Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cookies, Sweeties and a Funny

 This morning's adventure with the boys and a funny story about my mixer ensues:
M sneaking cookie dough, N posing like a ham! 
What do you do when your hubby brings home a giant box of dates from his business trip to Dubai?  Make cookies, of course!  Well, not right away...we had to eat a bunch before I decided I needed to do something with the rest.  It's nice to have a hubby who's thinking of me and the kids while he's running through airports and brings us little treats sometimes (better than tchotchkes to dust).  I'll bet you're not at all surprised that my little helpers liked eating dates.  I was chopping them for the cookies and kept feeding them pieces.  N grabbed a whole one and chomped down, surprised to find a pit! 
N, left, and M helping me clean the bowl after we got them in the oven.  I had a LOT of help this morning.  Lunch was a disaster, of course, but that's to be expected after sampling the product before, during and after, which took all morning.

Look again at the white Kitchenaid mixer in the top photo.  Here's a funny story.  I've always wanted a Kitchenaid, but have made do for 9 years with the little $10 hand mixer that cheapskates like me use instead because a real one is almost $300!  I even had to buy a second one this year when my sister in law blew up the first one!  (The poor mixer was 9 years old, how long are those cheapies supposed to last)?  So my parents were here over Labor Day weekend and we were all piled in the van heading out to some escapade, when I noticed that someone in my neighborhood had a garage sale with a GREAT BIG KITCHENAID just sitting there on the table!  I made Hubs stop, hopped out, checked out the mixer, and ran back to borrow a 20$ bill from my mom (we do not carry cash, in case you were thinking of robbing me.  My purse is full of matchbox cars, coupons and smashed up crackers.) 

I know, right? 20 BUCKS for a Kitchenaid?  Well, it's not exactly brand new.  It looks like a 1970's model (like me) but it works (also like me).  A few weeks later, Aunt L and I were mixing Red Velvet Cupcake batter in it and I said, "I love my new mixer so much!"  As the words came out of my mouth - literally, AS I WAS SAYING IT, the motor started SMOKING! 

AAAGH!  It's on fire!!

Okay, not on fire, but SMOKING!  The kitchen was starting to smell bad from the smoke, so we finished the cupcake batter with the cheapie hand mixer (they were delicioso, by the way, complete with homemade cream cheese frosting). 

I couldn't bring myself to throw away my garage sale treasure.  It sat there for another month before I had the heart to test it out again, sure of another near disaster.

But it made pancake batter just fine.  Then it made stuffed egg filling just fine.  And today, it made Frosted Date Creams very well.

So I'm keeping it.  I think it's just a little testy, and doesn't like big jobs, like mixing for more than a couple of minutes!  I think it's got a lot of character (also like me) so it stays on my counter awaiting its next (little) job. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving Recovery

That's what we're in this week - half back to normal, half recovering, and starting to plan The Christmas Trip.  Fortunately, all went well on our whirlwind trip to MI to visit the families, despite being cut almost a day short due to full flights.  Unfortunately, I did not take any photos.  I'm really stinking it up lately with taking photos.  We'll blame the baby, whom I've taken to calling "Three," because I don't like saying "it," "him," or "her."

Some highlights from Thanksgiving week:

This is N and M anxiously awaiting Thanksgiving at my in-laws.  Their shirts say, "I like turkey with my game!"  They were so hungry that they climbed into their booster seats and waited for food while watching football.  This was taken by Aunt L and lifted from her Facebook page just so that this post wasn't completely void of photos.  They ate a sliced apple, applesauce, sweet potatoes covered in marshmallows and two bites of turkey, then were excused to play so the rest of us could eat as the food arrived for us!  Maybe someday we'll all eat together - maybe someday they'll eat a real meal.

Grandma and Grandpa babysat so Hubs and I could have Friday afternoon off to do some much needed shopping.  Basically, we bought his Christmas gifts and not much else, but that's okay - like I'm going to get to shop for him without the kids sometime in the next 3 weeks?  Highly doubtful.  It was fun to just spend the day together, without the boys, when we were both wide awake and not dead tired, like we are every. single. night. when they finally fall asleep. And to eat in a restaurant like real adults - you know, in peace, without high charis and spilled milk and ketchup.  It was lovely.  (In case you were wondering, we did NOT shop Thanksgiving night, overnight, or Black Friday morning.  We are not those kind of people, like some relatives we know.  You know who you are.)

In five days, my twin boys usually take 10 naps total. Last week, there was only ONE nap taken by little M on Saturday afternoon.  We have seen some SERIOUS sleep deprivation and I am now 100% convinced that my kids are not ready to give up naps.  In fact, N pulled the covers over himself last night and this afternoon, turned over and didn't make another sound!  (That's a miracle, in case you weren't sure.) What I despised last week (and nearly drove me off a cliff) is now my sweet peace this week.  There is a silver lining to everything.

Sunday was kind of whirlwind because we attended our home church in MI, then wolfed down lunch at the food court in the mall.  But I add it to my list of highlights because at the food court, we were able to share a meal with my parents and grandmother, Hubs' parents and siblings and us with the boys, all together.  The boys were happy because they got nuggets and fries (what else?), everyone was happy because they got to see them eat them (and eat what they wanted) and I was happy because I was 6 seats away when the milk tipped over and doused my mother-in-law's purse. I warned them all to watch those milk cups, so I am absolved from ruining her Coach purse.  See why I don't wear or carry anything new? 

And we can't wait to do it all over again in 3 weeks! 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mystery Diagnosis

Ever seen that show?  I think it is/was on TLC.  I'm not a devotee or anything, but I did like watching it at one time because it was so crazy - a person would have all kinds of bizarre symptoms that no one could figure out and years later there would be an expert who finally figured out what the crazy disease was and fix it with a miracle drug or diet.  Strangely, I'd much rather watch bizarre real-life type shows than scripted sitcoms.  Maybe that's why I blog, because truth is stranger than fiction.

It's been Mystery Diagnosis around here this week.  You may remember N getting his tear duct surgery done in February?  I thought that was going to solve our pink eye problems once and for all.  But Sunday morning the dreaded eye goobers came back.  I decided to play kind of dumb (because I wanted to believe that he couldn't get these again) and take him to church, where I'd be able to have my new friends, a husband/wife ophthalmologist/nurse combo team (if you're ever sick with eye problems, these are the people to know) take a look at him.  N was diagnosed with pink eye at the church potluck by Mr. Gus (pronounced "Goose") over a plate of pulled pork and grape salad.  We were allowed to use N's antibiotics from his surgery, given instructions and, voila!  Eye goobers gone today!  A bit bloodshot but getting better, probably because we caught it quick. Thank you, Mr. Gus!

M wanted in on Mystery Diagnosis action, so he's itching all over with tiny welts on his legs, shoulder and arms for two afternoons now.  Yesterday he woke up from his nap itching so we gave him clear caladryl and a bath, which seemed to do the trick.  He didn't appear to itch all morning today, but after nap he was itching like a madman!  Same spots, same welts.  More clear Caladryl, and this time a dose of children's zyrtec.  Brainstorming over a table of homemade pizza (I kneaded the dough this morning!  I'm really getting good at this homemade bread stuff!) we discovered two things happened:
1. I still hadn't changed the sheets since N's overnight diaper exploded disgusting diaper gel on Sunday morning.  I didn't think there was any on the actual sheets, just N's pj's and the little changing blankie, but you never know.  Seems like a long shot.
2. I added Oxiclean to the last two batches of boys' laundry, including the one that was just washed, dried, folded and PACKED INTO THE SUITCASE this afternoon.  To get those stains I miss, I figured, couldn't hurt.  Think again.

A quick online search reveals, yes, people do have allergic reactions to Oxiclean and to stop using it immediately.  Have you ever heard of such a thing?

So while Hubby did bedtime in old pj's that haven't been worn in weeks and therefore not washed in Oxiclean, I stripped M's bed (the one he naps in), unpacked the suitcase of clean clothes and started the 100th load of laundry today, in hopes of relieving poor M's itchies. 

Anyone else have a Mystery Diagnosis for me to solve?  On second thought, never mind.  I've got my hands full. 

Old but Cute Pics

These pics are about 3 weeks old, but since you haven't seen them I thought you might like them.  When Aunt L was here last, we took a trip up to St. Paul to visit Choo Choo Bob's Train Store.  If you haven't been there, it's a two year old boy's heaven; a model train store that is chock full of running model trains and train tables to play with!  It's the second time we've taken the boys and it's all they talk about.  I heard M talking to his cars about it today - maybe they were driving to Choo Choo Bob's together?
 I love this one because it shows how the boys are understanding that we want them to smile at the camera when we point it at them and say, "Say Cheese!"  Here we are at the Blue Door Pub, a restaurant that was featured on the Food Network's show Diners, Drive Ins and Dives earlier this year.  (If it sounds familiar, we took my folks there in September because THEY are the ones that discovered it.)  This time the boys shared a kids' meal of two mini cheeseburgers and loved it!

Hubs is eating a crazy Thai flavored burger and M is saying "cheese" with his mini cheeseburger.  Hubs said it was good, but not as good as the first one he had: the Jiffy burger, one piled high with bacon and peanut butter.  (Shudder)

When it comes to taking them out to eat, this was a just-okay dining experience.  We're learning that while we'd like to be the super-parents that can take their well behaved kids anywhere, the only places that they actually behave and eat are McDonald's and Culver's.  So that's where we went the last two weekends, and while the burgers weren't out of this world, we were much more able to relax and enjoy them.  We just didn't take any pictures because, well, it just doesn't occur to me at that moment that you'd like to dine with us at McD's. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Hi, I'm still here

Sorry I haven't updated this week.  It's been one of those weeks where Hubs was out of town for most of it, I got a strange call from his grandpa who was getting a scam phone call but I didn't know that and made me wonder if Hubs was in serious trouble on the other side of the globe so I spent a good portion of the day trying to figure that out, the boys are waking up in the middle of the night crying hysterically, but I think we've narrowed it down to growing pains and not night terrors, and one of my dearest friends has been with her mother in the hospital for her mom's last days and had to say good bye last night, and all I did was drop off a lousy lasagna at her house. Not my best week, I guess.

Sometimes I just don't have much fun, sweet, adorable stuff at the front of my mind to tell you about, much less the time and energy to blog it, so I just don't write because all that stuff I just told you is crowding my thoughts out. But I guess I'm not keeping it real if I only tell you the cute and funny stuff.  Lousy stuff happens to me, too.

What keeps me going is Jesus.  He's the reason I get up in the morning, the reason I apologize to my two and a half year olds after I lose my temper with them, the reason I dropped off the lasagna in the first place and definitely went over my text message limit this month texting my friend (keeping her company) while she was with her mom.  Jesus knows that I'm doing my best to please Him, to love Him, to serve Him in my current assignment to stay at home with my kids and raise children who love Him, to love my husband and others with the same love Jesus shows me.

Did ANYTHING good happen this week?  Sure, it did.

I invited a new friend over to spend the afternoon with me and the boys.  She blessed me with treats and prayer to calm my nerves.

The boys are making great strides in learning their manners.  Grandmas, you'll be shocked to hear them say "please" and "thank you" next week! 

They are also able to say the whole alphabet and count to ten by themselves - most of the time. 

They are both asking to go pee pee in the potty more often - and actually going!  My mom's M&M method seems to be working.  It worked on me, right?

Another friend and I spent a day together with our four boys, and the BOYS PLAYED TOGETHER.  There were a few skirmishes about a certain fire engine, but, hey that's to be expected.  It was a cool fire engine.  They are making a lot of progress getting along with other kids; i.e. sharing.

Hubs made it home from his European business trip in record time, and with treats for us to boot.  He's such a wonderful man who works so hard for us.  I think he's just the bee's knees.

I tried my hand at homemade bread.  From scratch - no bread machine.  And guess what?  It was delicious.  The whole house smelled wonderful, and we ate most of a loaf for dinner.  Why have I never done that before? 

What's the lesson here?  I don't know.  IS there a lesson besides we need Jesus every day, no matter how spectacular or awful the day is? 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Baby Update

Thursday morning was my 16 week appointment - 16 weeks!  Unbelievable.  The pregnancy is going so fast, but I don't have time to sit around and contemplate my bellybutton, so I've barely mentioned it to you.

Fortunately, I'm in my second trimester now so the Utter Exhaustion phase is lifting off.  That's how I figured out I was pregnant- I was so tired at 1pm when I put the boys down for a nap that my bones hurt and I laid down on the living room floor!  Not the couch, 3 feet away, or my bed, down the hall.  I was nauseous - because what mom of two year old twins eats a healthy breakfast? - and nearly passed out.  My brain said, wow, you haven't felt this sick since you were pregnant.  I told my brain, yeah.  My brain said, you haven't had a period since July.  So I asked my brain what day it was.  It said, September 8th. I was six weeks pregnant, I found out a few minutes later, when I peed on a stick.  Thanks, brain, for not reminding me I was two weeks late!

I heard the baby's heartbeat Thursday morning - and yes, we know there is only one because I've already had an ultrasound to rule out multiples.  I think I would have had an anxiety attack by now if I hadn't!  My doctor didn't say how fast it was beating, but it sounded suspiciously like my boys' did.

I think my weight is doing ok.  I'm definitely gaining more slowly than I did with the twins, so I feel downright skinny!  (Haha)  And that's with eating a lot of that leftover Halloween candy, so I think I'm alright for now.  And my XL maternity clothes are still too big, so I'm taking that as a good sign.  I'm not sure I'll be singing the same tune come January and February, after the holidays, when I'll NOT be in my first trimester and nauseous, like last time.

No intense cravings, but I'm preferring salts to sweets, again, despite the Halloween candy.  I've been buying store-brand butter microwave popcorn and snacking on that at night - my non pregnant self much prefers ice cream.  This happened last time, too, when I sent Hubs on a wild goose chase for Maui Onion flavored potato chips, so I'm not surprised!   And I quit coffee, again.  I quit it about a month ago, but I just couldn't function all day.  So I started up.  Then the constant peeing started back up and I suspected it was the caffeine, so I quit again and the peeing is slowing back down.  Like you wanted to know that.  But not having coffee explains a lot...of my grumpiness. 

We're taking bets on the gender.  Anyone?  People seem to think we want a girl, but that's not necessarily true.  We are already all ready for boys here, so a little band of brothers would be great.  But I'm not getting any younger, so this might be it and a girl would be a lot of fun, especially with big blond curls.  I know the Lord has just the right one chosen for us. 

I still think we'll name the baby Surprise.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Crafty Mama

It's cold here - as in, there was snow on the grass this morning!  I knew it was coming - we live in Minnesota, after all, so I've been working on crochet stocking caps for the boys this fall.  And they love them!  Here they are playing in the backyard yesterday afternoon.  Look at that cheesy smile on M! He used to be my serious one, now he's competing for biggest ham.  But I know he's not, since they figured out how to weigh themselves on my scale this morning.  N's got 3.5 lbs on him, as you can see.
And that teeter totter?  They FINALLY figured out how to play on it by themselves - yesterday.  Maybe I'll bring it inside. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Over heard Last night

Last night, Aunt L watched the boys so Steve and I could have a date.  This is the story she told when we returned:

The boys were getting out of bed, so she put them back in a couple of times and told them to stay in bed.  Minutes later, from the kitchen, she heard both of them suddenly screaming at the top of their lungs.  She rushed in to find out what was wrong.  They had gotten out of bed and one of them (probably N because I know he has a fascination with it) turned off the night light, so they were both standing in the pitch black scared out of their minds!  She tucked them back in and told them that the lights would go out again if they got out of bed.

While waiting outside their door afterward, she heard N tell M: "I get out of bed, it get really dark, they don't see me, I get hit by car and get a shot!"

See, when I'm alone with the two of them, trying to get them into whatever building we're about to enter, the first one out usually bolts for the door, which is often across a parking lot.  Or they like to let gravity take them in their cozy coupes to the bottom of the driveway and into the road.  So I tell them, quite often, that they are too little and the cars can't see them, so if a car comes, they could get hit by a car.  If that happens, they have to go to the hospital and get a shot!

Apparently, when N couldn't see anything last night, he assumed NO ONE could see him and he was going to get hit by a car - in his bedroom!  Poor kid!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Zoo Boo

M's big smiles at the new penguin exhibit
 It's getting increasingly difficult to take photos of my two and a half year old fellas if they don't want them taken - which is just about never!  Aunt L and I took the boys to the zoo on Wednesday and try as she might, she had a pretty hard time getting any good photos, good being defined as both their faces looking in the direction of the camera.  Still, we had a fun time running, jumping, and climbing through the exhibits.  I threaten to leave them with the monkeys.  Someday I will.
They love the tortise in the Tropics Trail.

N's turn!

The new Colobus monkeys on display, with their soon to be brother in red.

Aunt L, the guys and a giant bison they petted going in and out.

Watching the dolphin just before seeing the show for the first time.

They loved watching the dolphin do tricks - for about 4 minutes.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Happy Halloween

M put the fireman costume on for trick or treating!  Isn't he handsome?
N didn't believe us that he needed the costume for candy.  Turns out he was right.  He went as a volunteer fireman - as in, I'm not wearing the uniform unless there's really a fire!  He did concede to wear the boots, which paired nicely with his Puma running outfit.
The boys were in love with Halloween!  We trick or treated while it was still light, so we were the first kids on our street out.  We even surprised Mr. Luigi, who didn't have candy, but gave us an even better treat - a jar of his homemade jam, the kind he sells at the Farmer's Market.  Yum. 

N raced from house to house, trying to beat his brother to ring the doorbell.  Our next door neighbor even had special Halloween flashlights just for them!

Mr. J and Ms. V, our next door neighbors they're in love with!

The last house we visited gave the boys quite a scare - there was a motion sensor gravestone at the front door that opened up and screamed when you came near.  (My grandma puts one of those motion sensor Christmas trees in the bathroom during the holidays- it scares the you-know-what right out of you!)  Both boys screamed in terror, but Aunt L and I couldn't keep from laughing.  When our neighbor came to the door, they relaxed a bit, knowing candy was coming, but then she set it off AGAIN! and well, that was the end of trick or treating!  It took the whole walk home and the opening of the magic flashlights to calm them back down.

We talked up the handing out of candy to other kids when it got dark, and I'm glad we got one shot because we had just 7 trick or treaters the whole night!  Good thing we bought 100 pieces of candy, right?  Oh, well, Baby likes Almond Joy.  Here are the fellas passing out candy to one of our guests. 

Where are you, trick or treaters?