Monday, November 25, 2013

N"s Funny

If it seems that I post more funnies that come out of M's mouth, it's true - he says more crazy stuff!  So for posterity's sake, Hubs relayed this to me after dropping the twins off at preschool this morning, although N said this with absolute certainty so I don't think he was trying to be funny:

N was sitting on the floor of the hallway, changing out of his boots and into his shoes.  Hubs bend down to help him and N asked,

"Are you taking us to swimming tonight?"

"Yes," Hubs replied.

"This is the most important-ness part: Don't leave us there!" He said, looking up at Hubs with his big round eyes.

(I have NO IDEA why he's thinking about us leaving him at swimming lessons!  Perhaps something happened last week while we were gone, that no one's telling us?)

Of course, Hubs assured him that he will not leave him at swimming lessons. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Holiday Prep Thoughts

* Seriously contemplating doing my Christmas shopping online for the first time.  I mean, Legos never go on sale, so why bother driving to pay full price?  And why are they so expensive?  I know, though, from my sister's experience with my nephew, you just have to buy the real deal.  No fake blocks. 

*I'm trying to be all domestic-goddess and bake some holiday treats ahead of time now that I have a new freezer chest (thanks, M!) and master the art of pressed cookies since I got a press this year and HATE (HAAAAAATE) cutting cut out cookies.  It sounds so easy, just press, sprinkle the cookies with sugar, and bake....well.....they TASTE awesome, I mean, what wouldn't with two sticks of butter per recipe?  The first two test batches turned out good enough, meaning, with practice, my third and Real Christmas Cookie batch should be just right.

Haha!  I dyed it green to make trees.  Somehow, the dough was too tough to go through the press and no matter how I tried, I couldn't get anything to shape.  Then I cracked the tree shape.  So I wound up making green little balls and letting N put mini M&M's on top.  They look nothing like trees and just like green blobs. 

About the press, M said, "We should give this back to Grandma K!  Write a note! Dear Grandma, we don't want this anymore!!!" I haven't laughed so hard!  Made the whole cookie baking afternoon worth it.  And now M has a gift for Grandma...

* I'm also about to make 20 lbs of mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving.  Yikes!  I know, it's crazy, right?  But since I want to make sure my poor husband and son have something dairy-free to eat that day, and it wouldn't make sense for me to make just ONE batch of potatoes, I'm doing them all.  Heaven help me!  (The other 3 batches will be FULL of butter and milk, family.  I promise!)

*Also, (here's where I think I'm crazy) I'm planning a gingerbread-house decorating contest for the Thanksgiving party.  I need to make a practice batch of the royal icing, hope it works.  I'm beginning to wonder if this is too much...there will be about 30 people there!  In fact, Hubs' family is so large we don't fit into a house and need to rent a room for the first time!  This should be interesting...but I'll have you know, we're using graham crackers.  Not baking gingerbread.

*And why do my kids not have school the day before Thanksgiving?  Really?  I'm pretty sure I did not get that day off until for my pre-schoolers, that means an entire week of no school, followed by 3 weeks of school, then 2 more weeks of no school.  Not sure what to think of that...

*Discussed placing the twins in Kindergarten with another 4 year old twin mom today.  I'm glad to know that I'm not the only feeling both elation and dread about the impending day...even if it is still 10 months away.  She was TOURING schools 3 nights this week!  THIS WEEK!  It raises my kindergarten anxiety up a notch, just thinking about having to tour in November. 

*Placed my Christmas card order and typed my first draft of the annual Christmas Letter (where's my strikethrough?) Quiz.  EEEK.  I cannot believe it's Christmas time.  REally.  The kids are begging to put up the tree and I'm ordering cards and baking stuff.  EEEK! 

*A squirrel the size of a cat is on the roof outside my window, watching me, looking in as if to say, it's really starting to get cold out here, and I'm hungry so please feed me!  He's kind of distracting me, making me think I ought to finish this and go check on the kids, the laundry, and make that test batch of royal icing...

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Photos Worth The Previous Post's 1000 Words

It was even served in a coconut shell!  Hubs was in heaven (no dairy for him!)

Under Lahaina's 1-Acre Banyan Tree

The last one is a sneak peek of Hubs working.  I never get to see him work (okay, once I got to go out on the tarmac, but that was eons ago) so here is a candid camera shot of him listening to the gate agents giving boarding announcements, making sure they are doing it all accurately.  That's one of the 1000 checklist items he does on a station visit. You can also see how booooring it is.  (For the people about to board, not him;)

Hee, hee.  I'm so funny! 

I'll Fly Away

When my husband opened this blog in 2007, it was intended to document our travels. But we soon learned that we were the only ones who cared about our travel! We continued to travel and I was able to accompany him on several business trip the summers of 2007 & 2008, the blog mostly forgotten.

What I didn't write about or even talk about was that those were the years we were trying to conceive. In terms of fun, we had a lot of it in those two years, especially because each trip began with the exotic notion that maybe our baby will be conceived in....Singapore, Guam, Tokyo, Hawaii, Germany, California, Arizona, Texas....

We are both practical people, so when it comes to gift-giving, we just plan a trip in lieu of a gift. Really, people who speak gift-giving as their primary love language are baffled by this, but it makes perfect sense to us. We would rather spend the money making memories on a getaway than to fill our lives, closets, garages with stuff.

Our lives changed in October 2008, when the pregnancy test came back positive. It turned inside out when we learned we were expecting twins.

It turned upside down when they came early at 35 weeks in May 2009. Two little miracles that we felt undeservedly chosen to love.

Our twin boys were the best thing that had ever happened to us. The most thrilling, exciting, mind-numbing, bone-weary, exhausting thing that had ever happened to us.  But we determined they wouldn't slow us down. We would still travel, taking our new comrades along.

That's when I started writing on the blog, and changed the old travel site to become a kind of family update/family adventure blog.

M and N boarded their first plane at age 2 months, Minneapolis to Michigan. We took them back every 6-8 weeks the first 6 months of their lives. That was so easy, we decided to take them to Hawaii, along with my mother in law and sister in law. To prove to our future selves were also completely delirious, we also took them to St. Maartin in December 2009! 

We were so proud of ourselves...see, even TWINS can't crush our travel plans!

We continued the insanity, taking them to Tennessee for a family vacation with my parents in 2010, at age 13 months, still flying to Michigan for every holiday as well as the twins' birthdays.

They turned two in May 2011. We took them to North Carolina the next month in order to attend a friend's wedding, one who was a bridesmaid for me. 

I probably blogged about what a fine adventure it was, but it was not. It was our wake up call. Traveling with one year old twins the summer before had been challenging, and we were proud to have done it. Traveling with two year old twins was something altogether different. It clipped our wings. 

No more trips, we decided. Just back and forth to Michigan for family visits, we said. The travel blog became an update blog for friends and family and my world got a little smaller- groceries, Sunday church, library story time and Early childhood classes were the extent of our adventures.

The twins were 2 years and 3 months old when we learned baby C was on his way.

Each day my belly grew bigger and my patience thinner; our trips to France and Italy together seemed as ancient as Rome and Paris themselves. I began to wonder if they had really happened, or had I just dreamed them?

Would we ever see the day we'd pack up our little buddies and show them the world, like we'd planned? Oh, the ideas we had, the things we thought we could do! We'd stay up late, talk about all the places we'd take our kids, we'd make them little world travelers!  Before we had them, of course....Having 3 kids in 3 years will take your breath away. 

We decided to tame things down a bit. Our families visited us for stay-cations. We vacationed in Michigan with our families the last two summers. We didn't mind, and it IS a relief to drive rather than fly with potty training children. 

Since C was born 18 months ago, we've only gotten away as a couple for two nights to northern Michigan. But my smart husband has been holding an ace in his pocket for nearly a year: a 4th quarter business trip to Maui.

He's been holding it, waiting for things to settle after the move, waiting for C to be weaned at his first birthday, waiting for an open weekend in the busy fourth quarter of the year when our moms were able to watch ALL 3 boys. 

To take me to Maui, just the two of us.

To fly again, to be our old selves- the fun ones who go stand up paddle boarding at 8am, who pay exorbitant amounts of money to eat organic coconut milk ice cream for lunch on the road to Hana, who stay up late talking about the future and planning trips in it.

For the first time in two and a half years, we are talking about taking the kids on a trip next year, the kind of trip I think they will, around their 5th birthday, remember. 

I'm not sure what excites me more today, traveling again with my adventure buddy of 11 years, or planning a future trip with our kids. Mostly my heart is full of gratitude to God for the love of a good man who has stood with me through the tough years of trying to conceive, then the crazy years of having a lot of babies very quickly, and now the still crazy years of two preschoolers plus one toddler.

Nobody asked us if we were honeymooners this week, like used to happen in romantic destinations. Perhaps 11 years show on us...a bit of leftover baby belly, a grey hair on Hubs's head are telltale signs, I suppose.  I think he gets more handsome every year, though. We are a far cry now from the kids we were on our wedding day in 2002, but oh the adventures we've had! 

And will continue to have, with the grace of God and our little adventure buddies by our sides. Stay tuned for all bloggy adventures!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

M's Commentary

1.There is a story my mother-in-law loves to tell about Uncle A; how, as a little guy, he understood the concept of time in "Little Rascals" and "Doug" episodes, each half-hour children's TV programs.

Yesterday, as I was explaining to M and N that Papa would take care of them for a hour before Grandma K came home from work, M piped up and asked, "that's about two Mighty Machines?"

I looked up at him from putting C's shoes on and smiled, remembering her story. "It sure is, little buddy," 

2. My husband took the twins to run an errand Thursday afternoon. (Can you believe they were going to a Fed Ex store to mail his visa application for an upcoming business trip? These are the kinds of errands we run!) It was mid-afternoon and the kids hadn't had a snack, but he could see in his rear view mirror their mouths were full.

"What are you eating, guys?" He asked.
"French fries leftover from last night," M answered, "But they are QUITE cold!" He emphasized.

3. Papa and Grandma K kept the kids Friday night for us and M commented on her wall decor. "You have some very old-fashioned things in your house!" He exclaimed...not once, but twice! She also said the kids were good as gold, but she can't find M's volume button. That's because it doesn't exist!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Halloween 2013

 We purchased one carving pumpkin because it's all we can handle!  Why the twins are shirtless is beyond me, but here they are helping scoop the guts out.  I made toasted pumpkin seeds with the guts...yum!
 The finished product named Pumpkiny.
 Matthew had more fun than he's letting on here, I think.

C gets a bath while big bros carve Pumkiny
 The big day!  Here we are trick or treating at GiGi's (great grandma's).  This is the best one with all 3!  N is appropriately decked in orange, a dino hat and "this T shirt is my costume" outfit, M is "batman" and C is wearing the old panda suit. 
 Here we are at Grandma A's with cousin A who is the plane from the new Disney movie (I honestly don't know the character's name) on their way to the local elementary school for a party that Grandma's work sponsored.  Panda and I stayed at Grandma's to hand out candy to a huge mass of middle school kids!
C chose a Lifesaver gummy candy from the bowl...and licked it like crazy!  It was so funny to see his little tongue going crazy licking it!  Maybe it was a sour candy?  I don't know, but he eventually finished it.

A note on Halloween candy: I've been doling it out bit by bit, mostly for finishing their lunch, pooping in the potty, for finding a lost item, or being caught doing something nice.  It's whittling away, but I have to tell kids keep picking out the icky stuff, going around the chocolate!  They want the Laffy Taffy, the generic lollipops, Now and Laters, tiny Twizzlers.  It's working out pretty well for me and Hubs...we've taken care of all the Snickers, 3 Musketeers, Milky Ways, and Resse's.  All that's left for us is the plain Hershey's, which I think we can handle!

Till next year, sayonara Halloween!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Heaven in a Chicken Hat

This photo was taken around the first of October.  Here's why I took it; so I could remember this.

The fellas and I were walking the two blocks home from our local library, where we'd just attended a farm-themed children's story and craft time.  It was around 4 in the afternoon, that magical time of day...for photographers. Four o'clock is usually a very stressful part of my day, when I am exhausted, all of us are hungry and the kids are bored of playing with...everything... and I have to start making dinner.  Believe me, I am not taking pictures at 4:00 in this house - it's not very pretty.

We'd exhausted all of our daytime play things - I'm pretty sure it was a Thursday, before they started their fall Thursday morning storytimes - and we were ready to go do something, anything.

I don't remember the story, just that I was simultaneously trying to help N spread Tacky Glue with a paint brush and directing him to attach the Cheerio "wool" to his sheep before it dried, helping M spread frosting with a tongue depressor to decorate a "sheep" cookie with mini-marshmallows, and feeding C the Cheerios and mini-marshmallows I snagged for him from the craft tables.

Then we all made those awesome chicken hats!

The boys were walking ahead of me and C on the sidewalk, their chicken wings flapping in the breeze.  The sun was low on the horizon behind me, and I saw suddenly and graphically why this time of day is so magical for photographers.

Both boys ran into a neighbor's lawn and plucked the fluffy dandelions, blowing a million seeds glittering into the sunlight.  

They laughed hilariously and dashed to pick another.  

I stopped in my tracks, amazed at the absolute beauty of my chicken-headed four-year old sons frolicking in the dandelion glitter.

Thank you, God, for these tiny, shiny, glimpses of heaven, when I am suddenly and brilliantly able to see my children the way you see them.

It lasted about 5 seconds, long enough for me to make a mental note to take a picture of them at home so that I could sometime record this story and tell them about the day I saw a glimpse of heaven in a chicken hat.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Terrific Tuesdays

I try to enjoy Tuesdays and Thursdays as much as possible. Next year the twins will be off to kindergarten every morning and there will be no more "home days" or "sleep in days," as we are calling them. I've created a color and symbol code on a calendar, so they can read what they are doing that day.

Sunday has a cross for church. 

Monday is highlighted blue for school and has waves at the bottom for swimming.

Tuesday is blank, "home day," today, the day I alternately treasure and dread. Treasure because there are fewer "home days" to spend together doing our own thing. Dread because they sometimes fall apart, becoming my undoing. 

Wednesday is highlighted orange for school. 

Thursday has a book symbol for library storytime. 

Friday is highlighted pink for school. 

Saturday is "no work" day, they know Daddy will be home to do fun stuff. Often there is a balloon symbolizing a family party of some kind. 

I'm trying hard to make Tuesdays more fun, sometimes taking them on errands, when it was warm taking snacks to a park. I suppose I will have to brainstorm more indoor things- back in September we spent a morning making 5 batches of play-doh. (Because I'm the official play-doh mom of their pre-school classroom...I had to sign up for something at orientation and that was the least commitment, OK?! You would have done the same thing.)

Today, though? The "sleep-in" concept is totally lost on them since Sunday, time change day. I know there is an adjustment period, but this morning, M came in to my room no less than every ten minutes, beginning at 6:07. 

Because the rule is they cannot get up until 7:00 (seven-oh-oh). But when he's being squirreltail, he says it's 7 because there is a 7 on his clock. 

6:07: I have to go pee-pee. Me:then go, and go back to bed. 
6:17: I'm hungry. Me: I'll get you breakfast later. Stay in your room till 7:00.
6:27: I'm really really hungry! Me: then eat a banana! 
6:37: I'm really really really hungry! Me, getting out of bed and getting him a banana, served to him in bed because he ran back there, I'm sure because he knew I was getting irritated: eat this!
6:47: I'm done with my banana. I have to go poop! Me: you know what to do.
6:57, Both twins are in the bathroom using the toilet together, singing the days of the week song at the top of their lungs. Me: ok, fine, go turn on PBS. 
7:00: but it's Arthur! We don't like Arthur!

I know I'll miss this next year. Right now I'm just waiting for the caffeine to take effect. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Would You Rather?

Have a 4 year old with an ear infection or a one year old with apparent general malaise?

That one's easy!  For the first time EVER, I was able to easily and correctly identify what was wrong with my child. On Friday night at 10 pm (is there any other time to get sick?  IS THERE?) M woke up miserable and crying.  We thought it was a night terror because he's had those before, but after a few minutes, we asked him if anything hurt on him - he's been having growing pains, too - and he said, no, just my ear.

Excuse me?  WHAT did you just say?  YOUR EAR?!

EGADS! We cried (inside, not aloud) EGADS! He can communicate!

Okay, M can carry on an intelligent conversation about mighty machines with anyone, but this was the first time in 4 1/2 years of parenting one of our children identified WHAT THE HECK WAS WRONG WITH HIM!!!

I mean, really, this is groundbreaking.

It was simple. 

We gave him a dose of ibuprofen and put him back to bed.

In the morning, we asked, does anything hurt on you?

He said, no, just my ear.

Which one, we asked.

He pointed to his right one, the same one as last night (which is also pretty genius of us to think of, huh?).

And M and I had a little morning adventure at Redi-Med and Meijer pharmacy, where they fill antibiotic prescriptions for free.

Of course, we spent a lot of money on groceries, but M was up for it.  Sick or not, grocery shopping with mommy (sans brothers) is a special thing to do.

24 hours later, he was as good as new, except with a little cough.

Speaking of little and coughs....I have two other kids.

N seems to have the general cold version of whatever this is.  As well as I small cut on his toe which might as well be gangrenous the way he's acting, but I digress...

C has the miserable 1 year old I'm becoming a toddler and probably am growing teeth or bones and have a strong opinion about everything and why the heck do I feel miserable and generally yucky version of whatever this is.

But does he fever, pull his ear, vomit, emit diarreah, or wake multiple times during the night, making it easier to identify a cause?  No.

His symptoms are crabby, clingy, and runny nose.

Hardly worth rushing to the doctor for.

But far more wearing on Mommy and longer lasting than M's ear infection night.

Oh, well, it's a job hazard right?

I'd rather have all this than a thousand other alternatives. So I count my blessings- amoxicillin, ibuprofen, and the privilege of staying at home to care for them.