About Me

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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, 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.