Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Baked Ziti + Thunderstorms =

Mommy getting creative.


Nathan told me a few months ago that you should never takes baths or showers during a thunderstorm, namely, one with lightening.  I seriously never knew that, and even googled it to make sure he wasn't yanking my chain.  Turns out, it's dangerous.  So there I was last night, all alone with the babies (he was working 3-11p), and they were having the best time eating baked ziti.  Things were status quo, until The Biggest Storm Ever began raging over Columbia.  Power went out a few times, Dish Network was a complete mess, and there we were at the dinner table... trying to figure out how in the world baths were going to take place in such a "dangerous situation."  I'm one to take chances, but not with my babies!

This was my solution, and it worked out pretty nicely.  I brought in the pool from outside, filled it up with buckets of warm water from the kitchen sink (took my chances there), and wahlah!  Bath time.  Tyler & Caroline thought it was wonderful, as you can see. 


Friday, July 23, 2010

Ewww.

I've mentioned that Tyler is into everything. And by everything, I mean gross stuff, like dog and cat food. Our poor animals have to resort to the toilet if they ever want any water, because the minute they eat their breakfast and dinner, I put their bowls on the counter or chairs where Tyler can't reach.

Wait, did I say can't reach?


This is blurry because he was in mid-reach, and ended up turning the entire thing over and spilling Jaxx's "snack" (he eats half his breakfast and saves the rest for later) all over the floor.  Between our living vacuum cleaner (Connor) and myself, I thought we'd cleaned it up.  We didn't.

Five minutes later I'm back in the kitchen flipping banana pancakes and Tyler is at my feet, tugging on my legs.  I look down and smile, as does he, and that's when I see crumbles of cat food all over his face.  *GAG*

He wouldn't let me get it out, so I quickly encouraged him to drink some water from the sippy and wash it down.  I know it's not the worst thing that he'll put in his mouth, but this was the first time I've had to experience the true "yuck" of what kids will try and eat.  This one is allllllll boy, for sure. 
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Psssst, head on over to Twice Blessed Reviews to see who is taking home a Little Lasso of their own!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

aaaaaand She's Off

I've been relishing in the past few weeks of Caroline "almost" crawling, because I knew it was only a matter of time before she was a wild woman (as Tyler is a mad man). 


As of Monday, she has taken off with a vengeance and I can no longer do anything without keeping a constant eye on both of them.  I used to want them to walk early, just so they weren't on their hands and knees all the time (and picking up disgusting floor things, even though I'm a psycho that uses my Rainbow vacuum on every surface you can possibly vacuum), but I think I've changed my mind.  With walking comes running... like, running from me, running into things, running after each other... I picture two little Tasmanian devils wreaking havoc everywhere they turn. 

"I'm coming for you, brother!"

"Uh Oh."

Chase is on.

The house is "getting there" with being baby-proofed, but I still haven't found suitable gates for the top and bottom of the stairs and we haven't gotten around to screwing in the locks for the cabinets and drawers (but I bought them!  Points for that, right?).  Either way, I'm excited that I don't have to kid myself that one day soon I'll start The Shred.  Who needs it when you're chasing after two munchkins?  (Side note:  Carrying almost 40 lbs of baby up and down stairs all day has produced nicer results than squats ever did). 

I'm getting seriously off topic here, so let me get back to the point.  CAROLINE IS MOBILE!  & Pulling up!  We've lowered her crib now, too, so she's joined the ranks as a "big girl" and thoroughly enjoys standing and chewing on the rail of it.  What she doesn't enjoy, however, is the marginal-cry-it-out thing we've started.  I just don't really know what else to do at this point, because they are so excited to bounce up and stand the minute I put them in their cribs.  They can be 100% asleep and the minute they go down, they want back up.  If I give in, they're overtired and cranky the rest of the day (or night - which is awful), so I'm doing my best with the ol' tried and true method.  Both of them are doing great at staying asleep once they're down, it's just the getting them down part that we're struggling with.  Between teething & the "hey guys we can move & crawl & stand & check us out!" phase we're in, I know there's a lot going on for them.  But you know what?  We're always in some kind of a phase.  I just can't be a slave to nurse-rock-repeat for much longer.  Now that they're 9 months old, I'm dealing with the fact that it's ok to let them cry for more than 0.002 seconds before I console them.  (Just look at those precious rumps below, though.  How is it possible not to run to them?!)


PS:  This mama got her first "Mom's Night Out" last night, and it was wonderful.  A lot of girls from the play group I've joined got together for dinner & drinks, and I seriously enjoyed myself.  Have I mentioned that I haven't done anything alone (meaning, without Nathan and/or the babies) in over a year?  It was strange, but great.  I actually fixed my hair, threw on a cute summer dress, and remembered what it's like to have some time to myself.  *Thanks, sweet husband, for giving me a much-needed break!*

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Giddyup!

Where could I be going with a title like that, you say?

[Click Here, It's Worth It.]

Thursday, July 15, 2010

9 Months Old

I swear to the Lord Almighty that it was only yesterday I wrote the eight month post.  Ohmygaaaaaah!

Sweet Tyler & Caroline,

I'm so glad I wrote to my "babies" last time, because I honestly feel that this past month has been a whirlwind of change that rocketed you into toddlerhood.  I know you're not really toddlers yet, but you're now doing things that lead straight to it and I just can't wrap my mind around how big you're getting and how fast it's happening.  Why didn't someone tell me about this??  You're going to be dropped off at kindergarten, like, tomorrow I think. 

Each night as I nurse you to sleep, I hold you in my arms just a little longer than necessary because I know that it's only a (small) matter of time before you're putting yourself to bed.  Wasn't it just a few weeks ago that both of you fit in my lap?  That I was laying a baby on each side of me to nurse on that huge pillow?  Now when you drift off, I stare at you in amazement that you're both so beautiful, so healthy, so awesome to have in our lives.  Not a day passes that I take you for granted, and I'm still (9 months later) so incredibly thankful for the journey I encountered to get you here safely.  I think that was God's way of making sure I realized how special you two are, and how lucky I am to have you.  I distinctly remember worrying about you both while I was carrying you, and praying to God that he would just let you be ok... let me keep you inside for as long as it took, no matter how uncomfortable I got, how many pokes and prods I endured, or how many mag sulphate drips and steroid injections it took to make you safe.  It's amazing what lengths a body and mind will go when it feels so strongly about someone (or two).  It just doesn't seem like the amount of time you spent inside me, you've been outside of me now, but here we are.  And again, I can't tell you enough how proud I am of you two already and how much joy you bring to my life.  Hopefully one day when you read all these letters, you will figure it out :)

Miss Caroline, your vocabulary has a bit more variety to it and there are times when I think you're saying real words.  You'll get so excited and say things like "heeeeeeey!" - it's too cute.  You are sort of crawling, sort of bouncing/lurching, but the fact remains that you get where you want to go.  Nothing makes you move faster than my BlackBerry and cookies n' cream ice cream, though.  I was sitting in the floor tonight trying to take down my last half gallon (!), and before I knew it I had two babies and one dog in my lap.  No matter how many times I removed all three of you, you were pulling at my clothes until you'd gotten back to that ice cream.  Tyler would stand up and hold onto my shoulder, Connor would sit patiently at my side and drip drool onto my leg, and you would lurch into my lap, pleading with those consonant sounds something to the effect of  "please, for the love, just give me some!"  Naturally, I caved...  Everyone got a little sweet stuff before bed this evening. 

Back to you, though!  You are getting more and more hair, and it looks much darker in pictures than it does in real life.  It's kind of sandy blonde, but all that really matters is that I am still throwing bows on your head every time you get dressed!  Have I ever told you how sweet you look with little bitty bows in your hair? :) You have grown enough now that you're into 9-12 month clothes, but it certainly isn't because of your waistline.  I'm thinking that you're got the long & lean genes, because you are still light as a feather and have the most delicate limbs I've ever seen.  Everyone that holds you says you feel like "air," and you have the softest skin in the world.  Such a little lady you are!  You are even dainty in your eating habits, as you are awesome at feeding yourself and hardly ever have a spot of food anywhere.  (Your brother, on the other hand, looks like I've sprayed him down with a pureed version of whatever we're having).  You love to drink from your sippy cup, especially the ones with straws, and I don't even have to tip it up for you anymore.  Your favorite foods right now are bananas, yogurt, Cheerios, graham crackers, cheese, chicken, pears, toast and applesauce, but you'll try pretty much anything.  You absolutely loved black beans at the Mexican restaurant, and you thoroughly enjoyed the "home cookin'" of Lizard's Thicket.  You may be a tiny thing, but your appetite is not...  Good thing you have 3.5 teeth now!  Your two bottom teeth have been there a while, but since July 3, you've gotten your right front tooth and half of the left one.  You look like such a big girl now!  Oh, but please don't bite me while you're nursing anymore... I have experienced my first case of mastitis, and it's not fun. Not fun at all.  Overall, you have such a content, observant, precious disposition, and I smile every single time I hear you squeal with delight (and grin ear-to-ear, showing off those teeth).  It seems like you keep discovering new sounds to make, and once you do, you make it all the time. 

Tyler boy, where do I even begin with you this month?  It started with the crawling, and before I blinked an eye, you were standing, pulling up, cruising, and lunging from one piece of furniture to another.  You literally RUN in your walker, and now that we have a push walker, you take off with that as well.  I can barely change your diaper at this point, since laying down for one whole minute is just too long to be still.  It's exhausting just keeping up with you, little man!!  You're particularly obsessed with Connor's belongings (food & water bowls, crate), and the second you hit the floor downstairs, you are crawling over to them in record speed.  I sometimes have to put you in the exersaucer just so you're contained, because anytime I'm not watching you, you discover something else new and fun to play with (like the drawers where we keep extra batteries, or the heavy ones in the tv armoire that you've already pulled completely out).  I keep starring the note I made in the kitchen that says "BUY CABINET LOCKS!," because even though I feel like I'm good, I'm not that good.  You are smart as a whip and you know exactly where to go the minute I'm not looking - the aforementioned cabinets, the electric cord on the living room lamp (that I've tried to hide a million times), the stairs, the door stopper, the magnets on the fridge, the blinds, the dishtowel on the stove... must I go on?  It scares me to death, yet it's amazing to watch.  You're so curious, so full of life, and every day is a new adventure with you.  This past week you were leaning against your walker and I held out my arms to you, and guess what?  You actually took a step or two towards me, basically unassisted.  I give it two more weeks, max, before you're totally walking on your own. :: Be still my heart ::

In other happenings, you have two bottom teeth and you love to chomp on my fingers!  I scream, you laugh :)  You still love to eat your veggies, and you've finally figured out that you don't have to remove everything I put in your mouth to examine it first.  The sippy cup has been mastered, and I've resorted to "chaining" it wherever you are so it doesn't get launched (another favorite game!).  Your favorite foods are sweet potatoes, yogurt, cheese, Cheerios, graham crackers, pasta, spaghetti, pancakes (especially banana ones), and applesauce, and I think Connor likes them as much as you.  He should, seeing how much you lean over to feed him at every single meal.  You make huge, collossal messes when you eat finger food, because if you're done, you'll take what's left and rub it all over your head and the table. :)  I guess I could get mad at the clean up ahead of me each time, but one look at your smiling face that is so clearly enjoying the activity, and I just have to sit back and enjoy it with you.  Sometimes I even contemplate wiping that dirty table, because after you're in bed and it's quiet in the house, I walk by it and see those sweet fingerprints.  Then I think about the fact that it won't be much longer until you're using silverware, unable to leave little remnants of yourself around the house to remind us that a baby lives here. 

Speaking of babies, I often forget that you're still technically an infant when I'm carrying you around.  You are HEAVY, son.  Solid as a rock, and so strong!  You're losing a lot of your "chub" as you've grown in length, but the difference in you and your sister is amazing.  Your chest/girth is twice the size of hers, as are your legs.  People constantly act surprised that you're twins (which I think is a bit dramatic), but it's clear that you weigh a few more pounds and have a few more inches on you.  You wear almost all 12 months clothes, though, so you're right on track for your age.  I think you just seem so huge because you're compared to dainty little Caroline every day :)  Oh, and one more thing you just love to do:  rub your mouth back and forth on any object (your arm, my arm, your toys, your seat) and make a "babababa" sound.  It cracks you up.  You're still on the "mama" train, which I love, but I'm starting to think you have figured out that I love it.  If I put you to bed and you're not quite ready to sleep, you'll pull yourself right up and say "mamamama" and you know that I'll come running.  Tears help your cause, but I can't get to you fast enough when I hear those rumblings.

Without further ado, here you two are at 9 months.  Our chair pictures are practically moot at this point, because I can't keep either of you (a) still or (b) interested for long enough to do them.  We'll have to just use what we can from now on! 


Saturday, July 10, 2010

So, I guess I deserved that.

If you happen to be my facebook friend, you probably saw my status update on Thursday night that said something to the effect of "Caroline is bouncing like a hyena in the exersaucer" at 10:00pm. I made the untimely mistake of eating half a pan of double chocolate Ghiradeli brownies (omg, yum) that afternoon, so I suppose it was my fault that the child was wild. Somehow my caffeine-laced breastmilk must've missed Tyler, though... he was down for the count by 8pm and thank God for that. When you've been single-parenting highly-mobile twins for most of the week (poor Nathan & his 16 hour hospital shifts!), you reeeeeally look forward to bedtime just so you can rest your back.


I was so tired by 10:30 that I actually put her in bed with me, closed my eyes, and let her watch Baby Einstein so I could get some rest. She seemed to be going strong, so I needed a pick-me-up. When I noticed her "relaxed" mood starting to come around, I slid her down and nursed her thinking that she would nod off. Luckily she did, so by 10:45 I was carrying her very carefully to her crib and praying that she would not fling her eyes open and say "what are you thinking crazy woman! put me down & let's play!" (You guys just don't know how often that happens to me).

Mission accomplished, and I sighed with relief as I slid back into my freshly washed sheets and turned on my DVR'ed episode of The Hills. I thought I was in the clear and could drift off to dreamland while waiting on Nathan to saunter in looking all cute (albeit tired) in his scrubs.

As I'm lying there, Connor snuggles up on one side and Jaxx (the cat you never hear about, because he "does his own thing") jumps onto the other. He walks around the bed for a second, then assumes his position at the end of the bed near my feet. Or so I thought.

Next thing I know, I feel a gush of wetness... and it was a BIG gush. He starts scraping at the bed, as though he's covering his "business" in the litter box. It dawns on me what's going on, so I throw everyone off the bed and dash to flip on the light. Sure enough, he literally pissed on my feet. So much that I swear it looked like I'd poured a Big Gulp Mountain Dew across my stark white bedspread.

"Mad" doesn't even begin to describe the boiling rage that erupted in me at that moment.  Jaxx ran under the bed, realizing immediately that his life was in danger and he'd better get out of dodge... except for the fact that his tail was within reach and I was still able to grab it and jerk him back into the light.  I spanked him (yes, I know, I'm horrible), he ran downstairs, I chased him (with beating red eyes like the bad vampires in Twilight), then scooped him up and threw him outside into the darkness.  I think he even landed on his side, not his feet, onto the deck. 

I ran back upstairs, stripped the bed immediately and started a major clorox soak in the washing machine.  Looking at the clock, I realized it was well past 11pm by now and that just made me want to cry.  I was soooooo incredibly tired, and here I was, looking at my uber-comfy king size mattress as though I'm in the store trying it out.  It was bare as a bone, and it would be another hour and a half before the wash & dry cycle was complete. 

UGH.

While I waited, the thought crossed my mind that maybe, just maybe, there was a reason other than spitefulness that brought about this behavior.  Could something be wrong with his litter?  At first glance the litter box looked fine, but when I went to push open the "door" it was stuck.  STUCK.  So the poor little guy couldn't even access his bathroom and had apparently been holding his pee for a long time (given the massive amount he let go on my feet).  To him, I suppose the best way to get my attention was to dump his bladder where I'd actually notice it.  Smart thinking, Jaxx, it worked!

Enter the part where I feel like complete crap.  I realized that I'd unleashed my inner beast on the cat when he was just trying to tell me that he needed some help, so I slink back to the kitchen and slowly open the sliding glass doors, wondering if he will come to me if I call him or if he's been traumatized by the abuse thus far.  I saw him sitting at the base of the deck stairs, so I called his name and he just stared back... like "seriously?!  you want me to come to you?  on my own free will??"  I took my chances at that point and went to him.... shockingly enough, he let me pick him up and carry him back inside without growling or hissing.  I gave him his dinner (oh yeah by the way, I'd forgotten that as well), and to my surprise, he seemed to forgive me.  He purred, then followed me back upstairs and laid on the bedroom floor.

What a night, huh?  The moral of this story is that when your cat loses his bladder on your bed, you may deserve it.  Unfortunately for my cat, I was a sleep-deprived crazy person and he bore the brunt of my aggression.  Lesson learned.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Neely's Miracle

Before I left my job to stay home with Tyler & Caroline, I met a lot of great people through work.  Some of them became my best friends in Greenville, some of them brought me lunch on bedrest :), and as a whole, the company was a pretty tight-knit group.  Many people will tout their "awesome culture" on the job, but really, mine was awesome.

One of my former coworkers contacted me a few days ago with a message, and it was one that I feel strongly about passing on.  Her name is Christy, and her little girl, Neely, went through a tremendous affair with a life-threatening illness.  I can remember when Christy was out of work for long periods of time and wouldn't be in our marketing meetings, prompting us all to ask what was going on.  I heard that her child was sick, but had no idea the extent of what that meant until now. 

Christy has dedicated a website to Neely's story, and you can read it in its entirety here.  She would like to urge parents to always listen to their instincts when it comes to their child, because at the end of the day, doctors are humans just like the rest of us.  They are not God, and they might make mistakes.  In Neely's case, her pediatricians repeatedly suggested that she "just had a virus," when Christy and her husband could see that it was something much more serious.  Eventually, they reached the right doctor who recognized the multitude of her sickness, which turned out to be a debilitating condition that could have easily taken her life (and almost did). 

I took the time to read about Neely's story not because it was written by someone I know, but because it could happen to me.  Or you.  Please do the same - http://www.neelysmiracle.com/.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Shameless

The stats have been reset at Top Mommy Blogs, and I'd really like to have a shot at the ranks this time.  I haven't mentioned voting in a long time, so I slipped off the radar somewhere along the way.  If you feel kind enough, will you help me out?  Thanks!!

Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

July 4th Weekend

Would you believe it if I told you we sat inside the house for almost the entire 4th of July?  I'm sure you would any other day of a true Columbia summer, but this year, it just so happened to be 80 degrees and breezy.  Perfect (PERFECT!!) weather.  My poor husband, however, had to work from 7am-7pm :-(.  So what else is there to do if you don't have a body of water at your finger tips but you must get out of the house

The park it was!  Tyler & Caroline were absolutely adorable in the baby swings, and I kept sending Nathan picture messages of them having fun.  (These were taken with my blackberry since I still haven't bought another camera).


On a brighter note, we spent July 2-3 at Lake Bowen and visited with family for two days, so that made up for it I suppose.  We relaxed, we boated, we floated... it was lovely!  Nathan had his first shift at the hospital from 11pm Thursday night until 7am Friday morning, so as soon as he got home we loaded up and headed north.  He slept some of the way up (as comfortably as possible when you can't recline your seat, thanks to the La-Z-Boys Tyler and Caroline have behind us), and with reinforcements armed and ready when we arrived, he retreated into the back bedroom and attempted to catch up from the night before. 

Later in the day, Paw & Grammie Sims came over to see us and we had a great night hanging out and riding on the boat.  The air almost had a chill in it... which was a welcomed retreat for those of us living in the equator Columbia.


On Saturday, we introduced the babies to their little red wagon that Granna & Pa Jolly bought them and they LOVED IT.  Like, so much that they wanted to just sit in it and play for an hour.  Nathan and I needed to run over to Walmart and pick up a few things, so we decided to try them out in the wagon rather than the stroller to see if they'd enjoy it. 

Definitely a success, and probably a new form of transportation for them...


That afternoon, we loaded the boat back up and decided to enjoy the lake.  The weather was a little warmer but still beautiful, so it was just right for taking a dip.  Tyler & Caroline got to use their teeny life jackets for the first time (which were still a bit big :), and it's safe to say that they are 100% water babies.  They had the best time splashing and kicking in the water, and they weren't even an ounce scared to drop off the boat and go straight in.  (With Tyler thisclose to walking, wanna bet that my hands are going to be pretty full soon?)


Probably the funniest thing of the entire weekend was how much Caroline LOVED floating in the water and soaking up the sun (well, as much as possible underneath 60+ spf & hat).  Tyler had gotten enough of it and was already back on the boat, so Nathan, Caroline and I stayed out in the water and played around.  I was trying to swim back to the boat and accidentally laid her on her back, and all of the sudden she starts SINGING.  & COOING.  And was seemingly the happiest child in the world.  If it wasn't such a pain I'd try to post the video that Granna took of her, but you'll just have to imagine it from these pictures instead -


(Tyler wondering what in the world was going on down there)

Our mini-vacation was great and we remembered (as if we could forget) how much we love the upstate!  Three more years, Lake Bowen... three more years :)

Monday, July 5, 2010

A Great Cause

Do you all remember me telling you about Write for Charity, and the anthology being published to benefit multiple children's charities around the country?  Well, the time has finally arrived to make your purchases and help out such a marvelous cause. 

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From the Heart: A Collection of Stories and Poems from the Front Lines of Parenting is now available for public pre-sale.

Inside the pages of this book, dozens of authors have given of themselves to share their unique perspective on the journey of parenthood and to make a difference in the lives of children along the way. The result is a collection of stories and poems that track the fun, the challenging and the truly phenomenal aspects of parenting.

From pregnancy worries and the miracle of birth to tough times and growing up, each unique triumph and challenge through a lifetime of parenthood palpitates on the page.

From the Heart: A Collection of Stories and Poems from the Front Lines of Parenting was created to raise money for children’s charities. With this collaborative effort, we will help every child get the medical care that they need and find cures for some of life’s most devastating diseases.

With inspired stories and poems from a group of extraordinary writers, this volume will leave an impression on the heart of any parent.

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Proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to children’s charities, so please click on the button to the left of this post to order your copy.  If you do, please leave a comment that you did so - I would love to know who you are!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

My Fault

I was a bit overzealous in telling you to run back here for my next giveaway, but if there's anything I've picked up on from reading other blogs, their comments, and random message boards - you're ok without the constant "fluff" that comes from such things. 

Usually Pear Tree has their monthly giveaways up & running by the first of the month, so I was planning on announcing it on time for July.  However, it's not exactly ready to be announced yet... whoops :)

I've gotten word that it will be ready by July 7th, so be sure to look out for it around that time.  (I make no more specific promises!!  Lesson learned :)

PS, my camera has bitten the dust.
Cause of death:  BABY SLOBBER. 
Current situation:  Camera sitting in tupperware bin of white rice, as we hear there's a millionth of a percent chance it will bring said camera back to life.

In the likely event that this camera will go into the toy bin in a few days, any recommendations for a new one?