Monday, January 31, 2011

Playing Dress Up

Maybe it was a good thing all 4 kids ended up being girls.

Can you imagine what our little boy would have had to endure from his older sisters?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Counting My Blessings

I'm a whiner and a complainer.  I find it very easy to focus on the negatives in my life.  Ryan's truck has been in the shop (getting the clutch replaced) all week.  The weather is cold and dreary, which affects my mood and sleeping pattern.  The twins are in yet another challenging/whiny/messy stage.  Elizabeth can't stay clean to save her life- I don't think any of her clothes will survive her and be able to be used by Annie and Maddie.  You know, just regular run-of-the-mill everyday challenges that make up this thing called Life.
Most days I feel a little bit sorry for myself at some point.  The twins spilled their cereal all over the floor and then stepped on it again.  I can't get Emma and Elizabeth to pick up after themselves without threatening and bribes and the Mean Mommy Voice.  Ryan has evening meetings a few times a month that leave me alone during dinner time.  Other people have family close by that provide free babysitting and I don't.  My favorite shoes have holes in them.  Boo hoo.  Poor me.

The funny thing is, my life is actually really good.  I have 4 beautiful and healthy children.  I have the best and sweetest husband.  I have wonderful and thoughtful friends.  I have a home.  I have a dishwasher installed.  (This house didn't have one when we moved in- and the dishwasher we have was actually a mobile unit originally.  I am stoked that it is under the counter now where it belongs!)  I have a washer and a dryer so I don't have to do the laundry by hand.  I can hop in the car and drive to the store and by just about anything I need.  I am very blessed.

I have a little girl named Ella in the Primary class at church that I teach who gave the closing prayer after my lesson last Sunday.  It was about the longest prayer I have ever heard a 4-year-old give.  (All 8 other 4-yr-olds were very squirmy by the end.)  She listed off all the things she was thankful for during her prayer.  I figured if she (and her family- who must be providing the behavior to be copied by their daughter) could be thankful for so much, I could too. 

Here's a little background on her family:  Not quite a year ago a baby boy named Cannon joined their family.  He was a quiet and sleepy baby that Natalie (Ella's mom) found a relief after her first two very colicky babies.  But Cannon didn't develop the quite the way he should have.  After months of tests and research on their own (you can read about their emotional journey by clicking here) they found out their son has a rare disease called Menkes. 

Menkes is fatal.  Most children with Menkes do not live longer than 2-3 years, the average being 20 months.

Cannon can't swallow well enough to eat on his own, and has respiratory problems that make a good day for him challenging.  On top of that, he is sick often and has been hospitalized several times.  And on top of that, Kent (the dad) tore his Achilles tendon, had to have surgery and is out of commission (work, helping around the house) for a month.

If they can find things to be thankful for, surely I can as well.  And I am thankful.  My heart is also full for those who go through such challenges, and I hope that I can be there for them to help in any small way I can.  It brings to mind a song we sing at church-

Because I have been given much, I too must give.
Because of thy great bounty Lord each day I live.
I must divide my gifts from thee, with every brother that I see
Who has the need of help from me.

Because I have been sheltered, fed by thy good care,
I cannot see another's lack, and I not share-
My glowing fire, my loaf of bread, my roof's safe shelter overhead
That he too may be comforted.

Because I have been blessed by thy great love, dear Lord,
I'll share thy love again according to thy word.
I shall give love to those in need, I'll show my love by word and deed.
Thus shall my thanks be thanks indeed.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


We bought our house over four years ago.  It's funny how our list of things to fix in the house doesn't really get shorter even as Ryan putters away.  On the contrary, it seems to grow longer the longer we are here. 

We have boring ol' baseboard heaters throughout the house, and non-programmable thermostats to go with them.  This means someone (ahem Ryan) needs to brave the cold hardwood floors to turn on the heater every morning.  The thermostats in our house aren't precise, and I've been known to crank the heat during the day when the warm-blooded man of the house is away.

That is going to come to an abrupt stop.

Last month's heating bill arrived on Friday.  It was a painful one.  In my defense, December was unusually cold this year.  I guess that gave Ryan the incentive to purchase a programmable thermostat and install it, 'cause Saturday morning Ryan went and bought this thing:
And he programmed it to a balmy 68 degrees.  My dear, sweet husband said that we really didn't know how warm it has been in here lately, so it could have been that we've been comfortable at 68 degrees all this time. 

He's so optimistic.

By the time this picture was taken, the temperature had already started the slow crawl up to 70.  Tomorrow morning, it'll get there.

Artistic Endeavor

Annie and Maddie like to spend time with their color crayons almost everyday.  I find if I color with them, the crayons have a less chance of being spilled all over.  Or the crayons being used on the table, chairs or walls.  
Annie and Maddie like to help me with my drawings too.

Saturday Morning

Ryan took all 4 of his girls down to Safeway yesterday morning for a donut.  They loved it.

Tall Towers

Ryan "borrowed" all the kids' Legos for his own purposes.  He got the tower of blocks to reach all the way to the ceiling.  For a short time, anyhow.  It seems like simply the presence of children brings the tower crashing down. :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

More Impromptu Rules

Honestly, I think I make up new rules every day.  I've been at this parenting thing almost 8 years.  You would think that we've covered them all by now, but every once in a while the kids surprise me with new and creative ways to test their limits.

Here are some of the recent ones:

1.  You must have at least your underwear on to color at the table.

2.  Don't stick paper in the toaster.

3.  Dirty flatware goes on the counter or in the dishwasher, not back in the drawer.

4.  Don't pick your sister's nose.

5.  Bums belong on the seat of the chair, not on the back of the chair.

6.  Don't pee by the house.  We have a toilet- use it.

7.  For the 7.6 millionth time- food belongs AT THE TABLE.  This should not be a surprise.

8.  Your shirt sleeve is not a napkin.

9.  Don't bite your toe nails.

10.  When you use the toilet- FLUSH.

11.  Don't stand at the window naked.

12.  Don't color on your sister's picture.

13.  Tortillas are a food, not a frisbee.

I did another post about this a couple years ago, which you can  read about here.  Boy, are the kids creative.

If I'm not careful, the list of rules will be longer than Obama's health care bill.  :)

What are some rules you've had to make up on the fly to combat your kids' creativity?

Monday, January 17, 2011


It would appear the Cullens got a job locally...?
(I hope someone else who has read the Twilight books also finds this funny.)

The Mom in the Hat

Sometimes it feels like my brain is turning to mush.  Talking all day in terms a 2-year-old will understand makes my once college-level vocabulary slowly, slowly disappear.  I did go to college, people.  But you'd never guess it, when the only things out of my mouth these days goes like this:  "Did you hear a train?  Choo choo!  Choo choo!  Was the train loud?  Did you hear it with your ears?"

To keep the synapses from going away, every once in a great while I try to challenge myself.  It might be reading something by Charles Dickens; it might be to learn a new skill.  Since I haven't learned something new in who knows how long, I bought myself a couple of crochet hooks, some yarn and went looking for a pattern that specified its level as "easy."

I found something at this Etsy store that seemed to fit the bill.  I settled in with my instructions, the computer (for crochet lessons courtesy of You Tube) and away I went.

This is my 2nd attempt:

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Valentine Wreath

Cold weather and the lack of sunshine leads to a couple of things- a) major sugar indulgence, b) cabin fever, and c) the crafting bug.

While blog-hopping the other evening, I found a crazy idea for this wreath over at the Tatertots and Jello website.  (Ok, so it's an odd name for a craft blog, but whatever.  Maybe if I were more of a crafty person, perhaps I would understand.)

I have always been a little envious of other women's abilities to beautifully decorate their homes, and have decorations for each holiday and season.  And then not having their cute stuff disappear behind other stuff (ie, the pens and papers a husband empties from his pockets and leaves on top of the entertainment center, or the mountains of dirty clothes, school papers, Polly Pockets, Legos, clean laundry and crumbs that seem to accumulate all over) like at my house.  Visions of the displays at the craft store float around in my mind and I think, for a short moment, surely I could do something cute like that. 

The next day I drug (Er, maybe that's not the right way to say it.  There were no drugs involved, just a whole lot of crying and fighting over who got to hold mom's phone) dragged the twins to the store to buy the supplies to turn the charming vision into a reality. 

I found the 12" wreath form ( later used as a hat or a weapon of sisterly abuse), $4 worth of Valentine cupcake liners (which can be sat on and still be usable) and then made my way over to the ribbon aisle.  Ribbon can be very pricey when you need large amounts, so imagine my excitement to find 60 yards of red ribbon on clearance for $1.49.  Score! 

That afternoon, after I got the twins down for their nap, I found my old friend the glue gun and got to work.  Thinking the wreath should be pretty self-explanatory, I didn't bother looking up the directions again.

Imagine my surprise at learning there was a reason for that particular ribbon to be so value priced.  If you so much as breathed on it wrong, it creased.  Good thing I was going to cover it.  

An hour later, when I was thoroughly tired of folding cupcake liners and burning my fingers in an attempt to make those liners stick to my ribbon-covered wreath form, I picked off the last of the hot glue cobwebs.  Ta da!  It was done.
(Do you like our coffee filter snowflakes that are also on the door?  We are nothing if not classy.)

I realized that my wreath didn't quite look like the one in the picture.  Mine was a little more... funky.  That's when I checked the craft blog and realized I was supposed to "bunch the liner up at the bottom by pressing all of the side together like a flower" and not fold them into quarters. 

I guess mine is "original" and "has character."  Right?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mr. Fix-It

Take one moderately rotten Monday and add this:
 and this:
and you have a much, much better day.

Thank you, Ryan!  That was so thoughtful and sweet.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Guerilla Warfare

I'm a little impressed.  The method of the twins' destruction is evolving.

Once upon a time, all Annie and Maddie did was unload toys/clothes/books/purse contents/kitchenware as fast as they possibly could.  Then came the scattering abroad.  Then came destruction of those objects.

Now, they leave partially full CapriSun pouches on the floor awaiting Mom's oblivious walking.  And inevitably, I won't be paying attention to the floor and find it with my foot.


It's amazing.  I think Annie and Maddie discuss in their own toddler-esque talk how to sabotage Mom to the maximum effect in the morning before I get them from their cribs.  How can they use their new skills to make life as challenging as possible for Mommy during the course of the day?  Their tactics change.  Sometimes it's whining, sometimes it's crying, sometimes it's the destruction of the house, and sometimes it's a combination of all 3.

Aaagghh.  How does a Mom survive twin toddlerhood???

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Signs Your Week Isn't Starting Well

1. Your husband entertains you with nauseating noises from the bathroom half the night.

2. Husband layers on as many layers of clothing as possible before leaving for work, and yet still has icy cold hands.

3. Husband's truck refuses to start.  Husband takes minivan to work.

4. Husband comes home from work at 9 am looking like death, and shivering.  And he's wearing more clothes than he left the house in.

5. Husband sleeps until twins' nap time.

Hello Monday, and first day back to school of the new year....

You Can't Catch Me, I'm the Gingerbread Man

Yesterday I surprised the family with wassail and gingerbread men when they came home from work and school.  The house smelled amazing! (At least to those with clear noses, which was 5 out of 6 of us.) 
While researching a recipe for wassail, I ran across an article on Twelfth Night on Wikipedia.  (The internet is great-- some days I really feel like searches on the internet go like those commercials for Bing-- who knows what you'll find!)  According to Wikipedia, wassail (and gingerbread) was traditionally served on Twelfth Night, which is "the evening of the fifth of January, preceding Twelfth Day, the eve of the Epiphany, formerly the last day of the Christmas festivities and observed as a time of merrymaking."  (Is the 12 Days of Christmas being after Christmas news to anyone else?)  So, I thought we'd learn a little about our English heritage and eat gingerbread and wassail.

I think the kids really liked this tradition.

(And I think we did catch that Gingerbread Man...)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Visit to the Dentist

Every 6 months comes so fast.  Sometimes I can't believe I pay someone to poke at my teeth and gums with sharp metal objects.  I mean, really?  Isn't that kind of against what common sense tells you?  "Sure, to keep my teeth clean and healthy, I should scratch my teeth with a small version of a screw driver."  Hm.

And then there's the part of the trip to the dentist where I feel like an errant child: 

"I see you have some plaque build-up on that hard to reach place in the back of your mouth."  (No kidding.)

"Are you flossing every day?"  (Um, no.  Not every day.  Have I ever mentioned I don't really like flossing?)

"When you floss, do you floss behind the last molars?"  (Something else to try to remember.  Lovely.)  "You need to disturb that lip of your gums back there to keep build up from occurring." (Ew.)

"If you hold the tooth brush like this...  See?  Then you can get those areas clean."  (Thank you.  I always appreciate feeling like a stupid kid being taught something the adult thinks is beyond simple.)

So, enough of that.

Today I took Annie and Maddie for their first foray into the dentist office.  We arrived a little before our appointment (Go us!), and I was handed two sets of paperwork to fill out.  Annie and Maddie proceeded to rearrange and rip magazines make themselves at home in the waiting room, while I filled out birth dates, parents names, allergies, insurance information, etc. etc. etc. TWICE.   Love love love paperwork, while the Crazies run free.

Paperwork done, and we try not to destroy wait patiently in the waiting room.  Annie comes up to me, and starts patting her bum and saying, "Tinky."  (This is Toddler for "stinky" or "change my diaper NOW.")  Of course she needs a change now.

I told the nice ladies at the check-in counter that we had some business to attend to and would be back in a couple moments.  We all trudged out to the minivan. 

Two minutes later, we came back.  Minus the stench and coats. 

Once we were called back, Maddie, who is usually the most amiable twin, adamantly refused to open her mouth.  Annie, on the other hand, opened her mouth just fine, but would not close again and show Dr. Martin her bite.

But hey, I got a picture to commemorate another Big First in their life.

You can tell how excited they were about getting their teeth checked. 

It's great when your dentist is a friend of the family- he'll pose with your squirmy progeny for a picture. :)

Annie and Maddie were happier outside the building.  They posed with their stickers and new bracelets.  All kids are allowed to pick a small toy at the end of the visit.  

*Oh, and for the record, I was cavity-free at my last check-up. :)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

He's Had a Birthday, Shout Hooray

Ryan celebrated his birthday last week.  We were able to celebrate his big day with his family. 

 Elizabeth helped put in the candles- they are a "patterent" (aka pattern) of alternating red and blue.  The "Happy Birthday" candles took their use the hardest.
 Everyone is eyeing Ryan's great big chocolate cake.  Will he share?
 Maddie liked her chocolate cake a lot!
So while Ryan's folks were at Costco procuring the birthday cake, Annie discovered she could open the side by side fridge/freezer.  I'm not sure what possessed her to do feed the dog, but Annie decided to start grabbing eggs and throwing them on the floor for Keagan to lick the slimy goo.  We found 3 egg shells by the time Ryan spotted her.  It could have been much worse.  As it was, there was little to clean up once the dog finished.  Now I wonder how long do I have before Annie figures out how to open our more traditional-style fridge and I am in big trouble?