Thursday, November 29, 2007

Holiday Traditions

A recent Austin multiple moms post brought up the topic of holiday traditions. I love traditions and look forward to carrying on some old ones and creating new ones for our growing family.

I've always enjoyed going to midnight mass on Christmas Eve and remember getting to pick out one present before mass. I'd look for the box with a squishy top, a clear giveaway that it was a baby doll and a perfect present to take to mass.

Several replied that everyone got new PJs on Christmas Eve. I love that idea. And makes for great Christmas day photos.

Leaving cookies and milk for Santa was also high on the list. Our Santa prefers Chocolate Chip.

And I liked the idea of visiting the Christmas Tree farm as a family to pick out the tree. We have a good one nearby, Elgin Christmas Farm with hayrides. Not sure if the kids are old enough to enjoy that yet. One memorable Christmas we spent at my Grandparent's farm and stayed in their tiny farmhouse. We cut down a cute little Charlie Brown Christmas tree and decorated it with a few candies and whatever we could round up. It was pretty chilly and we didn't have heat but we bundled up and it was a lot of fun.

I'd also like each child to get or make an ornament each year. Last year I made heart ornaments with each child's handprint using crayola's magic maker clay.

Here are Will, Evan and Lily last year with our new Christmas Stockings.

Please share your favorite holiday traditions.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Permit Blues

Everyone has warned us that construction projects are a pain, that nothing goes right and everything takes longer than expected. We were OK with that to some extent. But now we are facing issues and we have not even started yet.

Financing is all lined up - finally - and luckily there were two rate decreases along the way. Our rental house (only two houses down) is getting it's final touches and will be ready for us in a week.

But come to find out our construction permit expired. Our contractor was tasked with keeping it alive. They thought they did by scheduling the inspection before our contract expired. But the contract expired the day before the inspection and now the city is saying that the permit is dead.

Now, I haven't ever explained the history here. But right before the trips were born, when I was humongous, we rushed to complete the plans and get them submitted in order to beat the deadline for new McMansion laws. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this local legislation, the idea is to limit excessive development and retain the charm of these old neighborhoods. But in reality the actual rules don't defend the 'charm' and are arguably too strict. At least arguably too strict for a family about to have four children living in a bungalow in central Austin.

I'll spare you the details, but at a high level the rules say we can expand our house up to 2,500 sq ft total. However, with the latest rules - if our garage is less than 10 ft from the house (ours is 9 ft) then you have to count the square footage of our garage. I don't understand the rationale here, but that means the city wants our house to only be 2,100 sq ft.

We have protested with the city and our contractor is staked out there today to plead our case. If we lose this battle, we have to reapply for a permit and shorten the garage by one foot! (not sure how long re-applying will take and it will require some additional drawings) or apply for re-instatement (takes more than 30 days plus a fee).

The other thing is, we really went out of our way to ensure the plans retain the charm of the house, even at the expense of changing the roof line. From the front, the house won't look much bigger. The slope of the roof will be more steep, more in line with the English cottage architicture and we will be adding a big shed dormer window to balance the house and add views overlooking the park.

Either way, if we can't get this decision overturned it is going to cost us time and money. Either way we really need to move soon. There is no place to put Quattro in this tiny house.

Monday, November 26, 2007

To Grandmother's House We Go...

We made it safe to Gramma G's house in Florida for Thanksgiving. We had a bit of a bumpy start - we got to the airport in the morning and discovered that we were rescheduled for a 7pm flight. Our second try went pretty smoothly. Papa and Grammy helped us get unloaded and to the gate. It was past bedtime so the flight was a bit rough, but at least it was only a two and a half hour trip.

The traveling was well worth it. The kids had a blast at Grandma's house. She had lots of new toys for them, a nursery set up with three pack and plays and animal art work hung especially for them at their eye level. Grandma G also hosted a big open house for friends to meet her grandbabies. We had a great turnout and the babies enjoyed all the attention. Another highlight was playing with Aunt Audrey. Her dog Gracie was a bit hit too. Especially with Will who is crazy for dogs.

Their first thanksgiving dinner got cheers all around.

And Will got the drumstick.

Lily loves using her big girl spoon.

Mmmmm...mashed potatoes. Hope you all had a great thanksgiving too.

Thanks Grandma G!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Making Room for Baby

We had a major house organization/cleanout this past week ending with a successfull garage sale with the Parkers and the Peters over the weekend. We only made $250 but cleared out more than four car loads of stuff. We were finally able to get rid of the TONS of extra baby stuff we accumulated over the last year plus clean out our wardrobes and garage.

We were motivated by Quattro's impending due date (and my subsequent nesting) and our move. Yes, move. We are planning on moving two houses down very soon after Thankgiving because we are starting the BIG PROJECT - we are adding a second floor and remodeling the kitchen.

The new floor will include a bedroom for the triplets, a nursery for Quattro (that will someday be Lily's room), a shared bathroom with large tub and double sinks, plus a family room with a great window seat overlooking the park and lots of toy storage. Down stairs we are changing the layout and converting the current kitchen and study to a large kitchen. David will get a new office out of the deal - we will be converting the trips room now to a small getaway and workspace.

Now I'm ready to take the proceeds from the garage sale and purchase Quattro's crib. He won't get a boutique crib like the trips but they have some cute options online for great prices.

Let me know if you like either of these.

Option 1: Da Vinci Emily Crib

Option 2: Da Vince Roxanne Crib

Oh, and I think he needs LuLu the Lamb.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thanksgiving Adventure

We will be flying to Florida for Thanksgiving this year to visit Grandma G. It will be our first trip to see her with the babies and finally a chance for her to show them off to her friends. I'm looking forward to the trip.

Our first flight with the trio to their great grandma's 90th birthday in June was a bit of a disaster. The babies were actually very good but we had a layover, excessive delays, and a long car ride once we arrived to boot, so by the end they all fell apart and needless to say we were exhausted. At least we had grandparents and David's sister and fiance to help.

We vowed never to travel again, at least not until the kids are in high school, but this is an important trip and last chance to visit grandma before Quattro arrives.

This time it will just be David, me and our trio. We bought an extra ticket so we could put one of our gang in a car seat, the other two will be in our laps. We got a direct flight and are taking the first flight of the day there and back to try and avoid holiday travel troubles. Once we arrive in Florida we will get a rental car with the two extra car seats and drive the remaining hour and a half to my mom's house.

For the plane ride, we will pack plenty of snacks, some new toys and a change of clothes (I forgot this critical item last time and had to buy new clothes in the airport because they were a mess). This time we don't need formula or baby food which simplifies things a bit.

Wish us luck.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

We have a Birth-Date!

Dr. Cowan's office called - we are officially on the hospital books. Quattro's delivery via c-section is scheduled for January 18th, 7:30am.

I'm to report to the hospital between 5:30 and 6am, he should be in our arms by 8am. I wonder who he will look like. From the ultrasounds his face looks a bit rounder like Will, but who knows.

Only about two more months, we better get ready.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Happy Birthday David!

Happy birthday to my wonderful husband.

He started out his day with a jog with our trio, he has been really good about getting out several times a week and running with the babies. They love it and he is getting really fit. I got him a jogging watch for his birthday present.

We also had a little party at Vino Vino a great wine bar not to far from our house. It reminds me of some of our favorite San Francisco bars, it has modern but cozy laid back feel. It is a wine shop during the day and they have wine store prices instead of restaurant prices on wines so you can get some nice bottles. I'm looking forward to going back after Quattro is born so I can enjoy some myself.

Thanks to all our friends who made it out to celebrate with us. And triple thanks to Grammy and Papa for babysitting our trio so we could go out.

Monday, November 05, 2007


Looks like our babies may finally have kicked the stomach flu. Lots of giggling today and everyone was in good spirits. The weather was beautiful too. Tonight after bathtime they were having a blast chasing each other around the dinning room table and laughing. Not sure if David and I have recovered from all the sleepless nights yet, but at least things are looking up.

We went to the doctor last Friday to check in and make sure everyone was ok. They ran a bunch of tests that came out fine as they were reluctant to give us more anti-nausea medicine without checking lest they miss something else. But it seems that it really was just a bad stomach bug that lasted almost two weeks. Both boys lost over a pound, that pushed Evan from 25 percentile in weight to down to 5 percentile. We worked on making up for lost time today - starting with breakfast, four slices of french toast and two bananas between the three.

Other news, Will has had a mini language explosion. He likes to point to things and is now saying that (dat), this (dis), dog (gog), cat (gat), light (ligh), baby, juice (jus), and imitates animal sounds like 'quack'.