Monday, March 30, 2009

*70.3 = 1.2 mi swim + 56 mi bike + 13.1 mi run

* My sister Beth just called to ask what the heck the title of my post was supposed to mean. Here I am acting all cool writing out just "70.3" which is the technical term used to describe a 1/2 Iron Man triathlon. When in reality - I just learned what 70.3 meant a few days ago. I'm sure I'd have my cowbell confiscated if anyone ever found out that I forgot to take off my bike helmet before I went running.*

** For those of you with bloglines, or whatever program you use to read this blog, don't you love how I've re-posted this same entry over 10 times today, due to various edits?? Charlie read it once and had to correct several of my inaccuracies. Then one of my friends called. Then my sister called. Then Charlie re-read it and had more to say. Next time, I'm having him write the post.**

Before I dive in to this post about my husband's triathlon yesterday, I want to make it clear that I'm not planning to make my website private. I've already been down that road and have decided against it. Today, I received several e-mails from people who are really concerned that I might be heading in that direction. Rest assured, I'm not.

The purpose of my post the other day, in addition to pointing out once again that there are some cRaZiEs in this world, is to let people who read this blog know that I purchased my own domain and at some point, hopefully soon, I'll be creating what I hope to be a better website.

That's it. No more, no less.

We good?

Okay then!

Speaking of crazies in the world... how crazy do you have to be to get out of a warm bed at 5:30 in the morning and intentionally go jump in to a 57 degree ocean with HUGE swells and a massive current alongside 200 other crazies men?

The triathlon that Charlie competed in yesterday, pitted my husband and his fellow relay team members alongside real live Navy Seals. In my opinion, Navy Seals are the baddest of the bad ass when it comes to physical fitness.

From the website: This triathlon is the only "grassroots" race that features a cold ocean and surf swim, the discipline and endurance of a windy bike ride and the mind-bending harassment of a soft sand and pavement run.

Charlie's leg of the race was to swim 1.2 miles in the open ocean, with huge rolling swells and a water temperature of 57 degrees. He completed his part in just over 30 minutes.

And while that was impressive, it was even more impressive seeing the man that was carried down to the water at the start of the swim - and back to the transition area when he was finished with his swim - because he was a paraplegic.

Can you see him back there with his arms over the guys in yellow shirts? I would have snapped off a better picture but a millisecond after this photo was taken, I was nicely asked to move out of the transition zone. Something about my big old stroller and four small children and busload of gear was blocking the athletes from getting their bicycles. Apparently, they aren't concerned with me capturing the best photos I can for this blog.

When Charlie was out of the water, he secured the race chip to our neighbor, Tom, who then furiously set off on a 56-mile bike ride that he completed in just under two and a half hours.

Tom is an ANIMAL on a bike. He maintained a pace of approximately 25 miles per hour, with a monster head wind. He passed every single person on the course except for four of the elite athletes. Here he is grabbing a water bottle from the team's relay runner, Carl. Poor Carl had to jump out of the way before he was mowed over by the guys that were trying to keep up with Tom.

And while that was pretty impressive, it wasn't quite as impressive as the paraplegic that used his arms to propel his body for 56-miles in the most horizontal recumbent-style bicycle I've ever seen.

We set up camp and remained on an overpass for the entire time it took Tom to ride his bike four times up and down the silver strand of Coronado Island.

I packed enough food to feed a small army which was fortuitous because the cool breeze from the ocean, the over cast day, and the salt air made our children ravenous. To the point that they never stopped eating. The entire two hours we sat on that bridge.

The only break they took from eating was when they crawled on to their father's lap for a nap - or crashed out in the stroller.

Meanwhile, I stood at the apex of the bridge and rang a cowbell as hard as I could for everyone that was peddling up the hill, while shouting "DIG! DIG! DIG!! FEEL THE BURN!! YOU CAN DO IT!!!"

I'd never rung a cowbell at a race before. But I think I might have found my new calling in life. I can honestly say that it was one of the funnest things I've ever done.

Everyone needs to go buy a cowbell and stand on the side of a road and ring it for absolute strangers who are competing in a race. The tired looks of appreciation - heartfelt smiles - and screams of THANKS!! - that I received from hundreds of people were awesome. Seriously. Go buy yourself a cowbell and then find out when the next race will be in your town.

When Tom finished his bicycle leg, he rendezvoused with the team's relay runner in the transition area.

The timing chip was strapped to Carl's ankle and then he took off to run a half marathon, the majority of which was in sand. And seeing as the tide came in while he was running, he had to run on soft sand at a slope - or - in the surf. At no point did I wish I was out there. Infact, all along, I happily rang my cowbell and thought, "Thank God I'm NOT out there!!"

Carl is a fast runner and was only passed by a couple people.

Including this guy from Kenya.

We stayed on the beach for the entire one hour and forty minutes that it took Carl to complete the course. And while we sat there, it was awesome to watch all of the athletes who had flown in from all over the world, participate in this grueling race.

There were a lot of people that were there as part of a team. It warmed my heart to see that there was an entire team from MD Anderson Hospital in Houston, Texas. This is the very hospital where my friend, Deana, is currently undergoing treatment for her aggressive form of lymphoma.

From what I gathered in talking with people manning the tent, the athletes for the team are comprised largely of cancer survivors, who had been treated at MD Anderson. Yeah. If you could see just how fast these people were moving, I don't think that the "treatment" that they received was limited only to cancer.

Bionic body parts, anyone?

Just seeing these people who had defeated cancer out on this extreme terrain made me smile.

This guy made me smile, too.

I loved his jersey that read, "This One's For You, Mom!"

Once Carl was in the homestretch, we pushed our stroller through deep sand to the Finish Line. Our stroller that was buried under three guys duffle bags, water bottles, towels, a diaper bag and a wetsuit. This stroller brings new meaning to the word "Sag Wagon."



This was the first time I'd ever been to a finish line so soon after the start of a race. Considering I'm usually IN the race and among the LAST to arrive at the end.

Soon after arriving at the finish line, we learned that Charlie's relay team was in 17th place out of the 270 participants. In fact, his relay team won second place in their age category. They beat last years first place winning team by 37 minutes and they might have won first place this year if not for a guy who ran a half marathon in sand in an hour and five minutes.

And while it was extremely impressive that these three men raced a total of 70.3 miles in just over four hours, I was amazed by the paraplegic who completed the entire race by himself.

Once we found out that Charlie's team had won an award, we decided to stick around for the ceremony. By the time they finally got around to announcing the second place winner of the race, at least four hours had passed since the race had been over. During that time we collected all kinds of fun souvenirs.

Like a J├Ągermeister beach ball.

I'm sure this will be a huge hit at our church picnic.

But at the end of the long day, the guys collected their trophies and had the opportunity to meet the Admiral and shake his hand.

On our way back to the parking lot, Charlie and his team members were talking about how they all needed massages. Of course I couldn't bite my tongue before I blurted out that I had a tougher work out than all three of them combined.

Think of it!

I got four small children up and dressed and fed and out of the house before 6:30 AM, and then I had to RUN with a double stroller full of four kids from a parking lot one mile away to the start of the race. And then, I spent the next nine hours moving from one event to the next with my cheery group.

Do you know what I think when I look at this picture?

Someone needs more COWBELL!!

something else to keep me awake at night

Seeing as I was up at 5:30 this morning with the monumental task of getting three sleeping children up, dressed, fed and out of the house with one hand, because I was holding one fussy child with a runny nose with the other hand, I was just about to go to bed.

But then I checked the comments on my last post and now I can't go to bed without first jotting down a few thoughts.

I am not planning on deleting all of my previous postings. But, I am planning on deleting the blogspot address once I get my new website up and running and all of my archives successfully migrated. I have no idea how long that will take - but ultimately - that is my plan. For all I know, it might be five weeks from now.

Or, five years.

Hopefully, sooner than later, it is also part of my plan to delete my Photobucket account once I identify the pictures I want to keep and then transfer those photos to Flickr.

The reason I am doing all of this isn't because of some crazy knee jerk reaction where I feel like I need to keep our children safe from the dangers of the internet. I've already weighed what I perceive to be "the dangers" of the internet very carefully, and these changes I'm making aren't (entirely) about that.

The primary reason I am making the change is because I will have more flexibility with a website than I do with a blog. And by moving our photos to Flickr, not only will they appear better in blog postings, but I feel like I will be more capable of protecting them. As in, they won't be grabbed and uploaded to random websites.

I think that people who read this blog because they clicked through from a friend's blog, or from an internet picture, or they typed in key words for a recipe, or how to trigger labor, or how to potty train triplets, or where are some amazing trips, or - anything for that matter that would in no way be perceived as perverted, is great. Awesome, even!

Welcome to our family blog!

This is my life!

But for anyone who thinks that I am over reacting because my pictures are being "publicly viewed" you are mistaken. I really have no problem, at all whatsoever, with people looking at my photos. If I didn't want people looking at my photos, I never would have started a blog.

Or at a minimum, I never would have made the blog public.

But now here's a question for you.

Do you have, or have you ever had, children?

Do you have a website that can be publicly accessed?

Do you post pictures of your children to your website?

Do you have any kind of statistics meter that shows how people arrive to your website?

Are you able to see that there are "visitors" who arrive at your website and look at photos of YOUR children, after having typed in to some search engine key words such as, "Pictures of little k:ds in underwear", or "Pictures of n-a-k-e-d little g:rls / b0ys"?

Does this - or would this - bother you?

Maybe it wouldn't bother you. Perhaps you think it's harmless, enough.

But it bothers me. It bothers me that some individual came to my family blog and pictures of my children are filling their eyes and mind, even if for a split second. It bothers me to the point that I feel like throwing up and then hitting any "visitor" that arrives to our family blog in that manner squarely in the knee caps with a baseball bat.

My gut feeling tells me that anyone who types those "key" words in to an internet search engine, has a perverted motive. No, it doesn't happen a lot. Not even once a day. It happens very, very rarely. But it does happen. And when it does, I see it and I am bothered.

You know what else bothers me??

Over the past few weeks, I've done some research into internet advertising. As I was doing a little fact finding in to the world of blog monetization, I discovered that there are some websites out there, that pull in well over a million dollars per year in advertisements.

For a brief moment I imagined that it was possible. For a fleeting moment, I had visions of outstanding prize contests! Think of the money that we could raise for research! Think of the good that this would do! Think of the lives that would be saved!!

But. Oh. I did a little more research. And guess what the top-earning websites (primarily) are?

Here's a clue.

Approximately 70% of people look at these websites, more men than women, in the privacy of their own homes and there are 12 step programs in place to help people who feel like they've become addicted to this type of 'viewing material'.

Did you know that p0rn websites attract over 72 million visits a month? And seriously, that number sounds low. I wouldn't be at all surprised if it was 72 million a day. It's everywhere and these websites rake in millions of dollars. Because people are looking at them ad nauseam and advertisers know this.

Sure, I've heard about the exploitation of young women and children, but it's not at the front of my mind. It was a Dateline or 60-Minute Special I caught a few years ago that haunted me for several weeks and gradually faded away. But now as a mother, I see things differently and I've never in my entire life felt so hopeless for the absolute sins of humanity.

P0rn is one awful thing. But then there is a whole nuther level of twisted thinking and actions and lifestyles that just boggles the (healthy) mind.

In the very brief period of time that I was pulled in to that demented "world" I couldn't help but wonder, how is this possible? How can people do the things that they do? How can they have so little value for themselves or for human life? Or so little value for any life, for that matter??

Some of the things that I found on the internet during the course of my research, made me want to immediately construct a rocket and launch myself in to the cosmos. Because as much as I would love to help nurture our environment and the world in which we live, I felt so overwhelmed by the evilness of it, that I would rather spend the rest of my life - and have my children spend the rest of their lives - orbiting the earth than share a planet with some of the sickos that are out there.

Strong words, I know. And I feel rotten writing them out. I feel rotten that I'm not actively doing something to help raise money for some of the charities that exist to save the victims that one day might turn in to perpetrators if they're not helped, themselves.

So I think it's important to add that I do pray for these people. I pray for the sick and twisted beings that prey on vulnerable children and people that are desperate.

My prayer usually goes something like this, "Dear God. Please channel love, healing and positive energy from our universe in to those people whose hearts and minds are corrupted. Until then, please God, keep them away from my precious family. Amen."

And while you're at it ... could you please make chocolate stop tasting so good.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

while it's on my mind...

This past week, I decided to purchase my own domain.

I made this decision for a few reasons. The first reason is that eventually, I plan to expand what I can do with this site and as awesome as blogger has been, I feel like I'm limited.

The other reason I am making the change is because at some point in the near (?) future, I plan to delete the blogspot address as well as our Photobucket account that stores all of our historic photos. I'm convinced it will take me some time before I can delete either of the accounts, especially since I have over 8,000 pictures uploaded to Photobucket that I'll need to move.

So, why am I doing this?

Let's just say there are some very creepy internet searches that lead people here. And although my sense might be totally erroneous, I'll feel more secure with a new web address and my photos in Flickr.

Now, this isn't creepy, per se, but would you believe that this photo of me 20 weeks pregnant with the triplets is the most commonly viewed picture on the entire blog with over 300 views per day?


Followed by this picture of me on "couch rest" with the triplets that is viewed around 25 times a day?

Personally, I thought for sure this picture would be the most commonly viewed ... seeing as it's one of the best Santa photos, ever. But it's not. No one ever looks at this picture. Am I twisted to think that it's hysterical??

Even now, I laugh every time I look at it.

For the time being, our blog can still be accessed via www.amazingtrips.blogspot.com. But once I figure out how I want my website to be set up, and then, once I find someone who actually has a clue about how to design a website, and then, once I can find some additional time every day to make all of this happen, you'll be able to find us at www.theamazingtrips.com.

Actually, you can find us at www.theamazingtrips.com right now.

This very instant.


And in case anyone is curious, the reason I deleted the "Followers" widget is because it was linked to blogspot and an error message showed up when I switched domains.

Honestly? I never really liked that widget in the first place. It would always make me feel terribly self conscious whenever I noticed that I was losing followers. Try as I might, I couldn't help but think that my blog is lame and/or I gravely offended someone. So, don't be surprised if that widget never makes a comeback.

I need to be who I am.


*******

So, why is it that the writers of one of the greatest children's movies of all time, a movie that has impacted people across several generations, a movie that is funny and touching and heroic, why is it that the writers of this movie would opt to name one of the main characters Woody?

Especially when they know that figurines of this character will be made up that children 'round the world will undoubtedly want to own?

Why on God's green earth, would they choose the name Woody?

Do they not realize just how horrified parents will be when they are standing in a crowded store and their four-year-old son starts screaming at the top of his lungs that people are touching his Woody and that they'll hurt his Woody? STOP PULLING MY WOODY!!

And anyone who visits your home will be told by your child how much he loves his Woody?

And would they like to hold his Woody?

And for Halloween, he wants to be a BIG WOODY!

Why not ... Cowboy Carl?

WHY?


*******

Speaking of Woody...

The other day Charlie told me about one of his co-workers who recently had a vasectomy. Apparently, when his co-worker spotted a coupon in the paper that offered 25% off, he decided that it was too good of a deal to pass up. Especially since included in the "package" was a voucher for a free buffet.

I kid you not.

So, he cut out the coupon, drove to the doctor's office and had the procedure completed the same day. And then, he got a free LUNCH!

I'm all about saving a buck. But I think if I was a man, I'd probably just go on ahead and pay full price for something like that.

What about you?

(Isn't it swell that I wrote this post the same day that I announced my new website address?? Good going, Jen. I can only imagine what kind of hits I'll get now with, "Big Woody costume for Halloween.")

Friday, March 27, 2009

favorite thing friday

While we are on the subject of banana muffins ... for as long as I can remember, I have genuinely enjoyed baking with our children.

What? Delusional? Who ME?

And except for those occasions when the recipe only calls for two eggs - and I have three highly willing and able egg crackers - I'm convinced that the children have genuinely enjoyed baking with me.

Sure, it took a little time for me to get past the excessive use of ingredients and slight mess that is inevitably triggered whenever you invite young children in to your "work zone" but I have quickly realized that little kids love to help participate in the cooking process.

And the more you allow your children to help participate, the better they get at helping participating. Or, perhaps the more numb you become to the disaster that is created.

Regardless of the case, we do a lot of baking at our house and at least once a week we will whip up a batch of blueberry, banana or corn muffins.

A few years ago, I realized that whenever I would make up a batch of standard-sized muffins, we always had a lot of waste because the kids could never consume an entire muffin. Yet, everyone always wanted their own muffin and apparently, it is a cardinal sin against humanity to cut a muffin in half.

While out shopping one day, I stumbled upon some mini muffin trays and immediately realized that these miniature sized muffin tins were the perfect solution to my excess-muffin-that-I-would-always-wind-up-eating dilemma. Since the muffins were at least half the size of a standard muffin, they were the perfect size for small children. I would no longer have half eaten muffins laying around that I would feel obligated to eat. So not only was I managing our muffin resources better, I had found a simple cure to my rapidly expanding muffin-top!

We have two of these pans, which hold 24 mini muffins, each. Of course it depends on how large (or small) you make your muffins, but two pans (or one pan that is washed and reused) will typically works out to approximately one batch of batter.
Although they are marketed as nonstick, I still give them a quick pass with a nonstick spray. I actually have looked for mini muffin liners and had never been able to find any - until today when I spotted some on Amazon and have added them to my store.

Mini muffins. We love them.

Not only are they the perfect size for children, they are just right for adults (particularly those who are in denial about a marathon they are due to run in less than eight weeks), who find it helps to cope when they eat little cupcakes by the hand full.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

heaven's kitchen

We tend to play a lot of games whenever we take a ride in the car.

There's the always popular, "I Spy." Followed by, "I'm thinking of an animal..."

For this game, we will describe without fully giving away, any animal that comes to mind. For example, "I'm thinking of an animal that is grey and white and lives in Eucalyptus trees in Australia." Whoever answers "koala" first, gets to go next.

One of the games that I recently started playing with the children has to do with distinguishing between what is naturally occurring and what is man-made. I've explained to the children that anything that is naturally occurring is something that is made by God. Anything that is man-made is something that is made by people.

Simple enough.


Today on the car ride home from swimming lessons, Carolyn initiated the game by asking, "Who made airplanes? People or God?" William and Elizabeth both shouted, "People!"

Convinced that he answered first, William went next. "OK girls. Who made clouds? People or God?" Elizabeth piped up, "People!" And William laughed, "Nooo. How would people get up there in the sky? They would fall down!"

While Elizabeth took a break to eat a handful of animal crackers, I jumped in next.

My question was, "Who made ... strawberries?!"

The children hesitated before I heard shouts of "People!"

Suspecting that this might confuse them a bit, I explained that strawberries are the fruit of a plant and a plant is something that occurs naturally. Although, when we go to the store and we buy a box of strawberries, the box is something that is made by people. People pick the strawberries to put in the box, but the actual strawberries, are made by God.

I could tell Elizabeth thought about that for a moment before she asked, "Who makes ... BANANA MUFFINS?!" Carolyn and William both hesitated before responding, "Uh. God?"

Elizabeth shot back, "No! Mommy makes banana muffins!!" Then she added very matter-of-factly, "God can't make banana muffins." She sounded so sure of herself that I asked, "Why can't God make banana muffins, sweetheart?" And she replied, "Because he doesn't have an OVEN!"

Edited to Add: This afternoon, while I was continuing my violent collapse from trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle baking my all time favorite treat, I thought about my four-year-olds logic. Although she may be spot on, it certainly begs the question, who then came up with O'Henry bars?

They really are heavenly.


And after some discussion with various family members, the majority consensus is that they need to be baked for 12 minutes as opposed to 10. If they stick to the pan > make sure you are using enough Karo Syrup. Did I mention that the Oxo Good Grips Pastry Scraper is ideal for getting them out of the pan and directly in to your mouth as expeditiously and cleanly as possible?

At least I think that's what my sister ... burp! ... told me.

what's in you wednesday

This is going to be a brutally honest post.

I. Am. A. Big. CHICKEN.

I went running two weeks ago this coming Saturday. Before the run, a sports nutritionist addressed our team of 100 members. She stressed the importance of adequate fueling and hydration on the longer runs. Everyone was directed to drink plenty of fluids - and we were told to consume some kind of fuel, like a Power Gel, every 45 minutes.

Following the nutrition instruction, we were led through some stretches and then, we all set off on a 12-mile run.

After I had completed two miles, my legs from the knees down were completely asleep. I stopped and peeled off the brand new compression socks that I had bought, took off my shoes, rubbed my feet for a few minutes, put my compression socks and shoes back on, and took off running again.

Fifty. Maybe one hundred yards later, I couldn't feel my feet again.

So I decided to walk. And walk. And whenever I would start to run, my feet would promptly fall back to sleep, so I would walk. And walk. Apparently, I sipped a lot of water while I walked. Not because I was particularly thirsty, but because I was holding a bottle of water in my hand and at some point, I noticed that I had unconsciously consumed the entire thing.

Although I had been off to a great start and had been keeping up with the more seasoned runners, soon I began to fall back. Eventually, I was passed by every single person on my team. Even the three women who announced to the group that it is their goal to lose over 400 pounds across the three of them.

Because I had been doing so well with my hydration, it was just a matter of time before I had to use a restroom. That immediate feeling of my bladder about to EXPLODE, hit me suddenly, when I was at the five-mile mark.

Our course had taken us along the boardwalk at the beach and a quick check of my surroundings made me realize that there was no where to stop. There were no bathrooms within the immediate vicinity and when I looked at the course map, I realized that my closest bet was at least a mile ahead. So, I did what any rational woman who has birthed four children would do. I started looking for a big sand dune to hide behind.

But when I couldn't find one, I jumped off the boardwalk and started desperately trotting up surface streets. Was there a port-a-potty somewhere?? Do I knock on someone's door?? Do I squat in someone's flower bed?? Do I drench myself and then go jump in the ocean??

All of these thoughts crossed my mind.


Ultimately, I decided to back track to one of the aid stations where I had seen a restroom.

Ultimately, I decided to keep back tracking to the starting point and the team barbecue that was scheduled to begin in ... 20 minutes.

Ultimately, I only completed eight miles. Of which approximately six were walked.

But ultimately, I decided that that was good enough.


Since that time, my workouts have been seriously sub par. Of course I could provide a host of good reasons why I haven't managed to go to the gym more than twice and hit the pavement only once. The situation with my dad has been tough. Work has been extremely busy. The kids have all been sick and I've wanted to spend as much time with them as possible. And my feet fall asleep when I run. And running more than three miles really hurts.

Unlike laying on the couch and eating a bag of potato chips.

The one time I went out running with Charlie, Elizabeth was yelling in to her megaphone, "Daddy! Wait up!! Don't leave us!! Mommy is sloooooow!!!"

My mother thinks that I am out of my mind to even attempt a marathon. Every time I talk with her on the phone she tells me that I'm crazy. "The heck with that! People aren't meant to run for 26 miles. People who are LACTATING aren't meant to run for 26 miles. You've given birth to four children in the past four years. You are CRAZY to be running 26 miles. CRAZY. I think that you should run one mile and then jump on a train to the finish line. Jen, no one will ever know."

I couldn't believe my ears.


My very own mother was suggesting that I pull a Rosie Ruiz.

Which, seeing as I haven't worked out for more than two hours since my twelve eight-mile jaunt where I dang near wet myself, I'm beginning to think her suggestion might not be a bad idea.

That's right.

I'm contemplating cheating at my first marathon. But I don't want to get to the end too fast. So perhaps I'll stop and have a beer or two. Or maybe a hot fudge brownie sundae.

And then I'll dump a gallon of water over my head and run across the finish with my arms over my head.

So, um. How are you doing with your goals?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

henry the octopus

Soon after our triplets began talking, I realized that the theories I had heard about girls speaking sooner and with more clarity than boys, was erroneous.


At least in our case.

In our home, William was talking up a blue streak before his sisters were able to string a sentence together. Even now, he is the primary "talker" in the group. Whenever we sit down to dinner, or take a drive in the car - William will give a running commentary on anything and everything that comes to mind.

Unless he is sleeping ... he is talking.

And talking.

And talking.

And whenever I don't understand something that the girls are trying to tell me, I'll ask William to translate. Because although I may not understand what my girls are attempting to tell me, their triplet brother always does.

When the kids had their four-year checkup in October, our pediatrician commented that there was a notable difference in the linguistic ability between our children. I told him about my observations and I added that although I wasn't overly concerned, I did think that perhaps an evaluation by a speech therapist might be necessary. I then added that I love to hear the girls babble on because I think they sound adorable. But I want to be certain that any language delays, are diagnosed sooner than later.

Our pediatrician made a referral and this past month the girls had their first speech therapy evaluation. (It took that long to get them in.)

Carolyn had a few issues with pronunciation. But for the most part, the therapist believed that with time, her language skills will mature. Elizabeth on the other hand, had some significant issues with articulation and various letter combinations.

St.

Th.

Ch.

Co.

And any combination where the word "R" is involved.

Once a week for the next several weeks, we will bring Elizabeth in for a speech therapy session. And we've been instructed to work on various phrases and words at home.

The other morning while I was working with Elizabeth, I noticed that Henry was reciting back everything that I said to his sister. So I picked up my video camera and filmed this clip. (And even though I've watched it 20 times, it still cracks me up. Especially the "Heh?" mid way through.)



Something tells me it's just a matter of time before he is out talking his big brother.

profile of a sleeping baby

Henry doesn't like to sleep too much.

I suspect it's because he's afraid he'll miss something.

Even though he's only 20-months, he really thinks that he's a four-year-old. So if the other kids don't need to lay down and sleep, why should he?

I've crowed enough that when the triplets were his age, they were sleeping 12+ hours at night and taking solid two-hour naps during the day.

Boy oh boy did I think that I was a MASTER for getting a baby to sleep.

You got sleep problems?

You come see me. I'll straighten you out in no time flat.


And then...

I had a singleton.

Who I breastfed on demand and who I cannot stand to hear cry.

And well...

All of my sure-fire tricks for getting a baby to sleep tanked.

I think it borders on hilarious that I was such an expert at sleep training triplets and yet I can't get one little baby to sleep all night to save my life.

But this much I do know: when my little firecracker does finally fall to sleep, I am absolutely lost in the perfection of his features. I am positively swept away by how miraculous his existence is and how the feeling of tranquility that washes over me is similar to what I imagine Heaven to be. And then, I'll usually whisper to anyone within ear shot that if they so much as make a peep to disturb his slumber, I'll choke them with my own two hands.

OK. Seriously? I do put Henry in to his crib at night when he is awake and he is learning to go to sleep on his own. And his nap times are getting better - but not by much. And for the most part, he will sleep from 8 at night until 5 in the morning before waking up to be nursed. And then, he'll usually go back to sleep for another two hours or so, with me - in our bed. And I do know what it takes to get him to sleep all night. I'm just not willing to subject him - or the rest of our household - to it.

Every so often, I will nurse him to sleep. And when I do, I will hold him and gaze at his adorable features. Like his nose. A perfect little button.


There's his forehead freckle that he's had since he was a tiny infant.


There are his gorgeous eyelashes, that are not adequately captured in this photo but truly seem to go on forever.

There's his little mouth and baby soft lips. And when he falls in to a peaceful sleep, one of the highlights of my life is holding him and listening to his gentle breathing.


His perfect ears. And his adorable little side burns.

And then there's his neck. Oh, that little neck with chub rolls. I kiss that neck a hundred times a day if I kiss it once. I blow raspberries in to it at every single opportunity. Or at least every time I change his diaper and whenever I pick him up. Or put him down.

Or he toddles past me.

Or he is standing on the other side of the room, totally unaware of my presence until I scoop him up and kiss him until he squeals with laughter.


And then there are his chubby little hands which open up, whenever he is completely relaxed.

I'm sorry.

Henry, did you have a question?

Yes, as a matter of fact, it does seem that the best opportunity I have for knitting is when all the children are asleep.

Infact, last night when you feel asleep on my lap, I just about finished the baby blanket that I had started back in January.

I plan to post how to "cast-off" later this week. Which might come as a relief to anyone who has been knitting since my last lesson in early February and is wondering how to end their 20-foot scarf.