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.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Day for the Books

A day like last Friday just has to be recorded. It was one of those days. Enjoy a laugh and a gasp or two at my expense. Strap on your boots- it will be quite a ride!

Thursday night, I went to my monthly mothers of twins club meeting and then out with friends so, as it always is, it was a late night. I didn't get to bed until after 1am. I heard the alarm go off at 6:45 and I hit what I thought was the snooze, but apparently not- I startled awake at 7:25- 15 minutes before the baby I was to babysit would arrive and well past time to be getting kids up and ready for school. The morning was chaos of trying to get kids fed and dressed and out the door. None of them wanted to listen to what I was telling them so we were running very late heading out the door.

Our garage door has not functioned right in a long time and so has to be opened and closed manually. Our van is so tall, you have to really push it up to get it high enough for the van to clear it. As I was walking out the door with the baby in one hand and purse, keys, and whatever else in the other and trying to shoo kids to the car, I noticed one of the kids had opened the door and it wasn't quite all the way open. I figured I would put the baby in and get kids strapped in and then have free hands to open the door. Well, in the craziness of getting 5 kids buckled in, I managed to forget. I jumped in the drivers seat, backed out quickly and tore the bottom 4 inches off of the garage door. Luckily no damage to the van, but destroyed the garage door. I have had one out of three quotes so far- this one saying $925 to replace. I did find out it will qualify under our homeowners insurance but I am not sure what my deductible is- hoping it is $500 instead of $1000 but we will see when I talk to claims rep tomorrow. Otherwise, I have absolutely no idea how we will pay for it. Ugh....

After that, I enjoyed a brief but good visit with a friend. The one bright spot of the day. I then got brave and took my 3 1/2 year old twins and the baby into Aldi's to get some groceries. As the girls ran circles around me and kept trying to put things in my cart that I didn't want, I noticed many of the other customers seemed amused. I was glad I was able to entertain THEM because I certainly wasn't having much fun....

And it goes on....

I took all of the kids home to get them fed lunch before taking the girls to their preschool cooking class at the rec center right down the road. I check my voicemail and there is a message from Kenny at school saying he has a stomach ache. This happens sometimes due to his medication, but I knew for a fact I had forgotten his medication that morning in the chaos, so I worried it may be a real stomach ache this time. So, I called the school and said I would come get him. I also arranged with my friend, who is also the teacher of the girls cooking class, that I would drop them off and not stay (which I usually stay and help) and she would bring them home afterward so they wouldn't have to miss. When I picked Kenny up at school, I mentioned to the secretary that I knew it wasn't his medicine because he hadn't had it. She said he hadn't had lunch either and then Kenny pipes up and says "Ya, my tummy hurts and I am starving at the same time!" WHAT?! He didn't sound like a sick kid to me. The receptionist then said she wasn't so sure he was really sick because he kept trying to play while waiting for me. Frustrated, I said I would take him home since I was there (fearing if it WAS real, he would throw up 30 min after I left....) but that he would get NO video games or TV-- that he would only be able to lay down and rest.

Sooooooo, off we go to the rec center to drop off the girls. Kenny wanted to wait in the car. I figured this was fine- he is 9 years old and I would be in and out in less then two minutes. I thought he could be trusted in the car for 2 minutes. Ha! I came out and the van smelled BAD! My first thought was did he throw up?! But no- I knew it was more of a chemical smell. I kept insisting he tell me what he did but he kept insisting nothing. It was then that I noticed the can of mace (that I had totally forgotten I even owned....) peaking out of the top of my purse. Upon questioning, he confessed to having sprayed it. Thankfully, he was okay and we went on home after a stern lecture of how dangerous that stuff is and you should never touch things you don't know what they are!

After we got home, I noticed an orange residue all over his hands. Mace maybe? I wasn't sure so he washed his hands. He did lay down for a long time- over an hour- making me think maybe he didn't feel good after all. He got up after a while and said he was feeling much better and was hungry and wanted his lunch. So, he took his lunch bag out of his back pack and started eating his lunch. About a minute later, he started screaming!!! I went to him and he was covering his mouth screaming "My lips hurt! They are burning!" and he was crying and totally freaked. It was scary! He kept trying to drink water saying it helped but then would cover his lips in between drinks, screaming. So, I got an ice pack to put on his mouth. All I could figure is he didn't get all the mace off his hands and then transferred it to his mouth while eating. It burned so bad he couldn't take the ice off his mouth for more than a second! I called our pediatrician who suggested running cold water over his mouth to rinse it away and to also call poison control to see if they knew of any other remedies. I did and they said pretty much the same thing and just to "do whatever worked that helped it feel better and it would eventually wear off". By that time, he was calming down and it did wear off completely shortly after.

That evening, the baby went home and I agreed to watch my sister's kids while she went to the grocery store. I was trying to cook dinner with six hyper children running through my house being absolutely crazy. Over the last couple weeks, we have had some drain/pipe repairs being done in our basement by our friend, Russell, and I didn't know until he showed up, that he was coming over to work some more. He had to cut up a little more concrete so that is what he was doing. It created so much dust that I had concrete dust coming through every vent in the house! It was a cold evening but I had to open windows for just a little ventilation! You can imagine how the noise and the dust would have hyped up even more already hyped up children! CRAZINESS! I now have a coating of dust on EVERYTHING in the house. My level of exhaustion was just to huge to deal with it Friday night and I was out of town all weekend so it is going to be a looooooong week of trying to get this house in order again! (That being said, it has been a HUGE blessing that he is doing this work for us!!! He has done an EXCELLENT job and at a fraction of a price an outside company would have charged!!! Our basement pipes have been defective for soooo long and it will be like living in luxury to have dry basement when I do laundry!)

So, I stayed up and got things done to get ready for my whirlwind weekend and crashed into bed for a mere few hours before beginning the busy, but fun weekend. I am glad every day isn't like Friday was. I think I would be begging to go back to work if it was! Definitely a day to be glad it is behind me so now I can look back and laugh a little at the wild ride!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Kidspeak

Enjoy another edition of crazy things that come out of my kids mouth....

September/October-Ellie has been obsessed/worried about aging and death in loved ones. She frequently would ask "How old are you/grandma/grandpa, etc" When told how old they were she would say "Oh! Does that mean you/he/she will die soon??"

-Also, I don't remember the date, but sometime in October, Ellie said "Can I be a princess? Can daddy be my king?" You already are, sweet girl!

9/15- On the way home from somewhere, I certain song came on the radio (I didn't record which song and I now forget...) Kenny said " I like this song. It makes me water my eyes some!"

9/29- Jacob has been blowing us away this year in school. He is in 2nd grade and is reading at an end of 3rd grade level! He gets spelling lists that are pretty easy for him, but there are also challenge words that are....well, a challenge! On this date, he had gotten a new list. One challenge word was "camouflage". He spelled it right the first time- with no practice! I told him most adults can't even spell that word (I originally spelled it wrong when first typing this!) Other hard words he mastered easily: ambitious, fortunate, catastrophe and more!

10/2- Kenny was watching a movie. Referring to a cartoon character playing the role of a mother, he said "She is so pretty! I wish she was MY mom!" gee...thanks....

11/14/10- For some odd reason, my girls have not been fans of spaghetti. But, the rest of us love it so we eat it often. On this day, Meghan said "Mom! Now I like soghetti!" Ellie promptly replied, no Meg, it is BA-sketti!" (gotta get that pronunciation right!)

11/14- we have been having some pipe repair done in our basement leaving a temporary big hole in the concrete floor. A wonderful guy at church, Russell, as been doing the work. On Sunday, he and his wife were sitting two rows behind us. Meghan turned around and saw him there and (during the meeting) says loudly- "Russell! Hi Russell!" I then try to tell her to be quiet and then she says very loudly "Russell! You have to fix our draim! (drain..)" That got laughter throughout half of the chapel.

(also, back in October, this same outspoken sweet child- we were in Kroger and the girls were riding along in the cart in the attached "kiddie car." We come up to a cart that was partially blocking the aisle but it didn't matter because I was stopping to look at something anyway. Meghan yelled out, "Hey! Could you please move out of the way?!" I apologized and told the woman she was fine and not in the way. They lady just laughed and said "no, that is okay, I will move- don't want to be in her way!")

11/15/10- Meghan (as usual) had eaten almost nothing of her dinner but was insisting she was full. I told her that she was too full then to eat the cookies I had made. She looked slightly surprised for a minute but then said "But mom, I have two fulls!!" (I took this to mean one stomach for dinner and one for dessert- so even if she was too full for more dinner, she could still have dessert! Ha!)


Stay tuned for more! Life here is never boring, that is for sure!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Homemade Cleaning Products!


A couple months ago, I did a post about how to make homemade laundry detergent. You can find it here. Because of that, I became a guest poster on the Mother's of Twins Club blog and I now post once a month on how to save money by using homemade items. After using homemade laundry detergent for a couple of months, it inspired me to research how to do homemade cleaning products and I have learned quite a bit! I just posted this on the Twins site and thought I would post it here as well:


Thanks to commercials from modern companies, we have been told that we need multiple cleaners for every different job. We are told that we need window cleaners, toilet cleaners, floor cleaners, wood floor cleaners, dusting spray and disinfectants- of course different ones for the kitchen and bathroom! These can get quite pricey and be a strain on any budget- as well as being full of harmful chemicals. These chemicals can- at the very least- be unpleasant to breath in,or at worst- be possible carcinogens. Last month I posted about homemade laundry soap. This can be considered a continuation of that. Making my own laundry detergent led me to research homemade cleaners and again- I CAN NOT believe how simple and cheap it is!

Throughout this post, you will see a recurring ingredient:
Vinegar! Did you know that vinegar is a natural disinfectant?? And, it is about as cheap as you can get- this giant bottle was only about $2! Here are some homemade solutions to clean your house.

General All-Purpose Cleaner: (I have been using this recipe and I love it!)

You will only need the following:

2 TBSP Vinegar
1 tsp borax (which you already have if you do homemade laundry soap...)
a few drops dish soap
hot water
10 drops essential oil if desired
16 oz spray bottle

Simply fill bottle partially full with hot water. Add vinegar and borax and swish around until the borax is dissolved. Add soap (and essential oil if you choose- I don't use it) and fill the rest of the way with water.

**Also, if you do not make your own laundry detergent and do not want to buy the borax, you can still clean with a mixture of vinegar and water!

Looking for a comet type cleaner?

Simply use baking soda- sprinkle on counter top or in tub and scrub with water and a sponge. This does great at removing build up and stains!

Dishwasher Detergent-I have been using this one!
1 cup Borax
1 cup Washing soda (not baking soda- again, if you make your own laundry detergent, you already have both of these ingredients on hand!)

Mix together and store in an air tight container-use 2 TBSP per load.

Use Vinegar as a rinse agent- no more Jet Dry!

A few tips here:
- if your water is hard, you may need to add more washing soda.
- If you get a slight powdery film on your dishes, try using hotter water in dishwasher or less of the detergent. I have had some issues with this, but not bad- it rinses right off and using less detergent seems to prevent it.

Not into making your own dishwasher soap? I read that dishwashers today are so efficient that you don't need to fill the whole compartment. You can still save by simply using less soap. Try using only 2 TBSP of dishwasher soap- it will clean great and last forever! I read about a person who buys the big box of cascade at Sam's club and uses only 2 TBSP per load and it lasts a year!

Window Cleaner:

The all purpose cleaner given above works great for windows as well OR:

1/2 cup white vinegar
1 gal warm water

mix together and put in a spray bottle. Crumpled up newspapers work great- way better than paper towels- at wiping windows clean!

Microfiber towels with only water work great too! See section on dusting below....

Vinyl Type Floors:

1 cup vinegar
1 gallon water
-mix together in bucket and mop as usual!

Hardwood Floor Cleaners
1/2 cup vinegar
1 gal water
-mix together in bucket and use a sponge mop- squeeze out well before mopping- and mop floor. Do not put product directly on the floor, but apply with mop. Wipe up any pools of water or streaks.

You can also use a 1:1 ratio of vegetable oil and vinegar to get tough stains off! I even read about using mineral oil or even tea to clean the floors with! Here is the website where I read about it if you would like more details: http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/homemade-wood-floor-cleaner-2679.html

This website has the above cleaning recipes and some more as well:
http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/homemadehouseholdcleaners.htm

You can find tons of recipes and homemade ideas as well simply by googling "Homemade Cleaners"

Dusting:
I have not used dusting spray in probably a couple of years now. We bought some microfiber cloths and we simply use those! These cloths are amazing! You simply get them wet and squeeze out all excess water and then use them to dust and they are great for windows and mirrors as well! Plus, they can be washed and reused- which is for sure better for the environment and our wallets in the long run! These are also great for anyone with chemical sensitivities- you truly use only water and it gets things CLEAN!

So, you can say bye to those hazardous and smelly cleaners! You no longer need that cabinet full of random cleaning supplies and you can save so much money by using these inexpensive and easy recipes. Good luck and enjoy the freedom of no longer needing to spend time or money in the aisle of multi-purpose cleaners!

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Reason I Haven't Been Blogging as Much Lately....

....is that we have been very busy- out enjoying the season as well as just the humdrum of daily life. Plus, I also feel that there hasn't been much blog worthy things going on. I feared posting the same sort of pictures and stories as always and therefore boring everyone. But then, I remembered I am doing this blog for me and my family and others who read it are just a bonus! So, I thought I would devote this post to showing some of the fun stuff that has kept me too busy for blogging. I once heard someone refer to blog vomit. The definition being not blogging for a while and then "spitting" it all out in one post. That is what this is. Not a pleasant analogy I realize- especially considering I deal with my share of real vomit on a regular basis, but it still fits.

So, here is what we have been up to this fall:

Apple Picking!

This is definitely a perk to living in Ohio- we picked apples 3 times this year- at two different locations- both within a 20 min drive of my house! This particular day was back in September at the home of a friend's parents. They have several apple trees bordering their property. I went with two friends (Abbey and Holly) and their kids.
We started with a picnic lunch on a cool pleasant fall day!



Our awesome apple pickers! (Jacob F, Meghan peeking from back, Ross, Ellie, Rachel, Faith- not sure where Annie is in this picture...)
Meghan trying out the apple picking tool. That thing was actually very cool!


There just isn't anything much better than an apple right off the tree! Ellie knows that for sure!

We went just for the apples but, by surprise, got to witness a cool demonstration!!! The home owner, Glen, let us observe while he made fresh apple cider with apples from his trees!
The kids got to help rinse the apples in the tub and then put them in the press. Glen turned the crank to chop them up into the bucket below:
Once in the bucket, the other crank is turned to press the apples down. The bucket has holes cut in the bottom for the cider to come out of. The cider drains into the lower bucket.
He then ran the cider through a straining cloth to get remaining chunks out and then everyone got to try some fresh cider! What a neat experience it was for us all!

Fall Harvest Party:
This is a perk of being in the Mother's of Twins Club- really fun family activities!!! We visited a local farm that is full of fun activities for the kids to do. We really had a blast, but the the place was PACKED! Our club alone brought 200 people and it was also still open to the public (I had thought it was a private party for the club) so there were several hundred people there! But, it was still fun!

Of course, it was October and my children are wearing shorts and sandals. It....was....HOT that day- in the 80's with the sun beating down on us! You just never know in Ohio... This picture does give perspective on how tall my kids are! (Kenny is slouching down- he is reeallly close to 5 feet!)

They got to try out several different sized tractors!


My giant hamsters!

As we were leaving, we saw this outhouse with the door closed. My kids, eternally curious, ran up to check it out. When they opened it, we found it "occupied"....we all about died laughing!

And, of course, a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch! A couple weeks later, this pumpkin became Frankenstein!!!

Halloween!
Our ward hosted a Halloween party, as usual, with a trunk or treat! Here are my crazies all decked out.... not the best picture, but there was so much going on, they would NOT hold still and look straight for even a full second!
From left to right, we have Obi Won Kenobi, Princess/ Fairy God Mother, Anakin Skywalker, and Princess/ Fairy God Mother.

I made these yummy popcorn balls to look like pumpkins:I also made mummy dogs that didn't even last 60 seconds before they disappeared (causing me to have to make them again later for my kids so they could have them too! ha!) and it was a fun night with a soup contest and fun with friends!

I don't have trick or treat pictures, but that doesn't matter because they wore the same thing... Aaron had to take the kids trick or treating by himself (so he went to my sisters neighborhood and trick or treated with her) because Kenny and I were at 4th grade camp! More on that...

4th grade camp!
As I have mentioned before, our school does outdoor science programs, involving camp every year for all grades. 1st, 2nd and 3rd grades go for one overnight, but starting in 4th grade, they go for 2 nights! I went as a chaperone.

As I mentioned, we had to miss trick or treat. It was an unintentional oversight by the school. When camp was planned, they thought trick or treat was Friday night and the kids would get back in time (they got back Friday afternoon) but realized the week before camp the trick or treat was Thursday night! So, they planned a Halloween party for camp and the parents donated TONS of candy to be passed out. I honestly don't think Kenny really missed Trick or Treat at all- he had such a blast!

They got to climb a rock wall, go horseback riding, scoop tiny organisms out of the lake and study them with a microscope, sleep in cabins (heated with bathrooms, thank goodness!), cook over a fire and more! I could NOT find my camera before I left so I didn't take many pictures but here are a couple I took with my camera phone.

Ready for the wall!
Oh the way up! The wall is 30 feel tall- he actually made it to the top and rang the bell! I was SO proud!
He is on the horse right in the middle, facing left. Again, this kid showed no fear and got right up there and rode the horse by himself!

And More!

I promise- I am almost done! We got free tickets to a local wild animal preserve "The Wilds". I won them from the twins club. I forgot my camera that day but snapped a couple pictures with my phone- just to give an idea of how up close and personal some of these exotic animals were! Here are a Rhino and a Camel!

With the boys in school, I have been keeping the girls busy! We are doing a small, casual preschool co-op with my friend Abbey and her two kids. On Tuesdays and Thursdays one week, they come to my house for two hours. The next week, my girls go to her house for two hours and do preschool activities. I am sure I will post more on this in the future. I also take them to story time often and they are also in a pre-k gym activities and pre-k cooking class. This week, they started a pre-k ballet class! (all of these pre-k classes are at the near by rec center where they are super cheap but great!)
My girls are in the long sleeve red t-shirts in the back. I am working on getting them leotards this week. I am sure I will post about this again soon! Soooo funny to watch 3-5 year olds attempt to follow the teacher. I think the girl in the middle in the front is hilarious- totally focused on her fingers- who cares what the teacher is doing?! Ha!

So, now it is easy to see why I haven't had much time to blog. Throw in all this fun stuff together with boring stuff I HAVE to do (pay bills, clean, laundry, laundry and more laundry, and other responsibilities), and I am lucky to breathe! Kenny also did soccer this year and Jacob did flag football, but I never did take any pictures this year.(I know... "Mother of the Year"....what kind of mom takes no pictures of her kids playing sports?!) Maybe I will scan the formal pictures that were done and their school pictures- they are handsome boys and I am so proud of them!

Now that I feel I have caught up on our current events a little, I need to think of things to post about- I feel I have a sort of writer's block. I want to blog more often, but don't always know what to write about. Any suggestions from my faithful audience (at least those who haven't fallen asleep yet reading this book of a post...)?