Saturday, December 27, 2008

Ahhh, Christmas Break

I told Jared this is his first break, since having the boys, where I feel like I am on vacation too. He is around all morning helping me keep up with the boys and cleaning so by the time they nap I am literally looking around the house and there is little to do. Soooo this week their naps have involved me crawling back into bed with a book, or baking, or watching TV and letting my brain zone out, or taking a ridiculously long shower that involves the hot water running out (I know not very "green" of me but it was only once :) ). Mmmm it has been lovely and I am feeling very well rested and rejuvenated. I know this is what "breaks" our supposed to be but they take on a whole new meaning when you have children.

My google reader account has NO NEW ITEMS. This is a feat in itself because I thoroughly enjoy blog reading but typically squeeze it in when Jared is watching something I am not into and the boys are sleeping which is not that often so I usually have a TON of unread items. So it has been nice catching up with friends and family and just enjoying this new kind of break with my kids who are starting to stir and will be ready for their breakfast. Time to go!

Cousins, Cousins, Everywhere

O.K. I get, I get it! I now understand why when I casually mentioned, (alright, mentioned incessantly) that we should try and get a picture of all of the kids for Christmas, my two dear sisters, that have had children the longest, sighed loudly and did a slight eye roll. I am pretty sure no explanation for their response is necessary. Simply have a look at these pics.

The hilarity began when Olivia who weighs less, much less, than Eli insisted upon holding him. 2 seconds into this process she remarked "He is a BIG ONE!"

Here is one where you can actually see all of them (Colin, Jackson, Olivia, Bella, Eli, Celia, Alli, Alex). Hmm, whose kids were the worst? Definitely NOT mine, no way!

Sweet, Celia (the oldest cousin) was as determined as I was to get this picture. Alex seems to be saying "Oy vey! (in his best yiddish) Does Daddy know she is putting us through this???

I guess you could say "live and learn" but I find these pictures funny and would like to continue this tradition! :0 I know I am a glutton for punishment.

20 months old and then some!

Pic #1 The boys enjoy eating their raisins out of their own little box. (As a bonus, the process takes longer than when I plop some on their tray). Pic #2 At this stage they both become frustrated when they are unable to do things. Here I believe Eli was trying to shove a square into a round hole, literally. Pic #3 Their walking toys are their absolute favorite right now (pre-Christmas toys). Pics #4-6 Alex enjoying Daddy's old winter hat from his childhood. (I couldn't pic just one of these pics). There is definitely a "Brady Bunch" thing going on in those pics of Alex. Sorry I am a child of the 70/80's.

Alex and Eli turned 20 months on the 18th and I have yet to post about what they are up to. It has been a tad crazy in our household but I thought I should at least jot down a few things. The biggest thing I have noticed in the past month is their increasing vocabulary. Eli has always been the chatty one but Alex is on his heels lately. It is funny to Jared and I that Eli is the talker because he is just like Daddy in every other way. But, this chattiness and his curly hair come straight from Mama! Eli's favorite word right now is "NO". He usually follows this with another quick "no". It is rarely one and is said quickly "no, no". Alex has followed suit this past week and now we have two children who can protest our desires. It also comes in handy though when you actually want their opinion. They have begun to speak and repeat phrases also. This is mainly Eli although Alex says phrases too you cannot understand most of his. I blame the binky but don't want to discuss weaning him from it at this point. Eli says "Where are you?" "Where going?" "it nowing" (this means there is snow on the ground which will be there for the next f ew months but in his eyes "it is snowing") and several others that I cannot think of currently. He also says family members names which is earning him major brownie points with his aunts! I'm tellin' ya these boys know what they are doing. :) Alex has begun to say "binky", "Becky" (yeah, I love that one) and "no", as I mentioned and continues with other one word "sentences".

One of my favorite things Alex is doing right now is "eskimo kisses". He loves doing this with me and it is precious. Eli is giving kisses all around too. Just last night he kept trying to kiss Alli (my 18 month old niece). She was gracious enough to put up with it though, so it was cute.
Overall I feel like it is getting easier in ways (since the plague left our house, that is) except for the fights. These are a bit exhausting however I have learned to give it a few seconds before intervening because, oddly enough, they often work it out themselves. I know I am the mother of boys when I wait for a hurt scream before I intervene. Yikes! They have also begun to wrestle and rough house with one another. It is like they are becoming friends. So cute!
This particular picture isn't exactly depicting the "friend" part! :) This may be my final attempt at a "chair pic" for a while.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

"Let me at 'em Daddy, Let me at 'em!"

This bus was as much as a gift for me as it was for them. They tend to fight over the one that we have so now there are two!

Christmas has been wonderful so far. I am really enjoying it all through Alex and Eli's eyes. Right now they are supposed to be napping but after all the fun these past few days they are just screaming and laughing with one another (very funny to listen to). Last night we spent time with Jared's family at Nana and Papa's house. We had a great time and I laughed a lot which is always fun. The boys loved their presents and were very spoiled! They walked away last night with lots of new toys and bellies full of yummy Christmas goodies.

This morning we had a mellow morning at home just Jared, me and the boys. We had a nice breakfast. I even broke out the china which looked "charming" with the plastic sippy cups and bowls. The boys enjoyed their egg casserole but they devoured the cinnamon rolls. Yes, plural. Unfortunately, they LOVE baked goods but we rarely let them have them so it was extra special. Eli kept saying "mmm, mmmm". After breakfast we set the boys free in the living room where their gifts were set up and their dinosaurs were perched (do they perch?) on top of the presents. (Last night as we set this up I became so very aware that I am in a house full of boys!)

The boys enjoyed opening their gifts from us and as we suspected we could have just gotten them the dollar store gifts. This Christmas we hit the dollar section of Target and picked up some dinosaurs and books and those are what they played with until we finally encouraged them to open something else. They also love their Little People Farm and their Tonka Trucks. Unfortunately, the trucks are very loud. In the store I did notice that it said that they "rumble" well this noise is nothing like a rumble I have ever heard and of course times that by 2 and Jared and I had to laugh at our "oversight". Eli literally, oohed and wohed as he opened his gifts and Alex enjoyed the ripping part. One of them would be a little faster at opening and the other one would go over to that particular toy and play with it since it was more accessible. It was a lot of fun to watch.

Tomorrow, I will have Christmas with my sisters and I am looking forward to talking with them. Although with 8 children at our feet we may not do a whole lot of talking. Regardless, it will be nice to be in the same room with them. :) I am sure we will laugh hard and eat lots. My sisters and I usually hit a point in the evening where our husbands will state "uh-oh, here we go". This means that my sisters and I have gotten a little sleepy with all that good food in our bellies and we get slap happy. Everything is hilarious to us at this point. EVERYTHING! Uh, I love it!

God has blessed our family this year as he always does and we are so grateful for this day in which we celebrate Jesus' birth. I woke way too early this morning (I think I was excited) and had a chance to read the story of Christ's birth. It is so amazing that he came so humbly for each of us. Every year the story of Christmas seems to become more real to me. I am so thankful for God's gift of his Son, Jesus!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

It's that time of the year!

In the past my sisters and I (at my urging) get together and make cookies at Christmas time. Last year we made delicious peanut butter balls (aka buckeyes) and I blame them for an additional 5 lbs that I now need to lose along with several others. So this year I decided not to make any cookies. I thought I should double check with Jared though because I know that he enjoys my baking. We decided that I would just make peanut butter blossoms (1 batch) and that would be all. I then remembered that the boys couldn't have peanut butter yet so I decided I would attempt sugar cookies AGAIN. For some strange reason I find it necessary every year to once again prove to myself that I am incapable of making pretty sugar cookies. This year I got a new icing recipe and was convinced that I would be able to pull it off. I just did round cookies and thought that I would start "simple". Here is the result.

Yah, I know. Sadly enough these are one of my better attempts. My worst one, to date, was the year that my snowmen and women looked like accident victims. Ah well there is always next year! Actually I think I am "hanging up" my sugar cookies tradition and will continue making peanut butter blossoms since they are Jared's favorite and next to impossible to screw up. Thankfully my boys loved them despite their messiness. Thanks guys!

Other than my cookie baking we are just enjoying Christmas Break. I love the fact that today I had to stop and think what day of the week it was since we have had little structure. The good news was it was only Tuesday which means there is still almost 2 weeks left of Jared's break AND he is able to walk now without crutches. We are thrilled and feel extremely blessed that we are all well.

I plan to add pictures but we are doing a complete overhaul on our computer and there are some bugs to work out. This post will have the infamous cookies (unfortunately there aren't any pics of the accident victim ones) on it, eventually, along with the boys inhaling them.

Eli with his cheeks full o' goodness

Alex enjoying each bite.

Friday, December 19, 2008

We Got It!

The snow came and we are enjoying Daddy being home. Eli already gave Jared a decent arm work out this morning. He wanted to be thrown up in the air over and over and over and Alex listened to him read stories which is always his favorite after he has had his fill of being thrown around. I am off to clean so that I can enjoy the weekend without thinking about how dirty my kitchen floor is. :)

In honor of Flashback Friday here are some pics from last year at this time. Where did all that chubbiness go??

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Our First Santa Visit

"Is that you under there Papa?"

Olivia was quick to tell Santa what she wanted and it was ALL about Dora.

Santa visited our local library tonight and we took the boys and met Missy (my sis) and Chad and the kids. I thought the Santa was pretty authentic looking and he did a great job telling stories and singing songs to the kids. The boys have seemed to be feeling better the last couple of days and I just thought we needed to get out so this was the perfect outing. The boys actually sat through all of the stories and didn't make a peep unless you count the loud "peeps" that came from Eli's bottom. Celia and Colin found this hysterical as did Missy and I but at the same time it was a little embarrassing. I guess I should be glad it was just gas after the week we have had. I thought the boys might be scared of the big guy in the red suit with all the facial hair but they couldn't have cared less. All in all it was worth the bundling and the fighting of the holiday traffic. As a bonus Jared and I scored some good DVD's for free that we will hopefully watch during our snow day tomorrow!

Snow DAY!!!

Well snow is supposed to hit us hard tonight and tomorrow and I am crossing my fingers like a 12 year old hoping for a snow day. That is one of the fun parts of having a husband who teaches. You still have the chance for these fun days of lounging (well, kind of) and to have a snow day the day before Christmas break! It doesn't get much better than that. Truth be told I am feeling pretty drained as a Mommy and Wife lately. I am sure that I will pull out of it but my sister and I were discussing this morning how it is nice to hear that other Moms have these days too. I think we tend to feel like we are the only ones who struggle with the difficulties that come with parenting which leaves you feeling a bit isolated. Sometimes it feels as if you are surrounded by woman who can do it all and you are the only one NOT conquering the world while baking a pie and raising the children. I am not sure if that is what we all try to present to one another but I am sure that I have been guilty of that. Thinking, "oh your child eats sugar and watches hours of TV (GASP)!" Well let me tell ya something this week my children have probably clocked more hours with Barney than I care to recall and are surviving almost entirely on Popsicles as to not dehydrate. So today, I am standing up to say IT IS HARD and it is normal to have bad days. I am saying that as much for me as for others. So if you can relate send me some love by praying that Michigan gets hit with some snow people!! :)

I leave you with our stellar attempt at a Christmas picture. Needless to say unless a Christmas miracle happens we will not be sending out cards. I believe this was what "pushed me over the edge", so to speak. It was not what I had planned on but I will laugh at our first attempt and plan better next year. Note to self: children don't understand that they need to look at the camera on a tripod unless someone is behind it to direct their attention. Live and Learn.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

HELLO 1970's!

Jared's mom brought over this scarf/hat set recently. They were Jared's circa 1979 (ish) and the boys love to play with them.

After the long week Eli has had he needed a strong coffee. He had a blast playing with my empty.

The boys seem to be feeling better today. I think we are all just kind of drained. I am enjoying how extraordinary normal can be!!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Oh No Not I....

I will survive!!! I have to laugh at my last post because those were the "easy" times. That evening Alex and I joined "the club" and Daddy followed the next day. We are just waking up from this fog. The boys are still not keeping everything "in" although they are no longer vomiting. Oh and did I mention that Grandma and Grandpa have since gotten this bug because they were at our plague ridden house? Oh yeah, baby it has been insane. They were able to come over on the worst day because I just wasn't quite sure how to spend my entire day in the bathroom while taking care of two very sick boys with no help. I think the worst of it is over. We actually had to take the boys to Children's Hospital yesterday so that they could get some fluid via IV and they seem to have improved some. Do I even need to mention that the boys did not enjoy the IV's or the arm boards that held their arms still? Lets just say the male nurse was very impressed with their strength. My weak, sick, little boys turned into Hercules when it came time for them to be held still. It was interesting and thankfully Jared was able to help despite his stomach bug and lack of mobility in one leg. We were a pitiful sight to behold, let me tell you. We joked that we should each see if we could get an IV bag while we were there. We hadn't eaten the two days before because we were sick so by 5pm the third day without eating we were starting to feel pretty miserable. But as I mentioned, we survived. I have NEVER stain treated or washed so much laundry in. my. life. but I now feel as if I bear a badge of some sort. I have rarely been so stretched as a mom or as a person. I truly had to rely on God to pull me through this craziness and I saw things that I didn't necessarily like about myself. I am not always very gracious under pressure and I now know that I want to work on that. I would have to say that, that was my biggest lesson from all this. Well, that and you can never have too many Clorox wipes in the house, always have rubber gloves on hand because you will have to touch things that once would have made you gag and may still, and when in doubt THROW IT OUT. I have to admit that some things were just not "cleanable" and I am OVER it! So those are my profoundly wise words of advice. By the way, I do plan to have pics on my blog again someday but that would require taking the time to upload them and we have been a bit busy :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I *heart* Moms!

***edited to add: My phone is safe. It actually fell out of my pocket in their bedroom.

As usual as things heat up on the mom front I gain a whole new level of respect for Mommies everywhere. Eli was throwing up most of the night last night and just fell asleep. Alex was up most of the time too because he is sick with a cold but also because it is hard to clean a child's sheets, clothes, and your own clothes, and allow anyone else in the entire household to rest. Jared is off to work and despite my lack of sleep I would have paid money to go with him. Poor Eli is so pitiful. :( I seriously don't know how people do this. I am impressed that other Moms live to tell about it. I am actually MORE impressed that they don't tell the ENTIRE universe that they conquered a case of the pukies AND survived without having a nervous breakdown of some sort. I am on my 5th outfit since 4am as is Eli and he is on his 3rd set of sheets AND my couch cushion covers are being laundered as we speak. Wow, this is hard stuff. On top of all this I am not sure where my cell phone is. I grabbed it as I ran down to launder clothes so that I could hear it if the Dr. called but I cannot find it now. I have this strange fear that it is being "laundered". I really hope not but it would be a funny thing to add to my day. I guess I should go and see if my phone is dried and pressed yet. I guess I should also grab some sleep while both the boys are sleeping! If NONE of this post makes sense I blame the fact that I have been up since 2am.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

He's on the go!

He did it ! Eli took 4 steps...4 steps!! The boys are 19 months old and while I reiterate to everyone that they are doing incredibly, well developmentally and that although they are not walking, they are within a normal range, blah, blah, blah, a little part of me is going "hmm, I really hope he gets it soon". Well he did it just like we knew he could. He is SO excited! He actually stands and is so proud of himself that he starts to giggle uncontrollably and when he catches his balance after a good laugh he then takes his steps. It is the funniest thing to watch. We are overwhelmed by these milestones that our little 27 weekers are hitting. We have been enjoying their laughs and giggles all weekend long and just feeling so grateful that God gave us these little guys and let us keep them even though we weren't always sure we would be able to. There are days that are very trying, as I am sure all parents can attest to, but it is the moments like these that just make every one of those less "glamorous" moments fade into the background. My biggest laugh today was when Eli grabbed the syrup pitcher at the restaurant and tried to drink it like a sippy cup. He was so confused when we took it away from him. :) I LOVE that, those side splitting moments that God gives us.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Lots of memories=Little Blogging

I find that the busiest times in my life, that are filled with the boys doing lots of new things, are also the times that I don't find the time I'd like to write about it. Oh well, such is life and I've been enjoying the living of it. :) I have no idea where to begin so I will start with BIG news. Eli is standing on his own and has been for a week(ish). (The "ish" part of that statement allows me some wiggle room because to be honest I am not completely sure when it first happened). Moving on.....he is very proud of himself and it is adorable. I will try and snag a pic of it but as is typical in this house when I get the camera ready he will collapse onto the floor with all the humility he can muster and stop doing whatever it is he was so proudly doing before seeing the camera. Alex is completely.obessessed.with. his "Baby Bible". My sister, Molly laughed at me when she heard me utter the words "No, Alex I am not going to read your Baby Bible to you right now!" I know it sounds evil but it is a story book (a very cute one actually) filled with several songs and then followed by several prayers. It is the type of thing that is to be read and enjoyed one or two at a time but not for Alex. He wants to read it front to back and is lately hooked on "Jesus Loves the Little Children" and do not even TRY and turn the page after singing it a mere 5 times in a row because the protesting will begin and you will find it hard to understand how God actually manages to TRULY "love the little children, all the children of the world". He is a gracious God and I am glad the he puts up with all of us even the screeching ones. :) I read the entire thing front to back approximately 10 times today. No, I am not exaggerating. I do love to hear them lift their little voices and sing about how much Jesus loves them and I soak that in on a regular basis and feel incredible blessed to be able to do it so I am not really complaining.

Jared and I went Christmas shopping this week ALONE, together. We had a great time and had fun picking out presents. It was amusing, as it involved my husband and a motorized shopping cart (due to his ankle injury). Woohoo let the good times roll (literally). There is nothing like the beep, beep, beep, of one of those bad boys to set the mood for a romantic evening! :) We are enjoying getting ready for the holidays and are actually attempting to "craft". Yes, I said it! Anyone who knows me is laughing right now BUT I saw the idea for a "Jesse Tree" on one of the blogs I frequent and thought it sounded great so Jared and I set out to make felt ornaments like these. We are still in the process but I just thought it would be a great way to help focus ourselves and the boys (in the future when they can understand) on Christmas being about Christ's birth and what that means in our daily lives. I will update you on that one because honestly, Jared is probably the more crafty one in the marriage. He would probably choose a word other than crafty but he is meticulous and I am not (as I have mentioned several times on this blog). My palms start to sweat when I hear the word "scrapbook". I love all things crafty if I get to admire other's handiwork but it is just not in my genes. The craftiest thing I have done lately is staple paper rings together for the countdown until Jared gets his mobility back. I needed the visual reminder. We also put up the tree last night and it lasted an entire day and no one knocked it down or broke any of the ornaments. SUCCESS! So that is the latest in the vignettes that are my life.