Friday, October 31, 2008

Very Niiiice- Great Success!

This is Mitchell's "G" rated version of the beloved Borat. Of course for school he had to tone things down a bit. Overall, it very nice and great success, no? Here is my neighbor Nushuktan Tulyiagby. He is pain in my assholes. I get a window from a glass, he must get a window from a glass. I get a step, he must get a step. I get a clock radio, he cannot afford. Great success! Sometime my sister, she show her vazhïn to my brother Bilo and say "You will never get this you will never get it la la la la la la." He behind his cage. He cries, he cries and everybody laughs. She goes "You never get this." But one time he break cage and he "get this" and then we all laugh. High five!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

We are not in Kansas anymore

My NON Spending Spree

This post has been months in the making. You see, my adorable and finanically responsible spouse has placed a moretorium on spending. No extra cash out- period! I like a challenge in most situations but this one....not so much. Being the compliant, co-dependent and doting wife (total sarcasm) I immediately cut out some expenses. The first thing to go was the cleaning lady. Next to go, dry cleaning. It is wash and wear now for us- how revolting. Sadly, I have put a stop to salon pedicures, thankfully it is boot season and no one will have to see my calloused and hidious hooves, except for the man sleeping next to me- and afterall, this was his call. I bet that in a few weeks after I snag him with my cracked, dry, scaly heels he will re-think the added $82 a month. Doubtful, but we will see. And finally- no more extra cirricular coffee. Bye Bye Starbucks hello Folgers. I have decided to brew my own coffee and run it through my self installed IV, so that I will have enough energy to function, shuffle half a dozen kids, clean the house, iron my husband's shirts and produce my own revenue at the office. I am not sure my dear partner realizes that all this "saving" will force him to pay for my cosmetic procedures that much sooner. Having a frazzled and worn out wife is expensive in the long run- I guess my man does not see the big picture here.

So I have been keeping a tight hold on my wallet. For example I bought Eli a new pair of school shoes and Natalie 3 pairs of panties and I spent a whole TWENTY SIX CENTS...$.026! I have the receipt right here, and you can clearly see that after I bought only clearance merchandise, (take an additional 50% off) and used my $10 off your entire purchase coupon, my total before tax was TWENTY FOUR CENTS. The retail price of the shoes was originally $24.99 and the 3 pack of panties started at $12.50! I proudly saved the sales receipt so that Jeff could see for himself. I even circled the total cash spent to make it easy for him to review it. I think that spending the change in my van ash-tray for items we actually need is an okay move- right?

While we are talking about my non spending....let me address an important fact about dressing my kids. I do buy them designer clothing and accessories. The cutest stuff and the fanciest labels. That is my thing people. Hello??? Yeah right, just because my husband is cheap does not mean my children will be outfitted from Wal-mart! I buy on clearance a season ahead. Right now I am finding summer items for 90% off and I am gauging the size for next summer and stocking up. The boys Ralph Lauren Polo shirts were less than $10 each this week at Marshalls and I found 6pairs of POLO shorts for $3.50 a piece at TJ Maxx. But here is the real kicker... after my precious angels have worn these clothes, I will list and sell them on ebay and get more for them than I originally paid. I have been operating this way for over a year now and I am pleased to report that we are totally in the black for wardrobe accountability. I am the queen of bargain shopping. It is my cardio. My crowning (pun intended) glory came when I bought Charlotte her first Juicy Couture velour hoodie and yoga pant set at Neiman's Last Call. The retail price was $128 for the outfit. I paid $36 on the reduced rack, saved an additional 15% with a bonus coupon and shipped it along with all the other items back home (no tax) for a total of $30.60. Last week I sold the set for $45 profit after the ebay listing and paypal fees. I do not allow the kids to eat, crawl through rocks & dirt, play with sharpie markers, or smoke (hee hee)in their designer duds. Ever. Now you can understand why my kids eat topless at home. We have to protect my investment in the clothing. Don't think they do not have fun though, c'mon you have seen the pictures. The queen lets them reek havoc in and out of the castle- so long as their clothes stay pristine and are in like new condition.

I am sure this spending freeze is temporary. Obviously, I am not the kind of girl who pays retail, ever, but I could really really really use a Venti, skinny, dolce caramel latte once in awhile. At least while I am busy listing stuff on ebay and plotting my crazy hair-brained schemes.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Poop Talk

Until now I have been afraid to type this post...I do not want to jinx myself. I have three down one to go with regards to potty training. THE TRIPLETS ARE POTTY TRAINED! There. I said it. I put it out there, and surely they would not dare regress since I am blogging about having THREE toilet learned children. It has been two weeks tomorrow since we went cold turkey. No diapers during the day- only diapers at night- (because they are gated in their rooms and can't get up or out to use the bathroom.) Most mornings they are dry but I feel confident knowing they are diapered in their room.

Eli likes to read a magazine in the bathroom and he has just started asking for some "pry-base-ey". I have been keeping current issues of Parents Magazine near the toilet and he has been known to thumb through the pages with some interest. My weirdo clean freak kids love to wash their hands too, and this step stool is part of the routine! It is very fun to check out the restrooms when we are out and about. The best part of our field trips is seeing where they can go pee pee the potty. Washing and drying hands after using a public bathroom is the absolute highlight of the routine- there is new and different soap, faucets, paper towels, or better yet,
loud, wind blowing, hot air hand dryers. This is the ultimate HIGH of the potty experience for them. They often fight over who gets to push the button. Welcome to my world everyone!

So let's talk about poop, shall we? When you become a parent your tolerance of all things gross and poopy magnifies. When you have a child you get an instant heightened awareness of poop. The texture, the color, the scent, and all sensory aspects of bowel movements is up for discussion. Pretty much all the time. So when teaching triplets to poop in the potty there is some serious hilariousness that follows. Mostly from them, but in some extreme and rare cases, from the parents- (dripping with sarcasm). I heard myself the other day and I could not believe I said, "Ooooh Eli, that is a big daddy one!"

Take my conversations with each child as they sit atop the toilet waiting for the poop. I have heard it all my friends. Here are some of the gems from this week alone:

Eli: I am gonna poop now Mommie
Me: Okay good Eli
Eli: Ohhhh Mommie this is gonna be a big one- (grinning proudly)
Eli: I think it is stuck or maybe just being shy- c'mon poop I am nice don't be scared of me- don't be a shy poop!
Me: Hmmm, let's see what happens E, just push it a little bit
Eli: Look Mommie, I told you it would be a giant one, see, it is EEE-normous!

CJ: Mommie I gotta poop too
Cj: Not just pee this time, I have to poop again
Me; Good Job CJ I am so glad you are pooping the potty like a big boy
CJ: Yeah, I am like Mitchell now
Me: Ugh, yeah right, Mitchell poops in the potty
CJ: Calling for Mitchell loudly- "MITCHELL!!! LOOK Mitchell I pooped like you!"

Natalie: I don't have any poop. No poop Mom, Nope!
Me: Are you sure Neatums, you probably should try as long as you are here
Natalie: Okay Mommie but I don't....oh yeah, hmmmmm, (HUGE PLOP), nevermind
Natalie: I pooped in the potty Mom, you can dance now.

So with all this talk of poop I think Charlotte will be right behind the triplets, no pun intended. She follows them into the bathroom and is watching their every move. Do I get supermom bonus points if she is toilet learned before age two? Bring it on, I can handle the poop talk!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Baby-Gate the continuing saga

Kaput, finito, dead. The gate that keeps the family room sectioned off from the rest of the house is officially dead. Again. This is our second one. I guess it has had its' fair share of wear and tear (understatement). Thankfully after the first one shot craps I made a note to self to plaster the receipt on the memo board, just in case. Today we exchanged the broken gate for a new replacement.

We hauled our crew the grand opening of the new Babies R Us store.

We schlepped the dismantled and sad looking gate into the store. The customer service rep took one look at it and was mortified that we would even think to bring it back based on its' condition. Should I have removed the duct tape that was keeping in one piece? It appeared to be abused, and with 4 kids under 3 climbing it, hanging on it, and scaling it, Yeah, it was pretty sad. But I had my receipt! And I initially thought we were okay since it was within the 90 day money back guarantee time frame. Except that I did not calculate it right and we dared to bring it back to the store on the 91st day. A day late and a dollar short- oh well, shit happens. Of course the service desk was beside themselves, not sure how to handle such a serious infraction. After chatting it up with the store manager I played the triplet card. I never do it, but in the instance it seemed appropriate. Finally after some swift negotiations and a retail scolding about bring back merchandise, we flashed our drivers license so we will be flagged for future attempts to bring back the broken crap, and we left with our new replacement.
Let's see how long it will take to destroy this sucker, anyone wanna start a bracket with dates? Winner gets to exchange the gate next time, since I am probably banned from Babies R Us. I am sure they have my mug shot in the employee lounge- like the wanted signs at the post office. "Busted for Broken Baby-Gate" it says above my glam face.
We came home and installed the new prison wall. I promptly tacked the receipt to the memo board again, and I calendared 88 days out on my phone, so that I will be sure to make the next deadline. Sarah Palin has troopergate, and I, my friends, have babygate. We are both pathetic!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Saturday School

No, I have not enrolled them in Saturday School, but shhhhhhhh, don't tell the triplets that! They think that going to the Eagle's Nest at Giant Eagle is like pe-school on Saturday mornings. They love it, I love it and now I have got Jeff on board with loving it too! Today I showed him the ropes- we drop the 3 three year olds in the Nest, go directly to the cafe and I get my caramel latte,
Jeff gets his vat of Diet Coke and we are able to just sit in the quiet of the store. The store is a silent oasis compared to the decibel levels of our home. Don't we look at peace? Ahhh, Saturday school, makes me want to see where I can enroll them on Sundays?

Friday, October 24, 2008

October is Baseball and Apple Pie

I love October for all things that are Fall- baseball and fresh apple pie! Since it had been almost two weeks since we went to the orchard and picked apples, I thought we should take another field trip. This time I recruited our triplet friends to join us, and we invaded the FUJI apple trees like nobody's business.

The kids LOVED it and it was nice for the two Glam Mommies to chat, drink coffee and watch the 6 three year olds harvest a crop of fruit. I have grand plans of baking some apple pies this weekend! Gluten Free Apple Pies that is!

Last night I was totally exhausted. Deeply tired, wiped out and ready to sleep for 5days. My sweet husband removed all the squirt toys, empty bottles, rubber duckies and misc tub entertainers from our jacuzzi bath. He filled it with warm water and allowed me the chance to take a bath. By myself. Alone....Ahhhhhh, soaking in a hot jacuzzi bath while eating a fresh Fuji Apple and watching the world series in the bathroom mirror. Seriously, it does not get any better than that!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie Tarts

Today I experimented with making Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie. The filling is naturally gluten free but the crust is another I decided to grind up some gluten free Trader Joe's ginger snaps and make a crumb crust. By pulverizing the cookies into powder with my stick emursion blender, adding melted butter, and pressing the mixture into lined muffin cups, I was able to craft a tasty alernative to traditional pie dough. The project was a success, the kids loved the mini pies and I was thrilled that we have a new "on the go" dessert for C.J.- now, when we go somewhere I have a frozen stash of pies for him to take along. Da wishus!

Here is the easy recipe:

1 bag gluten free ginger snaps
1/2 stick of unsalted butter melted
dash of salt


1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 large eggs beaten
1 large 29 0unce can, pumpkin
2 12 ounce cans evaporated milk

Mix sugar salt and spices in small bowl. Add eggs, pumpkin and sugar spice mixture into a large bowl to combine. Once mixed add evaporated milk until smooth. Spoon into pie crust, in our case as follows:
Line muffin tins with foil papers. Spray generously with non stick spray. Press 2 tsp of crumbs into muffin cups and make sure they are even. Spoon or pour filling over crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees until toothpick comes out clean. Cool and top with whipped cream.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

G-D bless Argenida

I have enthusiastically praised the hard work of our Au Pair many times but I have yet really explain why she is the perfect choice for our family. For those of you with more than one child, or even multiples, you know that finding someone trustworthy and responsible is half the battle, but finding someone who is creatively helping your children thrive and grow is a whole other ball game.

With Argenida it is like they have an older, Spanish speaking sibling- someone who truly cares for and loves them like a blood relative. They don't consider her a babysitter or nanny- in fact, Natalie calls her "Argenida Slutsky" which I find absolutely adorable.

I know that all Au Pairs are not created equal and that we have been lucky to have had brilliant experiences so far. I am a firm believer that you get from the situation what you put into it, and hosting an Au Pair is a prime example of that philosophy. We treat Argenida the way we would want Amanda treated if the tables were turned. Argenida lovingly spends her time with the kids as if they too were her own. It works for all of us. Some families think having a live-in child care provider means compromising on privacy and adding living expenses- that would be true if we had one baby and were then adding another adult (meals, utilities, etc) to the tab. In our case we already feed at least 7 mouths so what is another one? I don't think we have even noticed an increase in our water bill or electricity as a result, and when Jeff and I got married, we were a family with Mitchell who was 8 and Amanda who was 12- so we have no idea what it is like to live as a married couple, alone, without kids or noise. For us, adding Argenida has only had positive benefits.

I love sharing our cultural differences and watching the eyes of both my children and Argenida when they experience something new. I enjoy introducing them to special foods, religious customs, holidays, and of course my hair brained, crazy field trips. Taking Argenida to pick apples was an all time high because she thought the trees were fake. When we drove into the fields she believed the apple trees were not real. She could not imagine that apples grew so beautifully and in mass at the orchard just 11 miles down the road from where we live. She had only seen orange trees before and had no idea apple trees were so plentiful with fruit. I made her plunk an apple from the branches and take a bite to show her I was not pulling some kind of weird prank. Argenida was taking photographs in bewilderment of nature.
She could not wait to send the images back home to Panama because she was sure her parents had never seen anything like it! Her enthusiasm for nature was evident both when we picked apples and yesterday when I took the crew back into the Metro Park for a hike through the Fall Forest.

Sure, the leaves were at 3 days past peak, but alas, they were still unreal and boldly breathtaking. Again, sharing this with her made it more special for me.

I could not possibly work, blog, travel, socialize, and stay sane if I did not have Argenida at home picking up my slack. In addition to being awesome with the 4 under 3, she would rather clean up then cook, which is the opposite of my preference, so we gel there. Also, she has a passion for shopping, fashion and all things pretty and it is great to have her as my partner in crime when we are out and about.

The best endorsement for Argenida comes from the smallest family member, Baby Charlotte. Argenida arrived when Charlotte was less than 3 months old and they have bonded ever since! Argenida takes care of "her baby" while the triplets are at Temple Beth Chanel, and they get plenty of alone time to play. At 14 months Charlotte could say, Argenida. Not because we taught her to say it, but because she wanted to be able to call for her when she could not find her. The love they have for each other is obvious.

The purpose of this blog post is to just thank Argenida for everything she does to make our family run like a well oiled machine. We would be lost without her. Finding Argenida has been a true blessing and already are really blessed. GOD BLESS ARGENIDA!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Priorities- getting them straight

There are certain battles I will fight when it comes to the kids. Nutrition and dietary restrictions, ritual like bed/nap times, and consistent discipline are deal breakers for me. I stand firm on enforcing the LAW on those topics. I have to be strict given our family dynamic with multiples plus a bonus, a child with Celiac Disease and a Mommie who works outside the home 30 hours a week. I have to compromise somewhere in order to keep my sanity.

Let me show you in specific detail what would be a priority to some- a clean house. I will use our playroom as an example. Instead of micro-managing the toys and chaos, I allow the kids to reek total havoc in their space. The room starts and ends each day tidy,

but in between it is a friggin war zone. Anyone who pops by to say hello during normal "business" hours would be shocked that such adorable little children could make such an enormous mess.

You will notice that when Jeff left the room for two minutes to use the bathroom, the tribe of bandits dumped an entire bag of pirate booty on the floor,
and when I walked in and saw the carpet coated in white popcorn, I gasped and said, "What is this?" Natalie said, "Look Mommie, it snowed in here!"

Thank G-D a million times for Argenida our wonderful au pair. She actually prides herself in organizing the toys. Bless her heart she works so hard making sure all the puzzles, games, books, toys, stuffed animals and craft supplies have a proper storage system. Without her help I am not sure how we would keep it straight! Getting a room straight and getting priorities straight are two very different issues. Fortunately, I let the happy kids be my top priority and everything else just falls into place. I suppose some would agree that I have my priorities STRAIGHT! Keep this in mind when you dare to come over for a visit.

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The older crowd

The older crowd
Amanda and Mitchell

A blast from the past...makes it all so real now