One morning at my sister Melody’s house, my niece Julia quietly wandered into the living room after waking up. I remembered a picture I have of her when she was just a tiny toddler, and had to take another picture just like it. Great comparison, eh? She must sleep a certain way so that her right pant leg gets all bunched up every night.
Saturday, September 24, 2011
We love going to The Alamo on Friday nights because they have authentic live music played by a pair of charming guys. It makes the experience all the better. This time the duo had a third maraca man, who could also sing beautifully. We ordered one of our favorite (big enough to share and each have leftovers to take home) meal. Of course they brought us chips in the meantime. I’m sort of a chips and salsa-aholic. I can’t stop myself. So I was a little glad when the chips were a little cold and stale-ish, so I wouldn’t over do it. But knowing it’s not like The Alamo to serve something subpar, and knowing the potential those chips had, I asked the friendly waiter (who I’m ashamed to say, probably remembers me by now) if we could replace our bowl with a more fresh batch. It’s really not like me to cause a fuss, but I just love chips and salsa so so much, something just came over me. He said, “You like the hot chips?” to which I responded with an enthusiastic “Yes!”, and that was the best decision I made all week. I’ve never had chips so hot and melt-in-you-mouthy as those. Heaven. That was a great start to a great night. Then our food came. I was lost in it. I told Elise, that every time I have good Mexican food, I just want to live in that extremely happy place as long as possible. This was one of those moments. We enjoyed every bite we could handle, and left feeling like that was exactly what we needed after a seemingly long week. Does this all make me sound pathetic? I don’t care.
We saw a 9:30 showing of The Help (Look at us, living it up!), which made me so happy I live in this day and age, so glad there were some enthusiastic ladies in the audience to comment on the funniest things (I think we were the only white people in the theater), and so happy to have my own sweet babies to cuddle in the morning. Oh, and I was glad I bought some Everlasting Gobstoppers before the show. I was really pulling out all the stop last night.
We made it home around 12:30. It was fun. I love a girls night, especially with my sister here to do them with. I just wanted to remember this great night, and many others like it. I mean, we love spending the day with all the kids, laughing to tears as they entertain us, but sometimes, after they go to bed, we need a different kind of entertainment that doesn’t involve board books, wipes, and animal sounds, ya know?
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
We had the pleasure of attending the Shady Grove Fertility Family Day this past weekend. And it was quite the extravaganza, let me tell you. I thought the NICU reunion was big, but this event was entertaining over 2,500 happy people. Everywhere you turned there were dozens of children, all here with the help of the many doctors and nurses, etc. that helped us all on our journey to having families. I was a little overwhelmed at first, seeing the hugeness of the crowd (I’m not a crowd-type person), but we soon found our way around. There was even a map to help us navigate. Of course, we didn’t participate in any of the awesome activities for the kids (pony rides, face painting, clowns making balloon animals, petting zoo, bounce houses, dancing, etc.) since them getting lost was a very strong possibility, not to mention the ridiculous lines, but I did fulfill my one goal for the afternoon, which was to make sure to see our doctor. There was an area designated to meeting the docs., and sure enough, we found him right there. We stepped up, and immediately gave each other a huge hug, as if we were family. He was ecstatic to see the kids, and wanted to know how we were dealing with everything. He said there were few cases during his career that kept him up at night, and ours was one of them. He wanted so much for everything to work out, from conceiving, to actually making it to term (or close enough to it), and he was so happy and relieved to see that it has. It was a wonderful time chatting with him, and with no one else in line at the moment, we took our time catching up. It was nice to see him in a more casual setting, where I could really see him as a friend, and not a doctor with another patient in line and paperwork to catch up on (though he never made me feel that way in the office). It’s always such a great reminder of how we got to where we are today. I need those now and then, when the babies’ difficult behavior causes me to forget on occasion. I Hope we keep this relationship going as long as we can. They will definitely be on my Christmas card list every year.
We hit the barbeque pavilion, gave about 20 people information about our stroller (the man pushing his triplets in a triple-wide stroller was very jealous), and made our way back to the car. They were trying to gather the masses for a ginormous group picture, but we opted out, knowing it would take over an hour to get everyone together, and we just didn’t have that kind of time. The kids were antsy. But we left feeling good and happy and glad we made the 40 minute, each way, drive.
Saturday, September 17, 2011
It’s expensive to live in Maryland. So people like us live in small spaces. Whenever I’m in Utah, I realize just how much more expensive it is to live here, when I notice how much more people had for the same amount of money. Anyway, when you are stuck with tight living conditions, you learn to be grateful for any little extra space you have, and try to figure out how to be creative with that space. Our one extra room (an extra room is truly a luxury around here) is our play room/guest room. We move the toys out when guests come, and then it’s back to playroom mode when they leave. The kids think the change is a lot of fun, so we don’t mind at all switching it up now and then. It’s works for us.
But as we get more/bigger toys as the kids grow up, we find the room feeling smaller and smaller. We definitely like to rotate toys from the basement to keep things interesting, but it still gets cramped. I felt the organizing bug hit me pretty hard a while ago, but I feel like my hands are a little tied right now. While we’re renting, I don’t want to invest in any shelving, or any permanent-type toy organization. We’ve tried simple options like our toy bin thing, which I’ve loved. It was great while the kids were younger. But now that they are getting older and wiser, it seems to be more of a toy itself, as they tear it apart the second we put it all back together. It will definitely come in handy through the years, but for now I think I’d rather have it in their room, serving some purpose besides causing more of a mess, while it’s supposed to do the opposite. So I got to thinking of what would work for our situation now. Having toys is still new to me, so it’s hard to know what to do with them when they are all of the sudden coming out of your ears!
I decided to go the most practical route, and buy several large lidded bins. The toys are now organized by type, and are all bagged individually inside each bin. I also bought some of those awesome jumbo Ziploc bags that hold all the balls, tents, and any inflatables when they aren’t in use. I now have much more control over the toys than I did before, and more space for them too. The kids love it. We open one or two bins at a time, they bring me a bag to open, and they play with the toys as if they’ve never seen them before. It’s also helping as I’m trying to teach them to clean up what they are playing with, before we get something new out. I’m sure that lesson will take some time to learn, but you gotta start somewhere. This should also make the guestroom to playroom transition a little easier, with just a few things to move around.
So, it’s nothing fancy, it’s nothing unique, but it’s perfect for our situation right now. I feel like no matter what you do to make your life more organized and clutter-free, as simple as it may be, can feel like such a breath of fresh air, don’t you think? A clean house = a happy mom around here, so until this stops working and we need to make another change, this makes me very happy.
As much as I fanaticize about having a huge basement playroom, or, say, more than one bathroom, I’m going to look on the bright side of the situation and enjoy that I only have this small space to clean right now. The kids don’t know any different, so why rush into wanting more, instead of enjoying what we have? I’ll try to remember that this winter when it feels like the walls are closing in on us.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Why do kids have to grow up so fast? Do they know how much it hurts their mommies’ hearts (sorry mom!)? I suppose they don’t have any choice in the matter, so I’ll try to look on the bright side and thoroughly enjoy the new sweet things my kids do and say as they get older. My darlings turned two years old on Monday, and I felt overwhelmed with love and gratitude every time their little faces smiled up at me, or when they reached up to ask me to hold them, or when they planted a big kiss right on my lips. Mmmm, I couldn’t live without those babies (yes, they are still babies, because I said so). This past year wasn’t as challenging as the first, but it wasn’t without its many challenges either. I have so much to learn about parenting. My role as a mother has changed significantly from simply (Ha! As if it was simple.) helping them survive by feeding, bathing, changing, and holding them, to now having to teach them right from wrong, and how to communicate, among many other very valuable things. I have a feeling we’re all going to be learning a lot of new things together as they years go on, because I really feel inadequate to take on such a task as raising children. But I’ll do my best, and pray that it’s good enough.
Because we had a bit of a bash for their birthday last year, I wanted to keep it pretty low key this year, as they still aren’t very particular about what they expect out of their birthday. It started with them waking up happily a little after 7:00. We let them immediately open some presents, which made them very happy little two year olds (and made me a very happy mommy as they played quietly for a long time).
In my family, we always got to choose any kind of cereal we wanted for our birthday breakfast (by the way Mom and Dad, that is genius. It might be the easiest and cheapest way to make a kid feel like they are getting special treatment first thing in the morning.) The kids didn’t pick these out, but we happened to have them on hand (thank you Target sale) and they seemed like the kinds I picked out as a kid. The babies were in heaven as they gobbled up their own bowls of Trix. Don’t worry, they had Wheaties the next day.
I hadn’t seen any friends in so long, that I just invited some people over to play, to make the day a little different and fun. It also gave me an excuse to make some festive treats for the occasion. Which were (see if you can guess the theme):
Yeah, I just couldn’t resist doing a mini dessert party with all the resources I had. I can’t forget to mention the mini ice cream cones, and mini popsicles that aren’t pictured. I think this is a theme I will have to play with again for gatherings in the future. Although it was way too easy to eat too many mini desserts.
So friends arrived around 10, and the fun began. I think we had about 25 in the end. The kids thought it was great having all these new faces to show off for. And so many little friends to play with. I was also happy to play with my friends. We don’t get together often enough. We talked, ate, played, broke up fights over toys, consoled crying children, laughed at funny children, and had some good old fashioned fun. I put my kids down for a nap around noon, and didn’t hear a peep out them them until after three. Thank you babies! They must’ve known they’d get to stay up later and party if they had an extra long nap.
Friends filtered out and we had the afternoon to play with their new toys, and watch their new movie, Beauty and the Beast. KC brought home a Pizza later on, which the kids loved (as did I, enjoying a break from the kitchen) with their ranch dressing “dipit”. They ate a few of the previously mentioned treats earlier, but I saved their cupcakes for dinner. They were so excited when the flames were lit, and we gave them a little help blowing them out. They nibbled on cupcakes, and each got an ice cream cone, and then it was off to bed with them.
I have a feeling the years are only going to start going by faster as they grow up. I guess I better prepare myself now for the heartache that will cause. But I’m sure I’ll be distracted by how much fun they are as they get older. I’m looking forward to so much we’ll do together in the future, but I also love how much fun we have together everyday. I guess, in the end, it’s a win, win. Happy Birthday, my babies. Is it okay if I call you that just a little bit longer?
Now, excuse me while I post a million more pictures.
In case you are wondering (cause I would be if I knew what kind of group picture posers these kids are), we used alphabet flash cards to make them sit still and look at the camera. Worked like a charm!