Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Resolutions


I think we all made pretty good progress on last years resolutions. Even Tyler learned to love the pacifier!! Here are a few for this year...

Tyler: To get as fast as the big kids. To stop that last pesky AM nursing AND sleep until 7 AM. To grow hair. To smash every block tower and demolish every train track.

Drew: Learn to ride his bike. Figure out a way to keep Tyler from wrecking the train tracks. Watch every Disney movie without the lower lip trembling during the sad parts. Learn to let Ella bother me less. Go to a class without mommy.

Ella: Learn to ride her bike. Take care of every stuffed animal. Go to sleep before 10 PM. Wear underwear to bed. Wrap daddy even tighter around my finger. Go to a class without mommy.

Me: Figure out what to do about pre-school. Help the kids be more independent, leave them at that class! Read 12 books. Take a class in something. Make some money, somehow. Keep the house cleaner and neater. Figure out a plan to move to Mass. Share more laughs and more hugs everyday. Slow down.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tyler vs Lobster

Having a lobster dinner is a Christmas Eve tradition that Grandpa Sid introduced to our family. Although I no longer eat lobster and generally hate everything about lobsters, I love the tradition. I love watching my family enjoy it and I am so excited to introduce my kids to it. Thanks to Uncle Johnny we had these enormous lobsters this year.




Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Past

Ella and Drew's first Christmas was something of a blur. Ella had come home only days earlier. I was in a nursing all night and all day haze. We were still reeling from the fact that we had twins, and now they were home! I remember waking up and seeing some strange lights from the living room. I walked out to find a silver tree with blinking iridescent lights. It was the ugliest thing ever to happen to Christmas and I thought it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. My mother had left it for us before she snuck out to catch a train home for Christmas. She couldn't bear the thought that we didn't have a tree. There are not words to describe how indispensable she was during those first days after they were born when I couldn't say a sentence without crying and the thought of making food was repulsive. She stayed with Drew while Mike and I visited Ella in the NICU everyday. She bought gifts for my in-laws and wrapped them with love. So, Ellla and Drew will never remember their first Christmas, but I will be sure to tell them the story of the ugliest tree and a nonnie full of love.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Little Moments


I love moments like these when I walk through the room and catch them being so sweet with each other. I love that they are twins and have always had each other and always will. I am so lucky that I get a front row seat to one of the most special shows on earth.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Music Mania




It is no secret that my kids, especially Ella and Drew, are crazy music freaks. They love all things musical and after a trip to the NJ State Marching Band competition, they have been asking for a trumpet. Then a saxophone, then a violin, then a clarinet...I drew the line at a tuba! Im so thankful for the internet because I was able to find all these instruments for a very reasonable price. They were so excited to open their gifts and their concerts are better than ever.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow Days



It has been years since snow was this exciting for me! We grew up with a perfect sledding hill and frozen cranberry bogs for skating right in our neighborhood. After playing outside we would be welcomed in the house with hot cocoa. Loved it.

Now I am feeling the excitement all over again. I need not worry about messy commutes or my pants getting wet and muddy. Instead I get to see the wonder on my kids faces as they peek out the window. They love to stick their tongues out to taste the snowflakes and are amazed at the tracks they leave behind with their feet. This age is awesome, as so many common things for us adults are met with sheer amazement by the kids.

Yeah for snow!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mission Accomplished


"Hey, Hey...what kind of cookies do you like?"

"Hey, Hey, Hey....where's Rudolph?"

"Hey, Hey, Hey, I want Thomas the Train."

"Hey, Hey, don't come to my house, come to Nonnie's house!"

After much dramatic buildup it turns out that Ella and Drew love Santa. I felt bad for the poor man being peppered with a continuous stream of twin talk. He didn't know what hit him.

Too bad Tyler couldn't stand the guy! We did get a shot of all 3 with Tyler (in tears), but I don't have a scanner, so you'll have to settle for this one.

ps. thanks to the NH Virta's for the sweaters and hats. Drew refuses to take this hat off. He is napping with it on as we speak!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What's Wrong with this Picture?


Well, there are 2 things wrong.
1. There is no Santa in this photo. We dressed the kids and drove to a mall in another county because it was Sunday (yes, we live in the last place on earth that enforces blue laws!). We braved the busy mall parking lot and organized the kids into the 2 strollers. We broke the news that they would be sitting with Santa, dried their tears and waved the lollipop bribes in their faces. Then we went to get in line and saw the sign: "Santa is taking a break." No big deal, when will he be back? 2.5 hours later!! Come on now!! What does this guy do on his break?! So, no picture with Santa and Ill need to try again another day.

2. Less entertaining - my camera was all messed up again. I have a few weeks worth of photos that are all blurry. I did manage to fix it though, because, I am a genius, and I don't require 2.5 hour breaks!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

More Parties




We finished off the "Birthday Week" with a Dargan family party at our house. With 8 kids under 4 and another on the way, it is always a party when we get together! We did gingerbread houses again, panda bear cupcakes, and a guitar cake. Although I loved all the celebrations, I am happy that it will be a year before I do another birthday party!! 

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Happy Birthday Buddy!



Dear Drew,
We joke that you waited a whopping 13 minutes after Ella was born so that you could stretch in the newfound space and enjoy some much needed quiet! If only we knew then how fitting that would be of your personality.

You are awesome and amazing. You are brave and kind. It is amazing that after 3 years of being teased and tortured by your sister, you have never retaliated. I absolutely love how gentle and sensitive you are. You have looked after Tyler and loved him in an amazing, sweet way since the day he was born. You two share a special bond that I hope will continue forever. 


Although many new experiences initially cause you to worry, you approach everything from a new class to the dentist with a quiet bravery. I am so proud of you in these moments. I love it when you retell the story and I can see your pride on your face. I especially love your face when you try to hide a smile - the twinkle in your eyes gives it away every time! 


You love to entertain us with music, dancing, and a daily assortment of tricks that are announced with a "Hey Mom!! Look at this!"  You will work on something over and over until you get it right.  I love to watch you playing away with two random objects, like a flashlight and a vacuum hose - you are so creative. 


You have so many fooled, as family and strangers alike call you "the quiet one." If only they could see you rocking it out on your guitar or asking me a million questions. It delights me that you save this side of you for those that you love the most. 

Drew, you are a super special guy and I am so happy that you chose us. 
I love you, Mom. 

Friday, December 12, 2008

Happy Birthday Big Girl



Happy Birthday to my most special girl!
Three years ago I met my beautiful, tiny little girl. It is hard to believe that the little baby being wheeled away in an incubator is now a curly haired ball of fire. My life changed the day you were born, I changed and I will be forever grateful.



This past year you have grown so much. You have always been a little spit fire, but this year you decided to share this side of you with everyone else! No longer do you cringe at strangers who come too close, oh no! Now you are yelling across stores and walking up to new people to introduce yourself and ask their name. You even danced into the night, loving your audience, at Mike and Shauna's wedding.



You have a big personality squeezed into that tiny little body - it oozes out of you, noticeable even in your walk. You like to be silly and you like to tease, but you also love to be kind and take care of others. You give the best hugs and kisses - squeezing and squishing with all of your might. I love your independence and your blossoming leadership qualities. I can already see you organizing friends into games and giving the boys in high school a run for their money! But, let's be patient, my Ella Bella, there is plenty of time for that later, much later.



You are never far from my side and I see so much of myself in you. You are an amazing mimic! Im grateful for my walking, talking mirror as you are teaching me to be a better person every day. I imagine you will be teaching me lessons for years to come, and Im as eager to learn as you are.

You love your stuffed animals, your daddy, and music. You love books and are beginning to memorize enough of them that you now read to Drew and Tyler. You crack us up with your crazy dance moves and your original songs. You are simply the best and we couldn't be prouder. Thanks for being you.
Love always, Mom

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Great Day

I worked hard into the wee hours of the night so that my little guys could have a fun birthday party today. I actually enjoyed every minute of the preparations, reflecting on how awesome they are and how lucky I am. We had lumpy brown penguin cupcakes and gingerbread houses that withstood toddlers decorating them. They had laughs and giggles. It was perfect.



Gift Obsession

I am currently obsessed with finding these skates for Ella, Drew and my nephew for Christmas - problem is that I can't find them anywhere!! I can't stop thinking about them and searching for them. Thankfully, they have no idea. I can't imagine what it will be like when they are begging for a toy that I can't find.

Edit: As Shauna, so thoughtfully pointed out, these skates are available at Amazon. However there is a catch, they are available for $40, but out of stock at $15. I just can't pay $40 now for something I may be able to get later for less. I just so want them for the kids, it is bugging me.

Additional Note: It has been brought to my attention that someone may read this and feel the need to buy them at the higher price. If you do that I will be mad at you!! The kids have no idea they exist and will like them from the Easter Bunny just as much as from Santa! Don't do it!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tyler Turns One


Dear Tyler,
Happy Birthday my little guy! This year has flown by faster than I ever imagined possible. Granted, the first 6 months weren't easy, you sure gave us a run for our money! But I have fallen for you in a way I never planned. I simply can't get enough of you.

You have been completely enamoured with your big brother and sister from the moment you met them. I love how you watch them, follow them, and laugh at them. As soon as you could crawl you would clamor over to them and tackle them. Now you give them giant hugs and big wet sloppy kisses. You also topple their towers, pull their hair, and rip their books - but they don't mind - they have fallen in love with you just like the rest of us.

I love your determination, bravery, and sheer will. Of course you often use it for evil as in splashing in the toilet, falling down the stairs, and wreaking havoc in the bath tub - but you also learned to walk a month ago, taught yourself how to go backwards down stairs, and entertain all at the playground by flying down the biggest slides head first. Did I mention you do it all with a huge smile?!

I should apologize now for all you have and will suffer by being the third child. You have cried more, slept less, and been dragged all over the tri-state area more than Ella and Drew ever were. You have eaten junk food and watched tv. You have eaten god-knows-what off the floor and gone too many days without a bath. I tell myself that these injustices will make you more resilient and independent - lets hope Im right!

I love how snuggly you are and the way you smile at the people you love. I love your curiosity. I love you.

You have done amazing things this year and I can't wait to see more - well, maybe I can. You are growing a bit too fast for me!

I love being a part of your life. Keep being awesome, keep being you.

Happy Birthday my little guy - love always Mom.

This is Horrible


Ella is trying out a new phrase.

Yesterday while driving in the car she and Drew were going at it. After several attempts to quiet them down and to stop grabbing at each other, Ella was showing no signs of stopping, while Drew played the helpless victim. So, my last ditch effort was to announce that I would pull over and put her in a corner. I suppose this is somewhat of a parenting cliche, usually reserved for fathers on road trips, but in the moment it was all I could think of. Yes, she called my bluff and I pulled over. As I was pulling into a parking spot she said,

"Oh, mommy this is horrible."

Today Ella was not being a nice sister to poor Tyler. After a break on the step she returned to play and quickly noticed that Tyler had 2 of the toys she so desperatly wanted. As she went to grab them from his hands I reminded her to be nice. She followed him around fighting back the tears, as she asked nicely and tried to trade. Finally, between tears, she said,

"This is just horrible."

Both times I couldn't help but laugh.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Sum it Up


How can you sum up a fabulous pre-birthday weekend? Bullets.

*The Boston Childrens Museum was a fun, not-crowded, clean walk down memory lane. Many a field trip was spent here and it is as fun as I remember it. Best of all was that we caught up with my college chum Elyse and her 2 kids. Padraig was born 2 days after Tyler and they hit it off immediately.

*My parents and their house are a fantasy land for my kids. Nonnie and Caca delight in spoiling them with attention from reading books to playing in the yard. Their patience is unending and they find a way to make everything fun. Ella, Drew and Tyler literally light up as soon as they enter the house. It is amazing for me to watch my normally clingy kids disappear for hours with my parents and ask for them over Mike and I. One highlight is watching my dad help Drew do pee-pee. They can even make that special!

*The Birthday Bash, Whew, the Birthday Bash! There were about 40 people there! What an event, with faces we haven't seen in forever coming to celebrate my kids. My mother outdid herself, yet again. She decorated and cooked up a storm to make the perfect afternoon. To top it all off we collected almost 30 toys to donate to Toys for Tots. Success.

*First Snow. Ok, they have seen snow, but living in a city, we have never actually played in snow. We were all pleasantly surprised when the snow began Sunday morning. It was the best kind of snow, sticking to the trees to create a winter wonderland. Also perfect for snowmen and snowballs. Ella and Drew loved it! We played with my brother, niece, nephew and parents. It was awesome. Ella asked me this morning if Uncle Matt could come over to play in the snow.

I love being "home" at my parents house and I am absolutely thrilled that my kids love it...and them...as much as I do.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Excitement Builds

Ella, Drew and Tyler have the good fortune of their birthdays happening all at the same time. Having them together makes them seem bigger, more exciting, and well, happier! We have been talking about them for weeks. They are at the perfect birthday age where just the concept of a birthday itself is exciting. Oh, a gift too - marvelous! Oh, a cake - yes please mommy! A party, or three - Im excited! Their expectations are so low that it just seems too easy. I, of course, am making a bigger deal out of their birthdays because I love birthdays. What's not to love?! Stay tuned for pics and stories of the festivities that begin this weekend in Beantown. 

Here is a pic from their 1st bday - so not excited.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Post Meal Bliss


After all 3 little maniacs eat there is a brief period of time where all is well. Specifically, there is no yelling and screaming... and the kids are pretty quiet too! They all get up from the table, bellies full and hands clean, and find a toy. Usually they separate, and there is so little noise, it almost feels wrong. 
 Right now Drew has a drum stick and a dish towel wrapped around his head. He is waving the stick around and making a "tssshhk" sound. I have no idea what he is doing, but I wouldn't dare interrupt him to ask. Ella is adding animals to her canvas bag that perpetually hangs on my dining room chair. Her beloved Jackson dog is on the bottom and she regularly delivers friends to him. Tyler is walking around with the grandma doll from the dollhouse in his mouth. Im sure it isn't safe and he could choke or knock out a tooth or something, but did I mention that everyone is happy?
And here I sit, belly full, hands clean and surrounded by love. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Walking Man

This is a little late, since he has been walking for a month and this video was 2 weeks ago...but thrilling all the same. Where did my baby go?!

Other notable aspects of this video...Ella. She is involved in everything! Translation of her shrieks: "Walk to me Ty! Good walking! Good Huggies! Good Huggies!" 

  video

Picture and Video Catch up!

I found my camera cord!! So here are some pics from the last few weeks...

What's better than a new car seat?


Why the box of course!!




Making crafts with our friends to include in our Thanksgiving care package for the troops! 

Sometimes the stars align and they play nicely with the same toy...miracles do happen! 




Monday, December 1, 2008

Influences

We all know the old saying, "kids are like sponges." Ella, Drew too, but mostly Ella, takes this to a whole new level. She hears everything, remembers most things, and tries to repeat a lot. Im learning that so many things just sound wrong out of a little blond cherub face. From this weekend: 

"Mac and cheese is gross."  - apparently I say gross. Who knew? She said this phrase about a gazillion times. By the way, both of us love mac and cheese. 

"Holy Mah-cah-rollie!" - Mike says Holy Mackerel when the kids show him something. 

"Oh God! Look at those Christmas decorations." - Grandma says "Oh God" a lot. In a really strong NJ accent. It is funny and even funnier when Ella mimicked her while driving in the car. 

"I want more milk, I SAID" - not something Im proud of, but I do say this when repeating myself for the 100th time to the kids. Now, after hearing it from my daughter, I fully realize how yucky of a phrase it is. Im stopping. 

"You are my meatball, Tylie." - My dad calls Ella a meatball. I love that she understands it as a term of endearment. 

ps. still no camera cord. I think I need to order a replacement. 

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

One in a Million

My mother is awesome in a million ways. One of those ways is her ability to touch people, to impact their lives in a positive way. This morning she told me that a boy who grew up with my brother, now in his 30s, wrote to her and told her that he still has his Dreamcoat. (My mother was the mastermind behind these coats we made out of our dad's shirts for a school performance) Can you remember an adult in your childhood that made an impact on who you are today? Aggie, my first grade teacher and my Auntie Pati are two people I credit with giving me the self-confidence to believe in myself.  There is a boy I worked with years ago who has called me 3 semesters in a row to tell me he is still in college. It is an absolutely amazing feeling. 
I can't wait to see who the special people are for Ella, Drew, and Tyler. I am going to do my best to expose them to people who can offer them a sense of pride, self worth, and community. Although it is exciting to think of them having these experiences, it is also a little tough. Another reminder that I have to let them go a little. That one day, sooner than I think, they are going to be out there in the big world without me. I hope they run into a million people just like my mom....if only there were a million, but even the Dreamcoat boy knows, there is only one. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sick In

We are stuck at home today, my little buddy Drew is sick. I can't remember the last time we stayed home all day. The tv is so abused today, but every time Drew tries to play he ends up laying down wherever he is - the floor, a chair, on top of toys, etc. So, tv it is. 

Which brings me to another point - Ella is so loving Drew's illness. It all started last night when Mike brought home apple juice and Popsicles. Drew barely wet his lips before returning to the couch. And there was Ella, beaming from ear to ear with a Popsicle in one hand and a big cup of juice in the other. During meals Im offering every thing and anything to Drew, hoping he will eat something. Ella listens in and asks for whatever I suggest to Drew. For lunch she had soup, yogurt, toast, muffins, apples, blackberries, cereal, crackers and juice. Drew had 2 bites of soup and fruit.  After lunch she said, "You not feeling good, Drew? Wanna watch some tv? Yeah. Ok buddy. Mommy, put the tv on for Drew!" She really plays the concerned sister role so well! 

ps. I can't find my camera usb cord, but I have some cute pics and videos I want to share. Keep your fingers crossed! 

Monday, November 24, 2008

Dad signing on

Thought I would make my first appearance following a historical weekend for the family. Our first trip to the hockey rink!!!!

There is a tradition of hockey on both sides of the family, so I have been anxious to get them started on the ice. D&E were both excited to lace up the skates for their first time. The first challenge was getting them to walk with the blades on. Check. They both did this superbly. As we approached the door to enter onto the ice, they both began to walk a little slower and with a less enthusiasm. I think reality had set in. We were actually going to step thru the boards and onto the ice.

Their first steps were a bit wobbly. Lauren and I each had one, our arms under their arms. I was loving it! We were on the ice. I was hoping that they loved it as much as I had when I was young. But I quickly realized that this wasn't going to happen quite yet. As my family likes to say … "no flies on Ella" She quickly realized that at this point, on the bench was the best place to be. "I sit on the bench….for a little bit" she said. Everything is always "for a little bit" with her. So we brought them to the bench and sat them down just to survey the ice for a while and watch the people skate around. I thought it would be good for them to see me do it - so I skated around as well. Just seeing their faces, outlined by their snow hats, their little eyes locked onto me as I made a lap - that was awesome for me - my heart was filled up. I was elated.

We proceeded to bring them on the ice and do our best to help them skate around. They did awesome. Ella did her best skating en route to the door off the ice. "Ella, lets skate to the door then we can get off….oops Ella we missed the door, lets go around again" "okay Daddy lets go"
Drew was just a trooper - he did great. As he skated around he said "this is like a choo choo train" - Anything in motion is like a choo choo train with Drew.

Seriously, with a little help, they were both able to almost walk across the ice. A great job for their first time out. I was proud.

Also - much like the first time we went skiing together - Lauren really impressed me. She doesn't skate much but she looked like she did!!!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

One Down


I am with all 3 kids all the time. Seriously. All. The. Time. Of course, there are a handful of exceptions. This weekend there were a few instances. Mike took Drew to breakfast with his mom and aunt (the one who travels with THE uncle who terrorizes Ella). I took Ella and Tyler to a different place for breakfast. It was remarkably calm, quiet, and uneventful. Then when we got home Tyler went for a nap and Ella and I had the house to ourselves for about an hour. We cleaned together. We listened to music. We sat at the table and colored. We talked. 
As I sat there with my cup of tea (pause. did you read that? miraculous.) I enjoyed the peacefulness. But, a moment later, I was bored. I missed Drew. I missed Tyler. I missed the noise and the busyness. I missed watching Ella and Drew and Tyler together. 
It was a good moment to have. A good reminder that although our days seem so chaotic, I love the chaos - better known as Ella, Drew, and Tyler. I wouldn't have it any other way. 

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Wall Flower


One of my mom's tried and true responses to every difficulty Im having with the kids is, "It's a phase, it will pass. And then it will be a new thing!" She is so right. 

Today we went to a neighboring town's library for the first time for their Toddler Time Play Hour. Yes, it was as lame as it sounds, but thank goodness toddlers are sooo into lame. Ella began her usual line of questioning....

E: What's your name? 
little girl just stares
E looks around for a near-by adult and says louder: Hey, Hey! What's her name? 
Mother: Her name is Hannah. 
E, looking at me: Her name is Hannah. 
E: My name is Ella. This is Tyler my baby brother. And that's Drew. My birthday is next. I want a Trumpet. 

She continues this around the room and even includes the Librarian. At one point a mother turned to me and said, "wow, she is so outgoing." And then it struck me. This is the same little girl who clung to Mike or I when entering any new building. The same little girl who just months before would cry forever if a stranger looked her way, never mind spoke directly to her. 

Kids are amazing. Phases are amazing. My mother is so right. 

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Boo-ti-ful!


One of Drew's new favorite comments is, "That's Boo-ti-ful." He says it in a matter-of-fact almost sarcastic way. I love it. It makes me laugh out loud every time. Here are some recent examples, 

Me. "Your friends are coming over for your birthday and we are going to decorate gingerbread houses. 
D. "Oh, that's a Boo-ti-ful thing." 

D. "Mommy, this is a Boo-ti-ful dinner." 

Me. "Here is another truck library book."
D. "Oh, that's Boo-ti-ful." 

I love this kid! 

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Observations

We planned on going to story time at a Barnes and Nobles this morning, but I had the date wrong. (It is amazing how unconnected from the world I can be...the date? I barely know the month!) We were at a different mall...the kind of mall where the woman are dressed as if they may be photographed at any minute. The kid of mall where there are often more sales people than items in the store. We fit right in....in my dreams! 

We were playing at the train table (Drew was playing, Ella was hoarding stuffed animals and Tyler was stuffing his face) with 4 other boys ages 1-4. We were the only English speaking family present. To say these boys were aggressive is a ridiculous understatement. They were pushing, grabbing, yelling, grunting, and smashing stuff.

I was proud of Drew, although his lip quivered once, he stood his own, clutching his little red caboose and trying to get out of the way. He changed directions when needed, let other non-caboose trains go, and was always on the lookout for an abandoned train. He didn't sink to their level. Several times all 3 of my kids were just standing and staring at the wild show. Most surprising were the overly stylish moms who were barely watching, much less intervening. Sometimes I am critical of myself for being too involved, but they were just negligent! We left to go play with the overpriced Pottery Barn play kitchens and came back later to a friendlier Thomas the Train loving crowd. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Good Try, Ma Momma

I researched a new pot roast recipe on epicurious, bought the ingredients and got it going yesterday at 9 AM. Don't you just love pot roast on a crisp day? Mike especially loves it and the kids eat it, always a bonus. I thought it might be fun to try a new recipe. So wrong. Not only did the house smell horrible all day, but it tasted...well...icky. 
Ella: "I don't like it mom." 
Me: "I know Ella, it doesn't taste too good. I tried, but it didn't work out." 
Ella:" It's ok. Good try, Ma Momma." (her new name for me.)

Later she was on her play phone talking to my mom....

Where's Caca? Oh, he is in traffic. He'll be home soon Nonnie. What are you having for dinner? Chicken? Oh, that's good. Ma Momma tried but I didn't like it.  I said, "Good try, Momma!"

Monday, November 17, 2008

Simple Pleasures


There is nothing like a young child to remind you to take pleasure in the simple things. I suppose this is an especially poignant point as the holidays approach. Here are some favorite things of the moment: 

Ella: She has taken to hanging a reusable shopping bag on a dining room chair and filling it with things. Little animals, dish towels, combs, magnets, and books all reside in there among other treasures. She occasionally takes a peek in there, carries it for a lap around the house and then hangs it back up. 

Drew:  A flashlight is his new obsession. Sometimes for a big thrill we turn the lights out. 

Tyler: He is just too easy. He loves to tear paper, eat shoes, and play with bowls (although that last activity caused a cut on his eye and a trip to the ER, but no stitches.) Oh, and he also loves to splash in the toilet! Come to think of it, maybe I should buy him a toy :) Ha, Ha. 

As the giving season approaches, doubled with their birthdays so close to Christmas, I have been giving some thought to our approach. I have thought about my memories of waking to mounds and mounds of presents. The joy, the wonder, and the excitement. Mike remembers getting a big gift upstairs at Gram's house. We have a few years to iron out what our gift giving strategy and traditions will be. This year Ive started by choosing some handmade gifts from Etsy that I think they will enjoy. I like the fact that they were made by moms. I wish I were more crafty! Hopefully this year Ella, Drew and Tyler continue to absorb the feelings of the holidays - love, thanks, peace, joy - that all come when gathering and celebrating with family. 

Although you, my loyal readers, aren't big on commenting - I would love to hear some of your family holiday traditions that our family would enjoy as well. 

ps. that picture is Mike holding our most pleasurable gift last year - Tyler - although he turned out to be not so simple. 

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Road Rage

This video is a little outdated already, because the T-Bone is officially walking! He takes about 5-10 steps with a big proud grin the whole way. Such an awesome, amazing, heart swelling experience to watch.
video

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Seasons Change


I love when the seasons change. The crunch of leaves beneath our feet, the crisp air, the colors, taking sweaters out, comfy food, snuggling under an afghan. I think the kids enjoy it too and I love when they point out a pretty tree or a cool leaf.

When the seasons change it feels like a new chapter in the day to day. I love to set new goals, especially in Fall. I love thinking about new places to go, new recipes to try, books to read, etc. Although, if I could keep my goal setting to 4 times a year, I may be better off. I have always set goals: from losing weight, to better grades, to working on relationships. I might set 3-4 goals a day. I am always thinking of ways to make it better. "It" being anything. I think this is what made me pretty good as a counselor, I know how to evaluate, set goals, and follow through. I can't remember a time when I wasn't doing that.

I can see how this drive to improve can be seen as a dissatisfaction for what is. But, I don't think of this as a negative quality. I am truly happy with who I am, where I am, and what I am. I love my life. I am just constantly motivated to change. I can do both.

The problem is that I already see myself setting goals for my kids...they could be more independent, speak clearly, learn the alphabet, etc. I don't want them to interpret my goal setting as criticism, or internalize that they are not good enough. That would be the exact opposite of my intentions as a parent and would devastate me.

So, my new Fall goal is to lay off goal setting for the kids -maybe my best goal yet.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Banana Phone


Ella was using a banana as a phone today at the zoo. This is her conversation:


"Hi. What are you doing?"

"Wait a minute. OK, go ahead."
"Yeah, yeah. We are at the zoo. Its a beautiful day."

"I don't know what you are talking about!"

"Talk to you later. Bye!"


This coupled with the fact that I went over my minutes on my cell phone bill, lends me to believe I am on the phone a tad too much.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

11 Months



Dear Tyler,

This is your last shot at being a baby. In one month you will have your birthday and be on your way to being a little boy. I need to tell you this because you are already trying to race ahead. You want it all - to eat, to climb, to tackle, to love. You are constant motion and constant noise. You are so independent already and you certainly know what you want. You yell at all of us if we get in your way - I think we are in trouble when you actually start talking!
You are a super snuggler and give the best hugs. Instead of waving, you point at people with a huge smile - melts me every time. You seem indestructible, thank goodness, because you are such a daredevil - climbing stairs, flying down slides, wrestling with your big brother. I love to watch how excited you get while watching Ella and Drew, or when you see animals, or while dancing. You are always happy, so eager to join in. Unless you are hungry, and then watch out! Have I mentioned that you are a human garbage disposal?!

You are amazing.

I love you - Mom

Friday, November 7, 2008

Sweet


After the mean step-sisters rip Cinderella's dress to shreds she runs into the garden and cries on a bench.


I glance over at my little buddy Drew, and his lip is quivering.


"Mommy, Cinderella is sad?"


"Yeah, buddy. But, wait a minute, she will get happy."


sniffle, sniffle. "Ok."


Is he the cutest sweetest little thing?