Woolsey Family Chronicles

Documenting the journey of raising triplets and their wild big sister

Our Thankgiving Journey November 27, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Hip Mothership @ 12:36 am

There is no doubt that packing, loading and transporting 4 kids 4 and under is no easy task. No one ever said it would be and no one probably thinks it should be. I am living proof that traveling under these circumstances is a little crazy and stressful and anxiety-filled for sure, but so worth it. Afterall, what else are we going to do? Sit around our toy infested house and get lost in the exersaucers and rattles? So on Sunday evening we departed Cameron Park for our second road trip down to see Grandma and Pappa and the rest of the Woolsey clan and extended family. From about 4-6:30 I needed a Xanax for anxiety, from 6:30-12:30 I needed an Ambien for sleep and from 12:30-2am I needed a good dose of Valium to relax. Unfortunately all I had were a couple of advil.

The babies did great on the drive but it is when we are finished with the drive that things get crazy. The babies wake up to a new environment and a new bedroom and new cribs and we ask them to simply go from their carseats to the cribs and go to sleep. It is as if Ava is on speed with her hyperactivity surrounding the excitement of being at Grandma and Pappa’s house. It took her until 2am to wind down. We triple teamed the triplets to eventually get all of them down to sleep – but not until 2am also. At 5:30am Violet graced us with her cheerful chatter and up we were after 3 1/2 hours sleep. I was a zombie the next day but we were happy to be at our destination and ready to have a great week.

We layed pretty low on Monday and Monday afternoon Marshie and Hermie came to visit (Chris’s grandparents). The triplets made them an even 20 in the GREAT grandchild department. Unbelievable. They feel lucky for their great grandchildren every day and are so proud of each of them. Marshie fed Preston, played hide-and-seek with Ava and talked to the baby girls and we had a nice time visiting. Then Uncle Greg (Wago – don’t ask me why he is nicknamed that) and three of his four kids came over (Aunt Peggy and cousin Ryan were home because Ryan wasn’t well) and Ava LOVES to see her cousins and play with them.

Tuesday night Chris and Sherri went to see a Laker’s game and to dinner together and Dick and I held down the fort. We hired a nice 13 year old neighbor to come and play with Ava to take a little bit of pressure off of Dick and I. It worked amazingly. Dick and I smoothly put the three babies to bed and fixed ourselves some steak fajitas while Chris and Sherri were at the game.

Wednesday Chris tried another field trip with Ava hoping this would be better and it ended up being a huge success. I have asked my guest writer Chris to describe the experience they had at the Skirball Jewish Museum (or as Ava calls it, the Screwball Museum) seeing the Noah’s Ark exhibit in the next blog posting after this one. Now I just have to get Chris to write it.

Wednesday night was exciting because Chris and I got to go out for a date. We went out and saw the uplifting (or not so much) film, Boy In the Striped Pajamas, and then went to a swanky sushi restaurant in Westlake. We ordered fancy martinis and ate some rolls and ran into some old friends of Chris’s from high school. It was fun and liberating. Meanwhile, Chris’s parents enlisted help from the 13 year old neighbor again, and her 15 year old sister to manage the Woolsey children and put them all to bed. They were all in bed by 7pm. Don’t we have them well trained?

On Thanksgiving Day Ava woke up and cheerfully wished us a Happy Thanksgiving! It was too early for me to remember that is was Thanksgiving but you know, Ava is all about the holidays and would never let one slip by unannounced or would she exist for even one minute on the day of a holiday with anything but pure exuberance and enthusiasm. So, we prepared for 30 people to come to Dick and Sherri’s house which is mainly Aunts, Uncles, cousins and all the cousins kids. Ava and the triplets have many second cousins and 8 of them were there Thanskgiving night. Ava waited all day for her cousins to show up at the door and when they did there was nonstop playing for hours on end. At one point, Uncle Steve was outside with 9 children under the age of 9 surrounding him and running from him as he announced “I want you in my belly”. He was the monster you see and the kids were joyful and not one bit fearful of the prospect of Uncle Steve eating them. I sat outside with Preston and we watched all those kids having the time of their lives – all this family surrounding Ava – and I actually teared up because this is what the holidays are all about. It is all about watching your kids have a good time and it is all about family and in that moment there was both. The babies were passed around and played with until it was their bedtime and they were good sports about it. I don’t really think any of them complained once about anything, which was refreshing. It was a wonderful Thanksgiving with good food and it was so nice catching up with family.

We rounded out the trip with an outing to the mall on Black Friday. We took the baby girls and left Ava (a shopping nightmare) and Preston (the spit-up King) behind and headed to the mall to see if we could find any bargains. The girls were so good – looking at everyone and smiling. Everyone would ask – twins? We would simply say yes and carry on so we wouldn’t have to open up that triplet can of worms. Dick took Ava to the lake to see some ducks and then to lunch at California Pizza Kitchen. They had a nice time together. Sherri and Preston bonded back at the house.

And now we are headed home on highway 5 about halfway through our trip. We just stopped for gas and McDonalds and EVERYONE woke up when the car stopped, as usual, which means inevitable crying and parental stress. I was subjected to incompetent and rude staff at McDonalds which ultimately ended in me spilling Chris’s extra large diet coke across the food pickup counter into all the containers they had on the other side of the counter and all over the floor. I vehemently apologized for the accident but the ornory staff wouldn’t acknowledge me. I had to walk away because I was having a hard time not laughing. I don’t really know why. If they hadn’t been so rude to me then maybe I wouldn’t have accidently spilled my coke. Karma is a bitch. I shuttered to think what the car would sound like when I re-entered, but alas it was silent. A Thanksgiving miracle.

When people began leaving Thanksgiving dinner last night Ava said “is it going to be Christmas tomorrow?” . . . and we are onto the next holiday just like that. I guess we will pull out the Hanukkah and Christmas decorations tomorrow and get our tree and start celebrating once again.

Until next time, the mothership is signing off.


Milestones and Meltdowns November 22, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Hip Mothership @ 3:21 am

My babies are 9 months old now. They are good loving citizens of the world at 9 months old. The girls crawl, pull themselves up onto furniture, walls and people. Preston is scooting and doing some productive babbling. Ava is doing great and is high maintenance as ever.

On Monday the triplets had their first in a series of developmental appointments at the Sutter clinic to assess where their fine and gross motor skills are according to their birth age and their adjusted age since they were born 6 ½ weeks early. They also met with a physical therapist who gave them exercises for their muscles to loosen them up since premature babies tend to have some tense and tightening issues.
I was not concerned going into the appointment because these are my babies and they are perfect in my eyes. I was sure the professionals would agree. I was concerned for Chris though, since during the routine hearing exam in the NICU he almost had a nervous breakdown during Violet’s exam merely because the man doing the exam was taking a little longer and “had a concerned and serious look on his face.” I asked Chris on the way down if he thought he was going to be okay during this 3 hour assessment of our offspring, or whether he would start to panic if things were going as planned. He said he is fine. I didn’t believe him. After the appointment Chris told me that he was a wreck the whole time. I don’t know what we’re going to do with him or how he is going to survive their childhood.
So, we brought Nanny Laura with us because the appointment required one person per baby. They asked lots of questions about the babies like about each of their personalities. The most interesting part was the exam of their fine and gross motor skills. The girls are overachievers in that department. They grabbed the blocks like they were supposed to and they played with objects in an appropriate way. They crawled on the mat, though they were overtired and semi-hysterical during this portion of the day. They go from crawling to sitting, they pull themselves up, all that good stuff. I figured Preston wouldn’t fair as well as the girls and that he may just sit like a blob and not participate. I didn’t think this because I think he is not smart, but because he has such a mellow personality. What I learned about Preston is that while the girls are go getters and attack and try and conquer whatever is put before them, my boy is precise and meticulous about his movements. I could tell that even the professional was surprised when she threw the cherrio before Preston and he very carefully reached his pointer finger and thumb out and carefully grabbed that cherrio and placed it in his mouth. The girls tried to globber the cherrio. Preston was also the only kid who took the two red cubes, one in each hand, and banged them together. That is my boy.
So in the end, they all scored above average for fine motor skills as a 7 month old (they considered them 7 month old babies developmentally) and normal for 9 month old babies. I was proud of them. But I would’ve still been proud if they scored low because like I said they are good loving citizens of the world and that counts for a lot.

On Wednesday Chris took Ava and Elsa to the Monterey Bay Aquarium for a fun trip with dad. They all went to dinner at Chili’s and went back to the hotel and the girls fell asleep. Ava started laughing in her sleep. When Chris asked Ava what she was laughing at she said, in her sleep, Elsa and Violet are playing together. Chris said it was pretty cute. Ava does love her babies.

Unfortunately, Ava was having a tough day the next day at the aquarium. Ava wouldn’t listen and threw a few unattractive tantrums for all the fish and all the other people trying to have a nice day of fish viewing, to see. Ava was probably like another exhibit for them. She probably scared the sh%t out of all the fish like the little red head in Finding Nemo scared the fish in the fish tank at the Dentist office. There were numerous time outs. Oh well, you win some and you lose some. Poor Chris further lost one on this trip when he got caught in not one, but two major accidents on the drive home and the car was stopped for an hour each time. Elsa AND Ava were screaming in the backseat. Chris called me during one of the standstills and I could hear the screaming in the background and I felt helpless and horrible for Chris. I really did. But there was nothing I could do so I grabbed my wine and went back into the dining room where I had all my friends over for Bunco. Chris is still waiting for an apology from Ava for her terrible behavior. He may never get it.
Time Out #1 Time Out #2 Time out #3

Meltdown # 52
Chris and Elsa enjoying the aquarium

Ava finally NOT in a time out

Meanwhile back at the homestead, I was having a nice relaxing time with twins. I found having just Violet and Preston to be a breeze, not to mention that I kept my nannies for both Wednesday and Thursday for the sole purpose that I could get out and have some free time. It was so nice. Nanny Laura said it was weird just having Violet. They took a long walk, she read Violet books, gave her a massage and just spent some quality time with her. She did also say that she is glad it isn’t like that everyday because it was too quiet – just not as exciting and she missed the others.
The Woolsey 6 is headed to Socal for Thanksgiving on Sunday night for a week which should be lots of fun. This time the babies are so mobile that we will actually have to do some baby proofing and constant watching at Dick and Sherri’s house this time. It will be a fun and exciting change of scenery for us.
Until next time, the mothership is signing off.

Perspective November 10, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Hip Mothership @ 5:46 pm

A common comment I get from friends is “when I am having a hard day with my kids I just think about you and it puts things in perspective”. I have to admit, if I were on the outside looking in at myself in my current situation I would think I don’t know how anyone could do that. When I had Ava I wondered how anyone ever managed twins since I had such a hard time with one. Yes, it is a hard job for sure taking care of these triplets and Ava and making sure we do a good job. Some days are really hard and frustrating and other days are just fun and filled with smiles and love. I suppose that is the same for every parent no matter how many kids are involved, but just different for us since everything is times 3.

I have not had any help this week because Nanny Laura has pneumonia and Kathy who helps me on Thursdays is taking a much deserved vacation. I am flying solo. Chris is gone Wednesday and Thursday to San Francisco which leaves me and four kids all day and all night and then all day again. I had my mom and dad come tonight and feed babies and put them to bed with me which was great. At the end of each the night I hop into bed and I can literally feel my entire body tingle from exhaustion. I say to myself, I made it through another day hallelejah. Last night I was asleep by 8:30.

Some days I long for some alone time or a vacation and other days I am completely content with my role as mothership. Some days I feel sorry for myself that we miss out on so many things because we have so many little kids and they need to be in bed by 6:30pm, but most days I feel proud that I have all these beautiful children to take care of and relish in learning about each of their unique personalities. At the end of every day I thank goodness I have this family and that these babies are healthy and happy and that is most definitely the truth. My friend Emily whose triplets are a month older than mine told me in an email recently that she thanks god each day for her babies. Our jobs as mothers of higher order multiples are hard and stressful and labor intensive, but there is so much love that it makes up for the back-aches (from carrying babies all day), and stress of crying babies, or the stress that the babies are going to wake each other up.

So many new things have happened that I feel compelled to put them down in a list in no particular order:

* Elsa found standing up in her crib which has yet to be lowered. How she managed to NOT fall out of the crib is a miracle.

* Preston had a double ear infection and is on antibiotics and is now a happy boy again

* Ava threw up three times in a row Saturday night all over the playroom and then proclaimed proudly immediately upon completion “I feel better now!!” She hasn’t been sick since.

*Elsa is cracking me up because wherever you are sitting in a room she crawls to where you are and gets a firm hold of your clothing, skin or body hair, whichever one her little hands happen upon first, and pulls herself up and will not, for the life of her, let go. So until you literally pry her small clutching hands from yourself you will remain attached to Elsa.

* Violet crawls from toy to toy in her playroom all day long and keeps herself very entertained. Today she crawled herself on over to where Ava was playing on her computer, and Violet got on her knees and held on to Ava’s computer bench and watched Ava play her computer games for awhile. It was so cute.

* Preston can sit up for short periods of time before slamming his big noggin on the ground

* Elsa has found a new voice and says all day long “baaa, baaaa, baaa, baaaa” very loudly and with conviction.

* Elsa and Violet are still not used to the time change and cry from 5:30-6 each night until they get their bottle and go to bed.

* The girls crawl and pull themselves up on things and Preston still rolls. He rolls and rolls.

* The babies eat three solid meals a day and 4 7-oz. bottles each day. They have fruit for breakfast, veggies for lunch and meat and veggies for dinner, all ground up into a scrumptuous looking meal.

That is what is going on in a nutshell over here at the Woolsey 6 household. We are gearing up for the holidays and have many fun and festive plans ahead. More on that later.

Until next time, the mothership is signing off.


Halloween, Elections and Crawling November 4, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Hip Mothership @ 8:34 pm

From Left: Elsa the bumble bee, Violet the red hot
chile pepper, Ava the can can dancer and Preston
3 peas in a pod

Grandpa Mike and Elsa and Gramma Jan

Lauren, Ava and Kendall with a curtsy

Ava and her friends Trick or Treating

Running from house to house looking for candy

The triplets in the triplet mobile head to the neighborhood park
for a little pre-Halloween party

Nima, Molly and Ronin the frog

The neighborhood possy before they broke off for trick or treating

The last time we saw Ava wearing the feather portion of
her costume. It is now one with the earth somewhere in
the park.

Ava is pleased with her stash. Little does she know that
Mommy and Daddy are going to slowly but steadily
help her eat all her candy.
At the Woolsey house we LOVE the holidays. We anxiously wait for them and start celebrating them a little on the early side. Ava is the ringleader of our zest for the holidays. As an example, the day after Halloween, I heard Ava singing Jingle Bells and then she asked me “whens it going to be Christmas???” It’s hard to keep up, and I’m sure when her sisters and brother get older they will share her enthusiasm for the holidays.
Halloween was a success this year. At 4 years old Ava is an old pro at the Halloween tradition. First of all, she is a die hard sweets fan which is one good reason to love Halloween, and secondly she loves to dress up. She had her can can dancer costume picked out a month in a half in advance and never swayed from her decision once. The triplets got to wear what we felt fit their personalities the best: Violet of course is the red hot chile pepper in honor of her firey personality. She is happy and laughing hysterically one minute and the next minute she is devastated. Elsa is a bumble bee because she is just so darling and sweet but has a vicious sting when she is playing – hair pulling, ripping your face off, etc. Preston is 3 peas in a pod because I just felt he would be cutest in that costume.
We had a very fun gathering of friends over on Saturday night for a political debate. Chris, who knows so much about this election and is a staunch Obama supporter, debated our friend Dan who is a lawyer and a staunch supporter of McCain. It was interesting and enlightening and fun and I think we all learned a lot. Nobody changed their vote to the other party but that wasn’t the point. The point was actually to lay all the information out for our friend’s Bob and Angela who were undecided voters. I am happy to say that Chris was able to convince them through providing all of Obama’s stances on political issues, to vote for Obama (sorry Lisa and Dan – hee hee). Anyway, it was very interesting and fun and I was proud that we could all get together and talk politics and all end up still friends. Anyway, today is election day and we can’t wait to hear what the outcome will be.
Well, the girls are off and crawling like crazy. They are crawling so well that I cannot leave them alone in a room by themselves, except for the playroom which is a safe zone. Violet is already trying to learn how to pull herself onto her feet. I am pretty sure she will be the first walker. Preston is just sweet Preston. He won’t crawl, he won’t sit, but he does say MAMA! Yeah! My boy loves his mama.
Until next time, the mothership is signing off.