Halloween 2017

I started a new tradition in our family last Valentine’s Day, and it’s to celebrate the smaller holidays. I know this sounds silly (or perhaps obvious?) but here’s what it means in our house: themed plates, decorations, and possibly, just possibly, a special holiday-related treat. All before 6:30am.

Breakfast isn’t usually a big deal in our household, and the morning drama starts early, so decorations and pumpkin plates go a long way. I may have also let them have cookies with their waffles…

Mom (cookie bunnies?) for the win.

But when it came time to decide on Halloween costumes for this year, I just couldn’t do it. There were two possible approaches:

1) Choose something for them (“Play the triplet card one more time!” I thought. “Make them dress up as Ron, Harry, and Hermione while you still can!” my heart screamed).

OR

2) Let them choose for themselves.

Because I know my children and because the toddler version of them pretty much wants nothing to do with what the things that I think are great ideas, I went with OPTION TWO.

One small problem: They COULD NOT decide what they wanted to be.

At first they were going to be a firefighter, a veterinarian, and a teacher. “Great!” I thought, “We have all of those costumes already.” Done, done, and done.

And then, they started saying they’d like to be ghosts. We had some ghost stickers, I think. They also started saying they’d be a firefighter, a veterinarian, and a teacher for Christmas. Just when I thought they’d finally wrapped their heads around Halloween.

And then at some point, they settled on coconuts. I don’t know where this came from. I am not even sure they know what coconuts are. But anytime anybody asked them what they were going to be in the ten days leading up to Halloween, they would say, “A coconut.” Craftier moms might have made this happen. I just decided we would open up the costume box on Halloween and see what they decided to be.

That’s what we did, and you know what they decided to be? The same thing they were last year. And luckily for us, their costumes still fit.

I may have committed a major Halloween faux pas, but the kids didn’t seem to notice. BONUS: They were warm.

And they did seem to really enjoy it this year. And, as always, we all learned some important things: Jack learned that “Some people don’t do trick-or-treating” when we arrived at a building where there wasn’t any candy. Sophie learned to say, “I’m allergic to nuts!” every time someone presented her with a bowl of candy (we’re still working on the “Trick or treat!”) And Henry learned that sometimes even dogs get dressed up on Halloween. He bonded with several fellow pups as we strolled up and down 73rd street. Mom and Dad learned that nut allergies on Halloween are a REAL PAIN, lollipop wrappers are NOT toddler proof, and bedtime on Halloween is pretty much bound to be a disaster.

But for a couple of hours, they were So. Dang. Happy. Recycled costumes and all. Until next year…

May 2017

Happy to be a mother day 🙂

The Mother’s Day celebrations began at 1 AM last night (Henry), continued at 3AM (Sophie), and really ramped up around 5AM (Jack AND Henry). I am, as always, exhausted, but I am also extremely grateful for these three lovable, spunky, clever, cuddly, hilarious little beings who made me a mom a little over three years ago.

I am also incredibly grateful for my own mom, Lisa Lord Gillespie, for everything she’s done for me and mine over the years (too many things to count), and for making me the Mom I am today.

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Bedtime Battles

The scene outside our bedroom right now. What you can’t see (or hear) is the third child screaming hysterically and demanding that her father “SIT IN THE CHAIR!” I do have audio footage of that, but I’ll spare you all.

WTF.

Edited to add: HUGE shout out to my partner in crime, Will Strumolo, (who is no longer on Facebook) for trying desperately to let me sleep through the entire four hour (yes, four hour) ordeal. Turns out that in a Manhattan two-bedroom with a child screaming at the top of her lungs, that’s not possible, but I appreciate the effort. In a BIG way.

#tripletproblems#theyusedtosleep#whywonttheysleep#pleaseletussleep

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And then, 12 hours later. How quickly she melts my heart. 💗

 

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Eleanor Strumolo added 11 new photos — at Bronx Zoo.
May 29 · Bronx · 

When you fall asleep in the car on the way to the zoo, are completely disoriented when you wake up, have an accident, and your parents left the bag of extra clothes at home.
1) Dad fashions a pair of shorts from your t-shirt and a USB cord.
2) Mom buys the smallest pair of sweatpants she can find in the gift store.

And you still need the USB cord as a belt.
#lifehacks #macguyversgotnothingonus

 

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Grateful for holidays at home with the family, impromptu trips to the Bronx Zoo, and wild animals.

 

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And then they were three…

They had a party with a bubble machine, cupcakes, and all of their friends from school. They aged out of Early Intervention services. Turning three was a big deal.

April 2 · 

When you try to make a surprise birthday breakfast for three kids who regularly request (demand?) pancakes at 5:30AM. BARELY made it.

#cookinginthedark #turnsouttheydontevenlikecinammonrolls#baconforthewin

 

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When they share a birthday but not an opinion. #tripletproblems

 

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A very happy birthday to this adorable, thoughtful, clever little man. Whether he grows up to be a veterinarian, a mad scientist, a teacher, a dancer, or the president of the United States, he will never stop amazing me with all that he can do. Love this little man.

Happy birthday to this sweet, sensitive, and generous little man. Whether he grows up to be a mathematician, a musician, a soccer player, or a cowboy, I know he will find joy in every minute. I am so grateful for his constant love and affection. Love this little man.

A very happy birthday to this spunky, hilarious, snuggly little girl. Whether she grows up to be a soccer player, a princess, a firefighter, a doctor, or a ballerina, I have no doubt this girl is going to make things happen. I’m so lucky to have her light in my life!

Sunday Funday with the Family. An impromptu tire swing date with a friend, discovering the “BIG slide,” a trip to the zoo, bubbles, and Shake Shack. Simply the best.

April 16 · 

Because everything is color coded. Always.

And because the only picture we could get with the three kids was this one.

#theirnewfavoriteholidayiseaster#thisiswhathappenswhenthreepeopleplayeasterbunny #thanksnana#thanksgrammie #easterwithoutchocolate

 

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April 18 · 

You know you’re in for a long night when at 8:48 one of your toddlers is already asking, “Is it time to wake up yet?” And she hasn’t even fallen asleep yet 🤣

April 21 · 

Some days (like yesterday), you’re repeatedly reminded of all the things you haven’t done: there’s no food in the house, the bill you meant to pay last week is still sitting in your purse, the kids have no clean underwear. Literally.

Then other days you shower (that’s a big accomplishment, folks), and make it out the door to the donut shop in the rain with all three kids before work, and you feel like a rockstar. Did I mention Will was out of town?

And then, you go to leave for work and have to come back THREE separate times because you forgot your debit card, your cell phone, and your employee ID. Oh, and you also threw an envelope of cash in the TRASH last night while you were cleaning up, and you’re just lucky someone else thought to look for it before that trash was taken out for the day. At least we all got our donuts…? 😳🍩🍩🍩

 

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Flying Solo

April 24 · 

Guys, I survived 72 hours alone with the triplets. Well, to be fair, I was at work for 8 of those hours, but really it was 75 hours if we’re counting, so…close enough. There were some stressful moments (what to do at 9pm and 11pm and 12am and 2am and 4am when all they want is Daddy and he’s the one thing you can’t provide at the moment?) and some joyous moments (give these kids a few sticks and a pile of mulch, and they are in heaven. They may not be clean, but they’re happy).

And have I mentioned how much they LOVE the subway? We had a subway adventure (yes, I brought three toddlers on the subway by myself, and yes, I’m slightly crazy), and on it, we got LOTS of stares. We got the “Are you crazy?” stares and the “Wait…are those triplets?!” stares, and the “I feel for you” stares, and the “You REALLY shouldn’t have three toddlers on the escalator/sidewalk/subway platform by yourself” stares.

And then, on the ride back, we sat down next to a family with five adults and ONE toddler, and they looked at us and said, “Wow…are they twins?” We get this a lot. “Triplets,” I replied. “OH! Wow! That’s wonderful! You are lucky! You are blessed.” they said. And they were serious. And you know what? We hear that almost every time we are out with the kids. And sure, it’s one out of the sixty comments/stares we get that day (someone actually took a photo of them in the wagon at the bagel store the other day just because she’d “never seen anything like it”), but it happens, without fail. And you know what? It’s 100% true.

Having three kids is EXHAUSTING. And having three toddlers is BEYOND exhausting. Especially three who have decided sleeping is not one of their favorite past times. But we are SO FREAKIN’ LUCKY that this is our family. And I know that. Sometimes I forget it after two hours of bedtime shenanigans, or when one toddler starts off running in the middle of the sidewalk and I have to decide to leave two to chase the third (remind me to tell you about our “Strangers” talk sometime). But when we are all standing on our chairs rocking out to Coldplay at 7am (and in fits of giggles over the “Ah ooooooooooh” part) or when they write their own song with the lyrics, “I love you, Mommy, oh yes I do!!” it pretty much just melts your heart. And with three of them, I’m lucky enough to get thrice the serenades. Love these crazy kids. And now, to bed.

#loveandlight #choosejoy #tripletproblems

 

April 26 · 

We discovered SnapChat. Thanks, Sarah McTurk MacLeod, for the recommendation. You’re right. LOTS of toddler entertainment. And Mom thought it was pretty funny too. Missing our weekend together already (yes, the sleepless/showerless one).

 

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 New York Transit Museum

Story time on an old subway car!

 

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Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. Or Two.

merry-christmasA couple of weeks ago, as we were preparing to take down the Christmas tree, Jack turned to me with his big cheeks and puppy dog eyes and said, “Don’t take Christmas!” I gently explained that Christmastime was over (“Why?” “Because it’s January.” “Why?” “Because January comes after December?” “Why?”) and that we would get to have a tree and all the decorations again next year. Jack’s next query? “But can we keep the presents?”

There was an abundance of presents this year. You might even say there was an OVERabundance of presents. They didn’t ask for much. A doggie, a Milo, and a purple baby, to be exact, so when all is said and done, we could have had a much “simpler” Christmas, I am sure. But along with the stuffed animals, the costumes, the train set, and the pirate ship (more on that later), came family. An abundance of family, you might say. Henry, Jack, and Sophie get to do Christmas twice (and yes, that means more presents). But it also means two “Christmas Eves” with carols and Christmas jammies. And two Christmas mornings with bacon and stockings.

And two sets of grandparents, eight aunts and uncles (even if some were only there via FaceTime), dozens of cousins, great aunts, and great uncles, and one great grandma.

At dinner on Christmas night, Ann asked, “What was your favorite gift you ever received?” One of my sixth-graders had asked me this at the lunch table a few days before, so I was prepared. But honestly, I couldn’t remember a single gift I’d ever gotten for Christmas. (I went with the Playmobil dollhouse mansion which was a birthday present, if I recall correctly). And I wasn’t the only one who came up short. (I won’t tell you what Will’s most “memorable” present was. Hint: It was NOT his favorite.) And I know it is not because we’ve never received anything worth remembering. It’s just because our Christmas memories are shaped more by our traditions and the people we fill the holiday with than they are by the gifts we receive.

So this Christmas, while searching for gifts from Santa was a new (and popular) pastime, it was the time spent with family we will all remember:

Standing outside in our pajamas the weekend after Thanksgiving to see the trees on our street light up.

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Prettiest block in Manhattan!

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We should probably invest in a Selfie Stick. And some better lighting 🙂

Stopping by Operation Santa at Buckley help wrap presents for kids who are not as fortunate as we are to celebrate Christmas in such a big way.

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Please excuse the blurry photo…it was a no nap sort of day!

 Moving aside all the toys we already own to make room for a big tree in the corner (this was Jack’s idea AND his job). Riding in the red wagon to pick out our tree from the tree stand on the corner. Don’t ask us how much it cost. Actually, do. It was hilariously expensive. Taking a trip to the hardware store to pick out a star for the top (and finding a bunch of other fun Christmas paraphernalia in the process…cookie cutters topped the list). Opening the box full of Daddy’s ornaments that Grammie sent (and in many cases, that Grandma and Grandpa made). Decorating our tree while Alexa (read: Pentatonix) sang PTX Christmas Deluxe Edition on repeat in the background.

Making gingerbread cookies and realizing afterwards that despite triple-checking all ingredients, Sophie was probably allergic to something in the sprinkles, and we couldn’t eat the rest of them. Have any of you ever tried to make gingerbread cookies with a two year old? How about with three? Hello, mess! Can you guess whose plate is whose?

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This is the closest I could get to an “action” shot. It looks pretty contained at this point, but don’t be fooled. At one point, I was helping Sophie wash her hands in the bathroom sink (she still can’t reach), and Henry came running in “to get some more paper towels!” As he ran out, he said something like, “I made a mess, but I’m just cleaning it for you. I’m just cleaning it.” I found him in the kitchen, on a stool, cleaning up (re:spreading) the green food coloring off the cutting board. And muttering to himself, “It’s just a little mess. I’m cleaning it. I’m cleaning it.”

Searching each morning for Meatball, the Elf. He even made it to Nana and Grumples’ house!

Sure, one Christmas will fade into the next, and there will come a day when we’ll all ask each other, “Was that the year that it snowed? Did Peter and Jen make it that Christmas? Was that when Grammie’s Folly first arrived? And sure, we will probably remember this Christmas as the one that ended with one sleepless night and one stomach bug (not the same child either, so yeah, that was fun). But we will mostly remember it as the fun, festive, and family-filled few days we hope that Christmas will always be. And as we took down the tree, we talked about all the things we were going to miss until next Christmas rolled around. In the meantime, we’ve got a bunch of new toys to play with 🙂

Some highlights from under the tree(s):

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Christmas Round ONE

 

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Christmas Round TWO.

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THIS is Grammie’s Folly.

Get ready for STRUM: The Remix. Album coming soon.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this Christmas a memorable one for Henry, Jack, and Sophie. As we took the ornaments down Jack bid them farewell, exclaiming, “Goodbye, ornaments! See you next Christmas!” before giving each one a kiss and laying it in the box. I know we have approximately 345 days to go, but I can’t wait to see his face light up when we open that bin again next year.