Thursday, September 12, 2013

How to Handle Homework?

I think this is what I was most worried about with the kids going to school
Yes, homework.
No, not the amount, just how to handle it...ya know, the logistics of having 3 doing homework, that is obviously parent guided.

And I know there are people out there that 3 kids but they are different ages.
Let's face it, you can't compare apples & oranges.
Here is a perfect example of what I mean.

We have to read with the kids for 10 minutes a day.
I have interpreted that to mean 10 minutes with EACH child, not collectively although it will happen like that on days we have gymnastics.
The kids aren't ready to read alone, they need us to read to them or guide them through the reading.

So, 10 minutes just turned in to 3 minutes.
And while 30 minutes doesn't seem all that long, when you run a tight schedule, it is a bit of an imposition.
Not complaining at all, this momma loves to read so I know how very important this is!

But, for those that have 3 kids, different ages, the older ones can often do things like this on their own with little to no parental supervision.
As they can do their math homework, or science, history...you get the picture.

We finally got real homework this week.
They send it on Monday, to be returned on Friday.
2 assignments besides reading 10 minutes a night.

For one, the kids had to cut out environmental print and glue it to a piece of paper.
They are going to discuss it in class.
And yes, it took about 45 minutes to really finish it all.




As you can tell, they loved doing it.
Which made it so much easier for me to go through it with them.
Of course, there are still challenges.

Even being a previous 4th and 5th grade teacher can't really prepare you for your own children as students.
The relationship is completely different.
And while they seem to know how to wait, take turns, and use their pleases & thank yous in the normal classroom setting, they somehow forget all that the moment they see mommy.

Lots of interrupting each other.
Lots of me saying, "I can only work with one of you at a time."
No, there are not three of me contrary to popular believe.

That has been the biggest challenge thus far.
And fighting over who gets their reading time first!
In other words, it is a work in progress.

Once we get the dining room back, I hope to have more space for homework because frankly, the kitchen table is not big enough and ultimately, I would like them to have their own space to work in.
But that is a pipe dream for now.

In other news...I have surgery tomorrow.
I'll be laid up for about 3-7 days.
It's gotta be done & thankfully I have Todd, my parents, and my inlaws to help out.

Hope you all have a beautiful weekend!
MWAH!

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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Car Seat Confessions

I am somewhat of a planner.
Ok, not always but there are some things I really sit & think my way through.
One of them has been car seats.

Yeah, the oh-so-controversial topic.
Which, for the record, I do not understand WHY.
Why would you NOT keep your kids as safe as possible for as long as possible?

Pretty easy for me to get.
And yeah, I understand 5-point harnesses are a pain in the ass with triplets.
But, I don't really care.

I would hate to be in an accident with a child ending up hurt & wish I hadn't been so focused on how difficult it is to get them in & out of those suckers because at the end of the day, they are the safest.
Which brings me to the topic of the day.

When do you switch from those pesky 5-point harnesses & in to boosters?
When we purchased car seats, I did tons of research.
I wanted to get the most bang for our buck.

We started w/ infant carriers & kept them rear-facing until they were about 14 months old.
Then it was time to move to the bigger seats.
Due to our mode of transportation, a Honda CRV, rear-facing was not an option with the new seats.





And we didn't have the money to dump in to a new car so we made it work.
Sunshine Radians were the thinnest on the market at the time.
They were expensive but honestly, I knew we would be in them for quite some time.

So far, we are 4.5 yrs in to using those wonderful seats.
But we are nearing the time when it will be time for booster seats.
Thinking I would be ahead of the game, I found the Evenflo AMPS & purchased them with giftcards.

They are rated 10 on the top 21 high back boosters.
They look super cute.
There is just one problem.

It is very apparent that 3 booster seats do not belong across the back seat of my CRV.
Trust me, I was out there for 2.5 hours trying to figure it all out.
So, back to the drawing board cuz we ain't getting a new car, YET.

Yes, I was sweaty.
Yes, I was a bit pissed that I spent 2.5 hrs trying to figure this crap out.
But in the end, I am glad we are still in 5-point harnesses.

May bug the crap out of the kids but at least I know they aren't moving.
And I managed to adjust the actual bench to sit up better, thus the fit of the carseats are better on my kids.
No more latch, they are too big so the seats are now in their place w/ the regular seatbelts.

There ya have it.
A tale of 3 car seats.
And one sweaty momma that did all that work to just keep the original seats.

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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Extra-curricular Activites

As a child, I absolutely LOVED to participate in sports.
I did gymnastics.
Soccer (2 seasons per year)
Softball.
Speed skating (don't laugh...yes, on good ol' roller skates).

And I loved every minute.
Except when I tried to do gymnastics at Bela Karolyi's gym, along side Mary Lou Retton.
That, I quit after 3 months.

Dude, that guy was TOUGH.

So, this begs the discussion on activities with triplets.
I am a firm believer that this is an important part of development.
It teaches team spirit, cooperation, patience, sportsmanship, etc.

But, I think it is a bit tougher to be as eclectic with sports as I was as a child.
I mean, there are THREE of them the SAME age.
Yeah, in case you didn't catch they are triplets {totally being sarcastic...it is my mood tonight}.

I started all the kids in dance/tap when they were 3.
I thought it would be a great way to intro in to extra curricular activities.
And knowing our schedule, doing them together is a must.

Yes, this meant the boy was in dance/tap.
He even did the recitals.
I think it is good for him to experience all this as well.




But, let's face it.
Dance is not cheap.
Dance class isn't, its the recitals!

So, we decided to take time away from dance.
But eventually, the kids needed something else.
Having gone to the local gymnastics for a birthday party, I knew immediately we would start taking the kids.




They love it.
The girls are doing great & so is Ian.
I truly believe that gymnastics helps you get to know your body & its capabilities better.

It has been almost a full year since we have started.
Ian's balance & coordination as well as general strength has really improved.
And, it is something they all do at the same time.

One trip to the gym, once a week.
Sometimes we have to go twice, for a make up.
That is a pain in the butt.

Knowing how hectic it is, I think we will stick to 1 extra curricular for now.
And if Ian or the girls want to try something out, we will discuss it & let them.
But we sure as heck ain't gonna do more than 1 per week!

Did I mention I love watching them do gymnastics?
Brings back so many memories!
I am happy we have the opportunity to give them this opportunity.


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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Clean Eating ~ A new way of life!

Many know I am pretty health conscious.
Todd & I have really transformed ourselves in the past year.
The last step was to buckle down & start eating better.

Now that I am a Beachbody Coach, I have learned quite a bit.
Clean eating is part of that.
I have been on a weight loss journey for so long.



{Shameless plug for my Beachbody business, check out my website,
www.beachbodycoach.com/astridtriplets}

And it is a continuous struggle.
One I don't want my babes to go through.
So, Beachbody has given me an opportunity to change my life as well as theirs.

What is clean eating?
Here is the rundown for you.

1) Eat whole foods.  This means to eat fresh, whole fruits & veggies (not frozen), whole grains, low fat dairy, unsalted nuts/seeds.  It also means don't eat meat that has been injected with hormones.
2) Avoid processed foods.  If they have a label, they are processed.  The key here is to be able to read the first 5 ingredients on the label.  If you can't, don't buy it!  Now, you will need to purchase some processed foods like pastas (whole grain) and things like natural cheeses so don't think it means get rid of everything processed!
3) Eliminate refined sugars.  EMPTY calories!  There are many alternatives to sweeten things besides good ol' sugar!
4) Eat 5-6 meals a day.  You may think this is contrary to losing weight (if that is your objective) but I can prove otherwise.  1 week of clean eating & my final 4 lbs melted off!  Of course, I worked out along with it.
5) Cook your own meals.  Don't do fast food.  Don't buy lunches in a box.  Don't get Hamburger Helper.  Make them yourself.
6) Combine proteins with carbs.  Meals must be balanced.  That is what your body likes. This will also help hunger and cravings!

We are going in to week 2 of clean eating.
I have made the menu.
It is really exciting because it is something Todd & I are really getting in to.

Thus far, the kids haven't complained much.
And yes, because I know you want to ask, we do have kid friendly meals as well.
Sometimes it isn't clean either.

Honestly, it is about balance.
You can "cheat" from time to time.
But there are so many great recipes.

I really need to delve in to it further.
The change isn't too difficult, honestly.
And organic/health sections in grocery stores are growing & becoming more affordable.

Where do I find my recipes?
Well, some come from the Beachbody Club.
They have some great ones!

The rest come from google searching BUT I do have a few favorite places to visit.

100 Days of Real Food is a great place to start.
They even have FREE meal plans & shopping lists.
Meals are kid friendly & she even posts what she packs for lunches.

Then there is The Gracious Pantry.
There is a wonderful selection of recipes there!

He and She Eat Clean is a really cute site!
Couples write the blog.
And there are some great, sweet recipes on there.
Check out the Chocolate PB Banana Bites recipe!
I think my kids would LOVE it.

There you have it.
The long & the short of clean eating.
I am by no means an expert in this area but am willing to help you find answer.

And to that, I sign off!


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Monday, September 2, 2013

First week of school, CHECK!


We survived our first week of school!
Believe it or not, the kids adjusted to the new routine fairly quickly.
That isn't to say there weren't hiccups along the way.

{if you are wondering about the clothes,
yes...I made them...upcycled school shirts)

By Wednesday, the kids were really tired.
And now for the weekend, they still want to wake up at 6:15.
What happened to sleeping in on the weekends?

Not in this house, even with a later bedtime.
I guess it will all balance out eventually.
This much I can say, they are troopers!

What does the routine look like with triplets?
It really isn't that difficult.
The only unfortunate thing is that school starts at 8:15.

A bit early in my opinion but at the same time, it affords more time in the afternoon.
That means, wake up is at 6:15.
Quite the adjustment from 8ish during the summer.

Thankfully, we thought enough ahead to start putting them to bed at 8-8:30 starting a week before school.
And I was vigilant in waking them up no later than 7 in the morning.
This really buffered the schedule change!

{sweet Sofia, she is my very sassy girl}

Our morning routine starts with everyone on the couch watching Martha Speaks.
If you haven't watched Martha Speaks, it is a great show that teaches vocabulary, on PBS!
They love it and that allows for their tired eyes to wake up.

Next is breakfast at 6:30.  I don't want there pretty clothes messed up so we eat in PJs.
Breakfast is anything from scrambled cheesy eggs to whole wheat banana pancakes to cereal.
I try to give them all the same thing but Gabi loves her cereal so I can't complain.

Then it is time to brush teeth, get dressed, and brush hair (by this time it is 7)
I do it in this particular order because if you know 5 year olds, you know toothpaste ends up on shirts.
Don't want to have to change school clothes!

The above is staggered since the kids don't all finish eating at the same time.
Great for me and great for them.
Finally, I pack up their lunches (most is already made the night before) and put it in their backpacks.

By this time, it is 7:30ish.  If we finish early, they get to watch some more tv.
We jump in the car at 7:45 and off to school we go.
Unfortunately, we live too close to the school to qualify for bus service but WAY TOO FAR to walk.

{Gabi is sooooooo excited about school}

Doesn't it always work out like that?
I don't mind though.  Thankfully the school is in our subdivision, just on the other side of it.
And I really like being able to see them walk in to the school, it is a sense of security for me.

We do pack their lunches.  Our goal is that they eat from home, no cafeteria food.
As much as I know they are trying to provide healthy options, we feel better that they are getting a good, balanced lunch selection made at home.

That is our morning routine.
It works for us and I don't think we will be tweaking it.
I am going to make a little poster so they can see it.
{I will share here when I finish it, in case you would like it as well}

Next post, I'll let you know how the afternoons go.
Some days are quite busy since we do have things like Speech Therapy & gymnastics.
And I know the homework will complicate it a bit.

Really curious how we will handle homework.
Hopefully, it isn't too big of a deal!
And if you have older triplets and have been there, please feel free to share your advice!

I'm really enjoying blogging again!
I hope you are getting valuable information from it.
I know I will be thankful later on that I did!

Memories are to be charished!


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Friday, August 30, 2013

Class Placement in Kinder


{Angie, I hope this answers your question & thanks for asking!!!}

{Sofia, Ian, Gabi}

This is probably the.most.talked.about.topic. when school starts.
I will admit, since we had PK3 & PK4, we had an opportunity to experiment.
Let me go in to it a bit for ya!

For PK3, there were only 2 classes.
We didn't have much of a choice how they were place, only who would be together,
and who would be alone which is a pretty big deal since triplets have a certain dynamic.

Sofia, at the time, seemed to be the most "independent".
We lovingly refer to Sofi as the "only child"  because I have a feeling
she would absolutely LOVE to be alone more than to be with her siblings.

This made our decision easy.
Sofia would have her own teacher.
That put Gabi (our best communicator) with Ian (our speech therapy boy).

The cards fell perfectly the first time out of the gate.
And it went smoothly until mid-year.
Sofia so badly wanted to be with her siblings really she wanted to be with their teacher.

But we didn't switch her.
The year finished out.
Everyone seemed to thrive.

{Gabi, Sofi, Ian}

As quickly as their first year in PK ended, it was time for PK4.
We originally were going to put all 3 in the same class since Sofi wanted to mid-year.
But we had a great opportunity for Gabi to join the Bridge class (advanced PK4).

Of course, we ran with it & quickly decided to separate them all.
Sofi was placed w/ the same teacher as the year before which was great.
Ian got a new teacher, as did Gabi.

They absolutely LOVED being apart.
It worked really well...until it was time for class parties.
Then the crazy triplet momma was in for a huge mess.

Unfortunately, the bad about separating them is that you don't get to be with them the whole time.
I would literally run between the 3 classes.  Never spending too much time in one class.
It sucked because I felt they were losing out on Mommy/Daddy time.

That was the downfall.
It also spurred discussions between the hubs & I about how we were going to place them in Kinder.
We automatically thought all together.

One, to ease our pain.
Two, to ease our pain.
Three...well, you get the picture.

I mean, in a perfect world, separate would be best.
But our first year in public school, we wanted a smooth transition.
One teacher, 3 kids.

That meant only having to communicate with 1 person.
One class for parties.
One set of rules to teach the kids.
Homework assignments being the same.

We were set.
So it was decided.
I called the school to make an appointment with the AP for Kinder.

In Texas, parents of multiples have the law on their side.
You get to decide placement and they have to comply.
Period.

But then I really started to think about it.
We didn't even bother to ask the kids.
How could we not ask the kids?

I mean, they have a valid opinion.
So I sat down with them.
And the truth came out.

Gabi said, "Mommy I want to be alone.  I don't want my brother and sister telling me what to do in class and interrupting my learning!"

How could we say no to that?
Sofi and Ian were happy to stay together.
Game plan change.

{Gabi, Sofi, Ian}
Meeting with Mr. P was amazing.
He heard our concerns and answered all our questions.
We decided partner teachers and a 2/1 split.

Everyone walked out happy.
I was comforted.
Hubs was content.

And that is how we started off the year.
This doesn't mean we won't do something different next year although I have a feeling Gabi will continue to want to be alone in class.

As their kinder year comes to a close in May, we will revisit this discussion.
Until then, I am so excited for my babies & their future!


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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

It has been a LONG TIME...

Life took over.
You know, the doldrums of every day life, routine.

Building my business.
Saving my marriage.
Kids starting elementary school.
Becoming a fitness coach for Beachbody.
Family vacations.
Couple's getaways.

Yeah, that kind of life.

It dawned on me yesterday.
I haven't written in ages.
And we are starting a BIG, new chapter of our lives.

The kids started kindergarten.

Yes, you read right
They are almost 5 1/2 years old.
And on August 26th, they started full day kinder.




So, with the new daily routine, I decided it was high time I started blogging again.
I mean, you see plenty of blogs w/ triplets when they are little.
BUT, the fact remains, not many write about the school years.

My hope is to impart some knowledge about these years & how we steer the road.

I bet you are wondering if we put them all in the same class.
We didn't.
Per their request.

Gabi, my academic gal, wanted to be alone.
We honored her request.
And as of Day 3, she is thriving alone.


Sofi and Ian, on the other hand, requested to be placed together.
The school & principal were more than accommodating!
So far, they are doing fine in class together although they sit across the room from one another.



We are on our 3rd day of the new routine.
It gets easier every morning.
I will say this, they were tired when I woke them up.

Doesn't help we have to be up at 6:15 in order to get everything done.
Yeah, a little early in my opinion but with 3 to feed, brush teeth, brush hair, & dress,
I need the time (and I wake up at 4:30).

So there you have it.
Our triplets are now in kinder.



Loving the new routine & life that we have.
Hoping to keep up with the blog a bit better.
And always, feel free to comment or leave a question!


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