Monday, January 31, 2011

Preparing for the Impending Ice Storm...

"My word lady are you preparing for armageddon?"

"No, just 4 days stuck at home with my kids."

Bwhaahaaa.

Seriously though, it seems my region is in for a doozy of a storm the next couple of days.

Snow I love, ice not so much.

It is the 1 inch to 1 1/2 inch ice that has me worried, rather than the call for 12 inches snow.

Ice of that magnitude would mean power outages.

Translation...absolutely no fun.

So today I went out early for provisions.....



My haul.
So let me explain the goods.
Water...lots of water. All for drinking. I plan to fill tubs tomorrow am for use for flushing should we lose power.
generator...just a small one. In case we lose power and run out of propane for the gas fireplace. Then we can plug a small heater into it.
small heater...to plug into generator.
bread, eggs, and milk...3 of the most important staples in this house. we were just perfect with what we had, but I 'd rather have too much.
batteries and flashlights...stocked up
bouncy house....to entertain the children should mommy be stuck at home for days with the daddy working. ;-)
baby gate...to keep the pinballs of destruction, aka the twins out of the kitchen. thank you Shelley!
This evening will consist of finishing up washing the last load of laundry, charging up all the electronic devices, baths for everyone, and baking up some delicious goodies--you never know when you might need a little chocolate treat to barter your way into someone's nice cozy wood burning fireplace house. ;-)
So I will pray like crazy for no power outages and try to enjoy what we do get.
At least I have hot chocolate to enjoy. I picked up the 80 ounces can of Swiss Miss at Sam's yesterday, so I should have enough hot chocolate until 2087.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Marketing doesn't fool her...

AJ was playing her DS today when I heard, "Hmph...I can't find the key. THEY just want you to play this game for hours and hours."
She was playing this game.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Pinewood Derby...

Every year JP has won an award for Most Unusual Design or Best Overall Design in the Cubscout Pinewood Derby.

This year his streak was upheld. He took 2nd place in Most Unusual Design with his stack of $1 bills.



So proud of his creative mind.

Now if we can just figure out the whole speed thing before the twins get to Cubscouts. :-)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Fun Food Friday...

I made the mistake with my first kiddos to not have a broad menu when they were little, which resulted in some picky eaters.

JP is older and more open to trying new things, but AJ is still pretty set in her ways. We did just have a victory with pasta, which delights me immensely!

So I was thinking I would try to post a Fun Food idea every Friday. It may be healthy, convenient, or just a fun take on an old standby, or maybe even all of the above.

Enjoy!



Octopus served on a bed of sea weed

Or maybe a hot dog with mac n cheese.
While your boiling your noodles drop a hot dog that you have sliced 'legs' into about 3/4 of the way up in to the water. The boiling will curl the legs up.
When noodles are done, drain and prepare as the package directs.
Set your octopus on top the macaroni and add some eyes. Then serve to your children and listen for the delightful squeals.
Note my boys are little so I half a hot dog and then cut legs and boil.
*caution serving hot dog to the under 3 set as it is a choking hazard.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The reality of my day...

Today the pinballs of destruction have left me feeling:

frustrated

tired

like I can't keep up

like a disaster clean up manager

exhausted

drained

emotionally depleted

alone

a failure

I am trying to put a smile on my face and remember that God only gives us what we can handle, but days like today make that really difficult.

This is God's Country...

Totally unexpected gorgeous January sunset off my back deck.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Label Me...

I do love a label...

I would say that I am OCD, but clearly you will notice that their are many different color lids on my clear buckets. While I am a wee bit OCD, my frugalness overtakes my OCD-ness. You see W*lmart has the clear buckets on sale all the time, but they are usually colored lids for much less than the white lids. You will also notice I have a few colored labels to change out to the new white ones.

Having clear labeled bins helps immensely with the whole cleanup process in the playroom. It just makes me happy to have everything in a bucket. For all items that don't fit in a bucket, they are tucked away behind closed doors. :-)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Boo Boos...

Little Guy

Big Guy



Ice cream solves all problems...
photos from november 2010

Monday, January 24, 2011

Art by Big Guy...

I hear Little Guy say, "Uh-oh...Messch."

I look up from the dishes I was doing to see the masterpiece Big Guy created with his "sips" aka drinkable yogurt.



He is highly talented, if I do say so myself.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Saturday, January 22, 2011

What is wrong with this picture...

Can you figure out what is wrong with this picture?


Big Guy



Friday, January 21, 2011

They Pranked Me...

Today the phone rang at precisely 10am.

It was the dentist office.

"Can you be here at 10:50 we have 2 openings for you and JP?"

I look around quickly at my diaper wearing messy faced duo and my crazy bed head half dressed 6 year old.

"Absolutely. I will round up the troops and be there at 10:50"

Yes I actually said round up the troops, clearly I have been trapped in the house far too long.

As soon as the call disconnect, or at least I hope, adrenaline kicks in and I began screaming:

"JP get dressed FAST, turn all the lights off down there, and get up here QUICK!!!"

"AJ get your socks and shoes on. Comb your hair and dress Little Guy. HURRY HURRY HURRY!"

"You can't wear shorts!" "My word what happened to your hair!!" "HURRY PEOPLE HURRY!"

"WE GOTTA RUN!" "Get BACK HER NAKED NANNIE!!!"

Breakfasts were abandoned. Food left flung on the floor. I was running around frantic grabbing outfits and barking orders. I had to tame my wild bed head quick and change out my jammies. Toothbrushes were flying. The car was started. AJ wrangled Little Guy, while I wrestled Big Guy. I frantically called my mother in law to ask if I could drop the 3 littles off with her.

We got in the car and speed away through the ice and snow in a frantic mad dash to drop the littles off all the way across town.

Heart pounding, sweat dripping.

We drop the littles off at 10:41 and speed away to the dentist office.

And the phone rings.

As we are pulling off the highway onto the road to the parking lot, it is 10:48.

dentist office, "We made a mistake we don't have an opening for you. Sorry."

me "Wha? So we do not have an appointment today? Um. Ok."

I was way too polite.

This is what I should have said,"ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Do you know what I just went through to get 4 kids...FOUR, Cuatro, as in 1-2-3-4-little defiant humans... AND myself ready, secure childcare, and drive across town in 45 minutes?!"

Seriously annoyed.

I am now home to my exploded house, with a massive migraine, and teeth that are still dirty.

I would eat a vat of brownie batter, but that would probably just cause a cavity.

*edited after a lovely snack
Not really the dentists fault, just a random crazy computer error.

Now that I am home and the house is cleaned up, the babies are "napping", I have indulged in a snack, and some migraine meds it is a wee bit amusing to think back on.

I mean seriously ladies if you had seen the pure franctic-ness of this whole ordeal, you would be laughing hysterically. Sometimes I wish there was a camera on me because surely the events of this morning would have made for some great reality tv, or perhaps a winning clip on america's funniest home videos.

This is my life. Honestly I am just glad I can sit back and laugh at myself. :-)

Sunday Afternoon Nap...

The upside to the lack of naps in this house is that the twins are snuggling more and more.

One Sunday afternoon I came into the living room to see this...

You probably think my husband had one of the playoff games on.

Not so much, he was watching Yo Gabba Gabba with the twins.

He is a great Daddy.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sharing...

Big Guy and Little Guy play well together, but they also are very intense on what is theirs.

You can hear a lot of "MINE" is this house. Which is quite normal with twins.

I mean it would be nearly impossible to have two of EVERYTHING.

The other day when I caught the twins being naughty getting into the candy drawer, I had to laugh.

They were sharing while being naughty.


Big Guy on the left, Little Guy on the right

Do I punish them for getting into the candy drawer, or praise them for sharing with each other?

Hmm?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Grocery Shopping...

There is snow in the forecast here in my neck of the woods.

Which of course means that everyone and their brother heads to the grocery store. I don't typically buy into the whole snow is coming better go buy out the store hype, but this time we actually needed bread and milk.

I had three choices this morning.

1. go WITH the twins this am
2. go WITH all FOUR kids this afternoon
3. go tonight by myself risking no bread and no milk. (or at least the kinds we don't use)

I decided to go with option 1.

I put Little guy in the basket top buckled and had Big Guy in the large basket area. I tried to go as fast as humanly possibly. Swerving in and out of mobs of people pushing a heavy cart with one hand and wielding, sometimes dragging a very heavy 2 year old.

By checkout time we were past happy and behaved. They wanted wa wa and cheezze and dooown.

Of course the checkouts were crazy, so I picked the line with the fastest checker I could see. (Yes I am that anal that I know which checkers are ranked at what speed)

When I am obviously having trouble holding a wiggling strong 2 year old, while putting the groceries on the conveyor belt, and trying to coax the other 2 year old from throwing all items out of cart and unrestraining himself the thing that shocks me is that no one helps.

Yes I realize I am surrounded by strangers, but what ever happened to helping our fellow man?

The 47 people lined up with their carts behind me just stare. Blank stare at the fiasco that is a mom of twin toddlers checking out. Would it be that inconvenient to say, "Hey can I help put your groceries on the belt?"

Or even the clerk? Shouldn't she offer to either scan faster, scan items from the cart itself, or just call over a bag boy? I am handing over my good money for these products, at least act happy that I am spending the money in their establishment.

Perhaps I am of a rare breed because I still hold the door open for the person(s) behind me. I bend over and pick something up when someone near me drops something. I ask someone trying to reach something if I can get it for them. I say excuse me, please, and thank you. I greet the greeters at the store. I wave at every neighbor I pass, even if I don't know them. I tie the shoes of random kids. I lift heavy things for strangers. I respond sweetly even to the wackiest of comments. I help others.

And even when I am juggling the Twinadoes in a stressful checking out situation, I smile.

What have you done for someone else today?

Works for Me...

I like for all the kids toys to have a 'home'.

In order for that to be successful, I try to think of easy ways my children will be able to properly put the toys away.

One of my favorite storage solutions is the old hanging shoe organizer. There is pretty much one hanging on the back of every door in this house.

You can get the hanging shoe organizer for less than $6 at your local big box stores. My personal favorite is the clear kind.

Recently I decided to take all the puzzles out of their boxes, cut a picture off the box, and put them in clear ziplocs. Wow what a space saver! I cleared an entire shelf in our game closet!


Here are the puzzles and card game/flashcards neatly tucked away in their pouches on the inside of the closet door in the playroom.


Close up of the finished product.
My next favorite use for the shoe hangers is for Barbie and her friends. AJ loves to play Barbies, but wants to be able to see all her girls and their accessories easily. So Barbie and her things hang sit neatly in each shoe pocket hanging on the inside of the closet door in the playroom. Her Barbie mansion is inside the closet too, which is perfect because she can sit and play with everything in reach.

You can even put more than one Barbie per spot.

See the shoes in the bottom, no more sucking them up in the vac!

Another great use for the shoe organizer is on the coat closet. I love having one there for all the hats, gloves, and scarves. Each member of the family gets a row at our house for their items.

We have also used one on the back of AJ's door for hairbows, hair thingys, headbands, etc. All arranged by color. I put the pony holders (aka hair thingys) in the pockets and then clip the alligator clip bows into the edge of the pocket.

Of course you could use the shoe organizer for well, shoes, but that would be too practical.









Twinspeak...

One of the things that fascinates me about Big Guy and Little Guy is their language.

They have been slow to speak, which is quite normal with twins. Especially twins that fall in the family as number 3 and number 4.

They have people to speak for them.

Recently their language has just exploded, so I wanted to take a moment to document their special words.

Little Guy:
Taytuu = Thank You
Koookieee= Cookie
Kak= Cake
kek kek kek kek kek = ketchup (over and over till you produce ketchup)
sips= yogurt
chez= cheese
cackers= crackers
nee nee =grammie
zis= AJ sissy
day=JP
aat=hat
dips=syrup
coco= any dog
omm=home
treysh=trash
shuz=shoes
tocks=socks
bumpa=grandpa
tyied= tied
liyht=light
my= mine
keeee=key
niyh niyh= working
buts=wonder pets

Big Guy:
taytuu= thank you
moomie= mommie
vaf=waffle
sips=yogurt
cheez= cheese
traytur=tractor
beeg=big
rrrrrrrrrrrr= chicken (rolls his r's)
kar=car
day= JP
row= Little Guy
aat=hat
toot=toot
bapple=apple
Aye wawa= ice water
dowg=dog
liblee=neighbor's dog Libby
duce=juice
bumpa=grandpa
nee nee= grammie
tiyht= tight
niyh niyh=working
la la=elmo
o e o e o e o e=zoe from sesame street
buts= wonder pets

I am sure there are more fun words they are saying, but that is all I can think of right now.

My favorite is when they are talking to each other and calling each other ROW, makes for funny arguments. "No Row, my." "No my, Row." ha!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

When things are too quiet...

I was cleaning the twins room for the ninety-seventh time of the day yesterday when I realized things were just way too quiet.

Normally I would love that thought;however, if things are too quiet with the twins it usually means trouble.

With a capitol T.



This is what I found. Big Guy and Little Guy shoveling candy corn in their mouth as fast as their chubby little hands could go.

Monday, January 17, 2011

I didn't do it...

Big Guy can blitz a room and destroy it in seconds.

Seconds.


I believe I was changing Little Guy's diaper during this blitz.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Snack Time...

This is just next to one highchair after snack time.

Perhaps now one will understand when I say I have to vacuum and mop daily, usually 2-3 times.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

President Jennifer's Braised Beef...

I have recently found a love of cooking. I am truly enjoying taking real ingredients and combining them to create something tasty. My husband is also enjoying my new hobby.

I recently made what I like to call President Jennifer's Braised Beef*.

President Jennifer's Braised Beef*

ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion or half a large onion, sliced
Beef Eye of Round Steaks about a 2-3 lb package
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon beef base
1 cup water
1 cup red cooking wine

Directions:
Heat the oil in skillet, add onions. Cook and stir till slightly browned and tender. Remove onions and set aside. Season steaks with thyme and season salt and flour both sides of steak. Fry steaks on med-high for 5 minutes each side.

Pour wine, beef base, and water in with the beef. Add back the onions. Cook on med high to high until the alcohol smell dissipates. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour. Serve with the sauce.

JEN'S NOTES: I don't typically actually measure the flour, thyme and seasoning salt. I just sprinkle. Also I use Grandpa's seasoning, for those of you lucky ones that I have shared the recipe with. :-) I usually serve this with diced potatoes which I add a tiny bit of olive oil to and cook in the oven for about 30 minutes at 350, with a smidge of Italian seasonings and Italian cheeses. This meat comes out so incredibly tender it practically falls apart. Also because I get easily side tracked, I usually simmer for longer than an hour.

*recipe adapted from the PRESIDENT FORD'S BRAISED EYE ROUND STEAK recipe found on www.allrecipes.com

Friday, January 14, 2011

BFF's...

Growing up I had great friends, but I can't really say that I truly had a 'best friend'.

AJ has been so fortunate to already have amazing little friends. She has developed close relationships with several great little girls. Which is interesting because I thought she might have trouble making friends. She is a relatively quiet kid in public, or at least in situations where she may not know everyone.

At 6 she has already had more sleepovers at friends houses than her big brother. She has become quite the social butterfly.

There is one special friend that AJ just adores.

Loulabelle is not only AJ's friend, but also her family. These two sweet girls have been buddies since they were born. They are just different enough to compliment each other wonderfully. When they get together they get along amazing.

Both girls are sandwiched between brothers in their families. It comforts me to know that although I will never be able to give AJ a sister, that she will grow up giggling and laughing with her best friend Loulabelle.





Thursday, January 13, 2011

Victory...

Praise the Lord!

Little Guy finally fell asleep during nap time today!

Yay!

Of course he fell asleep just minutes before it was time to get him up and go do the afterschool pick up, but HE FELL ASLEEP!

VICTORY!


Little Guy


Little Guy

Now if we can just get him to fall asleep sooner and in his bed. ha!
Big Guy did not fall asleep, when I came in to the disaster he was laying down on his bed with his legs propped up and a blankie draped over his nekked body.
Oh yes, he was naked.
Also praise the Lord that Big Guy did not make any messes.

Another Saturday in the Bleachers...

Today was the start of the basketball season.

For the next 8 or so weeks, we will enjoy our afternoons in the bleachers.

JP is playing with the same group of boys that he has always played basketball with. A few of the boys have come and gone, but several of the boys have been playing ball together since they were 4.

There are many reasons we choose to play ball with this team.

The coaches are great. They are the type of coaches who are not thinking about 'the win today', but are thinking about how they can teach these boys how to play the sport for the long run. The boys are being taught the fundamentals properly.

The boys. Most of these boys have known each other since preschool. They play several sports together and they get along well. They are like a band of brothers. Awesome kids with excellent character. Just down right good kids.

The families. There is just something incredible about playing sports with people who are encouraging to your child. Our parents support every child on the team in a positive way.

So while the outcome of the game may not have been what we had hoped for, it was a great learning experience to start the season. The boys have now gotten their feet wet and will be ready to jump in head first next week.

I must say I am especially proud to say that my child almost fouled out.

Um...proud you are thinking? Yep.

You see JP is a very polite boy, which is a good thing.

Except in sports.

We have challenged him to be more aggressive. Get in a guys face, breathe on him, throw your arms around like a crazy man, don't let a guy push you around. Be aggressive.

First game of the year and he had 4 fouls.

Awesome.

Now he has shown us that he can be aggressive so, next weeks challenge will is going to be crazy aggressive by getting the least amount of fouls.





The defender on JP in this pic would not back off, so JP said he did what his coaches had taught them, "when a guy is in your face, go for the fake shot to throw him off"
It threw the kid off alright because Jdawg's elbow bloodied his mouth.














season opener
Loss
Did JP have fun:
Yes
Successful day:
You Bet!






Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Three by three...

These are certainly not all the cousins from family Christmas, but as I looked through most of the pics I took I noticed a theme.



They hang out three by three.






The Big Boys
Jdawg, Z-man, Seth
The Little Boys
Wingman, Big Guy, Little Guy





The Girls
AJ, Loulabelle, Elle



Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Good Sign...

A messy foyer and overflowing coat closet is a great sign of snow day fun.






Big Boy Beds, Big Headache...

Just before the twins 2nd birthday, Little Guy climbed/fell out of his bed.

Freaked me out, so we sprang into big boy room makeover, more on that makeover later.

It seemed we were a bit premature because while we were finishing the room, we put the boys in play yards in the scrapbook room. They were sleeping wonderfully in the play yards.

So when we finished the room we tried a couple long unsuccessful nights and nap times in the big boys beds and we immediately went to putting the play yards into their room.

I mean after one solid year of sleepless-ness, I treasure my sleep. T-R-E-A-S-U-R-E my sleep.

Everything was going beautifully through the holidays, boys would go to bed between 6-7pm and then wake between 7-9am. They would still nap from noon-4, or noon-3. It was just what this exhausted momma needs during a day.

Then a few days ago, I hear some crazy noises from their room. Noises I only recognize to be the closet door being slammed.

I opened the door only to find not one, but TWO toddlers running a muck.

Oy.

After watching Big Guy repeatedly go in and out of the play yard, I decided it was time.

So we broke down the play yards and took a good look around the room for dangers and began what I will refer to as the Big Boy Bed Break In Week.

Bedtime, seems to be going well. Although I will for sure not be able to ever put them to bed before they are truly ready.

Nap times on the other hand are not so great. I am determined to get these boys to successfully nap in the big boy beds. If I can survive this week, I think I can 'break them'. I am determined to do this without removing the toys in their room because that would just be very inconvenient. Instead I just want to keep correcting them and putting them back into their beds, eventually they will fall asleep at nap again. I hope.

This is what happens to boys left to explore their room in the middle of the day.




Big Guy in the Foreground on the "sluhlalide" Little Guy in the Background


Mass Destruction

*all furniture is anchored to the wall.


Monday, January 10, 2011

My Boy is...

Confident. Funny. Sweet. Smart.

Honest. Kind. Patient. Silly. Handsome.

Innocent.

At Christmas JP got an Ax* gift set with shower gel, spray, and deodorant. He just loves the smell of it, so he was excited.

He has been using it daily and honestly I find it difficult to talk to him sometimes. He is my sweet baby boy, but he smells like a man. It is just weird.

Last night at tuck in he told us he finally figured out why he wasn't sleeping.

JP said, "Mom I know why I am not sleeping very well. It is because of the Ax*, I noticed the bottle says it causes late nights."

I could not contain myself. I just instantly collapsed in laughter.

JP ran off to the bathroom to retrieve the bottle to show me.





In case you can't read it, is says:
EXPERIENCE THE AX* EFFECT
The AX* Effect may result in, but is not limited to, unrelenting female attention and/or late nights.
Do you see why it cracked me up?
JP's solution for the 'late night' sleeplessness problem is that he is going to use half as much shower gel as he has been. My solution for the problem is that I will be reading the labels of the hygiene products a little closer. Who knew there should be ratings on hair products?
My sweet sweet boy, how I wish he could stay this innocent forever. Love that boy.

Peppermint Whoopie Pies...

About a month ago I was flipping through a magazine and saw the most delightful looking picture of a cookie. I knew I had to make it.

Peppermint Whoopie Pies are incredibly delicious. Plus they are pretty!

I found the recipe on the Eat Wisconsin Cheese website. I know weird huh?

Although the holidays are over try this recipe, you won't be disappointed.

I am thinking about just making a vat of the filling...it is pure perfection, which translates into 'so not good for that new year's resolution'.

Peppermint Whoopie Pies
Ingredients:

Cookies:
2 Cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 cup buttermilk

Filling:
1/2 cup (1stick) butter, softened
1 7.5 ounce jar marshmallow fluff
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar

1 cup crushed peppermint candies (about 50 peppermint discs)

Cooking Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In separate bowl cream butter, brown sugar with mixer. Add egg and extracts mixing well. Add flour mixture slowly and buttermilk. Alternate adding those. Mix well. Cover dough and chill 30 minutes.

Drop dough in heaping spoonfuls on parchment lined baking sheets 2" apart. Bake for 9-12 minutes or until firm. Cool completely before filling.

For filling cream the butter, fluff, vanilla, till fluffy. Add powdered sugar slowly. Fill one side of cookie, top with second cookie and roll edges in crushed peppermint.

Keep filled cookies for 3 days, unfilled cookies in fridge for 1 week. Bring cookies to room temp before serving.

JEN'S NOTES: Use REAL butter, not margarine. Also the green spearmint candies are pretty for Christmas, but the peppermint ones taste WAY better. I would also recommend using actual candy canes as they crush easier. Peppermint discs have a almost plastic coat over the actual candy which makes crushing hard. The cookie is prettier with candy canes crushed. If you do use the peppermint discs it will take way more than 50 to achieve a more uniform color around the side of the cookie. I feel mine in the picture below are very week in color. Try not to eat the entire bowl of the filling, it will be hard to resist.


Peppermint Whoopie Pies

Recipe Source: www.eatwisconsincheese.com


Sunday, January 9, 2011

I made that...

As a child, one of the most exciting things was the 12 days of Christmas stockings.

A tradition started by my Grandma, I believe. She would fill the tiny stockings with small trinkets for my sister and I to count down the days till Christmas.

Once I had JP, my mom continued the tradition by filling the stockings for him.

Unfortunately the old stockings are old, tiny, and quite fragile. My mom made a temporary fix with some stockings, a ribbon, and some safety pins. It worked well for several years, but now that I have FOUR children the stockings were just too small.

I saw these adorable stockings at Target for just $2. I just love these fun vibrant colors! When I saw them I just knew I had to have them, lucky for me Aaron had just brought home a giftcard that he was willing to let me use.

I bought 12 of the stockings and then spaced them equally. I attached them to grosgrain ribbon with large chunky buttons.

We like to hang the 12 days of Christmas stockings down our stairwell, so to make it more manageable I divided the stockings into 2 sections.

I then attached the stockings sections to the banister with more colorful ribbons.

It took about 2 hours to finish the project.

Enjoy!





Saturday, January 8, 2011

Fun is my middle name...

When I was a little kid, I asked my Dad what his middle name was.

He told me it was GREAT.

David Great _______.

I believed him for years. I suppose because he truly is a GREAT man, so why wouldn't that be his name.

Then at some point I realized the truth, but continued telling people his middle name was Great.

It was quite some time after Aaron and I were married that he realized my Dad was not truly, David Great ________.

So I suppose if my kids asked me my middle name I could joke that it is FUN.

I am pretty sure that the kids would agree that mom is really just a big kid. I enjoy having a good time just like they do and I am not afraid to jump into the wrestle pile with my quad.

I hope they will always remember that Mom took the time away from other things, like cleaning or laundry, to get down on their level and play.

Even when I get entirely goofy, silly, or maybe even just a wee bit competitve...


'AJ you may be 6, but you are going down!'

'Score!'




Friday, January 7, 2011

Turtle Park...

Another family favorite in the STL area for the Babydolls and Soccerballs family is Turtle Park.

It is located across the highway from the ZOO, with free parking available and of course no admittance fee.

The first time I took the kids to this park was by accident during spring break of 2008. I will always remember that trip because just days after we found out we were expecting baby #3, which we all know really turned out to be babies #3 AND #4. So now everytime we go to the STL, we absolutely MUST go to Turtle Park.

It is a large grassy area with gigantor concrete turtles to climb and explore. This time the ground and turtles were snow covered, so we made the trip quick.


AJ

AJ taking a self portrait with Big Brother trying to crash the pic.

Lovin' the timer shots!



Thursday, January 6, 2011

Type A Personality...

It is quite possible that Miss AJ is a wee bit Type A.

You be the judge...


Last day of Christmas break AJ woke up and made a To-Do list. She has been sticking to the list all day, checking things off. If it isn't on the list, she has not or won't do it. That sweet girl cracks me up.
In case you cannot read it:
Movie
wii
change (as in her clothes)
play (as in free play time)
mad libs
read
watch wii (watch brother play wii)
kraft (make a craft)
pupit (puppet show)
lonch (lunch which she served herself)
puzzl (puzzles)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hidden Gem of the STL...

We recently found a real gem on our family vacation.

An inexpensive, educational, fun place that accomodated our wide age range of children.

It is The Museum of Transportation.

It is a train lovers paradise!

Although we only get to venture to STL about twice a year, we plan on becoming members of this awesome Museum.

Our praises are really saying a lot about this fine establishment as the day we chose to check it out was rainy, cold, and snow covered.

Next time we go I would love to take a tripod and get some awesome pics for a future Christmas card.

Aaron, Big Guy, AJ, JP, Little Guy, and Mommy

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Third Time Around...

Today has been a day filled with memories. Awesome memories have flooded into my mind throughout the entire day.





Memories of when I just had one sweet baby. To memories of expanding our little family to two kids.





It wasn't that long ago that JP was an only child, and yet in some instances it seems to have been an eternity.





Parenting the first time around was difficult, in that I did not know what I was doing. JP and I spent our days sleeping in, playing, rarely napping, and typically working at the Ole Giftshop. Once I got 'brave' enough we ventured out looking for buddies for JP. My bravery came in the form of my love of photography. I took pictures of JP with other kids at the pumpkin patch and then mailed copies to some of the moms. I put myself out there hoping 'a fish would bite'. Alana was my first mommy friend and many play dates followed. It was good times.





Parenting the second time around was just down right fun. Although it was fun, I had not found my confidence in my parenting. What I had found was 'my people' and they all had kids almost the exact same age as my two. Our days were filled with preschool, gymnastics, kindermusik, MOPS, play dates, lunch dates, girls nights out, etc. We threw each other adorable baby showers for our 2nd babies. We spent countless hours sitting in play lands outnumbered 2:1 kids to moms. All the firstborns played biddy sports together and we dined as families afterwards. It was like living in Disney World 24 hours a day.





Parenting the third time around has been hard. I absolutely love it, but it is hard. How do I explain this? As a mom of 4 I am now finally confident in myself as a parent. I feel knowledgeable, while still in the learning seat. But while I am confident, I still have moments where I feel alone in this stage of parenting. Those are tough moments, probably because of what an awesome close community that was going on when I was parenting the second time. You just can't beat being in the trenches with gals in the exact same situation as yourself.




You see now everyone has school aged children and along with homework comes after school activities. The big kids schedule throws a kink in the ability to just go play all day with friends because in order for toddlers to be happy being dragged from one practice to the next they need naps...Good naps.

It is hard when you have school aged kids and toddlers. But there is nothing greater than hearing 2 year olds calling for their 9 year old brother, or having a tea party with their 6 year old sister. So while I may feel alone in the trenches at times, my heart is so very full with my FOUR beautiful children.

A walk down memory lane...

Today my good friend Alana announced the re-opening of her awesome business, Kindermusik with Alana.

It is so exciting to have this learning opportunity available in our area again. Ms. Alana is an awesome teacher and the kids just adore her.

My older two kids both participated in Kindermusik. AJ participated for much longer than JP and honestly would have continued had the option been available.

AJ loved the instruments, the music, and the books. She loved all the adorable songs that go along with the classes.

Even years later I still find myself wondering through the house singing, "Its our time to sing together, it our time...." Or when I am in a hurry and cleaning, "Itsy bitsy mousey kins, runs around the housey kins...itsy bitsy mousey kins runs around the housey kins, runs runs runs!"

Every week the class was different, but it built on the previous week. Ms. Alana has a gift at creatively keeping the kids attention with new ways of applying different lessons. I will never forget the day we ice skated indoors, or the rocking time. Rocking time was so precious because a toddler hardly ever slows down to just be held.

I will also never forget my adorable newly 1 year old signing the word 'Mouse' to me. Amazing.

So today when Alana offered up an opportunity for a chance to win a free tuition, I jumped at the chance! I began looking through photos and was just taken a back to the beginning of some of the best years of my life.

You see Kindermusik was not just an awesome learning opportunity for my child, it was a chance for me to make friends as well. Amazing friendships were forged from those classes.

It is just crazy to think those chubby cheeked toddler boys (before even digital cameras no less) are now all turning 10! And sweet AJ and her girly girls, who by the way were always just decked out in the cutest outfits for Kindermusik, are now 1st graders and kindergartners.

Be still my heart.




Listening ears.

Story Time

Musical Instrument Exploration