Monday, December 31, 2007

Slowly Spinning Down

As the Christmas holiday has passed and my biggest client work has trickled away, we're slowly settling down a bit. Whew! We spent the pre-holiday weekend at my folks' house, along with my sister and brother-in-law and my dear cousin, Bill. We all had a terrific visit and the girls behaved nicely. Sunday night we headed home, dumped out the dirty clothes, piled gifts in the living room, and repacked to head to DH's folks' place the next afternoon. We both worked a half day and then drove south. Again.

The holiday at his family's house is always quite different than at mine, but I can't complain. Though busy and chaotic, all the kids were on excellent behavior and the grown ups minded their p's and q's for the most part. I only had to come up with one chirpy comeback to a snide remark, and it was after midnight, so I'd consider everything to be a success. We returned home late Christmas night, unloaded, dumped more gifts and luggage in the living room, and crashed.

Wednesday through Thursday, we worked through the days, and then began unpacking/repacking luggage in the evenings. Friday after work, we piled into the car and headed south yet again. This time, the girls and I wished DH well as he went to work at a TEC weekend. I'm writing this post from my parents' house right now, where we've been since Friday night. DH finished up this evening, so I'm sure we'll head back home to stay for a while. (I sure hope so - I'm beat.) We had one new development this weekend - Breanna climbed out of the crib. Great.

Work-wise, I'm going to have a huge adjustment in the weeks ahead. My favorite client of all time, who has basically provided me with full-time writing work since April, has lost funding for outsourcing. My last day was Friday, and I'm so sad to have had to wrap up. The people I worked with were terrific - it was the first time in years I'd had a "boss" who I truly respect. And the work was interesting every day.

I have a few new freelance projects (very little ones) lined up for the next couple of weeks, but nothing major. It's hard to justify paying for daycare if I won't be making money, especially when I don't have maternity pay, so I'm going to keep the girls home with me and say prayers for work to come my way. Thankfully, I've socked away a lot into savings, as always, so it won't be a scary time in that respect. Exhausting, I'm certain, but scary, not so much. Of course, DH is worried as can be. But I have faith that the good Lord will provide, as he always has. The timing of this isn't really in my favor, with this gigantic belly poking out the front. But I'm sure everything will fall into place as it needs to.

My pregnancy has been progressing quite nicely. It's a relief to know that this kiddo is already much bigger than Lillian was when she was born, and we still have almost 2 months to go. On Thursday, I start my weekly dr. appointments already. Have I told you yet that we're expecting a little boy? Where has the time gone?

Anyway, I'm going to go grab a cup of coffee and kick back in a recliner next to dear old dad and hope the girls nap long enough for me to empty my cup. It might be my last moments of downtime for a while. Happy day to you!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Bridal Shower Games

What's your favorite bridal shower game?

I'm throwing a shower for my soon-to-be sister-in-law on January 13 and want to keep the party moving along quickly. I think it will be the largest shower I've been to, which means lots of gifts to open, which means let's get through everything without delays.

Please leave a comment with your ideas for a fun/unique/not-too-time-consuming game. Thanks!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Pig Tails

As DH and I tried to prepare the girls for another attempt at Christmas photos, I told him I'd like to put the girls in pigtails. He raised an eyebrow. Pig? Tails? I said, "Yeah, their hair is so long and I think it would be really cute with their Christmas dresses."

Pig? Tails? "What on Earth is a pig tail?" he asked. I showed him. He said, "You mean pony tails." I then explained how two on one head makes them pigtails. He thought I was insane and told me so. Oh well. The pig tails went in and the girls looked adorable.

We spent about 45 minutes in front of a large section of plain wall in our apartment. The girls had other intentions. The whole 45 minutes. After at least a dozen escapes each and no both looking at the camera at the same time, we gave up. Even sparkly garland wasn't enough to keep them still. As DH had them on the floor, tickling them and laughing, I happened to walk by just then and capture the shot. Pig tails still in tact. Whew! The only "good" one is the black and white below. Finally!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

One Word Answers

My sister sent this to me and I had to laugh. Here are my responses.


1. Where is your cell phone? Purse

2. Your significant other? DH

3. Your hair? Shiny

4. Your mother? Loving

5. Your father? Teaching

6. Your favorite thing? Hubby

7. Your dream last night? Parade

8. Your favorite drink? Coffee

9. Your dream/goal? Kindness

10. The room you're in? Vacuumed

11. Your ex? Pathetic

12. Your fear? Fish

13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Happy

14. Where were you last night? Home

15. What you're not? Skinny

16. Muffins? Raspberry

18. Where you grew up? Minnesota

19. The last thing you did? Sip

20. What are you wearing? Pretties

21. Your TV? Off

22. Your pets? Missed. :(

23. Your computer? Busy

24. Your life? Fast

25. Your mood? Content

26. Missing someone? Yes

27. Your car? Unsold

28. Something you're not wearing? Necklace

29. Favorite Store? Herbergers

30. Your summer? Nonexistent

31. Like someone? Yes

32. Your favorite color? Red

33. When is the last time you laughed? Recently

34. Last time you cried? Unsure

35. Who will/would re-post this? Friends

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Cookie Fest

What a great weekend we had! My folks and cousin Billy came up for the weekend. They stayed at my sister and brother-in-law's house, but spent all day Saturday here with us.

We baked all of our favorite Christmas cookies, listened to carols, and had a grand ole time! The boys went out to see the progress on our house at one point in the afternoon, while us lady elves continued to slave away in the kitchen/dining room. My sister learned the finer points of Finnish tart making, and I learned about a pretty nifty material that works as a super-slippery cookie sheet liner. This picture is of my sister and Lillian making keifels and another one of my mom with the girls. Always a busy household!

My mom made Christmas aprons for my sister and me - adjustable to fit around pregnant bellies. And the girls got to open some Christmas presents early. Grammy and Grandpa brought hats and scarves to match winter jackets, holiday socks, as well as some little rocking chairs. The girls rocked and rocked throughout the weekend.

DH grilled a great big beer-filled turkey and baked potatoes for an early supper, and all was great. We tried to get a real family picture of DH and me and the girls, but eh, not so lucky. We put on our winter coats and boots and lined up by our fence, hoping to get a nice snapshot from our deck above. Lillian was tired and antsy and my camera fogged up once it went outside. Oh well. It was worth a shot. Here's a cut-off shot of DH and Breanna. For those expecting Christmas cards, we're still working on a picture. I'm determined to get one at least of the girls in the next evening or two. Stay tuned and watch your mailbox just in time for Christmas. I'm not good at being this last minute, but what do you do?

The one other highlight was when we placed Breanna on the potty chair before her bath on Saturday night, and lo and behold, when we encouraged her to potty, she did. Hooray!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Not Nesting Tonight

Apparently I go in spurts. Tonight, I'm absolutely beat. It probably has something to do with getting out of the shower this morning, sitting on the couch to rest for just a minute, and then waking up a half hour later to the sound of giggling girls ready to get out of bed. My day has been a bit off ever since.

I'd originally planned to work on a pro bono newsletter project, but eh, it's donated time. I'm putting it off until another night. And I was going to make some more candied nuts - I was going to bring some to my OB appointment tomorrow for the nurses. Eh. Maybe next time.

It's 8:35 and DH is still working, which means I had kid chaos all to myself tonight. Don't get me wrong, my girls are really good, but really hands on right up until they finally give up on staying away and let themselves crash. Tonight, the squaking stopped at 8:12.

From there, I cleaned up high chairs and bibs, washed out sippy cups, tossed a load of laundry into the washer, wiped down the tub and put away bath toys, and poured myself a cup of pear juice. And now here I sit, blathering on in my favorite time-wasting fashion.

To make it not such a boring post, I'll entertain you with a quick story. On Monday, Grandma Becky asked how strong my stomach is. Not a good way to start the afternoon pickup. She then told me of how she put the girls down for an afternoon nap. (They go in a gigantic playpen together.) They did their usually babbling back and forth for a few minutes, and then it was quiet. GB sat down with a cup of tea and put her feet up, ready for an hour of rest. Then the giggles began. She got up to peek in on them and found them painting each other. Breanna, the magical strip artist, had pulled off her pants and poopy diaper and she and her sister were having a grand old time painting each other. Lilli had a stripe that went from her eyebrow all the way down to her collar. In their hair, ears, clothes, everywhere.

So GB did what any person would do. She grabbed both girls and hauled them off to the shower. Unfortunately, the girls gave her big hugs as they went, so all three stripped down and hopped into the shower. Apparently, the girls let GB know that they don't appreciate shower whatsoever. Poor GB. She commented that perhaps the girls were grossed out by her pudgy wrinkled body, but I reassured her they see much worse in our house sometimes. It's gotten so that they walk up to me and pull up my shirt, poke my now-outie bellybutton, and laugh.

Anyway, Monday night, I went to check on the girls before I went to bed and found Breanna stark naked in her crib. Thankfully - VERY THANKFULLY - she was still clean and dry. I dressed her again and put her back in the crib.

Tuesday evening, I got to GB's to find Breanna wearing a pull-up OVER her pants. Oh no.

GB quickly explained that it's a great solution to keeping Breanna clothed. She hasn't figured out how to get the pull-up off. Yet, anyway. So she sent a pull-up home with us to put over jammies, and wouldn't you know, guess who woke up with the top half of her jammies off, but her onesie and bottom half of her jammies still on. Yay for inventive daycare grannies!

And yay for having one daughter who actually likes to zip her clothes up and act modest.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Queen of the MultiTasking

In the midst of everything chaos around us, I've managed to cook up three batches of sweet and spicy nuts (stirring every 5 minutes for 30 minutes per batch), wrap up and decorate take-out boxes for the nuts, bake a batch of muffins, label 25 CDs for a Mothers of Multiples project, start putting together a pro bono newsletter, paint my nails (once everything was in the oven), compose two really great business-related emails, burn myself a CD of some cool jazzy stuff, write a Christmas poem instead of a holiday letter, and print off return address labels for our holiday cards.

And I'm still wearing lipstick. Yes, I am the queen.

Friday, December 07, 2007


What a week! I just finished putting away the groceries at 11:00 Friday night, and am finally sitting down with a cup of Oh My Chai and a deep breath. I'm absolutely beat. And yet, I need a little sit-down wind-down time before getting ready for bed.

Poor DH ended up with our bug, so he was up all last night and had a tough day today. Hopefully it's as short-lived for him as it was for me. He's planning to work both Saturday and Sunday to make up for cruddy productivity today, and to hopefully squeeze some time in at our new house. It's been a mixed blessing that he's been so flooded with work - the weather has been awfully cold to be working outside on our place. I think it's been about two weeks since he's spent any time out there. Slow progress, but oh well. Better that than frostbite.

During the past few weeks, I've been enjoying little bits of holiday shopping here and there. For the first time, I'm wrapping as I go instead of saving it as my last (and favorite) part of preparing for Christmas. So far, so good. While I packed away all of our decor (including Christmas stuff) deep into storage, I was smart in keeping out my wrapping goodies.

We've talked about doing a family picture and sending it with Christmas cards, but I can't imagine when we'd possibly squeeze it in. The girls are over a year and a half and we still haven't had a real family picture taken yet. How ridiculous. So when DH asks me again tomorrow - as he has been daily for a week - what I want for Christmas, that's what I'll tell him. I've been drawing a blank 'til now (except for the Moby wraps, of course).

Well, my tea is gone and I think I'm ready to retire for the night - or better yet - for the week. Unfortunately, 7 a.m. will come bright and early tomorrow, so I'd better hit the sack. Good night!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

New Day - Hooray!

I feel like a whole new woman today. Seriously, except for the aching back, ribs, and tummy muscles, I can barely tell how violently ill I was just a few short nights ago. And the girls are totally back to normal, too. Yay!

They giggled in the tub tonight more than I've ever heard. It was like they got the giggles in church and just couldn't stop, and the harder they tried, the worse it became. We had a great time!

After the gigglers were freshly jammied and teeth were brushed, DH came home and relieved me so I could run to the mall in search of a maternity blazer or suit. I have a big day tomorrow and really wanted to wear more than a nice blouse and slacks. Hooray - I found a decent black suitcoat at Motherhood Maternity. I picked up some nice buttons at JoAnn Fabrics on my way out, and headed home, where I am now putting off replacing the buttons and shortening the sleeves. I also need to apply the topcoat to my nails. And then off to bed I go, hopefully to enjoy a fulfilling night of sleep.

If you read this before my 8 am-to-noon meeting tomorrow, please say a prayer for a fruitful morning for me. I'll explain details sometime after the meeting, so as not to jinx myself. : )

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

So Not Invincible

The flu hit me last night after many sick-free years. And it made up for lost time. It's 1:00 p.m. and the first time I've left the couch for more than a bathroom run or a pedialyte run. I can't believe how good it feels to sit upright.

Our girls had a great weekend - their bug from the Thursday all-nighter seemed to have been short-lived. Monday at daycare, though, Lillian tossed her breakfast and both girls had icky pants all day. For the first time, I thought luck was with us. They had a scheduled doctor appointment for checkups and flu shots. No double co-pays due to timing being off a day or two. Ha - fate was playing a big mean trick on me. The girls are fine, by the way. And Lillian finally topped 20 pounds - 21 pounds even! Breanna came in at 24 - woo hoo!

Anyway, last night I ate an apple and then got ready for bed. When I laid down, I thought I possibly recognized a glimmer of queasiness. At 12:30, my wretched night began.

As I once explained to my friend, Lettuce, I can't think of anything more gross than puking in a toilet. Buckets are great - they're clean, they're portable, and they're easy to wash out. Plus, no butts have been in them (at least I hope!). So last night, I had three buckets handy - one next to the bed, one next to the tub, and one next to the couch. And like clockwork, every hour and a half I needed one.

Up until now, I've always been pretty ok with ralphing. It's quick and awful and then you move on. However, puking with a big pregnant tummy is a completely different story. The baby kicked and kicked, often stirring more nausea. And when I was yakking, the contractions were crazy. I have the goosebumps just thinking about it.

It will be quite a while before I eat another apple. Or anything with substance, for that matter. In the meantime, weak decaf tea and oyster crackers are my new best friends. Happy stinkin' Tuesday.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Another Late Night

I awoke at 1:04 this morning to the sound of retching. Poor Miss Lillian was hurling in her crib. Approximately two minutes later, Breanna started in. They are so in sync with each other it often scares me.

Two buckets, four showers, six bedding changes, eight footie pajama changes, and many hours later, we all made it back to bed for close to two hours. Until we started all over again at a little after 5 o'clock. By that time, DH had decided to go to the job site and get his project set up for his workers so that he could stay home with the girls during the day. He returned at a little after 7, when Breanna was just falling back to sleep. I got ready and headed off to work.

Needless to say, the day improved for DH and the girls as the day progressed. Lillian even graduated to jelly toast for supper. And now for some downtime and hopefully a long, sleepful night. Sweet dreams, all.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Crap of Cancer

Our 6-year-old nephew, Connor, has been battling leukemia for a couple years now. And after numerous hospital stays in the last month alone, he went into emergency surgery this morning. I haven't heard an update since. His Caring Bridge site is

And my TEC friend, Nathan, is battling cancer as well. He's only been married a year. His site is

My friend through osmosis, Amy (I've never actually met her, but I know her sister, Jean from What's for Dinner), is also battling leukemia. I don't know of any website, but I get updates from time to time from Jean. She's been struggling with cataracts that have developed as a side effect to some of her cancer treatments.

These three cancer cases have touched me. Please keep the patients in your prayers. And pray that a cure is found soon. The battle is one that young people should not have to even think about, much less suffer through.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sling - a - Ling -Ding

Have you ever heard of Moby wraps? My friend Crystal introduced me to them at a little pre-holiday open house a couple weeks ago. They're baby slings that appear to be quite awesome. I'm putting one on my Christmas list.

Crystal has two little boys who were born a week or so after my girls - even earlier than the girls. And she and I both come from the ad agency world. And both love high heels. And both have beautiful hair. And are both master goddesses when it comes to juggling family and career.

She showed me how to use the Moby on Breanna, and I was shocked that Breanna just hung out, cool with being confined. The bonuses of versatility: you can wrap twins and carry them up to 40 pounds. And - drum roll please - you can nurse a baby while you walk around and no one knows. I can't wait to try one with the new baby! I'm going to see if we can even get away with not having to buy a triple stroller - instead just keeping the girls in our double and using the Moby for Baby C.

Check these babies out - This is my new favorite find since BabyLegs. Yay for cool products!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Winter Welcome

I just arrived home from my shift at the Giving Tree at the mall and slid all over the place. Our first snow of the season and it's beautiful outside! I donned the pimp coat and big red mittens and felt so festive, I even decided to stop at the grocery store for muffins.

Our Thanksgiving was lovely, very mellow and relaxed. The rest of the weekend followed suit. I even wore velvety lounge pants one day and got to visit Newzgirl a bit.

We officially welcomed winter at the festival on Friday. It was pretty brisk out, and there was even some wind. The girls were well bundled in BabyLegs (legwarmers), denim overalls, snowpants, winter coats, hats, mittens, scarves and boots. We plunked them into the stroller and a wassailing we went. The fest was just as romantic as I'd remembered from past years. People caroled, cocoa and cider were sipped, bonfires crackled, lights twinkled, sleigh rides glided by, and kids laughed all over the place.

Lillian was the social butterfly of the evening, blowing kisses to pretty much anyone she made eye contact with. Breanna just took it all in, singing along from time to time. After a healthy supper of corndogs, cookies, cider, juicebox, and donut holes, the girls were pretty tuckered out. We decided to go back to the car just a little bit before the fireworks began. As we walked, the snow began to flutter down softly.

At the car, when I pulled Lillian out of the stroller, her boots got stuck in the leg holes. Being bulky in a pimp coat (plus being pregnant), I was less than graceful in jostling her out of her seat. Once I finally buckled her into her car seat and pushed up her hat so she could see, I realized she was sound asleep. Out cold. I had to check to make sure she hadn't frozen to death, but she softly snored away. Miss Breanna fell asleep on the way back to Grandma's and Grandpa's house.

Now that the girls have had a good dollop of outdoor freedom, I think we may be in trouble. They sure enjoyed the fresh air throughout the rest of the weekend. Winter, here we come!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Heading Home

To all of my Lake Country friends, I really hope to see you at the Nisswa City of Lights festival on Friday night.

DH and I are heading to my folks' house in Lake Shore tonight for the long weekend. He's coming back to town tomorrow with my sister and brother-in-law, but the girls and I are staying through Sunday.

And Friday night, we're going to introduce the girls to a wonderful small-town tradition. The little Normal Rockwell town just a few miles up the road from my folks' house is overflowing with festivals. The one on the Friday immediately after Thanksgiving is my favorite. All the little shops (that's the only kind of shopping there is - boutique-land) light up their storefronts at dusk and put out little luminaries.

An oom paa band plays just a short distance from the huge bonfire at town square. And of course, carolers sing, hot cocoa flows, everybody's cheeks turn pink, fireworks paint the sky, and Christmas season begins. This year, the girls are big enough to come with. I have the snowpants packed and all the warm goodies, so we're almost ready to go.

In my last free hour before I pick them up from daycare today, I'm going to post my wish to you all for a lovely Thanksgiving. Then I'm going to pack clothes for DH and me, and load the car. When he walks in, we're hittin' the road.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! And if you're out and about in Lake Country this weekend, give me a call. I'm feeling particularly social this week!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Midnight Parade of Firemen

To satisfy Mrs. RadWag's curiosity, here's the promised story about how we wound up with three firemen in our apartment at midnight on a Sunday.

At about 11 o'clock, I took the final step in my bedtime routine. After teeth were flossed and brushed, hair combed, face washed, contacts out, jammies on, chapstick applied, I went to check on the girls.

I opened the door to their room only to be assaulted by the pungent odor of eggs. I literally took a step backwards and shook my head. DH had just climbed into bed and I made him get up to come smell. As he rolled his eyes at his pregnant, smell-sensitive wife, he appeased me by getting up.

As he neared the door, he agreed. There's definitely something rotten. So, naturally, we checked diapers. Nothing. And then we remembered that natural gas is supposed to smell like eggs. We whisked our sleeping babies out of the room, investigated a little more, still found nothing, and then called the local PD.

We were baffled, as DH explained to the dispatcher. We don't have any gas appliances. Nor do we have food in the bedrooms. Nor are the girls gassy. She reassured him that he made the right call and urged him to get us out to the car ASAP.

Quickly, we bundled the girls and as we opened our front door, the parade of firemen were coming our way. At 12:05, three firemen came in with fancy little handheld detectors. They checked all over the place and came up with nothing. In the meantime, since the door to the bedroom had been open for about an hour by then, the smell had somewhat dissipated. Not completely, but enough so that the firemen said they didn't smell anything. We still smelled it.

After they reassured us that there was nothing to worry about and that we should call any time we smell anything funny and that they're glad we called that night, we put the girls back in our bed and decided to investigate ourselves.

I smelled all the outlets - maybe some neighbor's cooking was leaching into our space. Nothing. I checked the patio door. Nothing eggy outside. DH checked the toy box - no melting toys or rotting snacks. Nothing whatsoever.

So we went to bed, and when I poked my head back into the room about an hour later I got up to potty the first time, I still smelled it with certainty. When I got up the second time, about 4, for yet another potty break, the smell was completely gone.

Strange all the way around. Someone suggested one of the girls most likely ripped a gigantic fart. But we're still not convinced. So, we 're on the lookout for the real story, both doubtful we'll ever know it.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Thankfully we women know how to communicate. Otherwise I'm certain we'd all be dead - from killing one another out of sheer frustration. My daughters just laid down for a little nap after a super-quick outing this afternoon. We'd just arrived at WalMart and taken our coats off and were heading to the back of the store, when DH called, stating he had an emergency.

Of course, I immediately thought Emergency Room. He quickly went on to say that he needed me to go into his work email account and find an email from a vendor and look up the specs on the top of the PDF. He wanted me to verify the dimensions of a window.

I calmly explained that we'd just arrived at WalMart and were planning to pick up a few groceries and some laundry detergent. And that it had taken me 45 minutes to get out of the house. He asked if we'd filled the cart yet. Not yet. OK, great, then would I mind loading the girls back into the car, rushing home, going up down up down up down the stairs until we made it inside, and then calling him once I found the email.

Grrrrr. Being a nice wife, that's just what I did.

Another Saturday with the Kiddos

The weeks seem to get longer and more tiring. My DH and I were wild and crazy last night. After the girls went to bed, we brushed and flossed and climbed into bed and the ripe old time of 8:30.

He left to go out to the house at about 7 this morning, and I got up with the girls at 7:10, and thankfully I feel refreshed. The girls don't seem quite so refreshed.

So far, we've changed pants, gotten dressed, brushed teeth, made and eaten waffles and monterrey jack slices and a fresh pear and bacon (and a cup of decaf coffee for mom), sorted the laundry, found mom's knitting needles and proceeded to poke one another with them, unsorted half the laundry, stripped the bed and cribs and put on clean sheets, played ring around the rosie, sung the ABCs (three times), loaded the dishwasher, cleaned up from breakfast, changed messy pants, and snapped and unsnapped overalls about a dozen times.

I hope Breanna isn't showing a preview to the career path she seems destined to. She sings, dances, and strips off her clothes every chance she gets. Tonight I'm going to start pinning the zipper on her jammies before bed so she doesn't wake up cold and wearing only a diaper.

Anyway, it's almost 9. The first snow of the season is peacefully floating through the air. The girls are yawning and I'm ready for a shower. This all adds up to only one thing: it's nap time. Happy Saturday!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

And now... part 3

Today is the first day of my third trimester of pregnancy. Where the heck did the first two go?

On Tuesday, I had another great OB appointment. DH was working out at the new house, so I went alone for the first time. The first thing the doctor said, "Did you leave your chatterbox at home?" I told her I thought I'd save both her and me some time. And, boy, was it ever quick without him there.

Everything is still looking terrific. I've gained three more pounds in the past month, which is a little low overall, but nothing to worry about. The doc and I both are convinced it's because of all the fruits and veggies I eat. Do you realize how good pears are this time of year? I eat one every day and they're just wonderful! And our girls love them too.

She asked me when was the last time I ate chips, and again, I had no idea. Apparently, the fact that I don't munch on chips and salty snacks just baffles her. She even teases a little bit. I did enjoy a grilled cheese with tomato slices and a side of french fries (with salt) at lunchtime today, so I felt a little more mainstream.

Now when it comes to sugar, that's a whole different story. I won't even get started down that road.

To celebrate feeling great in my third trimester, I'm going to get ready for bed early and maybe even read in bed a little bit. Cheers!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Free Day Ahead

The girls are finally napping (whew!) and I'm finally taking a break. OK, technically they're not sleeping yet - I still hear them. But they ARE going to take a nap, darn it, because I need a break today. What a long Saturday - starting from 7:15, they've gone strong til just now.

I am continually in awe of stay-at-home moms (and Dads - cheers Josh and Looky Daddy). Talk about exhausting! And I can't imagine how they get anything done whatsoever. I hope it's a little different for them, with opportunities to monkey-proof a bit.

In our little rental, the kitchen is smaller than even the one in my very first apartment, an efficiency, no ess. This means that we don't have the luxury of keeping the junk drawer out of reach. Or the coffee pot or magic bullet or kitchen garbage can. Or any of the other stuff that I don't want them getting into. Oh, what I wouldn't give for handles on our cupboards or a wide-enough baby gate to keep them out of the kitchen.

Even cooking the smallest things is such a chore because I'm constantly pushing the girls back out of the kitchen. As soon as one is out, her sister comes in and goes to a different drawer or cupboard. If it were just the hassle of cleaning up a strewn-about tupperware cupboard, I'd have no problem. But I don't want them to cut themselves on a can lid from the garbage. Or break the coffee pot. Or taste test the dish soap. The battle is constant, but at least it's only when I'm in there. I suppose I should be flattered that they want to be with me.

Anyway, the real purpose of this post has run away from me. What I really wanted to say was "Yippee - I'm taking a free day on Monday!" I'm not going to work in honor of Veteran's Day. But shhh, I'm not telling daycare. After I drop off the girls, I'm going to go back to bed for an hour or two. Then I'm going to load my trunk with stuff for Goodwill and am going to drop it off. Then I'm going to Don's Car Wash for the works. Inside and out.

And then, I'm going to start the first step in my adventure of finding a bigger vehicle. Since I don't think I've even driven an SUV in the last 5 years, I foresee a lot of test driving ahead. Wish me luck. I already have a line in mind to keep the sales vultures from preying. My mother from down south is moving up here later in the winter and needs a small SUV that will fit three car seats. So, I'm just sampling a few way in advance to help her narrow down the market. Let's see if it works.

If I still have time left over after all that, I'll begin the chore of tarping our furniture in the second stall of the garage to protect it from whatever might come our way this winter.

To the veterans in the audience, thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your sacrifices. I appreciate the freedom to have the wonderful life that I have, all thanks to the heroic efforts of our soldiers who ensure that freedom.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Very Brave Night

Being a renter sucks. Even though it's short-term, I can't say enough how much I miss living in my own home.

I'll fill you in on the bizarre adventure that ended with three firemen in our place at midnight on Monday at a later time.

Tonight after work, we had a different experience. I pulled into the driveway, hit the garage door opener, and nothing happened. So, I parked, turned off the car, locked the girls inside, and went inside to unlock the man door and hit the opener from the inside. Total darkness. No power.

Dumb me, I didn't think to run upstairs and see if we had power in the apartment before taking the girls out and getting them all the way to the top of the steps. Everything's a game, you see, so it's up three steps, down four, up a couple, down one. Poke your sister, grab your hood, try to touch the railing, and up and down a few more steps. After about 10 minutes of dancing and holding my pee, we finally get to the top, just in time for me to race into the bathroom and hope the girls are inside the door before the heavy door slams shut. Dang pregnancy bladder. This is our routine every evening.

Anyway, we got to the top tonight, with me doing a full-blown potty dance, and then realized there's no power. Great. So I peed fast and back down the steps we went. And up a few steps then down a few more... we finally made it out the car, got everyone buckled in, and called the landlord. While she was worrying about trying to figure out the problem, I was worried about the logistics of feeding the girls.

DH was working late (a given these days), so I racked my brain about double-stroller-friendly restaurants. To the mall food court we went. Once inside the mall, I realized that nothing whatsoever sounded good. No matter what we'd order, I'd still have to balance it on top of the stroller and then find a table near highchairs. So we decided to go to Grizzly's - a real restaurant across the mall. I just wanted to be served.

Until tonight, I've never been brave enough to take both girls to a real restaurant without another adult to help. But today, we did it. Though I barely squeezed in a few bites for myself, the girls ate fabulously! They had mac and cheese, fresh pineapple, watermelon, and strawberries, and a lot of samples of my food. I had a side salad (they ate my raw onions, cukes, tomatoes, most of the croutons, and some of my lettuce), a cup of chicken tortilla soup, and a bread stick. Breanna absolutely loved the spicy soup, while Lillian took one gulp and made the funniest sour face! I walked very tall and proud, pushing the double stroller out the mall to the car. Yay for me!

By the time we returned home, it was well past bedtime, but the power was back. We brushed teeth, changed diapers, put on jammies, and then they crashed. Now it's my turn.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Update on the Medders Family

From posting about kisses moments ago to weeping over my keyboard, what a fast transition. After I left Blogger, I checked a website that I visit daily. It's the blog of the Medders family, who lives right here in Fargo.

With an absolutely broken heart, I write to ask again for prayers for the Medders. This week, the babies were born. Baby D died very soon after birth. Baby B died today. There is one surviving quadruplet, Baby C (Callie) who is still very little and facing a long NICU stay.

Here's their blog.

This is the biggest cry I've had in a long, long time, and the tears continue to fall as I type. To celebrate life and grieve so massively all at once, I'm completely overwhelmed with empathy.

Please pray for this family.

Kiss Kiss

Kisses abound in our household these days. Lillian is kissing her dollies, her bunny, her mittens, her toothbrush, her hairbrush, her sister, and of course, her parents. Breanna is kissing her food before she eats it (every bite), her socks, her dad's socks, her bath toys, her sister, and of course, her parents.

DH and I have been encouraging it, so I guess since we've brought it on, kisses now rain down. We encourage pecks between people. But to clarify, we don't kiss things that can't kiss back. Just one another - on the lips. No tongues. No teeth. No slop. Just pecks. (In front of the kiddos, anyway.)

On Sunday, the girls and I drove out to our new house where DH was working to see if he needed some lunch. Our new small town is so teeny that the only place to eat are a bar/grill and the gas station (which has a miniature selection of Snickers, Combos, and Little Debbie cakes).

As we drove out there, DH called to let me know his folks just "popped in." So we all visited a bit at the job site and then headed to the bar/grill, which was closed. Oh well. My in-laws decided to go along their merry way. As DH hugged them goodbye, he accidentally surprised his mom with a kiss on the lips. They both jumped back and I secretly cracked up! He quickly stuttered something about only kissing his wife lately and was just in automatic mode. I smile even as I write about it.

Might not sound funny if you don't know my in-laws. But they're not exactly huggy, kissy people. "I love you" is not a common phrase in their house. They're not cold or mean or anything, just not openly affectionate. In fact, after DH's first visit to my parents' house, he told me how strange and wonderful it was that both my parents hugged both of us hello and goodbye and goodnight before bed.

The next time we saw his parents, he got on their cases a little about never giving hugs or talking about loving out loud. When they left our house that day, they each gave us a very awkward hug, and have started giving more hugs ever since. They're still quite different from my family's, but I do appreciate their efforts. As long as we don't have to extend the kissing lessons further than our girls, all will be good.

Monday, November 05, 2007


I burned dinner tonight. Distracted by very tired twins, I can't believe I burned the noodles. Not a huge deal, since it was just noodles, and they are only one ingredient - everything else was ready and ok. But boy, it was strange. I felt almost like I was watching someone else rush the pot out to the deck. I never burn food.

More noodles are now on the stove. The rest of the dish is still ready and waiting. What an off night.

I blame daylight savings time. It screws me up every single time, whether it's going backwards or forwards. For the next 3, maybe 4 weeks, I'll be out of whack. So when you see me yawning or stumbling around aimlessly, please be kind.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Beautiful Boots

After years of searching for comfortable, yet heeled ,tall, black leather boots, I finally found a pair. They arrived via USPS today!

Wide enough to allow my bastardly bunion to live happily ever after, they're wonderful! And the heels are spiked - only 2.5 inches, but spiked so they still look sexy. Hooray for boots!

DH says they are "sloh -ay" boots in his terrible fake accent. But I don't care. Now I can wear dresses in the winter again. Not that I have any maternity dresses yet.

Now that I have the boots, though, I'm stocking up on Venus blades and starting my quest for cute dresses. Thankfully, my bump sticks out far enough to obviously indicate pregnancy, so I don't have to worry about just looking lumpy in the middle any more. Yippee for the little things!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Here are our girls in costume - hamming it up and loving their "bugginess." Lillian is the bee and Breanna the ladybug.
And here are a couple links to more information about the Halloween party we attended on Saturday: DandeLion Soup: Halloween Party: The People and DandeLion Soup: Halloween Party: Babies in costumes. The girls swapped costumes that night. What a wonderful night out!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Dotting Eyes

We've been dotting eyes with anbesol - eye teeth, that is. Poor Breanna and Lillian are both struggling to cut these teeth, which means whining, crankies, chewing, sore bottoms, poor sleep, and just plain no fun. After a tough weekend, the girls finally had a good evening tonight.

Breanna sang the whole tune of the ABC's tonight - no letters of course - but the tune was solid. DH and I looked at each other across the dining room table, and were stunned to hear her start over again and get it right on. I hope we have another musician in the family. I'd love to teach piano lessons down the road, once we're settled into the new house. Whenever that actually is...

In the background, I've been working on a small magazine article for a regional pub. And my main interviewee has had to postpone our interview twice now. The article was due today, but we had to reschedule again! for Wednesday at 2:00. I've written the rest of the piece, and just have a 300-word hole to fill with some quotes from this gal. I know it would be easiest to just find someone else, but she really seems like the perfect subject, so I'm going to hold out. But after she postponed again tonight, I did let her know that after Wednesday, I'd just have to submit the article with or without her due to deadlines. I still need to send a note to the editor, begging forgiveness and a two-day extension. What do you do?

Anyway, after being home with crabby kids and a high-strung hubby and trying to tie down a flighty B&B owner, I'm glad I'm pregnant or I might be tempted to really tie one on. Well, that or play hooky for an afternoon at the spa. Even with the glitches, I'm still feeling very blessed these days. The baby had the hiccups again today, which was fun to experience. And I had a nice lunch with a group of writers at a new restaurant today, which I enjoyed thoroughly. Life is still pretty darned good, if I may say so myself.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Taking it all in at the pool

Lillian in her floaty car

Breanna in her floaty car

Lillian in the cupboard

On the way home...

Tuckered out
(And yes, we have since had haircuts!)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Exhausting Relaxation

What a trip! The girls and I thoroughly enjoyed our road trip to see our girlfriends. While we relaxed at the pool and mostly just hung out, I'm beat. And so are the girls. We moms determined that it's been about 5 years since we last visited in person - what a shame! It felt like just a couple of weeks.

I love non-glamorous experiences like this. Talk about rewarding. We had jammies on before 10 last night - two beautiful pregnant bellies, feet up, cozy as can be. My dear friend brought along her wonderful 6 1/2 year old daughter, who was so well behaved she actually gave me hope. It's nice to see there are still some good parents out there. I often forget that when I'm out and about - the terror kids (and parents) somehow are more memorable. But oh what a great helper we had - she's going to be a great big sister in just a few short months. If I could only borrow her once our new little one arrives...

From the girls' perspective, there were a few highlights. The cabinet in the entertainment center under the TV was a huge it. In. Out. In. Out. Repeat a thousand times.

They also loved the inflatable cars we borrowed for the pool. They had such a great time climbing in and out of them in the hotel room. At the pool itself, commotion surrounded us, so I don't think our little ones relaxed. Kids everywhere - pirate ship - water spraying and splashing - and brisk water temperature. They were troopers though. As you can see by the end shots, B & L were exhausted after all the fun. And now it's my turn to zonk out. Good night and have a great week!

Gaah! Blogger pictures can't upload right now. Sorry to tease you, mom. I'll try to get the pictures up tomorrow.

Friday, October 19, 2007

New Due Date

Our OB confirmed it today - our due date is right around when I thought we'd be due in the first place. The official date is now February 21. That means we're more than half way through, and all is looking great! The baby is measuring just over a pound at 22.5 weeks, weighing in at about 1 pound. And I've gained 8 pounds so far (but I look like I've gained much more, in my opinion). And my blood pressure is right where it should be. All is just the way it should be!

I'm super super super super excited to get up in the morning and road trip to Sioux Falls. The car is packed. An overflowing bag of snacks. An overflowing bag of toys. A bag of spare clothes. Disposable bibs. Diapers. Wipes. Disposable changing pads. Swimsuits. Life jackets. Floaty cars. Hooded towels. Camera. Warm coats and mittens (just in case). Two pack and plays. Double stroller. And some comfy shoes for mom - although I plan to wear cute heals - you never know. The car is even more full than when we head to the lake for just a weekend.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Baby Update - We're having a ...

We're having a modest baby. DH and I went in for an ultrasound yesterday and our sweet baby was being shy when it was time to speculate on gender. I wonder where s/he gets that from...

Beyond that, the baby looks good. Everything is where it's supposed to be and appears to be functioning perfectly. I can't believe how much bigger everything seems with just one, as well.

The U/S tech said it looks like our due date is about 1.5 weeks off - just as I'd suspected from the get go. That would put the revised due date at somewhere around the 22nd of February. But, we'll wait for confirmation from our doctor before planning a different delivery month. As we all know too well from Breanna and Lillian, ultrasounds can be waaaaaay off many times in a row.

It was so quick to breeze through vs. a twin ultrasound. We were in and out like a flash. Our appt. with the OB was set up for right afterward, so we walked over just in time to hear the nurses let the ladies in front of us know that our doctor had been called in to deliver a baby.

So, we rescheduled for tomorrow at 11:20. I can hardly wait to get the good report.

As a side note, my ring is finally done from the jeweler. I lost it just a few months after the girls came home from the hospital, but I didn't want to file a claim until we moved. I just hoped and hoped it would turn up. No such luck, so we had it recreated. The engagement band is wider than the original, so I'm going to take it to the jeweler on Monday to get it shaved down a bit. Other than that, I'm delighted to have a pretty ring on my hand again. I can hardly wait to take the girls out this weekend and not have people rudely judge me for having twins and a bun in the oven - with no ring on.

I'll post the update from the doc tomorrow.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

My Favorite Routine

When we had our marriage blessed by the church last February, our priest gave a very short, but very personal sermon. It was really just a simple piece of advice, but a good one that's been easy to follow, and nice to follow. He told us that each night in bed, we ought to hold hands and each state one thing that we're grateful for that day. The only rules are that you can't repeat within the year and it has to be just one a night - no laundry lists.

Since then, we've followed through. And even when we've been away from each other, we've talked on the phone before bed that night to share our piece of thankfulness. We've often stated things that have nothing to do with one another, but it's what comes to mind at the time. It's ranged from healthy babies or a pleasant visit with in-laws to a productive workday or a yummy meal. Sometimes we've stated gratefulness for help with laundry or a surprise love note, or feeling better after a cold or no longer having to work in a toxic environment.

No matter how tired we are (and we're often just beat by the time we crash out) we still follow the routine - often the last words of the night.

Feel free to borrow our priest's sermon. It's the best one I've ever heard, and while occasionally I've struggled to come up with the right thing to mention at the time, it really is a great way to end the day and to prepare for tomorrow's unknowns.

Tonight, I tucked my DH into bed early since he has a very early tomorrow. He told me he's grateful for our good marriage. Talk about a great way to end the day. I kissed him goodnight, then came out to the kitchen to peel apples and bake a cinnamon apple cake. While the cake filled the room with wonderful smells, I peeled/sliced a bunch more apples to freeze, and feel like I'm now ready to call it a day. I wish you all a pleasant Monday and a fulfilling week ahead.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Trying to Stay "Up"

For the first time in many years, I'm struggling just a tiny bit to keep my happy demeanor. While in my immediate family, life is terrific, we're surrounded by more and more sadness. Today I learned that a former colleague's husband just passed away - from flu complications. And he was young. As in under 40. With itty bitty kiddos at home. Awful!

And more and more families are dealing with sick or dying babies, and I am so sad for the parents to be struggling so much. In our local MOMs group, there are a lot of moms in need right now and I don't know how to help to them. So I just pray - that I can make time for. That I can do with kids at home. That I can do when I stretch in bed - sleepless for hours.

And knowing that my friends from TEC, Sarah and Nathan, are dealing with major cancer ickiness (he's back in the hospital), my heart just aches. Why do so many good people have to have such crap happen?

When I look at how far our girls have come and what miracles God has displayed over and over again, I am so very grateful. And yet in the back of my mind, I feel so guilty. I don't think it's just pregnancy hormones.

You know, I'm pretty tough. I can handle anything you throw at me. So why can't I just trade spots with some of those who are suffering right now? Just to give them some respite. Even a couple hours. I'd gladly swap - I could take it. Unfortunately, that darn reality thing bites sometimes.

I'm treating myself to a "vacation" in a week and a half, and thankfully, it's something to really look forward to. My old college pal, Danyellow, and I are meeting in a city about halfway between us. We're only 5 hours apart, yet we act like it's 25 hours apart. She reserved a Ramada suite, where we can bring our daughters, compare our preggo bellies, and most likely, laugh and cry a lot. I haven't physically seen her in years, yet the closeness is always there. I can hardly wait! Having that out there in the near horizon has been big for helping keep my spirits up.

That, and having a DH who tickles me and snuggles and hugs and calls me out of the blue also helps significantly. And of course, seeing our girls tickle each other - or better yet, tickle themselves. Now who couldn't smile at that? The trick seems to be finding the balance of empathy and living for today. Wish me luck.

Monday, October 08, 2007

All Things Jiggly (Well, some things, anyway)

After last weekend's reminiscing with Joe Cool's parents about his first reaction to Jell-o, I decided to try it on our girls. Sure enough, Lillian was pretty darned apprehensive for about 3 minutes. She poked, wiggled, curled her lip, the works. Breanna grabbed her pieces and gobbled them like they were green beans. Lillian soon followed suit and we deemed Jell-o to be a new household favorite.

We also tried out the snack-sized banana pudding my mom sent home with us last weekend. I'm not sure who enjoyed it more - the girls or me. But guess what? Our local grocers don't carry the Snack Packs in banana. Of course, I didn't think to buy a box and make my own until hours after we returned from the store. Go figure. I still can't believe that my folks, living in small town USA, still have a better grocery selection than all of our chains put together.

And then we had to end the weekend with another turd in the tub. I'm not sure why this is the new trend, but if anyone has any advice on how to stop it immediately, I welcome all suggestions. Once again, the culprit is unknown because of the bubble bath. Thankfully, Dad was home, so (with his shorts on) he took each girl into the shower to re-soap. Neither girl liked the shower at first, until Dad showed them how much fun it is to collect the water in your mouth, then spit it out like a fountain. Great. I expect the next thing will be playing fountain with milk or juice. Oh well. As long as the pooping in the tub stops, I'll take the fountain messes to come.

Friday, October 05, 2007


There is so much grief in the world right now, and a lot affecting me secondhand today. Two family friends lost their mothers in the past two days. I just learned of another friend who's gracefully handling chemotherapy after the removal of a brain tumor this summer. And the Medders family (the quads with TTTS that I wrote about in my last post) lost Baby A and the mother is in pain after the surgery.

I've cried off and on all day, praying and praying. And remembering to thank the Lord for all the blessings that have been bestowed upon us. Talk about a mix of emotion. I guess it's a good sign I'm still human.

The blog address for the Medders family is

Have a safe and blessed weekend, everyone.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Mega Prayers Needed for Local Family - Updated Link

I've recently learned of a couple living in our community that is expecting identical quadruplets (naturally!). Her 32-week due date (8 weeks early - but realistic for quads) is late December and they have a 2-year old at home.

Two of the babies (Baby A and Baby D) have Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome, the disease that nearly killed our girls. She and her husband went to Rhode Island for the laser surgery in hopes of saving these little ones. This will be the first time ever that the laser surgery for TTTS will be performed on quads. In the case of twins, the odds of both twins surviving are less than 5%. Now consider there are two additional babies in there.

Here's a link to the family's blog if you want to stay updated. If anyone needs prayers right now, it's this family. Please pass the request for prayers on to your family and friends right away. I can only imagine the fear this poor couple must be facing. If any of the babies survive, we'll have a first-hand miracle.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Long-time friends

Have you ever had someone in your life who just seems to fit? Someone around whom you can be comfy in your jammies and share a cup of tea and visit about anything under the sun?

I had the luxury of spending some time with a couple of very long, long-time friends over the weekend. Technically, they were my folks' friends first. And their sons are about the same age as my sister and me - so some might think there's a generation gap. And 20 years ago, I would have noticed it, but not so much today.

Wayne-o once spanked me for a childhood antic that resulted in several bags of grass seed being soaked in the garage - long before he'd planned to use it. (I wasn't the only one spanked that day.) And Viv once held me on her lap and tried to convince me that spilled grapejuice would not kill my beanbag dog. She gently washed the stain out and everything turned out fine. But today we can chat about religion and raising kids and how funny mine are. We can discuss business and news and life more as peers.

These folks are the kind of people you'd want to leave your kids to if you die. Kind and generous, down to Earth, a little corny in a cute way, and just true, good people. No wonder my folks have kept this friendship so long over all the miles. I've only spent one vacation with them, but like this past weekend, it was too comfortable to describe.

We stayed up late on Saturday night and visited into Sunday afternoon. All in comfy clothes and without fanfare. What a lovely time. Why aren't there more old friendships in the world like this?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Birds and Lounge Music

Anyone into birds? Enough so that you'd design your backyard for the sake of attracting and making a more comfortable existence for the creatures?

I've taken on a magazine article about just that, but I really don't know much about birds at all. Except that I'd rather listen to them than city noises. Even at 6 a.m. on a Saturday. So, let the research begin.

On another note, I'm tasked with finding Vegas-esque music to compile on a CD. Our M.O.M.s group is hosting the Midwestern conference in the spring and the theme is all about Vegas - showgirls and the likes - not so much a gambling focus. As part of the teaser mailer going out in December, we plan to toss in a checklist of roadtrip necessities (e.g. movie-star shades, foo foo slippers, etc.), including a CD to get in the mood.

Any ideas you have to share are VERY welcome. I'm afraid that my pregnancy brain is making my creativity a little low these days.

Happy weekend! Enjoy the fall colors while you still can - this might be your last chance for the season!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Little Piggies

We went to a very special party today - Great Uncle Harry turned 87. And in celebration of the big occasion, our girls donned sundresses and for the first time ever - drumroll please - pigtails! Yay!

Breanna and Lillian stole the show at the party, visiting with each person there. It was the perfect size party - all family - at the Assisted Living home in Lisbon. We enjoyed the drive there - the leaves were beautiful. And the girls were good sports about so much carseat time.

On the way home, we stopped at our new house and checked out the construction progress. The concrete forms are being put up, and there's mud everywhere. Just as we pulled in, Breanna woke up, so she came out with me to inspect. The sunset was gorgeous behind our woods. What a great end to a great (though windy!) weekend!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Girls' Nights Out

I got a pretty special treat this week - two evenings of girls-only evening entertainment. Both started around baby bedtime, so I didn't have to miss out on twin time. One night I had a very relaxing visit with a very comfortable friend at a local coffee shop. We talked about our toddlers, careers, home plans, dear hubbies, extended families, the whole gamut. She's one of those gals who completely refreshes the spirit in just a couple hours. As the coffee shop closed up, we said our TTFNs, then both drove away. Only to drive into the same grocery store parking lot a few minutes later. Great minds...

Last night I went to a Tastefully Simple open house fundraiser. All the profits went to our local Mothers of Multiples group, so of course I stocked up on the goodies. It was an intimate group in size, but the conversations were fun and laid back. The hostess lives in a beautiful house that a I spent a few evenings in during it's construction a couple years ago. DH created the stairway railing, so it was fun to see the home finished. I'd puttied all the nail holes on that project, and I must say, everything in the home really looked great!

I sometimes miss helping out at the job sites. I never had to do anything hard, but I was pretty swift with the putty and accomplished with final varnish applications. DH and I work very well together - visiting while we go. Some of the conversations we used to have were quite deep, others simply strange, and others all in rhymes. Although our life is lovely as it is, I occasionally miss "back in the day" visits. Once we reach the finishing part of our new home, I may have to hire a sitter one evening and head to the job site for a revisit. It's been quite a while since I've had putty caked under all my nails.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

It's official - baby is inside

I felt/saw my first tummy movement last night. I was so bummed out because I was all alone and had no one to show. Two minutes later, my DH walked in. And hooray - the baby put on a show! I just felt more wiggles just now, which prompted me to post about it.

Yay for baby and yay for us!

The weekend has been long so far - DH has been working a lot and the girls have icky colds, which they've now passed on to DH and me, too. Oh well. They're still cute as ever, and Breanna is good about walking up and making sniffy noises when she wants to blow her nose in the kleenex. Hooray for not having to use the snot sucker on both of them! I hope Lillian catches on soon.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Big Regret

I made a mistake. A big one. One that no one else seems to understand. One that's almost as bad as once accepting a job working for a lunatic-run ad agency. Almost.

When we packed up our house before the move, I boxed up my recipe box and all my recipe books except for two basic ones. I argued with myself that if I need a recipe, I can simply look one up online.



Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.

I miss my tried and trues. I miss Dan Ness' Mexican Zucchini Soup. I crave Lazy Day Stroganoff. I'm dying for my own version of Taste of Home's Chicken and Dumplings. And the Grilled Eggplant Basil stacks...ugh! Nothing else is satisfying me!

So I plead with you, dear readers, to share my recipes back with me. When I find something good, I often evangelize and then forward it when requested. If I've ever shared a good recipe with you by email, and if by chance you still have the recipe in your mailbox, will you please send it back to me?

In the meantime, I did stumble on a new hit when forced to look outside. Our whole family loved it and it was pretty darned easy.

Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Browned Butter
1 - 2 lbs. asparagus spears, trimmed
Cooking spray
1/4 t. kosher salt
1/8 t. black pepper
2 T. butter
2 t. soy sauce
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
Cracked black pepper
Grated lemon rind (opt.)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 2. Arrange asparagus in a single layer on a banking sheet. Coat with cooking spray. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. 3. Bake for 12 minutes or until tender. 4. Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat for 3 minutes or until lightly browned, shaking pan occasionally. 5. Remove from heat, and stir in soy sauce and vinegar. Drizzle over asparagus, tossing well to coat. 6. Garnish with cracked pepper and lemon rind, if desired.

(From the Sept. 2007 Cooking Light)

Wish me luck as I search our stacks of boxes in our garage this weekend. And if no luck, on to the storage unit. And then to my sister's quonset. We have stuff everywhere - but at least the boxes are clearly labeled and in the same geographical region. Why didn't I think to keep a spreadsheet of what went where? Oh yeah. Because I do have a little bit of a life and am not totally lame all the time.

Enjoy the rest of your week, friends.

Monday, September 10, 2007

I Love Care Packages

Have you ever received a care package in the mail that has made you feel so loved that you just want to sing? I recently received a little birthday gift from an out-of-state friend. It arrived just in time for my birthday, and was the first "real" thing I received at our new apartment. And it made me feel so very special.

This was not the first surprise package I've ever had, but the first one in quite a long time. She didn't have to spend a ton on an elaborate gift. But what she did send was something she knew I'd like, and something I think of as a bit of a splurge. She made more that just my day. Thanks, Jess!

When I was in college in Iowa, my folks were wonderful about sending treats. Especially my first year, when I didn't have a car and felt a little stranded.

Somehow, the contents kind of blur together. But the thought, the effort, and the glow I felt are certainly memorable.

It's got me thinking... who can I send a surprise treat to? And can we start a mini-movement toward care packages? Friends, I encourage you to open your address books and see whose day you want to brighten. You don't have to spend a lot of money and send a spectacular gift. Even some silly cozy mittens (yes, the season is fast approaching) or the recipient's favorite candy - even something dumb will do. (I have a pack of obnoxious pumpkin stickers that I'm going to toss into the package I'm sending, along with a dozen home-made cookies and some hair chopsticks for my pal.)

Just let your far-away friends know that you're close in heart. You'll feel good. They'll feel good. As the overused hip-hop saying states, it's all good.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Breaking Ground

Digging up soil. Less than a week away. Finally moving forward. Excitement in the air!

Soon it won't just be "the lot." On Wednesday we'll have a big hole in the ground and a house on the way. Hooray!

We're heading out to the lot tomorrow morning to burn a huge brush pile (as long as the rain doesn't squelsh our plans). I have the marshmallows in the glove box already. It will be the girls' first bonfire. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Change of Seasons

Lake season has officially ended and I'm somewhat relieved. This narrows down our expected travel locations to only a handful. And another many months of not having to hear my ex's obnoxious laugh coming over the trees. With his cabin being only two away from ours, it gets a little annoying to continually hear him when we're trying to relax at the lake.

The girls and I spent the weekend at the cabin with my mom and dad and my mom's sisters, as well as their families. It was two full houses, and really nice. New baby Chloe joined us - she's three months old and so precious. It's a reminder of the joys to come when I have just one baby in the spring. It felt so nice to hold her warm little body in my arms. Even her cry was sweet.

Chloe's mom and I had a date on Sunday night. We went to a restaurant on the other side of the lake and splurged. I felt like a recovered alcoholic with my two O'Douls, but the Shoreham pizza was worth it. Our conversation was so relaxing and so comfortable that it felt a bit like we were sisters, reuniting after years apart. It was really a nice reconnection. We returned to find a roaring fire, complete with neighbors and laughter. I brought out the marshmallows and Jiffy Pop and we continued to feast.

Both of my girls came home a little bruised up, but happy. They spent a lot of time outside, running through the yards and to the lake. Lots of tumbles, but many more smiles. Lillian flirted her heart out with the fellas. Breanna cuddled with Auntie Jeanne as much as she could. And both girls floated in the lake and loved it. Exhausted today, they slept in late and took two very long naps. All is good.

As nice as it was to spend the weekend with our family, it was just as nice to close up the cabins for the year. When we returned home, DH met us after his long weekend of antelope hunting. He'd been in the Black Hills, and only returned with one deer. He really enjoyed his weekend, though, so it seemed to be worth it. But I think we enjoyed all being together again even more.

Time for the new season. More walks outside as the temperatures drop (hopefully soon). More bonfires and s'mores. More coats and tights and cider. Let autumn begin!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Drip Drip Drop

Nope, it's not the start of that chipper song from - what is that from? A ballet? A musical? I suddenly don't remember. But the tune sure is stuck in my head.

Anyway, the drip drip drop I'm writing about today is far from chipper or cute. I had quite a little scare on Tuesday night that resulted in a midnight ER visit. Oh the joys of being me and having quirks. I never get the normal stuff, like headaches, morning sickness, or hangovers. But bring on the Bell's Palsy, non-growing toenails, and most recently, a bloody nose that wouldn't quit.

It all started out of the blue. I was changing Lillian into pajamas when I saw a drop of blood hit the carpet. Great. We're in a rental, and I'm bleeding on the cream carpet. I grabbed a tissue and figured it would be enough to contain the bleeding. I must have sneezed too much during the day. Welcome, harvest season in the valley!

At 11, I had my own pajamas on, teeth brushed, contacts out... nose pinched. Still bleeding. So I went to Web MD and followed the instructions for stopping a nosebleed. I wasn't too worried, since the bleeding wasn't heavy and it would stop when I kept my nose pinched. But I couldn't keep in pinched all night and I just wanted so badly to go to sleep.

I followed the instructions to squeeze the soft part of the nose and apply ice for 10 minutes. The bleeding started up right away when I let go. I did two more 10-minute freeze-outs. No luck.

I then woke up my DH, who promptly flew out bed and freaked out. Right away he asked if it was something happening with the baby. I calmly reminded him that miscarriages don't come out of your nose. He then got on the phone with Ask-a-Nurse, who said I'd better get to the ER right away.

Thankfully, it was a very quiet night at the hospital. I was seen immediately, and after we tried a few different options, the super-nice doc decided to cauterize the inside of my nostril. Whatever... at this point, I just wanted to sleep. He told me to put on a gown (for my nose?) because the burning flesh would probably make me sneeze. With an eye roll, I dressed in a gown and asked him to return and get the show on the road. Sure enough, this guy knew what he was talking about. I sneezed about a dozen big hard sneezes, with blood spraying everywhere except into the washcloth I was trying to use as a hankie. It was disgusting!

Wouldn't you know, there was a second section in my nostril that was also bleeding. So he had to go in again. Ick. Much deeper this time. The sensations going through my face were by far the grossest feelings I've ever experienced. There's no way to describe the sliminess.

Anyway, I guess it's my side-effect to pregnancy. An icked-up nose. I knew it was a stuffy problem (that's the symptom that made me think, "Hmm. Maybe I'll take a pregnancy test. My nose is stuffy out of the blue.") But this doc said that the inside of my nose is plenty "mucked up" and that I'd better get on some allergy meds to avoid more bloodbaths. He sent me home, with a dry nose, at 2:30 AM.

I sometimes wonder if I'd just rather be normal and have expected side-effects. Then again, morning sickness sounds pretty awful, too. Regardless, everything's fine now, although I'm still tired.

Have a wonderful long weekend, friends! Rest up if you can! (I hope to get my rest on an air mattress. All I ask for is one hour. Isn't that reasonable enough? Keep your fingers crossed for me!)

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Big Girl Tub

One of the very few perks to our apartment is the garden tub. I've had several relaxing soaks with good reading materials and fake wine, and our girls have found out that they love bathing (ahem, splashing) together.

After a long weekend full of relaxation and running around town, the girls soaked and splashed until they were prunes. Here are a few snapshots. In the top one, Lillian is laughing on the left and Breanna on the right. The second shot is Lillian flirting with Dad. The bottom is Lillian on the left again.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The "-ies"

I'm no longer just 30. I've officially passed the threshold and entered "into my 30s." I can't believe how much different it feels to have made the transition. Gone is my youth forever. If I didn't have so many terrific things going for me these days, I think I'd be sad. But life is grand, so all is great!

Thanks to my sweet family, I had a very nice birthday weekend at the lake, exhausting as it was. My sister came bearing a basil plant and and aloe plant - what a dear! And my folks bought me a bright red raincoat - and in perfect time! My dad and I went shopping Friday night after the girls went to bed, and we found their first tennis shoes. They're adorable! Lillian's are navy with pink flowers on the side and Breanna's are pink with silver stripes. Cuuuuuute!

Unfortunately, the girls both got sick and didn't let me get much sleep either night, and we ended up coming home early Sunday morning so we could go to the clinic. They both recovered quickly in plenty of time to help Mom celebrate her birthday.

DH surprised me with a beautifully wrapped box full of shirts and even a pair of sandals. While I was at the beauty shop the evening before, he'd taken the girls to Macy's and had a bit of a spree. And they picked out wonderful clothes! Great fabrics, colors, and cuts! He later told me that he'd looked at the pants a bit, and when he held a pair up, they came up to close to his armpits. And he's not exactly a shrimp. I think he finally understands the misery of being a short woman. Nonetheless, the gifts he did buy are great! Some of the tops will have to wait until after the baby comes out, but that's ok. They also bought me a Madeleine Peyroux CD, which completely delights me!

We met my sister and went out to eat at the Texas Roadhouse. Not my normal pick for a birthday meal, but with tots in tow, I wanted someplace noisy and ok to be spilled at. This place was perfect. The food was delicious and the girls received their very own cowboy hats. I took some pics with my camera phone, so if any techie readers can help me figure out how to get those shots onto the computer, I'll be happy to share. It was a really fun day all around.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Birthday Weekend

It's our annual Birthday Weekend at the lake - just in time for rain and cold weather. I guess it will be an inside celebration. My mom, cousin, cousin's girlfriend, and I are all August babies. Why have 4 cakes when we can all celebrate together and share? I'm really looking forward to some down time with family.

Poor DH has to stay in town and work, so the girls and I are going to take the road trip ourselves this afternoon. I'm hoping for content travelers, and also hoping that I haven't forgotten anything.

Wish us luck! Happy weekend, everyone, and stay warm!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Last Big Day for a While

I had a great appointment with my OB doc today. She answered every question on my list and gave me a terrific report. Yay! And she even laughed at DH's lame jokes!

From there, DH and I ran to the title company downtown and closed on our house. After depositing our nice check, I headed back to my office. All is quiet in my work world today. The phone hasn't been ringing, and I spent most of my morning in a zone of productivity. The afternoon looks like more time to concentrate - not a single meeting on the books. So, as I return from my reuben break (Arby's now has turkey reuben wraps!!), off I go back into my zone. I love days like this!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

15-month Checkup Today

Our growing girls got 5 shots each for immunizations today. Poor babies were so sad -until we enticed them with fresh chunks of banana. They received good reports from the doctor. They're two inches apart and about 2.5 pounds apart still.

With jeans and a T-shirt on, Breanna weighed 21 lbs., 13 oz. Lillian weighed 19 lbs., 3 oz. That little stinker still hasn't reached 20 lbs.! Oh well, they're on good growth curves, so the doctor said to keep doing whatever we've been doing. Easy enough!

I'm not sure about everyone's fascination about their weights, because that's one of the first things people ask us about. I can't say that I've ever wondered how much anyone else's child weighs. Regardless, I'm always anxious to find out weights when we have their checkups. Maybe it's because they were so darned small when they first entered the world. And just look at them now... (well, Lillian, anyway).

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Changes Right Up to the Last Second

DH is wonderful and so very talented. But he's driving me a little crazy. We're planning to break ground any day now and he's still adjusting the house plans. I trust his judgement, but, sheesh, can we make up our minds already? I'm ready for this move to be over with so we can just settle in a little bit.

The new baby is due on March 5th, and we have no idea if we'll be in the new house then or not. All I know is that there's no way I'm planning to move when I'm huge and miserable, so we'll have to see where this ship takes us. I'm trying to be light-hearted and go with the flow, but you know me. Laid-back is probably one of the last descriptions you'll hear about me. I'm trying, though.

If anyone is in the mood to carry some boxes and share some pizzas, please help us out - we're moving this Friday evening and Saturday. The more the merrier. I'll provide an endless supply of beer or anything else that you request. I'll expect I'll be hearing lots of "You need to get off your feet" and "You shouldn't be doing so much." Such is life.

Finally at Terms

Not sure if you've noticed or not, but the dogs have not been mentioned in my posts in quite a while. That's because they haven't been in my daily life for the last few months. One evening this past spring, I noticed that I was having to remind myself to pet the dogs right before bed. As the last step of my tiring days, I had to remind myself. What kind of rotten dog owner had I become? One who puts her kids ahead of all else, and the dogs pretty close to last, apparently.

After some very serious, realistic thought, I decided to give Maddy and Tootsie away. I'd tried to keep them in the family, but no one was ready to take on two 7-year-old shih tzus. So one Sunday, I ran an ad in the paper, looking for a retired couple to adopt them. Several people called, and the ones who are the new owners are certifiably "dog people." For the first month, the new mom called once a week with an update, and to point out the dogs' personality quirks. It's obvious that the girls are in the right spot with the right family. They don't travel or believe in kenneling, and the woman is home all day with them. She takes them on a short walk each afternoon, and they spend a lot of time hanging out on the deck overlooking their hobby farm. For the dogs, life is grand.

For me, it was hands down the hardest thing I've ever done. Even tougher than filing for divorce all those years ago or facing back surgery as a teen. For the first week, I cried at least once a day. After the first night of not having them, DH (who'd always claimed that he hated dogs) suggested that he call the couple and tell them that we wanted the dogs back. Because he missed them. How cruel would that be after they'd taken the dogs into their home and created a new life around them?

I still haven't gone to see the dogs. Maybe later this month, after we're moved into the new place. With selling the house and moving into the condo, we'd have had to do something anyway. But at least I had time to think it through and find the best option for them.

It is getting easier - very slowly - to adjust to their absence. But knowing that Maddy and Tootsie are in the right place for them makes it ok. It feels good to be able to finally write about it.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Non-poopy Picture Updates

When my sister comes over to do daycare, our girls love it! Here's jolly Breanna enjoying her Oreo after ravioli or lasagna or something like that last week. Our daycare lady was on vacation, so the chaos of finding replacement help was interesting. But everyone survived!

And then there's miss Lillian. Messy is so much fun!
This bottom photo is from last Saturday. We had lunch and a little park visit with our niece, Kaitlyn, who lives in Idaho. She was back in MN for a vacation. What a nice day together!

Not for the Weak of Guts

Not for the Weak of Guts

Before I begin, let me issue this blunt disclaimer.


The reason I haven’t posted lately is because of my distraction from the grossness of last Sunday. I feel haunted, and a little dizzy each time I think of it. So maybe writing about it will get it out of my system.

Sunday started off as a beautiful day. The girls slept in, which meant that the whole house slept in, too. After nice long morning naps, we decided to go for a picnic. We picked up some chicken strip baskets at the Dairy Queen and headed for a big, shady park. Everyone ate well, and we proceeded on a walk down a tree-lined walking path. The girls were laughing, and we were all enjoying some outside time.

As the girls tired, we decided to drive out to our lot to see if any other lots have been sold. We have to keep an eye on our next neighborhood, after all. Perfect time for naps, right? Not long after leaving the park, I smelled a foul odor. Both girls were playing happily in the back seat, so I suggested that my DH pull over to change a diaper at the next convenient spot. Moments later, the smell overwhelmed me. I glanced back and was horrified to see that Lillian’s hands were full of feces. In her hair, on her face, and wouldn’t you know, her chunked up finger was on its way into her nostril.

I screeched to DH to pull over immediately, and we whisked her out of the car. In the process, I also became covered in poo. Our tiny, feminine, precious little girl had exploded. As I went through wipe after wipe, trying to remove the disgust, DH tackled the car seat. She’d leaked through the car seat and filled the base, which also spilled over onto the actual seat! There was no way we could put her back in there.

Wearing only a diaper, she sat up front with me and shared my seatbelt. For any readers who know me well, you know that I am the biggest rule-following nerd of all time. But there was just no way that I could plunk her back into the car seat o’ filth. We rushed home and I raced her to the shower. No inflatable duckie tub today. Just the force of a warm shower and LOTS of soap. While she and I scrubbed, she splashed and giggled. This sweet child was completely oblivious to my nausea. And she seemed to be completely comfortable!

Each time I remember the grotesque image of her finger entering the nostril, which seems to be forever branded into my memory, I have to talk myself out of vomiting. Queen of the strong stomachs, I’ve finally found my weakness.

As I began drying Lillian off, DH traded me for a screaming Breanna. She was soaked and covered in grass clippings and was very, very upset. Apparently, while I was rushing Lillian to the tub, DH took Breanna out of her seat, and as he plopped her onto his hip: splat. Same explosion, in the car seat and onto my car seats, as well as onto DH’s white shirt and khaki shorts, and all over a good portion of my car’s upholstery.

Being the man that he is, he rushed her outside and began hosing her off. As he told me this, I was picturing her clumsily trying to run away into the yard, naked. But he reassured me that he held her as he sprayed her, and that the grass clippings just found their way onto her skin from the breeze. I’m still not sure.

After thoroughly washing her (yes, it was in her hair and on her face, too), I lotioned and dressed them and put them down for a nap. Then off I went, in search of new car seats. It was time to move out of the infant seats, anyway. In the meantime, DH had the fun task of pressure-washing the soiled car seats and laundering the cloth parts on hot a couple times. I think they’re ok.

After numerous, NUMEROUS attempts to scrub and sanitize my car, I think I might still smell a faint bit of ick. I use Lysol each night after we get home, and then Febreeze right before bed. After all the scrubbing we did, I can’t imagine there could be even a hint of a feces-infected germ, but my paranoia is driving me a little crazy. I’m going to spend my lunchtime tomorrow at Don’s Carwash, opting for the heavy-duty, expensive, upholstery cleaning. I’m guessing they don’t have too many 2007 models in for that already, but who really knows?

Needless to say, I didn’t eat a thing the rest of Sunday. At first I thought it was just a pregnancy thing, since I’m still in my first trimester. But after some consideration, I’m convinced that this experience could make pretty much anyone sick. As big of a fan as I’ve been of DQ in the past decade, I’m never eating there again.

So there you have it. There’s your mental nausea for the week. May you have a poop-free rest of your week.