I just wanted to go to Target.

Target Shopping Carts
Getting anywhere on time is impossible.  Let me rephrase.  Getting anywhere is impossible.  Anyone else feel the same?  I see moms walk into library programs late looking a little frazzled.  I hope that they don’t think that there is any judgement in my eyes because I get it.  In order to get somewhere I typically start two hours in advance getting everyone dressed, fed, and out the door.  And I still wind up leaving late.

Today was one of those days.  We have a wedding tomorrow and I am trying to responsible and purchase a gift prior to the day of the wedding, so I am being extra prepared!

I was feeling extra motivated this morning to get all three of us out of the house and head to the store.  Usually I don’t try and go to the store with all three girls because the process is crazy, and when we get to the store it takes five times longer to get it than if I had just waited for my husband to stay home with the girls and I run into the store.

But as I said, I was feeling positive that today would be an easy day to just run to the store.  Two of my girls already had clothes on, and In theory, all we should have had to do was the following:

  1. Twin girls Katherine and Layla go to the bathroom.
  2. Katherine gets on clothes.
  3. Twin girls put on shoes.
  4. Twins get hair brushed.
  5. Baby gets a diaper change.
  6.  Mom puts on shoes.
  7. Leave the house.

But an hour later, we still hadn’t left.  This is what happened.

Me: Girls, we’re going to the store.  We all need to go to the bathroom.

Katherine: I DON’T WANT TO GO.  I JUST WENT TO THE BATHROOM!  Throws a fit then goes to the bathroom, and then walks around butt-naked because she doesn’t want to put her underwear on by herself.

Layla: I just went Mommy.

Me: You’re right, thank you for reminding me.  Katherine thanks for going potty.  Let’s get your underwear on.  You try for a couple minutes and then if you can’t get it I’ll help you.

K: I DON’T WANT TO TRY.  IT’S TOO TRICKY.  (Now, let me tell you that her idea of trying is to sit down and start crying.  We’re working on her giving an honest effort, so we walk her through step by step.  Usually we are successful after a looooong fit.) Insert a 15 minute fit.

By this point, the usually happy Josephine is now cranky and ready for a nap so I nurse her and try putting her in the crib.  She doesn’t fall asleep because she has a leaky diaper and needs not only a new diaper but a new outfit.

I finally talk Katherine through putting her underwear on, and she is so excited that she did it all by herself.

So now, we’ve checked off #1, 2, and we’re ready for #3.  Which just happens to cause another fit.  Do you see a theme for this morning?  Can you guess who was throwing it? 🙂

15 minutes later and 2,000 tears later we have shoes on.

Thankfully, the hair brushing is smooth-sailing.  I leave the living room and go to the bathroom and go get a drink and a handful of trail mix.  I come back into the living room and am greeting with marker-covered faces.  Layla looks like she was trying to put on eye liner.  Katherine informs me that they were putting on make-up so they could go to the store.  A little surprising since I have put on make-up maybe a couple dozen times since they were born three years ago.

At this point (about an hour later), I am done, and Josephine is definitely needing to go down for a nap.  So she goes to the crib and I write this post.  As soon as I am done, I will be scrubbing off markers from my precious cherubs’ faces.

And when the baby wakes up we’ll start the process all over again.  Then again, maybe I’ll just wait until we leave for the wedding and run in and grab a gift card. 🙂

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Why my husband is a great father

Toy Truck

When I was dating Eloy I had quite a few opportunities to see him with little kids.  But nothing could prepare me for how great of a father he would be for our three little girls.  (We have twins who turn three next month, and a seven month old baby.)

Every night before my husband heads to bed, he always checks on the girls.  For the baby it means turning off her lamp and tucking the blanket around her nice and snug.  If she fell asleep with her lovie on top of her face he gently removes it and puts it within reach.  Can’t forget the kiss!  For the older girls he usually has to carry them back to bed.  For some reason, they fall asleep on the floor.  Before he can tuck them into bed he has to remove the pile of books they have fallen asleep in bed with (or on top of!).  Then he tucks them into bed and gives them a kiss.  I love to stand at the doorway and watch this simple act of love from father to daughters.  It always brings a smile to my face and peace to my heart.  This man loves his little girls and would do anything for them.

The feeling is reciprocated too.  His little girls love him!  Most mornings, Eloy leaves for work before the girls and I wake up.   And every morning the girls ask, “Mom, where’s Daddy?”  Me: “Daddy’s at work.”   And some other time throughout the day, they ask again just to make sure that the answer hasn’t changed.  Sometimes, when I feel that little tinge of annoyance at getting asked the same question again I start acting goofy and say, “Daddy flew to the moon,” which always gets a little giggle from the girls.  They just want to make sure he isn’t going to get away from them, and that he is coming back!

Sometimes when Josephine (our baby) is crying I’ll say out loud to the older girls, “I don’t know why she is so cranky!”  My girls usually respond with, “It’s because she misses her Daddy.”

When Eloy does make it back after work, the girls are so excited to see him.  Tonight, he watched them while I taught a piano lesson and I kept hearing my girls giggle.  I asked him later what was going on and found out he had been doing a puppet show, and making their dolls talk to them.  Other nights it’s truck and car noises.  Every time he does things like that he is making memories for these girls that they are going to cherish for the rest of their lives.

Eloy walks through the door and walks past Josephine, she gets so mad and starts crying until he picks her up.  It is pretty stinking adorable.  When she hears his voice she always perks up.  There have been many times when I swore she was asleep and she hears Eloy’s voice.  What does she do?  Her eyes pop open and she twists her body around trying to find her Daddy.  She loves her Daddy!

Things can get a little crazy with several little kiddos, but I am lucky to have such a great partner to raise these kids with.  I know that work can be stressful for him, and sometimes coming home to crying kids, blowouts, and a cranky wife isn’t easy either.  I just want him to know that his greatness as a father isn’t being overlooked, and I love him more for it.  

I love you Eloy, and thanks for being an amazing father to our three little blessings.

Thirsting for community

There are so many days when staying at home is a joy.  And there some days when I just feel alone and isolated.  I say this not to complain about staying at home with my children, which I love, but to acknowledge and share something that I feel is missing in our society.

Awhile back, my husband and I started a documentary called “Bela Fleck: Throw Down Your Heart” about the American banjo.  I never finished it, so I can’t tell you what I think of the whole thing.  But there was one scene that has stuck with me, and brings a longing to my heart every time I see it.  When I saw it the first time, I was in such a lonely place I was trying not to cry.  (Yes, leave it to me to find something to cry about in a documentary about banjos!)

In this scene, women in the Village of Nakisenyi in Africa are gathered outside around some pans laid on the dirt.  Some are crouched over the pans, washing dishes.  Others are standing or sitting around, singing a lively call and response song.  Nearby, the children are around, playing together. What strikes me is that the women are not holed up in their homes, doing their own dishes after eating by themselves.  They are working together.  It is a community job.  They work together to do a task that we do on our own.  They are sharing each other’s daily burdens.  And what better way to get something done than to sing while you do it?

The next scene is in the same village, of a big group of villagers singing and playing instruments.  There is a HUGE marimba made out of logs.  The marimba must be 10 feet long, resting on the ground.  It is so long there must be five men playing it, each with two sticks.  Standing around them are more people singing and playing other instruments.  Some are clapping if they don’t have another instrument.  Everyone seems to be enjoying themselves.  The children are nearby in a group, dancing and clapping.

Something about that struck a chord in my heart.  These people do not have fancy houses, the newest gadgets, or in-style clothes.  But what they do have is something I crave – a true, ever-present community. We are so busy in our individual family lives, we miss out on the joys of living in a community.  

Think about it.  We wake up in our own little houses, get in our cars with the windows up, do our business, then drive back to our houses.  Our evenings are spent doing things for our individual families – grocery shopping, dance lessons, softball games.

When we finally get together with another family, it usually involves this complicated dance around each family’s schedule – so much that a simple dinner requires families to reserve a date several months in advance.  Even play dates can take weeks to plan out. Some days I wish for a simpler life.  A life where I know my neighbors and they know me.  A life where we don’t have to work so hard to get together.  

45 Simple Things that Make my Children Smile

It has been awhile (about a year!) since I blogged.  I stopped writing since I wasn’t feeling the best – I had “morning sickness” all day long.  And then I just got lazy. 🙂

We welcomed our newest addition to our family on 12-12-2012, a joyous occasion!  Josephine is a sweet and easy-going baby, though I think she is going to be a handful when she starts moving.  She is never still – always busy.

Over the past three years of being a mom, I have come to the conclusion that children do not require much to make them happy.  Even as babies, they only need food, clean diapers and a face to smile at.

I don’t think much changes as they grow into toddlers.  Simple toys and activities are best.  Who needs expensive toys, just give them some of the plastic and cardboard recyclables!  They don’t need a water park, just fill up the kitchen sink with bubbles and water.

Most important, they do not require much of us, their parents, but our time, which for some reason is sometimes the hardest to give.  Such a simple request, with such a joyous outcome.

I was reminded of this today, as I looked for ways to bring about joy to their faces.  Here’s a list of some of the things that make my children smile and giggle with happiness.

  1. Marshmallow cereal.
  2. Recyclables.
  3. Dance parties.
  4. Smiling at them.
  5. Praising them for something they did right or well.
  6. Their sisters.
  7. Silly noises.
  8. Drawing.
  9. Scissors.
  10. Playing with them.
  11. Imagination.
  12. Reading to them.
  13. Pushing little carts in the grocery store.
  14. Tickle wars.
  15. Sneaking a sip of Daddy’s frappuccino.
  16. Their favorite pajamas or shirts, clean and ready to wear.
  17. Electronics.
  18. Trips to the park.
  19. Friends.
  20. Accomplishing a new task for the first time.
  21. Babies.
  22. Putting a puzzle together.
  23. Family movie nights.
  24. Popcorn.
  25. Story time.
  26. Pretending to be a baby so we carry them.
  27. Hugs and kisses.
  28. Grandparents.
  29. Aunts and uncles.
  30. Water play.  (Outside pool time, or inside playing with bubbles in the sink.)
  31. Sand.
  32. Gardening.
  33. Roly polies. (Poor things.)
  34. M&Ms.
  35. Stickers.
  36. Laundry baskets.
  37. Pictures of themselves when they were babies.
  38. Hearing stories about what they did when they were babies.
  39. Baby wipes. (Who knew they would love to clean so much?)
  40. Rocks.
  41. Mud!
  42. Necklaces.
  43. Painting toenails/fingernails.
  44. Crazy hair.
  45. Large cardboard boxes (The ones dishwashers come in, or even the value packs of diapers.  Either way, they love to climb in and play).

Cute/Funny things my children did this week

I love the stage my twins are in right now.  They are learning so much, they love to imitate, and they are learning how to interact with others.  These past couple weeks they have done a few things that I thought would be fun to share with you.

A helping hand

For Christmas the girls each got a little pink “car” to ride on.  It has a handle on the back so it can be pushed, or the girls can get on the car and use their feet to propel it.  Before this week they hadn’t really paid a whole lot of attention to them.  And then they realized they could chase each other in them.  Pretty soon I heard giggles up and down our hallway where Layla went first and Katherine following close behind.

When they were done chasing each other, they went to move onto the next toy.  Now, Katherine hasn’t mastered getting off the cart gracefully and will ask for help.  I was getting ready to go over to help the other day, when I saw Layla go over and give Katherine her hand to help her out.  Katherine stood up with the help of Layla, and then told Layla “thank you.”  The girls kept right on playing.  It melted my heart to see one girl helping the other one out.

I need Mommy!

The girls are starting to put words into phrases.  Most of them are two words together.  But recently Katherine put together a phrase of her own.  I first heard it when she ran out of food and I didn’t notice right away, and she very urgently told me, “I need more!”  (emphasis on the word more).

Then, a few days later I left my girls with a friend for a few hours.  I walked into the house and started talking.  Katherine heard me from another room and started running for me saying “Mommy, Mommy,” followed by a very clear “I NEED MOMMY!”

I have to admit that was one of my favorite moments of being a mommy so far.

Bottoms Up

Bottoms

Bottoms up!

Eloy always checks on the girls before he heads to bed.  It has been his thing since the first day they came home.  Two nights ago Eloy came into our bedroom laughing and waved at me to come into the girls’ room.  “Get in here and look at your girl.”

I walked in and saw Katherine first.  Nothing new there.  She was sleeping peacefully. Then I looked at Layla.  She was sleeping on her tummy, bottom in the air.  With her diaper off.  :-O  Now, I have found her after nap time with her diaper half un-strapped and down around her knees (with poop!) but this was a first.  She had never before taken her diaper off before she fell asleep.  We rolled her onto her back and put her diaper back on.  She just looked at us with sleepy eyes that said, “Mom and Dad, what are you doing in my room at night waking me up.”

Now, for a while, she will be sleeping in onesies and pants!

“I love you!”

The girls can now say “I love you” and it melts my heart every time.  The “L’s” sound more like soft “Y’s” making it even more adorable.  Tonight we put the girls down for bed as usual.  I heard Layla kind of singing in her crib.  And then I heard Katherine say “Layla! Layla!  I love you!”

If these girls get any more lovable, I’m not sure my heart can take it.

I love you

“Bleep! #@*%” “QUARTER!”

Coin Jar
I’ll be honest with you. Before college I never used many cuss words. And then, without the parents around to give me that “glare” if I used a naughty word, I slipped into the habit of using more “colorful language.”

Then, after being married a couple of years my husband and I found out we were pregnant (yay!). One of the things we decided to battle before the kids arrived was our bad language that we didn’t want our kids to pick up on.

Our initial attempts went something like this:

3 months to due date

Me:D#*@ it! I can’t find my shoes.

Eloy: What happened to not cussing?

Me: S@$! We still have a while. Who cares.

3 months after girls were born

Eloy: Why the h*@^ can’t you go to sleep? It’s 3 in the morning!! Please go to sleep!

Me: What happened to not cussing?

Eloy: They can’t understand us yet.

Me: No, but it won’t be long!

And then our new solution

Every time we said a bad word, we would tell each other “quarter,” which we were supposed to then owe into a college fund for the girls. For the next 6 months we used that cue all the time. Unfortunately, we never got a jar out. Otherwise we might have had a pretty good start on the college fund by now.
Quarters

If we’re quiet, you’d better come find us!

My younger sister used to have a shirt with the saying, “If I’m quiet, you better come find me!”  We bought it for her because it fit her perfectly when she was a toddler.  Now, I’m wishing my mom had kept it and could pass it on to my children.

Here are the mishaps from two days ago.

FIVE DIFFERENT OUTFIT CHANGES

Four of them were Layla’s.  Who do you think is more in need of the shirt at this point 🙂

Outfit #1 and #2: Apparently there was a leaky sippie cup that I didn’t catch, causing two different outfit changes.  The first was just the pair of Layla’s pants that got soaked.  The second happened during a Curious George – Layla was sitting on the couch and both her and couch were soaked!  And don’t just think that the sippie cup leaked.  I know for a fact that she was holding the cup upside down saying, “AGUA!”  and then Katherine would giggle and say, “UH-OH”.

Outfit #3: Apple juice.  I put their apple juice in a cup that apparently sprinkles the water out when you turn it upside down and shake.  I found dribbles of it all over their play room.  Any horizontal surface, or any toy that was exposed to air was covered in speckles of apple juice.  Did I also mention that Layla had sprinkled her sister’s head with apple juice too?  And somehow, in this process Layla had gotten soaked from head to foot.  Again.

Outfit #4: This was an incident involving bubbles – Layla doesn’t understand that she doesn’t need to put the bubble wand on her mouth, so the bubble water drips down her chin, onto her neck, onto her shirt.  By the end of the hour long bubble blowing session the entire front side of her shirt and the top part of her capris was soaked.  It incredibly cute to watch her blow bubbles!

Outfit #5: Katherine was easy.  She just had one outfit change – a blowout!  And the best part was that it was on Eloy’s shift so I didn’t have to worry about it 🙂

Always count the crayons you give your children

Crayon Lineup

Count your Crayons

I used to count the crayons before and after the girls were done coloring.  And then I got lazy.  And a couple of times the girls even found a stray crayon and right away gave it to me.  But then yesterday, they found a blue crayon laying around.  Non-washable.  And they colored all over their new plastic play house as well as one of their seats.  Thank goodness for 409 cleaner.

And where was I? Cleaning up from lunch.  Does this mean I get out of doing dishes? 🙂