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, October 31, 2009

Happy Hadoween!!!

(nope...not a typo...will get to that in a minute!)

We have really had a ton of fun this month! I have put off posting the individual activities, so instead, I will just post one big update with a few pictures for each. This has really been a pretty active month for getting out and enjoying the season. Sorry- this is pretty long... Here is a sampling:

1) Mothers of Twins Club Family Fall Harvest Party

This took place at a nearby farm. What a blast! So much to do- the kids never stopped running from one activity to the next. From the pumpkin patch, the hay ride, the bounce houses, the straw maze, the corn box.... they never got bored!

(inside the bounce house...hence the pink tone...)

(we thought this sign was funny. This was in the straw maze. But, there was also a slide for the kids to slide down and you had to climb the straw to go down! )
(happy perfect children pose...)

(normal silly us pose...)

2) Gourd Maracas...

Okay, we learned some things from this and I know how to do them better now, but the kids thought this was cool anyway....

They got gourds from the above farm for free. To make maracas- you are supposed to hallow them out and then let them dry (we didn't get enough of the rind out, I don't think)

Then you fill them with rice or beans and seal them shut. I recommend beans. We did rice and they didn't make much noise- especially against the walls that still had too much rind on them. Plus, a hole cut to fit a dowel rod and then the dowel rod glued in would work better. We tried to use the piece we cut out- forgetting it would shrink as it dried... But, like I said- it was fun anyway! A good experience!

3) Ward Halloween Party

Our ward does an amazing Halloween party every year. No, not a "harvest party" as some PC churches call it. We call it a Halloween party because, well, what is wrong with it?? It is just a fun holiday- nothing sinister or evil about it! Nothing wrong with just having fun now and then. Anyway, it was a Pizza Potluck- such a great idea and more kid friendly then a soup cook offs and such. Like I said, ours is the best! Aaron went as Frankenstein, Kenny as a Ghostbuster, Jacob as Anakin Skywalker, and Ellen & Meghan as Princesses. (which, BTW- I got their dresses for $1 each at the awesome twin sale!!!!) I went as myself wearing a $5 Walmart T-shirt. That is as dressed up as I get!

(I seriously could not find Kenny and get him to stand still for more than 5 seconds to take a picture...)

4) Pumpkin Carving

Nothing much more fun to a kid then spooning pumpkin guts out of the pumpkin we picked in the above picture.....

And the end result..... (taken a few days later because I forgot that night so it isn't at its "best" anymore....)

5) Trick or Treat!

I was babysitting my nephews Kurtis and Joey (Sarah's kids) on trick or treat night, so they came along! Thanks to my sister Julie for coming along and helping! I could not have done it without her! I usually go to the local nursing home because they have awesome trick or treating and the residents love it! So, we went there- went through all the trouble to put car seats in and load everyone. We got up there and there was 5 residents sitting outside passing out candy and that was it because they were not allowing people in due to fears of the flu.... Anyway, we wouldn't have gone if we had known that, but it was still fun and we went back home and did trick or treat around the block.

As we went from house to house, many people said "Happy Halloween!" Ellie picked up on this and thought it was great and ran from house to house saying "Happy Hadoween!!" Soooo cute. Here is a video trying to capture it with her sweet little voice:


6) Boo at the Zoo.

We also have an awesome zoo here that does a lot of neat things around Halloween time. We went last night- though I didn't take my camera. That is okay though because there is enough pictures here! It was one of those Ohio indian summer nights with temperatures in the 70's and a breeze going.

7) School Parties

Jacob's class:

(The rules for Jacob's class costumes was "nothing scary or evil".... don't you love it how some parents listen so well???)

Kenny's class:

The rules for Kenny's class was it had to be a career. I thought...."Well, Ghostbusters is a career, isn't it?!?!" But, I didn't want to push the rules, so we went with the doctor outfit we had left over from before. As did the kid sitting next to him and about 3 others in the class! With how well the parents in Jacob's class listened, I probably could have gotten away with the Ghostbuster costume, but that is okay- he looks good as a doctor too!

8) Boat Club Halloween party:

And finally, last but not least, was a Halloween party at the Boat Club on a nearby river that my in-laws are members of. It was a really fun night! We got to hang out with Sarah, Jeff, Kurtis and Joey again as well as Grandpa Chuck, Grandma Debbie and Cousin Dominic! We got to Trick or Treat again!
(The trailors in the back are not permanent residences.... the members all live elsewhere and come here to stay on weekends frequently in the summer) Kenny is not pictured because I think the poor kid was honestly just kind of done with trick or treating and dressing up, so he hung out at the boat club. He just didn't feel like going! At this point, including all the above activities and the play group halloween party the girls went to (which was also a blast and I forgot my camera then too...again, not that it matters at this point- I have a TON of pictures in their costumes obviously!) they got to wear their costumes 4 times each!

They got a TON of candy- I think twice as much from a dozen or so people as they did going around the block the other night!

There were also lots of fun games to play like cookie decorating, bowling, musical chairs and pass the present! The kids had a blast!

And, here is a couple of pictures of my nephew Dominic. Grandpa Chuck helps him bowl and dressed him up as a skeleton for his first ever trick or treating!

So, there is our October in a nutshell. So so much fun- but I am tired and thankful Halloween is done! Now....what to do with all this candy hanging around..... I have it hidden on top of the refrigerator but it isn't working because I still know it is there....

Happy Hadoween!!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sing.....Sing A Song!

No doubt, Ellie will hate for this someday....but I just had to because it is sooooooo cute! This is how she has been passing the time while doing her business. (It is shot at an odd angle to keep it modest- Aaron pointed out that I should have just zoomed in on her face-I hadn't thought of that, but this works too.)


And, here is one of Meghan taken a few months ago. She loves her brothers! (It is hilarious though, how she gets distracted by Dora at the end.)


Sunday, October 25, 2009

On Following Spiritual Promptings

Sorry I have been MIA from here lately. We have been busy, but just not much that was post worthy- just normal everyday stuff. Everyone is healthy and well (no "pig cold" yet....) and busy with school, work, home, etc. I am sure my next post will be the obligatory fall pictures of the tons of fun we have had- but until then, I will share some thoughts I have had.

I feel a little vulnerable writing this because I will demonstrate my lack of perfection (as I am sure everyone really believed I was perfect....ha!).

I believe that the Holy Spirit gives us promptings from time to time to guide us to things we need to do or people that need our help. It speaks in a small voice in our hearts that we must work toward being spiritually in tune to hear. I have ignored that voice a couple times lately and have seen the consequences first hand.

There had been a time when I had all flashlights together with working batteries and matches in an easy place for me to grab. It had occurred to me lately that I was quite sure all batteries had died and I wasn't entirely sure where the flashlights and matches were. I knew between us and the kids, they had moved over time. I felt I needed to make sure everything was organized and ready. Maybe this was partly due to a Relief Society night we had just had at church that taught about preparedness, but also, no doubt, a prompting I needed to follow through with. I got busy, however, and put it off. Friday night, we had a great time at our church Halloween party (pictures coming soon). Afterward, Aaron had to head off somewhere, while I headed home with the kids by myself (we had driven separately). I came home to a house that was pitch black due to an unexplained power outage. I found myself rummaging in the dark for our grill lighter and lighting a candle to use to find one of our flashlights which had dead batteries and using that one candle still to find the batteries to put in the flashlight to then go around and light more candles- all while getting kids and stuff in the house and getting kids ready for bed. It was not fun. Had I just taken a little time earlier in that very same day when the thought was heavy on my mind- it would have been a much easier situation to handle. In the end, everything was fine and the power came on about 1/2 hour later. Definitely a lesson in preparedness and following promptings.

Unfortunately, that is not the only example. There is a another, more painful one. There was a certain member at our church that I had not seen in a while. I was worried about her and I felt I should call her. I put it off as I often do phone calls, as I am not a big phone person. One Sunday, I saw her husband there and I asked about her. He explained she has had to work a lot of Sundays and that is why she wasn't there. I felt better knowing that it was because she was working and not because she didn't want to be there or that there wasn't something big wrong. Deep down, I just knew I still needed to call her, but I did not. Maybe partly because on a following Sunday, I saw her at church and chatted with her a couple minutes. She is someone I have always liked and thought highly of, it is just hard for me to reach out and start friendships. How I wish I could go back in time and make that phone call and reach out a little more. A couple months after that, her husband died a very sudden, completely unexpected death at a young age. The entire church was in shock and she was devastated and has been working on picking up the pieces while being a now single mom to 3 young children. I have reached out a few times, but my help offers have not been accepted probably because I didn't establish myself as a support person before this tragedy. I think God was trying to tell me that-even though she was okay then- the time was coming she would need support. She does have family and friends though that have been right there with her. This is something I have asked God for forgiveness for. I really want to do my best to never fail on a prompting again. The first example had minor, inconvenient consequences, the second had bigger consequences.

In my defense, there is a couple times I have gotten it right. An acquaintance had been in a car accident with some moderate injuries. She had a very busy husband and two young kids she was trying to care for. I felt strongly that I needed to at least take them dinner, since this wasn't someone I knew well. So, I just showed up at their door with food and she was so grateful. They had eaten nothing but fast food all week because she just did not have the strength to cook and her husband did not have the time.

There has of course been a few times where that voice has helped with my children in keeping them safe, or knowing what to do when they are sick.

So, I would encourage everyone to listen to those promptings and follow through, no matter how simple or silly it may seem. I know I am committed to doing better.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Do Twins have Different Personalities?

This is a question I hear frequently....... but, you be the judge:

Both girls do enjoy coloring:
Here is Ellie's picture..... she could sit and color for a very long time. Note the multiple small scribbles all over the page. She will do this repeatedly with different colors for a very long time.
And here is Meghan's coloring- much more like a typical 2 year old. She will get bored and move on to something different before Ellie almost every time. (and, I am pretty sure Ellie helped with those small scribbles on the right...)Both girls enjoy painting:
Here is Ellie's painting- note the universal method of doing paint dots over most of her papers.

And, here, you see Meghan much more enjoys the feel of smearing the paint around:

Both girls love to run outside:
This is something I have been wanting to catch on video for sometime and I don't think the video does it justice, but I am posting anyway. Ellie runs with her back very straight and kind of "trots" on her toes. Because of this, it makes her curls bounce and is so cute and funny.

And, Meghan usually runs very hard and looks very determined- usually pumping her arms and kicking her legs up hard as she goes. She will be a sprinter in track someday! video video

And, as an interesting note..... I had told both girls to run down the sidewalk and run back. You can see who thought that idea was fun and who had other plans...

And, just for grins, one more as they run to play in the back yard....

So, as anyone can tell- these girls are just as different as any sisters would be. Ellie likes to cuddle up on the couch and read books or watch cartoons or just sit with someone. Meghan likes to see what she can get into and play with. Meghan is openly ornery, but don't let Ellie full you! She is just as ornery, but in a quite way.... to where sometimes, it isn't immediately obvious that she has gotten in trouble or done something crazy.

I have gotten to know quite a few people with twins and even those with identical twins say the same thing. So, DNA doesn't matter- no matter how closely related, we are all our own unique individuals. So fun to watch kids' personalities develop!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Proud to be........

A soccer mom!

That is six words I never ever thought I would say!! (I think it is cool how their uniforms are opposite... that is really how they were given to them from their teams! Jacob has a white shirt and blue socks and Kenny has a blue shirt with white socks.)

As I have mentioned before, our family was a football family. When I was in high school, the soccer kids were seen as being a little "different"- is the best way to put it. In fact, when boys would call our house to talk to one of us as teenagers, my dad would ask them if they liked soccer or football..... If they didn't answer correctly, Dad would hang up on them! (No, I'm not joking!)

However, I have come to love the sport for my kids. They really enjoy it and it is a great way to stay active and learn about sports and sportsmanship. Plus, the games for their age take less than an hour! Kenny played T-ball one year and even with only 6 innings, the game....dragged...on....forever!

I was hesitant to do soccer this year for a few reasons. I know it is always a challenge, even with nothing going on, to get them to do their homework. Plus, Kenny sees a reading tutor once a week as well as being involved in scouts. I didn't want to over schedule them, but Jacob wanted to play for the first time ever. He had never wanted to play before and I hated to tell him no when he finally wanted to (this was Kenny's third season). And, I felt like I couldn't let him do it and not Kenny. So, I figured we would give it a try and that-ultimately- soccer only lasts for two months.

It was a challenge- Jacob had one practice and one game each week while Kenny had 1 or two practices and 1 or 2 games per week (for a total of 3 soccer event per week for Kenny). There were times when Aaron was out of town or working and they both had games at the same time in different parks. I am so grateful to my parents for their help (my dad has come around to soccer now that he has grandsons involved!) And, Kenny had to miss some scouts for his games, but as of yesterday, soccer is done and he can go to scouts every week now! But all in all, they had a great time and it all worked out okay.

Jacob focused very well on the game and learned each position quickly and played hard during games. We found Kenny to have talent in the defense position.

As far as if we do it again next year- well, it depends. I think I need a year to forget how busy it was. We could not keep up that pace for an entire year- it would never work- but for a couple months, it was okay.

Both teams had awesome coaches that really did a great job of being positive and teaching the game and caring about the kids.

In all honesty, neither team was very good, but it really doesn't matter. They had a great time and learned a lot and that is what matters. I think Jacob's team won a couple games and I don't think Kenny's team won any. I don't think they even know that- they just know they had a blast!

Here is the true personality of the teams: (Jacob's team had a picture like this too, but I am not sure why I don't have it...I must have been chasing the girls then or something.)
So, I am glad they played and had a great time, but also oh so happy it is done for the season!!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tiger Food

A few weeks ago, we went to the zoo with my sister, Julie. She was getting ready to head back for her LAST quarter in school and wanted to hang with her favorite sister and nieces for the day. We thought it was pretty awesome that she wanted to spend her day with us! She is so much fun and my girls still talk about when they went to the zoo with "Aunt Jewy."
It was such a blast with so much to do! Where else can you get this close to a Tiger, with no fear of danger (despite the fact Meghan looks like she is about to be lunch!).
Ellen and Meghan even got to experience their very first carousel ride, thanks to my sister being there to help. I frequently go with other moms who have kids of their own and so, as little as my girls are, it has been impossible for me to take them on the carousel on my own. But, with Julie there, we could each take a girl. They were so excited! Of course, this was taken right before the ride started, while Ellie was still excited. About a minute into the ride, she decided she had had enough and wanted down......NOW!!!!! Julie had to hold her the rest of the time. Meghan, however, loved every second of it!
Of course, after all that running around, we had to stop for a snack and another cool photo opp.

Or two...... (you can tell who got the pretty genes in the family....)

And, this zoo trip ended just as any good zoo trip should:
Thanks, Julie, for an awesome day!! Days like this make me incredibly grateful for sisters that live close. I honestly don't know what I would do without either one of my two awesome sisters!