Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

For me, tonight's no different than any other night. I've never really been a fan of ringing in the beginning of a new year. I guess I don't really see the point.

That said, I do sincerely wish you a very Happy New Year and hope that every happiness is yours in 2008.

Friday, December 28, 2007

The After

Christmas has come and gone and I'm in my usual post-Holiday ugh. I don't want to call it a slump, because that's not entirely accurate and I don't have the luxury of time required for a slump what with the Muffins nearly killing each other at every pass.

The Holiday went well for the most part. I've had a rather massive sinus infection for the past week and it hindered my pre-Christmas progress, but I pulled off a pretty great meal, making it all myself - mashed potatoes excluded. My sister M made them and, as already established, I can take 'em or leave 'em. Last year I didn't serve mashed potatoes at all. Who needs 'em when I make a killer sweet potato casserole (sans marshmallows, thankyouverymuch). By the time we sat down to Christmas dinner I was too tired and my sinuses were too stuffed to allow for much appreciation of my efforts so it wasn't until Wednesday night that I was able to truly enjoy the fruits of my labor in the form of leftovers. I did, however, make a very nice creme brulee french toast breakfast for J and me that I will absolutely be repeating for New Year's morning.

The Muffins weren't terribly interested in opening their gifts, but they loved having company over and were particularly enamored of the shiny ornaments on the tree. #1 is in love with his new stuffed Elmo and #2 is a bit territorial of the play kitchen (sometimes charging #1 from across the room in order to prevent his messing with her "cooking"), but the kidlets are enjoying their new loot and finding new and creative ways to fight over toys and torture each other (and me to some extent).

J and I are enjoying the Wii and we downloaded the original Super Mario Brothers and Adventure Island, the two classic NES games that I love to play. I'm a bit tired of leftovers at this point and am looking forward to something different. I don't know what our New Year's plans are - I rather hate New Year's and think it a frivolous Holiday - but we'll most likely treat ourselves to the traditional Chinese food (why is it that pretty much everyone orders Chinese food on New Year's Eve? We discovered one year - quite by accident - that apparently no one goes out for Chinese on New Year's Day, though.). I tried to get J to invite his sister and her family down but he wouldn't. I don't particularly enjoy my SIL's company, but she's been down lately and I thought a change of scenery might do them some good.

I'm looking forward to this four-day weekend and hoping it goes by very slowly.

OK, time to have another bite of fudge.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Speechless

Benazir Bhutto has been assassinated.

It's a sad and scary day.

Monday, December 24, 2007

From Our House To Yours


Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Living In A Winter Wonderland


The view from my living room window as dusk settled in last night.

Four storms in less than two weeks. This a winter like we had when I was a kid. The snowbanks are unbelievable.

We're definitely in for a white Christmas.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Jaw Dropped

Brit-Brit's little sister is pregnant (she's 16 years old, people!).

Momma Lynne must be so proud.

ETA: The publication of Lynne Spears' parenting book has now been postponed indefinitely. Thank God.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

We're A Little Bit Crazy

Good God, N was successful in her venture to get a Wii and then we took our lives in our hands and went out and got one, too. I think the theory was something along the lines of, "why should H go to the store alone in the middle of nor'easter when we could all potentially die together?" Fortunately, we didn't die and - for a guy who claimed to not be interested in getting a Wii - J is seriously loving the early Christmas gift.

(You didn't actually think I was going to wrap it and put it under the tree did you?)

So addicted.

I'm currently trying to not pee my pants while I watch J box (actually, he's quite good).

J and I made our little Miis of ourselves and I made one for C, too. I gave her a moustache and, man oh man, I haven't laughed so hard in such a long time. She's being a great sport about it and letting it stay.

Damn I'm funny.

And here's what the kids decided to do this afternoon:

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Running On Empty


I bought groceries last night in anticipation of tomorrow's storm. Aside from a trip to the local candy store next weekend, I picked up the last few gifts today (now I just need to wrap all and ship some - UPS store here I come!). I tidied up the house before heading off to church and holy hell there were a ton and half of people there! Apparently, everyone wanted to get their Jesus on tonight in case they couldn't get out of the house tomorrow morning.

My sister, N, dropped off her kids and they visited and entertained the Muffins while I decorated the tree. N and her husband are on a mission to find a Wii and she's crazy enough to be going out early tomorrow to try and score one. She tried to sweet talk the people at Toys 'R Us to let them have one tonight given the forecast for tomorrow, but that was a no go.

I'm exhausted. But doesn't the tree look nice?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

O Christmas Tree

Last year, as the Muffins were becoming increasingly - and rapidly - mobile, J and I decided to bite the artificial tree bullet and forgo the joy that is bringing a live tree into the house, only to clean up needles until the following Christmas. At first, I didn't want to be one of "those people" - I'd always felt a little sad for people who had artificial trees and was convinced that those who chose not to have a real tree were somehow missing out (maybe it's because fake trees were so ugly for so long?).

I was wrong.

A decent looking artificial tree isn't cheap, and we'd figured that we'd need to get at least 5 years' use out of it to justify the expense, but so far it's been worth it. Certainly, set up and take down are much easier, but the tree's really nice, too. Add to that the fact that it's pre-lit and that I can have it up, though not yet decorated, and still enjoy it to a large extent, and I'm a happy artificial tree owner.

I've always found a bare tree somewhat depressing, but I haven't had time to pull out the ornaments and garland to appropriately decorate yet - no worries, though, since the tree at least sparkles with a ton of white lights and isn't just a green blob sitting in the corner of my front room. That would depress me. I'll get around to decorating this weekend, and I'll love it. We're in for another storm tomorrow afternoon and are supposed to get clobbered with another on Sunday. Overall, I have to massively scale back my house decorating for the foreseeable future (read: the next 4-5 years) because the kids would destroy pretty much anything within reach.

Still, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Do Good

Oh my Good God but this is cool - and it's for a great cause!

j from Cheese and Whine posted the link, I followed it and now I'm sharing it with you (you know, all 5 of you who occasionally check me out).

Go here and do some good.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Can I Just Say...

..how much I love cold pizza?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Finally Able To Connect For More Than 10 Minutes

I've been having issues with the computer lately and it's driving me insane. J thinks it's Comcast's DNS servers that are the problem, but all I know is that it usually results in my not being able to access the sites I need/want when I'm able to have some quality computer time. For the moment, everything seems to be working...

Snapshots of my day:

~ #2 can move the end table. She likes to sit on it, looking out the window, while she lines up the shapes from the shape sorter toy on the windowsill. Her brother likes to come over and knock the shapes down. Being an independent sort of chicky, she decided to take matters into her own hands - literally - and push the end table (which looks very much like a small, tallish trunk) out of the way so she could pick all of her shapes up.

The living room is slowly losing major pieces of furniture. We're down to the couches, one lamp the armoire for the television, and a bookcase which already houses more toys than anything else (and that's only because the Muffins can't reach the top bookshelf, yet).

~ J worked from home yesterday because of the weather. At one point, in a rare moment of children playing nicely together and #1 forgetting that I was out of the room (he's going through some serious Mumma-separation anxiety lately), J and I were both on our respective computers when we hear #2 start saying "I yuv you" over and over again, each time pronouncing it a little more clearly. You can't begin to imagine how sweet it was. She told Daddy that she loved him last night, but the most frequent recipient of #2's love? Little Dog. Today, she told the dog she loved him more than once. And he doesn't even really care about the kids. I, on the other hand, get a major bonk to the head while we were playing peek-a-boo.

Hey, anyone else watching Tin Man?

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Remember


I was 12 when my brother, Danny, died. Next May will mark the 20th anniversary of his death. Today is World AIDS Day and I want to take a moment to remember my brother.

Danny was nearly 20 years my senior and he wasn't around much when I was young. He was the exotic brother who lived in New York City and would come home for the Holidays regaling us with stories of meeting famous people and hearing fabulous musicians and making art. He loved to cook and he adored his cats. I remember one visit home he was grieving because there had been a fire in his apartment building and he couldn't save his cats. I'd never seen anyone so devastated before.

Danny would promise that I could visit him in the city when I was older. When he would visit, we would take long walks through the woods and he wouldn't treat me as though I were a child. He'd ask deep, probing questions, trying to help me figure out who I was (sometimes it was a little more than a young kid could handle but I liked that he didn't just ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, that he actually cared about how I saw the world). I remember him describing Invasion of the Body Snatchers in such gory detail that I still get chills just thinking about it. I laughed at his description of Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! and sat in awe the first time I heard The B-52's, courtesy of my brother.

When he got sick, my family rallied and took care of Danny. It was amazing. He came home to die and every Holiday and every birthday became a major celebration because it may have been the last time he was with us to mark that particular occasion. Although it seemed as though he was sick for a long time, Danny declined over the course of a year and a half. His illness was debilitating and he lost pretty much all of his faculties.

On the night he died, my mother and siblings were with him in the hospital. It was late and there was a raging thunderstorm outside. Slowly, one by one, my siblings found reasons to leave the room - a phone call to make, a stroll down the hall to get a drink. My mother was alone with Danny in his room and he was able to make the slightest of sounds (he had lost the ability to speak entirely). She got up, went to his side, pulled him close to her and held him in her arms as he breathed his last. For all of the suffering, it was a beautiful death.

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I used to feel as though I hadn't "earned" the right to mourn Danny in the way that my other siblings could. Because my siblings are so much older than I am, we don't share the same childhood memories and I somehow felt that this meant that his illness and death couldn't leave as indelible of a mark as it would for my siblings.

I was wrong.

I miss you, Danny.

Friday, November 30, 2007

The End Of Every Day But The Beginning Of More Often

Well, well, well what a day we had in New Hampshire, eh?

It's the last day of NaBloPoMo and I have to say that, though I'm sure a lot of what I've had to say isn't interesting to anyone other than myself, it's been a good experience and I will definitely keep up with the blog more often than I had been before I decided to give this a try.

I still feel as though I'm finding my voice in the blogosphere and I'm experimenting with my comfort zone in terms of how much of myself and my family I reveal. I'm hoping that over the next few months, I'll have good news to share and that'll at least focus the blog for the foreseeable future.

Until then, though, I'll be around a lot more than I was and I'm looking forward to it.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Blah

The kids decided to wake up extra early today. And then they decided that naps are highly overrated. I'm tired. And a little down.

I can't believe that Thanksgiving was a week ago. The day, for me at least, was so fun and full of laughter and togetherness and now it seems so distant. It doesn't feel as though we're heading towards Christmas and I haven't been in much of a festive mood. I have enjoyed watching some of the Christmas specials with the kids (Shrek The Halls was very cute), but I just don't feel Christmasy. I don't like feeling this way. I want to embrace the season, but right now I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by everything that I need to do in order to make the Holidays enjoyable. It'll all get done, but I just don't feel up to it right now.

Tomorrow's another day, right?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Meme With Lots 'O Links

Jennifer from life with girls tagged me for the 7 random things meme. I had done one a couple of weeks ago, but I decided to list 7 more random things about me, but to not tag 7 other people. So...here goes.

~ When I was younger, I was jealous of my niece and nephew because they had cable and got to watch Picture Pages and You Can't Do That On Television. Later on, my sister decided to do away with their television completely. I wasn't jealous of them after that.

~ My senior year in high school, I played the lead role of Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance. The male lead was my ex-boyfriend and at the end of the show we had to kiss. Every night I burped into his mouth just a little bit.

~ When I was 6 my family went on vacation to Florida. We drove. 4 kids aged 6 - 16 and two parents. Ugh. On the morning of the day we were to arrive in Orlando, we woke up really early and I fell asleep at the breakfast table. I landed face first into my cup of hot chocolate.

~ On that same trip, I threw a tantrum because I didn't want to visit the alligator farm. My father was not pleased that I was so terrified of the alligators. I ended up staying behind at the hotel with my sister, N.

~ I was a DJ at the first college I went to and, aside from my friendship with KL, it was the only good thing to come out of my time there. I started every radio show with NIN's Down In It. Oh how I loved the song.

~ I really like the color of my eyes after I cry.

~ I'm a shy honker. I don't like to honk at people. My preferred method of showing my frustration with a fellow driver is to subtly flip them off at some point below their line of vision. I get the satisfaction of feeling as though I've vented my annoyance, and yet I haven't acted in a way that might piss someone off. However, when I have to bring the van in for service, I have to honk at the door to the service entrance in order to be let in. This causes me great anxiety and I always hope that the door's already open. It never is. On my most recent trip, to get the van inspected, I actually admitted my honking aversion to the service manager as he did up my paperwork and, though he tried to be polite, he laughed his ass off at me. I was backed up by the technician, though, who admitted that he too hates to honk.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A Thought, A Woohoo, And A Vote

My sister A sent me this link tonight.

Over the summer, NH's governor signed into law a bill opposing the mandatory separation of multiples in the classroom and I was all in favor. As the mother of twins, I want to be able to have input into my children's education and wasn't pleased with the idea that #1 and #2 faced the prospect of compulsory separation when they went to school (if we don't homeschool, that is).

When Eldest Sister sent her two oldest (also b/g twins) to school, she wasn't made to separate them and I think it ended up being a great thing that my niece and nephew were able to stay together throughout school.

I'm very glad that I have the choice, too.

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In other news, thank Christ (or should I thank Joseph Smith?) that Marie did not win! I was fully prepared to turn the tv off right then and there if she advanced to the final two. If Sabrina couldn't win, then Helio deserved it and J and I were both thrilled that he got it. Woohoo!

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In other, other news. I took this political quiz (link originally from Oro) and I lined up 80% with Dennis Kucinich. Sorry, Dennis, I'm not voting for you. I must say, I'm more than a little burnt out on politics at the moment. But, in case you're wondering, Obama's my man.

Monday, November 26, 2007

I Remembered What Else I Had To Say

Last night, as J and I were putting the kids to bed, #1 walked over to his crib and surveyed the results of his not wanting to nap earlier in the day. When he's upset and doesn't want to sleep, he throws all of the stuff in his crib out of his crib. Usually, J or I will just pick it all up and throw it back in, but last night #1 decided he would clean up after himself.

It was so damn sweet.

Upon running into the nursery, #1 surveyed the situation in front of his crib. All of a sudden, he picked up his stuffed lamb and, standing on the tippiest of toes, lobbed it back into his crib. Then, he picked up one of his blankets and, though it was more difficult than the lamb, he managed to get it all back in. Next up, he launched his lavender lab and then his puppy head blanket safely into their home. J and I looked on in amazement; #1 was so intent on making sure his sleep accessories were back in their proper place and clearly he wouldn't be ready to go to bed without them. When he had everything back to his satisfaction, #1 wrapped his favorite blanket around him and then turned to J, raised him arms, indicating that he was ready to have his kisses and went na-night.

Every day - every single day - has moments of wonder and joy.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Bits And Pieces

#2 has taken to calling #1 "baby." It's really rather cute. This afternoon, after #1 and I woke up from taking a nap, she was excited to see him and was all about "hi, baby"ing him as he slid down the stairs.

Perfume wasn't so great. It had the feel of a very twisted fairy tale. I was sorry that I'd wasted time on it (not to mention that we stayed up until 1:30 am watching it). Supposedly, the book is much better, but I don't care enough to find out.

We didn't end up going to Shaker Village. The headache turned out to be a migraine. The Motrin wasn't working, so I took a Maxalt and it went away. I was having some migraine-related vertigo, too, which was not pleasant, but also not incapacitating. I'm fairly certain it's all passed, now, though. Thankfully.

The next couple of weeks are going to be packed. I need to wrap up (literally and figuratively) gift buying for J's family and get the packages out. His sister's oldest's birthday is December 6th, so I want to everything shipped by the 3rd, at the latest. This is the time of year when I fall a little more in love with UPS.

Why does it always seem that there's more to say and I forget once I sit down to say it?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Things I'm Loving Tonight

  • The movie White Christmas
  • That there's still one more day to the weekend
I'm not so in love with my head as I've had a headache on the left side for most of the day (and most of last night, actually). Hopefully, the Motrin I just took will kick in soon. But, overall, I'm happy and going to snuggle in to watch this with J. Tomorrow, we'll go to Shaker Village to check out this year's Gingerbread Showcase. Should be fun. Contentment suits me.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Boring

It's been kind of a draining day. C and I went out and did a bit of the shopping thing. We ventured back to Mom's and visited with family some more. There was some requisite family drama. And I'm tired. I'm very glad there are still two more days with J before he has to go back to work. I hope the weekend goes by s l o w l y.

Plus, the major downside to not hosting a Holiday is the derth of leftovers. Although I was more than happy to not have Thanksgiving here for the first time in a 4 years, I'm missing the leftovers.

Oh well. Christmas will be here before we know it.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thankful

I am thankful for my husband. He is my best friend, a true partner, and the best father our children could ever ask for.

I am thankful for my children. For their health and happiness and their laughter. They are the loves of my life and I am grateful for every moment, delightful and challenging, that I am blessed to be their mother.

I am thankful for my mother. She is strength and beauty and love personified. I am thankful for her health and her music and that I am her daughter.

I am thankful for my family. We all have our own little insanities, but we are strong and unique and really great together. Today was a wonderful reminder of how amazing it is to be part of a large family. I wouldn't want it any other way.

I am thankful for C. She is my friend and loves the Muffins and is a really great young woman. I am proud of her.

I am thankful for my friends.

I am thankful for my life.

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Winning quote of the day?

"I'm thankful that George Bush will be out of office soon." - My 9 year-old nephew, when it was his turn to say what he was thankful for.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I'm A Baking Fiend!

~ Sweet potato casserole? Check.

~ Bread pudding? Check.

~ Shaker squash rolls? Check.

~ Baking powder biscuits? Check.

And it was all done by 8:30 tonight (thanks to J taking the day off and managing the kids for most of the afternoon). I am so ready for a nice family Thanksgiving at Mom's tomorrow.

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Check out this personality test. If you care, this is me.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, everyone!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Dancing, According To Me

The voting system for Dancing With the Stars needs to be changed. I think the judges' scores should account for 75% of the overall total, with the public's votes making up the remaining 25%.

Marie Osmond, lovely woman though I'm sure she is, does not deserve to be in the finale. Between the two of them, Jenny deserved to make it - she's improved the most and her partner's choreography was top notch all throughout the season. While I love Marie's partner, Jonathan, winning because you're paired up with America's sweetheart just doesn't seem as valid or sweet a win to me. The show's always been a popularity contest to some extent, but it's seemed, in previous seasons, that eventually the best/most talented/strongest dancer does win out in the end. Clearly, that's not happening this go 'round.

But we already know that the best dancer was voted off weeks ago. Sabrina should have won the entire gig. It should have come down to her and Helio, with Mel B. being the dark horse.

If Marie wins, I'm going to stop watching the show altogether.

End rant.

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#1's cold has gotten worse and he spent most of the day sacked out with me on the couch. Poor little dude; I feel terrible for him. He had an energy burst for a little bit, but then feel asleep on me again. Is there any feeling more wonderful?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Breakfast Bars and Toddler Stats

This morning, as I was laying in bed trying to convince myself that I did indeed have to get up because the kids couldn't very well take themselves to the pediatrician, I was listening to Morning Edition on NPR and Nigella Lawson was talking about her latest book. Specifically, she was talking about quick breakfast ideas.

While I'm not a fan of avacado, I found the second recipe very appealing and, being in a bakery kind of mood, decided to whip up a batch of the breakfast bars tonight. I didn't use peanuts, mostly because I couldn't find any unsalted ones anywhere, but also because I'm not a huge peanut lover. I used almonds instead and the bars came out pretty great. I was a bit of an eager beaver and didn't let them cool long enough before I tried to transfer them out of the pan, so some were a little crumbly, but the more they set up, the better they were. Bonus: I put some of the leftover bits on my ice cream tonight and wow it was good.

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The kids' appointment went fairly well. #2 didn't scream nearly as much as she did last time, although she wouldn't let us put her in the stroller so we had our first experience being stroller-less in the waiting room. Except for a couple of grumpy old men who apparently were never ever children themselves, it wasn't too bad.

Now for the stats...

#1 weighs 24 lbs, 2 ozs, landing him ~ 21st percentile; he's 34 inches tall, though, landing him in the 81st percentile for height. He's my tall skinny dude and I need to get more overalls for him because hardly any of the 24 month pants fit him in the waist and most of his 18 month pairs are rapidly becoming too short.

#2 weighs 25 lbs, 12 ozs, putting her in the 54th percentile for weight; she's 32 3/8 inches, putting her in the 59th percentile for height. Pretty smack-dad average and that's OK by me.

Both kids still have big heads, too.

I was a little surprised that #1 wasn't at 25 lbs yet, but we weren't at all surprised that #2 outweighs #1 by more than a couple of ounces (as had been the case for the last couple of appointments). She's a solid little thing and is pretty much all muscle. Both Muffins checked out just fine otherwise and had their last Hep B shot and also got the flu shot. They both have little colds, but it's nothing to worry about (J's coming down with it, too), and now we won't go back to the doctor until their 2-year check-up.

All's well and I'm a very happy Mumma.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Baby Love And A Nice To Meet You

What a lovely day! I had a wonderful visit with Derek and Roxxy and got to snuggle down with baby Devin. He's a sweet little nugget and I adored holding a wee little one again. The early days with the Muffins seem like a very distant memory at this point and, logically, I know that they were once that small (smaller, even), but it seems so hard to believe now (especially considering that #2 spent most of the evening walking/jumping off of the couch and I was convinced she wasn't going to be able to stand up after each plop onto the floor - she got up each and every time, and even did a little victory dance after what she deemed a successful attempt).

Derek and his mother own a hair salon and he was appalled when I mentioned the shampoo I'm currently using (hey, it works and that's really all that matters to me). Before I left them, he insisted that I stop by the salon so he could throw product at me that I had to promise to use. I'm used to this, though, as he's been foisting hair care products on me since high school, but I can't help but feel a little guilty for not paying and for knowing full well that I'll go back to my current product once I go through all of the stuff he gave me.

A fellow blogger is currently staying in Brattleboro and, when she read that I would be in town today, suggested we meet up for a little visit. She was quite cool and it was great fun meeting someone whom I've been reading for a while now. (And, she's pregnant, so I had a blast picking out baby clothes for her and was so excited to give them to her!) She didn't out me on her blog (but you so totally can), so I'll wait for her approval, too. I had a great time! And I'm so pleased that your Mr. liked the baby duds, as well :) J was also very relieved that I didn't end up dead. I told him she wouldn't be a serial killer, but he worried anyway (I think he's forgotten how he and I met over 11 years ago...)

OK, picture time...


Devin (and my thumb)!


Holy hell, she's so damn cute.


My serious boy (he's in love with that monkey).

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Argh!

I brought the van in to be inspected this morning and noticed that something was missing. I had a budget pie magnet on the back of the van and it's no longer there. I was pissed. There were clearly finger smudges to the right of where the magnet was. Asshat.

I have another magnet and put it on the van, but I'm going to keep a closer eye on it now.

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On a happier note, I get some baby love tomorrow! Woohoo! He's just a wee little thing (18 days - correction! 16 days - old!) and I can't wait. Then I get to come home and get a whole lot of toddler loving.

Now, time for ice cream.

Friday, November 16, 2007

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like...I Don't Know What To Do

It snowed in some parts of the state today and was spitting snow most of the day where I was. On a whim, I went to visit Mom and she watched the kids while I did a little Christmas shopping. I'm feeling rather ambivalent about deciding gifts for everyone this year, but seem to be making progress. I think I may opt for something like this for J's parents and his sister and her husband (although, I suspect they may enjoy the organic chocolates basket more) but am trying to decide if it's a cop out or not. I have the obligatory clothing and ornaments for the girls (it's a bit of a tradition for me to buy an ornament each year to build their collection - I do it with the Muffins, too), but am feeling rather unoriginal and uninspired this year (and, you know, those toy recalls are making me a little antsy). And that's on top of the ever present gift stress that comes with having married into J's family.

My in-laws are very weird about gift-giving. When J was growing up, they celebrated Christmas for a few years and then...just didn't. They didn't have much money so J's father decided that they just wouldn't "buy into the commercialization of Christmas anymore." While there is something to be said for believing that the true meaning of the Holidays isn't about how much you spend on someone, it's always made me sad that J and his sister (although she always managed to get what she wanted growing up - the cool clothes, the Cabbage Patch dolls) missed out on any sort of family tradition-building when it came to the Holidays.

I know that my in-laws get stressed about Christmas (and birthdays, and they don't even remember when our anniversary is, much less how long we've been married), which just makes it more stressful for us. We want to do something nice for them, but all my ILs see is the price tag attached to anything we might come up with, and not the thought that goes into to selecting something they might like or enjoy. What I'd like is to spend time with my ILs, to have them come visit and be with their grandchildren, but every time we invite them they find a reason not to come. (This is not to say that they don't visit, they do, it's just always on their terms and they nearly always make it a day trip - hello! It's a 5-hour drive one way! That's 10 hours of driving, people!) It gets a little frustrating.

I'll come up with something. I always do.

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Entirely unrelated and worth a wtf: What the hell is wrong with people?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Should Vs. Did

What I should have done tonight was go to the quilt studio to work on Devin's quilt. I don't have a chance of finishing it before I see him this weekend, but I could have made some progress.

What I did tonight was make cranberry chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. I'm feeling pretty worn out and the rain was coming down pretty hard, so I just wasn't motivated to do much of anything (much less leave the house) but I was craving something warm and chocolatey and my birthday chocolate or the ice cream in the freezer just wasn't going to cut it. J suggested cookies and, despite being tired, I was motivated to do something so I opted for cookie making.

They're yummy.

Now, I just want to collapse and fall into a deep sleep.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Lack Of Cohesion

The great irony about my enjoyment of Project Runway is that I know - and care - this much about fashion. The drama and the challenges are fascinating and I already loathe one of this season's contestants (Christian, I'm looking at you, you little bitch), but in terms of appreciating fashion, much less incorporating it into my life, I just do not get it.

Don't get me wrong, I care about my appearance and make an effort to look decent, but I just don't think that "decent" means spending a ton on clothing or accessories or squeezing my feet into ridiculously high heels.

Comfort trumps all for me.

**************

The Muffins decided to wake up 3 hours early today. I managed to get them back down, but they never really made up for the lost sleep from this morning.

Mom, C and I went shopping for a bit and then tried to grab a bite to eat. No dice. #1 was a crankcase (not a pretty scene) and put up a good fight and we ended up leaving the restaurant.

I think I've decided what play kitchen Santa is going to bring the kidlets. I'm still deciding on a wooden advent calendar. Restoration Hardware had one that would have been perfect, but it's no longer available. The next choice is this one. I'm not entirely sold on it, though. I know they're still too young this Christmas season to appreciate...well pretty much anything not sparkly and/or that lights up, but I'd like to start the tradition this year anyway.

I'm exhausted.

And it's only Wednesday.

Excited!

Project Runway premieres tonight! Woohoo!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

More About Me

Cecily did this meme on Friday and, rather than tagging someone in particular, said that anyone who read her could consider themselves to be tagged. Having completely drawn a blank about what to write tonight, here I go...

List 7 random or weird things about yourself:

~ Before the kids were born, I wouldn't get out of bed if the last digit on the clock wasn't a 5 or a 0. If I missed it, I'd wait until the next one. Yes, this sometimes made me dangerously close to being late for work. Now, I don't even look at the clock when someone wakes up.

~ Up until a few months ago, I'd never gone to church by myself.

~ I may have mentioned this before, but I hatehatehate to wear socks. I hate it when my feet are hot. In high school, we had to play a season of sports, rather than have PE, and I played basketball (very, very poorly) my freshman year. I used to walk back to the dorm barefoot in the dead of winter because I couldn't stand how hot my feet were after practice.

~When I was in nursery school, I played the Virgin Mary in our Christmas pageant. My mother was thrilled.

~ I went to camp the summer between 5th and 6th grades with my niece who's older than I am. Despite being in the same cabin with her, I ended up becoming so homesick (and felt immense guilt for missing my mother's birthday) that I went home early.

~ My father really, really wanted to name me Clementine. My mother refused. I wasn't officially named for months.

~ I was baptized Lee Frances, (Mom's middle name and the feminine of my father's first name) but my mother thought Lee was too grown up for a baby, so it became my middle name when they finally settled on a first name for my birth certificate. Years after my father died, I changed the spelling of Lee to Leigh and and took Frances back as my second middle name. No matter who won the naming contest, I don't really like my first name.

Monday, November 12, 2007

This And That

Watched this the other night. Really enjoyed it. Of course, I'm a little bit in love with Alan Rickman so I'll watch anything that he's in, but it was a good film.

I'm not usually a plain-flavored ice cream kind of girl, but give me a mug of Gifford's World's Best Vanilla or Wicked Chocolate anytime.

The kids were playing quietly over near the stairs tonight so I checked on them (with the Muffins, playing quietly together can be a good thing or just as easily lead to a bad, hair pulling situation) . They were both bent over, world's cutest bums up in the air, licking the carpet. Uhm....OK. I made sure to vacuum after they went to sleep tonight.

Last week, when registering at the hospital in order to have some blood drawn, the woman who was verifying my information frowned at me when I told her I was no longer working (and therefore to delete my work contact information). "Didn't you like it?" she asked me. "Oh, I liked it just fine, but I'm a stay at home mother now and I love that more." "Hmmm," she furrowed her brow. I don't feel as though I need to justify myself to anymore - especially not my decision (not to mention good fortune) to stay home to raise my children - but to alleviate the tension that was quickly descending upon us I quipped, "I have twins, the daycare would've eaten my salary anyway." She looked over at me and, pretending to understand, slowly said, "OK." Ugh.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Looking Forward

By this time next week, I will have met baby Devin. Derek's mother lives in Brattleboro and he and Rox visit her every Sunday (they live in MA, but pop up to Brat to do laundry and, since Devin's arrival, so that Nana Andrea can get her fill of her grandson). They've asked me to meet them at Andrea's and I'm really looking forward to seeing the baby. He'll be two weeks old on the 16th and I can't wait to hold his tiny, wriggling little body and drink in his sweet baby scent. I love the stage that the Muffins are in - they are so unbelievably funny and are learning new things every single day that I'm constantly in awe of them - but I miss the early days of babyness and can't wait to have Devin snuggle in and fall asleep.

Andrea hasn't met the Muffins yet so it'd be nice for her to meet my children, but I think that only one of the kidlets would make the trip. I think J and I are either going to do a kid split with me most likely taking #2 and J and #1 staying home, or I'll go by myself and the kids and J will have a nice day together. We're not sure how toddler-proof Andrea's house is and it's a lot of work to chase after the Muffins when they're exploring a new environment. There's a definite possibility that very little visiting would be done and a lot of running around and several choruses of "no" would be the order of the day.

Either way, I'll get a baby fix and see some good friends, too. I can't wait.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Happy Birthday To Me

"Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life." - Omar Khayyam

***********************

I turned 32 today. All in all, it was a rather unspectacular day and that's A-OK with me.

As someone who focuses on time quite a bit, I used to make a big deal about birthdays - my birthday in particular. I deeply believe that a birthday is a time to celebrate who you are, to take the time to look at all you've accomplished, appreciate what you have and look ahead to what you hope to achieve.

Before I was blessed with the Muffins, my birthdays were always notable events - J would send roses to me at work, C would order super yummy cakes from one of our favorite restaurants, and I was always spoiled with gifts and goodies galore. Now, though, I neither want nor need all of the hoopla to mark the anniversary of my entrance into this world. Yes, it's nice to acknowledge the day on some level; this year, J bought me some delicious chocolates and C was up visiting yesterday and this morning. Mom came down and watched the kids for a bit so J and I could pop over to the Holiday Open House at my favorite store. I went to church this afternoon and picked up dinner on my way home. But today could have been any Saturday, really.

Personally, I'm loving my 30s and was thrilled to leave my 20s behind. I started this decade off by announcing, on my 30th birthday, that J and I were expecting twins - what an absolutely amazing day that was! I'm looking forward to growing older and to watching my life unfold. The grey hairs, though not too numerous yet, get to me a little bit, but I'm actually looking for my first laugh lines - to me, those are a sign of a life well lived.

My birthday is still cause for celebration, but it's not a celebration of me. Rather, it's a day to celebrate how blessed I am and to drink in more deeply the beauty and love that surrounds me not just on November 10th, but everyday.

I have all that I've ever wanted and it's more than enough.

Friday, November 9, 2007

I Can Smell The Turkey Already

9 days into the month, I finally remembered to turn the calendar. Every year for Christmas, J buys me an Ansel Adams calendar and I particularly love this month's photo.

I love November, and not just because it's my birth month, but because, to me, it marks the beginning of hunkering down for the winter, of snuggling in a little more closely as the days grow shorter, and the comfort foods offer more...well, comfort. Some people dread this decline of the year, what with the abbreviated daylight, and can feel almost overcome by the impending Holiday season, but this is the time of year when I thrive and feel the most alive. Yes, there's the inevitable stress of planning for the Holidays, but there's also togetherness and laughter, good food and cheer, and, for me anyway, lots and lots to be grateful for.

This year, we're planning a big Thanksgiving at my mother's, since she may be putting the house on the market next year. While I'm sad about the potential sale of my childhood home, I'm very glad that my older siblings wanted to have one last huge Holiday season at Mom's. It will be wonderful to celebrate with (nearly all of) my family. As of the most recent headcount, there will be 36 of us and it will be loud and chaotic and there will be too many tempting treats and most of the male relatives (and my eldest sister) will take over the living room to watch football and leave the rest of us to search out comfortable seating elsewhere in the house. It will be overwhelming and exhausting and exactly what we need.

And I will love, and be grateful for, every moment of it.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Something To Bore You With

Tonight was Ladies' Night at the jewelry store where C works. She'd been after me to try and go, even though I'm not in the market for any new jewelry at the moment. I wasn't up for it, and knew I needed to go grocery shopping tonight, but I ended popping down to the store (where "popping" = 25 minute drive). The bonus was that my massage therapist was doing free chair massages (at my suggestion) and she treated me to a very relaxing massage. I can't wait for my appointment to see her in a few weeks.

The store was busy (even though, when C called to convince me to come down (using the massage as enticement), it was apparently slower than molasses). It wasn't a bad time; I got my rings cleaned and buffed and had a nice little massage. After the week that I've had, I needed it.

I ended up doing my grocery shopping down in Manchester, which was ok, but for some reason nearly all of the organic whole milk (every brand) was sold out. I managed to get 4 half gallons, practically wedging myself into the cooler to do so. I hate shopping someplace different than my usual store. Even though the chain was the same, the layout was backwards to what I'm used to and I spent a lot of time running back and forth because I'd missed the section I needed. When checking out, I was annoyed when the cashier, failing to note my $10 off coupon, told me to "just use it next time" since she'd already rung through the transaction. Stellar customer service skills, chicky.

I was happy to get home, though. I was only gone 2 1/2 hours, but I missed the kids and spending time together as a family this evening.

Totally random: I changed my razor blade last night for the first time in over two years. Impressive, eh?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Photo Post


Usually, neither Muffin enjoys having anything on their head, but lately they've been fighting over this hat. #2 is especially fond of propping it on her head backwards.


He sucked on his left sleeve for most of the day, until we finally had to change him into something else. Look at those baby blues, though.


They were watching a work crew as they came down our street to suck up the leaves. Every year, the city sucks up the leaves which results in massive leaf piles that my neighbors build up from the moment the first leaf falls. Fortunately, they came around about a week early this year. The Muffins enjoy wearing socks about as much as they like having something on their heads.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Gift Thief

My mother is a wonderful person. She's kind and giving, caring and loving and has always sacrificed for her family. She is by far the strongest woman I've ever known. There's one area, though, where she's insecure: gift giving.

Mom lacks self-confidence when it comes to picking out gifts for people; her sons-in-law seem to cause her particular stress, but it's fair to say that her anxiety doesn't discriminate when it comes to finding the perfect gift for someone. For this reason, she seems to think that if Person A has already found a gift for Person B, then she can offer to purchase said gift from Person A so that she knows she'll be giving Person B something that they really want/will appreciate. Mom's done this to me...at least twice.

J and I are not particularly easy people to buy for. If we want something, we think about it for a while and usually tend to just buy it if we've decided that we still want it. Our birthdays, anniversary and Christmas all fall within a 2 1/2 month period so it's kind of hard to surprise either of us with anything (although he always manages to trump me). Sometimes, though, I get lucky and either find, or think of, a great gift.

Two years ago, I found a lovely painting of the 13-star "Betsy Ross" flag at one of my favorite stores and I purchased it for J for Christmas. Upon exiting the store, I told Mom about my find and how excited I was to give it to J. She looked at me so innocently, brow furrowed with a hint of embarrassment, and asked if she could buy it from me and could I find something else for him? Ugh. I agreed. Since then, she's appropriated other gifts, but I can't remember them all.

And then...

Last week, I picked up Stephen Colbert's latest book to give to J this Christmas. Guess who asked to buy it from me? This during a year when I am completely stumped for ideas for him.

I know Mom's insecurity comes from wanting to please people and make sure that "her" gifts have made the recipient happy, but it's getting just the slightest bit old. The older she gets, too, the more she perfects the puppy-dog eyes. Really, who can say no to that?

I suppose I'll have to let her keep usurping my gifts, though. Otherwise, she'll keep giving J stuff like this, which she bought at the grocery store, (along with 4 packages of Lindt chocolates, for which he was very appreciative) for his birthday last month.

His ongoing gift to her is that he doesn't tell her he's an atheist.

***********

Random notes:

* #2 keeps shoving plastic spoons into the VCR. We never use it, but now we couldn't if we wanted to. After extracting a spoon the other night the machine is well and truly fracked.

* I'll be really pissed if Marie Osmond makes it much further in Dancing With the Stars. And thank God that Jane went tonight. It was time. Sabrina was so robbed. How cute is it that she's dating her dance partner, though?

* The Undertaking, on PBS' Frontline, was amazing. Sad, but also touching, inspirational and quite beautiful.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Squeaking By With Bullet Points

  • Guess who made pumpkin bread the other night and forgot to add the pumpkin?
  • Knocked Up is funnier than Blades of Glory.
  • I bought a table today to set up in the guest room so I can work on Devin's quilt. Now, my mother wants to visit and sleep over so I can't set up my sewing machine.
  • Can I brag for a moment? My children love spinach. A particular favorite is Amy's spinach feta in a pocket. They end up smelling like garlic for hours, though. But...they're eating spinach!
  • Totally lame post, I know. More tomorrow, including a story about my mother, the gift thief.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Hello Darkness, My Old Friend

I love, love, love the end of Daylight Savings Time. In fact, when the idea to extend it came about a couple of years ago I was not pleased. I've always felt most alive in the fall and winter and adore that it gets dark early. Think of it as the inverse of seasonal affective disorder.

What?

It's 5 pm and already pitch black?

Fantastic!

It's as if you've been given a little gift of time when you look out the window and are convinced that it must already be well past 8, only to check the clock and realize that it's barely 6.

Bring on the darkness, baby.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

"More So," Really?

This one's been bothering me for a while...

Once Noggin is done for the day (6 pm, my time), if the TV is going to be on (I turn it off repeatedly throughout the day, but the kids know how to turn it on - I think that, like their Nana, they're fans of background noise while they play), I make sure that it's set to The Good Night Show on Sprout. Both Muffins are in love with Thomas and they seem to find Sagwa and Kipper appealing, as well. I don't mind much of the programming, but I'm not a fan of The Berenstain Bears, never have been. J is, though, and the kids like to dance to the theme song.

Anyway...not being a fan of the Berenstain Bears seems to mean that I'm acutely aware of when it comes on. Call me crazy, call me anal, but I can't stand the theme song. I know, I know, it's supposed to be cute and catchy and doesn't have to make sense, but bears are not just like you and me, with the only difference being that they live in a tree. I do appreciate the line about Momma, Poppa, Sister and Brother always making it through and being there for each other in good times and bad - that's a great example of familyness and one that I hope we instill in our kids, but the line that really gets me?

"They're a lot like people, only more so."

Come again?

Friday, November 2, 2007

New Life

Derek and Roxxy's baby boy was born today...

Welcome to the world, Devin Lawrence.

You are loved.

Ouch

Yesterday, while I was unloading the dishwasher, I wasn't paying attention when pulling out the silverware and I got a fork tine jammed under my thumb.

It hurt at the time, but not so much after that. It really started hurting last night and is still pretty sore.

Bummer.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

My Own Personal Hell, A Recap

As previously noted, yesterday started off with the Muffins waking up 3 hours ahead of schedule. I eventually got them back to sleep, but that didn't last long and they napped for only 45 minutes later in the day...guess how much fun it was by the time all of the trick-or-treaters were ringing the doorbell. Go on. Guess.

J doesn't usually get home until 6ish, but I asked him to definitely be home by 6 and he made sure to get here by 5:45. Trick-or-treating started at 5, but since we haven't "fallen back" yet it was still daylight so no one wanted to be out trolling for candy until it was dark. (Personally, I'm thinking it'll be great next year to take the kidlets out while it's still light out.) Anyway, my primary mistake - one I paid for pretty much all night - was taking #1 with me to hand out candy the first few times. #2 got jealous. We're talking major headabouttopopoff screaming. I've also apparently brought a future Academy Award winner into the world, because I've never, ever seen someone cry so dramatically - she does a complete dead drop onto the floor and just sobs and sobs in the most pathetic way possible. It would tear my heart out if it weren't so damn funny and stereotypical.

I should have just left both babes in the living room, happily playing and not thought that it might be fun for them to see all of the costumes and other kids. Stupid Mumma. Sometimes I need to not think. Just do. In this case, just hand out candy sans super-cute toddler attached to my hip. So...both kids are screaming in the living room with an exhausted, and somewhat shellshocked, J trying valiantly to distract them.

Meanwhile, here's just a sampling of what I encountered:

* The first group of kids was a bunch of teenage boys who didn't even try to dress up. So I asked them what they were and they gave lame answers of "a skeleton," "a goblin," and one kid, sporting a metallic blue wig (ok, so he at least put part of something resembling a costume on) claimed to be a member of the Blue Man Group. When I mused that their costumes must be invisible and informed the blue haired kid that the Blue Men are bald, or at least appear to be so, the kids were sick of my giving them guff for not dressing up and, after rummaging through the candy bin, booked it down the driveway. Seriously, just eat your parents' candy if you're not even going to make an effort. And parents? Know what your kids are up to and if they're going to go begging strangers for candy, make them dress up. If they claim to be too old to dress up, then perhaps they're too old to go out trick-or-treating.

* I made an effort this year to buy some goodies that my kids could eat in the event of leftovers. Along with the requisite oodles of candy, I purchased mini packs of goldfish and teddy grahams for the younger trick-or-treaters, figuring that #1 and #2 would enjoy them, too. One little girl, upon looking in her bag to see what I had given her, screamed down the driveway to her parents (who were standing in the street), "she gave me goldfish! What?! Why'd I get goldfish?! That's not candy!" I didn't hear her yelling about the Cheez-Its in her bag from one of my neighbors. Sheesh...

As it happens, there are leftovers and #1 and #2 will be enjoying goldfish and teddy grahams for a while (I tried to ditch as much candy as possible when the night started to wind down...more for the sake of my ass and thighs than anything else.) The Muffins are way too young for candy.

* One group of trick-or-treaters included 4 youngish kids (probably 6-9 years old, all of them) and their mothers. The kids were cute and polite and rang the bell and thanked me for their candy when all was said and done. The disturbing part? The mothers made a half-hearted attempt to dress up (they primarily used too much make-up and essentially looked like strung-out heroin addicts and also had terrible hacking coughs from smoking too much) and, when I went to the door, the mothers - the mothers! - shoved their bags in my face and declared that they were trick-or-treating, too. I had to give them candy before they allowed their children to come up and have some treats. I smiled through clenched teeth and just wished for them to go away.

Eventually, the kids did settle down. J soothed them with Braincandy and they were happy once I was back in the living room with them after trick-or-treating was officially over.

I've never been a huge fan of Halloween, not even as a kid. I didn't like the pressure of dressing up and I never saw the appeal. I love Autumn, it is by far my favorite season, but I've never been a big Halloween person. This year made me a firm Halloween Hater. I'm sure I'll enjoy it more in the future and it'll be exciting to take the kids out next year for the very first time, and there'll be years of cute costumes and fond memories to come But this year? Just sucked.

Hmm...my first NaBloPoMo entry kind of makes me sound like a bitch, or the Halloween Scrooge. Oh well. You'll have to take my word for it that I'm not.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

On Halloween Day In The Morning


Neither kidlet was particularly interested in posing for me. #1 is always very fascinated with trying to pull the camera out of my hands and #2 has apparently decided somewhere along the line that she'll allow two - three if you're lucky - shots to be taken and then she vigorously shakes her head "no" until you turn the camera away from her. These are the best that I could do.

This is breakfast when your kids decide to get up three hours earlier than they normally do and your entire morning just pretty much goes to hell. For what it's worth, 3 boxes = 1 serving, so I technically had less than 3 servings...so, you know, I showed restraint. Also, Milk Duds are a toal workout for the jaw, so there's got to be some calorie burning going on.

I Jumped On Board

I decided to take the plunge and try my hand at NaBloPoMo. I have no idea what I'll write about every day, but I'm committing to it so come along for the ride.

I'll start tomorrow with a recap of today, which I've dubbed Helloween, emphasis on hell. It was a super craptastic day. How was yours? Did it involve finding an 8 inch long silver hair on your shoulder that was not part of any costume? Oh, hey, I'll leave it there! Maybe one of my posts for November will be about the newly sprouting grey hairs.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Kids Say The Darndest Things

This morning, #2 climbed up next to J, who was sitting on the couch. She looked over at her father, pulled her feet in close, held her toes and, huge grin on her face, said, "hi, good boy!"

Can I Get A Volunteer?


J's birthday (his 34th) was earlier this month and his parents sent a package last week with a gift for him and "a little something for the twins."* My in-laws, God love 'em, are self-employed organic farmers and my mother-in-law also makes a fair living with her organic baking. My ILs are wonderful, but they are incorrigibly uncomfortable with and skeptical of anything new, and are particularly wary of technology (imagine the conversations between J, who makes his living as a principal software engineer, and his parents who don't even own a microwave...).

J opened his package and his mother had included a lovely "Life is good" sweatshirt, a card and two squash for the kids. Squash? We're used to getting food packages from his parents; usually it's several loaves of my mother-in-law's bread, some cookies and random organic foods that she picks up at one of the Co-ops she bakes for and thinks we might enjoy. But squash? Included with the squash was this note:

J,

Something for #2 and #1 underneath your gift. It's some variety we've never grown before. Thought they'd be great for the two of them.

Much love,
Mom

Ok...

J and I both kind of took it to mean that this particular variety of squash was new to their crop this season. In essence, they were, except, as far as my ILs knew, they hadn't planted these squash. These two little guys just grew alongside the squash that my ILs were sure of planting. Because only two grew, my mother-in-law was struck with the genius idea that the twins would just love them.

Apparently, we have some volunteers on our hands and I've yet to be able to identify what kind of squash they are. While the sentiment is very sweet, I can't help but wonder if my mother-in-law was more weirded out by the fact that something they hadn't planted grew in their garden and she felt the need to get rid of it (and what better way to do so than by deciding that two squash = twin grandchildren, and then shipping the pretty hefty vegetation over 200 miles away).

I'm not sure yet what I'm going to do with them.

* It rather irks me when people blithely call the Muffins "the twins." I suppose it might be more frustrating if they were identical, but it bothers me that people so easily lump them together as a means of identifying them. As a cicumstance of conception my children are twins, but they are very much individuals and I don't think it's that difficult to refer to them by name or, if you feel the need to identify them as a group, just call them "the Muffins," "the babies," or "the kids." My niece and nephew who are twins share a deep bond and very much feel the "twin connection," but my sister was always very careful to make sure they had a strong sense of self-identity while they were growing up and I'm trying to model the same attitude and behavior for #1 and #2. They absolutely share a special bond because they are twins, but that is not their only defining quality.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Too Many Choices

We're all laid low with a cold, but I've got it the worst right now. The past couple of days have been increasing more difficult to get through and, by the time J gets home from work, I've been downright miserable. Tonight, on our way to score our Diet Coke fix, I decided to run into the drug store to pick something up to hopefully help clear my head somewhat...

There are far too many choices when it comes to cough and cold medications. With limitations on the sale of pseudoephedrine, a host of pseudoephedrine-free versions of the original medications has cropped up, but you can still choose from the original medications if you're willing to pull the card and purchase it at the pharmacy. Also, in an attempt to cover every single permutation of symptoms possible, the new! and! improved! formulas! seem to be appearing on the shelves about as quickly as the snot accumulates in my sinuses. All of the choices were nearly too much for me, causing my poor, crud-filled brain to practically seize up with options.

The last time I was remotely sick like this was when I was 5 months pregnant (so, just shy of two years ago) and I was hesitant to take any medication. I eventually ended up in the doctor's office after nearly two weeks of suffering and had to relent to a strong prescription. I knew I needed something strong tonight and I didn't have any qualms about choosing a medication that I'd need to request at the pharmacy, but I wasn't prepared for the tech to tell me to swipe my license. I looked at her, thoroughly confused, thinking she meant that I needed to swipe my bank card. Nope. She needed me to run my driver's license through the machine in order to track my purchase (you know, to make sure that I'm not running all over town buying up all of the Mucinex D or other pseudoephedrine-containing medications). Apparently, they've been doing this for over a year, but it blew what little was left of my mind. I knew the black strip on the back of my license contained all of my information, but I've never had to use it for anything before (in fact, I've often wondered if it was ever used) and it all just seemed...a little too Big Brotherish to me.

That said, I picked some good stuff and, though still rather stuffy, hope to make it through tomorrow better than I did today. Thank God tomorrow's Friday.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Updates

It dawned on me that I never followed up on what happened with my head. Well, the ENT at Dartmouth wasn't all that faboo and, ultimately, I was right and diagnosed myself. He called a few weeks after I had seen him to see how I was doing (I was fine, just like I was when I saw him) and I brought up the issue of labyrinthitis and he declared that that was now "top of his list." My symptoms were still throwing him since "they were so all over the place, but upon further research" he concurred with me that my self-diagnosis was indeed correct. Score 1 for me. Too bad I had to wait over 8 months to get in to see him just to be told that I was right and there's nothing to do since I'm feeling well now. I've cancelled my follow-up appts with the ENT and with p/t. My coping mechanisms seem to be working fine and I just take it easy if my head starts to feel "off." I still have some weakness on my left side, but it predominantly shows itself when I'm marching in place, arms outstretched, eyes closed and counting to 50 and, really, I can't say that I do that all that often or, you know, ever outside of a medical setting.

We've decided that we're going to drop our HBO subscription. Ever since having kids, On Demand has become a major part of our lives, but HBO is rather lacking now I think and now that we've got Netflix (oh, how I love you Netflix) we can get whatever we want, so I'm actually going to start catching up on more Showtime series (Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Henry VIII, I'm looking at you!). We're keeping the digital cable, just ditching the premium stuff.

I'm waiting until the first of the year to cancel our landline, but we are still definitely cancelling it. Between cancelling HBO and the landline, we'll be pocketing and extra $100 a month. Go us.

Look at me with the two posts in a day.

As Promised...

The first three shots are from this past Sunday's visit to Canterbury Shaker Village. The remaining shots are from our outing to Charmingfare the Sunday before.











Last, but not least!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Red Sox Are About To Go Back To The World Series

I won't bore you with excuses about how busybusy I've been. While the truth is that I go to bed absolutely exhausted every night and that the weeks are flying by, I haven't been updating because I haven't known what to say.

There is so much going on and yet I don't feel as though I've found my voice here yet and I'm not sure of the direction I want to take this blog. I don't want it to be "another" Mommy blog, and I don't want it to be merely a chronicle of the minutiae of my life, because I'm sure that's not entirely interesting to anyone other than me, and maybe J. I've been getting out with the kids more during the week and experimenting with some new recipes (made a great crock pot beef stew the other night). At night, after we put the kids down, J and I tidy the living room and then we shower and watch something (lately it's been season 1 of Dexter...we joined Netflix and we're more than a little bit in love). I really enjoy the "us" time at night and have been hesitant to disrupt our cozy routine. Some days, the kids totally kick my ass, but everyday I fall more in love with them and with motherhood and I'm just so damn happy and content with my life that I guess I just don't feel compelled to update more often. That said, I am gathering my thoughts on faith and religion and on politics (living in NH means you only get about a year's respite between presidential elections). Also, I'm trying to plan a 75th birthday party for my mother for next summer, and we're trying to get pregnant again...but, this is not a blog about trying to get pregnant, so I don't anticipate writing much about that until I (hopefully!) have good news and I'm far enough along to feel comfortable sharing. So...I do have material to blog about, I just need to dedicate the time to doing so.

That said, I will fill you on in the goings-on of the last few weeks...

My niece, Nurse, came to visit a couple of weekends ago and we had a very full weekend of visiting and reconnecting. She's only 10 months younger than I am, and we were very close growing up, but our lives have taken us in different directions over the last few years and we haven't been able to maintain our relationship the way we'd like. Nurse's visit was just what we needed to catch up.

That same weekend, C's boyfriend, Jeeps, came home for a visit and we all met up with P and his youngest son for the last dinner of the season at my favorite summer eatery (the irony of this place is that it's nowhere near the coast...but it's got great chicken tenders!). It was good to see Jeeps (he's in the Army and has been away training for most of the year) and he and C had a great weekend, too.

Last weekend, J and I went away for our anniversary. The place I chose was nice enough, but our room was street-side, which I somehow managed to miss when reviewing my choices before I made our reservation. Our bed at home is more comfortable than the one in our room was, but we had a sitting area and a nice fireplace and the innkeepers accommodated my request for a special breakfast to celebrate our anniversary (the selling point of the inn for me was that they offered creme brule french toast and J adores creme brule so I asked for it to be made on one of the mornings that we were going to be there...apparently french toast is a Sunday specialty and we were staying Thursday-Saturday, but they happily accommodated the request and it was delicious) . The innkeepers are relatively new to the B&B scene (at least, as far as innkeeping goes - I don't know how often they've stayed in B&Bs over the years) and you could tell, but it was a nice enough experience and the breakfasts were really good (bonus: they left a bottle of champagne in our room, nice touch). Mom, C and A came in to take care of the kids, but next time, we'll just have C do it. #2 gave A a hard time and Little Dog barked his head off to let A know that he was the boss...so it was a stressful time towards the end. We also missed the kids like mad and the weather sucked on Friday (our anniversary and the only "full" day were had up in North Conway). Last Sunday, though, we went on an adventure to someplace new (new to us, at least) and it was a great, great day. It was our first time visiting the farm and the kids loved all of the animals. There's a camel in New Hampshire! Who knew? Next year I think we plan to go for the special pass that allows you unlimited admission for the season.

We went to Shaker Village again today and had a lovely time. #2 threw a fit and insisted on walking everywhere by herself (she won't hold hands and is the squirmiest worm you've ever seen if picked up and carried). It was cute, though, and #1 was content in the stroller for a while. When we got closer to being ready to leave, we took him out and let them both run around. Quite by surprise, P and his wife ended up at the Village, too, and it was more than a bit awkward. They've been separated since May, but she's recently moved back in and they're supposedly trying to make a go of it. I've never been a fan of hers and I don't honestly believe that her motivation for returning is sincere, so I wasn't too pleased to have to try and interact with her after not seeing her in nearly a year. When we left, we took a drive and saw some beautiful foliage (I joked that having kids turns you into a Sunday driver - I used to hate the Sunday drives that my mother would drag me along on when I was a kid...now I look forward to them). Autumn this year has been absolutely spectacular.

So there's a not so quick overview of my life as of late.

I'll post pictures soon (again, there's a camel in NH!)...

One last thing...I'm definitely not an avid fan, but watching the Red Sox lately has been pretty exciting. Dustin Pedroia is having a fabulous night and it looks like the Sox'll be hosting the Rockies Wednesday night when the World Series begins.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

A Perfect Day







It was Harvest Days at Shaker Village and it was an absolutely lovely day.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Again?!

J and I stay up late. He generally turns in before I do and I rarely go to bed much before 1 am. Tonight, after the concert, we visited with C for a while and then I showered (I have a massage tomorrow morning and needed to shave my legs). We had planned to watch the first episode of Survivor: China On Demand, since we didn't even know it premiered last night (oh how I love On Demand since having kids).

Apparently, J had other ideas and decided to find something else to watch. He started a cheesy horror flick but decided it was too bad to watch (so you know it must have been really bad), but eventually settled on something from FEARnet. Now, he's asleep with the remote and I'm stuck watching a really terrible movie (yet another early '80s incarnation of the ever popular birth/rise of the Anti-Christ storyline). This is the third or fourth time he's done this in the past few months.

I will say this, though, I'm surprised that it came out in 1981...it's held up pretty well (although the audio kind of sucks).

Music To My Ears

J and I went out tonight (thanks, C, for watching the kids - I'm sorry #1 was a crankypants) and saw a fabulous show.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

What I Should Have Said...

"Thanks anyway, but I'm far too addicted to chocolate and Diet Coke to even think the word 'Mormon.' Oh and can I assume you're voting for Romney then?"

Thanks, But No Thanks

When J comes home from work, he grabs a bite to eat and then we head out for a walk with the Muffins. We do a nice 2 1/2 mile route around our neighborhood that makes us feel good and allows the kids a chance to get out and get some fresh air. J and I both look forward to our walk very much.

Tonight, as we were just rounding the first corner of our walk we hear a man yell across the street to us and we stop. Immediately, I could tell they were missionaries, but I wasn't sure if they were Baptist or Mormon. (Turns out they were Mormon.) I try to always be polite, so I thought I'd be able to get a word in at some point early in his spiel to kind of nicely shut him down. I was wrong.

Missionary: Do you believe is Jesus Christ?

H: Uhm, yes.*

Missionary: Ok, great! *eyes light up a little bit* Do you have a church you attend?

H: Yes.

Missionary: Oh. *pause* That's Catholic, right?

H: Yes.

Missionary: Well, I'd like to invite you to consider the word of Christ...

J: No offense, but we're really not interested.

H: We're trying to get some exercise before it gets dark and we're only at the beginning of our route, I'm sorry.

J: H, come on.

Missionary: Well, I'd like to offer you the chance to consider the Book of Mormon and another testament of Jesus Christ.

H: OK, well *politely takes offered card and shoves it in the stroller's basket*

We walked away and I was really upset. It's one thing when they come knocking on my door. I can choose not to answer, but to stop us while we were clearly out getting some exercise and fresh air (not to mention that the kids only have so much staying power and our walk takes a good 45 minutes) really annoyed me. Both young men had these creepy glassy-eyed stares and one didn't really say anything at all. J tried to reassure me that they're used to having doors closed on them and people not being interested in what they have to say, but I was trying to be polite and was never given the chance to say, "thanks, but no thanks." I know full well and respect the fact that not everyone believes as I do, but I felt really intruded upon and am still annoyed. Needless to say, the card inviting me to call an 800 number for my free Book of Mormon went straight in the recycling bin when we got home.

* The timing of this is interesting, though, because I've recently begun attending Mass on a regular basis and have a post brewing in my mind about my faith so now I feel even more compelled to get my thoughts down.

What do you do when put in an awkward position?

Friday, September 7, 2007

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Life, In Bullet Points

  • I finally found a nice place for our little getaway in October. J and I are looking forward to it, but we're going to miss the kids like crazy, too.
  • Over the course of the last week, while stopped in traffic, I've been behind not one, not two, but three - yes, three! - people picking their noses. We're talking some serious pickage.
  • The kids and I went to visit my former boss and one of my former co-workers last Friday. We had a grand time, ate a yummy lunch, and the kids loved running around the library. #2 ran around barefoot, just like I used to.
  • We're all caught up on Mad Men and totally in love with the show. Oh man does that Don Draper have a sexy voice. But Betty? I can't decide if January Jones is a good actress or pulls it off so well because she really is that vacuous. I think I'm leaning towards the latter.
  • Shopping an outlet mall Labor Day sale with toddler twins is not really the best idea. Especially if one of said twins vomits all over herself in the middle of a store. I'm beginning to think that #2 may be prone to carsickness.
  • That said, I picked up some killer deals for fall and winter clothes at Osh Kosh (got to use a 20% off coupon and the multiples discount!) and the kids got new shoes at Stride Rite - and I can't believe that I spent that much for kids' shoes, but they both have my wide feet and it appears that #2 has my high instep. Bummer.
  • The kids do not like all natural fish sticks.
  • We're watching the new Battlestar Galactica on DVD. Loving it.
  • I thought I was pretty set on who I was going to vote for in the primary. Now, I'm undecided.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Ugh

I. Can't. Sleep.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Full

We had a very full weekend, which was just right. It didn't go by too quickly and we accomplished a lot.

I kind of went a little nuts wanting a change for the living room and so we went out to Bed Bath and Beyond and picked up new slipcovers for the sofas, along with all new pillows. (I think I'm preferring BB&B to Linens and Things now.) I am completely in love with my living room again. The change wasn't inexpensive, but was much less costly than buying new couches, which was actually on my mind. Yesterday, C and Mom came over for dinner and I made a nice cranberry roast pork, mashed potatoes (which I still suck at, but they were alright - mashed potatoes seem to be the bane of my cooking existence), green beans and homemade brownie sundaes for dessert. P was supposed to come, too, but he ended up working all day since he's taking this week off to be with his kids before they return to school. Sunday was a good day.

I'm so done with the heat and humidity. I do not enjoy summer - never have, never will. Lately, though, I've been feeling as though I can do anything and it's a pretty great feeling. I'm just kind of enjoying being in this place now. I'm eager for the days to turn cooler and the nights to be longer.

Now, I just need to get cranking on Devin's baby quilt (D and his fiancee, R, have settled on Devin for the baby's name). And, I need to figure out how to get #2 to stop pulling #1's hair. Really, she's rather sadistic about it. Poor #1.

Dropping Like Flies...

Yay!

In related news, we saw a great bumper sticker tonight while we were out running errands.

Friday, August 24, 2007

What's Up, Doc?

Yesterday and Tuesday were medical days for the W household...

The Muffins had a check-up on Tuesday afternoon and it was...interesting, to say the least. Usually, our ped's office is pretty good about getting us right in once we've checked in at the reception desk. We were a bit early for the appointments, so I figured we'd have a bit of a wait. 15 minutes after our first appointment was scheduled to begin, I went to the secretary and politely told her that we'd been waiting for quite a while and was wondering if we'd be taken in anytime soon. She checked and we were taken back to the exam room about 8 minutes later. By this time, the kids had been in their stroller for quite a while and were eager to escape. However, #2 seems to have developed some doctor-office-induced PTSD since our last visit in early May. (We're blaming it on the excruciating blood draw that saw #2 vomiting on the phlebotomist and gave us pause for the slightest moment to consider not having any more children just so that we could avoid the hell that was the one-year blood draw.)

The second that the stroller was pushed over the threshold of the exam room door, the poor thing started screaming bloody hell. I kid you not. The very second. J and I went about the business of stripping the kids down, I answered the nurse's questions over #2's wailing, and we got measurements on the kids (which was a bit of a challenge with the screaming girl, but the nurse finally wrangled her enough to get the numbers down). #1 decided that something must be wrong if his sister was crying, so he decided to start crying, too. Fortunately, this didn't last terribly long. I know that the staff have dealt with screaming kids before, but still.

Aside from the doctor declaring, upon entering the room, that he'd called a priest for an exorcism, all went well and the kids are in great shape. #1 is above the 50th percentile for height, slightly below on weight and his noggin is big, as always (hovering in the 75th percentile range). #2 is 50th for height and weight and just slightly above for head circumference. #2 even decided that El Doctor wasn't so bad and determined that he clearly wasn't the mousy, pasty-faced woman who had tortured her so mercilessly a few months ago and she started trying to get him to pay attention to her. That is, until it was time for him to examine her. Then it was time to scream again. The screaming continued during the shots...and the redressing...through the lobby - where every head turned as J walked out with the kids, each parent silently thanking God that those weren't their children - and out into the parking lot. I had to stay behind to make our next appointment. And that was that.

Yesterday was the big day for me as we were hoping to get some final word on what the hell happened to me in late January/early February. The short history is that I had my first ever migraine(s) combined with an episode of total-kick-you-in-the-ass vertigo. The migraines went away, but the vertigo lasted for a very long time. Months. I ended up being hospitalized and having a head CT, an MRI and a MRA of the brain, but nothing showed up. Always a good thing. For good measure, I went to physical therapy throughout March to try and kick the vertigo, but nothing doing. There's a family history of Meniere's disease and migraine, so it was assumed that I presented with some weird combo of both and have been being treated for Meniere's since May. So...I was referred to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (it was there or Boston, and I chose the route with less traffic). I've been feeling pretty good for the past couple of months, but kept the appointments (had to see another physical therapist, get my hearing checked and then be seen by an ENT - and, holy hell, is it ever hard to get into that place!).

The vertigo finally went away competely by early July (I thought it had gone away by mid-May, but I had a smaller attack in mid-June that lasted until just before July...I've been vertigo-free since then). The specialist declared that it was not Meniere's, but that my symptoms are "all over the place" and he wasn't comfortable nailing down one diagnosis for me. His best guess is that it was some sort of migraine-related vertigo, perhaps crossed over with benign positional vertigo, but the main culprit, he thinks, was vestibular neuronitis, an inflammation of the vestibular nerve (the nerve that connects the inner ear to the brain). I think, though, that it sounds more like this. I have a follow-up in November, so hopefully I'll keep feeling well from here on out. In the meantime, the ruling out of Meniere's means we can progress with the baby making discussions for this fall (apparently, Meniere's can get very bad during the first trimester and J was a little nervous about the prospect of me being out of commission for 3 months - or more). Bonus!