Always Crazy, Always Fun, Always Love

Ray Romano once compared life with twins to living in a frat house. As he put it, "no one sleeps, there is a lot of noise and a lot of throwing up." I find this very true with 4 young children, including twins. However, though things are always crazy, we always try to have fun and, most certainly, always love each other.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!!!

(don't mind the pink behind Kenny's head- that is Ellie in the chair behind him....)

Let's go Trick-or-Treating!!!

Just one more question......
Now What?!?!
(and we only went to the local nursing home and around the block! I tried for the girls to share a bucket since they are too young to care, but everyone insisted on still giving me two pieces of candy for two babies! So, what I am supposed to do with all this candy?!?!)

Happy Halloween!!!!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Loads of Fall Fun

Chaos is a good word to describe these last few weeks, hence the dry spell in my posting. I have no doubt there will be a few posts pretty close together to make up for it. All is well -just very busy. Here I share a few (okay, more than a few) pictures of some of the fun that has been going on:

Kindergarten Field Trip
A couple weeks ago, I went with Jacob's class on field trip to a farm. He had so much fun! So much to do here and learn about. From a giant "corn" (instead of sand) box to play in, to rubber duck races:

Tractor Driving, corn mazes, animals (even camels!!!), an enchanted forest, and much much more!

I was assigned a group of 4 kids to watch and guide around the farm. It was crazy! They were so excited that they were a bit hard to control at times...I am just glad there was only 4 of them. Even the teacher said there would be no way to do it together as a big group- small groups were much better! Here was my crew!

There were chickens and turkeys just roaming openly around the farm. I explained to the group that when they eat chicken or turkey, this is what they eat. One girl just said so matter of factly "That's disgusting." It was so funny the way she said it- I just had to laugh!

I can never say enough of how I love to spend time with Jacob when I get a chance. He is such a cool kid and so fun to talk to and hang with. I just don't get to do it near enough. I am so thankful to my mom who has been willing to help watch the girls so I can go!

Mothers of Twins Club at the Pumpkin Patch
The mothers of twins club that I am a part of spent a morning at a pumpkin patch. It was all younger children- with a few exceptions- ages 4 and under. Can you imagine 10 +moms and 20+ kids age 4 and under on a hay ride? Sound crazy? Actually all of the kids did great! It was very cold, but the kids were all well bundled and just had a wonderful time. Ellie loved the hayride and got into it. Meghan wanted nothing to do with it at first (hence the picture...), but warmed up to it later. They got to experience a corn maze as well.

I thought the following pictures of the girls picking out, and attempting to pick up, their pumpkins were hilarious!!

Then, we went to chic-fil-a for lunch afterward and played around there too! (The halloween party I speak of in the next section was the same day- a big day!) The chic-fil-a cow came around for a visit. The girls weren't too sure about him. Especially Meghan- it freaked her out. She just cried and cried and cried.... yet she was fascinated by him too. Ever since, she periodically says "Hi Cow!" remembering him!

Ward Halloween Party
Our church did a wonderful Halloween Party Friday night! We have done this for a few years now, and it just keeps getting better! The youth put it on and always do such a great job. Here are my cuties running around in costume. Kenny is an M&M, Jacob is Mr. Incredible (though I was unable to pin him down for a solo shot), Meghan is a butterfly and Ellie is a flower (coordinating with the butterfly...)

I tried so hard to get a picture of the girls together but they WOULD NOT cooperate. So much to run around and explore! It was a pizza potluck- which was a big hit with Meghan. She pronounces pizza as "people"- don't know why, but that is just how she says it. She always gets so excited to get "people" for dinner!

My friend, Amy, came with her 7 year old, Jacob as well! She also has 2 1/2 year old twin girls, but they had had a very long day (this was the same day as the pumpkin patch above, they went as well!) and were exhausted so Amy's husband stayed home with them. Her Jacob had a great time- I kept trying to take pictures of him in his picachu outfit (I am not a pokemon follower, so I don't know if I spelled that right) but he kept running off!

But we did get some family shots taken!
For those who are curious, Aaron's costume is "the car doctor." I am not into costumes, which is why I am not wearing one and Aaron was calling me a spoil sport!

Amy was able to get Jacob to pose for a shot of them together:
This is a shot of Amy's twins, Amelia and Sophia, taken during a previous play date. They are so adorable and we love getting together to play! Meghan continually asks for "Fia", her friend.

Other Fun Moments:
We did our annual family pumpkin carving. Aaron really enjoys doing it and did an awesome job this year as well! We always take a picture of the kids with the pumpkin, but Ellen and Meghan weren't much in the mood. So, the picture if a little off, but that makes it kind of funny- a "real" moment!And one last picture, just for fun.... Ellie was catching up on her reading..scanning the adds for some good deals!So, there you go- 1 1/2 weeks in the life of us. We have really enjoyed spending time together and enjoying the season! Phew... that was a long post! Anyone who hung on this long should get an award!! :)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Mothers of Twins Club Sale & 4-4 tag!!

Shortly before my girls were born, when I found out I was expecting twins, I joined a local Mothers of Twins club. I had heard about it and was curious so I went to a meeting just to check it out. I had a great time and went sporadically after that, as my girls were born and life was hectic. Once the girls were a few months old, I began to go more regularly. I am grateful for this group for many reasons. It has been nice to be around other women who understand how different it is with two babies. I have made friendships that I know will last a lifetime. There is a group of us that have twins all about the same age and we get together regularly- sometimes weekly- for playgroups. It is always a fun sight to see so many of them together. It is funny how it has changed my perspective. I have officially become used to having twins and it doesn't seem so strange anymore- especially now that I have a group of friends that have twins. It just seems normal. So now, it always surprises me when I see strangers (or others) in the store who find it fascinating that I have twins. I have to remember that it isn't normal for everyone. I just think it is interesting how our life events can cause us to change perspective. If you want to read a previous post about life with twins that I wrote in June, click here.

Anyway, that isn't the main reason for this post. Another great benefit of being in this club is the semi-annual sale. Twice a year, we host what is basically a giant yard sale in a local school. This sale took place this past weekend- which is the second one for this group I have participated in. Both times I have been in awe by the magnitude of it. As twin moms, we have the opportunity to sell any and all of our child care related items that we no longer need. Through a very organized process, we get the money from our sales, minus a small percentage that goes to the club. On Friday night, it is open to just club members for two hours and then it opens to the public Saturday morning for 4 hours. The membership in our club is around 300 and we had about that many shopping Friday night (though most meetings have an attendance around 50). I was shocked when our club treasurer told us that during the two hours that members only shopped Friday night, we had $23,000 in sales!!! (no, that is NOT a typo!!) I have not heard total sales yet, but based on that number and sales from the previous sales, I am guessing we brought in $50,000+ in gross sales. I personally took in 3 bins of clothes and a large box overflowing with toys, shoes, misc. stuff. I came home with 1 bin left- so I sold 75% of what I took! I thought that was pretty good! I am not sure what my total personal sales were, but they are adding them all now and I should have my check within a couple weeks. I figured the best way to demonstrate the size of this sale was to snap a few pictures. It is important to note that I took these pictures Saturday morning, before my shift as a cashier for the sale- this was AFTER the members shopped Friday night!

This first picture shows the people standing in line waiting to get in. I got there for my shift at 7:40am and the doors don't open until 8.
Once inside, the sale is divided into three big areas. This is a very big school. There is two full size gymnasiums and a large cafeteria/auditorium. In the cafeteria/auditorium is all of the equipment- cribs, highchairs, strollers, car seats, bedding, feeding supplies, etc. I had to take a two pictures to get it all in. The first gymnasium is devoted entirely to clothing. What you do not see in the picture, that I should have gotten in there, is the bleachers on the other side have clothing racks stuck into them when hanging clothes/coats on them. Originally, before the members only shopping, the stacks on the tables were as high as your head. They are, obviously, still quite high here. It is divided by size and gender.The second gymnasium is devoted entirely to toys/entertainment. This picture speaks for itself.... Anyway, it is a fun and excellent opportunity for me to sell things I no longer need. I get more from them than having a yard sale of my own and it is a little less work than a yard sale. Plus, I get to shop for clothes for my kids to replace what I get rid of. And, in a couple weeks I will have a check just in time for Christmas shopping- all from just getting rid of kid clutter in my house!!

4-4 tag!!
Last week, Katie tagged me with the 4-4 tag. I am supposed to open the 4th folder and post the 4th picture in the folder. I actually have picture folders- one on each computer (long story) so I will do both!Okay, the girls will hate me later for this one, but at least it doesn't show anything! This is Ellen and Meghan in August of 2007 (7 mos old). I had snapped several trying to get them to look at the camera, but they always looked away as I clicked it.

Now- on to the next computer....Not the most flattering of me, but hey- I had just given birth to twins minutes before. I love this picture actually! I was a paranoid wreck the entire pregnancy- fearing something would go wrong. I knew I couldn't relax until I held both happy healthy babies in my arms. This was that moment.

(and yes, I really do take pictures of my beautiful boys as well!!! )

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Time Out for Women

Last weekend, I had the most amazing (and exhausting) weekend. I got to go to a "Time Out for Women" Conference. They are put on by Deseret Books, which publishes a lot of uplifting books and products-many authors from our Faith, but some who are not as well. I had heard of these conferences and always wanted to go, but I was never able to- either to lack of funds or too far distance (or nursing two newborns....). My sister heard they were holding one in Philadelphia and asked if I wanted to go. Yes!!! So, we made a weekend out of it. We got a whole group together and piled into her van and left about 10am Friday morning. (This is after I was up till 2:30 am trying to get the house cleaned and ready to go. I had not been able to get anything done during the day Thursday due to a sick child- another long story- but that is why I was up so late anyway.) I went with my sister-Emily, Emily's baby Savanna, my mom, and two of their friends- Brenda and Beth. The road trip itself was a lot of fun. I was able to get some Pampered Chef invites ready for an upcoming party and get some reading done. I also enjoyed chatting with everyone (as women do) and getting to know Beth and Brenda better. Here is a picture taken of us all at the conference:
From left to right: Brenda, me, baby Savanna, Beth, mom, Emily.

The conference was exactly what I needed. It was a day devoted to recharging our batteries, understanding our worth as women, staying strong during rough patches and so forth. They had several inspirational speakers and a lot of great music. As a free gift with our admission, we got a really nice tote bag (see below). I want to find a good use for it- other than smashed cheerios and leaked sippy cups. Also, since it was put on by a book company, they had virtually the entire book store there for us to shop. How convenient!! (grin...) With, of course, all the books written by the presenters. I bought two books- one I had been wanting before that day and one I bought after listening to the presenter. The first one I bought is "I Am A Mother" by Jane Clayson Johnson- this is the one I had been wanting for a while. She was one of the presenters there. She used to be an anchor on the CBS early show and left her career to be home with her children. She writes about finding honor in her role as a mother, that we can speak it with pride. I really look forward to reading this one. Also, after listening to Emily Watts presentation, I wanted one of her books. I bought "Take Two Chocolates and Call Me in the Morning." Clearly my kind of book.... ha ha... Anyway, it gives practical advice to surviving the day to day chaos of motherhood. Something quite amazing happened as well that just completely made my day (as if everything I have already said wasn't enough...). We got there just as the conference was starting so we quickly took our seats. As I sit down, I feel a tap on my shoulder from someone behind me. I turn around and see my dear friend, Kristin, who I had not seen since she moved to New Jersey 2 years ago!! I have kept up with her a bit through her blog (check it out here) but had not actually gotten to speak with her since she left. She has always been someone I looked up to and was honored to call my friend and I have really missed her since she left. I could not have been more thrilled to see her there. We really enjoyed catching up during breaks. How awesome that I sat right in front of her! What are the odds?!?!
We left immediately after the conference, about 4pm, to head back to Ohio. It was a long evening....but, again, fun to sit and read and chat. Some women in our car wanted to go to Perkins for dinner and, since my sister's van has a GPS unit, they looked there for a Perkins. It said there was one on our route, so we started driving....and driving....and driving. It was a pretty drive off the freeway, no biggie since we were still headed west at least. We actually ended up going down Main St in Hershey, PA. Hershey is an awesome place, for those who have never been there. You can smell the chocolate in the air (no joking!) and the street lights look like this (look closely...). So, at least it was an enjoyable detour.The picture could be clearer, but hey, we were in a moving van... looking for a Perkins... Well, the Perkins was no where to be found, though we had been driving over an hour. Someone in the van spotted a Red Robin (yum!) so we stopped there for dinner...sooooo good! I got home about 3:30am and couldn't wait to collapse into bed. I just had to include these pictures as well:Savanna was not much into the car ride. Actually, she really didn't do too bad, but this picture is just too funny. At the hotel, Emily swaddled her to get her to sleep. She was just too cute. Does this make you think of anything?Can you say glow worm? Remember those? Too funny and cute! Love it! Anyway, this weekend was just amazing. A huge shout out to Aaron for doing great with the kids all weekend. The house was trashed when I got home (so....why did I stay up till 2:30 Friday morning cleaning?!?!) but the kids were happy and well cared for. Two out of Three aint bad! This had been exactly what I needed. I did walk out of there feeling recharged- like maybe I can do this motherhood thing and we are all in this together.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Happy 26th Birthday, Emily!!!

So, yesterday was my brother, James, birthday. I have no doubt that his least favorite/most nerve racking birthday was his 9th. On the day he turned 9 years old, I think he spent most of the day doing one thing-praying our little sister would not be born until after midnight. My mom went into labor with her 5th and final child on October 12-his birthday. Sara Emily was born early morning October 13th 1982. She was Mom's last, largest, and hardest delivery. She weighed 10 pounds and, after laboring very long, had to be delivered by an emergency C-section.
Can you tell this picture was taken in 1983?? Love the furniture and glasses! This is my mom and Emily-a big healthy baby! Here is a cute one of "all the girls" ( my mom, me, Julie, Emily) in matching dresses for Easter:

She was an adorable little girl! We always teased her and were jealous that it seemed she got away with everything since she was the "baby" of the family. I remember we all had long lists of chores to do, but she had simple things like "put a new roll of TP on the roll." We all thought this was extremely unfair.

I also found some fun prom and graduation pictures, that would have been taken in 2001. I have no idea who the guy is going with her to prom. She might not like me posting that one, but she looks nice! That is my dad with her when she is in the cap and gown.

Though many of her friends now call her Sara, she went by Emily growing up because Sara is also my mom's name, so it eased the confusion. I love that I now have my kids calling her "Auntie Em." She is an excellent Aunt and loves her nieces and nephews. The first picture was taken last Christmas. That is my Meghan and her Joey on her lap. The second picture was this past April, she is giving Kenny a ride on her horse, Olivia. She LOVES horses and owns one of her own and enjoys riding for and caring for "Olivia." (She boards her at a nearby barn...)
She married Kris in March of 2003. She has two children. Joey is 3 and Savanna is 2 mos. old. They are just beautiful and she is a wonderful mother! Here, they helped her blow out her birthday candles yesterday, as we celebrated at my parents house:
Obviously, Savanna was not too interested. But, Joey sure enjoyed blowing out the candles!

As I mentioned in my post last week about my other sister, Julie, I am so grateful to have 2 sisters. They are two of my best friends. I love that we speak several times a week and hang out together often. I love you, Em!!
Happy Birthday!!!!