I almost titled this post, Helping Dad Break Through Barriers. "Why," you ask? Well, as the days before our vacation approached, I started forming this mental barrier around all of the work that would be required to prepare our family for a week-long adventure away from home. To be honest, it literally scared me when I stopped to think about how comfortable we are at home with our girls and how much work would be involved with vacation preparation, as this would be our first "real" vacation with the entire family.
A day in the life of the DeBauche triplets is not for the faint of heart. It's an intricate puzzle of a schedule, caught up in a tornado of activity, anchored to the ground by the comfort that comes with having everything you need, when and where you need it, in the familiar surroundings of your own home.
Meg tries to remind me that the more flexible we are in terms of taking them places, the more flexible the girls will be at adapting to being off schedule when we need them to be. I believe it and by the end of the week, I was singing a different tune. It didn't come easy though.
Leading up to our departure date, there was some frantic online ordering of items we needed to help make our trip successful/possible. Right away, we knew that our big truck, as large as it is, couldn't contain the massive amount of "stuff" we were bringing on its own. So we ordered a rack-mount carrier, which arrived the morning of departure and not to our house I might add. Meg did an excellent job with packing (she did most of it :) and created a VERY long checklist of what our girls need to survive. Amazingly, I don't think we came across a single thing that was forgotten all week. That's not to say that intentionally leaving certain things behind was the right decision. Like I mentioned above, our biggest issue was space and one that we hope will fix itself over time as the girls presumably will need less and less large items, like gates, toys, oxygen tanks, pack-n-plays, etc. It may be naive of me, but one day I predict they'll be able to each pack a bag with a few toys and books and they'll be set.
We made the choice to leave in the evening, right before their last bottle of the day. By all accounts, it was a great decision, as the girls did an excellent job of sleeping through the eight hour drive. We paid for it slightly the next day, as waking up a few times in the middle of the night and when we arrived, definitely got them off schedule a little. But they recovered like champs and we were back in the swing of things within a day.
The girls being entertained by Baby Einstein dvds. Kylie drove with us and helped a ton!
Izzy had a first-class seat in the back, away from the muckety mucks in the middle row
I think I took this photo before we started stuffing everything in through the back window. Somehow, it all fit. Surprisingly, it always does.
After arriving at 3:00am and spending the rest of the night with John and Jo Anne, we packed up the girls and headed to the beach house to check in. We wasted no time with getting the house set up for babies. Years from now, we'll probably forget that the place we rented was entirely too small for six adults, a teenager, and three babies, but in the moment, we felt packed in like sardines. So, what do you do when you're packed in? You get outside!
The pictures below pretty much tell the story of most of our week. There are separate posts for two of the events, primarily due to the large amount of photos associated with each, but by the time it was all said and done, the girls had their first beach experience, their first amusement park experience, they celebrated their first birthday (a few days early), they went to their first wedding, and attended their first family reunion, all while being on their first vacation. That's a lot of first for any baby!
Also, by the end of the week, I was fully convinced that we have the most amazing babies ever and that they're fully capable of adapting to their surroundings and are ready to explore new things, even if their dad isn't always immediately on-board. There's nothing like being proven wrong by a one-year old :)
One of our last-minute pick-ups were these shoes for the girls, in case they didn't like the feeling of the beach sand on their feet. Boy, were they cute. I think everyone commented on the shoe line-up as they walked in the door.
Sophie, getting her nutrients for energy on the beach later
Izzy, donning her new favorite hat
On the head
Off the head
Izzy, showing off her new Baby Banz sunglasses. She thought they were the coolest!
Maddy was ecstatic when we put her sunglasses on. Can you beat that expression? I think not.
Lookin' like a movie star
Sophie, on the other hand, was not so fond of her new eyewear. For a while, she let them rest on her head, but she was determined to not take in the world through tinted glass.
Sarah and Zac, who we haven't seen in quite some time, happened to be in Erie at the same time. They stopped by the beach for a little while to see the girls. Sarah didn't know she was part of an experiment though. It turns out that the little swimmer diapers aren't actually waterproof from the inside like regular diapers. As she was leaving, she handed Izzy back to Meg and was surprised to see a big wet circle on her leg. What was more surprising is that Izzy hadn't actually been in the water yet :) I guess they're more for catching #2 than keeping in #1.
More to the point on Sophie's aversion to sunglasses, we tried to get a group shot and next four photos show her determination in action, as Meg's hand was just moving out of the frame on the first pic as she put them on and Sophie's immediate response.
And she's gone.
We did manage to capture the split-second instance before Sophie's hand reached her glasses (notice the distracting item we tempted her with to keep her hands busy). This is already one of my all-time favorite pics of our ladies.
Jack, a natural with the girls, didn't seem to mind Maddy spitting up on his arm. Or maybe he didn't know??? Maddy was asleep about two minutes later.
Barbie, getting some Sophie time
Sophie was adamant about not smiling for this particular picture with Kylie
That's one hot momma with her baby!
Meg has this amazing ability to make all of our girls show off their deep belly-laugh. It's truly a unforgettable sight and a listen.
Fortunately, our beach had a western view which made for some magnificent sunsets. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera for some of the best ones, but instead made time to enjoy them with my wife.
A storm was rolling in right as I captured this shot. Someone unzipped the clouds and let all of the rain out seconds later.
John and Jo Anne helped out tremendously throughout the week. They came to beach almost every day and allowed us to stay with them at the front and tail ends of the week, and even watched the girls for a night so Meg and I could have one night alone! Thanks guys.
I think we need to put these diapers on tighter. I can't imagine what would've happened if she suddenly had the urge. Regardless, it's a cute pic that I can save 'til she's older when she's more easily embarrassed. No, that's not mean of me.
As straight as their hair is normally, add a little humidity and POOF, they're curly-heads.
Later in the week, we took the girls to the famed Waldameer Amusement Park. I'm sure they'll enjoy it more and more each year as they continue to grow and are able to go on the big kid rides, but it was a lot of fun to get them out of the beach house for a while.
Also, I'm pretty sure that Erie hasn't seen many triplets. While Meg went on a few rides with Kylie, I took the girls for a walk around the park. I could feel the eyes staring at us. It never amazes me how comfortable some people are just coming up to adults and babies they don't even know and stick their hands and faces in your stroller. I realize that while having triplets has become the norm for us, it's still rather unique to the rest of the world, especially in Erie. After a while though, you just kind of ignore all of the looks and questions and remember that you're there to have fun and that you're on vacation. Then again, how can you resist those three beautiful faces!
Charlie, hanging with the ladies
Are those the most beautiful eyes ever?
Maddy had another hair party and didn't invite anyone
While all of our girls have amazing smiles and laughs, there's always something extra special when Izzy shares them with the world. Considering everything she's been through, she's incredibly happy and loves showing it whenever she can. It's highly encouraged in our house :)
Meg, Mary, and Kylie took the girls on their first amusement park ride--the merry go round!
Kylie, Sophie, Mary, Maddy, Meg, and Izzy
Two of the most beautiful ladies I know
Meg and I have a picture next to this clown from when we were dating. I'm not sure if we'll make it back to Waldameer every year, but if we do, it's our goal to get a picture next to this clown with the girls each and every year we're back to visit.
At the beach house, Sophie was trying to have as much fun as she could in her pack-n-play. I'll say that she accomplished her mission.
You don't see this on the clothesline every day
Meg made me where this shirt, but inserting a "this" before "hot" would have been more appropriate
Mary and Carolee
Mary and Kylie
Meg and her mom, Sharon
Kylie, Meg, Sharon, and Mary