Monday, November 30, 2009

Two Ears Old

This afternoon the girls and I were cuddled up on my oversized comfy red chair and I was talking to them about birthdays. I told them I was going to have a birthday in a few days and everyone would sing Happy Birthday to me. Then I told them that they were going to have a birthday soon too. I said, "You will be Two Years Old!"

Izzie gave me a big smile, grabbed my ears and said, "One, TWO EARS!" Then Maddie tugged on her own ears and said the same thing.

No pictures

John went back to work today after being off for a week. We had a good long holiday. The battery in his car was acting flaky before the holiday and I think sitting for an entire week just about killed it. So this morning when he went to go start his car, dead. He took the van to work instead (taking hostage the caffeine, uh... Dr. Peppers, that were in the back!) I went about a week of no cokes, but that didn't last too long. Anyway, the girls and I were home bound for the day, which actually was fine since I didn't have any plans.

Izzie kept us up a lot of the night last night. She had a stopped up nose and had a hard time breathing. No other symptoms at all. She didn't really even get that fussy except that she kept loosing her paci and would get upset looking for it. I both look forward to and dread the day we try taking the paci away. Originally I thought 2 but as that is rapidly approaching, I'm getting nervous about it. They gave their paci's up for day time use pretty much on their own. I'm crossing my fingers the same will happen for night, but I just don't see it happening. Anyone know of a toddler that willing gave up their paci? I keep talking about how babies use pacis and that we can send our paci's to baby Lucy (their cousin) if they think they are too big for them. So far, not taking the bait.

But because of Izzie, I didn't get very good sleep last night, and well obviously she didn't either. Surprisingly though, the day went very well. We didn't really do anything super exciting, mostly hung out reading books and doing some cleaning. Maddie actually came to me this morning demanding we empty the dishwaher. Thank goodness it was full of clean dishes because she doesn't quite get that sometimes they are dirty. Both girls love handing me one item at a time and they take GREAT pride in the fact that they get to put up the pots and pans by themselves! (It's one of the few things they can reach without being breakable.) They also swept the entire kitchen floor and living room. That entertained them for a solid 30 minutes.

I had to keep putting vaseline under Izzie's nose that was raw by the end of the day because of the leaky faucet it had become. Despite the runny nose and not feeling her best, she was a trooper today. Maddie could tell she wasn't feeling well because she kept giving sissy lots of hugs and kisses. Maddie can be so incredibly loving. Today while playing with their little animals she gave each and everyone of them a kiss and then had them all kiss each other.

Tonight at bathtime I filled the water a good 3 inches higher than I normally do and they "swam" in the bathtub. This was a ton of fun for them! I wish I had my camera up in the bathroom with me, they were just a kicking and enjoying themselves to the max. It was a good day filled with lots of sweet moments.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Kick off to turning 30

So... I turn 30 in 5 more days on Dec 4th and all that goes with that. I thought I'd be more weirded out about turning 30 and maybe over the next 5 days, I'll start worrying about it more, but I don't think so. It's crazy to think all that has happened in the past decade. I met John a couple of months before I turned 20, so I've known him for over 10 years now. Anyway, the next couple of days might be full of sentimentality which I don't get very often, so just a warning!

Here are the pics from last night's early family celebration:

Izzie. All the shirts from the 5 and under crowd came off because of spaghetti for dinner. Some of the crowd decided to stay shirtless for the rest of the evening.

Julie and Maddie were playing catch during present opening.

Maddie and Izzie doing some puzzles at the new table.

Our family has gotten so big that I was joking with Tom before dinner that he needed a roll-out dining room, kind of like you see on campers, the window behind Julie just needs to extend out a few feet! As it was, I should haved taken a panoramic of the family... Izzie is off to John's left and Maddie is off to Dana's right. Sabrina is wedged in the right hand corner and baby Lucy was in the swing just outside of the dining room. A kids table is in the near future.



Sabrina was VERY enthusiastic about her dinner! Oh, and Sammy made the meatballs! They were so yummy!

Here I am giving Sammy a squish.

I bought Jackie a pretty platter for her birthday.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A lazy day

Today was one of those days that somehow managed to get away from me. I spent a lot of hours trying to finish up the PAMOM December newsletter and I've got that mostly complete now, just some proofing left to do. Other than that, just spent some time playing with the girls.

At naptime, while John stayed home, I went out looking for 99cent poinsetta's because I heard Lowe's was having a sale. The sales guy said they sold out all 5000 "units" yesterday! Wow. We ended up having to wake the girls up from nap so we could head over to Jackie and Tom's for an early Birthday celebration for Jackie and myself. Her birthday is on December 2nd and mine is on the 4th and the family usually gets together to do a dual gift and cake exchange.

I took lots of pictures, the girls were so cute, Sammy was being a super star, Sabrina was her lovely self. That girl is SO full of life. You can't help but smile when you see her. I got to give Lucy a hug before she started crying for her momma. We had a good evening. Maddie went on a walk with Dana, Cody and Lucy. She did great and had a good time. Izzie was working on puzzles while Maddie went walking. I'll post pictures tomorrow, because tonight I'm going to turn in early!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Reeling from the day

I didn't take any pictures today (I know, right?) but I took these a few days ago and they didn't make it up and yet, I think they are precious. Maddie wearing two tutus and her cat ears playing dress up with her tools.

Today was one of those tough days in the twindom. This morning when we all rolled out of bed, who knew what kind of day it was going to be. We came downstairs and had breakfast, everything normal. I left to do some shopping on the ever famous Black Friday. I bought the girls some birthday and Christmas presents and pretty much rounded out my Christmas list. On my way home, I gave John a call to see how it was going. He said, "See you when you get here I'm dealing with a time-out."

And that is pretty much how the rest of the day went. The girls were bickering and whining all day long. Nothing was keeping their interest except what ever toy the other girl had. At lunch time, Izzie just started bawling and I just said forget it! And we put them both in their cribs for an early nap. Which is precisely what they needed because they both fell asleep immediately. After naptime things were pleasant for a bit and we actually all went on a a walk as a family.

I love that by the way. I love strolling through the neighborhood with the girls. They can actually walk a pretty good distance by themselves now. And they stay on the sidewalk and it's just pleasant. Izzie was having a blast running for big portions of the walk. Then both girls decided they liked walking on the grass. As we passed different Christmas decorations that have already made their way out to people's lawns they would say, "bye bye deer," or "bye bye Santa Claus" as we walked away.

When we got back in, Maddie pulled an independent fit wanting to take her jacket off all by herself (gee... where does she get that? Guilty!) The only thing is she just CAN'T take it off all by herself so she was reduced to tears. Finally she allowed Daddy to help her. The rest of the afternoon was filled with small fights here and there. With a showdown about not picking up their crayons. I ended up "mailing" them to their cousin Sabrina. I'm sure Sabrina will end up sending them back tomorrow after they have hopefully learned their lesson about telling Momma NO when asked to pick up a toy.

Dinner was both good and bad. They absolutely loved the creamy chicken broccoli noodles I made. They asked for thirds even demanding "MORE BROCCOLI!" After dinner we sang some songs and it was pretty peaceful. But right before bathtime, Izzie pinched both of her hands between the lid and her little potty while sitting on the lid of the potty. I thought she was screaming because it looked like Maddie might have grabbed her hair. So here I was fussing at Maddie while Izzie is screaming at the top of her lungs. I finally hear FINGERS! in all the screaming and I look to see she is sitting on her fingers and didn't know to stand up. The poor thing! It took forever to calm her down and her fingers are okay. We took a quick bath and then they pretty much fell asleep as soon as their heads hit the pillow. I'm hoping for a very long, and peaceful night.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Stuff-Yourself-Silly Day!

I totally intended to eat a good meal without stuffing myself. Yeah, that didn't happen. I think the dressing must have expanded in my tummy. Or the buffet that stayed out for hours that I kept picking at. I don't know but I had a terrific meal spent with terrific people. Roll call this year was: Me, John, Maddie, Izzie, Jackie, Tom, Grandma (John's), Julie, Chris, Sammy, Sabrina, Aunt Judy and Uncle Jim. Those that weren't with us, were thought about and missed. The menu for 2009 Turkey Feast was: Turkey (which I overheard Jackie affectionately calling TomTurkey), mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, steamed green beans, pecan sweet potato casserole, southern dressing, northern stuffing, two types of cranberries, crescent rolls, Grandma's Gravy, pecan chocolate pie, cherry pie and pumpkin pie. Whew, see, no wonder I was stuffed as was everyone.

We got there in the morning and the kids all got right into playing. Grandma and Grandpa pulled out this really cool table and Maddie and Izzie were super excited to play puzzles on it.

When Sabrina arrived, she jumped right in on the fun with Maddie and Izzie. It wasn't long until everyone gravitated outside. It was a beautiful day!

John and Tom

Sabrina playing in the tent that Grandpa put up for the kids to play with.

The big hit today was the sandbox. Here's Maddie, Izzie, Sammy and Sabrina all playing together! This was Izzie's favorite thing, after the turkey meal, she spent over an hour playing in the sand.

After playing for so long, I brought the girls in for some "quiet" time and hoped for a nap. The nap didn't work, but they did lay down with me for about an hour.

Jackie cutting up the bird.

Grandma making her famous gravy.

The spread.

Here are the three "triplets" Maddie, Izzie and Sabrina. Next year, there will have to be a kiddie table and Lucy, if she joins us will be the only one in a high chair. We put them on the tile right outside of the fancy dining room, so they were "with" us but not on the nice carpet. Plus, the family has gotten so big, we barely fit around the dining room table!

Yummy Turkey! Izzie kept saying, "Turkey Day!" Maddie liked her "fruit" which is what I called the cranberry sauce. Both girls ate all their turkey and they picked their favorite sides. Izzie liked the "orange potatoes", Maddie liked the green beans (and "fruit".)

Maddie and Izzie, second Thanksgiving 11/26/2009.

Maddie and Izzie 1st Thanksgiving 11/27/08. They've grown a bit, haven't they?

Maddie fell asleep on the way home and Izzie was just wiped out too. They went to bed at 6:30 tonight, I had to semi-rock Maddie to sleep, she was so over-exhausted that she was fighting sleep. I wish I could do the car to crib transfer, but she woke up and needed a new diaper anyway. I really wanted to do a bath with all the sand play, but they were just too tired. We'll bathe them in the morning and change their sheets. We all had a really awesome day.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The day before Thanksgiving

Izzie and Maddie playing outside

Maddie and Izzie in a choo-choo bike parade.

Izzie, Maddie and Daddy one year ago.

The smells filling up the house right now are so Thanksgiving! Who knew that the combination of cornbread, chopped onions and celery would immediately make me smell the childhood memories of my Mema getting ready for Thanksgiving? I hadn't even broken out the SAGE yet. I typically use sage once a year, at Thanksgiving and it's scent is intrinsically entwined with the holiday. But for some reason the smell of the cornbread baking in the oven while I chopped onions, celery and of course the hard boiled eggs immediately threw me to days long ago. Needless to say it's been a happy afternoon. I do miss my Mema and wish she could be here cooking with me, but we've got Christmas for that!

I'm also in charge of the Sweet Potatoes this year. Mainly because I grew over 30 lbs of them this year in my front flower bed! My version of the Amercian Sweet Potato Casserole definitely should be classified more in the dessert category instead of the savory side dish category. I've been munching on the chili-candied nut topping all afternoon and I just hope I can manage to leave some alone long enough to actually put nuts on the top of the casserole. I'll post both recipes at The Frickin Chicken as soon as I get a chance!

Other than all the cooking, I took the girls to Storytime today at the library. I've found that they behave better when they aren't supper comfortable! When we go a few weeks in a row they get "relaxed" and start to wander around the room and cause a big distraction. When we skip a few weeks, they stick closer to me. What a conundrum! I want them to enjoy story time but they need to learn to sit (mostly) still and be (mostly) quiet during the stories! Practice makes perfect and we'll keep at it. At least we didn't have to leave early this week.

The weather was nice enough that we got to spend some time outside in the backyard today. The girls still love their cozy coupes and I'm so glad they've gotten so much opportunity to use them before the weather has turned too cold. It's also so fun to see them climb all over the slide I got from Freecycle like it's no big deal. By next summer they will probably be too big for it. But that is why we are saving up for a "big" kid playground and selling off stuff at hopefully in the next few days I'll get a chance to add some more clothing and toys. Lately every second I've had has gone to two logos I'm working on for paid jobs (yay!!) or the PAMOM December/January Newsletter.

Well I've got a simple dinner of chicken, broccoli and baked potatoes going in the oven and I think it's starting to smell done. I left this quote with you last year and I think it is so cute, I'm going to repeat it again:

May your stuffing be tasty,
May your turkey be plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have never a lump.
May your yams be delicious,
And your pies take the prize'
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off of your thighs!

Wishing everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The New Looney Tunes Play Area at Willow Bend Mall

I met up with my friend Melanie and her girls Maddy and Sydney to check out the new Looney Tunes Play Area at Willow Bend Mall in Plano. While I had a great time visiting with Melanie, I have to say that I was very disappointed in the play area! I really wanted to like it. At first glance I thought it was cute, but the longer we were there (we stayed for 45minutes) the more and more flaws I saw with the place. I loved the old play area (pictures here.) It was perfect for toddlers because everything was low to the ground, with just enough things that were a couple feet tall for some of the older toddlers. I'm sad that they got rid of the old play area and replaced it with this.

Izzie is standing on a scale. The play area isn't even a week old and it's already broken. But my first question is does a toddler really care what they weigh? They don't even understand what a scale is. So this was really just a boring toy with a broken button.

A cute picture of Maddie, Izzie, Maddy and Sydney. This was on top of the ambulance, the one toy that seemed very popular. The only big problem was the tunnel underneath where they are standing is pointed right at the exit that has no gate. A kid crawling through the tunnel would be very tempted to keep crawling straight out the exit to the cartoon characters that are on the outside of the playarea.

Maddie was so cute standing on this flower. She told me she was SO tall! I have to say, that these little flowers were pretty cute. There were also little bugs, but they were rounded and the kids couldn't stand on them. Izzie kept falling off.

In the front of this picture is Dr. Tweety. An 18 month old girl was able to climb easily to the top and she was standing on his head. This made her almost as tall as I am. (Okay, I'm short, but still....) Once she was up, she couldn't figure out how to come down. I was looking for her mom when she decided the only way down was to step off. Luckily I caught her or she would have done a head dive. The elements should not be so tall and easy for a child that young to climb up them. It was scary!

Also, notice in the background was a big red scary monster. He grumbled and made noises which scared some of the kids. He also blocked the view to the entrance to the play area.

I was very sad to see a TV in the play area. The sign under the TV says, Available on DVD. Kids should be running around playing NOT watching TV at the park. Also, notice in the background, the green slide that is off to a weird angle. Kids start to slide down it and then fall to the ground because you can't slide sideways without railings, gravity gets in the way. This was another pretty tall element, but at least kids had a (sort of) safe way down.

It's hard to notice in the photo, but there were also two "toys" that were pretty useless. A board that said, "How tall are you?" and an x-ray board. The older kids (6yr olds) climbed on top of them and jumped down almost injuring the toddlers several times.

Even the skunks tail was a scary slide. Maddie almost fell off it several times while trying to get slide down. Notice the kid laying down? He's comfy watching tv. At least he isn't jumping on toddlers.

A general view of the play area. You still can't see if your child is leaving the play area because the ambulance blocks the view. I wish they would put a gate up, in the very least.

That all being said, both sets of twins did have a good time. It took a lot watching and spotting, but the place wasn't a total bust. I think most kids can have fun almost anywhere given half the chance. They did wear themselves out, ate a huge lunch at the food court and are now sound asleep for a (hopefully) long nap!

I'd be interested to hear what you think of this play area as compared to the old one or other similar mall play areas. Or, what you think an ideal play area should have in it!

Monday, November 23, 2009

First time for Soup

I made the girls soup for the first time tonight. Well actually I made the soup for John but it was the first time the girls got to eat soup. I made Creamy Parmesan Pesto Tomato Soup I added noodles to the girls portion to make it thicker. Actually it ended up almost like runny spaghetti, but we told them it was soup. They loved it and they loved the idea of soup. I also gave them cheesy toast which is one of their favorites lately.

Maddie eating her soup, cheesy toast and apples for dinner.

Izzie really liked hers too!

Izzie and Maddie reading some books this morning.

Izzie and Maddie just chillin'.

Yesterday when we got home from Muenster the girls wanted to cook. I don't have a play kitchen for them yet, but I pulled out these cookie racks and called them a stove. They were happy enough with the concept. Also, poof balls make wonderful pretend meatballs. Maddie is stirring hers right now.

Izzie cooking on her "stove"

More pictures

Momma, Daddy, Isabelle and Madeline

Grandma and Grandpa with Madeline and Isabelle

Madeline and Isabelle giving me a kiss.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Early Thanksgiving in Muenster, Texas

Daddy playing rocks with Maddie and Izzie

Grandma singing songs with Maddie and Izzie in the car. (Maddie pictured)

Grandpa painting pumpkins with Izzie and Maddie

Grandpa doing shaving cream with Maddie. At the end of the day when I asked Maddie what she did, she said she did, "Cream on GREEN table." How observant was that??? I had to look at the photo to verify!

Sabrina and Izzie

Momma, Daddy, Izzie and Maddie

Lucy, Maddie, Grandma, Sabrina, Izzie, Grandpa and Sammy
Today we met up with Grandma and Grandpa, Julie, Chris, Sammy and Sabrina and carivanned up to Muenster, Texas to visit Lucy, Dana and Cody. Dana is John's sister and she moved to Muenster a few years ago, where she became the youth minister for the church there. She met Cody and the rest is history. I can't believe Lucy is 7 months old today. Well, we drove over to John's mom's house and she jumped in our van to head out to Muenster. Every year the town throws a big Thanksgiving feast at the community center. There is bounce houses, face painting, choo-choo rides, auctions and of course turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing and pie.

Before heading over to the community center for the Thanksgiving festivities, we dressed all the grandchildren in their Christmas outfits trying to get a shot of them all together with their Grandma and Grandpa. I'm still kicking myself that I forgot my camera at home, but with Julie, Dana and Jackie's cameras I'm sure we got a good picture. Surprisingly, the kids were all very cooperative!

Every year we go it seems to get bigger and bigger. That facility is literally busting at the seems with all the people waiting in line for the food and bidding on stuff in the auction. I was worried how the girls would do standing in line, but it actually moved fairly quickly and they did great. There was so many people to look at that I think that kept them busy. We ate lunch and then the kids and the guys stayed outside to play while the ladies went indoors to check out the items for sale. When we came back out Grandpa decided to buy tickets for the girls to go in the bounce house. I did not think they would like it. I was wrong. They LOVED the bounce house. After bouncing they painted pumpkins and played at the shaving cream table before they reached their exhaustion limit and we headed home.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Object of Art

I spent most of the morning today working on the Dec/Jan issue of the PAMOM newsletter, Carbon Copies. I still have a long way to go on it too. Since I designed the new logo, I'm having to do a redesign of the newsletter to match our new look. John spent the morning playing with the girls so that they wouldn't try to sit in my lap at the computer and "help" me with my designs!

When I finally needed a break, I took over introducing a new art project with the girls. It was only partially successful. Well, actually it was very successful, it just depends on what you measure the success to be! As for making lasting beautiful art it was a complete failure. For making happy, entertained girls, it was 100% successful. They had so much fun with this simple project that they didn't want the project to end. I think they liked it more than finger painting because deep down, I don't think my girls like to be "dirty." I'll have to work on that some more.

Anyway, the project I came up with was to have them color on some paper with sidewalk chalk. Then when they got a bunch of chalk down, I gave them a brush and some water and let them do "watercolors" with the chalk that was already on the paper. I think if I had used cardboard, or a sturdier watercolor paper or something more durable the project might have had more success (as art). Although restraint on the amount of water applied to the chalk was not high on the girls' priority list! Izzie wasn't "finished" until ALL of her water had been painted on the paper. Which could not handle the water so it had gaping holes in it by the end. Same for Maddie. But they really got into it like I said, so it was fun even though by the end we had a soaking wet torn piece of paper with not much color on it at all!

Maddie coloring with the chalk.

Izzie can write with both hands!

Maddie starts painting (and it starts out sort of nice!)

Izzie painting.

Here is a picture of the girls fighting over a lego. It's the only circle lego in the box so of course they both wanted it. (Izzie is on the ground.)

This afternoon I took the girls to Payless Shoes to buy black dress shoes to match their super gorgeous princess Christmas dresses. I decided to forgo the stroller and just let them walk in the store with me. It was a success! They did great. I told them before we went in the store that they weren't allowed to touch unless Momma said it was okay. And surprisingly they pretty much did that. Maddie had to play with the shoe strings while I was checking out, but mostly they just followed me around and were little angels. When we got home they wanted to wear their NEW shoes. So they were running around the house with dress shoes, sports socks, a t-shirt and a diaper. Cute, huh?