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With three children, 3 year old twins Kaylee and Karissa and one year old Lena, life is a bit hectic! But with a wonderfully supportive husband, a great babysitter and some special friends it is all possible.

Monday, December 26, 2011

For now, We will hold them

Last week, Kaylee had her first temper tantrum.  I am not sure what set her off, but it ended with her screaming and crying for about 20 minutes in her crib when she was supposed to be taking her nap. I tried to console her, but it just seemed to make things worse, so I left her alone.  Finally she quieted down and fell asleep.  About 30 minutes later she began to cry.  But her cry was different, it was no longer angry and frustrated, it was just sad.  So, I picked her up from her crib, sat down and rocked her.  She never fell back to sleep while I held her, but she was relaxed and content and so was I.  After a while I told her it was time to return to her bed and sleep. She did so without protest.  Luckily, for that whole time I rocked her, no one else needed me and I could devote all that time to Kaylee,which is probably exactly what she needed. 

As I was rocking her I was reminded of something a patient once told me.  "Children need to be held for such a short period of time before they are ready to move on. We need to be thankful for every moment we can hold them." 

With three very young children, Eric and I do a lot of holding and since they out number us, many times one of us is holding two children.  I no longer lift weights, I lift babies.  The endurance of my left bicep is pretty amazing!  Some days it seems like all we do is rotate which child we are holding.  Sometimes when we take them for a walk all they want to do is get out of the stroller and be carried.  And sometimes they just need to be rocked. 

I am looking forward to the days when they are all older and we can get out of the house for longer periods of time without having to return for lunch or nap time.  When everyone can put on their own shoes and coats and it doesn't take 15 minutes just to get to the car, and another 5 to get everyone buckled into a car seat.  When we can go to amusement parks and on waterslides, take them to the movies, let them try a fun run, or take them camping.  We are just not ready yet.  So, for now, we will hold them, whenever they need us, until they are ready for the world.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Five Guys Burgers and Lies

A few weeks ago we decided to treat ourselves to take out from Five Guys Burgers and Fries.  For those of you who have never enjoyed their food, it is kind of like fair food, greasy!  But it is really good and I had a craving.  So Eric and Kaylee were sent to pick up dinner. 

They returned with a paper bag filled with cheeseburgers and french fries for everyone to share.  (Before you send the nutrition police, Karissa and I steamed some broccoli to have as a side.  Burgers, fries and broccoli...hmm, what would you eat?)  Anyway, after we had everyone safely strapped into their chairs, we gave each kid, excluding Lena of course, a few french fries, part of a cheeseburger and lots of broccoli! 

The paper bag the food came in stayed on the table because it was still filled with french fries.  We didn't want Kaylee and Karissa to know this, because if they did, they would (like most of us) eat french fries until their little bellies were ready to burst.  So, once they had finished their fries and predictably asked for more, we calmly said, " fries are all gone."  They seemed to accept this, until I reached for the now greased soaked paper bag to remove it from sight. As I picked it up the remainder of the fries fell out onto the table, exposing us for the liers we were! 

Everyone ate their fill of fries that night, broccoli...not so much!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Life with 3 under 2

We are 7 weeks into life with three children under the age of 2.  Somehow, at this moment, all three of them are sleeping, so I better hurry with this post becuase I have no idea how long this will last.  I should be getting the laundry from the dryer, mopping the floor, picking up the numerous items that are not where they belong and trying to get a nap in myself, but that can wait!  Maybe if I procrastinate long enough it will get itself done. 

Anyway, life with two 22 month olds and a 7 week old is...busy.  Fortunately, Doris, our wonderful nanny comes 4 mornings a week.  She is here to help me, or watch Karissa and Kaylee while I take Lena to appointments, do errands etc.  She is a lifesaver.  She helps with laundry, dishes, mopping the floor and picking up toys.  By the looks of our house it is not hard to tell which days she is not here!! 

Basically the goals for this period (and I have no idea how long "this period" will last) are to meet everyone's needs: eating, sleeping, diaper changes, clothing, cuddling, holding (mommy up, up please) and getting out of the house occasionally.  

To complicate things, Eric started a new job when Lena was 1 1/2 weeks old.   He is still doing home care Physical Therapy, but for a different agency. The job is going well, but it requires some paperwork time in the evenings and learning a new territory. (ie: getting lost on winding back roads with signs that say "open ford" ahead.  He assumed the road was open for Ford vehicles because he drives a Ford Focus so he proceded, but soon realized he needed a 4 wheel drive Ford and had to turn aroud!  Twenty years ago he may have tried crossing, but he is now older and wiser.)  Hopefully this new job become easier and faster for him soon and he will have his evenings free to help with picking up toys, relaxation and planning our kitchen renovation...yes, another new project coming soon...more on that in the months to come.  Now, he has to finish the shed he started building last weekend! 

For now, we are basically ready for Christmas.  We managed to get our Christmas cards mailed and the shopping done. Thankfully, Amazon.com exists, otherwise everyone may have received a box of diapers for Christmas.  Clean ones if they were lucky!   We are even going to try to put up a Christmas tree tomorrow and cross our fingers that no one pulls it down on top of her sister. 

I am writing this post to remind myself when I look back years from now and I believe I am just too busy with shuffleboard, bridge and volunteering at the library, that sometime in my past I was just a bit busier!

Happy Holidays!  Love, Laura, Eric, Kaylee, Karissa and Lena

Friday, November 4, 2011

She is here!

Lena Denise Holmes arrived at 12:43 pm on October 28th, 2011, 8 pounds, 15 ounces of healthy baby!  We came home on Monday October 31st in time to take Kaylee and Karissa trick or treating in their candy corn costumes!  Lena has already regained her birth weight and is doing great.  I am even getting more sleep than I expected.  I guess having one baby at a time really is easier than two.  Kaylee and Karissa are adjusting, but are not quite sure they like a new little one stealing attention from them, but we expected that.  My parents left this morning, so Eric and I are solo with all 3 girls until Sunday afternoon when Eric's mom arrives for 2 weeks!  Yay for family. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Baby Tomorrow!

So after months of hoping I would be able to avoid a second c-section, I will have a c-section tomorrow morning at 10:45.  So, here comes #3!  Now it is time to focus on this little one's life, instead of just the birth.  Let the fun begin.  Also, let me sleep well tonight, for probably the last time in a while! 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Common Baby!

Due date has come and gone, #3 has not made an appearance.  Apparently this little one has taken my requests to not arrive early a little too seriously. But now we are ready!  Eric is off until November 7th, mom is here to help take care of Karissa and Kaylee, the baby's room is ready, our bags are packed, baby names are picked out, grass in the back yard is planted and starting to come up, basement is clean and organized, trees in the front yard are trimmed.  It is time! 

What I should be doing is enjoying these last few days I have to relax a little before the baby comes.  But it feels a little bit like I am fully prepared for a marathon only to have it postponed day after day!  Anyway, I guess I will just go put my feet up, read a magazine, watch a little tv and try to get a full nights sleep because it will all change very soon!  We will keep you posted! 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Watch what you say!

Kaylee and Karissa are at the age when they will say pretty much anything they hear, which is very fun, but requires a little caution.  So one day when Karissa burped, I said to her oh, you burped.  So Kaylee had a wonderful time for the next 5 minutes saying "Burp" followed by hysterical laughter from both of them.  I wonder if they even knew what they were saying and why it was funny, but it kept them occupied in the car for awhile.  Now if they hear Eric burp they love to say "Daddy burp" (I of course never burp, so "mommy burp" doesn't apply here!)

So two days ago Kaylee picked up the book "Water for Elephants" from my nightstand.  She brought it to Eric and said "read book."  Since it's a novel, it is a pretty boring book for a 19 month old, but Eric gave it a shot.  Luckily it includes pictures of different circus scenes at the beginning of each chapter, so it kept Kaylee's interest for a little while.  All was good as they looked at pictures of tents, trains and elephants, until they came to the picture before chapter 11...a topless woman.  So Eric's surprised response...Oh!  Boobies!  Kaylee's next new word?  Boobies.  (pretty easy one to say for a toddler)  Our reaction?  Hysterical laughter, Karissa's reaction?  "Boobies!" 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

39 weeks tomorrow!

Predictions anyone?  I am 39 weeks, baby is head down and my due date is October 22nd.  Is it a boy or girl?  When will he or she arrive and how much will the baby weigh?  Doctor is predicting a 7 and 1/2 pound baby.  Let us know!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Odds and ends

I took a tour of the ob department at Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville today.  Lets just say check me in!  First of all the hospital opened their new building about 2 months ago, so everything is up to date and beautiful.  Huge labor and delivery suites, huge maternity rooms, quiet floors.  You pretty much feel like you are walking into a hotel.  Of course at most hotels you don't expect to go into labor!  (The hotel staff probably would prefer it that way.)  So I feel lucky to be delivering at this hospital, whenever that may be.  Predictions anyone?

As for Karissa and Kaylee, we may have hit a small milestone, for 3 days they have let me brush their teeth without screaming.  (they were the screamers, not me!!)  Of course, this requires me to pin them on their backs on the bed and practically sit on them, but now they seem to think it is kind of funny rather than pure torture. They have also found it fun to "paint" the walls with their toothbrushes which requires me to have to wash the wall after said painting episodes. After watching this for a day or two, Karissa will now walk to the kitchen, get the hand towel that is hanging on the oven door, come back to the bedroom and wipe the wall.  I think I will have her observe me scrubbing the tile floor in the shower just to see what happens!!  Maybe I will have a little housekeeper in no time. 

Anyway, we are trying to squeeze in a few more outings before the baby comes, hopefully a pumpkin patch and a halloween party!   

Friday, October 7, 2011

38 weeks!

38 weeks today.  Full term!  Doctor says it is likely I will carry this child right to my due date.  That is a very good thing because we aren't quite ready!!  My due date is October 22nd. Eric stops work on the 19th, and Mom will get here on the 20th. My parents are out of the country until the 13th of October, so if the baby did come early, it would be tough to reach them.  Also, Eric is working as hard as he can to get the yard in order so we can plant grass and maybe have a yard we can all enjoy this fall.  Hopefully only about 8-10 more hours of pulling up weeds, cutting down stumps and raking and it will be ready. 

Otherwise, the baby's room is ready, van has been vacuumed out, basement is cleaned up and we have hopefully found a wonderful babysitter/helper for after the baby arrives!!  All is falling into place. 
Oh, and I had a dream last night that we are having a girl....we will see!  Anyone care to guess arrival date or gender?
Now we have to remember to install the carseat!!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Twin Bond

As any parent of twins knows, raising two children who are the same age is often challenging.  Raising any child is challenging, but two cranky, fussy, messy, overtired 19 month olds can be very tough.  Trying to hold said children at the same time on top of a 9 month pregnant belly is a bit ridiculous and quite comical if you try to picture it!  (I try not too!)  But hopefully these are the moments we will forget as time moves on.  What I hope we will always remember is the bond they share.  Recently we have seen more evidence of this and it is so much fun to watch.

For instance, Karissa always makes sure that when I am getting her sippy cup ready, I am also getting one ready for Kaylee.  When we take walks if Karissa gets ahead of Kaylee she will stop and turn around and say "Kaykee" and wait until Kaylee catches up.  This past summer I had taken them to a park and they lost sight of each other for a few minutes. When they met up agan, they ran towards each other, gave each other hugs and both fell over. This morning Kaylee woke up before Karissa, so we got her out of bed and brought her in to snuggle with us in our room.  Kaylee immediately ran back to her bedroom get Karissa. Today, when the girls were in the jogger and Karissa was crying, Kaylee put her hand on Karissa's knee to comfort her. Tonight at dinner, they had a great time entertaining each other by sticking grapes out of their mouths and trying to eat the same piece of spaghetti. 

Of course they are not perfect and we must also live through the moments when they are stealing toys away, pulling hair and trying to push each other off my lap, but we know that in another moment or two if we are lucky we might get another glimpse of that twin bond. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Toddler utensils

Feeding toddlers seems to be a common theme for this blog, but we do it 4 or 5 times a day, so it is a huge part of our lives!  Recently the girls have decided that toddler bowls, spoons and forks are not good enough for them.  It doesn't matter that they have to exact same food as we do in a bowl on their trays, they still want whatever is on mommy or daddy's plates.  They cannot be convinced that we haven't conspired to save the good food for ourselves and the yucky food for them.  So what do we do, of course, we get into the habit of feeding them from our plates. 

This worked for awhile.  Then they no longer wanted to be fed from our plates, they wanted to drink from our cups (fortunately Eric and I pretty much stick to milk, juice or water), use our utensils, and sit in our chairs.  So to try to get a peaceful meal on a regular basis (who are we kidding?), we let them eat from our plates, drink from our cups and use our utensils.  We realized this routine had gone a bit too far when we recently found ourselves eating from their toddler bowls and using their toddler spoons and forks, while the girls happily sat in their chairs with our plates and forks and spoons on their trays, eating away.  I don't think either of us used their sippy cups, but I can't be sure.

So for now I have started to let them eat out of "big girl" bowls aka cereal bowls, and they seem to be ok with that.  We also bring extra "big people" utensils with us to the table in case we have to give up one of ours, steak knives excluded of course. 

At least the food flinging stage seems to be less.  We went to a restaurant last week and I only have to pick up one lemon wedge from the floor instead of 50 pieces of whatever like we have had to do in the past.  We will see if this trend continues!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Making Dinner with 2 Toddlers

Some nights making dinner is nearly impossible.  For some reason, Kaylee and Karissa love to be held between 5:00 and 6:00 pm, just when it is time to make dinner.  I used to have the luxury of making dinner with two hands, now I am lucky if I have any hands at all!  Making dinner while carrying one baby is challenging enough, but holding 2 babies is downright absurd.  Some nights it is tempting to just let them cry while I chop vegetables or work at the stove, but they tend to wiggle in front of me and push me away from the counter so I can't reach anyway.  Toddlers have this amazing ability to get noticed!  So how is this problem solved?  I have considered all of the following options:

1.  Don't eat ( good for the waistline, but tends to increase crankiness)
2.  Eat only take out food
3.  Eat only sandwiches 7 nights a week
4.  Hire a chef (my personal favorite)
5.  Grow another set of arms (still trying)
6.  Lock the girls in their bedroom (tempting a times!)
7.  Try to figure out the reason they need to be held so much during dinner making time (what fun is that?)

Since the only viable option was #7, I spent a few nights pondering the situation and guess what, it didn't take too long to figure out that they just wanted to know what was going on up there on the counter.   They're toddlers, it is their job to want to know everything.  So for about $120, I found the "kitchen helper."  No, not an elf that comes to your kitchen and cuts up vegetables.  (I wish)  It is a stand the both girls can climb into, be at counter height and watch everything.  If they get bored just watching they can "help", ie:  play with bubbles in the sink.  (makes more of a mess to clean up after dinner, but at least I have 2 hands!)

After about a week of using the stand, the girls love it and I love it!  Let's hope this continues otherwise we may have to resort to option 1!

Friday, September 16, 2011

New Deck and Penguins

We almost have a new deck!  It isn't finished, but we can go out there, play, eat, and no one will fall off or get splinters or nails stuck in their feet!  All that needs to be done now are the stairs treads, staining and trim.  Fortunately Eric built a gate for across the stair opening!  Hopefully we have a few months before the girls learn to climb over it! 

So far the neighbors haven't called to have Eric committed to the psych ward for periodically stopping his work on the deck to wave his arms in the air and sway back and forth.  To me it makes perfect sense that he is signing the word "penguin" back to the girls through the window, to the neighbors....it probably looks like he has lost his mind.      

Penguins have been Kaylee and Karissa's new favorite word/sign in the past few weeks.  So the other day when I was putting the them in the stroller, a girl walked by who happened to be wearing black shoes, black shorts and a black t-shirt.  Yup, as soon as Kaylee saw her she shouted out "Penguin"!  I am not sure how the girl felt about being called a penguin by an 18 month old, but I thought it was pretty funny! It may be time to go to the zoo and see the real thing.  Lets hope their next favorite animal isn't a pig! 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What did that book say again?

While I was pregnant for the twins, I worked full time until 32 weeks, then stopped work to be home to "rest."  All of a sudden I was faced with hours of free time without being able to tolerate being on my feet for very long.  (Couldn't even see my feet let alone stand on them)  TV during the day was very boring.  So I started to read; about pregnancy, delivery, breast feeding, the benefits of co-sleeping, the hazards of co-sleeping, infant care, scheduling, what to expect in the first 6 weeks, what to expect in the first 6 months, what to expect in the first year, how to start solid foods, when to start solid foods...  I was a bit of a maniac.

This continued after the girls were born, only in a much more frantic and sleep deprived state.  I think I read just about every book I could get my hands on that dealt with infants and sleep.  Eric would come home from work at night and I would say, ok I think we need to start feeding them every hour for the 4 hours before bed and then maybe they will sleep longer....didn't work, so a few nights later I would say, I read that if we let them cry for intervals of 5 minutes at a time before going to them they will learn to go back to sleep on their own, didn't work.  And so it went.  I believe we finally had them sleeping through the night at around a year and we did have to let them "cry it out" a bit, but by that time they were ready and it didn't last long.

What I should have learned after the first 10 books is that whatever one book says, another will contradict it (such is life).  Finally, I had to just choose a book that suited our family and go with it.

The best book I read about sleep was " Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Twins"  by Dr. Marc Weissbluth.  It finally gave the advice I needed and could follow.  (He also wrote a book for parents of singletons called Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.)    Hopefully, I will be more prepared when #3 comes and we won't have to survive a year before consistent sleep is had again by all.  And I won't have to read a whole library before I am comfortable trusting my instincts! 

So I will cross my fingers that we have a good sleeper on the way.  In the meantime, my quest for the perfect parenting guide continues, as I am currently reading 2 new books on raising toddlers!   I will let you know how it turns out.  But be sure that if I don't think it is working, I will find another book!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

House projects- we are getting there!

No one said moving was easy.  We have now been here almost 3 months and I would say it hasn't been easy.  So no one was right, but anyhow, since we got here I am a bit amazed at how much we have been able to accomplish despite Eric getting used to a new job, Kaylee and Karissa getting used to their new surroundings and me growing ever so much more pregnant.  (It is getting a little harder to push the girls up hills!)

Besides the whole unpacking process, we (mostly Eric) have installed a new light/ceiling fan in our bedroom, a new chandelier in the dining room, fixed light switches and outlets that weren't safe, added a closet to the master bedroom, have started on the yard project (see "Taming the Jungle), took apart an old deck, almost completed a new deck, had a leak fixed in the kitchen by a plumber (I made that phone call!), had a carpet runner installed on the stairs (I set that one up too), put together a new dresser for the girls' room (me again, with a little help from Eric), added shelves in the kitchen, changed the kitchen light which had stopped working and managed to take the girls to a few pools and parks in the process.  We even celebrated Eric's 40th birthday last weekend! 

So all we need to do before this baby is supposed to arrive in 6 weeks is finish the deck, finish painting and putting up trim in the nursery, get all the baby things ready and get my mom down here in time for the birth!  Baby number 3, please don't plan on getting here early, it will be a little chaotic!

We are getting there, and may even have a little time to spare.  At least we decided to put the kitchen project off for a little while!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Parenting, where did I put my how to guide?

There are some things that everyone should be told prior to having children: (this is from the mother of 2 eighteen month olds, you veteran parents out there probably have a much different list!!)

1.  Your children will hurt you, physically: ie. scratch, bite, step on your bare feet while wearing shoes, climb on you, attempt to throw themselves out of your arms causing extreme but brief lower back pain, pull your hair, pinch your lips, nose, cheeks etc. 
2.  As a parent you will second guess almost every decision you will make no matter how many parenting books you read: let them cry, don't let them cry, let them climb on the couch or not, force them to stay in their high chairs even though they want to just sit on your lap, leave them with a babysitter or just bring them along...
3.  That you need a pack mule just to get out the door with all the "stuff"!
4.  By the time they are 8 months old your days of making dinner without holding a baby are over until....?
5.  Some days will be fun, some will be hard, everyday will be an adventure and you will be amazed by how much you can love them.

Today I left the girls with a babysitter for the first time since we moved to Charlottesville.  I was gone for about 2 hours.  I was convinced they would be ok, but expected at least one of them would be screaming by the time I got home....luckily they were fine!  Happy as can be! Great!

So for whatever reason, both girls seem to be having a very hard time going to sleep tonight.  Usually they are out at about 7:00, it is now 9:30 and they have been crying on and off since they went down.  We even let them get up for about 20 minutes, eat apples, and still we are not sure they are asleep.  Where is that how to guide?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Maggie, we will miss you

On Friday September 2nd, we made the decision to have our 11 1/2 year old lab/rottweiler mix Maggie put down.  After a summer of gradual decline and 2 days of what was probably a full blown case of congestive heart failure, we knew it was her time to go.  We will miss her.  She has been our companion for the past 10 years.  Rescued from a foster home, she became part of our lives before Eric and I were married.  She moved with us from Virginia to Saranac Lake, NY and then back again to Virginia.  She was a fun, friendly, energetic dog who loved riding in the car, swimming, hiking, playing with her tug toys and just being near her family. 

Her love of riding in the car was borderline nuts.  Maggie never sat or lied down no matter how hard we tried.  She constantly paced and watched for oncoming traffic, sometimes shaking the whole car in her excitement to get at the cars.  We always joked that she should have been adopted by a UPS driver and then she could have ridden in a vehicle all day!

  When I say she loved to swim, she mostly splashed in the water, pawing at it, biting at the splashes and chasing waves.  She only learned to swim when she was about 8 years old and then she would only swim if she was chasing after a stick or a 12" piece of 2x6 board my dad found at a beach.  She also loved to howl at fire or ambulance sirens whenever she got the chance.  She did this so much that Kaylee and Karissa started to howl with her!

Maggie found her way into the hearts of many.  My parents loved having her stay with them.  They would take her for rides in the car, bring her swimming, and let her eat cheese and crackers!  We always said Maggie was on vacation whenever she stayed with my parents.  She even delighted my grandmother who never was much of a dog person before Maggie and my brother's dog Mollie. 

Dog owners know they will most likely out live their pets.  But somehow time catches you by surprise and all of a sudden your friend and companion is no longer by your side.  Somehow you feel older, yet wiser.  And maybe through Maggie we can learn to love as she did, unconditionally. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Mother Nature, Take a Break

Kaylee, Karissa and I are safely home in Virginia having missed an earthquake that registered 5.9 on the scale and Hurricane Irene.  There was no damage to our house from either event luckily.   We pretty much traveled south as Irene headed north and only ran into some wind and rain in New York and Pennsylvania.  So besides having to pay cash for gas instead of  using a credit card because the credit card system wasn't working, we faired very well.  Charlottesville didn't even lose power! 

On the other hand, my brother Mike and his wife Melissa and their 4 1/2 month old twins Blake and Lyla are now homeless.  Flooding in New Jersey from hurricane Irene sent them packing to New York to stay with Melissa's sister.  Mike returned to his house last night to rescue their cat (he was fine) and survey the damage.  Though the water has now receded, during the height of the flood, there was 3-4 feet of water on the first floor.  Everything on that floor is pretty much lost.  Items on the second floor are ok.  Fortunately they rent the house rather than own it, so they don't have to deal with the damage to the house, but it looks like they will have to move again after having lived there for 1 month. 

So our thoughts are with them and we hope that renter's insurance and FEMA can help, clean -up is quick and they are able to find a new place to live as soon as possible.  Wish we could do more.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

An extra pair of arms

Now that I have been managing Kaylee and Karissa in the company of at least one other adult for the past 6 days I realize how wonderful it is to have an extra pair of arms around.  Now, when I hear "mommy up", I don't have to try to hold both girls, or choose between the two, because there is always someone else around like Grandma, Grandpa, or Aunt Kirsten.  My husband Eric is wonderful at home when he isn't working, but to have someone else around ALL THE TIME is truly vacation!  (If we were independently wealthy and Eric didn't have to work this situation could happen all the time!! I'll keep dreaming!)

I wonder how this will all work when #3 arrives.  How will I be able to give all of them the cuddle time they need.  Do I need 2 extra pairs of arms?  Will I have to just sit on the floor with them all day long so I can gather them into my lap whenever needed?  Maybe we will have to live in just one room stocked with food, diapers, a VERY LARGE diaper pail, clothing and toys all within my measly two arms reach so needs can be met without me having to go out of site, or stand up and potentially dump a child off of my lap.  (Sounds a bit boring, but it might work!) 

I know we will figure it out, but until then if anyone has an extra pair of arms they would like to lend me, please send them my way!  If you have 2 extra pairs, all the better!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

To the alter!

I promise neither of the girls are getting married, we just attempted to bring them to my parent's church yesterday.  Now, Kaylee and Karissa don't sit still for more than 54 seconds unless strapped into their carseats or their stroller.  Fortunately the minister is very kid friendly and doesn't mind if kids make noise or wander around a bit so I knew we at least had a fighting chance.  Since my mom sings in the choir, it left Dad and I to deal with both girls.  Two adults, two toddlers, pretty good odds.
It all started well.  The girls were mesmerized by the music, the candles, Grandma waiving to them from the choir.  When that got boring, we kept them busy with animal crackers.  So far so good, 15 minutes down.  Then Karissa started playing peek a boo with the people in the pew behind us (Thank you to the Gordon's), while Kaylee was entertained by a beach ball we had brought with us.  Another 5 minutes down.  Then it was time to sing a  hymn, so they were content to stand on the pew in front of us and dance a bit for 3 more minutes. 

And then....Kaylee decided it was time to take a tour of the church and off she went down the aisle.  Quickly I grabbed her and managed to get her squirming little body back to the pew which took up 2 more minutes. Of course, Karissa then wanted to see what was out there and let us know by shouting DOWN as she wiggled and flopped herself out of the pew. 

It was then that I was encouraged by some other church goers to just let them go (Thank you Elsie and Eleanor!).  They said the girls would probably come right back anyway.  So I let them go.  Next thing I knew, they were both on the alter during a baptism.  (they were not scheduled to be baptized that day)  So Dad and I run to the alter, grab them and carry them out as they giggled the whole time.  I spent the rest of the time entertaining them downstairs while the service continued upstairs.  We made it in church about 27 minutes.  Not bad for 2 active toddlers.  Maybe next time I'll ask if they can deliver the sermon!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

We made it!

Karissa, Kaylee and I are in Malone!  The trip was pretty good. Friday morning we put the girls in their carseats at 5:30 am and they never went back to sleep until about 11:30 that morning!  Fortunately Kirsten (SIL) didn't get car sick from having to turn around a million times to give the girls their sippy cups, crackers, toys etc.  We definately overdid the sippy cups since everytime we stopped they were soaking wet and need both diaper changes and wardrobe changes!  The little divas.  After a night in Syracuse, the girls and I headed to Malone this morning.  We made the trip in 3 hours and 20 minutes without stopping!! They were a bit mad at me by the end, but got over it as soon as they saw Grandma and Grandpa.  Once again they were a bit wet and their carseat covers needed to be washed, but all is done and here we are for a week!  I only feel a little bad that Eric is at home reconfiguring closets, digging up the yard and working all week.  We will try not to have too much fun.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


I leave tomorrow with Karissa and Kaylee for a trip to my mother in law's home in Syracuse, NY and my parents in Malone.  The trip from Charlottesville to Syracuse should take about 7 and 1/2 hours.  With kids...a bit longer!  I am not brave enough or stupid enough to attempt this trip by myself and since Eric has been at his new job for only 2 months he cannot take time off, so my sister in law Kirsten has volunteered to ride with us.  (Maybe for her first and last time!)  She is on her way to Syracuse to sell pottery at a craft fair.  She makes really cool stuff and if you ever want to check it out her website is:  http://www.kirstensclay.com/

Now, I have been packing for this trip for the past 4 days.  It is amazing how much needs to be packed for 2 little beings.  Clothes, food, pack and plays, booster seats, books, pacifiers, sippy cups, juice, diapers, wipes, toys, baby jogger, children's tylenol, thermometer etc.!  I think I have it all, but fortunately we will always be within 10 miles to a store, so if there is something I have forgotten that we cannot live without, all is not lost!  (I hope).  I should try to remember to pack a few things for myself too!

The plan is to leave at about 5:00 am with the girls still asleep, and then stop for breakfast when they wake up around 6:30 or 7:00.  If is all works according to plan, we should be in Syracuse by tomorrow afternoon!  Interstate 81 here we come!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Toddler wrestling

Today was a day of wrestling toddlers.  It started with trying to change their diapers this morning, then trying to get them into their high chairs at breakfast, followed by trying to get them into the baby jogger for a walk, then into their car seats for a trip to the park, then back into the carseats for the trip home from the park.  Throw in a few more diaper changes and I am one tired mommy!  So if there are any parents, grandparents or caregivers out there with any advice about how to decrease the daily struggle please let me know!  I think Kaylee and Karissa will be winning the wrestling match soon!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Taming the Jungle

The good news:  we have a fully fenced in backyard.  The bad news: it is comepletely overgrown, the grass isn't grass it is violets, and from time to time you can find poison ivy.  Two toddlers with a poison ivy rash?  no thanks. Fortunately Charlottesville has many wonderful playgrounds nearby.  Even so, the convenience of a backyard would be wonderful, especially when #3 arrives.  (Hopefully we will stop referring to this baby as #3 sometime before his/her 5th birthday)

Anyway, soon after we moved in I called a landscaper to see what could be done about the yard.  He had such wonderful ideas that had me picturing an oasis I would never have to leave.  Space for flowers, toys, and herb garden, nice shady areas!

So I looked at him and said, " Sounds great, but our budget is a concern, how about we discuss the bare minimum and you can give me an estimate."  He looked a little put out, but no harm done.  So a few days later I get call that tree removal, disposal and a new lawn (grass seed, not sod) would be about $5000.00.  I wish I would have gotten a quote for everything he was planning!!!  The backyard is less than 1/6th of an acre.  Ouch!

We resorted to plan B...of course, we could do it ourselves!  So we purchased a used wood chipper, Eric got the chainsaw going and away we go "Taming the Jungle"  Now, I shouldn't say "we" because my job in this whole process is to be pregnant and to take care of the twins, so it has been Eric, with some help from his sister Kirsten and her boyfriend Randy.  (Thank you so much, including the use of your chainsaw!)

So the wonderful fenced in backyard is a work in progress and hopefully this fall when the weather cools off  we will be ready to plant a lawn.  I can't wait to get out there with the girls, but in the mean time, off we go to another park! 

Oh, the deck needs to be replaced too! 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Power Outage

We have now lived in Virgina for 2 months.  In those 2 months we have lost our power twice.  This shouldn't be a big deal coming from the rural Adirondack Mountains right?  We should be used to it.  The first time the power went out it was 4th of July weekend.  I was at the grocery store stocking up for company who were coming the next day.  Typical things like meat, ice cream, milk, juice, eggs.  Pretty much everything that needs to be kept cold in 90 degree weather.  The power was out for 13 hours.  Ouch.  Ice cream was a bit mushy by the time it came back on. 

So last night we were finishing up bathtime when the lights began to flicker.  We quickly got Kaylee and Karissa to bed and minutes later it all went dark.  I naively say to Eric, "it can't possibly be out for as long as last time."  I was wrong, it was out for almost 16 hours this time.  Perfect.  Once again, mushy ice cream. 

What caused the two outages?  Trees!  Ok, they had help from violent thunder storms with high winds and hail, but really it was the trees. 

We lived in the woods for nine years and never lost power for that long, maybe for 2 or 3 hours once or twice, but never for almost 16. 

So, my advice to Dominion Virginia Power, as worthless as this may be, cut down the trees that are close to  the power lines before they fall down and knock 17,000 people out of power. Then you may not have to pay crews overtime to cut them down in the middle of the night!!  And no one will have to eat mushy ice cream.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

You are Mommy!

Who am I?  I am a mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, physical therapist, runner, probably forgot a few. I am pretty sure I am not a grandmother yet.  But really, these days I am mommy.  Mommy up, mommy down, mommy juice, mommy cracker.  Mommy, mommy, mommy all x 2!!  It is wonderful, exciting and exhausting.  Someday I know I will be able to identify myself again as a runner (hard to do these days at 30 weeks pregnant!) and a physical therapist a good friend, wife, sister and daughter.  But now my primary roll involves two little beings who are incredibly cute, funny, needy and a bit bossy!  But each day they surprise me with what they can do, what they understand, the new words they learn and their wonderful laughter. 

I am learning that as wonderful as mommyhood is, taking a little time now and again to just be me is essential to being able to be the mommy they think I am.  So it is my goal that sometime in the next few weeks I will find time to file my nails rather than just cut them, comepletely dry my hair instead of just my bangs and maybe even paint my toenails! 

Here's to all the mommys out there!!  Go be yourself for a little while!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Thirty weeks!

Ok, 10 weeks to go until life changes once again!  Everything is going well with the baby.  New doctor is very laid back which is great.  No computerized documentation for him, just a little due date wheel and a tape measure! This is nothing compared to my last pregnancy when I had to have ultrasounds every 4 weeks and constant check ups.  So far no swelling, it is nice to still have ankles! Next check up is at 34 weeks.

Kaylee and Karissa have no idea how their lives are about to change, but Karissa may be getting suspicious. She laid her head on my belly the other day and got kicked.  Gave me a funny look.

A few weeks ago Kaylee looked up at my belly and said BALL!  I wonder if she wonders why I won't let her play with that ball!!

Anyway, so far so good in VA!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Feeding toddlers is challenging.  Feeding 2 toddlers is messy.  And sometime in the last month, both Kaylee and Karissa have decided they don't like their high chairs.  When we do get lucky enough to get them to sit in their chairs we have maybe 7 minutes and 36 seconds before it starts.
(If they stay in their chairs even that long.)  If you have ever fed toddlers, you may know what I am talking about.

So lets say you give them yogurt, one minute they want to feed themselves, the next they want you to feed them, but change their minds as the spoon is coming to their mouths and grab the spoon.  Just as you let go so they can feed themselves, they pull as hard as they can and... FLING there goes the spoon and the yogurt.  Ok, on to safer, less messy food...peas.  Kaylee loves peas, can't get enough until she has eaten some arbitrary number of peas (which of course only she knows).  So you bravely give her 5 or 10 at a time when all of a sudden....FLING,  there they go on the wall, on the floor, on the dog. 

You can only imagine the mess the other morning when I gave them yogurt and oatmeal for breakfast. Not sure what I was thinking.  I am still trying to chip the oatmeal off the wall. 

Sometimes is it a one handed fling, sometimes two.  They have perfected both.  At least the dog is happy about all the food on the floor! 

Thank you to Jill for advising us to feed them in the bathtub, we may resort to that soon!
Anyone want to invite us over for dinner!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


I don't like snakes. I can handle spiders, rodents, large bugs, but I tend to panic around snakes.  Unfortunately, Virginia has more snakes and bigger snakes than northern NY does and even has a couple of poisonous ones.  Great!

So a few weeks ago I took a "baby boot camp" exercise class which happened to be at a park.  The girls stayed in the stroller for most of the class, but at the end they were allowed to get out and play.  So Kaylee ad Karissa had a great time playing in the sand volleyball court along with some other kids who were close to their age.  I was about 10 feet away from them while I chatted with some of the other moms after class when I noticed Kaylee started running towards the woods.  What was she after?  A snake.  (this kid has no fear).  Thank god it was faster then her.  But this thing was big....we are not talking python big, but at least 5-6 feet long and about 2 inches in diameter big.  That was no garter snake.

So what do I do?  Calmly walk toward Kaylee, call her name and pick her up while making sure Karissa was safe.  What did I want to do?  Scream, freak out, cry, sprint to the car with a child under each arm, anything to get out of there. 

Now being new to VA, I figured the natives were used to snakes and wouldn't get too nervous about a snake slithering near their children.  I didn't want to make a scene.  So, once I had the girls in a safe spot away from the snake (who by now was probably safely in the woods herself) I calmly mentioned to one of the other mothers that I had just seen a large black snake over by the volley ball court.  Her response?


So, what I have learned:  it is ok to freak out about snakes in VA, not everyone finds them commonplace, and keeping my children away from them is probably a good idea. 

It turned out to be one of the non poisonous snakes, but still...yuck.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Dishwasher is working!!

Yesterday I asked Eric if there was anything he needed me to work on while the girls napped.  He responded by saying, yes, you could work on getting the dishwasher fixed. (it had stopped working the day after we moved in)  To which I responded "Great you mean I just need to call a repairman?" His reply...no, why don't you look online and see if there are any parts we need to order. (Built a house on our own, should be able to fix a dishwasher right?)

Now part of the problem with the dishwasher:  we can't get it out from under the countertop to fix whatever part needs fixing because whoever redid the kitchen floor installed the tile after the dishwasher was installed, so you can't pull it out without practically taking it apart, or tearing up the tile.  Genius.  I am not sure which project would take longer. 

So this morning before the girls woke up (they slept until 7:30!) I started my quest to figure out what was wrong with the dishwasher. We have about 10 and 1/2 weeks before #3 arrives, we need to get it working.  Beides the dish drainer is taking up valuable real estate on the limited coutertop space. 

For whatever reason, Eric decided to try turning the dishwasher on again just to make sure no new problems had arisen. 
And guess what, it worked!!  Why?  I have no idea.  Do I care?  NO!  Have I been washing dishes by hand for the past month and a half for no reason?  Probably!  Is this one more project we can cross off the list and not have to spend time on?  Let's hope so!!

It's a good day.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Minivan

So as I have mentioned, we have 17 month twins and are expecting a third baby in 11 weeks (a little frightening).  Anyway when we moved here our family car was a Subaru Forester.  Now for all of you who have kids who need to be in carseats you know the seats are enormous and it is virtually impossible to fit two convertible seats and an infant carrier in a 5 passenger car.  So away we go shopping for the ultimate "family vehicle."  Or as good friends like to call it the "loser cruiser." 

Now as any parent will tell you, especially parents of twin toddlers, you don't just go spend all day Saturday leisurely test driving vehicles and plan to go back time and again to find the perfect vehicle.  No, you find the best deal possible first on http://www.autotrader.com/, make sure the vehicle is still available before you leave the house, pack up the diaper bag with sippy cups, lots of snacks, and toys, heave the double stroller into the car and cross your fingers. 

Once there you find a sales person as fast as you can, tell him you need to look at this one specific car, each take a 6 minute test drive while the other pushes the stroller around in circles in a vain attempt to keep the babies occupied.  Get a trade in price for the Subaru, barter with the sales person for oh about 30 seconds, sign paper work, and hopefully you are on your way home (once of course you have switched the carseats, stroller, toys, diaper bag and sippy cups to the new vehicle).  All said and done in less than an hour right? 

Three hours later, after chasing the girls around the showroom filled with $80,000 Cadillacs, we leave in our new (used) 2008 Honda Odyssey!  One look back at the parking lot as we left....our 2005 Forester that had survived 6 winters in Northern NY (you can imagine what the underside of that car looked like!!) and about 500 pieces of Kix cereal that had fallen out of the car seats when we transferred them to the Honda!!  We drove away in a hurry!!

We love our new car.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The first two weeks

Our first 2 weeks in the new house were a little rocky...

As I have mentioned we have an aging dog named Maggie.  She is an 80 pound lab/rottweiler mix who is not particularly thrilled that her position as number 1 child has been downgraded to third place.  She likes to remind us on a daily basis by curling her hip every time the girls get close.  Unfortunately she is slow to interpret that lip snarl equals solitary confinement in the bedroom, tail wag happy dog means hanging out with the family in the living room, but we are trying our best. 
Anyway within 4 days of moving into the house, Maggie got sick.  Vomiting, diarrhea all over the carpet 3 times (really gross).  So, I find a vet, make an appointment, load up the dog and the girls, walk into the vet's office and... Maggie proceeds to have more diarrhea all over the floor.  So I have to leave her in the office while I push the stroller through a different so I don't have to roll it through poop. Then the vet tech has to come to the front, scrape a stool sample up from the floor and clean up the mess.  So much for first impressions!  The good news, Maggie got better. 

The next day the dishwasher broke and began leaking all over the floor before we could get the water turned off (we still have to fix it!), the kitchen light stopped working (got that fixed though, thank goodness for Lowe's!)  and we found poison ivy all over the back yard (Eric is still working on that one poor guy)  Thankfully no one got a rash. 

A few days later Kaylee was stung by a bee, which resulted in on and off screaming for the next hour and a half, a swollen hand and maybe some angry neighbors! (But I never checked on that one)  Then Karissa got a weird rash, which thankfully went away on its own. 

Fortunately we survived the first couple of weeks without any other mishaps and each week gets better and better.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Move: best laid plans...

Moving is stressful.  Selling a house in one state and buying a house in another is really stressful.  Scheduling the closings 2 days apart is just crazy.  Expecting it all to happen without delays is really nuts, but that is just what we did. 
So our plan was to close in NY on June 6th, Virginia on the 8th.  Eric would drive the moving van to VA in time to sign the closing documents.  Kaylee, Karissa, myself and my parents would follow 2 days later.  That would give Eric some time to unpack the van and at least get beds put together prior to our arrival.  Then mom and dad would be with us for a whole week helping unpack and helping with the twins before their flight home on Thursday, June 16th. I could go to my new Ob-gyn on the 14th while mom and dad were still in town to watch the girls.  Eric would start his new job on June 20th. We would be all settled in and ready to start our new lives!  Perfect!

Reality:  Closing in New York was delayed by a week, which of course delayed closing in VA.  What delayed the NY closing?  The buyer of our home forgot to sign her tax return for her mortgage company. Oops. When her funds were finally available, instead of being wired, her mortgage company used FedEx. Now I know FedEx is fast, but snail mail, really? So much for the electronic age!

Plan B:  Mom, Dad and I go to Viginia first so I would have help with the girls on the long trip down and would be able to get to my MD appointment.  Luckily we were able to stay at a  house our real estate agent owned. 
Finally, On Wednesday the 15th we had confirmation that we could close in Charlottesville at 4:00 pm.  (remember Mom and Dad have to fly home about 14 hours later).  So, mom, dad and I pack up clothes, toys, sippy cups, pack and plays, food and strollers from where we were staying and head to our new home. Eric arrives at the house with the moving van, I go to the lawyers office to sign documents and pick up the keys.  And guess what....can't close! Our mortgage company's computers were down!!! They couldn't wire the money until the next day.  So much for the electronic age!

So, we head back to the real estate agent's house,  unpack clothes, toys, sippy cups, and pack and plays for one more night.  Mom and Dad fly home at 6:50 the next morning having never seen the inside of our new house. 

We finally closed 10 days after our original moving date.  And then we had to unload the moving van...

No wonder the housing market has failed to rebound! 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Oh what have we done...

Welcome!  7 weeks ago my husband Eric and I and our 17 month old twin daughters Kaylee and Karissa sold our home near Lake Placid, NY and moved to Charlottesville, VA. We left a home we loved, family, friends, jobs and everything familiar to return to a place that we had lived in and loved 10 years ago. 

For 10 years I worked as a full time physcial therapist.  Life was predictable.  Eat, work, exercise, socialize, sleep for a full 7-9 hours at night on a regular basis.  Then in February 2010, Kaylee and Karissa arrived and predictability was a thing of the past, along with 7-9 hours of regular sleep!

When the girls were born we lived in a home that we had been building mostly ourselves for more than 5 years,with the help of a few friends and the occasional contractor.  It was almost finished.  We had it made: a beautiful new home, 2 beautiful new babies, familiar jobs, wonderful friends, grandparents nearby.  So what do we do?  Decide it would be a great time to finish the house, put it on the market and move 750 miles.  Why? 

The decision to move was made over a period of a few years with frequent discussions between Eric and I, and many lists of the pros and cons.  In the end it came down to the three C's...career, climate and culture.  (Had our lab/rottweiler mix Maggie been involved in this discussion we would be living in a one room cabin with my parents next to a lake so everyone she knew could be in the same spot, could take turns letting her swim, and would drive her around in the car for 2 hours a day.)  (Oh, and the babies would live outside in the dog house!)

Fast forward one year:  we are still in New York in the middle of winter, house is on the market, Kaylee and Karissa are thriving, sleep is pretty good for all, I am back working part time. I am getting excited about the move and believe it will even be fun to show the girls all the new things to do in Virginia.  And then more exciting/unexpected news.....I find out I am pregnant.  This means, if all goes well, Kaylee and Karissa will be 20 months when baby #3 enters the world.  Three under the age of two....who needs sleep!

After a few more discussions between Eric and I and many nights of second guessing our decision to move, we decide to go for it, because life needs to be really exciting sometimes and why not do everything all at once?

Somehow in the next 4 months Eric was able to find a job in Charlottesville, we were able to sell our house in New York, buy a house in Virginia, pack, move and begin our new lives...this is where our story begins.
Let the good times roll!

Next post:  The move