Friday, July 31, 2009

A Mixed Bag Of A Day

We had skinned knees, crankiness, and twins who acknowledged they needed a nap by walking away from a park this morning and begging to get back in the car. But we also had a good time at Deanna Rose this afternoon, or at least Molly did. She loved digging in the sand ....

... and my car and home suffered the effects of sand digging. I had to rinse the kid off in the bathtub tonight. The splashing zone didn't go over well with any of the kids, and particularly Lily was not interested in getting wet, which surprised me. She usually loves to get wet and dirty and touch everything (she is the one on the sidewalk in the photo below).
Claire had a pretty good time at the farmstead, but as always the activity level is "dumbed down" to the toddler level so boredom does set in. Lily, however, was not interested in much of anything other than staying in the wagon and buckling herself in ...
... which meant Molly was stuck playing with other more sociable toddlers in the sand pit. There are some benefits to Molly and Lily having such divergent personalities, but the biggest negative to me is Lily's less-developed social skills and non-stop activity level often mean that the full benefit of having twins is not realized - the girls don't interact like many twins do, entertaining each other on a regular basis, because Lily is a lot more self-focused than her two sisters. This afternoon Lily either sat in the wagon, or walked and walked around with no purpose it seemed. She just refused to get interested in the sand whereas I couldn't pull Molly away. While Molly plays, here's Lily walking around ....
and around ....

while Molly has razor focus on her activity and stayed entertained for a good half an hour. This was not a day for cutesy twin photos, but a day of photos that captured the reality of juggling a super active toddler twin and another twin who can sit still and concentrate on one activity. This is my daily reality. I dream of the day when I can find one activity that pleases all three girls and everyone stays in the same spot.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Product Testing

I'm usually not the lucky sort, but today I hit the jackpot: we were gifted with four super high-end boutique girl dresses, size 2T, to "test drive" for the sake of a product review. Claire's friend's mother writes a blog for Baby Center (most of you moms know this website well - the weekly emails the site sends on pregnancy stages and kid milestones are great fun to read), and because she reviews products as well as writes funny parenting stories, she gets sent free products so vendors get extra advertising and exposure. Her size 5T daughter wasn't going to squeeze into 2T dresses, and her little 2T boy would look awfully funny in gorgeous dresses, so she asked if I'd write the product review and supply her some photos of the twins wearing the dresses. Um, yes! You don't have to ask me twice for that. We do get to keep the dresses.

So if you ever go browsing through Baby Center blogs, you might run across a photo of Molly and Lily!

Juggling Act

Some days the juggling act - kids, work, house cleaning, laundry, dinner - comes more easily than others. Today was one of those days. Because work wasn't overly busy, and because I did a three-bean mole chili in the crockpot (and therefore had no panicked dinner prep hour), and because the kids were in good moods, and because the weather was amazing, we were able to have a great lunch at Winstead's (even Molly was on good behavior!) and great fun outside after naptime and up until we ate dinner. Claire even had a good afternoon despite me working hard during the twins' nap time. She painted this masterpiece ...

... and we checked out the tomato growth and did a couple loads of laundry, and we even laughed together when her behavior tanked for one brief moment (instead of escalating to a fight). And the twins, in their super cute $2 t-shirts I bought from another twin mom ("Conserve Water, Drink Chocolate Milk") ...
... had a blast outside for two hours before dinner, digging in the sidewalk cracks (Molly's favorite new game),
swinging, blowing bubbles, drawing with sidewalk chalk, taking walks up and down the cul-de-sac, and petting dogs and socializing with the neighbor kids.

The moms who waste time and money on millions of "planned" activities are truly missing the point - a little unscheduled, do-as-you-please outdoor time is all that kids need to be happy.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


All parents I know agree that routine can be both your savior and your killer. While humans (especially the tiny ones) thrive in a safe, predictable environment, it also breeds boredom and frustration (especially for the adults). Monday and Wednesday of this week have followed our usual routine (as do most days). Tuesday did not. Other than snack time, I did not cook or clean the kitchen and that alone was a refreshing change. Because we had to pick up Kyle's truck from the repair shop right at dinner time, we decided to brave a dinner outing. It went reasonably well. We then stopped for ice cream on the way back home and after ice cream took a walk up and down the strip mall while the kids screeched, high on sugar and the change of scenery. The mood of the household got a noticeable lift from the outing, and it's a reminder of how important it is to change up the routine on, well, a routine basis.

And I'm posting another great link about the stresses of kids on a marriage/partnership. This is another article that all prospective and new parents should read:

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Lemonade Here!

Claire's first lemonade stand started off slow ...

... but ended with quite a few customers and profit for Claire (I think she had more customers today than I ever got as a kid with a Kool-aid stand). Although the photo here shows lots of kids, she had more adult takers than kids today. Interestingly, a few neighbors used it as an opportunity to introduce themselves to us.

The twins entertained themselves with pushing strollers outside while Claire tested her entrepreneurial skills ...

And I had to take a deep breath and relax about spending all day at home other than a trip for groceries. I'm stir crazy tonight, but I know Claire is over the moon about her first real lemonade stand. I guess my office day tomorrow will have to suffice for "jailbreak time".

The Garden, Part Eleven

The moment of truth arrived today. I picked our first Cherokee Purple Heirloom tomato, sliced it, sprinkled a dash of salt and pepper, and was transported to culinary heaven for a few moments.

And after eating a couple slices by themselves, I created perfection between two slices of bread - the ideal BLT ... crispy bacon, fresh lettuce, and the perfect tomato.

I'll stay at home for lunch any day for this.

And don't let Heirloom tomatoes fool you - they're uglier than sin, but the taste is out of this world.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Daddy's Birthday

When you're a kid, a parent's birthday is nearly as exciting as your own - there's still cake to be had, candles to help blow out, cards and presents to open. So at 10pm tonight it should be assumed by all that Claire is still awake and wired. In fact, Papa just left (thanks for bringing barbeque, tomatoes, and corn, Papa!), and Claire is upset that our fun in the basement had to end. She's making a bunch of noise upstairs now to register her displeasure.

The twins, of course, have no clue what a birthday is. They just know that they played outside a lot today, and got to see Papa, and tried a bite of cake (which both girls rejected).

And now I can post a photo of Claire decorating Kyle's cake from yesterday ... she had such a serious demeanor about her role in the secret cake baking, which we hid from Kyle until this afternoon ...

And a photo of Claire helping Kyle blow out his candles tonight ...

So Kyle should have had a relatively decent birthday, up until the call an hour ago about an accident with one of his work trucks, and now he's dealing with state troopers and tow shops and a big mess that had very unfortunate timing.

Rocks And A Red Balloon

Sometimes, all you need is a deflated red balloon you can take on a walk ....

And some tiny little rocks to throw (even though mommy keeps telling you not to throw them) ...

And some sweet but ornery looks when mommy tells you not to throw rocks ...

... to have the perfect morning. While the twins have no idea it's daddy's birthday, Claire does, so Kyle and Claire are off having some fun. We all met up for lunch and to buy Kyle a new phone at the Sprint store (hence the beautiful scenery in my photos - the Sprint campus is gorgeous), but I'm letting Kyle and Claire enjoy the day together. We'll post some cake and candles photos later.

Friday, July 24, 2009

A Bean Explosion

I set up the "bean table" outdoors at the end of the workday and the kids loved the tactile experience of it all. Other than a Waffle House lunch break, we had been stuck indoors all day, so the change of scenery outside was good for all of us. Here are the girls enjoying the bean play ...

But after a while the twins grew bored of bean time, and when they dragged me off for a walk, Claire and Ashley (neighbor kid) continued to play with the beans with the warning to keep the beans in the table.

But did they listen? No. A good while later I figured out they had dumped half our beans under the swingset (apparently Ashley's idea because she wanted to grow a beanstalk), and the outside fun came to a screeching halt. I swiftly sent Claire inside, disallowed Ashley play time for two days (which had Claire screaming and crying), and then calmly told Ashley that Claire couldn't play for the next couple days because my rule about keeping the beans in the table had been ignored. And while I painstakingly scooped up beans under the swingset with my bare hands, I spent a lot of time thinking about their behavior. This is truly the first time I've encountered Claire and a friend going against my rules. And I didn't like it. They knew they were doing something wrong, but they went ahead and did it anyways. More importantly, Claire has been doing bean table play for over two years, and she is very clear that the beans are not to be thrown around - so why was it so easy to convince her to throw them all over the ground?

Call it peer pressure or 'group think', but it scares me. Scares me for so many reasons ... as my brain wanders in the future to a drunken teenaged girl who gets herself in some trouble. I am not angry with Ashley, but I'm angry with Claire for not resisting the temptation to throw the beans everywhere, or for not telling Ashley "no". Claire has reasonable impulse control, and is not afraid of anyone, but around her friends she seems to lose all that and just go with the flow. So again, my brain is currently sitting at that image of her as a teenager when peer pressure is full throttle and for some reason she's the kind of girl who can't think for herself.

OK, so maybe I'm overreacting, and maybe her punishment was too harsh. Maybe I need to remind myself that she's four, and we're living in the here and now, and maybe in ten more years she'll have such a strong sense of values and self that she will make good judgments despite what everyone else is doing.

And in the meantime, I'll have to buy another enormous bag of beans. And work toward instilling certain values in her. And teach her to listen. And remind myself not to overreact.

The Garden, Part Ten

While the previously flourishing cucumber vines suddenly seem to be struggling, the tomato plants have exploded in tomato buds (or whatever the right term is for new tomato growth). Claire and I counted about 12 tiny new tomatoes since the last time we looked a couple days ago. Most exciting is our first tomato, which has yet to mature, is turning red! It's also monstrous! I hope we're less than a week away from tasting the fruits of our labors (literally, in this case).

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Photo Shoot Results

Almost the fantasy photo ... but Claire has a slightly goofy look on her face. But I'll take it.

The results are in, and we have some winners. I didn't quite get my fantasy photo (all three kids looking at the camera and each showing her own unique personality), but Gabe got some great shots of the girls and we got one near-fantasy photo. With the 5-photo limit on a blog post, it's going to be hard to pick, but I'll give you a flavor of what he captured including the near-fantasy photo. If Claire didn't look a little goofy, I'd be in love with that one photo.

Another busy, busy day here. I'd write a longer post, but I'm catching up on work at 9:30pm tonight because half my day was spent dealing with the twins instead of working. Sigh. As I keep saying, this WFH deal is getting tougher as the twins are getting older (whereas I once had the notion it would get easier!).

So pardon the brevity here ... work is calling ... but you can instead stop and enjoy Gabe's photos for a few minutes. Aren't they worth a few thousand words or something?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Motherhood, Unwrapped

I'm fried today. I feel like the longer work hours and non-stop kid duty have caught up with me and I need an early bedtime - no night owl stuff tonight. And it seems an odd day to crash, as I didn't cook today, and I was less one kid (Claire stayed at preschool until 2:45pm, and then Kyle took her to work with him after that). Maybe it was the slightly lighter load for the day that allowed me to feel just how truly exhausted I am. I rarely allow myself the luxury to feel my fatigue. What's the point anyways? It's not as if I can walk away from my day-to-day duties. And I have no trustworthy, solid back up ... no family to pitch in, no friends who offer assistance, and limited means to find a reliable babysitter when in desperate need of a break or a real adult vacation. It's sometimes a dark, lonely place - this state of being we call motherhood - and I'd like to think all of us moms see eye to eye on it, but I've realized we don't.

There are the uber-mommy types, who seem to be completely fulfilled by motherhood, and give me blank stares when I talk of needing an identity outside of motherhood or complain about my kids (gasp!). Fatigue, they say, what fatigue? Aren't you completely energized by watching your children grow and learn? Isn't motherhood the best thing in the world? Why do you crave adult time? What more could a person need than to be a mom? You should feel blessed every day and don't sweat the small stuff. Don't you just love doing crafts with your kids? Uber-moms make me question my mommy qualifications (folks, I don't know the first thing about crafts), but the cynical side of me often wonders how much of what they say is for real. Seriously, don't they ever daydream about life without kids, or at least a long weekend away?

And of course there's the other end of the spectrum - the women who seem to have had a child (or children) for the sake of checking off another item on their "to do" list in life, and sappy notions of motherhood are nowhere to be found in their lives. These types of women make the rest of us feel smug and holier-than-thou.

Obviously I fall somewhere in between these two ends of the spectrum (as do most of us mothers, though I seem to have encountered a large group of crafting uber-moms recently). I maintain a death grip on the last vestiges of my pre-motherhood identity. And unlike uber-moms, I can admit that motherhood is not always rosy. The nonstop cleaning, diaper changing, refereeing of sibling fights, the never-ending cycle of meals, the feeling that tomorrow will be just like today - it can all be numbing. The prickly sense that there's no light at the end of the tunnel but just another challenge is a thought I judiciously avoid, and for good reason ... I think that's a dark path to follow.

I just try to live in the here and now, and enjoy the funny moments we have as a family, and avoid predicting what's to come. This runs counter to my usual mode of thinking, but I've learned it's critical to my happiness as a parent.

So for my funny moment today, I'm posting more video of the twins interacting with each other after snack time. They made such a mess dropping food on the floor I kept them seated (and facing each other) while I cleaned (oh yipee, more cleaning), but of course they started acting funny so I grabbed my phone and took the video of them being goofy. That twin bond that twins speak about? I think this is where that feeling gets started.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Look Ma, No Helmet!

The nanny returned from her 3-week Europe trip, so we are back to our normal schedule. And what that means is that I returned home tonight to sticky kitchen countertops and crumbs everywhere, which isn't exactly helping our ant infestation problem. Sigh. The young babysitter really highlighted the difference between having a neat freak sitter and a messy one. I think it's time I revisit the household rules with our usual nanny.

More noteworthy is that she had at least one major safety oversight today. She took the kids to the park, and she let Claire ride her bike down there. I don't even let Claire ride a bike when I'm alone with the kids, as Claire's bike riding skills aren't good enough yet and with my hands on a stroller I know I can't get to her in case something goes wrong. So while it's scary that she felt comfortable with Claire biking mostly unsupervised, it is much worse that she forgot, yes, forgot, Claire's helmet. So my amateur bike rider rode down big hills with no helmet while the nanny followed with her hands pushing a jogger stroller. Yikes. Big Yikes.

And folks, I'm no softie. Safety oversights set me off more than anything else (just ask Kyle) and I have torn into several family members for doing unsafe things with the kids. But I'm in no position to change nannies. Our current nanny has stayed with us for nearly a year now (a record for us), and she does love the kids and treat them well, and nannies who show up on time and stick with you for a year don't just fall out of the sky. So while I'm upset tonight, I recognize my only recourse is to remind her of my freakiness about safety and suggest they don't do anymore bike riding. Oh, and by the way, could she wipe down the countertops too?

So tonight I'll just remain thankful that no head injuries occurred today and hope that better judgment is used going forward.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Oh Banisters!

Conversation in the car on the drive back from a Waffle House lunch earlier today:

Claire: I want Max & Ruby. [on the DVD player in the car]

Molly: Momma?! Pat, pat, pat. [translation: I want Little Einstein's]

Me: We just watched the whole Max & Ruby video, so let's go with Little Einstein's.

Claire: Oh banisters!

Me: What?

[Claire repeats]

Me: Do you know what a banister is?

Claire: Yes, it's that thingy on the stairs you hold onto.

Me: So why are you using that word now?

Claire: It means "oh man, I don't like this"

Me: You made this up?

Claire: Yes.

So my kid came up with her own personal curse word, or so it seems.

And that kicked off a decidedly crazy day around here. Kyle set up the bounce house this afternoon, and the entire neighborhood (of mostly big kids, that is) descended upon our house. Sixth-grade boys, third-grade girls, and so on ... they were jumping in our bounce house, playing in our basement, taking our drinks out of the garage refrigerator (without asking permission), wildly pulling Claire in the wagon, creating a drink stand (with our drinks, of course) and as of 9pm the kids have yet to leave my front yard. So my four year old now has a bunch of groupies because they think she has the "cool" house in the neighborhood. Huh? Really?

I wince to think of the language she's picked up today - I did hear the word "hate" thrown around a bunch of times by the second and third-grade girls. Uggggg. In the five minutes Claire sat down for dinner, we reminded her of the language rules in our household, and told her if she uses any of the words she knows aren't allowable then she'll never get another friend day like this. Honestly, the kid had such a blast today that I think she might keep her language in check. We'll find out soon enough.

The twins got a lot of outdoors time, but we spent more time ensuring they weren't mauled by a big kid than doing anything particularly fun.

And now, as I stare at the utterly trashed basement, I realize it's time to start cleaning for the nanny's return tomorrow.

Oh Banisters!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The World According To Molly

Molly was quite the handful this morning. I got the kids out for a walk to the neighborhood park/walking trail, and Molly cried about everything. We went to McDonald's for lunch and she acted better, but still put on a show. I watched her behavior in disbelief. If she had a real vocabulary, I swear the following is what she'd be thinking.

We're going to do things my way this morning. If I want to walk now, we're walking. I don't care if my sisters want to play on the playground, I want to walk now. If I want to pet a dog this second, I want a dog to appear. Why can't you make a dog appear? Where are the dogs? I want a cup. No, I'm done with the cup. Pick me up. No, I want to walk. Don't put me in the wagon!! I'm going to drag my foot on the ground because you forced me into the wagon, and I'm going to ruin my sandal. And I'm going to give you an evil grin while I do it. I'm going to cry for as long as I can and see if you react. What? You aren't reacting? I'll still cry anyways. Yum, you finally fed me. I like McDonald's. Thank you for the chocolate milk, because if you hadn't given me some, I would have screamed for Claire's chocolate milk. More. French fries. Ooops, I dropped my hamburger. Oh, wait, what is Lily drinking? White milk? OK, I want some of hers too. But I like the chocolate milk. Well, I like both. Heck, I'm going to drink both at the same time. Look at me, mommy, I'm drinking both of them at the same time. OK, I'm done with the food now and want to walk around McDonald's screeching and annoying the other patrons. Oh, the stairs are so much fun. I do not want to ride in the wagon on the way home! I am going to scream the whole way. I do not want you to change my diaper before my nap. No. I'm going to hide. Awww, darn, you caught me. Oops, I tooted. Hmmm, that was a funny noise. Let me try that again. Ah ha! I did it again. Wait, again. Ha ha! Oh, wait, this is fantastic, let me try that again. OK, I want a book to take in my bed. That one. See you later, mommy, and you know you're all mine. I want all the attention, and I'll make sure I figure out a way to get it.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Swingset Offer

As if the kids didn't get enough camera time this morning, I annoyed them by clicking away at the Arboretum this afternoon while we burned off excess energy. I've become bold - maybe too bold? - by taking the kids sans stroller to these types of parks by myself. The twins are happier, the kids all get exhausted (which, let's face it, is always one of the main goals), but I've got the sometimes stressful job of keeping order among the three kids and keeping them safe. There are parks I wouldn't attempt this alone - Deanna Rose, our petting zoo/park, is one of those - but if the park is basically deserted I figure I can handle it on a good day.

This afternoon was also a reminder that we would have been much better off doing the professional photo shoot later in the day. Molly is not a morning person (note: I take full responsibility for those bad genetics). While unfamiliar surroundings excite her in the afternoon, it is cause for tantrums in the morning. I won't forget this about her the next time I plan photos or any other kind of event.

On an entirely different note, we got a random offer tonight of a free, but utterly massive, used swingset. The thing is over 20 feet in length with all sorts of swings and play stuff. A normal-sized suburban yard in our neck of the woods could handle something this large, but we don't have a normal-sized yard. We have a postage stamp-sized yard which, to our knowledge, is the smallest yard in our neighborhood (where was my brain when I bought this house and yard?). So we have a conundrum tonight. We would love the kid entertainment, and the set is so much better than the neighbor's swingset we share, but where would we put it? Do we somehow place it in our teeny tiny yard? Do we talk to the neighbor whose cruddy swingset we share and discuss a replacement/new sharing deal where we use their yard? Or do we walk away from this free gift? I think we need a night to sleep on this, and I believe Kyle is outside now taking some measurements.

Tomorrow: another kid birthday for Claire to attend, but no other plans for the day or for Sunday. We've got a weekend of amazing weather ahead so I plan to be outside as much as possible.

The Photo Shoot

Yesterday afternoon we learned that Gabe Hopkins of Hopkins Photography could fit us in for a photo shoot this morning. Here's the link to his site:

He's an amazing photographer, and even better, I've known him since I was a kid. I haven't worked with him until today, but I have always wanted him to capture the kids' essence in that special way that only Gabe can. Prepping for a photo session is always a bit stressful, but with careful planning last night, we were early for the appointment this morning. We met Gabe at Shawnee Mission Park and hoped for the best.

I quickly broke out in a sweat even though our temperatures are in the 70s today. The twins both freaked with the unfamiliarity of it all, with Molly clinging on me and Lily clinging on Kyle. After a while, Lily calmed down, but wouldn't stay in place for photos. She kept running off into fields. Molly stayed grumpy and frowned (or cried) the entire time. So for an hour, I either hid behind trees (to stop Molly's crying for mommy) or sung songs and made funny faces just to get a smile out of her. Gabe said he got a lot of pictures with Lily's head turned (because she's never still) and Molly not smiling. I think that's what we're stuck with this time. We finally got the best photographer I know and I still can't get my fantasy photo: one of all three kids looking happy and dreamy. Thanks, Molly. Could you be in a better mood next time kiddo?

As soon as I get my CD from Gabe I'll post some photos here. Just expect to see lots of Molly drama and Lily in action. As for Claire? I don't know if she posed well or not - I couldn't focus on her thanks to Molly's fits.

I was hoping to post a photo of Claire in her pretty dress today, but instead she got goofy during my photo shoot in the backyard and made "earrings" out of those tree things so that is what you see here. At least she smiled nicely for this photo.

And Gabe? Well, despite our personal history, he may never want to do another photo shoot with my kids! He worked hard today!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Garden, Part Nine

We have cucumber sightings! Tonight Claire and Kyle sifted through the mass of vines and found three recognizable cucumbers. As I've said before, if the health of the cucumber plants continues, we will likely overflow with these vegetables. Or maybe I'm wrong and the correlation between the mass of vines and actual cucumber yield is not a direct relationship, and we'll only get a normal amount of them. Seasoned gardeners could probably tell me what to expect. We just haven't found those experienced home gardeners yet.

On another happy note, I found the pen cap. I know, everyone probably thought I was joking about the pen cap loss at the DMV yesterday; however, I tend toward boring honesty, so I've been paranoid about intestinal blockages and perforations since yesterday. The babysitter told me that Molly had been a bit low energy today and I immediately noticed the same when I got home from the office tonight. I panicked about her health and then forced myself to dig carefully through my purse, and sure enough the pen cap was in there. So now I'm perplexed by Molly's noticeable fatigue and less-than-feisty attitude. Something isn't normal here. And so it seems as soon as I jettison one worry, I have another.

I've got WFH days the remainder of the week, which sounds lovely on the surface, but with continuing work pressures and deadlines I know the next few days will be challenging. Let's just hope Molly doesn't throw a curve ball and get sick with something. We've had another blissful stretch with no sicknesses and I am in no mood to descend into sick kid purgatory.

We had our last day with the 15-year-old babysitter today (nanny returns next week) and I was sad to see her go. The upside is that we found ourselves a new babysitter when she can find time between competitive softball and her other activities.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Ticket To Hell

This is a ticket to hell. I have been intent on getting our pro-rated Volvo car tax refund, so while Claire was at preschool this morning (no way I was taking all three kids), I dragged the twins to the DMV expecting a short line and quick service. I was wrong. You can read the ticket and see for yourself ... I can't exaggerate here. Now, 25 minutes may not sound like a lot to an adult, but this is an eternity to a toddler. Not to mention the 25 minutes does not include the time it took for me to work with the DMV employee to return the license plate and start the refund process.

Lily wouldn't stay in one place (or near Molly) but at least was quiet (befitting her usual behavior). Molly made a screaming public scene over the vending machines - "MOMMA! UHHHHH!" [which means, Mommy, please open this!]. Then she screamed several times over drawing on Power of Attorney paper I was able to find for drawing purposes - "MOMMA! MORE!". We lost a pen cap. I'm not sure if Molly swallowed it, but when I asked her what she did with it, she opened her mouth wide and pointed into her mouth. Great. The only fortunate part of the 45-minute DMV visit was that 80% of the people waiting were amused by the scene, and only 20% were giving me scowling looks. I have learned that twin girls together, dressed cutely, rarely elicit the kind of negative reaction a tantrum-ing singleton does in public. I suppose it's the saving grace of twins when it comes to public outings.

The rest of the day progressed as normal ... got Claire from preschool, picked up Arby's in the drive-through, got the twins down for a nap, got some work and laundry done while the twins napped, made brownies with Claire (box mix, no real baking time today), got the twins a snack, and then started dinner. But like this morning, I had some idiotic notion the twins would handle themselves well while I started an elaborate homemade chicken pot pie, flaky homemade crust and all. Two hours later, after lots of Molly screaming, Lily crying, and Claire boredom, we sat down to the best version of chicken pot pie (from what I call my cook's bible - "The Best Recipe" cookbook) which the kids wouldn't touch. Sigh. Kyle made it home for the last 25 minutes of cooking time so that gave me a tiny break from the kid chaos. But not enough of a break.

There's a reason I don't do adult errands and elaborate cooking anymore. Today was a brutal reminder of why life with young kids can feel so, uh, limiting.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Lazy Sunday

Other than a family lunch at Waffle House, everyone stayed close to home today - no frantic errands, no Kyle work time. I did have to do the usual weekly HyVee trip, and I picked up a salad for our dinner at Dean & Deluca, but otherwise I did some laundry, made a grocery list, and all sorts of dull household tasks.

Our exciting part of the day came when Papa joined us for dinner, which got all three kids in uber-hyper mode. Everyone was showing off and trying to get his attention - the twins as much as Claire. Papa did a good job of juggling the kids and making each of them feel loved. Always a cute sight to behold.

Posting a couple photos ... one of Molly wearing Kyle's boots, and one of the (mostly naked) twins "reading" books together on the couch, which is the new nightly routine after dinner. Usually one of them decides the other one's book is more interesting, and glances longingly at that book (in this photo, it's Lily coveting Molly's book). We've only had a few instances of outright book snatching and I hope it stays that way.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A Princess Birthday Party

Claire had a lunchtime princess-themed birthday party to attend today and she dressed up in her Cinderella costume. The Cinderella costume is still a little big, so I made her wear a white tank top underneath, which means she looked very hodgepodge. But four year olds have no clue about any of this, so she happily entered the party looking a bit goofy. As all parties for this age group seem to be, it was a drop-off deal, so before leaving I waited long enough to catch a sight of "Ariel" who was coming to lead the party games. Ariel was a reasonably attractive 20-something year old redhead who looked phenomenally ridiculous dressed up in an Ariel costume, but the girls loved every minute of the party.

I left and took the twins to Planet Sub for lunch, where I had the most happy and enjoyable lunch with the girls. Any time I reduce my kid count by even one, life seems measurably easier. Kyle returned from work after I put the twins down for a nap, so Claire and I did some window shopping just to get out of the house for a while. With a less than 2-hour window I was allowed for jailbreak time (until Kyle's next client appointment), I couldn't decide how to spend our time, and walking through shops seemed to be the easiest answer. I don't like that I tend to entertain my kids with shopping. I wish I were surrounded by parks, museums, Cathedrals, and great scenery so that I wouldn't feel the lure of retail entertainment. I want my Europe job

I better go check on the twins - they should be waking up now. Kyle and Claire are both gone now for the client appointment, so I have some alone time with the twins, and I always find them more entertaining when big sister isn't so distracting to them.

Photos of the birthday crew (including "Ariel" the adult) and of Claire's party favor from today - it is a personalized t-shirt!