Tuesday, September 25, 2012

QOTD: Park edition

It was 77 degrees yesterday! What a welcome relief to the chilly beginning to fall we've had. We headed to the park in the afternoon to run off some energy.

Ben showed me a new trick: climbing up the slide! My months of redirecting have finally worn off; now he won't listen when I say "down the slide, up the back." I blame the older kids we saw at the park last week!

Anyway, Ben's Quote of the Day:

After climbing to the top of the slide, proudly:
"I did it!"

Silly boy.

I didn't quite catch the climbing on video, but I got close:

And, I'd like to declare a 2nd QOTD from the video. You have to listen carefully, but you can hear Ben say "Climbing backward."

Silly boy!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Oh, the Lord is good to me

Did anyone else sing the "Johnny Appleseed" prayer when they were younger? We always sang it at Girl Scout camp. It was one of my favorites.

Oh, the Lord is good to me
And so I thank the Lord
For giving me
The things I need
The sun and the rain and the appleseed
The Lord is good to me. 
Amen, Amen, Amen.

Saturday I could NOT get that song out of my head after we visited Minnetonka Orchards. Even with the chilly morning and the LONG drive out there (45 minutes! We really were out in the country!), it was a most wonderful fall morning!

First stop: apple donuts! Ben is a lover of donuts. Kid ate like 3 all by himself!
After we filled up on donuts, we headed out to the orchard to pick apples. Mode of transportation was a fun hay ride! Both kids loved riding the tractor, of course. And, we learned a big lesson: don't pick your apples first, not if you plan to do other orchard activities later. A peck of Cortlands is HEAVY!

Our mode of transportation

You can't really even tell, but we ARE on the hayride!
 Kids enjoyed picking the apples, even though they kept filling the bag with rotten apples from the ground! Oh well, we pulled those out when they weren't looking and moved on.
The orchard had other fun things to do, like a play train, a sand box, a little choo-choo wagon, a petting zoo, a hay pile to climb, and facepainting. But, by the time we picked apples and made our way toward the extras, it was creeping up on naptime, so we didn't participate much. Though, we did take our "How tall this fall?" Photos! Unfortunately, B&H both thought the "apple happy" was so cute that they just wanted to stare at it and not turn around for the picture. :)
It was a wonderful day. Oh yes, the Lord IS good to me!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Pure Joy

When you are 1-3/4 years old, Pure Joy is running down a hill at top speed.

When you're 30-some years old, Pure Joy is watching these faces come barreling at you, ready for a hug.

Friday, September 21, 2012

FDP - the very delayed edition

Holy Moly.

It's been like 2 months since I did a Friday Phone Dump. Whoops. Here's a smattering of recent photos to enjoy!

Clockwise from top right:
- Momma & Daddy at the Twins game
- Ben being sassy during breakfast
- Hannah loves Play-Do day!
- Three buddies (B, H, and Mary) watch the leaves blow around
- Hannah enjoys storytime
- Hannah & Daddy outside on a chilly morn
- Ben eating snack at the mall
- B&H shaking glitter at our art class

Here's hopin' I don't wait 2 months again before doing another phone dump!

Quote of the Day

Recently, I saw this book called My Quotable Kid at a few cute little stores around town. I very nearly bought it. I thought with the rate Ben & Hannah are learning new words and phrases, it would come in handy. But then I remembered the nearly-empty pregnancy journal I have and the barely-filled-in baby books for the kids. So, I didn't buy it.
 Instead, I'm going to take a cue from our neighbor Kati (who is Callie's mom, and Callie happens to be one of B&H's favorite people because she's such a big kid - she's 2.5!). Kati started documenting funny things Callie says on her blog, so I'm following suit! Introducing B&H's first Quote of the Day entry!

Lately, Ben has been really interested in pulling my shirt out and looking down it. Sometimes he even sticks his hands down my shirt. Once he was doing that and I said, "You don't need to touch mom's boobs."

To which Ben spent about 1/2 hour saying, "Momma has boobs. Momma has boobs." And when he said "Daddy has boobs" I corrected him. The QOTD then became, "Momma has boobs. Daddy no boobs."

Who knew I was teaching anatomy over here?!

No doubt saying something sassy at breakfast

Friday, September 14, 2012

Keep Your Day

Photo (c) Cider Press Studios, Oct. 2011.
This week marked the beginning of another fun year of meetings with my Moms of Multiples group. We meet once a month - usually we have a speaker come to teach us something. Usually, the speakers are ... OK... just good enough to get out of the house for a night and whisper in the back with your friends.

Not this month. Oh no.

This month Willow Sweeney came to talk to us. I first heard Willow speak at the Minnesota Mothers of Multiples yearly convention in April. She's dynamic. She's engaging. She has a powerful message. I'm beyond happy that our club brought her to our meeting this week. Writing simple sentences about how great she is doesn't really do her any justice. She's great. Trust me.

I've been on a "Willow High" this week, particularly on one point she made: Keep Your Day. In a nutshell, Keep Your Day means that we're all going to die and our days on earth are limited. So why waste a day with negative thinking?

I took this one step further and thought that not only are my days numbered (hopefully, I have a VERY LARGE number of days left, though), but more important, the days when my kids are toddlers are numbered. I mean, the days when they were infants are already gone. Soon they won't be toddlers anymore - they'll be in school, they'll be driving, they'll go to college, soon they'll be married and on their own. Their days as children are numbered.

And here I go again - back to the "my kids are growing up too fast" sob story. But seriously. This will all be gone and over before I know it. In a blink of an eye, they will be grown.

So, I've spent this week "keeping my days" with them. We kept to our regular routine. YMCA, storytime class, ECFE, walks around the block, and so on. But I opened my eyes. I looked around. I hugged and held hands. I kissed and got kissed. I tickled. I played. I sat on the floor and built blocks for an hour. I watched them go up and down the slide. I lay under the trees and watched the clouds. I picked up sticks. I read extra stories. I loved and loved and loved.

It was a great week. I encourage you to Keep Your Days with your kid(s), too. It's worth it.

And, it just so happened that I found this quote above on Pinterest this week.  It fit perfectly with my feelings from this week! Someone else had created a photo with the quote written on it. I wanted to put the picture on this post, so I made my own! I have very elementary skills at photo editing, but I think it turned it out OK.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fall Evenings

Since last summer, I've made it a point to get the kids out of the house after supper and before bedtime. I am convinced the fresh air is good for us all and helps them sleep. In 2010, our "outside" time was putting B&H in a stroller and going for a walk. That's when they were babies. Now they are toddlers. They don't wanna sit in a stroller, like, ever.

So, we have spent the summer walking (they walk) up and down the block, saying hi to neighbors, coloring with sidewalk chalk, going through the sprinkler, and just hanging around outside.

Tonight, both B&H said "backyard" - so out we went to play. They literally did this for 45 minutes.

Next time they say "backyard" I'm going to bring a book and a glass of lemonade with me!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Come Lord Jesus

I'm trying - trying so hard! - to get in the habit of saying the Come Lord Jesus. It is something we did before eating when I was growing up and it has such a calming, grounding effect. I remember crazy Christmases at my Grandma Vernie's house, everyone scrambling to set the table, play, open stockings, talking above each other, laughing, having a good ol' time. But when we said the prayer, we all calmed down and were united.

Come Lord Jesus
Be Our Guest
Let These Gifts
To Us Be Blessed

There are times I remember fighting over who got to say the prayer; there are times I remember fighting over NOT wanting to say the prayer. There are times it seemed like a chore and times I didn't really understand what we were saying.

But you know what? Whenever I hear the Come Lord Jesus, I think of my Grandma and my aunts and my dad and my cousins an the wonderful times we had when I was a child. I also think of the strife and difficult times when we had to come together for illnesses and funerals. The Come Lord Jesus is such a part of my upbringing. I'm sad I let it slip away for the past 10 years. But I want my kids to have the same connection to our family that I have through a simple dinner prayer.

So, we've started saying it before meals. We haven't really gotten into who Jesus was and why we are praying and being thankful for our food. We're just saying it. And sometimes we say it before the meal. But most of the time I forget and we end up stopping eating and saying it in the middle.

Oh well.

Ben and Hannah like saying the Come Lord Jesus, though. They fold their hands and say amen at the end. Maybe they can feel Grandma Vernie watching them from heaven with approval. Or maybe there is something calming about the text. Or maybe it's just something new they are learning and they take pride in doing it.

For what ever the reason they like it, we are going to keep doing it. And we'll keep doing it even when they DON'T like it. Those are the most important times to pray, aren't they?

Maybe once we master the Come Lord Jesus, we'll practice my Grandpa Cal's prayer, which everyone has a different version of what we thought he was saying. I remember it as: "Bless this food for thy youth and thy service. In Jesus name we pray, Amen." Of course, I don't think that's what the prayer actually is. Grandpa Cal mumbled so much during the prayer I could never understand him. In fact, the mumbling became more legendary than the prayer itself!

What is/was your family prayer?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Cookie Monsters!

Or Monster Cookies?

Fall is in the air. The high temp the other day was a balmy 67 degrees. So naturally I feel the need to add an extra layer of insulation to my body and baked cookies. Seriously. Run 5 miles, then eat 4 cookies. It's no wonder!

Anyway, B&H were very helpful moods after nap, so they "helped" me make cookies. They especially liked the "nemnems" (M&Ms) and eating them before putting them in the cookie dough. I can see Halloween is going to be more fun hyper-active this year.

The end result was a delicious Monster Cookie and a Giant Mess. With the good comes the bad. Such is life, no?

Here's the recipe for these cookies!
Courtesy of Recipe Girl

1 1/2 cups creamy or chunky peanut butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated white sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup M&M's plain chocolate candies


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray cookie sheets with nonstick spray, or line with parchment paper or a silpat mats.
2. In a large bowl, combine the peanut butter with the sugars and butter. Use an electric mixer to mix until well combined. Mix in the eggs and vanilla. Mix in the oats and baking soda. Then stir in the chips and M&M's.
3. Drop the cookies by heaping spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets. If you'd like your cookies to look pretty (like the photo), dot a few extra M&M's and chocolate chips on each mound of dough before baking.
4. Bake 10 to 12 minutes. Do not overbake. Cool for 5 minutes on cookie sheets until cookies are set. Transfer to wire racks; cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Mmmm. That's a good cookie!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Bye-Bye Mullet

I've not hidden the fact that my son was sporting a mullet for the past 6 months or so. I'm even kind of proud of it. I loved his baby curls and long wispy hair. I loved to run my hand through the long part in the back while giving him hugs and I loved in photos when the mullet got wild and fly-away.

However, I know when too much is too much. Today Ben got his first haircut. It went .... okay.

There were some tears at first, mostly from Ben, but a few from me, too.

 Then he got really stoic and just sat there. He wasn't really watching Elmo. He wasn't really looking in the mirror. He wasn't really paying attention to what was happening with the haircutter. He just sat there.

In the end, though, he was happy. I mean, a sticker does that for ya, right? And he looks pretty darn good, even if he's mullet-free and will have to stay that way for the next 83.5 years. That's right: I hereby forbid Ben from having a mullet again until he's 85 years old!

Bye-Bye Mullet!

Lookin' pretty darn good.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Get-Together

As previewed in this previous post, we had a whirlwind Labor Day weekend. The madness started on Friday when we went to the Minnesota State Fair!

First stop, after a GIANT cinnamon roll, was to find a silly hat. One cannot explore the fair without wearing a silly hat. We happened upon these chicken hats. The kids loved them. In fact, I think Hannah still has hers stashed somewhere in the living room and still wears it. 
Then, just around the corner, we found this AWESOME bubble machine! The kids were in State Fair heaven. I think they would have stayed there all day if we would have let them.
After a snack (always a snack at the Fair!), we found our way to the Little Farmhands exhibit - a recommendation from my mom friends. It proved to be a fun hit! I'm sure next year it'll be even more exciting when B&H can really get into it!

By then, it was getting hot and busy so we made a beeline to the Miracle of Birth Center where Ben fell in love with these baby chickens:

After some Sweet Martha's Cookies and a glass of milk, we were all ready to go home. Messy, but ready!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Golden Age of Toddlers

Today Ben & Hannah turn 21 months old. Long gone is what I like to refer to as the golden age of infanthood: 9 months old. I loved 9 months old. They were cute, they were alert, they were sleeping great. They sat still to take a picture (even if it came out silly like above). They were still definitely infants and not at all close to being kids. They cuddled. They loved. It was golden.

Now, before I get into a "oh, my  babies are growing up too fast, poor me!" state of mind, I've decided that 21 months might just be the golden age of toddlerhood. Here is what is good about being 21 months old:

- They speak in sentences! Ben can say 3-word sentences (my favorite being "Cookie at Target") and Hannah has got 2-word sentences down, mostly involving things being done or all gone. :)

- They (for the most part) take turns - even without reminders! For instance, we have a slide in the basement that 2 months ago was the bane of my existence. It gave way to 100s of tears every time we played on it because they didn't understand that someone else wanted to slide, too. Now? They take turns and say "Ben's turn" and "Hannie's turn" while waiting. It's so.very.sweet.

- They remember! Last night we had a babysitter and when I got B&H up this morning I asked them what they did with Maya while I was gone. They both said "Maya color!" and "Maya sprinkler!" I could tell just by looking around that they were right. The coloring supplies were out and the sprinkler was in the lawn. They remembered what they did the day before!

- They have true passions for things they love! Like trains. And babies. And kitties and doggies. And coloring. And airplanes. And Elmo. And Curious George. And the library. And the zoo. And Target.

- They have friends! There's no denying B&H like to play with other kids. When we see Z&K at the Y, it totally makes their day! And the days we we get together with our neighbor M and her mom, they are in heaven and talk about it for hours later. It's so great to see how social they are becoming! (It helps me, too, since I like to be social as well!)

- They are BIG KIDS! They sit at the table in boosters now. They walk with me in and out of stores, they Y, church, etc. They follow directions and listen. They understand when they are doing something they aren't. We started Time Out this month, mostly to manage dining behaviors. They understand when I say "We don't throw food at the table. If you throw food again, you will go to timeout. This is your only reminder." If they do it again, they go to time out and 90% of the time they don't do it again at that meal. Whew!

Life is good with these toddlers. We are excited for Fall and have enrolled in several activities to keep ourselves busy. We'll be doing an art class at the nearby community center on Mondays, storytime class with Teacher Sara at the Red Balloon, and ECFE on Thursdays. Plus our near-daily trips to the Y, we'll be set for fall. This Momma likes to be busy and her kids are the same way!

21 months! That's one-and-three-quarters-year old. So very close to 2. Holy Moly! My babies are growing up too fast! Poor me!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Summer Fare-thee-Well

Even though the kids are not in school {yet - I fear this day is coming faster than I am prepared for!} and I am not back teaching {yet - though I don't have plans to do so anytime soon} our family did bid a great big fare-thee-well to summer this past Labor Day weekend.

Here's the quick version. Long versions to come soon.

Friday, Aug. 31st, we visited the Minnesota State Fair!

Then on Saturday, we headed to the Minnesota Transportation Museum.

Sunday, we took a ride on the Light Rail and went downtown Minneapolis for the morning.

Monday, Labor Day, we stayed home and had a relaxing day. We went to Target, then ate lunch, then had Dairy Queen. It was a busy weekend and we had to wind down!

More details of these adventures to come soon! Happy back to school all!!