Every Night a Slumber Party

This. This was somewhere in the realm of 8:45pm. An hour (or more) past bedtime and smack dab in the middle of the “grown-up dinner” we were all trying to enjoy. Our first night at Nana and Grumples’ for the summer.

I am often exasperated by their bedtime shenanigans. The mess that they make. The noise that they make. The fact that I KNOW they are tired. The fact that I know they will be up and ready for tomorrow before 6 a.m. (and before their clock “turns green”).

In fact, facing bedtime alone more often than usual is the thing I dread most about the summer. (I don’t dread a whole lot about summer, but solo bedtimes can honestly be often panic-inducing).

So last night, when I stood up from my dinner and trudged upstairs for what felt like the fifteenth time, I was ready to yell (even though I know that just makes Sophie laugh and the boys cry and is rarely effective).

But then, I opened the door, and I found this. Amidst fits of giggles, there they all were, snuggled together for “camping” on the floor in between their beds. And I couldn’t help but snap a photo and smile.

I closed the door, and of course, ten minutes later there were shouts and tears and cries of, “They’re kicking me!!” And “She’s scratching me!”

But for a few minutes, the thing that exhausts me most about having multiples was also the thing that made my heart swell. How lucky they are to have each other, and how lucky we are to have them. Even when they’re not sleeping. Even when they’re making a mess. And yes, even when they’re bickering (though it is MUCH harder to find gratitude in those moments). So here’s to longer days, later nights, and a summer full of slumber parties.

P.S. If you are eager to see more Henry, Jack, and Sophie she shenanigans, you can follow me on Facebook and Instagram (@estrumolo)…many more adventures await there, and I’m a little more regular about posting.

It Wasn’t Perfect, But It Was Pretty Darn Cute.

The negotiations started weeks ago. One of our children needed ZERO encouragement to don a pretty outfit and perform in front of family and friends (I’ll let you decide which one). One of our children was pretty adamant about NOT participating in the wedding festivities. And one of our children fell somewhere in the middle: willing to fulfill his duties as flower boy, sort of excited about the outfit, but not quite as enthusiastic as the first.

Two participatory flower children would be a step up from the last family wedding they played a part in, but really, we were aiming for three. Their traditional Vietnamese wedding outfits (ao dais) has been custom made, and considering the flower child holdout was the godchild of the groom, getting him (or her) down the aisle felt like a high priority.

The negotiation went something like this:

Me: What if I gave you some Hershey kisses if you do your job at the wedding?

Child: 500 Hershey kisses!

Me: That’s too many.

Child: 100!

Me: How about 20?

Child: Woah. Ok! Twenty’s a lot!”

The math teacher in me cringed a bit at her offspring’s poor number sense, but the mother in me was thrilled to be emerging victorious (if bribing your child with twenty Hershey kisses can be considered a victory) from this negotiation.

The rehearsal did not go very well. Despite the promise of a score of Hershey kisses, two-thirds of our crew followed through with their flower child obligations, and one barely made it down the aisle with a lot of (literal) hand-holding from Mom. This was not the plan.

Considerations for alternative scenarios commenced immediately, and we spent the next twenty-two hours preparing ourselves for Plan B: three flower children and one Mom or Plan C: two flower children.

And then, at 1:30pm yesterday, without any mention of Hershey kisses, our holdout asked to suit up. Nevermind that it was a little too early to get dressed. Nevermind that there was a pretty big chance the ao dai would get wrinkled or stained before the ceremony. This kid wanted to get in his wedding outfit, and we were not going to stop him.

Two and a half hours later, they did what they had been asked to do. Quite literally. They threw the petals on the walkway (our efforts to distinguish between “throwing” and “sprinkling” came a bit late in the game) and went (RAN) to find Daddy at the end of the aisle. And while there may have been some Hershey kisses involved (only five!), those were really just a reward for a job well done.

I am so proud of my three little people for being so brave and for doing their job so well (which included sitting quietly–if not inconspicuously–throughout the ceremony). It wasn’t perfect, but it was pretty darn cute.

And what a special, special day it was celebrating Uncle Andrew and Aunt Evelynn. We are so glad they got to be a part of it.

Their Eyes Are Full of Wonder

D17EA437-5CB2-49BB-B4D4-C62F7D74183F.jpegThis isn’t a great photo. At first glance, it is mostly just a reminder to me that we need to wash our windows 😳! But it is also a reminder to me to look up, to pay attention, and to marvel at the beauty in everyday moments. Like this sunrise. And how lucky I am to have three little beings, so young and full of wonder, to remind me. Today, it was Sophie, who after a long and sleepless night, burst into the living room and made a beeline for her stool. “To see what’s happening!” she told me.

And then, moments later, the excited shouts of, “Mom! Come look at this!” rang out, and she hurriedly waved me over to the window. “Come quick! Take a photo!” she said, “I don’t want you to miss the sunrise. It’s only here for a little while. Otherwise you’ll have to wait until tomorrow.”

How lucky we are that the sun rises every morning. How lucky we are that the little people are here to notice it. How lucky we are to be up early enough to see all of our favorite colors fill the sky. Even if it is through dingy windows.





First Day of Group 3


It’s here! (Actually, by the time I post this, it’s come and gone), but Henry, Jack, and Sophie’s first day of Group 3 at Episcopal finally arrived. They are SOOOOOO excited! I realize this picture probably doesn’t convey their excitement, but they had been waiting outside for about ten minutes at that point. They were, understandably after all these days, a bit impatient. They literally asked, “Is today the day we are going to school?” Every. Single. Day. Since we got back to NYC.

I’m pretty excited too because a little over three decades ago, I had my first day at Episcopal. Some of my earliest memories are from my classroom and teachers there, and I am so thrilled Henry, Jack, and Sophie will start making their own this year.

There’s is a VERY gradual separation schedule, so it will be a while before the kiddos experience their “full” day of three hours at school (they are SO ready!). In the meantime, they are enjoying meeting their teachers, making new friends, and learning all about Episcopal. Or “Ecispocal,” as Sophie sometimes calls it .

The later start date meant I had extra time to make their “First Day of School” chalkboards. My first instinct was to just purchase these on Etsy, but like everything else times three, it was so dang expensive. So then I thought, I’ll make my own! But that initially proved too complicated and time consuming (mostly because I couldn’t decide on the materials/find what I wanted). But then, after hemming and hawing (and wasting way too much time browsing the internet for the perfect solution…what else is new?) I bit the bullet. And here’s what I came up with:

Pros: I can reuse these every year by just erasing the chalk markers and updating the information. Also, the kids (kind of) helped make them. They chose the colors (and the order of the colors…if I had my way it would all be a lot more coordinated). Then they helped find the stickers I needed. See what I did there? I made a fun craft project with Mom into a lesson in letter recognition and spelling. Always a teacher…

For what it’s worth, the kids also managed to mess up some of the chalk before we took the photos (oh, and they LOST Henry’s board the DAY SCHOOL STARTED). These are NOT small boards, people. How it got LOST in this two bedroom apartment of ours is anybody’s guess, but if you guessed triplet toddlers + tiny apartment + two working parents + start of school = hot mess at the Strumolo abode, you guessed right. We found it later hiding behind a side cabinet.

I guess you could say those were the cons: it can (and probably will) be erased and it can (and probably will) get lost. But that last one is a con for just about everything in this apartment, so it doesn’t really count. The other con is probably that these aren’t as cute and coordinated as the ones on Etsy, but hey, at least they’re homemade, right?

I used these chalkboards, these stickers, and these chalk markers. For a grand total of less than $60. This probably still sounds expensive to most of you, seriously, check Etsy. That stuff is adorable, but boy… Also, I needed chalkboards that would be big enough to fit all of the things I wanted to add. That is harder to find than one might think. Or at least than I might think.

Speaking of fitting all the things I wanted to add, I realize you probably can’t read all those things in the small photos above, so here they are one at a time:



And because Jack thought it would be important to have a photo altogether, there’s this. It only took about fifty tries, and this is the best we got. #triplets