Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 In Review (abbreviated version).

The last day of the year...what better time to take a quick look back at 2008. I say "quick" because I could write a short story, or maybe even a book, about the past year for my family.

In the first quarter (sorry, it's the accountant in me) of 2008, we became somewhat settled into our new home. Our old home had been for sale for about six months. Grammy and Sarah were home with the girls while I finished up my time at Big Worldwide Financial Institution. I had learned earlier in 2007 that I would be getting laid off. My time at BWFI ends mid-February so we have one adult per baby while I am home. Here's a cute picture of the girls taken in February 2008 (standing, but not yet walking):

Q2 2008 we celebrate our girls' first birthday, a momentous event. Very few people know or will ever realize just how big of a deal it was for us to celebrate their first birthday. Conceiving identical triplets is rare. Giving birth to identical triplets is even more rare. To have identical triplets survive is extremely rare. We are blessed.

Spring arrives and the real estate market is still dead, so we make the decision to rent our previous home. It ends up being a very time-consuming, stressful, yet interesting process. Memorial Day weekend our new tenants move in. We are extremely pleased with the tenants occupying the house into which we put so much sweat equity.

On June 4th, we have a mass said for Abigail, who would have turned two in June. A few close family members joined us for breakfast after the mass at a local establishment known for its breakfast. It was a big deal - the first time the girls had dined out!

The goal for me was to take a few weeks off and look for work. I go on interviews, talk to head-hunters and network while I help care for the girls, maintain a house and Sarah and I try to maintain our sanity.

Moving on to Q3, both Sarah and I accept jobs, reluctantly. For Sarah, this is huge- going to a new job after everything that has occurred over the previous two years. I accept a position in a similar role to the one I held at BWFI. Grammy has the girls by herself all day (and does just fine). I train for, and run the Falmouth Road Race for the 12th consecutive year. Sarah, Grammy and my daughters come to see me run. I am happy with my time, all things considered, finishing the 7.1 mile race in about 58 minutes.

The fall and early winter of 2008 brought some long work days for Sarah, but also fun holidays with the girls. Here are the girls in their Halloween costumes:
Here's another photo from the fall:

October November and December have flown by. Here is one of my favorite photos from the 4th qtr of 2008:

The girls development seems to have hit stride with new words, new facial expressions or new dance moves coming every day. We have now been in our new home for over a year and look forward to the nice weather in the spring and summer. The girls will be much more mobile this coming year and will really be able to enjoy the outdoors! (Great for Sarah & I too.)
We have a BIG day coming up at the end of January. I pray justice will be served.

Have a happy and joyous New Year.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Blog banner.

I never thanked my wife Sarah for both the idea and creation of my blog banner. Thank you, hon. Sarah has become quite the "wiz" when it comes to digital scrapbooking, using Photoshop Elements and blogging. And she is the inspiration/push behind me starting this blog.

The banner: the shoes from left to right are: my Saucony Grid Stabils (which I have been running in for years), Sarah's Asics, followed by Allie, Anna and Emily's "running" shoes. The photo is an "aerial" shot by Sarah as she positioned herself on the kitchen counter!

I should also note that Sarah suggested the name of my blog, which I like a lot. Instead of "Running with Scissors"...get it? It should also be noted that one of the reasons the blog started was because Sarah thinks I write well. I'm not sure how good my writing is, but I do know I get enjoyment and a "sense of self" by writing.

So, thank you to my wife for pushing me to start a blog. Regardless of where or how the blog goes, I am glad I decided to try it on for size.

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Sunday afternoon.

We took the girls to visit Grandma yesterday afternoon. The trip was an exception, given the winter weather we have been having and the logistics of traveling with three 20 month old. The girls saw Grandma at the family Christmas party before Christmas, but were not able to see her on Christmas or Christmas Eve. Grandma is somewhat of a snowbird as she goes to parts sunny for a few months each winter. Since they will not see Grandma until April, we decided to head to her house yesterday for a short visit. I was very happy with the girls and I think Grandma enjoyed seeing them too!

They, of course were interested in Grandma's nativity set - this is Anna and Allie with Grandma:

Em pointing to one of the Three Kings, saying "dhat":

The pointing quickly changed to touching and grabbing, so Grandma pulled out one of her Christmas gifts to distract/entertain. Anna thought the electronic keyboard was funny:

Part of the day's entertain also included dancing. At one point Grandma told Allie to dance with Em and she did! (We were unable to get a photo of that, of course) Here is Allie:

You may have notice the cat slippers Grandma is wearing. Yes, the girls were also somewhat fascinated with the slippers.

Overall, I think it was a successful mini-road trip. We hope to do these visits on a regular basis in the future. Have fun in Florida, Grandma!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Outdoor run.

I did a quick run outside today, something I have not been doing on a regular basis. If it hasn't already done so, the temperature is set to hit 60 degrees here today.

Although it was a quick run (I left my sports watch at the office so I was unable to time it) of about 20 - 25 miuntes, it was a nice treat to run outdoors in shorts in December!

My sparse running of late has been on a treadmill either at home, or at the office (small "gym"). Because my runs have been shorter and less frequent, I have increased the intensity of them. I find this easy to do on the treadmill - I kick-up the speed for .25, .50. or .75 intervals.

Earlier this year (spring and summer), many of my runs were with the girls in the Triple Jogger. Those runs were usually about 3 miles and/or 30 minutes in length. Although the runs were short and the Triple Jogger rolls along with ease, pushing 55 - 60 lbs. can take it's toll! The physical effort, in combination with fielding the comments and questions from people, makes for an interesting run. For those of you who do not have multiples, taking our identical triplet girls Allie, Anna & Em out in public is best equated to being a local celebrity. Sarah and I have learned to avoid eye contact!

I'm off to refuel while the girls nap. Maybe I'll catch some of the Pats game. We plan to visit Grandma this afternoon, which could be interesting.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Saturday mornings.

What is a typical Saturday morning for you? We got to talking the other day about "sleeping in". Are you one of those who can sleep until noon on a weekend morning or are you like me?

My weekend mornings (and afternoons sometimes) used to be spent in bed, usually because I was hungover/sick from the previous night. It has been quite a few years since I have dealt with a hangover and it has also been quite awhile since I have slept in on a regular basis.

Here is how the father of 20 month-old triplet girls spent this Saturday morning:

7:20 am I say to Sarah: "Hon - you can sleep in this morning". "You sure?" "Yes." "OK, thanks, hon."
I proceed to throw on some morning clothes/sweats and head downstairs for a few minutes of quiet time before the girls wake up.

I try to have at least 20 minutes in the morning to myself, even if is spent emptying the dishwasher or making myself something for breakfast.

7:40ish - the girls are awake, so I head back upstairs and open their bedroom door to see my three little sweethearts. They do their usual bouncing up and down and "ooh oohs" while gesturing for me to get them a book or something.

The next hour is spent changing their diapers, feeding them breakfast and then I corral them into the living room.

While they play in the living room with their new kitchen set, stroller, Elmo and books, I clean-up their breakfast mess (remember there are THREE toddlers).
9:00 until 9:45 is spent between the kitchen making coffee and cereal, and the living room playing referee.

Then I head into the living room to hang with the girls and attempt to drink my coffee. They, one at a time, bring books and other things to me...I say "thank you" to them as they walk away to get something else to bring to me. The items pile op on the floor around me.

Allie is fussy this morning (fussy all day, actually) so I decide to go with an ELMO video early. It was a good call.

I put the video on play, which seems to take forever because the girls just want to see the video and don't care why there is a FBI warning and trailers the video production company insists on putting at the beginning of the video.
I log on to the laptop - might as well start my blog and check my email. Allie comes over and wants "UP". I cave. Allie is on my lap.

I attempt to use the laptop with one hand while holding Allie. Em comes over with her hands raised. I cave. I have two on my lap - I'll finish the blog later. Anna comes over and, of course, wants in. Yes, three toddlers on Daddy.

Anna doesn't last too long - she doesn't like crowds.

Em & Allie recline with Daddy and giggle and make elephant noises and point at the TV screen while Elmo's World plays.

About 10:40 Mommy comes down from sleeping in. The girls jump off my lap and run over to greet Mommy. Daddy goes to shower. When I return, Sarah and I start to make the girls lunch. The morning is just about over.

20 years ago, before I was able to stop drinking, I was lucky if my day started at noon. The physical, mental and spiritual ill feelings from my drinking would start to erupt the minute my eyes opened. I would say "never again" or "not tonight" or "why did I do that" only to repeat myself again and again.

I do not miss "sleeping in" one bit.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas To My Angel Abigail.

Dear Abigail,

Thank you for sitting with me throughout the day. It was fun watching the girls open gifts, laugh, and play. You saw all this already, so let's highlight for everyone else how Christmas 2008 went, OK?
Here is the girls' kitchen set ready to go:

Having fun with the toys Santa brought:

Cousins Beth and Grace, Aunt Katie, Uncle Dan, Uncle Pat and Aunt Molly, Aunt Edel, Grammy and Grandpa all came for dinner. Here is Anna, Em & Allie with their cousins Beth and Grace all ready to go nightie-night.

It was a fun day, don't you think so Abbey? Mommy and Daddy were emotionally exhausted by the end of the day, holding back tears as we thought of you. You almost made Daddy cry in front of everyone when I felt you touch my heart while your sister Emily sat comfortably on my lap. I love you Abbey, and miss what would have been.

By the way - you didn't wake the girls up early this morning did you, Abbey? Daddy thinks you might have so the girls could get a glimpse of the "sighting" next to our house(check for a future post on the "sighting")!

Merry Christmas, Abigail.

Love, Daddy.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Back to the 80s with the Boston Celtics.

As I start this post, the Celtics are up by 5 points in the 1st quarter against the Philadelphia Sixers. IF the Celts win tonight's game, they will set a new franchise record with 19 consecutive wins. The last time the Celtics won 18 straight was in the early 80s (1982, I believe). With last year's championship and the red-hot start the Celtics are having this year, the talk has begun about how good this team is in comparison to past teams. I'm not going to get into that discussion because I hate those comparisons. How can you compare a team competing in the 2000 era NBA vs. the 1980's or 1950's teams? The only thing I will say is that the Celtics have a GREAT team right now and they had a GREAT team in the mid-80's.

Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe has the 85-85 Celtics as the best Celtics team. I will not argue his point. They were 50 -1 at home that year. ONLY one loss at home, including the playoffs.

I have very many memories from those years and many of those great memories are tied to Celtics moments. Some more poignant memories are of my Dad watching the Celtics. He was a huge fan of Larry Bird (LB), Kevin (McHale), Robert Parish (Chief), Danny Ainge, Max, Dennis Johnson (DJ - rest in peace) and company. I was in high school and then attending UMASS Boston during those years. Vivid memories include my Dad sitting in the living room, with one arm on the arm rest and the other with the remote control (so he could turn up the volume). Mainly due to the generational gap and size of my family, there were only a few things we could do together and watching LB and DJ light up the scoreboard was one of them!

I'll always love and miss my Dad (of course) and in many ways I miss the good ole days of the 80s when the old Boston Garden smelled like smoke and The Celtics and Lakers battled it out for a win.

One other quick story: February 1987 I had heard Larry and Bill Walton would be signing autographs at The Harvard Coop so I took a ride over to Harvard Square to check it out. The line was ridiculous! It was literally out the door and down the street maybe a block. Knowing if I went to the back of the line I never would have a chance to see either player, I said "let's walk around - maybe there is a way to get in without waiting in line". Long story short is that I may not have done what would be considered "fair" to those who waited in line, but I did get to have my picture taken with Larry Bird! No regrets.

Here's the Polaroid photo:

Monday, December 22, 2008

Play Kitchen Assembly.

I started to put together the girls' Christmas gift from Santa last week and tonight was the first night since last week I was able to work on it. I have a feeling it will take me a few more hours to assemble. They call it a "walk-in" kitchen or something like that. It's from Step 2 and it has gotten good reviews by parents we know, and it has also gotten positive feedback on the internet. We decided it would be the girls' "big" gift this year. Here is what it looks like so far:

The reason for this post is not to whine about spending my time putting it together. The post is just to put things into perspective. In the background of the picture (they are not visible) are three disassembled cribs. Those cribs are not being used because they were recalled. Prior to being recalled, the cribs were disassembled and together at least twice due to us moving twice before the girls' were even seven months old. So - two x three = at least six times I was putting the cribs together or taking them apart!

So what is the perspective? I have the three most adorable little girls a daddy could ever ask for. Spending my time putting together cribs or a play kitchen set is nothing when I think about the joy the girls bring to my life. Besides, how many little girls don't even have a daddy to hug or a toy to play with? It's all about perspective, all about perspective.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Yes I really am a runner.

Quick note to self and blog: YES I am a runner. Runs as of late have been few, but I AM a runner. Our treadmill is set-up in the basement and I am poised for some strong winter workouts on the treadmill. So...I will be psoting in the coming months about how my runs are progressing and re-living some races from the past. I guess it is simliar to what a marine would say - once a runner, always a runner!!

Life of the Party.

My side of the family had our Christmas Party on Saturday. Siince my family is so large - 13 siblings and 20+ nephews and nieces (some of which are married also), we usually rent a hall. This year we had the party at local K of C hall.

The drive to get to the party was a little tough, given it was later in the day AND the roads were not exactly in great shape. We had a pretty substantial snowfall on Friday and it seems as though the snow hasn't stopped since then. Anyway, we made it there safe and sound.

My daughters initially were shell-shocked when we walked into the hall. Imagine ALL faces turning to see "the triplets". It didn't take long for the girls to get comfortable, though. Once they discovered the open floor to run, the Christams tree with gifts, and all the adults to follow around and stare at, they were off and running! Here are a couple of snapshots.

Allie and Em

To make what could be a long blog short, the girls were the life of the party!

We hopped in the car for the ride home @7:00pm expecting the girls to fall fast asleep, which didn't happen. They were all geared up and did not end up falling asleep until almost 9:30 last night (their normal bedtime is 7:30)!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Random thoughts on the season's first significant snowfall.

With the arrival of the season's first significant snowfall hours away, it is the "buzz". When will it start? How much are we getting? The commute home is going to be a nightmare...all that stuff. WE LIVE IN NEW ENGLAND people - get over it!!

Sarah and I were talking last night about how it would be fun to bring the girls out in the snow BUT they do not have boots. Sarah informed me that they are wearing the show size of an infant who isn't walking yet so it is difficult to find boots their size. They cannot wear their sneaker-shoes in the snow, so I started to think about the boot box we had in our basement as a kid.

The boot box was filled with various sizes of those green rubber boots that go up to the knee. With so many kids in the house, it was a first-come, first-serve with the boots. I think half the time I was walking in the snow with boots one or two sizes too big or too small! I also remember having the plastic wrap from Sunbean Wonder bread around my feet as added protection from the elements. My mom got pretty creative so she good get us out of the house, regardless of the weather! When I get home today, I'll have to find some bread bags for my girls feet...

So...on the train ride in this morning, Sarah's good friend Leslie happened to be on the same train (normally she gets an earlier train). Leslie was telling us how excited her girls were about the snow and how Leslie's husband Jeff was going to have them make snow angels, etc.

Both the discussion with Sarah, and the one with Leslie, got me thinking about how kids show how joy can be found in life's simple offerings, like snowfall.

This blog was really bad, I know.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Lucky Thirteen.

I asked my boss her plans for Christmas yesterday. She told me she would be going to such and such place on Christmas Eve and then her sister's on Christmas afternoon. She then asked what my plans were for Christmas. I told her we would likely have Christmas dinner at home again this year, given the logistics of bringing our family somewhere for dinner (pack three high-chairs and everything else?).

I also told her MY family's Christmas party is usually held before or after Christmas and this year it is being held on Saturday at a local Knights of Columbus Hall. "Oh, I never told you I come from a big family, did I?" I said to my boss. "Really?" she said. "Yes, I have 12 siblings - 9 brothers and 3 sisters..."

The regular questions followed:

"All from the same mother and father?" YES.

"No step-brothers or sisters?" NO.

"Where do you fall in?" I am the 3rd youngest.

"No twins?" NO.

Then one or two comments such as "...I thought 7 was a big family" and "your mother must be a saint". YES, my mother is a saint and I think that even more so now that I have three children of my own to care for. The conversation with my boss ended because we actually had business to discuss.

Here are is a sampling of other comments and questions I normally get when someone hears I grew up in a family of 13 children:
"How big was your house?" Not really large by today's standards - technically it was a 4-5 bedroom.
"How many bathrooms?" One bathroom, until everyone had moved out and my parents added a second.
"Does everyone still live in the area?" - Yes. Everyone lives within a 1.5 drive of each other with the exception of Don, who is only an hours flight away.
"Christmas must have been a lot of fun as a kid." Definitely! Some of my greatest childhood memories are of Christmas morning.

This is a picture from our wedding in 2004. All my brothers and sisters were in attendance. The angel (Ma) is in the front in purple dress. My dad (God rest his soul) passed away in March of 2003.

Post note: We had a Yankee Swap today at work - guess what number I drew?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Blogger Virgin.

As the title suggests, this is my first blog. Being married to an ace veteran blogger of The Great Umbrella Heist, an interest in blogging has recently been ignited. I have been emotionally moved by reading my wife Sarah's blog, so I have decided to see what will be stirred in me by my own blogs. Outside of normal life happenings, I have had my share of life-changing experiences. Let's see how writing about these experiences (for the world to read) will affect me.

What to expect from me? I have no idea and I guess that is one reason why I decided to try blogging. Does blogging fit my personality? I'm not sure. Do I consider my thoughts intriguing or interesting to people? No. Maybe I'll surprise myself, maybe I'll surprise you...we shall see.

As a runner, a father of identical triplet girls, member of a large family, a friend of Bill W., a golfer and working professional, most of my posts will be on topics related to those subjects.

Unfortunately, right now I need to get back to the grind.