Thursday, March 28, 2013

Hopping Into Spring!

Oh my goodness we have so busy here! We have been hopping around getting ready for Easter!

Last Saturday we went to the local Easter Egg "Hunt" sponsored by the Jaycee's at our nearby park. It was cold but we bundled up and strolled over, prepared to collect eggs. We found our spot, which was a field marked into age groups...less "hunting" than "gathering" since there were thousands of eggs just lying there!

Then the big fire engines sounded their sirens to signal the beginning of the hunt and the kids dive in! Well, M dove in. C, naturally, cried because the sirens were loud, then N joined in. I tried consoling the criers while Hubs and M collected eggs, and by the time I convinced them all was safe, the field had been cleared!

M had several dozen eggs, N had perhaps 10-what Hubs and a kind mother near us managed to scoop into his bag. I decided to combine them all in my seldom used crystal bowl and make it part of our Easter centerpiece, so no one could compare the plunder. Today we added the cereal-box Easter baskets the boys made at preschool. My decorators!

Also, we have spent some fun times with Aunt L this week, coloring eggs and walking to the playground near her house.

Egg decorating went surprisingly well! The first few have the best colors because the fellas got impatient quickly after dying for more than a minute toward the end. They should make some pretty stuffed eggs for Sunday!

We tried teaching the boys to pump their legs on the swings- that was less successful than egg dying- and put C on the little tykes slide for the first time. He was NOT impressed!

We are looking forward to a few fun filled family days since Hubs has Good Friday and some time off next week. For the first time ever, we are not traveling for a holiday! (Ok there were a couple of Easters I was ginormously preggo and couldn't travel, but that is not the case this year...or any year going forward;) I digress, though. Baby bunnies, open gym,, a fish fry, and a trip to the Sugarhouse at the Chippewa Nature Center are in the plans!

Hooray for spring! It has finally arrived!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Zookeeper Poppins Week

On Tuesday I felt like Mary Poppins; the kids were obedient, musical, cooperative and participated in every creative plan I presented. We built a fort, played with snow inside, dyed eggs and played fizzy fun by dripping the colored vinegar onto baking soda. I'm so cool, right?

Then Wednesday, N told me I was the zookeeper. I suppose they were playing zoo. And I thought that was spot on because I felt like I was keeping 3 wild animals caged in my house against their will. Not to mention I locked us OUT of said house as well as broke the passenger side view mirror backing out of the detached garage which i blame on the lock out. (Because if it had been an attached garage, we would not have been locked out, of course!) Oh well, the animals didn't want to go back into the enclosure anyhow! But I did manage to make make and feed green eggs so it wasn't a complete loss!

Yesterday the twins had preschool Praise God and I thought I'd gotten my act together because they both had appropriate letter of the week show and tell: vans for "V," although their first suggestion was volcano. Brilliant, but how to pack a volcano in the backpack? However, as the principal reminded N that we keep our hands to ourselves at school because of course he was tackling M has they galloped down the hall, I saw a 4th grader dressed in PJ's and remembered it was PJ and reading day. They were supposed to wear PJ's, bring blankets and books to read with their 4th grade buddies. (Sigh) then I spent part of the morning rotating the play room toys in hopes of interesting them in their dedicated play area rather than the incessant "Can we watch Mighty Machines?" That I've been hearing all week. Marginal success at best.

Today is Friday. I feel like some kind of terrible headmistress or something, making my kids sit at the table to finish eating their breakfast: homemade pumpkin chocolate chip muffins and dyed hard boiled eggs (seriously, kids, this is a great breakfast!) making them play together and endure the consequences of stuffing the tiny sponge ostrich into the giant cement mixer despite my telling them I would not rescue any more sponge animals from this horrific death.

Do Mary Poppins, zookeepers and head mistresses get weekends off?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Green Eggs and Ham Night

The kids ate spinach tonight!! Thank you, thank you, Dr. Seuss and Jessica Seinfeld!

In an attempt to create kid-friendly family meals, I've been cooking with "deceptively Delicious" again. I don't care for the word "deceptive" because I want to teach my kids to be honest and truthful but that's beside the point. They can't read yet. And M pressed the "purée" button on the blender with the sautéed spinach inside, so he (kind of) knew what the green sauce was.

It wasn't an easy sell at first, so we read "Green Eggs and Ham" throughout the meal, pausing to take bites. It's a long book in the first place. I think we made it last 20 minutes!

C got in on the action, too, and I think he ate as much as the twins. I cut him off after that, though. A whole bag of spinach between the 4 of us is a lot!

If you do this, be warned: it is messy. But fun, and a great way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day (better late than never) and reading month, and 99 cent pre Easter egg sales.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Thinking Spring

I'm still here, thinking of my blog friends and how you miss me so, thinking how ready we are for spring. After that tease of nice weather last week for a couple days, it's only fitting that we are covered in snow again and the kids have colds and they are home from preschool today.

I will Praise The Lord that spring is on the way, that the colds are minor, that I have help in the form of Aunt L and Grandma K on their way today and there is hope for a shower.

I know you don't want to hear excuses but in-law's-flooded-basement-cleanup, in-law's-35th-anniversary-dinner, bridesmaid dress shopping, great-grandma-care taking, kids coming down with colds, and normal laundry and groceries have left little blog time. Boo.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

THis is Chicken Juice!

Need a good laugh?  Try this:
Pour leftover chicken broth into a pitcher because you can't find a smaller clean container for it.
Identify it as such with a post-it note.
Wait for someone to pour the twins apple juice for breakfast the next morning.
Laugh your head off!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Egyptian Hacker and a Possum

I feel the need to aplogize if you received a spam message from my personal email account titled "Fox News," which was pretty tricky of my Egyptian hacker because who doesn't like Fox News and think I might send you a link?


So thank you to those who messaged me to let me know I'd been hacked from some, ugh...silly goose...keepin it clean, here, in Egypt.  And thank you to Yahoo, too, who alerted me.


It's a pain in the butt when your Visa card number is stolen or your email account is hacked and you have to stop the card, get a new one, change all your passwords, etc. BUT if these organizations did not have the safegaurds in place to alert us to suspicious activity, then I would have just kept on going with the banana bread making and carpet vacuuming and diaper changing today, never knowing that my account had been hacked and I sent 100 totally bogus emails to all my dearly loved friends and family...and some less loved, too.

See, when I opened my account, I had 14 "undeliverable" messages returned to me.  So this evening I sat down to look at my contacts.

I don't remember saving all of these contacts into my account, but it appears that every email I've sent in the past few months has been saved into my the guy who emailed me about buying a chair before we moved, one of the car and auto insurance agents with whom I was communicating last month, the real estate agent with whom we worked in December.  Sorry to them, too. 

At least THEY won't receive spam email if I'm ever hacked again.  I deleted 40% of my contacts! 

In unrelated strangeness of the day, I saw a possum crawl under my neighbor's overturned aluminum boat behind their garage when I went to start the van to take the kids to preschool this morning (and we were only 3 minutes late) Icky.

So far I've had a skunk, possum, and Egyptian hacker come into my life this week and it's only Tuesday night.  Do you think that means anything? 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Monday Musings

Remember that news article about the kid who got suspended because he bit his bread into the shape of a gun? N just built a gun out of his Trio blocks. Nice.

I'm running into high school classmates on a weekly basis and for the first time in over a decade I have to use my maiden name to identify myself. I stutter doing so. Awkward.

I picked up a friendship where it left off nine years ago. We were newlyweds and they were engaged: together, now we have five little boys aged 3 and under! Thanks for the impromptu play date A!

Happy 35th Anniversary to my wonderful in-laws, Grandma and Grandpa A. We are looking forward to celebrating together later this week. What a blessing you are to us!

2001 is current, isn't it? Not according to our new insurance company. Adding "get ye old diamond ring appraised" to this week's to-do list.

Gotta love how the time change messes with little kids. Sleeping in till 8 this morning was good, but prepping all 3 by myself for 8:30 preschool tomorrow...heaven help me.

Keeping N fresh in the "little people" bin. Appropriate, no?

In a week's time I've been woken by cats mating, my former school district's snow day courtesy call, and today, a skunk spraying outside our window. That's not to mention the kids every morning.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Spring Thaw?

It's 37 degrees so the twins and I walked several blocks to the park while C naps and Hubs works on his computer. I'm feeling like our blood must still be MN thick because we have this giant play structure to ourselves! The boys are in heaven and I'm thinking its going to be a very very good summer. I'll be at the big park in town doling out PBJ's and band-aids if you can't find me at home!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Sweet Nothings

Just now, sitting on N's bed as the boys are drifting off:
N: Mommy, I love you. I'm going to marry you when I get big.
Me: I love you, too. Good night.
M: I love you and I'm going to marry you, too! I'm going to give you a diamond. It will be big, huge, GIANT! And....
N: that is not good! You have to be very careful with giants! They could hurt you!

Sweet sweet boys. I had to record it because it was so cute...then they started arguing about who said what about giants and who could marry mommy.

New Name Again?

Okay blog friends, what do you think about yet another new name?  We have been Twin Engines for about 3 years, but now that I am closing in on C's first birthday, the name REALLY doesn't fit anymore!  He's just as wiggly and energetic and all-boy as his big brothers!

Also, we're a bit more "grounded," at least currently, while we live in MI.  Suggestions?
My mom likes "My Three Sons,"
There's also, "Three's Company,"
but perhaps I should be a bit more original that borrowing old sitcom titles? 

My hope is to work on the blog and make it more attractive and get some better photos this year.  I'm giving myself a year because if I say this week or this month, it will never happen. If I say this year...then I'm saying there's a chance!

Monday, March 4, 2013

From Poop Jail to Freedom

It's always the last place you look.
Isn't that how the phrase goes?
In our case, nothing was missing per se...just a little piece of my mind.

My ardent followers know that I started potty training the twins 14 months ago, although I'm sure I'm the only one counting.  I'll skip the long story to say that when we moved to MI one month ago, N was not completey trained.  He made the flight and spent the first week in pull ups because he just could not be trusted while I was busy unpacking.

So after we'd been here a few days and the important things were unpacked, I began potty training him AGAIN.  Of course, it wasn't "from scratch," but it sure felt like it sometimes.  There were several accidents and a few more maddening days, but there was just no going back at that point.  It HAD to happen - he was already in preschool!  They don't even make the kids take a potty break; they are just supposed to go themselves.  Which sounds all hunky dory...unless your kid has a loose cannon in his pants.

Two Saturdays ago, I asked Hubs to take N to the store to pick his poopy prize.  It had to be a big one, one that N chose and wanted HIMSELF.  Not lame stickers or charts or dollar store trinkets, not m&m's or gummy treats, not ipad games or special promised outings - no, we'd tried all of those and had very little success.

I'd been reluctant for a very long time about this extravagant reward method.  I have twins.  And what you do for one you have to do for the other...according to them.  But M has been trained since July and he was happy to be trained with m&m's.  In fact, he consumed POUNDS of m&m's because I kept it up long after he needed them in hopes N would buy into the concept.

I was desperate.  And I had a new plan:
Poop Jail + Extravagant New Toy Reward.
I adapted the idea from this article I found online when searching "potty training problems":  It's long and boring unless you have a kid who won't poop on the potty and you're about to jump off a cliff because of the endless poopy underpants.

The pediatrician author only reccomends Poop Jail to his most reluctant clients, and after reading the article, I was certain that N would be categorized as one by him.  Seriously, the only thing worse than Poop Jail would be...Poop Prison.  Or Poop Row.  Which is where I was headed if he didn't get trained!

N found the truck on a Saturday.  The rules were simple:
1. Poop in pants = go to Poop Jail (the bathroom)
2. Get out of Poop Jail by making it in the potty.
3. Make it in the potty = play with New Expensive Crane Truck

He spent an embarrassing amount of time in Poop Jail on Sunday afternoon and evening, a little less on Monday, and very little on Tuesday, when he made poop on the potty and finally got to open the box and play with it. It was not easy.  No, no.  He wanted no part of Poop Jail!  That's the point, but sheesh, it was tough to follow through, especially with no garauntee of success! 

Here's the key: truck had to remain under parental control and it had to be played with for a limited time.  It "lives" on top of the fridge (so it's always in view but out of reach) and only comes down for 15-20 minutes after he makes it on the potty.

Over the weekend, N discovered the joys of Lego magazine in the bathroom at my sister's house, where he made poop on someone else's potty on his own for the first time.  He was rewarded with a Lego magazine for our bathroom, where he's been taking himself (no reminders) for 2 days.  He's kept himself out of Poop Jail  and has been playing with his new truck every day for two weeks now.

I have been reluctant to declare victory for 14 months, but today I am optimistic that he's finally potty trained.  (Minus bedtime, but I don't count that anymore. I kind of don't care right now.)

If I could play a soundtrack for this post, it would be "Born Again" by Third Day.

N and I are both new, happier people, living in this awesome world of Flushing Freedom...together.