::pack:: of fixations

life after tragedy. living while grieving. love and triplets.


A day in the life

my ENTIRE pregnancy with the girls i was terrified.  i'd read daily on some of my triplet support groups of women saying they were done and they wanted these babies out.  they'd write about conversations with their dr's scheduling their c-sections and how they'd just lie on the couch and cry because they were just SO DARN uncomfortable.  when everybody was complaining about wanting their babies out...i was silently struggling with thoughts of no, keep them in, keep them in!  i mean who has triplets and how in the hell do you have a life at all after triplets?  the answer is yes, there is life after triplets.

Here is an example of one of our regular days right now.  It's a lot easier now than it was 3 months ago, or even 1 month ago.  Picture juggling one baby after another all day (and night).  They would only take very short cat naps, and eat small amounts at a time.  So it's gotten a lot more manageable but every single day I still cannot believe that I'm a mom of triplets.  I'm doing triplets people!!!

5:30-6:15am Ryan wakes up for work and makes bottles for 3.  We've mastered the art of propping them so it's our only hands-free feeding of the day.  They are still tired yet starving and they usually go back to sleep for an hour or so.

7:15-8:30am I try and make Finn and I breakfast before I get the babies out of their cribs unless some one is crying.  I start to bring the babies out one by one.  I first change their diapers on the changing table in our living room and then set them down on the floor covered in blankets and toys for them to play.  Finn usually wakes up around 7:30/8 and it takes everything he has to not go into their room first thing in the morning to play with them.  I don't let him because once they set eyes on him and he leaves their room they all begin to cry.  When I lie them on the floor I don't put them very close together because they don't like it.  Usually one or both will cry because they tend to kick, scratch, pinch, punch, and lick each other.  But they often roll over close to one another and hold hands and taste each others heads and suck on each others hands it's pretty cute.

9:00-10:00am I make 3 bottles and feed one baby at a time.  I usually feed the one who is whining or who's been crying the longest if they are all crying.  But usually it's just one or two.  I also go off of their personalities.  Holland almost always cries first.  If Wren is crying I grab her first these days so we don't have what we call "a stage 4 Wren fit".  I use glass bottles that are much heavier than plastic so they can't hold their own bottles yet.  I usually do laundry and light housework here.

10:00-11:15am Usually I've finished feeding all 3 and put them down for a nap.  This is rather new over the last few weeks.  They now all sleep for at least an hour!  I usually help Finn with homework, get him dressed for school, do some cardio, and sometimes even shower.  

12:00-2:00pm They sporadically wake up during this time.  I change them, have play time, and make 3 more bottles and feed all 3 again.  If I didn't feed them cereal & veggies in the AM I usually do it around this time.

2:00-5:30pm This part of the day is still pretty unpredictable.  Sometimes they take another nap, sometimes nobody naps, sometimes there's a lot of crying.  I just rotate the babies into different stations, play time, a little Elmo, cuddles etc.  I feed them again between about 4-6pm.  I change them all usually before this feeding and of course throughout the day if I smell anything peculiar.  If Finn is at a friends house I try and go get him before 6.  If it's nice out I load up the girls in their huge red stroller and we walk over and get Finn.

6:00-8:00pm Daddy comes home.  This is always a huge relief!  I go to Barre class if he gets home in time, I go to the store, just relax, or take a shower if it's been a while.  We usually feed the babies between 7:30 and 8pm.  We try to get Finn to bed by 8pm and so we can watch our grown up shows.  We pile all the babies in our bed during this time.  We take turns eating dinner.  

8:00-10:30pm The girls usually go to sleep somewhere in this time frame.  And this is usually when Ryan jumps in the shower.  Sometimes he takes a baby in with him, I get the next one ready and then we swap.  After the babies are changed and ready for bed we swaddle a baby for each of us and feed them again.  Sometimes they fall asleep and we just put them to bed and sometimes we put them to bed when they are awake.  At least one baby, usually Wren these days has a "stage 4 tantrum".  Or we say "Wren is having a Wren", or "Dale is doing a Dale".  They are just over tired and won't eat so we put them somewhere in a dark quiet place and wait for them to calm down and then attempt to feed them again.  As each baby goes down we do a quiet little happy dance!  I wash all the bottles and fill up 6 with 6oz of water so they are ready for their first 2 AM feedings.

This video was taken yesterday at my parents  house.  It's Holland laughing...she laughs at everything.  I think it's safe to say she's gonna be a pretty good time.

Note: I have a Mother's Helper that comes 5-6 hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  I don't know what I'd do without her.  I usually am so busy when she comes, trying to accomplish as much as possible.  I shower, go to barre (my therapy), run errands, go to the grocery school, help out with carpooling, etc.  It's just too hard to do the little things when you haul around 3 babies, it exhausts me just thinking about it.  It's so good for my sanity, a huge shout out to the family member who helps us pay for her!!!  

Yesterday I was feeling rather brave.  I've been wanting to take the kids and go bring Colum some Easter Love.  I hate living so far away from him!  We've taken the girls to the cemetery before but just left them in the car because it was too cold and there was a ton of snow.  Yesterday was a gorgeous day and this is the best picture we got.

This was taken yesterday also.  We used my Mom's shadow to cover their faces so we could get a photo.  Love them!  Holland, Wren, and Dale in order.

My 3 Spring chickens!

I was able to go to the zoo with Finn's kindergarten class.  I was so excited I couldn't sleep.  Having baby triplets it's hard to be as involved as much as I want to be in his school.  This was so fun, I want to be that Mom who goes on field trips.

This is what our nights look like.  We are currently watching The Walking Dead and the girls think zombies are hillarious.  

A little shot of my living room.  My house looks like a daycare.


The Labyrinth

On 12.24.2011 I was thrown into a dark cold place.    At first all I could do was just lay there shivering.  I was alone and terrified.  Eventually, I got up because I knew I had to keep going.   I walked down frigid dark tunnels and hit countless dead ends.  I was lost, I couldn't find my way out, it became apparent I was never going to get out.  The darkness was my new normal.  So I decided to just make the best of this unfamiliar place.   I became accustomed to the sadness and the deep despair.  Each tear that I shed made me feel closer to him, being sad was the only thing that would bring him back to me and that is where I sought the most comfort.  On occasion Ryan and I walked hand in hand down dark corridors but eventually I learned that we both needed to get acquainted with this extraordinary somber place on our own.  Colum was gone and all I could do to honor him was get up and brave my way through the shadows.  Very slowly every dark corner, every locked door, and each wrong turn became a little bit more recognizable.  I'm not sure when the exact moment, day, or week that it happened but I somehow realized I had dug my way out.  One day I looked behind me and I saw a small shovel lying next to a pile of dirt and a hole just big enough for me to crawl out of and the sun, the sun was shining.


I was suddenly thrown into my own labyrinth of grief that night over 2 years ago.  I've worked REALLY REALLY hard and I'm proud to say that I'm no longer lost.  I still cry on occasion but I am free of my dark cloud.  I laugh a lot more than I cry.  I feel strong again.  I am happy, really truly happy again.  I'm back!  Kelly is back and she has freaking triplets.  

I have mostly unknowingly written my grief and the way I grieve right here on this blog.  On occasion somebody tells me "oh so and so started reading your blog", and I suddenly find myself feeling really self-conscious.  My blog is raw.  My blog is sad.  I put it all out there.  But this blog has saved me so many times.  There have been a few occasions where I've felt judged by how openly I have grieved or by the fact that I was still grieving.  One thing I've learned about grief is that 1) you cannot put a timeline on grieving and 2) everybody grieves differently...EVERYBODY.  

I knew I would be okay, about a year into it I had this epiphany that everything was going to be okay.  But if I'm being completely honest I never knew that I would be able to get to here.  I am in such a good place right now.  It's never going to be completely gone, but I know I've made it through the roughest seas.

My little dollies are now 6 months old!  They are rolling all over the place, and are constantly making us laugh.  Holland, Wren, & Dale

This is them at their 4 month check-up (but they were almost 5 mos).  They are all dressed down to be weighed and to get their shots.  They kinda always hold each others hands it's so cute!  Dale, Wren, Holland

This is us at the grocery store.  It was our first time in the stroller (which doesn't fit through doorways or on sidewalks).  I was relieved that it could fit down the aisles.  We don't get out too often because there's usually at least one baby sleeping.  They are not all on the same schedule quite yet, more like all on their own schedules but we are getting closer I can feel it.

My oldest friend and I decided to go skiing for the first time since the 90's last month.  I didn't know if I'd be able to.  As long as I stick to the really easy stuff I'm okay.  

So Ryan and I got a sitter and went night skiing a week later.  We were so happy he could ski with his drop foot!

See that little snowboarder in the green pants?  Thats my Finn!  He wants to snowboard and I'm not even kidding I totally cried when Ry and I were able to go and spy on him during his lesson.  He's catching on really good.

I promise to write again soon.  Oh and I've also decided I really truly am going to write a book.  More details on everything later.  xoxo



Holland, Wren, and Dale.  It takes us an hour or more to pack everybody up and load them all into the car.  There is always at least one baby crying the entire way to our destination.  Oh my gosh, I'm so in love with them it hurts!
Do you believe in ghosts?  Or spiritual beings of any kind?  Have you ever had any personal experiences?  I don't think I do, but I'm always open to be proven wrong.  Years ago I would occasionally watch those ghost hunter shows where the so called experts would take their high-tech ghost buster equipment to haunted places and play creepy recordings of ghosts talking and sudden temperature drops etc, and it would prove that these places were indeed haunted.  ...always a little skeptical.

I've never seen a ghost or heard one before.  But I will say that sometimes out of nowhere there will be a heavy static over the baby monitors and I sometimes wonder if it's Colum kissing his sisters while they sleep, or even just passing through.  I'm sure there's also a scientific reason as to why the static happens out of nowhere... but I'm trying to use my imagination here.  Either way, it always makes me smile.  I talk to him... I'm always talking to him.  I don't necessarily feel feel him.  I try to, I want to feel anything.  Maybe I do and it's just not as profound as I want it to be.  Maybe I lack the imagination or the spiritual sensitivity.  Maybe?  I'm not religious, but I am a very spiritual person.  It took me several years to come to the realization that there's a difference between the two, at least for me.

I know he is always with me though, if that makes sense.  A chunk of my heart is floating around somewhere whether it be in ghost form, energy, a heavenly toddler, a cluster of atoms?  I still miss my little boy!

Now, lets get back to the living shall we.  My beautiful daughters are wonderful.  They are super happy and they just give so much love.  And, they ALL have beautiful thick dark eyelashes!!!  I'm soooo proud!, dreams really do come true people.  Holland is sick with an awful cold right now and it's heartbreaking.  I'm pretty sure her eyes are going to be brown, but they look very green too.  Dale and Wren are going to for sure have blue or green eyes.  I've been trying to dress them all the same a lot more often.  Because, it's not everyday you have a freaking set of all girl triplets.  

I've never shared on here just how crazy I can get after I have babies.  I was worried it was going to happen again.  I don't get Post-partum depression, I get Post-partum OCD & anxiety (after both boys).  After I had Colum I was by far the craziest I've ever felt.  I couldn't sleep at night because I would obsess about burp cloths and messes.  I couldn't leave the house because of all the messes I would come home to or the ones I would get behind on.  People don't talk about Post-partum OCD, mostly just the depression.  I had NO IDEA there was such a thing.  I think it's a lot more common than most people think.

I'm happy to say that I didn't go mental this time!  I'm doing really great.  In fact I think I'm doing better mentally with triplets than I did when I just had one at a time.  Way to go out with a bang huh?  I'm in a really good place.  I think we all are doing pretty good.  Since we've moved I've been going to a different barre studio the past few weeks.  It's great to have some much needed 'me' time plus Dr Phil says you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others.  I just started watching him, a few episodes now.  Makes my problems seem very minimal.  I think he might be a genius.

Holland and Wren.  Love the jammies they're wearing!  They were gifted to us by some of you guys xoxo!

We celebrated Ryan's Birthday last week.  Ry and I went to lunch then went back and grabbed Finn and went rock climbing.  

my boys <3

His little butt in his harness just kills me!

pre-rock climbing photo.  (I'm trying to be in some pictures with my kids, even though I don't love it)

Grandma Pack holding the trips!  Wren, Dale, and Holland (out of order)

I've decided if at least one of them is looking at the camera it's a success!  

Finn and I went to lunch and saw the movie Frozen.  He thinks Elsa is definitely cuter than Anna.  The boy prefers blondes.

And he eats sushi with jalapenos in it...even with chopsticks.  Pretty sure he has no clue he's eating raw fish.

Holland, Wren, and Dale...I can barely handle it.


Happy New Year

...I didn't intentionally step away from here, it just happened.  

The days turned into weeks, every once in awhile I'd think to myself oh I need to blog about this but there was no time.  I received some sad news, some news I could've just left alone but I sought it out.  It's okay, every one is okay...I just can't decide if I should share it here or not.  I suppose that's what triggered my break from typing for awhile.  Taking care of triplets and a 5 year old is exhausting and there are times I hit into a wall.  But then, they smile at me and my heart melts into a puddle.  They are honestly the sweetest babies in the world.  

This holiday season was both happy and sad.  I cried a lot more than I expected.  We ventured out a little tiny bit.  We went and visited Colum's headstone on Christmas Eve.  Oh how I can't believe it's been 2 years since I've held him!  He's now been gone longer than he was here.  I went through bins of clothes that he wore as a baby.  Bins I'd packed away when he was alive, items tucked away before I knew or ever dreamed that he would no longer be with us.  I thoroughly smelled each item of clothing searching for any unwashed ones.  His smell is totally gone now, it's just a memory now.  It sadly makes him feel further away somehow.  

Finn has told me multiple times how much he loves Christmas, how Christmas is his favorite.  He asks me if I love Christmas too, and I just reply with a simple yes.  We managed to put up lights on our new house and put up a tree this year all while juggling 3 newborns.  We will forever try and make the holidays a joyful season and not let our sadness overshadow them.

Triplets are a lot of work but I'm trying to soak it all in.  I know I can never get these days back and we treasure every moment.  Dale and Wren (the identical ones) are literally identical in so many ways.  They are both extremely happy and very chatty.  It's pretty crazy to have 2 sets of the same pair of eyes watching and waiting for you to look over at them, and then have them both simultaneously smile at you upon eye contact.  Dale is a better eater and Wren takes some coaxing.  Sometimes Wren and I have to have a good 5-10 minute chat before she will eat at all.  Sometimes Ryan or somebody else besides me has to feed her so she will stop chatting and eat at all.  It makes me laugh because this is the first difference I've noticed between having girls and boys.  Dale is extremely patient and so so sweet.  She rarely cries and is frequently the last one to eat.

Holland.  Oh Holland.  She definitely walks/sleeps/eats to the beat of her own drum.  She is by far held the most and requires the most attention.  She's feisty, has a temper, and is lil' miss sassy pants.  She didn't smile for a few weeks after Wren and Dale and I sorta assumed she was the grumpy one.  But she's caught right up to her sisters.  She has big eyes, olive skin, and chubby cheeks.  Instead of cooing like her sisters she grunts and growls.  If you put her down and she begins to cry; you pick her up, you don't mess around...this girl goes from 0-60 in seconds flat and it can take hours to calm her down.  

Dale and Wren are nearly impossible to tell apart.  All three have their own cribs and we never mix them up.  When I'm holding Wren or Dale I think they seem totally different but I'd never really tested myself.  Ryan and I take turns getting up during the night with the babies and one early morning Dale woke up around 3 or 4am and I fed her and then she fell asleep in her swing (the other two were still in their cribs).  Around 8am I got up and Ryan had fed all three and Wren was crying in her crib and so I got her up to feed her.  About half way through the feeding it hit me, this isn't Wren, this is Dale.  They were dressed the same but Dale still had remnants of the yellow toe nail polish on her toes.  I checked and sure enough it was Dale.  He actually did the same thing the next day and I caught it again!  So, I'm proud to say that I their Mother can tell them apart...sometimes it takes me a minute or ten but I can do it.  

Holland, Wren, and Dale <3  3.5 mos

Finn wanted to be swaddled.  Or maybe we just wanted to swaddle him.

The Festival of Trees.  The blue tree behind me is Colum's and the Purple one is for Norah.  I was crying before we even parked.  I cried so hard I embarrassed myself.  We took 2 of the babies with us and people kept saying "oh look it's twins".  And either Ry or I would quickly say "Uh no they are triplets!".  Twins seem like it would be a piece of cake to us right now :)

My beautiful Holland.  Always has to be held.

Holland, Wren, and Dale after the first time they all slept through the night.  Hasn't really happened since though.

Visiting Colum on Christmas Eve.  Somebody put a stuffed animal there for him <3
Miss you Baby!


Mele Kalikimaka

 No, I'm not going to Hawaii for Christmas.  But my dear friend Angela is decorating a tree for The Festival of Trees in Colum's name.  It will have a Mele Kalikimaka theme with a touch of Toy Story ::tears::

I've never been to the festival, but cannot wait to go this year and see his tree.  I think it will become a new family tradition of ours for years to come.  So if you are local and planning on going please keep an eye out for our special tree...although all the trees there are special.

A big special thank you to my friend Angela and all who are involved in helping her!  She's just one of those incredibly beautiful people who never stops giving and doing things for others and we are so lucky to know her & call her our friend.  In fact, we've met a whole lot of beautiful people over the last couple years.


The girls are doing great!  They are growing and healthy and perfect.  We are oh so busy and exhausted but are loving every minute of it.  About twice a week I text Ryan "Dude, we are doing triplets!".  I mean who has triplets?  I do.  They are now smiling and cooing all the time.  It's looking like they will all be blessed with dark eyelashes (luckies), and button noses.  

We are hunkered down for the winter, we are only taking them out for Dr appts.  And let me just tell you what an adventure those Dr appts are!  They are now weighing:

Holland 8lbs 5oz
Dale 8lbs 3oz
Wren 8lbs 1 oz

For the most part they all just graze (1-3oz) all day long and most of the time they just take short cat naps during the day.  When there are 3 babies doing this it can get quite difficult and in my opinion impossible to do alone.  So far there is no schedule in sight and according to their pediatrician we are probably about 6-10 weeks away from that because they are preemies.  Thankfully, I have a lot of really great friends, family, and neighbors here to help me and I'm only alone in the morning from about 5:30-8:30am.   

The nights are a little unpredictable still, but sometimes they sleep until 4am.  Holland definitely dances to the beat of her own drum and fusses every night starting around dinner time until she loses the fight of finally going to sleep.  This reminds us a lot of Colum.  She can be quite the pill, but a beautiful pill at that.  

Sometimes it breaks my heart when I've just got done feeding/burping one baby, and I have to hurry and get to the next.  I cherish the moments when the bottles are all washed, the laundry is folded, at least one baby is napping and I can cherish a quiet moment and snuggle one of them at a time.  

Dale and I post trick-or-treating

This woman right here is my beautiful Mother-in-Law.  She took time off of work and lived here for 6 weeks.  She refused to miss one night time feeding and I honestly don't think I would've made it without her.  Thank you JoAnn!

First pic of Wren smiling!

Finn and his BFF Tyler post trick-or-treating.  Had such a fun Halloween this year!

A,B,&C.  Holland, Wren, and Dale.  They were all awake.  It was safe to lay them all on our bed because all 3 of them had spit up their bottles.  It was a moment that I have often of holy cow I have triplets!  We also discovered a huge resemblance to my (late) brother Ryan and Wren...well my Mom did.  He would be about 45 yrs old and I'm still waiting on pictures because it's unbelievable!  I love stuff like that. And yup all my bedding doesn't match and I don't really stage photos fyi.

Lots and lots and lots of this going on...<3

Finn and his Great Grandma Jacob, my Grandma on her 90th Birthday!  Ry and I's last living grandparent.  When she's been shown pictures of the girls, she points and Holland and says that's a Jacob. :)


Holland.  her cheeks!

Dale Jane.  Not the best smile pic, considering she is the smiliest lately.


Colum Soup

I somehow managed to make dinner yesterday and it was "Colum soup".  I posted a picture when I made it last year here.  It's butternut squash and turnip soup and you can find the recipe here.  I had a little bit of trouble finding this recipe this time and remembered I went off a lot of the comments in the past.  So just to make sure it was the right one I scrolled through them.  My heart skipped a beat and my eyes swelled up with tears when I read my very own comment from 10/26/11... two months BC.  

Oct. 26, 2011
Amazing! I added cream cheese and pureed it. We ate it with rosemary bread. My 3 and 1 year old even loved it!

I of course don't remember commenting but  the second time I made this soup I added way too much cayenne pepper and it was even a little too spicy for both Ryan and I, but Colum, he still just ate it right up.  I can still picture him eating and loving this soup.  I never measure the vegetables and make a huge batch.  I add cream cheese and puree it, it always seems a little bit more fancy that way.
I'm getting super excited for the holidays!  One of my favorite movies is The Family Stone.  Diane Keaton stars in it and her name is Sybil...a top contender in the triplet name department (my Grandma's name).  Anyhoo, in the movie there's a very special picture of the Mother (Diane/Sybil) holding one of her newborn babies in black and white given as a Christmas gift.  My talented friend Janika came to the hospital and shot some beautiful pictures of my daughters and I...and the boys of course.  Kinda reminded me of that movie and how special these pictures will be for years to come.

This is my favorite (family stone) picture.

Only real men can swaddle well ;)

love this


One year

I keep thinking back to where I was just one year ago.  I was in a very dark place.  The pain, it wasn't going away, it wasn't getting better...when was it going to get better? 

I needed to run away.  I needed to run period.  I couldn't run, I could hardly walk.  Everything hurt, everywhere hurt.  My mind, my body, and my heart ached.  When I read this post that I wrote one year ago it still makes me cry.  

How are things one year later?  

My body and my heart still hurt.  I still miss him the same.  I'm sad because my daughters won't grow up with two older brothers, instead only one.  

Hope.  I have hope now.  I just keep pressing forward and slowly you don't have to push yourself as hard.  Things are getting easier and easier.  I've found the beat of our new daily routine and fully embrace every minute of it.  I'm making and washing bottles again (a whole lot of them) just like I was 2 years ago.  Not for Colum, but for my three beautiful daughters.  

Laughter comes much easier now.  I no longer label myself as the Mother who lost a son in a tragedy who must stay strong.  I'm now the mother of five, three of which are triplets, a magical 5 year old son, and one precious little angel in heaven.  The simple repetition of every day life as a Mother feels different now, I enjoy it and have a new found appreciation.  It's everything I want right now.  It's the most important thing to me in this moment.

I LOVE where we live, and am happy to bloom where I'm planted.  I look forward to raising my kids here in this community.  The days are somehow brighter here, people seem nicer, it feels happier.  Perhaps, I was right in my need to run away...just not quite as far as I'd thought.  I want to try to run again, a few of you have asked.  It was too painful on my knees.  I'm trying something new for pain management, something a little hokey but, I'm feeling some improvement and I'm hopeful.

The girls are growing.  Holland barely fits in Newborn size clothes now.  They are staying awake a little longer.  Their eyes are starting to be able to see the world for the first time.  They stare in pure fascination at the back of the couch while being burped.  We still can't tell Wren and Dale apart.  We are so in love with them and enjoy getting to know them more each day.  

I still can't believe how much has changed in just one year.  One year ago I don't think I could have ever predicted myself being here.  If I could go back in time and tell myself one thing it would be, 

it will get easier, there's still more happiness to come....one day at a time.

Wren, Dale, and Holland

Wren & Dale...so much alike!  Being held by Aunt Bobbi.

trying to master this for night-time feedings..."the prop"

can't forget a few pics of the handsome men in my life.

Ryan was walking around carrying Dale and I hurried and grabbed my phone and snapped this...I love this picture (Dale)

Quick stop at a neighbors during our first family walk through the neighborhood.

My beautiful Holland!