Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sunday At The Park

Saturday was basically uneventful. Weekends are tough, as I've mentioned before, because we get into a routine of our own (that being "the girls" in the family, sans Kyle) and then when Kyle reinserts himself into the family for the weekends we tend to skew the schedule and be all out of sorts. I have a need to get a kid break, yet at the same time I want to join in "family time" (which is altogether too rare for all 5 of us), so I'm constantly torn between leaving those four by themselves or joining them for some activity. So I did a little of both yesterday.

Today, Sunday, I took Claire out for a brief shopping trip and then to lunch while the twins napped at home with Kyle, and then we spent the rest of the day at the petting zoo. Claire fished again (and even touched the fish this time - something I admit I've never done) and the babies enjoyed swinging and looking at all the animals this time. They are taking a late second nap now while we figure out dinner plans. I was hoping for a pizza outing to avoid the after-dinner clean up, and Kyle thinks we need to eat at home. So we haven't made a decision yet.

Today's photos are from the petting zoo and the one of Molly alone is from Saturday, when the kids played outside in the front yard with Kyle.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Another Park Day

We went to another park day today, one of my favorites with a tire swing and a canopy of trees overhead to keep the park cooler. Beforehand we visited a mom & pop ice cream shop where I was mistaken for the babysitter (quote from ice cream shop owner: "you look like you have your hands full. Maybe it'll make you think twice about doing that after you get married"). Later, he asked if I were related to the kids, and I paused, laughed, and told him I was actually their mother and as I watched the embarrassment on his face I said, "no, no, no, that was the best compliment I've had in a year". He then gave us free popcorn.

When the babies began to struggle with the lack of nap #2 I got the kids back home and Claire and Lily fell asleep in the car (and are still asleep). Molly stayed awake, and I'm not sure if she's asleep by now or not. Dinner plans are undetermined so far as Kyle is stopping by to look at the minivan just now.

I better go wake up Claire before she keeps us up until midnight tonight.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Mall, A Nanny Interview, and a Test Drive

I pushed the babies again on their second nap today and they behaved pretty darned well under the circumstances. I am just determined to get Claire out and enjoying my "vacation" time but unfortunately that means the babies' naps have suffered all week. But Claire has had a great week so far! At about 4pm I had all three kids asleep in the car with me so that was rather amusing, and it's good to see Lily finally adapted to sleeping in a carseat for a quick nap. Claire wasn't supposed to be asleep but she was awake due to her cold for hours last night, so she fell asleep for about 20 minutes after some shopping we did, and I let her have the rest.

Today we looked at another minivan with all the bells and whistles - power doors, DVD, leather, heated seats, navigation system, and so on (it's used, folks, I wouldn't spend a fortune again like I did on my Volvo) - and Claire is in love because of the "tv" in the car (she calls the DVD player a "tv"). I had a second round of car guys being fantastic and accommodating my kid situation by bringing vans next to my car so I could view them while the babies stayed safely in their carseats. Unfortunately, that always gets Lily screaming, so she cried for another 20 minutes straight while Claire and I checked out the car. I gave up thanks to the crying, promised the guy I'd test drive tonight (which I did over dinner time while Kyle was with the kids at home), and took the kids to the mall. Claire loves the mall - she thinks it's all about buying her stuff (what great values we teach our kids, eh?). And she did get some new barrettes and a necklace and a chocolate chip M&M cookie too. She was thrilled.

We then picked up our second nanny candidate from a bus stop (she is new to KC and doesn't have a car, having just relocated from Denver where I guess the public transportation is decidedly better than ours). We brought her back to our house, where we talked and played for a few minutes before I had to return her to the same bus stop about 15 minutes away. There's a closer bus stop to my house - one just a few hundred yards away - but I don't think the bus schedule times worked for a quick afternoon visit so we had to rely on this bus stop a ways from my house. The nanny candidate is actually from the south of France (not Denver), so I enjoyed talking with her. I am starting to check references on her and the other candidate. Our third candidate is a much younger girl who lives in our neighborhood. I just have to decide if she's too young, but her location is obviously very appealing.

After dropping the nanny at the bus stop I headed to Claire's preschool's Open House night, where I picked up our forms and paid September's dues. Then I headed over and test drove the minivan, which was quite a nice ride. Kyle is supposedly going to check out the vehicle tomorrow.

And tomorrow is my last day of vacation. Bummer. I'm enjoying all this free time I have, and yes, you stay-at-home moms, I'm envious of your lives right now. Maybe it's not all perfect all the time, but not having to juggle the demands of childcare and the demands of my job has been SO much easier this week. And at least for one week, I don't miss the intellectual stimulation from work, so I'm not suffering from an overload of baby talk so far. Too bad a cheaper car won't quite help me fund my stay-at-home mom dreams.

So tomorrow we will need to come up with one more big plan for the day, and fortunately Monday is a Labor Day holiday so that stretches this time a little more for me.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


I've forgotten to mention that Claire has come down with a slight cold. Mainly a dry cough, but it's enough to drag on her energy level a little. I am still waiting to see what happens with the twins - whether they get sick or not. The worst part is she was supposed to have a (rare) playdate event with a new neighbor friend tomorrow, but I've forewarned the other mother about the cold so we are in a 'wait and see' mode until tomorrow. I have a feeling the other mom will cancel. I would (says the germaphobe).

Good job Molly & Lily! I hand it to the twins today. I basically made them skip their afternoon nap - other than a few minutes of snoozing in the car - and they hung in until past 8pm tonight and barely cried. Amazing. I won't do this to them every day, but it was nice to see they're old enough to be able to fight through the fatigue.

Today I took the three kids to Wonderscope, which is an old school converted into a "kids' museum". I have to say, I think they could do a better job of providing more exciting and interactive activities, but Claire still had a great time. The twins struggled sitting still in the stroller and watching Claire play, but they had a great time in the "baby room" where they could crawl around in relative safety. They chewed on all sorts of toys, so if they don't pick up Claire's cold they will for sure pick up something else from Wonderscope.

Enjoy today's photos.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Antioch Park

Our day was nearly ruined by the house cleaning this morning. The babies cannot, just cannot, nap when the cleaning lady is here. So their schedule was all messed up and that forced us to stick around the house, with me crawling up the walls feeling like I'd lost a whole day of precious vacation, until 3pm. At 3pm I woke up babies and packed them into the car for a trip to Antioch Park. Antioch Park is very nice, with walking trails, green rolling hills, a pond, several playgrounds, and a cute kid playhouse-size old western mock town (see photos). The only downside is the park also attracts from some sketchy neighborhoods, so I found myself lecturing this group of kids several times on their behavior and language in the park (somewhat surprising myself by going into mean adult mode). We spent about 2 1/2 hours at the park before heading home. We also did a breakfast outing to McDonald's this morning, so I guess I shouldn't complain ... we did get out of the house today. Yet, I still feel completely stir crazy now. I don't think we did enough today, and Claire even resorted to cartoons on a day I wasn't working!

Hopefully tomorrow we have more "success" getting out and doing fun things during the early afternoon.

Monday, August 25, 2008

An Arboretum Day

My first day of vacation in 2008 involved taking the kids to the Overland Park Arboretum for the afternoon. It's a nice, calm wooded area with walking trails, waterfalls, a big pond, and all sorts of flowers and trees. We just about had the place to ourselves for a good hour, and then were joined by a friend of mine and her two kids for extra excitement. I pushed the twins on their second nap, so we got almost three hours at the park before having to head home. They did amazingly well for over-tired babies. Molly never took that second nap but Lily crashed. Unfortunately, that put Molly in tired clumsy mode, so she just about bit her tongue off tonight when she face-planted on the floor while trying to crawl. I was horrified. Mouths bleed like crazy, so it was hard to tell for a while if she had actually bitten through or not (I still think maybe yes, Kyle thinks no). Uggggg.

No definite plans for tomorrow, but we are planning another big afternoon! Enjoy our photos from today.

And let's not forget to pay homage to the twins' 11-month milestone today. One month to one!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Hot Peas 'N Butter

Today I took Claire to the "Hot Peas 'N Butter" concert. I had a blast with the groovy kids' music, but Claire was definitely her mother's daughter: she thought it was too loud, and covered her ears for over half the show. And she begged to go home (I wouldn't let her). So my photos from today show the guys in the band and Claire holding her ears. We got an autographed CD and I felt like a band groupy for a kids' music band.

The best parts of the event for Claire were finding out about auditorium chairs (the seats that spring up/fold up) and afterwards, doing somersaults down the hill with her friends (photo of this also). She never got into the interactive music concert due to her noise sensitivity.

We had a lunchtime visit from Papa which also added entertainment for the day, and after a quick $200 trip to Sam's Club the rest of our evening was spent at the concert while Kyle tended to the twins at home.

This morning I did get to sleep in for a while, and Claire went out to work with Kyle, so she had a busy day. And I just spent the last few minutes responding to work emails so I could ignore my work email for my vacation week! I have all sorts of plans in my head about what we'll do, but the reality is we'll probably get around to far less of what I want to do because of the twins' nap schedules. What I really need is a babysitter for the twins during the day so Claire and I can get out on our own, but with school in session, that will be nearly impossible to find.

Whatever we end up doing, I'm just happy to get a break from work.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Day of Firsts

Today was Claire's first day of tap & ballet lessons. And let's face it, this is all about me, right? I took tap from age 4 to age 8 and I have some pretty strong memories from those classes and recitals, so as I dressed her in a black leotard and tap shoes and then later watched her walk into the room with all the other girls I felt highly sentimental. The lump in my throat proved it. Some other mom leaned over and said "awww, this is too cute for words" and I thought I would burst out crying (which surely would have caught the attention of all the other chatting and unsentimental moms) but I kept it under control. Barely.

And then, Claire proved me wrong. It's not all about me. She tentatively and shyly took her place on an "X" on the dance floor (and tentative and shy aren't words normally applied to Claire), and I had the joy of watching her face light up like I've never seen when she found her best friend from summer camp in her very same class: Lauren. Ah, Lauren. Lauren was in the fanciest white leotard and huge white tutu and tights and looked downright dreamy. Those two girls hugged like crazy and Claire was all smiles and excitement from that moment forward. The parents enjoy a view from benches outside the dance room through windows into the room, so I kept my eyes glued to the absolutely hysterical movements of these little 3-year-olds in the room. Coordination? Nope. Cute as anything? Yep. OK, yessss, so it's still just a little about me too.

I did unglue my eyes for a few moments to finally meet Lauren's mom (which we never did at summer camp) and she seems like a neat lady, who lives amazingly close, so we traded numbers and we have a playdate in our future. I'm not a big playdate type, but I know how much Claire loves Lauren so we will definitely make the effort. I had kicked myself for never seeking out Lauren's mom during camp days to discuss a possible playdate so this was pure luck that our paths crossed again. I wasn't going to let the opportunity slip again.

Claire and I had a mother/daughter lunch afterwards and then we joined Kyle and the twins at home. I then packed up the kids to go look at .... gulp .... a minivan .... while Kyle did some work, so I had to keep the twins in the carseats and the A/C running while the car salesman brought over a couple vans for me to view. He was very accommodating. I wasn't able to test drive, but I found a great configuration for three carseats which might be far more practical than my 3-across in the Volvo. Not to mention the minivan would be easier on our budget. I can't believe I might become the suburban mom with the minivan. I swore I'd never be her. And here I am, almost.

I rushed the kids home for our first nanny interview. The girl seems nice and qualified, but I have two more girls I want to talk to before making a final decision. I'm still missing the summer nanny though. And with our childcare gap this week, I did make a decision to take a whole week off work. Woo-hoo! No work this coming week! I haven't taken one vacation day since my maternity leave ended - so for almost 9 months - so it's well overdue. I'm burned out on work right now, and I'd like to enjoy my kids for a week before preschool starts and everyone gets sick. The preschool cooties are set to invade our home starting after Labor Day and I'm dreading it.

While the nanny was here, Lily stood on her own, balancing for just a few seconds. So there's our other first for the day beyond the dance lessons. That means walking will be following in relatively short order. Kyle swears that Lily tried to take two steps the other night, but because I didn't see it and she hasn't repeated it, I can't verify the report. But I can positively state that she stood and balanced on her own today.

Tomorrow we've got tickets for Claire to see "Hot Peas & Butter", a groovy kids band. This will be Claire's first concert and I think she's old enough to appreciate it now. Unfortunately we haven't located a sitter for the twins so I think Kyle or I will have to stay home with them while the other gets to go with Claire. This is the usual parent split - one with Claire, one with the twins - that is not always particularly easy on the parent's quality time together.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Transition Time and House Chaos

I'm living in partial hell right now. My nanny quit on Tuesday (she was supposed to be with us through the first week of September). She didn't quit out of anger, and it's not entirely unexpected. She has a dying mother and her mother has taken a turn for the worse so she is off to care for her. Clearly her situation is more dire than mine, and I worked hard to make sure the nanny (oh, wonderful summer nanny) felt no guilt in leaving, but as she left I felt lots of sadness and the usual panic over our childcare situation. We do have a nanny interview this weekend and I expect more to be set up, but that doesn't leave us in good shape for next week potentially. It's high time I take my week of vacation, bridge the childcare gap, and enjoy my kids without work getting in the way. Kyle is covering the house tomorrow because I must be in the office.

So I guess you can say the summer nanny and I got to ride the honeymoon period the entire time. I really like her, and I trust her with the kids. We never even had an awkward moment, unless you count the time she walked in my room to get a baby while I was completely undressed. Ah well, it happens.

I'm working hard not to over-panic about the hiring of a new nanny. So we're in a transition period, as we look for someone new and the kids have to adjust again to a new face.

In the meantime, Kyle had the brilliant idea to get some sheetrock guys to fix our (perfectly fine) ceilings, so on Monday these guys appeared and taped down my entire house and moved all the furniture and hung plastic sheeting from the ceilings. This is on the main floor, with the kitchen. Have you tried cooking or taking care of young kids in a house like this? It's impossible. Impossible. They returned today, two days later, to finish the job but now there's a fine dust everywhere in the house (good for baby lungs I'm sure), and the house is still taped down because Kyle has to re-paint the ceilings now to match the house. So nothing has improved tonight and we're looking at at least five days before this house seems reasonably normal again. And that fine little dust will keep settling for weeks so it'll be a while before I feel it's truly back to normal.

Even though I had a WFH day today, someone at work noted my mood seemed a bit off - I wasn't my usual chipper work self. I explained I had worked until midnight last night on an RFP (something outside my normal job role, and I'm usually happy to help, but I am not happy about the extra work in a week where I'm still crazy busy with that issue that no one wants to fix), but I didn't get into my childcare woes and my house being a construction zone and how the kids (and I) are out of sorts by not having access to the main floor. It's all a bit too much right now. I'm annoyed and stressed.

I want my old nanny back, I want my house back, and I want my easy work hours job back.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Single Parenting, Round Two

Kyle went to a wedding over the weekend. He left just after 7am Friday morning (before anyone was awake) and returned home at noon on Sunday. All in all, we had a great weekend. Friday daytime was rough because I had one of the busiest WFH Fridays I've ever had - I was on conference calls all day, so Claire had to watch lots of cartoons. But I did get the kids out. I managed to drop off my car at Sam's Club for the installation of those new tires Friday morning (we walked home - no other way to get home, right?) and then we had a relatively boring day while I worked until 4pm. At 4pm, I shut down the laptop, got the kids in the stroller, and walked back to Sam's Club to get my car. [The bad news: the new tires didn't fix the strange vibration, so we're off to the Volvo dealership next.] After the Sam's Club trip (and they had formula again!), we went over to Babies R Us and picked up the new jogger stroller that the last two posts talked about. And then we headed over to MyGym, a little kids' gym/play place, which was having an Open House. When Claire was little she used to take a weekly class there, and we might do it with the twins some day, so I stopped by to say 'hi' to all our old teachers. And it was free entertainment. Claire jumped in the ball pit and on the trampoline, and the twins had a blast! I thought they'd be afraid, but they went wild in there - they crawled everywhere, wanted to get into everything, and they even thought the ball pit was interesting. We picked up a quick dinner and I had everyone to bed by 9pm - about half an hour later than I wanted, but not bad. Claire was asleep instantly.

I was awakened at 5am by a phone call on my mobile phone. Huh??! A frantic check (thinking something had happened to Kyle while out of town, or to another family member) made me realize that WORK was calling at 5am. They were having some kind of outage, and didn't have contact information for one of my customers, so they called me in the middle of the night. The voicemail asked me to join the conference bridge. Like an obedient idiot, I called in, and got sucked into a troubleshooting call until 6am. At 6am, I crawled back in bed, knowing my chances of getting more sleep were slim. Molly got squirmy, and I couldn't fall back asleep, and at 7am when she wanted her bottle, I realized I was going to have a long day ahead of me. The irony of all of this is that Molly had her BEST night of sleep YET and I didn't reap any benefits thanks to work calling me in the middle of the night. And with Kyle out of town, no one was around to offer me nap time during the day.

But I rallied - and the kids and I had a great Saturday together. We played some in the morning, then we had lunch at McDonald's, and while the babies napped Claire and I went swinging outside and she was later joined by the neighbor kids for some extra excitement. When the babies woke up, we did an early dinner at Pizza Shoppe (our usual weekend pizza place) at 5pm and then I took the kids shopping for a while afterwards. Things were going well until Lily had an unprovoked meltdown in Macy's (I honestly heard one guy say "just leave" because she was crying so loudly), so we promptly left and headed back home. The kids were all in bed by 8:30pm. Again, Claire was asleep instantly. On my end, I got the house ready for the next day (cleaned up, made a middle-of-night bottle for Molly, cleaned the formula container, etc.) and went to bed as quickly as I could. I felt like college finals time as exhausted as I was at that point. It wasn't kid exhaustion per se, but just the early awakening from work at 5am.

Sunday (today) we made it to McDonald's for breakfast (Claire's weekly treat from Kyle, which I indulged her in today), and then to HyVee for milk and spaghettios (the new stroller doesn't hold too many groceries unfortunately), and then back home for what I expected was round one of naps. Lily slept. Molly wouldn't. In fact, she didn't nap until 11:30. And she was up by 12:30. Kyle appeared stealthily, with no prior warning, right about noon while we were eating lunch at home. Then the chaos began. Claire wanted daddy's attention, Lily wanted daddy's attention, and then Molly woke up too early because of all the noise. It took me until today to realize that Claire is a master at playing Kyle and me off each other, and generally getting me very frustrated with that game of hers. With Kyle out of town and only me to deal with, the kid was a dream for two days - perfectly behaved. With Kyle around, she's a whole different kind of child. When the immediate chaos subsided, we considered a trip to the petting zoo or the arboretum but we aborted the planning and getting ready stuff after 20 minutes because the babies were seeming "off" and we thought they needed the next round of naps. In the end, Lily did take a second nap but Molly refused (teething??). So I took Molly and Claire to McDonald's (yes, McD's again) for an ice cream cone while Kyle put up laundry and Lily slept. Molly's mood stayed fantastic, so when Lily woke up I put everyone in the new stroller and we took a long walk around the neighborhood trying to find Claire a good climbing tree (see photo - we only found one). Molly got so exhausted on this long walk that she actually fell asleep in the stroller! Check out the photo of her sleeping. I was impressed because my twins don't sleep anywhere but their beds, so this was nice to see that on occasion at least Molly could be flexible.

We did take-out for dinner (I haven't been able to grocery shop with Kyle out of town) and Lily wasn't in the best mood at dinner. Both babies are asleep and Kyle is getting Claire to bed right now. At least tonight I get relieved of "house duties" and my only plan is to get to bed early again.

The big "Oooops" of the summer is that my new friend made me aware at noon today that the more expensive preschool starts tomorrow (I thought it was after Labor Day for some reason). We never gave them a cancellation, so I am concerned we're looking at a $350 charge because of this (in addition to the $150 we lost by saving the spot for the school year). I called the school in a panic and left a long message, admitting that I'm clearly scatterbrained and an idiot. So depending on what they say, we'll either cancel on them tomorrow or we'll send her for a month and then switch her to the other preschool. And the expense of all this is just a charge for our idiocy. I am such an organized, meticulous person - so when did I become the kind of parent who doesn't realize when school starts? Scary. Can I blame the twins?

Jogger Stroller

I love my new double jogger stroller. Kyle teased and teased me about buying another one because he says I never used the single jogger with Claire (which is somewhat true), but with three kids, I think this new stroller will get used like crazy. Why? Because I learned a handy "off label" use - it can function as a stroller for three. If Claire sits on the fender (or up with the babies and puts her feet on the fender) then all three can take a ride and we can actually take a brisk walk together! It's fantastic. See photo - she's sitting in her designated spot and we're taking a nice walk on our walking trail.

Other pluses of this stroller: it has a front swivel wheel (I wouldn't buy one without that now) and a speaker for an iPod built in. The "parent tray" is a good size with two drink holders too, and it does fold up in half.

I searched and searched online, then zeroed in on the jogger strollers, and at the last minute found one at the Babies R Us store across the street from my house and with the 20% off coupon in effect currently I got a cheaper deal than And I didn't have to wait for transit time. Instant gratification! We've already taken three trips to McDonald's, a trip to HyVee, and a long walk today (where Molly even fell asleep in the stroller!) in the new ride.

Work has handed out a 209% bonus for the quarter so I guess you can say this was my splurge with the extra cash coming in soon.

I Want That!

The twins' hair is long enough for bows now - especially Lily's board straight hair that hangs straight in her eyes - but the problem with bows is that they're, well, a little too interesting to little babies.

I love this set of photos. You can totally imagine watching this live when you see the photos.

First photo - eyeing the bow
Second photo - going in for the kill, but Lily fended off the advance
Third photo - going in for the kill again, and .... success!
Fourth photo - ripping the bow out of Lily's hair

I'll rave about my new jogger stroller in the next post.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Motherhood Fatigue Syndrome

It's 10:30pm, and Claire is still awake. I have no idea why this is happening. She should be exhausted after a day of playing at Gabbie's house and then with the neighbor before dinner. Maybe this is over-tired kid syndrome. Whatever the case, she's going to be a feisty one for the nanny tomorrow. Good thing I'll be at the office.

Claire had a great day at Gabbie's, and I had a great day at home "trying" to work. I say "trying" because my VPN connection into the office network dropped about every 10 minutes, and I was continually logging in. Very frustrating. By afternoon I focused on some (not fun) house tasks and kept an eye on my work emails but it was a slow day other than the issue I can't get anyone to fix at work. The twins had a pretty good day. Molly is driving me a little nutty with her screaming for attention and screaming for help to get down from the standing position and screaming at dinner for no apparent reason and screaming during diaper changes. Lily drives me nutty with the "dropsie" game - which for her involves dropping all 6 pacifiers out of her bed and then crying until someone replaces them (when will she realize to stop doing this??). Today this had to take place on my one live phone call with my boss, so I was a little annoyed at her timing.

Dinner wasn't great - both babies cried and I think I had the meltdown tonight. I retreated to my first shower for the day while the twins went to sleep and Kyle got Claire to bed. But that was more than two hours ago, and here we are, with a kid still awake. Sigh.

I'm off to bed, even if Claire is not. And I was quite wrong, I'm not anemic - iron levels look great. So my fatigue is truly Motherhood Fatigue Syndrome (let's call this MFS, and I can come up with some good 4-letter words that fit that acronym). The doctor recommended rest and sleep. Ha! Rest and sleep! Has he checked my schedule recently?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Hyper Parenting

I can certainly be accused of hyper parenting (come on, Papa, keep hounding me on the 'helicopter parenting' comments), but really, I've relaxed since kid #1. Proof? Look no further than today, as my 10-month-old gets to eat a lollipop with her big sister (see photos). I don't think Claire got to have a lollipop until she was 2 years old. Is this because we become lazy parents once we have multiple kids, or pulled too many directions to micro-manage, or because we know that very little will do permanent damage? I'm not sure. Maybe a little of all of that.

I had a mixed day at work: my inbox is down to 18 messages (!!) from 650, so that is enormous progress for me. I can breathe again. But I'm dealing with an issue 4 months in the making that no one is handling to my liking and I was incredibly frustrated by the C-student attitude I saw at work today. Usually I can shrug off the mediocrity in my workplace because I understand that it helps the overachievers shine a little brighter, but today I just wanted to strangle everyone. I enjoyed an entertaining lunch in the cafeteria with a colleague who has four young boys - we talked about kid discipline and kid antics. We both have 'the stubborn child' who is a challenge.

Tomorrow Claire is hopefully going to Gabbie's house to play (I'll pay my old in-home daycare lady $35 to keep her for the day) and I'll have some peace to work through my work issue. We just need to make sure all the kids are cootie-free before getting them together.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Miss Productivity

Let's talk about productivity. Today I:
  • Held two conference calls this morning for work
  • Did my job all day (responded to emails, calls, instant messages, etc.)
  • Found time for a brief shower while babies napped and Claire watched cartoons
  • Took the three kids out to Michael's after lunch for a "dollar aisle" raid
  • Helped Claire with her "dollar aisle" art projects at home (we even had no TV this afternoon!)
  • Dropped off the preschool check at the preschool
  • Made all three meals and cleaned up after two (I got a break from dinner clean up)
  • Got a snack for Claire and me from McDonald's and cleaned that up also
  • Made formula/bottles
  • Cleaned 9 bottles
  • Got babies two rounds of naps and many bottles
  • Changed many, many diapers
  • Did 4 loads of laundry. Folded laundry. Put up some (not all) laundry in closets.
  • Cleaned up the floor several times after Claire/the twins ... non-stop mess patrol
  • Wrote a check for the cleaning lady who will be at our house tomorrow
  • Kept an eye on Claire while I finished making dinner and she played outside with the neighbor
  • Got one baby to bed (Kyle got the other two to bed)
  • Ran an errand to Old Navy tonight - no winter clothes yet so don't waste your time
  • Talked to a friend
  • Posted on the blog
This is basically a normal WFH day, other than sometimes I'm too fried to cook dinner and I rely on Kyle or take-out. Kyle walked in at 6:24pm tonight and left before the kids were awake so it was a long day. He did have to come home from about 9:30am-10:15am to cover my two conference calls (how else would I manage work calls and three kids?) but after a busy weekend of errands with Claire and a long busy day today I'm beat. And I need a break from kids. It's a good thing I'm at the office tomorrow.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Weekend Wind-Down

My mom cancelled her visit, so Claire and I spent more time running errands together and getting ice cream this afternoon. Kyle manned the house and the twins during nap times today. Papa did make it over with BBQ take-out and farmer's market tomatoes in tow. Woo-hoo! Claire showed off her bike riding and tennis abilities for him, and I tried to take photos, but both digital cameras had issues so I'm without a decent photo.

Papa picked out his photo from the photo shoot, and we enjoyed torturing Claire with pretending to get the kids' names mixed up. It was funny because she tried really, really hard to "correct" Papa and me on names for a long time, and then all the sudden the light went off in her head and she teased us back by mixing up the names of the kids. Papa and I smiled knowingly at the mental leap that took.

We also smiled at what an obstinate little girl she is. I think that reminds both of us of one little me way back when. I even remember how darned stubborn I could be, and I'm sure Papa does too. Not that I've changed, of course, as 'stubborn' is my middle name. So Claire comes by it honestly. But it does make parenting a little tougher at times ...

Tomorrow: back to the grind. Another WFH day with the three kids. Yee-haw.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

A Claire Day

A few more photos here from the chaotic photo shoot yesterday.

Today was a "Claire Day" - I took Claire out (without the twins or Kyle) pretty much the whole day. That gave us some much-needed mom/daughter time, some winter clothes shopping time, and Kyle time with the twins and home chores. We did have an hour out with Kyle and the twins too, but this morning, lunch, and late afternoon was just about the two of us. It was good. She had a good time and was exhausted by bedtime. And one-on-one, the kid is pretty fun to be around and says some mighty funny things.

Looks as though tomorrow is a grandparent day - both my mom and my dad are coming over at different times. With the highs here expected to be in the mid-80s (a freakish August day for Kansas) it might be a nice day to get outside.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Photo Shoot

I have a new benchmark for stress: taking 10-month-old (tired) twins and a nearly-4-year-old to a photo shoot by yourself.

I'm an idiot, I know.

But here's the thing - it's been 10 months, and we haven't had studio photos made yet of the three kids, and I was beginning to think folks would whisper about me behind my back. I mean, isn't that what you're supposed to do when you have new babies?

So I braved the photo studio by myself, starting at 5:15pm and ending at 6:30pm ... right in the early hours of the downward nighttime spiral. The bewitching hours. Lily wouldn't smile. She frowned for 95% of all photos. And she crawled away at every opportunity (enough to make my back sore by picking her up and replacing her in the pictures all evening). Molly fared OK, but without as many smiles as I expected out of her. Claire did beautifully and was a fantastic help. Sometimes my child surprises me. She did lapse into her goofy fake smile most of the time but every once in a while we got a real one and those photos were the winners.

I got suckered into a big dollar purchase of lots of photos, but I did get the images too, so I'm posting a few of my favorites here. Happy viewing.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

$1000 Evening

A second trip to Sam's Club on the way home from work today netted the same result: no Similac formula. Huh? Have they quit carrying it? If so, it's a good thing we only need the darned stuff for another month and a half, because I refuse to keep paying Target and HyVee their prices for the stuff.

Work was crazy busy today with too much to do. My inbox still stands at around 650 messages. I had to deal with more pressing issues than filing old emails.

Back home, the evening went smoothly and there was no crying and no screeching at dinner time. Amazing. After dinner we all played together on the floor, and then I got the babies to bed. Kyle got Claire to bed while I ran out to Target for the formula. But then I noticed Target has the beginnings of winter clothes in, so I got stuck looking through kid clothes. I bought a few outfits. And found a cute pair of brown Mary Jane's for Claire. And so when my bill at Target rang up at $111, I shouldn't have been surprised. But let's be clear that the formula was the bulk of that bill at nearly $30/can.

Unfortunately, however, I also had to get gas on the way to Target: $60. And then at Sam's Club after work this evening, I finally gave in and bought the new set of tires we badly need (yes, we're driving on bald tires): $850.

So hello, one-thousand dollar evening. Not a good feeling.

And with that, I'm signing off to watch the news and nurse my pocketbook back to health.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Do You Want A Bite Of This?

Today marks the funniest thing the twins have done to date. These glimpses of the future (of older, more interactive twins) are like little gifts sent to keep me going.

I had a busy WFH day - the job was keeping me busy, that is. Claire dutifully watched cartoons all day (uggggg), and the twins napped nearly 4 hours total today, so childcare wasn't my biggest worry. Around lunchtime I decided to get Claire out for lunch so she wouldn't watch cartoons for 8 hours straight. We chose Arby's so we could also run by the (cheaper) preschool nearby and drop off our check which holds her spot for the year.

We got settled with our food at Arby's and the twins were already getting impatient, so I handed Molly a curly fry. She ate about 3/4 of the thing, looked over at Lily, and reached over to feed Lily (who was without food) the remaining portion of the french fry. It was SO darned cute that I even heard this group of young boys scream "Look! They're feeding each other!!" at the same time I'm yelling at Claire, "look Claire! Molly's feeding Lily!". It really was amazing. Molly landed it perfectly on Lily's lips, whereupon Lily tentatively opened her mouth for the treat. Awwwwwww.

[Note to you health freaks: with a trip to both McDonald's and Arby's this week, you must think I'm a "Fast Food Nation" type of girl, but I'm really not. I hate fast food, but I readily admit that the fast food scene is by far the easiest place to take young kids so sometimes I just suck it up and do it. I plan to instill a far healthier set of eating habits in my kids in the future.]

Claire's only bad moment came about 4pm when she was fully bored by television and needed a break. She demanded to go outside by herself and swing, and I told her she couldn't do that while I was inside feeding and changing babies, and she was very mad at me. Forty-five minutes later I had everyone on the way to the park and that ended the day on a better note. She was much happier after the outing but that meant I was unable to make dinner so we resorted to carry-out tonight. I remember from before our summer camp break that if I'm able to break up the long WFH days with an outing around lunchtime and an outing at the end of the work day Claire's mood stays much more positive (and therefore my day is easier except for dinner prep time).

Tomorrow is an office day and I do need the time at work. I've got more than 650 emails in my (work) inbox that need filing away and I just can't seem to get that done while at home. So it's an inbox cleaning day tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Visitors and More Visitors

I went to Sam's Club tonight for formula and they were out of it. Out? Sam's Club? I didn't know this happened to places like Sam's Club. This meant I had to pay too much money for a small can at the grocery store which really hacked me off. I took Claire along for the outing after dinner and she was one happy kid after being cooped up in the house all day with the nanny and babies.

OK, I know, I'm waaaay behind on an update. The weekend visit from my sister threw me off track. I had to get ready for the visit, and then she was here along with additional visits from dad, mom, and my grandmother, and then the workweek appeared too quickly and I got sucked back into that. So it's now Tuesday night and it feels like eons since I last posted.

So for my weekend photo, instead of posting a photo of Auntie and kids (my sister might not like the photo posted on the web?) I'll post a photo of the twins and Claire rolling around on this Hello Kitty body pillow that my sister bought Claire at Target over the weekend. They think this pillow is quite fun to use as a jungle gym.

Somehow Claire stayed up until about midnight both Friday and Saturday nights due to excitement from all the visitors in her house. That meant she was wiped during the day and a little "off" at times. She never went into full brat mode, but I could tell she was struggling at times. With it now being Tuesday, we've finally gotten her sleeping back on track other than me letting her stay up late tonight with the Sam's Club trip.

Molly handled the visitors well, other than thinking our Friday night meal at Waldo Pizza (the best pizza ever) was an excuse for screeching at the top of her lungs just so she could be heard over the clatter and chatter in the restaurant. Her screechiness just meant I couldn't focus on food or conversation or anything other than trying to keep her from making THAT noise again.

Lily handled Waldo Pizza beautifully, but Saturday night was another story. In the evening, we had my mom and grandmother visit in addition to my sister being here, and this just sent Lily into meltdown mode. She screamed and screamed over the new faces and commotion. We put her in her bed to calm down. After more than an hour of her not sleeping but sitting wide awake in the crib, we tried to reintroduce her to the family and she just would not stop crying. Everything set her off - the plastic Easter eggs being dumped out onto the floor, my sister moving a chair so she wouldn't tip it over, and so on. The routine of dinner finally calmed her down, which is ironic given how much she despises the dinner event every evening.

Sunday my sister left early so we had the whole day as a family unit, without any visitors. I tried to sleep in but couldn't with all the kid interruptions. After round two of naps we packed up the kids and took them to the mall. Everyone did pretty well.

Camp ended this past Friday. I'm not sure who is more sad about this - Claire, or me? So that meant Monday was back to the WFH schedule with all three kids. I was expecting a disaster but it was a reasonable day. I got the kids out over lunchtime to McDonald's and HyVee (where I let the babies try McDonald's ice cream and they loved it), but other than that I fully admit Claire was glued to cartoons all day so I could get my job done. The babies were OK other than Molly still being a bit of a crank during the day. I finally gave in and took her to the after-hours clinic last night for a quick once-over check. Ears are perfect. So as I suspected, it's either teething or reflux or maybe both. The doctor did note that Molly's throat is red and that might indicate the reflux is bothering her. She gave me another Prevacid prescription. I haven't filled it yet but might give it a shot because I am a little tired of her clinginess and crankiness during the day, and I know the nanny is struggling with it too.

I've got two big issues at the current moment: (1) which preschool to put Claire in - we have two spots reserved, one at her old preschool and one at the place where she did the summer camps. Her old preschool is $125/month, though with fewer hours. The place where she did summer camp, a very highly ranked program, is $350/month with a few more hours each week. I think pure financials lead me to the $125 preschool but I know how badly she wants to be at the other one. This is causing me pain. And (2) is WE DON'T HAVE A NANNY AFTER JUST 3 MORE WEEKS! I still have not had any decent responses to my nanny ads. I'm freaking about this. Finding childcare is tough (as I noted on a previous post) and I don't need this stress. I'm so desperate that tonight I told my favorite grocery store guy to send any good childcare people he knows my way ... although I suppose this wasn't completely freaky because he found me my best high school babysitter so far.

Tomorrow, of course, is another WFH day with the three kids. Hopefully it's a repeat of Monday and Claire isn't complaining of boredom all day. I'm exhausted. I mean exhausted. I've gotten to the point where I'm concerned this isn't just mom-of-three-kids-who-doesn't-sleep-through-the-night exhaustion, so I had a blood draw this morning to check for anemia. I should know by Friday if I self diagnosed correctly or not. Maybe I'm just hitting some kind of stress/adrenaline letdown as the twins approach their first birthday?