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.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I swore I would NEVER......

....................................... go shopping-or even anywhere NEAR- a store the day after Thanksgiving. I would also NEVER be one of those crazy people that got up before the sun to catch the great deals.

Nope...Not me!

At least not until my dear friend Amy asked me to join her Friday morning. She told me about the great deals that Target and Toys R Us were having and said we could go out to breakfast afterward and everything. So, much to my surprise, I decided Why not? I could try it out once- it would certainly be much more fun with a friend to go along with! And, I really was interested in getting some Christmas shopping done.

It was definitely an adventure! I got up at 5 (!?!?) am and she picked me up at 5:30 to get to Target when they opened at 6. I got in her van and she had a "peace offering" waiting for me- Hot chocolate and a McDonalds biscuit. Just what I needed to clear some of the fog out of my head. We get to Target and the lines to get in the door are halfway down the parking lot on each side! I would have taken a picture- I even took my camera- but I forgot the memory card. It was crazy in the store! But, we did get quite a few good deals. The kids must have been good this year! Then, on to Toys R Us. Their deals were better than Targets, we found. Amy was getting a couple very well priced video games for her son, among other things, and had to wait in the electronics line. It snaked back out of the electronics section and through several toy aisles. It only had two registers so it was a long wait. I did not have electronics, so I went to the regular checkout line (which fed 10 registers) and still snaked clear to the back of the store, up and down the clothing racks and through some toy aisles. It took me about 1 hour 20 minutes to get through the line!!!!!!!!!! A couple times, I literally almost fell asleep standing up. She was still waiting, so I went to her car, got it started and warm and listened to some Christmas music while I waited for her and even dosed a bit. She waited in that line a total of just about 3 hours!!!!! Can you believe it!!! So, we left at 11 am and went and had a yummy lunch at TGI Fridays and went home. Here is the two of us with our haul- I can honestly say that shopping for my kids is mostly done- with the exception of one other thing, maybe!!
So, as to whether or not I do it again- we will see. Does anyone else ever brave the craziness? It was fun to hang out with Amy, get shopping done and go out to eat.

The REST of the weekend....
Unfortunately, this was about the only bright spot to the weekend. I love Thanksgiving and look forward to it every year. I love helping to cook the meal and spend the day with family. I had a whole blog post planned out in my head with pictoral representations of all I was thankful for. We were going to have an early afternoon meal at my sister, Emily's, house and then travel in the evening to Aaron's Uncle Mike's house to spend time with them. Well, we were awoken at 6:30 am by the girls throwing up......AT THE SAME TIME!!! I know they are twins and all, but really- did they HAVE to do THAT together?! So, Aaron and I got them cleaned up and came out to the couch to sit with them-hoping they would go back to sleep. Well, other than a brief cat nap- not really. Meghan only got sick the once luckily, while Ellie did a few more times. So, we got up and I did the cooking I had planned on. We decided that, since we couldn't take the girls out, I would take the boys to my sister's house for a while and then come home. Aaron would then take the boys to his Uncles house. So, we each got to see our families and each got a yummy Thanksgiving dinner, but not together- which was a bummer.

So, Friday morning, I went on our little shopping spree. Despite that I was tired and not feeling great myself (I had also had a bad cough for several days that was keeping me from sleeping) I managed to get some cleaning done since Aaron's Dad and Step-mom, his sister and family were planning on coming over for dinner today (Saturday). Aaron and I were supposed to go out Friday evening to dinner and see the movie "Twilight." About 5pm- about 30 minutes before our babysitter was to arrive- Kenny starts throwing up. Since we couldn't go anywhere, Aaron and I both had to admit that our stomachs had been unsettled for hours- we just didn't want to mess up our evening by admitting it- hoping it was nothing. Well, by 7pm- Aaron and I were sick as well. It was very very ugly..... I will spare you the details. 3 people sick at the same time was not pleasant. Ugh....... My clean house? Not so much anymore.... Oh well- if I hadn't cleaned, it would be worse. It has been years since I was that sick.....

So, we had to cancel our dinner today. So instead of getting ready for it as planned, I am sitting here blogging about the weekend because I don't have the strength for anything else. Aaron and I feel better- not nauseated anymore anyway- but both feel like we have been hit by a Mack truck- just absolutely no energy and achy. So I am very bummed about not having this dinner today, I was looking forward to it! Jacob is the only one who hasn't gotten this stomach bug now, but he has been sick for nearly 3 weeks with a bad cough. I finally took him to the doctor Friday (in addition to everything else....) but it is just a virus- not bronchitis or anything else. Hopefully this bug will pass him by- he has suffered enough.

Anyway, the weekend certainly did not go as planned, but that is life I suppose. People get sick, but we are getting better. I am truly Thankful for my family, the help they have been, for my children and their health and so much more. I am so very blessed and lucky and don't ever want to seem ungrateful by not acknowledging it. Life is good!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Double Trouble

Sometimes I wonder if I was a "better mom" when Kenny was little. I feel like I was much better about doing art activities and learning games with him. Maybe some of it had to do with the fact I was also doing full time childcare. I had a background in education/ early childhood development and felt like if these parents were paying me to keep their children, I should do more then set them in front of the TV. So, pretty much daily, we had some sort of learning activity, games, or art projects. Now that the girls are here, I have not been as good about it. Not that I ignore them-I do play/sing/color with them- but I don't do activities like I did with Kenny. I think some of it is that I am not doing childcare anymore, along with the fact that life is about 10X more chaotic then it was when Kenny was a baby. Plus, there is two of them, which of course means double the mess, etc.

So, it occurred to me recently that they are nearly 2 years old and I had not yet braved finger painting with them!! My boys as well as childcare kids did this by 12 mos. at the latest. So, I finally decided to give it a try. I was smart about it- I trapped them in their high chairs, to minimize damage to the surrounding areas- and I took their shirts off. No worries about ruining clothes or messing with smocks. I gave them a piece of paper and just put a dab of paint on it. Then, I ran my finger through it to show them how, and then put their fingers in to show them they could do it too. As you can tell by the red teary eyes- they did not care for it at first....
But, after a few minutes, they realized it wasn't so bad and started to experiment...

So, I added a few colors and their artistry shined through...

And, it didn't take long until Ellie realized she had her own blank canvas attached to her own body!!

So, all in all- a success. They got to experiment with something new and I felt like a "good" stay-at-home mom....for 5 minutes at least.

These next pictures will demonstrate another development:
Not quite sure what you are looking at? Look at this one closely- maybe it will help:

Ellie (well, both girls, but Ellie is the worst...) has gained a desire to be a strip artist. Recently, I couldn't put her down for nap or bed without checking on her a few minutes later only to find her stripped of clothing and diaper. Luckily, we haven't had anything worse than a "number 1" accident, but I didn't want to wait around for the "number 2" to happen... One time, I checked on her at night after she fell asleep and her pajamas were on and zipped up, so I didn't look any closer. In the morning, I found her in her crib and dressed, but soaking wet and no diaper- diaper out side the crib. Before she had fallen asleep, she had unzipped her pjs, without taking them off, stripped the diaper, and rezipped her pjs and went to sleep! What a mess...but, thankfully, only a number 1. So, that was the last straw. I cut off all the feet in their sleepers (which was sad, I like footed sleepers on little ones!) and I now always just put them on backwards. Thankfully, it is working! Of course, now, sometimes she will be dressed for the day and playing. I leave the room, only to come back in a couple minutes later to find a naked child running around my living room..... I think I need to break out the duct tape....

Oh, the adventures continue!

Friday, November 21, 2008

"Fight the Fat" Fridays Report 3

Yay!! One more pound down!! (total of 5):) I will get there...inch by inch!!!

High points of the week-
1) 3 good work outs
2) stayed strong against (some) temptation
3) kept good track of points

Goals for this next week:
1)don't completely blow it over the weekend (I probably would have lost more if I had done better last weekend.... the midnight donut run with Autumn and worth it!!! :))
2) 3 work outs
3) keep to health goals- with the only exceptions being Thanksgiving day and Saturday.
4) Maintain current weight....(at least not gain...losing is probably too much to ask this week...)

So, my next report may not be until 2 Fridays from now. I am NOT going to even get on the scale the day after Thanksgiving. If the week is going well by Wednesday, before Thanksgiving, I may update then, but we will see.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Could Two Personalities be Any More Different??

Tonight we had parent-teacher conferences with both kids teachers. This was the first time I had to conference with more than one teacher at a time now that Jacob is in Kindergarten. I was in culture shock going from one room to the other. It really explained a lot.

First, we meet with Jacobs teacher. She is a little flustered trying to get everything together since we were the first parents of the day she was meeting with and all of the kids had just left. But, otherwise, she was very welcoming and friendly with lots of positive things to say. The boys just wandered calmly around the room exploring, but not getting into trouble. She was laid back and smiling and it was very pleasant. Partly because of our late start due to it being the first conference and because of our chatting, we went over by a few minutes.

Then, we walk over to Kenny's teacher. As soon as we walk in, she tells the boys to wait in the hall. She closes the door and quickly informs us that we may have to reschedule because we are past our appointment starting time and she never goes over. She sits down and has a kitchen timer set to keep us on time. While I understand the method- it would be bad to get behind when you have a lot of parents to see- it was a little stressful. She was talking quickly telling us what Kenny needed to work on (with probably a minute devoted to what he was doing well-he is doing great in math- just like his mom and dad! :)). I could hardly concentrate or think of questions to ask with that clock ticking, knowing my time was almost up. Of course, it was our fault for getting in there late- but I just couldn't believe the difference in atmosphere between the two classes. Kenny got along great with his Kindergarten and First Grade teachers, but has often told me lately he doesn't like Second Grade. I suspected anyway that his teacher just may not be a good personality match for him, plus I could definitely tell the work has been a little harder on him. I do think she is a good teacher and she isn't mean and has a lot of experience, so don't take this rant here the wrong way. But, she is much more abrasive and black and white then his other teachers have been and he just doesn't work as well with her personality. I think he has gotten more used to her and he seems to be doing better. I am sure as the year goes on it will continue to get better.

My whole point here, I guess, is just how drastically different two different teachers can be. Different personalities, different teaching styles. I knew this, from my own background in education and experiences with my own teachers, but it was just surprising I guess from a parent's perspective and to see how children relate to those different personalities and styles.
While there is obviously one I relate better to, it doesn't mean the other is wrong. What is most important is that, despite the differences, I can tell that both teachers care about each child. I was impressed at the little details BOTH teachers knew about my children from observing their personalities. In just these first couple months, both teachers have gotten to know my children and genuinely seem to know how they think and desire to help them. That is what counts the most.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Crazy Times and Crazy Hair

The other day, at dinner, I pulled out the camera for a different reason. However, as soon as I did, Meghan yells "Cheeeeeeeeeese!!!!" Despite the chicken and mashed potatoes all over her tray, her face, and her sticky hair, I had to capture her yelling cheese. Even with the mess, she is still least that is my opinion...
A couple weeks ago, the boys had a "Crazy Hair" day at school. We had all kind of fun getting ready that morning! Not to mention the amount of water, gel and hairspray we used....
Ellie decided she wanted a snack and I didn't lock the cabinet...
Here is what I did all weekend:
Made 300+ buckeyes (for you non-Ohioans...this is peanut butter/chocolate perfection disquised as the nut for which our Ohio State football team is made) Go Buckeyes!! Beat Michigan this weekend!!
Made two pans of peppermint bark. This and the above buckeyes, I made for two reasons. First, to sell at a table at a Mothers of Twins club meeting this week. They are having a member sale night where those with a hobby/home business can sell their wares.
These yummy cookies, I made to practice for an upcoming Pampered Chef show I am doing. I will prepare them during the party. They are Peppermint Fudge Cookie Sandwiches. Click on that name to get the recipe- very yummy!!!

So, I basically lived in the kitchen. In addition to that, I also made pancakes from scratch for breakfast, served lunch, took care of babies. Finally at dinner time, I gave in and let Aaron go get KFC for dinner (see Meghan's picture above....)

Crazy huh?

Well, now I have mentioned everyone except Aaron. He spent much of the weekend bringing a friends New Beetle back to life. It was DOA when it was towed into our garage. Now it runs great!
He and another friend fixed it at a fraction of the cost that the garage would have charged. And now, we have a little extra money for bills/Christmas because of it. I am grateful for his talent.... either from fixing our cars himself or fixing friends cars- it is a huge help!

So, life gets crazy, yes, but I wouldn't have it any other way really. I think if it slowed down too much, I would just get bored.

Friday, November 14, 2008

"Fight the Fat" Fridays Report 2

Well, not as good of a week, but not a total bust. I maintained this week. Oh well. Better than gaining. I knew ahead of time that this would be a tough week and it was. But, I can tell keeping track of it here is helping. There were several times, when I knew I was not likely to lose weight, that I just wanted to say forget it for the week as I have done before. But, knowing I wanted to report it here kept me encouraged to keep going and be as healthy as I could. So, whereas I might have gained a pound or two before, I maintained the current weight. So, I don't get to move my little ticker, but that is okay. Hopefully I can make next week better, though I am going into another tough week with lots of baking and such to do and Pampered Chef parties to get ready for.

Positive moment of the week- I did exercise 3 times! (2 intense workouts and one leisurely walk today with the girls enjoying an unseasonably beautiful day before winter strikes tomorrow...)

Thanks for everyone's encouragement. It feels good to be on a good path again.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Second Grade Camp (Through Kenny's Eyes....)

Last week, Kenny spent 2 days at second grade camp. That is one really cool thing about his school- each grade goes to a science camp. For Kindergarten, it is just one day and fifth grade is a few days- but everyone goes. I posted last spring about first grade camp (click here if you are curious) when I went with him as a chaperone. I was unable to go this time, but I still wanted some visuals of his trip. I decided to send him with a disposable camera. I got the cheapest of the cheap (only $3 and no flash!) because I was sure that:

1) the camera wouldn't make it home- it would get broken or lost.

2) if it did make it home, I would have 27 pictures of the bus trip!

I thought it a funny sign of the times with technology, that I had to teach him how to use the view finder to take a picture. He is so used to my digital camera already and he has never seen a film camera! Odd, huh? He wasn't happy that he wouldn't get to see his pictures right after taking them! So funny...

Well, surprisingly, the camera did make it home. I couldn't wait to get it developed and hear about his trip. He had an amazing time with nothing but good to say. His pictures made me laugh- and were about exactly what I was expecting of him. Here were three of the bus trip on the way there... so funny the things that catch their eye.

I can only assume it was the signs that caught his attention here.

Next, some dump trucks interested him...
And then, who could resist the giant semi passing them with a reflection of the bus in it?
Upon arriving to camp, he took a picture of a cabin...not his cabin he says, but I am sure his was just like it....

But then, the bright blue dumpster was just too tempting...

Thankfully, the weather was gorgeous when they went- sunny, cold mornings, warm afternoons. They rode horses and went fishing! How cool! He did get some great scenery pictures. Don't these pictures make you love nature? The first is of the lake where they fished (but no pictures of fishing or horseback riding...sigh....)
He also took lots of pictures of his friends. This is a good one of Mason (on the right) and another kid- I forget his name. Kenny told me, but he isn't here right now.
There were a lot of pictures like this next one. The ones taken inside (like this one) didn't turn out well since there was no flash, but I could still see a little. Alot made me laugh like this one where there were heads chopped off, or in some cases, no heads or lots of behinds!

Anyway, I am truly grateful that he is able to have that opportunity to get away in a structured, educational, but fun experience. It was hard to leave him in the hands of virtual strangers and other kids parents I don't know (but hey, those expensive back ground checks they had to get did help me feel a little better!), but he did great. It was me that it was hard for. At least I was able to get a glimpse from the stories he told and the pictures showing the world as he saw it.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Gotta Love Peer Pressure!

I recently introduced you to my younger sister, Sara Emily. This is a picture of her with her husband, Kris. I was shocked and happy to learn tonight that she finally started a blog!!! I have been telling her for a long time she should give it a try, but she always insisted she will NEVER start a blog! Check it out here. I am proud of her and think she is off to a great start! Her first post even includes Halloween pictures, so check it out for cute pictures of her kids!

Happy writing, Sis! Love you!

Friday, November 7, 2008

"Fight the Fat" Friday- Report 1

So, on Monday, I confessed my need to go back to my Weight Watchers plan. I am unable to afford the time or money to go to weekly meetings again, so I am making this blog my "weekly meeting" of sorts. I feel that knowing I need to post updates weekly will help keep me on track. This has definitely worked for this week. There were so many times where I felt the urge to just "give up" for the week, but knowing I wanted to report something good, and since I had already started, helped me stay strong. I have gotten a great start. Drum roll please............................................. (that is, if you haven't noticed my ticker to the right already)...................................................................................................................................................

4 lbs down!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yay! Just since Monday! Don't be too surprised really. I have noticed when I haven't been eating well, that when I do better, I drop a lot right away, but then it slows down. So, yay! It feels great to know I got a good start. And, I don't really feel deprived! Though I didn't gorge myself on Halloween candy like I wanted, I had a couple treats throughout the week to tide me over. I ate all meals and occasional snacks. I just counted my points and paid attention to what I was eating. I did exercise twice, which is really good for me. So, till next week...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What I Wake Up to Every Morning

Every morning, I know the girls are awake by the sound of them laughing at each other and jumping in their cribs. The height of their jumping is amazing. As much as I hate to come alive in the morning, this makes it worth it and always makes me smile. This isn't the best example- imagine them both jumping as high as Meghan is (Meghan is on the right) and for an extended period. They saw me so they got camera shy- I have tried a few times since, but every time they stop as soon as they spot the camera- but you get the idea!

My first blog video! I'm so proud!

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Confession and a New Plan

Something many know about me, but some do not, is that I struggle with my weight and eating issues. Ever since I started to gain weight in late high school/ early college, I have yo-yo'd up and down quite a bit. However, after having the twins, I was edging close to the highest weight I had ever been (okay, I topped it while pregnant- but that doesn't matter....I had two babies in there..) and started weight watchers. It was relatively easy- I dropped the weight quickly. I was nursing- two babies at that- and could eat quite a bit more than the average person and still lose weight. It practically fell off. I managed to lose nearly 70 pounds following weight watchers- which was about 100 pounds down from where I was at my highest weight. I knew it would get harder after I weaned the babies- and it really did- but I still managed to get down to goal weight.

Well, ever since then, it has gotten very difficult. Let's just say, I have fallen off the wagon. I have been horrified to realize that I have regained 30 pounds from goal weight. I can't believe I let it get that out of control. I have tried a few times to get "back on plan," but I would mess up within a few days and not have the resolve to keep going. So, I have gained little by little the last few months, until now I am 30 pounds over weight again. Better than 100 pounds over, but still 30 too many. I think I know what part of the problem is and why weight watchers worked when I was going to meetings- it is the accountability. Being accountable to someone besides myself seems to work- keep me motivated. When it is just me, it is easy to let myself down. So, that is the reason for this embarrassing post. I need to be accountable to someone else (at least for now) for this to be successful. I can not afford the time or the money to go back to meetings, so I will post my progress here. When I lost the weight I told myself that I would never again buy bigger clothes..... well, my clothes have gotten a lot tighter. So, if I am going to keep the promise, I have to find a way to get the weight off again, or go around naked...... I think everyone would prefer the former....

To kick things off, I thought I would mention some things I have done well this last year and a half, that probably prevented me from gaining back as quickly as I might have. Then a few things I need to improve on....

Things I have done well/healthy living:
1) Converted to drinking more water, skim milk and only diet soda.
2) Meal time portion control has gotten better. Instead of a big hamburger AND a hotdog- I pick one (most of the time.....:))
3) I rarely order fried anymore- just occasionally
4) Use only light condiments/dressings
5) Enjoy veggies a bit more than I used to.
6) Exercised some...... I am not good at exercising... I have had times when I have done well
7) Found lower fat ways to cook/bake
8) Trying to teach my kids to stay active/portion control/ healthy foods are fun- to prevent the from having the same issues... (I hope....)

Things I need to improve on:
1) Portion control on snacks... it is okay to eat a piece of Halloween candy out of my child's basket- not so many pieces I get sick....I mean, really- isn't that what I am trying to teach my kids NOT to do by limiting their access to it? Also- it is okay to have a cookie or two- not the whole plate.
2)I need to exercise regularly...even if it is just twice a week to start (I took the girls to the zoo today- that counts! 1 more for the week at least!)
3) more fruit and veggies as snacks
4) If I blow a day, it does NOT mean I have blown the whole week- I need to remember I can do better the next day and just keep going.

So, there you have it- my struggle all exposed for all to know. I think I will post progress every Friday. Note the new ticker off to the right- I will update it weekly. Wish me luck!