Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Half-way Done

Quick update - today is the half-way point of the Parade of Homes. So far, it's gone very well, especially considering that the Parade officials canceled it on Saturday due to the "blizzard." Luckily, DH went to the house anyway and visited with all the folks who stopped in throughout the entire day.

The house really turned out beautifully - I am so very proud of my DH. His aunt is coming over tonight to handle the girls so I can go out to the house and play hostess, which I'm really looking forward to.

The slower-than-molasses carpet layers didn't get out of the house until Friday afternoon, so I spent Friday morning picking up hanging wine racks and wine as the finishing touch for the kitchen. Soon after that, my friend, Joell, and I scrambled to finish cleaning up the house. She's the fastest cleaner I've ever seen. Then another friend and talented photographer, Shyla, drove the treacherous 8 miles out (it was seriously treacherous) to take pictures once the house was clean. We drove caravan style back to town, and I'm guessing it took about 45 minutes. I learned that my van handles like garbage and I was certain I was going to be blown into the ditch at any second.

Once I finally arrive home, I finished DH's website. I'd really wanted to include pictures of the house on his Parade of Homes link, but had to wait until the house was clean and then photographed. I'm certainly no website builder, but the price for labor was right, I guess. And who could you hire who'd be willing to do it so last minute - literally? Talk about a race to the finish. The main thing is - we made it. Hooray!

Workwise, I'm back on schedule with my freelancing - and there are no more foreseeable all-nighters lined up. I still haven't gotten to those baby announcements yet, or thank you notes either. My manners and etiquette have disappeared with the birth of baby C. But hopefully, no one will judge too harshly. And if they do, oh well. I invite any of the judgers to come spend 48 hours with us and then see what they have to say.

The next priority is the girls' second birthday party (their birthday is May 3). We're partnering up with some friends whose twins are the same age and doing a double-twin hoot'nanny on May 10th. The boys' mom has graciously offered to host the party at their house (thankfully - we have no room at our place). The boys' grandma is bringing miniature ponies for rides - can you believe it? Because it's a double party, we're keeping our guest lists very small. Otherwise, what a circus we'd have! My folks picked up some denim outfits and pink cowboy boots for Breanna and Lillian, and the girls can't get enough of clopping around in the boots. They're adorable!

As you can see, in our family, the chaos never ends. Sometimes it slows down a bit, but never to a level of relaxation, I'm afraid. I made it into bed at 11:58 last night, meeting my goal of hitting the sack by midnight. DH pointed out that while I was technically in bed, I was still up, lotioning my hands, chapsticking my lips, and saying prayers. Oh well. It was still much earlier than the last few weeks.

Still tired, but less stressed, I'm going to get back to work now. Soon I'll celebrate mid-week by meeting my dear sister for lunch. Hopefully she lets me rub her cute prego belly. I can't believe how much I miss being pregnant. Happy half-way through the week, my friends!

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Wondering what makes our first Parade house worthy of being entered in the Parade of Homes? Come check it out for yourself. The Parade starts this Saturday at noon - only a day and a half away. This Saturday and Sunday and next Saturday and Sunday, DH will be there from noon to 5. Weeknights this week he'll be there from 6:30 to 8:30.

I spent the afternoon and evening out there today to help with cleanup. I can't believe we're almost done. When I arrived today and saw that the carpet wasn't all in yet, I nearly flipped my lid. But after some under-my-breath very-ladylike-choice words, I locked myself away in a non-carpeted room to scrub away my frustrations. And I just have to say - I am so proud of my dear hubby. The house has turned out beautifully. He certainly designed an ideal home for a family of 5.

The more time I'm there, the more I love the Jack and Jill bath. And the woods. And the stamped patio. And the office. I didn't really connect with the office until today when my cleaning friend said she could easily envision me writing away in the room. Until then, I'd simply pictured DH in there. Once I checked out the view, I realized that it would likely have been my favorite room.

It's an 8-minute drive from Fargo. You can click here for directions to the house in Mapleton, and then just follow the signs (which I'm going to pick up and post tomorrow morning).

Please make the trip and introduce yourself to my builder extraordinairre. He's worried that no one will drive out because of the weather and the great big distance of 8 miles. Show up. Satisfy your curiosity. Say hello to my favorite guy in the world. And enjoy the hard work and creativity that went into our very first Parade house.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Anyone up for babysitting?

I'm trying to prepare for the backups that I might need come Thursday and Friday evening. Anyone up for a few after-work hours with the kiddos? You could take just the twins or all three, if you'd like. (Although, I'd recommend two sitters if you're going to take all three.)

Just let me know!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Exhaused and Swamped

The end of the chaos is near - and we've officially begun Hell Week. From here until Saturday morning (when the Parade of Homes begins) we'll be flying through sheer madness, but then we can all relax for a while. I think. I hope.

My neice from Idaho ended up coming home with us last-minute yesterday, so my plans for last night and today were completely rearranged. We all thoroughly enjoyed having some time with her, although the timing couldn't have been worse. Of course, she was none the wiser.

Once this weekend rolls around and I get a chance to catch my breath, I'll update on the wedding and everything else that's kept us hopping. To give you a hint, this past weekend was more stressful for me than either of my two weddings. I'm more tired today than I was when I first came home from the hospital with Grant, too, if it tells you anything.

I'm going to hit the sack for a couple hours so that once the girls are in bed for the night tonight, I can go full-force to get my work done - likely into the night. And then hopefully tomorrow will start to be a little regular-ish.

See ya later!

Thursday, April 17, 2008


I jinxed myself when I was pompously bragging about being done with DH's construction errands today. He called this afternoon and asked me to pack up Big G and head off to the lumber yard. The day went downhill from there. Oh well.

Here it is, 1:25 a.m. and I'm finally getting a free moment. So what do I do? Sit at the computer and blog. What is wrong with me? Time to straighten up and call it a night, I guess.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Dirt waits. Life goes on.

Is it a bad sign that you consider the day a success if you get to bed by 1:30? If that's the case, I've only had a few successful days in the last few weeks.

The house is coming along beautifully. I've spent a few days out there recently, helping with odds and ends, like puttying nail holes, scraping varnish off windows, vacuuming, washing interior windows, and wiping down cabinets. At lunchtime today, I ran a crock of cheesy barbecue sandwiches and chips and dessert out to the site. Less than two weeks to go until it's officially done!

On a happy note, that was the only trip I had to make to the jobsite, or anywhere else today. Normally, it feels like DH has me running all over town, picking up and dropping off stuff. In the meantime, I'm putting together the marketing materials for the house and for my hubby's company, working with the realtor, handling DH's office stuff and emails, as well as trying to put together the girls' second birthday party. And doing my freelance work (which is what usually what keeps me up into the middle of the night - it's easiest once the phone stops ringing and DH crashes into bed).

On top of all that, DH's great uncle, Harry, who was kind of a little involved with DH and me meeting, fell and broke his hip this week. He's at the hospital in town now, and I know he'd love to see the kiddos, so I'm going to have to squeeze in a little visit sometime soon. He'll be here for at least two weeks, so I'm sure we can find some time somewhere in here.

Beyond all that chaos, not much else is happening. I haven't even dusted this month or vacuumed yet this week. Oh well. Dirt waits. Life goes on.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Crash Course in Time Expectations

I finally know why my husband's schedule is so unpredictable. His ideas about time are very different from mine. When he asks me to help him out at our house for a half day, that doesn't mean 4 - 5- maybe even 6 hours of work. Half day in his eyes is half of a 24-hour day. We spent an exhausting Saturday at the jobsite together, Grant in tow. What a trooper he was! And what a nice time for DH and me to work side by side again. I've missed him so much lately, and we had great conversations throughout the day. Some silly. Some deep. Some nostalgic. All good.

I swept and vacuumed for hours, cleaned spindles, scrubbed cupboards, and carried load after load of garbage (mostly cardboard, sawdust, scrap wood, and empty pop bottles) out to the garage, and then out to the dumpster.

Filthy and beat, we finally returned home as the sun was going down. We quickly changed clothes, blew the black out of our noses (how gross!), packed an overnight bag, and headed to DH's hometown for the bachelor/ette parties. I didn't even need to come up with an excuse - I was so beat that I wouldn't have been able to do any kind of quality brain work or anything social anyway. Plus, my hair looked like crud because of all the dust and dirt in it. I haven't been that piggish in ages.

My mother-in-law was the only grown-up in the house by the time we finally arrived, and she was glad we were later because that meant she got out of the party, too. She'd stated from the beginning that she'd go to the house party at the beginning, but when the group headed out to the bars, that's when she'd head home. We timed it just right, I guess. She and I sat up and oohed and aahed at Grant's cuteness, and visited about all kinds of light topics. It was a pleasant day all in all.

Today, we visited with family here from Idaho and the Twin Cities. Our girls went to the park twice and enjoyed going down the slides and on the swings. They also enjoyed a wagon ride as Grandpa pulled them in laps around the living room and kitchen area. Those girls are so darned cute!

We arrived back home again at sunset. After getting everyone ready for bed, I spent the remainder of my Sunday evening at the computer, doing the work that I'd actually planned for Saturday night. Finished for the day now, I'm going to brush my teeth and hit the sack. And it's before midnight! Hooray for an early night! (How sick is it that anything before 1 a.m. qualifies for early these days?)

Have a terrific spring week ahead, my friends.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Pretties or Comfies

After posting the picture of Lillian with undies around her neck, I've received a lot of ribbing about showing my drawers on the internet. Considering how they're being modeled, though, I still don't think it's a problem. After all, they're just a bunch of colorful, interesting fabrics when worn around the neck.

You see, I have a drawer of pretties and a drawer of comfies. Obviously, Lilli found the pretties.
My drawer of comfies is nearly empty, but it does hold a never-been-worn 3-pack of Hanes giganto panties.

DH was kind enough to pick them up for me at the drug store (of all places!) before I came home from the hospital after having the twins. Smart man that he is, he figured my regular undies would hit at my C-section incision. He even called my sister to ask what size she thought I'd need. Little did he know that because I'm so short-waisted and the undies are so obnoxiously huge, they'd come up over my ribs. Seriously. And they're in various lavender floral patterns. Needless to say, while they were washed, they've never been worn for more than the 5 seconds it took me to pull them up and tuck them under my bra (well, almost anyway).

Lucky for Lilli she got into the pretties or else she would have smothered under those comfies. So why do I still have a whole drawer dedicated to comfies that contains only three pairs, which I don't wear? Good question. Anyone have a good suggestion for what I should do with them?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

A "great" morning in the life

I have all three kiddos home with me today. While we're all in good spirits for the most part, we're wearing ourselves out. Or more accurately, the kids are wearing me out. The girls are refusing to wear pants or socks today. Great.

After breakfast, I was feeding Grant on the couch, listening to the crunches coming from the dining area of our apartment.
Nothing harmful sounding - just crunching.
I burped Grant and then investigated, only to find that the girls were taking item after item off the pantry shelves and tossing each thing over their shoulders. They emptied boxes of cake mixes (thankfully didn't open the bags - but which flavor goes with which will be a surprise), emptied a box of oatmeal packets, dumped out a container half-filled with jasmine rice, pulled tea bags out of their boxes, and were just diving into the cappuccino tins when I rounded the corner. Great, now here's another area they can get into that will likely drive me insane.

Right before lunch, Lilli found a black sharpie and secretly put on some "makeup" behind her little Dora kitchen in the living room. Right in front of me but out of sight. Ususally when she sits back there, she puts together puzzles. Great. I called the 800-number for Sharpie and the customer service rep said to just wash with soap and water for a few days and it would wear off. Ah, no, we will not being going out with faded marker on our faces. Turns out a little diluted nail polish remover works like a charm.

Then at nap time, Breanna went down like a champ. We've had to separate the girls to get them to sleep, so Lilli has to take naps in a pack and play in our bedroom. (The first day I tried the separation, Breanna scaled the side of the p-n-p and got into all kinds of mischief - like emptying my jewelry armoire, digging in the candles, eating my chapstick, emptying the spare change vase, bending the blinds, finding one of dad's exacto knives, etc.)
After about 20 minutes of peace and quiet, I heard Lillian crying. When I went to investigate, I just had to burst out laughing. She'd reached up and emptied three drawers of my lingerie. All the bras were in the bottom of the p-n-p. And all the panties were around her neck, and she was crying because she was so hot. I remembered my friend Crystal's comment about how every time her twins do something naughty, she usually laughs and grabs the camera before remembering to scold. I followed suit, so here's Lillian in all her intimate glory.
All has been quiet for close to a half hour now, but damn it anyway, some delivery jerk just rang the doorbell, and guess who woke up? All three. So much for my break.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

I don't think I have cancer

Have you ever wondered if you're a closet hypochondriac? I know that when I developed a fast-growing lump in my neck right after I came back from Cozumel, I thought for sure it was lymphoma. Panicky, I didn't tell anyone because I didn't want to jinx myself until I heard it from a doctor. Why didn't I think it might be a reaction to that jellyfish sting? My lymphoma scare was most likely triggered by knowing a friend at that time who'd had that kind of cancer in close to the same spot on his neck - which had started as a strange lump.

I also once danced with the idea that I might have had a cataract. Turns out I just had a hole in my contact lens, which I discovered just one day after my paranoia began. My mom also was going through eye trouble at the time, so it was fresh on my mind.

Then there was the time that our next-door neighbor told us that radon in her last house was what killed first her dog, then her fiance, and then gave her cancer before they realized the house was full of radon... Of course, I ran out and got a test kit immediately - even though my house was only two years old. And then I began questioning my tiredness over the previous weeks. Could cancer be wearing me down? How about those headaches I'd had? No radon. No cancer. Just some speculation.

This morning, I went to my 6-week postpartum checkup. When the doc asked if I had any concerns, I said, "Yeah, it's about a lump. It rolls when you press it and it's scary." She immediately thought breast, but then I explained it's on my back - kind of by my shoulder blade. I know it's not her area of expertise, but at least she could tell me if she suggests I go see someone whose area it is.

She matter-of-factly told me I have a muscle knot. Then she jokingly asked if DH has been slacking on his duties as the husband to a wife who's just given birth. I couldn't help but roll my eyes. I couldn't even talk him into a back rub while I was IN the hospital, much less since I've been home.

Anyway, besides the knot, all is good. I'm still one pound heavier than when I found out I was pregnant, which means I'll be eating more carrots and less cookies to keep me going in the weeks ahead. And then someday soon, when I have a hubby around to help a little bit, I can actually make the time to cook and eat the stuff I really like (ahem - I miss having a griller in the house). If nothing else, I'll likely be able to dance off that last pound at the in-laws' wedding in a week and a half.

On a side note, I think that knowing the numbers of your weight is so extremely depressing. I have never owned my own scale, and except during pregnancies, I have never looked at the weight at the doctor's office. I even ask the nurse to not say it aloud because I'd simply rather not know. I prefer instead to go by how my clothes look and feel, and by paying attention to what kinds of foods are in my diet - I'm not into low-carb or high-protien, etc., but rather just heart healthy. But in hearing how some of my friends and family (and the media) obsess over a pound here and a pound there, oy, I think I'm alone in my avoidance of knowing. Oh well.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Still in Love

In case anyone wonders, I'm still head-over-heels for my DH. I was reminded of just how much I enjoy his company when he surprised the kids and me by spending the whole day with us. No work and no talk of work (from him, anyway). We went to church in the snowstorm this morning and the kids were great. We came home and had a nice lunch, and then we all napped. One girl was in each bedroom, DH on the couch, and Grant and me on the love seat. I'm guessing I was out for about an hour - and I was the shortest napper. Talk about a luxury! We even did a family diaper run to Sam's Club and made snowballs from our deck. It was a truly lovely Sunday.

DH got a good taste of the busy-ness of the 3-under-2 lifestyle. He commented that it seems like Grant wants to eat all the time, but usually at the most inopportune times. Yup. But it's doing him a lot of good. The kids were weighed and measured on Friday morning and guess how big the new little feller is? In a dry diaper, he was a whopping 12 lbs., 4 oz. I nearly fell over. Lillian weighed 23 lbs., 12 oz. and Breanna was 26 lb., 2 oz.

It seems like we're all in between sizes right now (all except for DH - he never seems to change shape/size). Grant has outgrown his first batch of onesies. The girls are between 18-month and 24-month clothes. And though I'm only one pound heavier than my pre-pregnancy weight, my proportions are out of whack, just like they were for the first three months after the girls arrived. My butt and legs are smaller from all the bouncing and walking (and chasing the twins), but my tummy isn't quite as flat as I remember it once being. Oh well, it seems like it all changes day by day, so I'm not too worried. The only thing I need to look nice for anytime soon is DH's brother's wedding on the 19th. But I still haven't decided what to wear, and since I'm changing shape each day, I'll wait until just a few days before. Brave, I know. Especially since most of my non-maternity clothes are in storage. I know I kept them either in the apartment closets or the garage here, but still... I haven't found many boxes yet.

And I still haven't made the time to print out birth announcements - that's my main goal for free time this week. (Middle-of-the-night insomnia time). My secondary goal is finding a good excuse (one that's believable but not offensive). I REALLY do not want to go to my future-sister-in-law's bachelorette party this weekend. I'd rather shovel manure for a week than be a part of one of those. The only other two I've been to have been rather mild, thankfully, but I have a feeling that the word "tasteful" will not be used in the appropriate context this weekend. So, please share your brilliant suggestions for how to get out of it. Your comments are always welcome.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Quick Pics - March Madness

From the top down (I don't have time to monkey with the formatting to line up pictures with captions.)

1. Happy Grant
2. Breanna posing in the kitchen
3. Sleepy Lillian, Grant and Breanna on Easter
4. Lilli in her magic sleeping hat
5. Breanna with an empty basket at Gramma Pamma's and Papa's house last weekend

Exciting Week so Far

Perpetual motion - I guess that's our biggest family descriptor this week. What chaos!

The Twin Terrors are full of spunk - as in owly, really grouchy spunk, as they gnaw on their fingers way in the back of their mouths. Along with owliness comes not sleeping great, being tumbly, and creating more reasons for owliness. Oh well, the molars have to pop out eventually, right?

In the Grant department, guess who has started to coo and smile? At about 1:30 this morning, as I was finally getting ready for bed, Grant was the sweetest little boy ever. Those big eyes - and smiles so wide he had deep dimples on both sides! I had to stay up for another hour because he was too cute to put to sleep.

In housing news, we received an offer on our house - the house that DH has been slaving over. Are we nuts, you ask? Quite possibly, I say. Very well could be.

Here's the scoop. Since we first decided to build a Parade of Homes house, DH and I both agreed that we had to keep in mind that it might generate some more business for him (that's the main goal, anyway). Ultimately, we'd agreed that there's always the chance someone might want to buy it from us, and if we received a good offer, we'd take it and enjoy the equity that would come straight out of the project. In other words, get into the project, but don't set your heart on anything until we actually move in. Well, I'm glad we haven't ordered change-of-address labels yet.

The offer is contingent on the sale of the buyers' house, but I know their realtor well and she's a mover and a shaker. If anyone can sell a house, she's the gal. The timing is really nice for us for some peace of mind. With me not working for so long and with nothing huge lined up work-wise yet, it's daunting to think of moving into a big and beautiful house and having to budget so tightly in order to survive on one income. My workload may very well change in the near future, but in case it doesn't, I appreciate the out. When the decided to start building, though, work was flowing and there was no sign of lost funding or anything like that on the client end, and once you start building, it's not like you can just pull out until the wife finds more work.

That's not to say we'll remain apartment dwellers for long, however. We've had a backup plan for what ifs re: the Parade House, and once the chaos of the Parade is done, we'll start with that route. And no, we're not building another home from scratch. We miss DH too much and I think he misses his sanity, too much.

There is another builder in town who we greatly respect - he builds beautiful spec homes, but charges way too little for them. How more people haven't realized this is beyond me - he's truly one of the best-kept construction secrets around. Anyway, we'll likely have his guys put up the shell, then DH would spend a couple months finishing it to make it more custom for our preferences. Our lease is up in August, so the timing for moving might be just right. We have to get out of here before I'm completely bald from ripping hair after hair out.

On to career updates - I'm starting a new editing project. Thanks to a referral from my sister-in-law-in-law, I've lined up a new gig through some of her colleagues and I get to start soon. Which means the girls can go back to daycare! And since I'll be working from home, I'm going to see how it goes to keep Grant here with me for a while. I'm not sure how much work the project entails just yet, but it's for a good client that I've worked with in the past. And it's work I'm quite familiar with, so I'm really looking forward to it. Thanks, Angie!

In terms of happenings with the in-laws, DH's brother is getting married on April 19. This means DH's sister who lives in Idaho will be coming home for a couple weeks, and is bringing her fiance and her pre-teen daughter. I've only seen them twice - the first time at my own wedding - so I look forward to some time spent getting to know them a little better. (This also means that I will miss out on the long-awaited Mothers of Multiples convention here in Fargo that so many of my friends get to go to - tip one for me, girls!) Along with the wedding comes all the typical wedding stuff- bachelor/ette parties, rehearsal, groom's dinner, etc. The bridal shower is already done, so that's good. Bad timing for us, but a fun celebration anyway.

For the next 5 weeks, it will be sheer chaos for us. After the Parade of Homes is done, we can breathe again. Does this mean normalcy might be in sight? I'm not counting on it until it happens, if it ever does. But things are moving nonetheless, and it is kind of exciting.