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. 🙂

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.

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).

My love/hate relationship with parenting books

I have a love/hate relationship with parenting books.  I love them because when I pick one up I am hopeful it will hold the solution to whatever problem I am facing at the moment that seems so overwhelming.  And I despise them because they have a way of making you feel like a failure when the advice doesn’t work.  (Also, who has time to read an entire book.  I wound up skimming most of the book, and read in depth the sections that I really needed.  I think all parenting books need to come with pamphlets, with the main points of the whole book in bullet-point sections.)

I’ve consulted with the professionals in the book on a couple different issues: Sleep, introducing solids, getting the girls to sleep all night, and how to manage misbehaviors.  Oh yeah, and how to get them to sleep through the night.

Sleep

The book says: Put your child down from day1 sleepy, but awake.  That way, they can learn to soothe themselves to sleep.

My experience: Hahahahahaha!!  Our transfers to the crib would go something like this: YES! Baby is almost asleep.  Shhh….tiptoe to the crib.  Put her down.  No, don’t open your eyes.  Oh, please don’t scrunch your face like that, because that scrunchy face is followed by a cry.  No, don’t scream.  Please don’t scream.  You’re going to wake up your sister!!  Okay, okay.  Baby wins.

Wouldn’t it be nice if baby’s sleep came natural?  But when we put our newborn down, they didn’t go to sleep.  They cry.  And you can’t let a newborn “cry-it-out.”  It’s just plain cruel.

Reality: When the babies started crying, and it was 2 AM I just held that baby or let them comfort nurse to let them sleep, which in turn meant that I could get at least a few minutes of sleep.

The book says: Feed the baby on a schedule, and have naps at set times.

Our experience: This worked after awhile.  I finally got the girls on the same schedule when the girls were five months old.  Katherine liked to sleep for 2-3 hours at a time.  Layla?  No more than 90 minutes.

Reality: The babies were the bosses for awhile and ran the show.

Introducing Solids

The book says: Introduce solids at six months.  Start with rice cereal mixed with formula or breast milk.  Then move on to pureed vegetables.  Just keep trying every day at the same time.

Our experience: Our girls didn’t like anything until about fourteen months, unless it was a cracker.  Or cheese!  Katherine just simply refused to open her mouth for the spoon, and would occasionally eat finger foods.  Layla was the opposite.  She had trouble chewing finger foods, and sometimes she would let us feed her with the spoon.  Other days, it would have been easier to try and spoon feed an alligator.

Reality: The girls ate solids when they were ready.

Breastfeeding

The book says: Don’t introduce bottles too early or it can create “nipple-confusion.”

My experience: My girls used bottles for awhile, then because of painful latching while they were nursing I decided to stop bottle feeding for awhile.  Wrong choice.  They decided they didn’t want bottles after that.

Reality: For the sake of sanity, bottles would have been nice to be able to offer.

Some people swear by certain parenting books.  And to them, I say “Congratulations! Great!  Fantastic! I’m happy for you!”  But for the others who scratch their head after all the tips in the parenting books fail, I understand.  And in the end, regardless of if the books work or don’t, we as parents typically find what works for our children and for our own families.  We modify, adapt and make something work.  Of course, maybe if I actually read the whole book instead of reading only the first half and then skimming the second half, maybe I would have a higher success rate!


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

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? 🙂

Zebra did it.

Zebra

Zebra did it!

My girls are always surprising me with how much they know, understand, and new concepts they are learning.  For example, we have been working on animal sounds and names and I didn’t think the girls were getting it until a few weeks ago when I was driving home from a nearby city, and the girls were tired of being cooped up in the car.  To try and keep them semi-entertained I started asking them what certain animals said, and they could do about half a dozen sounds all on their own.  It was so exciting to see that they had been listening and learning and it had finally clicked

That was one example of something we have been working with the girls on, but this next story was something that was completely unprompted by my husband or I.  It was completely from the brilliant (and slightly mischievousness little mind of of our little Layla (and I wouldn’t have it any other way 🙂 ).

We have a subscription to Netflix and let the girls watch Sesame Street on our laptop upstairs in the living room.  When we do this, they are not allowed to touch the computer.  This past Sunday my husband and I were eating our supper in the dining room while the girls finished their show.  We were talking, and in the background we heard Elmo stop and then Layla say loudly, “UH-OH.”  (I love how she tells on herself!)

I get my game face on, walked into the living room and sternly asked Layla, “Layla, did you touch the computer?”  Layla, who was standing close to the computer, shook her head then held up her stuffed zebra and said proudly “CESS-A!” (Cessa is how she said zebra right now.)  I asked her, “Zebra touched the computer and paused Elmo?”  She nodded her little head and said, “CESSA!”

I lost it.  I cracked up and had to leave the room because I couldn’t keep a straight face.  Pretty soon I heard the computer start up again only to pause a short while later so Eloy went into the room and told her, “No, Layla.  Don’t touch the computer.”  Layla again indicated that it was her zebra who did it, so Eloy looked at the zebra and said, “No, no zebra.  We don’t touch the computer.  Do you need to go to your crib?”  Layla then said, “No, no cessa.”  She had a little grin that said, “Haha!  I fooled you mom and dad!”

And what was I doing?  Laughing hysterically in the kitchen.  I’m so glad that Eloy took this one, though I’m sure my cackles of laughter weren’t really helping.