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'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,'s basically made out of 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. 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 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'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 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 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 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.