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Somerset triplets celebrate first birthday

Pictured (left to right) are Brayden, Preston and Cayden Van Weiderhoft at home in Somerset. The triplets celebrated their first birthday in February.

It's been a year since the Van Weiderhoft family doubled in size overnight.

On Feb. 21, 2010, Melissa, then 27, gave birth to male triplets: Cayden Robert at 2 lbs. 9 oz., Brayden Lewis at 3 lbs. 11 oz., and Preston James at 4 lbs. 2 oz.

Since then, both Melissa and her husband Josh have said that the boys have very definite personalities.

"I would say Preston is the troublemaker," said Melissa with a grin. "He's the most active in crawling along, trying to climb.

"Cayden is the snugglebug, he will smile at whoever is in the house. Brayden is the most focused, very curious. He is always exploring."

The boys' domain is the living room: there is a five-foot wooden gate spanning the foyer that blocks the living room from the dining room and the staircase. Another baby gate blocks off the other end of the room from big brother Isaac's bedroom. The living room houses two baby jumpers and multiple baby toys.

The boys typically wake between 8-8:30 a.m. and then eat a breakfast of formula and milk. They also eat baby food and some basic table food. Isaac stays home with them during the morning for playtime.

When asked about his favorite game to play with his brothers, he paused momentarily.

"I don't bring games out because of the small pieces," explained Isaac.

"But he does like to chase them all around the living room," added Melissa.

The boys are all crawling, usually doing the "army crawl" by using their elbows and arms to pull the rest of themselves along the carpet. They do pull themselves up on anything they can, even each other.

Lunchtime is around 11-11:30 a.m., then the boys go down for a nap from 12-3:30 p.m. During that time Melissa gets a bit of a break when Isaac goes to preschool as well.

Suppertime is around 5 p.m., followed by more playtime before a bottle each at bedtime around 9 p.m.

Getting all three to sleep through the night is a hurdle they are still working through, though they are waking only once a night instead of three to four times.

"If we get them bottles at 11 or 12 at night they will sleep till about 8:30 in the morning," said Josh.

Josh works afternoons and evenings at St. Croix Press in New Richmond. Melissa left her job as manager at McDonald's before the triplets were born.

"The hardest part for me is at night when he is at work," said Melissa. "To get them fed and ready for bed is the biggest challenge for me."

Fortunately, they have received help from several women at their church, First Lutheran in New Richmond. Melissa's mother also comes by to help out as well.

For Josh, trying to balance time between work and home is challenging as well.

"The most difficult thing for me is to find enough time to spend with Isaac and do special things with him so he doesn't feel left out," he said.

Though Cayden and Brayden are identical and Preston is fraternal, all three of them are getting to be as physically distinct as their personalities.

Preston, the youngest by two minutes, is wearing 12-month clothes. Brayden, in the middle, is wearing 6-9 months and Cayden, the oldest, has only recently started outgrowing 3-6 months. Since their initial hospital stay, they have not had any major health complications.

"We haven't been out of the house a whole lot because it has been so cold," said Melissa. "It takes too much time to bundle everyone up."

They do plan to take a trip to Florida next spring to visit relatives. After looking into the cost of flying, bringing three car seats, luggage to accommodate the 15 diapers a day they use, and renting a van, they are looking at driving themselves.

"But maybe we'll change our minds closer on," Melissa laughed.

For the triplets' first birthday, they had a small party at church as well as a family party at home. Each of the boys had their own cupcake: Preston threw his on the floor, Brayden ate some of his and Cayden ate all of his, even getting it up his nose.

"That was fun getting out," sighed Melissa.

Isaac's fifth birthday is in April, and they will drive to Josh's parents house in Blue Earth, Minn. for another party.

What does Isaac want as a birthday present?

"I want another brother."