Friday, May 30, 2008

Blast off

The boys found a bag of chess and checkers pieces today. Doug was lining up the chess pieces on the squares of the board and I started naming pieces as he asked me about them. Well...apparently "bishop" sounds enough like "spaceship" that after he found one he was saying "2...1...blast-off" and making the piece fly into the air.

Giving Smiles

We made a lot of people smile today. really wasn't "we" because it was all Doug.
This morning he spilled water on his PJ's and of course came to tell me he needed a shirt while I was sitting on the toilet. So I took off his pajamma shirt and told him to go pick out some clothes. know three year olds...he came back with a set of pajamas. I was afraid that he was going to be hot (they were long sleeve) but he was insistent and he was a trooper about it because he wore them the entire day. In fact we had to change them for bed because he was sweaty from running around in them.
The kids helped me pick up some things on campus and so Doug got to go along wearing his pj's (dark blue with police cars and "night patrol" printed all over them...thanks Aunt Ann) and also a white visor decorated with blue and red stars that the kids made at church. It was quite the sight...I should have taken a picture.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Fun in the Sun

The church had their kick-off picnic for Vacation Bible School tonight. They had inflatable bouncy things and bubbles and all sorts of other fun. I also got to talk with one of the older church members and in the process of him trying to tell me how long he had attended the church (since before it moved to its present site) I learned a lot about him. I have decided that most people just want someone to listen to them (this is definitely true with children too) and that quote about "God gave you two ears to listen with and one mouth for talking because he wants you to do twice as much listening as talking" is definitely true. Oh, and I blew off choir practice to be outside with my kids having fun...and I don't regret it at all.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Super Heroes!

What better use for a random roll of painter's tape then to create some super heroes! We even had capes at the back (tape stick on only at the top). Josie was trying to make the tape stick to her but every time I stuck some to her she would pull it off in curiosity and then of course it wouldn't stick again. They (Doug & Andy) had something about sticking pieces of the tape to the wall (thank goodness it was tape that was MEANT to be stuck to a wall) to make a doorbell that was for a door to keep monsters out. The red marks on the kids from pulling the tape off quickly faded....

Monday, May 26, 2008


When you are around your children all of the time you sometimes don't notice things that appear tremendously different to people that only see the kids once a week or once a month. I remember when the boys had turned one and we went down to visit Nana and Pop. At Nana's and Pop's house there are lever handles on most of the doors. During our Memorial Day weekend visit the boys could just barely touch the door handles. Then we went back for a visit a month later, for July 4th, and all of a sudden both Doug & Andy could get their little hands all the way around the lever door handles and I knew that we had grown.
I notice today that Josie has had a growth spurt. We have been trying to do more snacks since the doctor commented on her weight, but she was a good eater before the doctor started trying to double up her calories. We have a refrigerator that has the freezer on the bottom. Even as of a day or two ago Josie could stand at the fridge and you could swing the door above her head and it would just glide right over her. she had to tilt her head for Jim to close the fridge door. I guess we are growing.
It really makes me wonder, however, when we go in for our "weight check" if they will also check her length. They will be happy if her weight has gone up...but what if her length also has gone up and she still has the same discrepancy ....hmmmmm.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


I once read a quote that said something about you haven't been put in your place until you have been adored by a dog and ignored by a cat.
So here is my current thinking about how to gain perpective on your "stuff" in your possessions.
If you want to appreciate what you have...don't go without...go with less. Live for months (like 5 months in a trailer) with a third (or less) of what you own. Then when you do have access to all the stuff again it will feel like you are really blessed with what you have.

If you feel you probably need to get rid of things because you just have to much clutter but you aren't sure about what you should get rid off....pack all your books, nick knacks, etc. up in boxes. Forget the thing about if you go a year without unpacking something then you probably don't need it...instead stick it all in a storage unit or two. Then sometime before the hottest months of the year add some water (doesn't have to be much) to the storage unit and let it sit for several more months in the heat. Then move them to your basement. For several months let the boxes sit in your basement so that if there are things you want you can find them but wait to unpack a majority of it. Finally, about a year after you first packed it, start unpacking the items and things that are moldy are really easy to throw out. If there is anything that was really important you may take steps to save it. Remember that it is just stuff.... and if you are really trying to be optimistic then also remember that it will be that much less to pack and move next time. I'm trying to stay positive about all this...can you tell?

Saturday, May 24, 2008


While we still have more on the weekend to-do list I feel like we have made significant progress today. Jim got the ceiling fan up in Jo's room so both kids' rooms feel better with the moving air and look significantly updated. He also set up some shelving that we used to have in the garage in our former house. The shelving went in our laundry room so we were able to get all sorts of kitchen appliances off the counter. I got the filters rinsed on our new vacuum, so while we didn't get the floors actually vacuumed we are significantly closer to it. I also mended some clothing, and mended some books.
Ironically I had no idea that this was a holiday weekend because last week was such a blur trying to get the letters out for the enrichment program.

Word II

We were watching an episode of Good Eats. Doug was watching also and came to sit on my lap. Alton Brown was discussing cookware and said something about "You can call it retro, but..." So of course Doug looks at me and says "It's retro."
. do I explain what it means?

Friday, May 23, 2008


As I was changing Andy's diaper we were having a conversation about the wind and how neither of us could control it...only God can. Andy told me that God was sitting in the trees making the wind blow.


205 letters will go to local students informing them about their summer camp courses today. Most have their first choices...many have their first and second choices and only one is registered for both of his third choices....but he registered a week after the deadline so there!
It was interesting to see the variety of names, and especially preferred the child that goes by Biz or Bizzy (from Elizabeth) or the child who goes by Honey. There were a lot of people where mom has kept her maiden name...but that may be due to being in a college town. I don't know if it was wrong of me to be skeptical of people who didn't list an email address. There was also the application where the person registering only listed one phone number but had about six phone numbers for the emergency contact. There were the people who listed emergency contacts that did not live doesn't help if your emergency contact would have to come from two states away. It is obvious that people don't read...because I had several who listed mom or dad as the emergency contact even though it specifically said to list someone else. There was the application where I could tell that grandma and grandpa were divorced because they were both listed as emergency contacts but had different addresses and phone numbers....but their addresses were on the same street. There were also about a third of the applications where they didn't list the zip code even though it said City/State/Zip and I had one mom who just stuck address labels on for that information. There was also the person who when filling out if there were medical issues said just "excellent" and another who said her child was overly dramatic about minor injuries and to tell her to "just suck it up."

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Just because you can doesn't mean that you should....

I have spent the entire day working on getting letters out to 200 children who will attend a summer camp run by one of the professors I work for....and I don't know that I am getting any extra compensation for this overtime.....
So here is a story from yesterday (since I was only able to vaguely pay attention to my children today).
One of the items the boys got for their birthday was the Fisher Price Digital Camera approved for 3+. Our baby-sitter, Ben, gave it to them. It really is pretty neat because it has a lot of memory, rubber around all corners and edges, and minimal buttons (on/off, scroll forward or back, delete, and the one to take a picture). It uses AA batteries, a screen at the back, or you can look through the "eye" parts that are like binoculars. I haven't had a chance to actually look at the pictures the boys have taken so far...although I am reasonably sure there are several pictures of the floor.
Well, after they opened it Ben said something about how you could throw it down the steps and it wasn't supposed to hurt the camera.
Yesterday morning before breakfast, Andy picked up the camera, opened the door to the basement, and while I watched in horror he lobbed the camera down the steps.
Mommy: Andy! Why did you do that!
Andy: Ben said I could.

So now we are working on the concept of "even if you could it doesn't mean that you should."

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Doctor, Doctor

It was doctor day for us. Even with all of the kids with birthdays so close together the doctor wouldn't let all three come in at the same time (they have a policy that only triplets can come three at a time). Since the first appointments they had after Josie's birthday were also after the boys' birthday...I went to the doctor twice today. Once with Josie and then once with Doug & Andy.
Everyone looks pretty good. Josie is actually above average on her length but below average on her weight so I get to add calories to her diet. The doctor said "Anything that you wouldn't eat on a diet to lose weight, she can have...but don't promote unhealthy eating habits." Josie actually weighed in at 19 lbs 15 oz. One ounce shy of the "official" weight to be able to ride forward facing. So I think I will stuff her over the next week and see what she weighs then. We actually have to go back for a "follow-up weighing." The doctor wasn't overly concerned but this tends to be a cautious (and very talk-a-tive) doctor.
The boys were good. We talked dentists...that will be an interesting next adventure. I am proud to say that neither boy cried for the finger prick to do the blood work, and that Josie only cried for the shots but not for the toe prick for her blood work.

Birthday x2

Doug & Andy had their birthday today. It was a party similar to Jo's except that the people were slightly different. We had George who also happened to be born on May 19 (although a year ahead of us). The boys had fun playing. George hadn't had a nap and sort of had a melt down so he missed the cake and presents, but Doug and Andy had a good time. As you can see we took the easy route and frosted the cakes with chocolate frosting and then stuck toys on top. Super simple and the boys loved it, plus they got a toy out of it at the end. I keep thinking...I don't know where the first three years went. I was thinking as we put the boys to bed how the day we had the C-section the surgery was scheduled late in the day and then particularly Andy was struggling a little bit to breath so I really only got to see them for one brief moment while they started stitching me back up, and then the boys were whisked off and admitted to the NICU and I didn't get to see them until the next morning. As we were saying good night tonight, I told Andy the story "Once upon a time, three years ago on this very day, a mommy, a daddy, a grandma, a nana, a pop, and friends went to the hospital. And on that day Andy & Doug were born and everyone got to see them for the first time and everyone loved them from the first minute they saw them." Andy had me tell it at least 5 times and would have asked for more but we had to turn out the light so they could go to sleep because it was very late for little boys to be going to bed.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Little Problem Solver

I don't know if it is advanced or not, but I don't remember the boys doing things like this starting at this age.
Jo, of course, just turned one. Tonight she took the plastic stool from the kids' bathroom and carried it into the boys' room so that she could try and get up on Andy's bed. I know Andy and Doug moved things to help them get up but I am remembering it as being at a much later age (of course their first year to year and a half are sort of a blur anyway...)

We used to debate about which, between Andy and Doug, was going to be the one who came up with the ideas and which one was going to be the one who got talked into doing the trouble-making. So far it has turned out that they work together pretty well and no one seems to be the instigator just yet.
Now I am wondering if Jo is going to figure things out and talk her brothers into doing them. I guess only time will tell.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

We're going to the zoo, zoo, zoo...

We went to the zoo! Some friends (Peter, Traci, and Danielle) from where we lived before treated us to a visit to the zoo as a birthday present for the kids. We met them at the zoo that is sort of in between our two cities. We spent the whole day there...we got to ride a train, Traci and the boys went on a camel ride, we ate a lovely picnic, saw a bird show, rode the carousel, and saw ALL of the animals. The boys' mantra was "let's see MORE animals." Jo napped a little but the boys just kept going and going and going. We ate dinner at a restaurant near the zoo but Andy slept through most of it because he fell asleep almost as soon as we left the zoo parking lot. Doug fell asleep just before we got back home. I think the boys' favorite part was the train ride (Mommy: What was your favorite animal? Andy: The train!)
Jo really, really liked the carousel. she wanted to get back on again when it was over.

Friday, May 16, 2008


So Jim is on this overnight field trip. They are doing a lot of things and taking the kids places that they have never been before even though some of them are only an hour away. Experience makes such a difference in children. When I had my first teaching position it was in a fourth grade classroom in a Title I school. Some of the students had never even been in other areas of the city because they didn't really leave their neighborhood. I couldn't give homework assignments that required a computer because I only had one student who had an computer (even though they all had game systems). My kids didn't know how to use a telephone because mom and/or dad only had prepaid cell phones that they didn't let the kids touch. They had all seen the latest movies but had never set foot in an art museum (even though admission to the art museum was cheaper than the movie). I couldn't give assignments that required going to the library because mom and dad didn't have time to go to the library and even though there was a library branch within walking distance, most of the kids were not allowed to cross the busy street the library branch was on. We took the kids on a field trip and had a parent decide to chaperon because she was scared to have her child ride across the interstate bridge that went over the Tennessee river. The bridge was only about 10 minutes or so outside of the city limits and you had to cross the river to go anywhere west of the city.
Anyway, I say this because this lack of experience makes a difference for learning. How can you ask a child to understand a story about a child in another place if they have only ever experienced one place with people who are "culturally" all pretty much the same as their family?
It's hard to take on someone else's perspective or to see the importance of something if you don't "get" how it relates to your life because your life is so "contained."
I also mention this because if you are looking for a good place to give tax deductible money where every single little penny goes to "help" (rather than having 5%, 10%, or even 25% of it going to support an office staff)...give money to a school for field trips. Funding field trips is difficult for low income families and there is not only the admission price of where ever they are going, but the school also has transportation costs. Jim is fortunate to have a principal who realizes that field trips equal experience which will help students learn better. However, this field trip almost did not happen. They were short 6 students and in the end each of the teachers going on the trip pitched in money to lower the cost of the field trip for the students so that more students could afford to go.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Jo cake!

Jo loved the cake. I knew she would. The girl likes sweets. She was very happy and messy when it was done.

Ben, my baby-sitter, stayed and gave the kids a bath while I cleaned up the kitchen.

Jo Pictures!

We had hot dogs, chips, cherries, and beans since those were all things the kids would enjoy. I had toss salad stuff out but no one made one. We were missing a couple of people who I thought were coming, but we had a good time. The cake says "Pat the puppy" and of course "Happy Birthday Josie" because the boys helped me decide on a dog cake for Jo but the only cake pan I could find besides round was the book shaped one. She had lots of help from her brothers for opening gifts.

Jo is one!

Hard to believe a year ago I was in the hospital having a C-section with Josie last year.
The things that stand out...
-The 2nd C-section was much easier than the first.
-We had jaundice
-It is so much easier having a baby in the well-baby nursery than dealing with the NICU
-I wasn't sure how the boys were going to do because even though we had talked about it before hand I was sure they were clueless and it was the first time I had been away from them for more than a work day.
-We got out of the hospital and the next day had a birthday party for the boys (not at our house...I am not THAT insane)
-and sorry moms of singletons...perhaps it is partially that this was my second time around, but having one baby is a whole lot easier than having two.

Jo has had some interesting experiences in her short little life. She has moved, lived in an RV for almost 5 months, and ridden in a tow truck three times (how many one year olds can say that...well not literally say that of course). She has changed incredibly over the first year and of course now I can't imagine life without her. We are having a pretty low key party this evening. I say "we" but it is really me and the boys and a few friends. Jim is on an over-night field trip and won't get back until late tomorrow. I had amnesia when I invited people over or I would have moved when we were celebrating her birthday because I didn't remember that Jim's field trip was over night. Life goes on.
I will post pictures because Jim actually got all of the pictures off my camera so I can erase the memory card and take more. I've never filled it up before (in fact I've never taken more than about 75 out of the 400 something I could take before I download them) but I haven't found the writeable disks to burn the pictures and I have this fear of dropping my laptop and losing all of the pictures on it so now at least it is on two computers.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I Not Tired

Amazingly Doug, my one who needs less sleep, has taken a nap the last two days. Andy, my one who normally needs more sleep, has not napped even with a long car ride right around nap time when we took Grandma to the airport.
Today the conversation went something like this:
(Child exits dark room after 15 minutes of being in there)
Andy: I not tired mommy.
Mommy: I want you to sleep so that you will not be tired and whiny this evening.
Andy: I just whiny after being in the car for so long. I not be whiny tonight.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008


So my mom has been here. She goes home tomorrow. She has done a lot for us while she has been here. Today the big thing that she did was unpack a lot of the book boxes that she packed in our old house when she came for Jo's birth and we were starting to get ready to move. Unfortunately several of the boxes have had a bit of water damage on them so we have lost a few books....still there are now actual books on the shelves. It is sort of strange to see because they look so neat compared to the random stuff I had been throwing up there before. Things had just sort of been migrating to the shelves as they hadn't found proper homes in our new house and I didn't know where else to put them and needed them out of the way.

Monday, May 12, 2008


I was trying to return some phone calls this afternoon. Jo was sleeping and the boys were supposed to be sleeping. Grandma decided that they had been in their room long enough (and she was right) and was trying to get them downstairs to play without disturbing me. Her instructions were "Go downstairs without saying a word to mommy."
Sure enough Doug walks in and says to me "Word" (with a huge grin on his face) and then goes downstairs.
If I am getting this from a not quite three year old I think I am in trouble....

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Hours in a day

How come there are never enough hours in the day?
We got a lot done. It has been nice to have my mom here because it is another pair of hands (in fact we were early to church and I couldn't figure out why until I realized that she had cleaned up breakfast while Jim and I were getting everyone dressed).
But, there is always more that could be done.
Somehow I doubt that even with another couple of extra hours thrown in there that I would
1) have any short "to-do" list.
2) go to bed any earlier.
3) have a cleaner house or more of my work done or "find" time to exercise/to a hobby/insert any other activity that is easy to make excuses for why other things are more important.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


I think we are going to wear grandma out....
Anyway, I feel like I have noticed so many new things with the kids lately.
The other day Doug actually chewed gum without swallowing it. He also introduced himself to someone at the store by telling them that he was a twin, his name was Douglas, and his brother was Andy. I didn't know he "knew" about being a twin.
Andy has thoroughly mastered the toy grandma bought him for his birthday, and yesterday he was skillful at stirring and helping to make pancake batter.
Last night, Jim played a song for the kids on the euphonium (like a small tuba) that he has an Josie actually danced to it.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


We pick up my mother at the airport this afternoon. I am very excited about her coming to visit because it will be the first time for her to see this house and she hasn't seen the kids since Christmas (which is ages ago in baby and toddler years).
I was also realizing that this is probably the first Mother's Day since I was in college that I will be with her. She narrowly missed being with me for the one when the boys were born, but it's probably been almost 11 years since I did more than talk on the phone with her and send a card/gift for Mother's Day. So all of you who live close to your parents appreciate short distances!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Free Time

I think free time is one of those myths that they tell about in fairy know the ones that start "Once upon a time there was a mother who had time to clean her house, and decide to fold the clothes, etc." I'm not even talking about the "free time" where I might get to choose a fun activity for me...I'm talking about the free time where I might get to choose to mop the kitchen or vacuum the den.
I had the illusion that I might have some free time this morning. It all began yesterday when my baby-sitter, Ben, said that he was going to take the kids swimming at his apartment because his sister was done with her finals until Friday. He was going to pick up the kids early for a Wednesday (3 whole hours early) so that they had time to get wet and have fun and then be back for lunch and naps.
I stayed up waaayyyy to late finishing my stats final and fell asleep pondering my many options for what to do with that childless, homework free time that was coming. I could mop the kitchen. I could clean up the toy room. I could wrap birthday presents or run a few errands. How in the world was I going to decide what I was going to do?
In the morning it was decided for me.
When I went to bed I had placed my glasses on the dresser.
When I woke up this morning my glasses were on the floor in two pieces.
I have had familiarity with the occasional screw falling out on a pair of glasses, but this was a bit more serious. The entire arm...just after the screw...was broken off on the left side of my glasses.
I also happened to notice a small child had joined us during the night. I was so tired I don't know exactly when we gained a third inhabitant in my bed.
As close as I can figure Andy must have been thirsty when he came to climb in bed with us. My guess is that he got a drink of water out of the glass on my dresser and in the process knocked off my glasses. Then he probably tried to pick up the glasses and perhaps was standing on the arm? I don't know. I can't imagine how else you might break some glasses in the same way.
So my morning was spent going to the eye doctor. Since we have moved I couldn't just go back to the place and order a new arm. Of course even though I was sure that my prescription had not changed much (it hadn't) they couldn't just read the prescription on my glasses and make new ones. I had to do the whole vision check and picking out glasses and such. And of course the place I went it will take 5-7 days for the glasses to come in. Now I just need to decide which is less annoying...constantly adjusting glasses that are only being held on by one arm...or constantly seeing a wad of tape in my peripheral vision.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Shake'N Go

Fischer Price has these shake'n go cars where you shake them up and then the amount that you shake them determines how far they go. My sister-in-law introduced us to them and the boys have loved them ever since.
Now our issue is that Doug lines the cars up and "races" them. He moves usually 4 cars around and around our race track. The batteries have worn down so some of them rev and try to move, some of them just rev, and some no longer respond. One of these days I might take pity on him and actually replace the batteries.
Anyway, back to the issue. The issue with these race cars is really his sister. Josie wants to play too, and Doug sometimes is willing, sometimes will let her have her own car, sometimes will try and find a substitute car for her, and sometimes just yells "Mommy! Josie trying to get my car!"
She picks them up, sometimes manages to shake them, but also...even with her still limited words, will make car sounds for the cars.
So when Jim and I made our stop to buy birthday presents, we discovered that they make pink flowered shake'n go cars. Now Josie will have her very own car that is unmistakably hers.
I am glad, however, to have it out of my car. This little pink car went around with me yesterday and every little bump or dip that I went over I could hear revving sounds from the bag.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Ice Cream!

A movie would have been priceless. We usually opt for bowls instead of ice cream cones, but Jim got some sugar cones at the store the other day so....
First, I should mention that the kids had just come in from outside and done diaper changes so since we were so close to bed time the kids had no clothes...just diapers.
Secondly, keep in mind that two year olds are not bound by social norms. Eating the scoop off the top and then the cone is not necessarily the order that a two year old chooses.
Thirdly, one of my favorite sayings is that "Common sense is not common." Things like eating a hole in the side of your cone so that it allows the ice cream to leak out isn't a cause and effect sequence that you think about when you're two. Things like eating all the way around a scoop to keep it from dripping also is a learned strategy.
Fourthly, two year olds aren't particularly fast at eating ice cream (at least mine aren't). They get excited about the whole ice cream thing which means that they mess around in their excitement. It was also very sweet because they were really getting into sharing so mommy got a bite, Jo got several bits, etc.
Andy did reasonably well with a bit of guidance. Doug needed daddy to "help" with the cone (mostly in the form of catching up with drips off the side he wasn't eating from) and in the end Doug needed a wet washcloth on not only his face and hands but also his chest, thighs, and clear down to his ankles.

You might be....

You might be married with children if one of the highlights of going out on a date is the ability to run errands without bringing children along. We went out Thursday night and since our original plan had changed due some friends changing their plans, and we were going to be late to get to a movie we ended up running errands. Then we went out Saturday night for a friend's birthday party. We actually planned time to run errands into the date.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Movie Night

Friday night is movie night at our house (in other excuse to eat in front of the TV). Here is the crew all lined up. We alternate between a menu of pizza and wings (tonight was wings). Tonight's showing was actually the car racing show Pinks ALL Out by special request of the boys. Of course it ended with the boys racing around our "track" (den, kitchen, living room, den, kitchen, etc.).

Strikers Unite!

Remember that our baby-sitter is a theater tons of creativity...way more than waiting tables calls for (though it has done wonders for our imaginary play around here...). He gets the kids outside pretty regularly if it is nice and sometimes we find interesting chalk drawings. I missed the opportunity to take pictures of the last one. Jim asked me if Ben had had problems the previous day because there was a big "send help" written on the pavement and there were chalk body outlines of Ben and all the children. If you can't read this one enlarge it....

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Gotta Smile

So you have to smile when you walk out from a hectic busy day at work and see a four year old wearing a bike helmet, carrying a space shuttle pinata, and who has a pizza box with upside-down duct tape wrapped 2-liter bottles strapped to his back.