Monday, June 29, 2009

Sisterhood Award

Annie at Santiago Twin Girls gave me a sisterhood award - thanks so much! She had on her blog also been tagged to play the Crazy 8's game. I wasn't tagged but decided to play along for fun anyway - cause I'm sure you're just dying to know more about me!

8 Things I'm Looking Forward To:

1. Spending 2 days at Luray Caverns with friends in 2 weeks.

2. Hanging out with friends over the summer.

3. Kaitlyn's 9th b-day in 20 days.

4. Grocery shopping - I'm weird but I LOVE couponing.

5. Writing more and finishing my novel (again - the re-write).

6. School starting in the fall - yes, already.

7. Going to my next writer's conference - hopefully soon.

8. Spending more time with my family - I love them all :)

8 Things I Did Yesterday:

1. Went to church in the morning.

2. Taught children's church.

3. Went to a writer's meeting.

4. Took Kaitlyn to VBS - Caleb didn't get a spot :(

5. Ate dinner at VBS.

6. Went to a member's meeting at church.

7. Went to CVS to get free paper towels - woo hoo!

8. Finally sat down to blog and watch a little TV.

8 Things I Wish I Could Do:

1. Finish my novel.

2. Get my brain in gear to finish my novel :)

3. Re-decorate the triplets room just for them.

4. Buy a larger house.

5. Organize my whole house top to bottom.

6. Decorate the family room.

7. Buy a whole new wardrobe.

8. Buy a brand new couch for the family room.

8 Shows I Watch (only 8?!):

1. CSI: Regular :), Miami and New York

2. Burn Notice

3. The Mentalist

4. Chuck

5. The Closer (over the summer)

6. Law & Order: Criminal Intent, SVU - sometimes the regular

7. Life

8. Lie to Me

- if you're sensing a theme you are correct! I love all things forensic :)

8 Favorite Fruits:

1. Watermelon

2. Apples

3. Bananas

4. Pears

5. Nectarines

6. Grapes

7. Oranges

8. Strawberries

8 Places I'd Like To Travel:

1. Colorado

2. Alaska

3. Australia

4. England

5. Russia (maybe to adopt a baby :) ).

6. Hawaii

7. Italy

8. Africa (maybe on a missions trips)

8 Places I've Lived:

1. New Jersey - my birthplace!

2. Pompano Beach, Florida

3. Oakland Park, Florida

4. Chipley, Florida

5. Campbellton, Florida

6. Hudson, Florida

7. Orlando, Florida

8. Northern Virginia

I'm not choosing who to give the award to but if you want to play along feel free and know that I appreciate my followers and my friends who comment - you are all my sisters :)

Pictures of the weekend soon - have to find my card reader. So my life - losing stuff. Although sometimes I wonder if it walks away by itself. Well, maybe not so much by itself - it has 3 little helpers!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Friday, June 26, 2009

Updates On Well, Everything...

Julianna got her stitches out today and she did very well! I am amazed at how well she did while the doctor was digging into her scalp!

As you can see a fall and stitches didn't slow her down one bit :)

Alyssa is about to graduate from speech therapy! Yea :) She's been talking a lot more which has been great. BUT (of course there's a but) she does this weird grunting thing and still talks in jargon a lot of the time.

So the speech therapist will come back a few more times and just see how she's progressing. However, tonight we were out and on the ride home I heard "mom?" from Julianna at least 12 times. I heard Rachel yell, Caleb ask for water and tattle on Julianna and Kaitlyn trying to be the go-between for everyone and it got me to thinking do I really want Alyssa to talk?! She was just sitting there looking out the window watching the world go by and in that moment I was sooo thankful that one of them (dear God, more next time!!) was quiet...

And toddler beds - has nothing to do with Rachel really but I'm posting a picture of her anyway!! Toddler beds, hmmm, night time is great (I know some of you are groaning) but they are. The girls still LOVE to be tucked in and run to their beds and jump in and stay there. So the transition has gone quite smoothly except (you were waiting for it weren't you?) for the mornings. They are up and running around a good hour before they used to be. I think they exhaust themselves!

Because they are up so much earlier they are cranky all morning long. Aagh! You bet they're ready for nap and I'm waking them up after 3 hours. Not that I'm complaining about that but why don't they just sleep normally? Of course this morning they were up at 6 which in my book isn't even morning so we told them to go back to bed and they did till 10:00!! I told you they were getting up too early. Little stinkers.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

How To Spend Less On Groceries

I normally don't cross over on blogs but I wrote this post recently on my Tightwads with Triplets blog and thought some of my readers here might enjoy it and benefit from it:

I was asked recently how to spend less on groceries. She's already couponing and she's using the Grocery Game but she wanted to know how you spend even less without going crazy - in other words, without shopping the sale at every single store, every single week.

I thought I would start at the beginning and answer the question whether you've been couponing a while or haven't even started.

1. Use coupons! Sounds simple but believe for a LONG time I didn't and I regret every second of that - what was I thinking??

2. Pick a method to help you coupon - DON'T reinvent the wheel. There really isn't a reason to sit down with 6 different sales ads and match and find your own coupons. Use The Grocery Game or use The Coupon Mom or read blogs - don't waste your time :)

3. Make a list - know what you need before you go so you don't make impulse buys (most of the time...)

4. STOCKPILE - this is probably THE most important thing. THE thing that has saved me the most money. But you must realize that this takes time. I have come across women who spend just $35 a week on groceries or even $800 a year. Truly I'm not sure how this is possible unless they don't buy milk which costs me at least $15 a week alone. That being said you have to start somewhere - add a few things on sale here and there but as you go you will realize that your list has less needs and more sale items which is the biggest way you will save money over time. As you continue to stockpile you will need less and spend less.

5. Set a budget - It may be your goal to spend $50 a week or less but you can't start there. At the beginning of the year I had hoped for $100 a week but just starting out that wasn't feasible so I adjusted it to $125. Now that I have been stockpiling for months I am able to spend less per week - down to around $100 or less. As the weeks progress I plan to challenge myself even more - to spend even less and use what I have but I can only do this because of my stockpile.

6. Set price points - I now have so much cereal that there's absolutely no reason why I need to spend more then $1.50 a box (generally less). I don't buy toothpaste unless it's $0.50 or less. I don't buy storage bags unless they are under $1.00 - usually around $0.70 or less. At this point I often ignore items that are over $2.00 and instead hone in on items that are less then $1.00 and stock up on those items. This keeps my costs down and my savings up.

For example: tonight I bought Aquafresh toothpaste at HT:

Original price: $3.11 each
On sale: buy 1 get one free
Coupon: $0.75 off one (S 6/21) - doubles to $1.50 - used 2 coupons
Final price for 2: $0.11

Clearly within my toothpaste price point so I buy it whether I need or not and store it until I do. Means next week if toothpaste is on sale buy one get one with no coupon it's not cheap enough for me to buy!

7. Go once a week - this way you will be able to shop the weekly deals. Shopping once a month means you will run out of more food faster, have to run back for things you need that may not be on sale. And even if you go off of a list there will things you need for the month that aren't on sale - items you could've saved money on if you had bought them when they were on sale a previous week.

8. Use CVS or other drug store that gives bucks back - I'm still learning this one but I'm getting better at it every week and do agree I should've started this sooner and stuck with it longer. This allows you to purchase drug items like shampoo/conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrushes, razors, pain relievers and even food for free or next to it.

Tonight I bought:

I spent: $6.89
And saved: $33.08 (after using my $14 ECB's I earned last week)
And earned: $18 in extra care bucks back!

The SoyJoy bars are actually a money maker:

They are on sale for $1.00
You can earn $4.00 for every 4 you buy (so free)
If you use a coupon from S 5/31 which is a buy one get one free coupon - you spend $1.00 less. I had 4 of these coupons so I spent $4.00 and earned $8.00 in ECBS!!

The Tylenol was free or $0.50

Tylenol extra strength tabs on sale for $3.99
Use coupon from R 4/5 $3.00/2
And earn: $2.00 ECB's back
Total price: $0.49 each

If you use the arthritis coupon from R 5/17 which is $2.00 off 1 then the Tylenol arthritis is free since you earn 2 ECB's back.

As for the rest of my groceries at Harris Teeter.

This is what I bought:

Not pictured: 4 gallons of milk (great sale!)

I spent: $56.36
And saved: $103.60
And earned: $4.00 off my next shopping order thanks to Kraft cheese

Best stock-up deal: Hefty Bags

Regular price: $2.59
Sale price: buy 1 get 1 free
I used various coupons from different places:
R 6/7 $1.00 off Fresh Extend bags
R 3/29 $0.55 off One Zip bags
R 5/17 $1.00 off One Zip bags

Cost for each bag:
Varied between: $0.20 to $0.30/box

I hope the tips help. Please let me know if you have any other savings tips you'd like to add!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Way Back When-esday: Julianna's Scars

While this doesn't really make my mid-week wonderful it was too appropriate to pass up after Monday night's "adventure".

Here is Julianna a year and a half ago with her first trip to the ER:

I guess nothing fazes her!

Play along at Twinfatuation.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Matching Scars

Some of you may remember Julianna's trip to the ER a while back - minor cut to her forehead and she still has the small scar to prove it. Tonight she got a matching and bigger scar on the back of her head.

Yea, great night - her 2nd ambulance trip on Kirk's lap. Fun!

While we were cooking dinner the kids were outside playing. Julianna was walking up the slide (something she's done and can do well) using the rope the big kids use. She lost her grip at the top and fell off holding the rope and hit the back of her head on the playground. There was a lot of blood and it was hard to tell how bad it was so I called 9-1-1.

It wasn't as bad as I first thought - I really thought she had a large wound on the base of her skull but it turns out she just had a decent size cut requiring 2 stitches on the back. I do have to add it's the first kids stitches in the family including Kaitlyn. Figures it would be Julianna!

As you can see - she was basically unaffected by the entire ordeal. Hey, she got alone time with mom and dad AND got 2 free popsicles! And she very much likes her new hospital gown. It's soft and "feels like a blankie" - she even wanted it back on after bath (no water over her wound). Rachel eyed her new gown jealously. I hope she isn't getting any ideas!


And after:

At least this scar will be hidden by her hair :) And needless to say the rope is coming down.

How'd you spend your Monday? We were planning to go to the park. Instead we ended up in the ER. Thank God this time it was for something very minor.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

Kirk and I have been together for 15 years! I can't believe it either. We started dating when I was just 17 years old - not even an adult; a baby. Not long after we started dating I saw an OB/GYN who told me that I would have a very hard time getting pregnant. She didn't say I would never but she didn't give me much hope nor did she tell me what was wrong (I don't ovulate).

But I remember leaving there feeling like less of a woman. Wondering what my future would hold and if I would ever hold a baby in my arms. And I was just 17!!

I remember returning home and telling Kirk what the doctor had said. I told him that I may never be able to bear his children and that if he wanted to leave me that I would understand. After all what good was I if I couldn't have children? Or so I thought.

He didn't leave me.

And at 19 he married me. While I did struggle having children - a lot, for 4 years - we did see the right doctors and by the grace of God had our first child, then another and then three more.

So, every Father's Day (and every Mother's Day) I am sooo grateful that we get a chance to celebrate. That I can actually look at my husband and tell him Happy Father's Day; that the man I love is the father of all of my children and that together we have 5!

Not zero, five.

God is good.

Of course I can't end without saying Happy Father's Day to my dad as well. Without him I wouldn't be here :) He is a wonderful dad and I love him very much.

I hope all of you Fathers have a wonderful day and are able to be thankful for and enjoy your children!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

After 6 Weeks, We Say Goodbye

After 6 great weeks with my parents they had to return to Florida. They live there so of course they had to go. Kirk and all the kids drove them to the airport and they arrived safely after a few hours on the plane.

We are all missing them already. We were out late tonight and when we arrived home Julianna realized that she hadn't seen Grandma or Grandpa for a while so she asked where they were. We try to tell her that they are back in Florida but in her normal fashion she says "I come too?" (this she says every time we put the van in park!).

I am glad they were able to spend so much time with their grandparents but it is so hard to explain to two-year-olds where people go when they aren't around!

Tomorrow it's back to reality - no extra hands :( You can bet my parents will be missed for months to come!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Life Article #1 - The Ripe Old Age of NINE?!

I've decided to try something new. I'm going to write a little bit maybe once a week - just what I'm thinking about or stressing about. This blog is mostly for me to remember what the kids were like and pictures are of course, the easiest way but often our feelings and frustrations can be forgotten.

The other day I was pondering how old Kaitlyn was getting. Maybe not old to some people but certainly "old" to me. A month from tomorrow my little baby will be 9! I can't even begin to believe it. Nine years ago now I was nearing the end of my first pregnancy. I couldn't believe I was actually going to have a child. It had taken us 4 years to get to that point and I still couldn't fathom actually holding my own child.

When I went into labor a few days early it all seemed so surreal and when I held my 7.11 pound baby girl life became perfect :) She was beautiful and she still is of course. Now the baby girl is a big girl and a big sister 4 times over. She's done with 3rd grade and she knows how to read and write.

But what I'm pondering now is how much can she do on her own? I have begun letting her go to the bathroom by herself when we are out. And walking around small stores (like the Dollar Store) by herself - down aisles where I can't see her. I'm letting her out of my line of sight for minutes at a time and just that little tiny bit is FREAKING me out.

I can't help it. I write suspense books - I kill people in my books so when I think of her leaving my site I think about the bad things that could happen. Am I nuts?

And now that she is going to be nine she can actually stay home alone for short periods of time! What? Are they nuts? Who wrote these rules? Clearly not parents of 9-year-olds girls! I'm not ready.

The good news? She's not ready either. I mentioned to her staying home alone and she was not into the idea. That's good right?

I may be slightly prepared to train a two-year-old toddler not to hit her sister or how to stay in bed or how to obey but I am not at all prepared for my oldest daughter to be on her own.

Not in the least. Dear God help me!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

What Can I Say? We Like Fish!

Although only Kirk likes to actually eat them we seem to enjoy going to see them alive and in person :) Yesterday we took another trip to an aquarium - this time to a much larger one in Baltimore.

I took hundreds of pictures - I'll share just a few that I really like. Sorry no slideshow - I'm still borrowing other computers as my laptop screen still is not working and I just haven't had a chance to get it fixed. Hopefully soon :)

And I realize now that I didn't take many pictures inside the aquarium - so no pictures of the big sharks :( I love the big tank at the aquarium - it is really cool!

Does it scare anyone else to know just how many fish there are that are larger then my children??!!

The kids love to look at the fish...

In the bird and rainforest area -

On to the dolphin show -

All the kids really liked the dolphin show though Rachel seemed more interested in "reading" the aquarium map:

Kaitlyn thought she might like to train dolphins when she got older - I think that would be great if that's what she wants to do.

I loved any time the dolphins came out of the water - so beautiful!

Then Kirk took my dad and the big kids on a tour of an old boat and a submarine - sorry, I don't know much about either. My mom and I kept the girls who amused themselves by petting a Great Dane. I wish I had pictures of that - the dog was as big as me! But the girls seemed to like him - except Alyssa who would pet him and then run away. As I talked to the dog's owners we couldn't decide who got more attention - the triplets or the Great Dane. She wished for a sign to drape over the dog to answer all the questions people ask. Glad to know I'm not the only one who gets asked so many questions :)

Walking along the harbor:

What attracted more attention then anything else - I think it's the wagon because when they were loose no one noticed but when we had them in the wagon people would point and take random pictures. What do you suppose they do with those pictures anyway??

After all the activities we went to dinner and then let the kids play on a big boat propellor turned playground? At least my kids seemed to think so!

All in all we had a good day and I'm glad that this time Kirk got to join us. Unfortunately this time there was no fish petting which made Julianna very sad who on the whole ride to the aquarium kept asking if she could pet the sharks!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Toddler Beds: So Far So Good

I can't believe it! The girls are all about their new beds. When we got in on Friday night at midnight no less they were bouncing off the walls. They were jumping in and jumping out - they even picked their own beds without a fuss. Kirk had not already assigned beds so they got to do the choosing and they've been quite happy with their choices thus far.

At night they are going down just as well as ever. Right now it's hard to tell if it's because they are totally exhausted (I'm still recovering from Friday's trip) or if they are just good about going to bed. The last 2 mornings though they've been up and running free which makes me nervous. That's what I'm more worried about - we'll see how that goes.

During naps I am still seperating then - putting two in pack and plays in other rooms and allowing one of them to sleep in their room on their new beds alone. So far that is going well though I can only imagine the disaster that would ensue if I put all three girls in the room together for nap. For some reason they just will NOT nap/rest together at nap even though they are quite fine with it during the night. What is up with that?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Happy Birthday Kirk!

Will post more later but wanted to wish my wonderful husband a very happy birthday! We made it safely home last night at around 11:30 and were able to spend the day with Kirk/daddy on his birthday.

Pictures and more coming soon. Right now I'm too exhausted to post more.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thanksgiving Thursday

I had to participate this week since I have much to be thankful for and I felt listing it out would be the easiest way to share :)

1. I'm so thankful that I was able to come with all 5 kids to Florida for 5 weeks.

2. I'm thankful that my parents watched the kids while Kirk and I went to Colorado.

3. I'm very thankful that all of the kids were safe in the pool - no one drowned, no one got hurt. This is always just an enormous blessing.

4. I get to see my husband tomorrow for the first time in 3 weeks! I know it may not be a long time to some people but it is a long time for me and I'm excited to be back home with him. The kids haven't seen him in 4 weeks. They haven't been too concerned. Julianna just says "daddy at work" and every once in a while Alyssa will come up to me, rub my arm and say "daddy be back". I think she's trying to comfort me and herself :) I know they will all be thrilled to see him again.

5. I'm glad my parents are driving me back and staying with me in VA for another week so at least I don't have to say goodbye tomorrow. How does 5 weeks go so fast?

6. I'm thankful for all the work Kirk has done while I've been gone. It may not be everything he had hoped but I know he's gotten a lot done and worked very hard on the house and I appreciate it.

7. For my parents and my brothers and my sister-in-law and the friends I have here in Florida - just the chance to see them again has been wonderful.

What I'm not so thankful for is the fact that tonight is the girl's last night in beds that have sides. Oh my word I'm not ready!! Today I put them all together for nap so I could pack and the results were nothing short of nightmarish. They just talked and talked and fought and traded and whined. When I came in to get them up Alyssa was out of her bed and running around and Julianna was just about to follow her. I can only imagine the damage and destruction that awaits me by next week.

And of course it's always sad to say goodbye to my parent's house. At least not my parents yet but it's goodbye to the private pool which we all miss and summer's barely even started!!

So, if you think of it please pray for us as we travel from FL to VA (about 900 miles) in one day with five kids and 3 adults all in one van. And somehow we manage to fit!!

Want to play along?


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Way Back When-esday - Three Years Back

Three years ago yesterday I was 13 weeks pregnant with triplets. We had just started the blog to document our crazy journey. This is me at 16 weeks pregnant with the girls - though I didn't know they were all girls just yet.

And this is me just three short weeks later at 19 weeks. Wow! I grew fast. I can't believe I've been blogging about these girls for 3 years. It feels like decades since we first heard the word "triplets" and I was sure that it wouldn't actually happen to me. Even as the doctor showed me those three little heartbeats I couldn't believe it would actually happen to me.

Now, just three short years later I can't imagine my life without a single one of them. These are the good changes in life :)

Play along at Twinfatuation.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Little Mommy

You're guessing Kaitlyn but you would be wrong. Julianna is the "little mommy" - she tells everyone what to do and make sure that everyone is okay. She lives up to her role as the oldest triplet.

She was a mom for only 10 seconds before she asked me to babysit!

She even had a blanket for her baby. Got it out of her bed and covered the baby doll up in her carseat.

Even without the doll she's still a mommy to her sisters. She tells them when to go to sleep and when to wake up. I have heard her say (repeatedly) at night, "Rachel shhh" and in the morning, "Rachel, wake up!"

If they cry she makes sure they are comforted. When Rachel throws a temper tantrum Julianna will quickly go to her and say "okay, okay, okay" and give her whatever it is. How do you teach a two-year-old not to spoil or give in to her two-year-old sister?

And of course if she knows the rules she makes sure her sisters do too - I'm in so much trouble! Although if I did ever have another baby I probably wouldn't have to do much :) Julianna would gladly take over!