Road Trippin’

In August, the Strumolo Clan took their annual trip to Maine, and this year, Henry, Jack, and Sophie came along! So how does one make it to from New York to Maine with a trio of toddlers? A road trip, of course!

Gearing up for the trip. A little treadmill work, some free weights. You know, the typical morning routine.

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This is us on the way there.

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Mostly we were happy.

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Sometimes we were not.

8:00 am: Equipped with everybody’s special animal (Dog for Henry, gray Milo and orange Milo for Jack, and Monk (a monkey, not a religious ascetic) for Sophie), a pop-up play yard, loads of snacks, and a few other tricks up our sleeve, we headed off after breakfast.

9:00 am First Stop: Bradley International Airport to pick up Grammie (who was dropping off a car for Uncle Andrew)

9:15 am: Second Stop: Dunkin’ Donuts

11:30 am: Third Stop: Park in Lowell, Massachusetts

This was our first real stop. The first time everybody got out of the car. Lunch time. We had packed a lunch for the trio, so we popped up our play yard, and set to work changing diapers and sharing sweet potatoes.

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12:15 pm: Back to the car with a quick stop to pick up gas and lunch for the grown-ups, and we were back on the road. The traffic was terrible.

5:15 pm Fourth Stop: Rest Area, Hampden, Maine

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Ten and a half hours, two (real) stops, one (minor) bout of car sickness, several episodes of “Big Block Singsong,” and two boxes of teething biscuits later, we arrived.

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2015-08-15 18.34.03 Dinner in Winter Harbor

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We had so much fun while we were there. Hiking, swimming, kayaking (sort of), and running about the house playing with Grammie, Nonno, our Strumolo aunts and uncles, and of course, PHEOBE!!

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Waiting at the gate for PHEOBEEEE!!!

Hiking

Hiking certainly took on a new meaning with three toddlers to strap to our backs. Thank goodness for Aunt Addie! And for some “easy” hikes up Flying Mountain and around (well out and back along the edge of) Jordan Pond. It wasn’t that long ago that Will, Lizzie, and I hiked all 27 peaks in Acadia National Park, often tackling more than one mountain per day. Our physical limits seem to have changed a bit since then!

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Off roading with Grammie and Aunt Addie

JOPOHO (a.k.a. Jordan Pond House)

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That time we almost ran out of gas on our way back from Jordan Pond.    

Other Adventures

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2015-08-16 16.51.11 Checking out one of the playgrounds nearby.

Echo Lake

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Falling asleep on the way back from playground hopping.

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Hide and Seek. Can you see me?

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Less effective hiding.

Our version of kayaking:

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A week later, we were packed up and ready to head back to NYC. Home sweet homes. 11 hours, 1 (pretty major) car sickness episode, one stop at Red Rooster, another two boxes of teething biscuits, and the same four episodes of “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” played on repeat, and we were home at the end of a long and wonderful summer.

Almost home:

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Ok, so I know some people are wondering how we tackled the long road trip, so here are a few of our tips.

How did we do it?

Well, we had a little help from our friend, the iPad.

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These kiddos have never watched TV, and the only two things they knew the iPad was capable of were FaceTime with family and DJing their favorite toddler tunes. Novelty goes a long way with toddlers. And “Big Block Singsong” and “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.” Henry, Jack, and Sophie were mesmerized for a good hour at a time, and Jack kept saying, “Hi!” to the characters on the screen.

Snacks also played a key role. During her waking hours, Sophie maintained a constant refrain of, “Wah Wah!” which means, “I want!” with her hand outstretched above her head seeking a biscuit from me. If they never see another banana-mango teething biscuit again, it would probably be okay.

Advance planning. Although, let me remind you that the best laid plans often fail. So while we did plan out our journey and our stops along the way, we were sometimes thwarted by car sickness, closed rest stops, and good old-fashioned traffic. But it definitely helps to have a plan.

At the end of the day, Henry, Jack, and Sophie are total troopers. They sleep well, they keep each other company, and they are generally pretty happy, easy-going toddlers. We are certainly lucky parents in this regard.

Onto the next adventure!

This Is What Having Three One-Year-Olds Looks Like

This is what going for a walk looks like. Having multiple babies requires enormous strollers. And several of them. There’s really no way around it (believe me, we’ve tried. That’s why we have so many strollers)! We have seven by my current count. Plus a Choo-Choo Wagon. (See below). Number of babies times two, plus one. Isn’t that the standard equation for stroller count?

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This is what swinging looks like. We’ve gotten used to always taking up at LEAST two swings at the park, and we are prepared for the questions and comments that accompany some of the sideways glances we get when we take up more than one family’s fair share of the swinging real estate. But let’s be honest. We take up more than one family’s fair share of a lot of things at this point: sidewalk space, elevator room, laundry machines, pediatrician’s appointments…and we elicit a lot of questions and comments wherever we go!

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This is what 7AM looks like. There’s really no point in putting away the toys.

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This is what bath time looks like. It’s all fun and games until somebody wants to get out.2015-06-07 20.09.28

This is what picnicking in the park looks like. 

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Someone is bound to sneak off and get into trouble.

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This is what helping out in the kitchen looks like:

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We place an emphasis on teamwork. For better or for worse.    

Teamwork in the nursery.

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Teamwork in the play area.

Teamwork all over the place.

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Teamwork.

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This is what naptime looks like. For some of us.

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This is what reading looks like. It helps to have extra large books.

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This is what going for a run with Mom looks like. It only takes three runs before everyone gets a turn!

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This is what road tripping looks like. AFTER we’ve unpacked the minivan, of course.

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And this is what the packing list looks like:                                                

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And a small portion of the contents of our van:

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This is what playing the piano looks like. Does anyone know a third harmony to “Heart and Soul”?

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This is what brushing our teeth looks like. 

And this is what the start to summer looks like. 

More adventures to come!

11 (and a half?) Months

These babies are 11 (and a half) months already! And they won’t sit still for group photos.

A Day in the Life of Henry, Jack, and Sophie

  • 5:00 to 6:00 am: The trio wakes up, one by one, always in a different order.
  • 5:45 to 6:25: They chat in their cribs while Will and I get ready for the day. Sometimes this takes too long and they fall back to sleep. Oops.
  • 6:30: “Good Morning!” We relocate to the baby jail. I mean, “play area.”
  • 6:30 to 7:00: Diapers changed, babies dressed for the day. Yes, this takes 30 minutes. These guys are wriggly little buggers!
  • 7:00: Morning bottle (7 oz)

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    This is everybody’s preferred bottle position. One-handed for Sophie, completely vertical for H, and laid-back and relaxed for J.

  • 7:15 to 8:15: Play time!
  • 8:15 to 8:45: Breakfast in the high chairs (usually waffles and yogurt)
  • 9:00 to 10/10:30: Morning nap. I use the word “nap” loosely here, since a good 30-45 minutes of this is more chatting in the cribs, banging their feet against the walls, or standing up and (sometimes) forgetting how to get back down.
  • 10:30: Play time!
  • 11:30: Lunch in high chairs (avocados, spinach pancakes, lentil soup, meatballs)
  • 12:00 to 1:00: More play time!
  • 1:00: Afternoon bottle (6-7 oz)
  • 1:30 to 3:00: Afternoon nap. Same routine as before. A little bit of napping, a little bit of chatting.
  • 3:00 to 4:50: Playing! Again!
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We love our Treetop Adventure! Good thing it has four sides! Too bad Henry’s already figured out how to knock it over…

  • 4:50: Dinner and milk in high chairs (pasta w/meat sauce, fish, turkey soup w/rice).
  • 5:30: Pajamas on (baths on bath day). This is particularly difficult. It works best in a sneak attack. Change one baby when he or she least expects it. Then, as soon as you think they’ve forgotten, change the next. Repeat.
  • 6:00: Bedtime begins, and it’s difficult to say exactly what it will look like, although it will almost certainly involve some (perhaps a lot) of crying, a song (or two or three), a good amount of whining, a lot of rocking on hands and knees in the crib, and one really fast bolt to the nursery door by two (sometimes one) not-so-stealthy parents.
  • 6:30 to 7:00: Eventually they fall asleep, one by one, and rarely in the same order (although you can probably count on Sophie to be last), and most nights, that’s it! Until it starts again the next morning 🙂

New This Month: 

  • STANDING. Everybody is standing. At their exersaucer, the door to the baby jail, in their cribs, hanging onto our shoulders. It’s pretty much their favorite thing to do. Until Sophie forgets how to get down. But she’s working on that too.
  • ROAMING. They are exploring other parts of the apartment. Time to baby proof!
  • SWINGING. 

 

  • NO MORE PREVACID! And, this is the best part, drum roll please….NO MORE REFLUX!
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One of the last times taking their medicine. For posterity 🙂

JACK

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Nicknames: Jack-o, J, Bubba

Weight: 16 lbs something. I forgot to remember at our last doctor’s visit.

Clothing size: We’re finally graduating to 6-9 months, although this little lad still rocks the 3-6 month size too.

New tricks: pulling up to stand, high-fiving with Dad, standing up in his crib, drinking from a straw, taking baths in the big tub

Favorite foods: puffs, pasta with meat sauce, fish sticks!

Least favorite food: raspberries

Favorite toys: Books, ladybug stuffed animal, Tree Top Adventure, snack cups, diapers!

Favorite Pastimes: tackling (hugging) sister Sophie, reading, eating, dancing, singing, climbing all over Mom and Dad.

Sounds: Ba-ba, ma-ma, da-da, ga-ga, and other assorted babbles.

Things we are working on: Jack is our master crawler. He’s also been the first to catch on to standing up one foot at a time. He’s working on using a snack cup (reaching in and pulling out a puff), drinking from a cup, and cruising.

Tooth count: two

Eating: Three meals a day, three bottles a day, and one snack

Sleeping: Two naps a day, and an eleven(ish) hour stretch overnight

HENRY

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Nicknames: H-Man, H, Magoo

Weight: 17 lbs something. We forgot his too.

Clothing size: Same as his brother. Are you surprised?

New tricks: crawling on his hands and knees, pulling up to stand, high-fiving Dad, drinking from a straw, taking baths in the big tub

Favorite foods: It’s hard to narrow down the list, but puffs, meat sauce, and waffles are high on the list. Oh, and broccoli or spinach pancakes. And fish sticks!

Least favorite food: Haven’t found it yet!

Favorite toys: blue peanut ball from Physical Therapy, Cloud B starlight turtle

Favorite Pastimes: eating, bouncing on his ball, taking a bath, climbing up our backs, and looking down our shirts!

Sounds: Ba-ba, ma-ma, da-da, ga-ga, and other assorted babbles.

Things we are working on: Creeping on his hands and knees. When he feels the need for speed, Henry prefers the army crawl. He also only seems to creep on padded surfaces. We are also working on drinking from a cup, using one foot to stand up, and cruising. It’d be nice if he stopped flipping over on the changing table too, but I think we’ll choose our battles.

Tooth Count: two

Eating: Three meals a day, three bottles a day, and one snack

Sleeping: Two naps a day, and an eleven(ish) hour stretch overnight

SOPHIE

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Nicknames: Noodle, Noods, Soph

Weight: 14 pounds, 6.7 ounces

Clothing size: this teeny peanut is still hanging out in her 3-month clothes from Carter’s, but she’s making her way into 3-6 month clothes more and more.

New Tricks: Pulling up to stand, playing Peek-a-Boo, drinking from a straw, taking baths in the big tub

Favorite foods: puffs, yogurt smoothies, waffles, turkey, FISH STICKS!

Favorite toys: foot finders, cell phones (real or fake, although she’d prefer real), mirrors, soccer ball

Favorite past times: standing, singing, dancing, looking in the mirror, playing Peek-a-Boo

Things we are working on: reciprocal crawling. Sophie prefers to reach with her right arm and pull with her left arm, dragging her right leg behind. She’s very efficient, if a bit awkward! We are also working on getting down from standing (I think short arms are a factor here!), eating more finger foods, drinking from a cup (we have a LONG way to go here), and clapping.

Sounds: Ba-ba, ma-ma, da-da, ga-ga, ya-ya, ay-yay and other assorted babbles.

Tooth count: zero! But we’re pretty sure she’s working on something.*

Eating: Three meals a day, three bottles a day, and one snack

Sleeping: Two naps a day, and an eleven(ish) hour stretch overnight

*By the time I posted this, Sophie had cut those two little teeth we were all anticipating. We’re hopeful her adult teeth know something her baby teeth don’t, because these two teeth are DEFINITELY not where they’re supposed to be! Braces times three? Ouch.

Mostly these days there’s a lot of standing up, chatting, laughing, crying, taking each other’s things, roaming around on the floor, chewing on things, and being adorable. Next up? Turning one!

9 Months

DISCLAIMER: My videos are ALL in portrait orientation. Despite the fact that I took some (most) of them in landscape mode. This is annoying. I don’t know how to fix it. I’ve read that it is a glitch with the iPhone 6. It could also be that I’m technologically impaired. Or just too impatient to figure out the proper way to do it. Either way, I apologize in advance for the crick in your neck. If you’d like to see the rotated video with a huge watermark on top of it, I can make that happen…not so technologically impaired now, am I?

These happy babies are nine months old already! At this time last year we were on the hunt for a new apartment to rent, seeing as our previous “2 bedroom” had neither elevator nor dishwasher. And it would have been hilarious (or horrifying) trying to fit three babies (or two adults) in that “second bedroom.” The pictures don’t scream “happy babies” but I swear, they are. You’ll see. Keep reading.

Things we enjoy at nine months old: this varies by baby, of course but everybody likes a good game of peek-a-boo, splashing around in the tub, reading (or eating) a book, rolling around on the play mat in our new “baby jail,” and giggling when Mom and Dad hit upon the right mix of silly songs, dances, and baby acrobatics.

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Baby jail.

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Someone wants out.

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Things we are working on: sitting up, eating like big boys and girl in our high chairs, crawling, babbling, feeding ourselves, perfecting our selfies, NAPPING…we’ve been busy!

Can you tell who is who in those selfies? Their facial expressions say it all.

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We’re still a little small for these chairs (too much wiggle room for Sophie!) but boy, do we love the view from up here!

Naptime Fail

On the move! Almost…

 Solid effort by Henry. We’re not sure if he LIKES his head on the ground like that, thinks he NEEDS his head on the ground like that, or just doesn’t have the strength or stamina to keep that big noggin up!

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Prior to establishing forward motion. “I’m stuck!”

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Not again!

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Jack

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Stats:

Weight: 15 lbs, 8 oz

Height: TBD at Tuesday’s doctor’s appointment. Have you ever tried to measure the “height” of a semi-mobile nine month old?

Head Circumference: Yeah, we’re going to let the doctors confirm this one.

Favorite past times: “reading,” bouncing around in his exersaucer, blowing raspberries (yes, still…sometimes he does this for so long that he runs out of breath), snuggling, babbling

 

Favorite toys: burp cloths, washcloths, onesies, curtains (do you sense a theme?), diapers, books, stuffed animals

Personality traits: Jack is our snuggly, jolly, goofy little sweetheart. He is easily surprised and easily excited, but pretty relaxed about most things. Except when he gets stuck in the corner. Nobody puts Jack in the corner.

Nicknames: Bubba, Bubbadoo, and J

New tricks: Getting on all fours and rocking back and forth…watch out! He’s ready to move!

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Update: By the time I had finished this blog post, we had forward motion! It ain’t pretty, but it works! Sort of.

Favorite food: prunes. I kid you not.

Least favorite food: quinoa-chicken-veggie soup made by yours truly. I will try not to take this personally.

Most mischievous moment: Jack’s been on a well-behaved streak recently. He’s still got some naughty in him though, I am sure of it. This smile is too darn adorable not to have some mischief lurking behind.

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Henry

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Stats:

Weight: 16 lbs

Height: TBD at Tuesday’s doctor’s appointment. Have you ever tried to measure the “height” of a semi-mobile nine month old?

Head Circumference: Yeah, we’re going to let the doctors confirm this one.

Favorite past times: bouncing around in his exersaucer, talking to himself, eating, climbing out of his Boppy during feeds, rolling over and crawling away during diaper changes…

Favorite toys: banana toothbrush, squeaky monkey, octopus teether

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Personality traits: Henry is still our skeptic. Want to take another guess at those selfies now? It takes him a little while to warm to new things and new people, and he looks you up and down pretty seriously before he decides, but when he smiles at you, you feel like you’ve just been accepted into the “cool crowd” in middle school. He is a bit particular about things and can get cranky when he doesn’t get his way, but he’s usually pretty easy to please with a hug and a raspberry on his tummy.

Nicknames: H, H-man, Bubba-doo, Mr. Bub

New tricks: That head on the ground thing is definitely a “trick” of some sort. Sitting up for (very) short periods of time.

Most mischievous moment: refusing (almost) to sit still for our nine month photo shoot. See above.

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Sophie: 

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Stats:

Weight: 13 lbs, 8 oz

Favorite past times: rolling, crawling, and scooting around on the floor;

Favorite toys: the soccer ball, Sophie the giraffe, her piano (yesterday I caught her playing her piano with one hand while holding onto her soccer ball with the other).

Personality traits: Sophie is ALWAYS happy. Except when she’s not. But that usually only happens at nap time or bed time. And even then, it’s not until you start walking away from the crib that she realizes she’s supposed to sleep in there. Alone. And that makes her, well, sad. Or angry. Usually a little bit of both. But this girl is almost always smiling. She is our playful one, happy to roam around the mat by herself in search of her soccer ball, jabbering away about something. She also likes to mug for the camera, so it makes it difficult to catch her in motion. But boy, is she on the move!

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Nicknames: Noodle, Noody, Soph

Favorite food: anything she can feed herself, which isn’t much at the moment. No teeth + strong gag reflux = more out than in. But she sure likes to try!

Least favorite food: Anything at first taste. By the second or third bite, she’s on board.

New tricks: the army crawl. Feeding herself. Sort of!

 

Most mischievous moment: The dozens of times she’s noticed one of her brothers playing with a toy and dragged herself over there to take it away. We’re hoping this is just a phase.

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It’s been an exciting and exhilarating month. I thought I’d close with some of those giggles I was talking about earlier. Baby giggles are always awesome. Baby giggles times three? The best.