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, June 29, 2009

Finding Her Place- Buried in Fibers

This post is about my sister Julie. She requested I write about this in an effort to preserve the memory. (She has not yet crossed over to the "dark"-ha ha- side of blogging or journaling). It is a good story that I would like to write about anyway. Though, who knows if she her self will read it, since she doesn't really read my blog as it is- just scans it for interesting pictures. ha ha!

Anyway, this is my beautiful little sister. She will be 30 here in about a month.
I have some really cute pictures of her with her nieces and nephews, but they were all taken on a non-digital camera and I am not near a scanner right now. But, this is a good recent picture anyway.

The sweatshirt she is wearing in this picture is appropriate. She has been going to school for 6 years at Ohio State working towards a degree in Interior Design. I have known for a long time this is her life's calling. She has a gift for it. Since before she even started going to school, she has been working for The Ohio State University Hospital in the James Cancer Hospital as a nurses aid. She has hated every minute of this job- but she has stuck with it since her job was paying for her school. As much as she hates her job, it has given her inspiration to focus her career on interior design in the medical field. Obviously, a much needed art. It has been a long hard road that has included loads of frustration, tears, sleepless nights (and days...she actually works third shift at the hospital...) challenging projects and tremendous work loads. Today, she is a mere two quarters away from her bachelors degree. To say we are proud of her is an understatement. She is amazing!

This quarter, she landed an internship with an interior design firm. She is at the firm about 30 hours a week in addition to at least 32 hours a week in nights at the hospital. Next quarter, she will do another internship with Ohio State University Hospital with their interior design department. She just started with the interior design firm this quarter, just last week. Her first day was incredibly overwhelming when she received her first project and she panicked in concern of her ability. She said she has never been so afraid. However, she quickly settled in and is loving the work and her natural talent is shining forth.

A couple days into the internship, she had to look through catalogs of fabric samples- real fabric samples- looking for the right fabric for some furniture, I think. She had to go through hundreds and hundreds of real, high end, samples. She was wearing all black and at one point, she looked down to find her outfit covered in fabric fibers. When she exclaimed in surprise, her boss said (thinking she was upset about the mess on her clothes), "Ya, a lint roller will be your best friend!"

Julie, however, was not upset but felt a much deserved sense of pride about this. She told her boss that this was SOOOO much better then the vomit, urine, poo, and blood that she normally leaves work with. She intentionally did not brush the fibers off her clothing, because to her, they were a trophy of how hard she has worked and how far she has come. She has found her place. Congratulations, Julie!!! You deserve this.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hostile Summer Takeover

I am a bit irritated by something and, even though I should be folding laundry, I had to talk about it.

We have a wonderful library here that does and amazing summer reading program here. They offer many FREE activities and then fun prizes for completing the reading goal. I look forward to taking my kids to the activities for a fun, free and constructive way to spend our time.

However, I feel like our fun activities are being taken over by local day care centers. I went with a group of friends to the library today in hopes of a fun activity, where we would then go for a picnic and a splash in the water at the local "sprayground." The activity was titled "pinatas"- which I admit, I really didn't know exactly what they would be doing. The room was jam-packed with kids- including at least two day care center groups. I then discovered that the activity was MAKING pinatas! They were blowing up balloons and then gluing on newspaper and colored paper in a paper-mache style. So, a very busy, messy activity. There was hardly room to breathe while trying to help our kids with their project. Several kids just melted down. The day care kids were constantly yelled at by their teachers, since there were too many kids with too few adults. I don't think anyone really enjoyed it. If those two groups would not have been there, it would have been so much more manageable.

I have also been there for story time when an entire group had shown up and basically took over story time- filling the area too much for the kids to be able to focus and enjoy.

I understand that it is tough for a school age kid to be in a day care room every day, all day during the summer and so their teachers look for alternatives. However, I feel they are taking advantage of the free activity with someone else to clean up the mess without considering how they are impacting others. They could have done this same activity in their center, had the same type of story time in their center. There has to be other field trip options to give them a change of scenery.

Then, we go to the sprayground and who else is there? At least two day care groups. Each group including about 20 kids who were "supervised" by only two adults. (When I say "supervised"- I mean two adults sitting back on a bench with a clip board in their hands talking to each other and not paying any attention to the kids....)

So, it makes me think twice before taking my own kids to do these activities, because of the masses of kids that may be there. Masses of kids that have their own resources for these kinds of activities. Activities that are geared towards families of children looking for a productive way to spend their summer. Yet, I feel we are being pushed out of the way by inconsiderate groups who aren't really thinking things through.

I think I need to say something to someone, just not sure who. There has to be some kind of regulation put to it.

While it was too much for the girls (they were too young for the activity anyway) but Jacob really enjoyed it! He is a very focused kid anyway and managed to tune everyone out because he was determined to finish his project. He did a great job!

In other news:

Kenny has been at cub scout day camp this week! He just joined cub scouts and this is his first experience. He is having an incredible time. I am so excited for him! When I picked him up yesterday, he looked so cute in his "gear" (t-shirt, hat, necklace he made) that he got at camp. He is such a big kid now and I am just amazed. Here he is:
(the theme is "Walking with Dinosaurs")

And now, with his new "Nerf" shot gun he got for his birthday: (it sooooo fits the outfit!):

Friday, June 19, 2009

It Takes a Child....

The following pictures are from last summer, but I am re-posting them because they totally explain the story I will tell.

Tonight, I did something I have only ever done 3 or 4 times in my life. I mowed the lawn. It isn't because I feel I shouldn't or anything other than I have just never really had to. Growing up, I had two brothers and a dad who were perfectly capable of doing it, and then I married someone who was content to do the job and usually home to do so when needed. Besides, the one time I remember doing it as a teenager, I remember my dad getting upset that I wasn't doing it "right" and told me to "just forget it." I never had to do it again before I got married. (Which, could explain why, after nearly 11 years of marriage, Aaron can never seem to do dishes right, or remember where they go when he puts them away.....hmmm)

The reason I did it tonight, is because it really needed done before our Father's Day cookout/Kenny's rescheduled birthday party on Sunday (by the way- after 6 days of being sick, he was finally much better today!!) and Aaron would be out late tonight. He will not be able to do it tomorrow, due to working most of the day and rain that may make it impossible. That would leave his only option Sunday morning, which is not only the Sabbath day, but also Father's day- and it just seemed wrong that he would have to mow the lawn on Father's days. I know I don't like to do any of my normal jobs on Mother's day.

So, that was a long winded prologue to my story. It was about 8:30 and both girls were sound asleep, so I figured I could go do it. I surprised myself by starting the mower on the first try. I mowed a little, but then had to turn it off to go check something else. I came back and could not start the mower for anything. I checked the gas tank, and it was pretty low, so I filled it. It still wouldn't start. It was at this point that Kenny, my 8 YEAR OLD began trouble shooting for me. Maybe I needed to put it on the sidewalk, maybe I should make sure it's not jammed with grass, etc. Then he said, "Maybe you should push the button up here 3 times like dad does." Oh- I didn't even see it there. I then remembered the last time I mowed- like 3 years ago with a different mower- having to do something similar. This button was so far up front, that I couldn't easily see it. So, I did and it started right up! His fascination with Dad mowing paid off!

Of course, by the time I figured it all out and got into a rhythm, it was getting dark and harder to see. I couldn't see the dog's land mines and by some luck- managed to miss them! Of course, in broad daylight tomorrow, it will probably look like a drunk person mowed the lawn, but hey, at least I did it!

Aaron has nothing to worry about though- I have no desire to take over his job. But, in just a couple more years, Kenny will be ready! He obviously already has the "know how," he just needs a couple years of maturity and some body strength! That will be a good day.

As a side note, just thought I would share the recipe to this wonderfully sinful pie you see pictured below. I made it yesterday and it disappeared very quickly! Click here for the recipe for this Chocolate Chip Pie.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Birthday with Strep

Today, Kenny turned 8 years old. Just totally unreal that I have been a mom for 8 years already! He is such a good kid. So compassionate to others, friendly, loving and well behaved. I am proud to be his mom.

Originally, we were going to have a birthday party with our families on Sunday. However, Saturday night, Kenny started having a headache and later an upset stomach. I didn't think much of it-he had played outside ALL day. I figured he was over heated- gave him some medicine and he felt better. Sunday, he was running a fever of 103, so we had to postpone his party till next Sunday. Monday, it was even worse with a fever of 105! So, I took him to the doctor and, despite the fact he had no sore throat and it wasn't even red, the doctor wanted to run a strep test. Sure enough, it came back positive! She said she had seen it before, where there was no sore throat but there was strep. So, he got an antibiotic. I was hoping he would feel better today, but his temp still hovered around 103. He spent most of his birthday like this:
(despite the fact that he was feeling crummy- he still loves to pose...)

He did finally start to perk up a bit around 5 pm once he was well dosed on meds. Before dinner, I don't think he had eaten enough in the last 3 days to equal one whole meal. His requested birthday dinner was Kraft macaroni and cheese, so he did eat a little of that since he was feeling better, but not a ton. He had enough energy for once to enjoy his birthday a little. Here, he is playing with balloons (he never wanted to get out of his PJ's):

And opening his presents:

-a spiderman yo-yo

-A "boom ball" game and one of his requests- walkie talkies!!

And the "big one"

A new bike!! Yay!! He was way too tall for his old one. He was excited enough, he rode it up and down the sidewalk a couple times. (Ignore the big boxes in the back ground- it was a bunch of junk we sold on craigslist and we were waiting for the guy to come and get it...)

What is a birthday without cake?
Though, the poor guy wasn't even up to eating one of his cupcakes! He has done okay at drinking fluids, which is good, but just isn't really eating. Despite his lack of appetite and not feeling 100%, he did say he had a great birthday, which made me feel good. I just wanted him to have a good day and be able to enjoy his birthday, despite being sick.

I mean, really, how awful it must be to be sick on YOUR one day of the year? I honestly don't think I have ever been sick on my birthday aside from a cold maybe.

Even though he did perk up a bit this evening, it became obvious it was just the Motrin making him feel good. Right before bed, his fever was back up to 103. And, he has had 3 doses of the antibiotic already!

Even though he did ultimately have a good day, I still look forward to the party with our families on Sunday. He deserves a special day where he is feeling good.

Happy Birthday Kenny, we love you and hope you feel better soon!!!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

"My Go 'eggo Go!"

The other day, we finished off a 6-pack of the Yoplait Kids yogurt with Diego from "Go Diego Go" on the box. Before I could throw it away, Ellie quickly took possession of the empty box with excitement to see "Go 'eggo go" (as she calls him...) on the box. She has not parted with the box since then. That was 5 days ago.

She carries it around with her. If she sets it down for a while, she will remember eventually and look around in a wide-eyed panic saying "My Go 'eggo go!" until she finds it. She has been sleeping with it at night- not wanting to go to bed without it. At meal times, I have to convince her to let me put it up just for the meal so it won't get dirty. Tonight, I barely saved it from a bath when I was getting ready to put the girls in the tub. Ellie wanted it to have a bath with her! It is in her bed with her now.

So, is this hilarious, a little weird, or a sign that my kids watch too much TV? (Or maybe a combo of all 3....?)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Year End Review

On Monday, we finally reached a day we had all been looking forward to- THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL!!!! Some parents dread it, but I look forward to it. I am always ready for a break in routine, and more flexibility in how we spend the day. Of course, it never takes long before I am ready for them to go back to school (like, maybe a few weeks, but I enjoy it until then).

The last day was supposed to be Thursday, June 4th, but we had to make up two days from last fall when the power was out and school had to be canceled for several days.

Jacob had an amazing year! He very successfully completed Kindergarten- he LOVED school. He tends to be nervous about new things before they happen, but just opens right up and loves it in the end. For example, before swimming lessons, he said he "wasn't sure about swimming lessons" and before Kindergarten, he said he "wasn't sure about school." He excelled in both. He now says he "isn't sure about 1st grade"- but I am sure he will be great! The school has a behavior monitoring system where they individually start the day with a "green flag", and then as there are behavior problems, their flags are progressively changed to other colors. Jacob never once had to change his flag color! His teacher said he was very observant and focused and he excelled in all areas- reading at nearly an end of 1st grade level! Here he is with his teacher, Mrs. A-she was an amazing teacher!

And here is the Kindergarten aid Mrs G, who Jacob also loved.

On Friday, there was an awards ceremony, where they received a certificate of completion. I was a little disappointed that they didn't really do a "graduation"- with caps and all, it was pretty simple, but that's okay. Those ceremonies are really just for the parents anyway. (The pictures came out really dark- not sure why....)
They also sung a hilarious song to the tune of "New York, New York" but instead titled "1st Grade, 1st Grade." (I want to be a part of it, 1st grade, 1st grade!- ha! Very cute!)

Kenny also had a good, though tough, year. He was in second grade and had some struggles. His teacher was just simply not a good match for him. He really didn't like her and by the end of the year, I had to admit I felt the same way. This was tough because I have LOVED every other teacher in that school. One of the first indications I had that she wasn't a good match for him came last fall at the first parent/teacher conference, which just didn't go well. Read about it here.

Reading has not come easy to him, despite efforts throughout the years to teach him. It is just naturally tough for him, though he managed to keep up before. This year, he began to fall behind in reading. After lots of help and frustration, I began to expect there may be a specific reason he was struggling- such as dyslexia. A few weeks ago, we had him tested, and it is determined for now that he is most likely NOT dyslexic and just a bit of a delayed reader. We have been developing a plan to boost his skills over the summer to prepare him for 3rd grade. I know it will get harder then and we want him to be ready and get the help he needs. The person evaluating him said that he is actually very bright and has a lot of good skills, he just needs a little help in specific areas.

It is true that he is very bright. He did well in all other areas. He is very talented in math and is at grade level or above there. He was also very well behaved and worked so very hard this year. We are so proud of both of our boys. Here is Kenny with his teacher, Ms. C:(the hat is from a field trip earlier that day to the fire museum- definitely one of the highlights of the year for him, considering right now, he wants to be a firefighter when he grows up.) Here he is at the awards ceremony being his goofy self:He is such a sweet kid and we look forward to an awesome 3rd grade year!

As I mentioned before, the school is staffed with some amazing people that show my kids a lot of love, which is so much appreciated. I wasn't able to catch everyone, but here are a few:

The principal:
He runs a tight ship, but is also friendly, happy and loving and knows how to "get it done." The boys think he is great!

This is Mrs. W, the library teacher. She is such a sweet lady who just adores all 4 of my kids, which automatically makes me like her! She is one of them on duty at the end of school who helps get kids into their parents' cars. She always walks with my boys to come to the van and say hello to the girls. On the last day of school, she gave them a gift of a big box filled with smarties and dum-dum pops. I don't think she did that for everyone....

So, anyway, it was a good year. Kenny made it through some tough challenges while excelling in other areas, and Jacob had a very successful first year of school.

We look forward to an action packed summer of the pool, the spray ground, the library summer reading club, the zoo and just enjoying the season!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

I Take it Back!!!!

My last post was all about how awesome it is to have twin two year olds. Well, I am taking that back- I have changed my mind after the day I had yesterday. You may not think that faces like THISEllen

could possibly be any trouble, but just listen to my day yesterday.....

1) Aaron had to work, but there was a baptism at the church I really wanted to attend, so I got brave and loaded everyone up to take them by myself. While we made it through the ceremony reasonably well, it was afterwards that I kept losing track of Meghan- often searching somewhat frantically through the church for her because she kept disappearing. All the while, needing to hold on to Ellie so I didn't lose her too.

2) After the baptism, I had to go by the post office to mail a package for Aaron. So, off we all went to the post office- a place I can't STAND going with kids in tow. When we got there, I put the girls in their stroller, cinched the straps a little tighter and in we went. Luckily, we were first in line, with about 5 people following into line behind me. When I went up to the counter, with the stroller next to me, I talked to the lady behind the counter for about 5 seconds to tell her what I wanted to do and I look down to find both Ellen and Meghan running different directions across the post office..... While the lady was asking me questions, I was continually trying to get the girls back in the stroller (how the little Houdini's had gotten out so fast in the first place, I will never know....), but their little bottoms would just hop right out. I couldn't even keep control of them for 5 minutes in the post office! So embarrassing with a room full of people.

3) And now, the grand finale for the day. I have had trouble keeping the girls- especially Meghan- in the house. They can unlock, open and get out of all doors in the house. I have thought about putting the eye hook style locks on them, but that would only work when Aaron and the boys were not outside. Still better than nothing, I suppose. Well, yesterday, I was trying to get the girls ready for a bath before bedtime when Meghan kept running out back where Aaron was working, anytime I had my back turned. After their bath, I dried them off and put their pull up on and went to get their pajamas. When I came back to the living room, Ellie was there, but Meghan was not. I looked around but couldn't find her. I checked out back, but Aaron hadn't seen her come out. I ran back in, a little more worried now and looked out the window to see Meghan out in the front of our house, CLIMBING one of the trellis supports- Ellen starting up behind her- having snuck out while I looked out back for Meghan! Both girls wearing ONLY a pull up. Here is Aaron showing how high she had gotten (this is where her feet were)....So, I was in full panic mode as I ran out to get her, but intentionally tried to appear calm, because I was afraid if she saw me freaking out, she would let go. I can only imagine what the neighbors thought...

This was just one day!

My friend Amy called and spontaniously invited me to go out to a movie with her. I was like, REALLY??? PROMISE?? Let's go! So, we did- we saw "Up" in 3-D- very fun. We then went to Stake and Shake and snacked and talked until 1 am!! Thank you, Amy! You saved me- I really needed that, especially after a day like that!

So, if anyone is interested, I have a couple of girls for sale to a good home......
(just joking- even after all that, I still couldn't imagine getting by without either one of them!!!)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Why 2 Year Old Twins Are Fun

The title of this post may sound like an oxymoron. You may think that "2 year old twins" and "fun" should not be in the same sentence. There are certainly times I would agree, but I am learning there are definitely perks to having 2 two year olds.

The other day, I was sitting outside clipping coupons while the boys were at school and I was watching the girls play in the yard. I smiled as I watched them playing together and laughing hysterically! It was so fun to watch them truly play "together," not just beside each other, and entertaining each other.It occurred to me that, had there only been one girl, that child wouldn't have let me clip coupons in peace- she would have been bored and wanting me to entertain her. Who would have thought there would be moments it would be EASIER to have twins? Plus, with twins, you get moments like this:

This was at our church memorial day picnic- it was Aaron's idea and it was hilarious! They make us laugh so often!

However, don't get too jealous, things aren't always easier with two. A couple weeks ago, I was walking the girls to the van in a parking lot. I had been holding their hands and as I got to the door of the van, Meghan took off, running into the lot. Ellie was still standing right by the door, so I took off to grab Meghan. I grabbed her before she could get hit by a car, then ran back to Ellie but Ellie was no where insight! She had taken off running around the OTHER side of the van while I had my back turned for that two seconds! Moments like that, I think I will have a heart attack before they reach adulthood.

But, still, moments like the pictures above make it totally worth it!