Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Monday, December 29, 2008

Pictures!

Eating Ice Cream and Riding the Santa Train.


Trailer Life

We are down at Nana and Pop's and staying in the trailer for extra space. I am thankful to have made it safely down here. It's a little strange to be in the trailer again because we haven't been in it for a year. Every time we talked about taking it some place to go camping our schedule just didn't work out this past year. So it is good to be using it again. A few things have changed. Since we are just vacationing in it we don't have nearly the stuff in it that we had. Doug and Andy are now big enough that they are sleeping in the top bunks. Josie is sleeping in a bottom bunk rather than her spot on the floor. At least the kids are excited about sleeping in the trailer.
In some ways it feels a little like coming home because we lived in it for almost 5 months. I have a lot of memories associated with the trailer. There is something about the tight coziness of everything being so close together in the trailer that makes the world feel like a much simpler place.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!
We had Christmas whether we were ready or not.
We ran some errand Christmas Eve. Ended up getting to church just as the service was starting. I don't know if it was the sitting with us (rather than the couple the boys sit with while Jim & I sing in the choir), the not having a nap, the different time of day, or what but the boys were really squirrely the entire time. So we (and they) survived. The lady behind us told me at the end of the service that "your children are precious" which are code words for "I enjoyed watching them but am glad they are yours and not mine."
Andy fell asleep in the car on the way home but did manage to wake up to leave cookies for Santa. He picked out seven cookies for the plate and Doug left a packet of hot cocoa in the Santa cup so Santa ate well at our house. Andy even insisted on leaving a napkin for Santa to wipe his face.
Doug was the first one up and came running into our room shouting "Santa came." He emptied his stocking before the other two were even awake. Andy was up next and I thought the poor child was going to cry because Santa had left half of a cookie on the plate. However, I explained that Santa probably got full and had to move on to the next house. That seemed to make him happy and later we thought about how Santa might have had a full belly and even perhaps taken a nap out our house.
Jim started breakfast and when there were twenty minutes left on the timer for the coffee cake Josie ripped into the boys' gift to her. So we did the gifts under the tree. We finished before the timer was done.
I do have some pictures. I don't have any of the carnage directly afterward. I forgot to charge the new camera last night and so I plopped the battery in the charger in between stockings and the tree. I didn't look at it right away so I didn't realize at first that I had the battery upside-down. This sort of follows the trend of me knocking the entire box of dryer sheets into the washer and then washing a load (which was definitely NOT a time saver by the way).
Merry Christmas and give hugs to your family.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

And on the third day of Christmas my truelove gave to me....

Three bottles of amoxicillin.
Doug woke up saying that his ear hurt this morning. We decided to take Andy along for good measure. Josie already had been diagnosed with an ear infection on one side. So Doug and Andy have matching ear infections (Doug on the right, Andy on the left). At least we caught them early on.
Now I just need to get everything else done that needs to get done around here. The kids are excited and I'm sure that since they are 3 and 1 that pretty much no matter what I get done and don't get done they will be wowed.

Monday, December 22, 2008

100 times and counting...

Doug has developed a few Christmas/winter fetishes. Last year the only thing that surfaced was that he loved the song "Jingle Bells" and we would get smiles for a month after Christmas as we would enter stores and he would start singing it.
We had a love of hot chocolate two years ago when my brother gave us a Hot Chocolate warmer/machine thing (it wasn't unpacked last year). This year Doug is back to his love of Hot Chocolate (or as he would say...Hot Coffee).
He also currently has an obsession with Rudolph. I don't really know how many times we have now watched the video. We constantly sing the song in the car. We turn up the song in the car when it comes on the radio, and when "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas" comes on we turn that up too because Burl Ives sings it at the end of the Rudolph video. Ironically enough I think his favorite part of the video is the snow monster.

Imaginary....

I haven't really heard anything recently about Andy's imaginary friends. However, we have developed an imaginary set of keys. The imaginary set of keys apparently unlocks the car and the house. Occasionally the keys get lost or left some place to be found later. Recently an imaginary watch was added, and this afternoon I learned that apparently he has an imaginary radio in his room that has been playing Christmas music composed by him. I'm a little surprised that the only "cell phone" I have seen has been temporary pretend play.

Busy Day

We had a busy day yesterday. We drove three hours to go to church at our old church in our old town. It was kind of cool because not that many people knew we were coming so when we showed up we had the "oh wow" factor going for us. We hadn't been there since we moved so basically a year and a half had passed.
Then we drove back home to go to a Christmas party with our new church family. It was a lot of fun. The kids had a great time. So much so that when it was time to go they didn't want to leave. There was an ornament swap. We were strategic this year and took two ornaments. Both ornaments were "stolen" at least once. We ended up with a nice wooden Santa and Andy helped me "steal" a fishing snowman. It was fun, but now it is time to clean up the house some and actually get ready for Christmas at our house.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I survived

I survived Wal-mart on the Saturday before Christmas...with three kids in tow...
We needed to go today because there were some ornaments we needed to get for an ornament swap at a Christmas party we are going to tomorrow. So I started by bribing the kids that if they stayed in the cart (rather than walking) they would each get a treat. I was thankful for this because we did actual encounter a little girl who was lost and right as I was heading her towards a Wal-mart clerk her brother showed up.
I got two carts just so the kids could spread out. They helped me pick out the ornaments (a John Deere Tractor and a set of Jingle Bells), we got the food things we needed (which interestingly enough the food section was a lot less busy than the merchandise section), and then we got the Ferrari we needed. A child at our church was going around asking people to get him a Ferrari. Jim, being the slightly twisted guy I married said yes. So hence the trip to the toy section and a Hot Wheels Ferrari. We couldn't find a red one like he wanted but they had white, yellow and silver to choose from (we ended up with white). I had already known that I wouldn't make it out of the Hot Wheels section without the kids wanting a car so promising a new car for good behavior was not a stretch. Doug and Josie each picked different cars with flames and Andy opted for a Matchbox Fire Engine. Doug had his package open before we had even left the aisle and Andy had his out before we reached the check-out. We lucked out and got through the check-out quickly and Josie happily had her car immediately after it crossed the scanner.

Praying for a healthy holiday

This morning I was...depressed, discouraged, devastated...Andy threw-up at breakfast.
I really was having flashbacks to a month ago with Thanksgiving.
I have been feeling lousy the past couple of days. Today, after a shower, I was actually feeling a bit better and a bit more normal. Josie went to the doctor Thursday morning and after digging out ear wax the doctor determined that she had an ear infection in one ear. So Josie is on antibiotics. Andy had coughed a bunch and thrown-up some on Thursday night. Then you get into the whole ...was it the coughing, is it something more, did he just eat too much, there are no other symptoms circle of thinking.
So far today Andy has acted pretty normal and while he didn't eat a regular lunch he did have some animal crackers and some cheese crackers and so far has been fine.
So if you are the praying sort please pray for us to have a healthy holiday.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Survey

A friend sent this too me via email and she posted it on her blog which seemed like a good idea...so here are my answers to the Christmas Survey. If you want to participate feel free to take it also.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Both...It's whatever I have on hand (and hasn't been too wrinkled by Andy's need to wrap random items as gifts)
2. Real tree or Artificial? Artificial
3. When do you put up the tree? Usually around Thanksgiving...or whenever thereafter my schedule allows
4. When do you take the tree down? As close to New Year as possible
5. Do you like eggnog?I do but I've never had the "real" thing
6. Favorite gift received ever? So many memorable Christmas gifts...I'd have to think for awhile
7. Hardest person to buy for? It varies from year to year...but mostly my mom
8. Easiest person to buy for? my kids
9. Do you have a nativity scene? yes--several because I have been collecting them
10. Mail or email Christmas cards? mail...though recently I've just gone to sending a letter and not actual cards
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? A germ...there was a memorable Christmas where half the family was puking
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? It's a Wonderful Life (though I like the Muppet Christmas Specials)
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I used to have it done by October, but now I mainly do it mid-November
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I call it "re-gifting" or a Fraggle Gift (see previous movie comment)
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Cookies, fudge, sweets....
16. Lights on the tree? Lots and lots...my test is whether I can squint my eyes and still see the shape of the tree
17. Favorite Christmas song? God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
18. Travel at Christmas or stay at home? I've probably traveled more than staying home while I have been married...this year I am looking forward to staying home
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Yes, but I have to sing them
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Star, but for a long time we had a bow
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Most on Christmas
22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Crazy traffic, people too worried about an "over-the-top" Christmas
23. What theme or color are you using? Theme...what's a theme? If tacky is a theme that is what I have...um, I suppose a better term for my theme is "homey"
24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Jim made a fabulous stuffed pork loin one year that comes to mind, I like all of the fixings and sides and variety
25. What do you want for Christmas this year? Healthy children

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas To-do list

I'm still wrapping up university related duties (and probably will be for awhile), but I am managing to squeeze in a few Christmas things here and there. I got packages mailed to family and friends who live far away, the Christmas letter is printed but waiting to be addressed, the decorating (or at least what I am going to do of it) is done except that I have to keep re-decorating the tree from Josie (and cat) height down, and we have actually made a few holiday baking items. I'm glad to have a camera again and I need to sit down sometime (not sure when) to figure out how to get pictures off it because I have some to share. I'm shooting not for a picture perfect holiday, but for one that we will all enjoy and remember and hopefully everyone will be healthy.
We went to the boys' preschool Christmas Program today (and I get to go again tomorrow since we are technically enrolled in both the M-W-F and T-Th class so that we are five days a week). It will be interesting to see how it goes tomorrow.
It was as amusing as you know the 4 and under crowd can be. The four year old classes did a Nativity Play. The class is really heavy on girls so there were LOTS of angels. Then they did the class performances starting with the youngest group. So we had young twos, older twos, young threes (which is Doug & Andy's class), and then Jim and I left to get the boys so we didn't see the older threes.
There were all the usual sorts. The children who cried, the children who didn't sing, the children who sang really loudly, the children who stopped singing to wave at their parents, the children with their fingers up their noses, and the children who weren't happy with the spots they were in so they decided to move mid-performance.
Doug and Andy did pretty well. They were not standing next to each other so I don't have any shots on the camera with the two of them in the program. Doug sang and did all the hand-motions for all of the songs. He seemed pretty comfortable and I know that he saw me because he waved and smiled.
Andy had a little bit of the deer in head-lights look about him. He seemed surprised to see all of the parents (and grandparents) there and did not sing for the first couple of songs. Eventually he got into doing hand-motions and by the last song was singing. I couldn't tell if he saw us or not. When we asked him later he said that he did, but it wasn't obvious during the performance. I think he was feeling a bit shy, because at the end of the performance he made a bee-line for Mrs. Michelle who is one of their teachers. He did get back in line but needed the physical reassurance.
We picked the boys up from their classroom after the performance and then, because Jim had taken a half day off to see them, we got to have lunch and the rest of the day with daddy. Yippee!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Future Chef

I'm sure that Andy is going to enjoy cooking and baking in the future. He has been REALLY excited about Christmas baking. A little too excited I think.
We tried to get a small start on baking this weekend (after some massive cleaning). One of the things that Jim wants to make takes graham cracker crumbs and the store was out of the boxes of crumbs so we were going to make our own from whole graham crackers. We had the bowl from our (little) food processor sitting on the counter.
This afternoon I walked into the kitchen and Andy had piled a few pieces of graham crackers that he could find (he already got in trouble for getting into them earlier so he knew not to open the package), Ritz crackers, and cookie crisp cereal all piled into the food processor bowl all ready to be demolished into crumbs.
Hmmm...I do wonder a little bit what it would have tasted like.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

THEY'RE MESSING WITH MY MIND!!!

I'm basically done with MY actual coursework. I just have other ends to tie up. The one I am currently working on is reading and scoring (It's easy...they either pass or fail) undergraduate papers. It's really messing with my mind. I guess for the most part they are decent and I have to remind myself that they are just barely starting their journey into the world of being a teacher, but some you have to wonder about. The grammar, the typos, the "I haven't even bothered to make it look like I am trying and I'm going to resubmit the exact same paper in the hope that you aren't actually going to read it" attitude.
When I sort my brain out and emerge from this mess I'll be back!
Of course I still have to
  • Work on that article I have been working on since last fall (yeah, I know...but November sort of attacked us around here)
  • Get everything set up for all the courses I am teaching next semester
  • Maybe get the house to where I don't feel like I am STILL unpacking (I know it's in a box somewhere....)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I survived

I survived a trip to see Santa. We went after preschool yesterday so that I could get an idea of what the kids wanted before Jim and I did our shopping (we had a shopping date on Friday night).

Tips for seeing Santa....
  • Check when his hours are....we got there and ate lunch (which was a whole ordeal in and of itself because the boys were not in agreement of where we should go) and by the time we were done Santa was on his lunch. We killed time by riding the little Christmas train.
  • Have fresh diapers on. I don't know if we actually peed on Santa but when Doug got up his pull-up was saturated enough that some squished out the back and he had a wet spot about the size of an apple at the back.
  • Beware that your children may be influenced by what they have seen that day. Andy was all about some machine where you put in money and candy comes out (a gumball machine perhaps?) because apparently a child had brought one for share day at preschool.
So I didn't really gain all that much insight about what to get the kids and Jim and I spent somewhere in excess of 2 hours walking around Toys'R Us thinking about what to get the kids. We're at that point where we didn't want to duplicate something we had, we wanted toys that inspire imaginative play, we aren't ready for big gifts like game systems and we're thinking of bikes for their birthday in the Spring, Josie has so many hand-me-down toys already, so it's hard to buy.
We ended up with Planet Heroes stuff for Doug & Andy and Josie is getting her own little Tinkerbell chair to sit in.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Interesting (but true!)

Here are some tidbits:
  • If you drive on a snooze cruise (car trip designed to put kid(s) to sleep for those who are uninitiated) all children except the one who asked for the snooze cruise will fall asleep.
  • If you read every other page of most children's picture books the story will still make sense and you can get through that "one more story please" book faster so they get in bed sooner.
  • Food off your plate apparently tastes better than food off their plate.
  • A child may gorge himself/herself on something at one meal and then refuse to touch it at another meal because he/she "doesn't like that."

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Rules of Parenting

Here are a few "rules" of parenting that I have decided/discovered over time:
  1. The magic rule of three: I will only pick up the tossed sippy cup/toy/spoon/etc. three times, after the third time of returning all of the clothes to the drawer I no longer care if the clothes are folded, on the third day of returning all of the clothes to the drawer multiple times I no longer care if the clothes are sorted at all.
  2. I can usually find all but one shoe (in my case that means 5 out of 6 shoes).
  3. A child will poop right before you have to head out the door on a day where you are running late.
  4. You must always check the diaper bag and if you leave the diaper bag in the car it is safer to bring extra just in case (which is why I usually have WAY too many diapers because I am always carrying extra out to the car).
  5. Your children behave better for other people because they know you too well.
  6. It doesn't matter how many (or how few) children you have because you will always get the comment "you have your hands full" (even got this once with just Josie when she was not even walking yet).
  7. The favorite shirt/socks/pants will always be in the laundry the day that it would be really helpful to have so that your child would cheerfully find something to wear.
  8. An amazing number of places (even places that have kids menus) don't have changing tables because they apparently figure you will just sequester yourself in your house for the first 2 to 4 years of a child's life. (The good news is that it is possible to do a diaper change with the child standing up if your child isn't too wiggly).
  9. For some strange reason complete strangers will hold the door open for a three year old who is obviously more than 6 feet in front of any associated adult
  10. The day you most need everyone to nap is the day that either no one will or they will nap in tandem so that there is always someone awake.

Christmas in the air

We went to a Christmas parade last night. It was fun but cold. I didn't expect it to be almost 2 hours long so next year we will know to park and walk a little so that if we decide we want to leave early we can get out. The kids had a good time. It always amazes me how Doug can always find a friend. Within seconds of us reaching our spot Doug was playing with another little boy. I was proud that I told my boys not to mess with a business sign and no matter how much the other little boy touched it Doug and Andy did not. Woohoo!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Shopping with Three Year Olds

Shopping trips are interesting these days...especially if it includes not only the kids but also Jim. Andy and Doug want lots of things and Doug is funny because it is not just that he wants an item, but he is particular about which specific bottle or box he wants. I could be going to pick up the same exact item but he wants me to take the one he is pointing at. All the kids are particularly friendly so it is not unusual for me to be walking along and Doug is dancing down the isle or waving at and greeting all who pass. Many a time I have turned around to find some elderly woman talking to Josie.
Today we went and did some shopping with Jim. The boys started pretending that they were fighting monsters and when they started getting loud Jim got them to play that they were sneaking up on monsters. Also, Andy started picking up things he wanted and putting them in the cart (carefully at least because Josie was asleep in the basket), and Doug would point out things he wanted. It was particularly funny when Doug picked up some cookies and said very genuinely, "Maybe these need to come home with us."

Silver Bells

We rang the bell today for the Salvation Army. Our church is providing ringers for the entrance to the mall for Saturdays before Christmas. I will say that two friendly three year olds in Santa hats bring in a lot more donations than just an adult standing there. However, their attention span for it is only about 15-20 minutes when it is cold outside.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Riding on the range

I was looking at pictures since I finally got a new camera (and I actually have it in hand now....long story). Anyway, apparently I took this video back in August. Yes, there were still boxes upstairs at that point.
video

Thursday, December 4, 2008

My Two Little Guys

Doug & Andy are interesting fellows. I joke that having twins was the best science experiment I ever did. They are just so different.

Doug: He can be loud but he sometimes still resorts to sounds rather than words when he is upset. He over generalizes labels (ALL balls are soccer balls or whatever the current ball is he is hooked on, ALL berries are strawberries, etc.) He loves to color, he used to love yellow but his current favorite is pink. He loves cars and trains and anything that could be classified as transportation. He thinks he is the center of attention where ever he goes (he greets people or says good-bye to random people where ever we go). He is more cautious than Andy and he is a little bit of a perfectionist (we are working on resilience so that he will not get frustrated). He easily fits in with any group of children at a play area...it doesn't matter whether the children are slightly older or slightly younger.

Andy: He talks nonstop....just about everything that is in his brain comes out of his mouth (you can "hear" the wheels turning). He sorts out the relationship between things. He is not as big on coloring and currently if you ask his favorite color he will say "blue and yellow make green." He loves to be loud and particularly likes to make up his own songs. He loves construction things, tools, cooking, and mothering a baby doll. He is shyer and likes to be close to me, but he is very confident of himself physically so that he climbs and does everything on the playground. He is not a perfectionist; however, he also is very stubborn about doing things his way and on his own. He usually is a leader and plays pretty independently on his own when we go someplace where there are other children.

We worked on coloring some wooden snowflakes for Christmas presents. The snowflakes are about the size of a dessert plate and it has taken us two days. Each boy is coloring one side of each snowflake. Andy got tired of waiting for Doug to be ready to switch snowflakes after the first side. Doug got tired of coloring the first day because he colored almost every inch of his side. Andy's side only has about three colors and lots of blank space.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Blue day

It is a blue day because Andy went to preschool today with blue lips and teeth (it wouldn't all come off). This morning Doug invented a new topping for toast....toast with butter (to make it stick) and sprinkles. Andy just got a little carried away with the blue sprinkles....however the meal was well received by all three children.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Magic

I had almost forgotten about it until I was looking at someone else's blog who has kids that mention magic. It is kind of exciting to me (being a gifted teacher and loving creativity and pretend play) to see what Doug & Andy come up with on their own.
I was trying to get Doug & Andy to settle down for some quiet time today and Doug expressed interest in me napping with him on his bed. My thought was "oh, why the heck not...I could use a nap also."
As I lay there Andy came and joined us too. Neither boy slept but they talked the entire time so that I didn't get a nap but I at least got to lay down. Anyway, at one point Andy had something they were pretending was a wand. Andy would wave it and say "magic" and each time he said it Doug would either start acting silly or stop acting silly.
When I asked them if they had played that game with someone else the answer was "No mom, just us."
It's kind of exciting for me. The creativity...the imagination...the interest in things I like (fantasy).

What Holiday I am




You Are Easter



You are an optimistic, hopeful, and genuinely sweet person.

Sensitive and affectionate, you are easily touched.

You love nature, animals, and anything cute or cuddly.

For you, every day is a new chance - no matter what happened yesterday.



What makes you celebrate: Almost anything. You love most holidays and celebrations.



At holiday get togethers, you do best as: The peacemaker. You can prevent any squabbles that might break out.



On a holiday, you're the one most likely to: Remember to include everyone

Christmas Lights

I love it that people are starting to put up Christmas lights and other outside Christmas decorations. It is fun driving around with the kids and spotting the decorations and lights. I like looking at them and the kids are suitably appreciative. Usually Doug says "Oooo, that's cool."

The lights make me smile no matter what my day has been like.

Monday, December 1, 2008

(Some of) The Weight is lifted

I just turned in my final project for my survey research class....I really hope I didn't do something stupid like forget to print something. I think I will be happy if I don't see a chi-square table for a week or so.
Now on to the next project!
I will say if you are turning in final assignments please at least make an attempt to actually follow directions....if it is obvious that you just sort of threw something together and submitted it hoping that it would get past grading...well...well...it just won't work.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The girl can climb

Josie is a climber like Andy was. She will climb up on anything and has now demonstrated that she can climb out of anything. Andy could climb out of his crib but took awhile before he started to be able to get out of a pack'n play when we stay places. No such luck with Josie.
Last night we put her down for bed after getting to my in-laws and she came out three times before we finally let her sit with Jim until she fell asleep.
We did actually get her bed converted so that I don't have to worry about falling while climbing out at home. She is very happy to be a "big girl" and she grins with a smug smile when she just "appears" on her own. I need to put some child locks on the door knobs now (at least on the one from her room into the bathroom) because with the easy to turn door handles in a 40 year old house she can already work the door knobs.

Friday, November 28, 2008

We made it...

No one threw up last night, so this morning we finally made it down to Nana and Pop's . The kids did great in the car and other then rain the trip was relatively uneventful.

Huh?

Yesterday, with recovering tummies, Doug told me he wanted some crocodile.
uhh....what?
Crocodile.

So five minutes later I realized that he meant Gatorade.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Things are ok...just not fun...

As you well may know we have had a lot of doctors appointments this month because we have had mostly some sort of respiratory something-or-other running through the house. So I was in hopes that we were healing and getting past all of this. Keeping in mind that with young children their symptoms aren't always clear and they can't tell you what is wrong here is what has gone on....
  1. Josie woke up Saturday night unhappy. She has had teeth coming in, she has been snotty, could be all sorts of things.
  2. After trying a few things she threw-up and Jim went to take her temperature.
  3. Jim tripped over the stool in the kid's bathroom and fell while holding Josie (meaning he couldn't catch himself).
  4. Josie was fine but Jim was afraid he had broken his ribs falling up against the side of the tub.
  5. We called Ben, who fortunately was in town, and he came to watch the kids while we went to the emergency room for the second time in about two and a half weeks. (We lived in our old town for 8 years and went the the emergency room a total of 3 times).
  6. He did not break any ribs but most likely seriously bruised them (so this is how he started his Thanksgiving vacation)
  7. We tried to have Ben and his sister Katie over for a special dinner on Monday night...that ended up in Andy puking on his plate (which of course ended dinner....)
  8. I spent Monday night with both boys in the recliner and my finger hooked like a life-line on a bucket so they could vomit approximately every hour.
  9. Tuesday we were mostly clear except that Doug progressed to out the other end....
  10. Tuesday night Josie and Andy both threw-up (but only once a piece)
  11. We were hopeful that we were clear because we had a good day with food consumed and acting normal, but then Wednesday night Andy threw-up multiple times and Josie threw up once.
  12. So...rather then traveling to Nana and Pop's we are having a quiet Thanksgiving here with (at least today) the main dish being dry white toast accompanied by a lovely, freshly mixed Gatorade.
Except for the vomiting the kids are acting normal and have no temperature so there is not a whole lot else we can do except wait it out. So not to worry we are just trudging along...we WILL look back on this and remember it as THAT Thanksgiving where everyone was so sick and miserable.

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope everyone is having a Happy Thanksgiving. My goal is to have not a picture perfect holiday, but hopefully one filled with happy memories. The bad stuff we will hopefully look back on and think, "Wow, that was a memorable one and I am glad it is over."
I am thankful for many things this holiday. Yes I am thankful for my family, friends, the wonderful things I have to keep me warm and such. I am also thankful for:
  • Not being in an RV but having a house
  • Having a baby-sitter who can come at a moments notice
  • Having my own washer and dryer for midnight (& 2am) loads of laundry
  • Having a recliner to sleep in with a child on my chest
  • Everyone resting until late and that I don't have to get up to go to work
  • Recovering children
There is much more that I am thankful for so give your loved ones a hug and don't eat too much.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Some quotes that apply to my life at the moment...

"Life is what happens while you are making other plans." -attributed to Thomas La Mance, John Lennon, Margaret Millar, Allen Sasunders, and Betty Talmadge

"What doesn't kill us makes us stronger. " Nietzsche, Friedrich

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I Like You I Love You

Sometimes I wish I could take just a tiny peek into the brains of my children. Just to see what is motivating them or what they are really thinking. For Doug it is usually when he is being silly and telling me about something using funny sounds and gestures to describe it. I just really want to know what he means.

For Andy lately, it has been about "I love you." This may sound strange...or perhaps if you are a parent you have been through this too. Andy will tell me he needs to tell me something. He will have a most serious look on his face. Sometimes his message will be "I love you" (or as he says "I Lube You) and sometimes it is "I like you mommy" or "I like you bery much mommy." Sometimes this becomes "I love you and I like you" and sometimes it becomes a circular thing where we are both saying I love you and I like you back and forth.
It is all very sweet but I wish I could read his brain to know what is making him so very vocal about it lately.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

O Christmas Tree

We don't normally do Christmas stuff prior to Thanksgiving around here, but I have to admit this year I am pretty excited about it.
  1. Andy and Doug are just reaching the age where they "get it" so they are excited about it
  2. Josie can already say SAN TA (and that is how she says it...two really distinct syllables).
  3. Our Christmas decorations haven't been out in TWO years! That's right 2 years. Two years ago the boys were Josie's age and our tree never actually ended up with more then about ten ornaments on it. It had chili pepper lights that the boys picked the covers off all of the ones that they could reach (the tree lights were red/green at the top and white at the bottom). Most of the ornaments I haven't actually seen in three years.
So we pulled out the tree tonight and I at least got the Christmas light stuff up to the appropriate place to be ready to go outside. Doug & Andy are really excited about the lights.
Jim and I put up the tree tonight. The tree box was one of the boxes that suffered some water damage in the storage unit so it doesn't seem moldy or anything like that, but the metal the branches are on are rusty so we decided that we will use it this year and then throw it out. The tree is at least 9 years old already (just prior to all of the pre-lite trees) so not a huge issue to loose it. We'll hit the after Christmas sales to get a stellar tree. The kids and I already walked through one Christmas display in a store and Andy wants a blue tree while Doug wants a pink tree....somehow I think I'd rather go for a fairly traditional one and if it has lights already on it that's even better.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Doctor Update

We bested our last record....
This week we had a total of 4 people (yes 4) who went to the doctor.
Jim- went Monday and has antibiotics
Me- went Wednesday and now have antibiotics, steroid, and a back-up inhaler for bronchitis (but no pneumonia thankfully)
Jo- 18 month wellness plus flu shot, and two vaccines (which means she will NOT have to get any shots at the 2 year appointment)
Doug- ears are looking good and the antibiotics we have left are just a bonus round since we have to finish them but he is past the hump

I'm not sure that I can truly count Jim's visit because I don't have to herd him or chase him or entertain him or hold him down at the doctor's office.
Oh, and I have a philosophical question...why are the toys in the sick child waiting room more fun then the toys in the well-child waiting room?

Weekend Project

So in addition to all of the normal stuff I need to do this weekend (laundry, dishes, grading papers, writing papers, etc.) I think I need to add converting Jo's crib to a toddler bed.
Twice last week she came out by herself after being put down for a nap, and yesterday morning she made her way out in the morning. It's a little earlier than the boys were but this is Jo and she is just trying to keep up with her brothers.

My sensitive one...

All the kids went along today for Jo's 18 month well-baby appointment (she was mostly well..has a sniffily nose/cough at the moment). She is fine. She is ahead on most things (lots of words, good movement, etc.). She is still like 70% in length and only like 25% in weight...however the doctor seemed less concerned about it this time (she FINALLY said that that might just be how Josie was and that a lot of kids taper off when they start walking...which Jo has been doing since she was 10 months old). She got three shots today. Yes she cried...but!
But Doug cried more for her when she got the shots then she did.

I do have to mention that
  1. Last time Doug got a shot he moved his leg and got a scratch and we still made him get the shot too.
  2. We had cleaned some ear wax out just prior to the nurse coming to do the shots and Doug was already majorly distressed from her screaming during that
  3. He was all for making a break for it from the check-up room all in the name of protecting his little sister so she wouldn't have to get shots.
The nurse was quite touched by his empathy for Jo and somehow my explaining that a little hurt now was better then a hospital stay later didn't get through to Doug. Andy was just ready to go by the end of it all and was draping himself over the chair in the room after he got chewed out for totally rearranging the furniture.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Red Light Green Light

I don't know if all families have a way of "shooting" red lights to turn them green or not...but Doug & Andy just recently started doing it around here. I think they actually started doing it when riding with our baby-sitter.
So now I drive along and when I get stopped by a red light I hear:
Andy: hamma hamma (hammer hammer) bang bang
Doug: THUNDER LIGHTNING MAAAGIC

There is also appropriate hand waving and other actions that go on.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Library....

We went to the library today. Not the big main library that we normally go to...but the smaller branch library that had a certain video that I knew Doug would want to see.
My kids each have their own styles at the library. Doug & Andy each have their own library cards because we maxed mine out once for the number of items that you are allowed to check out on one card...so as soon as they turned three and could have their own card I got one for each of them.
Doug tends toward the few carefully selected books.
Andy tends toward the more is better philosophy. He will sometimes show some discrimination, but if I start mentioning that he doesn't have to choose everything he sees he will say that he is picking out some books for Jo also.
Jo only recently has been let out of the stroller at the library and she is just excited to get to pick up books and put them in the bag so she seems to be following Andy's line of thinking.
I think we almost gave one of the librarians there a nervous breakdown. We looked at the kids' videos and of course Doug and Andy want the first one they see...and then they see another one...and another one...and another one, etc. We are only allowed three DVDs per card and a max of five per household so I usually tell the boys that they are only allowed one a piece. Well the librarian had apparently just finished re-shelving the juvenile DVDs and she was more than a little concerned that the boys (and Jo) were picking up so many DVDs. I did manage to herd them out and have all the DVDs we did not choose put back on the correct spots. Now we just have to make sure that we keep track of all of the books and DVDs so that they don't get mixed up with our stuff. Thank goodness for email reminders when things are due.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Pictures on the playground




No...we haven't had a chance to go get a camera (it's on the to-do list), but the kids are going to be included with some changes they are making to our church bulletin so my cute kids had their pictures taken.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My little Stipper

Jo has turned into a stripper....she would much rather be naked then clothed. It doesn't matter how loose the clothing is...she says it is "tight" and she wants to strip it off. The boys went through this stage but they didn't tend to go quite so far as they usually stopped at the diaper and she wants to pull that off too if she has her way. She can be running around naked and Andy will be saying that he is cold and wants a blanket (but on the contrary I think it could be really hot out and Andy would still want a blanket because that just seems to be the phase he is in currently).
So anyway I'm not quite to the point of fastening her diaper with duct tape, but I have started making her shoes the last to go on because if I put the shoes on too early I know that I will only have to put them on yet again immediately before we head out the door.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Woohoo I'm on a streak!

Ok, now say that title with some sarcasm added.
We are now three weeks in a row with at least two doctors' appointments per week.
Week 1- Doug went for his lingering cold...then two days later for a reaction to the antibiotics.
Week 2- I went in for lingering cold and running a fever, and then went to the emergency room the same evening with a 104 degree fever that of course started finally reacting to the medicine when we got there. (If they offer to do a flu test on you...run and hide...it WILL make you cry).
Week 3- I thought I was going to make it through a week without having to go, but we were back in on Friday morning because Andy had a rash (turned out to be hives) and Doug was still coughing even after finishing antibiotics (ear was not great so we are back on antibiotics).

I already know that we will be going next week...Josie has an 18 month wellness appointment/flu shoot/weight check and I was told to drag Doug along to check his ear (fortunately the doctor was ok with him coming to Jo's appointment rather then having to come in again the next week).

I suppose this rivals the record number of doctors' appointments we had when Jo was born because both boys were sick around the time she was born and she had jaundice so we saw the doctor about every other day for about a week to a week and a half.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Dear Mr. Germ,

I do not know whether you are a virus or a bacteria and frankly at this point I do not care. You have over stayed your welcome. I think we are in the process of recovering but it has been a long haul and it is time for you to leave our household.
I am tired of coughing. While I am feeling better I would like to feel enough better so that I am not coughing hard enough to hurt or coughing when I am trying to sleep. Frankly I would like to spend a night in my bed that is in an actual horizontal position.
I would also like to have a day where my normally independent children are actually independent. I am tired of having one, two or three of them glued to me at virtually all times because they are feeling lousy. It makes it difficult to get anything done.
I am a mother and a graduate student. I do not have time to be sick. I am not allowed to be sick. I don't have the luxury of time to recuperate and I do not have the money to whisk myself away to a seaside resort for some time in the sun.
It is very early in the season for you to be hanging around here. I do not wish you on anyone else and I certainly hope that you will not be visiting our house again this season.
Sincerely,
Susan

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What not to say...

We are all in various stages of runny noses and coughing around here. I was holding Josie and sarcastically said "Just what I need...for Josie to rub her snotty nose on my face."
Sure enough Jo starts trying to rub her nose on me. Ewwwww

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

More Milestones

Josie climbed out of her crib last night while we were getting the kids ready for bed....she did it in a very controlled and sure fashion....a good two months ahead of when Andy started doing it.

She hasn't quite managed to climb back in and I will be interested to see if she starts climbing out at bed or nap times.

She is also such a daddy's girl. Where Doug and Andy started calling mommy mommy to get someone to come get them out of their crib in the mornings, Josie calls daddy daddy. She also spent all morning on Monday asking where daddy had gone.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sock Wars

I haven't quite decided whether decorated socks are a good or a bad thing.
This morning was going smoothly until we reached the point of putting on socks. Doug and Andy wear the same size and there are very few things that are truly designated as specific clothing items for one or the other of them. Doug has enjoyed wearing a pair of socks with airplanes on them and in the past Andy has preferred other pairs.
However....this morning was as different story.
Now, I must mention that yesterday Doug wanted to wear the airplane socks and was told if he cared what went on his feet then he needed to go pick it out himself. This morning he was told the same thing but he never actually went to do it.
Well, Andy also wanted the airplane socks and he went and got them himself.
Doug was unhappy.
I tried to appease him with UFO socks (another favorite pair) but he would have nothing to do with them so I put white socks on his feet and the UFO ones on Jo's feet.
So I drove to preschool with Andy happy in his seat, Doug pouting about not getting the socks he wanted, and Josie stripping off her shoes to admire her socks.

**Edit- when I got home this evening Doug and Andy were each wearing one airplane sock and one UFO sock.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Stats...and Milestones

Ack Statistics! I can read the tables and tell you if they are significant. However trying to explain WHY they are significant is a different story...especially when it is an assignment for class that is a "practice" assignment for the real project and the "practice" assignment is in a subject area you have no background knowledge in.

On a happier note tonight Doug picked up the magnadoodle and drew me two faces. There were eyes, a mouth, and I think a nose. He drew a circle around the bigger one. This was the first time that there was a definite thing that I could see that was more then just scribbles. So woot for reaching a new milestone.

Also, we have finally used up all of the baby shampoo from our baby showers when I was pregnant with the boys. We had four fairly large baby showers when I was pregnant with Doug & Andy and I wrote a ton of thank you notes. It was great because we got just about everything we needed and I almost forgot to go buy diapers when we ran out of the supply in the closet at around 5 months. However, we got a ton of baby shampoo and just barely purchased some more. I still have several bottles of baby lotion because I am not particularly good about remembering to put it on the kids.
We might have bought one bottle of our favorite stuff when Josie came along, but the main thing we were given when I was pregnant with her was clothes. Like 90% of the gifts we got were cute little girl clothes in sizes ranging from newborn to 12 months because everyone was thrilled that I was having a girl after having two boys.
Our shampoo supply lasted us 3.5 years, 3 children, 2 houses + an RV, and countless baths and showers.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Clothes Horse

I think it is because I have been trying to sort out the kids' clothing to get the winter clothes in and the old summer clothes that will likely not fit next summer in a different pile, and the stuff that will fit but is crowding the drawers put up that Josie is suddenly fascinated by putting on different clothes. While I am sorting (this has been a MANY week process...life keeps interrupting me) she will pick out clothes from the piles I am working on or go and find things from her dresser or from Doug & Andy's dresser.
We have gone through outfits after outfit and had layers upon layers. It looks pretty random...especially when she decides to take a pair of underwear and pull it on her head.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Fair warning would have been nice....

I have been battling a cold for awhile. I'm pretty good at recognizing when it is time to take the kids in, but not so good about recognizing when I should go in to the doctor.
Wednesday I was running a fever and didn't recognize it until Jim told me (over the phone) that I was running a fever and should go to the doctor. Fortunately our baby-sitter was already here so off I went. I ended up on an antibiotic and she also prescribed a cold medicine to dry up my nose and stop the coughing.

Realize that for the past four years I have either been pregnant or nursing during cold and flu season and so there have only been gentle over the counter cold medicines for me. I can't actually remember if I have ever been prescribed a cold medicine before in my adult life. Here was the extent of the warnings I got about it...
Doctor: You may have trouble getting it at an outside pharmacy (one not at the student health center). It's not that it isn't safe, they just want us to prove that it actually works. (It did dry me up)
Pharmacist: It can make you dizzy so you may not want to take it when you are taking care of the kids (no mention about driving...but I guess it was on the label).

I did get a little bit of the dizziness....but I don't know a whole lot about drugs and medicine but I am pretty sure that this darn thing has a narcotic in it. How do I know?
I have had the weirdest...most vivid...most scary dreams I have ever had before. They even top my strange dreams from pregnancy. Invading aliens...I had that dream. Legions of satanic worshipers invading a college campus with only three people to battle them....I had that one too.
I'm one of those who does not watch horror films (nightmares for three months after) and the extent of my ability to control my dreams it to recognize that I AM dreaming and to tell myself to WAKE-UP.
I am back on my nice little OTC drugs today and I don't plan on taking that stuff again.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My sweet boy

I really have two sweet boys, but about twice a week Doug invites me to sleep with him. Andy does it every so often, and recently Jo used pointing to convey that she wanted me to sleep in her crib with her (not happening...I'd never move again if I tried), but Doug invites me about twice a week.
This last time that he invited me he said "Mommy you want to sleep wif me?"
I said, "No, mommy is very tired and needs to get some good sleep in her own bed."
Doug said (doing his best impression of Vanna White), "I have a nice fluffy pillow..."

Gotta give the boy credit for trying.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Civic Duty

I did my civic duty...yes, I did vote, but I also talked to the poll watcher.
The place I was voting at had a really long line. They kept coming through and calling for people with names that started with A-G or H-O. I am at the very end of the alphabet so I am used to having a clear line to the table.
When I finally got up to the door to the room where voting was actually happening, I saw that they had their lines divided into A-G, H-O, and P-Z. That meant that nearly half of the alphabet was in one line.
SO I voted and asked for a complaint card (because they were mentioned in a sign on the wall). The guy taking the ballots wasn't sure where to get them. At that point I didn't want to weave my way back up to the table (they had tables for voters to sit at, but the way they were arranged only about half of the tables were usable because the other tables were too close to the lines where you signed in and got your ballots). So I walked out...but the poll watcher lady noticed I was disgruntled and followed me out. So I had to tell her that I didn't have a problem voting, but that if something wasn't working they needed to make a change because otherwise people would drive by and see the line and might not stop to vote.
I was just really glad that the boys were in preschool so that I only had Jo strapped into a stroller, and that I actually finished in time to be able to go get the boys on time.

**Edit** Jim got through voting in 15 minutes. Even though he went at a different time of day then I did he also said that they now had a T-Z line. So perhaps I did make a difference today.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The To-Do list I wish I had

It has been one of those days when I know it could have been much worse but that there were plenty of things that could have gone much better. So here is the "To-Do" list that I wish I had:
  • Eat a leisurely breakfast in bed
  • Remind the maid to rotate the plants
  • Watch TV and eat chocolate cake
  • Have lunch at a restaurant
  • Spend some time with my children, but let the nanny change the diapers
  • Read a book
  • Spend some time playing around on the computer
  • Have a candle-light dinner with my husband after the children are in bed
  • Get plenty of sleep

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Home again, Home again

The conference was great, and fortunately the professor I was traveling with had the same level of adventurousness with food as I do so I got to eat places and try things some people might be more hesitant about. I am glad to be home. Glad to be back to my family. Glad to be back to my firm mattress. Glad to be back to my alarm clock....
The hotel we were at was nice but didn't have alarm clocks in the room. We just did a wake-up call each morning. Of course last night was the time change...and the morning we needed to be up the earliest. We asked for a wake-up call at 4:30am so that we could get showers and dressed and catch the "Super Shuttle" to get to the airport on time.
Well you guessed it...their automated wake-up call system did not "fall" back for daylight savings. We didn't realize it because I glanced at my watch but didn't note the hour hand. My traveling partner looked at her cell phone but apparently it hadn't updated yet. So we got downstairs and waited about 20 minutes for the van to come. One came and went by and didn't even pause at the door. We freaked a little and called and suddenly found out that there was a whole hour to wait.
Fortunately there was coffee and I had some things I could work on so it wasn't too bad. The downside of that is that because I live in a different time zone it really works out to me having been up since 2:30am. I think I shall head to bed now.

Friday, October 31, 2008

I made it

I made it to my big conference. The professor I was going with had a last minute health issue and so I get to man the poster by myself tomorrow. Hopefully I understand the research since I have only read about it.
I am having a good time and learning interesting things. I do miss my family though.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Andragogy

In one of my courses I had to research some learning and teaching theories. One of the theories I learned about was called Andragogy (andra=man, gogy=leading). It is a theory about adult learning and one of the things that it talks about is how adults have other responsibilities that can take precedence over class work...younger learnes just have the primary task of learning so they don't have these responsibilities to consider.

I have really been feeling this during the past week. Monday I took Doug to the doctor because his cold had been lingering on, we had coughing so hard he was throwing up occassionally, and his nose started up again which made me think that he was getting worse instead of better.
We were sent home with a cold medicine and an antibiotic due to the duration of the cold. So that is basically what I did during the time that I would normally have been working on graduate school related stuff.
Tuesday I worked on something for Jim...which then turned out that the formating and some of the text didn't make it through the email attachment and so basically the 2.5 hours that I had spent on that was down the tubes.
Tuesday night Doug displayed an interesting rash so Wednesday morning we were back at the doctor's. Apparently he is allergic to zythromicin (which doesn't surprise me because even though I am not allergic, my sister is). So now we have a different antibiotic and are supposed to hold off on restarting the cold medicine.
So, in light of everything I need to do...I think holding off sleeping until December sounds like a reasonable plan.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I wants

Doug and Andy have the "I wants" really bad.
I want a super hero cake
I want a dog
I want a dog for outside and a fish for inside
I want to buy a boat
etc.
Usually the "I want" is related to whatever commercial is showing on TV.
This makes sense to me if the commercial is for a toy...however, this morning a commercial for make-up came on:
Andy: Mommy, I want that!
Mommy: That is something for adult women
Andy: I want it for you mommy.

Ack!

It's one of those days...nothing is imminently due, I have a ton on my plate, my morning sort of spiraled out of control from my original plans (not bad things...just not what I originally thought I would be doing), I can hardly focus because I have so many things swimming through my head, and I just feel sort of "fuzzy" about things because I can't seem to focus. I meet with my professor about the paper we have been working on so now it is back in my court. I have loose ends all over the place. I leave on Thursday to go to the an NAGC Conference (all about Gifted Education) so while I know it will be good for me...just trying to wrap my brain around what I should do, what needs to be done, what I want to do....I have partial to-do lists all over the place.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Leading by example

Today I tried to convince the boys to have some quiet time in their room. They were less than thrilled with the idea so I gave them the option of quiet time in their room or sitting in the recliner with mommy and mommy got to choose the TV show. Of course they picked being in the recliner with me. We started watching a show and then I did what my sister and her husband term "leading by example"....I fell asleep.

However, it must have worked because about half and hour later I woke up and Doug & Andy were both asleep.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pumpkin Carving

I realized today that it had been a little while since I had actually carved a pumpkin. In fact, I don't think that I have carved one since my pre-children era. So today we carved the pumpkins that the kids got at the pumpkin patch when they went as part of the church's children's activities.
At first I wasn't sure that Andy was actually going to let me carve the thing. He seemed more in favor of just drawing on it. But I am a traditionalist in this sense and I kept lobbying for actual carving.
In the end I think what helped convince Andy to let me cut into the thing is that we had done Doug's pumpkin first. Andy fell asleep (i.e., he stopped moving long enough to pass out)and while Andy (and Jo) were asleep Doug and I carved his pumpkin. I did all of the knife work and I did all of the scrapping out of the insides. I couldn't convince Doug to stick his hand down in the goop. He decided which side to put the face on and then also what shape to make the eyes (oval), nose (square), and how many teeth (lots mommy...we ended up with 8). He also specified that he wanted a happy pumpkin...not a scary one. Oh, and Doug thinks that it takes a long time to clean out the pumpkin because he probably asked me if I was done yet about a million times before I actually finished.
Andy liked the looks of Doug's pumpkin so we got to make a face (or as the boys said...a head) out of that one too. I couldn't convince Andy to deal with any of the goop either, but Josie was up to both elbows (and a little smeared on her forehead) in it. Andy choose circle eyes, a skinny triangle nose, and ten teeth (he held up both hands with all of the fingers out). He also specified that he wanted a smiling pumpkin.
Both boys were pleased with the results and we did put candles down in them and light them. I am pleased because I am the type that, starting about the first of October, had doodles all over the margins of my notebooks when I was younger because I was trying to decide what face to put on my jack-o-lantern. While I have seen a few other pumpkin carvings that I thought were neat, I really just like to put a face on them. I also dealt with the seeds after the boys had gone to bed, so I will be interested to see if they like toasted pumpkin seeds. Hopefully we didn't carve them too soon for our climate and they will last until Halloween.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Mommy manipluation

I have about decided that I need to write a book about tools for the manipulative mother. Jim and I had a discussion about manipulation one day and now I am uber aware of it when I use manipulation with the kids. Tonight I knew that if I got them to put the magnetic letters back on the fridge that it was going to take a lot of effort to get it done and since I am currently operating on less than 4 hours of sleep (through which I did find out that I can type some pretty freaky things when tired) I didn't want to put much effort into the project. So I assigned Andy the front of the fridge and Doug the side and we decided to see who could put the most letters on his side. Andy won with 24 to Doug's 19.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Can you hold please

Just so we are clear..."Can you hold please" is actually a question and not a statement. Usually when you ask a question, especially in a one-on-one situation, you actually wait for an answer instead of putting the person on hold within two seconds of you answering the phone. This is the second time in a week that a business has done that to me, and this one the hold was so long that I actually hung up and did not call back.

*Edit- so this business did actually redeem itself somewhat...they let me use an already expired coupon when I called back the next day. Woohoo!*

Sorta Pictures






I finally downloaded pictures from the kids' camera that they got for their birthday. There were several pictures that I couldn't tell what they were of and of course lots of pictures of butts and knee-caps. However, there were also some pictures with interesting composition and some that were quite good. The biggest limitation is that the resolution on the camera is not that great at it's lowest setting...which of course is the default setting. The playground pictures were taken by mommy, but the other two were the kids. I might post some of the "artistic" ones tomorrow.

New Game

Doug discovered a new game today. We are almost at the top of a pretty steep hill so the street in front of our house goes down the steep hill. Doug discovered that he can stand in the front yard and throw hickory nuts from our big tree into the street. The nuts bounce and roll down the street. He was cheering them on to see which one would go the farthest.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Potty Training

Where are we at?
That is a good question and I don't rightly know the answer to it.
I often think if I could mush Andy and Doug into one person (and hopefully end up with the positive things) then we would be a lot further along then we are now. There have been times when it is almost like they have "shared" an illness because one will be puking and tired and runny nose but no fever, and the other will have a fever but no other symptoms.
Anyway, on to potty training. If we were doing potty timing and not worried about them knowing when they need to go, then we would mostly have it made. Doug can pee on command but he has no clue when he is wet. If I have him in cloth underwear he doesn't know when he needs to go and by the third pair of wet underwear he even stops telling me that he has had an accident. He has yet to poop in the potty...though a couple times letting them run naked in the backyard he produced poop (once squatting at the top of the slide...but that is a whole other story) but essentially he doesn't know when he needs to go.
Andy, on the other hand, still mostly freezes up when urinating and likes to fall back on the "hot water" method of making him go. He can poop in the potty and actually has asked to go to the bathroom a few times. Last night he begged for a nighttime pull-up instead of a diaper and I told him that if he woke up in the night and needed to go that he could. I also told him that if he needed help it was ok to wake up mommy. Apparently after about an hour of sleep he came running out to Jim (I was downstairs at the time) and insisted that he needed to go. He apparently squeezed out an extremely small poop and went back to bed (I worry a bit about hemorrhoids with that child). Sure enough in the morning he had a wet pull-up. Doug on the other hand had apparently had a dry night (which happens every so often with each of them) and I had to insist that he go to the bathroom prior to getting dressed.
So...I am encouraged by Andy asking to go to the bathroom...I don't know what to think about Doug. I also realize this would be a lot easier if we didn't leave the house, I didn't have other things I had to work on, and I had done potty training before. I know we will get there eventually.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Hidden in front of my face

We made some progress on the boxes in the workroom this afternoon. Through the miracle of financing and 12 months same as cash we are getting a new heating and air system. It should pay for itself, because while our previous one was working it was REALLY REALLY old. This one should be miles more efficient and comes with a much more modern thermostat.
A side effect of all of this was that we actually had to clear the space in front of the furnace so that they will be able to get at it tomorrow. I didn't want to just shift boxes, so we actually organized some things. We got all of the potential garage sale items in one spot. I moved all of the empty boxes and packing material to the appropriate places. We cleaned and Jim got a lot of trash out. While there are still a significant number of boxes in there it is much better and maybe about a third of the room is completely box free.
Another side effect of this was that I actually found a few things that I had been looking for. It turned out that pretty much every item that I had thought "hmmm...I wonder where that is because I haven't seen it yet" was actually one layer down in an open box right next to the door into the rest of the house.

Ear Tubes 2

I took Doug to the ENT today for his hearing check now that the ear tubes are both out. First off he was very upset about going because of course the last doctor's office that he was in he moved his leg and the flu shot needle scratched him. He mellowed out once we got there and after he had had much reassurance that this was a completely different doctor who would not have needles and shots for him.
He was very good about sitting for the lady to do his hearing check, however he passed everything in the left ear but failed half of the test in the right ear. It could just be from the fact that he is getting over a cold (and mysteriously was running a low grade fever tonight) so we go back again in three months.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Fall Festival Pictures



I am going to admit that I am blatantly stealing these pictures from my sister-in-law. If you have wondered why there have been even fewer pictures than normal on the blog, it is because my camera got stepped on at the beginning of the school year and it is not responding at all. Jim and I are going to buy a camera as soon as we can agree on a camera.
So, thank you Jenni for the pictures! If more people send me pictures I will post them. If you are wondering...Jo is Tinkerbell and Doug & Andy are knights (though they only wore their "helmets" in the car and then ditched them as soon as we got to the party).

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Big Brother

At Nana and Pop’s house usually Doug & Andy sleep in one room and then Jim and I sleep in another room with Josie in a pack’n play in the closet. Saturday night we decided to try something different. We put Josie in the pack’n play and then put Doug & Andy in the same room with her.
I could hear Josie crying a little bit and I considered going in to check on her, but then she stopped so I assumed all was well.
Later, Jim went into the room for something and discovered the reason that Jo had stopped crying. Doug and Josie were both in the pack’n play together and Andy had the entire queen sized-bed to himself.

My Little Problem Solver

We had a great time at the Fall Festival at Jim’s brother’s house. The kids played games, including jumping in one of the big bouncy blow-up things, and there was good food to eat. They even had a piñata with candy. This was the first time Doug & Andy have experienced a piñata and I am happy to say everyone followed the guidelines and no one got hurt. My sister-in-law had bags for the kids to decorate and then collect candy in. Doug and Andy worked together to put their candy in one bag. Then Andy took the bag from me and walked over to the broken piñata and started ripping off the big sticker where the opening was for putting in the candy. I was standing there trying to figure out what he was going to do. I’m thinking…souvenir? Does he want a sticker to put on his shirt?
I couldn’t figure it out.
When he finally got the whole sticker off he tried to use the sticker to close the top of his bag. I guess he didn’t want any of the candy to fall out.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Packing Initiative

As I think I mentioned in the cake decorating post, we are headed to Jim's parent's house and also for his brother and sister-in-law's fall festival. The kids are excited (Josie walks around saying "Bop, Bop" every time we mention it) and yesterday I did the "oh yeah, I might want to pack some clothes for us" realizing how close it was to time to actually go (we're driving down today). Andy was having some problem with one of his siblings and being the manipulative mom that I am I used distraction to deal with it. I said "Andy, how would you like to help me pack for Nana and Pop's?"
Of course he wanted to help.
Before my butt had even left the chair Andy came back with a big bag he wanted to pack in. I had to explain that we really needed a bag that would zip closed at the top (it was a big handled bag that he had emptied something out of in the laundry room).
Then he came back with another bag that did zip closed....but rather than getting an empty bag he had emptied our swim bag from the summer. Ok, I can deal with that and I am not going to discourage helping behaviors.
I finally get up and headed for his room and discovered that the child had already pulled clothes out of the drawer that he wanted to pack. He did remarkably well for a three year old.
For the two to three outfits per boy that I needed he had:
  • 7 shirts
  • 2 pairs of jeans and 3 shorts
  • 2 pairs of socks
  • 1 complete pj set and a half of a pj set
  • about a bazillion pairs of underwear
I didn' t think to ask him if that was just for him or if it was for both Doug and himself, but still not bad for a first attempt at packing. I did ask him if he intended to wear underwear at Nana and Pop's because right now the boys are still in pull-ups and only semi-willing to sit on the potty.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Child Labor Laws!

I think Sam's Club owes Doug at least an hours worth of pay. We had to go by there after church this evening so that we could get important staples in our house like diapers and pull-ups and mac & cheese.
Andy fell asleep in the car on the way there and managed to sleep in the cart for most of the time we were in the store (until he woke up and his hands were asleep from being pushed up against the sides of the cart so that he had waffle weave imprints on them....I carried him after that and he went back to sleep). Josie was contained in the cart.
Then there was Doug. Happy-go-lucky Doug dancing down the aisles in a good mood and noticing things. In particular Doug noticed when items weren't straight on the shelves... or when there was an odd number of things... or when the products were not right up at the edge of the shelves... or when there was an empty display box that needed to be removed.
So, Doug being Doug and his little anal retentive self (yes you can say this about a three year old) he had to "front" all of the products as we walked along. And since the child can't read yet he wasn't put off by moving around boxes of tampons, or re-stacking boxes of hemorrhoid cream, or rearranging stool softeners.

Decorating with Andy

The kids and I made cakes today. We are taking them to a Fall Festival we are going to this weekend. Andy was my main help. Doug really just wants to lick the beater after the frosting has been made.
So I had this disposable heart shaped pan that was the second one in the package left over from some other time I had made a heart shaped cake. I decided that we could make it into a pumpkin by making the heart be upside-down and then frosting the whole thing orange, putting a little bit of green frosting at the point to be a stem, and then using yellow (black is a hard frosting to make really well) to make a jack-o-lantern face on it. The boys thought it was cool and since the pan doesn't hold an entire cake mix we also got some cupcakes out of the batter.
Andy helped me decorate the cupcakes. I frosted them and he put candy corn on top of them...or perhaps the more appropriate term is "in" them.
I was thinking that he could place candy corn on top to make it look seasonally appropriate. Andy decided that he was going to make faces with them (we had thought about this for the big cake but I thought the candy corn wouldn't be big enough). So of course he placed the candy corn point side down in the frosting. After placing a few pieces he discovered that if he pushed them a little the whole darn thing would push down into the soft cupcake. So every single one of the cupcakes Andy got a hold of has candy corn pushed into it and I know he licked the frosting off his fingers after each piece was placed.
I think I am glad that we are not sharing these cupcakes with anyone.

OMG!

I was just at the store with Josie and I happened to walk down the Halloween candy aisle for the first time since they put out all of the candy. I just saw a 3 lbs all chocolate tombstone.
.
.
I can't decide if I am horrified at the further commercialization of the holiday or if I am excited about the thought of that much chocolate!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Wonders of the World

Perhaps it is because Josie was plastered to me most of the day (fever, runny nose, drool that covers half the shirt). Perhaps it is because most of the things I worked on today are only half done and not because of the parts that I did but because I am waiting on other people. Perhaps it is because Josie went through two outfits, I went through three shirts, and I ended up letting our baby-sitter come for an hour not because I was going to go workout but because I needed an hour where I was childless (a few children in this house should be saying thank you God in their prayers for living another day...)

Anyway, I still wonder ....
  1. Last year how did I manage to get all of the dishes and everything done and cleaned up and then also work on my coursework?
  2. Last year how did I manage to get most of the house unpacked and still get everything else done?
  3. How am I managing to get over my cold when I have had a huge sleep deficit the last two nights due to being up with children?
  4. Last year how did I manage to work in the yard so much with the kids and still get everything else done?

I wonder however, if it is just that I can look back on the big picture of "Last Year" and see the accomplishments and whether this year I am still too close to all of the goings on to see what I have done. I guess I won't know until next year.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The mystery of Parenting

Josie had a fever yesterday afternoon. She has a slightly runny nose but no other apparent symptoms. She was chewing on her fingers after church yesterday.
Is she teething?
Does she have a virus?
I don't know. I just know that I was up a fair portion of the night with her. This morning, about an hour after the medicine had worn off she seemed mostly fine but then she felt slightly warm and had a low grade fever so time for more medicine. I don't know. I do know, however, my children are very willing to take medicine when they don't need it and fight me the strongest when they most need it.
Part of the problem is that she can't really talk yet...and even when they can talk it only gets slightly better. If you ask Andy and Doug about aches and pains it is hard to tell sometimes if they are merely agreeing with you or if there is actual discomfort.
The other answers you get might include this conversation:
Mommy: Andy are you hurt?
Andy: I hurt mommy (accompanied by dramatic slightly fake crying designed to inspire sympathy from all but the most hardened parent)
Mommy: Where did you get hurt?
Andy: Downstairs

Grr...child. I know that downstairs you either
A) fell down hurt yourself or in some way was doing something you probably shouldn't have been doing
OR
B) your brother/sister inflicted pain upon you that was probably motivated by something you were doing since these acts rarely occur in isolation

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Small Surprises

The kids were running around in the playroom today. Doug runs up to me and goes "Here mommy" and hands me something he has pinched between his fingers. I look down and there is his ear tube.
This tube was one of two that he got when he was about 14 months old. They are designed to fall out usually after about 6 months. This one had been in his ear for just over two years and we knew it was loose and if it hadn't fallen out then it was going to get pulled out at the next wellness check-up. The only reason I knew what it was was because my previous pediatrician had pulled out the first one because it had fallen out and was just in the ear canal. At least it did it's job because only once did he have an ear infection in his ears while he had ear tubes in.

Flu Shots

We took the boys in yesterday for their flu shots. Josie will get hers when we go to her 18 month wellness appointment in November.
I did tell the boys that morning that we would be going. I don't know if it would have helped to have Andy go first (he didn't cry at all for his shot), but poor Douglas. I think we had a slightly less experienced nurse and I don't know whether she had a hold of his leg or not. I had his upper portion and unfortunately he moved when she tried to give the shot. It bent the needle and scratched his leg enough that it was bleeding. She seemed embarrassed and had to go get another syringe.
Then she asked if we still wanted to give the shot. All I could think is "YES! I have drug my child in here on a Saturday morning and do you think after this that he is going to want to come back!" So we got the shots and we survived and all Doug can say is "I not get a shot" and fortunately I can answer him that he will not need a shot for a long time.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Not Much

Not much happened today because I didn't do much. The boys didn't have preschool today because it was a teacher inservice day. So we sort of hung around the house and probably watched way too much TV. Doug and Andy were better than I expected. Sometimes they get in a disagreement over a toy and get into physical fighting about it but today they were pretty good. In the evening all three of them started playing in Jo's crib with Andy's comforter over the top so I guess one of the benefits of having a bunch of kids is that they can entertain each other.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The ewwwww of Parenting

***If you are easily grossed out you might want to skip this post.***
Ok, we survived our party and had a good time and it was nice to have people over at the house even if it was a lot of work to get ready. However, I am beginning to wonder about my children. About an hour and half before the party the kids spotted the candy corn in the cupboard. I didn't buy it for the party, but it seemed like a good thing to put out.

The kids had a few pieces and then a little while later while I am running around trying to pick-up and trying to get the brownies out of the oven and Andy starts saying "something hurting me."
So the information that I can get out of him is that he has put something (not his finger) up his nose. I can't see anything and I try to get him to blow out of one side. I'm trying to decide if we need to hope in the car to go to a doctor, but Jim isn't home and Josie is asleep and Andy says he does not want to go to the doctor. All I am getting is orange snot...yes you guessed it...he put a tiny piece of candy corn up his nose according to him. I never got an actual piece out but I couldn't see anything using a flashlight, orange snot stopped coming out, and he said it stopped hurting so hopefully I made the right call. From a comparison test where I progressively tore off smaller and smaller pieces of tissue I think the piece was rather small (Mommy: "was it smaller than this?", Andy: "yes", Mommy: "was it smaller than this?", Andy"yes" etc.) We did have a talk about not putting anything up your nose and I am hoping that the sugary candy dissolved.

The other slightly gross update is about Doug. If you recall I mentioned that on Tuesday I was called by the preschool because Doug was not acting normal. Well, I didn't mention that on Sunday night he threw up a little bit, but the kids had been very actively goofing around and I thought he had eaten a lot and we assumed that he had just overeaten and then gotten too hot or jumped around too much or something.
Then on Tuesday night he got upset in the shower and didn't want to get out and managed to throw up a little after getting out of the shower while he was crying. It would not have been the first time he made himself physically ill from being upset.
So...
Wednesday morning I am getting them ready for preschool when I notice that Doug has some dried on stuff on the front of his pajamas. I ask him if he threw up this morning. "No." Did he throw up last night. "In the shower." Hmmmm
So I check his bed and there is stuff on his sheets, pillow, covers, etc. all requiring at least three extra loads of laundry (we washed everything). This stuff includes not only some chunky stuff, but a chunk of what looked like hot dog that was probably a quarter inch wide by two to three inches long that all appears to be one piece.
I start thinking about things and realize that he probably hasn't had a corn dog (Doug's "hot dog on a stick) since Saturday and it is now Wednesday.
Well, no wonder the child hasn't been eating much and he wasn't feeling well...he has been gagging on hot dog for four days!

When I was pregnant with the twins I was going to write a book entitled "Pregnancy for the Worrier: All the things the other books don't tell you and practical advice."
I now think the sequel should be "Parenting: Don't Panic."

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Opened the last box in the living room

There is nothing like the thought of having people over at your house (especially people you know in sort of a casual way) to inspire you to clean, pick-up, and actually get that last moving box out of the living room.
Oh, and don't be thinking that that means there aren't still a bunch of boxes in the workroom downstairs...there just aren't any more in the main living space. And yes I think the door to the master bedroom will remain shut during the party.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

My Roller Coaster Day

It hasn't been a bad day, and I did actually get everything on the to-do list done, but it has definitely been interesting. Highlights include:
  • The preschool called me to come get Doug, not because he had a temperature and not because he had thrown up, but because he was laying around was weepy and just plain not acting his normal self. I understand this as a teacher so I went over to pick him up. I was 5 minutes or less away and by the time I got over there he was apparently fine and stayed the rest of the time. When I picked him up he was happy and doing goofy walks out to the car and said that he had a great day. He did get whiney again this evening so I am really hoping he will sleep well tonight and be happy and pleasant tomorrow.
  • I completely spaced that a phone guy was going to come today and change all of the old 4 prong phone jacks (yes...we really had those in the house still) for new phone jacks. It was a darn good thing he called to see how many jacks he needed to bring and whether they were the type mounted on the wall or not because I was out running errands. I did beat him home and he turned out to be a nice guy and was amused by Andy "helping". (Any workman visiting the house causes Andy to pull out tools and the hard hat and to call his friends and to fix things.)
  • I got to ride on a paddle boat. It is a boat that has been around here for a long time and in all of my many years coming to this town for classes I had never ridden on it before. The best thing was that it was free! The College of Education paid to have faculty and the education freshman learning community (a cohort of students who will take classes together) to go on this cruise up and down the river. Additionally the provided two nonalcoholic beverages and pizza. I actually ended up with leftover pizza because Jim and the kids meet me at the dock and everyone was like "oh, you have kids, take the pizza." I also caught up with at least two professors I had needed to contact and got good face time with the dean and the assistant dean and various other people.
  • Jim ended up taking the kids to get new shoes today. I had been trying all day to get there and I kept getting interrupted. So hopefully Josie will no longer have blisters on her toes since she now has cute little New Balance pink and white sneakers. Doug and Andy have cool looking shoes and Andy's even have the lights that come on when he walks.
  • I got my watch fixed for free. I inadvertently ran it through the washing machine this weekend. It still worked but a pin came out so that the band was broken. I walked into the place that we bought it almost ten years ago when I was graduating from my first set of graduate level classes and they took out one link for me (which I had been thinking about doing anyway) and reconnected the band at no charge. Woohoo!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Hot Stuff

Josie thinks she is pretty hot stuff these days. She has started flirting even more with strangers (if that was even possible). We went to the library story time last week and at the end books in a basket were put out. Other babies picked up books and took them back to their mommies. Josie took one to me, and then one to anyone else she decided needed a book.
She also went up to campus with me twice last week running errands. She walked her little "busy important" walk where her hips wiggle and her little mini-skirt flips all over the place and she walks as quickly as her feet will go.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

An update to dressing ourselves

The boys have gotten a bunch more interested in dressing themselves (which they are capable of doing) and actually picking out their own clothes.
Andy wore two shirts to church today....a red Paris shirt under the tie-dye shirt with overalls (not the striped ones). Ummm..yeah

Doug has insisted on a train shirt every day this week and if there were none sorted out of the laundry basket yet (clean but buried...I don't have time to dig) he would settle for a truck/car shirt. He also seems to have a thing for plaid shorts and he has asked to wear pajama pants several times.

Also, we very prematurely purchased some cute little berets for Josie's hair (mommy was hopeful) and the boys have wanted to wear them since Jo doesn't have enough hair yet. Of course I just gave them haircuts so their hair is too short and they have had to settle for wearing them on their shirts. Daddy didn't want to take them out of the house with their colorful flower berets on their sleeves, but the boys settled for letting mommy wear them in her hair instead.

Feeling somewhat accomplished

I am not really an outdoors type person. I really am very happy inside. I don't mind hiking on a well-groomed trail and I have enjoyed the occasional camping trip in a tent (though I prefer a trailer).
However, there is something to be said for some serious yard work. It kind of feels good to see some progress and to do some physical labor and know that you have worked. In some ways it is more satisfying then seeing a paper grow longer when you are writing or a stack of grading grow if you are a teacher.
This weekend Jim and I tackled a small portion of our backyard. Jim trimmed and cut and made huge piles, while I lugged it to the curb. The pile is taller than our children and longer than a minivan. It also has at least three bags of leaves (from last year that were still in the "garden" areas of the lawn). Doug & Andy helped some. So it does feel like we accomplished something and I think our muscles are agreeing.

I also found an old white sheet. So with a permanent marker and some thread we made ghosts so now we have some Halloween decorations hanging from our front porch and in a tree! The kids are very excited.