Home Improvements

It all started with the floor lamp.  L and S have been pulling up on that thing and have pulled it over at least 3 times.  The nanny was getting concerned and, honestly, after having caught the lamp with one hand while nursing a baby with the other not once but twice, I’m ready to admit that we had to do something.  So we moved it behind the super yard.

Perhaps I should explain.  L and S kept screwing with the computer in the corner of the room so we have surrounded it with several panels of a super yard.  Now they can’t randomly shut the computer off anymore.  If only we could get them to stop turning off the Xbox 360…but I digress.

By putting the floor lamp behind the super yard, it meant that if I came downstairs at night I would have to walk all the way across the room….in the dark…barefoot….and my kids love legos.  So off to Lowe’s we went.  We found 2 ceiling fans with light kits, picked the cheapest one and were out the door (after all the twins and kids comments).

I had an appointment to keep on Sunday (more on that below) so C started working on the removal and installation while I was gone.  When I got back, he had definitely been able to get the old one out and was making progress with the new.  He was a bit frustrated though…there were NO instructions in the box.  Long story short, we got the whole thing together but the light wouldn’t work (which was the whole point), realized we missed some of the wiring, found out we have squirrels in our attic, ran to church, picked up a squirrel trap, came home, and finally got it up and running all by ourselves with no help from an electrician or my daddy…

Yes.  I did say we have squirrels in the attic.  There is currently a trap up there now with peanuts waiting for his grubby little paws.  Apparently they have chewed a whole in the side of our townhouse.  Our neighbors have them too.  And the homeowner’s association won’t do repairs until they are gone.  So traps it is.  Wish us luck.

Was I content with ceiling fan replacement and squirrel removal?  Heck no.  I bought new throw pillows for the futon.  I bought a plant for the cutout between the kitchen and the living room.  And I bought a fitness gaming for the Xbox 360.

There is good reason for that.  That appointment I mentioned above?  That was to get fitted for a dress for my best friend’s wedding in June.  My body is all out of whack between the pregnancy and breastfeeding.  My bust is between a size 6 and a size 8.  My midwaist is a size 10 and my lower waist/whatever it is they measure down there is back down to a 6 or so.  They had 2 dress sizes that I could try on in the style that I was ordering – a 6 and a 16.  I tried on the 6.  It was snug but the longer I wore it, the better it seemed to fit.  So I ordered the 6.

To make sure I don’t utterly regret that move come May 17th-ish, I have finally decided to get off my butt and start working out some…at least tone the twin belly a bit.  I figure they are 11 months so I’m not quite as worried about my milk supply as I was 2 or 3 months ago.  And I figure the old “I have twins and a preschooler” line only works for so long.

The Kinect game was a logical choice for me as it a) allows me to work out in the comfort of my living room and b) sets challenges and goals in front of me.  It’s almost addictive.  As with many games, I find myself wanting to do just one more activity or burn just 10 more calories to get that nice little sticky star that I can’t even really touch but my avatar will have a blast with.

We’ll see how long any of it lasts.  I’m not exactly a Suzy Homemaker.  I don’t iron…ever.  I don’t do fancy decorative things.  I have no sense of style really.  But it felt good to make a few changes to the place, make it that much more our own.  And it actually feels good to be working out.  I can’t believe I just said that.  I’m the ultimate couch potato.  But it does.  And, on that astonished note, I will bid you all adieu.

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The Horror! The Horror!

So the stomach bug has now made it through every member of the family.  Me last weekend.  V on Monday.  L & S at the same glorious time starting Tuesday night.  And C picked it up last night.  Oh.my.word.  All I can say is thank goodness it didn’t hit all of us at once.  It was hard enough to deal with when it was spread out.  My work week got completely screwed up, starting with Monday morning.  Which isn’t the end of the world because at least my manager was off this week so I wasn’t getting little projects all over the place.  But still, it makes it realllllllly hard to feel even remotely productive.  I worked from home for 1.5 days.  I took .5 a day off.  I had to make up some time on evenings.  It was c.r.a.z.y.

I worked from home this morning, which was tough since all the girls were feeling good and active.  By the time 10 am rolled around, the only thing keeping me going was the thought that I was going to get OUT of the house come afternoon.  I didn’t care what I had to do.  So I worked until 12:30, made lunch, prepped the girls, and we were off to Toys R Us to use V’s coupon that she got back before her birthday *ahem* 2 months ago.

The trip had it’s ups and downs but it was sooooo good to get all the little munchkins out of the house.  Somewhere outdoors might have been more appropriate and allowed them to burn more energy but we’ve had high winds and dark skies all day so I wasn’t willing to tempt fate that much.  I did have one teeny weeny little incident where V decided to run for the exit while I was at the customer service desk but I snagged her, scolded her, and got everyone home safely.

All complaints aside, it could have been a much worse day.  V was fairly well behaved, just very very chatty.  L & S didn’t get into too much trouble.  Work was quiet so working from home and taking half a day off didn’t bother me too badly.  I’m sure C won’t look back on this day with warm fuzzies but it won’t got down as a top 10 worst for me.

Here’s hoping that things finally start to improve….it’s been a long 3 weeks.

Sally Sunshine

Just to show that my mood isn’t quite as sour as the last post or so might imply, I thought I’d share some of the good stuff that’s going on with the kids and life.

The weekend before last (you know, before the stomach bug of doom), we took the girls to an off-shoot of our local children’s museum made just for little kids.  C and I got in free thanks to a wonderful program from Bank of America called Museums on Us and the twins were free because they are under a year so we only had to pay for V.  And it’s a good thing that we didn’t pay for the twins because most of the time that we were in their play area, this is what they wanted to do:

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But we were able to tear them away from the window from time to time and S got to practice standing and pulling up a bit.  She’ll be zipping through the house with her sisters in no time.

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V got to ride the train that they have and I was really impressed with how well she followed directions.  Honestly, I was impressed with how she did the whole time we were there.  Except, of course, when it was time to leave.

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Overall, the twins have been cruising past most of their developmental milestones – normally at different times but still with relative ease.  S has been clapping since January and L just clapped by herself for the first time this week but she’s very pleased with herself when she does it.

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Yeah… I haven’t had the camera out while she was clapping yet.  You can expect a picture like that in, oh say, 6 months?  Anyway, that chicken leg got dropped all over the mall that I took the girls to a week ago just to get out.  We had a little daycare gap and I’ve been needing a break from work so I took the day off.  We spent an hour and a half or so walking around the mall, eating jelly beans, drinking milk/shakes (V still won’t get over the texture), and asking “What’s that?” a hundred million times.  And I got to pick up that chicken leg every time L dropped it…which was about every other step.  But it kept her pleased and her sister only snatched it away a couple of times in the side-by-side stroller that they had never been in before so I count it as a winner.

Back to the milestones, L has been walking really well for a few weeks now and S has been a little behind her on that (typical for gross motor skills and still at an average age) but she’s making progress.  I’ve heard reports that she’s trying to freestand more and I’m guessing it won’t be long now.

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V has been up and down on the potty training.  Doing really well for a while and now it’s a fight every time we try to get her on the potty.  I’m going to do some ‘sperimenting this weekend and see if we can’t get her where she needs to be.  It’s exhausting having to fight with her every time we think she needs to go potty and I don’t have to do it all day every day.  In the meantime, she still loves dancing around the room…

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Well, that’s all the cheeriness I can muster until I get some more sleep.  So as V used to say…seeyasoon!

Debbie Downer…

Having realized that I’ve barely begun blogging and all I’ve done is whine and complain so far, I determined last Friday would be the night I would write a positive, happy post about the cool stuff the kids are doing these days.  Then life repeatedly slapped me with a big ole fish in the face (for you Veggietales aficionados out there) so I’m going to take the Jonah the Asparagus route and whine about it.  Maybe if I use bullets, it won’t seem so bad?  Let’s see…

  • Tried working from home Friday morning.  Puh-leaze.  How people do that full time, I will never know.  I pulled out every trick in the Netflix folder, even Mickey Mouse could only hold my kids’ attention for 30 seconds before they were back on me again.
  • Finally got to work and the key was stuck in the ignition.  I sawed the wheel – no luck.  I put the car in gear and back out again – no luck.  I reversed, went forward, parked – no luck.  I finally just left the stupid key in the stupid ignition and took the remote with me so I could lock (I DID leave the parking break set so it wasn’t going anywhere…probably).
  • Work just, well, sucked.
  • Driving home my back started aching and I started feeling really bad.
  • I got home and started work on dinner after spending a lot of time in the bathroom.  Realized that either the toddler was going to have to go without milk or I was going to have to change dinner midstream.  Changed dinner midstream.
  • Got everyone else eating and proceeded to throw up.  Poor S got scared by the sound.
  • That night while I was dealing with another round, one of the pieces of plastic inside the toilet tank broke.  Simple fix with super glue right?  Except that didn’t work.  It took 4 trips to the store and over 12 hours for C to get it fixed because this type thing never happens when Lowes is open and you can get the exact part you need.
  • While C was running around at 2 am trying to do a patch job on the toilet, S woke up s.c.r.e.a.m.i.n.g and would not stop unless I held her.  But, wait, I had just thrown up everything I ate recently and I couldn’t even keep Sprite down and did’t have the energy to (safely) pin down a thrashing infant.  She was cutting a tooth and I had given her Motrin before bed but I gave her more and even that didn’t really help.  C ended up letting her cry it out in the pack-n-play downstairs after he got back.
  • I was supposed to order a dress for a wedding that I’m in that suddenly got moved up to June and when I finally felt up to going on Sunday, they were too busy to see me.  The only time I can get to this store is on the weekends so I’m going to have to do super duper rush delivery to get the dress in time to have any alterations made.
  • I finally started feeling better late Sunday evening.  Yay.  Just in time for work.  Got up Monday morning and V had gotten sick all over her room.

I don’t think the bullets helped much.  The good news is that V and I are both feeling much better now, the toilet is fixed (for the time being), the key DID come out of the ignition when I got home, we didn’t starve to death or have to do without staples thanks to C making a run to the store Friday (before the scramble for toilet parts), S either cut the tooth or will wake me up about it again another night, and I have an appointment to try on and order dresses this Sunday.  Work still kind of sucks but I can handle that.

As a reward for making it through all that self-pitying dreck, have a smile.

“Are they twins?”

The inevitable question.  I know that it is generally coming from well-meaning people who want to acknowledge that there is something unique about L and S but don’t know what else to say.  It just gets old after you’ve answered the oh-so-obvious 1,000 times.

 

There are all kinds of snarky answers that other twin parents have tried but none of them have really felt right for me.  So I normally just say yes and thank the person for any follow-up compliments.  The hardest is when I need to get something done and the person wants to play 24,000 questions with me.

 

Are they twins?  Yes.
Are they identical?  No.
How do you tell them apart?  Different hair, different eyes, different body shapes, different colored clothing, in a pinch – nail polish.  I had 9 months to be paranoid that I would mix up my own children.  I prepared well.
Is it a boy and a girl?…

 

I hate hate HATE that last question.  And I know it’s not strictly a twin phenomenon because V got called a boy all the time when she was in that late infancy/early toddlerhood phase – no matter how much pink or purple she was wearing.  I think it irks me even more with the twins because of the inevitable followup of “3 girls”.  But I digress.

 

…Nope, 2  girls. 
You have your hands full!  We sure do.  (More filler from Captain Obvious but normally fairly accurate.)

Do twins run in your family?  Yes.  Oh, are they on your side or his side?  Actually, for it to run in the family, it has to be on the mother’s side.  *Glaze-eyed stare.*  Yes, my side.
My sister’s friend’s mother’s housekeeper has twins too!  Uh-huh.

 

Suffice it to say, this is probably the perfect t-shirt for me at this stage of life.

 
To make matters worse, I find most normal social settings uncomfortable, at best.  So God saw fit to give me twins and make it impossible for me to take my kids in the mall for 5 minutes without at least one stranger wanting to strike up a conversation.  Touche, God.  Touche.

S Is For Screeching

S is a screecher.  When she is crying or upset it starts off fairly normal and then escalates to a sound that I equate to fingernails on chalkboard.  I never like to hear any of my girls crying but when S does it triggers something deep inside of me that says, “You must fix whatever is wrong.  Now!”

 

Nighttime is the worst for it too.  When S is overtired, teething, or anything like that, the screeching goes on and on and on.  I don’t know how her sister sleeps through it but I thank God she does.  Most of the time anyway.  And the worst part is that nothing I do ever seems to help.  Indeed, I normally make matters worse.  She has to start the decompression process all over again.

 

This seems to happen once every few weeks with S.  When I am lucky it happens early in the night, like it is tonight.  When I’m not lucky, it happens at 11 pm or 2 am and always a weeknight, never a weekend.

 

I sometimes forget that my impatience isn’t always manifested as snapping at people or barking orders.  Sometimes it looks like me rushing in to hold my child – to save her from whatever is wrong in her world and fix things.

 

But that isn’t what she truly needs.  She has to learn to settle herself once I have taken care of those few things that I can do.  In the coming years, I will have to restrain myself from jumping in and fixing things too early many times – as she learns to walk, tie her shoes, ride a bike, fall in love, and make the big decisions in her own life.  It will not be easy for either of us and I am sure there will be times that I will make things harder for her by trying to make them easier.  But with patience, we will both learn our own lessons.

 

And tonight’s reward for patience is the sound of silence through the baby monitor.

Why Saint Monica?

When I was preparing for confirmation I put a lot of thought into who I wanted to choose as a patron saint to guide me through the rest of my life.  My first thought was Mary.  She was the one who had brought me into the Church after all.  But something didn’t sit quite right with me for that choice.  She is supposed to be a mother to us all and there was something disquieting about the idea of co-opting her for my very own.

So the search began.  I had a list of criteria and while it wasn’t extensive there were a few key qualifications that made the position hard to fill:

  1. She had to be a woman.
  2. She had to be a wife and mother.
  3. She couldn’t be Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton.  Nothing against her but she just didn’t feel right to me.
  4. She had to represent something that spoke to me and the future I was embarking upon.
One thing that you must remember is that I was pregnant with V at the time.  First-time motherhood was approaching quickly and at times it seemed like a train rushing at me through a tunnel.   I was scared and I knew my weaknesses.  I knew that patience (and worry but that’s another story perhaps more appropriate for Saint Dymphna) was an area that I needed a great deal of work in.

One night I was discussing my quandary with C, looking for some guidance from the resident cradle Catholic, when he brought up Saint Monica – the mother of Saint Augustine.  I knew nothing about her and my limited knowledge of him came from reading excerpts of On Christian Doctrine for a course on Milton in college.  There wasn’t a ton of information available on Monica but the little blurbs I could find spoke to me.  I had found my confirmation saint.

Monica filled my requirements and more.  While she may not be considered an intellectual, she was able to hold her own when speaking with Augustine, a doctor of the Church. I may not be an intellectual in the purest sense of the word but I do have those leanings.  She was able to guide her family to the Church despite many obstacles, particularly with Augustine and Patricius her husband.  I don’t face the same challenges she did but I feel that she can understand those that I do face and help guide me in the right direction.

In short, she seemed like a smart, strong woman of God with (literally) the patience and fortitude of a saint.  What’s not to love?  And her example does help guide me through the day-to-day trials and tribulations of mothering 3 young children and even being a working mom.