Sunday, May 31, 2009

What I have been doing (otherwise entitled Why I haven't posted for awhile...)

It was a very busy week.
I honestly don't even remember what I did last Monday. It feels like that long ago.
So here are some highlights:

Tuesday- Josie had her two year check-up. Things look pretty good. She is above average on height and below average (we're talking like 25 percentile) on weight but the Ped finally seems to accept that it as just how Josie is. She was a little low on iron but not unexpectedly low.

Wednesday- Jim basically catered for 100 people a BBQ kick-off for Vacation Bible School. He did chicken on a huge grill we borrowed from some friends. There were beans, watermelon, bags of chips, and brownies. I spent most of the afternoon running errands. They had huge bouncy blow-up things so my kids got to play on them from start until finish because of the fact that Jim was there cooking.

Thursday- I had my first go at advising incoming students. I will be helping with orientations all summer as part of my job (along with teaching) so I just hope I do not steer anyone wrong.

Friday- After weeks of work registering and organizing students into classes letters went out to 180ish K-8 students for a summer program. I only suffered a couple paper cuts.

Saturday- Jim and I helped usher two ceremonies for somewhere around 400+ seventh graders who scored high on the SAT or ACT as part of the Duke Talent Identification Program. We had placed information bags and Book Store coupons on every chair in the place the day before (Andy & Doug were actually big helpers!). I got to hand each student the medal and shake his or her hand. Let me tell you that 95% of them were slightly clammy and probably 70% of 7th graders have not developed a firm handshake. Most get the "shake with the right while reaching for the medal with the left hand" deal...but a few seem reluctant (or lazy?) to raise that extra hand and that can be a bit awkward. I even saw two of my former students since the students come from all over the state.
We finished with the ceremonies in time to see Doug, Andy, and Josie at a birthday party for a friend from preschool.

Sunday- I am taking a deep breath and getting ready to get on top of things. Classes start this week. I am taking one. I am teaching one that is in the process of change at the moment. I am working on finishing an independent study with a professor. There are other things I would really like to do (and get done) so it promises to be a VERY busy summer.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What I've been listening to....

Other than I sometimes get behind in listening to podcasts, I am enjoying listening to a variety of podcasts. I subscribe through iTunes, but I know all of these are available at the websites of the producers.
Here is the list of what I currently subscribe to in podcasts (APM= American Public Media, NPR= National Public Radio, PRI=Public Radio International):

Garrison Keillor's The Writers Almanac (APM)- 5 minutes of literary and poetry focus, I usually learn a new interesting fact or two

The Splendid Table (APM)- almost and hour about food, the usual format is talk about a food find, talk to food experts, take calls from listeners

7AM ET News Summary (NPR)- more news in 5 minutes than most radio stations do in the whole day

Car Talk (NPR)- An hour of Click and Clack solving (or at least discussing) car problems

StoryCorps (NPR)- anywhere from 5 minutes to 20 minutes of people, usually 2, having a conversation about life. I have often found myself teary eyed if not crying listening.

Sunday Puzzle (NPR)- The on air word puzzle with Will Shortz and Leann Hanson.

Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! (NPR)- An hour of humor with the news. I LOVE this show. It used to play during church but now I can listen to it whenever. I am a BIG fan.

On Economic Virtue (APM)- 15-20 minutes of people talking about the economic downtown in terms of spiritual, religion, and values. I find it a fresh take on what is going on. A lot of what keeps coming up again and again is that much of this is caused by humans isolating themselves and that much could be corrected by people making connections with each other.

Science and Creativity
(PRI)- 5 to 10 minutes of someone who is truly doing something innovative in science. A variety of scientific topics are covered and I LOVE this podcast because I find it refreshing, exciting, and innovative.

This I Believe (Not sure...NPR?)- 5ish minutes, people's essays about what they believe in for their lives. I love the perspective and the introspection.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

First time

Today in church we sang a song that said "Clap for joy" and it reminded me of the first time I realized that Andy and Doug were actually paying attention to what was on the radio.

They were probably somewhere between twelve and eighteen months old. We were driving in the car and there was a song on that said something about clapping. I looked back and Doug was tentatively clapping his hands and looking at me for reassurance.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

What's the difference?

I know that Andy and Doug are aware that they are twins. They volunteer the information when introducing themselves to new people.
At church this last week a girl, who was probably in about 4th grade, was visiting with a friend who goes to our church.
Now Andy and Doug barely look like siblings, but I realize that sometimes people lump them together anyway.
I overheard the girl ask Andy how she could tell them apart.
Andy said,"I wear long pants most of the time."

And truthfully...Andy does like to wear long pants most of the time. It's just not the characteristic I would have pointed out to someone.

Friday, May 22, 2009


Doug and Andy are getting better at hide-and-seek.
We ended up playing the other night for an extended period of time.
The counting with the boys is a bit dicey (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9, 11,.....Mom:where did ten go?, Doug: He fell) so you don't actually know how long you have to find a decent hiding place.

Andy still wants to tell you where he is going to hide and often it is in the spot he just found you.
My problem is Josie wants to hide with me and she can't keep her mouth shut.
Doug is actually getting pretty good. He is learning to keep quiet.
The funny one was when Jim sat down against a wall in the dark living room with only a dark brown blanket over his head. All three kids walked past him at least once if not twice before they spotted him.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Just a word of warning

The boys have sort of understood knock-knock jokes. They have started telling their own. They mostly get the form...but of course do not quite have the finesse to make up actual funny ones. It probably doesn't help that Josie is trying to get in on the action and she mostly gets the "knock-knock" part....

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Life in a bubble

My mother-in-law purchased a new toy. It is a blow-up "bubble" ball that is large enough for children to get in and run around in like a hamster ball.
Josie was hesitant to get inside; although she did crawl through it in the end. Doug and Andy readily crawled in and would have stayed in it until they had either worn themselves out completely or sweated themselves to death. Doug really figured out how to get the ball going fast on his own. If you pushed the ball with the two of them inside there was much giggling involved.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Doug & Andy

On this day four years ago I went to the hospital late in the day for a C-section because I had twins where one was laying transverse. Both boys were good size at a day short of 36 weeks gestation, but we did end up in the NICU for 3-4 days. When we finally got in the car and went to drive home, Jim and I looked at each other and collectively said "oh my, what do we do now...."

On this day three years ago I had a college class to go to...however the NEXT day we had a birthday party that had a Hungry Caterpillar theme. We had a caterpillar cake and a butterfly cake. We ate some of the foods mentioned in the books. Doug & Andy were more interested in the wrapping paper then unwrapping their gifts. It was one of the first few times that Andy & Doug had ever had cake so Andy got into it but Doug had eaten enough that he was not that interested in it.

On this day two years ago we stopped by the pediatrician's office for a heel prick to check for jaundice on our 4 day old baby daughter. We did this on the way to a friend's house who was hosting a birthday party for Doug & Andy. There was a cake with a train on it and each of the boys selected a train car to eat. They still wanted to play with each gift as they opened it.

On this day one year ago we had some friends over including a little boy from church who is exactly one year older than Doug & Andy. They were excited about the cake and enthusiastic about blowing out the candles. They were into ripping off the wrapping paper from their gifts.

This year Doug & Andy have learned to recognize the letter that begins their names, they are now potty trained, they can (mostly) get dressed and undressed by themselves, they can bath themselves in the shower with guidance, they mostly color in the lines, they now occasionally draw pictures that you can distinguish, and they are beginning to be able to reason.

Monday, May 18, 2009


Doug and Andy (and Josie by default) have chores. So far their chores have only been to put their shoes in their closet, pick out their own clothes in the morning (it happens most of the time), and to put their clothes in the laundry hamper (this is the best kept chore because they like to slam dunk their clothes in the basket or to race to get it there).
I have discovered in the process that I am definitely NOT a chart person. As much as I love a good list, I cannot keep up with a chart for more then a week. I suppose this goes along with the fact that I can deal with ten days of dosing medicine for children but if one starts later then I start forgetting doses after the first child stops so that the second child has random timing on the medicine. I think I must have issues with doing things "long term" or something.

Anyway, we (or perhaps it is I) decided that the boys were soon to be four so it was time to add another chore to the list. I gave them the choice of making their beds, keeping books picked up, or keeping their toys picked up in the toy room. As much as I love having a downstairs playroom where I can shut the door... it means I have a downstairs playroom where I can shut the door and ignore the mess.
Amazingly they choose picking up the playroom so I actually have a clean (you can actually see the floor...I could vacuum if I were that motivated!) playroom this evening. It probably helped that they received Nerf guns as gifts and it is much easier to find the "bullets" when you do not have to search through piles of stuff on the floor.
I think it is time to whittle out some toys since they were losing momentum towards the end and it makes sense that you should only have as many toys as you are willing to clean-up.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Rain, rain, go away

It is the Saturday in between three children's we had a party. I do not want to make a habit of lumping Josie's birthday with the boy's, but she is only two and hasn't really developed her own set of friends yet.
We planned to have the party at a park. We rented a shelter near the bathrooms, and near the play equipment. We sent home notes with everyone in the preschool class and only got a few people calling for regrets saying that they could not come.
It rained. It rained really hard in the morning. We also did not think about the fact that this park also has at least four baseball fields that were all in constant use despite the rain so parking was interesting.

However, it all worked out.
We did have a few friends from preschool and a few from other places. The park we picked has big trees so the play equipment was wet but not too bad considering. We had a hot dog picnic with three birthday cakes. Our babysitter showed up with his sister's brand new puppy who was the hit of the party. We had a pinata that roughly looked like a space ship. The space ship actually flew when the older brother of one of their classmates hit it and the fish line it was hanging from pulled out...then he whacked it open on the floor of the shelter and Jim ripped it open enough to spray the candy out.
The parents seemed to have a good time as everyone sat and talked and most everyone stayed past the published end of the party.

We went home, gave the kids a shower, put on new clothes, and then headed out to another party. A little boy in our church is exactly one year older than Doug & Andy. The kids played on his big outdoor riding toys. When it rained we shoot balloon rockets off the porch, ate cupcakes, and had potato chips. When it had mostly stopped raining the kids went back out and got muddy playing with the toys in the yard.

Then we packed up the kids, headed home, changed clothes again, picked up a pizza, and dropped them off at the baby-sitter's apartment. Andy in particular has wanted to have a sleepover there and when I mentioned it to Ben he thought that was an okay idea. So we left all three kids with their sleeping bags and a small bag of clothes.

Jim and I ended up with free baby-sitting and were able to go out to a nice dinner.
Not a bad day.

Friday, May 15, 2009


Two years ago today I went to the hospital with Jim, riding at the slowest pace I think I have ever seen my father-in-law drive. We were a planned C-section and I was just grateful that my daughter would not have the exact same birthday as her twin brothers. There were friends there and things went pretty smoothly. She was a little "juicy" being a C-section baby, and she weighed in at a whooping 9 lbs. 3 oz.
You would never know all that today. She is above average in length and below average on weight. She runs, laughs, chases, smiles, talks up a storm, bosses her brothers, holds her own, plays with dolls, makes truck sounds, "bams" bad guys, wears dresses, tip toes, throws tantrums, gives hugs, screams for the heck of it, hides behind me, flirts with strangers, and seems to have a sixth sense about when to show up naked to climb in the shower with me. So far my favorite things she has said are:
  1. "That's my mommy" and "That's my daddy."
  2. "I love you so much.
  3. and tonight she told me "You my friend mommy."

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Interior Decorating


You did not know it before...but I have my own in house interior decorators.

Andy has this strange thing for paper (I blame my sister's genes...). He sort of got a hold of the painter's tape one day and that with some post-it notes (courtesy of my mother-in-law) made for some interesting wall decorations. He and Doug were "artfully" placing paper for quite awhile. Jim and I went out and our baby-sitter helped one tape/paper "mobile" make it to the ceiling.
The decoration stayed for quite awhile until the demolition crew (Josie) came through. I did the "bad" mommy thing and got rid of the rest in the dark of night....

You might take care of a preschooler if:
1. You have ever had to smuggle pieces out in the trash
2. You have ever had the words "Oh my, yes...well, how did that get in the trash? I really don't know." come out of your mouth.
3. You have ever said "That's lovely....what is it?"

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Circus dress-up day

They had a week at preschool where the children learned things around a circus theme. Part of the week was a special day to dress-up as animals or people from the circus and they had a special music and movement time. Since we were attending a 2-day and 3-day class we got to dress up twice.
Doug the shy tiger.
Andy as a clown.

Andy as a tiger and Doug as the Ring Master. I don't know well you can tell if from the photo but Andy has whiskers and Doug has a handle-bar mustache.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Sometimes my children tend toward the really strange fashion-wise.
Today Andy had on a striped shirt (we're talking loud stripes too), shorts, and, late in the day, he changed his socks to black socks hiked up to about his knees.

He looked like the stereotypical little old man which I further encouraged by tucking in his shirt and pulling up his shorts as high as I could (they didn't quite make it to his armpits).

Needless to daddy didn't find it as amusing as mommy.
Daddy: Andy, tell mommy "fix my clothes.:
Andy: Mommy, fix daddy's clothes.

bah-dump ching!

Monday, May 11, 2009

A second Train Ride

Jim made it the second day when we rode the train. The train station also had a table with Thomas trains for the kids to play with while waiting for the train ride.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Our camping trip

We went camping over the kids' spring break. The campground had other things to do there.

Doug helped with a magician's show at the campground.
Jim had something to do and missed the first time we rode the train. Here he is from when we passed him on the train that runs around the entire campground.

Friday, May 8, 2009

More Easter afternoon

We had lunch and there were cookies for the kids to decorate. We were mostly unsuccessful at playing badminton and definitely successful at having fun.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Easter Afternoon

We had one last egg hunt at my brother-on-law's house on Easter afternoon. By this time all of the children were experts at looking for eggs. Doug still wanted to open each egg as he found it, but Andy was definitely in the "more is better" mode of trying to find as many eggs as possible.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

We qualify...

Andy went for speech articulation testing today. I had him tested through the school district. I just did not want any speech issues to possibly interfere with learning to read when we get to that point.

So we do qualify. He has some sound substitutions that are out of the norm. We have to ask at the next doctor appointment about his tongue. He may need to get the little thing under his tongue clipped because he does not have the lateral movement he needs. We had asked about this when he was an infant and the pediatrician at that point just said it was fine. So apparently his did not stretch out as much as some do so it is affecting his speech. His comprehension was fine, his hearing was fine, his vision was fine, and they thought his expressive speech was fine (he was acting shy so she had a little trouble hearing him). So it pretty much came out as I thought it would.

We have a date for an IEP meeting and would probably start services in the fall. Here's the hitch however, I put the boys' names in for the lottery for the preschool spots at the public school for which we are zoned. The catch is that you cannot have an IEP and be in the "normal" spots and speech does not qualify you for the "special education" spots. Doesn't make sense to me either way. They were supposed to do the drawing yesterday and they are supposed to post lists of who got the spots on May 7. I'm sort of assuming that we did not get spots in the preschool because I put on the application that we would only accept spots if both boys got in. I really didn't want to think about one being in all day preschool and the other one not. I don't mind them in separate classes but I'd rather have them at the same school.

Dressed for church

I think Andy was being photo phobic for these pictures. These were Andy and Doug's first outfits that we had to try on before leaving the store. Doug was happy because we finally found him a pink shirt (pink is currently his favorite color). He loved looking at himself in the mirror. Andy chose green and could have cared less about seeing himself in the mirror.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Easter Day (only a few weeks behind)

We still have Easter candy so this counts as timely right? These pictures are from the morning when the kids first got up. The Easter bunny brought Josie a Tinker Bell purse and Doug & Andy sunglasses.

Did you know...

If you leave a small bowl of Jello Jigglers recipe Jello in the fridge for a couple of weeks you probably could then use it to reattach the wing of the space shuttle.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Belated Easter Pictures

I have a ton of pictures that I just hadn't gotten around to getting off the camera so you're going to get pictures for awhile. These first ones are from an Easter Egg Hunt we went to the day before Easter. I'm discovering that as the children get older it is hard to catch all three of them in a single candid shot. Usually about the time that I get the camera to of them will take off for something else. So I get a lot of pictures with two and a half children.