Triplet Convention 2003
"This will be the first of many!"
Comment from a parent at the 2003 Convention
2003 Convention Report by Kree Lindsay, Convention Director
WOW! What an experience! It's hard to say more and I hardly know where to start. We had 127 families (four of those with quads) from 28 states, plus Puerto Rico, attending our 2003 Mickey and the Multiples convention held in Orlando, Florida, July 10-13. The hotel, the JW Marriott Grande Lakes was unbelievably spectacular. While words simply cannot convey the grandeur we experienced, the brand new 600 million dollar property certainly lived up to all its promise. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the lush landscaping and the gorgeous design of the pool area. There was lots of space for even the largest of families (I should know with taking my eight children, three in-law children, and four other 18 year olds!). The entire hotel staff tried very diligently to make our stay the very best it could be and we are so appreciative of all of their generous efforts.
We had a ton of fun with our "Getting to Know You" activities at the Welcome Party and the little ones had a blast at the Kiddie Carnival. Water Mania had something for everyone at our Friday off site activity. Our workshop facilitators were the best ever and lunch was terrific!
After our four legged triplet race on Saturday (where we collected some of the best pictures of the weekend) most of us headed to the awesome pool and lazy river. Saturday evening was lovely and our auctions were once again successful and just what we needed to finish up the convention in the black! Breakfast on Sunday was a real treat and it was so good to be able to say "See you next year in St. Louis" to so many wonderful and fun families who will join with us next year.
It seemed like the days just flew by. I didn't get to talk to all the families I would have liked, but I'm so grateful for the ones I did get to meet and visit with. For me, meeting with the teens was the highlight of the convention. What great kids! They are so willing to help and participate. They have so much to offer and they have so much to learn. In a few years from now, they will be running this convention and I'm looking forward to their energy and insights as they project the convention's course in the years to come.
I want to thank again those staff members and local families, especially GOMOT (Greater Orlando Mother of Triplets), who put so much effort into this event. It takes thousands of man hours, all donated, to make this thing fly and we need every single effort that is put forth to make it happen. How grateful I am for each one of you who participated in any way.
I hope all of you will start making plans right now for a magnificent adventure next year as we prepare for a historical gathering, the largest HOM meeting ever to take place. I look forward to meeting new friends when you all gather to "Meet Me in St. Louis" July 9-11, 2004. See you then!
Convention Diary of a Triplet Parent
Stan and Anna Maticka live in Ringwood, New Jersey and have an 18 year old daughter, Natalie, and 13 year old triplets, Andrew, Samantha, and Ryan.
Wednesday - July 9, 2003
The alarm went off at five in the morning, and we were on the road by six. Orlando is almost 1200 miles from Ringwood, NJ and Anna insisted we arrive at 4 p.m on Thursday. We stopped as we entered each state to rest a little and pick-up a coupon book for the state. We went about 700 miles and ended up in Santee, South Carolina. I Don't know how we managed seven years ago without cell phones. As we entered South Carolina, Anna got on the phone and was calling to find out who had rooms at the advertised rate. One big advantage of teenage triplets is you don't have to entertain them as you drive along.
Thursday - July 10, 2003
We didn't wake up until six, but we had less than 500 miles to go. After breakfast, we found we had a flat tire. Anna swore it was done by the Motel across the street because we didn't stay there. I think not, but who knows? Anyway, AAA got us back on the road by 9 a.m. We pulled into the JW Marriot Grande Lakes Hotel within 5 minutes of four! How's that for planning!.
Our first impression of the Marriot was WOW!!!!! We didn't expect it to be so big. It wasn't just a hotel, it was an estate with multiple buildings! Our second impression was also WOW!!!!!! They had gorgeous live flowers, not the plastic leaves with dust on them. Our final impression is WOW!!!!!! They "turned down" our beds at night and left candy and cookies on our pillows. We always stay in the cheapest rooms we can get since we look at it as a place to crash after running around all day. This definitely was not just a place to crash.
It was great to be at the Triplet Convention and feel "normal" again. For once, we could walk around and smile as we thought, "been their, done that" as people were trying to round up their young multiples. Yes, there are advantages to having teenage triplets. They go off on their own and you don't have to worry that they're going to pull the curtain down or do some other fun stuff. As long as they stick together, there is enough sibling rivalry so that at least one of them will "rat" if they do something bad! I figure we have about one more year. Once they go to High School, they'll be split up even more and then our "real fun" will start. Andrew, Samantha, and Ryan hit it off with the Agen triplets, which was great. They had their own "gang" to hang out with for the convention and after.
Friday - July 11, 2003
It's off to "Water Mania." Rick, the older singleton of Sue Stebbins, joined up with Andrew, Samantha, and Ryan for a day of fun at the water park. We had a relaxing day with Sue. Anna and I must have been in our second childhood as we went on the biggest water slide there. Only Samantha was daring enough to try it also. The boys "chickened out." Samantha and Andrew tried "surfing" at the park and by the end of the day Samantha was doing really well.
We had a pizza for dinner and then the triplets went down to the "Lazy River"—the Marriott pool.
Saturday - July 12, 2003
Saturday is the day when all the "official"meetings are held. One thing I find is as your triplets get older, the number of relevant workshops decreases. The range of issues and the options are so wide, that one-hour presentations can barely introduce the topic. An idea for the next convention would be to have one group meet for the full three hours to discuss "current trends in teenage triplets."
Lunch was fantastic. That was the best "brown bag" lunch I've ever had. That afternoon the triplets went to the "lazy river" in the hotel and Sue, Anna and I went off to "A World of Orchards." Yes, teenage triplets again.
That evening, Andrew, Samantha, Ryan and a group of other teenage triplets went to "Downtown Disney" while Anna and I went to the adult meeting. The meeting is always special to us. Not because of the great words of wisdom spoken (sorry guys), but because it gives us a chance to meet and share with other triplet parents--without the kids. It's a few hours where the parents can be "normal."
Sunday - July 13, 2003
It's over. After a wonderful breakfast (we made sure the kids ate well) and saying our good-byes, we prepared to leave the Marriott. By now, the staff at the Marriott seemed to know how triplet families eat! I wonder if that afternoon there was a big "YES; THEY'RE GONE" from the staff. The staff at the Marriott was really great. The initial look on some of their faces was shock, but they still treated us as if we were royalty. I guess they responded to multiples the same way we did when we first found out we were having triplets. Shock, but then you get down to work and get the job done.
That afternoon we went to Animal Kingdom. It closed at five which gave us time to go to church and then check into our next place, Travel-Lodge, since were staying in Orlando until Friday Morning. Travel-Lodge is definitely a step down (actually it was about ten flights of stairs down) from the Marriott.
Monday - July 14, 2003
For the next four days, we spent a wonderful vacation in Orlando, visiting many of the local theme parks, among them, MGM Disney. We think if they really want to scare people, they should have a Tower of Triplets! Our triplets spent a lot of time with the Agen triplets in several of the parks. They had cell phones to keep in touch. Without the kids, we became kids and went on every ride and saw every show.
In summary, it was a wonderful convention. The accommodations were by far the best we have ever had, and it was the first we could let the triplets be on their own. That's probably the most important thing we learned at this convention. Our triplets are starting to grow up. They're not independent, but it's time to allow them more independence. That's one of the advantages of having triplets. With three of them, they're a good team.
*Written by Andrew, Samantha, and Ryan Maticka (age 13)
Day 1 - The JW Marriott hotel was just unbelievable. As we first walked through the sliding glass doors we could tell we would have a wonderful time. All of the triplet families met in the ballroom. It was cool to see all of the triplets ... just like us! That night we met up with another set of triplets only two years older than us. These triplets were also from NJ. After the triplet parade, we spent the rest of the night in the pool "just chillin." The pool at the JW Marriott was huge. It had two hot tubs just for relaxing and a lazy river around the swimming area. The ice cream at the restaurant downstairs was delicious.
Day 2 - The next day we went to Water Mania with many other triplet families. Although most of our new friends were doing their own things, we still had a great time with our family. We tried the buggy board slide and went down the Screamer to cool off. The wave pool was fun but we thought the waves were a little too small. After a fun filled day it was nice to relax with a hot bubble bath back at the hotel room.
Day 3 - The 3rd day was filled with workshops. It was fun hanging out with just the teens. After we learned everyone's name we had a great time exploring the hotel. It was fun running around with gifts for the hotel staff. The Scavenger hunt was the best; everyone won candy at the end. Although we did not attend the four-legged triplet race, we heard it was lots of fun.
At night we went to Downtown Disney with all our friends. We had a great time exploring the shops. We liked all the cool and interesting stuff that were in the stores. Later in the week, we returned to Downtown Disney to do Disney Quest. We loved all of the games. Our favorite was the roller coaster simulator. Disney Quest is a cool arcade to have fun and hang with friends. We would definitely recommend Disney Quest to all of our friends.
Overall - The best part of the convention was making new friends. We had a great time with our new friends the Agen girls. Just from talking we saw how much alike we all are. It was nice to have someone to relate to. The convention showed us that we aren't the only ones that have to deal with siblings the same age as us. The other triplets seemed to fight with each other just as much as we do.
At the end of the convention we were all surprised at how fast the time had gone by. We all can't wait for the next convention. After the convention we continued to stay with our new friends as we explored each of the Disney parks. We hope to stay in contact with our new friends and maybe make more friends next year.