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Showing posts from 2010

Ahhh, The Romance....

I think I need another blizzard to get back into my mommy zen mode.  School vacation combined with my twin tornadoes and my somewhat crippling desire to maintain some semblance of order in this house has left me feeling all cranky and burned out.
Jude and Ellie are delightful but they can rip the books off the shelves, empty the kitchen cupboards, and strew every single toy inside these four walls with remarkable speed and determination.  No sooner have I replaced all my books when I hear the crash of CDs out of a cabinet they recently learned to open.  There are only so many high spaces in this house and we've maximized what we have.
So, in this frame of mind, I turned to my husband the other night and said, "Is it possible to adore your children beyond measure but hate your life?"  In his very psychiatrist way of being, he asked if the clean-up was getting me down.  Indeed, it is.
I recognize that while I *should* work on letting the chaos go, I just can't right now. …

Blizzards

I love blizzards and we were hit with a big one last night.  After sunset, when the world was slowing and people were snug in their warm homes, I bundled up and headed out for a walk.  It was cold and windy and I was alone in my neighborhood.  There were no cars, no plows, and no noise other than the wind.   Houses were illuminated by the white lights within and the colored lights hanging from exterior eaves and railings.  It was lovely.
After all the chaos of Christmas and travel, it was nice to be home.  I was happy that we arrived back before the brunt of the snow hit and the girls were none the worse for all the time in the car.  As I approached the house at the end of my blizzard walk, I got to see my house and my life from the outside.  Vivi was running around in her pajamas, Jude and Ellie were dancing, the new toys were scattered around the floor, and my husband was half paying attention to a muted football game on television.  From the silence of the street, I felt grateful th…

My Attempts

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Well hello again bloggy blog friends!  It's been a long time. 

I think I lost my blogging mojo sometime around Thanksgiving and I'm still not sure it has made it back.  (Sorry grandmas.)  It seems that I was cleaning up from Thanksgiving and then Hanukkah hit which shouldn't be a big deal but somehow turned into one and well, before long I was all in a tizzy about Christmas.  There you have it.
We have had a lovely month so far.  Hanukkah was a hit not only because of the presents but because Vivi learned the candle blessing which she proudly recites in near-perfect Hebrew. (Which she calls Spanish.)

Once Hanukkah passed, we made our annual trek out to Big John Leyden's Tree Farm.  (Frankly, who wouldn't want to buy a tree from a guy named Big John?)  Finding the perfect tree was a riveting experience for everyone involved.  See, just look at Jude:

Somehow we ended up in a field with mostly new trees so we picked the biggest one we could find. It called to us and every…

Let the Party Begin!

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Jude loves people and has been known to climb into the lap of anyone who happens to glance in her direction.  She greets every person we pass in a store with a boisterous "Hi!" which leads to numerous head-pats and smiles.  She loves being the center of attention so we always assumed that Jude was the party animal of our Turtle duo. 
You have probably heard the old guidance counselor bit of wisdom:  When you assume, you make an ass out of u and me?  Well, I am an ass because in the last month Ellie is all party, all the time.

For one thing, she is all about connecting with her peeps.  Ellie climbs on my desk, pokes at my laptop, and proudly demands that it is time to talk with Kai Kai.  Kai Kai is Aunt Katie, with whom we Skype on a regular basis.  Well, that is if Skyping is defined by kissing the screen and hogging the webcam. 
The love doesn't end with the computer though. When I took Jude out for some errands, Ellie was not pleased to be left behind.  Upon our return, h…

Traditions and Rituals

This past Friday we celebrated our first Shabbat as a family.  We bought some challah, lit a candle, said the blessing, and talked about what we are grateful for.  Jude and Ellie were clearly grateful for the bread.  I was happy that Vivi's earache and upset stomach from earlier in the day had subsided, and my husband was happy that we were all together.  Vivi just wanted to play with the matches.  Nonetheless, it went off without a hitch and we had a really nice dinner together.
Don't let this evening fool you.  We are not religious people.  My husband went to Hebrew school but doesn't consider himself Jewish.  (In fact, he has many negative associations with the religion.)  I was raised in a household that had no religion but I suppose that a week of free vacation bible school when I was nine would qualify me to be vaguely Christian.   It is fair to say that while we aren't exactly atheists today, we're probably pretty close.
This old time religion thing has brough…

The Many Meanings of Suck

I haven't been feeling very victorious lately.  Vivi has settled back into being hell on two legs.  I'm tired and stressed out which is really getting on my husband's nerves.  (At least that is what he reports anyway.)  And, to top it off, my pants are tight.  Today I just gave in to the misery of it all and put on yoga pants.  The same yoga pants I wore all throughout my pregnancy with the Turtles.

SHOOT. ME. NOW.
I think I know what my problem is though. I weaned Jude and Ellie.  
You see, before I took off to NC, I had managed to get the Turtles down to one nursing session a day.  It was at 5 a.m. and it was so bloody uncomfortable, I was eager to be done with the whole breastfeeding thing as soon as possible.  I wasn't crazy about the idea of forcing it by leaving town but because I wasn't really on top of getting it done beforehand, that's what had to be done. I left the state with my breast pump in my bag and hoped for the best.
Well, as it turns out, I nev…

Good Examples

I just ate a piece of chocolate bundt cake for breakfast.  It was homemade by moi and smothered in chocolate ganache.  I sat at the kitchen table and ate it right off the serving plate. (At least I didn't eat it while leaning over the sink. A woman has to have some limits.)  The worst part was that it wasn't even half as delicious as I had hoped and I still ate it.
Since I was setting a bad example for my Turtles who sat at the table with me, I decided to share my cake breakfast with them.  They seemed to think it was delicious.  So maybe the worst part was NOT eating it while leaning over the sink.
So, in a span of about ten minutes, I was able to turn a perfectly okay morning into one where I feel bad about myself, my mothering, and my complete lack of coping skills.  
It's certainly fair to say that I have had a lot of stress the last two days.  My sister had major surgery yesterday and while the operation seemed to go smoothly, this particular procedure has a high rate of…

These Wings Were Made for Flying

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Vivi and I had a great trip to North Carolina.  She was such a fantastic little traveler and I was at my mommy-best.  We had no arguments.  There were no lost-tempers and no real schedule.  Vivi thrived with all the attention and I was the most relaxed I have been in a verylong time.  Oh, and I got my first full night's sleep in nearly two years.  It was on my sister's couch and it was wonderful. (Yeah, I know, couch and wonderful aren't usually used in the same sentence.)
Unfortunately, things didn't go quite as smoothly on the home front.  The Turtles were okay for a day but once they realized I was gone, Daddy found himself with a lot of babies holding tight to his legs.  The nights were the hardest, particularly for Jude, who woke up yelling for me and could not be settled.  She tried searching the house for me in the middle of the night which left her distraught and Daddy more than a little exhausted.  That, of course, made our homecoming sweet for everyone.  
Here …

Hush Little Baby

I know I complain a lot about the sleep situation around these parts.  Well, brace yourself, because here we go again. For the most part, Jude and Ellie go down with little trouble but it's the sleeping through the night that is challenging.  I know I am not the only one with this problem.
I did what I was supposed to. I was thoughtful and consistent.  I read Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, a book that did help me give up the guilt when it came to "crying it out."  What it did not do, however, was help us with what to do with children who do not stay asleep.  Some nights will be fine.  Other nights, one will wake up and will NOT go back to sleep.  (I'm talking OVER AN HOUR of SCREAMING!)  Sometimes they just want to see me, other times they want to be held for a moment and then put down, and sometimes they want rocking and singing and constant contact.
So Dr. Marc Weissbluth, I am here to tell you that your theory that all kids can become good sleepers is a bunch o…

Jude

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I'm convinced that my little Jude is a genius.  
Here's how I figure it:  If children need sleep to build the neuro-pathways that allow them to remember what they experienced during the day and my Jude has several new words a day, all without sleep, then it stands to reason that there is something really special about her.
Really.  How can a kid that wakes up every %*#& hour and still be able to function NOT be some sort of genius?  It's like sleep is a hobby and not a biological necessity.

And, yet as exhausted as I am and how completely OVER the novelty of waking up twelve times a night as I am, I can't hold a grudge.  How can I when she comes up to me with arms open saying, "Mama, hug! Hug!"  And after I snuggle her in nice in tight, she plants a kiss on my lips and gently purrs,  "Niiiiiiice."
Yes Jude, you're right.  It is nice.

Terror on Two Legs

Sometimes, I could just throttle my four-year old. Make that my four-and-a-half year old-- an age which she very proudly exclaims when she is being either exceptionally annoying or exceptionally charming.  It's usually the former.
I don't know why Vivi and I butt heads but that seems to be all we do lately.  This morning when I met her in the hallway with my usual greeting, "Good Morning!  I am so happy to see you."  She responded with, "You are a gross woman."  It's true that I had not brushed my teeth nor was I wearing pants but I think I deserve a little more respect than that.
That is just one example of the nastiness.  Vivi has called me an idiot, a rat, told me that she hated me, threatened to kick me in the face, and proclaimed that she would "kill me in real life." (My mother would say that this is my comeuppance but my nastiness didn't really come out until high school which, at the very least, is expected.)
This all started around t…

October

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October seemed to come and go in one fell swoop and for the first time in a very long time, I actually know what happened.

First it started off with Vivi's fall on the neighbor's porch which led to a very loose tooth.  It only took one day and a bite out of an apple for the tooth to fall out.  From what we can surmise, she swallowed the tooth along with the apple although that didn't stop her from writing a note to the tooth fairy letting her know where she can leave the money.   Here's Vivi in all of her toothless glory and one whole dollar richer:

Seems that the same thing happened to her father at about the same age:

He only got a nickel.
Jude and Ellie are up to their usual antics-- climbing, playing, and learning to talk.  I am convinced that there is nothing better than a child between the age of 12 months and 24 months.  They are so full of curiosity and energy but not yet testing their boundaries.  They also haven't fully grasped the power of "no."  …

Fun in the Sun

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Unlike my husband, I never feel compelled to run for fun in the hot, hot sun.  Ever.

With the beautiful fall weather, I do feel compelled to make green slime smoothies and feed them to my girls while watching the neighbor take down his 100 year old maple tree.

I feel compelled to go for walks with Vivi and pick up pretty leaves which may result in various art projects.


I feel compelled to cook a pound of dried great northern beans because a Tuscan bean soup sounds really good on a cool, autumn evening.


And, after all that, we feel compelled to put on our jammie jams, sunggle in tight, and read a book.


Happy Fall!

Hello Again!

Sometimes I think being a parent to twins and an older child is akin to doing an extended  stint in an Iranian hard labor camp. The incessant demands, the never-ending cleanup, the desperation and deprivation all make me wonder what sort of cruel universal joke landed me in this predicament.
In many ways, that punishingly difficult first year is starting to fade. Vivi has more or less accepted that her little sisters are here to stay and she delights in how much they obviously love her. (She is less enthused with them touching her stuff, however.)  The Turtles are no longer colicky blobs of ceaseless crying but instead are two disparate bundles of personality. They are speeding around and beginning to talk and when asked how much Mommy loves them they'll throw their arms wide and yell, "Big!  Big!" 
But, it is still not easy.  I realize with twins that it never gets easy.  It just becomes less hard.  Or, at least, some things do.  While the babes are on a schedule now and …

Wanting More

If there is one thing that I was absolutely clear on the first year of Jude and Ellie's life, it was that I was done having children.  Did you hear that? DONE.  D.O.N.E. At no point in the future would I be birthing or raising any more children. Period. We were pretty sure at the start of our second pregnancy that we were going to stop at two children.  Then we got our bonus baby and that likelihood became a certainty.  The plan is to accept our fate as a party of five.
So there.

Last Saturday, I visited my dear friend who is 33 weeks pregnant with her own set of twins.  Like me, she has an older daughter.  Unlike me, she has had a difficult pregnancy and is now on hospital bed rest.  I wonder how it is all going to work out for her and I feel both trepidatious and concerned.
My friend has seen how hard the first year of my twin's life was.  She was witness to the marathon nursing sessions, the short tempers, my inability to hold a conversation due to extreme sleep deprivation,…

Summer's Bounty

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The bounty of summer is upon us and Vivi and I have been two little worker bees in the kitchen. Last week we picked up a few pounds of kirby cukes at our local farm which we promptly turned into pickles.

My husband and Vivi are real pickle connoisseurs and they both gave them two enthusiastic thumbs up.  The babies were also impressed.  If you want to give it a go yourself, here is the easy recipe from Real Simple.
Saturday took us to the Farmer's Market where I picked up about thirty pounds of perfectly ripe tomatoes for $10.  It was a bargain that I couldn't pass up even though I had no idea how I was going to fit all those tomatoes in the stroller. (Luckily, my husband showed up just in time to carry them the mile home.)
Vivi and I blanched and peeled the tomatoes resulting in six quart jars.  Here is just one:


Before I became.... hmmm... how should I put this....encumbered by these rascals:


I would have properly canned those tomatoes, just like someone's grandma used to …

Getting My Craft On

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With Vivi at camp and the babies napping in the mornings, I've recently become reacquainted with my sewing machine.  I tend to do most of my crafting in the cooler months when night seems longer than day but lately I've gotten my hands on some fun fabric and a few neat ideas.  Plus, as I mentioned in the beginning of the year, I'm trying my hand at making as many gifts as possible.  Trying is the operative word here folks.
In the past month, I've made a chef's hat, a sundress for Vivi, a fabric party hat, my own (pathetic) version of a fabric trapper keeper (remember those?) and more than a few embellished headbands.  Of course, it did not occur to me to photograph any of these items but I'm turning over a new leaf.  Here are photos of some plain tank tops that I gussied up for Vivi's friend Charlotte's birthday party last week:






Lucky for me they only involved minimal swearing and were a total hit with Charlotte.

Currently, I am in the midst of a tutu and…

Lonely

Here I am.  It's 7:30 on Sunday morning and I am in bed typing on my new laptop.  I should be sleeping.  This is my big chance, after all.  My husband took all three of our girls to New Jersey this weekend to visit his parents and to give me a break.  It is a break that I have needed for... uh.... I dunno.... about 17 months but now that everyone is gone, I'm lonely.
Don't get me wrong.  Since they left yesterday morning, I have really enjoyed my freedom from parenting.  I got a haircut and put stacks of photos into albums.  I picked up the house and balanced my checkbook.  I didn't cook.  It's been pretty enjoyable to come and go as I please.  As day turned into darkness, however, I started to feel unsettled.
You see, as much as I desperately need a good night's sleep, I don't like to be alone at night.  I'm not scared of the dark but the house feels way too big for just me.  When I am not able to check on the girls before I go to bed, that loneliness is…

Fancy Withdrawal

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As much as I have avoided emphasizing my daughter's appearance, Vivi is all about being fancy.  Fancy is synonymous with being "stylish" but I can't quite figure out if my kid is fashion forward or just a walking advertisement for lack of parental supervision.
What I have come to understand is that fancy isn't about being a princess or owning lots of things.  Thank goodness for that.  To Vivi, being fancy means wearing a skirt or a dress with tights, regardless of temperature.   The more colors and patterns you have in one particular outfit, the better.  Oh, and you can never go wrong with multicolored polka dotted rain boots.  (Those are known as her "high heels.") 

So, it has been with no fair amount of grief that Vivi has been engaged in activities that require her to be "boring."  First it was gymnastics camp which required shorts and a t-shirt, then a camping trip with her Dad last week, and now it's zoo camp with a similar dress code. …

One of Those Days

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Have you ever had one of those days where your kids run you ragged and you just feel like you are thisclose to being hauled away to your friendly neighborhood mental hospital?

Of course you have.

Have you ever photographed that day?

Of course you haven't.  That would be crazy.

Ummm...  well, I guess the verdict is in for me.





That's right.  100% nuts.

Is Daddy the New Mommy?

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It seems my little Jude Bug doesn't like me anymore.  Lately, in a rather strange turn of events, Jude seems to prefer her dad.  And by prefer I mean she cries hysterically when he leaves for work.  She refuses to let him put her down when he's home and she will not let me get her out of the crib after nap time until she is certain that Daddy isn't in the house.  Oh, and here's the kicker, she looks utterly dejected as she literally swats away my advances. 
This is the face I am greeted with:


Daddy, of course, finds this whole situation quite humorous and is delighted by Jude's intensity of feelings toward him.  There's just one little hitch...

Jude calls him Mommy.

We've been very perplexed by this whole situation.  Jude clearly knows that her father is called Daddy but if I am around, his name is Mommy.  When he walks in the door after work, she runs to him yelling, "Mom-meee!  Mom-meee!"  Hmmm...
As the whole going-to-work meltdown played out th…

Show Me the Love

My girls are all about the love these days.  Jude delights in running up to Ellie, resting her head on Ellie's chest, and putting her hand on Ellie's mouth which is what Jude thinks is a kiss.  Ellie used to scream in annoyance but lately they both have been giggling at their own affection for each other.  It really is a delight to see.   
Ellie, the most reserved of all my girls, has been doling out her own kisses lately.  While nursing, she will occasionally pull herself off the breast to look up at me and hum.  That's her sign that she wants to give me a kiss.  (Maybe she is sensing my increased discomfort with nursing and is trying to entice me to keep at it a little longer.)  At five this morning, while nursing both of them in my bed, Ellie finished and pulled herself off, crawled across my chest over to Jude, and gave her one big, wet, milky kiss.  This lead to lots of sleepy giggles and whatever hope I had of getting them back to bed evaporated at that moment but it…

Whole Foods Ruined It

I hate mayonaise.  Truly.  I find it absolutely disgusting.  Mix mayonaise with a decent food like tuna fish and I just about lose my marbles.  Why, oh why, does it have to be so?  Can't there be a better way to have your tuna sandwich?
Well, it turns out there is.  Several years ago, I discovered a tuna salad at Whole Foods which was mayonaise-free.  It had olive oil and lemon and all sort of glorious other ingredients.  It was delicious on everything but I particularly liked to eat it on French rye with a slice of Swiss cheese.  (Very international, I know.)  I started making my own and it became the perfect light summer meal.  Here's the rough recipe:
Mayo-Free Tuna
1 pkg. of solid white tuna juice from one lemon olive oil 1/4 cup minced onion 1/2 a green apple handful of dried, sweetened cranberries salt and pepper
Mix together. (All ingredients can be altered to suit your taste.)
A couple of days ago I was in Whole Foods and saw the apple and cranberry tuna salad in the premade food…

Summer Dinner

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When it's hot, I hate to cook.  Actually, despite all the talk of food on this blog, I am not too crazy about cooking in general.  If I had to make a meal a few times a week, I probably would enjoy the challenge but getting three nutritious, unprocessed meals on the table every day of the week becomes a huge grind.  And then there's the clean-up...  sometimes I just want to throw in the dishtowel and let the kids feed off the floor.
While I don't have any great insight into getting things cleaned up efficiently, I came up with a meal last night that was a HUGE hit with my girls.  Before you get too excited, it is just a variation on quesadillas but it is an improved variation, I think.  What I have done in the past is put some cheese and beans in a tortilla, heated it up, and served it with some guacamole on top.  Vivi would eat a couple bites and then announce that she did not, in fact, like quesadillas.
And then I realized... it's all about presentation baby!  Well, du…

Pet Peeves

My husband says that if I stop expecting people to be thoughtful, polite individuals, I wouldn't feel exasperated a good chunk of the time.  I admit he has a point.  In theory, I know the only thing I can actually control is my reaction to bad behavior but... wouldn't you just want to know if you were doing something that annoyed the hell out of another person?
Ummm... on second thought, never mind.
I've been feeling a little put out the last few days by people I don't even know.  Twice, in as many days, I have picked up the phone before 8 a.m. and had this conversation:
Caller:   Who is this? Me:   You called me.  Who are YOU? Caller:  Someone from this number called me. Me:  Well, did they leave a message? Caller:  No. Me:  If someone calls you from a number you don't know and they don't leave you a message, that usually means it was a wrong number or the call wasn't important.  Do you realize it isn't even 8 a.m.?
That's the point in the conversation when…

The Great Toilet Paper Caper

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Now that my Turtles are anything but slow little crawlers, they are getting into all sorts of mischief together.  Of course, they almost always find it in the bathroom.  First, it was the toilet and the splash pool it became.  Once we all learned to remember to put the lid down, however, it became less of a destination.  Since they have yet to figure out how to open it I thought we were in the clear.  That's when  The Great Toilet Paper Caper starring Ellie Bean and Jude Bug happened.


Hey Jude, look what I found!

Quick, grab as much as you can before mommy notices!

Run faster!  She's on to us!

Victory is mommy's as the Turtles collapse into a heap of giggles.

Can't a lady get a break around here?

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It's been too flippin' hot to do anything.  That includes making meals, playing at the park, or updating this here blog.  Even Vivi and the Turtles, who are normally so full of energy, are just lethargic little sweat balls.  We are subsisting on our bad attitudes, popsicles, and periodic trips to the mall to gorge ourselves on the cool breeze of air-conditioning.  We are pathetic but we are not unlike a lot of New Englanders riding out this heatwave the best way we know how.
Unfortunately, the weather has been the least of our troubles the last couple of weeks.  It all started when my adorable little Ellie Bean nearly landed in the ER with a gash on her index finger.  In the chaos that rules our early mornings, she managed to get her finger stuck in a partially opened can that was sitting in our recycle bin.  Our kitchen looked like a crime scene from all the blood but we were lucky it wasn't worse.  Thankfully, my friend Karen's husband graciously came over and glued h…

Why Twins Are Awesome

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It seems that there have been more than a few posts on this blog about how much having two babies at once really sucks.  It's exhausting and back-breaking.  It's chaotic and stressful.  It's stinky and sticky and downright dirty business. 
But it is also wonderful. 

Yesterday morning, I heard the babies chattering in their room.  It was 7:30 a.m. and they had slept much later than usual.  I went in to get them only to find them blowing kisses to each other across the room.  It was beyond adorable.  As I scooped them up and wrestled them into my arms, Ellie's nose rubbed against Jude's neck and they dissolved into the amazing little giggles that only babies get.  I realized in this moment, as I was completely enamoured with my Turtles, that I would not be experiencing any of this if I had had just one baby. 
And I just would not trade all the heartache and stress and bad behavior that come with twins and an older child, for anything.  ANYTHING. 

At fifteen months, th…

Improved Playdates and a Clarification

Regarding my previous post, I should clarify that it was I, upon consultation with my husband, who decided to pull Vivi from the Wednesday playdates.  This was done as a way to give the kids a break from each other but also to create an opportunity for me and Aviva to spend some more positive time together. 
Since the inception of the Wednesday playdates, we have had very few problems.  In general, Vivi is left to play on her own with the other children while their mothers and I fawn over the Turtles.  What I have come to realize, however, is that the vast majority of her friends do not have siblings, much less two baby siblings.  As a result, when another kid asks to get a push on the swing from his mother, it happens.  When Vivi asks, I generally put her off.  I can see how this would feel upsetting for her so I'm trying to be more available and open to her requests.*
So for the foreseeable future, my husband and I have a lot of fun planned just or her.  We spent this past Wednes…