Our Family

It’s been a long time since my last post, but that’s life with triplets and a toddler.  Too busy, too tired, and just too little time in the day for much else.  The triplets turned 1 and my oldest turned 3–all in the month of May! A busy month it shall be, for the rest of our lives. Just before they turned 1, we got some family photos taken in Santa Monica.  I knew it would be not an easy task with 4 kids, but no pain, no gain! Here are a few of my favorites:

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Papier-mâché and Portholes

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About a month ago I styled a nautical–themed first birthday party, complete with all the elements you’d find at sea, from boats to portholes to life preservers!  A lot of papier-mâchéing went into the styling of this party. The reason I love this art form is that you can make just about anything you want- any size, shape, and form- all it takes is some flour, water, newspaper strips, and lots of drying time.

I thought portholes would add a nice touch to the party, kind of make the guests feel like they were cruising inside a yacht!

Papier-mâché recipe:
-Flour
-Water
-Newspaper
-Salt
-Cinnamon
-Masking Tape

The last three on that list are optional. If you add salt to your paste, it will not mold. If you add cinnamon, it will not smell. If you cover your base with masking tape before you papier-mâché, it will not warp the shape (a lesson I learned the hard way).

In a bowl, add flour. Start small as you can always add more later.  I started with a cup of flour.  Then slowly add in water, mixing as you go, until you achieve the consistency you think will work well.  A lot of sources say to use the 1:1 ratio, but I found it to be thicker than I’d like.  Add in some salt and a sprinkle of cinnamon, and you’re ready to paste!

Note- this stuff will dry like glue, so make sure you work on a cleanable surface. Not carpet.  Err.

I used cardboard from an old moving box and shaped it into a porthole. Sorry, I forgot to take pictures of this process. For the first porthole I went straight into papier-mâchéing it directly onto the cardboard. What I should have done (if you’re a perfectionist like me) was wrapped it completely in masking tape before I papier-mâché-ed it.  The reason is that the moisture of the paste will warp the original shape when it has dried. It’s not THAT big a deal if you skip the masking tape, but when you’re working with thin layers, it’s important not to skip this step or your original shape won’t be as smooth as what you started out with. Here is a picture of the second porthole–after learning the hard way.

Next, you add strips of newspaper. The number of layers is completely up to you, but the more layers you add, the sturdier your piece will be! Note: Add each layer AFTER the previous layers have dried.

After your piece has dried, you’ll need to mod-podge to make your surface nice and smooth, and ready for painting/spray-painting.

Now, if you have a cute little helper, it makes the process much more enjoyable.  Here is mine, helping me mod podge after all the layers of newspapers have dried.

After your mod-podge has dried, next comes the fun part of painting.  Here, I spray-painted the porthole. It’s much faster, and dries much quicker.  Just remember to shut the front door before spray-painting, or you’ll be spending the next hour airing out your house.  Err.

Paint a picture of the sea…

And voila!  You have yourself a porthole that looks pretty gosh darn legit!

Lastly, I leave you with a picture of my little helper and her good friend MJ, the big brother of the birthday boy!

Big Sister

My oldest is growing up right before my eyes, especially nowadays. Maybe it’s the hustle and bustle of everyday life that I’m missing the little things in between, but it’s like I blinked, and there she was–a potty-trained, increasingly self-aware and autonomous little being whose language I no longer have to decipher, most of the time.  She asserts her independence and insists on doing everything herself, which would be great except for the times her underwear ends up outside her pants or her head stuck in the armholes.

I am both loving and hating this stage of parenting–she’s extremely fun-loving, communicative, even occasionally jokes with me. But she’s also stubborn, strong-willed, and prideful (takes after mom).  With this stage comes the challenges of discipline and learning when to be flexible and when to be firm. Most of the time it’s easier to let things slide (especially with triplets in the mix) or turn a blind eye just because she can sometimes be so darn cute. But then we’re doing her a great disservice by not guiding and teaching her in teachable moments, for the sake of convenience or time (or cuteness, in most cases).

With the triplets, it’s interesting watching as she navigates her role as an older sister. At first she didn’t pay them much attention, until they started becoming more mobile and getting into her things. Up to a certain point she had regarded them as temporary house guests, as go-backs in the retail world. The came a moment of realization that theses little guys were FINAL SALE and here to stay. Now that they’re all over the place I’ll hear her yelling things like “Oh no Sammy! Don’t touch Sammy! Stop Sammy!” regardless of which baby is committing the offense. (To her, everybody’s Sammy).  And then there are those rare moments when she shows the sweetest gestures of affection without any prompting, like hand-holding, or little pecks on the cheek.

She’s barely 3, but for such a little girl I feel like she’s had to grow up fast and adjust quickly.  I used to be consumed with guilt that her life would be completely derailed by the onslaught of three new siblings, but now I see how lucky they are to have each other, especially for the triplets to have an older sister like Noni.

Triple Trouble

No story behind this picture. Just a bunch of rascals horsing around, and a little glimpse into my future. We’d better watch out…especially for the one on the right!

Past Projects

Hello again.  When I started the blog I envisioned daily blog posts, but let’s get real. Some days I barely find the time to brush my teeth. I decided to do a little recap of some of my favorite projects of 2013. Pororo Party Let’s start with Pororo, a cheeky little penguin who entered our lives in the beginning of the year.  For a period of time my daughter lived and breathed this penguin, so it was the obvious pick for her 2nd birthday.

If it weren’t for this garage space, by the way, none of these projects would have happened. We “upgraded” when we found out our family size was about to double, and moved into a unit that came with its own garage. Here, I was 9 months pregnant with the triplets when I was painting Pororo and his friends. Yes, the love of a mother knows no bounds…

Of course the party wouldn’t be complete without Pororo’s signature specs.

Or some Pororo macarons…

Or a surprise visit from Pororo himself…in the flesh!

This moment in time will always be special to me.  It was the last family gathering before by father got sick. A week after this party, my dad went in for chemo.

The School Bus By this time, she had long left the penguin in the dust and moved on to bigger and better things.  She eventually became passionate about big yellow school buses, and just like the penguin, these consumed her. She’d point out every bus she saw, ask me to Youtube buses, sing Wheels on the Bus all day long, and ask me to draw buses. A little obsessive, I know. Anyways, that’s how this inspiration came about. So I had an old box (which held a car seat in its previous life) and was the perfect fit for the Joovy Caboose stroller (great stroller for two kids, by the way).

Fit like a glove!

With several coats of paint (and my personal cheerleader),

we were ready to go trick or treating.  Perfect Halloween costume, why? My kid got to ride in her costume, not to mention the unlimited candy storage space.

And it even came with an emergency exit, you know, in case she started drowning in her candy.
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Superheroes

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For the triplets’ first Halloween, they were a crime-fighting trio: Spidermantha, The Dark K(n)ate, and Mark Kent (aka Superman). I painted a cityscape backdrop hoping it would motivate the triplets to uh…fight crime. (Again, mad props to my garage)

The shoot went relatively smoothly, except for one moment when Spidermantha tried to knock me off my ladder.