Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A year in review...installment #2

Moving on to February...

Feb 1: Superbowl. Ethan and I wore 3-D glasses for most of the evening, which made me pretty dizzy.

Feb 5: Court 8:30am. I can only imagine this was one of the many times Crazy was supposed to appear and did not. Who knows, who cares.

Feb 6: Ethan and I drove to Northfield to get Dylan & Owen's cross-stitch framed. I'm fully aware that there are several framing places within the Twin Cities that I could patron rather than driving to the greater Twin Cities for framing. But it takes SO long to make these cross-stitches, and my mother-in-law has trusted this guy with hers for years, so it's worth the drive for peace of mind. And...it turned out great.

Feb 9: Went to a Mom's of Multiples support group with the mom of Ethan's twin friends from ECFE. This was interesting, but as my twins were 9 weeks old and I was in the 0-6 month group, we talked mostly about transitioning to solid foods, and I was nowhere near. I needed to talk about how to get some sleep. The better support turned out to be the conversation over drinks the two of us had after group.

Feb 10: Toddler Tuesday. Ethan wanted nothing to do with the singing event that was going on, so we went to the train table at Barnes and Noble and I drank copius amounts of coffee. Delightful all around.

Feb 11: Twins 2-mo well-baby check; Oak City for dinner and drinks with two of my best buds from college.

Feb 13: A high-school friend gets married. My in-laws do an overnighter with our kids, two of which are not anywhere close to sleeping through the night. Bless them. I go a "little" overboard with my temporary freedom, drink at least a magnum of Chardonnay, and do not sleep well. Oh, the regret I felt the next day (I felt other feelings in addition to regret, as you might imagine!). We spend Valentine's Day at home, very low-key. We watched There Will Be Blood...that was disturbing.

Feb 16: I place my first Let's Dish order...to pick up the next day. I should really start doing that again. Dish N Dash is the service they have for those of us that find no thrill in doing our own meal assembly...or are rather too busy to make time to do so. Pay $20 and they do all the assembly for you and give you a time at which it's ready to pick up...ready to go into your freezer! A meal serves 6 and you can request them to be split, which was ideal for the number of "real"-food eaters in our family at the time.

Feb 17: My first Girls Night back, at which I was not the "pregnant one". Yay.

Feb 21: Sandberg sibling dinner. Mancini's. I had a full-fledged panic attack on the way there. It was cold outside...really really cold. It smelled like toilet in the area of the bar where we sat after dinner. I was designated driver. Despite all of this, it was an awesome time. Andy's siblings and their significant's are all fabulous.

Feb 22: My mom came back into town for my last week of Maternity Leave. I was sad...she made me happier.

Feb 25: Pepitos 6:30. I believe this was a dinner out with my Mom, sister, and aunts.

Feb 28: "Olaf Black and Gold Winter Gala" is scratched out and "Dinner @ 6pm" is written in. Appears that we bailed on the Gala in favor of something else. Were we with you? What did we do? I guess I can't really remember it all!

Looking classy in our 3-D glasses.

A common scene. I miss having sleeping babies on me. They are always on the move now. But I love that they cruise over to give me a hug when they notice I'm watching them.

The infamous wedding. I don't really remember taking this picture, but at least I don't look a mess. Empire-waist is pretty forgiving at 9 or 10-weeks post-partum. I planned that on purpose.

Making banana bread with my favorite big-brother.

Monday, December 28, 2009

A year in review...installment #1

I have a hard time throwing away calendars, planners...anything that has recorded parts of our lives. So, to alleviate this issue this year, I'm documenting 2009 here at the Suburban Zoo...

Sandberg 2009, a year in review...in installments by month...I've added in some details that only I, Hilary with the steel-trap memory (unless I've been imbibing), can recall. Why, just today, I was telling my parents and Andy that Ethan's favorite blanket is the one that my parents' friends gave to us while I was expecting Ethan in August of 2006. It's just a blue fleece blanket that says "Baby" on it, but strangely, I remember that kind of stuff.

Disclosure: If this bores the crap out of you, I promise a wonderful recap of possibly the most wonderful Christmas Eve/Christmas Day, in the near future...promise.

Jan 6 - My 29th birthday - Mom and I went to the MOA with Ethan and had lunch at Ruby Tuesday's. A woman in the elevator had a newborn baby and I commented that I had 4-week-old twins and she said she couldn't believe it...and I instantly felt better about the maternity jeans I was wearing.

Jan 7 - Mary came to clean. Remember this bitch? Oooh...is that too harsh? She was our cleaning lady...and a good one...who had started working for us when I went on bed-rest the August before. One day, she just stopped showing up. We'd always paid her, we (or my parents, actually, because they were subsidizing the cleaning person at that time) gave her a fat Christmas bonus, she oohed and aahed over our kids, I always asked her about her new grandson...when she didn't show up the one day, I called to see if I had marked down the wrong day...she never called me back. My mom and I theorized about what could have happened to her...I even checked the obits. We settled on witness protection. Just a month or so ago, I heard from the friend who had recommended her that Mary almost started cleaning for them again. Guess it must have been something I said. I like Annette better anyway.

Jan 10 - My Mommy went home. That sucked. She had stayed with us for over two weeks after coming to visit during the Holidays. She was an amazing help...assisting with middle-of-the-night feedings, doing laundry, cooking...we couldn't have made it through these initial days without her.

Jan 11 - Party to celebrate my god-daughter turning 2. This might have been the first time out for a significant number of hours without D & Owen. Even I, with my steel-trap mind, was too sleep-deprived to recall much from this event...except that Emily shared her Blues Clues cake with her sister, Lauren, and Ethan and it was hilarious.

Jan 13 - 6-week check at the OBGYN. Clear. TMI? Sorry.

Jan 22 - Happy Hour with SV friends at Don Pablo's...I do believe this was my first time out kid-less since the twins came home. I was shaking with nervousness (excitement?) when I arrived. I had two beers. I felt human again. I dried my hair for that event. It was a big deal.

Jan 23 - Must have felt good about getting out the night before, because I did it again. Andy and I went out to dinner with my sister and her husband as our Christmas gift to each other. We went to Luci Ancora. Earlier that day, Andy bought me a size-up pair of Joe's jeans and surprised me with them before dinner. A zipper, a button...I felt even more human on this day.

Jan 27 - Timber Wolves game. Looks like I was really getting into the groove of leaving the house. I don't recall much from this evening...must have had a couple.

Jan 29 - The first Synagis (RSV) shot for the twins. Good Lord, those were a pain in the tail...and expensive too. But I brought it upon myself. One of the twins wasn't even recommended to have them, but I made a crazy fuss about it and had my ped call Option Care to get them to recommend it, and for my insurance to cover it. Still, couple hundred bucks a pop...preemie boys born in the Winter with an older sibling that goes to a weekly ECFE class with other germy kids...I slept better at night (wait, who am I kidding?! I wasn't sleeping at night in January, but you know what I mean) knowing they got these shots each month during the Flu season. Worth every penny.

Jan 30 - Went to a party to celebrate a friend turning 30. There was all sorts of drama earlier in the evening before this party...but it eventually turned out to be the catalyst in repairing a long friendship that had been on the rocks for awhile. And that reminds me that I have a lunch-date to schedule.

Jan 31 - Baby shower for my sister-in-law, Emma. I co-hosted this event with my mother-in-law. It was a great time...good food, fun games, great people...we didn't even know it was Linnie in there at the time. That seems crazy now.

There are other things about January that I'd like to remember. "School 10:15" is a weekly appearance on the calendar. While I was on maternity leave, I got to go with Ethan to his ECFE class almost every week...that was so FUN! It was great to meet his teachers and little classmates.

There are also lots of "Cec"s and "Anne"s on the calendar...My sister, Cecily, was unemployed by choice at the time and one of my besties from college, Anne, was on break from her MBA program...both of them were able to come by frequently to help with D & Owen and give me some much-needed adult conversation. That was fantastic!!

Oh, 2009...the "year of survival", as we called you. It seems silly to be thankful that it's almost over...because we should be thankful for every year that we have...but still, I'm thankful that's it's almost over. I came into the year with a sense of fear...of the unknown, mostly. Do we have any idea what we are doing? Will we sleep ever again? Will the stress destroy us all? It's easy to say in retrospect that it wasn't as hard as we thought it would be...but really, as I think about every month of the past year, it really wasn't as bad as we thought it would be. We are blessed with truly good kids...and, as the Hillary with two "L"s says..."it takes a village"...and we definitely are a part of one.

Sleepy, but happy, Daddy.

Mommy, Ethan, Dylan, Owen...early morning...but it looks like I'm showered and dressed...way to go, Mommy!

I love this picture...Ethan with his rosy cheeks. Owen on his left, Dylan on his right.

7-week-old twins. Owen & Dylan. They are so still. At almost 13-months, this idea is totally foreign..

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Dreaming of a white Christmas?

A again.

I should not jump to conclusions all the time, but I will assume that most of you reading this are from MN, or have some connection to the tundra at a minimum. If you're like me, you just got in from dealing with almost a foot of new snow, part of an estimated 16-24" dump we are in the middle of. As much as I like the song noted in this title, I don't think Bing Crosby did much manual schlepping of large volumes of snow at the point in his career where he sang that one.

"For my next set, let's start off with 'I'd like to dig a ditch and get blisters'. Hit it boys!"

There are of course silver linings though. Whether it is a bunch of snow to dig out of or a storm that knocks trees down or whatever, our neighborhood is picturesque. It is really what I want our kids to grow up seeing, and I don't think it exists everywhere anymore. If you looked out there today, you would have seen members of several households going from house to house digging out each others' driveways. We don't ask each other, we just do it, because that is what great neighbors do. We all have each others' backs, the Golden Rule in action, and I don't want to live anywhere else.

So much to be thankful for this year. Here are a few:
  • The first Christmas with the five of us at home together
  • The first Christmas for my niece
  • Gainful employment in a tough economy
  • Seeing my buddy Paul alive and well this morning out in the snow
  • Christmas eve with H's family (everyone has printed programs for Xmas Eve, right?)
  • Christmas day tomorrow with mine at our house, and watching E open presents
  • Oh yeah, and of course, Santa Crunch (MN Timberwolves mascot for you non-NBA fans)

Well that's it for me. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night...........

Monday, December 21, 2009

I'm here

Oh yeah, so I like, um, have a blog still, right?!

People, I'm sinking...sinking, sinking, sinking. There is too much to do, too much going on, too much stress, not enough sleep and not enough time. 'Tis the Season. I'm trying to focus on what is truly important, and not get stressed. Work will get done...it always does. Tomorrow, my parents will be in town, we have several FUN Holiday gatherings coming up, we are hosting Christmas Day...our first Christmas Day that the 5 of us will be at home for, and I am TRULY excited for all of this. Andy and I each have the week after Christmas off from work (and hopefully we will not log on more than 3 times a piece!)...and I am hoping to just hang out and soak up time with my boys.

I just have 3 more days that I need to make it through. I need hugs from my Mommy and Daddy...and thankfully, they will be here tomorrow.

Moving on...I have been writing down quotes from Ethan so I could write an "Ethanism" blog post, and wouldn't you know it...I can't find the piece of paper...figures. But, I remember some...

The best I've heard recently was when I was talking to Ethan last week about getting a big boy bed...trading in the race car bed for a twin. I asked him when he might be ready for that, and without hesitation he said, "Maybe next Tuesday" I just about peed my pants. But since he was still talking, I held it together. He said, "Maybe next Tuesday. Next Tuesday, the movers will come and pack up my race car bed, put it in their moving truck and TAKE IT AWAY!" Okay, I really thought he liked that race car bed. Sometimes, he's very dramatic.

On a similar note, I just asked him tonight when he thought he would see Gramma Nana and Grampa Dode and he said, "Maybe on Tuesday"...in fact, tomorrow IS Tuesday...so that worked out well. But, he definitely has a crush on Tuesday.

Recently he told Liz that she could stay here and live with him, Dylan, Owen, Mommy and Daddy, and then asked, "So, do you want to or not?"

Another new thing is blaming things on his body parts...."My fingers wanted to pick my nose"..."My feet wanted to kick Dylan"....Um, no, these excuses do not work, but I give him an A for creativity.


Daddy forgot to mention the 1-year stats in the last post. Dylan is 24 lbs, 75th percentile for height and weight. Owen is 21 lbs 4 oz and about 35th percentile for height and weight. Still maintaining the 3 lb spread in weight and Dylan is slightly taller. They are both in the 90th percentiles for head circumference, in true Sandberg fashion.

We've moved on to whole milk. We've stopped buying pureed baby foods. They are eating most real foods...I even tried miniscule pieces of apple tonight and they loved it. The flexibility...oh, the flexbility. The poop...oh, the poop. There's just a difference. And within the next year, I'm hoping to be done with that too. And on that note, I can absolutely not believe that they have been in size 4 diapers for awhile now. When Ethan was potty trained he was in size 5 diapers. I have a huge box of leftover size 5 diapers in the garage, and I'm betting that we will be using those soon. Are they really that old already, or are they just bigger than Ethan was...or is time just flying by at an abnormally fast pace?! Slow down, babies...don't you know this is Mommy's last time with "babies" (in quotes, because they will always be my BABIES!)...and I don't want you to outgrow your chubby baby cheeks anytime soon. Here, eat a cookie.

And since it's unlikely that I'll post again before Christmas....Merry Christmas, everyone!!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Feliz Cumpleaños niños

"A" here.

?Por que es el titulo en español?

Well, when reflecting on life's noteworthy milestones, I often reflect on the genesis of our little familia. Anyone who was around us while H & I each ventured to South America back in Jan 2000 probably has a feel for the transformation we have had. Not to say we were worse people back then, that is for the rest of you to say. I will just say we are different now, and yes, probably for the better.

So the opportunity to reflect in this post has been brought to you by Owen & Dylan. Babies, no mas. That's right, we have toddlers. Tuesday was their first birthday, and we will never have a "baby" again. That is an odd thing to think about. At my old age of 30, up until now there have been so many firsts, and this is a last. I can't help but think how fast it has gone since that very first awkward moment of waiting for the results of the first home-pregnancy test. It's cool though, cuz' we have 3 perfect and healthy kids, a gift that very few get to experience. They just no longer happen to fit the infant category.

Enough with the sappy Daddy talk, and on to the good stuff. Here is the terrible twosome, 1 year old. Of course, H baked a cake. That's what good mommas do.

There are rules people, and one of them is you let the babies eat the cake, I don't care how healthy you try to be. Just give the kid(s) the damn cake.

So this is where I am in life. I first met H in October of 1999. 10 years, 3 boys, and zero regrets. My family, circa December 2009. Hasta Luego.

Friday, December 4, 2009

New blog headers...and new blogs

New blog header...couldn't keep logging on here and seeing these babies that I don't even recognize anymore. I'm trying to mentally prepare myself for the 1st birthday coming up on TUESDAY!!

My amazing sister-in-law started this blog....www.divorcedbefore30.com...she is an incredible writer, and an incredible person. Check her out.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

So productive, so tired

We got a bunch of stuff done today...and because I often feel like I cross nothing off my list, I need to document to make myself feel better!!

#1 Something I've been meaning to do since the great room swap. I finally fixed the whole curtain situation in D & Owen's room. Granted, it is still ghetto, but it works.

BEFORE: I tucked the "fort" sheets over the curtains to keep the room dark. Even the blinds behind the curtains didn't cut out the Summer Sun for daytime naps and early bedtimes. This was only meant to be temporary, as we are working our way through the house replacing windows/trim and I was planning on doing black-out blinds at that time. Also, I'll replace the curtains (thanks, Mom!) once I re-do this room into more of a "boy" room when the kiddos are a little older. And...the window to the right (which is not visible in this "before" picture) might not exist once we add on to the house. That's a blog post in itself...

AFTER: A relatively quick fix that I have been meaning to do for a long time!! The blinds on the window to the right (you can just see the very left of the curtain) are broken, so I took the curtains down and then took the blinds down for good. I nailed up the black sheet against the trim...see "BEFORE"...I don't care about nail holes!...and then put the curtains back up. No sign of tacky black sheets, but the room is still darkened. The window behind the cribs was pretty tough. Those cribs are packed in there. It's quite the puzzle to move them around. I got them out ok, but needed Andy's help to get them back in. He laid on the ground and used his feet to push against the leg of the left crib to get them back in place. Not kidding...they are really in there. I'm pleased with how it turned out...it's cute again!

#2 We completed a toy and book purge, just in time for Christmas! We have two full construction-grade black bags filled with toys and books, etc in the garage. I don't know where they are going, but they aren't coming back in here!! It feels good to get rid of some of the old stuff that is broken &/or outgrown...but somehow it still seems like we have a LOT of stuff left!! We know lots of people who have babies or will be having more babies...and it's always good to donate too! The toy purge allowed me to clean my basement, and besides still needing to give the carpet a good steam-clean (the huge white remnant given to us free from my parents was awesome to have, but I'm thinking the play-room might need something darker soon!), I'm super happy with how it looks now. I disposed of the beans in the "bean table" and I'm hoping that takes care of the weird bug issue...these tiny fruit-fly-type bugs were falling from the ceiling, and they were definitely centered around the bean table. I'll be checking tomorrow to see if they've returned now that it's gone. My basement now looks like this...I might not let the kids come down there anytime soon :> Too bad I don't have a "before"!!

#3 Andy put some mud on Ethan's wall where the drywall came off after we took down this TV cord cover thing that we had in that room when it was the guest room. He needs to patch some additional spots around the new window & trim and then I'll paint. Since I'm getting new curtains for his room that won't tie in the purple that's on the wall in the closet, I'll have to paint that blue too. Another project on "the list"....but we're headed in the right direction.

#4 Andy steam-cleaned the carpet in the living room...I can't even tell you how much that needed to be done, and you would have felt as sick as me if you'd seen what was sucked out of there. Ugh. Gross. Blech. I feel like I need to bleach myself...I was wrestling on that carpet with D & Owen just this evening before their bedtime.

#5 The Christmas tree is in the house, as are some of our decorations. We're letting the tree branches settle (it was a great pick by Ethan and Andy!), so Ethan and I will decorate tomorrow...with some of our Frosty the Snowman sugar cookies in the oven...I can't wait.

#6 4 loads of laundry washed at our neighbors and dried at our house. I can't even tell you how awesome our neighbors are!!

Shamefully, I haven't posted any pictures of the kids recently....

Remind me to thank the people at Sonic for not neglecting any detail of a ship....Um, constructing this "build your own ship" took me about 30 minutes (Andy suggested that they might have outsourced to IKEA for this...ha!)...fending off "helpful" preschool fingers, and the "Are you done yet?"s...It broke about 10 times within the first 5 minutes, predictably...it's basically made out of paper...so now it's sitting on top of the toy shelf.

Waiting for Thanksgiving dinner...give us the grub! Dylan looks like he's salivating, but that's just the way he likes to sport his shirts.

Dylan says, "Give me some more cranberries and nobody gets hurt"

Ethan was so ready for a nap, and did not want to take this picture...I bribed him, and I'm not afraid to admit that.

After Thanksgiving special...after we recover from the tryptophan, everyone has lots of energy for tackling Mommy...don't be fooled by Owen...he may look innocent, but I think he just doesn't want to be caught on camera.

Those curls, those eyes...Dylan just kills me sometimes.

Owen...so beautiful...so pretty...."man-pretty" as Daddy would say.

Wrapping up November...

I need a new blog header....who are these little babies!?

  • We have made it through our first week without a clothes washer. Have I blogged about that here? I know I've mentioned on Facebook. A little over a week ago, the washer stalled in the middle of a delicates cycle. 4 pretty expensive items, that I had a minor meltdown over until I just decided to pull them out of the washer and hand-wash, were ust sitting in soapy water overnight. We tried the reset, tried unplugging, etc. The set was from my parents as a housewarming gift when we first moved into this house. I have probably used them more than they were intended to be used!! We scurried out to Home Depot last Saturday as they were having an incredible appliance sale. We bought a Maytag Performance Series front-load washer and dryer with the pedastals....the catch is that they aren't being delivered until December 7th. We have the best neighbor in the world and she is letting us wash at her house (she has even done a few loads, dried, folded, and delivered...I'm brainstorming on "thank-you" gifts). The kids have all had colds and the "re-wear" thing doesn't really fly with the drool and the spit-up, so it's been kinda interesting. I believe we have about 3-4 loads to do over there today. Worse things could happen, but it's been inconvenient. Can't wait for Dec 7th!!
  • I felt like an official Mom a few nights ago. Ethan has had a really nasty cold and was coughing really hard one night. He kept asking for sips of water and milk, but for a boy who sleeps in underwear now, we didn't want to give him too much to drink before bedtime. I remembered the Vicks Vaporub that my Mom used to use. I rubbed some under his nose, and put some on his chest...he was out like a light. Could have been that it was 9pm by that time, but it made me feel like only Mom can make it better. I might have created a monster though, because there have been frequent requests for "that stuff" since then.
  • We had a great Thanksgiving, opting to stay in just the 5 of us. I really felt like we should have some semblance of a "normal" Thanksgiving dinner even though it'd really only be me, Andy and Ethan that would be eating it, primarily. Andy bought all the ingredients and did all the cooking. Does this happen in other households, or am I the luckiest person on Earth? He had some timing issues and was TOO hard on himself, but the food was great. D & Owen had most of the dishes too, and they loved it. I got to play with my kids and drink wine...watch a little football and take a 20-minute nap. A great day and I am truly thankful!
  • Ethan was funny while Daddy was cooking...he kept asking, "Are you making the Happy Thanksgiving Day lunch?" We watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade and he loved most of the music (who are all these teeny-boppers, am I old?) and the floats and balloons, of course.
  • On T-day, he was laying on the couch watching the parade, and I was at the edge of the kitchen and could hear him telling himself this little story, when he didn't know anyone was watching at first...."Once upon a time there was a tall, handsome boy named Ethan who lived in this house that I'm inside...Once upon a time there was a friendly Owen who lived in this house that I'm inside....Once upon a time there was a friendly Dylan who lived in this house that I'm inside...." the story continued to include "a handsome Daddy", and "a pretty Mommy" I just can't get over this one....it's too sweet.
  • Christmastime is upon us and Ethan is overly aware. Yesterday, Ethie, D, Owen and Daddy picked out a tree while I was at work. Today Ethan and I are going to make some cookies and start the decorating. Ethan got his picture with the Mall Santa last night. He looks kinda goofy, not really smiling, but it's better than 2 years ago (we missed last year because of all that was going on with D & Owen) when he screamed his little head off.
  • Ethan knows all about the "list for Santa" and it seems like every commercial he is saying he wants that toy and he will either state that he will put it on his list for Santa or ask one of the grandparents to buy it for him.
  • Yesterday I asked him what he wanted for Christmas, and he said, "More colored cruisers, a helicopter, an airplane, and a squirrel....oh, and a chipmunk" For real? I ordered a bunch of books for him from the book drive his preschool was having, am planning on buying Pinnochio because Daddy sometimes says "Jiminy Cricket, babies" and Ethan thinks it's funny, and am planning on getting some new curtains for his room. Not sure about the babies...I am so anti-more-toys right now, but want to do something!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Reflections, by Hilary

I was working after dinner tonight (still not done!), so Andy put Ethan to bed for the second night in a row (working last night too!)...

About ten minutes later, he called for Daddy, but Daddy had already been upstairs once after bedtime...so I took my turn. E greeted me at his bedroom door and asked in the sweetest voice ever, "Mommy, would you like to have a little snuggle in the rocking chair with me?" Would I ever?!

Sitting there, squeezing my little (big!) boy to pieces, rocking him in the plush green chair that I used to rock with him in his baby room...I was euphorically happy.

I think about Deb a lot. I think about the crazy moments of each evening, I think about the serene moments like the ones spent with Ethan in his rocking chair tonight...and all the moments she will never have with her baby girl.

It puts it all in perspective for me. I am stressed and overwhelmed, and I think that's still legit, but every day, whether it be good, bad or ugly, is one that I'm sure she would love to have.

There will never be another moment when I'm asked to share a "little snuggle" where I sit in that chair with him and think about all the work awaiting me back at my laptop (like I may have done a few times before 2 weeks ago)....never....because those moments are so priceless, and I'm thankful for every one of them.

And since that was really heavy....I feel I should share the conversation between me and my little Angel as I was tucking him post-"little snuggle"...

I told Ethan that he should try to sleep well, because good rest, good food and lots of liquids are what help us feel better when we are sick (colds in our house!...but only the kids so far). So he asked about the shot with medicine and asked if that helped get the yucky stuff out (he got the first round of H1N1 last week...which I decided to refer to as a "little pinch of medicine" instead of a shot, but he's on to me now)...and I said that the shot was for really yucky stuff, but there wasn't much we could do for a cold except to rest, and eat and drink well. He listed off his favorite juices that he would drink lots of to help him feel better. And I mentioned some healthy foods that he could eat as well. Then he threw in a random observation, "And suckers are really tasty?"....Um, sure.

So, I tucked him in and said I love you as I was closing the door so it was open just a crack. He replied, "I love you too. Thanks for talking about healthy food with me". Oh my gosh, this kid is just too funny. Love him.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bullet points to catch up!

When blog posts have this much lag between them, it's time for bullets...

  • Random thought..."Inside my head, I have a brain"
  • Wrapped up in a blanket...upon exiting, "I was in an egg and I cracked out"
  • Talking about D & Owen's upcoming 1st birthday (OMG, did I just write that?!), "They were in your tummy and they came out because just like me they didn't like it in there because there's GOO in there!" Emphasis on the "goo"...
  • Mommy to Ethan, "Ethan, you are cute as a button"...Ethan to Mommy, "Mommy, I'm your button"
  • While doing my hair yesterday, Ethan was watching me and declared, "Mommy, you are the prettiest lady that I ever seen in the whole wide world"...who taught him this and how much do I owe you?
Now for the rest of the bullets:

  • Dylan has started clapping! For awhile now he's been doing this thing with his hands like he's brushing something off of them, but he's definitely officially clapping now. It's so cute! He has also said both "Mama" and "Dada"...and today, Gramma Leslie and I could have sworn we both heard him say, "Bye bye, Gramma"...or at least he was trying!
  • Owen is a maniac with the "real" food. Yesterday I made them a grilled cheese for dinner, gave them each half cut up in little pieces. Now...Owen has just two teeth, on the bottom, although the top two look like they are just about to pop. Dylan has 6! Two on bottom and 4 on top, although the pointies are just starting to really come out so they might not totally count as useful with eating. Owen had his half of the grilled cheese down in like 2 minutes. We'll have to teach him how to pace, as stuffing handfuls of grilled cheese in your mouth is a. not safe, and b. not such a hit with the ladies. Dylan had a tougher time with it...although he does just fine with the other "real" foods we are giving them such as sliced deli meats, crackers, breads, little pieces of cheese, tiny tiny little cut-up grapes.
  • Dec 8th is the big 1st birthday. They become official toddlers. What the...? This year was hard, no doubt, but where the hell did it go?! It went SO fast! I haven't planned a party...and frankly, not sure if I'm going to. I mean, seriously, they don't know what's going on, it's stressful for me (and Andy?), it's nearly impossibly to find a window of time for a party with their nap/bedtime schedule, and we don't need any more toys in this house. But you've got to do the first cake pictures...so maybe Ethan and I will make cupcakes, because he loves to do that...and we'll do the honorary "go crazy and get messy" pictures!
  • Andy and I just returned from 4 days in Vegas on Sunday. We planned this trip early in the year, somehow predicting that we might just need a vacation near the end of 2009. We were right and it was impecably timed. Work has been crazy busy for both of us...and, I can only speak for myself, but I was ready to crack for sure. We had a good time...walked the Strip, had some great dinners (Delmonico and CUT...OMG, CUT is the best ever!!), Andy played craps and a bit of blackjack switch, hung out with Skipp and Liz who were also in town over the weekend, stayed up too late, took a couple naps, laid in bed later than 6:30am (though neither of us is capable of actually sleeping past 7am anymore, regardless of staying up until 3am), I took a Stripper 101 class for fun with Liz, and Andy and I saw the best fight ever LIVE on Saturday night (although we bet on Cotto and he didn't win, it was still incredible to be there!). All in all, a nice time away...no hangies and Spillary did not appear, rare for a Vegas trip...but it was just what we needed.
  • Probably one of the reasons I was relatively mellow in Vegas is that I got some terrible news just as we were about to board the plane on Thursday morning. My boss called me and they had just been told that my co-worker, and friend, Deb, had died during childbirth. She was due on Monday the 9th and induced that day, her daughter was born on the 10th and Deb died on the 11th...something went wrong, still not clear on the details...but we went to the memorial service last night and did learn that she got to meet her daughter, and there was a lovely, albeit heartbreaking, picture of the two of them together. I am lucky that in my nearly-30 years I haven't had to mourn a lot at all...and I just don't know how to do it very well. I keep replaying conversations we had and it seems like just yesterday...Tomorrow will be my first day back in the office since learning about her passing, as I worked from home today as part of my usual Tues/Thurs schedule. I am dreading tomorrow. I'm her "out of office" for her "maternity leave" and am getting all sorts of emails despite the news being sent out to most people at work. Each time I get one of these emails, I start crying all over again. If only I'd known that her last day in the office on Oct 30 would be the last day I would ever see her.... Tomorrow I'll sit across the aisle from her empty cube.
Sorry to end on that note...but it seemed better to close with depressing news than to start with it and continue on with my analysis of Owen's eating skills, and recollections of Ethan's wit.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Guest blogger: King of the castle, master of his domain

Hello world, it's Zookeeper A. You knew they couldn't keep me down forever.

It has been a while since I made an appearance here. Let's be more specific........I wrote the inaugural entry into this thing you people read, and this is #3. I truly am a model of consistency.

So what's new 'round here? Plenty.

First, the star attraction(s). The terrible twosome continue to enhance their skills. They already had bow-staff skills and num-chuck skills, but now they can both feed themselves their bottles. If you have survived having twins yourself, I know hearing that probably takes you to a happy place. For those of you who were never traumatized, take my word that this is sweet relief.

The critters also ventured out to a festive gathering at our neighbor's house on Saturday ever so briefly. It seems that a crowded house and a well developed pelt may lead to overheating. Who knew?

Now the big boy. You all know that E has lots of skills. The girls won't stand a chance with this one, especially now that he has Trick or Treating skills. That's not to say that everything was easy here. Like I said, we went to a neighborhood gathering next door. E is super comfortable there. He would happily spend whole days there "helping" neighbor J water the flowers and running around her yard with the local cubs. Halloween appeared to be a different case. The mommy/daddy cling was in full effect and efforts to separate were met with screaming Spidey. We survived long enough for him to realize these were just our friends and everything was fine.

Trick or Treating was explained many times. Many discussions of the process and procedures. I don't think 2+2 equaled 4 until the first time the kids gingerly approached a door and propositioned a friendly neighbor. Then, euphoria. Wait....Daddy...she gave us candy! Time to run full sprint to the next house. Lather, rinse, repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

The craziest part? They didn't even really seem that interested in eating the candy. The thrill of the hunt.

We have lives too, although they are not nearly as dynamic and evolving as our pack. I did however take a new job recently, so the busy life has become busier. But, about a year ago we tagged 2009 as being "The year of survival". If this is surviving, thriving is going to be pretty fantastic.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pumpkins and Elephants

Because it's so hard to find the time to blog...two blogs turn into one.
Next on tap: Ethan's pumpkin train ride. Stay tuned...

First up: Ethan and his elephants. His "guys" as he calls them.
Left to right is Horton, Africa (originally named by Ethan), Ernie (originally named by Andy), & the big man himself.

Next up: Last Sunday's project...buying and carving the pumpkins. We bought 5 mini pumpkins from Byerly's since the past couple weekends were either too cold or too busy for a trip to the apple orchard, which is where we typically pick our pumpkins. Our 6th pumpkin was the pumpkin that Ethan selected on his pumpkin train ride a few weekends ago. It was the biggest, and the best for carving out Ellie the cat.

I decided to just do the first letter of each of our names on each pumpkin...5 carving-size pumpkins would probably take up our entire front steps! In a few years I'm sure that Andy and I will forfeit our pumpkins so that the boys can have bigger ones to carve faces in...but until then, I think these turned out pretty cute. I only cut myself two or three times with the utility knife to cut the skins off the pumpkin and make our letters, so I'm calling it a success! Thankfully, Andy is a remarkable carver and he did Ellie cat and the slits in the letters so oxygen could get in to the candles.

Check it out! Mommy is in a picture!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ethan: Halloween preview

Spiderman, Spiderman. Does whatever a spider can.

I love the built-in muscles!!

Ethan has a fall party at preschool this Thursday and all the kids can wear their costumes...without masks. Actually, I'm surprised we got him to wear the mask at all when we did our practice run last night!

This year will be Ethan's first year of trick or treating!! Our neighbors are having everyone over on Halloween at 5pm. Not sure if Andy or I will accompany the trick or treating group, but one of us will do that, and the other will put D & Owen to bed (at least we will have an hour prior to bedtime at the party so they can wear their costumes....monkey and lion) and hand out candy. I'm thinking about dressing up. One of our friends from college used to have a Halloween party each year...and even though I don't drink wine out of a bag anymore (from within the box!), I really miss dressing up!

Monday, October 19, 2009

First haircuts!

Owen and Dylan were getting a little hairy.

All my babies were born with lots of hair...just like their Mommy.

I've got quite the volume in this picture. And um, could my Mom get any more gorgeous?! Wow!

Ethan on Day 2

Dylan & Owen at 3 weeks

But then they began to get male infantile baldness worthy of Nelson's Baby Toupees around 4 months old...so we shaved them.

Ethan pre-shave

Dylan & Owen pre-shave...Owen is rocking a serious receding hairline in this pic!

Ethan cleanly buzzed. And OMG, look at those rosy red cheeks! I want to pinch you!

Owen and Dylan no longer looking ridiculous...and pretty cute in their little buzz-cuts!

Before long, their hair began to grow back to stay and I was loving running my fingers through Owen's thick dark hair, and playing with the little curls that grew above Dylan's ears. But recently, it began to get less cute and stylin' and more unkempt and shaggy. We're big fans of the home haircut (not for me, but for the boys, sure!), but Andy wasn't sure he could trim the bottom while keeping some of the length on the top and not make it look like a reverse mullet, so we opted for the Kid's Hair "salon".

I made appointments for this past Saturday morning. We had lots of things we wanted to accomplish that day, so Andy suggested we divide and conquer. I quickly called "not it" on the haircuts. Let's face it, Andy's braver than me with taking the kids anywhere on his own...so he didn't have any issues with it and quickly offered to draw the short straw and take D & Owen in for their first haircuts on his own. He even brought a camera...and took pictures...and got their first haircut certificates and "hairs". I'm a lucky lady, I know.

So, with no more ado....

Before:Mr Owen

Dylan and his tongue

Owen looks a little red-faced so I suspect there might have been tears, but he looks like he likes getting his hair "did" here!

Apparently Dylan did not want to part with his curly locks....neither did I. Thankfully, they'll grow back!

Owen's hair is no longer obstructing his vision...hurray!

And Dylan is looking SO much like his big brother, Ethan. What is with that pointy tongue?! Always sticking out!

They look so old to me now...real BIG boy haircuts!! They were a success. And turned out much better than Ethan's first official haircut.

Lloyd Christmas, anybody? Lesson learned. Spend the extra cash on the kids' hair "salon" instead of choosing the nearby women's salon that specializes in blue hair dye, if you catch my drift.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

You know you've really arrived when...

you start covering your furniture in vinyl....

I purchased toddler booster seats for Dylan and Owen last night. A few years ago when we bought this dining room set with off-white fabric on the chairs, I wasn't thinking about how dirty it would get when we had kids. So I found these sweet chair seat protectors at Bed Bath & Beyond this morning. And now it smells like shower curtain in my dining room...but it's worth the ease in clean up! Red sauce, here they come!

The house already looks more spacious without those two gigantic highchairs blocking our natural light from the picture window.

Dylan says, "Hey, what's on your tray?"

Oh fun...they can see out the window from their chairs...meals with a view!

I'm loving these little green trays...they snap right off and they both fit in the drying rack at the same time...with other items too! The highchair trays were bulky and odd-shaped and were a serious pain to clean...which is why I left them dirty so much. Hey, a Cheerio from today is just as good tomorrow!

**Look at those haircuts!! Will post before and after pics soon.