Sunday, November 30, 2008

Out of the Mouths of Babes...

I love children for many reasons, but I especially love their honesty. A child will not hold back, if they tell you they love you, it's because they really do. They speak what is on their minds, which is a trait that many of us would do well to acquire. No beating around the bush, no sugar-coating, just saying what they mean, when they mean it. It's very simple, and refreshing. Well, most of the time.

We were all walking to the van. I had Grant and Marty was behind me with Emma and Ben. Emma suddenly yells out, "Mommy, you look like a penguin!"

I guess I have started to waddle. Thanks a lot, Emma.

Friday, November 28, 2008

My Thanksgiving (AKA, yes, I am alive!)

Good morning, everyone! Thank you for the messages of concern, no, I did not go into labor, I went to Thanksgiving. I am now home safe and sound from Spokane, where we spent the last few days. The reason I did not mention that we were going is because my Mommy taught me better than to broadcast over the internet that my house would be sitting empty for a couple of days, which would just invite some lunatic to come in and steal our 8-track player and seven-year-old computer. OK, really, anyone who reads this blog should know that we don't own anything worth stealing, but I still won't chance it. Unless the thief promises to take the cracker crumbs from in the couch cushions, too, then I might consider it.

Anywhoo, let me tell you a little about our trip. I packed all day Wednesday, so as soon as Marty got home from work we loaded the van with enough supplies to last us all winter, wedged the kids into the empty spots, and got ready to hit the road. We had borrowed a DVD player from Holly and got it all set up in the van, the kids were so excited to get to watch a movie in the car, they were jumping up and down as high as their seat belts would let them.

Seriously, what is worse than three small children in a seven and a half hour drive without the stimulation of television to keep them quiet? Let me tell you. It's three small children who are screaming because Mommy never thought to check if the cigarette lighter in her van actually worked, meaning she promised movies and couldn't deliver. They still went to Spokane without the joys of television, but with the knowledge that they were getting ripped off because it could have been a possibility. Marty and I made several stops to try and rectify the problem, but after replacing the fuse twice and having it blow immediately after starting the van, we knew the problem was a little bigger. Crapola.

Surprisingly, all the kids did very well on the drive across the state. The boys did not fall asleep until we were about an hour away from our destination, but for being awake for six and a half hours in the van, there was very little crying. Well, once they forgot about the movie fiasco. I simply bribed them into silence with candy, and it worked. Finally, I did something right! We got to the hotel about quarter to midnight, and tried our best to sneak everything in quietly to try and keep the kids as sleepy as possible. No such luck. As soon as we put the boys down in their playpens they wanted to giggle at each other. They played, giggled, and held hands over the tops of their playpens for a while, until we finally got tired of it and told them to lay down and go night-night. Grant listened, to an extent. He would lay down and Ben would get bored and throw a teddy bear at him to get him up, then Grant would spring up, reach out, hit Ben on the head and yell, "NO! Go Night-Night!" and then flop himself down on the mattress and kick and flail like he was trying his best to swim away. Ben though it was just the funniest thing, he would laugh and laugh, and throw something at him again, just to see it repeat. And repeat it did. For a half-hour.

Meanwhile, Emma is in one big bed by herself, loving all the space and trying to sit up to see what the boys are doing. Marty and I are in the other bed, listening to the boys' antics and trying so hard to keep our laughter silent. When all the kids finally drifted off around one am, they did sleep through the night, which was good. Emma and I went to church Thanksgiving morning while Marty kept the boys at the hotel. Multiples actually multiply in more than one area, two two-year-olds are actually four times as loud as one two-year-old, so bringing them to church when there is no childcare is not a grand idea. After church, we went back to the hotel to gather Marty and the boys, then headed to Aunt MaryAnn and Uncle Al's house. We had the best time there, the dinner was incredible (thank you Aunt MaryAnn and Barb!) and we had a great time with the family. I am still amazed that my aunt can cook a Thanksgiving dinner for twenty and still have a clean kitchen the entire time, I cannot even hand Emma an apple out of the fruit bowl without making a mess. The woman is amazing.

After stuffing ourselves silly, my cousins and I made our plan for Black Friday shopping. I will have to write more about that later, though, since I have not yet fully unpacked from our trip and the laundry is calling me. We did get home safe and sound, and my Daddy (AKA my hero) was able to rig wires from the battery so we could have the DVD player on the way home. Yup, I had wires duct-taped to the side of my van, but I had happy children. I love duct tape.

Oh, I almost forgot, I did learn some things on our trip that I wanted to share with you. If you live in a house with round doorknobs, be aware when you go to a hotel with the other kind that you just pull down and open the door. Twin two-year olds can then open the door and leave the room, and by the time you hear the door close and realize that they are missing, they have run down the hotel hallway in opposite directions, giggling. I thank God they didn't run into anyone or try and go down the stairs. Lesson number one: always use the night latch when in the room.

Lesson number two: if you have adjoining rooms with your parents and the kids are running back and forth, do not have all the adults in one room to chat. The boys can go into the empty room and shut the door, which cannot be opened from the adjoining room. If you use the night latch in both rooms to keep them from running down the hall, you cannot get into the room the boys have locked themselves in. The amazing thing was, although I remember shutting the night latch in my parents room, they were able to get in with just their key. Either one of them had opened the door and forgotten to shut the latch again, or it was a miracle, we will never know. I am so grateful that we got in, and that my dad had his room key in his pocket. That could have been really bad. Not even duct tape could have helped us there, and duct tape fixes everything!

Well, the laundry pile is calling, so I will write more later. I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving and that you all plan on a nice, relaxing weekend.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Best Thanksgiving Ever!

I have spent the last week drooling over the very thought of my Aunt MaryAnn's Thanksgiving dinner. Mmmmmm... I can hardly wait! This is one of those thankful things, but it seems too selfish to use as a thankfulness post, so I will cheat. But I am very thankful for my family and their fabulouso abilities in the kitchen. I will not go into too much detail, as it will simply make you all jealous and you might crash our Thanksgiving and then there won't be enough fluffy rolls for me. I am really looking forward to the time with my family as well, we don't see them very often as our lives are busy, but I love them dearly and can't wait to see them all.

I love Thanksgiving for many reasons. It brings in the Christmas season, which I LOVE, and it is a warm, fun, friendly holiday with good food and family. Like Christmas, but without the crazy shopping and stress. Tracie and I were talking about it the other day, Thanksgiving is kind of like the middle child that is quietly special, but sometimes ignored in all the Christmas excitement. True, I do think that the shopping the day after Thanksgiving is almost as important as the holiday itself, so I am not doing Thanksgiving the service it deserves by lumping it with Christmas that way. But I am one of those people who thinks that getting up at 4 am to get good deals is a lot of fun! So today, we head over to Thanksgiving to stuff ourselves silly, and tomorrow, I will be hitting the mall. And it will be great!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thankfulness Day 6

I am thankful for the wonderful technology that we so often take advantage of. I think of those women who lived a long time ago, where they had no birth control (can you imagine?!? I'd have 48 kids!) and cooked their dinner over a wood stove, sewed their own clothes and did laundry by hand. I am so grateful that God decided that I am best fit for this generation, where we have modern conveniences like dishwashers, cars, and white wine. I am grateful that I can plop my kids in front of the TV while I cook dinner on my nice stove, and that I didn't have to pluck the chicken first. (Sorry, Tracie!) I am thankful that I can keep up with my friends on their blogs and that I have my blog as an outlet to keep me out of therapy.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thankfulness Day 5

I am thankful for my family-in-law. I have the most wonderful in-laws in the world. I remember as a child hearing my mother say, "If I could line up all of the mothers-in-law in the world and pick one, I'd choose mine." That's exactly how I feel. My mother-in-law is wonderful, she is kind and loving, and a wonderful Grandma. she is willing to help out in any way she can from babysitting to helping me paint bedrooms to bringing groceries when times are tough. She has such a giving heart and I am so incredibly blessed to have her in my life.

My step-pa-in-law is my buddy. We have had a tradition for the last several years where Wednesday is Buddy Day, and we call each other to wish each other a happy day and talk about our buddy day activities. We have done all sorts of things on Buddy Day, from snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef to that time we raced hairless sled cats on the Ididarod. He is a great father and a friend, and I love him very much.

My sisters-in-law are amazing. They have become very close friends to me, I really enjoy time with Holly talking about kiddos and cooking, and spending time with Amy doing photography. They are always there to give me a hand and do so with love, not out of obligation. I love them and am so happy that they made me a true sister and not just a sister-in-law.

My brother-in-law is great. He truly cares for my kids and will get down on the floor and play with them. Although his life is very busy, he makes sure to take time to keep in touch with us and see us whenever he can. He is very talented with kids and has an incredibly caring heart. He is an amazing person and I am in awe of him and all he does.

The extended family is more than I ever imagined a family could be. Everyone has adopted me as a member of the family, not just "married-in." I am so incredibly blessed to be surrounded by the people that make up this crazy family, and I love them very much. I am so very blessed!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Baby Update!

We had another ultrasound today. We got to see baby boy, and he already has chubby cheeks and little tiny chubby fat rolls on his legs! They are estimating him to currently weigh 5 lbs. 2 oz., so it looks like he might be bigger than all the rest of the kiddos were at birth. Of course, that all depends on how long we can keep him cooking, I have to go off the ibuprofen in a week, which might bring the contractions back. We will have to wait and see.

We still don't have a name, although Tracie has decided that Ribeye is not quite fitting for this child, he needs a name that conveys power and leadership. She thinks that Mufasa Stauffer is a better bet. I have to say, it has a ring to it...

Thankfulness days 3 and 4

Oops, I missed my thankfulness post yesterday. I will do two topics today to make up for it.

First, I am thankful for my husband. I tease him a lot, and I make fun of his lack of common sense (seriously, the guy once burned his lip while ironing!) but I love him dearly and I wouldn't trade him for anything in the world. Marty is the type of guy that would rather spend his time with his wife and kids then out with his friends. He supports me in whatever I choose to do and is there for me when I need him. He is truly my best friend and I am so incredibly blessed that he decided he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. I don;t know how I tricked him into it, but it was the best thing I ever did!

Next, I am thankful for my kids. Amidst all the fighting, screaming, and peeing, I have the best bunch of kids in the world. They truly love each other and it is so sweet to see them sticking up for each other. They have such different personalities and I can't wait to see how they will develop as they grow. They really are pretty well behaved (for the most part) and I am so lucky that God chose me to be their mom.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Time to Duct Tape My Children

I knew this time was coming, I just didn't know when. I officially need to go buy duct tape for my boys. I had to do it with Emma, and I guess the boys are no different. Yes, I am talking about duct taping my kids. No, I am not kidding. Before you call CPS, let me explain.

This morning I was on the computer checking my daily blogs while the boys were watching cartoons. Marty and Emma were at the store getting donuts for breakfast, the boys were having their usual morning nakey time, and everyone was happy. I looked over at Ben to see him standing in front of the TV. The first thing I saw was his little nakey buns. Now, nakey buns are not a part of nakey time, I am not so stupid to let my toddlers run sans diapers. I saw him holding his diaper over his head, and smearing the inner part throughout his hair and on his face. I ran faster than I ever thought I could to take it from him, praying all the while that the fact that it was just changed an hour ago meant it was still clean and dry. Luckily, it was not poopy, but it was a little wet. Nasty.

When Emma was about that age, I would put her in her crib for time-out. She would then rip her diaper off and pee all over her bed and the walls, her way of protesting time-outs, I guess. I solved the dilemma by going to Michael's craft store and buying a roll of pink duct tape. I put a little piece of tape across the tabs of the diaper so she couldn't get it off, and it solved the problem. I will have to see if Michael's carries some cool boy styled duct tape, like camouflage. I guess since they are boys, just plain silver will do, but what would be the fun in that? Really, if you are going to duct tape your children, at least make it interesting duct tape!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thankfulness Day Two

Continuing on Thankfulness Week, today I am thankful for my friends. They keep me sane(ish) and I don't know where I would be without them.

I accosted Teresa on the way home from the bus stop 16 years ago and I have held on tight to that girl ever since. We have been best friends since that day, and have never gotten into a fight in all that time. I honestly don't remember ever even disagreeing with her, but it has been said that we share a brain, so I guess that only makes sense. When people talk about friends through thick and thin, that is Teresa for me. You are my rock and my life would not be the same without you. I love you and you are stuck with me for many more years to come!

I also am thankful for Holly, Tracie, Amy, Jessica, Kelina, Tarah, Stephana, Erin, Rebecca, Brenda, Jenn, DeAnna, Michelle, and the rest of my friends. They love me for who I am and put up with my craziness. I love you guys, you each bring something different into my life and I appreciate you so much!

Who can write about friends without including my crazy bloggy friends? To Christy, Shannon, Christa, Wendy, Tracy, Kadi, Becky, Jen, Tricia, Melissa, and everyone else I have come to know and love through your writings and stories, thank you for bringing some light into my long days. I appreciate your presence and friendship, and though we have never met, I feel like I know some of you really well and you have become an important part of my life. I never understood the idea of online friends until I met all of you, but you are fabulous people and I am blessed to have you in my life.

I am so blessed to have the people surrounding me that I do. I have heard the saying that you can tell a lot about a person by looking at their friends, and I think I have a great group. I am thankful for each and every one of you!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Merry Christmas to You!

I have been working on our family Christmas letter over the last few days. For some reason, I can write on this blog about our mundane life almost daily and never run out of things to say, but when it comes to writing one page about what five people have done in an entire year, I have great difficulty. Maybe I am too used to sarcasm, maybe I am a bit too cynical, I don't know, but the letter is not going well. Here's what I have so far, but I am not sure this is really following the holiday spirit.

Merry Christmas to all our family and friends!

This year has brought many changes for us. For one thing, Tiff is pregnant. Again. We are not quite sure how that keeps happening, but we think it might be due to eating too many avocados. We have removed avacados from the house. We will see if that works.

Marty switched jobs in January, going from Advertising to Insurance. It has been a difficult transition, and Marty has been working 50-60 hours a week to get his foot in the door. The kids are beginning to wonder who their Daddy is, so Tiff has been showing them the picture she put on the milk carton when he first went missing. If anyone has seen him lately, please buy some insurance, then please send him home. His honey-do list isn't getting any shorter!

Emma turned four this year, and is growing up so fast. She thinks she knows everything, and is pretty sure she is the President of the United States. She has really gotten into singing, and has inherited her mother's inability to carry a tune as well as her father's ability to be very, very loud. The combination has made us very cranky, er, I mean, proud.

Grant and Ben will be two in December, and they have started potty training. They must be training to be firefighters, they have sure figured out how to douse a room with those hoses they have. They have learned a lot this year, from how to climb into windowsills to how to scream at the perfect pitch to drive mom crazy. Unfortunately, the asylum is not covered under our insurance plan, so Tiff just drinks, I mean, blogs a lot to drown out the noise.

Tiffani is doing well, although the constant state of pregnancy and lack of sleep has caused a bit of a nervous twitch. Luckily, this condition tends to make strangers nervous and stay away, so she rarely has to wait in line at the grocery store. We think this might make our Christmas shopping a little easier, but with the economy the way it is, there is a chance everyone will just be receiving Happy Meal Toys this year. We will have to wait and see.

We sincerely hope everyone has a safe and warm Christmas season!


The Stauffers

What do you think? Maybe just a little more editing? I guess I'll have to keep working on it, but it's sure hard to type with his twitch...

Jumping On The Thankfulness Bandwagon

Holly, Tracie, and Erin are doing daily posts to celebrate what they are thankful for as we approach Thanksgiving. Holly started it, and challenged us all to follow, but refused to officially tag us since she is still bitter that I made her take pictures of her office. (I have not been one of the things she is thankful for, but I know she loves me anyway.)

Today, I am thankful for the simple things. Thankful that I was blessed enough to be born in America. I have a wonderful, warm, safe home where I can raise my kids however I want. I have clean, running water in my home. (Well, most of the time!) I know my children will never starve, since we have a government that will provide for people in need. If my kids get sick, I have access to fabulous medical care. I know our government is not perfect, but our country is amazing compared to some where women have to sell some children into slavery in order to feed their other kids, or who watch their children die of basic illnesses that could be treated. I am not trying to be depressing here, I just am truly thankful for all we have and all we can do.

I think sometimes we get caught up in everything we don't have, and forget about what we do have. Anyone who knows us knows we are broke and make a lot of sacrifices, but these are so minor compared to the majority of the population of the world. Yes, our kids have listened to music on a record player, but we have electricity and we love to dance as a family. Yes, my van is missing two hubcaps and the speedometer does not work, but I have transportation that is safe, reliable, and we have the freedom to go wherever we want. We do not have money for entertainment, but we have a fantastic family that loves and supports each other, and we truly like spending time together. We are so wealthy in the things that matter, and I would not trade that for the world. I love my country, I love my life, and I love my family. I don't need anything else.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Blood, Sweat and Tears

My, my, my, today I have not even had the time to blog. Well, technically, I did have time, but I chose to take a nap instead. This morning started out with intentions to go grocery shopping, lest we have cream of ranch dressing and salsa soup for dinner. Yes, it was that bad. Anywhoo, Amy offered to meet me at the grocery store to give me a hand, so I got ready by doing our regular having-all-the-kids-take-a-shower-with-me, so I could keep tabs on 'em.

First thing, I put the boys on the potty. Grant did not go, but sat a while, which is all we are going for right now. Ben sat down, leaned back (which logistically is never a good idea, but I did not notice) and peed. All over my foot, the floor, and the scale. Yup, kid's potties are not always built to catch everything that sprays, and basically can become a stool to pee from and not a place to pee in.

I got that all cleaned up and hit the shower. It was going well, everyone was shampooed, and we were getting ready to rinse off when Grant decided to try and climb up on the bench in the shower. He slipped and fell, hitting his chin on the way down and biting his tongue. I had forgotten how much tongues bleed, I picked him up right away but before long he had blood dripping off his toes. He was covered in blood, I was subsequently covered in blood, Emma was freaking out because of all of the blood, and Ben was happily playing, oblivious to everything that was going on.

Here's a challenge. You have a small child who is bleeding profusely, but has shampoo in his hair. Do you end the shower immediately to tend to the injured boy, risking the chance of getting shampoo in his eyes and making it worse; or tick him off immediately by rinsing the shampoo out of his hair while he is screaming and bleeding everywhere? I debated this for a while, not knowing what would be the best way to handle my screaming child. I ended up holding him long enough in my indecisiveness for him to calm down and stop bleeding, and was able to rinse everyone off and get out of the shower. Grant was still very upset, both in pain and freaked out from the fall. I held him for a quite a while, just consoling him. Meanwhile Ben was running wildly throughout the room, no diaper or anything. Whenever I tried to put Grant down to diaper Ben, Grant would scream and cling to me, so I gave up and held my injured, scared boy and resigned myself to cleaning up pee later.

Surprisingly, Ben never peed. I guess peeing on my foot earlier was enough to keep him from spraying my bedroom, so I was happy. Grant finally calmed down, and we got ready for shopping. The shopping trip went great, having Amy there to keep the boys moving made for a much easier time. The boys only shoplifted once, which is pretty good for them. The problem was they grabbed the fruit snacks that were on sale that I wanted to buy anyway, but I never want to give in to just grabbing things off the shelves. I made them put it back, and sneaked a different variety into the cart later, hopefully by the time I get them out they will have forgotten about the shoplifting experience and just be pleased with the snack.

By the time I got home, I was exhausted. I was having a lot of contractions and just wanted to get off my feet, so I grabbed the refrigerated groceries out of the van and left the rest for later. Threw together an easy lunch for the kids, put them to bed, and collapsed on the couch where I stayed for the next two hours. It was fabulous.

So, that was why I never blogged today. I am hoping that tomorrow will be easier and I can get some good blogging done. We will have to wait and see!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

When Good Parenting Goes Wrong #2

This morning, Emma found one of her pretty dress up earrings. Just one. She was devastated. This was our conversation:

Emma: "Mommy, I need my other earring!"
Me: "So go in your room and find it."
Emma: "It's not in there! I looked and looked and looked!"
Me: "Well, I guess you only have one earring, then."
Emma: "Mommy, will I still be beautiful with only one earring?"
Me: stop what I am doing, turn to her and look right at her: "Sweetie, you are beautiful because of who you are on the inside. The outside does not make you a beautiful person, it's what's inside that counts."
Emma: "Ewwww, Mommy, your breath smells stinky. I don't want you to cuddle me if you are stinky on the inside. Will you go brush your teeth, please?"

Thaks a lot, kid.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

MENSA, Anyone?

I think we should recognize that life experience is crucial to kids' learning. The last two days have been filled with learning for all members of the family. This is why I am choosing to celebrate the accomplishments of the last two days and share them all with you. Did that sound sappy and convincing? I hope so!

The things we have learned in the last two days:

-The boys discovered that they are now tall enough to reach things on the kitchen counters and the island. If they work together, they can get the bowl of Halloween candy off the island, carry it to a corner of the living room and hide to chew on candy, wrappers and all.

-Starburst will come out of white microfiber couches.

-The boys can push the dining room chairs up to the sink so they can climb up and bang dirty silverware against breakable dishes.

-I learned to jump at the sound of chairs sliding on the floor.

-I can run faster pregnant than I thought I could.

-The boys figured out how to work together to carry a chair across the kitchen so it doesn't make any noise.

-I learned that unfortunately, the sound of silence is actually worse than the sound of screaming.

-Ben can break the childproof latch off the cupboard with he garbage in it, and playing with raw chicken fat is fun.

-I can clean raw chicken fat off a toddler while pregnant without throwing up.

-Emma learned that if her brothers are being especially difficult, she might get to play with play-dough in her bedroom by herself if she stays quiet.

-Grant discovered that you can take a noodle and dip one end in your blueberry yogurt and it's really fun to fling it around and watch where the yogurt goes.

-Ben does not like the feeling of blueberry yogurt in his ear.

-Ben can put a baseball under the water dispenser in the fridge, and if you throw that cold, wet ball at your brother, he will scream. Very loud.

-Ben can run faster than Grant.

-Marty re-discovered the power of bringing home chocolate to your stressed out wife.

-If I am unable to shower or change my clothes for two days, my husband will still come home from work and tell me I am beautiful. And he can do it with a straight face.

-I have the greatest family in the world.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Melissa is NOT My Hero (But I Love Her Anyway...)

I had put the boys to bed, and Emma was cleaning up a little so she could stay up later and we would play a video game together. While she was cleaning, I decided to take a minute and check my spam mail box. What I found there was quite disturbing.

Yahoo has been putting random stuff in my spam box. I have learned to skim through it all to make sure I don't trash something important, but today of all days, I wish I hadn't. There was a comment on my blog from Melissa at Full Circle, but the notification was sent to the spam box so I didn't get it right away. Today, my twins have reached new heights (literally) and have not only been screaming, but into everything and destroying the house. I had just put them to bed when I got the message from Melissa that I was tagged in a meme.

Now, this is not one of those cute, fun fourth picture in your fourth folder memes, my instructions were simple. Drop everything, get out your camera and take pictures of your living room and where you blog from and post them. No cleaning, no tidying, just your house as is. Melissa, you know I love you, but you are not my favorite person right now. Last night we had people over, so the house was at least close to clean, but NO, I had to get the challenge tonight. Grrrrrrrrr...

At least Emma was cleaning up already, so I took my time switching lenses on the camera. I knew I couldn't stall very long, so I got to it. I did put a blanket around Emma first, I don't need pictures of my daughter in her undies on the internet. Well, here you go, my messy living room:

The streamers are still up from Pink and Care Bear's birthday. You can see the Happy Birthday sign in the window, although you can't read it. Yes, I am very much aware that the window treatments are not me, but they came with the house and I haven't bothered to replace them yet. And yes, we have white couches. I told you I was crazy!

This is where all my blogging comes from. It is also where all the junk mail and miscellaneous papers accumulate, so it tends to be messy. I know the pictures on the wall are not straight, but the washing machine spin cycle shakes the whole place and I refuse to straighten pictures three times a day, so we live with it. Do you like the cat not wanting to pose for a picture?

This is the dining room. Yes, those are dinner bowls still on the table. My darling husband sent me into my room for some quiet time after dinner, and I got to be alone. He had basketball tonight, but he told me not to touch the dishes and he would do them when he got home. Gosh, these pictures just remind me of how badly my house needs pretty paint and chairs that match, or are at least not broken.

Finally, Teddy. Relaxing after the torturous boys are in their beds, but disturbed that even his comfy rug had been messed with today.

I am so tired and cranky, I think that the house will look pretty much the same come morning, minus the dishes. Anyway, I did it, Melissa! I am not proud, but that is my house. Now, I have the distinct honor of tagging three more people. I choose:

Holly at Snowmommy
Christy at Babysoup

Girls, please don't hate me! Please, please, please!

Thank God It's Bedtime!

Whoo, boy, today is one of those days that makes the good days seem even sweeter. Grant finally fell asleep after screaming for over an hour, and slept for four minutes. Now, that is not an exaggerating four minutes, like when I say I have been pregnant for twelve years or my husband works six hundred hours a week. That is a real, honest four minutes. Just four minutes before he was screaming again. I tried ignoring him, hoping his exhaustion would take over, but he just got hysterical. I went in and rocked him for a while to calm him down, but as soon as Grant stopped crying, Ben woke up and started crying since he was still in his crib while brother was being gently rocked in the rocking chair. I finally gave up two hours after I had initially put them to bed, and resigned myself to a very long day. No nap for Grant and very little for Ben did not make for happy boys, but they are in bed now and I can relax. Yes, they are screaming, but I think I'll just turn up the volume on the TV and call it a night. The good news is, tomorrow will be better. Guaranteed. Either the kids will be better behaved, or I will run away from home as soon as Marty gets home form work, so either way it'll be an improvement!

When Will the Children Stop Screaming?

This morning I started the countdown to naptime long before breakfast. I don't know what happens on certain days, but today is a day that I would really appreciate some earplugs. All the kids are upset over something, and we have had a combined six minutes of time without crying all morning. Grant has now been in his crib for an hour screaming, I am so glad Ben is a sound sleeper. I went in to check on him and found that Grant had thrown his stuffed animals out of his crib and into Ben's, he must have been trying to wake him up or something. Misery loves someone to scream with, I guess. I would like some silence, but at this rate, Ben will be waking up just as Grant drifts off. Once again, this will be a day I do not get a shower. Criminey.

So Much to Do...

Holy Canolies, Batman, this baby is coming in less than two months. It's not so much that we are needing to get things ready for the baby itself, sorry kid, but the fourth child just needs a bed and some clothes and a car seat, all of which are in the shop and just needing to be washed. There will be no painting of the nursery, or picking out coordinating bedding and decor. He has the honor of choosing from not just one, but two sets of hand me-downs, since he has older twin brothers. Someday, he will realize how un-cool that is, but we are not going to tell him that for a long time.

The biggest concern is after this baby comes, we will have four kids under the age of five. I have no delusions of a happy, smiling, patient and content baby who does not mind older siblings stealing toys and binks, or that this child will sleep well, or not have colic, or that the other children will adjust easily and not act out for attention. I am not assuming I will be able to accomplish anything at all for at least the first six months, maybe longer. My goal during that time will be to shower at least once a week, and keep laundry going so we can fake cleanliness out in public, since we all know I won't be having anyone over to my house for a long time. Oh, and also try to keep all the children alive and their future therapy to a minimum. That's it. So, we have to accomplish the next eight months worth of tasks before baby comes, but not by over-exerting myself to the point I go into labor. Easy enough, right?

We started feeling extremely overwhelmed yesterday, so we started a to-do-list. I am going to break it down and accomplish a little bit every week. This week's goal is to get the boys' room painted. It has been needing paint since we moved in, the previous people had that room as their office and there were cabinets on one wall, so the wallpaper did not cover the entire wall. They removed the scraps of paper, but behind it was a wall without anything covering various spackled holes and different shades of white touch up paint. The rest of the room still had wallpaper, but last winter when the boys had colic, we used a humidifier in there so much that the paper peeled at the edges and the boys found great fun in ripping big pieces off when they were supposed to be napping. We finally got all the wallpaper down and in the process have removed shelves and coat hooks that have completely eliminated any semblance of organization in there. It needs to be finished. My goal is to paint this week so we can put the room back together, bolt the furniture to the walls, and actually let the boys play in there if they wish. We do not have a big house with multiple rooms to run around in, we are soon to be six people in 1,400 square feet and we need as much room for kids to roam as possible. And if you think I do not need to worry about bolting furniture to walls before letting the boys play unsupervised, come on over for a while and I'll let them give you an education in twin-two-year-olds.

So that's my goal this week. I'll let you all know how it is going, and if I am able to accomplish it all. I think I can, I think I can... Oh, who am I kidding, I probably can't. But I will give it a shot!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I Am Fabulous!

Kadi over at the Womb at the Innsane came up with this great idea to promote women's self-esteem by listing reasons why we are fabulous. These are her instructions:
Make a list of reasons why you rock! Take a minute to reflect on what makes you great. Appreciate yourself. Love yourself. Look in the mirror and say, "I am fabulous!" (Go ahead...I'll wait here.)
Ok, now go and list those reasons on your blog and don't forget to grab the button below. Bestow it upon yourself and three other bloggers who you think need to be told that they are fabulous too! Let's spread these self esteem boosters all over the blogosphere because we deserve a little praise, dammit!
I have been putting it off, but now Melissa has done it, Holly has done it, Erin has done it, and I am still slacking. I thought I'd finally get to it, I am fabulous, but a procrastinator.
Here's why I rock:
-Contrary to what I sometimes write, I landed a great guy. I hope he never figures out he married a crazy girl.
-I can get pregnant very easily (I don't know if that makes me fabulous, but I have to think of it as a positive...)
-I can cook pretty well, and am getting better all the time
-I can bake and can, although I don't do it very often
-I can sew, scrapbook and do other crafty things
-I can cut my kids' hair
-I am creative in finding ways to save money
-I can reach the top shelf at the grocery store, and the top of my cabinets without the use of a stool
-I do not carry "Mommy Guilt"
-I don't stress if the house is not clean
-I am a loyal friend and wife
-I can play poker, and often win
-I have common sense
-I am industrious
-I think I am a pretty good mother
-I live my life knowing God is in charge
-I am not materialistic
-I am optimistic and thankful
-I know that my past is not perfect, but it's over, and it has shaped me into the person I am today.
-I appreciate the little things in life, I enjoy stopping and smelling the roses or letting the sun shine on my face
Now, I tag everyone else. You can find the little button on Kadi's blog, go to it!

When Things Go Right

I often write about the day to day horrors of having a four year old, twin almost-two-year olds, and being pregnant. Since my goal in this blog is to have a record of life as we live it, I have to be careful that not everything I write is about what goes wrong. I know a lot of it is, but I'm just being honest in my writing. Besides, the bad is a heck of a lot funnier than the good. If I can't laugh at my life, what in the world would I do?

However, yesterday had one of those good moments. The ones where you realize that all of your hard work is paying off, that maybe, just maybe, your kids will turn out all right after all. Emma's pre-school sends notes home every day letting us know how the day went. Since her teachers have become good friends of our family, they know that she is working on getting all of her smileys on her responsibility chart and will help us keep her on track. This is the note that was sent home yesterday.

Emma had a great day. Wonderful, in fact. A new friend in our class was quite sad. Emma introduced herself to this girl, and then spent the entire day trying to keep her cheerful. Emma held her hand, and showed her around. She introduced the girl in everything, and when the girl looked sad, she said, "Don't worry, Mommies always come back, and I'm your friend." What looked like it was going to be a really rough day for the new friend turned out great, thanks to Emma.

I got a call last night as Marty was headed home with her, saying they were going to be late since they were headed to the store to pick out a special treat for Emma, since she had such a great day. They came home and showed me the note, and I have to say, I got tears in my eyes. Emma has such a sweet, caring spirit and to imagine her taking such good care of a scared new friend made me so proud of her. At dinner, I decided I wanted to hear her side of things.

Me: "Emma, How was your day?"
Emma: "Good."
Me: "Was there a new friend today?
Emma: "Ummmm, I think so."
Me: "Miss Kelina sent home a note saying you helped her today. What did you do?"
Emma: "I went to the store with Daddy and picked out candy!"

OK, not quite the response I was looking for, but fine. We talked a while about how proud we were that she took care of the little girl, and how that was showing compassion and Jesus was smiling since he was so happy with her choice. Emma's response? "Yeah, and I got candy!"

Baby steps.

Me, the Comcast Internet Technician

I feel like a completely un-technical moron today. OK, I have never thought of myself as exactly 'technical,' we still have a stereo with an 8-track player and a record player, and we have had Internet for less than a year. Getting up this morning to find there was no Internet connection was particularly frustrating. I re-started the computer and nothing happened. My next step was to call Comcast, and hope and pray that I got a patient and understanding service rep.

After spending several minutes going through the usual automated menu, you know how it goes,
"Press one for English."
"Press one if you are a Comcast customer, so we may ignore your call and spend our time trying to obtain additional customers."
"For cable, press one. For high speed Internet, press two. We need to know which customer service rep NOT to send you to."
"For problems with your Internet, press one."
"If you are experiencing Internet problems, press one. We could not decide how best to word this question, so we thought we would put it into the menu numerous times."
"If you cannot get onto the internet, press one."
"For problems with your internet service, press one."
I kinda thought that pressing one for a longer time might speed the process up.
"For connectivity issues, press one."

Finally, a voice came on. Yay, I finally got to talk to a person! Well, not so much. I got a nice, recorded message, saying that they would re-something my modem, which should solve the problem. Afterwards, I would need to re-boot or something my modem and router, and they would walk me through the process. However, whatever they would do to re-start the modem would also interrupt my Comcast phone service, and disconnect any calls being made. Basically, they were going to hang up on me to figure it out on my own, and I don't even know what the heck a modem or a router is!

The phone disconnected, and I waited a few minutes and tried to get online again. Still nothing. I called back and got to the same menu, did not press one for connectivity issues, and waited till I could press seven for a customer service rep. Instead, I got another recorded message telling me to either unplug the modem and reset the router, or unplug the router and reset the modem, I have no idea. But I was supposed to do it in a certain order, and then do something else, and all I could think was, what the heck is a router?!?! I finally got mad, hung up on the automated message, and decided if I couldn't figure it out myself, I would call my Brother the Genius. He would be able to walk me through it, and the slight amount of teasing I would receive for being so incredibly inept would be nothing compared to the automated menu again. I shut down the computer and found a little black box next to my monitor and started un-plugging things. I had the whole thing unplugged and some of the little lights were still on, so I found a little reset button and pushed it. Accomplished. I then went to the back of my computer and looked at the little cords back there. I knew the monitor, keyboard, and all of those, so I found one that looked like a little phone cord thingy and unplugged it for a while, then plugged it all back in and started the computer. Viola, I have Internet! I am a freaking genius. I have half a mind to call Comcast and bill them for repair service to my Internet, but I don't want to go through that automated menu again.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Big Bully Ben

It's official, the twins are turning two next month. I can tell this not only by the fact that I am trying to plan their birthday party, but by the fact that they are turning into little terrors. They used to be able to play side by side, each doing their own thing, and be fine. That is changing, and it's changing fast.

The boys have these teddy bear blankets that they LOVE. They call them their 'teds' (Emma's word) Grant's is yellow and Ben's is blue. They know whose is whose, they can easily differentiate between the two which really helps keep most fights at bay. However, recently Ben has decided to become a little meanie-head. (For a more accurate description of Ben's behavior, substitute a four-letter word for "meanie head." There you go.) Earlier today, they were both holding their teds watching a show, happy and content with their little buddies. Ben suddenly looked over at Grant, got that big, sweet, cute smile that means something bad is about to happen, ran up to him and ripped Grant's ted right out of his hands, then ran over and threw it behind the entertainment center. Now, we do not have one of those new, modern entertainment centers that hold new, modern flat screen tv's. We have a huge, wood box entertainment center with a big box tv and the additional shelves on the side for vcr's and other out-dated media equipment. The thing is heavy, I could barely lift it when I wasn't pregnant, and we had put it close to the walls so that no little children could climb behind it. Grant is screaming like he just witnessed a pirate hauling his mother away, and I swear Ben said "HaHa!"

Ben was sent to time out and ted was retrieved with a stick. Grant was still wounded from the tragedy, so when Ben came out, I broke my own rule and gave them binks while they watched a show, hoping that would calm them down. Ben must have decided he liked going into time out, after a little while he ran up to Grant, ripped the bink right out of his mouth and threw it across the kitchen.

Now, I gotta be honest, Grant does kinda have it coming. Grant really manipulated the fact that Ben started walking long after Grant did, and would steal his toys and run away, knowing Ben could never catch him. It's unfortunate, yet understandable, that just when Grant seems to be more inclined to share, Ben decides to move into the bully role. Honestly, I really can't blame the kid. I am so screwed in the future!

Happy Birthday, Pink and Care Bear!

Yesterday I was informed by my darling Emma that it was Pink (her teddy bear) and Care Bear's birthday. "So Mommy, we need to decorate, cause it's their birthday, and people always have decorations for their birthday." Cousin Lily had done the same thing a while back, so I kind of thought it was coming. Hey, I had nothing better to do, all my usual morning chores like dishes and laundry could not be done since we had no running water, so we went with it. I have a bin of birthday stuff, half rolls of streamers, balloons, banners, old decorations, and goody bag things that I keep on hand in case I need to bribe the children. The bin cane out, and we decorated with pink streamers, pink balloons, and made a banner that read, "Happy Birthday, Pink and Care Bear!" All the kids worked together coloring the banner, and it kept them busy for quite a while. Every Thursday, Grandma Lori and Poppa Wayne come over for dinner, so they came last night and Grandma brought stickers for Pink and Care Bear's presents, we had ice cream for dessert.

All day Emma was telling me they had turned five years old, but this morning, she informed me they were just one. I looked at her big, brown eyes with her sweet, innocent smiling face and told her, "Just because they are one does not mean they get four more birthdays this year." The smile faded fast. "But Mom! They are only one year old and they need to catch up to me!" "Nope, they are five. They will have another birthday next year, just like everyone else." "OK, Mommy." The sad little defeated girl walked away as I tried not to burst out laughing. Ah, the creativity of children.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Note to Self: Do Not Blog Before 7 am

I woke up this morning, and after a few sleepy stretches, thought to myself, "Did I really blog at 4:30 this morning?" Why yes, yes I did. If you have not read the previous post, do so before you finish this one, but please forgive my strange writing.

I re-read my post and thought, "What was I thinking?" I really have no business doing anything at 4:30 in the morning besides peeing. Well, except on Black Friday, when I will be shopping, but that's a different subject all together. My previous post does not make a lot of sense in a lot of areas, my first thought was to go in and edit it before anyone saw, but between 4:30 and 9 am, several people were on my blog already. So, I decided to do the next best thing, which is make fun of myself. By the way, I did not sleep in till 9 am, that was just my first chance to get on the computer. My life is not that luxurious.

The 'well repair guys'? I think people actually call them plumbers. Maybe not, maybe they are actually 'water treatment engineers' or something like that, but I doubt you could look up Well Repair Guys and find anything in the yellow pages. I would go look just to find out, but I am lazy today, and the phone book is in the kitchen.

Anywhoo, this morning I called the plumbers (and I did call them plumbers by the way, not well repair guys) and they sent out the same guy who worked on our well earlier this year. He found an electrical switch that controlled the pressure regulator was burned out. I was a little concerned I was going to have to call an electrician (or maybe a 'light switch guy'?) until it dawned on me that the plumber was from Whatcom Plumbing and Electric, so I was covered. He went back to his shop, got the part, and fixed our water. That's right, not even three hours after I made the original call for help, he had fixed our problem. Now that's what I call service!

Long story short, we have water. Yay! We were also able to refrain from draining every last faucet in the house, meaning we did not stir up any minerals, so the water we have is not sludgy brown. Super Yay! He also found an area where a plastic pipe is leaking, and he will fix it before it freezes and bursts this winter, causing a huge calamity. Super Duper Yay! I can just picture bringing a newborn baby into this house and suddenly not having running water then. Hoo, boy.

The kids are much better behaved today than yesterday, which means they took me seriously when I threatened to velcro them to the wall if they tried the same stunts today. It's nice to know I still have some powers of persuasion around here...

I Cannot Shut off My Mind to Sleep

It's 4:30am. Why in the world am I blogging at 4:30am, when I should be enjoying my last little bit of slumber, tucked in between my fleece sheets and warm and cozy? Because I'm stupid. That's why.

I woke up a little bit ago for my nightly trip to the bathroom, but first had to go to Ben's room to give him back the bink that had fallen on the floor. In the hallway was Emma's baby stroller, the angle and the tiny bit of light made it look like a dead cat. That jarred my mind enough to wake me up a little, but once I discovered it was truly a stroller and not the stiff remains of dear Teddy, I kept going. Gave a crying Ben his bink, he flopped back in his crib, and I was headed back to our room to go to the bathroom. I kind of, but not really, noticed that flushing the toilet sounded a little... off. You know when you are tired and you think that something isn't quite right, but you can't think enough to figure out what? Strange. To the sink to wash my hands, turned on the faucet and stuck my hands under the... teeny tiny trickle? Crapola, we have no running water. The toilet was able to flush because of the water in the reservoir, but not refill, and there was noting more coming out of the tap.

I went back to bed and gave Marty a warning that he needs to get up a little earlier, since he might have to go somewhere else to shower. I attempted to go back to sleep, but thoughts kept plaguing me. We had some work done on our well earlier this year, and the guy said our pressure regulator was going to need to be replaced eventually, so I am guessing that is what is wrong. But when did the water give out? Did the dishwasher finish running before it happened, or are the boys' morning milk cups sitting in the dishwasher caked with soap, needing a good rinse? Will I remember in the morning to ask Marty to get out my stash of bottled water, or will I have to lug it out myself? When will the well repair guys be able to come, and how long can I survive with three kids and a preggo without running water? Thank the good Lord I have a stash of bottled water already, since we are on a well whenever we lose power, we lose water, which I discovered quite by accident last year. Are they going to need to order a part for the regulator, which will take days to come in? Who can I move in with? The last time we lost water, some mineral sludge got stirred up in the bottom of the well, and our water was brown for four days. Will that happen again? How am I going to survive five people not being able to flush a toilet?

This is why I cannot sleep. I am hoping that blogging about this will tire me out and make me cold enough so that I thoroughly enjoy getting back into bed, and my mind will stop. The dishwasher is fine, by the way, and I will not wake Marty up to get the water out yet. I sure hope I remember later...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Anyone Want to be My Alibi?

I have no desire to be a single mom, but I might become one soon. Let's face it, it has been a rough day. Ben has been in time-out seven times, and each of the kids have bruises from being beaten by each other this morning. No, I personally have not beaten the kids, but I have a nice mark on my cheek from having a lego thrown at my face. Marty called in the midst of all of it to check in and see how things were going, he was witness to some of the horrors this morning. After I had updated him on what the little darlings had been up to, this was his response:

Marty: "I'm so sorry it's been a rough day. Would you like to hear some good news?"

Me: "Yes, please, anything positive right now will be lovely."

Marty: "Just think, today is nothing compared to how bad it will be after the new baby comes."

Are you freaking kidding me?!? The real good news is, he will be home to help me after the baby comes. It is going to be hard to hold down a career in sales once I have ripped out his tongue and beaten him over the head with it.

Only Nine and a Half Hours Till Bedtime...

Today is one of those days that I would like to simply go back to bed. Put the kids back to bed and hope they wake up in better moods next time, since if we have to continue in the manner today has gone, I will no longer be borderline crazy, but full-out certifiable by noon.

Here's something they don't teach you. If you have twins, and you find one twin is beating the other twin over the head with a flashlight, which twin do you address first? Do you first remove the beater, put him in time-out with a stern warning, and go back to the twin who is now crying "owie" hysterically and wondering why everyone abandoned him? Or do you attend to the injured twin first, consoling him since he was just beaten repeatedly on the head, allowing the offender to run away and start beating his sister?

If one twin suddenly does a flying leap, landing arms and legs flailing on his sister's face and not letting go, do you first peel him off sissy's face, or do you intervene with the twin who is trying to shove things in the VCR?

Unfortunately, these are not hypotheticals. This is my morning so far. The only reason I am able to write right now is because I put in ET and gave them all waffles. It has taken 45 minutes to write four paragraphs. I don't think I'll be getting a shower today...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Like the Parting of The Red Sea

Last night I got a call from my doctor's office. I had a scheduled appointment today, but they had to re-arrange it due to a surgery. They wanted me in at 8:30 this morning. Now, for the average person, 8:30 is no big deal. a lot of you are at work then or perhaps earlier, and you probably think I am just whining. Too bad, I am going to whine. If you still think it's no big thing, come on over some morning when I need to be out the door early and see what chaos ensues.

Anywhoo, I was up at 6:30 to get ready. Emma was going to be dropped off at pre-school before the appointment, so she needed all her school stuff too. The main problem this morning was Grant. He woke up so sweet, all he wanted to do was cuddle. He seems to sense when we have plans and wants extra cuddling on those mornings. But really, if your sweet, not-quite-two-year-old comes up to you, wraps his little arms around your legs and says, "Mama, cuddle?" could you resist? I could not. So we were late.

The doc went well, and afterwards, I planned on going to the mall and doing some shopping. I got to the mall at 9:20, and the mall did not open till 10. Oh, darn, I had to wander Target for 40 minutes. Shucks. When the mall opened, we started our shopping. During Halloween, Grant called everything that was spooky, poopy. I thought it was simply a Halloween thing, but I guess it has transferred to all decorations. Christmas snowflakes were poopy today.

Now, let me explain something. If ever you go out in public with twins, you tend to attract attention. It is something we have gotten used to, we add extra time to every trip because of the people who stop us to talk. Not really a big deal, but when you are pregnant with twins in tow, you tend to attract a LOT more attention. And the people are not always nice. Now, try being pregnant with twins in tow where one of those twins is yelling, "Ooooohhhhh! Poopy! Poopy!" and pointing at everything he sees, including people. Gone are the days where people stop me to chat about twins or comment about how cute they are, people just stare and whisper to each other. At least they tend to back out of the way now, it has never been easier to push my giant double stroller through crowded stores. Many days I feel like the fat lady at the circus, but at least I can get my shopping done faster, so it's a fair trade.

Monday, November 10, 2008

At Least Vets are Cheaper Than Doctors...

Ben has been eating a lot lately. I mean, a LOT. Grant is not eating as much, I have been chalking it up to different growth patterns and the fact that Ben weighs a lot more than Grant, so he just plain eats more. He always has. It has been easier having twins with this situation, Ben finishes his dinner, Grant doesn't, so Ben finishes Grant's. No food wasted, no extra work to get Ben more food. Fan-tabulous.

Tonight at dinner, we noticed Ben was spending a bit of time with his fork down at his side. He was eating well, so we didn't worry about it, till he started looking sown there and giggling. When Grant joined in on the giggling, I decided to take a look. Ben was feeding the cat chunks of chicken and mashed potatoes off of his fork, under the table. Yes folks, that's right, my "good eater" is simply fattening up the cat with tasty, homemade nibblets of goodness. I had made extra potatoes and gravy tonight since they have been sounding sooooooo good lately, mashed potatoes and gravy from scratch, no packages of anything, just tasty, perfectly seasoned russet potatoes and gravy made from the drippings of the chicken we had for dinner. The yummy deliciousness I was wanting as leftovers for my late night snack was being fed to the cat. Yes, I know, I am going on and on about food and making up words, but I am pregnant. Deal with it. Just so you know though, spell check says that deliciousness is actually a word. Ha.

Anywhoo, I am trying not to think of the fact that Ben has been sharing his fork with the cat, and the germiness that goes along with that. I am going to say it is building his immune system, and forget all about it. The cat will be kicked outside during dinner from now on though, I do NOT want to have to explain to anyone why my child has tapeworms. I wonder if our vet would be considered a preferred provider?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Longing for Sleep, but Loving the Memories

Last night marked day seven of smileys on Emma's responsibility chart. Most of you know how that goes, but for those who don't, Emma has a chart where she earns smiley face magnets every day for things like finishing her dinner and showing respect. If she gets all of her smileys every day for seven days in a row, she gets a special treat. We have gone to Chuck E. Cheese, pitched the tent in the yard, pitched the tent in the living room, taken her into town and gone wherever she wanted to go, basically she gets to pick what she does, within reason. Disneyland is not within reason. This time, she was set on sleeping in bed with Marty and I. She has only done that one time before, when we all had the stomach flu and she threw up in her own bed too many times during the night. That was a year ago, and she still talks about it. Letting her choose her reward has opened up our eyes to what is important to her, and we are amazed at what she values most.

We made a night out of it, snuggling in bed and watching Air Bud, eating popcorn, ice cream, and candy. She was so happy, cuddled up between us, loving the movie and everything about the night. We talked, we laughed, and really enjoyed the one-on-one time with her. As usual on nights like these, we stayed up way too late and didn't get to sleep until almost midnight. Well, she didn't sleep till then, Marty and I had a harder time.

We do not have a king sized bed. We have a queen, which is just fine for two normal people. It is crowded with one normal person and one pregnant person who insists on sleeping with four pillows, and it is downright cramped with three people. Emma is very much like me in that we both like to sprawl in bed. I have learned to contain my sprawling for the most part after Marty and I got married, but Emma is still an all-out-sprawler. And she talks. And she tosses and turns, and will snuggle right in your face while she is sleeping. There is nothing like waking up in the middle of the night to discover someone else's face an inch from your own, breathing your air and creating a stuffy cloud around you so you feel like you are suffocating. When she wasn't doing that, I swear she was sleeping sideways. Grant seemed to sense there was something fun going on, since he woke up several times and screamed for a while that I would not bring him into our bed as well. What can I say, our kids like to snuggle.

Anywhoo, Marty and I both did not sleep well, Emma slept great, Grant was awake a good part of the night and ended up taking a four hour nap today, and Ben never knew what was going on. These are the times that years down the road, we will remember the snuggling, the laughter, the movie and the popcorn, but will completely forget about the lack of sleep, or just thinking you have found a comfortable spot to find that there is a popcorn kernel stuck to your leg, and the movement it takes to dislodge the popcorn causes your darling daughter to turn one more time and throw a knee into the small of your back. The fun is what I hope to remember, as these days will too soon be gone, and we will be left longing for the days when our children's greatest joy is to spend the night with us. Even if we get no sleep, and wake with bruises. It's a small price to pay.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Our Big Adventure!

It is amazing how your life changes when you pop out a bunch of kids in a row. I am truly excited by our adventures last night, which if you think too much about it, is quite pathetic. I loaded the boys up and met Marty and Emma in town, he had picked Emma up from school and brought her to work with him for a while. We met at Costco where we picked up our Christmas cards, looked at Christmas dresses for Emma, and wandered the toy section to get ideas of what the kids would like to ask Santa for for Christmas. For some reason, Marty showed Emma the $300 power Escalade that we will never be able to afford, besides, I can't imagine a power SUV thingy in a house with this many kids. They must be designed for one-child families or families with well spaced out kiddos, ours would certainly decide to play hospital crash victim and actually run each other over first.

After we were done wandering, we had a nice dinner out. Costco is really the only way we can afford to eat out as a family, you can't beat feeding a family of soon-to-be-six for less than ten bucks. Everyone loved their hot dogs and I was thrilled by my chicken caesar salad, anything that I don't have to prepare or clean up after is fabulous. After our fancy dinner, we headed to the mall to go to Target. I have been wearing hats the last few days since we are completely out of gel, and we were dangerously close to being out of toothpaste, which would not be a good thing. We also had to check out the Halloween clearance, and I got a couple of really cute decorations for next year for a dollar! WooHoo! Marty hates them, but too bad. He's a boy, his opinion doesn't count when it comes to cute decorations. We had to get clearance chocolate (I think it's a law) and then we were off to let the kids run the play area. They had a great time till well after bedtime, and we packed up after Ben accidentally got clothes-lined by some older kids and suddenly realized how tired he was, he wouldn't play after that, just wandered the play area crying. Poor kid.

Overall, it was a great night. I love getting out of the house, and spending time as a family when we are not rushed to the next thing, which is a rarity. I really do look forward to the Christmas season, it is an excuse to get out and wander and look for gifts. And since that has to be done, shopping can take precedence over cleaning the house! WooHoo, I love Christmas!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Tag, I'm It!

I was tagged by Holly! It's kind of fun to have new bloggy games to play. Anyway, the deal is I have to go to the My Pictures file on my computer, and go to the fourth pic in the fourth file, and blog about it. This is it!

Emma and Grant were coloring at the table and did not want to color in different chairs, since, you know, it is SO much easier to color when you are snuggling. They were so cute I had to get a picture, and of course, in this house, you cannot have your picture taken without striking a pose. This was taken in August of this year. It's amazing how Grant has lost a lot of the baby look in just the last three months, but he sure has. Please ignore the paint chipping off the back of the chair, we are going for a shabby-chic look in our house. Actually, it's just a shabby-our-furniture-is-crap-but-we-refuse-to-replace-it-till-the kids-are-in-school-and-won't-trash-it-but-that-will-be-a-while-since-we-keep-having-more-and-more-children look, but shabby-chic sounds so much better. I will have to go around with a sharpie today, I didn't notice the chair was that bad, but it is really standing out in the picture to me.

Bloggers, tag, now you are it!

Family, congratulations on my Mother-In-Law's birthday!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

So I Married a Port-Building Fairy

Yesterday, Emma made an announcement. "Mommy, let's build a port." "A fort?" "No, a port. Poorrrt!" (I love how she says the word slowly, so I can understand.) "Emms, do you mean a fort with the furniture and blankets?" "The blankets, yes, but Mommy, it's called a PORT." Alrighty then. Knowing that she would not believe what I said, I tried a different tactic. "Emma, do you know who is the best fort builder in all the land? Daddy is!" "I know, Daddy builds great ports." So, we called him. Emma left him a message, saying the following: "Hi Daddy, it's me, Emma. We are having the blankets and the couches and is it called a port or a fort? Love you, Bye!" With that discussion over, we got on to building. I was not thinking straight when I had agreed to this, I am seven months pregnant trying to re-arrange the furniture?!? Crapola! There was no way to get out of this now, once you tell a child that the fort will be built, you have to follow through or risk creating a rift that will put that child in therapy for years to come.

So, I took the easy route, and carefully pushed the love seat over so it was facing the couch. (Yes, mom, I was very careful, and did not over-exert myself!) This made a boat-like thing, and I threw our bedspread over the top. Good enough. The kids loved it and had a great time for quite a while, till Emma decided it wasn't good enough and wanted a bigger one. I knew there was no way I was going to build a bigger fort, but I realized that Marty's schedule would have him driving within a mile of our house during naptime. When he called Emma back to tell her it was a fort, not a port, I asked if he had time to stop by and build a bigger fort. He said he would have a few minutes between appointments, so he would be able to come. Yay! Leverage for bribing the kids!

At lunchtime, I told Emma that if she ate her lunch quickly and quietly, a magical fairy would come during nap to build a really cool fort. This worked really well until it was time for the boys' nap and I could not find Grant's Ted. Ted is a tedddy bear blankie that is imperative for nap, there is no way he will sleep without it, and any attempts to switch it out for another animal have been unsuccessful. I searched for about a half an hour, finally finding it shoved in a box in Emma's room. Meanwhile, Marty had shown up and started moving the couches around. Emma panicked. "No, Daddy! Leave them there so a magical fairy will come over and build a better fort for me!" Honestly, could you have resisted that one? It was set up so perfectly... "Emma, do you think there is a chance that your Daddy is a fairy?" I tried to contain my laughter as Marty glared at me. Emma did not see the humor, and yelled, "My Daddy is NOT a fairy!" Marty was so proud that his daughter had stood up for him, and I was still laughing too hard to correct her sassiness. I apologized to Marty (but didn't really mean it,) put Emma to bed, and Marty finished the fort and left. I giggled all afternoon.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

New Pics!

We had our family pictures done a couple of weeks ago, in an attempt to get our Christmas cards done early. We were rushed in order to get done before the boys completely melted down since it was getting close to naptime, and we hoped there was a picture worth using. This is one of my favorites, don't the kids look great?

OK, this is the final picture for the Christmas card. It is actually a combo of two pics, Grant's head is photo shopped from another picture. I cannot imagine what it must have been like to do family pictures before the wonderful digital age we are in now, how else are we supposed to fake that we always have happy, smiling, cooperative children?

Our pics were done by the bestest photographer in the county, if not the world, Amy Parsons. If you have not yet checked out her website, go HERE. She really is ultra-talented and does a great job every time. (Look, Amy! A great plug, and I didn't even mention you are my sister! HeeHee!)
I ordered our Christmas cards yesterday, and now must start the monstrous task of addressing them all. Every year, I think that I should just put all the addresses into the computer and print the labels, but I never do. I truly think that if I were to actually take the time to do that this year, with our luck lately our printer would break and I'd have to do them all by hand anyway, so why waste the time? Although, hand addressing 125 cards is not looking too fun either. I need an assistant.

History In the Making

Marty and I stayed up last night watching the coverage of the election. We were not surprised by the win of Barack Obama, since the polls had predicted a big win. Whether or not Obama was your personal choice for President, we all have to recognize that this truly is a historic time that we have the honor of living through. Millions of children in our country can now truly believe that you can do anything that you set your mind to, regardless of race or background. Racial lines have been crossed in the most powerful position in the world, and I think that this will energize our country and give us the boost we need to come together and make a change.

In school, I always wondered what it would be like to live during the time where history was made. From the introduction of electricity and the automobile to World War II and desegregation, I wanted to be a part of history, so that one day I could tell my kids and grand kids "I remember when..." stories. I think we often get caught up in life so that we do not notice the changes happening all around us, and we miss the important moments. I truly believe that last night's results were a moment to remember, that things will change in our country from here on out. I choose to remember this point in time, this monumental milestone that our country has reached. This will be a story in the history books, and we were all here as witnesses to this day. How we choose to remember moments like these can shape our attitude and entire outlook to the future. How will you choose to remember?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Get Out and Vote!

For any of you living under a rock, today is voting day. I love voting, for some reason, I get a kick out of filling out the little lines on the ballot, following the directions of the ballot goes into the secrecy envelope (doesn't that just sound so official and cool?) and the secrecy envelope into the regular envelope, signing it, sealing it, and mailing it off. One thing I hate about voting, however, is that since we are now a vote-by-mail state, we don't get the "I Voted" stickers anymore. I love the stickers! That has always been one of my favorite parts, maybe I am re-living my childhood days of getting a sticker for turning in my spelling test, but the sticker is great. You can imagine my pure joy when Marty called me today to tell me that he dropped our ballots off at the courthouse and asked the guy for some stickers! YAY, I have a sticker! Well, I will when Marty comes home from work, but just knowing that I have a sticker coming is making my day cheery and great. Yup, it doesn't take much.

Anywhoo, get out and vote! If any of you think that your one little vote does not count, let me tell you, it does count. A LOT. And, if you do not vote, you will have no right at all to complain the next four years about how the government is screwing things up. Let's face it, you will not agree with every decision our elected officials make in the next term, so unless you want to bite your tongue and smile whenever the topic comes up about how President Whoever vetoed the bill that would have saved the world from Saddam and Hitler's DNA being used to create a Super Psycho, go vote!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Emma, the Genius

Emma is four going on fifteen. Some days, she amazes me with her knowledge of things, her maturity handling bullies, and her genuine caring for her family. Other days, however, she blows me away with behavior that I thought we had several years to go before we encountered.

I might have mentioned before, Emma thinks she knows everything. She has told us this on a few occasions, usually when Marty and I are busy trying to figure something out, she buts in with, "Guys, if you are doing some figuring, you can just ask me to help." "Why should we ask you, Emma?" "I can help you, since I know everything."

The first time she did this, it cracked us up. We tried to laugh silently, but this was one of those that we could not hold it in. She was so serious, concerned for our welfare and sure that she could solve any problem we had. She did it again last week, while I was on the computer. Not quite as funny the third time. I turned to her, and asked, "You know everything? What's the square root of nine?" "Umm, I don't know." "Who is the president of the United States?" She thought a minute. "Daddy?" "Nope." "You, Mommy?" "Nope." All of a sudden, her eyes got big, and in complete awe, she asked, "Is it me?"

I can only imagine the teenage years with this one.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Walk Down Memory Lane

This blog is to be a journal of my life as a mother, and although I am choosing to share it with all of you, there are some days I will post things that may not be as interesting to others. This is going to be one of those posts, but it will be meaningful to myself and my family for years to come. Feel free to read along as I recall my life two years ago, and I hope you are not bored by my ramblings.

This pregnancy has the exact same due date as my pregnancy with the twins, so I can compare exactly where I am now with where I was at each stage in my pregnancy with the twins. It is interesting to see the massive differences between this one and the last one, it has been a fun way to remember what it was like to be pregnant with twins. I am not sure I would be recalling everything if it were not for this new baby and the comparisons to the twins.

Before I had the twins, I worked as the Dog and Cat Department Manager for a high-end pet store in town. I started there right after I was married, worked full time till two weeks before Emma was born, took three months off and returned part time. I remained part time until Oct. 30, 2006. I have officially been a stay-at-home Mom for two years now! Anyway, my last day was Oct. 30, I enjoyed Halloween with Emma, and the next day, Nov. 1, I was put on bedrest by my doctor with my pregnancy. It is interesting to think back about how big I was and how incredibly uncomfortable. I could not draw in a full breath, my lungs were so compressed. I could no longer sleep in my bed, I was unable to roll over in bed by myself anymore, the weight of my belly was not something I could have on top of me for any length of time, and I did not have the strength to heave my belly up and over myself. I could not put on my own socks and shoes, since I could not reach my feet. Most of my maternity shirts were too small, I had bought some men's XL t-shirts to wear, since nothing else fit. I carried the babies pretty high, so I could wear comfy, cotton pants easily, but jeans and nicer pants were not possible. They just don't make that belly panel big enough for twin bellies.

I was on modified bedrest for the first couple of weeks, which was actually not too bad. I could get up to shower and get dressed, I could make myself and Emma lunch, I could get up occasionally and do things, but nothing strenuous. I just needed to spend more time lying down than being up. Emma and I had a lot of fun during my bedrest time. We painted her nails every day, and she would rest her hands on my belly while we watched a movie and the polish dried. She would feel the boys kick and get so excited, it was amazing to see the awe on her little face as my belly rolled with the movement of the boys. We played games, watched movies, read books, colored, and talked for hours on end since I was no longer busy with household chores. My time was to be spent resting, and Emma was the most amazing two year old in the world. She listened, she did what she was told, she sat patiently for long stretches of time with me on the couch, just snuggling together. She was the type of two year old that allowed me to leave her crayons and scissors out so she could do craft projects without me having to get up and get her things, and she would always ask before playing with them. She never got into anything she wasn't supposed to, if she was quiet, it was because she was concentrating, not because she was getting into trouble. She was potty training at the time, and although that took a backseat with my bedrest, she was wearing pull-ups and could change her own diaper. I truly believe that God knew what he was doing giving us a child like Emma first, we would not have made it any other way. She was, and still is, truly one-in-a-million.

I had a lot of doctors appointments and tests during that time. Emma always went with me, it was a way to get out of the house, and she loved the "big sister step" at the doctor's office where she could stand next to the exam table and watch. I had a lot of braxton-hicks contractions during that time, and a lot of backaches and pressure, just due to the sheer size and weight of my uterus. The day before Thanksgiving, I had a new backache that hadn't been there before. I had a regularly scheduled test at the hospital that afternoon, so I did not call the doctor right away, but I knew something was different. On a hunch, I called Wayne (my father-in-law) to come watch Emma during this test, thinking that I might be over-reacting, but just in case, I wanted her at home. We went in for a Non-Stress test, where they just hook me up to monitors and tested the babies' heart rates and movements as well as any contractions. My suspicions were correct, I was going into pre-term labor. I was thirty two weeks pregnant, the boys were not due for another eight weeks.

I was immediately admitted to the hospital and given an IV of Magnesium Sulfate, which is a muscle relaxant that is very successful in stopping contractions. I spent Thanksgiving in the hospital, and was there for eight days. Mag Sulfate is very good at stopping labor, but since it is a muscle relaxant, it relaxes every muscle. I spent two days on this IV and I could not go to the bathroom by myself without a nurse there to make sure I did not fall. I would get back to the bed and not be able to lift my legs back up on the bed. I had no appetite, but was incredibly thirsty. However, the Mag made me retain water, my feet swelled and became unrecognizable. Since I was swelling, they stopped my water intake, I felt like I was dying of thirst and not allowed water. I was allowed one small cup of ice chips every two hours. After the two days of Magnesium Sulfate, I was put on Nifedipene which is another medication that helps stop labor, but since it is a pill, the goal was to find the right dosage and send me home. That took six days. In the middle of it all, I was given a day pass that let me go home for a few hours, but I was back in the hospital that evening with more contractions. Finally, the right dosage was found, and I went home. I had much stricter orders for bedrest and was no longer able to stay home with Emma alone. I could get up to pee, I could have a five minute shower, but I had to lay down again for two hours before I got up to brush my teeth. Those were the only reasons I was allowed up, I could not go to the kitchen and get myself lunch, I could not take care of Emma. We called in the troops and had to have someone babysit me every day that Marty was at work. Between Holly, Tracie, my Mom, my Mom-In-Law, and Emma returning to daycare two days a week, I was covered. I cannot stress enough how these people made a difference in our family, they all came willing to help out, bringing food, doing laundry, dishes, whatever needed to be done while I lay on the couch, trying to stay pregnant. Marty did what he could, but he needed to go to work every day, since we knew he would be taking time off when the boys came. At night, he would take charge of Emma's bathtime and bedtime routines and still do all the nightly household chores. It is amazing how tough times like these really show you how many people care, and how willing they are to go out of their way to help us out. I am forever grateful for all of our family and friends, and the time they spent taking care of us. Thank you all.

This was all happening between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I felt really slighted, it is my favorite time of year, and my only chances to get out of the house were for doctors appointments and tests. I did not have the chance to see Christmas lights, go Christmas shopping to see Santa and all the decorations at the mall, or hear the festive, yet annoying Christmas music. Our annual traditions were not something we participated in that year. I had not decorated the house, done Christmas cards, or completed my shopping, I could not even go pick out a Christmas tree. To add insult to injury, I had not done any setting up of the things we needed for the boys to arrive. I had left work two and a half months before my due date, and had one day off before being put on bedrest. I felt completely useless and unprepared, but knowing that I was doing what I needed to do to make sure these two little lives stayed healthy, I kept doing what I was supposed to do and tried to keep a smile on my face. It was, however, a very hard time for me.

I was told that I would be let off bedrest at thirty five weeks, which was two weeks before Christmas. I really looked forward to that time, knowing that the boys could arrive and be safe. I also knew that I would not be able to do much, my sheer size slowed me down considerably, plus my lack of energy did not allow me to do much. Even still, I really looked forward to the chance to get out of the house for a while, do some shopping, maybe even see family. Anything besides the sights of my living room or the doctors office was going to be fabulous. At about thirty four weeks, I started feeling sick and was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia. My blood pressure was a concern, so just before I was let off bedrest for pre-term labor, I was put on bedrest for pre-eclampsia. I was told that I would remain on bedrest until the boys were born, and I was devastated. Emma's school Christmas program was coming up, and I asked my doctor if it would be ok. She was completely understanding and told me to get a blood pressure monitor and keep checking my blood pressure, but it was Christmas, and this was something that she knew I could not miss. I was so excited to go, the program was wonderful, and afterwards we drove around for a while so I could see Christmas lights. Such a simple thing meant so much, but it was amazing. These were the last times we would have together with Emma as our only child, her world was about to turn upside-down and we wanted to have some great family time to share with her. I know she does not remember these times, but we do, and we did not want memories of her feeling slighted in the least. After all, she was two and a half, and it was Christmas. We made another trek out to get a tree, and Marty did most of the decorating. We did not get out most of the house decorations, just the stockings, since everything would need to be put away after the twins came home. Besides, this was mostly for Emma, and the tree and stockings were enough for her. One more trip out to take her to see Santa at the mall, I had to stop and rest at every bench along the way. She got to tell Santa that she wanted puzzles for Christmas, and I got to experience at least a little of Christmas cheer.

It was interesting to watch the bustle of shoppers scurrying about, a week and a half before Christmas, stressed out and yelling at each other. I sat on my bench, realizing that my perspective was changing. I have never really stressed out much before the holidays, some might disagree with me on that, but I think I do a good job of enjoying the season. That year, I really began to realize the importance of family and time spent together as we celebrate Christ's birth, how silly it is to worry about everything getting done, and to simply enjoy the sights, the smells, and the time and traditions that make Christmas what it is. I hope this is a perspective that will stay with me for a long time.

The twins were born six days before Christmas, 2006. This is not where the story ends, but the rest will have to wait for another day. It has been fun today to remember back to two years ago, it seems like it was just yesterday, but life has changed so much that is also seems so long ago. Thanks for joining me on this journey, we will go further another day.