Tiny Dancers

Though you would never know it by looking at me now, I once was a dancer.

From the age of 2 1/2 to about 12 I took Ballet classes once a week at the local Y-JCC.  I had the same teacher for all those years and her ability to teach little girls to express themselves through music and movement was extraordinary. I loved her, and she used to say that I danced "with my mind." I would visualize my movements and become very wrapped up in the music. The "free dance" part of the class was my favorite.  She gave out light and floaty chiffon scarves and we used these as extensions of ourselves, twirling and flitting around the room.

I even danced in the summers after 4th - 6th grade.  I was lucky enough to attend Usdan  a creative and performing arts camp on Long Island.  There I took Modern Dance, Jazz and Tap, Folk Dance, and more Ballet.  I also explored my interest in singing and musical theater in the Junior Chorus.  I loved it at Usdan, being surrounded by talented kids and artsy teachers. 

For me, tomorrow is going to be a monumental day in the Trip'n household.  You
see, I have two little girls in my house who seem to have inherited their mom's ability to get lost in the music and express themselves through movement. Ever since they "met" June on Little Einsteins we have been witness to Arabesques, Pliés, Grand jetés, and B's famous Reverence (or curtsy) which she offers after accomplishing any feat from putting away her Wormy to saying a word correctly. 

I have been harboring a (not-so) secret desire that my daughters get the chance to try some formal dance classes so they can learn more about rhythm and movement. As a working mom this seemed impossible.  I could barely get it together to get transportation to and from school covered! I certainly wasn't going to add after-school activities into the mix.  

Then we got a notice that the girls' school's parent organization was putting together Friday afternoon classes at our local JCC. A bus would take the girls from school to the JCC and pick up is an hour and a half later. Included in the choices was Ballet and Tap. Now this was possible! I was home on Friday!! I think my girls may have been the first ones registered for the class. Now, the Friday thing is moot, because I am not working, but, what-ev-er!

 My girls are taking dance lessons!! I am so excited!

They have their little bags packed with pink leotards and Ballet slippers, little black dance skirts, and those shiny little Tap shoes with the ribbon ties. (I never had those).  They have been talking about it for weeks and can't wait to start.  I hope they love it.

Ballerina, you must have seen her
 dancing in the sand
And now she's in me, always with me, 
tiny dancer in my hand

Melting the coldest hearts

Planning how to get the kids to school this year was a challenge.  Since district based busing doesn't kick in until Pre-1A (child must be 5 year old by Dec. 31 that year), most people with kids in Kindergarten (called 4 year old Nursery in many places) have to carpool.  At the start of the school year, I was working full-time.  Having 3 kids in 2 different schools, we knew this was going to be a difficult situation. 

Luckily, there are other people in a similar situation, and a group of parents got together to arrange for a private bus for the boys' school.  So since September, C have been going to school on a private bus. 

I am pretty happy with the busing situation. The guy organizing it is great. The monitor, who is a teacher in the school, is responsible and nice.  The bus driver is...prompt.  However, she is not friendly. At all. We have yet to get a smile or a "Good Morning" out of her. This is a known problem, and was explained to us in an email the first week of school: 
 I will also mention concerning the bus driver, she is a nice lady, I do apologize that she does not smile, or greet you in the morning, I have made mention of this to the bus company. The reason she is the driver for this route is because she knows the neighborhood, and is an extremely safe driver, so she will get our kids to and from school in a safe and timely fashion. So please bear that in mind.
Okay, so I try not to let it bother me.  But I do wonder, how she  can not laugh when C's sisters follow him to the door shouting things at him like little mothers? "Slow down!" "Have a good day!" "We will miss you!" "Bye, C"

Or, when they open the door and scream "He'll be out in a minute, he's in the baaaaathrooom!!" I am, of course, in said bathroom with him, supervising wiping. 

Not a grin, giggle, or gasp.

Today was the girls' school's Purim Carnival and they had to go to school in costume. Since the new Purim costumes have still not arrived from Hong Kong, I dressed them in their fairy costumes from last Purim.  

I guess the site of 2 little girls in tutus, wings, and these on their heads really moved her, because when A waved at her...

She waved back!!!

Bodily Fluid Fiesta!


Just a snapshot of how crazy life with 5 year old triplets and a dog can get.

One of the reason Trouble has earned this nickname is due to a weak bladder. She has been known to pee in fear, anger, happiness, change in weather, just because. Lucky for us, she is a small dog, so the puddles tend to be small. Along with this, she occasionally gets minor bladder infections where she looses control more often. Thank G-d these tend to be few and far between, but they happen.

Over the past few days, Trouble has had some tinkles that indicate to me she may have something going on. Tonight I am sure.

B came into our room a little while ago and just sat on H's lap. When pressed, she said she couldn't sleep. After sitting there quietly for about 15 minutes, H asked her if she was feeling okay. She responded, "No, my tummy hurts and I think I am going to throw up." At least she gave us warning! H grabbed the garbage pail and a second later, she did in fact vomit. Trouble had been asleep at the foot of H's bed. When the commotion started she jumped up and moved to the foot of my bed.

We quickly mobilized getting B cleaned up, throwing out the garbage bag, and giving her a little water to wash out her mouth. Then we all went to settle back into bed when H noticed a dark stain at the foot of his bed. We looked at Trouble who was guiltily cleaning her little rump.

Bodily fluids all over the place. Yuck!!!

This is my life. And I love it. And I laugh A LOT.

Purim Pandemonium

C came home from school yesterday singing. It was adorable and sweet, and even on key with a little dance to go with it, but the song made me stop, listen, and panic.

You see, he was singing “Mi She, Mi She, Mi Shenichnas Adar, Marbin, Marbin, Marbin Besimchah.” Adar? Now? I mean, I know it is coming, but they are already teaching the songs in school?? I ran to the calendar to see when EXACTLY it was that Adar was starting. Because if Rosh Chodesh Adar is here, then Purim is only a few weeks behind! But I have no plan for Purim! I have no costumes, no theme, nada, NOTHING!

For a normal person, this is not really a problem. Purim is really like a month away. This should be plenty of time of to get together three costumes and a couple of Shalach Manos. When it comes to Purim, I tend to lose all sanity. I take it a little too far.

A little history to the madness:

Purim has always been MY holiday. I was born on the 24 of Adar and very often Purim falls on or close to my English birthday. My Bat Mitzvah party was a costume party/ Purim seudah. We got married about a month before Purim (Happy 11th Anniversary Honey!) and Shalach Manos was one of the first things we did together. That first year we picked a theme and we have a theme ever since.

It seems that since that year, it has become “Can you top this?” I am my worst competition. This is when the crazy, perfectionist, creative part of me takes over. Since the Trips were born, it seems to have been taken to a new level, as we added a costume tie-in. Did I mention that most of them feature a poem as well?

Don't believe anyone could be quite that nuts about Purim? Well, let me convince you. Here is a rundown of our previous Shalach Manos with some examples of the contents. Sorry I can't give you a complete list of contents, but there are a lot of them! Also, for those of you who have been on the receiving end of one or all of these, enjoy the trip down memory lane...

  1. Under the Sea – Water, pasta shells, gummy fish, Dolphin crackers in a little case with fish stickers on it.
  2. 'Orange' You Glad it's Purim – Everything was orange and in an orange pitcher.
  3. Penguins – This is the year it really started to get out of control. I found these white bowls. What you can't see in the picture is that they have a spout. So when turned upside down, they look like little igloos. I decorated the outsides with snowflake stickers and glued a little penguin figurine at the "entrance." Inside were penguin cookies, snow caps, and I can't remember what else, but it had to do with cold and ice.
  4. Over the Rainbow - Simple concept, ridiculously difficult execution. One food item for each color of the rainbow. Easy! In a basket with a helium filled balloon attached so it looks like a hot air balloon. Insane!
  5. Harry Potter - This was the year that indicated to me that I had too much time on my hands and may even need serious attention from a mental health professional. I got plastic trumpet vases and decorated them with star stickers. I copied the letter that Harry receives from McGonagall welcoming him to Hogwarts, changed some key words, and printed it on parchment. Inside were green chocolate frogs WITH Famous Wizard Card, a "Snitch" - a clementine with golden wings glued on, a treacle tart, a bag of "Bertie Bott's" Every Flavored Beans, a candy stick "Magic Wand." Once the vase was filled I attached a plate to the top, turned it over so it looked like a wizard's hat, and put a pair of Harry Potter glasses on it. It was awesome. One of my great-aunts didn't want to take it apart and eat the stuff. It was really that incredible.
  6. Tea with Milk and Honey - This was a year when the matzav in Israel was particularly bad. Almost everything in the package came from Israel including boxes of shelf stable milk personally imported by my cousin. People either got a teapot or teacup with milk, honey, tea, a honey cake, and an Elite Milk Chocolate bar (These will make an encore appearance in #9.)
  7. Baby, Baby, Baby - Having just given birth to triplets, this would've been the year to scale back and do a simple, basic Hamantaschen, wine, and fruit Shalach Manos. But, no, no settling for me. We got these little bottle bags (kinda like these but A LOT cheaper! Thanks Amazing Savings!) Inside was baby carrots, a little baby bottle filled with candy, Three Musketeers, and other things punning three or baby.
  8. Around the U.S. - This was the last year before the theme consumed the costumes and the Shalach Manos. The girls were flowers and C was a bumble bee. Together, they were a garden! Shalach Manos was completely unrelated. A little Stars & Stripes tote filled with goodies tied into famous places all over the U.S. Corn bread, Hershey Kisses, The Big Apple, you get it. The card had a map of the U.S. on the front with a star on each of the locations that had a corresponding treat inside the bag.
  9. Cows - The kids have Sandra Boynton's Philadelphia Chickens book and CD set . (Highly recommend it!) The first song is called Cows and since it was constantly playing, I guess I had bovine on the brain. I got cow costumes, ordered plates with cows on them, bought all things milk and black and white, and voila! The cards had a picture of the Trips in their costumes with no poem (*gasp*) Instead it said something like "Hope you have a MOOving Purim" and "From our Herd to Yours." The card was attached to the package with a ribbon and a teenie tiny cowbell.
  10. M & Ms - Missing UM & AM and their M & M collection must have been the underlying inspiration for this one (They had just made Aliyah). The Trips were dressed as M & Ms and all the stuff inside was M related. The containers were cardboard cylinders with covers, and had a collage of the kids in their costumes and of course, a poem.
  11. Fairy Tales - Last year the girls were little fairy princesses and C was a prince. I am not going to describe this one. You figure it out. Here is the poem to help you:
Once upon a time in a land far, far away,
Lived two Fairy Princesses and a Prince – who was charming, they say.
"Purim is coming" said the fanciful Queen,
"Let's prepare a Shalach Manos the likes of which has never been seen."

So they gathered the Royal Court to think and prepare,
Even the practical King and Fairy Godcousin were there.
It was decreed to gather treats from favorite children's tales,
To bring loved ones joy, and laughter in gales.

So they borrowed baskets from a lass whose hood was red,
And uncovered some peas 'neath a princess' bed.
Some sauce for a duck with pretty bad looks,
Sticks from a house a wolf overtook,
Magic pixie dust that can make you fly,
A whistle taken from a piper who's pied,
A kiss for a frog that's been badly cursed,
To lead you home, some crumbs in a purse,
Straw that a small man can spin into gold,
Porridge that's "just right," or so they'd been told,
Some magical beans for a tall stalk to grow,
A long braid from a high locked tower to throw,
Leather for elves to secretly stitch into shoes,
A bewitched apple that may cause you to snooze,
A gingerbread man, who by a fox has been caught,
These were the items collected and bought.

They sent out the baskets with a Chag Sameach cheer!
(And the Queen wondered "Now, what's for NEXT year?")
But their clever plan helped avoid a holiday disaster,
And of course, They Lived Happily Ever After.

Have an Enchanting Purim!

That's all folks. I try to keep the theme and stuff hush-hush so people get the full effect Purim day. All I am going to tell you about this year is: I have a theme (Thanks UM!!), the Shalach Manos are going to be super, and the kids costumes are just going to be incredible!


1. The costumes that I originally ordered were discontinued, so I had to find plain, old super ones.  They are coming from Hong Kong and BETTER be here for Purim.  They will NOT be here for the girls Purim Carnival in school, however, because it is 2 WEEKS before Purim! So, add to this Purim some Mommy Homework to come up with 2 extra costumes. Grrr.

2.  I have actually had a few requests to see some of the Shalach Manos poems.  So I searched the archives, and have posted the ones I was actually able to find here. I love how my insanity is now on display for the entire world to see. 

Miracles and Heroes

This past Shabbat was one of those times when you know you are experiencing something truly unique and rare. Reminders of Hashem's presence and His goodness were everywhere.

Friday was the Trips 5th birthday. When speaking about my children, the pregnancy, birth, and growth, I really try to be Makir Tov to Hashem for all of the true miracles associated with these children. First, their conception after many years of yearning. Second, the amazing pregnancy. Yes, it was high-risk, fraught with concerns and fears. But looking back on it, it was a dream multiple pregnancy. I had great medical care and passed each milestone with flying colors. Even at the end, I was able to walk the stairs, down in the morning and up to bed at night. I went into labor in my own bed at 35 weeks. At the time, the national average was 32 weeks and my hospital's was 34.

The Trips' birth went smoothly and all three were over 5 lbs, which is huge for triplets. They all had to stay in the NICU only because I had not had a Strep B test and because it is standard operating procedure for triplets. Even so, they were only put in the "Feed and Grow" rooms.

We were all discharged from the hospital together on Day 4. All the books and articles you read during a multiple pregnancy prepare you for leaving your babies behind in the NICU. The nurses and doctors were all astounded to be sending us all home together. Miracles at every corner.

In the 5 years of their lives, the Trips continue to be little miracles (Bli Ayin Hara, Poo Poo Poo!) They have had none of the complications usually associated with multiples. There has been no RSV, OT, PT, feeding therapy, speech therapy, etc. They hit all of their developmental milestones and are right on target on their growth charts. All three are doing wonderfully in school, socially and academically.

On their birthday, I am again reminded of these miracles and express thanks to the One Above for what he has done.
Shabbat Day we attended a Bar Mitzvah that might never had been. This little boy was born with an extremely rare genetic disorder. The only reason the disorder was diagnosed at birth was because his older brother was lost to the disease a few years before, so the doctors knew to look for it. His only hope for survival was a bone marrow transplant within a small window of time. Miraculously, after a huge search, a donor was found in the nick of time.

This child has grown up with challenges we could never know or try to understand. He is severely visually impaired and of short stature among tons of other things. Once again, in His great goodness, Hashem granted this child miracles time and again.

Hashem placed him in a home that would not only care for him through his illness but enhance and promote his growth and success. His parents have an attitude and approach to their lives and challenges that is to be admired. His siblings, 2 healthy and another (surviving) with the same condition, are outstanding children. The community they live in provided care and support for the family's every need. They held bone marrow drives and parlor meetings, volunteered, and also gave them space when it was needed.

This boy is blessed with incredible strengths, including a gifted mind. After some slight delays mostly caused by his visual impairments and recovery from the transplant, by the time this child was in school, he was able to hit all educational milestones and more. He is fully mainstreamed in a black hat Yeshiva day school. He reads Hebrew and English braille. He has the makings of an incredible Gabbai, with a talent for knowing the tefillot, their halachot and pronunciation perfectly.

For his Bar Mitzvah, the expectations were a little different then for a sighted boy. Since the halacha is that you must actually read the Torah, he was not allowed to layn. So instead he:

1. Davened Kabbalat Shabbat
2. Had the Maftir aliyah
3. Layned the Haftorah (without a single pause or error!)
4. Davened Mussaf
5. Made a siyyum
6. Gave an incredible pshetl (d'var torah) that he wrote himself
7. Had the incredible poise and presence of mind to stand, shake hands, and thank each speaker, seeking them out if they mistakenly forgot to go over to him.
As if this all this was not enough for me to have an astounding, awe-inspiring weekend, I also had the chance to meet a real hero. What makes a hero? Well, Merriam Webster defines it as such:

1 a: a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability b: an illustrious warrior c: a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities d: one that shows great courage

This man has served 2 Tours of Duty in Iraq and currently works in a position that is involved in the protection of our great nation. 12 years ago, he got a notification that he was a near perfect match for a little baby boy who desperately needed a bone marrow transplant. He did not know this child or his family, but he went forward with the painful donation without hesitation.

Since he lives about halfway across the country, he had yet to meet the boy, or his family, but he had spoken to them and had some written communication. A few weeks ago, he got an invitation to the boy's Bar Mitzvah. Not being Jewish, he showed the invitation to some Jewish friends. They told him that a Bar Mitzvah was a pretty big deal. So he responded that he would attend and flew in for the event.

Now, I am not sure even his Jewish friends could give him real insight to the particular Bar Mitzvah he was to attend. This was no glitzy, Hollywood affair. This was a very religious, modest, weekend event with only family and close friends attending. There was no band, sign-in board, candle lighting ceremony. There was a lot of davening, divrei Torah, rabbis, and kids. He and his ponytail were going to stand out.

When he was introduced Friday night by the Bar Mitzvah boy's father, he received a standing ovation. The Bar Mitzvah boy thanked him in front of the whole community for saving his life. I am sure this weekend he was hugged by more men (and no women!) then ever in his life. And yet, he hung around until the bitter end. Saturday night and as we said goodbye and thanked him for coming, he was still smiling and said "This was something else. I would not have missed it for anything."

Clearly, a hero. I was honored to meet him.

מה רבו מעשיך ה' כולם בחכמה עשית מלאה הארץ קנינך
Mah Rabu Maasecha Hashem Kulam Bechachmah Asita Malah Haaretz Kinyanecha
How great/many are Your deeds Hashem, All of them You have made with wisdom –the earth is full of Your creations.

Happy Birthday!

Happy 5th Birthday my precious, adorable Trips!

The past 5 years have been full of trials, tribulations, long nights, long days, tears, shouts, and whines. But more importantly, they have been filled with health, blessings, hugs, kisses, cuddles, joy, genius, precociousness, giggles, and

In the next year, may
Hashem grant you good health and growth both physically and emotionally. May He increase your learning and your hunger to learn. He should fill your lives with love, happiness, harmony, and all the joys of childhood. May He grant your parents strength, patience, and the ability to provide for ALL of your needs.

Thoughts on Thursday the 5th

Thursday, February 5th 2004 was a day pretty much like today.

I woke up, had something to eat, spent some time online, took a nap, and hung out with the dog. Just like today, I was standing at a bend in life's road. Something big was about to happen, something that would change the course of my life forever. I was full of anticipation, excitement, plans, and ideas. I had no idea what tomorrow would bring.

I should also mention that I was achy all over, could barely move, and had a HUGE tummy.

When I tried to go to bed that night I noticed that the aches and pulls of my poor over-stretched muscles seemed to be coming less sporadically and in a more rhythmic manner. In the middle of the night, (after H had a shower!) we left to go to the hospital.

Friday, February 6, 2004, at about noon, three miracles entered our lives. They were HUGE (for triplets) each weighing over 5 lbs. They were tiny. Perfect. Healthy!

While I know it won't be triplets, I can't help but wonder what tomorrow might bring...

Babies and Dogs...Is There Anything Cuter?

Just saw this clip on The Bonnie Hunt Show. Too cute. 

Winter Wonderland Workshop

This morning the girls had a Mommy &  Me workshop in their class.  Each child was able to bring a parent to school to see the class in action, do some projects, and schmooze with other mothers. The instructions we received were to bring your daughter(s) to school at 9:30.  We were a bit late (shocking!) due to the snow on the van, parking, and us just being the Trip'n Family. 

First on the agenda was davening, which was very cute. Each girl had a little siddur that they made with the different tefillot and songs that they sing each day.  The girls sat on the shatiach (carpet) where they have ma'agal (circle) time.  The parents formed a circle around the girls and had the choice to sit on the tiny little kindergarten chairs, kneel, or stand. Thank G-d we were late! Those chairs are awful and I was just as happy to stand. 

The girls' Morah is a wonderful, dynamic, and engaging teacher.  Even though she has years of experience, you can tell that having all these adults in the room throws her off her game just a bit.  My heart went out to her as she tried to get through the morning routine and keep the girls focused on impressing us. 

After that there were four stations set up for us to do projects with the girls.  

1. Snowman Station: Each girl got a little bag of Crayola Model Magic  to mold into a snowman.   This stuff has a really interesting texture.  It is not sticky and kind of spongy. Then there were all types of trimmings to decorate and dress him up. Beads, felt hats, mittens, scarves, little sticks for arms, red macaroni for mouths.  B put her macaroni in upside down, because her snowman was sad, and dressed him all in purple. 

2. Cookie Station: Pretty similar to the Snowman Station but with cookie dough and edible fixings.  Instructions were for the girls to do some sort of winter themed creation.  A made a butterfly, carefully considering the placement of each piece of candy and licorice rope.  B made an abstract piece with candy mashed into it.  When I asked her what it was, she said "A smiley face, Mommy. With a  lot of candy." I am sure that is why he was smiling. 

3. Snowflake Station: This one was a parent favorite (right!). On the table were a handful of dice and 9x13 tins of flour with foamie snowflakes hidden in them.  The instructions were for the girls to roll the dice, count the dots, and then sift through the flour to find that many snowflakes in the tin.  Let me tell you, I was REALLY happy that I didn't have to go to work after that!  (You could tell which mommies had to go straight to work, they stood a few feet back from the table.)  My girls really couldn't care about counting, they just wanted their hands in the flour.  

4. Matching Mittens: Each girl got a sheet of card stock with eight mittens on them.  Each mitten had a little snowflake type icon on it, make 4 pairs. The girls were supposed to cut out the mittens, match them, and color them.  Then they would have a cute little memory game to take home.  What was really interesting with my girls was the different ways they tackled this project.  A was more interested in cutting out the mittens and writing her initials on the back of each one. She didn't care about matching them or coloring them. B cut them out in pairs and then colored them so that the mittens matched EXACTLY. She has 4 perfect pairs. 

The there was what A called the 5th station: Refreshments! Chips, pretzels, corn pops, fruit, rugelach...quite the spread. 

I really do love the chance to see the girls in their classroom environment, schmooze with the teachers and other mothers. I can't wait to go back next week for their in class birthday party.

When Mommy Gets Sick

Last week was my first week since becoming unemployed that the kids were back in school.  We also got the laptop back from HP, with a working shift key!  I know you are all wondering then why didn't I get it together to blog some interesting and funny things this week.

Well people, Trip'n Mommy was sick.  Quick Strep positive, electric blanket totin', swollen glands, shivering, shaking, tea, soup, frozen yogurt (and that's it!) kinda sick.  Thursday it got really exciting (I will spare you the gory details), with an emergency run to the ENT and a Mono test added to the mix.

You might wonder what happens in the Trip'n House when Mommy gets sick.I am here to assure you: It does NOT all fall apart.  

First, the Trips are really old enough to understand the idea of not feeling well and also have some concept of germs.  So I got lots of blown kisses from the doorway, lots of "get well" pictures, and lots of wishes for "afuah sheleimah." (We are trying to get the RE in there, but it is really cute.) What we didn't get was extra good behavior, extra cooperation, and sibling harmony. In the end, they are all just 4 and 51/52 year olds.   (Can you tell I am not ready for them to be 5?  It is happening this week, whether I like it or not...)

Second, we have an incredible support system.  The babysitter, Savta and Saba, and Grandma and Zaide are always there to do anything we need.  This week they took care of carpool, shopping including a Shabbos Abba snack, Shabbos meals, and anything else we called on them to do. 

Most of all, H is an extremely active father. It is not a matter of him having to step up or step in.  Since day one, he has been equally or even more involved in the mundane tasks of parenting.  From diapers and feedings, to tushy wiping and bedtimes, H is at the front lines. Sure there are tasks that are left to Mommy like temperature taking, outfit picking, or girls ponytails.  But other than those few things, H does it all.  So this week, I got sick and the house did not fall apart.  H worked his rear off, and then lost sleep because of a sick and snoring spouse.  But the routine was pretty regular and the Trips didn't feel like their world was out of whack.  He also did an early morning airport run, and accompanied me on my panic ridden trip to the specialist. 

What can I say? I know how to pick 'em.  H is an outstanding father, an amazing partner, and an overall stupendous human being.  I thank G-d every day that I have him in my life. 

I love you H. 

(For those of you who are wondering, the Mono test was B"H negative, and I am finally beginning to feel better.  Hopefully, this week will be filled with plenty for me to blog about.)

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