Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Vote For Maria's Taco Hut!

I love Food Network.  I watch it a lot.  I haven't seen much of the new show called "Great Food Truck Race," but I plan on watching it now, since I learned a local woman, who is also battling cancer, is in the running to be on the next season of the Great Food Truck Race!

Yesterday, I read an article from our local online newspaper about Maria - click on the link here to learn how she's the only food truck in business south of the Metro, how she's beating cancer, and how I can't wait to meet her at Jesse James Days in two weeks!  Okay, I'm not in the article, but I think she's a pretty neat lady and I don't even know her - yet.

Here's how you can help: you register on the The Food Network site - it's free, you just need a valid email address - and cast 10 votes a day for her.  I did it yesterday and today, but she needs more than my help!  Yesterday she was ranked 169 (of what, I don't know) and today she's 161.  We've only got till Sept 12 to move her up, readers!  Let's vote for Maria's Taco Hut! 

Update: 161 of 225.
Update: Here's the Food Network Link (duh) http://foodtrucks.teamdigital.com/

Monday, August 29, 2011

Fast Kids At Play

I never knew I needed a racing track in my yard until I got one.  Now I don't know how I'll ever live without it.  It's really a walking path, laid by the city when this neighborhood was built, that separates our yard from our neighbor's, going the length of the properties from the street to the woods.  But that's where it ends - at the woods.  So it honestly goes nowhere!  We've heard that there were plans to connect it to another path on the other side of the woods, but that idea has been abandoned, apparently.  So now we have our own personal racking track for the boys' cozy coupes.

This morning's racing was like a scene from "Grease," where Sandra Lee stands between the cars (makes me wish I had a pair of leather pants - okay, that I looked like HER AND had a pair of leather pants) with the starting flag.  The boys would push their cars to the top of the track, which has a bit of incline, and would shout random numbers together:

"One!  Two!"
"Free!  Five!"
"Seven!  Nine!"
Then M would push off without shouting "Go," and run to the end of the track, just a little ahead of N, who couldn't catch up.

Trying to capture this event on film proved nearly impossible, what with the incredible racing speeds and my almost-dead camera battery, but you get the idea that this event is totally awesome, don't you?  It's actually one of my favorite backyard activities that we've done this summer, and I do all I can to encourage it when we're outside.  Because it knocks them out.  Oh, the sweet sounds of silent napping, I do love thee.

Thank you, silly city, for laying this walking path to nowhere in my backyard.  It's totally worth the random confused bikers and walkers who wander back here from time to time!  Maybe I should put up some kind of "FAST KIDS AT PLAY" sign (as opposed to those slow kids).

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I Love Sharky

Last time I had Sharky the shark pool out, a couple of weeks ago, the boys were B.O.R.E.D. with it, so I haven't filled it.  It's not worth the effort of dragging it out to the backyard and refilling it just to breed mosquitoes (have I mentioned them?!).  However, we've stayed home much of the week and have played every toy to DEATH, so in a what I thought would be futile attempt to entertain them, I dragged Sharky back out.  You'd have thought they'd been reunited with their long lost triplet!

I love you so much, Sharky!

And the cozy coupes never get old.  They actually drove these over to Sharky and sat side by side in the grass "driving" them for quite a while - long enough to dry off!  The funniest is that they actually were climbing into each others' cars Dukes-of-Hazard-style, switching back and forth!  I love that they are finally FINALLY starting to play TOGETHER, rather than just side by side or by snatching each others' toys.  It gives me hope!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Need For Speed

Do Boy Moms die sooner than Girl Moms? I found myself wondering as I drove home from the most nerve-racking playdate I've attended yet.  A twin mom friend oraganized a playdate for us moms of twin two year olds at a park, so I went, based on my boys' recent good behavior at our neighborhood playground.

I almost turned around when I saw the Valleyfair/Cedar Point/Six Flags/Disneyland playground.  Had I not given my word I'd be there and driven a half hour to see my friends, I would have.  The few snapshots I was able to take will not do this park justice.  There were HUNDREDS of kids RUNNING at BREAKNECK speed, DOZENS of (very calm) moms milling about, water fountains spraying water onto the acre-sized playset in the the stiff wind that nearly blew us away. 

What had I gotten myself into?

The boys googled the playground like it really was Disneyland because it could have been - it was the biggest park they'd ever seen - as I packed up the stroller with our diaper backpack, bag o' water clothes, and lunch.  It took a few minutes to find my friends, amongst what was obviously another mom's group gathering (based on the giant sign that said APPLE VALLEY MOM'S GROUP, of which none of us 7 moms and 15 kids belonged).  

They couldn't get out of the stroller fast enough to join the throng of children in the labyrinth.  I tried greeting my friends while surveying the land for the best lifeguard position, so as to scan the area for my (thankfully) red-clad children.  My boys chose to divide and conquer, each darting a different direction, climbing heights I'm afraid to mention, lest you think I'm a careless mom.  My heart was racing as giant 8 year olds tore about, leaping over the 14 two year olds scrambling beneath them.  I moved to the center of the play system when the fellas chose to climb its opposite side, so I could better watch my children tumble down the dark side of the moon keep an eye on them.  I'm sure my blood pressure would have been sky high had you taken it between 10:30-11:30 this morning.

I tried to small talk with my twin mom friends, whose obedient girl-girl and boy-girl twins played together, buddy-style, even posing for adorable pictures through the bars.  Only one other mom there had boy-boy twins, and I know she understands what I'm saying - one of hers went MIA, she parked the known boy with our gaggle during snack/lunch time, and found the missing one wandering the parking lot! 
N attempting escape in the bottom left

We kept up a frantic pace for about a half hour, ate a picnic lunch (kind of) and dove back into the playground with a Need for Speed.  They found the fastest, steepest slide on the system - nearly straight down, and slick with the spray from the water fountains nearby. (M was a bit unhappy with me that I wouldn't let him in the sprinklers, so I think that's why he chose this one - so he could still get wet and I would, too, standing nearby.)  They couldn't get up the stairs, across the bridge, and down the slide fast enough.  Over and over and over again.   I told myself that at least they're working together on the same side of the structure, which was better to keep an eye on them than their previous tactic, Disappear Into The Tube Slides With Lots Of Big Kids.

A little before noon, there were signs of slowing down, and I knew I had to make a hasty retreat before the puppet wagon arrived (for which the Well Behaved Twins got to stay) and I missed my window of opportunity to beat it home and get them in bed before they fell asleep.  Because if they fell asleep on the ride home, just 30 minutes,  I'd have two grouchy two year olds by 5 pm because they didn't get a "real" nap, a risk I'm not willing to take today. 

I also wanted to get out of there before Anything happened.  Anything being, well, anything.  When the fellas get tired, Anything can happen, which is usually Something Not Good. 

So we left, and as I listed to the Veggie Tales DVD entertaining my very exhausted boys to keep them awake, I wondered if Boy Moms die sooner than Girl Moms.  If I were to reflect on the life expectancy of the women in my family, who primarily have birthed girls for the last 100 years, I'd say, yes, Girl Moms live longer.  Because none of my Girl Mom friends looked like they were about to have a heart attack today.  Just me and the other twin boy mom. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Marshmallow Mama

I've been sneaking the boys greek style yogurt when I think they'll eat it because they're not the greatest with protien - unless it's a nugget.  So this morning, things were not going well in the toast department, so as to avoid making second breakfast, I gave them each a serving of vanilla flavored greek style yogurt.  They both gobbled it up and asked for more, but there was no more (Monday is grocery day) except for an also-vanilla flavored Yoplait light container.  So I split that one between them, too. 

"This not yogurt, mama.  This MARSHMALLOWS, Mama!"

I made sure to buy more vanilla yogurt!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

More Staycation Fun!

Sadly, the fam has been gone just over a day.  The fellas are asking to drive Grandma's car and wake up their uncles and auntie.  Oddly, they don't ask to wake up Grandpa and Grandma - it must be because they're always already up.  But here are a few more pics to wrap up the rest of the adventurous staycation we had last week.  The first is the funniest one of M that's been taken yet!  Aunt L told him to say "cheese" for their self-portrait and this is what he did!  I'm pretty sure it's her new facebook profile, we all love it so much!
Here we all are chowing in my dining room.  I'm so happy to have room to feed nine people at the same time now! You can see N's fuzzy head behind my Hubs, who deserves thanks for grilling up that yummy chicken (that I prepped)!  We make a good team.
Thursday was busy.  TheBig boys went to see the Twins lose to the Yankees at Target field in the evening.  We girls stayed home and did girl things, like paint toes, eat pizza and ice cream and watch Food Network and put Little boys to bed.
Valleyfair picnic lunch - the fumes from the old cars ride behind gave it just the right touch.
Oh, yeah, Wednesday!  Grandma and Grandpa watched the boys so that Hubs and I and his sibs could go to Valleyfair, which is a huge amusement park owned by the same company that owns Cedar Point, for you Michiganders.  I took my anti-puke medicine and did allright, but at 33 I already can't keep pace with those 20-somethings!  Maybe it has something to do with my poor body being wrecked by carrying twins?  Or (sigh) maybe I'm more out of shape than I thought?  Either way, I got dumped on a WHITEWATER RAFTING water ride, and "rode" it the whole way down without my raft!  I have a bruised shoulder, a scratched forhead and a wounded ego to show for the ordeal.  I think that's why they humored me and rode the ferris wheel at the end of the evening - made *slightly* less romantic than I'd envisioned with the presence of my three siblings-in-law seated across from me and Hubs, but, hey, it's better than riding alone.
The Original Six volunteered their Thursday Morning at Feed My Starving Children, a local ministry that packs food for needy people around the world.  Their group packed food for a missionary in Africa that morning.  I'm really proud of them for going along with my crazy idea, as I knew they would love it once they got there.  They even got to meet a Hatian missionary who also distributes the food at his location, something that hasn't happened in the times I've worked there!  And don't they look classy?
Valleyfair dudes
I forgot to mention that Hubs' family is serious about games!  We stayed up past midnight finishing an intense game of Trivial Pursuit one night, and we played Apples to Apples so many times that the cards started to repeat themselves!  They're very polite, too, and continue to invite me to play even though I can kick their tails. :)

Friday was pretty low-key, spent hanging out in our historic downtown, making an airport run, visiting our favorite pizza place, Punch, and hitting up a playground and ice cream shop along the way.  Yum, more pizza and ice cream!

Bonus Pic: I had to get one of N in here, shown on Tuesday leaning over the edge of the paddleboat.  Those scratches are from his fingernails, not a catfight, although that would be appropriate since he fights me like a cat when I have to cut his nails, leading to less nail-cutting than should be done, leading to him scratching himself with them.  Of course.  Oh, well.  Much fun was had by all.  Now I'm going to go enjoy the rest of my Sunday because a regular Monday morning is coming soon. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Staycation Adventures

What a week!  Please excuse my absence, readers - I've been on wonderful adventures with my in-laws during our "staycation."  Everyone made their way to our place to spend some family time together - by car, by plane, and by semi-truck - no joke!  It was so much fun to be a tourist in our own area - we got to do some activities that we haven't done yet in all of our seven years here in the Twin Cities.  You know what the best part of vacationing at home is?  You guessed it- sleeping in your own bed! 

Here are a few shots of Sunday and Monday, our first Staycation days spent in our town and then a few hours at the Mall of America, because what Minnesota vacation can be had without that?, after picking Mom up at the airport.

Grandma and M play the bongos at the Best Buy MOA

They didn't heed the "Please Don't Feed"

Dwinka wadda?

Aunt L and N play at the Legos store at the MOA

We kind of took over the joint

My in-laws amazed our server with their Bubba Gump trivia knowledge!

M was amazed only with the ping pong paddle

Okay, and Forrest's shoes!
Tuesday was a special day because we drove up to Stillwater and took a paddleboat luncheon cruise down the St. Croix River.  Not only was the weather perfect - and it has been all week, praise the Lord! - but the food was good and the boys were well-behaved, something I was a teensy bit nervous about.  What nut takes all of her in-laws and twin toddlers on a humongous 18th-century, two-hour paddleboat ride? Me.
Cool boy N, Grandpa, and M

N was quite snuggly and silly with my sunglasses!

All Aboard!

exploring the boat before we lift anchor

Don't kiss me, Aunt sheeshee!

Boo hoo! N spent a bit of time on the deck howling about something - like he can't jump overboard.

Upstairs, downstairs!  The boys can talk Grandpa into anything!
I said the weather was grand, didn't I?  So that evening we surprised Grandpa with his favorite cake, Pineapple Upside Down cake, which I'd never before made but everyone ate it so I guess it was ok, for his birthday (next week) and all settled down for a bonfire with s'mores.

There were grey clouds overhead but it looked like the weather was to the north of us and was going to miss us.  Hubs had a nice little fire going when we brought the fellas, freshly bathed and covered in long sleeves and socks to protect them from the evening skeeters, down the fire.  They were so tickled and thought that being outside in their pj's was the funniest thing!  We were outside for maybe 15 mintues, M was aways off "mowing" the lawn when


The loudest crack of thunder any of us have ever heard rattled the trees and our ears!  We all dropped low to the ground as bright lightning flashed all around us for a few seconds.  Then we grabbed our kids and our cameras and rushed inside to watch the downpour!  We were a bit rattled and had to watch an episode of "Imagination Movers" to take our minds off the fact that we had been nearly killed by lightning!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Who Fed My Son Catnip Today?

That's the only logical explanation for M's behavior.  He was seriously bonkers today!  He would NOT sit still for even one minute to eat his breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  He was talking a hundred miles an hour:

I want pancakes!  I want coffee!  I want milk! Help you, Dada!  Read da book, Dada!  Bwow on da pancakes Dada!  Phooo!  Phooo!  Bruder's pancakes!  Bruder's milk!  Where da truck book?  Read da truck book, Dada!  Meow!  Meow!  Meow!  Drive da Jepp, Dada?  DRIVE DA JEEP!  DRIVE DA JEEP!  I WANT DRIVE JEEP!..........Mama's van?  Mama's van?  Drive Mama's van?  Wissen to KTIS!  Go get da keys!  Go downstairs, Dada, play trains!  Go downstairs!  Go downstairs!  GO!  DOWN! STAIRS!

He's crazy about his Dada, who, bless his heart, took the both of them to get haircuts today.  So for about an hour, N was an only (perfect) child, who sat obediently in the NORMAL cart while I strolled the aisles at Target, even shopping for things not on my list (gasp!).  I seriously think having one kid is a joke.  It was unbelievably easy to run an errand.

I hear M was a good boy at the salon, and both my fellas look very handsome today, but he kicked it into high gear again tonight.  I'm pretty sure the nursery workers at church tonight fed him catnip-laced-Mt. Dew because the entire 30 minute ride home was:

Tractor book, mama?  Wilson?  Brewster?  Thomas? Percy? (He was asking for the random train-part toys strewn about the van, which were reached after becoming a contortionist from the passenger seat.)
A car.
Another car.
What are you looking at?  The sky?  The trees?  It's book-reading time.  Here.
oooooo...look...a chicken.  Kiss da chicken!  Mwooah! oooo...a bear.  Kiss da bear!  Mwoooah! 
Cookie?  Cookie?  I want cookie!
Pizza?  Pizza?  I want pizza!  I want pizza!  I want pizza!  I WANT PIZZA!  Meow!  Meow!  Meow!
I was ordering pizza for dinner - did you guess that already?

He didn't stop until 9:00.  I'm going to pass out now. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Belated Bathing Beauties

Seven days ago we began the Big Boy Bed Bonanza.  (Yesterday was better and today's nap has been the best yet.  I think that's because my fantastic twin mom friends wore them out a the twosies twinsies playdate today!  I'm grateful whatever the reason.)  My genius brain concocted a plan: take them to the pool so they are absolutely exhausted come bedtime.

It worked!  Aunt L was visiting and snapped some really cute shots of the fellas at the city pool.  Next time we'll take lifejackets and swim toys so the fun lasts even longer.

My favorite shot of the day!

My other favorite - I can never pick just one, you know!
There you have it - our belated bathing beauties.