Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Outfitting a Beach House

And before photos of one of the bedrooms.

Here's a conversation Rich and I had a few weeks ago regarding dishes for the Cape cottage:

Me - "I was thinking maybe we should get some of those hard plastic dishes.  They're lightweight.  Will be easy to clean."

Rich - "You mean melamine."

Me - "Yeah, yeah.  Melamine.  But nice looking stuff."

I then find myself at Macy's during a sale with double coupons.  I was there to pick up sheets requested by Anna (she was still using toddler sheets with baby animals) and figured I would look around to see if I could find any bedding or dishes for the Cape.  No bedding but I came across these dishes and thought they were perfect.  Gingham and granny flowers scream beach home to me.  So I bought a bunch of plates and bowls, brought them home and then for some reason decided to google "is melamine safe."

No, it is not safe.  According to Safe Mommy dot com, melamine is not a safe choice at all.  If you own it, get rid of it.  Everything Organic dot org wants to know why anyone would even want to use melamine when there are so many other options - bamboo, glass and ceramic. Why would you even consider melamine?  WHY?

I'm not one to freak out over this sort of thing but there's a possibility in the future that we may rent out the cottage, so the last thing I want is to be concerned that renters are microwaving or using serrated knives on my melamine.  

The next day, I returned the dishes.

I was having a conversation with Grammy about the dishes and she offered to pass along some vintage plates and glasses that Mamaw had given her that aren't currently being used.  Milk glass.  Google "vintage milk glass."  We're unsure of when these were made so there's the possibility that the glaze contains lead.

Everything is going to poison you.  (In some ways it seems ridiculous to even be discussing this when there are children going to bed hungry.  Know what I mean?)

We have an abundance of glasses and Rich and I had already discussed moving some of those down to the cottage.  I looked through the cabinets and found four china dinner plates we don't use very often and a stack of smaller ceramic plates and many other items we hardly ever use.  Might as well move them and put them to use.  I did purchase a few Fiestaware dinner plates and small bowls in the color cobalt.  I like how it's made in the USA.  We have some bowls that have held up well.

I need to work on bedding.  I don't necessarily want nautical but I did find these cute anchor sheets at PB Kids and ordered two sets (in navy) for one of the bedrooms.

The light was pretty good when we first arrived at the cottage during our last visit so I was able to photograph one of the bedrooms.  These should be considered the "before" photos as we haven't done anything to the room.  The wall paper needs to be removed.  From years and years of heat and humidity, it's peeling in several spots.  I really just need to deep clean and paint.  I'm still undecided on whether or not to paint that knotty pine white.  Oh, and we did order new mattresses.






This week is turning out to be more hectic than I expected so I don't think I'll be posting anything for the remainder of the week.

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Monday, April 17, 2017

10 Years Postpartum

"When will I no longer look pregnant?"

This was the first question I asked my doctor during my 6 week appointment after the girls were born.  I was still wearing maternity clothes and looked very much pregnant, but with a singleton.  The week before, a stranger had asked me when the baby was due.

"Possibly never," he responded.

I stand just under 5'4" tall and have a very narrow frame.  Carrying triplets to 35 weeks and 6 days had stretched out my mid-section beyond by body's ability to naturally recover.  One of the reasons why I liked my doctor was the fact that he was straight-up honest.  He always told me the truth and never was one to sugarcoat.

He then added that I would most likely need surgery to return to my pre-pregnancy state.  During my c-section, after the girls were born, he was able to stitch some of my abdominal muscles back in place.  I hadn't known that until my 6 week appointment and it explained why my recovery had been so incredibly painful.  I still remember weeks, and even months, after the girls were born, feeling pain and pulling in my midsection after moving.  For example, sitting on my bed and scooting over.  Ouch.  Thank goodness he did what he was able to do though.  I can't imagine how much worse I would look now without that.  I can actually see where he was able to reconstruct my abs too.   It's all on the sides.  My uterus was too big for him to do much else.

I've given serious thought to surgery these past 10 years and, for many reasons, I just can't do it.  I still sometimes think that I can make it "better" with diet and exercise.  Truthfully, the stretched out skin is never going away without medical intervention.  I could care less about stretch marks.  The only time during the past 10 years when I've had a perfectly flat stomach has been during times of terrible sickness.  Norovirus and food poisoning.  Basically, I need for there to be nothing in my body for my stomach and intestines to remain flat.  Most days, by the end of the day, I have a legitimate food baby.  I'm so used to it by now that it's not a constant thought.  Sure, some people think I have a gut.  Whatever.  I have three beautiful little girls whose combined weight was a few ounces shy of 15 pounds.  Come on!

I feel like there's even more pressure now than ever to look thin.  I like how more and more people are changing their eating habits for the better and/or adding more exercise into their lives, but sometimes it's just completely unrealistic.  For example, weighing all of your food.  I can never and will never weigh my food.  And I don't want my girls thinking that this is normal.  I have a fast metabolism and was a constant runner for year and years.  Because of this, I never dieted.  I always followed the rule of only eating when I was hungry and not eating when I was full.  This worked for me.  I will say it's more difficult now that I'm older.  Your body changes.  Everything starts to droop.

Admittedly, I was in a bit of an exercise funk in March and the most I've been working out is three times a week.  I keep thinking I could/should increase that to five, even if cardio on two of those days is walking or biking.  But as we all know, sometimes life simply gets in the way.

Yesterday morning, I pulled a pair of pants from my closet to wear to my SIL's for an Easter brunch.  This particular pair of pants was purchased during a time when I was running more mileage (about 5 or so years ago.)  I remember trying to wear them to work two years ago and they were far too tight, but yesterday they fit.  So I guess I'm doing something right.

I still believe in moderation when it comes to food, and I will never admit to how many Cadbury Creme Eggs I've consumed this Easter season.  I will tell you this - our grocery store began selling them shortly after Christmas, so it's been a loooong "Easter season."  I am slightly frustrated with my running mileage and my inability to increase it as of late.  My knee has been bothering me but it's not consistent or an injury, more like old lady stuff.  But I'm going to keep on keeping on.    

Friday, April 14, 2017

I'm from Boston.

I'm from Boston.

I've lived here in Massachusetts my entire life.  I was born in the city.  I graduated from a large university in the city.  I was married here.  This is my home.

I complain about the weather from December to April but I really do like it here.  Although, I may opt to hang out in Florida for the winter during my senior years.

I was raised in a fairly typical Boston Irish Catholic household.  We went to church every Sunday.  We didn't eat meat on Fridays during Lent.  We're frugal and drive old Volvos for years and years and years.  Yes, I did go to a Catholic school, but only for two years.

I like the Red Sox and the Patriots.  Everyone likes the Red Sox and the Patriots.  Even if you don't like the Red Sox and the Patriots, you say you do or someone will kick your ass.

I know one vegetarian and I only know she's a vegetarian because others have told me.  I've never heard her say, "I'm a vegetarian."  I don't know any vegans.

I have never seen any children here in New England dressed in Matilda Jane or smocked clothing.  There's absolutely nothing wrong with either of these, but they're definitely not a New England thing.

We call everyone "guys."  "Come on, guys."  "You guys ready to go?"  "Did you guys decide what you want for dinner?"  Those quotes are exact statements I make to the girls.  But it only works if you are talking directly to them.  So, for example, I would never say, "I'm going to pick up the guys from school."  Got it?  And we don't say "youse guys."  That's a Jersey thing, I think.  Not Boston.

If I were to address a group as dear, sweet friends, it would be aimed towards people I've known near and dear for a really long time.  And even then, that's pushing it.  Don't forget, I'm Boston Irish Catholic. We were taught to not show emotion.  This is why I don't begin my posts with "dear sweet readers" or "good morning, dear readers!"  It would be fake.  We simply do not talk like this.  (I feel like this is a Southern thing.  Am I wrong?)  

I always knew that at some point I would blog less and less about the girls.  There'll always be photos though because of the photographer thing I've got going on.  I never gave much thought to what the future would hold except that I would always keep posting photos.  Without this blog, I have no doubt that my photography skills would not be where they are today.  After I retired last year, I gave some thought to starting over in the blog world with something that wasn't strictly focused on being a mom and having triplets.  You all know that I love to travel, even if it is mainly here in the US, and I really enjoy sharing photographs of our travels along with tips and sometimes trip reports.  I once told Rich that I wanted to have a travel blog and he responded with, "But then you'd have to actually travel."  Real life is that one of us needs to work a 9-to-5 job so any travel is limited to vacation schedules and school calendars.  I can't compete with those who homeschool their kids and Airbnb their homes.

Probably because I have the most time I've ever had in the past ten years to actually think, I've spent time perusing social media and the blog world.  (Sometimes not a good thing.)  One day, I came across a New England blog.  A blog specifically focused on New England.  And then there was another.  And another.  This is a thing and it's kind of what I've got here so that's what I'm going with.  I'm a Boston/New England blogger.  I live here so I suppose I never realized that people from elsewhere would be interested.

Last week, I read a little blurb about a couple on IG who allegedly receive thousands of dollars in ad revenue per photo.  One comment regarding their photos read "but this isn't real life."  A response to this comment was "who cares about real life.  I want to look at pretty pictures."  There's a woman on IG who must spend THOUSANDS of dollars dressing her children.  I'm sure she's not the only one but she pops up frequently.  It's absolutely mind-blowing to me.  (See comment above regarding my frugality.)  But this is why she's popular.  It's not real.  It can't be.  Those outfits are costumes because no one NO ONE in the real world dresses their children like this and then says, "Sure you can paint these Easter eggs."

So no outfits which essentially amount to costumes for my children.  And I hope you understand why I don't call you guys my "dear, sweet readers."

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Double Digits

I'll be honest with you.  There were moments in the beginning, during the sleep deprived fog when I never thought I would see this day.  Three 10 year olds.  Rich and I used to say that their fifth birthday would be a turning point.  Life would be easier.  What you learn as a parent is that life isn't necessarily easier.  The difficulties merely shift, but the aspects of life that used to be overwhelmingly difficult do become easier.  You can sleep more than 90 minutes at a time.  You can shower without praying that the baby in the bathroom stays asleep.  You can eat a meal almost uninterrupted.

It's true what they say - it does go by incredibly fast.  I still remember the day they were born and what their tiny little faces looked like the first time I saw them.  I tell them this all the time too.

Despite what feels like never-ending triplet drama, they really are good kids.  They are doing so well in school this year too which was always a bit of a question with respect to Anna.  I know I haven't been talking much about day-to-day specifics as of late.  It happens when kids grow older.  But I do want to point out the school stuff, even if it sounds like bragging.  Maybe I am just bragging.  I know some readers come here specifically for spina bifida/shunt updates because they have little ones in the same boat.

I've been told that reading comprehension becomes difficult in the fourth grade.  This means that kids not only need to be able to read but they need to fully understand what they are reading.  This was brought up a few years ago during an IEP meeting.  Basically, if she's going to have issues reading, it will most likely begin in the fourth grade.  I feel like our school system does a pretty good job of pushing comprehension starting in the first grade with new readers.  Regardless of the reason, Anna is a strong reader, comprehension and all.  For example, her average for this school year for vocabulary tests is 100%.    

Our school system is also very well staffed and provides extra help for kids who need it.  It's easiest to think of the class divided into 3 groups.  You have the kids who stay in class for ELA and math.  Then there are kids who may be having a little bit of trouble so they temporarily see a specialist and work in a smaller group.  Those kids are periodically tested and can return to the classroom at some point during the year.  Then there are the kids with known needs/on an IEP for learning who automatically see a different teacher.

Anna remains in the class for all subjects.  She doesn't need any special help.  The one area that trips her up is math with multiple steps.  So multiplying 83 times 34.  Or dividing 872 by 7.  Based on our research, this is shunt related and means she just has to work harder than her peers when it comes to these types of problems.  That being said, on one of her recent math tests, she brought home a 100%.

This could totally be a mom thing but her logic and reasoning is quite mature.  The girls competed in a Junior Jeopardy at school last week.  One of the questions was: Which is the definition of novice?  Beginner, expert or professional?  Anna knew it was beginner and she explained to me why she was confident in her answer.  "Expert and professional basically mean the same thing so beginner had to be the answer."  I was impressed.

Raising kids is not easy.  I've always pushed that we don't make fun of other people.  You don't have to be friends with everyone but you need to be nice.  Emily has a few friends in her class this year.  Her teacher told me that when Emily has been asked to pick a friend to assist with a task or run an errand, she sometimes chooses a girl who doesn't really have any friends in class.  Allie has also been in similar situations.  I'm proud of them for seeing the bigger picture.

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Weekend + 9-10 Year Old Girl Gift Guide

It's finally starting to feel like spring around here.  Although, not so much on Saturday.  But yesterday was super nice and today was even better.  I don't know what's going on with me.  I've been really tired lately.  When I wake up in the morning, I feel like I need more sleep and maybe I should have been napping last week while the girls were in school.  Yesterday, it hit me around noon.  I think if I had slept past 8:00 (which is the latest I've slept in well over a week) I probably would have been okay, but I was completely wiped out and useless.  I had zero energy.  I've been on prescription Vitamin D for six weeks now, so it's definitely not a Vitamin D thing.  I sometimes think I'm just a person who needs more sleep than others, possibly because most nights I wake up multiple times and often have trouble falling back asleep.  I took a 90 minute nap this morning while the girls were at school and that definitely helped.

There's been a lot of sickness going around the schools here - flu and strep.  I brought Allie back to the pediatrician last week for a lung check.  She's perfectly fine.  Then they told us to leave the building as quickly as possible before someone with the flu showed up.

The girls had their friend birthday party on Saturday.



We opted to go with a place where they could make their own bath products and let me tell you, it was soooo much easier than an at home party.  I am not a party planner and I've known this all along but creativity with gift giving is not in me either.  I always ask for wish lists and when the girls need to give gifts, I always have them ask their friends for ideas.  This is why I'm sharing some of what the girls asked for (and received) this year for their 10th birthday.  It may help someone like me.

Beach Bag

The girls have a friend who always gives the most creative gifts.  This year she gifted them the best gift - beach bags stuffed with a beach towel, floppy hat and sunscreen.  I never would have thought of this but it's absolutely perfect.

Justice Pet Shop

My girls are obsessed with these little pets from Justice.  

Office/School Supplies


(So funny how these are popular again.  I was never able to solve more than two sides as a kid but now thanks to the internet, I win!)

(Side story - one of Allie's Barbies has a blog and social media under the name Double Mommy, because she has two kids.  She uses the hashtag #doublemommyout to end her posts.  Interesting that my kids have limited knowledge of social media, don't have any accounts of their own but come up with this stuff.)

Clothes and Shoes

(For the first time ever, they've asked for a specific brand.  This may be the beginning of the end.  Although, outside of this request, they are still okay with any clothes/shoes I buy for them.)