Sunday, August 30, 2009

Kansas City Zoo Visit

On days you push the kids to their limits, you've got to take the bad with the good. And so it went on our first KC Zoo trip with all the kids. All three girls loved the zoo, but we had some cranky moments. Claire went into a funk over the boat and train (we rode both, just not on her timetable), Molly didn't transition well between interesting areas, and Lily was fine until the end when she was tired and whiny. The worst part of the day actually came this afternoon and evening at home, when the twins didn't get enough nap time and struggled to keep their composure. But I'd do it all over again for the sheer joy of watching my kids enjoy the boat ride, the train ride, and several of the animal favorites.

So here's the damage:
Total ticket price: $28
All-you-can ride train tickets: $15
Boat ride: $6
A horrible lunch: $31.50

Fortunately the twins are under two and still free, and I quickly learned the lesson of taking a picnic lunch for the next visit.

I took some great animal photos, but instead I'll post the ones of the kids. Here's Claire loving the train ride ...



... and Claire loving the boat ride ...



... and the twins fascinated by the elephant ...


... and the "daddy train" stroller ride ...



... and my favorite of all, a not-so-private moment between Molly and daddy to fix a poop diaper (um, the zoo could accommodate the diaper crowd a little better, but I hear the antelopes were entertained by the diaper change) ...



... priceless.

Too bad our perfect outdoorsy weekend has to end.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Good Free Fun

After our berry picking morning, we woke the twins early from nap (or more accurately, Molly woke up early, so we proceeded to get Lily up too) and Kyle joined us in taking the girls to a couple new parks this afternoon. We first tried Shawnee Mission Park (where our professional photos were taken but we didn't have a chance to truly check it out). We found paddle boats - one of my personal favorites - but Claire was deemed not tall enough or old enough to go in them which was hugely disappointing. The twins were also fascinated by the boats and water ....



... but they were giving us too much of a scare around the water (and Claire was grumpy about the paddle boats), so we left in search of a safer environment. We ended up at some park in Lenexa with a lake, walking trails, and a small park which the kids enjoyed. The water view was much safer there ....




... and Kyle ran into some folks he knew who let Claire try her hand at fishing ...



... and while the kids were entertained, I actually took more nature photos than kid photos at the park (a rarity, yes), although I'm only posting my favorite here of the bee buzzing around the flower ...



... and our only bad (quite bad) moment was when Lily bit the dust and fell straight on her mouth. She had bleeding gums, but her teeth don't seem to be loose, but Kyle did find a piece of cracked tooth. We just haven't yet figured out which tooth cracked. Ugggg. It's always something, isn't it?

And after all this excitement from today, I'm fairly certain I'm as tired, but as satisfied, as the kids. Parks are the best, free entertainment to be found.

Berry Fun

Chalking up another first, I took the kids to the berry picking patch this morning. Blackberries are currently in season here so we quickly set to work looking for truly ripe berries. It seems the die hard pickers had started at 7am (we arrived around 10am), so we were warned the pickins' were slim. Boy did that turn out to be true, but even though we walked away with only $1.06 worth of berries this morning, we had a great time trying something new. Claire took her job very seriously and worked hard to find berries. Molly, after a bad start (per her usual personality) ended up enjoying the event especially once she realized she could pick them and eat them on the spot. Molly understood the concept of picking "black" blackberries (the ripe ones) versus the red ones, whereas Lily just couldn't get it down. Lily was desperate to pick something and put it in her bucket, but she never located even one black blackberry - she kept going for the red ones and hearing "don't pick that one, Lily!" from me.

Here's Claire finding our one "patch" of ripe berries ...



... and here's Lily looking ornery as I'm yelling, "no, don't pick the red ones!" ...



... and here are all the girls looking for ripe berries ...



... and here's where Molly and Lily let the picking devolve into a "digging" game (which, in their parlance, is 'dig dig dig', always said three times in a row) ...



... and here's my favorite shot of Claire very conscientiously looking for berries while Molly and Lily have some other dirt and bucket game going on in the background.



We had a great lunch together after the berry picking so a very satisfying morning for all of us.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Fun Friday

With all my colleagues on a forced WFH day (we're moving office buildings, so management had everyone stay home today), work was calmer. I wasn't surprised. That gave me a little breathing room with the kids today. We had lunch at Waffle House and then spent about 20 minutes at our first park today, where Molly and Lily coordinated their sliding together (and Molly got very mad when Lily did not cooperate on timing) ...



... and while we got the twins a nap, Claire and I made (boxed) brownies, and I woke up the twins a little early for another park trip where we met up with friends. Molly and Lily enjoyed the slides again together ...



... and then we ate at Pizza Shoppe for dinner (no cooking today!) and afterwards the kids enjoyed ice cream at our favorite ice cream shop ...



... where faces got super messy but kids were super happy. And now, with kids (mostly) in bed, and a nice glass of red wine, it's time for this mom to be happy too.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Shopping Is Fun!

Kyle took Claire to work with him today, so I only had the twins to manage alongside my job. With "only" two kids to watch, I took the twins to lunch and to Staples for some office supplies ... but this time, I let both the twins walk freely in the store (it was empty enough for the risk). Woo-hoo! they said (they do say woo-hoo, particularly when they get to take a car ride and they're excited). For the first 10 minutes they followed dutifully and did an amazing job, and then after that Molly got ornery and kept running off. Lily was starting to do the same but I grabbed her hand while tracking down Molly. I did catch the girls looking for a hiding spot together (hiding spot from mommy, that is) ...




... although by the time I got my phone out for the photo Molly was already getting up to run off to the next spot. Molly ended up creating a scene, but even with that embarrassment I enjoyed watching them love the freedom in the store. They were so excited it was hard not to share in some of that. Shopping, it seems, is really fun!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

All Work And No Play

It's important to me to get the kids out for something fun each day. That 'something' could be lunch somewhere other than home, or a walk around the block, shopping, a park, or even just swinging in the back yard. Today I barely accomplished this daily goal due to my workload. I took the kids to Arby's for lunch (camera phone photo posted here) but that's it ... otherwise I worked all day long. And by "all" I mean it's nearly 11pm and I just logged off for the night. I'm so tired I could collapse, and yet I still didn't get ahead. I'll be just as busy tomorrow, and the next day, and the next ... and I'm not even talking about household tasks and taking care of the kids. It's all work and no play here, and it's going to be the death of me soon.

Kudos to the kids for being well behaved the whole day and "allowing" me to sit in front of my laptop all day long. I'd be awake another three hours catching up if they had been harder on me today.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Wonderful Weather

I can't remember a better summer, and particularly a more mild August than this. We had two days of perfect 81-degree sunny weather this weekend and we made the most of our outdoor time. Today we had lunch with Papa and went to a school playground afterwards, and then in the late afternoon after the twins' nap we painted with sidewalk paint and played with playdough outside (hence the white onesies I allowed them to ruin). I took some great photos of the twins playing today, so instead of rambling I'm just going to post some of my favorites. Claire wasn't very cooperative for photos today, and the ones I did take of her didn't turn out very well. Here are the twins trying the monkey bars (with daddy's help) for the first time ...




... and painting the driveway together ....



... and running around together in the yard ...



... and my personal favorite of the day, a photo that seems to capture the very essence of being a twin ...



Too bad it's back to work tomorrow. I was enjoying the weekend, the weather, and the lack of work tasks.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Carnival

Lily has seemed fine since the seizure the other night, so today I took the kids to lunch and to a church carnival. The weather is unbelievable so I knew the kids would enjoy the outdoor fun without getting hot and cranky. These little neighborhood church events are always small-time and low-key, but I knew the kids wouldn't notice. There was cotton candy to eat, and all the better when it's as big as your head ...



... and there were slushies, which were much better when eaten off the pavement ...



... and bounce houses to climb ...



... and face painting ....



... and a real live horse to ride (or just look at, in the case of my kids) ...



... so a great afternoon for all of us. Lily scared me by feeling warm when I put her down for a nap, and though I'm sure it's just from being in the sun, I still stripped her down, gave her a cool sponge wipe down, a dose of Motrin, and have the fan blowing directly on her while she sleeps. I think I'll be a little hyper about this heat thing for a while. Just a guess.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Febrile Seizure

I now know what it looks like for a human to go into full seizure. It's terrifying. And when that person is your own child, the fear is so palpable it seizes you by the throat and gut (no pun intended).

My post yesterday mentioned Lily had a mild fever and was super cranky. From the time I put her to bed (at which point I didn't think she felt warm enough for Motrin) to about an hour later, her fever spiked so quickly and so high (she never got to 104 degrees, but she was just under that mark) that she went into a full 8-10 minute febrile seizure.

I heard a weird hiccuping noise sometime after 9pm last night, and after pausing a bit, I checked in on the babies to find Lily convulsing, eyes rolled back in her head and fully dilated, and barely breathing other than the hiccuping sound. I screamed and screamed for Kyle's help (to dial 911) but he was nowhere to be found (he was outside taking out the trash). That meant I had to leave Lily, grab the phone myself, and dial 911 while continuing to yell for Kyle. Claire ended up locating him and in fact his addition to the chaos was not necessarily a positive development - he instead raced downstairs with a then rigid, blue, and barely breathing Lily and was so scared he would not listen to the directions I was yelling to him from the 911 guy. While Kyle was trying to give Lily unneeded mouth-to-mouth, the 911 guy was telling us to have her on her side, put nothing in her mouth, and not give her mouth-to-mouth as long as she was still breathing. Kyle heard none of this. He was in his own frantic world. I was just frantic to get him to listen and follow directions.

Lily's seizure broke just as the EMTs showed up at the house (so, yes, this was quite a long seizure). They checked her over, gave her oxygen, checked her blood sugar levels, checked her temperature and then we decided to transport her in the ambulance (read: pricey trip) to Children's Mercy downtown. Four sets of neighbors offered to stay with Molly and Claire, but with both kids wound up, I felt it would be best if Kyle stayed home to calm them while I went with Lily. He also needed to regain his own wits. I've read many times about febrile seizures and was confident that was what she was having, so this knowledge allowed me to be less frightened than Kyle (though admittedly still terrified myself). My mind was already racing to determine the root cause of the fever - virus, or something more dangerous? Like a staph infection from that mosquito bite Lily had picked to death?

Debating the ride to the hospital, I decided to follow in my own car. I had a sense we'd end up back home late in the night, so in taking my car I knew we wouldn't get stuck at the hospital in the middle of the night. I'm glad I had this foresight.

After a seemingly endless trip to the hospital, we were admitted the normal way (read: not a real emergency) until Lily had another minor seizure in the waiting room. They grabbed her off the ambulance stretcher and we rushed back to find her a room. She continued to have these little seizures until they finally brought her temperature down at nearly midnight. One of the worst parts about a person who has had a seizure is that they become disoriented and confused for hours afterwards. Lily barely recognized me and was barely tracking. The doctor said seizures are really hard on the brain for a while.

The doctors did a routine exam (ears, throat, etc.) and a UTI test (where they had to catheterize her for the urine sample, and it came back negative), but they didn't run any other tests and we just observed her for a while. As I mentioned, they had a SNAFU where the Tylenol was not delivered for too many hours, but once Lily's temperature was in the normal range she fell asleep (and I took this one non-gratuitous photo of her to calm Kyle's fears) ...



... but she was unfortunately awakened not long after this picture mail photo by the 4-year-old in the next bay who was getting stitches on her face from a dog bite. The one time I cried last night was over this unseen little girl's terrified whining and the amazing way the nurses handled her fears ... what empathetic, incredible people staff that hospital. Odd that my emotions found refuge in some other child's emergency, but by that stage the adrenaline was wearing off and I was realizing Lily was likely just fine (but now more prone to febrile seizures, as are one in 20 children apparently).

With the UTI test negative and no other thought as to root cause for the fever, we were sent on our way after they provided Lily with some Gatorade. What a fateful choice that was. After getting lost in the worst parts of Kansas City at 2am, I got on the highway and minutes later heard dinner and Gatorade gurgling back up. We had a 30-minute drive home in an enclosed car with vomit smell (first time in nearly five years of having kids that someone has ever thrown up in my car). The smell was putrid, I gagged the whole way home, and Kyle fortunately agreed to clean up Lily and the car. At 3am.

After racking up about two hours of sleep last night, I kept it as low-key as possible today. With a little help from Motrin, Lily was mostly fine all day long. Molly feels a little warm today so I proactively gave her Motrin tonight at bedtime. We'll need to wake up Lily tonight to give her another dose just to be extra careful. Going forward, we will always have to be vigilant about Lily and fevers, although the doctor did tell me that even with proactive Motrin doses and cool baths sometimes a kid will still seize. I'd rather not have a repeat of last night, so my stock of Motrin will never run out, and I won't lose hope that this will be a one-off situation for us.

As a postscript, if you are ever around someone in seizure, do not ... I repeat, do not ... put your fingers in her mouth. When she hits the part of the seizure where she clamps down on your fingers she will do significant damage to your digits. That is the situation I find myself in after thinking I could somehow help Lily breathe by opening her mouth wider for her. She clamped down, and even her small jaws have left me with intense pain which now needs to be watched for serious damage.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Elusive Fun


I'd like to say our whole day was as fun as this photo indicates. It wasn't. Claire only had a brief 30 minutes of fun outside with Ashley and other neighbors before dinner time.

I had grand, but undefined, plans for today. A new park maybe? Deanna Rose? I wasn't sure, but we were going to have a good day. In preparation for making the most of a sunny 79-degree summer day, I worked 3 1/2 hours last night to get ahead of the work game. Today I made a crockpot meal so there would be no dinner prep tonight (which is the best kind of night around here). I have decided to cut the twins' naps to 2 hours going forward and today I implemented this plan. This would have given us extra hours to enjoy the weather.

Instead, we stayed cooped inside while I worked. And worked (and did five loads of laundry). I just can't seem to get ahead of work no matter how hard I try. My inbox stands at just shy of 700 emails and my 'to do' list (at work, that is) is a mile long.

I got non-stop emails, instant messages, and phone calls from colleagues and customers, so that window to sneak away from my laptop and enjoy the outdoors with the kids was elusive. And as the kids became bored and frustrated, I grew frustrated too.

Lily has a mild fever (cause unknown) and was super cranky this afternoon. Claire was so bored she acted out all day. Molly was the best behaved kid of the day (and she rarely achieves that award). But all three kids were super stir crazy by afternoon time.

I believe Friday's weather is a duplicate of what we had today. If I'm lucky, I hope to pull some flexible hours tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Fall?


I'm confused. It's August 18, yet the leaves are turning yellow and falling to the ground. Claire and neighbor Ashley raked leaves tonight (with a broom) ...



... and jumped in (admittedly small) piles of leaves. I think it's still supposed to be summer, yet we've never had that super hot, long July or August stretch that keeps us indoors, and our lawn has never once turned brown. We've had more rain than I ever remember in a summer.

I'm not complaining. I don't like scorching heat, so this has been a fantastic summer for outdoor play. The problem is our tomato plants aren't getting enough sun or heat and we've only eaten two of our own tomatoes (the other two ripe ones were stolen by some garden bandit still unidentified). We've got 30+ tomatoes growing, but all green, and all hard as rocks, and they seem forever stuck in the same growth stage.

So, Mother Nature, please send us some heat and burning sun. Quit raining. Help mature those tomatoes a little, and then you can go back to giving us a fantastically mild summer.

Huh

I made the mistake of giving all my kids names with "L's" in them. Little kids cannot pronounce L's until they're about age three or four, so that means my kids' names get butchered for many, many years. While Claire can now pronounce her sisters' names correctly, she was unable to when they were born, and Molly was "Ma-wee" and Lily was "Wil-wee" for a good stretch of that first year.

Now it's time to listen to the twins butcher names. Claire is pronounced (roughly) "Car" by both the girls, but what's most interesting is the name they call each other: Huh. Yes, I typed that correctly - they do call each other "huh". As in, "Who needs a diaper change?" Answer: "huh" (as Molly points to Lily). For a while there, Lily called Molly "Meewee" which I thought was a good approximation, but she has now dropped that and calls Molly the same "huh" name.

Huh. It will be interesting to see at what point they get closer to pronouncing each others' names in a way the rest of us might expect.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Baby Center Blog Post

The Baby Center blog post with the twins' photos came out today, and you too can enter the contest to win a Shabby Baby dress. Just click this link to check it out and enter to win (you need to enter before Thursday of this week):

http://blogs.babycenter.com/momformation/2009/08/17/back-to-school-boutique-giveaway-week-shabby-apple/#more-64095

Size 12s

Claire has big feet. She and most of her 6-year-old friends wear the same shoe size. Today she was officially measured at a 12 1/2 (for a little growing room in there) which means she is actually surpassing some of those first graders. We tried to go Fall shoe shopping over the weekend but found nothing. The issue? Size 12s aren't quite toddler anymore, yet aren't quite "girl's" sizes either, so they are incredibly difficult to find.

And today it hit me that this is the perfect metaphor for Claire's stage in life. She's in between ... not quite a preschooler, not quite a school girl. Had she been born about 7 weeks earlier, she'd be going into Kindergarten today; instead, she's starting Pre-K at her regular preschool in September. She's yearning to join the big kids and yet she still has some preschooler left in her.

I'm glad we've got another year of preschool ahead. I don't think Claire is academically ready for Kindergarten (reading? no way she's ready!), so I think the extra year will help immensely in the long run. But socially she's ready, and she's bored by short 2 1/2-hour preschool sessions, so I see some struggles ahead this school year.

One thing's for certain: if the shoe size trend continues, she'll start Kindergarten next year with second-grader size feet.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Jeep

I have become one of those parents, you know, the ones who buy their kids unsafe toys because of the endless entertainment they hope the toy will provide. Another twin mom offered up her kid Jeep for sale, and the price was right so we bought it this evening. I hope I don't rue the day I purchased this little vehicle (please, please no kid accidents).

Of course we'll only allow Claire to drive the thing for now (and after a slow start she really got into the swing of driving this evening, so I do think it will provide some good entertainment), but the twins love sitting in the car and pushing all the (fake) buttons. The photos I tried to take of Claire were awful because they were blurry, but I caught a few of the twins enjoying the car. Here's one of Molly pulling Lily (they can actually move it a few inches if they push or pull hard enough) ....



... and here's what happened when Lily tried to push Molly. Molly is terrified of the thing when it moves, so she was super mad at Lily for moving the car while she was sitting in it.



Notice that big bruise on Molly's cheek? That is from the park accident I alluded to the other day. She fell pretty hard first on her face and then "ricocheted" onto the back of her head, so she got equal damage to both her cheek and the back of her skull. Ouch.

So in that vein, I repeat ... please, no kid accidents in this little car. I only want good memories associated with this little Jeep.

Salad Eyes


Claire: "Molly has 'salad eyes'."

Me: "What are salad eyes?"

Claire: "They're when eyes are a mix of green and brown, and if you have those, you can see super, super far."

This was the conversation at our McDonald's lunch this afternoon, where I too was marveling at the genetic roulette that played out in my kids' eyes as I took photos of them eating ice cream cones (which induced Molly to murmur "yum yum" the whole time she messily ate it). I have a brown-eyed kid (daddy's dominant gene tagged Claire's eye color), a clear blue-eyed recessive gene kid (Lily) and Molly is, well, um .... we're not sure. They started out slate blue at birth, then started shifting toward a mix of blue and brown, and now seem more of a mix of green and brown. Contrary to popular wisdom, kids eyes do change color up to the age of three while they fully pigment (according to our pediatrician). So I know Molly's eyes have some more adjustment to go, and my guess is they'll keep getting darker until they're fully brown (Claire's eyes actually progressed from blue to green to brown also, so watching this pattern in Molly tells me we're headed toward brown, albeit a lighter brown than Claire). Does my green-eyed self secretly harbor a desperate hope for a true green-eyed kid? YES. I'd be lying if I didn't say I hope they stay greenish, but with her constant shifting toward darker eyes I'm being realistic. So the final score will likely be this: brown dominant gene ... 2, light-eyed recessive gene ...1.

I'll keep rooting for the green though. It would be an amazing spin of the genetics wheel to end up with one brown, one blue and one set of green!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Striking The Balance


I have a feeling I know the "ah ha" moment a professional photographer feels when she knows she's captured the perfect shot. When I got lucky enough to catch Claire and Lily peering out the holes in the playground slide at the same time, I knew I had it. I love this photo.

We had a good day here. I worked until the wee hours last night so I could blow off work this morning and take the kids to Waffle House and the park (note to self: take Molly to the park after lunch, not before, as I tried both this morning and now know which works). Molly had a slightly bad park accident but otherwise we enjoyed the morning. By 1pm the twins were down for a 3-hour nap, I was on a conference call, and a 15-year-old neighbor was making her debut babysitting event with us. She stayed for the next five hours (probably more than I needed her), but with her help I was blessed with 2 1/2 straight hours of work time without one interruption. It was truly amazing. Unfortunately, I'm still stuck with some work tasks for tonight too, but that is the daily balance I strike in this work-from-home arrangement.

I also jettisoned all home tasks today so I could focus on work ... no cooking, no cleaning, no laundry, nothing. Sometimes in striking the work/life balance I have to forgo a clean house and home-cooked meal.

The twins have figured out the word "me" as of today. I was helping Molly retrieve a toy, and she looked at me and said, "Momma! Me!" as she pointed at herself: mommy, I want to do it! So I stopped helping and she seemed overly pleased she had gotten her point across. Lily was listening to Molly use the term today, so she too used it correctly once herself. Lily also decided to use the term "yuck" at dinner (which annoyed me), but then again, I'd figure it to be my finicky eater to first use that word at the dinner table.

Tomorrow: another WFH day, the 15-year-old new babysitter is returning to help with a 30-minute conference call, and then I plan to allow Claire's best friend Lauren to play at our house tomorrow afternoon. It's a stretch to think I'll get much work done tomorrow. So it's about time I sign off here and go power up the work laptop.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Evening Games

On any given night, while dinner dishes are being cleaned and the kids' stomachs are full, the screeching begins. I'm not a big fan of noise, but I do love the hour before the twins' bedtime when the kids are in fantastic moods and no more meal prep looms before me. The twins (and sometimes Claire) love making loops through the house, screeching, laughing, and being awfully cute. The video here is a perfect example of life at about 7:30pm in my household most nights - I call this the twins' "Chase Game".

I count myself as superbly lucky that I do not have kids that get overly cranky before bedtime. We have the occasional meltdown, but generally we just get giddiness at night.

video

Monday, August 10, 2009

Language Leap

My parents tell me I never had a "first word" and didn't start speaking until about age two, when the words came spilling out and never stopped. My kids, however, do have first words right before age one, but admittedly, language development comes very slowly after that until about age two when the words do begin tumbling out. And tumbling out they are. Molly is a verbal machine all the sudden (truly all the sudden), with two-word, then three-word, and now five-word sentences, if you count "night night mommy daddy Claire" as a five-word sentence. Of course, let me write that as it's pronounced - "nigh nigh momma dadda Car" - just so we're clear that Mommy The Interpreter is still needed for the outside public.

So the "night night" game has become one of Molly's favorites. There's one particular light switch she can reach, and she turns it on and off, on and off, on and off, expecting us to "sleep" on command while she tells us "night night mommy daddy Claire". Over the weekend I caught Lily and Molly playing the night night game together, and this is what it looks like ....


... which, undoubtedly, is a bit cute. These are the moments when having twins is really great.

Lily is listening to Molly and doing her best to catch up so she is also making verbal progress. She still remains a couple months behind Molly verbally (and with fine motor skills) but she is way ahead of Molly in all the gross motor areas. I imagine by next Spring I'll be wishing I could find the "off" switch on both girls, as I often find myself wondering about Claire who never stops talking.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

A Bad Taste

This is one of those weekends that left a bad taste in everyone's mouth. We had some fun moments, certainly, but everyone was grouchy and just generally 'off' even though none of us ever started throwing up as Kyle was before the weekend started. All three kids were up past 10pm last night, which meant the crank factor in our household was pretty high today. I got to sleep in a little both days of the weekend, but that didn't cut my fatigue much. Maybe it was the 100-degree temps this weekend. And two-year molars. And the late nights. Whatever the root causes, I'm hoping tomorrow kicks off a better stretch for the family.

The "highlight" of the weekend was attending the NICU reunion at Shawnee Mission Medical Center today, where we got to see the doctor and nurses that cared for Lily those 15 days she spent in the NICU. They had ice cream and bouncy houses for the kids (only Claire partook of the bouncy houses), but the most exciting part of the event for the twins was the icy swimming pool housing the bottled water ....



... where we battled them continuously over not eating the ice. With 100-degree temps beating down on us we could only stick it out for just over an hour. Before dinner tonight, in our somewhat cooler backyard, I set them up with finger painting for the first time, and they made an absolute goopy mess ....



.... but seemed to enjoy their first painting experience. Fortunately they were stripped to diapers and outside otherwise our house would be trashed.

Here's to hoping we have a few better days ahead of us starting tomorrow.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Product Testing Day

Kyle spent all night throwing up, so with some trepidation I took the girls out for their product testing photo shoot (me as photographer, that is). I didn't know when, or if, to expect a kid to start spewing today so it seemed crazy to take them in the car, but I took the risk. There's a great area near Town Center with brightly painted Adirondack chairs so I knew it would be a perfect visual for the photos. I'm pretty impressed with how the photos turned out. I'll focus on the photo fun from this morning, but I will note that as of 9pm tonight no one else has started throwing up. Yet. I'm still nervous, and I'm also a little tired from pulling 100% duty today - as one would expect, Kyle didn't lift a finger around the house today. The worst part of the day, however, was not the full-time kid and house duty but the fact the mower woke Molly up so I only got 45 minutes of nap time out of the girls today. That makes for one very long day and very little time for my actual job.

So here's my favorites from the photo session today. Aren't the dresses adorable? I don't think they're going to deal with wrinkles well (I'm washing them now to test the theory), but they are gorgeous and we got stopped by three different women asking where I'd bought the dresses. Well, one lady asked if I'd made them, and after I snickered, I told her the story. I wish I could sew but it's not something I plan to learn in my lifetime.






But my favorite (real life) photo of all has to be the one of Claire, mad and pouting, because she was bored of me taking the twins' photos and wanted to go in the toy store in the shopping area, and I denied her. The contrast to her sisters' happiness in this photo is striking.



I look forward to seeing the girls in these dresses on the Baby Center blog soon.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Chaos

Morning: Molly cries. Nearly non-stop. (I assume 2-year molars again)

Afternoon: Twins sleep. I try to work. Claire has 4th-grade girl in to play at our house all afternoon, so I thought I'd get a lot done, but I had constant interruptions from the two and I had to keep telling them to be quiet so that Molly wouldn't wake early and repeat crankiness from this morning. I'm not sure why a 9-year-old couldn't keep Claire more occupied. I didn't get enough work done.

Hour before dinner: we walk to HyVee where Molly throws tantrums because I won't let her out of the stroller. Neighbor watches me bark at my kid and I mumble craziness to her about wanting to kill my children (said jokingly, but through gritted teeth, so who knows what the neighbor thinks of me now). I look like a wild woman racing through the store hoping to contain the public tantrum. Upon returning home, Molly still cries while waiting for dinner.

Dinner: Lily refuses to eat her roasted chicken (as always). I make her cry because I make her eat two bites.

Hour after dinner: bathtime for the twins, and 4th grader somehow reappears in my house to play with Claire. Lily decides to pick up Molly's slack and do the crying. She cries over the hair brushing and the nail clipping. I put the twins to bed and thank my lucky stars that I shouldn't hear anymore crying until around 7:30am tomorrow morning. But wait! I'm not done with the crying. Claire throws a crying tantrum when 4th grader has to leave at 8:30pm. I tell Claire to control herself or she won't get more play time with the 4th grader. Claire goes into hardcore pouting.

This evening: while Kyle helps with Claire's shower, I find a tornado has hit the basement. Seems the 4th grader and Claire pulled out every toy in the basement while I tried to work. I get stuck cleaning the mess while debating what reward/punishment system I can put in place to ensure this doesn't happen again. Then I start this post, and even as I wrap it up I'm still not getting any grand new perspective on my day. It just wasn't a good day. I don't want a repeat of this one.

Fortunately, tomorrow will be here soon enough.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Best Laid Plans

With a two-hour online training session scheduled for this afternoon from 2-4pm, I spent the last couple days preparing for the event. I lined up "childcare" for Claire (playing with the older neighbor girl at her house this afternoon), and I took the kids on a special outing to Wonderscope this morning so the twins would be especially tired and sleep the full three hours this afternoon. I was confident it would all work out. It didn't.

Molly woke up at 3pm, crying, which sent me into a panic. With a full hour of my training session left, I had to devise a way to keep her quiet, safe, and yet far away from me. So she sat in her playpen with books and cartoons blaring until Lily woke up about 45 minutes later with a nasty poop diaper. While the phone stayed on mute (and I prayed no one on the call would ask for my input), I changed Lily, gave both girls a huge sippy cup of Gatorade (knowing they'd both be overjoyed by the indulgence), and left them gated upstairs with limited access to certain (somewhat baby-proofed) rooms. They squealed, screamed, cried, and generally did OK, but I sweated bullets when my input was requested on the work call and I had to run to the basement, take the phone off mute, provide my input, and run back upstairs so I could keep an ear toward the girls' (very loud) activities. And as luck would have it, my two-hour meeting ran over by a full 45 minutes, so poor Molly had no mommy oversight for a full hour and 45 minutes this afternoon (and Lily had none for a full hour). Sheesh. It's a wonder they didn't get hurt as I later determined they were standing on my bed, looking into a mirror hung above the headboard, and making faces at each other. Let me repeat - my twins were standing on my bed unsupervised this afternoon. Somehow, I don't think I win parent of the day award for that one.

And I thought I had the perfect plan to manage the kids today.

I did win the parent of the day award from Claire for taking her back to Wonderscope, however. Last August I took the girls to Wonderscope during a week-long stay at home vacation, and Claire has been begging to go back for a year. Wonderscope seems awfully goofy and uninteresting to parents but thrills young children. We spent some time in the "golf ball and ramp" room ...



... and a lot of time in the room for kids under two (and siblings) where the little ones can safely climb all over ramps and stairs and all sorts of obstacles.




Molly and Claire also liked the art room but Lily was bored and frustrated by having to sit down and concentrate on one activity. Molly, however, was the toughest kid to transition from activity to activity - she threw a tantrum each time we left a room other than when I promised her lunch after the climbing room. We had lunch at Waffle House after Wonderscope and the day was turning out perfectly until Molly's short nap and the extended training time dashed my best laid plans!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Kid In A Candy Store

I played hooky from work today. In my defense, it was all unplanned (mostly). And I never once played hooky in school so I'm not the usual truant type. I still answered all my emails and took three work calls (from my car), so other than being absent from my actual work cubicle I put in a decent day's work. But yes, I took advantage of an 11am dentist appointment in my hometown to ditch my office day, take Claire along, and walk down memory's lane. I was like a kid in a candy store. And here is Claire being a kid in a candy store - the very same candy store I frequented as a child ...

Claire and I also enjoyed a nice lunch, bought an outfit apiece for each of the girls, and walked one full block of downtown. Her favorite stores were the "antique" stores (somewhat like antique pawn shops), filled with trinkets and junk that would take us weeks to investigate properly. Claire was particularly taken with the old phones in the stores.

We returned home to a terrifically cranky Lily, but even her mood did not remove the afterglow from our stolen hours today. I now see why skipping school maintains its popularity.