Cash trumps candy?

In an episode of what NOT to do this holiday season…

Cash trumps candy?

This is what a friend of mine received today in her mailbox after leaving a coffee mug filled with candy and a note for her mailman.

The note the mailman wrote back? Yeah, he wrote that on the back of his holiday note from the family.

Please remember that people give from the heart. So even if it’s something you don’t want or don’t like, please be gracious. Pretend you like it. Smile and nod. And for heaven’s sake, don’t leave it and write a note on the back saying you want cash instead.

If you want to see more triplet awesomeness, click the photo and it’ll take you to, a great friend with some adorable triplet boys!


Most every child dreams of Santa. For a four year old boy he ranks up there with cars, trucks, cookies, playgrounds, the Easter Bunny, and, well, anyone else who brings presents and candy. I’m pretty sure the only way Santa would be any more cooler would be if he came more than once per year.

For some reason, though, the concept of Santa is glorious, but the reality is quite shocking.

At two years old, big brother wouldn’t even cross the red velvet roped off line to see Santa. He’d smile and wave from a far, but if we tried to enter that line all sorts of hysterics and dramatics would ensue.

Last year at 3 we were able to sneak a photo in with Santa at the teddy bear tea here on base.


This year we dragged all the kids out to see Santa at the mall. Aiden brought his letter that he wrote (and Santa was nice enough to read and then give back to mommy for her scrapbooks) and he was perfectly happy. Until we asked him to sit with Santa. Mommy was able to get him into the photo, but he wouldn’t go within arms reach of Santa. At first.

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Now, Santa is used to this. He was very calm and amazing throughout. The benefit to going to see him at 3pm on a Friday is there is no line. So Santa began to chit chat with us while we waited to choose our picture and pay. While doing so, he started juggling. And gave big brother another candy cane. Thus ingratiating himself forever as the coolest person on Earth. Much cooler than mommy who said only one candy cane per day! SO we were able to get Aiden to go near the couch. He still wouldn’t sit with him. Or high-five him. but he went closer.

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Hey, at least he’s smiling! Well, so after that we decided to try one last attempt at getting all four kids in the photo (without mommy preferably!). So we had Santa stand behind the couch. And put the kids on it.


And there you have it. A snapshot of what three screaming 17 month olds can do when they really want to express their opinion on a subject.

How to photograph triplets+1…

I thought I’d lay out a tutorial of how to photograph triplets. I’m going to complicate matters a bit. I’m going to add in the following requirements (how ridiculously demanding of me!)

  1. Christmas tree.
  2. Clean clothing
  3. Semi-clean hands and faces
  4. All four sets of eyes looking at camera (smiles preferred, but not required)
  5. Assistants hands/arms/legs not shown

Now that we’ve laid out the ground rules, here is how to photograph triplets+1 in a few easy steps.

First, dress the children in matching/coordinating outfits. Should that not work, just try to have clean clothing on them and preferably not the pajamas they’ve worn for the last three days. *Photograph of this craziness not shown.*

Now think that your children are more patient and obedient than they really are and attempt to have them just stand in front of the tree.


Realize, as they all keep running from the tree towards the camera, that this just isn’t going to work.


Attempt to hang one by her feet in order to get all four children in the photo at once (daddy’s idea, not mine, but it sure was creative!)


Give up on having all four kids in the picture, and attempt to just have three in order to get a semblance of smiling, happy faces, looking at the camera.


Fail miserably at that as well.


Finally distract them with a variety of toys and think this is the best you will get.


Decide to just take a picture of one child at a time. And the only one that will cooperate is the big brother.


Finally decide to pull out the high chairs where you will have three trapped and then just have to corral the big brother into standing still.


Realize that getting him to stand still in the front is just not going to happen. Decide to trap him in the back with the threat that if he touches the tree he will go to bed. Use bribes incentives of “special treats” and chocolate to get this to be marginally effective.


Yet again, realize it’s just not working. Take a snack break. Give the children some food, and regroup. Go through photos and try to figure out what worked and what didn’t. Then realize that you didn’t try using a jingly, funny, penguin with a rattle in it as an attention getter. DUH! What WERE you thinking?! Mommy’s monkey sounds and funny raspberry noises just don’t cut it anymore.

And there you have it. Success. Thank goodness Christmas is only once per year!


Christmas cards for soldiers

Many of you have gotten an email or a Facebook post asking you to send a letter to a wounded soldier. It sounds like an amazing charitable thing to do, a way to brighten spirits, and that for the small cost of a stamp you can feel like you’re making a difference, right?

Unfortunately many of these posts are misleading or even wrong. – Walter Reed Cards

Don’t lose hope, though! There is a way to send cards!

American Red Cross

The American Red Cross is delivering holiday cards to heroes, with some very specific guidelines (from their website):

Every card received will be screened for hazardous materials by Pitney Bowes and then reviewed by Red Cross volunteers working around the country.
Please observe the following guidelines to ensure a quick reviewing process:
  • Ensure that all cards are signed.
  • Use generic salutations such as “Dear Service Member.” Cards addressed to specific individuals can not be delivered through this program.
  • Only cards are being accepted. Do not send or include letters.
  • Do not include email or home addresses on the cards: the program is not meant to foster pen pal relationships.
  • Do not include inserts of any kind, including photos: these items will be removed during the reviewing process.
  • Please refrain from choosing cards with glitter or using loose glitter as it can aggravate health issues of ill and injured warriors.
  • If you are mailing a large quantity of cards, please bundle them and place them in large mailing envelopes or flat rate postal shipping boxes. Each card does not need its own envelope, as envelopes will be removed from all cards before distribution.
All holiday greetings should be addressed and sent to:

Holiday Mail for Heroes
P.O. Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456

The deadline for having cards to the P.O. Box is Friday, December 7th.
Holiday cards received after this date cannot be guaranteed delivery.

Thanksgiving across the years

Rewind to Thanksgiving day 2010…

I woke up early that morning, and decided (though I knew I was a few days early still) to test and see if our plan had worked. If the IUI had worked. If we really were going to get a shot at this whole pregnancy thing again. And much to my dismay, it was positive. Very faintly. So faintly that Steven wasn’t sure it was there at first.

The first concern? A neighborhood Thanksgiving potluck involving wine. Crap. How do I avoid wine in front of ladies that I’ve had plenty of nights enjoying a glass or two with while our husbands were out to sea?! I decided to tell a couple people, mostly because I couldn’t hold it in, but also because I knew someone would catch on!

During the dinner I went back for seconds. Was teased about how I was pregnant after all so that was okay. I started to feel guilty when I went back for thirds, but was gently reminded by my husband that, “You’re eating for three!” (our little joke since there were two follicles that we knew of, and knew the possibility of twins existed!). Little did we know that the next year….

We would have three little munchkins joining us at the table! Sort of. They didn’t really get to partake much (though I might have slipped them a bite of mashed potato!) And certainly were a lot quieter than they were this year.

And then we have 2012:

Chaos, mayhem, and destruction abound with three 17 month old toddlers! Hard to believe they are 17 months now! Fun to think back at all we have to be thankful for on a Thanksgiving holiday, and what the future will hold with four little (and not so little) ones running around.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all. To those near and far away, to those home safely and those deployed, to those alone and with family on this wonderful holiday. Here’s to the start of a very merry holiday season!! Cheers!

How to carve pumpkins…

… when you have four extra sets of hands.

Step 1) Strip all small children naked. Cut the top of the pumpkins off to ensure full messiness can be achieved.

Step 2) Let the oldest of the children remove the insides of the pumpkin. Have parent #2 finish entirely scooping the second pumpkin out in the time that the oldest child manages to get one seed and a few strings of pumpkin.

Step 3) Let other small children play in the pumpkin gunk. Older son wants nothing to do with the ickiness of it, so let the other three make up for his lack of excitement.

Step 4) Let younger brother show older brother how it’s done.

Step 5) Quickly carve the shapes on the pumpkins and let older son help every few minutes to include him, yet ensure that pumpkins are done before it is too dark to see anymore.

And there you have it. Pumpkin carving with 4 under 5.