Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Around The World In How Many Days?

Handsome Hubby is our guest blogger this evening, chronicling his latest business adventure - here's what the cat does while he's away, while at home the mice play:

Jules Verne figured you could have an adventure and travel around the world in 80 days; I did it in 8 days.

While concerned about what could happen, I nevertheless set out for a business trip that would take me around the world. Along the way, I would nearly lose my sanity in 3 separate customs lines, participate in a memorial service for Japanese Earthquake victims, fly on my own "private" plane, shop for jewelry in the mean Mumbai streets, take a "buggy" flight and still get all my work done a day earlier than planned.

My own private Boeing 737. Which seat to choose?
Tumon Bay, Guam. Last time, I had my best friend with me. It wasn't the same without my wife.
With a stop in Guam for 3 nights, I was fortunate to get the chance to have some nice weather and assist with a candlelight memorial service that our company put on with other chamber of commerce organizations on the island. We had a very nice showing, with a perfect sunset dropping behind the cliffs that anchor Tumon Bay. To get to my next business destination, I traveled on a brand new airline based in Guam called Fly Guam. When boarding, to my surprise, I learned that there would only be one passenger on the aircraft. I couldn't help but smile, my own private airplane with four flight attendants? With service like this, the airline is clearly going places! It only lasted for a short hop up to Saipan and I was joined by 9 other passengers for a trip over to Hong Kong. Thinking I had plenty of time, I learned to my horror that I would have to clear customs into HK to get my next ticket on Cathay Pacific. Nearly losing my sanity waiting for nearly an hour, my 2 hour connection was whittled down to 50 minutes. Setting a record for shortest time between two passport stamps - 10 minutes - I rushed across one of the largest airports in Asia to the ticket desk and then sprinted to the clear customs again and on to the flight.

Arriving into Mumbai, India at 2AM is descending into a labyrinth of dusty, dirty, busy humanity. It is amazing how much life occurs in India at night. I took a tour of Mumbai and got to see some of the popular sights and also do some shopping with the renowned Mumbai jewelery merchants. Work occurred in the late evening, early morning, so I got to work some unusual hours. At least it was "only" 85F at night. I also got to eat as much Indian food as I wanted, which is always good to me. The flight home began on Air France which, since they left the doors open during servicing, was swarming with mosquitoes. Every 5 seconds, smack some around you (or you) killed another bug. Landing in Paris, I nearly lost it again waiting in Customs; this time there was literally no government agents to process passengers and we were left standing around wondering why. Filtering through the throng was a rumor that a bag had been left behind and so they had cleared the area. BOOM! The walls rattle, the floors shake and an echoing explosion rings through the area. Apparently, taking no chances, the French police just blew up the unattended bag. It wasn't all bad, as I got to stop at Laduree for some divine macaroons.

The Gateway of India

I love Indian Food

Open green space in Mumbai, a rarity

Off for home and getting frustrated one last time in Customs, this time simply because I chose the wrong agent.

So, in 8 days, 6 different airplanes, 4 different airlines and 48 hours in the air, I went around the world. The best part, as always was seeing my best boys and beautiful wife.

Wordless Wednesday: Friends

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Coping Skills

We bake brownies. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sigh of Relief

Do you recognize this place?

It's our dining room!  

Thanks to my mom (and isn't everything thanks to Mom?) she and I were able to make our townhouse look like a cozy home again - and a lot less like a daycare!  Instead of visiting the zoo or the MOA, we vacuumed, dusted, mopped, laundered, Magic Eraser-ed, and appliance-painted throughout Friday evening and Saturday.  I even scraped a booger off a wall in the boys' room!  It was all worth it to stand back to see the house sparkling like it hasn't, a really long time.  And to take a picture because, you guessed it -it looks like this again - note the nasty clever rug underneath and the Wal-Mart's best vinyl tablecloth.  However, I do love this picture because it's one of the first meals the 4 of us shared at the table - pancakes, our weekend tradition. 

Then today, our "fun" plans were hampered a by a cancellation, the afternoon naps that weren't, a teething boy, a tummyache, a headache, and missing Hubs' call from Mumbai.  Boo.

But now...a sigh of relief.

I just found out that the showings went well and that we already have an applicant for our townhouse!  Wow, thank you, God.  It looks like this unbelievable Big Move is going to happen! 

Lots of snuggles with Grandma during the waking hours

Friday, March 25, 2011

Big Britches Day

Today feels like the day after we found out we were having twins.  The day we found out we were shocked, ecstatic, thrilled, elated, proud, humbled...maybe you're like us and the day actually has a name: The Most Shocking Day of Our Lives.  It's one of the biggies like Engagement Day, Wedding Day, Graduation Day.  But remember the day after?  Fortunately, not really.  Not until another big one comes along do you remember the day after feels like:
  • Now what?
  • Where do I start?  
  • There's so much to do!  It's overwhelming!
  • So I'll eat a brownie.  Read a blog.  Write an unusual blog entry while I try to sort it out and nothing actually gets done.
Because in two weeks and two days we have another one: Moving Day.  Remember I wrote this post called "Too Big For Our Britches?"  It's happening!  We have been blessed by God with an opportunity to rent a friend's beautiful 4BR home with everything we've been wishing for and more.  So we've listed our place for lease with a property management company and have not one but TWO showings in...27 hours.  I'm overwhelmed with God's goodness because we have friends offering to help with boxes, trucks, trailers, and time, parents flying out as I type to help pack, more coming out for Big Britches Day and everything is falling into place.  It's quite amazing, humbling, and overwhelming.  And I don't know where to start. 

We've had moving days before and at the time they were big.  Small "b" big because we were newlyweds without much stuff so it only took a couple of family members to move our few things.  This time around, it's the Big One.  Or a Big One.  Perhaps there will be more which will demote this to First Big One. 

But now we have two kids: toddler twin boys who turn 22 months old today, to be exact.  Two very curious and active little fellas who have acquired an unfathomable amount of STUFF in the short 22 months they've been alive.  Or we've acquired for them. Not to mention the 6+ years we've lived here acquiring stuff.  Not that we're shoppers - honestly, we're non-shoppers. So it could be much worse.

And it's not just the stuff stuff - it's all the other stuff, too!  The details, which I used to pride myself on, but not so these days.  No pride here anymore.  My bathroom is filthy and yesterday's towel load is still in the dryer.  There is lunch debris all over my dining room  and a coat of dust thick enough to write your name on the entertainment center.  I have to have this place in "show" condition tomorrow!  I have to make people fall in love with our little house! I should be doing that but I'm kind of shocked into stillness and have to write to get it all out, to get my mind in order before I can tackle these tasks.  

So if I'm scattered the next two weeks, this is why.  But thanks for, reading.  I'm feeling well enough to go clean the dining room and kitchen.  That's always the first priority because I'm gonna have to feed them again. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Chocolate + Pretzels = Love

I just put a batch of brownies in the oven, and for fun, I let the boys lick the batter spoon.  They loved it, because, after all, they are their mother's children.  While I was at the sink, M was beside repeating a mantra, "Pre-bo, pre-bo, pre-bo, pre-bo, pre-bo, pre-bo,"

"What is it, son?  What are you saying?" I glanced down to see him reaching longingly for the giant tub of Utz's Pretzel Sticks on the counter.  "Pretzel?  Are you asking for a pretzel?"

"Pre-bo, pwee?"  He smiled. 

Then it hit me: I just gave him chocolate - now he wants a pretzel! 

Sweet and Salty, just like Mommy.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Terrific Texas!

Wow, so much has happened!  We spent last week in TX with my sister and her family while they were on spring break (they're teachers) and while Hubs worked at DFW.  Here are some of the pics from the old Sony digital camera that I know how to both operate and upload.  (You should infer here that our new camera, a very beautiful Nikon Coolpix which makes me think of Ashton Kutcher every time I pick it up, is one that I do NOT know how to operate or upload and has dozens of great photos on it from our trip.  Maybe someday I can take a camera class...or read the manual, whichever comes first.)  With no further adieu...
Daddy and N ride the bus from DFW terminal to the rental car.  What a big boy!

N hamming it on the road trip from DFW to Louisiana

Best part of Louisiana?  The hotel, of course!

Waffle House hospitality - free boogers with every meal.

N and his teddy that we had to rescue from the hotel's lost and found

Hubs and his Great Aunt I

Auntie P at her baby shower with Baby L's first bikini

Cutie Pie Cousin L and her custard smile
One of these days I'll figure out how to upload pics from the new camera and I'll show you more good times.  But it likely won't be this week or next b/c I've got to pack! We're moving into bigger "britches" about 30 minutes south of our current location.  Seeing as how there is still laundry in the machine from our trip, I'm already behind.  But keep checking in on us - my Sony Handycam is working just fine.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Way Back Wednesday

Hee, hee,hee!  I haven't seen this pic in years, but found it on my sister's laptop this week!  Three years ago, my two sisters visited me in MN.  Here we are playing lawn bowling at Brit's Pub!  Oh, boy, was that ever fun! (That's me, Patti, and Megan from L-R)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Travelin' Men

It's Spring Break for us! So far we've visited Hubs' extended family in Louisiana, where we got to visit with his 95 year old great aunt, who met our boys for the first time.  Then we drove to Texas, where we're staying with my preggo sister and her family while Hubs works at the airport down here this week.  What fun!  We're halfway through our visit and are having a blast.

The fellas were great little riders both in the airplane and the car and LOVE playing with their cousin.  In fact, M is pretty attached to a pink VW beetle toy car...and to making a little plastic chicken drive it!

Chekmate, cuz!
Peek-a-boo!  N is loving the outdoor playtime!
"Too coe!" M says after a bite of Chick-fil-a ice cream
Apple slices + BBQ sauce = happy boy
Uncle J and cousin L play slides with the boys
They were having too much fun to stop for a photo!
Daddy and N enjoying the warm TX weather
Ride 'em, cowboy! 
We've been able to visit some outdoor playgrounds, feed the neighborhood ducks (we'll take the camera next time!) eat some Chick-fil-a (yum!) go to library storytime, where the best part was coloring at the end, color sidewalk chalks, and just plain old have fun with our families...including chops and dogs on the grill.  Mmmm...summer.  Our little travelin' men are having a great time down south!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Big Boy Seats

Like so many other milestones, I knew this day would come.  I was (somewhat) prepared for it in that I own Fisher Price Spacesaver High Chairs (no, this is not an ad nor will I receive any compensation for this blog entry - I just think they're cool).  They attach to your dining room chair and also serve as a booster seat without the tray.

After nap, I give the boys juice and a snack.  So, like nearly every day, I made their juice cups up and gave them to them first - because they are always "sir-see" when they wake up.  I decided on a cheese-and-crackers snack for them, and as I was slicing the cheese, they each pulled out a dining room chair, climbed up, and sat there with their juice cups, like they were waiting for a snack!

This may sound quite mundane and boring, but I assure you, I did not teach them how to do this, ask them to do this, or expect it in any way, shape, or form!  I was going to lift each kid into his high chair when I got the snacks on their plates and feed them off their trays like I do every day.

So this was their snack time yesterday:
They were so proud of themselves!  I've allowed them to eat like this just a couple of times when visiting others' homes, but never here!  So I spent a portion of my afternoon scrubbing down the high chairs, wiping down the walls, moving the table and finding new chairs to make the seats slide underneath the table ledge for dinner.  Here's what I came up with:
That's chicken nuggets being dipped in Chick-Fil-A sauce (again, I just think it's awesomesauce and Daddy brings it home for us every time he flies through ATL, so you can imagine we have a stash) and green beans with milk for dinner.  It was a moderately successful meal.  I say "moderate" because N figured out how to push off the table and tip his chair back (is he my kid or what, mom?), which is going to be a challenge. I remember falling backward and whacking my head a couple of times.  Why do kids do that?  I can't explain it even though I was one of those kids. Also, I knew we would need a cover for my oh-so-beautiful-but-impractical-yes-mom-you-were-right-when-we-bought-this-seven-years-ago-that-it-wouldn't-be-good-for-kids table ASAP.  I bought a lovely vinyl tablecloth and clips last night.  It is bee-you-ti-full!

We officially have Big Boy Seats at the table.

And I like it. :)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Belly Buttons and Hidey Holes

Hm, maybe the winter is getting a little long when our weekend is described as "Belly Buttons and Hidey Holes?"  Good or bad, that's the life of twin toddlers in Minnesota!


We watch Veggie Tales, a Christian children's program. It's a cute cartoon with singing vegetables and while most of them are Bible stories, they also do "music videos," where the, just have a look-see.  Then you'll know what I'm talking about:

So when we were teaching body parts, they immediately added "hey, hey" after we said, "bellybutton."  Now, it's just been shortened to "hey, hey."  So if one of my boys asks you where your hey-hey is, he means BELLYBUTTON!  Okay?  We're not teaching them anything dirty here.
Hi, hey-hey!


I've mentioned several times that N likes to play hide-and-seek, especially with the toy "boxes" (we have multiple containers).  One is the large 30 gallon tote pictured in my previous post, one is a laundry basket, and one, take a look:

 It's just a matter of time before M figures out that he can get back at his sometimes-bully brother by climbing on top and staying put!  This "game" he plays never ceases to amuse us all!

However, I am just a little concerned that his "magic" will develop along with his intellect.  Did I ever tell you about the missing lovie*?  (*A one-square-foot "blankie" with a fuzzy side/silky side we purposely gave each boy as a comfort item during sleep training long, long ago*) We "lost" it about a month ago and Hubs and I turned the house inside-out looking for it (I knew we didn't leave the house the day it went missing).  N accepted a backup lovie and we accepted it as gone when I found his missing sippy cup inside the Diaper Champ.  Logically, he figured out the Diaper Champ, threw his lovie away, and we took it out to the garbage weeks ago, right?

So we wrote off lovie.  Then two days ago, while Auntie L showered, I cleaned the kitchen, and M played with toys, N quietly wandered off and FOUND THE LOVIE!

We have absolutely NO IDEA where it was.

Now N and his lovie, and his second lovie, and his back-up lovie are all a little lovie family together again in his crib.  Along with the eebie (pacifier), teddy bear , and crochet blanket from GiGi.  I can see where this is headed.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Autie L's Snapshots

Going out for, not to the VFW!  To a local pizza place!

N played hidey-hole for a half hour last night

The fellas LOVE reading picture books to us

N left "circle time" at school and hid - he LOVES to hide and be found!

N and a little girl in the library boat

Me and M reading books at the library

Big boy juice boxes!  (Never mind they got them because all the sippy cups were dirty.)

M tossed his snack wrapper all by himself

Auntie L and M singing at school

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Why is it Quiet in Here?

My boys turned 21 months last week and it's like they turned over an independent leaf.  They are starting to play together well - and by that I mean, for a few minutes nobody (N) steals anyone's (M's) toys.  In fact, two days ago I was working in the kitchen when I noticed it was QUIET.  All I could hear was the droning of Thomas the Train and the water faucet.  Huh?  No chattering?  No hollering?  No toys making incessant music? 

I turned off the water, paused Thomas (I have a bone to pick with him in another post) and listened.  Nothing. I debated momentarily between dashing upstairs and lying down on the couch.

I dashed.  They were in their room, playing!  With a toy!  Okay, there was evidence that they had been dismantling and splashing in the humidifier, but so what?  I didn't want to disturb the peace, so I tried closing the door back down, but they saw me.  The jig was up.  Peace was disrupted.  It was over.

Still, it gave me hope.  Hope that one day, there will be much peaceful playing together.  Hope that we will have a room one day dedicated to Boy Play, where, peaceful or not, they can be boys and I can have no little fear of disaster.

In other news, Auntie L is here with us for her spring break this week, so there should be plenty of pictures. We call her our photographer.  She is paid in snotty baby kisses.

Grandpa A's truck rolled through last night, so the boys got to play with him.  And his phone.

N's famous peek a boo smile - and new coffee cup.

I think the stickers look better on my tummy

Is this how you use it?  M tries out the old Boppy we dug out for a friend's visit.