke and John were in the front part of the tub. Brooke started screaming bloody murder like she had been stabbed in the eye. I turned to talk to her and comfort her and didn't see that John had pooped right away. Then I looked where she was pointing and grabbed all the kids out. But it reminded me of those old movies when the natives saw Godzilla or the monster he was fighting and were pointing and screaming. I guess we know she doesn't like messes.
(Backstory) A few weeks back when I got done with a shower, Jacob was yelling my name (Mom, not Jean) and I could hear crying. Well, it sounded more like whining and it didn't sound serious. So, I got dressed before I came running down the stairs. There was John hanging by his head and one arm from the back of the couch, pinned to the wall. He wasn't choking or anything, his head was the biggest piece of him and couldn't fit between the space. And what helped was his arm grasping the otherside of the couch too.
So, I just give short baths and I've learned to put diapers and onesies on, not just diapers. That's another story though.
Getting back to my original story about bathing is that I've also learned that its hard to keep three slippery babies where you want them. They try to stand, they try to get out of the tub, they try reach up and grab something and they could really hurt themselves. So, I play one-on-one defense with them. It works a little better.

No singing Mama

Jacob has learned so many neat songs from school and Sunday school.

There is one that he sings all the time, "My God is so GREAT, so strong and so mighty, there is nothing that He cannot do. My God is so GREAT (make a muscle), so strong (make a muscle with the other arm), and so mighty (Hulk Hogan pose). The Mountains are His (make a mountain with your arms) the rivers are His (act like you are swimming) and the Stars are his handwork too (reach for the stars). and repeat refrain...

Its really neat how much they learn and now half the songs they put actions to them. Probably to make them more fun. But Jacob tells me I don't sing it right and I'm not doing the actions like I'm supposed to so I've been banned from participating.

While some people know what a great singing voice I have (not really), its kind of hurtful that he has banned me from singing. Now I remember years ago in a performance review being told not to sing at work, but that was more constructive criticism. Or maybe my boss was really reaching for something because I was such a great employee. (Its funny how memories can be so one-sided)
Well, I'm hopeful that Jacob has a better voice than I have. But really, its the joy you get from singing, not the sound you make.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

15 days

Jacob has been counting down Christmas/Jesus's birthday since the stores put up their Christmas trees... so since September. I got him an advent calendar to help count down the days and now its only 15 days until Christmas.

I hope you enjoy my ramblings of what life is like with a 4 1/2 year old who is always right (I'm right and you're wrong) and three little monkeys who are 20 months old.

I'll get some pictures posted later. :)