Thursday, October 30, 2008

As Fall Falls Into Place

I'm digging this season. Today's near-70s temps didn't hurt. We're still spending lots of time outside and still not worrying about whether anyone's feet are freezing.

On Saturday, we went to a marathon/parade in which almost everyone there was in costume. My kids included. We all had a blast at the festivities!

Here are sneak peeks to this year's Halloween costumes. Breanna is the mouse and Lilli is the puppy. Grant is the jack'o'lantern, which is quite appropriate, considering he grew four top teeth this week and another one below, for a grand total of 8 teeth now.

Have a great Halloween weekend!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Moons Everywhere

The moon reflects so beautifully off our pond. Our bedtime routine now includes turning off the lights for the last couple minutes and cuddling as the twins and I stare out our living room window.

While at the window, we talk about the moon, about vehicle lights that go by (calling them all garbage trucks), about the far-away stars, and about the airplanes. My kids have the most perceptive vision - they even notice satellites.

While we don't have the book, the girls head off to bed after saying, "Goodnight, Moon," and then blowing kisses toward it. Guess what will be my next purchase?

Now that we know the moon so well, we're seeing the moon appear in other areas of our life. Like in the egg carton. Or the little bottle inserts that keep Grant's milk from spilling when we take bottles to go. Or inside our Oreos. Lillian gently picks up her Oreo moon and cradles it in her hand for as long as I let her - I have to threaten to take it away if she doesn't eat it.

From moon-gazing, we then go to the cribs, where we now say the "Bless us, O Lord," meal prayer, followed by the "Now I lay me" prayer. It's the greatest thing in the world to be a part of. No matter how worn out I get.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Home Sweet Home

My DH is on his way home, and I think he remembered to bring a hammer with him. Since he's been working in Fargo, his tools all stay there. That means I still feel like a renter, with nothing on my walls and no drapes in my bedroom. I need to start settling in and get some pictures up on walls - with all the chaos, I need something that feels like home.

And he's coming home finally after being gone all week! I can't wait! Yay for getting my helper back. And my hugger back, too.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I win.

I win the un-popularity contest this week. I was the most-hated person in my office today. Most likely I'll retain that title for a while.

When Bishop offered me this job, one of the last questions he posed during the interview was how thick my skin is. I reassured him it's pretty tough, but not inpenetrable. He smiled gently and said I'd have some struggles to clean up before I could make any real progress. Over the past week, the clarity to that conversation has rung out loudly.

I've been struggling with sleep issues since last week, when I realized I need to be a tough boss for the good of my employer. It's so very draining.

I'm keeping everything as professional as possible, and am praying for peace , as well as some business solutions as we face continued belt tightening and higher expectations. I'm praying for guidance to find the most effective ways to serve in this communications ministry.

I can't believe it's only Wednesday. With DH in Fargo most of this week, I'm fried physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I can hardly wait til he returns tomorrow night and can hold me in a long, tight hug.

In the meantime, I guess I'll finish up documenting my HR meeting notes, then clean up the kids' mess from supper, clean up the bathroom after the splash-fest, get to my glass of wine that I poured three hours ago, and then hopefully just crash for a few hours in a row. If you have any extra energy vibes, please send them my way this week. I'm always happy to reciprocate when I have an abundance.

More B'oken

I tell ya, if it's not messing stuff, it's wrecking stuff.

Tonight, in only the few moments it took me to race into my bedroom, shut the door, strip, toss on jeans and a blouse, grab socks and earrings, and race back out the kitchen, my darling Lillian had climbed on top of the island, grabbed the near-full canister of Grant's formula, removed the lid, and dumped it all overboard. She then hopped down, barefooted, and played with the "snow." When I realized what she'd done, I kind of freaked out and yelled. Loudly!

She simply looked up, smiled, and said "b'oken milk." She then scooped some up and explored the feeling of it pouring through her fingers. As I stood her up and put her into the sink to wash her feet, in came Breanna. Into the sink she had to go, too.

Once they were cleaned up, I deposited them onto the couch, where they needed to sit until I'd finished sweeping and vacuuming all the powder. From the couch, that's where someone broke the lamp. Both blame each other.

I tell you. Some days. If only I. Grrr. I'm so frustrated I can't even write my frustration in full sentences any more.

Karma gods, if you're doing this as a payback for some of my childhood antics, ok, I call uncle. I get it. Now stop it.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Never-ending Marathon

I can't stop yawning, and neither can the rest of my family. We traveled to my sweet sister's house on Friday, where the kids stayed up late and we grownups stayed up waaaay later. Early the next morning, we prepped to go to Papa Russ' funeral, where we spent several hours visiting with his family. Then we raced out of town, eating on the run, off to a family friend's wedding in my hometown on Little Falls.

Lillian refused to nap, but somehow was able to strategically remove her tights without being unbuckled. Breanna slept for about 45 minutes (thank goodness) and Grant slept most of the trip once I fed him over the back seat. All of us girls quickly changed clothes in the van and then we raced into the church. We arrived at the wedding about 10 seconds before the gorgeous bride went down the aisle.

These poor kids spent about 3 hours in churches and 3 hours in car seats all in one day. I can't believe they didn't kill themselves or us. Thankfully, after all the confinement, we went dancing. Breanna showed her moves at random moments, and I'm afraid she's a young Elaine. Cute as can be, though!

Once at the wedding dance, both girls wanted to be held - right next to the dance floor, so we could "go dancing." But what they called going dancing was actually just watching everyone else dance. I tried over and over to set them down (they are SO heavy!) and twirl them or something, but they just got peeved. If I danced with them in my arms and twirled myself, they hollered because I'd blocked their view. Their favorites to watch were the polka-ers. Especially the pretty grandma in the red satin shirt. She reminded me of a cartoon on speed - and indeed was great entertainment. She was strangely hopped up, but seriously, a very talented dancer.

The girls made it til about 10, when we finally put them out of their misery and went back to our hotel. We took our dear friend, Uncle Clif, with us, and he seemed to be in awe with how non-stop our family is. The next morning, up at 7:15, we enjoyed the hotel breakfast and were at the pool's door when it opened at 8. My mom joined us and had a blast with all of us. Even Grant swam floated around, and we all enjoyed the 2-hour swim, indulging in some hot tub (hob up) time. (Not to worry, Grant only poked his toes in the hob up.)

After we finally packed up and left the hotel, we went to Perkins, where I ran into my best friend from my senior year of high school after having not seen her since my college graduation day over a decade ago. She's expecting child number 7 and looked nearly the same. Wow! Talk about a flashback.

From there, we raced home and took the girls to a birthday party for our neighbor, Ellie, who turned 8. We were all so exhausted that we fed the kids at 5, skipped baths, and had them in bed by 6:30. And then I went to work, editing the little magazine that I work on each month for a few hours. When I climbed into bed at 11, I was beat. And then the night began. Every hour, one of the kids took their turn wailing. I blame myself for letting their schedules get so out of whack. But, oh, the exhaustion.

Will we ever slow down and just catch up on rest, now that Grant is usually sleeping through the night? Gaaaaah!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Finally Family Pictures

We finally went in for "real" family photos today. Grant had his baby photos done (at nearly 8 months - yes, I know I suck). The girls had their 2-year photos (5 months into their second birthday). And we took a real family photo. I still hate my face, and am reminded of it mostly whenever I see pictures. :( Thankfully, I don't often remember my minor disfigurement throughout the day until I speak with groups of 100+ (which is not all that often).

I'll scan in a proof or two tomorrow perhaps - the kids did great. We went in a few days later than we should have though, because now that Grant is crawling (since Monday!), he was hard to contain. It was fun and nearly as stressful as getting out of the house in the morning.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Anthropology Experiment

We separated the twins for the first time on Friday night. Lillian gleefully went home with Gramma Pamma for an overnight visit. Breanna stayed home and bawled, asking, "Where'd Lilli go?" every 15 minutes.

We did our best to give Breanna a great night with lots and lots of one-on-one attention. She got to eat at the big table in a big chair - no high chair. She got to eat whatever she wanted (which happened to be lots of gomatos - tomatoes and logurt - yogurt). And then we went to Bounce Depot and jumped on all the inflatable stuff for over an hour. We took turns with her, going up and down slides, climbing, jumping, and tossing balloons in a "jumpoline." It wore all of us out (even Grant - who took many trips down slides courtesy of Daddy and Mommy's laps).

When we came home, we sang "I'm a little tea-pot" a few hundred times and did "This little piggy" a few more hundred times before we called Lilli and the girls got to talk on the phone a little bit, which was pretty darned cute.

Bedtime seemed to be the hardest for poor Breanna, so she and Daddy laid down in the big bed in Breanna's room and snuggled until they both fell asleep. When I went in a couple hours later after I'd cleaned the house and finished three loads of laundry (!), Breanna was upside down, on top of the covers, near the foot of the bed. I gently delivered her to her bed and the shooed DH out so he'd get into our bed.

The next morning, we had special chocolate chip waffles and kiwi and sips of Mommy's creamy coffee, and then packed up for a daytrip to Moorhead, where Lilli would be waiting for us with Gramma Pamma and Papa 'tebe. My sister and brother-in-law baptized their daughter up there, and we enjoyed being a part of their special day. As soon as we arrived at the church, I kind of hoped our girls would race to each other and embrace in a big hug. But naah, instead, Lilli hopped into my arms and Breanna into Gramma's and that was that. They didn't even say hi to each other.

While we were in the church, our former daycare grandma, Becky, left a frantic message on my voicemail. She was calling to postpone our dinner plans because she'd just received a call from the ER - her husband had collapsed at Menards. He had the car there, so she was waiting for her sister to arrive to pick her up and take her to the hospital. It turned out Papa Russ had a massive stroke and then passed away yesterday morning. I am so incredibly sad for poor Grandma Becky.

We'd been getting the girls all geared up to see her and Papa on Saturday, so they have really been talking about the two of them. I told them that Grandma Becky is sad and crying and that we'd go see her in a few days. Lillian said we should bring her a tubba bear. Breanna blew kisses out the side kitchen window and told me we should hug and kiss Grandma Becky. Their sweetness brought on my own tears. Knowing that Grandma Becky and Papa Russ were truly best friends, I am grieving so very deeply for her. Just imagining her heartbreak makes my stomach ache.

Please keep the family in your prayers. They lost a sweetheart of a guy and the hardest worker I've ever known.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

As the Cashmere Coats

The temperature drops and the cashmere appears - today it's warming my arms and torso in the form of a beautiful gray coat. Soft, warm, smooth, and simply wonderful. I'm so happy the heat is gone!

Yesterday I drove with four other women to Arrowwood Resort near Alexandria, MN, to speak at a clergy conference. The trees could not have been more vibrant. The only thing missing was some spiced apple cider.

I surprised DH by arriving home before dinner time - and he seemed glad to have the respite. The kids, while adorable, are oh-so-exhausting. They've been chasing the "geet" (geese) off our lawn - those darn critters want to eat the grass seed that hasn't yet grown in green. I've heard that Breanna got quite close to actually catching one. : ) They love seeing them take off and land.

I hope to get in on some of that action when I return home after work today. I'll first gently remove my beloved blazer and throw on a sweatshirt so that as the girls climb up me, I can toss everything into the wash. When it comes to being around them, it's not about just the washability of their clothes, but mine as well.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Hula Loopin'

I'm not sure whether to brag or hide - while at the neighbors' across the street this afternoon, their three-year-old came up to me with her hula hoop and asked me to do it. Without a second thought, I grabbed it and hula-ed about 15 swivels. She jumped up and down with glee. Breanna yelled, "Good job, Mommy." Lilly squeeled and shouted, "Again, Mommy. More hula loop!" I was a rockstar!

Then the neighbor dad half chuckled / half snickered and asked where I get my moves. Goll - why do grownups always have to wreck my superhero moments? They're so few these days.

We played some more and chalked caterpillars on the asphalt and then finally came in for supper. Grant, whose appetite is bigger than mine, I think, ate chicken lo mein noodles and carrots and broccoli (not pureed), as well as sweet potatoes and oatmeal, three saltines, a whole fruit cup of mixed fruits, and then 6 ounces of formula. At this rate, by the time he hits junior high, our grocery bill will be higher than our house payment.

A couple of other funny moments of the day: while at Sam's Club (the only place with double carts so I can take all three kiddos), the girls saw a monster display for Halloween. It was a 6-foot monster whose face comes off as he talks all creepy. They called him a tubba bear and wanted to hug him.

And, they also saw the trampoline display hanging from the ceiling. Broken jump. Breanna told me that, "Uncle Kory pick (fix) the jumpoline." And then as we got into the frozen foods section, they saw an old man in a cowboy hat (probably around 70 years old) and Lillian said it was Uncle Kory. Apparently they miss my brother-in-law.

As we approached the flower display by the checkout, they talked about getting flowers for Grandma Becky, our past daycare lady. They remembered that we picked up a bouquet for her for her birthday in February. Talk about memories!

At bedtime, Lillian tried on a ladybug costume with antennas and quickly exclaimed, "wiggle wiggle." She loved the feeling of the bouncing antennas. The girls then climbed into Lilli's crib and Breanna grabbed the chinese jumprope and tried to hula loop with it. It was hilarious!

So obviously, I have such an exciting life that I feel compelled to share it with you. If you know my kids, perhaps it's entertaining to envision all this. If not, sorry to bore you. It's one of those things where I just need to write and I don't have anything profitable in the writing department this week (hooray!).

On an exciting note (not exciting for me, but perhaps for the fellas), my hubby shot an antelope with his bow on Friday and a deer on Thursday somewhere out in North Dakota. He'll return tomorrow with his "meat." Ick. But at least hunting is now done with and I get my helper back.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

On a Lighter Note

After my last post, I learned that DH's best friend just received divorce papers - that's another one on the list this week. We're just speechless and sad. My heart goes out to them all.

So in effort to distract my oft-too-serious nature, I'm uploading more recent photos of my cute and silly kids. Even though I'm pretty sure we've officially declared the twos to be terrible after the most recent week, I do get some big kicks from my smiley kiddos.

The one of the girls in their denim cowgirl outfits shows them in their most typical state - barefooted and eating go-matos like apples.

The pics of the girls in their jammies shows how I caught them sneaking into Grant's crib. And then miss Lillian - she's growing up so much and she looks so big in her silky nightie. Is it just me or do their eyes seem huge? Time is flying and we're having fun!