Cash, Zane, and Cade

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Pictures

Photos are important. They allow us to document the progress that we make in life. Carrie has an eye for photographs and a definite interest. We decided that she should pursue that interest. We knew we needed a good camera to help us document the progress of our three boys. A couple weeks ago we got the camera. It's pretty complicated as far as I'm concerned. I don't even know how to turn it on. Fortunately Carrie does. So, today we jumped in head first into the world of photographing babies. Despite what you might think, six month old babies are not exactly cooperative. Believe it or not, it is pretty difficult to get them to look at the camera at the same time, or look at the camera at all. I'm not convinced that they even realize that it's the holiday season. They don't seem to be aware of the fact that literally hundreds of friends and family members are excited to view their holiday pictures. They seem very unaware of the fact that they are without a doubt, mildly famous.

We dressed up the boys in their jeans and Chuck Taylor shoes. We combed their hair and put the best shine on them that we could. Next we drove down to a local park where photographing both babies and older people is commonplace. It's a nice park with cool stone structures and good lighting. Why not share some moments with you. Here is one attempt at getting the whole family at once.

Note that 2 out of 3 babies are not happy. Zane isn't crying, but he looks far from happy. Mom and Dad aren't crying either, but we were ready to.

This next photo is when Mom and Dad decided it was best to just throw in the towel. As you can see, 2 out of 3 babies are extremely upset.

We tried some other pictures, and this one would be great, except for the fact that Cade was letting us know exactly what he thought of the whole day.

Some of them turned out pretty good. This one happened to be on a park bench. Carrie's mother went along with us, and being the good sport that she is, laid down behind this bench at one point and offered to hold the boys up for the photo. Unfortunately, the bench has slats and she was easily noticeable in the photos. I'm very sad to say we don't have any with her laying on the ground, but here is one that worked.

I know what you are thinking. Try some individual shots. This made sense to us also. I held them up in the air and Carrie took some pictures. These actually turned out pretty good. These boys smile all the time. They laugh and smile at everything. Except for when these pictures where taken. You would have thought we had canceled their first Christmas.

Here is the family photo from the park that turned out the best. There are definitely things that Carrie would change, but I think all in all we got lucky on this one.

After getting all ready and going to the park, we got our very angry boys back to the house to do the 3:00 p.m. feeding and try and regroup. I put them on the couch and instantly we get something like this.....

It's not really even fair. This is just the couch. No cool park bench. No neat outdoor Austin winter sun. Not even anywhere near what Mom had in mind, but hey sometimes people are just happier when they get to hang out on their own couch.

After the boys ate and we took these couch pictures, we decided to head out again. This time we went to The Domain here in Austin. The Domain is a very cool collection of shops and restaurants near where we live. Carrie had heard that there was a Santa Claus there. Of course, we wanted to get the boys with Santa, but what were the odds of this happening? We figured that one of them would be scared. One of them might throw up on Santa, or they would all scream bloody murder as soon as they hit the old man's lap. I knew we were really rolling the dice, and you could see the looks of shear terror that hit the faces of the people working for Santa. I think they were like elves or something.

Elf #1: Uh...triplets huh?

Carrie: Yes. We want to get their picture taken with Santa.

Elf #1: the same time?

Carrie: If we can, but it's a crap shoot.

Elf #2: Wow. We'll do our best.

At this point Santa gets out of his chair and walks towards us. We had the triplet stroller in the Santa line. I had just resigned myself to the fact that this probably wasn't going to go well. They hadn't exactly been cooperative before, and now we had Santa to contend with. In addition to the stress that the two elves and Santa were adding, we had attracted a gallery of onlookers. There was a whole crowd of people around anxious to see if we could pull this shot off. Santa was a bit nervous. He told the story of the one other time he had posed with triplets and they all started screaming. We assured him that we knew he could do nothing. The whole thing was a gamble. We got the boys out of their car seats and placed them in Santa's lap. The elves all made noise and Mom and Dad both tried to get the attention of the boys and have them look at the camera. The crowd held its breath in anticipation. Then, like a grand slam in the bottom of the ninth, the boys pulled off their first Santa shot. The two elves gave each other high fives as we put the boys back in their car seats. Santa was extremely pleased with himself, and Carrie and I were just stunned.

In the end, Santa Claus makes everything okay.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Six Months Old

The boys turned six months old on December 2nd. That's quite a milestone. At this point we are used to the routine. We are used to the work involved. We are used to being always a bit tired. Personally, I'm not used to babies screaming, and after six months I'm pretty convinced I never will be. All things considered, they don't scream that much. They are generally pretty happy little fellas and they let us now when they need something. All this aside, sometimes they scream for no apparent reason. Last night right before his bath, Cade decided to scream for about thirty solid minutes. After a while, I decided that if you can't beat em, join em. So I decided to scream along with him. I tried to time my screams to coincide with his. I wanted to make him feel like I was on his side, and if he was trying to be heard, I was going to help him. I held him and watched his face to get the timing right and as soon as he started yelling, I did too. I even tried to make the same facial expressions he did. After a few minutes he figured out what the game was, and he ramped up the intensity of his yelling. I did the same. Then instead of me being on his side we had us a real screaming battle going on. If it was a yelling contest he wanted, then I was going to give him all he could handle. I figure my lungs are bigger, and I thought I could out last him. I tried my best to mimic his cries and match his volume. I figured I could be louder, but of course I didn't want to hurt his ears. In the end, I had to give up. Apparently this was a contest he was not going to lose. In the end, he cheated. Somehow, he got his two brothers Cash and Zane in on the game. That was just unfair. I will have a yelling contest with them one at a time, but not all three. That's just not right. During a pause, Cade said something to the other two in their triplet language, and Cash and Zane rushed in to help their brother. They worked hard to fill in any gaps that Cade was leaving by taking a breath. The three of them worked seamlessly in tandem to create a barrage of constant screaming that completely overwhelmed me. I sat on the couch utterly defeated. I have a feeling that's not the only battle I will lose to these three. Apparently they plan on cheating, so game on. I got news for them, we aren't raising a bunch of cheaters around here. Who do they think they are? The Yankees?

We went to the Doctor for their six month check up. Cash weighs 17 lbs 3 oz. Cade weighs 16 lbs 14 oz. Zane weighs 16 lbs 3 oz. They are in the 95th percentile as far as the weight of a premature baby is concerned. On the full term baby scale they all fall into the 50th percentile in all categories except length. They are a little behind there, but it doesn't seem to matter. Cash and Zane have both flipped from their stomachs to their backs and Cade will probably do it at any moment. They smile and talk to each other a lot.

There have been quite a few changes around here. We have altered their feeding schedule a bit. Here is what it looks like now.

7:00 a.m. - 8 ounce bottle of formula

11:00 a.m. - 8 ounce bottle of formula along with cereal

3:00 p.m. - 8 ounce bottle of formula

7:00 p.m. - 8 ounce bottle of formula along with a solid food (last night was green beans)

They now sit in high chairs and eat. I can't believe that we are on to solid food. Very soon they will eat solid food with every bottle. Probably this weekend. I'm not sure.

I ran some numbers which is fun for me for some reason. These numbers are approximate, but I think they paint a larger picture of what exactly has been going on in this house. Since they were born we have done this:

5400 diapers

2700 bottles

Yes, the first two months we had NICU Nurses helping us out. That was a huge blessing. They helped us ease into the transition. Now it runs pretty much like clock work. It's a bit of extra work using cloth diapers, but we just fold them while we watch television. Carrie is now making all the baby food herself, which will obviously help us save money and make sure that the boys are getting good stuff all the time.

The cool thing about being a parent is that you get to make all the rules. They have no idea what is what. They will go by your rules as long as you make them. For instance, we used pacifiers for a while, and then they kind of lost interest in them. We thought this was great. Since then we don't offer them pacifiers. By now, they have forgotten that they even exist. The biggest rule is that nighttime is for sleeping. We make a quiet environment around the house from about 8:30 p.m. until 7:00 a.m. The do very well with this. We have been very strict with maintaining a schedule and that surprises me. Carrie and I are not known for self discipline. However, we know that for our own survival we must stick to our guns and teach the boys that things will run a certain way around here.

The boys are having their first Christmas this year. This is the first year that we will not be traveling to Kansas or Illinois. We have the perfect excuse. If you want to come, then come. We aren't driving anywhere. So we decorated the house. I wanted to get a twelve foot Santa Claus, but Carrie talked me into the seven foot version.

Now for some current photos:

The boys like to play on their mat.

Here they are watching T.V. in their "Jump Jumps". We limit them to 6 to 8 hours of T.V. per day.

They notice each other.

This is with their buddy Alexander Morgan.

They love to hear the bluegrass music. I agreed to shave the beard for Christmas photos cause I'm lame.

I'm not sure what was going on here.

Eating is a messy business.

This is Zane.

This is Cade.

This is Cash.

So, things roll merrily along around here. We are very very lucky that our boys are so healthy. They have had quite the impact as one would expect, but things are pretty much as they were before. Carrie lets me think I'm in charge and I'm good with that.