Woolsey Family Chronicles

Documenting the journey of raising triplets and their wild big sister

Adventures At Apple Hill September 30, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Hip Mothership @ 9:11 pm

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On Saturday my mom and I hosted Molly’s baby shower for little Lily who will be born in November.  We are all very excited for her arrival and had a wonderful time at the shower; great food, great people, great sparkling wine and cute baby girl outfits. 

On Sunday Chris and I decided to take all the kids to Apple Hill.  We are so lucky to live so close to such a fun place and nothing says fall like Apple Hill.  It was about 95 degrees on Sunday so it didn’t actually feel like fall, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying some hot apple donuts.  We got a dozen apple donuts fresh from the fryer at Larson’s Apple Farm and a ½ gallon of cider and sat at our picnic table and devoured.  At the end of the experience there were only 2 apple donuts left.  What I love about kids is their ability to make anything fun.  There were piles of pumpkins that our kids destroyed, circles of hay that they ran across, farm animals that they fed and tractors that they climbed.  No experience at Apple Hill was left untouched by the Woolsey kids. The triplets in particular have a very awesome ability to find fun activities that they create out of any environment they are put in.  It was a very fun morning and in the end they were tired and absolutely filthy; it took about 20 wet wipes in the car to get them to a semi-clean condition.  It made me happy that Chris and I are at the place now that we can take them places and they can be thoroughly entertained and happy running around and just being kids – fairly low maintenance. 

I witnessed a multiple moment yesterday that warmed my heart.  Violet, whose talking is getting so good yet she is still hard to understand a lot of times, was trying to tell me something.  We were in the kitchen eating breakfast and she kept telling me something that I couldn’t understand.  I would ask her to repeat it over and over and I couldn’t make out what she was saying.  I felt really bad for her because I am her mom and I should know what she is trying to tell me.  Finally, in a moment of desperation I said, “Elsa, do you know what Violet is saying?  Violet, tell Elsa what you are saying.”  And she did.  Then I said, “Elsa, what is Violet saying?” Elsa replied, “VV wants some toast.”  I said, “VV, do you want some toast?” and VV said, “YEAH!”  It was awesome.  Elsa may end up regretting helping me though since unbeknownst to her she is now Violet’s interpreter. 

Another cute multiples thing that is happening is Preston likes to help his sisters out in their time of need.  For instance, Elsa will be whining for her silly bands and I will be ignoring her.  I will hear Preston say “Elsa, do you want your silly bands?” and Elsa will say “yes”.  Then Preston will say, “mommy, Elsa wants her silly bands.”  This will happen all day.  Preston will want to make sure his sisters are taken care of. 


The other day Ava came back from school and we were working on homework and she said “Mommy, today a teenager said a bad word on the bus.”  Ava likes to call the middle school kids that ride the bus with her teenagers, and she loves teenagers.  This is what I had worried about when I put her on the bus to go home from school each day, the potentially bad influence the middle school kids would have on my innocent little 6 year old.  I said, “well, what word was it?”  Ava replied, “I can’t say, you guess.”  I said, “well, okay, was it sucks?”  I started off small in the arena of bad words, even though I say that one all the time.  “No,” said Ava.  Then I went big.  “Was it Shit?” “No,” said Ava. “Well, what was it then?”  Ava said, “they said Stupid!!!”  It was clear I had gone too big with my second guess.  A few days later Ava said to me that the “teenagers on the bus said a bad word again and it starts with an S.”  I wasn’t going to go big this time so I said, “was it stupid?”  She said, “no, they said shut up!” Then she said, “teenager are bad and I am never going to be bad when I’m a teenager.”  I said, “do you promise Ava? Do you promise you won’t be bad when you are a teenager?”  She said, “yes, of course!”  very emphatically.  We’ll see. 

Until next time, the mothership is signing off.


Universal Alignment September 21, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Hip Mothership @ 9:41 pm




Wrestle mania in our house after dinnerThat is Ava standing tall on two other girls


It is possible that the universe and I are finally aligning a little bit.  Things seem to be looking a little more positive in my world.  No, I did not win the lottery affording me a full-time nanny and endless massages, but I did figure a few things out for myself.  

I made a promise to myself that I would make positive changes in my life upon my return from my yoga retreat. So far, I have accomplished a few changes.  First, I managed to meet my goal of going to four yoga classes last week – each one as difficult as the last.  I am trying to figure out why my yoga classes aren’t getting any easier after three months of pretty regular practice, and I think it is because I have been living a sedentary life pretty much since college.  Fifteen years, four kids, deflated muscles and 10 extra pounds later, I find it is taking a long time to get back into strength and flexibility; but I am doing it, one downward dog at a time. 

The other interesting thing that happened last week was I received an unexpected call.  I had been trying to figure out for about a month what extra-curricular activity I could put Ava in that would be worth all of our while.  I was looking for something with more of a time commitment that Ava could really enjoy and would expend some of her massive amounts of energy.  I was only coming up with a 45 – minute class here and an hour class there.  Then, out of the blue, I get a call from All-Star Gymnastics that they are looking to fill a spot in their competitive Acro Gymnastics Team and remember watching Ava at some of the free-gym play times and wondered if she wanted to come try out.  Ummmm, what the heck is Acro Gymnastics, was my first question.  Apparently Acro Gymnastics is a combination of gymnastics and cheerleading stunt moves.  The director told me it was three days a week for two hours at a time.  There would be traveling competitions four times a year.  So the next day I brought her to try out and Ava, in typical Ava fashion, was very shy for about 5 minutes and then she got in there and before I knew it she was running and lunging herself through the air into two other kids’ arms as part of the practice.  She was so excited that she spent most of the two hours jumping up and down.  So, although getting ourselves this committed to something is scary, I think this could be great for Ava. 

Meanwhile, life with Elsa, Violet and Preston is always interesting.  They are starting to really play well with each other.  They still fight plenty, but they also really enjoy having playmates.  Sometimes Elsa and Violet play dolls together, combing their hair and making them beds.  As someone who played with dolls until I was 10, it warms my heart to see the little girls playing with their dolls.  Preston can usually be found trying to fit random objects into or onto his vacuum; for some strange reason, this has a huge entertainment factor for him.  The girls ignore him when he gets weird with his vacuum and I just shake my head.  He is such a sweet boy though, because when one of his sisters is crying he goes to them and says, “what’s wrong Elsie pie (he calls Elsa Elsie pie because he heard me calling her that), and she says something like, “daddy is being mean to me” and then Preston says, “Oh, daddy mean to you?” and Elsie pie says “yeaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh” in her long drawn out dramatic way.  Then Preston will go to Chris and say, “daddy no mean to Elsie pie . . .  time out!” in his militant voice.  

At any given time of the day there is someone fighting, laughing, screaming or crying in this house.  I have come to accept it and let it roll off my back.  With three 2 year olds and a 6-year-old, there is always going to be someone having a bad day.  Maybe one day, 16 years from now when they are all off at college and Chris and I have a quiet house we will miss this loud, crazy, full of life house we have now; or maybe we will book a trip to Bali and soak up our solitude.  We will probably do both. 

Until next time, the mothership is signing off.


Ava Turns 6 September 13, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Hip Mothership @ 4:17 am

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Chris and I must be glutton’s for punishment.  There is no other way to explain why we would decide to have a movie night birthday party with nine of Ava’s friends, along with our four kids, and only Chris and I as the chaperones in charge.  I really thought nothing of it.  This is how it played out in my head: first, a little game of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, pizza, then a movie, then presents and cake and then kids get picked up by 8pm.  Here is how it really went: 1.  kids arrive and insist on playing freeze dance in the playroom 2.  they get bored with freeze dance pretty quickly and they all go in different directions of the house, some playing upstairs, some downstairs 3. 5:45 rolls around and there is still no pizza.  Chris left 45 minutes earlier to get the pre-ordered pizza.  4. For the sake of time and staying on my birthday party schedule, I decide we should begin opening presents since the pizza and my husband are MIA.  5.  6pm pizza arrives and the kids sit around the table to eat.  Preston begins crying and doesn’t stop for about an hour.  I have no idea why.  The kids need more pizza, some don’t like pizza, some don’t like pepperoni, they need more drinks.  I am literally sweating trying to fill order and cut the triplets pizza into bite sized pieces and warm their milk to the correct temperature (yes, I still warm their milk for them).  6.  The pizza fiasco is over so I put in Cinderella. There is a lot of discussion and confusion about where all the girls are going to sit while they watch the movie.  After 10 minutes everyone is settled in to watch the movie. Phew!  A little down time.  Someone calls out for popcorn so I get the popcorn maker out frantically and start making popcorn.  During this time, the main portion of the popcorn maker flies off and little plastic shards go flying.  I still make the popcorn.  Right as I am handing popcorn out in their little popcorn containers everyone decides they are done watching Cinderella.  They have only been watching it for 15 minutes.  7.  The kids scatter and go upstairs.  We have a foot injury when one of Ava’s friends stepped on a toy.  Blood and tears followed.  8.  Is the party over yet?  It is only 7.  We go outside to do cake and nobody really wants cake so we just sing happy birthday and Ava and one or two friends eat cake and ice cream.  Half an hour everyone else wants cake and ice cream.  9.  8pm pickup while Chris is trying to put the little kids to bed.  10.  Next year we are cutting the size of the birthday party in half and going somewhere outside of the home where someone else can do all the work. 

Seriously, what was I thinking?  In the end, the kids had a really great time and Ava had a great birthday but it was really hard and quasi stupid of us.  We should have at a minimum gotten some adult help. I wanted to break out the sparkling wine I had in my refrigerator through the entire party, but I was too busy and I thought maybe that isn’t appropriate when we are responsible for all of these six and seven year old children. 

In the meantime, all the kids are doing great.  Ava is absolutely loving school.  She gets 100% on all of her tests and is happiest when she is busy and learning.  She even loves riding the bus home every day which saves me tremendous time and hassle from picking her up at school. 

The triplets are starting to really play with each other. This is imperative since I am on my own with them on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays and then I have Nanny Kathy to help me Thursday and Friday mornings.  I make sure that I have a plan for getting out of the house each day and that helps me survive having three 2 1/2 year olds.  They are such good kids so it makes it pretty easy to take them out.  Last Tuesday I took them to the Folsom Zoo and for the first time, they were thrilled to sit and watch the animals.  Monkeys are Violet’s favorite animals so she screeched each time she got to see them.  Elsa loves all animals and had a constant level of excitement while at the zoo. Preston just wanted to run as fast as he could up and down the ramps; such a boy. Then we had a picnic and were having such a pleasant time and then I look to my right and see Preston flipping backwards over the bench, landing right on his forehead.  Screaming ensued.  A huge purple bump formed.  It was time for us to go home. 

Happy 6th birthday Ava Rose, a special girl who always keeps us on our toes.

Until next time, the mothership is signing off.


Life’s Legacy September 2, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Hip Mothership @ 5:29 pm

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It has taken me a few days to digest the experiences at my yoga retreat.  It was so much more than yoga, and capturing it all in writing will probably not do it justice, but I will give it a try.
Henry David Thoreau once said “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
Much like Thoreau, I went to the woods to rediscover how to live more fully, to care about myself, to enjoy and experience joy and take with me through life some new and unique memories and perspectives.
It was a tall order.  When people ask me, “am I a changed person now?” I say no, I am still me, with some new ideas on how to live life more fully. 
I became anxious as Thursday came around and the reality of me leaving my family and comfort zone all by myself for 4 days was near.  Since the trip was gluten-free (gluten is found in wheat, rhy and barley), I decided to meet my sister on the way down to Carmel for a gluten binge; oh yes, I got myself a big veggie panini and pasta salad and I ate it all.  This bread and pasta had to last me a full four days in the woods. 
Our homework assignment for the trip was to learn the eight limbs of yoga.  I had absolutely no idea what these eight limbs were and I had procrastinated on learning my homework.  So, I downloaded a book specifically about the eight limbs of yoga onto my iPhone and listened to it on my drive down to Carmel.  This man was explaining the eight limbs of yoga in the most boring and monotone voice, and it was a bit painful, but by the end of the drive I had a better idea of what the eight limbs of yoga were.  
I arrived at the campground and immediately pitched my own tent in a prime spot (thanks cousin) overlooking the green mountains.  Within 1/2 an hour of my arrival at the Bhakti Yoga Retreat, I had already committed a liberating act by erecting my own tent. 
Cousin Ryan presented us with binders that gave us a history of yoga, explanations of the eight limbs of yoga, different chants that we would sing throughout the retreat, and journal questions on exploring our life’s legacy. We also got this awesome T-shirt with the First Annual Bhakti Yoga Retreat written on it. 
The first night, and every night thereafter, we had circle time by the pseudo camp fire.  True campfires were not permitted so we relied on a small fire pit that was brought in to create ambience and warmth during circle time.  Now, I have been in a lot of circle times in the last six years, but it always involved singing kids songs, banging on small instruments and clapping hands.  This was an adult circle time and it was intense, thought-provoking stuff.  There were 15 of us who attended the retreat and in circle time we talked about ourselves, listened to others, explored our life’s legacy and supported each other through our own journeys.  There were definitely tears shed during circle time over the course of three nights. 
Before I move on, I would like to mention that while I believed I was doing a great job packing for camping, here are the items I forgot that haunted me throughout my trip:
* pillow
*blankets ( I had my sleeping bag but I needed blankets for circle time)
* a backpack
* a coat
* a scarf
* warmer clothes in general
* and on my first night I managed to break my lantern while trying to open it. This is after Chris taught me how to open it, and just how simple it is to work.  Humph. 
It has been a while since I camped.  I have learned from my mistakes for sure. 
Anyway, the next day we started with a beautiful hike in Point Lobos, Monterey.  It was spectacular. I hiked by myself for the most part so I could really take in the scenery and be alone with my thoughts.  On this hike we were instructed to take some time and write down in our journal answers to specific deep questions such as “If you could identify something that was missing in your life at the time, what would it be?”
My legs were already fatigued from the hike, but after lunch we headed to our yoga room for three hours of yoga.  I am glad I didn’t know it was going to be three hours of yoga before I went in or my mind may have defeated me before I even began.  We started yoga off with some chanting:
Hey Ganga, Hey Ganga, Hey Ganga Ma!
Amma, amma, amma, amma, Hey Ganga Ma!
Then we got into the most difficult yoga class I have ever taken in my life.  My cousin and his wonderful teachers know how to teach yoga!  It was invigorating.  I did positions I didn’t even know my body could do.  I had sweat literally pouring off my body, and I am not a sweater people.  I looked behind me and my fellow tribe members literally had big puddles of sweat underneath them.  I felt so alive after a day of hiking along the ocean and intense yoga.
On Saturday of the retreat we woke up, I ate my soy yogurt, homemade trail mix, fruit and hard-boiled egg and drank my green tea and headed out with the group to Big Sur.  I rode with my Aunt Jill which was a nice time for us to bond and catch up on life.  We spent the day hiking to magical places.  I think Big Sur is one of the most beautiful places in the world.  The central coast is such a special place because of land trusts that have preserved and protected the beaches and coastline.   We had lunch at Nepenthe overlooking the water, and it was the most beautiful sunny day.  We hiked along the ocean and then we hiked in the woods. In the woods we stopped by a small stream where we were told to meditate for 10 minutes.  I thought that 10 minutes sitting cross-legged on the ground with sticks piercing my behind was going to feel like eternity, but once I was in my meditation, time flew by.  The sound of the water rushing by was nature’s sound machine.  I think I could have sat there by the river’s edge all day enjoying in the peace.  Nobody was crying, demanding something of me, clinging to me, and I wasn’t chasing after any little people trying to do naughty things.  I was just sitting by the river with my relaxed body and my thoughts.  Then we were asked to journal and write down what we felt within the senses of our body – touch, taste, hear, see and smell. 
I met some really wonderful fellow tribe people on my retreat.  There were mothers, young people, older people, students, free-spirits and adventurers.  I noticed that I was among people who truly enjoyed life. No matter how young or old they were, they lived a life of passion, marveling in the simple pleasures of life such as a big butterfly sitting on a leaf; it was admirable.  I wondered if I had ever been this kind of person or whether I could in the future. I decided one of my life’s legacies that I would take home from my yoga retreat was to revel in the simple beauties of life.  To stop and admire the butterfly.  As it applies to my life right now, maybe I take the time just to really look at each of my kid’s smiling faces each day and relish in my great fortune that they were given to me to nurture.   I am ready for more life’s adventures.  I am ready for more yoga.  At next year’s yoga retreat, I want to be more in-shape and maybe even as good at yoga as the other tribe members – who were awesome yogi’s I might add. 
We ended our retreat with some poolside yoga.  It was the warmest day we had during the retreat and we did over an hour of yoga in the sun with the cool Carmel breeze brushing over our skin. 
During the yoga retreat I was asked by many people if I miss my kids.  I said that I did not miss my kids because that would defeat the purpose of my trip.  As Chris put it before I left, there will be plenty of time to be with the kids when I get back – go enjoy myself.  So, that is what I did.  As I drove home, I couldn’t wait to see the kids before they went to bed.  They screamed and yelled when they saw me.  They bellowed out “momma” with glee.  They attacked my body.  One of my life’s legacy that I brought home from the yoga retreat is that I must find that fine balance between creating time and passions for myself and taking care of my family with love and patience.  This is every mom’s challenge.  This is my challenge.  Thank you Ryan, Natasha and Aumi, and thank you tribal peers, for helping me find the simple joys in life, the powerful beauty of nature, and the awesome possibilities yoga has to offer.  Thank to the best most supportive husband in the world for making this trip possible.
1-2-3 Bhakti Tribe Rocks!
Until next time, the mothership is signing off.