"A mother's love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity,
it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path."
~ Agatha Christie

Alex, Cole and Braden - At 2 years, 2 months

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

O, Christmas Tree....

Alex, Braden and Cole....cold and (kinda) happy looking for a Tree!

Yep, we'll now start from the beginning.  Of the Christmas Season.

Let's get a tree!

We started cutting ours down a few years ago at this cute little place outside of Warsaw called Birdhaven Tree Farm.  It's the whole experience!  Hot chocolate, chili, awesome chicken soup and that Norman Rockwell feeling.  Santa's there and you can borrow one of their sleds to slide down one of the massive hills they have there, careening into the patrons huddled around the fire pit.  It's fantastic!  There's even a "house" dog that might just follow you around to pick out a tree to grace your living room.  I can't remember her name, but she's a beautiful and spunky black lab that decided to join Mike and I last year when we scuttled in on a weekday to peruse the grounds.  I guess it must have been boring and all, what with no one else around that day!

Well, this day it was crowded - like a normal weekend day - with people and dogs (we brought Cody) and rain.  Blech.

It was impossibly cold for it to be raining, it must have been hovering around that magical freezing point, so it was cold and wet - the kind of damp that sneaks into your bones and sets up camp, creating the need to shiver it away on a constant basis.  There were sniffles all around from the temperature and even our camera took misty pictures, as if it were miserable too. 

It also made the snow super heavy and slushy, the harder to pull a garden cart with three 30 pound babies stuffed into snowsuits, corralled inside, wanting to get out. Mike had a heck of a time getting up the hills!  Glad I am a girl!  Hee hee.

Mike's parents also came with us - it was our intent to lure them into the magical tree town and get them so hooked that they could think of nothing else but coming again with us next year.  We love to huddle everyone in on great traditions in our lives, if you haven't noticed!  

The tree hunt was fast, since it was cold, and our tree of choice, a Concolor Fir, is so darn sparse in these parts.  We only had a few to choose from, all too ridiculously large to contemplate for our modestly ceilinged living room.  But we took one anyway, preparing to stuff it and us in the room for the next few months.  Hey, Christmas is about sacrifice, right?! 

We found a pretty blue-green hued number and ordered Mike to hack away while we kept the babies distracted from jumping ship...er, um,...cart.  Dad and Mike got it down lickety-split and we head back down to grab some goodies.  It was a treat to watch him slide the cart back down that slushy hill, let me tell you... ;)

It was still fun, as always, though we did miss Ruger a ton - we had decided last year to bring both of the boys with us and the kids this Christmas, so we were a bit misty eyed and nostalgic, wishing he were along for the frosty trip, knowing he would have had an absolute ball.  Oh, well. I guess you can't have everything. 

Here are some of the misty, frosty, wet and slushy pics we got from the great Christmas Tree Trip, 2008:

Getting Ready to leave the warmth of the truck...

Papa and his Triplets

Trees as far as the eye can see, if you could open them up in the drizzle...

Moooooooommmmmm!  I'm cold.

Making short work of the cutting down of the behemoth...

What a shame and a beauty at the same time

Yep.  That would be Cody peeing on the one right next door.  So proud.

Grandma and her babies

Inside, ready to EAT!

Even Cody was soaked

Hay Stack Mania

When we head inside - yay!  Only a little warmer but a LOT drier and we got to sit on hay stacks!  Woo hoo!  And they had food, so it was great.  We chowed down on many good things, but all the kids wanted were the Cheetos of the Lady Next to Us.  Again, so proud.

Stealing yet another one from the absolute stranger...a kind one, but still a total stranger.  They just walked up to her and stood there, not talking, just expecting!  Kinda funny, but soooo rude! (My kids) lol

"Got any more in the bag, lady?"  -Princess Alex

When they are wet and cold and ready for a nap, and you ask them for a picture in Santa's Chair - what kid wouldn't want THAT?  All you have left is to bribe them with a cracker.

The finished product?  Only decorated on the top 2/3rds and in a total rush?  Stuffed in like a calzone filling into our living room, wrapped by the couch and the wall?  Here it is, and beautifully natural, though it is predictably, lovingly and rather goofily large.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My Handsome Boys

Watch out all you single ladies out there under 2... My boys are already throwing out the charm! You will be powerless to stay away...  

They get their goofiness from both of us, I'm afraid...a double whopping dose of dorkiness.  But, I have to say, it works for them!

Cole.... "hellooooo ladies!" 

Braden.... "Oh, yeah, I'm a cutie."

My boys!

I am sure you all know the reason I have not been blogging, I can't do triplets and Christmas and blogging at the same time - WAY too much for my little brain to handle...but now that the Christmas season is over, I can actually write about it...and you'll have to pretend like it's still Christmas...and like it.  


Monday, December 22, 2008

Virtual Mail!

I know virtual mail is really e-mail, but it sounded cooler. 

Since our Christmas Cards went out late, as usual - and since I grossly under-ordered this year, many people will be getting their cards after Christmas. Not exactly my intent... ;)

So, I thought, "Why not post it up?"  It's fast, fun and best of all....free. Have you SEEN the cost of stamps these days?  *News Flash* to the ol' Post Office...you might want to try lowering your prices to make people come back.  Hmm.  When we can't afford to send out cards, you know the economy is in trouble!

Even though this was our first draft and a few things changed, and because Snapfish s*cks, I could not get a screen shot of the actual order.  Oh, well.  Enjoy the first draft!


So, Virtual Family, here's our Christmas Greeting to you now, enjoy the print after the holiday.  Kisses!

With Love from the Ertel Five,


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Happy Birthday Dada!

I just wanted to send out a BIG Happy Birthday to the love of my life, my partner, my best friend.  

Happy Birthday Dada.  You are the amazing father of my children, our auto mechanic, my therapist, our super delicious pancake creator, and the cleanest person I know.  I love that about you.  ;)

Your eyes make me smile and feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  Your dimples have me giggling like a little girl.  The kids absolutely adore you and you are an incredible father to them.  

You are courageous, sooooooo intelligent it scares me and possess a contagious love for life.  Put that all in a package with your sensitive nature and your super sarcastic sense of humor and I am hooked.  

You are a grown up big kid, an animal lover supreme and make me feel so lucky that you are in my life every.single.day.  

Happy Birthday, Baby, and we love you so much!  

Monday, December 15, 2008

My Little Babushkas


Recently, after giving my mother's awesome camera back and starting once again to grab the point and shoot we have, I found a bunch of pictures from about a month ago that I had forgotten all about!  Nothing major, just a little bit of happiness here and there - which is always a good thing.  ;)

So, this is one of the groups - we were playing with scarves one day - I am a big fan of simple, old-fashioned toys.  I have a bunch of old scarves that I stuffed into a plastic container with a big lid that screws on and they love to play with it!  If they can't get the top off, they come to one of us and say "OH-pan!" (Open) in their cutest, squeakiest, attention-getting voice.  Sometimes they get it backwards and say "Cohwse?" (Got a guess?  Close!) and it's so gosh darn adorable.  

This day, we were throwing them in the air amid squeals of delight, wrapping them around, Audrey Hepburn style, and playing tug-of-war.  I swear we played with these for about a half hour!  But the best is them letting me make a babushka for them.  Cole even stayed put and turned his head side-to-side with a little smirk on his handsome face once it was wrapped around, proving he is, without a doubt, Polish.  They all loved this activity and it's been a favorite ever since.  I've got such good kids.  

Some days.  :)

I guess this was one of them!










Thursday, December 11, 2008

Cutest. Picture. Ever.

Alex smooching her brother, Cole.

Alex started the kissing craze, now Braden is a kissy face too!  Cole is the proud/shy/tough one of the group, sparingly doling out the puckers.  I love it!


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Fun Fortunes

So, we were sitting and eating Chinese the other night - well, Mike and I were, the babes were eating their usual avocado, cheese, hummus and pasta, etc... stuff they adore, but they kept pointing and grunting at us and being generally annoying.  Have you ever seen Finding Nemo?  Well, if you have, you know the famously atrocious seagulls..."Mine!  Mine!  Mine!" - So true and so very annoying.  That is the phase we have entered - better known as "Finding Nemo Seagull".  Except their sound is more like a "Hmm?!  Hmm?!  Hmm?!"  Cute, but I must say, it gets old very fast.  I feel like copying the Pelican that yells at them with a loud "Willlllll youuuuu SHUUUUUUT UPPPPP?!" Of course, I don't...but I feel like it sometimes - especially when I am on the phone.  ;)

So, as we're enjoying chicken of the Sweet and Sour and General Tso's variety, we are being serenaded by the Chorus Of A Thousand "Hmms?!"  They wanted the Chinese.  

We looked at each other, knowing the General Tso's was not as near as hot as it should be and decided to broaden their horizons.  Though I cringed at the toss up between their current meal and the MSG loaded fare we were stuffing into our own faces.  

We cut some up and handed it over - and they LOVED it.  Go figure!  I should have known - there is not much they don't like.  Braden was the only one that grimaced after tasting the Tso Sauce.  So, he got the rest of the Sweet and Sour.  Alex would eat a piece and before she was finished chewing, she would crane her neck forward toward Mike with her mouth wide open, looking like a baby bird, waiting for more.  It was hilarious!  

So, chalk one more up on the Baby Like list.  General Tso's Chicken.  Too funny!

After dinner we broke out the Fortune Cookies and I wanted them to have a taste of this "cookie" too.  They love cookies.  What kid/grown up doesn't?  ;)

I took one from the pile specifically for giving to them.  I unwrapped and broke it open and...a funny thing happened.  Three fortunes came out.  How weird is that?!  I am of the camp that everything happens for a reason - made only stronger after our whirlwind push into parenting for many long-winded reasons. 

Needless to say, I was tingling after seeing these three fortunes appear!  

I pulled the first one up for Cole:
"Life to you is a dashing and bold adventure."   Neat.  That's him!

The second was for Alex (this was the way they were sitting next to each other):
"You will be unusually successful in business."   Neat...Go Alex!

And the last for Braden:
"You will have good luck and overcome many hardships."  Spooky.

Then Mike opened his normally stuffed cookie and read his:
"There is a true and sincere friendship between you both."  Cute, and very true.

At this time I was feeling the glow of God himself, sending us a message through China King.  

So, I tempted fate and opened mine...

And lost all faith in the system. ;)

I opened mine and it was another abundantly fertile cookie full 'o fortunes.  This time it was two. And they were exact opposites.  
"You have a quiet and unobtrusive nature."
"You are sociable and entertaining."

In the same cookie.  Oops!  Bummer - magical feeling gone.  

Oh, Randomness you spite me!  ;)  I guess I should never believe what I read.  Maybe that was the reason I got the last one?  Huh.  *Me still trying to read a pattern in all of this*

Bye for now!


Friday, December 5, 2008

Blogging or Sleeping? Hmmm....

I really stink at blogging. :)

I go for a few weeks, writing every few days and I can keep up. And then December happens. Christmas prep, Mike's birthday prep, ortho appointments, pediatrician appts, ophthamology appts, sickness every few days, up all night giving nebulizer treatments and I can officially say that I feel like crap. So, it's blogging that suffers. I'm either not sleeping and blogging or not blogging and sleeping! It's a toss up most days as to what I prefer, since sleeping and writing rank up there in the top 5 for me, but lately my body has been superceding my need to write.

So, I just wanted to let you know that we are still here and still creating those blogging moments, but they just haven't made it here yet. I guess I should get in the habit of writing shorter posts more frequently...yeah! That's what I shall do, at least for this month. And maybe in boring January you will get sick of my twice a day posts... ;)

So, here is proof that we are not all just bon bons and bubble baths!

Official "Outtakes" from Christmas Pictures - Take 3

Though Outtakes implies that we actually have something to go with that was better than the outtakes, right? We don't really - and that's the bummer! Take Number 4 may never come. No more time left! These are just pictures to let you know what I am up against...the behind the scenes chaos that is our every day life. People ask if they cooperate for us all at the same time for naps, food, play, etc... Well, here's the painful answer:



Cole has turned into Jello Man.



Perfect smile from B, no one else in sight.