Friday, January 30, 2009

How to Scare a Grandma

Tyler has had a fever for a few days. It seems my kids have inherited the "if any virus approaches us, we will fight it with high fevers" gene. Drew once topped out at 105 for 2 days straight. We have been to the ER a few times for blood, urine, and various other tests. Not recommended. So anyway he has had a fever, but then after lunch his lips turned blue. Im talking very dark blue/purple as if he had sucked on a grape popsicle and then a black crayon. His hands and feet were cold, the rest of his body burning hot, but he was breathing, eating, walking fine. I called the Dr's office, they were all on lunch. I called a nurse friend, she made me nervous and told me to either go to the Dr or the ER now. I finally got the Dr's office and they told me to come immediatley. Now I was panicked. I called Mike and started to cry. I was imagining all the tests they would run on my little guy. So I called my Mother in Law and this is what she heard through my tears, fast talking, and what she says is a Boston accent (although no one else can hear it!):

"Hi, It's Lauren. Tyler...blah, blah, blah....lips blue....blah, blah....tests....blah, blah....can you come watch Ella and Drew?"

Needless to say she was here in about 15 min. She is awesome.

Tyler is fine. They did hook him to an oxygen monitor in the office and everything checked out fine. Just a virus.

My Mother in Law is still recovering :)

Snow Days

What a great winter to live in the Burbs! While in Hoboken, it was tough to play in the snow - up and down stairs in snow gear, yellow snow everywhere, hard to push the stroller to the park, etc. But now we have our own backyard and deck to play in! We have had quite a few nice snowstorms and they love it. We dug out the sand toys to make snow castles. They love when Mike shovels big piles to jump in. Sticks are used for decorations and for hitting anything with snow on it. Tyler especially loves to walk, fall, and eat all the snow he can. I love the rosey cheeks.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Pizza Party

Ella and Drew are very into cousins lately. They love to visit with them, talk about them, and any new friend they come to like they immediately call a cousin. I love that they have absorbed the specialness of family. If only we could see them all more often.
Last week we had McKenzie and Luke over for a Play Doh and Pizza Party. The kids all helped make the pizza which was entertainment for us all!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Harvard here we come!

What do you think, brain surgeon or rocket scientist?!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Just the Beginning

It is part of being a woman. Some love it, most hate it. I never knew a teenage girl who didn't struggle with it. I can hear the complaints, whining, and tears now.


It is difficult to describe Ella's hair. I am shocked that she doesn't have my hair, especially since mine is exactly like my mothers. Some say it is from Aunt Melissa. Wherever it came from, it is here, in a big way!

Not quite curly and not quite straight. Thin, fine, frizzy, and growing slower than you can imagine. I love it in pigtails and I love to braid it, but I can't do that all day and those styles don't survive naps or playing rough with her brothers. It usually looks better if I don't comb it, but I can't let her go out without having her hair combed!! Most times Im taking pictures in the afternoon, when it is au natural and straight from a nap. So, her toddlerhood has been recorded complete with her crazy hair.

Ms. Mature

Im not sure which day it was, but Ella woke up one morning as a 30 yr old. She is so funny, especially if you could see her nodding her head, shrugging her shoulders, and holding her palms up for emphasis. Some recent quotes...

"You can say Hi to me, because you know me. Im your friend. Don't be scared." - to her teacher at the play gym

"You can give Sam some water if you want. He could have some, sure." - to her friend's mom when Sam asked for water

"You didn't come to the Diner because you hurt your knee. But you are going to be a OK. Don't worry, you can come next week" - her greeting to her bewildered Pop-Pop who just chose to sleep in.

"Of course I/you can!" - her response to 80% of the questions asked of her

"I don't want a little bit. I want a lot."

"Ok Drew, climb into your car seat Big Boy!"

Monday, January 26, 2009

For the Delanos

My cousin and Aunt are big squirrel fans, much to my mother's dismay. The kids and I have made a few bird feeders, but we noticed that it seems the squirrels enjoy them more. So now we just pour out some birdseed, or crumbs, or sunflower seeds on our deck each morning. We love to watch the birds and squirrels while we eat. I especially love the bright red Cardinal and his subtle mate. Tyler is smitten with them all and will often stand at the window long after we have all moved on to other things.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Photo Booth

We had so much fun playing with the photo booth application on my new Mac. The kids loved it, we all couldn't stop laughing, and I think the pics came out pretty cute!

Nap Time

"Im not going to SLEEP!! Just a rest, mommy!"
No matter what you call it, there is at least an hour and a half, but often more, when all 3 are tucked in tight. The house is peaceful and oh so blissfully quiet - in a good way, not the I have my hands in the toilet, or we are tearing up a photo album in the corner quiet. I usually spend the time here, at the table on the computer. I read and I write and I feel guilty about all the things I should be doing. Folding laundry. Scrubbing toilets. Organizing a closet. I keep telling myself I will get to that list after a cup of tea or one more blog post. But it feels so good to just sit.
Ella has probably outgrown the nap. She does fall asleep each day, but then she is awake until after 10, laying in her bed telling her dogs stories. I've known this for months and we have struggled with bedtime, but I just can't let go of nap. Im worried that without this time to replenish my sanity, my head may really explode some day. Im hoping that the transition will be smooth and Ill wonder why I didn't stop it sooner (did I mention the quiet?). I picture the big kids and I playing play doh, cooking together and laughing over board games while Tyler is sleeping. They would love that time to do all the "big kid" stuff. Or maybe Ill just let Ella off the hook and she and I can have girly time. I can get to know her and she can get to know herself, without the boys around. She could experience quiet for the first time in her life. I wonder if she would enjoy daydreaming out the window with a warm cup of tea?
I expect to hear the wails of Tyler and Drew's piercing "I WANT TO GET UP!!" any minute now.

One more sip. One more breath.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Nie Nie

You may notice this button was added to my sidebar. It links to Nie Nie's site. It is an extraordinary blog of an amazing woman with a beautiful family. Just after I started reading her blog her and her husband were in a plane crash. They survived, but Nie Nie has suffered major burns among other injuries. She just started writing again and continues to be a positive, witty, and loving person. Check out some of her older posts to get to know her.

A good spot to visit when you are looking for a little perspective.


While at a play group today the conversation turned to a mutual friend (not there) who has 2.5 yr old twins and a 3 month old. My friend said this,
"She has to have her mother come for weeks at a time to help her. She is exhausted and simply can't do it with twins and a newborn. We were talking about you (me) and we both agreed that although your situations seem exactly the same, Ella and Drew are so good it was just easier for you. Her boys just don't behave like that."
Hours later and I am still reeling from this comment.

1. Sure there are many different types of kids out there with all different personalities and temperaments. I understand that. But I also understand that I work hard to ensure that I am raising my kids with some discipline, respect, and social awareness. I am constantly reading up on theories, ideas, and methods to double check my instincts, to ensure that I am doing something right! "He only eats peanut butter and dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets." Are you kidding me? Do you think he was born with taste buds only for these two foods?! Who is giving it to him everyday and giving in?! Of course it is harder to serve something else and stick to your guns - who ever said this was easy? Imagine saying to Michael Phelps, "your so lucky that you are a good swimmer." Luck?! The guy has been in the pool for 20 hours a day for his entire life! Extreme example, but you get the point, right?

2. I am constantly annoyed, discouraged, and saddened that so many conversations amongst mothers is about who has it harder, how difficult their kids are, how much work it is, how they need a break. Somehow making parenting a competition of who has it the worst. These same mothers 20 years from now will wish they could return to this time of having young children to enjoy them. We all chose to be parents. We all love our children. Why don't we spend our time together discussing how funny they are or what new activities we can do with them. I have some new standard responses when others try to rope me into these conversations that are all very nice and blah. I tried one out today and everyone looked at me like I had 2 heads. Im just not doing it anymore. I want my kids to hear how much I love my life with them, because I do. Sure it feels like work sometimes, but there is no better job and I am keenly aware of that.

Parenting is a gift that requires hard work and responsibility but it also results in the greatest rewards.

National Museum of History

Last week we went into "New Yuck City" to go to the Museum of Natural History. We met up with my old friend and roommate Beth. The museum is so big, with so many fun things to explore. We were able to cover the North American and Asian animals as well as the Dinosaur bones. The kids were excited the whole time and eager to explore. Beth and I were a little overwhelmed at times with the massive amounts of school groups. Geesh, kids are noisy and we were so surpirsed at the teachers' attitudes - not in a good way. Next time we are going to investigate the space exhibits.
Beth made quite an impression on Ella. Since last week Ella has been talking about her often. Every time we pass a park Ella says, "Mommy, maybe when it is springtime we can go to that park with Beth." Maybe Ella will inspire Beth and I to make plans more often. Maybe a monthly meeting at the museum - what do you say Betty?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Learning Lessons

I am surprised every day at how much they learn, but Im also surprised at how much Im learning. We hear a lot of "I can do it myself" but we also hear "Mommy, help me!" Finding the balance between independence and staying close, holding onto them and letting them grow, is tough for all of us. Sometimes I force myself to push them a little so that they can develop independence. Sometimes I do it for them because it is faster and easier. Sometimes I help because I love them and hate to see them struggle. I consider myself to be uber-independent and I hope that they will be too. But, I also am learning, through them, that it is ok to ask for help. It feels good to work together.
This picture though is one of my new favorite smiles - the "Im so proud of myself" smile. Im proud too.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Just the Basics

Me: Today is an important day because,

Ella: Is Nonnie coming?!!

Me: No. Today is important because our country,

Drew: The Nighted States?

Me: Yes, the United States will have a new President.

Both: OMAMA!!

Me: Yes, Obama will start his new job today as President of the United States. It is a very important job and a very special time for lots of people in the country.

Ella: Does he work in New Yuck City with Daddy?

Me: No. He will work in Washington, that is the capital of the country. So a lot of people are very excited because, well, because he is the first black president.

Drew: Black? What's Black?

Me: Just a color, buddy.

Drew: Oh, can I have another muffin.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Not Today

After a week of working so hard and so late, missing dinner, bedtime, and seeing their beautiful faces - Daddy is home today. What a treat. Nothing much planned, just being together.

We did stop by MIke's brothers house to meet the new baby, TJ. I got to hold and love his little tiny 1-week old self. I think it is one of the true gifts of life that every time you hold a newborn, you are surprised at how small they are. His little puckered lips, the hand on the side of his face, his feathery hair. Sweet. Amazing. Joy.

So, no looking out the window for Daddy tonight. Maybe we will snuggle in, watch the snow and then a movie.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Little Momma

Ella: I think you are doing the pee-pee dance, Drew.
Drew: Oh, ok. Mommy, I have to do pee-pee!!

Shared Love

It is so much fun when one of the kids enjoys something that I love. Sure, I want them to develop their own interests and loves...but it is fun to share some too!
Here is Tyler eating his first sushi roll. It was Mango Shrimp and he ate it all at once, just like the pros. We skipped the wasabi and soy - that will come later!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Royal Family

This castle is the hit of the house! All 3 play all the time, and at our weekly play group, the other kids were crazy about it. Im amazed that even Tyler loves to move the people around and put them in and out of the dungeon. Of course, he likes to sit on the castle while he plays which drives the other two nuts!! Drew also likes to put on his super cape, grab his shield and protect the castle from the mean people!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Welcome TJ!

Yesterday Uncle Joe and Aunt Michelle welcomed their 4th child, Baby TJ (Thomas Joseph) into the world and our family. We couldn't be more excited to have a new cousin and nephew. Family is the ultimate joy!

ps. thanks to the Kailhers for the video and song idea!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My Boy

I didn't sleep last night, and as I tossed and turned it occurred to me that I was up all night, the same night, 3 years ago. 3 Years ago today my little guy went in for surgery. He was exactly a month old. Barely 7 pounds. It was not a dangerous or life threatening procedure (pyloric stenosis), but my beautiful new baby was going under anesthesia and being operated on. The night before was the hardest night of my life. My little guy screamed all night, as hungry as he could be. You can't explain to a 1 month old that you can't eat before surgery, or you can't eat because you will then vomit the food clear across the room. I held him. I sang. I cried. I prayed. Everything turned out fine and he is as healthy as can be today. But I will never forget that night. I will tell him the story - that his dad and his uncle Joe passed on this crazy medical phenomena. That he was such a fighter and so tough, fighting IVs and pushing away nurses. That I started singing our special song that night..."So we're OK, we're fine. Baby, Im here to stop your crying..." Indigo Girls.

Frick and Frack

It had been awhile since I had given them mixed veggies. Remember that they used to eat the opposite veggies? Last night I served up the classic peas and carrots. Before I knew it, Drew's plate contained all peas and Ella had only carrots left. Perfect match.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Live Experiment

As soon as I learned that I was having boy/girl twins, I started thinking about gender differences. As a psych major I had learned about nature vs nurture, gender patterns, child development - so I was so curious to see it in my own house. Some women play dress-up with their babies, I looked forward to my very own psychological studies on child development and gender.

But, then they were born. When other people asked me about gender differences, I realized that I didn't think about it as much as I thought I would. And, there weren't so many differences after all.

This Christmas Mike and I did put some serious thought into whether or not Drew should get a new doll, as we planned on getting one for Ella. He does play with dolls sometimes, but not with the same frequency or interest as Ella. Ultimately, we decided that he had other toys and maybe we should focus his energy on those.

The 2 grandmothers obviously disagreed with our decision and both purchased new boy dolls for Drew. Thank goodness.

The lesson from this experiment is that I don't want to be a psychologist studying my kids, or a parent that limits my kids' experiences because of my own hang-ups. All Drew knows is that it is fun to brush his buddy's hair and change his clothes. Sometimes he sets him up on the couch for a sword fight, sometimes he just sits next to him to watch a movie. If Drew didn't have a new buddy, I wouldn't be witness to his adorable nurturing characteristics - just his aggressive sword fighting skills!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Birth Control

If ever you feel the need to have a child, or another, or another - just look at this picture to change your mind! This is while making dinner, helping the other kids with something, talking on the phone, cleaning...generally anything that causes me to be standing without holding him! Notice the intensity of the scream, but no tears. The death grip on my jeans. 

*ps. of course this is all in jest. I love the little bugger more than anything and he is a super happy kid :)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Winter Afternoons

Is there a better way to spend a cold, rainy, dark winter afternoon? 

I noticed that their feet were touching almost the whole time they were playing. Im going to have to look under the table more often. 

It reminded me of this picture and how when they were infants they were touching all the time. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Daily Doings

* Tyler scooted up and around a 20 foot indoor climbing structure at the kiddie gym where we take a class. I squeezed myself into the tunnels and across bridges to make sure he didn't get hurt or stuck - but he did it all solo. Drew led the way, "Watch me Tylie!" Although he managed to accomplish this amazing feat, walking across the floor proved more dangerous. While putting our shoes on he tried running and slammed his forehead into the cement floor. Ouch. 

* "Excuse me mommy. What time is it?" Ella asked, as if she has a concept of time. When I answered 10, she replied with a nod and an "Oh." 

* Ella overheard me talking about Tyler's bruise on his head. She said, "Mommy, does Tyler have a boo-boo?" I said yes. She replied, "Oh, that is so weird." 

* After Tyler smashed the upteenth tower in a row, Drew turned to me and said, "Mommy, Tyler is not too good at this game." 

*We had a big watercolor session lasting over an hour that produced lots of paintings. Both Ella and Drew chose to paint in only one color each, Blue for Drew and Brown for Ella. Which painter was it that went through this? I just remember hearing it was his _____ period. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Thanks Walt!

My gentle, music loving, quiet boy has turned into a sword wheeling, screaming, chasing maniac. I blame Peter Pan and Walt Disney for corrupting my son. I hate violence and swore my kids wouldn't be exposed to anything related to fighting for...well, forever. Mistakenly I thought the fight scenes in Peter Pan wouldn't be so influential. 

Yesterday I peeked into the living room while I was making dinner and saw Drew standing over the couch with violin bow raised over his head beating his new boy doll. 

Me. "Drew what are you doing?" 
Him. "No, No, Im Captain Hook!!" 

Monday, January 5, 2009

Baby Must Haves - First 3 months

An old chum of mine is newly pregnant, actually I know a few newly pregnant women, but this one in particular is enjoying her exploration of the vast baby products industry. I love baby products for all of their cuteness, convienance, and sometimes just plain fun. Here is a list of the things I couldn't do without and a few that I just love. Click on the name for a link.

First 3 Months:

Aquarium Bouncy Seat - I've had too many bouncy seats, but this one is an all time favorite of all 3 of my kids and of friends. Bright, noisy, all the things you want to avoid, but that babies love! 

Baby Bjorn - register for it, you'll like it. Other friends swear by the expensive Ergo carrier, if you think you will want to wear your baby for longer than 6-8 months, try it. 

Snap & Go - Don't register for a travel system. All of the strollers that come with those are stinky. Instead, get this, it is all you need for the first few months. Once you figure out how often you use a stroller, where you go, what you need to carry - then go shopping for a stroller. You just don't know until you have the baby. You'll have plenty of gift card to use, or register for one of the more popular strollers and if you don't like it, exchange it. 
* as I was getting the link I noticed that this is $60. Ouch. I got my single one for free from a friend, and was happy to shell out the $100 for the double. But, see if you can get this on craigslist. Your baby doesn't even touch it, so don't be all paranoid about putting your precious first born in a used one! 

2-Way Swing - I never had this, but I wished I did. 2 of my 3 kids didn't like the swing, but when we visited people who had this one they loved to swing side to side. Get it. There are a few different varieties.

Car Seat Cover - for winter babies this is essential. If your baby will be older by winter, then get one of these. They also have bug nets that are good for you out doorsy types. 

Pack & Play, Cradle, Bassinet - I like to have the baby sleep next to me for a while. The pack & play seems to have the most longeivity as you can use it for travel for up to 2 years. Most have a bassinet layer so the newborn can sleep up higher at your eye level (when in bed). Cradles and bassinets are lovely, especially if a family heirloom or borrowed. 

Bath Sling - for the twins I had a baby tub and I hated storing it, filling it up, cleaning it, drying it, etc. For Tyler I got one of these and loved it. I washed him in the sink and later used this in the tub with the other monkeys on either side of him. Cheaper, smaller, and very comfy looking! 

I didn't have a rocking chair or a glider, but boy would I have loved one!! The glider is so comfy to nurse in, rock in, read name it. If I had lived in more than 750 sq feet with twins, I would have bought one :) 

I didn't use bottles, so you'll have to look elsewhere for help on BPA free ones and bottle warmers. I have spent a lot of time nursing and highly recommend an electric pump. Makes life much easier. Also, look into one of these - love it! After much trial and error, I decided that the reusable breast pads are eco-friendlier and more comfy than the disposable ones. If you have any other breast feeding questions, ask away! 

More installments to come - happy shopping! 

Friday, January 2, 2009

My Dad

My Dad is shaping up to be quite an awesome Grandfather, not that I am surprised. He enjoys all his grandkids so much and is willing to do anything with them. He loves to shop for them, cook for them, play with them, and read to them. He is so awesome at showing them the world, from lawnmowers to bird feeders to hot cocoa at Starbucks. 

 At the Boston Children's Museum he was right there with the kids, figuring things out and using the teaching moments like a pro. He jumped right into the Barber chair and let the kids cut his hair with a big smile, while we joked about lice. 

I am so excited to watch the relationships grow. I think the kids are so lucky to have a grandfather like my dad - I know because I was lucky to have him as my dad. He has a perfect mix of having fun and teaching important lessons. Lessons like respect, honesty, hard work, and doing the "right thing." 

I love to watch him give in to the kids. Ella has claimed his chair and he smiles about it. He helps Drew in the bathroom and getting dressed. He plays stamps and playdoh. Maybe the ultimate, he lets them call him "Caca" even though they can clearly say "p's" now. Heck, he even calls himself Caca on occasion. 

His patience is unending and there is love oozing out of his pores. Thanks for being awesome, Caca!