Sunday, May 31, 2009

Health Update

Lily has a double earache. I confirmed this at an 11am after-hours clinic appointment this morning. She's had two doses of meds now and is starting to feel better.

Molly has come down with the same cooties. She's got a high fever and the runny nose has started, and she's miserable. She cried for over an hour at bedtime tonight, refusing sleep. She didn't nap today. She stayed up until 2:30am last night (with me, of course). Her ear infection will come in the next few days.

Claire didn't speak more than 30 words to me today. She was grumpy (to me, but not to Kyle). She is 4 going on 14 and driving me nuts recently. She once again ditched me for lunch and shopping and stayed home with Kyle instead.

Despite having sick twins, I knew we still needed to get some house chores completed. Kyle had committed to being home all day today (a rarity indeed for a weekend), so I put him on sick kid duty while I flipped Claire's closet from winter to summer clothes, did laundry, and grocery shopped for the week. I also took two walks. Yes, two. I took a walk from 5-6pm - I really needed some physical activity - and then another tonight after I couldn't listen to Molly cry any longer (I had already heard an hour of it and I was close to a breakdown). I returned home to all four people sleeping and have had some peace this evening. I just wish I had healthy kids.

As I close in on midnight, the question stands: what time will I be awakened tonight by a crying kid? And who will deal with her? With an office day looming tomorrow, I'm in no mood for a bad night of sleep ...

I had forgotten how much chaos sick kids cause. The doctor said our last visit was March 25 - so we did go more than two months without an ear infection (or other cooties). Here's to hoping I have another two-month cootie break after this round.

Sometimes I Want To Be A Dad

Sometimes, I imagine being a dad. I imagine society's lower standards for my parenting skills and bask in the latitude that gives me.

I work five (or more) days of the week away from the kids, so in the few hours I see them each day they rarely annoy me. I don't have to enforce too many rules, because the kids don't test their boundaries as much with me, or needle me all day - they're just happy to see me. And when actually faced with the need to discipline, I wrestle with internal guilt. When I'm away so many hours of the day, why come down hard on any of the kids? Ah, I'll leave discipline up to the mom. I'll be a fun daddy. It's easier that way.

I get applauded for spending a couple hours with the kids without the mom around. No one expects it, of course, so doing it is reason for thanks and hey, I sure get lots of positive attention in public.

I don't cook, except for every once in a while when I feel like it. And I certainly don't do any extensive meal planning or grocery shopping.

The kids know I ignore them sometimes, and they accept it. They let me make phone calls without interruptions sometimes. They let me ignore the non-stop chatter. And I don't feel any guilt ignoring it. I don't worry about missing teachable moments.

I never have to plan kid events, find classes, camps, programs, or schools. The mom takes care of all that. And doctor's appointments? I only do those on occasion, and they have to be the after-hours visits - I don't change my work schedule for sick or well-kid appointments. I've never even scheduled a doctor's appointment for the kids.

And when kids are sick? I do a great job of blocking out all the crying. It barely registers on my radar screen, and when it does, it doesn't make me anxious. In fact, very little about raising kids causes me anxiety - I don't stay up nights worrying for their safety, or their happiness, or their health. When a kid bumps her head, I don't wake up hourly to check her. I assume everything will be OK (and besides, it seems the mom is getting up every hour anyways).

I don't live every day with this strange mix of fear, anxiety, and hopefulness for each child. I'm just happy for the two or three hours I see them once I get home from work, and once they are in bed and tucked away, my mind gravitates toward other subjects. The kids are not all consuming to me.

And in this way, I am able to be freer, and more spontaneous and fun, and I have this special bond with my girls who love their daddy, and who always will no matter what I do or don't do for them. I get a free pass - from them, and from society.

Sometimes, I want to be a dad.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Day In The Backyard





Today I hauled out the baby pool for the first time this year, nearly passed out while blowing it up, and then questioned all the effort when Molly couldn't stand the pool (I think because it was too cold despite me dumping in hot water from the sink). But then Molly calmed down and everyone enjoyed the water games.

I braved Toys R Us this morning with the kids to buy the Step 2 Fun Flow sink. It's quite cool - it's got a faucet with real running water (thanks to a pumping mechanism) and the kids, as I expected, loved it. Claire is starting to grow out of these kinds of toys, but the twins should get another couple year's use out of it if the pump holds up. I did notice the water stream wasn't as strong after an hour or more intermittent use of the pump, but the kids didn't seem to care. They are just fascinated by having a sink that mommy doesn't make them stop playing in (like I do inside the house).

Kyle worked all day, so I had another 8+ hours with the kids alone. Papa brought over take-out BBQ (from our favorite Oklahoma Joe's restaurant) for dinner tonight, so we got extra entertainment this evening. I know the kids were all exhausted from lots of play today but no one would settle down tonight for bed. Is there a full moon or something?

Ah ... last minute update ... as I'm waiting on my photos to upload, Lily just woke up screaming, so we're definitely due for an ear check at the after-hours clinic tomorrow. Urgh. We had a great two month (or so) break from ear infections. It sure was nice but I knew it wouldn't last.

Yogurt Is Good (And Fun)





OK, so I lean toward being a pretty rigid parent - we eat lunch at this time, dinner at that time, and bedtime is not a moving target. But with three young kids and several WFH days, I have no choice. Live by the schedule or my world collapses into chaos.

But every once in a while I let things slip. Like for Molly's snack today. Snack came at the right time (after nap), but because we were having an outside play kind of day, I let her eat it on the kitchen floor. And I let her eat what she asked for. The pictures show what came of this adventure. She loved every minute of it.

The last photo, yes, she is licking the yogurt off her leg.

Friday, May 29, 2009

A Lost Friday


The kids and I could have had a pretty fun day if I hadn't been stuck for 6 hours trying to get my new phone to work. Yes, six hours. Without going into too much detail (and therefore revealing my employer), let's just say it required switching accounts around so that I could finally get my Outlook items (email, contacts, calendar) on my phone. But it took the technical support group about 5 hours to figure out we needed the account changes. Urgh.

So our first roughly 90-degree day was spent indoors until 5pm while I was stuck on technical support calls. I also had work to do. And kids to watch. And a sick kid's nose to wipe. Yes, Lily is a snot spigot, and the ear infection is only days away now. I guess one of us finally got Claire's cooties - the rest of us, including Auntie and Uncle, have stayed well.

At 5pm, I put the twins in the jogger stroller, gathered up tennis balls and rackets, and tried to get Claire to walk to the high school tennis courts for her first "real" tennis experience. She whined non-stop about the "long" walk, so she caught a ride on the stroller. When we got to the courts, I found one where I could close the doors so the twins could wander freely. They liked it at first, but quickly got bored with chasing balls and then Molly figured out she could pry open the doors to the other courts ... so off she went. Fortunately she figured that out later. Claire, for all her great eye-hand coordination, did not have a successful first tennis court attempt. She only made contact with the ball twice. I wasn't lobbing them at her perfectly and that didn't help. She quickly gave up, complained unendingly about how thirsty she was (remember, it's our first warm day and I tried to make her run around in the heat), and then instead devised a game of walking around all the courts with her sisters. At first I was disappointed she seemed so disinterested in the tennis, but then I was just happy they all got outside today and got some good exercise. The walk home was more of the same - Claire not wanting to walk and complaining enough to where I let her hitch a ride on the stroller again. She better go to sleep immediately tonight!

Photo today is a bit of a cheat - Kyle took this of Ashley (neighbor kid) and Claire playing with bubbles a couple nights ago. I had fun setting them up with bubbles and watching them (and the twins) go wild. Well, Lily didn't go wild exactly - she's scared of the bubbles. That's Lily for you!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

43

I'm all out of sorts because my mobile phone decided to permanently freeze on me, so at 8:30pm I rushed out of the house and had to buy a new phone before the store closed. This new Blackberry is a whole new learning curve for me. Maybe that's why they call it the 'Curve' model, ha. I haven't had a new phone in so long I had forgotten what an amazing adjustment it is. For now, I have no email set up on it and no IM client so I feel, uh, naked. Exposed. And tomorrow morning will be all about getting the phone working as it should.

Today was a long day - kids from 8:30am to 8:30pm, with no help from Kyle (he was working). I continue to be super, super busy with work so it makes my daily routine that much tougher when I have a significant workload on top of the kid duties. We left the house at 5pm for a quick walk to HyVee for dinner items, but otherwise stayed home all day while I worked and sat on conference calls. Two hours worth of them, to be exact.

I had a cute video of the twins playing nicely with each other while I was cooking (I even took the video in secret to catch the undisturbed play), but with my old phone dead that video is gone forever. Usually Molly is quite needy at the dinner time hour, begging for food, but tonight she played this quiet peaceful game with Lily and I kept checking on them because I thought something must be wrong!

So why the post title? Well, Claire was making a birthday card for Uncle (the recently visited Uncle), and she asked how old he was going to be. I said '43', but was distracted by my dressing routine, and blew her off. About 10 seconds later, she showed me the card, and she had actually written the number '43', albeit with the '3' backwards as she always does. Wow! How did she figure that one out?! When I asked her how she knew to put the 4 and the 3 together to make 43, she said flatly, "because I'm smart". Oh, Claire, how I hope that is true for your sake ... time will tell ...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Twin Talk

So pardon the exciting crack-in-the-door view, but I couldn't resist documenting the audio of the twins "talking" to each other at bedtime. They were making motorboat sounds to each other and Lily was cackling throughout (unfortunately she didn't cackle for my video though). So this is what the twins do every night ... it's very amusing. You'll have to turn up your volume very high, though in our house it's actually quite loud.

video

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Over-Tired Kid


And this is what you get when your kid is exhausted from three non-stop action vacation days and overwhelmed by new experiences at every turn. I didn't have the heart to wake her up on the flight today despite the chance she may stay up late tonight. In fact, looking at her calm sleeping (and drooling) self helped me control my flight turbulence anxiety somehow, and I was happy for any help in managing that ridiculous quirk of mine.

Oh, and it's 9:27pm (really, 10:27pm Atlanta time which is what she should be adjusted to) and she's still awake and yelling out to Kyle ... so she did get her second wind from this short nap.

The Rest Of The Atlanta Trip





The rest of the Atlanta trip went well other than a frustrating dinner experience Saturday night. Claire went into the usual food funk mood and Uncle, Auntie, and I gave up trying to work her into a better mood. Instead, after dinner we went to Lenox Mall and an hour there really perked her up. She was out like a light at bedtime for the second night in a row.

Today, Sunday, we stuck close to home, including a lunch at home. Why do another restaurant with her bad attitude? I got to sleep in a little while Claire was entertained by Uncle and Auntie, including a trip to the grocery store without me. I was anxious about the weather and the upcoming flight - I had heard that thunderstorms would be gearing up about our departure time - but we only had light rain and patchy skies upon take-off (sorry, Papa, the peanut butter was confiscated from us too - that's three jars of Trader Joe's peanut butter the TSA has gotten off our family). The flight did prove to be bumpier, but nothing that made me remain super nervous (though I had to rein in the early panic attack that left my arms tingling and numb). Claire slept for about half an hour of the flight through the bumpiest patch outside of Atlanta. We arrived in KC 25 minutes early (!) and walked in the house 15 minutes before dinner time. Perfect timing! Molly was happy to see me and hugged on me for 15 minutes and Lily barely noticed my presence at all. They were both, however, happy to have me at bedtime while I rocked and sang them the usual nighttime songs. Molly even knows when I've hit the last song because she points to her bed, knowing that's where she's headed next.

So other than the travel, it was a low-key day sticking around Auntie's house, and that seemed to work well for Claire. I was surprised by her acting like a homebody (which she is not in KC), but Auntie and I determined that she was more fascinated by the novelty of another house to play in rather than it actually being her disinterest in going places.

I think she really enjoyed the experience. I know I did, and I was pleasantly surprised at how well Claire handled the airport travel stuff. I really needed the break from the daily grind. It was nice to feel refreshed and thrilled to see the kids all together tonight.

More trip photos posted. See the kid room? I think Claire (and her sisters) might be the only kids with a designated "niece's room" in their Auntie's house. Claire slept in each bed, a different one each night, just to give the room its first test drive. It passed the test!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Mid-Trip Update






Had to share a few photos from our Atlanta trip so far ....

We had a great trip here (great flight, easy travel time, Claire was great) but of course Claire woke up sick Friday morning so she's been feeling under the weather and occasionally her attitude stinks. Otherwise we've had a fantastic time here. Her favorites seem to be our convertible rides, the light switches in Auntie's house (I'm not joking), the neighbor's pool, and the shuttle bus ride at the KC Airport (because she didn't have to wear a seat belt of any sort).

She's been hard to feed - something about every meal causes her to be momentarily unhappy and it's driving me nutty. The pink lemonade wasn't good, or she didn't want the enchilada, or some other small thing like that .... urgh!

I'm having a great time myself and I thought the Georgia Aquarium visit was unbelievable! I've never seen anything like it. Fascinating. Claire, for her part, preferred the small fish - I think the big fish, sharks, and whales freaked her out. And the 'touching' zones (pet the stingrays, etc.) really freaked her out. Then again, I don't touch either, so I can't blame her there.

Today she got an American Girl doll, and we even ate lunch at the store. That is one over-the-top place! The doll even got its ears pierced (Claire really wanted earrings for the doll), and bam! that's another $14.50 for the piercing alone.

More later once we are back in KC tomorrow evening. Fingers crossed the travel home goes as smoothly as the travel here.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Our First Trip

Claire and I leave early tomorrow for our first airline trip together. We are off to Atlanta to visit Aunt and Uncle (my sister/brother-in-law), and Claire is beside herself with excitement. I know we'll have a great time, and it will be a much-needed change of pace for Claire and particularly me. I haven't traveled since before being pregnant with Claire other than one overnight work trip. My life has felt quite restricted since having kids, and doing this gives me some hope that I can regain some of my jet-setting past. Claire's only trip was when she was 2 1/2, when we drove up to Omaha and stayed overnight so we could buy the Volvo. We did nothing but negotiate car prices and sign documents, so it wasn't a fun kid trip. Her horizons will be expanded immeasurably by the next three days of her life.

My only issue is that I'm a nervous flier (yes, I'll hide it from Claire), so I will be anxious being on a flight with my child while my other two children are at home with daddy. I've always been a morbid person, and flying really brings it out in me. Ah well, enough of that line of thinking.

I hope, hope Claire can handle 2 1/2 hours of sitting on an airplane - this will be a challenge (and a record)! I will make sure to post an update as soon as I can. I know we're going to the Atlanta Aquarium and the American Doll store but that's about all I know right now.

Twins, Different Fathers

I find stories like this amazing:

http://www.postchronicle.com/news/breakingnews/article_212232112.shtml

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

An Explanation

I waited until a few minutes ago, when Claire was in a different state of mind and the twins were napping, and then asked THE question: "why did you pee on the floor?".

First answer: "because I forgot where the toilet was."

Second answer: "because the Wonder Pets did it."

Third answer: "because I was mad at Dad because he wouldn't let me have more milk, and I was hoping he'd slip in it."

If her act of vengeance weren't so gross, I'd find her (real) answer quite funny.

On a different note, I took the kids to HyVee this morning to pick up some dinner items and fruit, and Molly threw a world-class fit in the store because I wouldn't let her have a banana until after we paid for them. She screamed at the top of her lungs (and she's got a fantastic set of lungs) and everyone was staring and wishing I could calm her down. The only amusing part is that once they realized she was screaming for .... a banana (and not candy) ... I had six people in the store laughing at us whereas minutes before they were scowling our way.

Sheesh. Kids.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Required Reading For New Dads

What I learned during pregnancy is that no man is willing to pore over pregnancy and baby books like women do. It's the rare man who will agree to read even a short article on the baby topic. So if you know that rare man, this is one of those 'required reading' links you can pass along to that soon-to-be or new dad:

http://www.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/personal/05/19/p.husband.lessons.before.kids/index.html

The highlights (and I'm quoting from the article here):
  • Since so often the tenderness and intimacy between new parents erode in the face of diaper-bin aromas, ointment-slicked hands, and wailing infants, it's not surprising that dozens of studies report a marked drop in marital satisfaction after the arrival of the first child. That's why it's important for Dad to remind himself that some changes -- like the lack of sex -- are only temporary. And to try to immediately address any conflicts that erupt, before they grow too large.
  • When you decide to become a parent, you realize that sacrifices will have to be made. It isn't until the baby shows up, though, that you understand which forfeitures you'll feel most. Some are big: freedom, spontaneity, time. But other sacrifices still smart. Many dads mention the shock of missing hobbies, sports, going to concerts and movies, sleeping late, even reading the newspaper. Call them quality-of-life casualties.
  • The isolation and cut-off feeling can be dire. "Sometimes parents fall into a rigid routine-frenzied workday, rush home, deal with screaming baby all night, rush back to work, etc.," says Marcus Goldman, M.D., author of "The Joy of Fatherhood: The First Twelve Months." "This unyielding schedule squelches creativity and piles on pressure. It can lead to irritability, miscommunication, lack of interest -- three traits that don't jibe well for three people trying to live together." As a result, some couples end up disengaging. Never varying your routine zaps the joy and makes parenthood all about pressure and obligation. The two of you have to mix it up. Shift duties, get out of the house every day, and give each other small freedoms.

Last Day Of School




So the way Kyle tells it, Claire dropped her drawers and peed on the floor tonight.

Whoa.

I was upstairs watching the season finale of The Mentalist (um, Simon Baker is a hottie), and all I heard was "Claire Elizabeth" out of Kyle's mouth, but not in any harsh manner. In typical good cop/bad cop fashion, he didn't mete out any serious punishment, while I was threatening a spanking once I heard about her behavior. I gave up and let Kyle handle it.

So what preceded that behavior? Well, she played with the bratty neighbor kid (I swear she's banned after this), and more importantly, she was exhausted from today. And so am I.

This is how my day went ... got up, got dressed for work, got twins dressed, fed twins lunch at 10:50am, paid house cleaner (and talked to her all morning), got kids in car, picked up a McDonald's cheeseburger for myself and shoved it down during the preschool pick up line, got Claire, and headed straight to the end-of-school-year picnic (where I knew the twins and I wouldn't be able to sit still and eat, hence the earlier lunches). Begged Lauren's mom to help with Claire while I chased after the twins who were fascinated by the juice boxes I allowed them to have (see photos). Molly's behavior was (again) atrocious - she cried almost the entire time. Kyle showed up, traded cars with me, and I shot straight over to work for an All Hands meeting while Kyle got everyone back home in my car. I got out of the meeting and returned straight home to find that Lauren was playing at our house so I was in charge of four kids and my job this afternoon (Kyle went back to work of course). Lauren finally left after 5pm and then I cooked dinner and cleaned up after everyone. Got the twins in bed for the night and then Kyle finally got home just minutes before 8pm. I shut down to watch The Mentalist and Without A Trace season finales (yes, I like the police procedural) and now I'd like an early bedtime.

Let's just hope we don't have a repeat peeing event like tonight's. What the hell was that?!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Rest Of Saturday





... And after the dance recital and lunch, we paid the new babysitter (she seemed very sweet and very competent, and saved me loads of heartache by having the twins at home), and my sister and I took Claire to Town Center. We happened upon some kind of fair complete with a Ferris wheel, bouncy houses, popcorn, and face painting, so Claire got her face painted like a butterfly (photo here). She refused to go on the Ferris wheel. I can't blame her. I'm a ride wimp.

My sister and I then had the luxury of a dinner without kids. We headed to Lawrence to surprise our grandmother for her 85th birthday and had a fantastic time. I repeat: she is an utter beauty at 85 years old and we can all dream of looking that good in our 80s. Note to Papa: thanks again for the surprise champagne. It was great and even worth the champagne headache this morning!

When we got back to the house at 9:30pm, Claire was wide awake waiting on aunt attention and shockingly she didn't go to sleep until after midnight last night (at which point I was ready to tear her head off). Kyle is at work now, and I'm home with the kids and her behavior is beginning to take a dive ... yippeee. I think I'll get her outside now which will help her mood and ensure she's asleep by 8:30pm tonight!

Dance Recital


Claire's dance recital was exactly what I expected. As my sister said, it was 'a whole lot of nothing'. Four year olds stunned by a big audience and bright lights just don't do much of anything. I got a blurry photo (posting here) but being in the third to last row (thanks to me talking to the new babysitter for too long) didn't exactly help me capture the moment. And a 'moment' it was. Her routine lasted two minutes.

Papa, my sister, Kyle, and I were all in attendance, and we actually stayed the full hour for the whole show (much to Papa's chagrin ... right, Papa?). In the end, we were happy we stayed because we got to witness the finale "daddy's dance" which was a bunch of gutsy dads who put on a little routine to the utter delight of the audience (and their daughters).

After the recital, we all went to Dean & Deluca for lunch, Auntie gave Claire a gorgeous bunch of flowers for her performance, and Claire wouldn't really talk about the experience. True to her character, she has to mentally process the event for a while before she's able to talk about it. I was completely tickled that she made sure to talk about anything but the recital.

I'm also posting a photo of her dressed up, and boy did I feel a little Jon Benet Ramsey-ish when putting real (required) make-up on my kid. Ooook.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Busy, Busy

I'm behind on posts ... that always means we're busy. My sister is due to arrive at the house any minute, so we've been getting ready for her visit today. I was also crazy enough to participate in our neighborhood garage sale today (trying to sell all the old baby stuff), so I juggled conference calls, emails, a garage sale, the kids, preschool pick up, and house cleaning all day today. I think I signed myself up for more than I could handle. The bad news is I only netted $45 in sales and all the big equipment is still in our possession. Too much effort for too little cash.

I'll have more to post this weekend ... tomorrow is Claire's dance recital (this ought to be hilarious), and Auntie and Papa will be in attendance too!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Another Climbing Incident

I find Monday evenings to be excruciating even on a normal week. Tonight was much worse. Claire was in super brat mode (no root cause determined yet). The twins, who had to bunk together at nap time for the second day running (thanks to Molly climbing out of the playpen on Saturday), could only manage to sleep an hour and a half (half of normal) thanks to the excitement of the new nap time routine. So they were super cranky by the time I got home from work. Kyle returned home after we had finished eating dinner tonight and after I had already cleaned the majority of the kitchen, so the evening was quite hectic for me.

And then Claire threw a class-act tantrum. Three quarters of the way into this tantrum, as I was getting ready to take a walk, we heard a loud thud followed by the inevitable screaming (so now we had two kids screaming full throttle). Lily had climbed out of her crib and crashed to the floor. We don't know how she got out, what body part she fell on, or anything - all we know is she was scared (and maybe hurt?). We immediately removed the bumper from her crib to reduce her leverage and put her back in the bed with a stern warning not to climb. I was shaky (as I always am when kids fall) for a good hour afterwards. We do have a crib tent we had to use for Claire (but not until she was 22 months old!), but it's broken so we'll have to see if we can jerry-rig it to work. In the meantime, I know Lily's personality, and I know she'll try this again. Though she may have been scared momentarily, she was only emboldened by her newfound skill. She'll now try to perfect the escape. We need to thwart her efforts quickly.

I did get my walk after all but couldn't shake my frustration from all the chaos of this evening. Sometimes it really gets to me, and tonight it did. I just don't understand Claire's foul mood tonight (and usually I can figure her out), and I wish that Lily's fear from her fall would remove her desire to climb again but I know it won't.

On a lighter note, I have found pretty summer dresses for a not-yet-scheduled summer photo shoot for the kids. Now I just need to drive to two different BabyGap stores to pick them up (you know, in all my spare time) and more importantly determine which photographer will take these photos. I refuse to do studio pictures after our great 'on location' Christmas photo experience so now I just need to find someone who does great work on the cheap.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day





Mother's Day is a perfect example of my inner struggle with my familial responsibilities. I felt I shouldn't have to cook; yet, I felt guilty for not having a special dinner meal for the family. I felt I should have less responsibility for the kids today; yet, I had some time alone to run errands and then felt guilty for not being with the kids so I came home. It's amazing how much guilt drives my life.

This was most definitely not the Mother's Day I dreamed of - hey, I'm anything if not honest - but I've made my peace with it now. Little effort was put into my "gift" which felt, well, icky. Molly was super cranky this morning so I knew we couldn't do lunch as a family, so I asked Claire to go with me and she (thinking I was grumpy and spying an opportunity to play with the neighbor kid) turned me down. So I had lunch all alone and allowed myself a rare moment to feel sorry for myself. Watching all the dressed up families eat together, it was hard not to feel abandoned as a mother. Then I did some shopping on my own until mid-afternoon and that put me in a better mood. Nothing like a little retail therapy to add some perspective.

When I returned home we took the kids to Deanna Rose, and because Kyle joined us, we were able to go sans stroller which was really nice. The twins got to walk all around and they loved it. Photos are from Deanna Rose today.

And by the way, I have now gotten over my no-cooking guilt - when Kyle and I called to place a take-out order, the first restaurant said they weren't doing take out because they were so busy tonight. The second restaurant, our favorite Fusion Chinese place, had triple the normal wait time to complete the order. So I guess I'm in good company on this no-cooking-on-mother's-day concept.

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there. We are all in this motherhood thing together.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Dress Rehearsal



My little drama queen does not like a real audience after all. Claire's dress rehearsal was this morning at tap/ballet class, and she was so embarrassed and stunned by all the parents sitting in the room watching the routine that she didn't do much of anything. I know exactly how she's going to act at the recital next Saturday - she's going to play with her hair and her costume and not sing the song or do much of the routine. Ah well, I think it's funny, and I know that dance is not her favorite. She's much more into swimming or gymnastics, and wants to try tennis, softball, and soccer. The girlie girl dance thing does not suit my active child.

Claire and I had a good day together, and we got a reprieve from Kyle's work schedule and were able to run errands together until 3pm this afternoon. It was a nice change of pace and Claire was in a great mood. After that, we returned home so Kyle could meet a client. He took Claire along for his appointment (and it was her first ride in a big kid booster seat using the car's seat belts ... she is fascinated by this development) while I stayed home with the twins. I got their winter clothes pulled out of their closet and the new summer stuff hanging, so the weather better not turn cold again on us!


Missing Toddler

Kyle put the twins down for their nap; I got them up just a few minutes ago. The girls are still separated for naps (Lily in her regular bed, Molly in the playpen in master bedroom) so I got Lily first, changed her diaper and put her in daytime clothes. We went to get Molly ... and ... I opened the door ... and there was no baby in the playpen. My heart skipped a beat and then started racing. My mind was thinking, 'maybe Kyle put her somewhere else?' and in that same instant knew that wasn't the case. I was struggling to make sense of the missing toddler scenario. I raced into the bedroom to find Molly happily sitting on my bed, pacifier and security blankets in tow.

Yiiiiiiikes. I guess the playpen is no longer a napping option now, eh?

More later on Claire's dress rehearsal from this morning .....

Ernie Miller Nature Center






Friday afternoon the twins woke up early enough from naps (and work was slow enough) for me to pack up everyone in the car, grab a couple milkshakes through a drive-through, and head over to a new park we haven't yet explored. We had a couple fun hours walking nature trails and playing on the amphitheater stage. Lily was determined to eat rocks and Molly wanted to do everything Claire was doing (throw rocks in the pond, etc.) so I was on my feet working hard to keep everyone safe.

Mother's Day Spa


Claire's preschool did a "Mother's Day Spa" event at school Friday morning. I have pink fingernail polish that Claire applied to my nails (I haven't had the heart to remove it yet, but it's clearly painted by a 4-year-old), I got lotion rubbed on my legs, and a back rub with those back rub tools (all courtesy of Claire's effort). It was an entertaining morning. My gift was a cute tote bag that has 'flowers' made from Claire's hand prints (see photo). But the best part of it all? The attached card. Every year, the preschool does fill in the blank cards that I enjoy immensely. This is what I got this year (Claire's answers are in bold):

My mom is 11 years old.
My mom is 9 feet tall.
My mom always eats beans.
My mom always wears a dress or skirt.
My mom likes beans.
My mom doesn't like dresses with some ugly flowers.
My mom always says in or out.
My mom loves me because I hug her.

Claire's answers always send me into hysterics. Beans?! Huh?!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Bath Night

I let go of my neat freakishness this afternoon and let the twins get really dirty outside. I put them in bathing suits and let them do whatever they wanted to (as long as it was safe). They splashed in water, played in mud, and touched all sorts of goop outside. And drank dirty water.

So after dinner, while Kyle took Claire to swimming lessons, I gave the girls a bath and couldn't help filming a couple naked babies in a bathtub together. It's just too darned cute. Lily is pointing out Molly's boo boo on her knee, which Molly seems to think is a tickling game. And Molly is drinking more dirty water. Soon after this video scene Lily slipped and fell and bit the heck out of her tongue which caused a little drama. And then while clipping nails I cut Molly's toenail too close and drew blood ... more drama.

Ah well, the playtime outside and the bath were fun.

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A Morning Outing

This morning was gorgeous (a little humid, but beautiful otherwise), so while Claire was at preschool I took the twins to Deanna Rose to feed the goats and swing. It was such a nice morning compared to the usual boredom of being at home with a laptop and grumpy twins. Of course, in the usual work/life balance equation, I am now frantically catching up on emails to make up for the hour at the park (uh, ok, I guess I'm posting on my blog, but you know what I mean).

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tummy Swinging

I had two conference calls to chair this afternoon so I put the twins down for naps late to ensure they didn't wake up during my calls. To keep them awake and happy closer to 2pm, we went outside after lunch and played in the backyard. Both girls perfected their tummy swinging today.

Lily woke up in the last 15 minutes of my second call anyways.

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Monday, May 4, 2009

Double Trouble

After midnight ... so this will be short ... suffice it to say, I believe the real 'double trouble' phase is beginning. This evening, Claire was outside swinging, Kyle was on the grill, and I left the twins inside for no more than two minutes so I could peek at the garden's growth. When I walked back in, both girls had crawled onto the dinner table (with Molly in the lead) and seemed extra proud of themselves.

Oh dear.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Barnes & Noble Outing

Well, instead of the mall, I took the kids to Barnes & Noble at 5pm today. The kids area has a stage, kid-size tables and benches (and even a train table) and I thought it was very entertaining for the kids until Molly took off into the main part of the store and we had to chase her. After wrestling her back into the stroller we picked up Bravo spaghetti and had an easy dinner at home tonight. I'm ready to collapse in my bed but thought I would post the video first.

And while I wait for the video to upload, let me please state my horror that Lily figured out how to remove her diaper and I found her buck naked in her bed tonight. This new knowledge could cause me endless frustration.

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The Garden, Part Three


We've got green things sprouting everywhere, and my enthusiasm for this development matches Claire's. The problem, however, is that with non-stop rain, I'm now thinking these plants are getting far too much water which can be very detrimental. More rain is in the forecast for the next few days but I'm hoping it misses us and we dry out a little.

Posting photos of the garden from today - lettuce sprouts and a tomato plant (that Claire crushed by putting too much dirt on it). The idea of picking food from my own backyard is so exciting! I'm glad Claire asked us to do this.

And no, other than a quick Target run with the twins this morning, I have gotten no comp time today. So this is my sixth day of work this week, and I'm irritated. I'm hoping when the twins wake up from nap (any minute now) I'll be able to shut down and go to the mall. I'd rather hit the park, but it's a miserable 55 degrees (on May 1!) and cloudy and windy. Perfect mall weather.