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.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Splashing Away the Winter Blahs!

This post will be dramatically different from two posts ago when I talked about the kids playing in the snow with pictures of them all bundled up and romping in the white stuff. However, let me assure you before I proceed, that the weather has not changed a bit. It is a very typical Ohio January. It was in the 20's today and we got another couple inches of snow over the weekend.
Here is a sampling of what we did this weekend:

This is Meghan and Ellen splashing away in a pool. We live very close- really within walking distance- of an indoor waterpark!! It was built a few years ago, but we had yet to go because, honestly, it is one of those really expensive places that is beyond our budget. However, the Mothers of Twins club I am a member of hosted a family day there over the weekend with tickets dirt cheap. We just couldn't pass it up. As I said, it is close enough we could walk- but that would involved crossing a 6 lane interstate freeway with 4 kids (two in a stroller) in 20 degree temperatures- so we drove. It took a whole 2 minutes to get there!

The kids were sooooo excited! Okay, Aaron and I were too. Ever since it was built, Kenny and Jacob have been asking to go there (you can even see the tube slides coming out of building and then back in..). We would always say "maybe someday...."

The kids had a blast! Though, it was certainly overwhelming for Aaron and I. The girls were so hard to keep track of and keep above water. They were completely fearless- which is not a good thing around water. The baby pool was only about a foot deep- but still scary. For the boys, there was a giant play area- like a huge playground/jungle gym with water spraying and buckets dumping all over the place. We would frequently lose them for a while- it was impossible to see them every minute. There were lifeguards everywhere and water was only a few inches so physically they were safe, but you just never know about creepy strangers. But, they had a ball. Aaron and I even took turns watching the kids once so the other could go down one of the giant slides! A very fun day. It was kind of surreal to be splashing around in the water in 80 degree temperatures yet look out the window and see snow. If it seems there are more pictures of some kids then others (ahem...the girls...) it isn't because they are cuter or we love them more- we just had to stay with them to keep track of them. The boys were hard to chase down for pictures. Not to mention I was risking our new camera with each picture with all the water/ bucket dumping around. But, I had to record the day! Enjoy some pictures of the day:





So, a lot of fun was had by all. The only bad part was when the baby pool had to close for a while due to an "unwelcome floatie"...... ewww... But, we were pretty well done with the baby pool by then anyway. It was certainly a fun way to forget it was winter and dream of summer- at least for a few hours!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Weekly Fitness Report 6

Overall, it was a good week. Some setbacks, but I kept it together even so. For that reason alone, I consider it a success. I have a bad habit of once I "mess up" once or twice, of just saying "forget it" for the week. This was one thing I remember them addressing in weight watcher meetings when I used to go that has stuck with me- and helped this week! They said to not let a bad moment become a bad day and then become a bad week and then a bad month, year, etc. I had some treats and such during the week, but I planned for them and was ready. My big set back of the week was when a group of friends and I decided last minute to go to Cold Stone Creamery while we were out. I thought for sure I could find a frozen yogurt or something. I had never been in a CSC before and I was having a hard time deciphering the menu. So, I gave in and got some sinful thing I really wanted- and just got a small portion. I went in there with 7 points left for the day (I had done really well that day!!) but then, when I went home and figured out the points value of the ice cream I ate....well, it was like 20 points. Ugh... And then, to add insult to injury there, I looked up and there was an add in the window (but not on the menu...) about low calorie frozen yogurts...oh well. But, thanks to my commitment to myself and to report to my healthy group, I pulled it together, continued to do well the rest of the week and even pulled off a weight loss of 1 pound!!! Yay! Alert the media- it is huge! Ha ha...... But really, I consider it a successful week just because I did exercise and stuck to my goals despite a couple set backs in the week. That proves to me I do have the strength to make this life style change as long as I stay committed to do so.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Snow Daze

Today, here in Ohio, it is gloriously 45 degrees. I never thought I would use the words "glorious" and "45 degrees" in the same sentence, but- let me tell you- compared to the -10 degrees it was last week, 45 feels down right balmy! And, no that is not a misprint. It was not 10 degrees, but MINUS 10! With wind chills much lower! I tell you, I don't cope well with the cold. Winter lasts way too darn long if you ask me. Compared to a week ago, it feels like spring- at least for a day- so I am soaking it up.

Last weekend, it was in the 20's, which was still significantly warmer than -10 so we went out to play in the snow. Kenny could live outside I think! Even when it was so bitter cold, he wanted to play outside, but of course, I wouldn't let him. Jacob likes it for a few minutes, but usually not very long. The girls had not yet played in the snow at all, so since it was in the 20's, we went out to let them explore. Here are some pictures to enjoy (and in case you are wondering, Jacob is absent because he fell in the snow pretty early on and was upset about the cold so I sent him inside):

All bundled and ready! Thanks, Aunt Julie, for the cute coats and boots!

They are loving the snow!

Ellie spent a lot of time just swingin' on the swings. I think I got snow on my camera lens. Oh well, you get the idea.

Meghan spent a lot of time just exploring everything.

The girls just absolutely loved the snow! They outlasted me. I am very "fair weather" and only enjoy snow really when I am inside. So, I got cold and tired and took them inside and they were not too happy about it. Whenever it is snowing, the both get all excited and say "it noming! it noming!"

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Look Out Bob Vila!

We have had many issues with door knobs in our house, probably due to the fact that our house is about 50 years old and we started with original door knobs when we moved into the house. They all react differently depending on the time of the year and humidity levels- from sticking, to not latching, to working fine, to sticking again..... Very annoying. So, one by one, as they start sticking bad, we replace them. The recent culprit was the bathroom door. It has been sticking for a while and I had simply been putting off buying a new one- I would always forget to add it to my list and so I wouldn't remember to get one.

Well, Friday night, Jacob was "doing his business" and getting ready for a bath. The bath water was running filling the tub. The door knob had gotten locked and when I went to get something, the door shut and latched, leaving Jacob locked in there....on the potty....with the bath water running. I tried not to panic, and tried to open the door by sticking a screw driver in the middle. This usually works, but not this time since it was sticking so bad. So, I told Jacob he needed to get up and turn off the water. He panicked and started crying saying he didn't know how (he has tried before and has had trouble, so he didn't want to do it at all....). So, I was on the other side of the door, trying fruitlessly to get in while the water continued to run, trying to calm him down and explain how to turn off the water. A few seconds later, I heard the water turn off. Yay Jacob!!!! He did it!

So now, I am still trying to get in there. I figure if I unscrew the door knob, it would all just fall apart and the door would open. Nope- the part that latches in the middle is still in tact. I had the outside door knob in my hand, the inside door knob is on the floor on Jacob's side- but the latch part still attached. Not my brightest moment. Now what? I call my husband who is in Michigan for an extended weekend. (As you can tell from my previous post, it was an interesting weekend...) He explains how Jacob will need to use his side of the door knob- stick it back in and try to turn it. I now have to try to explain this through a door to a 5 year old. He did it!! The door opened. Jacob was the hero of the night! I was very proud of him!

When we went shopping on Saturday (see the previous post....), I bought a new door knob. I decided to try to put it on myself because...1) I was tired of the girls being able to get into the bathroom, since the door wouldn't shut and 2) maybe to prove I could do it, even though it is something I definitely would have left to Aaron had he been home. I just didn't want to wait until Monday for it to be done. Check it out!!
Are you proud? I was!! Although, even after all that, it still wouldn't latch!!! Because our stupid house is old and nothing new works right away like it was supposed to. I had no idea how to make it work, so I still had to wait for Aaron to get home Monday to have a door that would shut (and therefore keep the toddlers OUT!) so he could fix it. Very annoying. But, he even said I did everything right, it is just our house. He got it working though! When I was putting it in Saturday night, I did have some help:

Thanks for your help, Meghan! Look out, Bob Vila.... you've got some competition!!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Adventures in Grocery Shopping

While the girls were still small, I went to the grocery store a couple times with all 4 kids. The last time was such a nightmare, I swore I would not do it again for a very long time. I have since always made a point of finding a time when Aaron was home to go grocery shopping so I could do it alone. Sometimes that meant shopping at midnight- which, while not fun, was the better option.

Even shopping alone is quite an undertaking when there are 6 people, 2 cats and one dog (and a partridge in a pear tree.....) living in the house. I only shop one time every two weeks. The only exception to this is I only get enough milk for one week (still 5 gallons!) and then have to go back for more milk, but that is it. Otherwise, I only shop the one time. With that many to feed, it is almost always a two cart experience. I start out with one and go until it is overloaded and then I find a safe place in the store where I can "park it" and keep an eye on it while I get the second one and start to fill it. I then push one/pull one through check out and out to the car.

Well, this weekend was my grocery weekend and Aaron is out of town for an extended weekend. Due to other committments I wasn't able to go before he left and it seemed to long to wait for his return. I figured maybe I was brave enough to try again to take everyone since the girls and the boys were bigger. The logistics alone created a need for creativity. Since the girls need to be confined, but only one fits in a cart, I would need two carts from the beginning. But, unlike last time, (it has been that long....) I figured Kenny was old enough to push one of the carts with me leading the way and guiding his cart from the front a bit while pushing the other cart myself- Jacob walking along beside. It could would have to!

Here is a list of some of the things I endured during the endless trip...

-Early on, Jacob whining because Kenny got to put something in and he didn't yet. This was really the only time I was close to losing my temper. I got in his face and said we were just starting, he would NOT whine his way through the store!

-saying NO 500 times to their request "Can we buy this.....?"

-stoping every few minutes to give the girls a cracker or stoop to pick up a dropped or thrown sippy cup

-stopping at the potties halfway through for the boys to potty and the girls to have a diaper change

-getting bumped in the back of my foot repeatedly by Kenny's cart

-Kenny whining about pushing the cart from about halfway through to the end (his cart wasn't near as full as mine, but he is only 7 I suppose, and really he didn't whine that bad considering...)

-Pulling Jacob out of the way of other people coming down the aisle as he cluelessly wondered

-the boys wanting to "help" put things on the belt at the end- throwing it all up haphazardly

-the girls reaching back and grabbing things out of the cart. We came within a split second of disaster when I saw Meghan holding up a 1 1/2 doz egg carton by the side- caught it just in time!

-looking at my coupons and looking at the items trying to compare to get the better deal while also hearing Jacob say "mom?" about every 5 seconds, Kenny looking for reassurance that he is being a good helper, the girls demanding to get down or have a cracker, or grabbing items...

-and last but not least....other customers...

-"Are they twins" (no....they are wearing matching coats and are the same age and both with me, but no, not twins.... duh....)

-"You sure have your hands full!" (thank you Captain Obvious, I was unaware!)

-Sometimes an understanding look, but othertimes a look of annoyance because I am apparently in their way or interrupting their "peaceful" shopping at Walmart. (Either wipe that look off your face or go somewhere else unless you are willing to babysit!!)

But, in the end, we survived! It took about 2 1/2 hours, but we got through it. And, despite my complaining about the kids, they did about as well as anyone could really expect. They were well behaved and didn't get into anything or fight with each other. So, we got McDonalds on the way home for lunch. Besides, I was most definitely NOT going to prepare food after all that. No wonder I was exhausted!!!!

I am NOT doing that again for a while!!

Weekly Fitness Report

Okay, so I am no longer committing myself to Fridays for my report because it is just to hard to pin myself down to blogging about it on just one day a week. So, I will report weekly still, but the days will vary.

Overall, it was a very good week. I lost no weight- but I maintained. I did good at eating my fruits and veggies and maintaining good portions. Thursday was disasterous- too many unhealthy choices made too tempting- it was bad.... But, aside from that, it was good. I did exercise 3 times this week- one more than my goal!! But, of course, I had to do something to minimize the damage from Thursday...ugh...

So anyway, I am optimistic and looking forward to a new and better week!! (Hopefully with some warmer temperatures.... is it spring yet?!)

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Mother's Heart is Breaking Today......

As most people know, I am a member of a local Mothers of Twins Club. We have a "Yahoo Group" designed where we can send messages or questions to the whole group. It was through this site that I first met Leslie while she was a new member expecting her twins. She found out during the pregnancy that one of the babies was completely normal and one had a rare defect called CDH. This is where abdominal organs herniate through a defective diaphram pressing against developing organs in the chest cavity, such as the lungs. It can be fatal and is very critical, but if operated on soon after birth, the baby has a decent chance. I have never met Leslie, but I have been following their progress from a blog she set up and told us about via the Yahoo group. The babies were born on November 3rd and the one with CDH, Gabby, has been fighting a brave fight ever since. Things did not go well for this little girl and she has been struggling since birth with many ups and downs in her progress. It has been a literal roller coaster.

I checked her blog today and Gabby lost her battle yesterday. I know they are crushed. Please keep them in your prayers. They have been so exhausted between caring for the healthy newborn-Natalie- (an exhausting job in itself...) while also constantly sitting with and worrying about baby Gabby. They wanted both babies so badly, but also couldn't stand to watch Gabby suffer. While part of me is glad that Gabby is no longer suffering, I am heartbroken for Leslie. We all had hopes that she would recover and lead a normal life, but God needs her in heaven.

Here is a link to her blog, and here is a picture she posted of her baby just a few days ago.

I think this is also a good reminder for us all to count our blessings. It is easy to get run down and complain about things in life. But, you know, our kids are healthy and strong. Life is good. I have no right to complain about anything...ever. Leslie, I am so truly sorry for your loss. This picture speaks of what a sweet little girl she is.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

No Longer Babies

Today was a big day for Ellen & Meghan. We went from this:
To this:
Yes, we have made the transition to toddler beds. We have been planning on doing this for a while since the girls first climbed out of their cribs a couple months ago. I knew it was time, but surprisingly, they rarely climbed out of their cribs so I kept putting it off. Then, a couple weeks ago, we bought that adorable toddler bedding as part of their birthday present. The only thing that would make it cuter is if the beds were wood color, but we got them super cheap from another twin mom, and I just couldn't pass up the deal. Still adorable though- and I LOVE the bedding- so perfect for their room!

Aaron suggested we take down the cribs last week, but I panicked and just couldn't do it. Of course, part of it was the fear of the girls no longer being contained. But, it also occurred to me that the crib Ellie sleeps in (the one on the left above) had not moved from that room for 8 years!! We set it up when we were expecting Kenny and it has just stayed assembled in their room since then. It was just kind of sad-like the end of an era. But, again tonight, Aaron was motivated and wanted to get it done. He wasn't going to let me put it off again. So, the disassembly began.

The girls even peeked their head in to say good-bye to their cribs. This is an attempt at a picture of Meghan when she was actually saying "bye-bye bed" and waving.
They were sooooooo excited when they saw their new beds and so much fun jumping/climbing on them and just checking them out:

So, I was hopeful that all would go well when it actually came time to go to bed. I got their pajamas on, brushed their teeth and tried to read them a story, but they were just too excited about their new beds to let me read more than a page. So, I had them climb into bed and went to cover them and say good-night and they FREAKED OUT!!! They got upset, started crying, saying "no bed" and climbing out.

Okay, not going to be so easy.... they didn't think it was quite as much fun when it became real.

So, I turned out the light, put them in their bed again and sat in the rocking chair between the beds and pulled their beds close so I could reach them. I sat there and stroked their head and/or backs until they calmed down and eventually....finally...fell asleep. My original thought was to take a picture in their pajamas when I first tucked them in, but they were so upset that wasn't going to happen. But, I just couldn't resist a picture of my sleeping beauties.
Good night, Ellie!

Good night, Meghan!

Wish us luck tomorrow....

Friday, January 9, 2009

Fantastic Fitness Friday Report 5- Back on Track

So, I don't think I am the only one who "gave up" over the holidays.... And, unfortunately, I lost some serious ground- to an embarrassing degree. But, I am back on track with a new determination to get this right! I have even teamed up with some friends (Autumn, Katie and Others...) to be accountable to each other and work as a team. I am excited! I am ready for my clothes to fit right again and just to be comfortable in my own skin again.

My new goals include: sticking with my weekly allotment of Weight Watchers points, even when it gets hard; exercise at least twice a week, drink 64 oz of water daily; eating two servings each of fruits and vegis; and not eating my kids leftovers. What I like about Weight Watchers is I don't have to swear off the foods I love, like chocolate and pizza, but I do have to control it- budget it- to fit into my weekly allotment. Then, I don't feel so deprived.

My first week has started off well! I am already down 7 lbs!! (Don't worry- I know this won't keep up- I always do amazingly well the first week and then it tapers down to 1-2 lbs a week, like it should be.) I have gotten most of my water in most days and I have exercised twice. I have eaten my fruits and veggies and had a couple of cookies and ate homemade pizza tonight! So, I feel really good- I feel good about what I have eaten and how I have treated myself this week. So, I have updated my little ticker (finally...) and am renewed in my commitment to keep up on things. Thank you for the support from all my friends and family- you have no idea how much it helps!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

My Ladies' Man

Last night I was making dinner when the phone ring. I checked the caller ID and did not recognize the number, but answered anyway. The conversation went like this:

Me: "Hello?"
Caller: (some little girl voice rambling something I don't really understand...)

Me: (I considered hanging up thinking she had probably accidentally called the wrong number but instead said...) "Who is this?"

Caller: "I am your son's friend"
Me:(Interesting...I have two sons....) "Who are you calling to talk to?"
Caller: "Kenny" (my 7 year old...)
Me: "Oh, okay! What is your name?"
Caller: "Trinity" (I recognize her name from field trips and such)

So, by now, Kenny realizes he has a call and when I tell him who is calling for him, he gets all excited and says "Oh, it's my girlfriend, Trinity!" He then lounges on the couch to chat with his girl:

So, it starts already? Scary........ Cute, but scary..................

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Two Years Ago Today.....

....two beautiful little babies came into the world. Ellen (right) and Meghan (left) were born Thursday, January 4th, 2007. (The above picture is my favorite newborn picture of the two of them!!!) Ellen was born at 5:36 pm and weighed 7 lbs 8 oz. Meghan was born at 5:46 pm and weighed 7 lbs 4 oz. As far as twin pregnancies go, it could not have been healthier or had a smoother delivery. I actually went to 38 weeks and 2 days and then had to be induced- or who knows how long it would have been. The only hard part was the last few weeks of the pregnancy because I simply couldn't walk without incredible pain- understandable with 15 pounds of baby in there! I had not been able to sleep in my own bed the last few weeks because it just hurt to bad to get in bed. And, if I managed to get in, I couldn't move once I got there. So, I slept the last few weeks in a recliner.

Those who knew me then- knew I was a nervous wreck the entire pregnancy. It followed a painful miscarriage, and this pregnancy held some of the same patterns early on. Especially once I found out there was two, my fear doubled. Despite two reassuring priesthood blessings and several ultrasounds confirming all was well, I still could not get over the fear that something would happen to one or both of them. My doctor even commented later that, even after Ellen had been born and was healthy and strong, she could still see the fear in my eyes as I waited for Meghan. I knew I could not relax until I held them both in my arms. Here is that moment-
Not a flattering picture of me, but hey, I just delivered two babies! If you would have told me 3 years ago, that in a year, I would have twins, I might have run screaming. Okay, maybe not- but I would have said you were nuts. I never thought I wanted twins-and though I sometimes feel like chaos reigns around here, I couldn't imagine life without either one of them. This is how it was meant to be. A while back, I did a post about what it is like to have twins. If you missed it, feel free to click here and read about it. It was a fun post with lost of pictures of them.

I can't believe that my babies are TWO!!!!!! They are hardly babies anymore. Here they are today:
They had a wonderful birthday today! My wonderful sister, Julie- and her husband Jorge, opened their house for us today, since our house is just too small. Thanks, guys!!

We had a small gathering at their house with our siblings and parents (but even that is way too many for our house!) Her friend, Cheryl, brought over this awesome bouncy house that she had bought for her son, so that the kids at the party could enjoy it. Kenny was bummed though- he was the only kid that was above the limit and too big for it. Thank you, Cheryl- it was awesome!!

We had a yummy dinner and awesome cupcakes! I have made it a point to sing "Happy Birthday" to each girl. As silly as it sounds, I figure if they have to share a birthday, at least they can get their own song. I think I got the idea from "Jon & Kate plus 8" (could you imagine singing it 6 times?!?!)

And, of course- they got some awesome presents! Like these shopping carts- since they love to "shop"- they pushed these around the rest of the evening, with their new dolls from Grandpa Chuck and Grandma Debbie!

Of course, the were way more interested in the packaging at first then the presents inside- and Ellie took one present into the bounce house to open it! (see above) Even so, they lost interest about halfway through to play with what they had already opened and I had to open the rest! Toddlers are so fun!

I am so grateful for all 4 of my babies. I can't imagine our lives without any one of them- they each add so much to our family.

Happy Birthday, Ellen & Meghan!!! We Love you so much!!!!