Saturday, August 30, 2008

Reasons why you should never turn your back on a toddler....

This morning, as I was getting ready to head out the door to take Bella to her first dance class, Cole wanted to take a picture of us. I guess I thought Tim was watching the little twins....he must have thought I was watching them.

Notice in the upper right corner of the picture....that's Garrett on our kitchen table. Notice Tim is right there in the kitchen with him but has his back turned. Notice I'm a few feet away in the family room with my back turned.

Sneaky little booger, isn't he?? Guess it's true what they say....when the cat's away, the mice will play....but how bad is it that we were both right there in the same room with him??!! That boy is gonna give me gray hair before the year is over.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The last 24 hours....

Here is what's happened in my life in the last 24 hours:

1) The little twins napped for 3 glorious, uninterrupted hours yesterday!!! From 12:00-3:00 pm!! I could not believe my luck. However, I couldn't convince Cole and Bella to take a nap so I was stuck watching yet another 90 minutes of Spiderman (see post from yesterday for reference).

2) We went to a playdate at one of the mom's in our new playgroup's home yesterday afternoon. I spoke with Cole and Bella right before we left about using manners, being polite and how to be respectful of other people's homes and things. I especially told Bella she was not to ask for something to eat unless she was offered something (and I brought chips along to share with everyone just in case there were no snacks offered). We were there not 10 minutes and the 4 kids were all over the place! And walking back and forth from outside to inside, bringing dirt into the house...ugh! The mom kept saying it was no worry but geez, she had to be thinking that my kids were complete pigs. Then of course Bella asked the mom if she could have some gummies for a snack....I think I turned a bright shade of red. What was the point of having a talk beforehand with them?!

3) Cole had his first soccer practice last night. He told me they learned the "elephant" which I guess is learning to take big steps. Tim took him and said it was pretty funny watching all the kids play and there were actually more girls than boys. I think Tim is secretly hoping to make Cole into a professional soccer player someday, regardless of whether Cole wants to be or not.

4) This morning, I took Garrett and Landon to the mall to play in the indoor play area since I had to get my watch fixed. Landon loved it and had a blast....Garrett had more fun running out of the play area and making me chase him down. Why am I paying for a gym membership when I can get more of a workout chasing him around the mall and the library?! I made the mistake of dressing them alike, yet again, and endured tons of people staring and making comments like "oh, twins?", "you have your hands full", and....I'm not little old man who was taking a leisurely stroll around the mall and stopped to ask me if the boys were twins and when I said yes, he asked if they have the same birthday. I said "yes, they are twins and of course they have the same birthday". He smiled and said "I was thinking they must have the same birthday since they're the same size". HUH?? I said "they're close in size because they are twins but they're obviously different people with different personalities"...he stared at me for a minute and then said "wait, I thought you said they were twins?". Either he hit the bottle of booze a little too early in the morning or he missed a bunch of lectures in biology when he was in high school.

5) I had to bring the boys with me to pick Cole and Bella up from preschool. Sometimes I've lucked out and had Tim go get the kids but I figured since I was out anyway and nearby the school, I'd just go get them. As I was walking up to the classroom, I noticed a couple parents staring at me. One mom smiled and said "don't you have twins in Miss Denise's class?" and I said "yes" and she looked confused and looked at Garrett and Landon and asked "are these another set of twins?"....I said,"yes"....and then....say it with me...."you have your hands full"...and "how do you do it?" As I left the classroom with Cole and Bella, with the little twins in tow, I must have looked like a Mama Duck with her little babies following her as I said "everyone hold hands", "use the crosswalk", "no running", "everyone stay together".

6) Finally, this afternoon, on the way to the gym, Cole and Bella were fighting in the backseat as usual. Unfortunately, we've had to move their carseats right next to one another because the latch where we originally wanted to seat Cole didn't allow the carseat to be secure enough to my liking. Tim kept saying it was fine..."what are the chances of us getting into an accident?". Yeah, he really said that. But now they sit so close together that they can't keep their hands to themselves.

After Bella reached out and slapped Cole across the face, he said "Mommy, Bella just hit me". And I snapped back to him, "I'm so tired of you both fighting with one another" and he asked "can you move my seat over by the window so I don't have to sit next to her?". I told him it wasn't safe for his seat to be over there because it wasn't tight enough but if they kept fighting I'd move one of the little twins into Bella's seat and Bella would move into the 2nd row, thus hopefully ending the fighting.

Cole said, "yeah Mommy I think you've made a good choice....let's do that". I said "I'm glad you think it's a good choice" and he said "it's a very good choice that you made".

I wonder what the next 24 hours will bring....

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Mommy, is Spiderman on a time out?

Tim let Cole and Bella watch the Spiderman movie one day about a month ago. It's not a movie I personally would have let them watch just because of the violence but Tim said "I used to watch the cartoon all the time when I was little...what's the harm?" The only harm that came from them watching the movie is they're completely obsessed with it. They talk about Spiderman morning, noon and night. Cole has a Spiderman backpack for school, he has Spiderman sandals (and convinced me to buy Landon a pair too), and he wants to be Spiderman for Halloween.

Each time they watch the movie they have a million questions for me, such as:

1) "Mommy, is Spiderman on a time out?" During one of the scenes when Spiderman is sitting on the ground against a wall with the Green Goblin looking over him

2) "Mommy, where's the Green Goglin right now?" Nope, that's not a typo...Bella insists it's the Green Goglin, not the Green Goblin. Everytime there is a scene without the Goglin, she asks me where he is. One time I said he was taking a potty break and she asked if he wipes his own butt.

3) "Mommy, how does Spiderman get webs to come out of his arm?" I have no freakin clue but it just seems downright creepy to me.

4) "Mommy, can Spiderman see out of his costume?" I'm assuming they ask this b/c his face is completely hidden behind a mask. Then they want to know why he wears a mask and I say "he wants to be anonymous..he doesn't want anyone to know who he is"...."but why mama" and "he's a good guy so why doesn't he tell anyone?"

5) "Mommy, why'd that spider bite Peter Parker on the arm?" I'm amazed that they aren't frightened of spiders after watching that scene repeatedly. They also love to say Peter Parker over and over again until they spit on each other.

As I'm typing this, I have a sandwich that Tim got for me for lunch sitting next to my computer. I only ate half of it. I look beside me and I see Bella eyeing my sandwich as she says, "Mommy, that sure looks like a good sandwich". I said "yes, it is" and she keeps staring at the sandwich and then back at me. she says again, "I bet that's a really good sandwich" and I nod my head. Then she says (where on earth does she get this stuff?), "I bet it melts in your mouth, huh?" and I finally say "would you like a bite of my sandwich?" and she looks all shy and says, "sure...if you want me to". She ended up finishing my sandwich.

On a side note, I took Garrett and Landon to the library for storytime this morning while Cole and Bella were at preschool. Landon actually did amazingly well and sat by me most of the time. Garrett, on the other hand, wanted to be the center of attention, not the librarian. So he ran around pulling CD's off the shelf, ran in front of the librarian as she read the book and started clapping his hands and bee-bopping his little body as if he heard music, and walked up to several other little children who were enjoying the story read by the librarian and stood directly in their line of view and started babbling to them in toddler-ese. To my amazement, we didn't get booted from the library....but at the end of the storytime, the librarian did mention that they would be moving back to their permanent location in September and they would be going back to having 2 separate story times, 1 for toddlers and 1 for older children since "toddlers sometimes get the wiggles and can't sit still for very long".

I avoided eye contact with her as she said that. And I hurriedly packed up the boys and strolled out of there. But I'm proud of myself for trying it and staying through it all, even if it meant I was getting a better work out chasing Garrett around then when I work out at the gym. I'm gonna keep trying (in the famous words of Yo Gabba Gabba)....keep trying, don't give up, never give up....maybe after a few more times, storytime will be a breeze.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My memories have escaped me...

Waaaaayyyyy back when Cole and Bella were babies, I had asked a friend of mine who had twins older than mine what she thought was the most difficult age and she said, "oh definitely, 18 months, without a doubt". At the time, I thought she had to be joking because I was so freakin sleep-deprived and worn out with 2 newborn twins, that there was no way I believed for a minute that the newborn stage with twins was easier than dealing with 18 month olds.

Then Cole and Bella turned 18 months and it was like they changed overnight to little demon children. I completely understood what my friend had meant. They couldn't quite talk yet so they screamed about everything. They fought with each other every minute of the day...and oh the biting....the biting stage was definitely upon us and I was actually saying "we don't bite" outloud in my sleep because I felt like that's all I ever said to them. They wanted to do everything I didn't want them to do, like climb on tables, jump on beds, run around the house naked (which resulted in many many potty accidents), play with plugs in outlets, eat things they shouldn't eat (I won't even bother writing about the kitty litter incident because it still makes my stomach turn even to this very day).

So my memories have escaped me....kinda like when you're pregnant and you swear on your life that you never ever wanna be pregnant again, or right after you've gone through childbirth and you tell your husband not to touch you with a 10-ft pole because you promise that you never want to go through childbirth ever again. Oh, how quickly the human mind forgets. Next thing you know you see a friend's newborn baby and you get those familiar pangs of wanting another baby...the baby fever gets so bad that you throw caution to the wind and hope for the best. Then when you're pregnant again, all the memories come flooding back again and you're left thinking, "what the HELL was I thinking?"

I had forgotten how tough the 18-month old stage is. Garrett and Landon are almost there, just 2 weeks shy of 18 months. But I'm already seeing changes in them. It all started yesterday as I was trying to load all the kids in the mini-van after a work out at the gym. I was tired and my muscles ached and I just wanted to get home so I could get dinner started and count down the minutes until all the kiddies were in bed. As I was getting Landon in his carseat, he instantly arched his back and started screaming. I actually had to push against his tummy to get him to stop arching enough so I could lock him in his carseat. Then the little booger actually attempted to bite me....he had just started to open his mouth against my hand when I realized what he was trying to do and I said "oh no, you don't bite Mommy....were you gonna try to bite me?" and he laughed this insanely scary laugh like he was totally out of control.

Thankfully, Garrett doesn't bite....yet. But the boy sure knows how to throw a good tantrum. He's a screamer and a stomper. He'll stomp both his feet and just scream at the top of his lungs. If I try to pick him up, he'll arch his back and throw his arms out as far as he can, usually hitting me in the face as he does this.

I was just talking to my grandmother this morning on the phone, who is 91 years old, and she asked "so how are you really doing?" and I said "going crazy" and she said "I'm sure you are....but remember they're only little this one time in their lives. Enjoy it, treasure it, savor it because before you know it, they'll be grown up and you won't remember any of the challenges you're facing now". Is it really possible that these memories will escape me again, just as they had with Cole and Bella? I suppose they will and that's probably a very good thing.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Finding my groove again....

I'm finally starting to venture out again and start socializing. I used to be so active with other playgroups and friends with their kids but at some point I became somewhat of a loner. Probably because I figured if I felt overwhelmed with 4 kids (and they were MY kids), no one else was going to want to hang out with me and feel overwhelmed right along with me. The few times I had invited a couple other moms over for a playdate, I got a sinking feeling that it would be the first and last playdate, all in one. I seemed to click well with both moms but my kids just didn't seem to do well and it was chaotic and disorganized. I felt very flustered most of the time and it wasn't very enjoyable for me to try to have a conversation with another adult while trying to break up fights between Cole and Bella or try to pry Garrett off of me so I could make lunch for our guests.

So I sorta gave up....I just figured my social life, at this point in time, would pretty much just involve some fleeting conversations with various moms at the park or the library that I would probably never see again and, if I was lucky, be able to maybe chat on the phone with an old friend for 2 minutes just to let her know I was alive and thinking of her. It was lonely as hell. And it did feel like hell, actually....I love my children more than life itself and they are my #1 priority obviously but I really missed those friendships. I missed being able to talk to other moms, who I had become close friends with, who could laugh along with me about the things that happen day in and day out or someone I could just call up and say "hey, do you wanna join me and the kids for a walk this morning?" . I was starting to think that my life as I had known it before would never be the same again. I had lost myself somewhere along the journey and I didn't recognize myself, someone who used to be so outgoing and friendly.

But last week, I just hit a point where I was tired of feeling sorry for myself. And stop saying to myself, "well, this is just'll be able to do things with friends again soon". I had to put myself out there and make the effort. So I told the kids that I needed 10 minutes to make some phone calls and that they were not to disturb me unless one of them was dying (to which Bella took me literally and asked "how do I know if I'm dying?"). I managed to call 3 friends to let them know I was thinking of them and to try to catch up on the goings-on in their lives but I got answering machines. Even though I didn't connect with any of them, it felt good to finally be reaching out and attempting to be social again. By the time, 2 of the called me back, I was unavailable....busy making dinner and trying to get the kids to stop fighting with one another. I'll continue to play phone tag with them for the next month, I'm sure, but it sure felt good to reach out and try to connect.

Today, I joined a small group of moms and their kids at the park today. It's a very new playgroup that another mom started, with the hopes that we can all meet consistently on the same day each week to do various activities together. And hopefully also have Mommy's Night Outs, where we can all go out together without husbands and kids.

So I'm starting to find my groove again....the old "me" is shining through and it feels good. It made a huge difference in my mood and my patience level with the kids and it certainly made the day go by faster. And the kids had a really great time playing with the other kids, which made me even happier.

It feels good to have a social life again....

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Hello Kitty has met her biggest fan!

One of our local shopping centers holds an event called Friday Night Live every 4th Friday during the summer, where all the stores stay open late and there are car shows, live music and lots of fun things for the kiddos. I had read in the paper earlier this month that Hello Kitty was going to be at one of the stores to say hi to her fans. Of course, as soon as I read this, I had to mention it to was like Christmas had come early!
So all day long, last Friday, Bella kept asking me, "is it time to see Hello Kitty yet?" and I'd say "no, Hello Kitty is still at school" or "no, Hello Kitty is at home resting before her big debut". She was just so darn excited to meet Hello Kitty in person. And I have to admit it was kinda nice to have something this huge to hang over her head each time she misbehaved...all I had to say was "Gee, it would be so sad for you to miss out on a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet Hello Kitty all because you aren't listening". I'm evil....
We went out for pizza before heading over to meet Hello Kitty. We are regulars at this pizza place, since it's right in our neighborhood, and the kids know that there are lollipops in a bowl on the counter for them to take if they've eaten all their dinner. Bella was so thoughtful....she also asked if she could take a lollipop for Hello Kitty, which the manager said was okay.
The parking was horrendous and we ended up having to park 3 blocks away and we walked over to the stores. The whole time Bella kept asking "where's Hello Kitty? Do you guys see her? We have to find her before she leaves". After hearing this for about the 10th time, Tim and I were really starting to lose our patience with her but I kept trying hard to imagine the excitement she must have been feeling and see the whole experience through her eyes.
We arrived at the store just in time to meet Hello Kitty, who wandered out from a potty break and greeted her fans. One of the ladies who worked in the store told us that we could stand in line and Hello Kitty would actually be sitting down and letting her fans have an opportunity to hug her and have their picture taken with her. I thought Bella was gonna pee in her pants right there on the spot out of sheer excitement....not only was she getting to see Hello Kitty in the flesh, but she was gonna get to actually touch Hello Kitty and talk to her.
Then finally it was Bella's turn to be face to face with her beloved Hello Kitty....she handed HK the lollipop and said, "here, I got this for you"...awww, how sweet is that?!

Then she posed with HK and I made sure to get her picture...afterwards, Bella kept asking, "are you sure you got the picture? Lemme see". I promised her I'd print the picture out and frame it so she could keep it next to her bed.

Notice she has a Cinderella tattoo on her arm....what a traitor! But she did make sure to wear her best HK shirt and her HK flip-flops. Look at that makes me wanna cry just seeing how happy she is. There's something about seeing your child so happy that it can just bring you to tears. It reminds me of a time a couple years ago when we went to the state fair and it was the kids' first time on a carousel. Tim went on it with them and I stood there watching them go round and round, enjoying their laughter and their smiles. I felt tears rolling down my cheeks as I watched them and I just felt so blessed to be their mother. It was one of those motherhood moments that I will always remember and keep close to my heart. I think this Hello Kitty experience measures right up there with the carousel memory.

And I think this made Bella's night....heck, I think it made her whole year. Her birthday and Christmas could come and go but she will always remember this night when Hello Kitty met her biggest fan!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Never leave your camera unattended around my children....

Out of nothing but sheer stupidity, I always leave my digital camera on the kitchen counter. I just like to have it handy so I can grab it quickly when I want a capture a cute pic of the kids or a video. But this also means that Cole and Bella have access to it. I rarely seem to see them taking pictures but the evidence is pretty clear when I go to view the pics when I'm transferring them from the memory card to the computer. Check out the pics my little photographers left for me recently:

I'm assuming these are Bella's feet.

Our staircase, covered in dirty handprints...why they found this picture-worthy is beyond me?
I think this might be Landon's body....not sure but if sure would've been a cute picture if the head hadn't been left out of the pic.

Bella hamming it up for Cole obviously....I could just hear her now, "Cole, let me model for you...take my picture"
Bella holding something in her hand....this picture might have been semi-decent if there had been more lighting.
Awww, a nice close up of each other's eyes. I'm sure the flash left them both blind for a few minutes.

All I can assume is that this was Cole's butt (covered in shorts obviously). I could totally see him telling Bella to take a picture of his butt. He's obsessed with butts lately and thinks they are the funniest thing on earth.

Well, well, well, what'dya know? Proof that Tim actually does do dishes....I'm sorry to admit that our kitchen counter always looks like that.

Of course, Hello Kitty has to be in there somewhere....

I have decided not to delete these photos or any other wierd photos they may take in the future. After all, they could be famous photographers one day and I can show them these pics and say "look how gifted you already were at the young age of 3".

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fun first day of pre-K? Not so much....

Cole and Bella started their new school yesterday. They are now officially in pre-kindergarten. I can hardly believe it. It seems like just yesterday they were little tiny preemies in the NICU and then I blink my eyes and now they are just 6 weeks shy of turning 4 years old.

They were excited as we drove to the school but then upon entering the classroom, Cole started hiding behind my not a good sign at all. The teacher was standing at the sign-in area and personally greeted every child....turns out their teacher is my sister's best friend's little sister (hope that makes sense!) She immediately said to the kids, "I'm Ms Denise....I know your Auntie Erica". The kids were too nervous at that point to even care.

And it all went downhill from there. Now let me just put it right out there and say that Cole and Bella are usually very friendly, outgoing kids. They are very talkative and social and usually handle new situations very well. But this might have been a little too overwhelming for them. Too many new kids, a new classroom, a completely different school schedule then what they're used just really threw them off.

I ended up staying for the first 90 minutes of class (and the class is only 3 hours a day). I knew Bella would be fine once she found another little girl to be friendly with. I knew that would set her at ease and she'd warm up to the situation. Luckily, as we were sitting there, a little girl came up to Bella and told Bella her name and sat down next to her and smiled. I could see Bella's eyes light up and she was just about to tell the little girl her name when another little girl came up out of nowhere and hugged the other little girl and they ran off together (apparently they knew each other from last year). The look on Bella's face absolutely broke my heart. And she said "She doesn't want to be my friend". I honestly thought I would cry right there on the spot but I held it together and told her that there were lots of other children she could be friends with.

It was during circle time that she finally started enjoying the class, especially when the teacher broke out the Greg and Steve CD with the ABC song on it. She immediately recognized it from her old school and whispered to me "Miss Debbie taught us this song".

Cole was a whole 'nother story. That boy wouldn't let go of me for anything. The teacher could've promised him a tub of ice cream if he let go of me and he probably still wouldn't have budged. I was probably making it worse by staying there with him but everytime I tried to break away to leave, he'd start crying harder and actually started hyperventilating a couple times. And at one point when I was almost out the door, he ran after me and cried, "Mommy, take me home with you...why are you making me stay?" Of course, I turned right back around and went back into the classroom with him.

I know this all goes back to trust issues I had with my own parents when I was younger. Because of the lack of trust and security in my own childhood, it's so important for me to feel like my kids can trust me to be there for them all the time. I never want them to feel like I've hung them out to dry, so to speak. I guess I was thinking that if I just walked out and left him there, scared and crying, that trust issues could develop. Plus I want them to look back at their school years with fondness and good memories and be excited for every first day of every school year, rather than feel anxious and scared that Mommy is gonna drop them off in a new situation and leave without a care in the world. To me, it's kinda like throwing your kid into a pool to teach them how to swim, after you've already said "I promise I won't let go of you"....where's the trust in that? It just teaches your kid that maybe they shouldn't trust you so much, as their parent. Okay, okay....clearly I'm making more out of this than really needs to's a little more than obvious I have childhood issues that have yet to be resolved.

After 90 minutes, though, Cole started to come around when the kids all sat down for a snack. He immediately was won over by the fact that they were having Lucky Charms. I thought school snacks were supposed to be healthy? But it was the first day of school and if eating Lucky Charms was gonna make him feel more comfortable, then so be it.

Today, was a much better day for both of them. I wimped out and had Tim take them, figuring he would be able to handle any crying without getting too emotional about it. But both kids ran off and didn't need him to stay. When I picked them up today, they were both having a great time, except in the car, Bella told me that the same little girl from yesterday wouldn't talk to her today. I asked, "why do you think she wouldn't talk to you?" and she said, "I don't know...I kept trying to be her friend but she said she didn't want to be because she already has a friend". Do cliques really start this young?! I expected my children to have deal with that kind of crap in high school, not in pre-K. I fully expected to have to console my daughter when she experiences her first broken heart as a teenager, not now at the tender age of 3 when another little girl refuses to be friends with her. She had so many friends at her old school that I think she thought this would be easier. So did I, mistakenly.

Well, tomorrow's another day.....hopefully Bella will find another little girl who's also wanting a new friend.

Here's a couple pics from this morning as they left for school (they refused to let me take pics of them yesterday as I was dropping them off):

To get Cole to smile for this pic, I said "I wonder if they'll have Lucky Charms for snack again today?"
I just love this pic of Bella walking out the door with her Hello Kitty backpack on. She looks so grown up!
Edited to add: Garrett and Landon are starting to say the word "more" when they want more of something...yeah! I was starting to get a little worried that the only word they'd have in their vocabulary was "banana".

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I got an award!!

And it wasn't for Horrible Mother of the Year!!! Michelle at The Adventures of Supermom sent me this:

Isn't she sweet?! Definitely check her blog out! She has such a fun sense of humor.....she has 4 kids too so a sense of humor is a definite must!! As a mother, I can relate to a lot of the things she writes about! Thank you, Michelle, for thinking of me!

Okay, so apparently, what I'm supposed to do with this award is pass on the's the jist:

The rules of the award are:
1. The winner can put the logo on his/her blog.
2. Link the person you received your award from.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4. Put links of those blogs on yours.
5. Leave a message on the blogs of the people you’ve nominated

Here are a few of my favorite blogs and I thought I'd write a little about each one, with the hopes that you'll check them out and find them as wonderful as I do.

The Mommy Machine ... Like me, she has twins and she has an amazing sense of humor. She also ends every post with what she's made for dinner that night (and I've gotten some great ideas!) Oh and she posts the most fabulous pics of Alaska, where she lives.

Triplets Plus One = Four times the Fun ...She has triplets and a singleton. Her posts are amazingly hilarious and I've learned so much from her about organic foods, supplements, probiotics and other healthy things for my children. She is the most awesome advocate for her kids! And she was a major lifeline for me when Cole and Bella were babies when she kept encouraging me along with "it will get easier, I promise". We even went through all our pregnancies together!

Joy's Autism Blog ... Joy has 4 kids, including a son with autism. She is an amazing advocate for her children and her love for them comes through in every post she writes. She is always so encouraging and, of course, has a great sense of humor! She's also a regular commenter on my blog and it warms my heart to see a comment from her!

Da'Gorgeouses ... Her twins were born 16 weeks early and are little miracles in every sense of the word. She is so in love with motherhood and truly appreciates the blessings that she's been given. Reading her posts inspire me to be a better mother! She and I went through our trying to conceive journey together and she was such a wonderful person to share that experience with...the highs, the lows and the in between stuff.

The Journey ... She has 3 kids, including a set of twins, and she's pregnant with her 4th child. I love reading her posts because she chats about various things, like her kids, the Olympics, memories from the past. She always writes so eloquently, esp when it comes to her children. She wrote letters to her twin boys for their 1st birthday that left me in tears!

Bringing Up Twins ... She has twins who are 1 month older than Garrett and Landon so I can always relate to her posts. And talk about someone who expresses their thoughts so well...her writing is amazing! She posted most of her twins' birth story on her blog and I was on the edge of my seat the whole was like watching an episode of "Babies: Special Delivery".

Chatabox ... She's a 19-yr old girl who writes about everything under the sun. What I like about her blog is that she posts about random things, which always make me stop and think about other stuff (besides my kids!). She's in the process of moving to Australia and she writes about that too and I love reading those posts because I feel like I can live vicariously through her (I doubt I'll ever be able to visit Australia in my lifetime so I'll have to see it through her eyes!)

I'm adding an 8th one in here because I just stumbled upon this blog and I absolutely love it (plus I had a hard time just picking 7 of my favorites because there are so many)

Little Ruggers ... Another twin mom yet again (we're all over the place...don't drink the water in your town if you don't want twins!) Her twins are a few months younger than Garrett and Landon so reading her posts takes me back to that fun stage where they were learning how to crawl and find their toes! She wrote a letter from her kids to her husband for his 34th birthday that had me laughing out loud. And as required with all mothers of multiples, she has a fantastic sense of humor!

Okay, so there's my list...short and sweet (well, sorta...). Check all those blogs out...I promise you will be hooked, just like I am!

I can never seem to write short posts. But then again I'm with my 4 kids all day and sometimes this is my only way to hear my own thoughts!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Hey kids, let's go for a walk...

Only 2 more days until Cole and Bella start their new preschool. But who's counting? It's not like I'm drawing huge red X's on my calendar at the end of each extremely long day.

I figured the next 2 days would go by super fast if I had a ton of things for us to do. So I found this really awesome website DLTK's Printable Crafts for Kids that has a ton of ideas for crafts for kids of all ages! I sat at the computer with Cole and Bella and went through the various projects that were suggested for their age group and let them choose a project each.

Bella chose a Sleeping Beauty toilet paper craft and Cole chose the same project but with a triceratops (he's going through a dinosaur phase). Bella refused to pose for a pic with her craft...perhaps she was having a bad hair day. Here are the finished projects:

In the afternoon, I got all the kids ready to go outside to play in the water (and I had managed to find 20 water balloons that had yet to be used that I had hidden away...apparently, so well that I forgot I had them). It took me about 35 minutes (no, I don't stare at the clock all day...who am I kidding?) to get them all into their bathing suits, lathered up with sunscreen and get all the snacks ready in containers to be taken outside. Then out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the tree in our neighbor's yard swaying violently in the wind. It never dawned on me to actually go outside and make sure it was a "water play" kind of day. I just saw plenty of sunshine and blue skies and assumed it was extremely hot outside. Well, it was but there was a very cool breeze coming through and I knew the kids would be uncomfortably cold in the water. I wanted to hit myself upside the head at that point...

So I stripped them all down again and got them back into their clothes and said, "Hey kids, let's go for a walk" and prayed like a crazy woman that they were all interested. Miracles do happen...they were all game for going for a walk. Got Cole and Bella on their bikes and the little twins in their stroller and we were off....Cole suggested we take pictures along the way.

Of course Cole and Bella had to stop every 5 minutes along the way to pick various flowers....a 20 minute walk with them can easily turn into a 60-minute walk.

I finally got a pic of all 4 of them, but alas the little twins aren't looking at the camera but it's good enough. At least all 4 of them are IN the SAME picture.

We had to stop by the lake and watch the Mama Duck swim with her soon as I let the little twins out of the stroller, Garrett grabbed his sippy cup and headed towards the fence. It took me about 20 seconds to realize what he planned to do with the sippy cup...."look, Mama, my sippy cup fits nicely through these slats on the fence....ooops, I dropped it into the bad"
Cole and Bella decide that throwing rocks into the lake is a cool way to kill time...
Landon, obviously, has better things to examine a huge pile of dog poop that someone's dog left on the grass.

We're finally on our way back home (60 minutes later). Cole has figured how to make skid marks with the tires on his bike. He was very impressed with this particular skid mark he made and exclaimed, "Mommy, take a picture of me next to my huge skid mark". They're so innocent, aren't they? Someday they'll learn probably from a friend that "skid marks" can refer to other not-so-cute things (and we definitely won't wanna take pictures of those skid marks...I just know with 3 boys, it's inevitable)

This was probably the most entertaining part of our walk. This little old man in a scooter (I could totally picture him in one of those ads "I love my Round-About and my insurance paid for the whole thing") came speeding up to us and yelled out to Cole and Bella, "Hey kids, nice day for a bike ride, huh?" and, being the friendly and curious little kids that they are, chased the man down the street, yelling to him various questions like, "why are you riding on the street and not the sidewalk?", "did your mom say it was okay to not wear a helmet?", "do you have a dog?", "where's your house?"....the old man just kept smiling, trying to ignore them in the hopes that not answering would stop Cole and Bella but they were not to be deterred. He even tried breaking eye contact with them but even that didn't stop them. They continued to chase him down the street and I'm sure they were still yelling questions to him, though I couldn't hear because they were getting further away from me....

Here's where I yelled to them, "Cole and Bella, hit the brakes and wait for me....stop badgering that man". Then once I caught up to them, I had to explain what "badgering" meant.

Oh, and here's a huge spider that they insisted on me taking a picture of. I said to them, "Now this is pure unconditional love...I hate spiders yet I'm willing to practically climb into this bush to get a picture of this spider for you". Bella said, "Mommy, I'm so so sorry". I said, "does this mean I don't have to take the picture?" and she said "no, I just said I was sorry but I still want the picture of the spider". After snapping this picture, I asked Cole, "why do you think leaves are green?" and he said, "just because they are". I asked Bella, "why is the sky blue?" and she said, "because it is". Then Cole noticed a couple clouds in the sky and I asked "how come there are only 2 clouds?" and he said "because the other clouds are on vacation". And then we finally arrived home....75 minutes later.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

But, why, mama?

Bella asks questions non-stop all day long. I love how her mind works and I really enjoy that she is curious about everything in life. We'll go for a drive and the whole time, she's asking questions like "why do we have traffic lights?", "why does green mean go?", "why are fire engines red?", "why do kids have to go to school?". And the questions are just random like question after another, and sometimes the questions have nothing to do with one another. And usually the question turns into a huge conversation with her saying "but, why, mama?" after I try to explain it to her. I don't think I used my brain this hard even while I was in school!!!

She definitely keeps me on my toes, esp yesterday when she was observing me getting dressed and she asked "is it better to have big boobies or little boobies?"...huh, where did that come from? I have to admit I was stumped for a minute or two and really didn't know what to say so I asked her "I don't know, what do you think?" (she's eventually gonna figure out that when I don't know the answer to something I'm gonna turn it back around to her!) and she said "I think big boobies are better". Did I really wanna pursue her reasoning for this? No, not really. But she didn't give me a choice because she said "do you want to know why?" and I nodded and she said, "because big boobies make you a mommy". Has she been looking at old pictures of me that show a much skinnier version of me with small, perky boobs that used to sit high on my chest??!!

I woke up this morning to see Cole sitting on the floor in front of our bed facing the mirror on our closet, making faces at himself. He didn't know I was watching him. I must have watched him for at least 3 minutes raising one eyebrow then the other, making wierd eyes at himself, smiling as crookedly as he could, covering his eyes and then opening them suddenly to notice that he his reflection was still looking back at him. When he noticed I was watching him, he looked embarrassed and I said "I enjoyed watching you...isn't it cool that you can see your own twin in the mirror?" and he looked around and said "Bella's downstairs with Daddy".

Landon is loving all the new library books I've been bringing home. He'll grab a book and sit on the floor and just stare at the pictures. He actually looks like he's reading and I can see he's deep in thought.

Garrett is vaccuuming the carpet right now....with his pretend vacuum. I wonder if I could get him to push my huge Dyson around the house?? He helps me unload the dishwasher and both boys LOVE to help me switch the clothes from the washer to the dryer, which is pretty darn cute to watch, if I do say so myself. I'm gonna raise little boys who KNOW how to do housework. I like to think their future wives will thank me.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I'll have a Bailey's on ice with a side of Wellbutrin please...

Bailey's on ice....good God, do I even remember what it tastes like? It's one of my favorite alcoholic drinks, besides a good old fashioned strawberry margarita. I can't even remember the last time I was probably the night I got knocked up with Garrett and Landon. My in-laws were babysitting Cole and Bella overnight (a rarity for them) and Tim and I went out for dinner and I had a couple glasses of wine. Next thing I know I'm peeing on a home pregnancy test and nearly fainting when it comes up positive!!

So the last few weeks have been rough emotionally. Probably because of the added stress of Cole and Bella being home from preschool for the last few weeks, as well as Garrett and Landon reaching a fun, but challenging stage in toddlerhood. They just turned 17 months old and they want to climb on everything (including the huge play structure at the park while I chase them off of it) and they are still in the pre-verbal stage so we're dealing with lots and lots of screaming and tantrums. It reminds me of when they were born and we were in the midst of potty training Cole and Bella. So we had 2 newborns and 2 toddlers who were having accidents left and right. I'm sure at some point the timing will all come into place but for right now, it remains to be challenging.

And while I was really enjoying spending more time with Cole and Bella, as well as enjoying to watch Garrett and Landon learn new things every single day, I could feel myself slowly drifting back to that depressive state. I wasn't laying around in bed unable to get up or crying all day long but it was more like just not being able to cope with the stress and making bad choices of how to handle it, like yelling at the kids more than usual or running out on Tim any time he made a little comment to me about my mood. Like last Friday, I was cooking dinner and the kids were busy playing in the family room. He walked in from work and I told him that I had talked to my dr about increasing my Wellbutrin but that she said it may take a few weeks to feel better as my body adjusts to the new dosage. He rolled his eyes and said "oh great" as if it were a huge inconvenience for him. I said "what's that supposed to mean?" and he said "it just sucks that I have to deal with this all over again". I couldn't help but yell back at him "YOU?!....YOU have to deal with this all over again?? Do you even realize what it's like to walk in my shoes, feeling like this all the time? Do you think I enjoy being a bitch all the time? Do you think I feel good about yelling at the kids over the simplest things?" I couldn't even stand to look at him so I grabbed my purse and said "you're on your own with the kids for dinner...I'll be back later" and I left. I tried to cram any feelings of guilt that I had way down so I couldn't feel them. I did come back early enough to tuck the kids into bed so that helped ease any of the guilt I still felt.

So needless to say, earlier that week I had called my dr and said "by any chance, is it possible that the Wellbutrin just isn't working anymore? It's like day and night all of a sudden and I just don't feel like I can handle the stress in my life very well anymore". She increased my dosage from 300 mg daily to 450 mg daily, the highest possible dose for Wellbutrin. Even though she warned me that I may not feel better for a few more weeks, I did start to feel the effects of the higher dosage almost within 2 days. Thank God!! I knew it was working when I went a whole day without yelling at the kids and I felt like I could handle anything they might throw my way. I was able to let every little thing just roll off my back and that was a good feeling.

I was at the library the other day getting some new books and I came across a book on anti-depressants. I was surprised to learn that sometimes these anti-depressants just stop working, for no good reason. Like your body has become so accustomed to it, that it no longer reacts to the medication. So you either have to increase your dosage or switch to a new anti-depressant. Which left me wondering now that I'm at the highest dosage of Wellbutrin (I've gone through 3 med increases now in the last 9 months), what do I do when this new dosage stops working?! Do I switch meds and start all over again? Or do I finally try to figure out a way to live my life without anti-depressants? That last thought honestly scares me. That's how dependent I've become (which was another surprise to read that Wellbutrin is actually one of the most addictive meds out of all the antidepressants).

For now, I'm just gonna live in the moment and try not to worry about tomorrow, next month or next year, for that matter. I want to enjoy my kids while they're still little, while it counts. Yesterday, it was 105 degrees outside in the afternoon but the kids really wanted to go outside so we went out front in the driveway where it's shaded and painted the driveway with sidewalk paint and played in the water. At one point, Garrett had the hose and he sprayed me and laughed hysterically, suddenly realizing how powerful he was with that hose in his hand. He started spraying all of us...Cole, Bella and Landon...and all I could think of was how much I was enjoying their laughter and how much I was loving "living in the moment".

Monday, August 11, 2008

Our little field trip....

I woke up this morning and heard myself say to the kids, "Hey, you all wanna go somewhere fun today?"....who was that? Was that me? Did that sentence just come out of my mouth? I decided the Children's Museum would probably be the most fun I could manage on my own with all 4 kids. I did have back up though...I called my 9-yr old niece and asked if she'd like to accompany us. Thank God she said yes because at that point, I was starting to having second thoughts about going.

The first thing the kids hit were all the emergency vehicles...police car, police motorcycle, ambulance, fire engine, police helicopter. As soon as Garrett saw the police car, he immediately climbed in....the back seat!! My niece and I looked at each other and giggled, "hope that's not a sign of things to come". Once he realized there was nothing for him in the backseat, he got in the front seat and thought he was hot stuff "driving" the cop car and turning the lights on.

"Please turn off your engine and place your hands where I can see them. Oh and don't mind the pacifier in my mouth...."
Here's a brief conversation Cole and I had while this picture was being taken:

Me: Um, you might want to put your hands on the handle bars. Have you ever seen a police officer driving his/her motorcycle with no hands?"
Cole: I've never seen a police officer with no hands. How come they don't have hands?
Me: Just smile and let me take your picture.

Here's a conversation I had with Bella while taking this picture:
Bella: Mommy, let me listen to your heart and make sure you're still alive.

Me: Okay

Bella: Open up your shirt and take off your boobies. I can't hear your heart if your boobies are in the way.

Then we hit the "grocery store" where the kids were all impressed with the idea of getting their own grocery carts and putting whatever they wanted in them.

Cole: Mommy, are you sure I can get whatever I want?

Me: Yes, whatever you want.

Cole: Alright...jackpot (he learned this line from Alvin and the Chipmunks)

He immediately heads over to the sugar cereals.

Look how happy he is that he was able to get Frosted Flakes! Good thing the cereal is fake...

Garrett decides he's gonna help Cole shop. Notice he's reaching for the Spagettio's. They're going for all the things I would never buy. Smart kids...

Finally my niece steps in and says, "Cole, don't you think you should get some healthy food, like fruits and vegetables". Cole says "no". Too bad, she pushes the cart over to the produce section and says "pick some fruit". Awww, she's a little mommy in the making already. I love the look on Landon's face in this pic, like "oh crap, does that mean we can't have the Frosted Flakes and the spagettios?"

Then they all stood at the check-out counter and rang the groceries up. The little scanner actually made a beeping sound each time something was scanned. The kids ooooh'd and awww'd over that. As if they've never been to the real grocery store with me and seen food scanned a million times already in their lives. They're usually too busy trying to figure out a way to talk me into buying them some candy, which is right there next to the check-out counter.

Here's Cole pretending to be a pig. Doesn't he look thrilled? I'll show this picture to his future bride someday.

Awww, look at my little news reporters reporting their first special report....

"There's been breaking news in the last few minutes. It was reported that a mother had a nervous break down right in the middle of the Children's Museum. She could be heard repeating over and over "why did I think this would be a good idea?" She was carted off to the psych ward for an evaluation. Even her kids agreed, as they munched on Frosted Flakes and spagettios, that a field trip to the Children's Museum was probably not a good idea."

Okay, so it wasn't all that bad. It was actually fun, when I wasn't chasing them all in different directions. And it sure beat staying around the house staring at the same four walls we stare at every single day. On our drive home, I could hear Cole and Bella in the back seat talking...."you ask Mommy to buy us some Frosted Flakes"..."no, you ask her. She'll say no"...."just ask her, come on"...."no, you ask her...if she says no to Frosted Flakes, ask if we can have spagettios and that we'll help her make them and we'll even clean up".

Sunday, August 10, 2008

You should see the other guy....

Poor Landon....he looks like he just got out of the ring after a pounding with Rocky. He's had 3 accidents in a matter of 24 hours, hence the bruises on his face. He and Garrett are at that awkward toddler stage where their bodies are so top heavy (from those huge heads of theirs) that they will just simply be walking and then suddenly fall down. They also don't have the common sense yet to put their hands in front of them to cushion the blow. Both boys also seem to think they are invincible..."let's see if I can fly....BOOM" (that would be the sound of Landon's face hitting the pavement).

So accident #1 happened when Landon was just walking down the driveway. His little legs carried him a little too fast and in an instant he fell over and landed face first on the pavement. Bloody nose and lots of tears.

Accident #2 happened while we were out shopping. One of the strip malls we go to has this really nice water fountain that the kids like to play near (okay, honestly, they like to splash their hands in the water and sometimes I just desperately need that break so I don't bother to stop the fun...but I'm not THAT bad of a mother, I do wash their hands with antibacterial wipes afterwards, that has to count for something). There are a bunch of little tables with metal chairs around the fountain and Landon was sitting on one. Tim had gone to take our things to the car and then he was going to come right back, leaving me with all 4 kids. Recipe for disaster, no doubt. Right then, Bella said "Mommy, I have to pee RIGHT NOW". Great, she couldn't have mentioned that before Tim took off to the car?? That would've been too easy I suppose. I often forget that I am one of God's sources for entertainment.

As I'm trying to gather up our things, I took my eyes off Landon for a second (and really, isn't that when things often go wrong, in just that little millisecond of time?) Next thing I know he's standing on the chair putting all his weight against the back of it and he went down faster than I could run over to him....BOOM....face first onto the pavement. Bloody nose, huge bump on the forehead, lots of tears.

Accident #3 I did not witness. Tim took the kids to his parents house and they were all outside while the kids played. Landon was climbing on a slide (that was on the pavement...go figure) and he lost his balance and fell...face first onto the pavement. Bloody nose, bruise on the side of his forehead and a few scratches on the nose. This really freaked Tim's mom out apparently. Tim and I are so used to these little accidents between all the kids that it doesn't send us into shock mode anymore. Shock mode for us would be one of their limbs hanging at an awkward angle or a broken bone protruding through skin.

Tim called me on his way home and said, "I just want to warn you before you see Landon...he got hurt today when he fell off the slide. He looks pretty bad". But of course nothing can prepare me until I see him and all I could say was "my poor baby"'s one thing when he gets hurt and I'm there to comfort him but it's another thing when he gets hurt and I'm not there to hold him, hug him and assure him that he'll be okay. There's that special mother/child bond that only a mother could understand. My heart ached that I wasn't there for him and my heart ached even more that he got hurt yet again.

But Landon is such a champ....after he cries for a few minutes, he's right back to trying to fly again, while smiling that beautiful smile of his. I wish I could wrap him in bubble wrap until he's 15 years old....

Friday, August 8, 2008

Word to the wise - don't ever ask your kids "so what do you want to do today?"

Cole and Bella have been out of preschool for the last week and a half. They were only going 3 days a week but now I realize how much those 3 days were a life-saver to me. Guess it's true what they say that you don't realize what you have until it's gone! They don't start their new preschool for another 2 weeks. That's 14 more days....336 more hours....20,160 minutes....but it's not like I'm counting down the time or anything. When Tim asked if I was going to ask our babysitter to come over more often to help in the meantime, I said "no, I can handle it....really, do you think it'll send me over the edge?"

Needless to say, one week into this, I called our babysitter and asked "Hey are you available for about 6 hours today?" and she said yes and then I warned her that Cole and Bella were also home and that it wouldn't just be Garrett and Landon she'd be watching, but all 4 of them. She said "no problem"....I had the last laugh. On the day she came over, I could NOT run out of the house fast enough. I wished her good luck and seriously ran out without looking back. Did I feel guilty? No....well, okay, I did a little bit. But then I heard Garrett crying and Cole and Bella yelling at each other and the guilt immediately floated out of my body.

When I got home, the babysitter looked tired....extremely tired. She said "I can't believe you do this every single do you do it?" and I said "yeah, and you were only here for 6 hours today...could you imagine doing it 24/7?" Good thing I can still laugh about it...but then again, I had about 3 cups of strongly caffeinated coffee in my system (and some chocolate...but shhhhh, don't tell anyone)

So anyway, today I said to Cole and Bella, who are totally bored out of their minds as am I, "so what do you want to do today?". Here's what they suggested:

1) We could go to Disneyland and tell the Disney princesses that Bella can poop in the potty now (Disneyland is about 6 hours away from us so obviously this wasn't going to happen but I thought it was humorous anyway).

2) We could leave the babies at home and go to the Bounce House place. I asked "who will watch Garrett and Landon?" and Cole said "no one...leave them some snacks and they'll be fine. They can change each other's diapers". Now I was starting to wonder if Cole knows something I don't know.

3) We could cook a bunch of cookies and eat all of them and then Mommy won't have to bother making dinner (I suppose if we made peanut butter oatmeal raisin cookies I might be able to consider them a health food)

4) We could go to the park and eat dirt (does that count as a protein or a carb?)

5) We could paint the house (huh? I still don't get that one)

6) We could brush our teeth (yeah, that sounds good but will it kill a whole day? No, I didn't think so either)

7) We could buy chicken wings (I didn't get this one either) I asked, "you want chicken wings for lunch?" They both looked at me and said "no, we want chicken wings so we can fly". I still don't know if they were being sarcastic or serious.

8) We could grow bananas (where do they come up with this stuff?) I asked, "why bananas? why not apples?" and Bella said, "because bananas are yellow Mommy" with her hands on her hips and looking at me as if I have no clue, which apparently I don't.

9) We could go to Toys R Us and buy a bunch of toys (we do this all the time though....check out my bank statement which proves it...onto the next idea)

10) We could go swimming (ultimately this sounds like a realistic plan but then I quickly remind them that Garrett and Landon can't swim, to which Cole says "how do you know? Let's put them in the water and find out. If they can't swim and they go under water, then we'll just leave them there")

So what did we do? We ended up going to the park this morning (but no one ate dirt) and then came home and had lunch (no chicken wings, no cookies...just left over ravioli) and then the little twins went down for a much-needed nap while Cole and Bella watched 10 minutes of Polar Express and then decided they were bored with that. Driving Mommy up a wall was much more fun....only 335 more hours until they start preschool again....

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Who said tv isn't educational?

When I was pregnant with Cole and Bella and on bedrest, I read almost every book I could find on parenting. I wanted to be prepared for everything that could happen. Most of what I read discouraged parents from letting their kids watch too much tv. It hindered children's learning abilities, as well as encouraged inactivity, is what the books said. So I concluded that I would not let my kids watch too much tv.

Then reality hit....most of the time I was too sleep deprived to entertain them for hours on end so I was guilty of turning on the tv and letting them watch more than they should have. Nothing over the top or age-inappropriate of course...just shows like Sesame Street, Baby Einstein DVD's, that kind of stuff. They didn't seem to suffer from it at all. Not that I have ever had their intelligence levels tested or anything but they seemed to be hitting the educational milestones at the right time.

Along came Garrett and Landon....and my kids way more tv than I ever anticipated. Sure, I feel guilty but when I'm trying to get lunch ready for 4 hungry children (and they all want something different of course), I turn on the tv and say "here watch this fun show while I make lunch".

So here I am beating myself up over just how much tv they watch. But here's the kicker....they have learned so much from what they have watched. Here's a few examples:

The other day Cole was lining up his Hot Wheels cars and I noticed he was counting them IN SPANISH (thank you Dora the Explorer). I don't know Spanish, he doesn't learn Spanish in preschool but he loves watching Dora and obviously he has learned a thing or two. The fact that he can count to 10 in Spanish obviously has not compromised his intelligence. When I noticed he was counting in Spanish, I commented on it and he said "I also know this train is azul (blue) and this train is rojo (red)". Dora the Explorer rocks!
Both Cole and Bella have learned about various animals by watching Go Diego Go.

The show Hi-5 taught the kids a lot about shapes, colors and numbers. And they rediscovered their love for books once they were turned on to Super Why. In fact, when Bella's trying to decide on which book to read, she'll say, in the famous words of Princess Pea, "peas and carrots, carrots and peas, book come out, please, please, please". They've also learned a ton of fairytales by watching this show.

And it's not just educational stuff they're learning. They're also learning socialization skills and how to cooperate with others. Yesterday, I asked them to bring all the toys they had brought downstairs back upstairs again and Bella hemmed and hawed about it. Cole said "Bella, let's be like the Wonder Pets and do teamwork". And they totally worked together to clean up all the toys.

Last but not least, we have Yo Gabba Gabba. When I first saw this show, I have to admit I thought the people who created it were smoking crack. It's just such a far-out there show. Wierd characters with strange names...a skinny DJ who runs the show who seems unusually enthusiastic about everything...a huge guy named Biz who's missing a few front teeth who raps music (mainly he just spits into the microphone for a few minutes). My first gut reaction was "no way am I letting my kids watch this crap". But then our babysitter let them watch it one day and they were hooked. She said to me, "Okay, I know it's a really wierd show but you should have seen the kids...they loved it!" So that sold me right there.

The thing about Yo Gabba Gabba is it teaches the kids how to get along with others and stuff like that but they sing these fun little songs that are easy for kids to memorize. And it sticks with them, trust me on that. When I was trying to get Landon to try a bite of spinach, Cole started singing, "try it, you'll like it...try it, you'll like it". When Cole got frustrated one day trying to figure out how to use the hoola hoop, Bella started singing, "keep trying, don't give up, never give up". When Landon bit Garrett one day, Cole sang "don't, don't, don't bite your friends". Cole and Bella are both afraid of the dark and one night I was putting them to bed and Bella said "Hey Cole, what's that song that Foofa sings about not being afraid" and he started singing it..."don't be afraid, don't be afraid, don't be afraid, it's okay". And of course there's the "I'm so Happy" song that Cole will break into at random times for absolutely no reason. We'll just be sitting there playing with a toy on the floor and he'll start singing "I'm so happy, happy to be free...I'm so happy, happy to be me..."

And I have Angelina Ballerina to thank for Bella's obsession with ballet. She saw the show one day and was hooked on ballet. She asked me to sign her up for classes, which she'll start in a few more weeks. Sesame Street taught them about feelings and how to treat our friends nicely. They've also learned about other cultures.

So yeah I don't want my kids watching hours and hours of tv but the shows they do see, in the little increments that they do watch, have all been positive learning experiences for them. And it really helps when I'm trying to explain something to them, like the importance of helping one another, and I can reflect back to a specific episode they might have watched of one of the above-mentioned shows and they totally get it.

But there is one drawback....I can't stop hearing the songs in my head when I'm trying to get to sleep at night. I know it's super bad when I'm in the car singing songs I heard earlier on Yo Gabba Gabba or the ever-so-annoying backpack song from Dora the Explorer. But maybe that's a small price to pay considering these shows have helped me get meals on the table on time, as well as teaching my kids really important lessons!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Ever have one of those days?

Today was all about damage control, where I was basically running from child to child putting out fires (not literally of course, even though it felt like it).
It began when Cole went into the bathroom and I could hear him say "Oh no!" so I yelled to him "what?? Is something wrong?" and he yelled back, "I might have pooped in my pants". Hmmmm, okay. I yelled back, "well, did you or didn't you poop in your pants...there really is no black or white either did or you didn't". He comes out of the bathroom with his pants pulled up and says "it's not black or white. It's just a little bit of poop in my underwear but it's brown". Why oh why do I forget that children at this age are so literal?? Trying not to laugh (because really....this isn't a funny situation, except some of the things that come out of his mouth make me laugh so hard I get the hiccups), "so you did poop in your pants then?". He says "I might have". Apparently, this doesn't count as an actual accident to him because it was just a tiny bit, not like a whole piece of poop. OMG, to live inside a child's mind for just one day...wouldn't it be absolutely amusing?!
He very rarely has accidents...oh but wait, this doesn't count as an accident, according to Cole. So I ask Bella to keep an eye on the little twins while I clean Cole up. Cole and I are in the bathroom with me changing his underwear and cleaning him up when I hear a loud crash and then Landon crying. I tell Cole "hang out here for a minute...don't move" and I go into the kitchen to see Landon laying underneath one of the kitchen chairs. Bella has no clue what happened but explains that she only has 2 eyes....huh? Was that supposed to make sense? So I get Landon up and give him hugs and kisses and he's not squirting blood out of any orifices and there are no bumps or bruises so I figure he's good to go.
I get back into the bathroom and Cole says "I might have to poop some more". What is up with the "I might have's"? Okay, fine....I get him all set up on the potty and I say "let me know when you're done so I can help you get cleaned up....AGAIN". He couldn't have mentioned that "he might have" to poop before I cleaned him just a few minutes ago from his accident....oops, I keep forgetting that technically it wasn't an accident.
In the meantime, Garrett and Landon have gone into the laundry room and have started the washer. They have watched me push the buttons too many times apparently and they are not fools. And the clean laundry that I had just taken out of the dryer an hour before all this went down was now all over the laundry room floor and a few pieces were in the cat litter box. Lovely....
As I'm getting this all cleaned up, Cole yells for me "Mommy, I'm done". I'm breaking a sweat here by now. I go into the bathroom and get him all cleaned up. I come out of the bathroom and Bella says "I tried to stop them". Oh geez, this can't be good. "Stopped who from doing what?" and that's when I see that the Destructo Twins...oooops, I mean Garrett and Landon, have taken all the fig newtons that I had given them as a snack and smashed them into the carpet. Note to self: when serving smashable things like fig newtons and bananas, the boys need to be in their highchairs, no matter how much they scream because they don't want to be in their highchairs.
By now, I'm seriously considering placing an ad on E-Bay...."Buy 1, Get 3 Free". I consider calling Tim at work and pleading with him to come home but that would give him way too much satisfaction, with me practically admitting that I need his help. While I'm on my little mental vacation, Cole and Bella start fighting over a toy and Cole rips a hand full of Bella's hair out.
I put him on time-out and I tend to Bella, who's in tears. Who can blame her? Although she did start the fight by trying to take Cole's toy away. She insists she needs a band-aid for her scalp. Whatever....if it'll make her stop crying and calm her down, I'd put a band-aid on her eyeballs.
I was in the laundry room for maybe 1 minute and I come out to the kitchen and see this....

Doesn't Landon have that "oh crap" look on his face?! I had to grab my camera and capture that look. Then I said to them both, "Are you both crazy? Get down from there before one of you falls and breaks your neck!" Then Bella started crying because Cole took her play camera and refused to give it back and she was running after him with the broomstick yelling "give me back my camera or I'm gonna hurt you really bad".
Seriously....where is Calgon when I need it? I could hear Susan Powter screaming "Stop the insanity". I was pleading with God to tell me where the emergency stop button was because I want off this freakin ride!!!!
Okay, so every day isn't this challenging. Honestly. But even though it was a rough day, I guess I should consider it a success since I didn't run away, lock myself in the bathroom with a huge bottle of Jack Daniels (even though I really really wanted to), stick my head in the oven, stick the kids in the oven, or call 911 and ask them to come take me away on a voluntary 5150. That has to count for something, right?
Tomorrow will be a better day.....I might just convince myself of that if I repeat it enough.

Monday, August 4, 2008

A lovely walk down memory lane....

I think it's fair to say that mine and Tim's marriage has not been especially wonderful these last 4 years. I really lacked the understanding of just how much kids can take a toll on your relationship. Suddenly it's not all about just's about the kids. We're not just husband and wife anymore. We're now Mom and Dad and we've kind of lost sight of husband and wife. We came into parenthood with our heads spinning...."congratulations, you're having twins", which made us a family of 4. Then 18 months later, our heads were still spinning as we heard "congratulations, it's another set of twins". I don't think our heads have stopped spinning since....

So the other night, I was looking for some old pictures that I had kept on a disk but I couldn't seem to find the disk anywhere. I was specifically looking for a picture of me and some friends that had been taken almost 5 years ago, before we all had become mothers (when we all still had that bright-eyed, bushy-tailed look in our eyes and held that naive attitude that motherhood was gonna be loads of fun and completely glamorous). The kids were in bed so Tim and I went into his office and started looking through all the millions of CD's he has on his desk. We finally came across the CD I was looking for and as he loaded it up onto his laptop and saw the all the pics on the CD come up, we just sat there staring at the screen. Neither of us had realized that we had so many pictures on that CD that we hadn't seen for years. In fact, I had forgotten I even had some of them.

We sat there looking through all these old pictures and we found ourselves talking about how much fun we used to have and how happy we used to be. Like when we went to Sea World in Orlando, FL and we spent hours by the dolphin pool, feeding the dolphins and "petting" them...and I was asking him, "so do you ever think about getting married?"

Or when we went to Cancun and got so sunburnt we spent most of the vacation in our room in pain...and I was asking him, "I wonder how many couples get engaged while vacationing here?"

And the beautiful resort we stayed at while in Jamaica...and I was asking him, "so this is our LAST NIGHT in paradise....anything you wanna ask me?" and he FINALLY proposed on the beach and my ovaries threw a party and my eggs started making bets on who would get fertilized first.

Like on our wedding day 3 months later....when I was already asking him "so when exactly would you like to start trying to have kids?"

And then when we were in Hawaii for the first time in 2003, while we were doing our 1st IVF cycle and I was asking him "so what would you do if we got pregnant with twins...wouldn't that totally rock?"

And then finally on our 3rd IVF cycle in 2004, we transferred 3 perfect little embryos and received this picture, which I stared at for hours, just marveling at how life starts out and wondering about the day I'd show my future kids this pic and say, "this was you before you". It's still weird to me to think that one of those embryos was Cole and one was Bella. We still wonder about that 3rd embryo sometimes....

So that was our lovely walk down memory lane....we must have looked at all these pics for over an hour. Just reminiscing and talking about the "good old days". Proof that we were happy and enjoyed each other's company at some point and that maybe someday we'll be able to recapture that again (more than likely, when the kids go off to college and we're too broke from college tuition x 4 to do anything else)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Bananas and meow-meows....

The most favorite thing I like about the stage where Garrett and Landon are at (just 7 days away from being 17 months old) is that they are starting to talk. Or should I say, attempt to talk. What usually happens is a lot of mumbo-jumbo comes out of their mouths and they look at me all perplexed like, "well.....what are you waiting for....go get me some juice NOW". As if I was supposed to understand what they were saying to me. If I just stand there and look them completely confused and have the gall to say "I don't understand what you want...I wish you could tell me", they break out into the most horrific, ear piercing screams. After listening to this every single day, hour after hour, I remind myself not to become increasingly frustrated with them because imagine just how difficult it is for them to WANT to express a need or desire but not be able to get that point across. I can totally understand their frustration.

Anyway, so now that we've got the receptive language down (which just amazes me how much they actually do understand), we're working on the expressive language. I sit with them daily, reading books to them and pointing at everything and telling them what it is. And they scream with excitement when they see something that they the wholesome banana. We give all the kids a banana and a cup of milk before bed. Landon loves bananas so much that one day he came up to me and pointed at a banana and said "banana"....what??!!! Holy cow!!! My child just said his first official word...banana!!! Then I had a flashback to one of Cole's first words...."apple". What is it with my kids naming a fruit as their first word? Then Cole's 2nd word was "outside" which my mom loved to point out actually sounded more like "asshole". Then Garrett said his first word....again "banana". Well, they both have been saying "mama" for quite awhile and now Landon will run up to Tim, after he's been gone all day at work, and scream "dada" but "banana" is officially their first word, outside the "who's who in my family" vocabulary.

Now they're moving onto animals....our cat has been re-named "Meow Meow" by the boys. She used to be "Kitty", a name Cole and Bella came up with. Poor cat has no freakin idea what her actual name is but she still comes running home whenever we call any one of her 5 names.

So hopefully as time continues, the boys will start talking more....dare I even wish for this? Then not only will I hear the chattering of 2 kids, it will be 4 kids chattering and trying to scream above each other just to be heard. Here's where I convince myself that it will be a lovely kind of noise....the sound of 4 little voices....magic to my ears, except if I'm on the phone trying to connect with a friend with whom I haven't been able to talk to for weeks. And isn't that what usually happens? Everyone's calm and playing on their own just fine until Mommy has this great idea to call back those 2 friends who've left messages LAST WEEK....then they suddenly have to have my attention, screaming until they hear the magic words out of my mouth "well, I better go...the kids are flying off the wall". I think I see them all briefly smile with satisfaction when they see me get off the phone.

A friend of mine called the other day and said "this is the 2nd message I've left you but I haven't heard back from you so I'm assuming you're just busy with the me when you get a free moment". I should just e-mail her and write, "Look it's been nice knowing you but let's get back in touch in, say, about 5 years when I can have a social life again..." My kids are determined to be my BFF's for now....I'll have to go through the extremely painful process of trying to make new adult friends after they've all grown up and have gone off to kindergarten. No biggie....

I figure that if the children are alive when my husband gets home at the end of the day, I've done my job.

----Roseanne Barr

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