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, September 26, 2009

The FRUITS of our labors

Last weekend, my sister Emily had an excellent idea to go apple picking with our kids. There is nothing better than eating an apple freshly picked right off the tree! It was just the perfect day for it.

Meghan and Ellen got their first taste of a fresh apple! They loved it!

Jacob (who just got done playing a soccer game, hence the outfit) and Joey search for just the perfect apple! (Kenny was spending a special day with Grandpa.)

Baby Savanna bit into an apple for the first time and made quite a face but kept going back for more! Even a one year old knows how special the taste of a fresh apple is!

So, I was thrilled to come home with a 20 pound bag of fresh picked Jonathan apples.
Though, I immediately started wondering what to do with them all to be sure we got good use from them before they went bad. Not to mention I still had a large bag of apples from the grocery store a couple days before, since I didn't know then we would be going apple picking.

The lady at the apple farm said the Jonathan apples were great for baking- which was good because I knew I wanted to make at least one pie.

Of course, quite a few have been eaten already. Here is what I did with the others:
Thankfully, I do still have some left over, but I went through quite a few. As I heard about the idea of canning my own applesauce and canning my own pie filling, I went from "what do I do with all these" to "I wish I had more!"

Though, considering I still need to learn how to do home canning, that is probably best left for next year. Anyone willing to teach me how to do canning??

Every year, I am always a little sad to see summer end. However, the joys of the fall harvest and all of the beautiful colors remind me just what a great season autumn really is.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Football Friday Night Flashbacks

As I was growing up, Football Friday nights at the local high school were always a big deal. Having a dad and two brothers who loved football, made fall Friday nights at the school a must. Then, when I entered high school, I eagerly joined the marching band and thus became a part of Friday Night football as well. To be honest- I HATED high school. It was a time of drama in my life- both real and imagined- and when I graduated, I really never looked back. Except for my time in the marching band. I LOVED being in the band and performing, doing competitions and football games. Yes, I was a true "band geek" in every way and proud of it! It is the one thing about high school I miss.
Marching Band Senior Year (Fall 94)

The funny thing is, with a dad and two brothers who loved football, more than a decade of Friday Night football games and 40 games as part of the band and sitting right near the end zone- I know so very little still about football. I know when they score and that is about it. How can I know so little, when I spent so much time on the field and at games? Because I absolutely never paid attention to the game. When I wasn't performing, I was huddled on the band bleachers with my best friends gossiping about whatever the current teenage drama was.
(me with Jackie and Lynette after a state competition)

It was also always tradition to go find my dad during 3rd quarter when the band got a break and asking for money to go buy junk food at the concession stand. He was always awesome that way!!!Parents Night 1993- with my sister, Julie, on the left

Parents' Night 94

This past Friday night, on a whim, I took the boys to my hometown football game. My dad currently helps with the games by running the scoreboard. He has been wanting me to bring the boys for sometime. They had a blast! I didn't know until that afternoon that it was alumni band night. My sister, Emily, tried to talk me into participating, since she was planning on doing so with the flag corp as she did in high school. Considering I had not touched my trumpet in probably 10 years, I didn't think I was up to the task. (Sorry Em- I believe it is easier to relearn a basic flag routine then to play a trumpet that hasn't been touched in a decade!)

It was also homecoming night. It took me back to homecoming night as a teenager. You could see the excitement of the contestants for queen/king with the anticipation of-to them- what was one of the most important nights of their life.

The one thing I really noticed is how nothing has changed since I graduated 14 years ago-it was like I had gone back in time. Some examples:

- The band wears similar uniforms and plays the same songs- directed by the same band director I had.

- The homecoming court consisted of a large number of cheerleaders and football players.... as usual!

- The swarms of kids all around the stadium were "dressed" to impress in whatever their individual style was. They stood around in groups feeling grown up and showing off- trying to be cool. Including the shirtless teenage boys painted in school colors!

- The cheerleaders still do the same cheers and even look like the cheerleaders that I went to school with!

- Parents on the bleachers beaming with pride.

-Know-it-alls in the bleachers complaining about the refs and/or being bleacher coaches.

No, nothing has changed since I was in high school.

Well......okay...... just ONE thing......

The high school kids look so YOUNG!!!!!!!!!

(when did I get so old??)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Twin Speak: Tag!

Just a couple stories that had to be shared:

1) The other day, we went to eat a Fazoli's restaurant. While waiting in line to order our food, the girls were getting pretty restless. My efforts to calm them were useless as they started "tagging" each other. A frail old man, bent over and walking slowly, walked in the restaurant. Before I could stop her, Meghan ran up to him laughing, and said "TAG!" and pushed him as hard as she could. The poor guy stumbled back but luckily maintained his balance. I was horrified that my daughter almost knocked him over! I apologized, and thankfully, he was good natured about it. Then, once we got our food, the girls were more interested in using their breadsticks as swords than eating them.

Things like this make me question why we bother going out. I think the purpose is so I won't have to cook for a change- but sometimes going out is just as exhausting as cooking!

2) This morning for breakfast, Ellie chose Honeycomb cereal. She finished her bowl and wanted more, so she said:

"More flower Cheerios, please?" Ha! I will never look at Honeycomb the same again!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

On Creating Public Hysteria

Yes...... I, too, can not believe it but this post is at least partially about Mr. Obama.

I don't consider myself a very political person. I have a few core beliefs that I feel strongly about, so I vote that way, but otherwise don't generally discuss politics much. There is a lot about politics I just don't understand and am certainly not able to carry on much of a debate with someone with opposing viewpoints. I just know what I believe. So, I generally keep my mouth shut.

I am very conservative politically and just don't care much for many of Obama's view points at all.

Everyone- whether you have kids in school or not- heard about the President's speech to school kids yesterday. I have found it interesting to think and reflect on the hysteria caused by it.

I first heard about it one evening while speaking on the phone with a friend. I had not heard anything about it at all, and she goes on to tell me about this horrific speech the president was set to give and how kids should not watch it and that many schools were canceling it due to parental concerns. I thought it sounded interesting, but didn't think too much of it since I hadn't heard about it otherwise. The next day, another friend mentioned it- who had heard the news from her over-zealous in-law and was also concerned by what she heard. After these two conversations, I too was concerned. After speaking to both of them, I read about it in the paper and also didn't like what I read there. I was especially concerned that our school district was requiring the children to watch it- without even giving parents a choice to opt out. My first reaction was to not send them to school that day. How dare they make my child watch something I was opposed to? However, I made a conscience decision to not join the hysteria and to study the situation myself.

So, I started to read about it. The more I read, the more it seemed to truly be intended as a "stay in school" speech- which, within itself is really a good thing! But, I read the concerns were due to some of the Presidents original phrasing such as asking the kids ways they could "serve their president" (versus their country...) and other such phrasing. This part is true, and where the hysteria came from I think, however- the phrasing was changed as the staff came to realize it wasn't worded well. So, I ended up relaxing completely having no issue with my children watching the speech. Despite the fact I don't care for Obama, he had a good message to share, and he is the president after all, and my children are young enough they don't really listen anyway.

It got me thinking as to what led to all of this panic. Here are my thoughts:

1) the concern over the phrasing. This was passed from person to person to person, without those people really reading up on it before passing it on to the next person. As this was passed on to those who are highly politically charged, it progressed to an anger, and continued to get passed down the line from person to person.

2) Some people, who maybe weren't concerned about the message itself, were opposed because they felt (quoted from a viewer on the news one night) "the President should stop campaigning and do his job." This probably explains what I read that, even though past presidents of all parties have done similar speeches, it has been controversial every time because it is hard to believe that a "politician" isn't campaigning every time they open their mouth, and parents are worried about their children being "campaigned to" while in school. Presidents such as George H.W. Bush, Reagan and Kennedy all did something similar, all with at least a little controversy.

3) Even the pro-Obama people got worked up because of the protesters and took things to far. I talked back and forth with some people on Facebook about the situation. I never outright opposed, because I was on the fence and not sure what it was all about, but I did state my concerns as I was trying to understand- but I read some comments of people stating that those who were opposed did so because of his race. Why would they claim that just because someone disagreed they were racist???? Puh-leeze. Give me a break. At least with my concerns, race had nothing to do with it. Maybe I am naive, but I tend to think racism can't be that big a problem for our President at least, when he did manage to get elected....

4) We all like a good story or scandal. I think it is within us all to lean toward the dramatic. Sometimes I think we all need to take a step back and look at the big picture. It is easy to get worked up about things like this with emails going around previously accusing Obama of being the next Hitler. Again... Puh-leeze. As I said before, I disagree with Obama and I don't think he is best for this country, but I certainly don't see him as being the next Hitler. Another couple years (or 7 at the most....) and he will be voted out, their will be a new president andlife will go on.

So, I know I have rambled on a bit. As I said before, my children watched the speech and I am glad they did. I am thankful that I didn't panic, but took a step back and did what I could to figure it out. I think if we all did that when we are told something questionable (whether it is about the president, or our neighbor) that we should hesitate to jump on the band wagon and seek for the true information and make educated decisions about what we believe and what is best- and respect others even if they disagree. What a boring world it would be if we all believed the same.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Another year older

Yep.... it is official- I have aged another full year! As of Thursday, September 3, I am officially

I love it when my boys asked how old I was now and I told them and their eyes got big and they said "Whoa!!!!" Yes..... I know, I am getting old!

I actually don't really mind getting older though. I feel like I fit into my skin better at this point in my life than any other- like this is what I am supposed to be doing right now. And, I LOVE birthdays!

Thanks to my awesome family and friends, Thursday was a wonderful day!! Actually, I first celebrated last Sunday when my parents made me dinner at their house. We had "stackemuppies"- one of my favorites! (pronounced "stack em up pees") This has always been my parents word for Taco Salad. Yum!

Then, Thursday, I didn't have to prepare any meal more complicated than cereal for breakfast and pack the boys lunch! Thanks to Aaron's schedule that day, I was able to go to lunch with him and a couple friends and then we went to Max and Erma's for dinner. Between that and the goodies from friends, I stuffed myself to where I was sick when I went to bed. As bad as it may sound, soooooooo worth it!!! My kids gave a few good photo-ops, but I forgot the camera, so instead, I will show off some of the cool things I got!My sister has been complaining about the broken purse I have been carrying around, but I was just to cheap to buy a new one yet. My plan was to try to fix the broken one, but I just never got around to it. Always my fashion adviser, she bought one for me! And, my mom and dad went with her to get me the matching wallet and a Target gift card!
Even though I had a cake on Sunday, my dear friend Amy wanted to make sure I had my own cake for the day, so she bought me her favorite strawberry cake from a local bakery. OH...MY...GOSH!!! Heavenly! Thanks Amy!
From Aaron and the kids, some books and a cool new waffle iron I had been wanting. (I have the entire collection of Dean Koontz books and needed his new ones....)
I had to smile when I pulled up to the house and saw a big box with "Godiva" on the outside and instantly said "Jackie" knowing it had to have been shipped from my awesome friend Jackie, in Nebraska. YUM!!!
And, my cool friend Katie showed up with this very creative dish soap dispenser with a hand made card. I am sooooo impressed. What a cool idea! Thanks! I love it!:)

Last year, on my birthday, I posted 31 random facts about myself. This year, I think I will tell a story my dad told me over and over and over and over and over as I was growing up and STILL likes to tell. He says I ruined over 200 years of tradition when I was born, but I say he did. My great-great grandfather (maybe started even sooner- I don't remember, so I will start there) was 25 years old and had his 2nd child which was a boy (my great-grandfather). When my great-grandfather was 25 years old, he had his 2nd child which was a boy (my grandfather). When my grandfather was 25 years old, he had his 2nd child which was a boy (my dad). When my dad was 25 years old, he had his 2nd child..... it was me!!!!! He said he was so sure I would be a boy- that he didn't believe the doctor when he said girl. Then, I was 25 years old, had my 2nd child- and it was a boy!! (Jacob) So- Jacob is under some pressure here! I say it was my dad's fault that the tradition was ruined because the dad chooses gender.

It is interesting though, that in February, when they found out Mom was expecting me, he predicted I would be born Sep 4 at 1:30 in the morning. I was born Sep 3 at 11:30 pm. Missed it by 2 hours. Not bad!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

RAIN Gutter the RAIN!

I suppose one would think that it would be appropriate to have rain during a rain gutter regatta- but let me assure you- the monsoon that took place during Kenny's first rain gutter regatta in cub scouts was not really what I call fun. But, maybe that is because I am old. The kids all had a blast!

Here is Kenny with his boat that he made- before the monsoon arrived.....
It has a "WM" painted on it, which stands for "Waste Management"- since he loves to watch garbage trucks in action and has several that he plays with. He said this was his garbage boat.

He really enjoyed racing- here he is with Lucas, one of the other cub scouts:

and in another race:
He won a couple of the races- which was enough for him! He thought that was great. I don't think he knows/understands that he placed 6th out of 7. All he knows is he won a couple and had a blast. That is one thing I love about him! :) He did a great job decorated his boat and played hard.

The rain just got worse as the evening went on- here is how the other kids kept themselves busy while the cub scouts raced:

As the rain began to pour, the adults gave up their chairs to go hide under the shelter of some trees (safest place to be in a storm, right?! ha!) so Jacob made his own game with the row of empty chairs:

And, the girls kept themselves busy running back and forth across the sidewalk, splashing and laughing and periodically laying on their bellies and "lapping" up the water like dogs.

I look forward to next years Rain Gutter Regatta- but hopefully without the "rain" next time.