Sunday, January 31, 2010

Birthday Twins

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(And one bummed out older sister who doesn't have a birthday until next August.)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Don't Call Me, I'll Call You

I wasn't kidding when I said I was having a bad hair month.

It all started back at the end of November, when my hair salon didn't make their typical "reminder call" to me for my hair appointment the next day.  And since I hadn't written down the appointment in my calendar, I totally forgot all about it and therefore stood my hair lady up.  I know, I know, it's completely irresponsible, but I live by the reminder call.  Calendar schmalendar.  Why write it down when I know my trusty [hair salon][doctor][dentist] will call me the day before and conveniently remind me where I need to be and when I need to be there?

Well, because sometimes they forget, that's why.  And then you feel like a schmoe for not writing it down in your calendar.  Now you tell me.

After I was a no-show for my appointment, my hair lady called me up and left me a lovely voice mail saying I could reschedule at any time.  I meant to call her back, but then I forgot.  (See?  I even need reminder calls to return my reminder calls.  I'm hopeless).  And then I got super busy at work.  And then it was time for the holidays and Christmas shopping and family gatherings and before I knew it, it was the middle of January and I had started to look like this guy:


Seriously, this guy could be my clone right now.  We could take our flippy bangs out on the town and just have a big old misfit party.

I'm planning to call my hair lady tomorrow and beg her to squeeze me in ASAP. Hopefully she won't hold the fact that I stood her up last time against me.  And no matter when she gets me in, I'm definitely writing this appointment down in my calendar.  I don't want to spend a minute more than necessary walking around with elf-hair.  Good lord, I think I might even give her the reminder call this time, just to make sure I cover all my bases.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Three Down, Many More to Come

The boys will be turning three years old in just a few days.

THREE.

How is that even possible???!!!

It seems just like yesterday that they were turning one.

That was the year I threw them a cowboy-themed party.  Which I chose partly because western themes are easy.  But mostly because I wanted to dress them up in cowboy hats and fake moustaches.

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Who doesn't love a baby wearing a fake moustache?

(Well, I guess the baby probably doesn't love it.  But mine lost their voting privileges when they gave me twinskin.)

This year we're not doing anything too momentous to celebrate.  We'll have the group birthday party with all my friends' kids in a few weeks, and then we'll have a little cake and ice cream gathering with my immediate family this weekend.  Since the boys are still obsessed with Blue's Clues, I may try my hand at making this pawprint cake: 


Yes, that's a round cake surrounded by cupcakes.  You can't get much easier than that, people.  Even if I tried I don't think I could mess that up.  I think I can even handle making two so they each have their own.

It's so simple it looks kind of lame, but I know the boys will love it.  Their favorite activity in the world right now is drawing pictures of pawprints on their magnadoodles.  No, scratch that - their favorite activity in the world right now is yelling "Paw-pin, mama!  Paw-pin!" after they draw pictures of pawprints on their magnadoodles.  Then erasing them and starting all over again.  And again.  And again and again and again.

So anyways, I'm pretty sure the boys will love those cakes.  I bet they'll even whip out the jazz hands in celebration.  Too bad they're not wearing the moustaches this year.  Jazz hands and moustaches - now that would be some party.

Friday, January 22, 2010

On Potty Training Twins

Let me tell you, potty training twins is an adventure.  And not the fun kind of adventure where you say "Oh!  I've always wanted to try that!"

No, potty training twins is not like that.  At all.

Yes, I know I'm not a total novice when it comes to potty training.  Ashley is potty trained, for goodness sake.  But I wouldn't necessarily say that I "trained" her.  It was more like I stuck her on the potty at various intervals and prayed like hell that she'd know what to do.  And eventually, thank the Lord, she did.  I may have pulled quite a bit of my hair out while waiting for her to figure things out, but despite my worries it appears she will not still be wearing diapers when she goes off to college.  Phew.

I was hoping it would be the same way with the boys.  But once again, my free range parenting efforts have been thwarted by the twin dynamic.

Have you ever heard of tag-team potty training?  No?  Neither had I, until my twins invented it. 

Basically, Aidan does all the pee-ing, while Owen does all the flushing.  I've tried to explain to Owen that if they both pee, there will be even more flushing excitement.  But Owen just looks at me like "Don't worry mama, Aidan's got the peeing part covered.  I'm just here to flush."  And Aidan.  Aidan is just plain getting spoiled by having his own personal flusher ready at a moment's notice.  Who does he think he is,  Richie Rich??

Come to think of it, they do have similar hair.

Anyway, don't even get me started on poop.  God forbid either of them poop in the potty, so we don't have a pooper/flusher dichotomy on that behind front.  But what we do have is synchronized team pooping...where both of them have managed to tweak their little digestive systems to hold it in all day long until after they're put to bed, upon which they'll poop in succession so as to require two additional visits from mama for diaper changes.

There are good things about tag team potty training, though, I must admit.  Like on the rare occasion when Owen actually sits on the potty and starts yelling at me that he peed, Aidan will immediately run out of the bathroom and inform me that Owen is full of shite (literally) and that there is definitely no pee in that potty.  Not in so many words, but you get the picture.  So that helps that I don't have to get off the couch.

But other than that?  Not much fun.  I'm losing more hair by the minute, and I'm already  having a bad hair month so this is not good timing.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Quest for Olive Garden

When you're outnumbered by your children, going out to dinner can be a dicey proposition.  Nevertheless, I decided that I wanted to go out to dinner last Friday night.  As a family.

On nights such as these, we typically head to our trusty standby dining establishment:  Red Robin.  We like to go to Red Robin because (a) it is kid-friendly, (b) the decibel level is high enough that any unappealingly loud behavior our children might engage in will just be absorbed as ambient sound, and (c) it has a fully-stocked bar in case we need to numb our pain.
Sidenote #1:  The first time Scott and I ever went to a Red Robin was waaaaay back in the day before we had kids.  So we got there and I was like "Man, check out that bar!  Isn't this a burger & shake joint for kids?  Why would they have such an elaborate bar?"  Fast-forward to our first trip to Red Robin after having three children:  "Oh.  Now I get it."
But no offense to Red Robin intended, we were getting kind of sick of it.  I know, I know - HOW is it possible to get sick of greasy burgers and bottomless baskets of french fries??  I struggle to understand it myself.  But nevertheless, Scott and I felt like going somewhere new for the night.

So we pondered and discussed and then pondered some more.

And then it hit me like a ray of sunshine beaming over the Tuscan countryside itself - the Olive Garden.  We needed to go to the Olive Garden.  Oh, we hadn't been to Olive Garden in forever!!  Endless salad and breadsticks, pasta dishes galore, and tiramisu for dessert?  What more could we ask for??? 
Sidenote #2:  Scott and I have an abnormal love of chain restaurants.  Yes, we've eaten at many highly recommended and unique restaurants in many different cities - we don't care.  We are Red Lobster people and that's all there is to it.
I did a quick reconnaissance mission and confirmed that the Olive Garden kids' menu did in fact include the twins current food staple of choice (i.e., pasta with butter), and a plan was formed:  I would head home from work early, Scott and the kids would jump into my already warmed-up minivan and we'd head to the garden for some chain italian heaven.

Ooh, was I hungry.

Unfortunately, so was everyone else in the city of Omaha because they all decided to descend on Olive Garden just as we were turning into the parking lot.  Visions of breadsticks started disappearing right before my eyes as I struggled to get the kids out of their carseats while masses of people passed us on their way to the front door.  When we finally got inside and saw the packed house before us, we knew that our efforts were all in vain.  We didn't even wait to hear the hostess speak those words every parent of small children dreads to hear - "It's about a one-hour wait" - before we turned around defeated and headed back to our still-warm minivan.

We drove around aimlessly for awhile.  Ashley proclaimed that she was starving while the twins dejectedly looked out the window.  Scott and I engaged in intense debate as we tossed out and mercilessly shot down each other's substitute restaurant ideas.

We were almost out of hope.

And then...then I saw it.  Like a ray of sunshine beaming over the Tuscan countryside's less-attractive second cousin:  Fazoli's.  Fast food italian at its finest.

Just a short while later we were seated in a booth with a tray of food before us, whereupon Ashley insisted upon sitting on the floor to eat her pizza and the boys began slurping their spaghetti off their plates one strand at a time.

As I dodged the twins' spaghetti hands, I looked at Scott and said "Maybe it was good we didn't get into the Olive Garden."  And as he dug in to his second round of unlimited breadsticks, he agreed.

Friday, January 15, 2010

For the Sake of the Children

Earlier this week, I went out to dinner with my close group of girlfriends, who are all fellow mothers of many small children.  As we sat around the table and updated each other on the state of our lives, I suddenly blurted out the following:

"Hey guys?  When is it supposed to get fun?"

They looked at me silently.

"You know...the whole kids thing."

One of my friends with three kids close in age to my own immediately said "Oh, I am right there with ya Meg..." while others looked concerned about my mental well-being. So I expanded.

"You know, it's hard right now, with all the poop and the lack of sleep and the early morning karaoke..."

(Then I had to pause and explain the karaoke reference.)

"And then I hear bad things about the teenage years, sooooo....when is the fun time?"

"I think it's fun now, at least sometimes..." one of my friends trailed off.

Another friend responded with "Well, I've heard good things about the 8 to 10 stage," while my other friend who has a 10 year-old looked at her unconvinced.

"I have fun when I'm out with only one of my kids," someone else helpfully suggested.

"Maybe when they leave for college?" offered another.

We were all stumped.

Maybe this is the fun time, we all pondered.  Maybe we're just so burned out we're not properly appreciating it.  Maybe we need to learn how to cherish this time in our lives before it all slips away.

So then we decided that we all needed to go to Las Vegas for a weekend.  To learn how to appreciate the fun.  And the sooner the better.  You know...for the sake of our children.

Have I mentioned that I ♥ my friends?  Well, I do.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sleep is for Losers

When we recently moved the boys into their big boy beds, I was worried.  Worried that my little angels would get up in the middle of the night and fall down the basement steps, open the back door and fall into a big pile of snow, or injure themselves in some other way that I forgot to anticipate.  So before the crib to toddler bed conversion was complete, I went on a child-proofing frenzy around the house, which basically consisted of me putting doorknob covers on every room I didn't want them to enter without parental supervision.

I forgot to put one on my bedroom door.

Now unconstrained by the bars of their cribs, Owen and Aidan have developed a penchant for throwing parties at ungodly hours in the morning.  The time varies day by day, but the place is always the same:  Mama's bedroom.  They're pretty creative, my boys, so we've seen the following themes so far:
  • Slumber Party:  Bring your lovey and climb into mama's bed!  Don't worry if you can't see where you're going, mama doesn't mind if you step on her face.
  • Slumber/Book Party:  Don't forget to bring your favorite book to read!  When you're done, stack it on the bed and go pick out another one.  And don't forget to step on your mama's face on the way in and out.
  • Karaoke Party:  Bring your sister's Barbie karaoke machine!  Mama will be so pleased to hear you serenading her from the foot of her bed at 5:00 in the morning.  Don't forget to hold the button on the microphone so you can be sure she really hears you!
  • Music Party:  Dang, mama locked up the Barbie karaoke machine.  That's okay, just bring the keyboard and make up your own song!  Don't forget to hit the button for "rock and roll" - she loves that funky beat!
  • Debate Party:  Mama loves this one, because it makes her think you're really smart.  When she tells you to go back to bed, just keep saying "no bed"...she's so sleepy she'll eventually cave and you'll be the winner.  Mama will be so proud!
I'll tell you one thing, they do know how to throw one rager of a party...the karaoke one nearly killed me. 

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Princess and the Movie



My mom and I took Ashley to see The Princess and the Frog today.  I'd been telling her all week that we'd go see it on Saturday.  Which was unfortunate because I hadn't looked at the weather report yet.

When I finally did, I saw it was only going to be 5 degrees on Saturday.  That's ridiculously cold. On Sunday, it's supposed to be 22 degrees.  That's still ridiculously cold.  But it sounded perfectly balmy compared to Saturday.  You don't have much to work with in January in Nebraska, global warming notwithstanding.

So I tried to haggle with Miss Ashley.  I said, "It's going to be super super super cold on Saturday.  How about we wait to see the movie until the next day when it's warmer."  But Ashley looked me dead in the eye and said "Mommy, I will wear a sweater.  And my gloves.  And my hat and my boots."

Alrighty then, movie on Saturday.

I shouldn't even have tried to persuade her.  We'd been counting down the days all week and she was so excited.  She'd repeatedly informed me about what she wanted to wear (a princess dress), what snack she wanted to buy (gummy worms), and what she wanted to bring with her (a plastic popcorn holder from the $1 aisle at Target.  And a fake flower to hold).  So really, Sunday didn't stand a chance.

This morning I was able to talk her out of the princess dress, couldn't find the popcorn holder, and the movie theatre didn't sell gummy worms.  But Ashley took it all in stride and had a great time.  I know because she declared that she would keep her ticket stub in her coat pocket forever.  And she had a big smile on her face throughout the whole thing - except for the parts with the voodoo man, because he was kind of freaky.  But most of all, I knew she loved it because once it was over and I was putting her coat, gloves and hat back on she moped and pouted like I had just taken her to see The Princess and the Funeral instead of The Princess and the Frog.

That's how you know when your kid really had fun - when they're more miserable when you leave than they were when you got there.  Hooray!

P.S.  I loved the movie, too.  And I only cried twice, so kudos to me on that.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Never mind the smell, does it come in 4-wheel drive?

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On Christmas, Santa brought us a blizzard.  And I'm not speaking metaphorically about a blizzard of toys or bustling activity or anything...I mean a literal blizzard.  We were snowed in for three days.  Scott kept shoveling the driveway, yet more and more snow kept appearing.  The third time he headed out to shovel, I offered to take a turn but he just laughed at me and said I would hurt myself.  He knows me well.

Apparently, the blizzard is a gift that keeps on giving, because the snow that it left in its wake refuses to melt.  Which wouldn't be so bad, except that today even more snow was dumped upon us.  Seriously, people - there is WAY too much snow on the ground right now.  I can barely see around the snowdrifts that already line my neighborhood streets.  Yesterday I had to beep the horn when I turned a corner just to let people know I was coming.  Just in case the screeching of my spinning tires hadn't given them enough fair warning.

If this keeps up, I'm going to have to trade in my minivan for a Tauntaun


I wonder if they make carseats for those?  (That was for you, BP!)

Monday, January 4, 2010

All Mixed Up

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Even though the boys share identical DNA, there are two distinct physical differences between them that help ensure I will never get them mixed up:

1.  Aidan is the one with the bad hair.

2.  Owen is the one with the pointy ears.

But when their hair gets too long, Aidan's starts to look a little less unruly.  And Owen's pointy ears get covered up.  Which results in many instances of me saying "Aidan, come here so I can put your shoes on" with a puzzled Aidan looking at his already-shod feet while a shoeless Owen indignantly pats his head and says "No mama, I Owen!"

In other words, I can't easily tell them apart right now because they need haircuts.

Usually, I can rely on my trusty sidekick Ashley to help me out with who's who.  She rarely gets them mixed up, and is always first to correct anyone who happens to call one of the boys by the wrong name.  I always thought it was quite big sisterly of her, to stand up for her innocent little brothers and fight against their unjust mislabeling by family and friends alike.        

But then this morning while I was getting ready for work, I heard Ashley say something to "Aidan", who I knew to actually be "Owen."  Surprised that she had gotten the two of them confused given her previous track record, I poked my head out of the bathroom and said, "Ashley, that's Owen, not Aidan."

And Ashley looked at me with an exasperated look on her face and said, "Mommy, I just don't care."

Strangely enough, it's even a more big sisterly response than before.  Who would've thought.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year, New Look

I thought I'd start off the new year with a new look around here.  I hope you like my new header - my uber creative and handsome husband made it for me!  Not many people out there could take my noncommittal guidelines for "something that's cutesy but not too cutesy" and turn it into exactly what I pictured all along.  But my Scotty can.  

Not only is he a stay-at-home-dad and husband extraordinaire, he can now add graphic design to his resume.  I am a lucky girl, indeed.