Saturday, August 16, 2014

No Diapers, No Highchairs, Holy cow….. Pop goes Em

Hello Karlie blog followers. I hope all of you have been having an amazing summer. I know I am not the person who is usually writing so again welcome from the ghost writer Ken. Karlie’s other half (I will not say better half as she is raising our three unbelievable children- Hey I am their dad/husband so please give me a little room to boast.)  I wanted to jump in as the summer has flown by quicker than spring did. What happened to time slowing down?  Can someone tell Father Time to wind down the watch a bit please?

Ultimately that is what my post is about: Just when you think you are catching up you realize how fast things are going by.

Year one Tired Parents two days after coming back - Excited Kids
Last month we had a few big changes going on in the House of the “Tripl-lets” (as my sister’s kids like to call Em ,Nola, and Attie). We started down the crazy train of potty training and eating at a table. Let me tell you every blog is right about potty training. When you read what it’s going to be like during and right after Potty training – why they hell would any sane man or woman do it.  Constantly asking when the three of them are going to poop or pee, cleaning endless underwear, rolling up rugs ( yep really) and the best…… carrying around a port-o-john with you everywhere.

Seriously, we thought about giving up multiple times – 2nd day in became shot day after the kids went to bed. We contemplated -- was it so bad to see them graduate with adult diapers? Maybe there were advantages -- never having to leave a concert to go the bathroom and adult diapers are great for long road trips. You can see the imagination was working. Lucky for us, on the 3 day the clouds broke and Attie and Nola were going on the potty. The next week we went a whole week with just 2 accidents.

Meghan (our savior and nanny - whom we couldn’t rave about more) came in like a savant baby whisperer and with the help of Karlie got them all on track.  Today I can say that we are no longer buying diapers. OK, not big for people who don’t have kids – but with triplets – we were elated to see those expensive cases of diapers become a thing of the past.  Yes, our laundry has increased quite a bit to compensate – but we will take a small victory lap.

We have occasional flare-ups, and hey every once in while a kid gets stuck in a potty- yeah it happens when you’re in a restaurant ( Ray’s in Rye, N.H.- almost had a full-time meltdown as  Em fell in and got stuck in the toilet for a few minutes. I was freaking out- pacing like a mad man. We were both about to start crying before I gathered myself and found some calm. Surprisingly, I told him to hold his breath and like two new teammates in the potty marathon- we worked together to pop him out. (He was out and I was happy and did not care how many wipes I had to use to clean him up.)
Home Of Em's De-corking

The following week we got rid of the high chairs and our new kitchen seems wider, but at the same time melancholy that the highchairs are gone. Maybe it is just me, wondering where my little babies have already gone.  Like the new Mohawk we gave Attie,
we are off to new adventures, but I will miss the diapers and highchair days a bit. Father time can you slow down a bit…. maybe just a little.

On a different note- we lost my aunt Gerry last month. She was a wonderful woman, who was there for every birthday and every celebration growing up. One of those people in our lives that provides the glue that keeps us all moving forward. She was a big fan of the Triplets and we will miss her greatly. Gerry I hope you are beating  Pop and Will in Cards up there. We miss you.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Under Construction

It  has been ages since I updated this blog – AGES! It most definitely had something to do with this never-ending winter (I love winter – but c’mon this one was a real pain in the ass)  and the fact that our house has been undergoing renovations since the beginning of November – roughly 5 months – but it feels more like a 100.

It’s exhausting having different people in and out of your house on a daily basis. It’s like Grand Central – and I just want to it to be over.

The good news is – we finally have the kitchen we always wanted and an almost finished hangout for the adults, which is a den/library space.

But with three toddlers running around – let’s be honest – there’s no such thing as a totally adult space in this house.

And speaking of those little sweet peas… they are getting HUGE! In the last few months they shed any baby fat they had left – and are now lean and mean little machines.  The chatting is non-stop. They all have full sentences now and love to put each other in time out.

“You, time out, 2 minutes, OK!”

That’s a favorite quote from my Attie. He’s my force to be reckoned with. His latest obsessions include brushing his teeth, flicking the lights on and off and closing and opening all doors everywhere we go. Of course when he does open a door he likes to close it real fast and bolt. He’s constantly keeping us on our toes.

Nola Grace and Em are definitely a little tamer – although they too have their little obsessions. Brushing their teeth is right up there as well (I’m sure the bubblegum toothpaste has something to do with it!) --- And she’s just starting to pick out what she wants to wear. I hear a lot of “No Mommy” when I try to dress in her in something she doesn’t approve of. I can imagine it will only get worse from here.

Emmie has been working hard at being a true gentleman. Says a lot of please and thank you’s and you’re welcomes. The other two do as well… but Em has got it down pat. As polite as he is, my big man definitely has a little temper, which is what gets him sent to “time out” more than anything else.

Other highlights and low-lights from the past few months:
  • Calling poison control after Nola Grace climbed out of her pack n’ play during nap time and tore through our bathroom. She unearthed some old bottle of aspirin that had a crack in the bottom. (We had no idea it was in there). I literally almost had a heart attack when I saw white pills on the floor.  Fortunately, she he didn’t take any – and much as it scared the S*** out of me – it was a good lesson learned: NEVER UNDERESTIMATE WHAT A TODDLER CAN FIND OR CLIMB!
  • The three of them constantly scheming and working together to get what they want – mostly to escape from their room! It’s such a bummer when they learn how to climb out of their cribs.
  • Mommy-and-Me class will be no more after Wednesday. The three amigos start a “kids only” class the first week in April. That means pre-school is on the radar for the fall.  I can’t believe it – what happened to my toothless, pudgy little babies!
  • They love to dance and hold hands while singing the theme song to Barney. Yes, they go crazy over that (sometimes annoying) big purple dinosaur.  It’s the sweetest sight to see them all hugging.
  • They’re obsession over apple juice has hit a new high. I think I should start investing in the Honest Kids Juice line.
  • I should also start investing in Maderma Scar Gel because Attie has dings all over his forehead and nose from being such a wild man! ( see photo below)
  • Watching each of them develop into such unique individuals. Yes, they’re all distinctly different– yet there’s no denying the truly amazing connection they share. It’s gotta be that “multiple” thing!                 
And as exhausting as motherhood can be at times - I’m just happy to have a front row seat to the show!

Speaking of obsessions – this is my latest: The Madsen Bucket Bike. I need to save my pennies (a lot of them) for this sweet ride!

That bucket has seating for 4 kiddos. I need one!

Attie's latest boo boo after climbing on our new metal stools.

A taste of spring - and our crazy dog Blue!

And here's the new kitchen. Finally!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Toddlers, a Crazy Dog and a New Kitchen

It’s been way too long since I've blogged – but I have some pretty good excuses. Three toddlers who just turned two – and as a lot of you know– this age is challenging to say the least. I also have an off-the-wall nine-month old French Mastiff – and if you don’t know what that means – think of a toddler that weighs almost 100 pounds! Oh, and he likes to nip at me because apparently he thinks it’s funny. His favorite spot is my butt (I’m not kidding!)

And… I decided this would be the best time to undertake my dream kitchen. Not a big deal except my house is a dust bowl and I may have taken on a BIT too much.

I’m not complaining (OK, maybe I am a little bit). But mostly, I’m over the moon about my new kitchen and my nippy dog and my three ridiculously cute, loving and sweet toddlers… But yikes… life can be overwhelming sometimes.

I never really imagined or realized toddlers could be so energy-sucking and (soul-sucking). Yes, I love every bit of them. But wow… they’re a handful. And why is it that they NEVER want to listen these days!!?? We started two-minute “time-outs” on the red couch in their playroom. They work sometimes and sometimes not. Let’s be honest. My kids, who are so cute, know it, and know how to use it. They flash a smile, blow a kiss, and think they can get away with anything – especially my little guy Attie. He's such a little monster when he wants to be!

My dad once stood across from me at our dinner table as we were struggling to have kids and said:

“I know it’s heartbreaking you can’t have kids right now, but what’s even more heartbreaking is having them. They will bring you to your highest highs and your lowest lows. Save yourself some sleep and some premature wrinkles and don’t have them… Or have them like me and your mother and know no greater joy.”

Those words aren't the exact ones my father, Gus, Spoke to me so many years ago – but close to it. They resonate with me now – just as they did back then.

Life is absolutely overwhelming, but at the same time, it can be so beautiful.

And now that I’m a parent, just like Gus said, I know no greater joy.

PS... updated pictures of the kids and the kitchen coming soon.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Then and Now... One Year After Passing Embassy

It blows my mind that one year ago today -- we officially... officially (in the eyes of the U.S. Government) became a family. Even though, I know Ken and I felt like a family long before that day. 

It happened the instant we laid eyes on our kiddos and got to hold them for the first time. It's amazing how much they have grown -- really all of us -- have grown since our two trips to Ethiopia.... which inspired me to a little stroll down memory lane.

That's right... check us out... then and now.

Our first sleepover at Horizon House (with AuntieWendy) after passing Embassy.

Our group photo with the wonderful staff at HH after the coffee ceremony.
An emotional farewell during our last few moments at HH. 

The long plane ride home.

And now... here's the trio one year later!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Summer Trips and the Beginning of Tantrums

Where did the summer go? For us, it went by in a blur of two family beach vacations, road trips and one quick jaunt to London and Paris for some old-fashioned adult time.

Speaking of that trip, I am in full detox mode after binging on gastropub food, French baguettes, cheese, cheese and more cheese, and of course plenty of vino and spirits. I think I still have traces of foie gras and escargot in my system from our indulgent dinner at the famous Chez L'Ami Louis. (Thank you Marc and Bill for surprising us with that amazing trip!)

And while it was refreshing and incredibly fun to get away – I have to admit – I really missed my babies. OK, they are definitely not babies anymore. Honestly, they are huge and I could swear they grew in the 5 days while we were away. And yes, they were in the expert hands of our lovely nanny Meghan, but still, it was a long time to be away from them.

My big reward was picking them up the morning after we got home and snuggling with them in bed. Their giggles and squeals were music to my ears. But let’s be honest. That perfection lasted for about 30 minutes – and then full toddlerhood was upon me X’s 3!

Yes, the terrible twos are here. My sweet, sweet Emerson now has quite a temper. His younger brother Atticus not so much, but he loves to swipe everything and in the process land a few jabs here and there on his brother and sister. Don’t feel bad for Em or Nola Grace though. They give it right back to him in the form of tiny toy airplanes and cars crash landing on his head. And then the crocodile tears come flooding in after that.

And that was just in the first hour or so after our sweet snuggle time. Throw in the mix our 6-month-old puppy Blue, and I had quite a long first day home. Let’s just say a glass of red wine was in order after I fed all four of them dinner that night.

How is it that their personalities change overnight? “Sweet Emerson” turning into “Stubborn Emerson.” I really don’t want to be one of those moms dragging their toddler out of a store because they are in full tantrum mode. I mean, Em is not even close to that, but he’s showing signs. He’s showing his independence. We have this book, “The Happiest Toddler on the Block” that I pick up every once in a while, and in it, they have quite a section devoted to dealing with tantrums.

First off, they say tantrums are “normal but avoidable.” Tantrums “push our buttons” (yes they do!). And they say to stop a tantrum in under a minute, “connect with respect” (get down on their level), and if that doesn’t work, use “kind ignoring.”

Now, I am brand new at all of this. I have no idea if any of that will work on my kiddos. I will definitely try and see if these things will help. But, what do other moms out there think? Any tips to tame tantrums? I would love to hear them.

Honestly, I think this is just the universe (via my mom and dad) getting back at me for all of the shenanigans I pulled when I was little. I’ve been told I was quite a terror. Oh the stories my parents could tell you. But look at how good I turned out!

I guess it all works out in the end.

And in between all the tantrums and craziness, you take some much needed adult time, drink some really good wine and indulge in some delicious food. At least that’s my plan for now.

Until next time, here are some of the beautiful photos my photographer friend, Susan Baker, took at the beginning of the summer.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

35 Minutes to Spare...

I have 35 minutes to spare before I have to get my little munchkins up from their nap – although they are not so little anymore. Full–blown toddlerhood is upon us!

Running in all different directions. Going up and down the stairs. Climbing up and over EVERYTHING. Climbing out of highchairs. (Thankfully not climbing out of cribs yet!) Self-feeding, which is always a festive time in our kitchen, although the cleanup that follows is not so great. Talking, talking, talking – and more talking.

My big man Emerson is like a little parrot who repeats everything that comes out of our mouths (hence the swear diet that my husband and I desperately need to go on). Case in point, Em recently said the infamous word that rhymes with truck. To fess up, that word happens to come out of my mouth on occasion (or more) when our nearly 5-month old pup, Blue, uses my legs like a chew toy. My husband likes to joke that he must love my blood. Little vamp!

And it’s so fun to see my peanuts not only repeat words… but point at something and know exactly what they’re talking about. Phone, shoes, teeth, knees, car, elbow, puppy, toes (Em loves to pull on our toes).  We’ve also been counting a lot, doing our primary colors and of course animal noises. I love to see their little minds in motion.

My Attie talks like a machine, although most of the time it’s in his own language. I’m dying to know what’s going through his mind when he’s jabbering on because he is so intense when he says stuff. And he loves to wag his tiny little index finger while doing so. As far as moving around…watch out when he wants something.

He’s crazy quick and will plow over one of his toys (or his brother and sister) if he sees an object that catches his eye. He’s also becomes a little bit of a barnacle lately. Squeezes really hard and cries like a madman when I put him in the playroom for a minute while I run up to get the other two. Don’t get me wrong. I love the LOVE.

Smack in the middle is Nola Grace taking it all in. As I’ve said in the past, she’s so observant. My little girl doesn’t miss a thing. And like Attie, she too likes to wave her little index finger and say “No, no, no.” when the boys are doing something they aren’t supposed to do. It’s nice having a little back up from my pint-sized mama. She’s not as talkative as Em or Attie, but I think it’s because she’s a little stubborn – or maybe it’s just because she’s a girl.

They are all growing like weeds – so much so – that we got our first family photos taken a few weeks back, so we can capture these moments. Let’s be honest, before I know it – they will be going off to pre-school, kindergarten and then first grade.

Our talented friend and neighbor, Susan Baker, took the photos and I can’t wait to see them. I will share a few when I get the digital copies back.

These hot summer days have been flying by, and next week we head to the beach for a week in NH. I’ve been plotting at night about how I can get their choo-choo to fit in the Jeep so I can tote them around in it. So far, I’m not so confident I will be able to pull that off.

We’ll see though. I’m pretty persistent when I want something.

We’re staying at these little cottages overlooking the Isles of Shoals, which is an absolutely beautiful vista. And it’s not just us. We have lots of friends and family staying there that week as well. So it should be a blast. One of many summer vacations to come.

We’ll fiercely be missing one very dear person to all of us. But it’s too early and painful for me to talk about that right now. In time, I will.

Until then, we will enjoy the hazy, hot and humid days of July and relish in all things that is love and family. I hope you are having an amazing summer as well. Ciao!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Note From My Husband on Father's Day

Ahh- at the wheel at last. Greetings & Salutation, fellow Karlie Bloggers and the internet masses. Karlie has given me the reigns for one day on her blog. Please beware you have been warned for those of you who want to continue to read. I am sure she is hoping for some truly mindful insights that I might be able to espouse, but I think that bar might be a bit too high for this fat headed Canadian French guy.                    

All kidding aside as we approach our first father’s day here in Warwick.  A day that up until last year, I never thought would happen. Yeah, yeah we went through the motions of trying and other multiple paths to having a family, but internally I had crossed it off the list. The only thing I was getting good at over the last few years was masturbating in doctor closets (a story for another time) and playing PiƱata with Karlie’s poor butt with needles. Let’s all be honest here in blog land, when you keep betting on black and the big guy keeps throwing you red, sooner or later you need to move on.   As we all know, we got lucky and the next roll he gave us three in one shot.  Who says God does not have a sense of humor.

This brings us back now to the present where I have three amazing bambinos and a superstar of a wife/partner.   We sit here on the cusp of another Father’s Day. A Day of long rides back home( for some of us), Bad Barbecues, Unusual Tie gifts and always one family member trying to peddle a birthday card for Dad because CVS sold out of real Father’s day card that morning ( you know who you are) . Here we are fellow reader, on the day I become a proud participant of the Father’s day clan tradition.  How will I embrace the holiday? With closet ready for bad ties and handmade ash trays or maybe a handful of Zantac for bad father’s day meals…Hmmm. No, I have decided to make it a personal thanksgiving day. No not that type of thanksgiving with the big Macy’s day parade and enough turkey to feed ten towns. A day for me to personally call and thank all of the amazing people who have gotten me to this point in my life. Okay you knew there was going to be a little sap in this. It is my first Father's

I am extremely lucky person, with almost everything in my life. I am not saying I do not work hard to keep that luck rolling but I have had some good luck come my way.  I am also graced to come from a long stock of great dads. While some of my ilk maybe be light on words to express their feeling, their actions around what it means to be a Dad were demonstrated every day in my life. No cliff notes needed , just Dad deeds ( like working two jobs to provide income for the family or listening to hair brained ideas that other people would have locked you up about) done every day for over 40 years.  It raised the bar for me on “Dadhood”, but gave me a strong base to build on. Again I am lucky to have the AAA of Dad’s. If you look him up in the dictionary or phone book there he is first on the page, Marcel Man of the Month, Father of the year for the last 40 years.  An impressive track record for a man with a weird laugh, terrible dance moves and a beard, but trust me he does the hard work that goes into it...

This in no way takes away from my Mother who like salt and pepper made perfect bookend parents. I Again I hit the jackpot  with a woman that can shoot you guilt through her eye lids , but remembers to call you and tell you how much she loves you when it seems like the world is taking a shit on you. For that matter I stuck gold with my sisters and the rest of my clan, we all have some weirdness but in general they are all amazing people and I am fortunate to have been raised by them.  They have all showed me what it is to be a great person and a great dad. I owe them all.

How could I forget my amazing wife and owner of this blog. If there has been a person who has shaped me almost as much as my family it would be my wife. She is my rock. Plus any woman that lets you  stick needle in her, travels half way around the world listening to your stupid jokes, and does not kill you has to win some type of award.

Last I promise, thank you  is to my children. It is hard for me to write this without getting slightly emotional.  There is a true joy that I never knew existed that comes when my kids smile and laugh with me.  I am often told we saved our children by people when we are out, but I always tell them the truth they saved me.  Thank you Atticus, Nola Grace and Emerson for letting me be your dad.

Thanks and Happy Father’s day.