Thursday, December 30, 2010

Mid-Michigan Children's Museum

After a grueling okay, mostly boring 12 hour drive, we made it back to home-sweet-home last night with enough time to whip up a frozen pizza and bathe two little wrestling baby alligators before bed.  Now that I've had a good night's sleep and got some laundry going, I thought I'd pop in and show you a few pics from our super-fun morning at Mid Michigan Children's Museum with the aunties, uncies, and cousins.
Green means Go!

Vroom!  Vroom!  Mommy and N on the go-cart

N and the cousins posin' for a pic

N, M and Aunt L lost in the maze

Moooove Over!  Daddy and M

Drying off after the waterworks

L listens for her sister-to-be

Busy Boys

Too little, too late, sis!
My sister got some funny ones of us trying on outdated spectacles at the "optometrist's" and I got one of my brother in law weighing himself on the real scale at the "doctor's!" but I'm too nice (*snicker, snicker*) to post it.  And I know my sister would KILL me if I posted the measurement of her belly pic!  The kiddos had a great time, but we had to skedaddle out of there early b/c my little fellas can't maintain the crazy pace set by their big cousins.  They stayed and played even longer! 

This is seriously a very cool place to take the kiddos and I'm sure we'll be back!  Love you, sisters! Thanks for the good time!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Family Christmas Pics

Merry Christmas 2010
Hubs' Parents and Sibs, minus...
Uncle A (who had to work Christmas Eve) with N playing "On/Off"  

My family: Parents, sibs, spouses, neices and nephews: 16 in all!
Merry Christmas!  We've been packing so much fun into our days that it's impossible to post it all today.  Hum the tune "12 Days of Christmas" as you read our week in summary:
  • 4 Family Christmas parties in 24 hours
  • 6 grandchildren composed of one 7 year old, three 3 year olds, and my twin 19 month olds
  • 1 waterpark double birthday party
  • 1 Sunday morning spent worshipping the Lord at Urgent Care
  • 2 toddlers with ear infections
  • an untold number of gifts, treats, hugs, kisses, and massive quantities of food
  • 1 incredibly fun morning spent at the Mid Michigan Children's Museum
Exhausting, yes, but it's all worth it to be able to spend time with our families. Now to pack the van with all of our goodies.  We've got a long drive ahead of us tomorrow morning.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Road Trip!

We did it again!  You won't offend me by saying I'm crazy - I already know it.  We chose to drive from MN to MI for our (National Lampoon's) Christmas Vacation.  This time, with a DVD player THAT WORKS!  What a difference!

All was going well....we were packed and ready to go when I discovered our first, shall I say, obstacle: a dead battery!  The luggage was being loaded, the babies were being readied, Hubs was making last minute business calls because Road Trip Day was, after all, a weekday (horrors!), when...dun-dun-dun.

Thankfully, Hubs was able to jump it and we taxied down the runway backed out of the driveway with at 30 minute delay 30 minutes late.  But there was a traffic jam and flashing lights at our neighborhood's exit.  Rather than take the long-cut to Jimmy John's, which was out of the way anyhow, we decided to go to Quizno's.

NOPE!  Quizno's is closed!  As in, no longer in business.  Okay....doesn't that new Subway have a drive through?

Nope!  But it IS open, and we can get food....

6:18pm, 48 minutes past our departure time, we rolled out of our city.

Garmin said we'd have a 6:30 AM arrival.  I hope Lady Garmin's optimism rubs off on me.  Or her persistence.

The boys were happy, though, because we rigged up the DVD player with a Baby (Crack) Einstein movie and we flew over the Wisconsin border, readying ourselves with Caribou coffee and Diet Coke.

About the time the boys were passed out and we had consumed massive quantities of caffeine, oh, say 9 pm, we were flying along I-90 when the entire eastbound lane came to a crawl.  What's going on?  It had begun to sprinkle, but we didn't think much of it.  Oh, an accident.  That's too bad.  But why are they diverting us off the highway?

At the Kwik Trip, we top off the tank and take turns using the restroom.  What?!  They closed I-90 because of too many accidents?!

That was FREEZING DRIZZLE we were driving through.  Ohh....

While we CRAWLED along tiny Wisconsin towns for 9 miles to the next on-rampI(and it WAS getting worse outside), I made phone calls to make reservations at a Madison hotel where we could use Hubs' well-earned points (free hotel!  Something's going right!) We were greeted by the sight of a semi/minivan accident being cleaned up.  It didn't look too good, so that's when we started praying.

And praying.  More accidents, including semi-trucks on their sides, were seen between Kwik Trip town and our Madison hotel.  Finally, finally, we made it!

The boys were SO funny when we removed them from the warm, dark, cocoon of our van and carried them through the brilliantly lit and decorated lobby.  Oh, oh! They both tried to press the elevator buttons, and LORD HAVE MERCY!  They discovered the light switches were only 3 feet off the floor in our room.

The 3 light switches in our suite entertained them until Daddy showed up with our luggage...ON A CART! (Oh, yeah, that was something else positive - unexpectedly staying in a hotel with 3 suitcases of luggage - full of clean clothes!  Believe me, that doesn't happen!)

So, at midnight, here's what we were doing in the hallway:

It made up for all of the obstacles we'd encountered all evening!  And for the not-falling-to-sleep-until-2:30-am bit, either!

P.S. The second, and longest, half of the trip, all day Wednesday, went extraordinarily, and Praise-the-Lord! boringly well and is not worth blogging about except for bragging on Super Hubby for being such a fabulous driver and my boys for being such fantastic DVD and semi-truck watchers.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Lights

We decided to start a new family tradition: viewing Christmas lights.  Hubs has fond memories of his big family piling in the van and getting hot chocolate at the McD's drive-thru on their way to watch Christmas lights.  Last night we resurrected the tradition with our own twist: chocolate milk in sippy cups and PJ's!

Trouble was, we didn't know where to go!  A few years ago, Hubs and I tried to do this but wound up driving around aimlessly in unfamiliar neighborhoods looking for some good displays.  But I'd heard that there was a holiday lights display map at, one of our local news channels.  We went to one of the display's links, Lights on Flagstaff and discovered it was close enough for us, so we headed out with PJ's, hot (and cold) chocolate, and cookies!

Unfortunately, the phone pics of the boys won't turn for the post, so you'll have to crane your neck to see them...N's face is adorable!
N marvels at the lights

Jingle Bells

M can't take his eyes off it

Despite N feeling under the weather - I was sure he'd pass out as soon as we got into the dark van - he kept his eyes peeled the whole time!  The folks who put on this display, in a quiet residential neighborhood, pulled out all the stops!  We tuned into their local radio station and watched as the snowman choir, little drummer boys, the Disney characters, Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus in the manger, Santa and his reindeer, an angel ensemble, assorted bulbs, stars, and candy canes performed behind a clever lighted-milk-jug fenced enclosure!  M clapped when each song ended and N cheered a quiet, "yay!"  Hubs and I giggled as we watched the fellas and wondered what it would be like to be their neighbors.

Munching cookies during the show, we marveled at the owners' tenacity - we've had over a foot of snow recently, so each character was dug out and the huge berm the plow left has been shaved down for our viewing pleasure.  I can only imagine the work involved in designing the display, broadcasting a station, setting and wiring it up, then digging it out every time it snows!   Kudos to Lights on Flagstaff!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Where's Daddy?

I was able to wrap up an extremely busy travel year with a 8 day trip over to Asia. So while Grandma, Mommy and the boys had fun in 20 inches of snow, Daddy was through 3 of the largest cities in the world. The trip started with a 12 hour flight to Tokyo followed by a 3 hour flight to Beijing. I was only there for one night, worked all the next day and then immediately left for Shanghai. While most of the time was spent working, I was able to see a little of the city. The only city I have ever seen that even comes close to the size of the city and buildings is in Manhattan .

This is the Bund in Shanghai, old buildings and the Nanjing Road on one side of the river and huge, modern buildings on the other.

I am not really a very tall guy, though I wish I was, but walking down the very busy Nanjing Road, I noticed that I could see above the crowd. I was tall, it was all just relative to where you are from! I called the wife that night and told her we may need to move to China for my own ego. (She said no, can you believe that?)  I took the 460 KM an hour Maglev train and then had another flight back to Beijing for one more day of work, but first got take a trip out to The Great Wall.

I later found out that it is extremely rare to be able to visit the Wall when no people are there. This particular day there were very few people and I got the chance to walk a good distance and see one of the most interesting spots in the world. 
I left China later that night for Seoul, Korea. It was extremely cold, so I did not go into the city, but did get the chance to enjoy a Korean specialty because of a very kind invitation from local managers.

Korean BBQ. With Kimchi, sizzling pork, spicy fish soup, sitting on the floor and 15 people around the table. This was all that was left of an incredible amount of food. And this was lunch!
After that, it was on to Nagoya, Japan for one more day of work.

Then I took the bullet train, also called the Shinkansen to Osaka, with a Bento box for lunch and a flight back home via Seattle.
Waiting for me at the arrivals area was the best thing I saw on the entire trip, my two best buddies and my beautiful wife. It was nice to be home and wonderful to be finished traveling for the year!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

9 Moms + 19 Kids

Equals Fun, Fun, Fun!

Add PBJ cutouts, 45 dozen cookies to exchange and a choo-choo table and we're in heaven!  Yep, us crazy mommies-of-twin-one-year-olds did it again: a play date.  One can only imagine the craziness that ensued, and pictures cannot depict the chaos, mainly because all of mine were of the backs of heads - kids zipping around so fast!

Mine remained somewhat still upon discovering...The CHOO CHOO TABLE:

God bless Maria for having us over - we invaded her humongous basement-turned-kiddie-playroom-nirvana - and pretty much dismantled it.  "It" being the toys - believe it or not, her Christmas trees remained both intact and upright!  I have high hopes for our tree (next year).  Had it not been for needing to feed the kids, I think mine would have remained glued to the train table all day.  Upstairs we went,
But finding the kiddie table full,

N helped himself to the big table

M did, too.  That's a PBJ stocking going down the hatch.
Mommy and M pose for a quick pic
 I shouldn't be surprised that my fellas are such good boys, but watching them both climb up on the dining room chairs and stay seated (mostly) for a meal (of sorts) was pleasantly surprising.  It's one of those times where I realize, they're not so little as I think they are. 

Unfortunately, we didn't get a group shot this time, but I will tell you that seeing 18 one year olds and one big brother overseeing them all was quite a sight!  Kudos to my 8 MOM friends who understand that organized chaos is the key to sanity.  You ladies rock!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Mall Fun

Cool Cat

Where to, Bro?
Cab!  I need a cab! 

Funny story about this play land - this was the boys' second visit.  Their first was last month when I was flat on my back with the flu and my fab Hubs took the boys out on his own for a guys' night - so I could rest in a quiet house.  (What a doll!  He's taken, ladies!)  God bless him - I would never take them to a place like this without help.  He said, "I couldn't keep track of both of them at the same time!  They were both going opposite directions and N kept running for the exit and it was really busy with lots of kids!"  (*Smirk* I could have told him that would happen!)  But my eternally optimistic husband caught them both and herded them to the food court to feed them Chickwich (the closest thing to Chick-fil-A we can find up north).

Cruisin' in the Convertible
Play land was fun and I'm glad they enjoyed it because it may be a while before we get back.  Grandma's flying out tonight. 

MOA and the library boat

It's so far beyond freezing, it's ridiculous! But that didn't stop us from visiting the MOA and our library today. I forgot my camera so we'll see if the mobile uploads are blogworthy. Coming up you should see the boys admiring one of the trees at the MOA rotunda, where we watched a couple of middle school bands perform their Christmas concerts. They both said they want to play the trumpet like daddy! just kidding...they said drums. Then you'll see the "boat" in the children's section of our library, where N discovered on his own that the round pillows fit in the windows an Grandma was on the other side when he took them down! If I were more savvy, there'd be video, but I like to keep my technology expectations low.

(20 minutes later) What's that saying about keeping your exprectations low so you'll never be disappointed? Any of you bloggers know how to upload phone pics directly from your phone to yor blog? Anybody know what Im talking about? Sometimes I wonder why we put such faith in technology. Maybe carrier pigeons would be easier than this.

Oops, what abouty newfound good attitude toward all things in my life? The one my prego cousin Kelli reminded me of, when she thanked God for ankles that unswell? Seriously, we should all have that kind of optimism!

Okay, so no pics. Just know Lots of good stuff sunshine, slippery roads, Taco Bell, 20 minute nap, Shutterfly cards arrived(wahoo! Watch your mailbox!), library visit, bathtub crayons, and Monday Night Football-kind of. I enjoyed watching the millions of metrodome roof collapse videos better than the game!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Snowed In!

What do you do when you're snowed in with two 18 month olds?
Brush your teeth in the tub!
Snuggle and read!
Try on Grandma's reading glasses!
Play 'n' Poop
And take the plow driver cookies and hot chocolate when he clears your driveway! Fun times tomorrow, here we come!

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Not the Dairy Queen kind, either.  I just checked the Weather Channel, which has been reporting from Minneapolis all day, and we've been upgraded (although I thought upgrades were good!) from a winter storm warning to a blizzard warning!  I don't know if I've ever been in an actual blizzard, though I'm certain I've described many a snowstorm as a blizzard.

We knew the snow was coming and spent yesterday gathering acorns - that is, groceries, books, yarn, and choo-choos - because we thought we might be snowed in today.

Oh, about the choo-choos.  Remember "The Power of Pwez?"  Daddy said that M's "Pwez?"  would be irresistible to the grandparents,and it's true!  Daddy has a prized choo choo train from his Aunt J and Uncle T, which he kept and placed on a special shelf in the boys' room.  M can see it from his crib and wakes up every morning saying, "choo-choo," pointing at it.  Well, it just so happened that Grandma was in the room and asked HER for that very special choo-choo "pwez" that Daddy doesn't take off the self.

That's all it took!  They are loving every second of the choo-choo.  Okay, M is very possessive and won't let N play with it, but he's having a great time.  So great, in fact, that the choo-choo had to go with us when we went shopping (for yarn, of course)!
So Daddy, we love that you took such good care of the choo choo.  Thanks!  It's keeping us sane while we're snowed in during the blizzard!

We had so much snow that we're measuring it in N's and M's.  Check out how much has blown onto our balcony today:
Half an N at noon today
A whole ME of snow at 4pm!
Oh,'s PJ day, too.  We're all lounging in our comfies.  After dinner, the fellas will get a bath and a clean pair of PJ's.

Being snowed in today has been quite fun because we prepared ourselves yesterday and were prepared with provisions and have had plenty of cable TV access: Weather Channel, HGTV and Yo Gabba Gabba On Demand!