Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Look Mommy....

"Look, Mommy, that lady has a baby in her tummy. I wonder if it's a girl or a boy", our 5 year old politely commented.

"I don't know, honey, but you never ask a lady if she is pregnant. What if her tummy is just big like that?", I replied.

K answered, horrified, "That would be TERRIBLE!!!!"

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Time with friends

What is it about time with old friends that refreshes you? B & I were college roommates who married fraternity brothers and we are godparents to each other's children. She just had a birthday, so I flew to celebrate with her & 2 other friends flew in too. It was a great weekend! I didn't change any diapers, button anyone else's shirt, fix anyone else's hair, wash clothes, or clean the house. The most work I have done is emptying my trash can or putting one bowl in the dishwasher! It has been wonderful. We went out to eat, which is always a treat, and toured her beautiful new city. She was the perfect hostess! I will leave refreshed and ready to wash clothes and hug my children and precious husband!! He deserves an award for keeping 5 children by himself for the weekend!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Airport Parking

When you must fly, it is easy to forget where you parked your car at the airport! I just love this idea. Use your camera phone, I Phone, or camera and take a picture of the section where you parked your car. When you return, you'll be able to find it! A friend's mother started doing this after she mistakenly reported her car stolen! I love it!

Thursday, March 26, 2009


With a family of 7, there is always a load in our washing machine. However, I have learned how to keep up with the laundry so that we are not overwhelmed. On weekdays, I take turns changing the sheets. I may change 2 or 3 beds in one day, but I try not to change all of the beds in one day because our machines are not capable of keeping up with bedding from 6 beds in just a few hours time. Our children have SEVERE dust mite allergies, so when I change their beds, I must wash EVERYTHING from sheets to comforter to stuffed animals, etc in HOT water. So, I suggest having a second set of sheets, which I am sure most of you have. This means that you can wash the comforter, coverlet, and special sleep items first, and the sheets last. This will allow you to have a freshly made bed much faster.

I don't like for my children to sleep with dirty things. Our 2 year old has a lovie she calls "night night". Thankfully, she has 5 of them (3 flowers, a lamb, and a bunny). She is not partial to any one since she was introduced to all of them as an infant. Therefore, I throw night night in the wash daily so that she always has a clean one and doesn't carry around extra germs. You should do this with any lovie or blanket.

In our laundry area (it is a closet, not a room), I have a basket for dirty dark clothes and a basket for dirty white clothes. When I bring laundry downstairs, I separate. I am sure you do the same thing. This makes it easy to fill a load and start washing. We tend to wash more whites than darks, so I will often fill the washer if it is empty rather than put the dirty items in the white basket. I wash a load as soon as I have a load. I do not let laundry pile up. In fact, I try to have very little left to do at the end of each day. I wash at least 3 loads a day. Why? Or How?, you may ask. Why? I wash because I have to do it. When 7 people take off their underwear and clothes, it creates a pile. Our children wear school uniforms so I wash those daily. We wash the children's washcloths after every bath because it's too difficult to know whose is whose. I regularly wash our kitchen towel and dishcloth to cut down on the spread of germs. Florida has rich soil, which creates black feet, so we have to bathe the children just about every night. I am trying to get to the point, start a load as soon as you have a full load. Don't let your laundry pile up. My machine runs throughout the day. As soon as the clothes are dry, I fold them. I have 2 baskets... one for the children and one for us. Once it is full, I take it upstairs & put the clothes away.

I find that the easiest time to put away clothes is when the children are in the bath. They want to play for a little while, so I put the basket on one of their beds and make a pile for each child. I can see the children in the tub the whole time or at least hear them. Please do NOT leave your children unattended in the bathtub! Accidents do happen! I then take one pile at a time and put it away. Since I am not letting the laundry get away from me, I don't usually have enormous piles of clothes. Each of our drawers is divided for t-shirt, shorts, nightgowns, socks, etc. which makes it easy to put away clothes. I hang the hanging clothes immediately. Then, I put the basket at the top of the stairs to go back downstairs and I refill it as clothes come out of the dryer! I hope this helps.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Crazy Mama

Yesterday was a day like any other day. The children came home from school and begged to swim in our pool. I relented. It was 80*F outside and beautifully sunny. The big 4 had a ball playing games and swimming. I cleaned our cushions with Clorox while they played. Since Clorox can easily take the color out of your clothes, I shed my pants. No worries, our back yard is walled and only those on a second floor could look down and see. For all the world knew, I had on a bathing suit and t-shirt. When it was time to come in, I asked the children to clean up their toys and get out of the pool. I have not even put my feet in the pool this year because the water is too cold. As they were drying off, I ran and jumped in the pool in my t-shirt and undies & swam to the side. The children LOVED it! They laughed & screamed and shared their towels. I scored MAJOR COOL MOMMY points. We went inside, and I heard them excitedly exclaim, "I can't WAIT to go to school & tell my teacher Mama jumped in the pool in her UNDERWEAR!!" Great. That is JUST what she needs to hear. Never mind that I had on a t-shirt too. Hilarious.

However, I think my friend, B, has me beat. She was new to a town and the minister's wife came over to take her to lunch. Her children excitedly answered the door saying, "We've been SKINNY DIPPING!". First impressions, folks, first impressions.

A Lovely Wife by Tim Hawkins

This is fun!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

How to pack your family for a weekend away

DH & I love to travel, and will take any opportunity to hop in the car and take the children on an adventure. Therefore, I have become quite proficient at packing for trips! If at all possible, plan your stay at a place where you will have access to a washer and dryer. Some hotels offer coin laundry machines. Others, like Canyon Ranch, have a laundry room that guests are allowed to use freely during their visit. Of course it is ideal to stay in a house or condo that has a washer and dryer readily available in your accommodations. Being able to wash clothes is key when traveling with children!

We just returned from a weekend away, so I will share an idea of what we packed. We did not have the ability to wash clothes on this trip, so I took a little more than normal. We have small canvas bags for each child. They stack easily and hold enough clothes for a weekend trip and can usually hold their blanket and pillow as well. For longer trips, I love the LL Bean Adventure Duffle bag.

Girls' bags:
-4 pairs underwear (we swim to change underwear frequently)
-1 angel sleeve nightgown/1 pair long-sleeved pajamas (did not know how cold our room would be)
-2 pairs socks
-1 pair Crocs for the beach and pool
-1 pair sandals for eating out, shopping, etc.
-1 hat for sunny days on the beach
-1 cover up
-2 bathing suits
-1 swim shirt
-1 pair goggles
-1 pair casual shorts... soffies to some of you
-1 pair cute Two Friends gingham shorts
-1 play t-shirt
-1 plain white t-shirt
-1 Lilly dress
-1 pr. Lilly pants
-1 light Lilly sweater
-hairbows, brush, toothbrush
-1 Leapster
-1 book

Had we had access to a washer and dryer, I would have brought 2 pairs of undies and 1 nightgown

For our son, I packed:
-2 pairs casual elastic waist shorts
-1 pair Vineyard Vines blue shorts
-1 belt
-3 pairs underwear
-2 pairs socks
-1 pair short pajamas, 1 pair long pajamas
-2 casual t-shirts (1 short sleeves, 1 long sleeves)
-2 polo shirts
-1 Vineyard Vines sweatshirt or light sweater
-2 bathing suits
-1 swim shirt
-1 pair crocs
-1 pair Rainbows
-I think he may need a pair of loafers for eating out on trips, but crocs are fine at the beach
-1 Leapster
-1 book

In an extra large LL Bean Tote Bag (Lands End sells them too), I carried 7 beach towels (one for each of us), our nebulizer, albuterol, cough medicine, Benadryl, motrin, tylenol, cups, sippy cups, pacifiers for H, sunscreen, and Zyrtec.

We always carry a small cooler with milk for H & K. We stopped and bought bottled water, turkey, cheese sticks, crackers, and fruit for snacks and lunches for the children in the room.

I hope this helps!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Forgot my point!

My whole point of writing about sunscreen is that you can buy it for a pretty good price at Walgreens. The Banana Boat spray sunscreen is on sale for $7.99 ( this is higher than the retail price of $6.49 at Target). However, in their coupon book at the front of the store (not the weekly flyer, but underneath), there is a $2 off coupon. I bought 4 bottles of sunscreen and it took $2 off of each one, making the price $5.99. If you are fortunate enough to somehow have another Banana Boat coupon, then you can save even more! I thought this was a great deal.

Some other deals at Walgreen's include Softsoap for $.99. If you are a coupon clipper, you probably have a coupon for $.30 or $.35 off of the price, which will buy your soap for $.70 or $.65!


Living in Florida, sunscreen is a MUST. Now that it is early spring, everyone should start thinking about proper sunscreen! We have tried just about every kind of sunscreen over the years. On our first sunny days here, we used the Target spray sunscreen. It worked, but it is very oily & takes a while to dry. On our trip this weekend, we used Banana Boat spray sunscreen for their bodies. It was fabulous! The bottle lasted longer than other brands, and it came out smoothly so that you barely felt it. I decided it will be our sunscreen of choice for spraying children quickly.

For their faces, I prefer Neutrogena. I also use it for babies or children who are extra sensitive to sunscreen! Those two products are receiving my endorsement this year!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Make new friends, but keep the Old

DH & I are blessed to have so many wonderful friends. Friends, if you are reading this, we heart you! We love you so much. You are dear to us. We treasure you, pray for you, and love to see you! The past two weekends have been wonderful gifts to our family. Each weekend has been filled with a visit from friends we knew in Raleigh before the triplets were born. The time in your married life before children are born is a wonderful gift for developing deep, long-lasting friendships. We still keep in touch with all of the dear friends we made in those 6 long years before our lives were forever changed!

Anyway, S & her 2 girls came to visit us in Tampa last weekend & J & her 2 girls & her in-laws took us to Sanibel this weekend. It was such a treat to see S & J, to learn more about their girls' personalities, and to see our children enjoy playing and swimming together. We are so thankful that these friends took time out of their busy lives to be with us. We loved every minute of it!! We hope more friends will continue to visit. It really is sunny, warm, and pleasant at this time of year. I fear the summer will be a different story, so we are going to just dwell on the present! It is PERFECT here now! The greatest outcome of these visits is that Ash has already chosen his wife, and I will love his in-laws! Ha!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Travel Ideas!

My friend, B, always has the best ideas. She recommended we look into "We Just Got Back", a website offering travel deals, recommendations, and ideas! Maybe you can take advantage of the lower prices and vacant hotels & plan a summer trip!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Birthday Party Idea for March & April Birthdays

Everyone loves a pool party! If you live where it is really warm, you can have an outdoor pool party in late March & early April. If you live where it's not quite so warm, you can have an indoor pool party! To make things more interesting for your Easter birthday boy or girl, throw EASTER EGGS in the pool & have everyone JUMP in to hunt for eggs!! We are going to do this for the triplets' 8th birthday. I will not put treats in the eggs as they will get wet, but I think the children will enjoy the pursuit of finding eggs in the water! It should be fun!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I want my Mama!!!

Sadly a very rude virus has taken over our household. Some of us have had chest congestion from the pollen for over a week. We've nebulized and used mucinex to help our poor chests. The baby had an ear infection and was wheezing. Our little asthmatics have all wheezed. Yesterday, I could have taken on the world. I cleaned our entire upstairs, washed about 10 loads of laundry, changed all of the sheets, etc. This morning when my alarm sounded at 6am, I felt funny. My tummy was very sick. It was so sick that I showered & could not move, so I crawled back in the bed. Children began to wake up & I asked them to help each other. It was my day to drive carpool. I called the other mama. She, too, had woken up with the stomach bug. We couldn't even help one another. I let our older children sleep in because I figured it would help fight the monster that had taken over my body! By the time they woke up, only one of the big 4 felt good enough to go to school, and she had a terrible cough. DH had to leave super early for a meeting so he wasn't home. I couldn't drive because the bathroom wouldn't fit in our car. So, sweet CP was kept home to help her sick Mama. I couldn't move all day. I heard children running around. They brought me a bagel, which I couldn't eat. They brought me notes, a cold Diet Dr. Pepper, and a cold wash cloth. They were simply AMAZING!!! Our other children became sick throughout the day. DH came home early from work in the late afternoon to help. Next thing we know, I have a pretty high fever,just like our son, and DH feels terrible too. This is the sick house. And I want my mama!!!!!!!!

This was a tough day of living so far from old friends and family. I am going to crawl back in bed even though I feel like it is a thousand degrees in here!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Apparently I started a trend in our household a year ago or more. Unfortunately, I only partially remember it! Our children reminded me this morning that the LEPRECHAUNS make their beds on St. Patrick's Day & leave GOLD on their pillow! So, Mama Henley raced to WACHOVIA to obtain some gold dollars. I dropped some green clover cookies at the school and then found out that last year they received a quarter and a penny for the gold. Oh well! This year the leprechaun is the only one NOT affected by the recession, and he is leaving gold dollars!! You might want to try it at your house, but be smarter than I was. Make sure the leprochans leave word that you MUST make your bed instead of that you must leave it unmade! I am off to make beds & drop some gold!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 BLAST OFF!!!!!!!

Tonight we went to the water to see the Space Shuttle take off from Cape Canaveral! Cape Canaveral is 120 miles away but we could see the orange glow and then we saw the booster separate from the shuttle. The children went to watch it in their pajamas and it was just wonderful!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Exhausted at Disney

Our Disney trip was so much fun. This is one of my favorite pictures of a very successful day at the Magic Kingdom! Can you say exhausted???!!!

Friday, March 13, 2009

And the WINNER is....

Hood Mama Mel!!! Congrats!! I will mail you your new COOKBOOK if you email me at ahp5@aol.com with your address!! congrats!!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Friday there will be a WINNER!

Hurry & enter! I am going to draw a name on Friday! I hope you're having a good week. I am already washing beach towels & hanging bathing suits to dry! Our little peeps are SWIMMING!

Monday, March 9, 2009


In honor of my 200th post, I am giving away "The Life of the Party" Cookbook by the Tampa Junior League!! Junior League cookbooks always contain the BEST recipes!!! "The Life of the Party" is no exception. Everyone loves the Bunko Jumble whenever I have made it for parties!

Those of you who have commented on one of my first 200 posts will be entered 1 extra time for every 10 comments you've made. However, those of you who have not commented yet have a chance to win too! Just comment on THIS post and you'll be entered in the drawing! May the life of the party win!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A Magical Time

Disney was just wonderful! The children were very surprised by our trip, and that made it all the more fun! We went to all Magic Kingdom most of the time and spent a little time at Epcot and Hollywood Studios. It was perfect! I am exhausted & will have to finish unpacking and doing laundry tomorrow!

I have 2 quick tips:
If you must buy a kid's meal at the Quick Service restaurants, one of the drink options is bottled water. Order it. Also ask for tap water for your entire group. Put the bottled water in a zippered cooler bag and save it for later. If you have a stroller or backpack, you will want to bring a small zippered cooler bag for drinks. We used ours for small bottled waters and the Capri Sun waters and Honest Kids lemonade. The children drank at least 2 a day each because of the heat!

We saw an entire family or groups of families eating at the Backlot (Quick service) at Hollywood Studios. They literally brought a loaf of bread, peanut butter, and tuna fish with them and made sandwiches right there at the table at the back of the restaurant. They used the mayo, mustard, and relish as needed from the restaurant. I thought this was so smart. They had fun Cheezits and Little Debbie peanut butter bars too, along with grapes and apples. I think we'll try this on one of our day trips, but I will have to buy a fountain Diet Coke as a splurge!

Good night!

Thursday, March 5, 2009


It's time for a trip to Disney! As Florida residents, it just feels like something we need to do! I have some quick tips & will write more soon!

-Don't try to do too much. This makes everyone miserable, including the children
-WEAR SUNSCREEN. EVERYONE. Even Mama & Daddy! You'll be so glad that you did. The Florida sun is hot.
-We like to have our children in matching clothes so that they are easy to find. This also makes pictures less distracting because you look at the people, not the clothes.
-If you want to experience Character Dining, call ASAP! They will let you schedule it 180 days in advance.
-Take naps. If you are staying on property, use the buses! They are great for a quick trip back to the hotel for a nap or a swim.
-Use a sharpie marker to write your cell phone number on the stomach of young children. This way, if they are lost, they can pull up their shirt (or you can do it at their wrist) and show someone who to call.
-Pack water and snacks in a book bag. This will save you from some whining and it will save you money! On a 4 day trip, we only bought 1 popsicle for our children!
-Plan ahead as much as possible.
-Then BE FLEXIBLE. If children are tired, don't push them to ride a ride. Give them a snack from your book bag or go back for a nap!
-Set a limit BEFORE YOU GO as to what (if anything) you will allow the children to buy in the stores.
-If possible, buy your autograph book in advance. It's fun for the children to have it in hand the minute they hit the park.
-Bring at least one pen per child!
-We buy our girls a silver charm when they go special places. Disney does have these. We buy our son something else.
-If you have young children, you will have to choose between going early & staying up late. Otherwise, everyone will be miserable.
-Bring a stroller. You can rent one there, but they are pricey if you have more than 2 children. I bought a double umbrella stroller for less than it would have cost to rent one. We will take it this time even though we have 3 seven year olds! We will use it for our 5 year old & 1 7 year old. Their little legs get tired and yours are faster!
-Bring your camera and video camera fully charged and ready to go!
-If your child has princess dresses or pirate costumes, bring them and let them wear them to a Character meal. It's fun for the children!
-Take lots of pictures. Come home & create a photo book on Apple, Snapfish or Shutterfly to remember your trip.
-One friend brings little cups so that the family can split one drink. This is smart. This way, you only buy what you need
-Drink lots of water.
-Bring a cell phone for mama & daddy in case you separate.
Enjoy the magic!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

More about Infertility

I learned so much from our experience of trying to have children. So often, words fail us. I will never forget a time when a friend called me first to let me know she was pregnant... on the first try... and she wasn't even sure she was ready to have children. I had tried for years, and was still not pregnant. I was SO happy for her. I truly wanted to rejoice with her, but I hung up the phone, sat on my bed and cried. Indeed, I threw a pity party for myself & let the tears flow.

My head wanted to celebrate with friends who were expecting. I really did. But my heart ached. It ached in a way that only those with this same struggle can understand. My empty arms hurt because they were so empty. Thankfully, the Lord was with me and with my dear husband the entire time. He carried us. He brought gentle reminders to us that He is faithful. This does not mean that He promises to give all of us children. But He is still faithful.

Infertility is tough because it is so personal. Who really wants to discuss the act of husband and wife that happens behind closed doors? Who wants to throw out words like "sperm" or "uterus" like they are everyday terms? You are stripped of a lot of your dignity. You are poked, prodded, and probed by what I thought looked like a man's privates (my mama reads this sometimes, so I just can't write penis!). Nurses and doctors discuss your bodily functions and reproductive organs as you wince and listen. Blood is drawn and re-drawn. Your husband has to do the unthinkable in a cup and hand it to someone he doesn't know. There are needles, co-pays, and medicines expensive enough to pay a month's mortgage on a starter home. It's not for sissies, that's for sure!!!

Artificial insemination, ICSI, IVF, FET are all terms most people don't understand. Unless I had gone through it, I would not understand the need for a frozen embryo or why some eggs are not considered good quality. We learned a lot. We learned that the general public has a difficult time with this subject because they don't understand it. It's not talked about at cocktail parties. People have no idea what you are going through physically as much as emotionally. I want to tell you more. I think this will be a little series. The good news for us is that we ended up with five beautiful children, but we were told we would have NONE. Don't lose heart. Pray. I'll share more soon!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


DH & I married young, and we were ready to have children a few years later. We tried and tried, and nothing happened. It was so difficult to understand!! DH & I had waited until we were married. There was no reason to believe I couldn't become pregnant. But I didn't. Weeks became months. Months became years. I was still NOT pregnant. I believe that the Lord ordained it to be this way. He taught me so much in the years that we tried! The main thing He taught me is COMPASSION. Unfortunately, I can be quite judgmental. I look at you all pretty in your fancy clothes, driving your fancy car, taking care of your fancy children, and I think your life is footloose and fancy-free. What do YOU know about pain? Well, the Lord taught me. He taught me that I have no idea what is going on behind those "fancy doors". I have no idea what heartache those closest to me might be going through. Infertility is something people keep quiet about at first. Some always remain tight-lipped.

DH & I were filled with a need to share. We NEEDED the body of Christ to pray for us. We NEEDED friends to understand our struggle. If we had been fighting a disease or had lost a loved one, we would ask for everyone's prayers, so we decided to do the same with our struggle with infertility. I am so glad that we did!! We were amazed to learn of so many others who were also struggling. Our precious pastor at the time and his wife, had also been struggling for SEVEN YEARS. One day they miraculously were expecting a sweet baby. We rejoiced with them!

Our journey took us through some medical treatments. I had exploratory surgery and I tried clomid after that. During my surgery, the doctor discovered that transportation issues were my problem due to ruptured appendix when I was SEVEN. Who know that my life was altered in such a huge way at such a young age? We grieved. We cried. We asked God, "Why?" We asked Him over and over again. We asked for friends and family to pray for us, and they did.

Finally, we were led to IVF (in vitro fertlization). We did not approach this decision without prayer and discernment. We read the Bible and searched Scriptures, and sought godly wisdom from other believers. In the end, this is where the Lord led us. I know without a doubt that I could be the mother of triplets without IVF. If the Lord wanted us to have triplets, He could make it happen any way He wanted. And He did. He chose for us to go down a difficult path so that we would lean on HIM ALONE. He chose this path for us so that we could SHARE with others, just like I am doing now. He chose this path so that we could CLAIM His FAITHFULNESS. He chose this path to soften my heart and make it more compassionate!! I can't wait to tell you more about what we learned!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Periwinkle Papers

My friend, Jenny, is quite talented. I can use her name because I am going to send you to her website, Periwinkle Papers, and you'll see it there!! Jenny has always been a talented artist, just like her mother, Mrs. Phillips, who teaches Art lessons!

Jenny has a wonderful stationary business that specializes in precious papers, t-shirts, recipe cards, et cetera! You will have such fun touring her website! Just click when you see words in pink. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

J's salad

My friend, J, consistently makes delicious food look so simple, elegant, and easy. At her vacation home, she will whip out lovely meals and it appears it was so easy. I just can't get over it! She makes a great salad, that IS easy. I whipped it up today in a matter of minutes and my mother-in-law enjoyed it as much as I did!

You will need:
romaine lettuce (sometimes you can buy pre-washed hearts of romaine & then you cut it yourself)
blue cheese... J had Rosenburg's when we last visited
slivered almonds (I think J also uses ramen noodles)
Ken's light caeser dressing

Mix it all together and serve!! It is an easy & delicious side dish to any meal! We had it with hot dogs off the grill when we ate by the pool today at lunch!