Thursday, August 25, 2011

Our 3rd set of twins?! Well, I guess that's how we roll...

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Meet Daisy and Violet, our newest set of twins.  Aren't they absolutely precious?

Ivy (aka Odd Cat Out) isn't too cool with the idea of more kids around here.  


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She's ready to show those babies who the real boss is in this house.

She crouches on the stairs in a constant state of irritation, just waiting to pounce on the mini furballs the minute they dare to make eye contact with her.

Yes, it still sucks to be The Family Cat, people...and, apparently, it sucks worse when you're surrounded by twins, twins and more twins.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Costumes aren't just for Halloween anymore...

Even though Halloween is quickly approaching, Garrett and Landon love to dress up in costumes year round.  I'm that mom who's online at 12:01 am the morning after Halloween, scouring the clearance sales for all the leftover boys' costumes that no one wanted.  And I have no problem with them leaving the house wearing a pirate costume or whatever keeps them happy (and causes less whining).

What?!  I have no shame.

It seems that this past summer was the summer of Superheroes.  Captain America, Green Lantern, The Smurfs.

Oh wait, I guess Papa Smurf isn't exactly everyone's superhero...just mine.  Dude makes raising Smurfette look simple, though, doesn't he?

Anyway, Garrett and Landon love themselves some good old-fashioned Superheroes.  So in my quest to keep them calm (and my sanity in tact), I did what every desperate mother does.  I let them believe that simple superhero costumes do, in fact, turn them into Superheroes.

Seriously...you throw on an apron, you feel like Martha Stewart.  Am I right?  Same thing goes for Superheroes.

Check out this sweet Child's Green Lantern costume from Costume Discounters and tell me that Garrett doesn't look spectacular...and full of mighty magic powers, I might add.

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It's like he grew muscles overnight.  How come costumes weren't this awesome when I was his age?

Jealous much?  I suppose I am.

If your kids are anything like mine and love to play dress up year round, in addition to Halloween, check out Costume Discounters.

The costume we received is made of excellent quality material, not the cheap stuff that rips should your kids trip and fall.  Who am I kidding...I should've said WHEN they trip and fall because they always do.  What I really liked best was that the costume came with all the goods that every Superhero needs...the mask, the ring...the whole enchilada.

Costume Discounters has the best variety of costumes I've ever seen and they have something for everyone in your family.

So when you're trying to convince your husband how cool he would look as the red Angry Bird as he strolls around the neighborhood with the kids on Halloween and he says, "Come on now...where am I gonna find THAT costume?", you'll have no problem showing him where he can find it.

Because Costume Discounters has it.  For sure.

And when you catch him parading around the house in that same costume, just remember what I said...costumes aren't just for Halloween anymore.

My kids said so.


* I received a complimentary Green Lantern costume from Costume Discounters for my boys in order to review the product.  This review is based on my honest opinion and personal experience with the product.

Friday, August 19, 2011

On the flip side, it absolutely kills me....

Yeah, yeah, yeah....I know that was me the other day ranting and raving about how excited I was that the kids are back at school again.

And yeah, that was me running around the house naked the minute they were all gone....because I could.

However, I also knew it would be a matter of time before the worries and concern began to creep up.

Not so much for Garrett and Landon because they're in preschool where all the kids love one another and everyone's your best friend.

But more for Cole and Bella because they're in 2nd grade now...when some kids can be downright heartless.

Upon picking them up at school, one of my first questions to them has always been, "So....who did you sit next to at lunch today?"

I know....wierd, right?  I don't ask, "What did you learn today?" or "Did you have a good day?"

It all goes back to my awkward elementary school years, where I felt like a total misfit.

Where I learned that the kids who told you they were your best friend one day could so easily turn their backs on you for absolutely no reason the very next day.

Where I learned that kids chose to like you based on the way you looked or didn't look.

Where I learned that who you were friends with was just as important as who you weren't friends with.

Where I learned that words can hurt and forever damage a person's soul.

I'll admit that my children's social experience at school is just as important to me as their academic experience.

Don't get me wrong...they don't need to be the most popular child at school or run for Class President every single year.

I simply want them to be liked and accepted for who they are on the outside, as well as the inside.

So yesterday, when Bella told me, "I sat by myself today at lunch, Mommy", the thought of this beautiful, friendly little girl sitting in the cafeteria eating lunch all by herself made me teary-eyed.  It brought back sad and lonely memories for me.

The difference, though, between she and I is that it didn't bother her to eat alone.

"How did that make you feel....to eat alone?" I asked.

She replied, "It was no big deal.  By the time I got to the cafeteria, there was no more room at the table where Macie was sitting.  It actually worked out because without anyone to talk to, I had time to eat my entire lunch today".

"Emily told me that she thinks I'm mean," she continued.  "I don't know why because she wouldn't tell me.  Maybe I should invite her to my birthday party, anyway, so she knows I still like her.  That would be the nice thing to do, don't you think?"

I couldn't help but smile through my tears, as I felt such pride for my baby girl.  Where does she get this confidence...this maturity....which I seemingly lacked when I was her age?

And just as quickly as my heart filled with admiration for her, I grew concerned.

As she goes through life, will she become tainted by the mean spirit of others...will there ever come a point where she stops seeing the good in others because others seem to focus only on the negative?

Because that's what happened to me.  I learned that trusting too easily was for fools.  And I learned that people almost always had ulterior motives for being kind.

It's funny how, as parents, we want our children to have a better life than we did.  We want them to be more successful than we were.  In fact, we want it so badly that our hearts literally ache at the thought of them failing at something or being rejected by their peers.

For now, I suppose all I can do is continue to encourage them to be loving and kind to others, even when others may not treat them so nicely.  Kill them with kindness, isn't that what they say?

And I'll continue to arrive at their school 45 minutes ahead of time so I can watch my oldest twins on the playground, laughing with their friends and enjoying the simplicity of life...while praying with all my might that things never change.


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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pouring My Heart Out...The Taste of Freedom



My kids go back to school today and I'm beyond thrilled.

Whew, I said it.  The cat's out of the bag.

You see, all summer long I've encountered various moms here and there who have said to me, "Can you believe how quickly this summer is passing us by?  It makes me sad to think of my kids going back to school."

Sad?!  Are you freakin' kidding me?

The only thing I'm sad about is the lazy days of summer being a thing of the past.  No more sleeping in, no more staying in our jammies until 12:00 noon, no more lounging around without a schedule.

So, yeah..."sad" isn't exactly the word I'd use to describe how I'm feeling.

Delighted....elated....happy....excited.

That's how I'd describe myself today.

And while some moms may spend their evening before the first day of school prepping everything for the next morning to go smoothly, I'm spending my time in prayer.

I'm praying that my kids don't cry when I drop them off because then it'll cut into MY free time.  I know I'll constantly be checking my watch as I'm wiping snot off their faces, thinking, "Dammit, now I only have 2 hours and 27 minutes to myself!"

Yes, I really did put that out there.  Why not?  This is me pouring my heart out.

I'm praying that they have a great day so I don't have to feel guilty about not feeling guilty.

Wait, did that make sense?   Ugh, who cares.

I'm praying that the time goes by slower than molasses.  Because I'll actually have the time to watch the molasses drip ever-so-leisurely out of the bottle.

I'm praying that I don't appear to the teachers and the other parents as too eager to be relieved of my childcare responsibilities as I dash out the door, with my minivan leaving skid marks in the parking lot.

I'm praying I don't get a phone call at any point during the morning from a disgruntled preschool teacher saying, "Can you come pick up your child from school?  He didn't make it the bathroom in time and there's poop everywhere!"

I'm praying when I pick them all up from school, they greet me with smiles and happy reports of their day....rather than frowns and a "school totally sucks" attitude.

Don't get me wrong...I mean, I love my kids.  Like, REALLY love my kids with every ounce of my being.

But I'm done.  They have all but worn me out completely.  This summer exhausted the hell out of me.

We had fun...lots of it, too.  Swimming at the pool almost every day, going on vacations, taking friends to the amusement park, hanging out at various playgrounds.  We did it all....and then some.

I need my space.  I need to rejuvenate.  I need to hear my own thoughts, people.

And I can't apologize for how I feel.

I am THAT mom...the one who cannot wait for the first day of school so she can have some time to herself again, even if it is only for a measly 3 hours each day.  While Cole and Bella do attend school all day, Garrett and Landon only go to preschool for that 3 hours.

It's better than nothing and I'll happily take what I can get.

Also, because I know that at approximately 3:00 pm every day, that's when the shit hits the fan.  We're talking endless whining about not wanting to do homework, driving them all over God's creation to and from drawing class, soccer practice, dance class, Tim texting me from work with, "Sorry, sweetie, I'll be home late"....the chaos never ends.

I need my "me time" and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

The taste of freedom....it's good, people.  Real good.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go run around the house naked.

Because I can.


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Monday, August 15, 2011

My new must-have product....Hydros Filtering Water Bottle

Picture it:

You're at the park with the kids and you've forgotten to bring them something to drink or they've run out of juice.  They're hot, they're thirsty...they're whining, endlessly.  And you're ready to claw your eyeballs out.

You quickly point them to the nearest water fountain....but then a little voice inside your head begins to nag at you, "You have no idea what's in that tap water!  Is it clean?  Full of harmful chemicals?  Does it even taste good?  Whose mouth was last on that drinking faucet?"

Listening to your gut, you rein the kids back in and drive home, where your kids have access to clean, filtered drinking water.  Only now they're irritated because they didn't want to leave the park.

Catch 22, right?

That's where my new favorite must-have product comes into play...the Hydros Filtering Water Bottle!   I very rarely leave home without it, especially if I'm taking my kids somewhere.  I can fill it up from whatever tap water is accessible (the playround, the amusement park, an indoor play area, etc) and within a few seconds, I have clean, safe drinking water for me and my family!



What is the Hydros Filtering Water Bottle?

Designed for use for kitchen sinks, bathroom taps and water fountains, get great tasting filtered water on the go. The new Hydros Fast Flow Filter™ reduces chlorine, chloramine, and particulates from tap water quicker than your pitcher filter. The filter is enhanced with natural, triclosan-free IonArmour® antimicrobial protection actively defending against the odor-causing bacteria found in other bottles.

Constructed from Tritan™, Hydros Bottle is manufactured without bisphenol-A (BPA) or phthalates. This tough material is both heat and chemical resistant, and conveniently safe to wash on the top rack of your dishwasher!

Hydros Bottle is entirely manufactured and assembled in America, lowering our carbon footprint and supporting our economy!

This product can also help you save tons of money if you're one of those families who purchases plastic water bottles at the store.

Let's say your family goes through roughly 20 plastic water bottles a week...you can save over $1500 a year by using the Hydros Filtering Water Bottle!  And couldn't we all benefit from having an extra $1500 in our pockets?

Lastly, one of the things I appreciate most, is that with $1 from every bottle sold, Hydros funds sustainable water projects to help the nearly one billion people who do not have access to clean drinking water.

Now in addition to providing your own children with clean, safe drinking water while on the go, you're also helping someone else's children in another part of the world!


Hydros Filtering Water Bottles

Visit Hydros Filtering Water Bottle and order your own today!

I received a complimentary water bottle in order to review the product.  This review is based on my honest opinion and personal experience with the product.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What I wish someone had told me about marriage....

Tim and I are celebrating our 9th wedding anniversary today.  



Well, "celebrating" may be too strong of a word.  It's not like we'll be enjoying a quiet, romantic dinner while reminiscing about the days where we used to sleep until 12:00 noon and had nothing but time on our hands.

You know, before kids.  

As I've written before, marriage is hard work.  Just like parenting, really.  But, of course, no one tells you that as you're about to head down the aisle.  

Just like no one says, as your first born is crowning, "Uh, by the way, parenting is the hardest, most challenging thing you'll ever do.  You're never gonna sleep a solid 38 minutes ever again as long as you live!  Oh, and you might as well kiss your perky boobs and your flat tummy goodbye."

Here are some things I wished I would have known ahead of time....

1)  You should understand that when the television is on, he will not hear you nor pay one ounce of attention to you.  And don't even think stripping down to your birthday suit and screaming, "The house is on fire" will work.  Because I've tried it...and it's a no-go.

Go ahead and make your peace with it.  Take up blogging and bitch about him on the internet, instead.

2)  Referring to his job as a "vacation" will, more than likely, not go over well.  Even if you think he just sits around the office all day, updating his Facebook status with lame quotes and taking advantage of every single second of his lunch break, never EVER voice your thoughts out loud to him.

3)  Men cannot read your thoughts.  And, trust me, he doesn't want to.  If you want the latest Kindle for your birthday, you better come right out and tell him.  Better yet, write it down and tape it to his forehead the day before your birthday.

 Best to go for the direct approach instead of spending your special day all angry and hurt.

4)  By the same token, don’t expect a huge surprise party when you turn the Big 4-0.  Unless someone has threatened his life, he’ll never go all out because he knows that this only raises the bar.  You see, he’ll believe that if he does this, you’ll expect bigger and better the following year…and so on and so forth.

And let’s face it…he’s right.  There’s no shame in admitting that.

4)  Men love to play helpless.  Don't let them fool you.  They'll sit there and look as if they're struggling in the kitchen, when in fact, they really want you to rush in there and say, "Look, you get out of here...let me take care of this".

I  know it's in your nature to want to rescue him but don't.  I mean, really....is he that unskilled to where he can't operate a damn microwave to make himself a couple chicken nuggets and a cup of soup?

5)  If you think he’s going to romance you every night of the week, you’re mistaken.  There are some men, like…say Tim for example…who believe that once they’re married, they don’t need to pour on the romance any longer.  See, he thinks you’re a “sure thing” so he doesn’t feel like he has to step it up to make you give it up.  Make sense?

But that’s where he’s wrong.  Just because you have that big rock on your finger doesn’t mean you’ve lost the ability to say “Sorry, honey.  Not tonight”. 

It’s important for him to make you feel special.  As if there’s no other woman on the planet who can rock his world…or launder his dirty underwear, for that matter.

6)  In-laws.  Should we even go there?  Well, too late. 

He wants you and his mother to be BFF's.  But not because he thinks she's the most fabulous person in the world to get along with but more because he wants HER out of his hair and he wants YOU out of his hair.

Therefore, if you and his mom are besties, he doesn't have to listen to either of you complain about the other.

Don't feel guilty if you don't want to hang out with your MIL for hours on end.  He doesn't want to hang out with her either.  Believe that.

7)  Unless you announce it loudly in his face 23 times within a 12-hour period, he probably won’t remember the important dates and milestones you wish he could easily recall.  Like, the day you met, what you wore on your first date with him, the first song you danced to at your wedding…maybe (dare I say it)  the day of your anniversary.

Don’t be too surprised, though, if he remembers (in vivid detail) the first time you had sex with one another, what position you did it in and what his thoughts were right at that exact moment.

Don’t believe me?  Go ahead….ask your man if he remembers the details from your first date.  Then ask him what he remembers from the first time you two had sex.  

Shocking, isn’t it?  

8)  All the things that you found so sweet and endearing about your man BEFORE you were married?  Well, those are the same things you will come to despise over the years.

Yeah, like his unique laugh which was once music to your ears....will now annoy the hell out of you.  The way he nervously chewed on his nails every time you came around....will now drive you to the brink of insanity.

And, perhaps, most importantly....

9)  Even though you'll go through peaks and valleys throughout your marriage, he will be that one constant companion who you can count on through thick and thin.   

Yes, even when he irritates you so madly that you literally want to claw his eyeballs out, he will be your biggest supporter...your most loyal fan.

He's the one person who will have your back no matter what.  Don't ever forget that.

Because once kids enter the mix and you're in the thick of it, you'll be sitting right next to him on the sofa but you might as well be a million miles away from one another.

He'll feel like a stranger on most days and you'll have to force yourself to re-connect with him, at times.  

But it's so worth it.  

Marriage is definitely so worth it.

What do you wish someone had told you about marriage ahead of time?


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Monday, August 8, 2011

Summer Fun Show Off...



Once again, Shell at Things I Can't Say is hosting a super fun meme and I couldn't resist linking up!

Here's our 2011 Summer Fun in a nutshell:

It was the summer of Superheroes....

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It was the summer of silliness....



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It was the summer of amazing vacations....



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It was the summer of bountiful fruit and vegetables from our garden...



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It was the summer of trying new recipes like homemade pizza....



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And crab cakes with homemade tartar sauce....



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Now, there's less than 2 weeks until we get back into the full swing of crazy school schedules, endless homework, soccer practice, ballet and dance recitals...and Mommy pulling her hair out, trying to figure out the best way to juggle it all gracefully.

How will I ever survive to see the Summer of 2012?!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Greedy geese, rabid chipmunks and wild bears…just another "family vacation"

That's right, people.  It's that time of year again...our annual "same shit, different location" summer road trip to South Lake Tahoe.

Although this year, for the first time ever, we didn't have to worry about nap schedules, sippy cups, bottles and diapers.  All my hard work has paid off....well, sort of....because we all know a mother's work is never truly complete until her children have become responsible, successful adults (preferably loaded with gobs of money to which they will spoil their exhausted mother until her heart's content).

Also, for the first time ever, no one asked us, "Do you have TWO sets of twins?"  No one was the wiser and we were just like every other family insane enough to have more than 2 children.  It was super awesome.

Each day, we visited a different beach.  Not because we were anxious to see how all the various beaches in Tahoe differ....but more because Tim and I were too embarrassed to return to the same beach after having exposed the public to the complete annoyance that is our children.

Let me explain....

At the first beach we visited (Meeks Bay), my kids were obsessed with feeding the damn geese.  The same damn geese that other people were ignoring and shoo-ing away because...let's face it, geese can be greedy and evil.

And once you feed them food (or a human finger), they come back for more...and they bring 246 of their closest family members to invade your space and crap all over your beach towels.

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Oh, and geese aren't picky, just so you know.  They're happy to eat anything you have to offer, including the very last Cheeto which one of your kids had his heart set on eating...until his older brother decided that the geese were way more deserving.

The next day, we hit yet another beach (Angora Lakes), which we had to hike to.  Yes, I said hike.  Most people would imagine a nature hike with the family would be fun...full of great memories which would be talked about at many Thanksgiving dinners to come.

Yeah, we're talking about MY family, though.

This hike entailed lots of "how much longer do we have to walk?", "my legs are gonna fall off" and "this sucks".

Not exactly the great memories I wanted to create but there's always next year.

All was good in the world once again when my kids encountered a very hungry chipmunk, to whom the kids lovingly referred to as Alvin.  He happily ate their Doritos, while people watched in horror because chipmunks have rabies...don't you know?

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Thankfully, there was another family next to us who didn't seem to give a care in the world that my children were feeding rabid chipmunks.  In fact, the mother said to me, "We're always that one family that everyone stares at because my kids are so loud and...well, they tend to misbehave more than normal".

I patted her on the back and said, "Well, we've arrived...you can relax now.  We'll take it from here".

The following day, we headed to Zephyr Cove and prayed like mad that no one would recognize us as "that terrible family who's encouraging wild life to beg for food from innocent human beings".

Thankfully, we went unnoticed...for awhile, anyway.

Until Garrett decided to come out of the water pretending to be a wild animal to attack his unsuspecting older brother.

And being the awesome mother that I am, instead of saying, "Don't scare your brother", I grabbed my camera to capture the moment forever.

Because that's the kind of shit we talk about at our Thanksgiving dinners.

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On our last day, we went to Sand Harbor beach, where we spent a majority of our day catching crawdads and trying to convince Landon that he would not be forced to eat them after he loudly declared, "I will not eat any crawdads because they have butts".

I didn't have the heart to tell him that he eats all kinds of other things which do, indeed, have butts.

During the drive home, something brown and furry caught my eye.  Well, lo and behold, it was a wild bear canvassing the neighborhood for food...or little kids.  It was hard to tell.

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The kids became excited at seeing their very first wild bear in person, who Bella dubbed "Zoe".  I mean, doesn't it totally look like a Zoe?

They insisted I take a picture of Zoe so they could go back to school in a couple weeks and brag to their friends about the huge, mean bear they encountered on vacation.

So what did I do?  Pushed the pedal to the metal and got the hell outta there, you say?

I laugh at your naivete....while you laugh at my stupidity.

As the bear crossed the road right in front of us, I snapped this picture....from the safety of my car, people.  I'm not THAT stupid.

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Yes, the bear was the highlight of our trip, as the kids did not stop talking about it for hours on end.

And that, my friends, was our 2011 "Same shit, different location" road trip...in a nutshell.

Who wants to come with us next year??

If you need more excuses to laugh at my expense, read these other posts from our past "same shit, different location" road trips:

I Left My Heart in Lake Tahoe (2010)

The Smoking Baby, Dead Bones, Captain Feathersword and the Fish Killers (2009 - Part 1)

Dining with Alvin and The Chipmunks and Other Vacation Adventures   (2009 - Part 2)

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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