Celebrating Birthdays with Multiples: The Prairie Family
● By Hood Magazine
Birthdays are a time to celebrate life with family and friends. It’s a time to plan that perfect party, invite the guests and eat plenty of birthday cake.
For some, planning a party for one child can be stressful enough. Imagine having multiples to plan for. Whether you have twins, triplets, or even more, we found out, it all comes down to what works for your family.
Imagine celebrating for not one, or two children, but THREE at the same time. This has been the reality for Julie and Doug Prairie for the last 10 years. While they’ve had some time to get used to life with three children of the same age, it all started as a huge surprise.
“We had an early ultrasound when I was about eight weeks along,” said Julie. “We knew something was ‘wrong’ by how quiet the ultrasound tech was. We had no idea what we were looking at on the fuzzy gray screen. We were completely shocked. My mom is a twin and my sisters and I have always joked about who would have twins, but no one ever really thinks about having three babies. We were scared and very worried about miscarriage, but everyone stayed put until 31 weeks.”
The kids, Sam, Leona and Gabe, had some scary moments during their first few months in the NICU and the first moments at home were a blur. The Prairie’s didn’t have to think hard about how to celebrate their first birthday.
“We thew a big 1st Birthday Bash with all of our friends and neighbors,” said Julie. “It was really a ‘thank you’ party to those who had done so much to help us survive that first year.”
And the parties haven’t stopped since.
“We usually end up with three parties each year,” said Julie. “One with just the five of us doing
something special, one with Grandma and Grandpa at the farm (usually a bonfire) and then a great big party with friends. It’s a blast. It’s so hard to not include everyone so we just go ahead and include everyone. They have cousins, classmates, Sunday school friends and neighbors. There are often 50-60 kids running around and it’s mass chaos, but so much fun. I figure its just once a year so we really go all out.”
Julie has told the kids, no more big parties, but they just keep planning. From pirates to super heroes, they’ve mastered many themes over the past 10 years. Julie and Doug find a way to make it work, but always remember what’s important.
“To be present in the moment,” said Julie. “While I do have three kids, they have most of the same milestones at the same time. I really try to enjoy each day with them and what a gift I’ve been given to be the mom of these three crazy amazing people. On their birthday it’s amazing for me to think back to how tiny they were and how scary and fragile those first few months were. I wouldn’t wish having triplets on anyone, but wouldn’t change a single thing about having all of them at the same time. It’s certainly been the ride of a lifetime and I feel truly blessed to have such an amazing family. “