Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas is tiring

We had a nice Christmas eve yesterday. (For you overseas; Christmas eve is "the big day" here.) We skipped making any Christmas food ourselves, and opted to go to a restaurant and eat "Julbord" (the traditional Swedish Christmas buffet). Back home Santa had dumped his big sack on our doorstep (to the older kids joy and sadness*). Opening all the gifts was the usual chaos.

It must have been exhausting for our youngest. They fell asleep halfway through (at something like 6 PM) only to wake up to be fed once or twice during the evening.

At the usual hour, 11 PM, I put them to bed one after the other and then went to bed myself. (Anna had gone to bed earlier.)

We woke up at 6.30 AM! It was Elin an Filip that wanted breakfast, had it and went back to sleep within 15 minutes. Oscar slept on until 8.30! I took him with me and let the others sleep on. Anna, Elin and Filip slept until after 10!

So, despite all the nice Christmas gifts Anna and I got last night, the Christmas morning gift was the best one ever! The timing of EOF's first full night of sleep without interuptions couldn't have been better! Thank you Elin, Oscar an Filip!

*) Siri and Ludvig loved the presents off course, but Siri was also upset that Santa had left his bag behind and needed it back.

Filip sleeping with one of his Christmas gifts, a tiger.

Oscar sleeping in Anna's lap with his gifts still unopened.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Done working for a while

Today was my final day at work before the holidays. Feels nice to turn off the computer and work phone a full ten days.

Some strange year at work it has been. If I've been lucky I've produced half the things I usually do in a year, so the government might not be that pleased. But on the other hand, the family has grown with three (future) taxpayers. You win some, you loose some, you might say. :)

Here's a few recent photos!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Was this what we fought for?

The letter from the county administration regarding the time for Siri in daycare arrived today.

They finally approved something that we can live with. We get seven hours a day, just enough for me to work 9-3 each day.

If feels kind of weird that this simple letter with two lines of text is the end of six months worth of emails, forms and phone calls. Where are all the stamps and triple signatures and the annexes??

But some bitter taste can still be found in my mouth. It's like the county just HAD TO get the final point in this matter. We had asked for at least 37 hours a week - and they approved 35. Was it THAT HARD to accept that what we asked for was fair?

Next time I'll use the loop hole.

One big eater, one cold and one sleepyhead

This night Elin proved she is our big eater. When she woke up at 3.30 she first had one full bottle of milk, and then loudly demanded a second one, that she almost finished of. :)

Short after Oscar woke up. Mostly because he has a cold and is coughing a great deal. He got so sit up and eat from his bottle and then went back to sleep.

Filip never woke up during the night. He is more and more proving that he is of my family, that is being a sleepyhead. Anna (and the babies) slept quite long and even missed out the Lucia concert on TV at 7 am - a tradition NOT to be missed... :-/

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Delayed by snow

A few weeks ago I thought "I think I'm getting the hang of this". I shouldn't have done that.

I went back to work on November 1st. After something like three weeks I started to get the logistics side of life together. Getting up at 6.30, getting Ludvig and Siri out of bed and having them dressed and fed, provide a few bottles of baby milk to Anna (who then took care of the baby feeding part) and be outside the house before 8. That way I could take the kids by bike to school and daycare and be at work at 9. (I even manages to reverse the time schedule a full hour once, making the 8.09 train from downtown going to a conference in Stockholm!)

It was then the thought struck me.

And then came the snow. 10-15 inches at one time. And then riding the bike to work stopped working. And having the kids walk with me to school and then Siri and I continued to daycare took forever! And my logistics schedule was delayed by at least 30 minutes.

Thank good the snow and cold stayed on. We have now, two weeks in, a cold ground with hard, compact snow on it. And you can pull a sled on this.

So my delay is now down to something like ten minutes (the bike ride is replaced with a bus trip), and there is room for improvement. I just might starting to get to work in time on a daily basis any day now.

But I won't say I'm getting the hang of it. God knows what could happen then!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Still no word...

...from the county's administration. Frustrating.

Thank God the kids are cute! :)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Is a fight worth fighting?

All since this summer, we've been struggling on and of with our county's (Uppsala kommun) administration regarding Siri's daycare.

Normally (in Sweden) children with a stay-at-home parent are only allowed to be at daycare part time. I guess the thinking is that the tax money should be used for the kids that need daycare the most. But "most kids" in this context only have one younger sibling (or perhaps two), and mom or dad only need to look after two or three kids at a time.

Our family situation is a bit different.

If one parent is at home he or she has the hands full taking care of three babies - adding the work needed to pick up a fourth kid from daycare, feed and keep her stimulated is just to much.

Hardly anyone have any trouble accepting this as a fact.

Unless you're our local county...

This struggle is now in the third or fourth round, and we still don't know if we're winning. We have a number of letters from all kinds of places, all giving support to our claim. We hope we're lucky this time around - a new decision should be in the mail any day now.

Time and energy to fight bureaucrats is not something we have very much of. Over the last few months we have chosen not to fight bureaucracy a number of times - making it from day to day has been more important. But this fight is not one of them - we can't see an alternative if we are to make it through the days and weeks.

So keep your fingers crossed.

And if the bureaucrats haven't come to the obvious decision - we already know the next move. There are loopholes in all systems!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A necessary recharge

I have tonight been away from home for a few hours in the evening. My job had the annual "julbord" (a buffet with Christmas food), and this is a nice occasion to chill out and get to know your colleagues a little bit better.

But leaving the house with five kids (that needs to be feed and put to bed) is not something I do without hesitation. The evening in the house could develop into a small disaster... So we asked around, and a good friend of Anna's came over and helped out.

Without the assistance to Anna I wouldn't have been able to relax like I have done tonight - my mind would have been elsewhere...

But this way I could recharge my batteries a great deal. Thanks, Britt-Marie!

We now hope to do it "the other way around" this Friday - Anna leaving for the annual "julbord" with Ladies Circle, and I stay at home - hopfully with some much needed assistance and nice company!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Record in synchronized sleeping

This night all three slept from 11 pm until 4.30 am (and then Filip and Elin woke up, while Oscar continued sleeping). That's a new record and a great step forward. Keep it coming, babies! :)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

In sync or not?

Since Elin, Oscar and Filip started sharing one bed and we took care of the feeding ourselves at the hospital, have we fed them in sync. The idea was that if one was allowed to continue to sleep when the others were fed, he or she would wake up soon demanding food - and as a consequence we would never get more than an hour of sleep at the time. So we chose to always feed all three at the same time.

We have lately left this philosophy, or are at least questioning it. Oscar has twice slept through a full night without eating. Elin and Filip are gradually sleeping longer and longer. Waking up two kids to feed them sometimes causes quite some noise and that half hour is far from cozy.

So most nights these days we just pick up the baby that starts to wake up, quickly feed and put him or her back to sleep. Many times one of us can do this without waking up any other person. This way many nights are now less noisy and we get more sleep.

But it doesn't work all nights - now and then the method keeps us both up for hours... Everything has pros and cons.

Monday, November 19, 2012

A small shipment

Today we received a small shipment of diapers, sponsored by Pampers (P&G). 16 bags with something like a thousand diapers. Those will last us a few weeks! ;)

The older kids loved the bags since they could use them as big building blocks.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

An engineers help to a triplet parent

Feeding three at a time is something that calls for a bit of skill and imagination - or some assistance from an engineer.

We've two sets of the so called Podee bottles. These combine a bottle and flexible tubes. The movement the baby makes on the nibble causes suction that pulls milk from the bottle through the tubes. This way the baby can drink without anyone holding the bottle. :)

It works great when the baby has gotten familiar to the nibble. Filip is a pro, Oscar is learning and Elin still prefer the regular bottles.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Oscar chocked?

We introduced pillows yesterday evening. All fell asleep quickly but I guess Oscar was a bit chocked by this new thing - he slept the full night, from midnight to 6.30 AM!!!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A look in the rear view mirror

It's almost two weeks since I last wrote anything "long" here... We've been busy.

The week before this one was fall break at school. We chose to give Siri a break from daycare too. My mom came up from Malmö to give us two much needed hands that week. With eight people the week was rather busy and the house crowded.

The pumpkin carving party at some friends house was a great. This is a tradition that we've been part of for three years. A Swedish-American family that we know invites their friends (many of them also Swedish-American) to mingle and carve pumpkins. We love this company - and the result that we have at least one nice pumpkin in time for Halloween.
This year's pumpkin turned out as an Angry Bird.
I never mentioned here at the blog the result of the hearing check-up during the fall break week. Oscar and Filip had their ears checked (the third attempt). This took more than half a day, and the result was for the most part something positive. It was confirmed that both boys hear well. Perhaps they cannot hear the low sounds like the ticking from a wrist watch, but this may be a shortcoming of the test method, or due to the boys having a cold. We'll see what the next ( (a fourth!) check-up in eight months can show.

I also went back to work little over a week ago. Perhaps I shouldn't call it "working" yet - you can definitely question if I do anything productive yet. I only work four hours a day to start with. The first two-three days were needed just to handle all emails that had bees accumulated, and to have a number of short meetings with my team manager and colleagues to plan what should be done until Christmas.

After the first few days I started making attempts to check things of from my to-do-list. But that proved hard. Everything takes for ever to do, either since I have forgotten how to to it or I'm just tired... And working four hour days makes it more difficult. Whenever I'm getting up to speed, it's time for lunch or to go home again...

Before going to work I take Ludvig to school and Siri to daycare. And on the way home I pick them up again. Anna has her hands full with Elin, Oscar and Filip the eight hours in between. 
Here we are, two months old!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

First day at work - NOT!

I should have gone back to work today, but why do something today that you can do tomorrow? ;)

Oscar and Filip had their third hearing check-up today, and since holding one child during the check-up while taking care of the other two simultaneously probably would prove impossible both Anna and I went to the hospital.

Thank God for grandma Catarina who took care of Ludvig and Siri in the meantime, since they are off from school and daycare this week, due to fall break.

How the check-up went is something we'll learn later on.
Lunch at the hospital.
Grandma Ina is busy!
Oscar getting squished by Ludvigs polar bear.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

No more preemies

The period with "preemies" is now over. During the last few days Filip used the last few diapers for preemies, and we now only have the type of diapers you find in any supermarket. (Filip and Elin use the smallest size 1, but Oscar has already moved on to size 2.)

We have also packed away all clothes in sizes 40-45 that we used in the first few weeks at home. Filip needed them the longest, but now they don't fit anymore. (Elin and Oscar now usually use size 56 and Filip 50.) The preemies clothes will be shipped of to another family that are expecting triplets, due in December.
From top to bottom: Elin, Filip and Oscar.



Monday, October 29, 2012

Two months old

These guys turn two full months today.

The biggest change lately is that Elin, Oscar and Filip move around now. Not that they crawl yet, but if we put them to bed in one position we often find them in another when they wake up.

This has effect on the family life. Anna and I used to be able to easily share the three seat couch with three babies in between us, but it is getting crowded... But off cause this won't last - soon enough the three little ones won't stay put, and Anna and I will run after them leaving the couch empty.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Keep away

Up until now Elin is the only one that has "agreed" on sleeping in the middle. Perhaps this is about to change, or doesn't this photo read "my bed, my space - stay away"?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Eight weeks

Elin, Oscar and Filip turned eight weeks today. They celebrated by passing ten kilos in combined body weight. All three are now over three kilos, Filip making it at today's weigh-in with 50 gram's margin.

We were at the hospital yesterday for a re-check of the boys' hearing. (The equipment failed the first time around.) Their small, tiny ears are still putting the hospital's testing equipment to the test. We are now scheduled for a third check next week - and then they have blocked out 3+ hours in order to finish the checks once and for all.

For the hospital visit we put on matching clothes on the children. As mentioned before this rarely lasts. This time was no exception. When we left for home nothing was matching, not even the outer wear...

Yesterday evening Oscar, Elin and Filip attended their first open fire barbecue. We're fortunate to be able to make hotdogs and roasted marshmallows right in front of our house!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Over the last few weeks the babies have cranked up their volume quite a bit. During their fist four five weeks they rarely made any loud notices, nor did they ever really scream. But that has changed.

So the parents in this house now quickly get feedback when dinner is served too slow or if the bath is too cold...

Telling them apart

Quite a few people ask us if we can tell Elin, Oscar and Filip apart. And, yes, we can, without problem (most of the time).

Elin has got darker hair than Oscar and Filip.

Oscar wheigs something like half a kilo more than Filip, and that feels considerable if you pick them up.

But most important, they don't look alike. :)
Filip and Oscar.

Filip and Oscar.

Oscar and Elin.
Filip and Oscar.

Panic?! The days are numbered

I have realized that I as of today only have eight days left at home together with Anna and the triplets, before I go back to work on November 1st. Scary!!!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Are 15 seconds 15 seconds?

I have over the last few days found out that 15 seconds not always are 15 seconds, but 25 or just 5...

We've got a pretty standard micro wave in the kitchen. We use it to heat the baby milk frequently these days. It usually takes 45 seconds to heat three bottles to a nice temperature. But sometimes this isn't enough and 10-15 seconds needs to be added. On the other hand 45 seconds may cause the milk to be really hot. I cannot understand why this happens.

45 divided by 3 should be 15.

But interesting here is that when heating one bottle rarely takes 15 seconds. Quite often it takes considerable longer, and just as often much shorter. So heating one bottle is like playing the roulette!

Can some engineer explain this to me?!?

Another week down the road

Finding time to write on this blog is getting harder and harder. There is always something else to do.

But a quick review of the last week:

We have fought with the pharmacies some.
I was once said that North Korea, Cuba and Sweden were the only places where all pharmacies were run by the state as a monopoly. Well, we're not in that club anymore, but looking back I can say one thing - some things were better in the old days.
In short: Our babies need a special kind of formula (Swedish: bröstmjölksersättning), since they are premies. It is on prescription and needs a special approval by the Medical Products Agency (Swedish: licensförskrivning) before being sold.
Before the monopoly was removed this could be done once per doctor. Now each pharmacy needs to do it per patient. And the rules were changed less than a month ago, so in order to be able to buy the formula we made a number of calls to the hospital, made six seven visits to two different pharmacies (and phoned a third) and called the agency to have the rules explained so that we could explain them to the hospital and pharmacies... But we now finally have formula that will last us two or three weeks.

Elin, Oscar and Filip are now using pacifiers quite often. It's rather convenient when trying to get them to go back to sleep in the middle of the night. And, more often, when someone wants to eat more than can fit in their stomach, the bottle can be replaced with one...

We still have an appointment at the local care center every week, for weighing and measuring all three babies. This way we can keep track on that they eat and grow like they should, and we get a convenient opportunity to ask a nurse whatever questions we might have.

Thursday's visit at my work place was nice. Anna got to meet 50+ colleagues of mine (to her most new faces). I guess both my colleagues and we very much appreciated the visit.

We have some problems at home - to make room for all clothes, prams, strollers, car seats and so on. Anyone that have a portable storage room to lend us?! ;)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Visit at the agency

Today we visited my workplace, the Medical Products Agency and the Regulatory department.
Oscar, Elin and Filip in the pram during the stroll through the corridors of the MPA.
Photo by Maria Christiansson.
While mom and dad and dad's all colleagues had cake, Elin, Filip and Oscar grew extremely hungry. Good thing Helena and Caroline could help out!
Once fed and full lots of people gathered around for a closer look.
Visiting a governmental agency is tiring. Oscar, Elin and Filip took a long nap going home and in the pram afterwards.

Thanks for all good cake and the presents (sets to make hand/foot prints to put in frames along with a photo). The only remark the Aulin family has is that the Regulatory department need to learn to eat more cake - we got too much leftovers! ;-)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Next weigh in

For a third consecutive week, we on Wednesday went to our local care center (Swedish: vårdcentralen) having Oscar, Elin and Filip weighed. These guys continue to put on plenty of weight!

We then called in to the neonatal ward at the hospital to report the progress (as we have done since we left) - they are very keen on keeping track on their (former) patients. But when they have done this good, there is no longer any need to weekly report their progress.

So we now only have a routine check up in mid November left, before our kids only will be monitored by the local care center like any kid carried full term!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

House reclaimed

We can after this weekend claim that we have our house back. It feels like home again - full of life, friends and kids all the time.

Yesterday a former co-worker and her daughter (who also used to babysit for Ludvig and Siri) visited. And the kids had friends over.

Today a new neighbor family with their kids visited.

To fill the house with friends and kids again made the house feel like home again. That's how it used to be. Perhaps a bit crowded and untidy, but full of life. But I'll stop making excuses for not having a spotless home - or else I wouldn't do anything else these days.

Friday, October 12, 2012


Today Elin, Oscar and Filip went on their first trip outside the county. (I write county in English, thinking of "kommun" in Swedish. That's as close I can get.) We took the car and went to Anna's workplace to meet her colleagues.

With some planning we managed to get all three into matching clothes for the occasion. (This actually lasted some eight hours, and that is definitely a family record!)
From left to right: Oscar, Elin and Filip.
All three handled the drive very well, despite it taking 90 minutes instead of the normal 60 due to a broken down truck on the highway. They slept most of the way and were then awake and happy when all the excitement began.
Anna with her colleagues.
Afterwards we took a stroll down one of the main shopping streets in down town Stockholm. A few heads turned when people passed us, but most were too stressed and busy to actually notice our triplets.
Drottninggatan in Stockholm.
Back home we crashed on the couch before we had to pick up Ludvig from school and Siri from daycare.
Wonder what Oscar thinks Elin shouldn't see?
Anna with (from left) Elin, Filip and Oscar.