Fred and Lisa Hardenbrook , with (from left), Lucy, Susanna, and Tatum. Photo credit:  MICHELE LANZA

Fred and Lisa Hardenbrook , with (from left), Lucy, Susanna, and Tatum. Photo credit:  MICHELE LANZA

It was the snapshot with Goofy that grabbed her heart.

Even before a date for drinks turned into a four-hour conversation, even before she realized she hadn't stopped laughing all night, Lisa was smitten with Fred's eHarmony picture, taken on a family trip to Disney World.

"We're both pretty big Disney fans," Lisa says. "I thought it was fun-loving and sweet."

For Fred, who'd always found himself nervous with women, one glimpse of Lisa's smile flushed away his jitters.

They talked about their lives: She was in her last year at Cabrini College, and he worked for a biomedical-engineering company near Princeton. Fred mentioned his two new nieces; Lisa talked about her mother, her uncles and aunts.

"It was clear how important family was to her, and to me, too," he remembers.

On their second date, it took the couple 31/2 hours to share a pizza. Later, they'd go to movies, then linger in the car, talking. Still, there were times when Fred felt like a stammering tween; when Lisa first met his grandmother, he said: " 'I'd like to introduce you as my girlfriend. Would that be OK?' I felt like a kid in elementary school, asking a girl to go steady."

The day of Lisa's graduation, the two strolled around a Moorestown park. Lisa's mother had given her a gift of pearl earrings.

"You know what would go really well with those earrings?" Fred asked. Then he took out the ring. "Lisa, will you marry me?"

The next year was "happily frantic"; Lisa started graduate school in social work at Bryn Mawr College, moved into Fred's Sicklerville townhouse, and made the rounds of caterers and florists as they planned an October 2012 wedding.

Fred continued his exhausting daily commute. One night, it took 31/2 hours to get home, the Vine Street Expressway so numbingly slow that he'd turned off the car's engine - and when he finally slumped through the door, Lisa said, "I'm calling a Realtor."

They looked at homes in Willow Grove - a three-bedroom that needed some updating and a four-bedroom that seemed large for a childless couple. But something drew them to that house. They moved in August 2014.

What they didn't know was that Lisa was already pregnant. She came downstairs one morning, test stick in hand. "My first thought was: 'Oh, my God; there are two lines. We're grown-ups,' " she recalls. "It was a mix of nervousness and happiness."

Followed shortly by a stiff chaser of surprise.

At Lisa's first ultrasound, the tech grew excited as she examined the sonogram screen. "I have to tell you something," she said. "You're having triplets."

They hadn't done anything to boost Lisa's fertility; neither family had a history of multiples. And the night before, they had had a serious talk about the prospect of having just one child.

"I almost fell out of my chair," Fred recalls. Lisa remembers thinking, "I'm going to be huge." And then a doctor entered with a litany of cautions: Lisa was at risk for gestational diabetes and premature labor; the babies might be born small, with underdeveloped lungs.

Later, Fred's sisters gently ribbed him: You're going to need three car seats, you know. Three cribs. A minivan. A whole kitchen cabinet just to hold their bottles. When Lisa told people they were expecting triplet girls, some said, "You're so blessed." Others said, "You're screwed." A colleague of Fred's, watching him price baby items in triplicate, just chuckled.

Fred steadied himself by recalling a conversation he had had with his father just before he and Lisa began trying to conceive. "I said, 'Dad, I'm really scared,' and my dad looked at me and said, 'Fred, you'll figure it out because you have to.' "

Soon, their house resembled Babies R Us: swings, nursing pillows, strollers, baby carriers, piles of infant clothes, everything in sets of three. And inside, Lisa says, "it was like a little party: One would start, then they'd all rev up. It felt like they were dancing around, doing little somersaults."

Lisa's doctors were hoping to hold off an induction until 35 weeks. But three weeks before that, she developed preeclampsia, her water broke, and she went into active labor. "It's birth day!" declared the OB at Abington Hospital.

Susanna arrived first, via C-section, at 9:49 a.m. She weighed 4 pounds, 1 ounce. Lucy, the tiniest at 3 pounds 11 ounces, came two minutes later, followed by Tatum, 3 pounds 14 ounces.

Lisa remembers kissing all three girls. Fred recalls hearing Susanna's lusty scream, cutting Tatum's umbilical cord, holding Lucy in his cupped hands. The triplets remained in the NICU for five weeks; each day, Fred and Lisa were allowed to hold them for a little bit longer.

The triplets are fraternal, and their parents could see glimmers of individuality: Susanna was relaxed, Lucy serious, and Tatum the "diva" who loudly announced her needs. The day they finally came home, Lisa looked at Fred and said, "We're outnumbered."

The pair have learned that routine keeps chaos at bay: If one baby is eating, they all eat; if it's bath time, they bathe all three. Even so, there are moments of mayhem - such as the time all three girls began howling just as the family returned from a birthday party. "I lost my cool. I was literally turning around in circles," Fred recalls. "But Lisa said, 'Go make bottles. It's going to be OK.' "

Already, the girls seem to nurture each other. "It's amazing watching them nuzzle each other, like: 'I know you. I remember you,' " Lisa says. She envisions them walking to kindergarten as a trio, a lifetime of built-in best friends.

And Fred, aficionado of all things Disney, can't wait until he can snuggle with his girls on the couch on a Saturday morning, bowls of cereal in hand, all of them transfixed by Frozen, three little voices joining his own to croon the signature song.