::pack:: of fixations

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


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!


time of my life

The entire Pack clan have been fighting colds including my little minions!  We are slowly getting better.  I'm going to try and squeeze in a nap but I wanted to show you some of the pictures from the amazing photo shoot we got to be a part of.  It was at Busath Studio & Gardens and the photographer was Carrie Ryan.  She was incredible to work with.  Upon planning the shoot over the phone she asked if there was anything special or home-made we'd like to include.  Unbeknownst to her we'd been through a terrible tragedy and I began to sob hysterically as I explained a quick version of our story and all about the Colum doll.  She made me feel very comfortable and we had the best experience.  I feel so lucky right now! Lately, I feel like I should probably head straight to Vegas.  But Vegas can't give me what I have right now inside these here walls.  They posted a few of the pics on their blog (click here).  We were all sobbing while they were taking different shots of the last one on there.  

All of my kids...all 5 of them.  It's just beautiful.  I will share more soon.

I heard a song while driving today.  It's words were beautiful and really hit home right now.

It's something unpredictable but in the end it's right.  I hope you have the time of your life.

Having the time of my life right now!



I stole this from my niece's instagram and reposted it.  I changed my instagram username to Packx7 if you'd like to follow me!

I've missed typing on this keyboard.  Every single day I intend to update but the day somehow always gets away from me.  I think it has something to do with having triplets ;)

First order of business is how we chose each of their names.  There's something special with each of them.

Holland Raquel- I used to have a client whose name was Holland.  I loved it.  Ryan doesn't remember me asking him early on in my pregnancy if he liked the name Holland and him telling me no, but it happened and I scratched it off the list.  Later...much later I asked him again and he liked it.  It's been a top contender ever since.  Raquel, is actually my real name.  Kelly is just a nickname ever since the day I was born.  I've always liked Raquel better and have even tried to go by Raquel when starting new jobs but it just doesn't work out when I refer to myself as Kelly and then people ask me who Kelly is.  So there you have it, Holland Raquel Pack.

Wren Dove- Dove is pretty obvious.  And I LOVE IT!  For people who are new to reading my blog, Colum's name means Little Dove.  Wren has been a favorite name of mine since I first heard it.  Also, one of my very very favorite nurses (Megan) on floor 6 (Ortho trauma) was pregnant while taking care of us.  She later named her baby girl Wren.  Wren was definitely high up there on my favorites list the whole time.  Wren has quickly earned the nickname "Wren Bird" around here and something tells me it's gonna stick.

Dale Jane- Jane has been my favorite girl name since 10th grade.  But recently Finn has had quite a few Jane's in his classes and I didn't want to risk her having to go by Jane P.  About 4 months before our accident Ryan's Father passed away.  He died way too young, 2 weeks after turning 66 years old.  His name was Dale.  I was just 18 when Ryan and I first started dating and was so regretfully shy back then, especially to my boyfriend's parents.  Dale wasn't one for long conversations either, but showed me what a beautiful man he was in other ways.  Sometimes I'd drive up to the city of Alpine and hang out with Ryan at his parent's house in his basement.  It would get late and we'd say goodbye and I'd go outside and start walking down the driveway towards my car.  Almost every time I'd hear the screen door shut a few seconds behind me and turn around to see Ryan walking down the porch steps.  He'd look down sorta embarrassed like and say, "my Dad is making me come out so I can walk you out to your car".  (Ya, I'm crying right now).  Another little thing Dale did that I didn't realize for years after he'd gotten sick was always defrost a boneless, skinless chicken breast for me at their family dinners.  I don't eat pork.  And the Pack's sure cook a lot of ham.  I never expect to be catered to, but every time there it would be.  Just one chicken breast set out for me.  My own family didn't even remember I didn't eat pork and it meant so much to me.  The chicken breasts stopped shortly after we'd gotten married.  I'd always assumed it was Ryan's Mom who set out the chicken for me all those years.  We were driving to his parents house once and I was joking about how now that we were married, the chicken had stopped and they didn't have to impress me anymore (terrible I know).  It was in that very moment I realized it was him.  He had gotten sick and that's when the chicken stopped.  I got really emotional knowing it was him all that time.  I wrote a post about him here shortly after he died.  I will never forget these little silent acts of love and am so proud one of my daughters carries his name...first and last!  Colum is actually buried with his Grandpa, it brings me some peace that my baby's body is not alone.

Their little personalities are all starting to come out.  Holland has the loudest cry.  She's all business when it comes to feedings.  She has Colum's face but not his eyes.  She's the most alert.  She's our little grunter.  Often whatever side she's sleeping on that eye gets really puffy.  I noticed it one night during a feeding and then Ryan mentioned the same thing the next day.  Ryan didn't remember until I reminded him that Colum's used to do the same thing.  She is definitely a lot like her big brother in a lot of ways and I won't be surprised if she growls when she wakes up when she gets a little older.  

Wren, is the patient one.  She wonders why every one is always in such a hurry.  She usually takes longer to eat her bottle than the other two combined. She likes to stop and smell the flowers, look around, and flex her fingers in between sucking.  She's the smallest of the three and is delicate with her movements.  She eats like a lady and has the quietest cry with a side of rasp. She always sucks on my face when she's hungry and I love it! 

Dale is in between Holland and Wren on the patience scale.  She's probably our best burper.  She snorts when she's hungry.  My niece early on found a freckle/mole on her scalp and we were so excited for this was a way to tell her and Wren apart.  But then we gave them their first real bath and the mole washed away.  Luckily, Dale is a few ounces bigger then Wren.  And there's something different/opposite with their nostrils if you look really really close that makes me wonder if they are mirror image twins.  But for now we are very careful not to get them mixed up.

We went to Snowbird for Oktoberfest yesterday.  2 baby wearers and 1 in a stroller...it felt good to get out!

A moment I captured of Finn playing with Wren.  It made my heart so happy.

Wren, Dale, and Holland.  Rarely awake at the same time.

Home from a Doctors appointment.  I try to remember why taking just one baby was so hard.

The most amazing photo shoot we got to be apart of!  Notice the Colum doll Finn is holding.  Can't wait to post these!

Look closely and you can see the mole to the left of Dale's bow.  The mole that washed away.

Selfie of me holding Dale at their Dr appointment

Daddy and Wren

Wren in a size Newborn, it was like a potato sack.  She's put on a few ounces since this picture.  Her yawn kills me.

Finn holding Dale
Bobbi, the best sister in law ever.  Here holding Wren.  Bobbi (Ryan's Sister) and JoAnn (Ryan's Mom) are my sanity and saving grace right now!  I don't know what I'd do without them.  One of them has been staying here and getting up for feedings, helping with cleaning and laundry.  Thank you so much ladies!
Holland Raquel

Can't believe they were all in my tummy.

My family.
***I really hope this post makes sense.  I'm obviously exhausted.  Please excuse any mistakes in all my future posts.



I received an email from a probation officer 3-4 days before the girls were born.  There was some paperwork that needed to be filled out and we needed to write letters to the judge as soon as possible.  I cried for days straight.  Yes, I was pregnant and emotional but going back there emotionally was not something I wanted to do.  It's a tough thing to juggle the happiness with the sad at the same time.  Like oil and water, sometimes they just don't mix.  I'd been doing better at crying less and I know too well that for me once it starts it doesn't stop for days or even weeks.

I locked myself in my room and wrote the letter and what I wanted to say at the sentencing the day before I had the triplets.  I knew I had to, for after having a baby I'm completely brain dead for an entire year.  It took me 3 hours and I left out a lot.  I wanted them to hear how this had effected us.  The trial process is all about the defendant and the sentencing is all about the victims.  So it was our time to speak our pain.

I didn't expect to get to finally hear the evidence that we did.  The prosecutor Sandi (who is the best of the best) spoke first and here are some of the key points that I can remember:

*It was found that his vehicle was traveling 78 mph (not 60 mph like we originally guessed), uphill and his foot never came off the gas pedal.

*The state of Utah had tried to rehabilitate him at least 6 times.  It was documented that one of the times he didn't show up for detox he told his probation officer that he wouldn't go because, "he didn't want to be in there with all the drunks and heroine addicts".  Many many failed urine tests where before taking them he said he was clean and upon failing them he would admit his use.

*His cell phone that he allegedly had dropped on the floor and was allegedly the cause of the accident was actually found in the center console of his Suburban. 

*The toxicologists can actually pinpoint if he was actually "high" on Meth or not at the time of the accident.  There are active substances found in the blood and they can pinpoint his usage within hours.  It does stay in your system for 1-3 days after your last usage in a urine test but a blood test is more accurate.  So HE WAS ACTUALLY HIGH ON METH WHEN HE HIT US.

*There was a long history of lies and more lies told by Ainsworth.

*His Mom called the prosecutor a few days before the sentencing saying that she'd given him some Sudafed (Christmas Eve) that he reminded her of and that this was all her fault.  I believe his Mother has truly believed every lie he has told her his entire life.  Here is some of his families statements that I copied from this news story (click here to read it):

The Ainsworths
After the sentence was pronounced, Ainsworth's daughter Amy yelled, "I love you, dad," before running out of the courtroom.
"I feel for (the Pack) family," daughter Sierra Ainsworth, 28, said after the hearing with tears rolling down her cheeks.
"Losing her would kill me," she said, referring to her 1-year-old daughter who she was holding in her arms.
The Packs lost a son, she said, and now she has lost her father. She takes her daughter to visit her grandfather once a month. He has never held her, she said, and now he never will.
Judy Rhees, Ainsworth's mother, said she never expected her son to receive a sentence of up to 45 years behind bars.
"I can't imagine losing a child, but this is going to be hell," she said.

I think a lot of his families statements speak for themselves.  Since the beginning I predicted a Co-dependant Mother and her drug addict son.  I know that may sound harsh but I was right.  I haven't experienced having a child with a drug problem and I pray that I never have to.  Up until the accident that was my very worst fear, now it is my second.  I can empathize with Mother's and family members who are going through this as I think most people can.  But the truth is the Mother's and the family members also need to seek help.  Addiction effects the entire family.

Co-dependency is also an addiction, an illness, a disease.  
As hard as it is you have to break free of the cycle and get professional help for yourself and help on how to handle these types of situations.  It's all to easy to try and baby your addict child to compensate for your own pain and guilt.  It doesn't make you a bad parent or mean that you love your child any less if you make a change, see it for what it is, and learn how to change the situation.  
I'm very passionate about this subject, especially now.  Please if you are a parent or a family member of an addict and find yourself enabling the situation in any way please get help.  You can't change them.  But by handling it the right way you won't be making easier for them any longer.  There's usually a lot of manipulation and lies involved and it's time to wake up and see it for what it is.  
I know it's not easy but please be honest with yourself, it may prevent another tragedy like ours.

Most addicts have a victim mentality.  They are good at playing the victim to justify their behavior.  This is why I refuse to be a victim and why I am choosing to be a survivor.  I refuse to live my life that way...REFUSE!  That's no way to honor Colum.  I honor him by moving forward and by trying to live happily and I'm doing my best everyday.  I'm still sad, it will never go away.  But I'm honoring him.  
I love you Colum!  We did it!

***if anyone has any personal stories about how they have overcome addiction or enabling an addict please share below!  let us support each other through and be open about this problem.  if you've been through this and conquered it, I am so proud of you!


Justice Today

4 o'clock news today.  To read and watch click here.

I'm exhausted and will share more with you soon.

Thank you for all the prayers.  We are so happy with the results.



My favorite drug

I was scheduled to go home on Thursday since the beginning.  You never know with triplets no matter how long you carry them when they will be able to come home.  Dale and Holland were both in the nursery so their blood sugars could be monitored closely. Late Monday night/early Tuesday morning around 1 or 2am a Pediatrician whom I'd never met came into my room along with my nurse while I was sleeping.  They woke me up very excitedly to tell me that Dale and Holland were healthy enough to be brought to my room.  I was so happy but so tired and told them to wake me up when it was time.  

I woke up around 6am or so and immediately paged my nurse wondering where my babies were.  She told me they were waiting for me to wake up and that they were on their way.  I immediately called Ryan and woke him up and he and Finn drove straight to the hospital.  I was dying to have all of us together and didn't hesitate to wake them up.

Their blood sugars stabilized and there they stayed.  At least once a day the Pediatricians would come in and check them all for jaundice.  Both my boys had  jaundice and also something called coombs disease which requires a lot of time under the billy lights.  Every time the Ped's would come into our room I braced myself for them to take the babies back into the nursery


My girls never got jaundice!  Triplet preemies I would assume would definitely develop jaundice.  I couldn't believe it, can you?  They all have my blood type O+ so no Coombs.  When Thursday came around they all came home with me!  My nurse said she'd never seen a set of triplets all go home with their Mom before.  I seriously cannot believe how lucky we are.

The girls are just beautiful.  They are so sweet and precious.  I love when they are rooting around and try to suck on each other, their fingers, your face when you're burping them.  They need to eat every 3 hours and we've had a lot of help so far.  Dinners are being brought every night & our wonderful neighbors are checking up on us often.  We feel so loved right now. Thank you all for your kind comments. You've helped me through so many things and I don't know what I'd do without you guys!

I'm sure there is a scientific name for it but when I hold my babies and breathe in their sweet smell I get an overwhelming sense of love.  Not just an emotional feeling but I can actually physically feel it, it's like a drug.  I forgot all about it until now. But remember feeling this special drug after both my boys were born.  It's my favorite drug.  It's one of those things that make motherhood so special. 

It's the drug that money can't buy it's priceless.

I cried for about 10 seconds that they all came out brunette...only 10 and then I became ecstatic.  It makes Colum that much more special.  I think it was meant to be that I had 3 girls (no boys) and all brunette.  Perhaps I will never know why but it doesn't matter.  I've decided I don't believe that all things happen for a reason, I just don't, but I think this did and feel this was meant to be.  

Finn holding Wren (I think).  He's so in love and protective.  He's been the handwashing police over here and I love it.  If everybody is holding a baby he makes somebody give one up.  I'm so proud of him and love his heart.  He's looking so big to me now.
My best friend JaNae.  She was our nurse on Ortho Trauma also (and a damn good one too).  She'd stop by before work and have a quick snuggle.  Nurse turned BFF.  She's a beautiful person inside and out.  Love you girl.

                               Ryan holding Dale.  Can you tell how tiny she is with his hand right next to her?  I could just eat her up!  
Ryan crawled into my hospital bed with me and here we are holding Holland.  Love her arm behind her head.
Dale, just a little bit longer than my hand.  I cannot even tell you how much I'm loving the tiny bows that you can glue to their heads!  Loving this girl stuff, don't know what I was afraid of!

This is one of my most favorite moments in my life.  Right after all the girls and I were re-united, my nurse Ali and I fed them and then she just started laying them on me one by one.  It felt like the best drugs but x3.  They immediately just snuggled up to me like they were back in my belly.  If they were fussing at all it immediately ceased and they fell fast asleep.  Ali said it's because they knew me, could hear my heartbeat and smell me.  I just soaked it all in and we all took a 30 minute nap like this.  I could have stayed like that forever.  My heart just melts when I see this picture.  (Holland, Dale, and Wren)

Aunt Bobbi made the girls these adorable blankets and we went crazy with the bows & just died and went to heaven.  (Dale, Holland, and Wren)

Side view...I love their noses!  I love their dark hair!  I love everything!!!

Finally discharged and ready to leave.  The girls passed their car seat test with flying colors.  I still can't believe I took triplets right home with me.
This is Carly, my Aid for our last day.  She was our Aid in Ortho Trauma on floor 6 during the first week after the accident and has since transferred to L&D.  Everything is blurry so I didn't remember her but she's been following us on the blog and knew we were coming.  It's so cool that we were re-united during such a happy time.  I love meeting people that read my blog because I know that they know us and I don't have to explain everything.  Carly is in nursing school and such a happy, loving, and caring person.  Gonna be a nurse patients dream about.  Love you Carly!  Told ya I was gonna post this :)

One of my favorite nurses Ali.  She was so loving and sweet.  Here we are waiting for Ryan to pull around to get us so we could go home.  I was lucky enough to have her for 2 day in a row.  ...look how tiny my girls are!

Holland is on the left and Colum is on the right (above)

There is only room for 2 babies in the OR so Holland was immediately whisked away so I didn't get a good look at her.  Ryan went into the NICU and took this picture.  When he showed me, I just lay there on the c-section table and sobbed while they began sewing me back together.  She looked so much like him to me.

P.S. Sentencing for Thomas Ainsworth the man who hit us is on Thursday 9/26.  Ryan and I will both be speaking.  It's going to be at 9am at the Matheson courthouse at 9am.  One last time, I'm asking for prayers and happy thoughts. Of course I want him to get put away for a long time but I also want to set an example for others about what happens when you drive under the influence.  I wrote down what I am going to say last week, the day before I had my daughters.  It was hard to go there during this happy time.  One last hard thing, one more time.  deep breaths.  thank you!  xoxo