How many heartbeats?!

I am frequently asked, "Did you know you were having triplets?" The answer is yes, yes YES! I found out very early on in my pregnancy that I was carrying three babies ... so early in fact, that I didn't even have time to think, "something is different this time around." Had I gone another two weeks I would've been making an appointment to get checked out because at around 10 weeks it became apparent that this pregnancy was going to be unlike my previous two. I was already showing and all my pregnancy symptoms were multiplied ... tired doesn't even begin to describe it.

I found out I was pregnant right after Christmas in 2014. I called my OBGYN to inform them and to schedule my first appointment and ultrasound and they asked me to come in at about eight weeks pregnant in order to figure out my due date.

My husband and I met up after work and as we walked from our cars I expressed how nervous I was and that I just wanted to see 1 healthy heartbeat. My husband, jokingly said, "we're gonna see 3 heartbeats!" Yeah. right. He's always wanted multiples .. me? not so much. Then in the waiting room he turned to me and said, "wouldn't it be great if it were twins?" I immediately replied, "No! No way ... just one healthy baby. That's it. Plus, my brother and sister-in-law had twins a year ago ...what are the chances that we'd have twins too?!" I laughed off that ridiculous notion. In my mind, I could never have twins, let alone triplets! That sort of thing would never - could never - happen to me. It happens to other people ... right??

We were called in for the ultrasound, but just before I walked in, the ultrasound technician asked me if I'd like to use the bathroom, which I did. I came into the exam room afterwards and the exam started. Here's how the convo between myself and the ultrasound tech went down as we looked at the little video monitor ...

Ultrasound tech: Do you feel like you completely emptied your bladder?
Me: umm, ya, I think so. Felt like it (I didn't hold any in! haha)
UT: hmmm.... is this your first pregnancy?
Me: No, my 3rd.
UT: How many children do you have?
Me: 2
UT: How old are you?
Me: yaaa.... not posting that in a blog!
UT: Did you conceive naturally?
Me: Yes .... why? (Now I'm getting concerned)
UT: Well ... I see more than one heartbeat.
Me (and husband): TWINS?!
UT: No, I see three heartbeats
Me (and husband): TRIPLETS?!?!?!?!?!
Me: NO! no. no. nonononononononononono ... (I then proceeded to half laugh and cry for an unknown amount of time. It was like I was no longer in my body but just watching this happen to someone else)

Needless to say we were in SHOCK! The tech said, "I've been doing this 30 years and this is only the 2nd time I've seen a naturally conceived set of triplets!" I was then seen by a doctor who informed me that I have been diagnosed with a "spontaneous triplet pregnancy". The term 'diagnosed' has always stuck out in my mind. When I spoke to my regular OB the next day, she said she see's about 1 patient every 10 years that has spontaneous triplets. I was then informed of all the risks associated with triplet pregnancies ... to which I was clueless about up until then. I will delve into that topic in a different blog post - it's a bit to heavy for me to get into just yet. The short version of the statistics though? They are scary and I. was. scared. Very scared. Listening to those facts was very sobering and led to some serious conversations. It took a few weeks (and lots of crying) for the reality to settle in that I was in fact carrying three babies and our family of four would quickly grow to a family of seven. All things considered though my pregnancy went very well. I was at the doctors roughly every two weeks for ultrasounds, in particular to monitor my set of identical's that were sharing a placenta. I had an amazing doctors and nurses that led me through the pregnancy. I saw a nutritionist to help with my diet. I always felt that I was in good hands and that helped me relax - as much as one can - during the pregnancy. I was briefly hospitalized twice, but I'll go into the adventure of my pregnancy another day. If you are reading this and have recently found out you are having triplets, let me tell you this: the panic WILL subside. It's a process and takes some time, but after a few weeks things in your brain will start to settle down. Get educated (by a doctor with triplet experience - NOT google), talk to your partner, family and friends as their support will be crucial. If you want to a good book on the subject then check out, "When You're Expecting Twins, Triplets, or Quads" by Dr. Barbara Luke & Tamara Eberlein. I bought this within days of finding out I was having triplets and devoured it.  If you are the praying type, then pray - a lot.  Lastly, focus on the positive.  That was the best advice I received and it helped me throughout my pregnancy and this first year of the triplets lives.   

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My Easiest Weeknight Dinner

Once upon a time there was a girl who loved to cook and bake.  She'd spend hours reading recipe books like Essentials of Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan.   Getting lost in food blogs and aimlessly walking around Su La Table or William Sonoma were not unusual.  Spending hours in the kitchen was enjoyable and spending 4 hours making a buche de noel for a Christmas gathering was a way she showed she cared.  Then one fateful day that girl had a baby ... then another baby ... then triplets.  And that life in the kitchen became a distant past.

Now my reality is getting 3 babies fed, bottled and ready for bed while cooking dinner for the rest of the family.  I use that term 'cooking' loosely ... sometimes it's more of a 're-heating.'  I'm learning to perfect a few simple dishes that my family loves and take VERY little time to make (or clean up).  My favorite is Broccoli and Goat Cheese Pasta.  It's delicious, easy to make, and the kids always ask for seconds (score!).  I adapted this recipe from a dish I used to make pre-children frequently.  
My inspiration dish - Pasta with Goat Cheese and Roasted Asparagus courtesy Martha Stewart

The original recipe, Pasta with Goat Cheese and Roasted Asparagus, is from Martha Stewart and is seriously delicious.  But as simple as it is, I still don't want to deal with roasting the asparagus, especially when I have to battle my kids to eat it.  So here is my simpler 1-pot version:

Broccoli & Goat Cheese Pasta 1 Box of Curly Pasta (I prefer DeCecco Cavatappi, but any curly pasta will do - we've even used Rigatoni with great success)
Large head of broccoli
4.5 oz of goat cheese with herbs (OR use plain and add your own seasoning in - we've tried parsley, garlic or onion powder, pepper, thyme and rosemary mixed together - I just eyeball it so I don't have measurements, sorry!)
2 Grilled Chicken Breasts, chopped (optional - if you add the chicken you'll want to add a bit more butter and goat cheese to properly coat the pasta).
1 tbsp of butter

1) Generously salt boiling water. Add pasta, and cook until al dente, according to package instructions. 
2) While pasta is cooking chop the broccoli.  I chop it up so it's small enough for the kids to eat without me cutting it up again.
3) Set aside 1 1/2 cups pasta water; and with about 2 minutes left to cook the pasta toss in the chopped broccoli.
4) Cook for 2 minutes then drain pasta and broccoli and return to pot.
5) In a medium bowl, combine goat cheese, 1 tablespoon butter, and 3/4 cup pasta water. Season with salt and pepper (and/or seasonings of your choosing), and whisk until smooth. Add goat-cheese mixture to pasta; toss to combine, adding more pasta water if necessary for sauce to coat pasta.
If adding in cooked grilled chicken toss it in during the 5th step with the goat-cheese mixture.


Do you have any quick and easy dishes you enjoy cooking and the family also loves eating??  Please share in the comments!

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That Morning Cup of Coffee...

Anyone else look forward to their morning cup of coffee before they go to bed at night?  I have this image of me sitting at the kitchen table, morning sunlight filtering through our french doors, while I slowly sip my cup of coffee while reading a favorite magazine or the newspaper.  That's just a dream though because my reality is: waking up early, changing 3 diapers (if not 3 outfits to boot), listening to a chorus of morning whines of "I'm huuunngrrrrry," fixing bottles then fixing breakfast (praise Jesus my big kids actually PREFER frozen waffles and sausage ... still frozen!), getting big kids ready for school, one off on the bus, all while corralling babies to keep them safe in the living room ... then maybe that's when I can I pour myself a cup of iced coffee (into my old Dunkin Donuts iced coffee cup that I just keep washing and reusing) or making a little pot of coffee for myself and drinking it in one of my favorite cups throughout the second half of the morning.  One of my favorite mugs is my Kate Spade 'K' mug ... not sure why exactly, it just is!  They don't make it anymore, but if I had to buy a new Kate Spade mug it'd be this one:

I love me some Kate Spade EVERYTHING

or this one, for a bit of whimsy.

My other favorite mug is courtesy of Bethenny Frankel ... RHONY is one of my guilty pleasure's and it's all thanks to her.

(the only problem with this mug is that my 5 year old can read now!!)
If I had more cabinet space I think it would filled with silly, kitschy mugs!  Here are a few that give me a lil smirk:

It's just cute.

Because. I. Am.

If you are a Parks and Recreation fan then you get this.

If loving this is wrong, then I don't wanna be right.

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You've Got Your Hands Full!

Want to know what I hear a lot?  "5 kids!?  Triplets?!  You sure have your hands full!"  Well, yes I do have my hands full ... it's full of babies, kids, piles of laundy, bottles and dishes to clean .... but even more than my hands being full, my BRAIN is full!  Full of schedules, to do lists, priorities to juggle ... you name it!  I've started writing so many different blog posts but my brain just starts clouding over with all my other responsibilities.  It feels a bit like pregnancy brain but worse.  The first year of raising triplets is like living in a bit of a fog.  I'm trying to be everything to my children but still keep a sense of myself.  It's an impossible juggling act.  Sometimes I just need to let my brain relax and zone out.  Thankfully our all our kids are usually asleep by 8:30 ... which gives me time to snuggle up in bed with my ipad and watch reruns of The Office or Parks and Recreation.... or go on Pinterest or my favorite interior design blogs, like I Heart Organizing and Little Green Notebook, and look at pretty things.  So it's time to close down my computer for the day and go relax ... until I start all over again around 5 or 6am tomorrow.  And I may have my hands full ... but so is my heart.

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Making time for ALL our kids

One of the biggest challenges of having triplets in addition to older children is ensuring that all our kids are getting enough mommy and daddy time.  The needs of our 3 and 5 year old are vastly different than the needs of the babies.  The older girls love playing with the babies and it would be convenient to stay inside and put a pause on life outside the home, but my husband and I have made it a priority to set aside time each week to spend quality time with them individually and together as a family.  This weekend we were lucky enough to be given 4 tickets to the Red Sox game for Friday night and Monday afternoon.  And even luckier that our babysitter and my mother can watch the babies so we are able to take advantage of the opportunity and treat our older girls to mommy daddy time at the ballpark.  Maybe, unlike in prior years, the girls won't be scared if they see Wally!

A more average weekend is spent balancing baby time with giving the girls one-on-one time either at the grocery store, at the playground, library, playing games or doing crafts while babies nap or even heading to the car wash.  They enjoy getting our undivided attention and we enjoy the break from the babycare.  (we love heading to Art for Kids Hub to help create origami with our 5 year old!).  I would say that building and creating a support network of family, friends and/or babysitters is one of the most important tasks when you find out you are having multiples.  Especially if you have older kids ... the amount of time I've saved by not having to drag the babies around for rides to school, sports or birthday parties has been crucial for our quality of life.  If you don't already have a network in place, actively try and find one.  My local multiples groups and my church have been a great resource for me (particularly through the Mom To Mom Ministry  but I'll go more in detail about that at another time).  Now that the babies are getting older and will soon be walking I hope to do more activities outside the home with all of my kids, like playing at the park, but that's all in due time.  I have only begun to imagine the chaos that comes with chasing around 3 little ones at a playground but I know my older girls will relish in their roles as Big Sister and help do the chasing, corralling and pushing of the baby swings.

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