Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The hunt...

My neighbor, Dede (thank you!), had an Easter egg hunt at her house on Sunday. Since the weather didn't exactly cooperate, she had it in her house (double thank you!). It started in the basement, young children first, then continued upstairs. The boys all had a blast. I am not that good at taking photos of children in motion when time is of the essence and a stampede is about to occur, so the photos didn't turn out that well unfortunately.

Ethan lining up for the hunt, with his basket hat.

Oliver quickly scanning the room for more eggs.

Collin was obsessed with opening every egg he found. He loves plastic eggs - taking them apart, putting them together.

Ethan on the hunt.

Collin found chocolate in an egg and knew instinctively it must be something good, probably helped that other kids were happily unwrapping and eating these curious foil wrapped objects. We let him have one... okay two... but he insisted. Now, I am trying to recall... I don't really think that he has ever had chocolate before. I thought never, but he might have had an M&M around Christmas maybe?? He definitely has not had a tiny Recces Peanut Butter egg before though... it was good.

Collin with his chocolate face.

Ethan wanted to have a piece as well, which he did. Oliver could have cared less. The good thing, none of them suspect still that Easter baskets are typically filled with candy. I've even felt Ethan out this year on the sly, but it seems that since he has only had them at some Easter egg hunts he thinks that's the only time you get it. Last year our neighborhood had a candy free Easter egg hunt. So, really, even Ethan at five years old still doesn't really know.

Oliver playing the piano with Cameryn.

At bedtime I was asking Ethan what his favorite part of the day was and of course he said the Easter egg hunt with his friends. Thank you Dede!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Reforming the snack lady

So, this is Easter week and guess what? I do not have snack on the day closest to Easter!!! Woo hoo! Someone read my posts and didn't give me another holiday!! I do, however, have it tomorrow which of course is not any typical day... it's "Experience the Arts" day at Ethan's preschool. Basically, an art show. In my mind, my crazy, warped, over-thinking, silly-worrying, over-doing and over-thinking everything mind, that still begs a cool snack... and thus mommy pressure. Come on, it's an art show! You need hor' dourve like snacks right? Right?! You can't have just any old snack for an art show, that would just be wrong. (yes, I know, I have a sickness with no cure.)

I think I came up with an idea that meets my sick need to make cool snacks (that, admittedly, probably only I think are cool or good), but doesn't require me to bake (which is good because our oven is DOA at the moment... oh right... and the whole 'I am not that good of a baker, rarely anything ever turns out' thing). I know, I know, I said I would buy it... and make it look like I made it (don't judge me... it's mommy pressure)... but this idea was simple, yet maybe cool, and somewhat art show hor' dourve like (just give me this one). Ethan and I made fruit and cheese skewers. Separate of course as 'you can't have fruit touching the cheese mom... geez... and my friend C doesn't like cheese anyway... so they need to be separate.'

Ethan designed the fruit skewers and I made the cheese skewers. I say Ethan designed them because this actually turned out to be a great snack for many reasons: (A) it's healthy, (B) it's simple, (C) he thought it was a cool idea and (D) he wanted to "design" each skewer, giving it its own unique pattern. No kidding, every one of them is different. He loved it.

So, you see, you can reform a crazy snack lady... a little... hey, I refrained (okay, more like fought the incredible urge) from cutting the cheese into cool shapes with little cookie cutters (like I did for the Halloween snack) before I put them on the skewers... that's progress right?

In case you are wondering or worrying, yes, I cut off the sharp ends.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sock Bunnies!

We braved it (if you knew the no napping condition of my house, you would truly understand the "braved" part) and created a really cute Easter craft today: sock bunnies. I have seen this craft several times over the years and a few times so far this year. I thought they looked too cute and easy not to make this year, so I gathered up my supplies and we gave it a try. They did pretty well... with a few blimps from the no napping tired two year old boys.

We only did two, refer back to comment above, but they really loved them.

The blue one is the baby bunny and the cream one is mommy bunny (she's a lop eared bunny).
Their psychedelic tails...
As it turned out I didn't have the craft stuff I thought I did, so we did a lot of "making due" on several items. The neon tails, though, the boys loved... all is well that ends well.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

One of those days...

Today was one of those days. Wrapping up one of those weeks.

This week was our product training school at work, which I coordinate and also do some training. It is a huge time drain. Weeks of time draining to be specific. The week of is the worst. I am not at my desk, I am running around making sure everything is going smoothly and seamlessly and my least favorite part are the late nights entertaining. I know, they used to be fun, but now... I'm old, tired and would rather be home for bedtime stuff with the kids. Okay enough belly aching about that.

I, we, had high hopes for today (our first mistake). We hoped they would sleep in. Of course saying that makes it seem like they sometimes do sleep in... not the case... not on the weekend at least. Today was no exception. Shortly after getting up, Ethan wanted his Legos to build with so we obliged (our second mistake). Legos, simple enough right? Hours of fun, right? Not. The boys, all three, fought over the Legos. Not because there were only a handful, more because isn't it cooler when it's in your brother's hands? Of course it is. Steve looked at me at one point and said "let's just pack them up and get out of here." At first I didn't want to, I just wanted to try to relax and lounge and get something done. Then the fighting and whining became about everything... and at that point I said "let's get out of here!" We hoped that a change of scenery and fresh air would help the over all moods (blah, haa, haa... silly parents).

We decided to take the boys to the Lego Store in our area, which we hadn't yet been. Steve and I had been to the Lego Stores in Chicago and New York City, which is what we envisioned (third mistake), thinking we would wander around the store of cool Lego sets and enjoy ourselves. Of course our Lego Store is at a very busy outside mall, which naturally had very limited parking which we had to search for like prey. Getting to the store was no small feat, as we were the farthest point from the store once we got parking, didn't remember the stroller and had two little two year olds that did not want to either hold our hands or be held... fun times.

Anyhow, when we got to the store it was wee little. Ridiculously tiny. Maybe even more so because it was wall to wall people. WALL TO WALL. We lost Collin twice, Oliver once and Ethan once (not really lost, they took a couple steps and there were so many people we couldn't see them, regardless it was so stressful). It was not a leisurely wander, it actually resembled being at the stores when they opened the day after Thanksgiving. Not exactly what we thought.

This was a rare second where it was just them at the building table... and I wanted to capture the fun in a photo... it lasted mere seconds.

Ethan trying to build a Lego person. There were no less than a dozen kids around this table meant for three kids tops, all grabbing at the body parts at the same time. We love Legos in this house, so I am going to refrain from any more comments about that store experience and what I thought of it...

Once we left, we went a few other places and then just decided the twins were too tired as they were either running from us or melting down. When we got home, close to dinner, I made homemade pizza, which Steve had been asking for the last few weeks (we hadn't had time). Ahhh, homemade pizza, that will save the day right? (forth mistake) Right as I was getting ready to put toppings on and pop it into the oven, the heating element in our oven caught on fire. Yes... FIRE. I handled it well... "STEVE! STEVE!! STEVE!!!!!!!" What? It was a rough week, what did you expect me to do - be a quiet ,calm, composed person?? Come on.

Needless to say, the heating element, once we stopped the fire (thankfully we didn't need to call the fire department - THAT would have been the topper), broke in two. One hour of pizza dough making and rising all for not. We just looked at each other in amazement... given our week, day and other events as of late.

That was the icing on the cake of the day, for sure. I should tell you, we have been microwave free since Christmas Eve... the day it stopped working. With the other things we had going on, we decided to make due without and though we have hit some painful, longing-for-a-microwave bumps along the road, it hasn't been too horrible. But now no stove too?! (there is no way we are plugging that thing in until we get a replacement... and maybe have someone look at it.... it was scary... we are not sure there isn't more than the oven heating element gone bad.) Seriously??! I have read about the raw diet and have heard all the benefits and though I have been willing to dabble in it partially for my family's health, there is no way they will go for that full time.

Sigh... so the kids got to bed an hour late... and Steve and I just want to crumble into bed as well. Do you think there is any chance of the kids sleeping in tomorrow? Yea, I don't think so either.

It was just one of those days, ending one of those weeks.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I see you...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Carrots and my tear of joy

I think I have mentioned before that Oliver will not eat one vegetable. Since we switched from pureed baby food, he has refused to eat any. Doesn't matter if they are raw or cooked soft. If they are sweet or savory. If I add good stuff to it or not. If a vegetable touches his tongue, it's out immediately. I've even tried to sneak a small vegetable in (when he wants us to feed him occasionally) under the other item he actually wants. He will start chewing, then immediately stop, start making gagging faces and spit it out. D.R.A.M.A. K.I.N.G. Honestly, part of me has wondered if Grandma Dee's vegetable aversion really was a genetic thing like she has claimed all these years. Hmmmm.

Given that he won't eat any, I have had to be more stealth about, when I have time that is. I have made popscicles with spinach ground up, fruit smoothies with kale and spinach, fresh orange juice with carrots, and I have even pureed different veggies and added them to various entree items... which I can't tell you which because Steve reads this. Never mind sweetie, just ignore that.

Though I do this on the sly, I still give him the vegetable we eat every night in hopes that one day he will eat it. This last weekend, Oliver picked up a carrot, which is not uncommon for him to tease me like that. Steve actually said: "are you teasing mommy?" With our cheering (yes, I know you aren't supposed to do that... but whatever... sometimes you have to bend the rules), he took a bite. Then chewed it. Smiling large, he took another bite and chewed it too. We started doing cart wheels in the kitchen... it was amazing. We were so over the top that Collin and Ethan were eating up their carrots in hopes of the same cheering and performance, which we did, even though they both love carrots.

Yes, he's standing in his highchair, but who cares, he's EATING a carrot. He could be hanging out upside down from it for all I care!
Just to see if this wasn't a fluke, I have served carrots two other times this last week and he ate them all time, with a little cheering of course. Maybe we have turned the corner?? Maybe? "Go Oliver! Eat those yummy brussel sprouts! Woo hoo!!" Okay, maybe not that corner just yet.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Curses to you double stuff oreos!

Tuesday was Ethan's St. Patrick's day lunch/party at preschool. The lunch theme was "rainbow." Cool, I can do that. On the sign-up sheet, we had orange - carrots of course. I can think of a billion things to make a rainbow lunch - can't you? Fruit, veggies, cheese, etc.

At work, I received a text from Erin after picking Ethan up from school. It read: "Ethan is sitting here and we were talking about his day. I asked him what he had for lunch, the words of Ethan: 'I had the best lunch!' I said you did, what was it? He said: 'I had double stuffed oreos. Ms. Erin, those things are good. I love school lunches.'"

Meaning, of course, that he gets all this "super good" food when they have these lunch parties versus when mom packs his lunch.

First of all, when did black become a color of the rainbow? What am I missing??

Second, what a way to foil all my good doing. The first ingredient is sugar, the next fifty are different types of oils, then artificial coloring and the very last ingredient is chocolate. Really? Okay, I love the things too, but I was hoping I could hold off on him eating one for a while... it only takes one bite after all, as the saying is true: love at first bite.

At dinner that night, I was asking him about his lunch and sure enough the oreos came up. He lovingly described them in detail to me.

He still ate one of my homemade whole wheat (with wheat bran too) fig & date filled cookies for dessert... though not with quite the same enthusiasm or excitement as he did before an Oreo touched his lips...

Curses to you double stuff oreos! Curses!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spring is coming!!!

Last Tuesday, after the twins' first special needs preschool eval (more on that later), we took the boys to the park. Other than being really muddy in the grass surrounding the playground, it was really nice out and the perfect day.

Here are some shots of our first official day at the playground in 2010.

Holy crap, that might be a real, non animated, non goofy smile!

Kissing himself in the wavy (very, very dirty) mirror.

Okay, here's the deal. Ethan cannot stand to be wet. As soon as we got there, his pant leg got wet from walking across the grass to the playground and he insisted on rolling it up. At first it was a little and then it kept getting "more wet" and therefore the farther it went up. By the time we left, both pant legs were rolled up. It was either that or let him take his pants off... Is it possible to develop sensory issues at five?

No comment on Ethan's chosen pose or facial expression.

Tiny bit of snow left last week.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The squad

Ethan has been obsessed ("excessed" as he calls it) with drawing lately. He wants to draw constantly and therefore so do the twins. The latest creations by Ethan have been superheroes. Or more specifically Superhero Squad guys. For those of you who don't live with four young superhero obsessed boys (yes, I said FOUR), Superhero Squad are small Marvel figures (Hulk, Spiderman, Iron Man, etc.) He's made most of them, then cut them out so that he can play with them. You know, like little paper dolls. His reasoning is of course, since he doesn't have the actual figures, he will just make some. Can't argue with that, huh?

Last night, while Oliver was getting a bath and Ethan and I were hanging out, Ethan quizzed me on superhero facts. I kid you not. If not that, then it's a big photo of all of them and I have to point to each, naming all that I know and their facts. If I miss, I get an education (I am a little iffy on the villains, not a fan, try to deter the kids from them too). I never in all my life thought I would know so much about superheroes. And as hard as I tried to hold onto Collin (Oliver went to the dark side long ago), he now loves "hideran" (Spiderman). Sigh...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ethan's Ethan

Ethan's preschool sent home a big roll of yellow paper last week. When you unrolled it, an outline of Ethan was found. His homework: cut your shadow out and decorate it however you want to reflect you. I'll give you one guess as to how he chose to decorate it, if you fail this is clearly your first time at this blog. Yes, a superhero. But, which one. Now that is harder, he changes favorites everyday. This particular day it was Robin.

He and daddy got to work creating a life size Ethan dressed up as Robin. Daddy drew the shapes on construction paper and Ethan cut them out and helped tape them on. He also colored in shoes and face, glued on his hair and cut the entire thing out. Impressive:

I still cannot get him to smile normally... everything is animated. I think he was saying "I'm Robin, boy wonder" during this photo. And yes, those are batarangs in Robin's hands. He wouldn't be complete without them. Of course.

When Oliver saw it, he said: "That is cool! That's a cool Robin."

Our first toddler play group meeting

Last Saturday, I took Collin and Oliver to their very first toddler play group meeting. It was actually a twin toddler play group meeting through the local area twin club which I belong. I feel a little bad that this was the first one we have gone to, but you know the saying "better late than..."

It went pretty well, with only a few little blips.

Oliver, as it turns out, gets a lot of his fearlessness from Ethan. Meaning, Ethan needs to be there. As Oliver was trying to go up into the climbing structures, he discovered that it was scarier than he thought. He really wanted to go up, but then he would stand shaking and crying on the "steps." I had to snake myself in these alternating "steps" to get him, only he didn't want got. So, I pushed him up and then there he sat at the top... the top where I couldn't see him. One very nice mom (from the birthday party that was also going on there) asked her three year old to go get him and she agreed... went up... came down slide... "weee", she said to her daughter, "Where's Oliver?" to which her three year old said "who?" Sigh... That didn't stop her from asking her about three more times to do the same thing, which had the same results. Hmmmm. He would eventually get to the slide opening and then cry because he was afraid to go down it, no matter what encouragement Collin and I gave him from the other end... both of our head's in the bottom of the tubular slide, butts sticking out (thought you would enjoy that visual), yelling up to him. Once he came down, after the 20 minutes of drama total, he went right back to trying to climb up again. Huh?! Collin on the other hand tried once to get up, was not comfortable with it and that was the end of that.

Collin ran around going down a small slide. They both liked the basketball nets, but not to put the ball in. Instead they just liked to play in the area that said "please do not climb inside." Of course.

Though it was at an ice cream place, we didn't get any ice cream. That only worked because they didn't know it was an ice cream place, I did though, so that kind of sucked. Oliver did, however, find an m&m on the floor and promptly ate it. When I went to fish it out (wasn't sure what it was at first), it was still crunchy so I am assuming it was fresh and not previously spit out by another child. When I told one of the other twin moms she suggested hopefully that it was from the birthday party going on at the same time. As gross as it was, I know it was not the worst thing he has ever eaten... unfortunately.

All in all it was a lot of fun. I even got a few minutes to talk to a couple of the moms... woo hoo... play time for mommy too!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Jeni, where have you been all my life?

Today and Aunt Krissy (who was visiting this weekend) and I needed to get the boys out of the house for a little bit while daddy worked on a project with Uncle Mike. So, where would we take them? To get ice cream of course!

We ventured a little out of our area today because I have been wanting to try this Jeni's ice cream that I have heard so much about over the years. I know, ice cream two weekends in a row, what is wrong with me? Jeni's is a local ice cream shop who makes ice cream with all natural and organic ingredients, much of which they get from local farmers... now that's my kind of ice cream!

It was quite busy when we got there, so between that and the corralling the kids it was a little hard to pick flavors. Any of you local people who know about Jeni's know what I mean by that. They just aren't your typical flavors. Not even close. Collin and Oliver got Wildberry Lavendar, Ethan got Roxbury Road and Krissy and I got samplers of three kinds. Mine was salty carmel, gooey butter cake and black coffee, Krissy's was Mackenzie Creamery Goat Cheese with Cognac Figs, Riesling Poached Pear sorbet and lemon yogurt (I think). Seriously, don't you love those names?? Let me tell you, they were F.A.B.U.L.O.U.S.

Ethan, with beaming content smile, devoured his within minutes. Oliver ate his intensely without hardly breathing, he is normally the slower one. He even whine/cried when he couldn't get it on his spoon at times (again, not wanting to have a moment without it in his mouth). Collin slowly savored his, while every once in a while glancing up at me with the biggest cutest smile on his face. You know the happy content smile that says "I love you so much mom." It was the ice cream talking, but I'll take it.

The best part? This is ice cream I can feel good about giving them!

Holy cow! It was so good that I am still (obviously) thinking about it! To all you local folks, if you haven't been there, you NEED to GO! It is well worth any drive! Or am I the only person who had never been there?

Meanwhile, now that I have crawled out from under my rock, I am working on possible locations and business plans to present to them in hopes of convincing them they need to have a location closer to us. Please Jeni... please.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Did someone say ice cream?

We were running errands with the boys on Sunday when they hit the proverbial wall. All the sudden they were whiny and squirmy. That's when we decided to go someplace for a very rare treat - ice cream.

I wish I had recorded the before and after of the boys when I said: "Do you want to go get some ice cream?" Darkness left their crabby faces and was replaced by beaming smiles. One of them even gasped.

Ethan: "YES! Ice cream! Woo hoo!"

Oliver: "I want ice cream" (fifty times).

Collin: "I heam!"

When we got there, they plastered their faces against the glass trying to decide what to get. Okay, the twins haven't really been for ice cream but once a year ago, so they didn't really know what to do but drool over it. Ethan, however, did and started planning his concoction.

Steve made fun of me for taking photos, but seriously isn't that the cutest thing you have ever seen?! I wish I could have went around the counter and taken it from the other side of their drooling faces.

As they sat eating it, silence happened. Happy euphoric delicious silence. Until they were done, then all heck broke loose again. Actually it was worse than before, since they were doped up on sugar that they normally don't get. Hmmmm... just whose bright idea was it get ice cream (says the guilty party)?

Yes, Ethan could not be bothered with taking off his hat and coat. After all, he had ice cream to devour.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What happens behind closed doors...

(they always say make the title sexy and people will want to read it... did that work?)

Friday the twins had eye exams at one of our children's hospital annex locations. Oliver has been blinking hard a lot and my pediatrician wanted him to be seen by a specialist. Collin came along because as he said: "if one is going, the other one might as well go for a check up too." Clearly my doctor does not have twins. Let me explain:

2 children + 2 years old + siblings + 45 minutes + hot exam room = massive meltdowns

Really though, you knew the answer to that equation didn't you?

They did really well, considering we were shuffled around a bit. Five minutes after we arrived we went into a room with a nurse who did, what turned out to be, preliminary tests. She then dilated their eyes (they loved that...not) and sent us to the waiting room for "about 30 minutes." I sat there filling out the mass of forms in duplicate, as the boys played happily. After only maybe 15 minutes, they came to get us. Woo hoo, it's my lucky day!

The gentleman, who I thought was our doctor, took us to an exam room where he did a few more tests on the twins and then told me the doctor would be in shortly. Am I the only person that hates the words "the doctor will be in shortly," knowing full well that translates to "sometime before the end of the day." We were in the exam room, albeit a larger than normal exam room, for 45 minutes (that had to be like 8 hours in toddler time). It started out okay. After I had the twins, I loosened up quite a bit about many things (it was called survival actually). Letting them play with toys and books at the doctor's office and roll around on the floor, even knowing that they have a brown tinge for a reason, is one said loosened standard. At first it went well, they played with the items individually and also shared. It was so sweet. I was down on the floor with them playing and reading too. One big happy happy.

Oliver kept calling the chair a robot and when you looked at how it was broken up, it really did look like one.
Playing nicely with the bead chaser in the exam room.

I almost got a false sense of security for the eight minutes that lasted. Then, I was ripped from the fantasy land in my mind and brought back to reality: the fighting over toys and playing with things they shouldn't ensued. It was not pretty people. They went from sharing to ripping it from each other. It was from happy talk to screaming at each other, hitting, shoving and crying. All, in a very hot exam room.

I had to wonder what the doctors, nurses, office staff, the patients in the other rooms and most likely even waiting room... and probably the office down the hall... maybe even the ones upstairs and downstairs, thought of the sounds coming from our room. They were yelling at each other and yelling at me. I was consoling one or the other to no avail.

Collin was getting on the room phone and the computer (really, a phone on the reachable counter and a computer - come on!). They were getting at the doctors tools and wanting to take a belly ride on the stool on wheels. I went from on the floor happily playing with them to "no sweetie, please don't do that" and redirecting them, to putting toys in time out, to first and middle name usage, and then largely giving up... deciding to make videos on my phone to send to Steve with a "wish you were here" message (okay, maybe those weren't the exact words I used). I was dangerously close to opening the door of the exam room and telling the staff I was going to unleash these two if the doctor didn't come in soon.

The third fight over the bead chaser... (yes, it went into time out after this)... future Jerry Springer guests huh?
Collin talking on the phone, for the umpteenth time! If you watch, in the end he is so mad at me for raining on his parade that he is not only screeching "no!" but also signing no to me as well (fingers to thumb).

Really, why on earth would they lock two toddlers in a room together for 45 minutes (after already being there for 30 minutes prior)? I would have rather waited in the lobby with the mounds of dirty toys and the brain dumbing cartoon network. By the time the doctor came to our room, did I mention it was 45 minutes (?!), they were in full meltdown and I was a puddle of sweat.

Fortunately, the doctor was able to check their eyes without being assaulted by one of the boys. Okay, Collin was iffy on that last point. It wasn't Collin's fault though, the doctor turned on a video of some sort to get them to look straight ahead at a screen, then he turned it off... on, off, on, off, on, off, on, off... Collin was giving him the "stop messing with me dude, can't you see I'm on the edge here? Leave the video on and no one with get hurt" look. If he wasn't sitting on my lap, I would have cleared out. Luckily he made it through. And, other than a case of dry eyes for Oliver, all was good.

I was even thinking: "whew, I see the light at the end of the tunnel." That was, before the doctor gave each boy a token for the prize machine. What? Oh yes, prize machine. Which then they were all about of course. The prize machine that had teeny tiny very non-age appropriate trinkets. They each picked a little stretchy lizard thing, which they insisted on getting out and carrying around. Guess how many times they lost one of them on the way out... down the hall, in the elevator, out the building lobby and to the parking lot? Yea, let's not go there. We ended up permanently loosing Collin's somewhere in the parking lot... I even ran back through our path to the car and then did two drive around missions looking for it... as he screamed. Yes, I had a tinge of mommy guilt for not being able to find it. On that note, to doctors everywhere, two year old children do not expect a prize for a visit. They do not know of such things yet. So, please do not give them such things. Or, if you really feel compelled, have something larger and age appropriate for them. Please. Thank you.

That is what happens behind closed doors in exam rooms with toddlers who have expired. Seriously, they need to rethink the no food and drink rule for waits that long.

Oh, and after all that, I left my insurance card in the lobby. Sigh...
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