Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Quick Update!

Yesterday was a day from the dark place where there is fire and pitchforks.

Naptime with the twins was so bad they actually got their big boy beds taken away and had their mattresses on the floor. Their three hours of screaming kept Drew up, so he did not nap yesterday either.

And Drew and I headed to the after hours clinic at the doctors when his cough started sounding like a barking seal, and he was given steroids to open his little croup-filled lungs.

I wonder if he becomes a famous athlete someday, will the paparazzi find my blog and post a headline: "Drew's Mom admits to steroid use!"

That'd be kinda funny.

Today will be a better day. It has to be.

Well, I'm off to my sis-in-law Holly's house, to do some stuff and uphold a tradition. More about that later!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Not Me! Monday!

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! Are you feeling guilty for pretending not to notice as your child sucked toothpaste out of the tube? Feel like a slouch for wearing your husband's big, baggy t-shirts all day? Well don't! Not Me! Monday was born out of MckMama's desire to admit some of her imperfections and reveal a few moments we'd all rather forget. This is right up my alley, you may find it therapeutic to join in and do the same thing!

I did NOT ignore my kitchen and dining room floor for close to two weeks. When I finally pulled out the Swiffer Wet Jet, I did NOT have to change the pad thingy four times because the floor was so nasty.

I did NOT wake up in the wee hours of the morning hearing strange noises, only to realize that it was the furnace kicking on, which it hasn't done for a while. I did NOT silently curse the weather since July is in two days, and the furnace should not kick on again till September.

I have NOT been going on the same pedicure since before Easter. The nail polish was NOT so chipped that my daughter was finding animals in my toes, kinda like laying in the grass and finding cloud shapes. I finally took nail polish remover to them before my shower, but I did NOT haphazardly set the remover bottle in front of the space heater on the counter before I hopped in the shower. I did NOT get out of the shower to find the plastic bottle filled with highly flammable substance had actually melted to the point that there was a hole in the bottle. I did NOT then tease my husband that if I had burned the house down, he would have a hard time explaining that one at work. Since, you know, he is our insurance agent.

I did NOT post my Facebook status as: Tiffani Stauffer is heading to Walmart with the family in tow... What a great Saturday night! on Sunday. I was NOT totally bummed when I learned at eight PM Sunday night that the weekend was indeed over.

What have you NOT done this week?

Friday, June 26, 2009

"Yes, sweetheart, there ARE such things as Monsters!"

We are THOSE parents.

The ones who tell their kids that the monsters will come nibble their toes while they are sleeping, just for fun.

I think the kids are on to us now, because we are having to up our game.

Recently, I had the kids outside playing and Marty was in the house getting ready for softball. All the windows were open, and the kids were on the side of the house by our bedroom and bathroom. When they got close to our window, Marty growled from inside.

Emma, who knows us by now, told the boys, "Watch out, boys, there's a monster inside!" And the boys stopped what they were doing and stared at the window. The growling then came from the bathroom window. So they ran over there.

The kids ran for a while, back and forth, one window to the next, following the sound of the monster as it moved throughout the house. Finally, Emma got tired of the game and announced, "It's not a monster, it's just Daddy."

The monster replied, "No, I'm a monster!"

For some reason, that didn't convince her.

Emma, sure of her beliefs that there are really no such things as monsters, declared, "If you are a real monster, show your face!"

So the monster did. And the kids screamed and ran away.

I did not get a picture of the monster in the bathroom window, but over the course of the evening, the monster flew around the house. He was a wily little monster, but I was able to capture a shot of him on the window frame in the living room.

The kids would be going about their evening business, and all of a sudden, stop and point at the monster as he had suddenly appeared in a new place. At bedtime, all the kids were a little apprehensive, so I caught the monster and put him in a tupperware bin.

That night during my nightly rounds at midnight, petting sleeping faces and making sure everyone was properly covered, Emma woke and jumped. "Oh my, Mommy, I think the monster is going to fly in here and nibble my toes and I don't want that."

So I spilled the beans. I took the monster out of his cage and showed him to her up close. I can still see in my mind the adorable look on her face when she realized, "hey, that's not a monster, that's just a face drawn on a roll of toilet paper!" She was a little disappointed that he wasn't real, and asked if we could keep him anyways. I told her that the magic was not in the fact that he was real, it was in the fact that we get to pretend. And pretending is more fun than running anyways.

The next day, Monsty the Monster had a new role. He became a playmate, and was carried around everywhere.

He had some pizza.
He joined the kids on the swings.

He even got to help Emma swing, but she was so concerned that he might fall over, that she didn't go very high.

After looking at this last picture, do you hear the cheesy best friend music yet?

And that night, he snuggled up close for a nice slumber.

Now, Monsty the Monster is a little shredded. His face is mostly gone, and people are looking at us funny when they come over and we have two rolls of shredded toilet paper in the living room. Or in Emma's bedroom. We have gotten ourselves into a pickle, what do we do now? It's not like just putting Monsty on the spindle thingy in the bathroom is a good idea, our kids are going to need enough therapy that we won't be able to afford the "My mom made me wipe my bum with my best friend and then flush him" sessions. And he's not going to keep well. He got a little wet and he's not looking good.

But now we have pictures. Pictures that we can pull out when she's seventeen and had a 'tude, and we can say(in front of her friends,) "Hey, sweetie, remember when you were best friends with a roll of toilet paper?"

Oh, yeah. We are THOSE parents.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thursdays With Tiffani

I'm thankful for... My fabulous sister in law, Holly, who went back to school this year and graduated! She completed this year with a 4.0 and worked so hard to get it all done. Great job, Holly, I am so proud of you!

Listening to... the Imagination Movers on TV and baby Drew on my lap blowing raspberries at my hands on the keyboard.

Looking forward to.... This weekend, when I have a wedding on Saturday and then I get to see my oldest friend in the world. Brenda and her family are camping nearby and they are coming for a visit Saturday night. WooHoo!

What's for dinner tonight... Who knows! Last night it was chicken and stuffing bake. But I tried to eliminate a step and it turned out gross. Well, not gross, but the bottom layer of stuffing was the consistency of glue and the top layer was dry and crunchy. Lesson learned.

Missing... I am missing one tennis shoe (courtesy of Ben) and a lens cap. Which is weird, I usually put my lens cap in my back pocket (it looks like I have a can of chew back there,) but I set it down somewhere in the house this week and I cannot find it yet. But it is in here. I know it.

Be sure to pay a visit to the Story of My Life, creator of Thursdays with Tiffiny!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

How To Go Crazy In Two Hours Or Less!

We have been battling a flea problem in our house. Our lovely cat roams the countryside and brings back tiny, biting souvenirs from his travels. I used to be the manager of the dog and cat department of a pet store, so I know a lot about killing fleas.

But none of it was working. I was excited to hear of a natural remedy that I did not know about, as I am tired of being bitten. 'Cuz fleas love me.

My wonderful mother-in-law did some research for me and found that eucalyptus is a great natural flea repellent. Eucalyptus essential oil on a cotton ball will keep fleas out of the house.

Perfect. One would assume that this would be a great addition to a child's bedroom in order to make sure the cat's fleas do not bite the children.

That assumption would be wrong.

Evidently, eucalyptus is also known for refreshing the body and invigorating the mind. Adding a couple of drops of eucalyptus to the bedroom of two very active little boys who are in a bit of a rebellious streak and have new big boy beds that they can get out of on their own, will actually leave you twitching and wondering if the insane asylum is really as peaceful and quiet as you imagine.

It will leave you exhausted after three hours of constantly putting them back in their beds in an attempt to get them to take a nap. They will learn new games, like put-your-brother-in-the-laundry-basket-and-close-the-lid-and-sit-on-it, as well as hide-and-seek-behind-the-curtain-and-then-run-back-to-bed-when-mom-comes-in-and-wonder-how-she-knew-you-hid-right-next-to-the-touch-lamp-that-is-suddenly-turned-on.

You will be baffled as to how they managed to stay in their beds, but still collide so that Ben is bleeding from the gums and Grant is crying and holding his forehead.

And at some point, you may have to wonder who it was that threw up in Grant's bed.

You will be secretly impressed that every time they get out of bed and find their sandals and put them on, they actually get them on the right feet. But you cannot compliment this achievement, since they are supposed to be napping.

And at some point, about two hours into it, you will be fervently cleaning the kitchen in an attempt to drown out the sound of them playing in their room. You will not go in there because you fear you will lose it and beat them/sell them to the highest bidder first human (or large mammal) you see. And you will run across the bottle of essential oil and actually look at the label, which reads, "Eucalyptus. Exhilarating." And all the pieces will fall into place.

You may or may not cry.

But you will remove the eucalyptus, and it will take another hour or so for them to calm down. You cannot open the window for fear they will climb out, since they have basically been given an all-natural Red Bull.

Your other kids will wake up before the boys fall asleep, and you will have no quiet time at all. Which is never a good thing when your goal is to maintain the last shred of sanity that you have left.

On to plan B...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

When Good Parenting Goes Wrong Part 3

Grant has a toy school bus that he likes to fill with toys (especially Hot Wheels) and push around. It's not so much that he likes to pretend things are riding the bus, it's more of the Hunt-Gather-Push-them-all-around thing that two-year-olds like to do.

This is one of the difficulties with twins. When you have two little Hunter-Gatherers there is competition as to which little Hunter-Gatherer will be able to Gather the most.

We recently had another one of those days. Grant had a bus full of stuff, the glorious stuff that looks like a jumble of garbage to you and me, but are the treasured playthings of little boys. And Ben wanted it. I was feeding Drew when I heard Grant scream say, "No, Bens! No take da (mumble-yelling) from Grant!"

I turned and found Ben with a very guilty face and a fistful of cars. I said to Ben, "You do not take your brother's things. Go put everything back that you took."

Ben walked over to the bus, then stopped and turned to look at me quizzically. I encouraged him, being the positive, supporting parent. "Ben, put it back in the bus."

So, just like his Mama told him to, he leaned over the bus and spit a mouthful of chewed up cracker into Grant's school bus. And then, still clutching the cars that he apparently had had the whole time, he wiped his mouth and walked away.

Grant was initially excited that his cracker had been returned, until he reached for it and found a soggy mess spit all over his toys and his Ted. And then he cried.

Next time I'm gonna ask some questions first. And look more closely at guilty faces to see if they include chipmunk cheeks and cracker-crumbly lips.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Not Me! Monday!

Not Me! Monday was created by MckMama, and you can head on over to her blog to see what the rest of the world has NOT been doing this week.

Oh, and baby Stellan was discharged from Children's last night and is home safe where he belongs. He is still having SVT, but they are trying to control it from home, since a hospital is no place for a baby to thrive.

Welcome to Not Me! Monday!

We bought two big Costco bags of candy for Emma's birthday pinata. There was one with chocolate and one with non-chocolate hard candy. We did NOT decide to open up the chocolate bag, just to test and see if everything was OK. Having that bag open for a week prior to the party did NOT mean that we snitched from it all week long. We have more self-control than that! The four and a half pound bag of assorted fun sized chocolatey goodness was NOT depleted to a handful of peanut M&M's and Almond Joys by the time the party came around.

I am the queen of multitasking. I think breastfeeding twins for a year made it possible for me to do just about anything while feeding a baby. This week, I was feeding Drew when I had to go potty. But I did NOT go to the bathroom, flush, wash my one hand (since, you know, the other one was holding the baby,) and then, curious to see if all the birthday candy I ate made a difference, I did NOT hop on the scale and weigh myself, then freak out because I had gained 15 pounds overnight. Because I was still holding/nursing a baby.

We went to Birch Bay for the Sand Castles event on Saturday. Now, I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, I know about overcast summer days, especially on the water. So I most certainly did NOT get caught up in making sure the kids were dressed warm enough for the cool windy day, and completely forget sunscreen. My sweet five month old did NOT get a sunburn on his little bald head, and the kids did NOT get red cheeks and noses. Nope, I am a much better mother than to forget a little thing like that!

I did NOT let my kids get soaking wet in the tide pools since it was a dreary, overcast, chilly day. And I most certainly did NOT just strip them and let them ride home in the car without pants instead of putting their sandy legs into the clean ones I brought.
I did NOT find my twins sitting on their changing table this week. They had NOT taken their own wet diapers off, and Grant had NOT put his in the diaper pail and even turned the handle to make it go into the bag. They are NOT telling me, "Hey, Mom, we're ready for potty training! How 'bout you get on that one, K?"

And I did NOT tell them to cover their "pee-nis" before I took the picture, since I knew as soon as I saw them, that this was going on the blog.

Due to me getting the stomach flu this week, I did NOT put off our father's day project of finger paintings on canvasses. We did NOT wait till the last minute and do it Saturday night, with Marty home taking apart the cribs in the boys' bedroom. Emma did NOT tell Ben, right in front of Marty, "Ben, are you ready to finger paint?" blowing the whole secret.

What did you NOT do this week?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today is my mom's birthday. I will not tell you what birthday it is for her, because she is a lady and a lady never tells her age. But it's a bigg'un. And it rhymes with pleventy.

My mom is an inspiration to me. She handles difficulties with grace and rarely complains. She has been having a difficult time with her health lately, but she is meeting the challenges head on and is upbeat and positive. She is a great example of trusting God when times are questionable, I love having her influence in my life.

My mother taught me how to keep a home. Now, those of you who have seen my home lately should not judge, she keeps a much cleaner house than I do! But she taught me to sew, she taught me to fold a fitted bed sheet so well that it looks like a flat one, she taught me the importance of ironing tablecloths to make them look nice and make others feel welcome and at ease. And although I do not choose to follow most etiquette rules right now, it is nice to know that I can host a big fancy dinner party without worrying if I am doing everything right.

Growing up, she treated all of my friends with kindness and grace. She is sincerely caring about everyone she meets, can make everyone feel comfortable and has a great sense of humor and a quick wit.

I have a great relationship with my mom now. We are friends, the mother-daughter dynamic, although it will always be there, is fading away. She understands if I call her merely because I need to talk to a grown up, or if I am bursting to tell someone some silly thing the kids did.

She delights in my children and praises my parenting. She understands that my house is a mess, and she will, without judgement, pitch in to help do the things that I do not have time for. She has a very kind heart and is one of the nicest people I have ever met.

I love you, Mom.

Happy Birthday!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday Updates

I am feeling better today.

I was able to eat a little gradually throughout the day, and after dinner last night, my stomach finally settled to the point that I was no longer feeling like I was going to lose it at any moment. I am still not up to my full strength yet, and after a couple of days of little food and water, my milk supply has dwindled and I am having to supplement formula, as well as try to drink as much water as possible to build it back up.

I know that I had four kids in four and a half years, but I still can't get over how many people asked if I was pregnant, just because I was puking.

I am not pregnant, people!


Unfortunately, sweet baby Stellan is back in the hospital. His SVT has returned, and his heart rate has been about 270 bpm. They are giving it through the weekend to see if they can get it under control with medications, but if things have not been controlled by Monday, ti sounds like they are going to be taking some bigger steps in his care. MckMama has not said specifically what they are planning, but they have said in the future doing open heart surgery and putting in a pacemaker. That is extremely risky on a baby this small, and they were hoping to hold off until he was at least four years old.

Please pray for his little heart, and for his family. I cannot imagine the roller coaster they are on right now.


Today I am going to do the final preparations to get the boys in big boy beds. I'm scared. I have images in my mind of the boys working together to pick up their mattresses and angle them off the front of their dresser to make a slide. Or deciding they want bunk beds, and Ben putting his mattress on top of Grant's while Grant is still on it, and suffocating him.

There are so many dangers that I worry about with these two that was never a concern with Emma. With Emma, we just got that twisty mini-blind cord thingy and it kept the blind cord up and out of the way. Not that she ever would have reached for it anyway, but just in case. The twins would figure out how to break that and have an exposed cord and strange themselves. They might figure out how to smuggle a screwdriver into their beds and take off the childproof outlet cover and shock themselves/each other. They might take all their long sleeved shirts out of their drawers and tie the sleeves together to make an escape line and shimmy out the window to go swimming in the pond late at night. OK, that one might take them a year or so, but I bet they could do it.

After all, I have creative children. And their problem solving skills will serve them well in the future. Even if I go totally grey by next week.

Have a great weekend, and pray for Stellan!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Taking a Break

I am taking a bloggy break. I am sick. I am tired. And I am tired of being sick. It hit suddenly, this stomach flu-ish thing, and I am hoping it is just a twenty four hour thing, but I am miserable.

So I am on a break until I feel better. I was able to eat a piece of toast today and keep it down, though, so I might be on the mend. We will see.

(Hopefully) see you soon!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Happy Birthday to you, we went to the Zoo!

Monday we took the kids to the Woodland Park Zoo for Emma's birthday. We did this when she was two, and I was pregnant with the twins. (This was before I knew they were twins, I was just in awe about how big I was already.) We had such a good time we wanted to do it again. My brother and sister-in-law came with us, since they live close by, and it was nice to spend time with them and have an adult for each child.

The carousel was a hit. Grant did not want to go at first, but Marty dragged him up there and forced him on a horse. No, this is not abuse, this is how we do things with Grant. And he loved it. Some kids just need some encouragement.

The penguin exhibit was different than the last time we were there, and the improvements were amazing. The kids loved it and we had a hard time pulling them away.
I made friends with this cute little guy, he is so pretty!

This is the only group shot I got of all four, and Grant is not to pleased. Drew is saying, "I thought you took me out to feed me, not to do that flashy-thingy Mommy does all the time!"

We had an alarm set, and at 2:11 p.m., we surrounded Emma and sang "Happy Birth-Minute to You!" Right outside the snake building. And we sang loud. Because that's what we do.
This is just turned five-year-old Emma, always the lady. Sitting like a man and picking a hippo's nose. She claims there were rocks in there, and she was just trying to clean it out.
We saw gorillas. And then we had the "A gorilla is not a monkey" talk. It went something like this:

(some adult, I can't remember who): These are gorillas. A gorilla is not a monkey.
Grant: No, monkey!
Emma: No Grant, it is a Gorilla!
Grant: No, is a monkey!
Emma: It's a gorilla!
Grant: NO! Monkey!
Emma: Gor-Ril-La!
Grant: Monkey!
(At this point I walked away to get some more pictures. The people next to me were giggling, saying, "No, Monkey!" I pretended not to hear.)

I could not tell if this monkey gorilla was happy or drunk.
The kids each got to pick out a stuffed animal from the gift shop. Grant picked out a gorilla. And he named it Monkey. (Go figure!) Ben got a snowy owl, and Emma picked out a flamingo, but she kept calling it a penguin. Do we have any zoologists in our future? Hmmm...
Of course, the customary sit-on-the-fake-animal-and-go-for-a-ride shot.
Which, of course, you have to do with all the fake animals. Our crew loved all these statues, and wanted to spend a lot of time climbing and riding. Ben decided to stake his claim, and would run up and yell, "My monkey!/lion!/hippo!/crocodile!" Here is our birthday girl on the lion.

And the beautiful lioness. The male lion was sleeping and sprawled out in the grass. I did get a picture of him, but it's just his bum. And that's no fun.

Baby Drew spent some time in the stroller, and most of the time in the front pack. He didn't seem to notice we were even at the zoo, unless we went into the tropical rain forest area where it was hot and humid. Other than that, he was a happy, content baby most of the day.
Who can resist rolling down a big hill? Not my husband! And yes, the kids followed suit. And he thinks he was just "teaching them how to do it," but I know he really wanted to. By the end of it, we had some melt downs, and the exhaustion was evident in our faces. And the kids were tired, too.

The twins were asleep soon after we hit the road, and we stopped for dinner part way home. Since it was Emma's birthday, she got to pick what she wanted for her birthday dinner. So she had a strawberry milkshake. Cuz you can do that on your birthday.
We got home at nine p.m., and were absolutely done. We took the kids for a quick walk to stretch out the kinks in their legs from the two hour drive home, and put them to bed. We did not move the rest of the night.
But in the car, on the way home, Emma said, "Mommy? This is the bestest birthday ever! I want to do that again!"
Mission accomplished.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Happy Birthday, Emma!

Today is sweet Emma's fifth birthday! I am absolutely amazed at how fast the time had flown. And at the same time, it seems she has been in my life forever.

I am so incredibly proud of my girl. She is amazing, she is incredibly smart and very caring. She loves her little brothers and takes good care of them. She has such a joy for life, and is so much fun.

Five years ago today, I woke up at about three a.m. with something that felt like cramps. I fell back asleep and kept getting woken up every few minutes, but being that it was three a.m. it didn't really hit me that it was my exact due date, and I was having contractions. They were very light for a while, and I started timing them and it became clear. I let Marty sleep a while longer and marveled at the fact that today, I would be a mother.

Around six, I woke Marty up and told him he would not be going to work that day. I casually got ready, and we left the house around seven. The contractions were about five minutes apart, but still relatively easy. We went to Marty's work to drop something off, and then to the McDonald's drive thru to get some breakfast. We got to the hospital about eight, and got checked in.

It still seemed easy. I had a birth plan, I wanted a natural birth, and my midwife continued to check in. When we got there, I was two centimeters dilated. By noon, I was at two and a half. I was assured that babies take time, especially first babies. The midwife headed back to the office and told me she would come check me again at three.

Not long after she left, the contractions started getting a lot harder. I got in the tub, which helped a bit, but I started to feel a ton of pressure. I remember thinking, "If I have to do this for six more hours, I will need an epidural!"

I got out of the tub about 1:30, and asked the nurse to check me. She told me it was really not necessary, I had just been checked an hour before and it had taken four hours to dilate a half a centimeter, so I should just be patient. I insisted she check me anyway. I was at seven and a half centimeters.

Things progressed quickly. I felt the need to push and the nurses called my midwife back. She came flying in and told me to go ahead and push, three contractions later, I reached down and pulled my beautiful baby to my chest. In that instant, my whole life changed. I was a mother.

My sweet Emma was born at 2:11 pm, seven pounds and nineteen inches even. She was beautiful. The fast labor helped, her head was perfectly shaped and she was gorgeous. It was truly love at first sight, I had never experienced such a sudden and overwhelming surge of love and fierce protectiveness. This was my daughter. I was her mother. And I cried.

And now, five years later, I still feel that fierce love and protectiveness. It has changed, of course, as time will change things. But she is my baby, no matter how old she gets. I only hope I can do right by her in raising her.

I love you so much. You have no idea how much you mean to me. Happy birthday, sweetheart. I hope today is the best day ever. You are my favorite little girl in the whole wide world!
Love, Mommy

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Computer Problems-SOLVED!!!

My brother came today to fix my computer. As we all know, my computer has been really, really bad for quite a while. Then I got a new hand-me-down computer, and that one became much worse in a short period of time.

I convinced my brother the computer geek to come up early to Emma's party to wipe the hard drive and re-do the whole thing, trying to make my eight-year-old computer new again.

Jeff came up, but he had another plan.

He walked in and asked me to help him get something from his car. I went out to help and found a whole bunch of Dell boxes in his trunk. It seems he and my Dad had been talking and took pity on me and my old, old computer. So instead of wiping clean the hard drive, we wiped clean the desk and started over. Here's my brother and my Dad, with my new, beautiful piece of machinery.Don't mind the can of Pledge in the background, I was trying to dust the desk first. Since I don't dust and all. But isn't it pretty? It even has a flat screen monitor! I am so excited that I am typing my first blog post on my new computer!

Thank you, Jeff and Dad! You are the best. I really really appreciate this from the bottom of my heart, you have no idea what this means to us.

You really do rock!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thursdays with Tiffani

I was lounging on the couch working on a beaded bridal bouquet when Marty noticed that I had not done Thursdays with Tiffani yet. I do not want to be a big old liar, so since I promised I would do it today, I am. I have twenty minutes left of today, so I'd better get cracking!

I am thankful for: My friends. Old friends like Teresa who is coming up this weekend, good friends like my Birch Bay girls, and new friends like Tiffany. I am so blessed.

I am listening to: Late night with Jimmy Fallon, I recorded it and now am watching Mark-Paul Gosselar and it's FREAKING HILARIOUS!

I am looking forward to: Emma's birthday weekend this weekend, her birthday party at the park and taking her to the zoo on her birthday, which is Monday. She doesn't know we are going to the zoo, so don't spill the beans!

What's for dinner Tonight: Tonight was a challenge. I had a plan to let the kids nap and get stuff done, then when they woke, head to the grocery store and pick up whatever looked fun to make. However, the guys showed up who were supposed to pump our septic tank. I was told they would be coming "sometime soon" back in November. I was a little shocked to see them, and the sound of the truck woke Grant and Drew, and I couldn't let Grant outside to play. Then Ben woke up and I couldn't leave since the septic truck was blocking the driveway. So I made breakfast for dinner, since that's all I had left.

Missing: Energy, time and organization. The ability to think clearly and make a plan. And, as always, my sanity. But just like a missing Boy Scout shirt, I think that one's gone for good.

Sweet Moments and Sleeping Children

I am a neurotic normal mom.

I feel the need to check on my children before I go to bed at night, to make sure they are still breathing, pet their sleeping faces and whisper sweet nothings, knowing they cannot hear. I tell them I love them, and they get little flickers of smiles dancing across their soft faces, and then return to whatever dreams of candy and puppies have captured them that time.

I love this time, when all is dark and the kids are quiet. Last night I started my normal routine. Emma first, pull the blanket up and kiss her soft cheek. Smooth her hair and tell her quietly that I love her. Tuck her favorite buddy a little closer so she can find it if she wakes in the night. Slowly walk out of the room, feeling that she is indeed a gift, and shutting the door behind me.

My cup runneth over.

I went into the twins' room. Grant curled up, hugging his Ted close. Even in sleep, they are great buds. Run my fingers through his hair and stroke his plump, still baby-like cheek. I love the stage that Grant is in right now. Stuck halfway between baby and big boy, loving to cuddle him mommy as well as talk about cars, trucks, and tractors. I love my little man.

I turned to Ben, and saw him there, in the sleep position that is so Ben, sprawled as wide as he can get, his spread-eagle body attesting to the fact that he was comfy.

And he was naked.

Not like the typical, I-got-hot-so-I-took-off-my-jammies type of naked, but the I-need-to-let-the-boy-parts-air-out-from-time-to-time type of naked. His diaper was next to him in the crib, and the tape that was supposed to be keeping the diaper in place was on the floor.

My Ben, sound asleep, spread eagle and naked.

I tried to contain my laughter for fear of waking him, but looking at his sweet innocent face and all his business hanging out, and then recognizing that if he did pee in his sleep, he was lined up just so that he would spray himself in the face, I had to leave the room.

Did I take a picture? Of course! What type of photographer would I be if I did not capture this moment for future blackmail for the sweet memory? Did I call Marty in to see, and make sure to be in the room first so I could see the look on his face when he noticed the obvious nakedness? Oh, yes! Am I thinking that if I post the picture on my blog it might scar Ben for life/get me arrested for child p0rn0graphy? Yup, indeed!

So the picture will remain in the Stauffer family, not to be shared amongst the whole world. But it's funny, let me tell you.

I will leave you with a picture, though, since I can now upload them and I have a lot of pictures to put here for the past posts. Here's my tire from Tuesday:

Purdy, ain't it?

I'll be back later today for Thursday's with Tiffani!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

When Worlds Collide

OK. I am not sure I like that title. It seems a little doom and gloom, and this post is more happiness and joy.

Today, my bloggy world and my real-life world came together and I got to meet a good bloggy friend, Tiffany from Paging Doctor Mommy. She came down to my humble abode to visit and do some shopping. I told her I was not going to make too much fun of her on my blog for wanting to come across the border to try to find diet peanut butter, so I won't even mention it. Even though I think the whole concept of diet peanut butter is like low fat ice cream and is probably not worth it. But that's just me. Of course, I am the one who had to "test" the candy we bought for Emma's birthday pinata, and I have eaten half the bag. Diet advice is not my forte.

We had a great time and giggled a little about meeting each other online and then just meeting in real life for the first time at my house, which goes against all rules for internet safety. But it's like she said, if either of us was a bad guy wanting to lure people into meeting, the whole blog thing was a pretty intricate trap, don'cha think?

Luckily, both of us are normal. Well, one of us was normal. But I think we all know I'm a different breed of crazy.

Anywhoo, we went shopping and had lunch and had a great time. Emma and Reagan became new BFF's, and they were inseparable. We took the kids to the play area at the mall to let them run off a little energy, and a little girl came up to Emma and asked her to be her friend. Emma grabbed Reagan by the hand and said, "This is my new friend." I had to remind her that she can be friends with more than one person, and all the little girls had fun.

We decided to get together more often, and I am looking forward to it. I love my new circle of friends!

Here's all of us together on my couch:

Left to right: Tiffany, Emma, Reagan, Grant, Ben, me and Drew. Yes there is a big green thing in front of us, I had set the camera up on a kid's lap drawing table thingy and took the picture. I thought to myself, "No biggie, I can crop that out easily!" Forgetting that I can upload pictures on this computer, but Photoshop is on the other computer. To crop it I would have to take this picture and put it on a disk, then unhook this computer and swap it for the other computer. Then hook up the Photoshop computer and see if I can get the picture loaded there, fix it, save it, unhook that computer and hook this one up again. Now we are not talking laptops here, these are desktops I would have to be lugging around. And I'm to lazy busy to go through all that. So just ignore the green on the bottom and look at our smiling faces, OK? Thanks!
Thanks, Tiffany and Reagan, for a fun day! I can't wait to see you again!

Great News!


Our most recent computer which was not able to upload pictures is now replaced by this wonderful, new, shiny computer! OK, that was a lie. But I did pull our old one out of storage and hook it back up, since all of it's problems now seem minor in comparison to it's replacement.

But now I can upload pictures!

I have my camera uploading as we speak, stay tuned for posts with pictures!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Adventures in Road Tripping (Alternate Title: How to Waste Another $119)

Amy and I had a great time going to Seattle today.

She dropped off her camera at the repair shop, and didn't even cry as we walked away and left it behind. I was impressed. We went to Glazer's and drooled over tripods, bags, lenses, and lighting equipment. I did not find my dream lens on sale since lenses don't actually go on sale, but I had to try. I found a diffuser for my flash in a used equipment bin for two bucks, so I was happy. That was my only purchase of the day.

We pucked up the twins from my parents house and headed for home. We got through all the traffic in Everett, I didn't think it was very bad at all, but Amy disagreed. This is the difference between growing up close to Seattle and growing up on a farm. We had a conversation that went something like this: "Hey, this traffic is really not so bad today!" "Um, no, this is bad traffic." "Not really, we have only come to a complete stop once!" "We've been slow for miles. This is bad traffic!" "But we've only stopped once!"

We were somewhere between Arlington and Mt. Vernon when I heard a strange noise. I was not sure if it was the van or the road, so I changed lanes, but the sound followed me. There was an exit right there, and it was obvious by the time I got off that I had lost a tire. I pulled over to the side of the off ramp and found my right rear tire shredded. And when I say shredded, I mean it. I am not just talking about a tire that was a little bare, I am surprised it was as intact as it was. You could see through it.

I was in the process of pulling out my camera to take pictures of the tire (wait, this isn't the first step in changing a tire? Really? I though everyone took pictures for their blog before they pulled out the lug wrench!) when a truck pulled off right in front of us, and a very nice man got out and with a friendly smile, asked me where I kept the spare. He changed the tire for me and did a great job. I never got his name, but he was courteous and kind. Thank you, Mr. Stranger, I appreciate your help today. I am sorry I never got your name, but Amy and I later named you Serge. She thinks you were Russian, but I thought you were Argentinian. However, neither of us are very good at accents, so we might be very wrong. Well, at least one of us is very wrong. But thank you for your help, and I hope someone is there for you when you need help, too.

It was great fun driving home going 55 in a 70 zone for an hour with hazards flashing, on a very old donut spare that was cracked, hoping and praying that it didn't blow out, too.

The trip from my parent's house to mine, that is usually a little past an hour and a half, took three hours. The kids did great, I was so impressed by their patience and I am so blessed that we did not have any meltdowns.

Anywhoo, tomorrow I get to meet my bloggy friend Tiffany in real life! But first I have to go buy a new tire. This one was not done in by the hubcaps like that last one, so I have no idea why it blew. And then I get to go shopping with my bloggy friend and let her fully appreciate how simple life is with only one child let her see what crazy looks like introduce her to my kids.

Oh, and my computer now has another rogue anti-virus software program. I keep getting pop-ups that say that I have an unregistered version of Malware Doctor and my computer is unprotected, and it also says I have the Conficker worm. I think it is lying. I cannot wait till we wipe this thing clean and start over.

Now I'm off to see where I can find $119 for a new tire...

Goin' On a Road Trip!

Today I am headed down to Seattle to visit a camera store with my sis in law and photographer extraordinaire Amy. I am so exited, not only do I get to get out of the house, but Emma will be in school and we are dropping the twins off at my parents, so it will be just me, Amy and Drew! WooHoo!

I have to remember how to drive in city traffic, it has been a while. I am assuming it will be like riding a bike and I will be cutting people off and tailgating like a pro in no time. As long as I leave the road rage and cursing behind, I think I will be OK.

I am selling my old camera, and planning on putting that money into a new lens for my new camera. But there's a bit of a dollar difference there. If you are so inclined, could you pray that the $700 lens I want is on some sort of super-duper clearance sale, and I can get it for $200? I know, highly unlikely that I will find anything in my price range, but a girl can dream, right?

Monday, June 8, 2009

Not Me! Monday!

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This was created by MckMama as a way for us to confess to all of our not so shining moments in parenting. Head over to MckMama's blog to see what everyone else has NOT been doing this week!

While making lunch last week, I did NOT accidentally drop a turkey dog on the floor, and turn around and step on it (and I had NOT been wandering around barefoot outside) and then just rinse it off and eat it anyway. I would NEVER do such a disgusting thing. Not me!

My husband did NOT refer to "good sunscreen" as 10W-40 instead of SPF 50. He really DOES know the difference between sunscreen and motor oil.

I did NOT forget that my new makeup does not contain a sunscreen like my old one did, and I did NOT get burned in the face. This has NOT happened a time or two before, and I will NOT probably do it again next year.

While spraying Grant with sunscreen, I did NOT pull down the edge of his diaper just the teensiest bit and spray him there, too. Just to make sure he didn't burn when his diaper shifted outside. He did NOT stomp his foot and yell at me, "No, Mommy! No spray the pee-nis!" I did NOT fall down on the floor laughing at his serious little face.

The following conversations did NOT happen in our house this week:

Marty: (out of nowhere) I think I am going to make a comment on that post.
Me: (paused, confused and trying to figure out what he was talking about) What post?
Marty: The one I was talking about! Were you not listening?
Me: (thinks for a minute) Oh, you mean the post about your fantasy baseball trades?
Marty: Yes, that one.
Me: OK, you know that was four hours ago, right? I need you to tell me what you are talking about when there is a four hour break in conversation.
Marty: (joking) Not if you listen better.

We were going into a restaurant to use a gift card we had gotten a while back.
Emma: I need to wear my sunglasses inside.
Me: You need to? Why is that?
Emma: In case my eyes get gloddery.
Marty: In case your eyes get what?
Emma: Gloddery, Daddy. (Eyes roll at the obvious idiocy of her parents, and then she speaks slowly, sounding it out so we can learn what must be basic terminology) Glah--Der--Ree. They might get gloddery and I need my glasses to save them.
Me: What happens if they get gloddery?
Emma: They get wet.
Me: Do you mean, watery?
Emma: No, Mommy! It's gloddery!

Well, OK then.

I have NOT been having a hard time blogging lately without pictures. My brother did NOT call me yesterday to remind me of something that happened, and I hadn't blogged about it because it was part of a day that I have pictures for, and I am waiting till I can upload pictures again. I did NOT completely forget about the story, even though it was freaking hilarious. I will NOT have to blog about it without pictures, just so I don't forget about it again. Want a preview? "Thank you, Lonnie!" That's all you're getting so far. Look for it sometime this week.

I did NOT once again massively over-commit myself when it comes to a birthday party. Since our family is HUGE, parties are usually a large affair, but this year Emma wanted to invite her pre-school classmates. Since she has been with these kids for a few years and they will all be going their separate ways this fall, we agreed. I did NOT decide to have the party at dinnertime and decide that I should feed everyone dinner before I totaled up the list. Between our usual list and the list that included her 14 classmates, we did NOT have a hundred people in the invite list for her fifth birthday. I did NOT scale the list down to immediate family and the closest friends she sees all the time. I did NOT cut the list down to sixty five, and I am NOT begging for the forgiveness of those who will not be coming this year.

My five year old will NOT have a bigger birthday party than some weddings. And I did NOT make her birthday party a potluck. Who would do that? Not Me!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Happy Five Month Old Birthday!

My sweet, adorable baby Drew is five months old today. I LOVE this age, the little roly-poly stage where they spend the majority of their time folded in half sucking on their toes. It is adorable. I cannot wait till I can put pictures back on here, I am gong crazy without them!

In other baby Drew news, he slept soooooo good last night! He went to bed at eight (at least I am guessing, I was at poker night) and slept straight through till 4:30! WooHoo! I got a five hour stretch of sleep, oh, yeah! He woke up at 4:30 giggling and laughing and making eyes at me. It was great.

I feel so refreshed and I can tell he does too. It has made this last miserable week worthwhile.

Grant's knee is healing amazingly well, I am constantly in awe of the resilience of kids. He keeps telling us that he's a "tough dude," and Emma is now a "tough chick."

Then Grant says "tough chick."

But it really doesn't come out that way.

It's more like "tough Shih-Tzu," without the "zu."


I realized that I completely forgot Thursdays With Tiffani yesterday, I think I was waterlogged from running through the sprinkler. I will do my best to remember next week, if this streak of sleep continues, I might just be able to remember what day of the week it is!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Grant's First Trip to the ER to the Drug Store

We had an interesting evening last night.

I decided to barbecue, had chicken marinating and was throwing the potato packets in the grill when Marty decided to take Grant for a walk to go get the mail. I did not see them enter the house, but they were standing in the kitchen when Marty said, "Honey, can you come over and look at this?"

His voice was very calm, but there was a little something about his tone that told me something was wrong.

He was holding Grant, and there was a good-sized spot of blood on Marty's shirt. Grant had fallen in the gravel and split his knee open, and was sitting happily in Marty's arms, blood running down his leg and onto Marty, and saying, "Mommy, owie." Such a brave little boy.

My first thought was that he needed stitches, but upon Marty's insistence, I called our good friend Gordon who is a firefighter and an EMT. He told me everything I needed to do, and then after dinner, I took Grant to Rite-Aid for some gauze, iodine, and butterfly bandages. And, of course, some new Lightning McQueen band-aids. And some candy.

My tough, brave little boy did great. I used the wonderful pain relieving spray they give you after giving birth, then gave him a candy and cleaned it up. He cried, but he sat there, knowing it had to be done and that it would be over soon. And then he got to stay up late and cuddle a while, 'cause I am a big softie.

Thank you, Gordon, for your expert advice that saved us a trip to the ER. You are my hero!

In other news, I would like to clarify a few things about the last post. It seems I stirred up a teensy bit of discussion about my decision to not offer the boob to Drew during the night. Here are my reasons.

1. He does not wake up hungry, just wanting the comfort of nursing. If I offer it to him, he latches on and immediately falls asleep, he does not feed at all.

2. I really feel the three jars of baby food he eats for dinner and the nursing he gets right before bed is plenty to keep him full and satisfied through the night. He is not a formula baby, but I'm quite sure sweet potatoes and green beans will do the job.

3. When i allow him to "demand feed" at night, he wakes every half hour to forty five minutes because he loses the latch. He cannot get into the deeper REM sleep that he needs to be well rested, and to grow properly.

4. At five months old, it is perfectly reasonable to expect him to sleep throught the night.

5. I have slept through the night less than twenty times in three years. I am exhausted. I am run down. I have been getting sick a lot lately, as my body is not healthy from lack of sleep. I have been blogging about talking woodland creatures, for goodness sakes. I am so emotional that if someone mentions to me that I need a nap, I have a hard time not bursting into tears.

6. Babies who are allowed to nurse all night long can have improper teeth development, and the bacteria that can grow from constantly having a tiny flow of milk can cause problems for the baby as well as the mother.

7. My child is not lacking in attention from me. I am not just letting him cry at night, I am holding him, rocking him, singing to him, shushing him, and offering the pacifier. He is not being neglected, he really is a contented, happy baby. In fact, he is sitting on my lap right now and sucking on his toes and smiling at me.

I could go on and on, but I won't. He needs sleep, I need sleep, and this is the way I have chosen to do it. All of you, dear readers, can agree with me, not agree with me, decide not to follow my blog anymore, whatever. It's a free country.

This is my choice, and I'm sticking to it.

Have a great day, and hug an EMT for me!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

New Pictures!

I got a big shock yesterday.

I entered the twins' room to get them up from their nap. I rounded the corner and was met by Ben, saying "Yucky, Mommy!" and holding his poopy diaper in his hands out over the edge of the crib for me to see.

That's right, it was not on his body, it was in his hands. There was a large, lovely pile on the sheet that had been walked in and stomped around a little. He had dried poop on his foot, so I have no idea if he slept naked in a sea of nastiness.

I scooped him up, took him to the changing table and tried to clean him up, all the while I hear "Yucky, Mommy!" behind me as Grant was imitating his brother's earlier sentiments.

What I didn't know was that while I was cleaning Ben, Grant was also mirroring the activity that had brought Ben to the "Yucky, Mommy!" phase of this little game. I finished cleaning up Ben and turned to see a stark naked Grant, holding his diaper out to me as well. And then I thanked God he was not poopy.

By the way, I am finally able to upload pictures! So I took a picture of the poopy mess. It is at the end of this post, since the computer won't let me place the picture where I want it.

I was not planning on heating the house further by doing laundry at three o'clock on an eighty degree day, but I did. We had put the air conditioner in the window the night before, and it had been going since nine am, but the house was still sweltering. It was not until after my impromptu load of laundry that I realized that the air conditioner had been on the 'fan' setting instead of the 'cool' setting, and had been blowing warm, outside air into the house all day.

Because there's nothing better on a hot day than blasting hot air into a stuffy house filled with children trying to take a nap before their mother loses it.

Yesterday was just one of those days. I know that all moms have them, the ones where you just survive and try not to take your kids to the supermarket and put them in a box marked "Free Kittens" in the hope that some kind hearted person with very poor eyesight will not notice that they are not kittens and take them home.

I am trying to sleep train baby Drew so that he can sleep at night without a boob. He thinks he must nurse all night, and I need to break that habit as he fusses whenever he loses the latch and I wake up about twelve to fifteen times a night to get him back on. We got into this habit when he was screaming all night, but now removing citrus from my diet has helped that immensely. But he still wakes every half hour to forty five minutes, and I am still exhausted.

The night before last was the first night of "No boob till six am," and he screamed. From about twelve thirty to three, he screamed, but I stuck to it, knowing that this will be horrid for a few days, but then he might (gasp!) actually sleep through the night! We will see how it goes.

But in the meantime, there might be some very random posts on here, as it has been proven that the more exhausted I get, the crazier I am.

Just crazy enough to actually let you all believe I would take a picture of poop and put it on my blog. Really, did you actually believe that? I may be shameless at times, but I do have standards, people! That's just nasty! No, the pictures are not working yet, that was a lie. But I know I had a few of you freaked out for a minute there, and that brings a smile to my very tired face.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

And I Really Wanted Them To Talk...

This morning, Ben saw Emma's yo-yo on the counter and asked nicely for it, so I gave it to him. A few minutes later, Grant swiped it from his hand.

Grant: Yo-yo!
Ben: My yo-yo!
Grant: No, my yo-yo!
Ben: My yo-yo!
This continues on for a while. I finally take the yo-yo away, explaining that it is really Emma's yo-yo, and if they are going to fight, they will lose the yo-yo.
Ben (crying): My yo-yo!
Grant: My yo-yo!
Ben: My yo-yo!
Grant: My yo-yo!
Ben: My yo-yo!
I pick them up and put them in their beds and tell them they can come out when they are done fighting. After about ten minutes of "Yo-yo!" "My yo-yo!" it changes.
Grant: My yo-yo!
Ben: No yo-yo. Mooooommmmmmyyyyyyyy!
Grant: My Mommy!
Ben: No, my Mommy!
Grant: No, my Mommy!
Ben: No, my Mommy!
Grant: No, my Mommy!
Ben: No, my Mommy!
Grant: No! My! Mommy!
Ben: No, my Mommy!
Grant: No, myyyyyy Mommy!
Ben: No, my Mommy!
Grant: No, my Mommy!
I looked at Drew and smiled, thanking God that he cannot yet talk. He looked deep into my eyes and cooed, adorably stuck his whole fist in his mouth, smiled again and promptly spit up his breakfast all over me.

It's going to be a long day.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Not Me! Monday!

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! this was created by MckMama, and although I still can't upload pictures, you can click HERE to see what everyone else has NOT been doing this week.

I was so frustrated last week over the fact that the twins did not sleep long enough at naptime, and Drew did not sleep at all, that I did NOT just put screaming Drew in his swing, give him a kiss and tell him I loved him, and leave the twins in their beds and close all the doors and go out into the living room for five minutes by myself. I did NOT lay on the couch and put a pillow over my head to drown out the crying, and try to get myself together.

The next day, I did NOT take the baby monitor outside while I worked in the garden, and forget to plug it back in when I came in. So I was NOT oblivious to the fact that instead of napping, Drew cried for forty minutes, and in my tired, sinus-stuffed-up state, I had no idea. I did NOT feel horrendously guilty that I had left him crying two days in a row. Nope, not me!

I did NOT snitch one of the kids' pudding cups, even though I am supposed to be off dairy. And I did NOT eat it with one of the baby spoons, because everyone knows that pudding tastes better when eaten with a little spoon.

We did NOT go to bed one night this week and forget to close everything up. Me, the person who is always afraid of someone breaking into our house while we are sleeping, most certainly did NOT leave the front door standing wide open all night long.

My brilliant husband did NOT decide to feed Grant cherry Jell-O while he was sitting on a pile of clean laundry. I do NOT have to re-wash a white sheet, and hope the red stain comes out.

I did NOT just walk into my bedroom to put Drew down for a nap and find Emma curled up in my bed, watching cartoons by herself. I did NOT then realize that she had been missing for about a half hour and I hadn't noticed.

Earlier today, Grant did NOT run up to me, throw his arms around my legs and hug me tight. I loved it, but when he ran away, I did NOT notice that he had rubbed boogers all over my legs.

And finally, there is NO WAY Emma's pre-school teacher took Emma to the beach and actually let her bring a dead starfish home. Kelina is NOT mean enough to actually bring me a dead, slimy, gooey, stinky sea creature and tell me to let it dry out and my daughter should keep it. In our house.

As I was being told the procedure to properly dry a dead, slimy, stinky sea creature, I did NOT give Kelina the stink eye and threaten her with plans for how I will torture her future children. NO WAY am I ungrateful like that to someone who cares enough about my daughter to take her to the beach and then out to the movies. And Kelina did NOT give me a little smirk and refuse to apologize for bringing dead sea life into my home.

I am NOT going to buy her kids a drum set in retaliation.