That photo turned into a series of photos, documenting the progress and evolution the triplets went through from baby years through toddler, teen days, and eventually into their adulthood. Read on and discover for yourself the most magnificent gifts life has to offer and the amazing things they can turn into.
And Then They Turned One
Karin Scholtz was a proud mother of three. She gave birth to her amazing triplets in 1984 and lead a practically normal life. Just like any other mother, as the triplet's first birthday approached, she wanted to document the moment. She prepared a sign with their family name for the babies to hold and dressed them in identical outfits.
At the time there was no intention for this to turn into what it eventually became. All she wanted was a snapshot of her three little boys, eating birthday cake with their little hands.
A Tradition Begins
If only Dennis, Mark, and Peter would have known that from that day forward the birthday picture setting would become an annual ceremony and would turn into a talked-about tabloid story.
The three boys wouldn't stay one year old forever. As the years went by and the boys grew, so did the challenges in taking the photos and forming the set. There were quite a few difficult ones along the way.
Not So Terrible Two
In 1986, the boys turned two. If they were unaware of what was going on the previous year when the first photo was taken, now they knew exactly what was going on and were happily willing to participate.
They posed for the camera and showed off their captivating blond curls and magnetic eyes while holding the sign their mother made. They were the cutest two-year-olds around.
Even Snoopy Took Part
The days passed and the triplets turned three. It was only then that Karin decided to turn the birthday picture into a tradition. Dennis, Mark, and Peter were enthusiastic about having their photo taken again.
In fact, they were waiting for the flash to hit. Karin dressed the three in the most adorable Snoopy pajamas, prepared the traditional sign, and ...say cheese!
The Fourth One
When the fourth birthday arrived the boys wanted to stage the plot. They asked to pose on a wooden shelf so they could sit in a higher position. This didn't stand in the way of another adorable photo.
The sign was prepared, the magnificent three sat up high, and the rest is history. There were still more unpleasant surprises down the line, but for now, the boys were focused on their fifth birthday.
Some Things Are Out of Control
The boys were growing up and Karin found it difficult to control the three. They were turning into individuals, not always wanting their photos taken. Adding on to that, she was battling a sickness that influenced the kids tremendously.
Karin wasn't going t break a tradition, and if occasionally a photo would reflect reality and not just paint happy faces, then so be it. She baked a cake, made the sign, and another year went by.
Back to Life
When the boy's sixth birthday arrived, they were all happy once again to take a photo. They were leading a normal life as expected from six-year-olds. School, friends, and laughter filled their days.
Karin was doing better, the matching tops were bought, the sign was prepared, and the smiles were put back on their faces.
Big Number Seven
The days of Karin deciding what to wear and when to wear it were drifting away. It was on the triplet's seventh birthday they dared to do something different. This was the first year their individuality shone.
Dennis, Peter, and Mark wore the same overalls but underneath they each had a different sweater. They were still one unit, however, the frame started to crack.
The Polks Dot Theme
Not only was the photo and sign a tradition, Karin and the boys decided to turn the different sweater theme into a tradition too. On their eighth birthday, they all had polka dots sweaters on, each in a different color.
The boys' eighth birthday might have brought with it happiness and joy, however, a tragedy was coming along the way.
An Unwanted Birthday Gift
Not long after Dennis, Peter, and Mark's birthday, there was a gas leakage in the family house. The leakage caught fire and the house was burned down to the ground. Hard days were on the way for Karin and the triplets.
They moved into their next-door neighbor's house, Wilma, for a while, not knowing that they would have an extra pair of hands for preparing the sign for the next birthday celebration.
Nine Going on Twenty
Wilma helped to prepare the sign for the boy's ninth birthday. The boys were cheerful, Karin was content, and Wilma was grateful for doing a good deed. The family moved into a temporary trailer which turned out to be a great adventure for the nine (soon-to-be ten) years old boys.
Reconstructing the burnt house took almost a year but eventually, they were all able to move back in. Happy days were soon to come.
It Was Time for Independence
The boys were hitting their teens and many things were about to change. They were not the same cuties Karin brought into this world, and as their tenth birthday arrived, something else arrived too. Independence.
Peter had saved some money and purchased a camera. He was the one who took the traditional photo on their tenth birthday by setting the automatic timer. For the first time, the boys were taking part behind the scenes. They were showing the world not only their pretty faces but also their hidden talent.
One Photo Revealed It All
What happens when one-third brings home his new girlfriend? Well, it's bound to have an effect on the other two and not always is a nice way. When Peter brought home Eva, Dennis and Mark found themselves unintentionally causing a bit of trouble while the two love birds were keeping each other company.
The boy's eleventh traditional birthday photo clearly reveals who Peter is and who the other partners in crime are. One smiling face says it all.
A Change in Route
Life had its obstacles and the twelfth birthday celebrations were full of them too. These were surprises of the bad kind. Karin was heartbroken when she learned Peter was diagnosed with epilepsy and while Dennis and Mark were preparing to start high school, Peter was preparing for daily visits to the doctor's office.
But even so, the boys wouldn't let random visits to the hospital or unexpected seizures get them down. Their twelfth traditional photo was taken just like all others and the boys looked more handsome than ever.
Each Gone Their Own Way
Peter's new medical condition had its consequences. His parents decided it would be best for him to stay back in elementary school while Dennis and Mark moved on to big boy school.
This was just another note in the book emphasizing that no matter how similar the three looked, behind every face was a story full of individual needs, individual ambitions, and individual dreams.
Fourteen and Back Together
14 years have flown by and the three boys were turning into charming young men. Peter joined his brothers in high school and paved his way to being one of the best students in class.
The three brothers were back together and preparations for the fourteenth photo took place. A sign was prepared, there was no need for matching tops and another year went by.
The Beads of an Era
When the triplets turned 15, the 1990s roared in too. They brought with them Pokémon, stuffed crust pizza, and...bead necklaces. For the traditional photo, the era's symbols had to be presented.
The boys were doing well at school keeping top of the class and, of course, they knew what's what when it came to fashion. You can't beat the beads.
The Hair Style Statement
Remember independence? Well, for their sixteenth birthday celebrations, their each-for-your-own hairstyle kicked in. Whether it was pitch black dye or Irish red locks, the boys were experimenting with life to the extreme.
For their sixteenth traditional photo, Dennis decided to stay naturally blond while the other two had some dyeing experiments.
Already Seventeen and Many More to Come
By the time they turned seventeen, the boys parted with their colored hair and mutually decided to go back to their natural looks. This birthday was the one that brought back the similarity between the three.
They were a stunning trio and they looked forward to a bright future. The sign was prepared, the flash was set, and the traditional photo was taken.
What Do You Want to Do When You Grow Up?
It was hard to imagine that eighteen years had gone by and that they took their traditional photo without skipping even one year. They graduated from high school and decided on the next steps they wanted to take in life. Dennis wanted to become a sports masseuse and Mark a teacher.
For Peter, the world of architecture was the future and he decided to turn that way. Three talented boys were about to discover the world.
When Things Got Worse
By the time Peter, Mark, and Dennis turned nineteen, it was believed that Peter had seen the worst of his epilepsy seizure. Unfortunately, this was not the case. As they were preparing to take their traditional photo, Peter experienced one of the worst seizures in his life. This would leave an impact for years to come.
They were there for one another through thick and thin and nothing was about to change. Nineteen photos were taken by now and there were many more to come.
Going on a European Adventure
One of the most significant impacts of Peter's condition on him was that he felt uncomfortable being on his own. He was afraid of being alone in case something happened. As he was planning to study in Berlin, Germany, Dennis and Mark saw no other option than to join their brother on his European adventure.
The three moved to the German capital not forgetting to preserve their birthday tradition and took their twentieth photo in Deutschland.
It Was Now or Never
One of the most noticeable things that grew as the triplets entered their twenties was their hair. With their twenty-first birthday just around the corner, the boys were living life and enjoying the moment.
They took their traditional photo unaware of what was about to happen. They couldn't control everything and not all was in their hands.
Still Hanging in There
They were twenty-two and still living in Berlin. Life was good. If not for the fact that Peter slightly trimmed his hair the three still looked very much alike. How long could this go on?
For how many years could the boys keep on with this birthday photo tradition? How many photos were down the line? No one could say.
Home Sweet Home
By 2008 Dennis, Peter and Mark had all completed their studies. It was time for them to go back home. At first, they believed that they were returning to the same home they left, however, the table was about to turn.
Karin was about to discover something that would yet again find them unprepared. This would now change their lives once more.
A Never-Ending Birthday Sign
Karin was diagnosed with a severe medical condition. The boys were celebrating their twenty-fourth birthday and at the same time taking care of their beloved mother. Peter's new girlfriend, Suzan, helped the boys at these difficult moments.
With all that was going on, they did not neglect their tradition and another photo was taken. Three twenty-four-year-old men in three different tops and one long-lasting sign. What a beautiful tradition this was.
A Quarter of a Century
At twenty-five, the triplets were still bonded together all living with their mother under the same roof. By now, Peter's girlfriend, Suzan, permanently moved in. The boys each had a different hairstyle so it was easy to tell them apart.
One had it relatively short, while the other two were competing in the 'Dennis the Menace' lookalike contest. Mark was in the lead. The traditional photo was taken and a quarter of a century had passed.
The Beginning of the End
Even at twenty-six, the boys kept the tradition their mother started and took the birthday photo with pride. They wouldn't allow even one piece of long hair to get in their way. They were about to embrace the most beautiful years of their lives no matter how many obstacles were waiting ahead.
With eye-blinding smiles, Peter, Dennis, and Mark posed to the camera and documented another photo to join the rest. The next year was the year that changed everything for the three brothers and their loved ones.
When It's Time to Say Goodbye
When the triplets turned twenty-seven, it was the beginning of a new chapter in their lives — one like they never knew before. They sadly had to part with the most precious person in their lives. Karin passed away after losing her battle with cancer. They were devastated, however, this would only bring them closer. Even closer than what they already were.
The big house they grew up in was left to them and they decided to stick together and carry on living there. It was spacious, none of the three had any plans that could affect the others and it held so many memories. It was too early for them to say goodbye. The twenty-seventh photo was taken.
The Greatest Gift of All
For their twenty eights celebration, they couldn't have asked for a greater gift. Especially not Peter. Suzan was pregnant and nothing made them happier than the fact that their baby would grow up in the same house Peter did. In 2013, the triplets turned twenty-eight and baby Noah was born.
They were now new parents, two new uncles, and a brand new photo to document the occasion. There are some things in life that never change and the traditional photo was one of them.
Another Snapshot Created
The three brothers, Peter, Mark, and Dennis, were leading hectic lifestyles with all three having full-time jobs and Peter being a new dad. With all that was going on, they still spared two minutes every year not only for the sake but in memory of their mother.
This year was no exception. At twenty-nine, with their thirties just around the corner, another photo was added to the archive.
A Double Celebration
It's not every day one turns thirty and when there are three involved, this definitely called for a party. When the boys turned thirty they had the party of a lifetime. They celebrated their birthday and they celebrated Peter and Suzan getting married too.
Peter was officially tying the knot with the love of his life and Dennis and Mark were tying the sign for the traditional birthday photo.
Thirty-One Memorable Years
It was now thirty-one years of the three brothers getting together every year and creating a memory that would last a lifetime. They still all lived together, still worked, provided, and helped in bringing up their son and nephew. Thirty-one years have flown by.
They have known their ups and downs, they have seen how heartbreaking life can sometimes be, and they have enjoyed the most beautiful things it can also bring with it.
The Simple Things in Life
When their thirty-second celebration came, they still had the initial sign their mother made for them all those years ago. Except for the age label, it was the same old simple sign that meant so much to them.
The boys, now men, were taller, the smiles were bigger and the end of this tradition was peeking from behind the camera's lens. This beautiful tradition was about to drift off and become just a memory.
Double Three Birthday
The double-three birthday arrived. Amazingly, they still all looked not a day over twenty. Taking birthday photos was becoming nothing special and the triplets were beginning to show signs of it.
They were not as interested as before, and even though it only took a moment or two to do, they felt the end was near.
When I'm Thirty Four
By the time the three were thirty-four, the difference between the three was significant. The one-third in the middle had his unique ways while the two on both sides resembled tremendously.
These three were adored by all as such a relationship between brothers is only something to admire.
The Smile Evolution
Look at what one year can do to one person (or three). Their hair grew and so did their wisdom of life, and over the years, the evolution of their facial expressions is clearly identified.
From naturally smiling toddlers to forced-to-smile teens, and eventually handsome, healthy, and super cute men with so much to say in one photo.
The Last Word Has Not Been Said
The thirty-six photo was the last one. After more than three decades, the three brothers felt that the peak had passed and that the thirty-six photos they had wrapped into the best memory box they could have ever made. They dressed in their biggest smiles, put on their unmatching tops, and said cheese. The last traditional photo was created and this chapter of their lives was sealed.
Peter, Dennis, and Mark remain closer than ever. We don't know what made the boys stop taking photos but we are grateful for what they shared and are envious of what they have accomplished.
The Grand Finale
Fast forward to 2020. With modern technology and a lot of ambition, the famous three gathered once more. They didn't have to strike a pose in front of the camera and didn't have to worry if they had the same top on or not.
A video on YouTube features this amazing project and reflects how simple things, like photographs, can come together to create a masterpiece in motion. The triplets prove once again that friendship, determination, and love are all that's needed to make the world go round. The End.
Having triplets or being part of one is no easy feat. How about being parents to or a part of sextuplets? Read this next story to find out.
After almost giving up on their dream, and after embracing the fact that they will never be parents, the McGhees became one of the most famous ones in Columbus, Ohio, as no other sextuplet family has ever been recorded there before.
Mia's and Rozonno's Story
Mia and Rozonno had their fair share of bad luck when it came to building their own family. The most private moments of Mia's life had to be exposed to doctors and she was almost deprived of her biggest purpose in life.
We want to take you back to the early days of this astonishing story, where it all began and weaved its shape. Even today, more than a decade later, these six children (and parents) continue to amaze us. This is their story.
At the Begining
Rozonno and Mia McGhee go back many years. They met when they were both in their teens. It was love at first sight and Mia knew straight away that Rozonno was the one with whom she would fulfill her biggest dream — becoming a mother.
Forming a strong and happy family was her biggest wish in life, as she herself came from a single-parent household. She knew early in life that she would be the best mother there is, and knew Rozonno would complete her. Together they would bring new lives into this world.
A Single Parent House Hold
Mia grew up only with her mother. She can recall being a little girl, fantasizing about her big day and about the family she would eventually have.
She knew deep inside that the man she marries would have to be a strong and supportive person, and that her partner for the journey of life, would share the same dream as her and want a big family, more than anything else in the world.
Going by the Book
Mia was the love of Rozonno's life. She first wanted to graduate school and do her years in college before taking the path of parenthood in life, and so it was. The couple married not long before Mia's 20th birthday and the next chapter of their lives was about to begin.
Becoming a mother was not as easy as Mia initially thought, and falling naturally pregnant was a challenge. Years flew by and Mia and Rozonno were desperately eager of becoming parents. Things were not going as planned.
Thank You Modern Technology
In 2010, the technology of IVF treatments was well developed and many couples who were unable to go the natural way turned this to this alternative. The IVF treatment was expensive and the McGhees found it difficult to afford.
Every penny Mia and Rozonno earned was used for making their dream come true. The price was high and painful, both financially and mentally, but when Mia got pregnant for the first time, the pain wasn't felt anymore.
When There’s a Will, There’s a Way
After several trials, Mia did eventually become pregnant with twins, which is very common in treatment. Frustration turned into joy and there wasn't a happier couple around. It was a hard start in life for the two, but when there's a will, there's a way, and they had no plans in giving up on their dream.
The nursery was all set up and well designed, all the necessary baby stuff was ordered, and all they had to do was wait patiently for the due date. What the couple didn't know, was that the pregnancy wasn't going to end as they wished.
A Sad End, or a New Beginning?
The pregnancy ended tragically with both babies not surviving. The couple found themselves heartbroken and devastated. Mia sank deep into herself finding it difficult to rise back up again. Not long after, Mia gradually comprehended that life must go on.
If the most important thing in her life was to become a mother, she has no choice but to get on her feet and look out for a brighter day. She wasn't about to waste any more precious time, and with the support of her loving husband, she went back on track.
Mia was about to find out she was pregnant again. It all happened very quickly and this time Mia was cautious and didn't want to get her hopes up. Both Mia and Rozonno were thrilled by the news, and never in a million years could they prepare themselves for what the doctor was about to announce.
Mia wasn't prepared to go through what she had already tasted in life and did everything in her power to protect and assure the babies are born healthy and in time.
It’s Always Darkest Before the Dawn
We all know that when it rains, it pours. And, as it sometimes happens, when there is good news down the line...there is more good news to follow. God blessed Mia and Rozonno not only with a new pregnancy but with a number of fetuses that were about to keep the couple very busy.
During one of Mia's first checkups, her doctor announced that indeed they were about to become parents but that wasn't all. Mia was carrying six babies, all healthy and strong.
Way Over the Moon
Could you imagine the thrill Mia was under? Expecting a baby is exciting enough, but expecting six babies is overwhelming. At first, this was too much to handle, but then, after the news sank in, Mia realized yet again that life's ways are not always clear or understandable. Mysteries lie within!
She was determined to bring these six little babies into the world, no matter what price she had to pay.
The History of Sextuples
Having six children in one pregnancy, and having all babies survive, is very rare and unheard of. Very few families have told their stories or had their stories documented. One of those families is Winnie and James Bushnell.
This was in 1866 in Chicago. Winnie Bushnell carried six babies through the full nine months, however, only four survived. Two of the babies didn't survive their first year. Throughout history, only 35 sets of sextuplets survived and reached adulthood, so the odds for Mia were not in her favor.
An Optimistic Mother of Six
Mia remained optimistic. She held on to her beliefs and knew that the day would come and she will become a mother. A mother of six. The doctors, on the other hand, were not as assured.
In medical history, it was common that at least one baby didn't survive, and the doctors didn't want to be responsible for the outcome. Mia and Rozonno knew deep inside that this was meant to be and prepared themselves for embracing six babies as the due date was approaching.
The Miracle of life
In 2010, magic was made. Madison, Olivia, Isaac, Josiah, Elijah, and Rozonno Jr. were born. Six healthy and strong babies came into this world, making Mia and Rozonno's dreams come true. Four boys and two girls filled their lives (and their days) with such joy and happiness.
It was later discovered that Mia was carrying seven fetuses. This was something that was missed during examination throughout her pregnancy. When the big day arrived, she learned that one baby didn't make it, and she was left with her six precious gems.
History was about to be made as all six babies survived and all were about to turn into reality superstars. The future was holding moments of joy and recognition, as Mia and Ronzonno were about to shuffle their life cards once again.
Instead of grieving their loss of the seventh baby, they decided to celebrate the lives of the remaining six, and of course, their own lives as new parents.
The new parents wanted to freeze their memories. They wanted to documents those precious days and hired a professional photographer to snap the moment.
When it comes to babies, no one can stage a frame, and the babies, as if someone was directing them, created a photo that instantly became the talk of the day.
A Photo of a Lifetime
All six babies were comfortably scattered around Rozonno, and one fell asleep on his back. Mia, the loving mother, pleasantly looked at her husband (and at one of the babies), all forming together, a masterpiece of photography.
Yet again, life was about to bring on its least expected moments, and one of the most famous women alive was not going to stay oblivious to that photo.
It's Oprah Time
When Oprah Winfrey came across the photo of the six babies and their sleeping father, she knew the McGhee family had to be on her show. The main intention was not to drive more audience, but to financially help the family, as the new addition to the couple was costing them an arm and a leg.
For appearing on the show, they received a check worth a quarter of a million dollars. Now, if that wasn't enough, the Oprah Winfrey production granted the couple an all-paid honeymoon as the two never had a chance to go on one.
Americans Do It Best
With Americans being Americans, the number of donations the family received after the show was astonishing. The family's story moved people's hearts and they received boxes of diapers, baby bottles, car seats, clothing, and more.
Do you think this was the end of their fortune? The McGhees' story was just about start and there was more to come. They were about to make it big. Really big.
Reality Bites the Dust
After their grand appearance on the Oprah show, Mia and Rozonno were about to receive an offer they couldn't refuse. The Oprah Winfrey production offered them their own reality show, where the six babies would be filmed and followed for the first years.
Bringing up such a unique family was so unheard of, they knew the reality show would be a huge success. And it was. It was the first of its kind.
Six Little McGhees
The reality show, called 'Six Little McGhees', aired between 2012-2014 and documented the first two years of the sextuplets. It filmed the day-to-day lives of the busy schedules the parents had, learning every day how to juggle between six little souls that had to be fed, changed, and most of all, loved.
The show 'Six Little McGhees' wasn't where this journey would end, as when the first two years were over, 'Growing Up McGhees' was created, following the next six years of the family.
It's Show Time
Having such a large family made it impossible for Mia to hold a job, so she immediately became a stay-at-home mom, dedicating 100% of her time to raising her children. Life was challenging and not always easy. Mia and Rozonno hired help to assist with the simple daily chores.
Could you imagine feeding two babies, and when they were done, having to feed another two? And when the sixth one was done eating it was time to feed the first yet again.
The Camera Follows
The reality shows the kids starred on, made the children no strangers to the camera and they all felt comfortable having their pictures taken every now and then. Eventually, everyone ignored the cameras, as they became part of their household. The days were tough and the nights were even tougher, and Mia found herself exhausted.
She had to form a tight schedule. She had help, and people would come to give baths and put the children to sleep, but the regime and the schedule she kept was what helped her through the day.
Everything According to Schedule
If the bottles weren't cleaned as soon as she was done feeding, they were never cleaned at all. If she missed the bathing hour the children would become cranky which would then affect the rest of the evening. She was on top of it all.
As the days went by, Mia brought up six beautiful babies, each with their own special personality and unique ways. One was the sleepy one, the other a bouncy baby, and all were contributing their presence to one of the soon-to-be-famous families in America.
A Photo of a Lifetime Take 2
Remember the famous photo of the six sleeping babies laying on their father? Well, in 2016 Mia wanted to restore the photo once again, with their now grown-up six-year-old children.
The photoshoot resulted in a magnificent image of the parents and their children and reflected a spectacular moment to cherish for life.
A Siblings' Way of Life
Like all normal functioning families, the McGhees children fight. According to Mia, they fight a lot, but alongside their fighting moments, they love each other dearly. They are growing up with strong family values.
Mia and Rozonno's dream has come true and they have provided six little children with the family they never had while growing up.
Now I'm a Believer
Everyday challenges can be difficult on any family, however, when there are six children involved, small issues can become big monsters. Mia says that her strong beliefs kept her going, and she had made an effort into passing her beliefs to her children.
They admit that the parenting school never closes and that they both keep on learning how to be the best parent they can be every day.
The end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020 were just around the corner for the McGhees, bringing to them a reality no one expected. The six children were homeschooled for a few months, making life more difficult than it was.
Overnight, Mia and Rozonno found themselves at home for most hours of the day, with six energetic kids. Having one or two kids at home every day, for all hours of the day was difficult, so having six kids in could turn into a nightmare.
The Benefits of Siblings
The McGhee home had become a small school, with six computers and the couple playing private tutors. Their strong bonds kept them going and although times could get difficult, they had learned how to lean on one another and enjoy the benefits of having a large and close family.
Besides the education responsibilities each child has, they all take part in the household chores — taking their turn in doing the dishes, taking out the garbage, and keeping their home clean.
Life Time Friendship
Alongside the downfalls, you've got to look at the benefits of having five siblings. While other children are at home alone for many hours of the day, the McGhee kids have their friends right beside them.
They always have someone to play with, someone to consult with and someone to complain to about the difficult days they were going through. Having five siblings is far better than having none at all.
It's Not Becoming Easier
Mia has been asked on several occasions if it gets any easier. If the fact that the children are growing up and becoming young teenagers makes her day to day more bearable. Well, the answer, apparently, is a clear no.
Mia explained that the children might know how to feed and dress themselves, but we are talking about six different opinions, six different needs, six different hobbies, and six different individuals to satisfy.
Family Is All That Matters
When the family goes out, they all pile into their family minivan and love exploring nature together. Going out is always easier than staying in, Mia said. The challenges of life have not spared the McGhee family, but Mia and Rozonno feel that with all difficulties, they have been blessed.
At the end of the day, the love, respect, and beliefs they have for one another keep them going, and no matter what challenges surprise them in life, anything is possible. They never forget that dreams can come true.