Archive | September, 2011

Out of the Mouths of Babes

30 Sep

Abe! Quick! Quit posing and check your brother's mouth!

Things I (we) Love:  One-Year-Old Babies

And this is the way in which our love is demonstrated:  Finger Swipes.

We demonstrate our love often.

Sometimes love bites.

And sometimes, even if our hands are covered in raw pork, it is necessary to find ways to show our children that we love them.

No, Cele . . .

not the . . .

stapler!

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I Don’t Know What You’re Talking About

28 Sep

In an effort to thwart a bad cases of Blogger’s Block, and because we have not revealed enough of our olfactory oddness and possible parenting laziness, today I offer up another of our favorite forms of humiliation:

Grab Bag Special

Embarrassing aspects of this photo:

We’ve chosen a lovely place to pose – the doorway of the bathroom.  Not a bathroom, or our bathroom, or the special, fancy-soap guest bathroom.  Nope, the bathroom.  We had one.  That’s it.  But we thought that was normal.  Also, that bathroom is oddly located right off the living room.  Which is kind of convenient since it provided a comfy place to lounge while waiting for your turn in the one bathroom.

And then there’s the macrame plant hanger in the background.  It was one of many in our house.  At one point my parents must have been really in to macrame, we had cones of cord and scores of wooden beads in our basement.  My money’s on the 1970s.  Ours plant hangers were lovely, but you should have seen the piece my aunt had.  It was enormous, like a suspended end table with a glass top.  Or bottom, I suppose, since it was hanging.  Actually, it would be a glass middle, because  under the glass was this hugemongous, white, puffed-out tassel.  It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.  In macrame.  No, strike that.  It was just the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.

Well, since you’re already gawking up in that direction I suppose I might as well mention what Stacy’s got going on up top.  That’s a dusty rose lace heart adorned with country blue ribbon.  Home decór doesn’t get more elegant than that, my friends.  And I’ll tell you a secret:  Stacy and I made those.  Good news, don’t you think?  I mean, if this mothering gig doesn’t work out for us I’m pretty sure we can get jobs in the interior design industry.

Okay, fine, enough ignoring the obvious.  Did you see that shirt I’m wearing?  See, for two years I played volleyball.  Volleyball was my thing.  I bet you’re thinking, “Hey, I thought she said she was scared of balls flying towards her face?”  You’re right, I am.  But in volleyball I saw an opportunity to send balls flying across the net via a killer serve which would theoretically reduce the chance of the balls coming my way.  Obviously I did not understand the meaning of the word “volley.”  But I did spend $9.78 on wearable proof that I was “an athlete.”   That’s really about all it takes to be good at sports, right?

And finally, the necklace with the t-shirt?  Nice, touch, don’t you think?  I’m just glad it didn’t choke me.

Well, there you have it.  Only a bad hair day could have made this picture more embarrassing.

Tongue in Cheek. Spoon in Slop.

25 Sep

Our sweet Henry is now 6 months old! (Yikes. He can practically drive.) And so, to celebrate, we have bestowed upon him the gift of flavorless gruel.

MMmmmmm

For some inexplicable reason this particular milestone is eagerly anticipated by most parents (myself included). It isn’t until that first spoonful of gritty slop is spattering my furrowed brow that I want to flee. Flee like I’ve never fled before. I loathe this game (you know, the one called “feeding your child”). Why did we open this can of worms (or box of baby cereal, as it were)? Seriously. Bibs to launder, messes to wipe, a new chunk of my life devoted to making “num-num” faces? I would like to skip this stage. I want to go from spending hours in a glider with my wee sweet nursling straight into handing the dear a slice and saying “Dig in, Baby”. I need to invent some sort of gastronomical/small motor skill acceleration devise that leaves my playful 6-month-old a playful 6-month-old, but allows for full-on solid food intake independence. Yep. I’m THAT selfish. And now it’s out there. Discuss.

Okay, okay. The slop face is pretty adorable. I guess I'll put up with it.

The Post Only a Package Sniffing Dog Could Love

21 Sep

Today’s installment of Things I Love may seem obvious as first, but there’s something dwelling beneath the surface here.  We recently got a package from my sister, and while everyone loves receiving a package in the mail, that isn’t my topic.  Take a deep breath and enjoy.

Things I Love:  The Smell of My Sister’s House.

You know how everyone has their own smell?  Of course you do, that’s not just my own weird overly sensitive thing?  Right?

I thought so.  Okay, back to the pleasant mail delivery.

As the packing tape released it’s final squeaks and cardboard dust particles spread across the kitchen floor the first hints of  the Nebraskans’ cozy split-level reached our noses.  The box – which was filled with birthday gifts, old maternity clothes (NOT to wear, but to cut into a memory quilt for the no-longer-in-utero children that were once hidden under it’s voluminous , yet taut fabric,) and some baby things – was also teeming with Stacy Scent.

It’s dark and figgy and savory and warm and wraps itself around you like a hug that reaches right up through your nostrils.  In a delightful way, of course.  The contents of that package all bore the mark of their origin and the boys and I spent a good portion of the day squishing our faces in for a quick hit of their family’s presence.

Simeon has been aware of his aunt’s odorous ambiance for several years now.  Once, after she sent me some maternity clothing that could be worn without shame or vice I threw on some capris and a tank straight from the box.  The first thing a barely 3-yr-old Simeon said to me was, “I like your green pants and your yellow shirt.”  While I applauded his knowledge of colors, and questioned my own fashion sense, he gave me a big leg hug and then continued his sensory observation with, “Oh!  You smell just like Aunt Stacy!”  The remainder of the day he stayed close at hand, or leg, as the case may be, for frequent sniffs of his beloved aunt’s pants.

I know exactly how he feels.  I sometimes buy “her scent” of body wash in hopes of catching a whiff of my sister on those days when I need a little moral support.  The bonus side-effect is that lathering up also gets a few extra hugs out of the kids.

This nose-worthy accomplishment doesn’t belong solely to Simeon, though.  Abraham used it just the other day.  I was helping him tie his new-to-him fall shoes (Note to self:  teach your children to tie their own shoes.  Soon.  Now.) when I mentioned that I couldn’t recall what generous party had bestowed them on us.  Abe didn’t hesitate.  He picked up the remaining shoe, stuck his nose deep in its footy cavern, inhaled loudly and made his judgment, “It doesn’t smell like Owen and Joe.  It smells like Nathan.”

So there you have it folks.  Whether we have highly sensitive olfactory nerves, or my sister and her household just smell really, really good we may never know.  But then again, maybe you don’t want to know.  Maybe you wish that you could erase what you already know.

Wow, I’m not at all sorry that I wrote this post.

By the way, could you please forget that I implied that I think you smell?

A nose by any other name would smell as sweet.

Read this!!!!

18 Sep

Hold on to your bindings, folks – it’s time for a Book Recommendation.

My oldest says to me the other day,

“Mom, sometimes I DO judge a book by its cover.”

Well, guess what. So do I. Interestingly enough Owen and I were judging the same book in opposing ways. He thought it looked boring. I thought it looked quaint and adorable.  Here, I’ll show you. But I won’t let you judge for yourself. No way. You’ve got to read the thing in order to own that honor.

Okay, I know. I used my webcam. But it's real time. This is me. Now. Wow, right?

The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry. This book is charming the collective pants off of our family. Right off. I really think you should read it. Wait. There are some things you should know. There’s a ton of negative energy spun in a bizarrely positive way residing within these pages. That sounds weird, right? Well, it’s true. If you want all lollipops and rainbows, look elsewhere. If you want children and parents plotting against one another, bad German, and an overuse of the word “dolt”, LOOK HERE! The humor is clever. The characters lovable (and odious). The plot diabolical.

Things crammed into this lovely little book:

  • Countless literary allusions (of good books – ones you want your children to someday read)
  • An annotated bibliography of said literary gems (that makes them sound super interesting and fun, thus peaking interest)
  • A gorgeous use of the English language (I have yet to find one dangling participle)
  •  A dynamic and unique vocabulary (this household is now using the word “obsequious” on a regular basis)
  • A glossary (that not only correctly defines words, but also procures giggles from my children)
  • Four worthy orphans with a no-nonsense nanny (That’s a direct quote from the text. In context it will make you guffaw.)

Soooo, are you curious? Oh, I so hope you are.

Middlings

17 Sep

While I could hardly say that our oldest and youngest children were quiet this week, it was the three in the center that provided that most memorable noise, er, I mean, quotes:

“I think I know why they call it recess, because we don’t get to play, we have to solve problems.”
Thomas, analyzing the new Sibling Squabble Reduction Rule that allows the boys to earn a  sticker for every day they make it through morning recess time without coming in to report a fight or unfairness.

“Races are only for cars, not for people.”
Abraham, struggling to catch up with the Brothers in the middle of mile 11 of the Children’s Marathon.  Mile 10 was brought to us by a very pitiful, “I don’t like The Mile. ”

“Oh no.  I can’t see at all in the dark!”
Abraham, prior to his first optometrist appointment when I explained to him that the doctor was going to check his eyes to make sure he could see okay.

“Can we go sledding?”
Thomas, recess on the first 55-degree day of the school year.

“Wesha bleda floply blooo da.”
Abraham, who attains language skills by watching the Twins.
“Abe, you should stop speaking Spanish.   I’m probably the only one who understands it.” 
Thomas, who attains language skills by watching Imaginext in Frenchuguese.

“No”
“I know”
“Oh no”
“No, no.”
“N-O.”
Cecilia, who attains language skills by watching her mother.  Although Thomas is the one who taught her to spell.

Things I Love (the birthday edition)

15 Sep

There’s nothing like a birthday to open up a big gaping wound of gratefulness. (That sounded better in my head…) Here are the things that I love from the hoopla:

My Sister: Thanks for yesterday’s humbling and embarrassing post. I’ll get you back.

My Gramma:  She always manages to send my card so that it arrives ON my birthday. Not before. NEVER after. On.

Facebook: Despite my continual hermit-esque condition this social forum always makes me feel like the most popular, sociable girl on the cyber block.

My Husband: I felt loved and special every moment of yesterday regardless of the fact that he worked 7:00 am until 2:00 am. He’s good like that.

My Parents: They came in with the first Birthday Phone Call of the day. Nice.

The Current Cupcake Fad: Chai AND Car Bomb. Check them out here.

My Crockpot: This wonder-machine continually provides our family with hot, ready-to-eat, birthday worthy victuals. (Curried Chicken was the flavor of the day.)

Evening Visitors: Surprise and planned, they all made me smile.

My Boys: Genetically given the gift to make me feel special by their father, I was celebrated from their waking breaths to their sleeping snores.

Lady Lunches: I am lucky enough to share my birthday month with 2 of my favorites (ladies, that is). Our September birthday lunch lands in that category (the favorite one).

The Muppets: I was gifted a new album by my flock of boys. Check it out. It’s Mahna Mahna-rific.

My Brother-in-laws: One gave me a nice phone call. One stopped by and played with my crazy boys. And one COMPLIMENTED MY COOKING!!!!!!!!

If I forgot something, I’m sorry. Don’t take it personally – I’ve consumed an exorbitant amount of sugar in that past 24 hours.

Stacy’s Birthday List

14 Sep

Guess who’s 83 years old, today?

Yeah, I don’t know either.  But I know it isn’t my sister, despite what facebook says about her age.  How do I know this?  Because I am not 85.  Although I hope when I am an octagenerian I’ll be able to recall as much about her and her entrance into my life as I can today.

Thirty-odd, very odd,  years ago my parents had a baby.  I don’t think I knew Mom was going to have a baby.  Those things were kept secret back then, much like vacations – we never knew about those until the day before we left, either.  Anyway, when Dad told me that I had a little sister there was just one thing I wanted.   One very important thing.

I wanted to name her Taffy.

Isn’t it a gorgeous name?  So sophisticated, and demure.  Perfect.  And yet they would not let me me have my way.  But they did give me the next best thing to a sister Taffy:  a dog named Taffy.

Wow, I loved that dog.  She was the smartest, kindest, gentlest, most loving dog ever.

Oh, sorry, this was supposed to be about Stacy’s birthday, I got sidetracked.  I’ll make up for it now.  Here are 33 things you should know about my sister.

    1. Stacy is beautiful.
    2. We used to say she sparkled.
    3. Everyone loves her.  And they should.
    4. She loves cats.  Loves, loves, loves them.
    5. She is now allergic to cats.  It’s sad.  Sad, sad, sad.
    6. She hates spiders.  Hates, hates, hates them.  But it’s okay, because I made her a “Spider Squasher” once for her birthday (picture a chunk of 2×4 with a crayola spider on one side and the directions “Use this side to squash spiders” written on the other.)
    7. She’s one of the best mothers I know.  I’m constantly taking notes from her and applying them to our children.  Oddly, I think they would like it better coming from her because . . .
    8. She is the absolute best aunt out there.  Oh, my children love her.  Even if they have been known to give her an eye roll or twelve.
    9. She’s been told by multiple people (not all of which are related to her) that she should write a book.  We’re still waiting.
    10. There’s a picture of her in her pajamas on the internet.  You’re welcome.
    11. Stacy used to tell stories.  Big stories.  Whoppers.  One might even consider them lies, except that they were so over the top that no one believed them.  Well, almost no one.
    12. Stacy used to believe her own stories.
    13. She once played the trumpet.
    14. She once had a triangle shaped hair cut.
    15. As a child Stacy wanted to be a marine biologist.
    16. While I was in college she once sent me a gift in a box marked “Perishable – Refrigerate at Once” and added her own note that said, “This is NOT cheese.  Please disregard notice.”  While I can’t remember what the gift was, I still have that box.
    17. She will be thankful that I have chosen not to include pictures of her twelfth birthday.
    18. Apparently, as a child she did nearly everything I told her to do.  I’m just learning the depth and implications of this scarring.
    19. As an adult she is the sister calling the shots.
    20. Like our father, Stacy tans.  I’m so jealous of that girl.
    21. Like our mother, Stacy can talk to anyone.  Still jealous.
    22. She always looked uber-suber-spectacularily cute in pigtails.  Have I mentioned the jealousy?
    23. She even looked cute with a shiner.  I’ll let her have that one.
    24. Stacy’s childhood favorite color was purple.  Everything we owned was color-coded with pink and purple. To this day I still have difficulty buying anything purple because it seems like it already belongs to her.
    25. She once had purple glasses.  Bet you can’t guess what color mine were.
    26. She is very good at picking husbands.  Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration.  She’s really only done it once, but she did a nice job.
    27. Her hair has always been blonde, so don’t start questioning it now.
    28. Stacy has been with me through the thick and thin – and she’s really good at pushing me toward the thin.
    29. Stacy’s middle name, like mine, come from dishwashing detergent.
    30. She once played the role of Snoopy in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.
    31. She likes good grammar, good beer and good comedy.
    32. If she weren’t so old this list wouldn’t be so long.
    33. She is hands-down, flat-out, without-a-doubt the best sister I’ve ever had.  Well, duh.  But she would be the best sister you’ve ever had too if she was yours.

Holy Coaching, Batman!

9 Sep

In a perfect storm of over-zealous-father ticket buying and babysitter availability my college football obsessed husband and I were able to attend the first Husker home game (Goooooo Biiiiiiiiiig REEEeeeeed! Go! Big! Red!). It was a big day for me as I hadn’t been to a game since me ol’ college days ten-ot years ago. There are many things I could say about “Stacy’s Big Day at Memorial Stadium” (as coined by almost everyone there), but I don’t want to be overly ME-centric. (That’s the norm, right guys? Right? C’mon, folks!) I would, however, like to share with you the inspiration given to A.J. and me by one fan whose plastic Husker commemorative cup was definitely half empty (and I’m sure his pre-game tailgating cup was completely empty). This particular game attendee was blossoming with big red Husker flowers of wisdom (most of which would mar the virtues of this blog). My favorite?

“A 2-YEAR OLD COULD CALL BETTER PLAYS!!!!”

Hmmm. Interesting. A.J. and I HAVE a 2-year old. We could really put this theory through some intense expert analysis. What WOULD happen if Charlie was in charge of Husker play calling? Let’s explore this. Okay, now picture My Beloved playing the role of Charlie and me playing the role of all football players in the following scene. Go. Oh, and I’m going to be using a gruff football player-y voice. Got it? Great.

SETTING: Memorial Stadium, Husker sideline, Husker Offense is about to take possession of the ball

TAYLOR MARTINEZ (He’s the quarter back. In my mind the QB is the one who asks about plays. Whether or not this is true, I don’t know. I’ve never been on a football team. Isn’t that weird?): Coach, what’s the play?

CHARLIE: I’m Batman

TM: What’s the play, Coach?

CHARLIE: No, I’m Batman

TM: Uh….. (This is a normal response for young Martinez. Based upon interviews I’ve heard with him I’ve determined  that he’s not the most eloquent chap. And that’s OKAY! Seriously. I judge not.)

OTHER PLAYER (Jared Crick, maybe? Wait – I don’t even know if he plays for the offense. You know, it doesn’t matter – he’s just trying to be helpful in this scenario and helpfulness doesn’t take sides.): Okay….BATMAN. What’s the play?

CHARLIE: Who are you?

JC: I’m Jared

CHARLIE: No. Who ARE you?

JC: Jared Crick

CHARLIE: I’m Batman.

JC: Yeah……

CHARLIE: Who are you?

JC: Ummmmm, I guess I’m Robin.

CHARLIE: Yep. You’re Robin.

JC: Great. So, what’s the play?

CHARLIE: Say “What’s the play BATMAN”.

JC: *sigh* What’s the play, Batman?

CHARLIE: I’m thirsty.

So, maybe a 2-year old couldn’t call better plays. Were you  there? Did you watch on the Big Ten Network? Were the plays alright? Was Captain Negative Spectator correct? Could Charlie have done better? I don’t know. We won. 40-7. If Charlie had been down on  that sideline might the score have been 87-0? It might have…You be the judge. (Remember, I judge not.)

Happy Game Day.

Batman calls for a touchdown.

Love Love

8 Sep

A year ago 20 little fingers, 20 little toes, two cute noses, and 11 lbs. 12 oz. of joy entered our already zany life.  Gladly all those statistics, except weight – that’s up to around 40 lbs., are still the same, but our zany life has changed quite a bit.  Definitely for the zanier.

One of the greatest changes has occurred in our conversations with complete strangers.  Despite my Nebraskan upbringing I was not fluent in small talk.  The twins have changed all that.  They are social magnets and attract  conversations wherever we go.  We’re starting to get in the groove, and have come up with some stock responses for the most frequently asked questions and comments.  Here, I’ll give you a sampling:

Inquisitive Stranger:  Do Twins run in your family?
Us:  Not yet, but I think if you give them a couple of months they’ll be hard to catch.

IS:  Four boys and one girl!?  She’s going to be a little princess.
Us:  Either that or a tomboy.

IS: Four boys and one girl!?  She’s going to be a little tomboy.
Us:  Either that or a princess.

IS:  Oh, look, a boy and a girl?  Are they identical?
Us:  No. (Really, this has been asked THREE times.  My favorite was when the husband of a couple who had been ogling over the babes for the better portion of a morning asked the question, and his wife replied before I could slip in, “Of course not, honey, they don’t look anything alike.”  Exactly, that is just what I was going to say.)

IS:  Better you than me.
Us:  We think so, too.

Our conversations with the general public aren’t all like this, though.  In fact the Twins have done more to connect us to people, both strangers and loved ones, than anything to date.

Womb Reenactment

Yesterday evening we took the family out to eat for Aber’s birthday and an older couple engaged us in conversation about the twins and our children.  As they got up to leave the wife placed a $20 bill on our table, smiled, and said “Enjoy your birthday meal together.”

This is just one example of Peter and Cecilia attracting more than the random “Awww’s” of passer-bys.  Because of them we have been the recipients of abounding kindness.  Kindnesses that wrapped both our children and our hearts in warmth.  Kindnesses that left us speechless while our mouths were filled with delicious food.  Kindnesses that gave us renewal and invigoration when a full night’s sleep was still months away.  Kindnesses that strengthened our weary bodies by encouraging our equally weary spirits. Kindnesses that deserve monuments, not 11 month tardy Thank You notes.

So, to all of you we know and love, and to those of you we don’t know, and still love:  Thank you for the love.  Thank you for every meal, every stitch of clothing, every gentle word to the Brothers, every hour of baby-sitting and baby-holding, every ounce of patience you’ve had with our screaming children, every piece of folded laundry, every scrubbed bathroom, every changed diaper, every sung hymn and spoken prayer, every “you have a beautiful family,” every facebook “like,” and every understanding smile.

Each thing on it’s own brought peace to our lives, and collectively they have propelled us through this year.  The Lord has certainly worked through you all to provide for all we needed.  And for that, we love you in Christ.

Sappiness off.   (But, you were warned yesterday about the Early September Emotional Trifecta.)