The preparation and lead up to our Hawaii vacation was filled with so much anxiety. Six hours, trapped on a plane, a two hour layover, with 5 kids, 2 of which are 3 years old and professionals at tantruming….this is every parents anxiety-ridden worst nightmare. So, I began preparing a little over a month ago. I was going into this flight with all the bells and whistles. It was Steve and I verses the 3 year olds.
Before I go into the items I added to their “airplane backpacks”, I have to say, in order to keep you reading, I might be borderline genius because it ended up being 6 hours of peaceful toddler entertainment. Total and complete success! In the airplane battle of parents verses toddlers, Steve and I dominated!
I bought them their backpacks to start out with. I chose bright and memorable backpacks so that if I lost them in the airport during the layover, they would be easily recognizable and memorable. And also, they are so cute that both of them were obsessed with wearing them.
When you become pregnant with triplets, you become part of a select club. There are Facebook groups that “meet” to discuss advice and offer support to the scared new mother of 3 at once. It is so incredibly helpful and I truly found so much great advice from these Mother’s that had walked the path and made it through what I was fearfully facing. They were a huge resource for me.
Today is May 1….the first day of Brain tumor awareness month. While I don’t intend to celebrate brain tumors, I don’t want to harp on depressing facts. We know brain tumors are depressing and devastating and I will share facts, but my goal is also to show that there is always hope and there is always a silver lining in this journey of life. During the month of May, every penny donated to the HayesTough Foundation will be donated to a brain tumor warriors family. Let’s spread kindness! Let’s spread hope!
My sweet friend Bianca Merkley is an incredibly talented singing artist and she has graciously given her talents to this cause. Her song “HOPE” is available on Bandcamp. You can download the song and choose the amount you want to donate. Whether it is 50 cents or more, every penny goes to a family in need. What I love about this song is that it’s intended to provide hope in all times of trial. Whether it is financially difficult times, marital troubles, miscarriage or cancer…we all have a story, and we can all use hope.
So gift this song to someone that needs that silver lining or gift this to your mom for Mother’s Day! Or gift a HayesTough shirt to someone that loves awesome shirts 😉! Let’s raise more money than we have before! And let’s gift hope to a family in need! We are #hayesarmy.
I get asked often about what it felt like to have 3 babies squished into my stomach. I can assure you, they were definitely squished in there. Well, two of them were squished, Hayes was as comfortable as can be. He was casually sprawled out under my rib cage while Heath and Reese packed themselves into the depths of my belly, pushing themselves head down battling for first entrance into the world. Hayes was always relaxed and happy with where he was. When I went into labor, it wasn’t a surprise when Hayes was the last to be born…the baby of the bunch. Read More
It was two years ago, right before the 5K and the babies first birthday. We were finishing up Hayes’ second round of chemo and I was still feeling naively optimistic. All I cared about was getting out of the hospital for the 5K and celebrating the babies. Hayes was sleeping in his hospital crib and I was sitting on the fold out plastic couch in my daily “uniform”….sweats. We were in the corner room of the cancer unit. There was a double door to get into our room and you couldn’t hear a sound. We were completely closed off from the world in our little corner that overlooked the Salt Lake Valley. Read More
The past few weeks, I lay my babies down for their daily naps and inevitably, they end up talking to each other under their doors across the halls. At first it is really sweet and then all hell breaks loose and Heath is kicking the door….laying on his back, pounding the door with his feet. Yesterday was another one of those days and I found myself feeling more and more angry with each loud kick of his door….sometimes I just need a break from my kids, I will be honest! So needless to say I was frustrated. Read More
Let me start out this post with a preemptive warning that I actually believe that toddler “education” is not something to stress about. When Bo was 18 months old, he was no joke, a baby genius. He said his first word at 7 months and his words skyrocketed after that. He was literally reading by 3 years old. I will be honest. I was kind of cocky about it and I sort of took credit for his success. I read books with him, worked on his sounds, colors and shapes and pretty much, from what I could tell, I had created a baby prodigy. All the signs pointed to his genius mom.
Then Mia was born. I took the exact same steps with her. I began reading her books and “testing” her on her knowledge and bless her sweet heart….she wasn’t a baby genius. In fact, not only could she not read by the time kindergarten rolled around, but she honestly knew maybe 5 of her letters, if that. Mia ended up doing fine and actually is super smart now. What I came to realize was that I actually didn’t have as big of an impact as I thought. I feel like kids cognitive interests will be perked when they are ready. So then what the heck is the point of trying to teach them at all?!
I decided that teaching my babies is actually the perfect opportunity to spend time with them and for them to spend time together. Maybe they aren’t becoming baby geniuses but the time together is kind of perfect! There is a lot of laughter, a lot of bribing and frankly, sometimes a little toddler tantrum thrown in the mix. But at least I am exposing them and giving them the opportunity to learn. It can’t hurt!
There are a few things that help me find success. First of all, high chairs are key for most of the activities! I can strap them in and they can’t get easily distracted with toys. Second off, I bribe them. Their bribes of choice lately are suckers. They will list off the parts of the face like Einsteins if they see a sucker on the horizon. It actually is kind of how I am with Peanut Butter M&M’s, but I digress. And thirdly, we sing A LOT! I wouldn’t necessarily say my voice is the voice of an angel but it motivates them enough to have me wondering if maybe it is!
Another activity I have found success with is stringing Cheerios on spaghetti noodles or skewers. This keeps them busy forever! Supposedly it helps with fine motor skills but it also will provide you with at least 10 minutes of quiet time. Que the Coke Zero and peanut butter M&M’s.
Last thing I usually do is work on colors. I usually draw about 6 different colored circles on a paper. I then have them sort fruit loops into coordinating colored circles. I have found that these things have worked for us. Even if it is just small things to help them follow directions, I feel like I am helping them become somewhat decent members of society.
Let me know if you try any of these. I am curious to know if it works for other kids. And if you have different ideas, I am always on the hunt for more!
A little over a year ago, we had just finished treatment for Hayes. It was August of 2016 and we were finally together as a “normal” family that was recovering from 8 months of separation and treatment. We were desperate for normalcy, our kids were desperate for joy. I remember it was a Sunday afternoon when Steve came down the stairs with a huge smile and an idea. He was holding an old pair of childrens lederhosen from my childhood and said he wanted to dress up the babies. We put Heath in the outfit first and it hit me, he looked like he was straight out of the movie, The Sound of Music, and a vision was born….Baby Dress Ups!
The Sound of Music
Every Sunday, we would come up with a new theme and dress up the babies. The kids began to smile again and it was like we were healing with laughter. It was something we looked forward to every week. I had no idea that these pictures would become so much a part of our lives and I was even more shocked when Huffington Post Canada picked up our story. I hope that our makeshift, home made costumes will be something that brings a little smile to our hearts forever…priceless memories that will forever be documented for generations. Once again, a reminder that joy is found in the simple moments in life.