Friday, April 12, 2013

Fun at the Park

Days like today make it SO HARD to think about the fact that I have to go to work tomorrow and be away from my boys...

The munchkins and I had a wonderfully perfect day.  They all woke up happy (of course, they always wake up happy in the mornings!), had a tasty breakfast of oatmeal and bananas, and spent the morning playing and napping.

In the afternoon, we went to a local park and met up with one of my fellow triplet mommy friends and her three babes.  And to answer your question- no, we did not know each other before we were each pregnant!  Jacqueline, the social worker that works with the Sutter Mothers of Multiples program, is amazing at what she does and I have her to thank for bringing Kris into my life.  She actually introduced me to Kris (her triplets are now six months old!!) last fall, and we've been friends ever since. It is so helpful to have another triplet momma to share with.  Anyway, we met up in the afternoon and took our six kids (!!) for a walk around the park before settling down on blankets in the grass for playtime.  People were constantly coming up to us and taking in the spectacle of six babies between two moms...

The weather today was absolutely perfect for an outing to the park- what a wonderful, wonderful day!  




I just told them that we're going to the park!
(Elliott, Sidney, Jenson)

How many babies do you see in this picture?  First person to get it right gets $1 of their own money...

Silly crooked sun hat on Jenson- he was wiggling a little too much!
(adorable sun hats courtesy of Auntie Janelle)

This is Elliott, although it looks a little like Sidney because the hat straps are pushing his jowls up!


Sidney was loving getting to sit in my lap, taking in the scenery

I had a little trouble keeping my little rolling dervish on the blanket

(Jenson and Elliott)

Sidney was totally amused with seeing himself on my iPhone's screen...

...and played so hard that he had to take a sweet little nap in the afternoon sun.

Elliott too!

But NO nap for Jenson!

Sidney, Jenson, Elliott

I love these boys so much!!  They were all having
major giggle fits when I took this picture.

Reading our new alphabet book.  Any opportunity that I can find to capture their attention with a book, I will.

Thanks for a fun afternoon, my little munchkins!  Today was one of those days that I will just always treasure...
(Sidney, Jenson)

Thursday, April 11, 2013


Seeing the boys break out into big grins when I walk in the door after a long day at work?  Best gift ever.  I swear- if we could find a way to bottle up that feeling that I feel when these little munchkins smile up at me...

People have so many questions about what our life is like on a daily basis with infant triplets.  Perhaps I'll take some time, bore you readers to tears, and answer some of the most frequently asked here...

This might be one of the most common questions that I get asked.  People are fascinated by how Jason and I are managing to handle the workload that's involved with raising our sassy boys.  And my response is usually this- we just do it!  We just do what needs to be done.  The boys are counting on us to take care of them and love them and provide for them.  Everything else- our personal needs/wants, getting caught up on sleep, personal time- usually takes a back seat to whatever it is that the boys need. I don't say that to present Jason and I as martyrs for the cause, because we certainly are not.  It's just as simple as this- we love these boys, we want what's best for them, so we'll do whatever it takes to raise them well.  There's no magic formula to follow- we're just doing what needs to be done.  :)

Plus I firmly believe that the universe has been conspiring to prepare me to be ready for triplets for a long time, and this is how I'm able to do it.  I can see where different experiences in my past have helped shape me to be able to better love these little boys.  Working as a wilderness guide for a couple of summers?  I learned how to put others' needs, safety, and well-being before my own.  Working as a nurse?  I learned how to triage needs, how to have better time management, and how to take care of multiple people at the same time.  Being married to Jason?  I learned how to be more patient and calm in the midst of chaos from his example.  Looking back through the threads of my life, there are so many that have helped prepare me to be a triplet momma.

This one always makes me a giggle a little inside.  I'm always tempted to fib a little and tell people it's easy, but I bet they'd think I was a little loony.  So yes, they are a TON of work!!  I think I can honestly say that I have never in my life worked this hard.  There are days where I literally do not stop... from the moment I get up (before dawn sometimes) to the moment I lay my head on the pillow at night (long after the sun has set!).  Raising triplets is definitely a full-time job.  But here's the second part of my answer- never before has the reward been so great.

Absolutely!  As they are getting older, they're becoming more different from each other.  Honestly, they seem right now to have a lot of similarities because they are so young.  But as time goes on, they're revealing a little more of themselves each day...

Sometimes I get confused by this question.  I think it's being asked because people want to actually HEAR about their different personalities.  But sometimes I get the sense that it's being asked because people have a hard time still seeing the boys as individuals.  They get caught up in the whole triplet thing, whereas the most honest way to look at it is that they happen to be three unique little peanuts who just happened to arrive at the same time.

Yes, and I'll be forever scarred by it.  :)

Actually, it isn't usually too bad.  We've been blessed with relatively non-fussy babies.  We frequently hear from people after they've spent time with the boys that they seem like pretty calm, happy boys- and I'd have to agree with them.  These three munchkins are generally pretty happy little dudes.  But not always.  And sometimes we get the ripple effect- one of them will start crying and it seems like another one will cry just so that his brother doesn't feel alone, which makes the third join in because he doesn't want to be left out either.  But that doesn't happen too often, and when it does, it's almost always because they want their bottles like NOW.

I'm not generally fazed too much by their fussing.  I just start singing to them!  Singing calms me, so I'll sing them my favorite songs.  When things get bad, I'll sing them lullabies.  I've joked with my coworkers that if they ever hear me singing Brahm's Lullaby at work in a patient's room, they should probably come running with a crash cart and call for a staff emergency because things are heading south quickly...

I'll also try to talk the boys through it.  I always say to them, "Momma can hear you", as if they can understand that I'm acknowledging their displeasure.  I apologize for the fact that they're having to wait, but I'll also remind them that this is a natural consequence of all of them deciding to come at the same time as triplets and not giving their dad and me a chance to have one baby at a a time.  :)  Sometimes there is literally nothing you can do- you can't instantly make three warmed-up bottles magically appear in their mouths.  Hence the lullabies and trying to talk them off the ledge that their little infant minds have gotten them onto.  I should probably apologize to our neighbors too.  If our windows are open... I'm sure the sounds are amplified and it probably sounds like a bajillion babies are crying.

Are you kidding me?!?  Who actually thinks like this?

Actually, Jason and I have a pretty good (and honest!) answer to this one.  Our favorite is whichever munchkin we happen to be holding at that particular moment.  If you ask me the same question five minutes later when I'm cuddling with a different munchkin, you'll get a different answer.  My dear friend Pat gave me a book entitled "You're All My Favorites", which talks about the three baby bears (!) who are ALL their Mama Bear's favorite.  It's a wonderful story, and it really mirrors how we feel about these three little babes.  Each of them is my favorite.

Yes!  Our nanny comes on the two days a week when Jason and I both have to be at work.  We also have her come for an additional eight hours during the week, so that we can run errands, do yard work, get a break, etc.  Jason and I are blessed in that we both have full time jobs, but we technically only need a nanny for 20 hours a week.  That additional eight from the nanny?  Purely to help us keep our sanity and get some stuff done more efficiently.

But the rest of the time?  It's usually the "Jason and Brittany Show" around here.  Almost all of our family lives out of state, so they aren't able (although their hearts are totally willing, they have lives too!) to pitch in on a daily basis.  Jason and I do all of the cooking, cleaning, housework, yard work, and errands on our own while still raising these little peanuts.  No housekeeper (which you can probably tell by looking at how dusty the picture frames on my desk are right now!), no landscaper (Jason has done an amazing job keeping up with the lawn this spring!)... just us.  Sometimes this means I'm connected to the breast pump while I'm making dinner (multitasking is essential), but we make it work.  I like to talk to the boys about what I'm doing:  "This is how Mommy cleans our clothes.  First we grab the hamper..."  We've learned to do many things one-handed while holding a baby!

Also, my friends are so gracious about helping out when they can- helping me run to Costco, offering to pick up groceries, helping out with the occasional feeding, etc.  God knew what he was doing when he brought them into my life...

Nope, we're done.  Closed for business.  End of story.

Although... sometimes when I look at the pictures from right after the boys were born, I can't help but think how precious newborns are, which just starts me thinking about... whoa.  If I ever tell anyone I want another child, you have my permission to have me committed.  There are many, many families with multiples who go on to have more children.  We are not that family.

I think people (usually women, but not always!) are curious about the aftereffects on my body of having carried such big babies for so long.  Here's the rundown.  Yes, I'm back down to my pre pregnancy weight, thanks to a combination of being a human dairy farm (I'm so proud that we've gotten the boys this far and they're still getting breastmilk everyday!) and haphazard visits to the gym.

Most of the physical challenges I faced during the pregnancy are no longer an issue.  My blood pressure, which went up slightly during the pregnancy?  Better now than it ever was before the pregnancy.  The tremendous back and hip pain?  Thankfully gone.  The carpal tunnel issues in my hands and fingers?  Mostly resolved.  The indigestion, heartburn, and other lovely gastrointestinal delights?  Gone.  The urinary frequency and fluid retention?  Gone- when I wake up at night now, it's because a baby's fussing and no longer because a baby's squeezing my bladder.  All of those hormones?  Given my declining number of hot flashes, they appear to be returning to a normal level too.

The biggest challenge for me physically now is my abdominal muscles and skin.  Both were stretched so completely that it will take a good long time to get back to where they used to be, if they ever do.  After the boys were born, it seemed like I could palpate different organs in my stomach pretty easily when I was lying down because the muscle layer (which normally holds that stuff in and protects it!) was so thin and fragile.  It's not unusual for mothers who've carried multiples to have to have hernia surgery and abdominal skin removal surgery at some point after their babies are born.  It remains to be seen if I will be one of the women that need help in this respect.

I had such an unusual pregnancy (carrying triplets is not exactly normal) and such an unusual triplet pregnancy (carrying such big babies for so long with no real serious complications) that in my head I guess I just figured my body would just bounce right back after the boys popped out.  Well, it didn't exactly bounce back like I envisioned it would, which has been a little bit of a challenge for me.  My dear friend Jen helped put this in perspective for me once when I was feeling pretty darn sorry for myself in regards to what I was seeing in the mirror a few months after delivery.  As she explained to me, I'd already made my choice- by choosing to carry the boys as long as I did (I totally could have asked for my scheduled C-section to happen weeks earlier than it did and the doctors wouldn't have batted an eye), I also made the choice to allow my body to stretch out that much more.  And thinking about the fact that I CHOSE to have this body versus it "having been done to me" makes me feel better about things.  Her explanation really helped something click in my brain and has allowed me to feel much less sorry for myself in regards to the changed physical shape I now have.  I'm not saying she made me feel like walking down the street in my swimsuit and showing off, but at least I have come to a certain level of peace with my new body.  And for that I am grateful.

I LOVE this question so much because it allows me to brag, brag, brag about Jason!  He is doing phenomenally.  I wish you could all see him with our boys.  He's so good with them and so loving.  I absolutely love listening to him talk to the munchkins and watching him interact and play with them.  Jason treated the pregnancy like it was a team effort, and raising the munchkins is no different.  Some of the best things and most positive changes that we've done in regards to taking care of the boys have come from him.  Everyday I get the joy of being the mother to three adorable little peanuts, AND I get the joy of being the wife of a stud.  Life is good.

Let me break it down for you:  if you ever find yourself pregnant with triplets, I pray that your partner is as hard-working, humorous, loving, and responsible as mine.  :)

Glad you asked.  Yes we do!  Nowadays we spend our time together much differently than we used to.  No longer are we deciding at the last minute to go out for brunch on the weekends or to catch a late night movie at the theater.  These days, we spend a lot of time together taking care of the boys and having family time with the munchkins.  And we are very intentional about how we spend our time alone together because the value of it has increased so dramatically for us.

I love raising our family together, and I truly feel like it has only served to strengthen our relationship.  It has not all been pretty- working so hard and being so tired lowers your tolerance levels at times, and Jason and I have gotten to explore what that actually means for us.  But we've also gotten the opportunity to really work on our communication with each other.  Jason and I are a team, working together to raise these little boys in to little men with as little damage to everyone involved as possible.  I'm proud to be honest in saying that I have never loved Jason more or have more respect for him than I do now.

Monday, April 8, 2013

State of the Union (or at least the Deen Union)

I've been back to work now for three weeks, and it's been an interesting ride.  Jason and I planned for a long time and worked hard to make my transition back to my job as seamless as possible, and I'm glad to be able to say that things have been going very well so far.  My coworkers are AMAZING...  they've been a part of this journey since day one and have helped us celebrate every step along the way.  They've been so curious as to how the boys are doing, how I'm handling the transition, and how Jason's working with the changes.  They put up with me showing pictures and videos of the boys all the time (which is how I think I've been able to make it through the day without breaking down when I'm away from the munchkins).

I am so thankful for their patience with me and my endless questions about the simplest of things as I'm trying to get back into the swing of things around the hospital.  I equate my return to work with "walking through jello".  You know where you're supposed to be going, but it feels like it takes forever to get there!  Things are slowly coming back to me with every new shift I have at the hospital, but I can just tell that I'm slow as molasses (what's with all the food references?).  It's entirely too frustrating to me to be this slow and literally feel like I can hear/feel the wheels cranking at a slow pace in my brain when I'm working with my patients- I think my patients deserve better than me and where I'm at right now.  BUT... it's so motivating to observe again how amazing my coworkers are with their patients, and it makes me want to get better everyday so I can deserve to be an oncology nurse on my unit again.

When Jason and I both have to be at work, we have a nanny that comes to the house to be with the boys.  Now, before you think we're rolling in the money and that's how we can afford a nanny, let me correct you.  Here's the absolute truth of the matter:  when you have three babies that need to be taken care of, it is going to be ridiculously expensive whether you have a nanny or take them to a daycare.  Jason and I did the math, and we were going to be paying about the same regardless of what choice we made.  And so the decision of nanny vs. daycare for our family instead became far more about the non-financial benefits.  Jason and I went back and forth for a good few months about which option would be better for the boys.  Obviously it would be easier on us as parents to have a nanny, but there were both pros and cons with both options for the boys.  Ultimately, we felt the boys would benefit the most from a nanny.  Cue Magda, our nanny, entering our lives.

And she is AMAZING.  A coworker passed her contact info on to us last August, and I just held on it until we started our nanny search.  If you've been following our story from the beginning, you know that one of my big worries was who was going to take care of the munchkins when Jason and I couldn't.  Whenever Jason or I started getting anxious about it, I'd try to remember that if God gave us these three little peanuts, he was going to also bring someone along to help us take care of them.  And boy did he ever.  Magda has been a nanny for many, many years and has worked with twins before- so she's experienced with babies and she's definitely experienced with multiples.  And we just love her!!  I knew she'd be the nanny for us when I realized that the way she talked to the boys reminded me of the way my own mom talks to them...  She doesn't carry a big satchel and umbrella, but I still want to call her Mary Poppins anyway.  Magda is such a positive, loving woman- I joke with people that the boys are probably better taken care of when she's around than when Jason and I are...

The boys are growing up before our very eyes.  Just the other day, I pulled Elliott up from a laying-on-his-back position to a sitting position and I was dumbfounded at just how strong my little man's gotten.  I don't remember him going to pump iron at the gym!  All of the boys are rolling over now, and you can no longer guarantee that they are going to be where you left them a minute ago.  We're getting closer and closer to being fully mobile- yikes!

Here's a little "breakdown" of where each of the boys is at.  Everyone always wants to know if they have different personalities as well (which they do!)...

JENSON is our feisty little man.  He was the first of our boys to roll from his back to his stomach, and now we have a hard time keeping him off of his tummy (which sometimes we'd like to do because he's developed this nice habit of leaking a little milk out of his mouth if he's on his tummy too much!).  He loves his rattles, his pacifier, grinning at everyone, and wearing as little clothing as possible.  Jenson's so inquisitive, and he loves nothing more than to talk/shriek as LOUDLY as possible.  He's determined to get things done, and he wants the same from us (if he wants his bottle, he wants it NOW).  While he might be the most insistent of the three, he balances it out nicely by being the biggest giggler!

ELLIOTT is our patient little dude.  He is a happy little man, and he loves his stuffed puppy, his pacifier, falling asleep in the jumperoo, and tummy time on Daddy's legs.  I'm pretty convinced he's got a bottomless pit for a stomach, and he's already overtaken Sidney in the weight department.  Elliott loves his bedtime stories, watching intently as we turn the pages.  He's our most challenging sleeper when it comes to naptime, but I'm pretty sure it's because he just wants to be wherever we are.  And guess who has just discovered that he can make all sorts of different noises with his voice?!?  This guy!

SIDNEY, sweet Sidney.  This kid is quick with a smile, and he has the biggest grin of all three boys.  He is pretty sure that his feet are the greatest thing ever right now, and he loves sucking his thumb, bath time, and pretty much any situation where he gets another chance to smile at someone.  Sidney's newest thing is to put his arms around your neck in the form of a rudimentary hug- it's so sweet!  He loves nothing more than to stand up (with us supporting him of course!) and look around at the world- once again, he grins from ear to ear with pride when he does it.  Sidney is definitely a lover and not a fighter.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy Easter!!

Hope everyone had a lovely, lovely day!  The Deen family had a great day yesterday and just wanted to share some pics with you...

Sidney and Jenson playing together

Elliott's in love with this monkey!

And then we decided to get into a tiny bit of the holiday spirit...

At first Elliott was a little confused by the eggs...

But then he got the hang of it!

Jenson, on the other hand, was pretty sure that they were supposed to immediately go in his mouth!




 And all three together...  (L to R: Sidney, Jenson, Elliott)