Tuesday, March 31, 2009

7 Bloggers Walk Into a Bar...

I'm heading out tonight to meet up with some friends. Some I've known for quite some time, while others I feel like I already know even though we've never technically met.

That's because we're all bloggers. Oh, and we're all twin moms. How do you like that?

So, you what happens when you get seven bloggers together. In a bar. Blog fodder. That's the danger of friends who blog: you never know when you'll end up the topic of a post!

I'm looking forward to it. I could use a relaxing night out. Appetizers, desserts, and some sitting in the general vicinity of alcohol. Sounds perfect to me!

So a big shout-out to my fellow twin-mom bloggers, Nancy, Goddess in Progress, Mommy, Esq, Rhonda, Sotorriffic Twins, and Snickollet. Check them out if you get a chance, maybe egg them on to do something crazy for me to report back about. Though knowing myself, if someone is going to do something embarrassing, it'll probably be me.

Looking forward to seeing you all! Maybe by tomorrow I'll have the second part of the joke from the title...

Tattooed Grandma, Porcupine Skin, and Unsold Houses

Hold on to your hats, this post is going to be all over the place!

My mom got a new tattoo. It's very pretty...she sent us a picture. It's on her shoulder, so the picture just shows a bit of her back and arm and the back of her head. I showed it to the boys with no description, just said, "Hey guys, come look at this picture." B-man's immediate comment: "Is that Grandma?" I love that when they see a tattoo, they immediately know it's got to be Grandma! Then N-man followed it up with "Why is Grandma naked?" Hey, bud, that's just the kind of Grandma you have! Scantily clad and tattooed. (I should have asked her if I could post the picture...it really is quite a nice one!)


N-man came into our bedroom this morning just as we were starting to wake up. He happily announced, "Bones are hard. Skin is soft. But not a porcupine's." Um, okay? Thanks for the early morning bit of randomness.


We've made an offer on a house. I'm starting to get a little nervous and have second thoughts. I know, kind of late for that, and I'm hoping my second thoughts are just the nerves I'd be having no matter what. Our offer is contingent upon our house selling by the end of April, and if anyone else makes an offer before then, we'd have to match their closing date (which we wouldn't be able to do, so we'd just have to pass on the house at that point). So this offer is far from a sure thing. We'll see what happens.

We dropped the price of our house, but we're still not getting much interest. Our house is definitely much nicer than the other two houses in our town that are priced the same as ours is now. So if someone is looking in our town in our price range, I feel confident they'd pick our house now that we dropped the price. I guess it's just a waiting game for that person looking in our town, in our price range. Where are you, home shopper?

Friday, March 27, 2009

A budding Picasso

B-man completely freaked me out yesterday by suddenly drawing something that was recognizably human. Wild, huh?

I was cracking up at the gigantic body that completely swallowed the head...

N-man is my budding Pollock, which is a-okay with me. He used to love coloring, but at school most days they do coloring where they are supposed to color inside the lines (a fine motor skill), and N-man hates to be confined so now he's not a huge fan of coloring time. So at home I just let him do whatever he wants crayon-wise, which is still normally a huge fixation on "whirlpools" and "mazes" and "lots of circles". All those pictures look alike...I need to take a photo of those as they are so neat and spin-y!


I did remember to go to the dentist this morning, you'll all be happy to know (in case you haven't memorized my past blog entries, I had mentioned a few days ago I was worried I'd forget my appointment. I won't even bother linking it in as it's not exactly the most interesting reading ever. But I figured you'd appreciate a follow-up. Or not. At least I'm keeping it short!)


I almost bought Talk Talk by T. C. Boyle the other day. It's my book group book this month, but I've been hearing it's not that good, and while I love Boyle, this book just doesn't sound appealing to me so when faced with the $14 price tag, I decided just to get it at the library.

Okay, fine. Of course I haven't checked to see if it's at the library or if I need to reserve it, but whatever!

So this morning, I was looking for something new to read. I used to have a "to read" area on my bookshelves. It was a couple of piles that sat in front of the books on one of the shelves. It looked kind of messy, but I knew right where my books to read were.

When we cleaned up the house to get it ready to list, we had to address our bookshelves. We donated a ton of books, moved a zillion boxes of books to storage, and now have very neat, kind of empty bookshelves. They sure look nice, though I worry to have only about 200 or so books in the house! I know, it's a strange thing to have anxiety about, but I'm always worried I'm not going to have something to read.

And even worse, we shelved all our "to read" books in among the other books we'd left on the shelves. It looks so much better to shelve the books by size than by "have I read it" status. But it's not exactly convenient when I need a new book.

This morning, when I was perusing the shelves for something to read, imagine my surprise when I discovered I have a copy of Talk Talk that I just haven't read yet. I remember now! It had been in my to-read pile! I picked it up at a used book sale a few months ago for a couple bucks.

Pleasant surprise. Now I just hope I'm pleasantly surprised by the book itself...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The learning experiences provided by hide and seek

Something neat about having kids is that you discover that EVERY experience is a learning experience. We've been playing ENDLESS games of hide and seek. Something I've learned: there aren't a lot of places to hide in our house. Something else I've learned: that doesn't do a lick to discourage B-man and N-man from wanting to play constantly.

Another interesting fact I've discovered: while I feel like my pregnant belly is still little, it's now officially too big to fit under the bed.

Perhaps playing hide and seek is mostly a learning experience for me.

For the boys, they both are in a "love to count" stage. We were driving in the car last night, and they starting counting together. They got up to 29, then they both paused, as if they were waiting for the other one to say what number came next. So I prompted them: "What comes after 29?" The pause drags out for a minute, then N-man pipes up excitedly, "Ready or not, here I come!"


Random related post: This isn't the first time we've had hilarity in the car around what number comes after 29. See this post for B-man's take on alternatives to thirty!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Where's my brain?

It's in my head!

But it's not always working. I'm beginning to get pregnancy brain.

When I was pregnant with the boys, my most awesome experience was when I went to the grocery store with a short list of about 10 items. When I got home, I realized I had forgotten to get two of the items on the list, which I needed to make dinner. How do you look at a list of only ten things, and somehow not see two of them?

But it turned out it didn't matter. Because after I bought and paid for the groceries, I left the bags sitting at the end of the register. Yep, I'd bought groceries, but managed to go home with nothing. And I didn't notice right away.

Luckily, things haven't gotten that bad yet. Though I was convinced we had a Mother of Twins meeting tonight, and it's actually next week. I'm glad I thought to check before I just went tonight.

But I am getting worried about what I will forget. It's kind of funny, but also kind of scary. I hope I don't forget anything important. I have a dentist appointment Friday morning. They called me today to remind me. I felt like telling them if they really wanted to make sure I didn't miss the appointment, they should probably call 20 minutes before I'm supposed to be there...

Want to take bets on if I'll remember my dentist appointment come Friday??


N-man is finally doing okay with going pee on the potty. If we're at home. If not, it's still pee-in-the-pants time. But I'm finally seeing the light at the end of the potty training tunnel. Hopefully it's not just the headlight of an oncoming train, about to shatter my hopefulness about eventually having two potty trained boys.

Want to take bets on if it's the end of the tunnel or an oncoming train?


It was my turn this month to provide choices for the book group I'm part of. I put Talk Talk by T. C. Boyle on the list, though I was worried about the choice. Of course, that was what the group selected (instead of The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon, which has been on my list of choices the past three times I provided picks and I've been desperate to read but keep putting it off in the hopes we'll pick it for book group). Our book group only reads books out in paperback (easier to get at the library, or less expensive to buy), and Talk Talk is the only one of Boyle's books out in paperback that I haven't read yet. But it's a thriller. I'm not too keen on thrillers, and anyway, I'm not sure how great it'll be for a book group to discuss, especially if some members haven't finished. On the other hand, I've loved a number of his books, and found all of them interesting or enjoyable, even if I didn't LOVE them. So I picked this solely based on the author even though the book itself doesn't appeal to me.

Oh well, the choice has been made, and I guess this is what I get for putting a selection I wasn't sure about on my list! Anyone (Laura?? I probably should have just addressed this section directly to you!) know if Talk Talk is any good?

Want to take bets on if my book group will love or hate this book?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Two is the EVIL-est number

And no, I'm not talking about twins! I love twins!

The boys and I, for some reason, got on the topic of odd and even numbers. We talked about how every other number starting with 1 is odd, and every other number starting with 2 is even. For about thirty minutes yesterday, they asked me about nearly every number in existence (well, at least in their knowledge :) if it was odd or even, and they got pretty good about telling me if I started at one that 1 is odd, 2 is even, 3 is odd, 4 is even, etc.

Then we dropped the conversation. It's not really something that is an important part of their daily life at 3 years (oh, how odd!)

Today, out of the blue, N-man asked, "Mommy, is two EVIL?"

"No, honey," I replied confusedly. "Two isn't evil."

"Mommy, is two EVIL?" he asked again, really stressing that EVIL.

"No," I answered, still wondering why he's developed a sudden distrust of the number two.

"Mommy, is two ODD?" he asked.

Ah, it finally clicked. "No, you were right the first time. Two is EVEN."

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Leaky cups

What's on my mind today? Leaky cups. Ah, the trials and tribulations of a mom.

Here's the deal: I'm a big fan of the zero-waste snack/lunch for school. I think it's really important to get in the habit of giving the kids as little disposable packaging as possible. It's been easy with snacks. The pre-packaged, individual serving size snacks of things like goldfish are ridiculously expensive anyway. I much prefer buying the big box of goldfish and doling it out into reusable little tupperware containers. Plus, then I have the option of preparing healthy snacks like cut up fruit in those same little tupperwares. You know, when I'm actually up early enough to cut up fruit, and actually have fruit in the house. Okay, fine, mostly it's goldfish.

But drinks: those are difficult. I'm firmly against the idea of juice boxes in theory, but I just can't find a reusable drink container than doesn't leak. The boys don't finish all their drinks, and then it leaks all over their backpacks, making a disgusting wet mess that ruins all their papers in their backpack.

I've tried giving them less in their cups, but it seems like no matter how much is in their cups, they'll always drink 3/4's of it, leaving plenty left to leak all over.

So does anyone have a great solution to the leaky drink problem? Some wonder product appropriate for 3 or 4 year olds that won't leak all over? Maybe they're ready for a thermos-type open cup...what do you think? Give me brand names, people! I'm at wit's end.

Of course, it wasn't a long trip to the end of my wit, but that's besides the point...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Dentist

It was the boys' dentist appointment this morning. They're so different. B-man jumped up in the chair and relatively happily let the hygienist clean his teeth.

Then it was N-man's turn. He didn't want to even sit in the chair. He didn't want to open his mouth. He didn't want to turn his head toward the hygienist. He didn't want her to use any of the instruments to clean his teeth.

It was kind of a trial, be we got through it, with lots of whining but very few tears.

After being given a new toothbrush, two stickers, and some wiki sticks, N-man had cheered up enough that when the dentist came in to check his teeth, he actually let the dentist see inside his mouth. The dentist asked him when his birthday is, and N-man replied, "When I turn 4." Very matter-of-factly, with an implied "duh". The dentist couldn't stop laughing.

Unfortunately, the dentist also said we really need to work on getting N-man to stop sucking his thumb. Um, I can't even get him to reliably use the potty, and now I'm supposed to figure out how to separate him from his "yummy thumby"? Any suggestions?


Random unrelated thought: We put in an offer on a house. The builder is on vaca at the mo', so we won't hear back until late tomorrow. And even if they accept, we still have to sell our house (pretty quickly).

Not stressful at all!


Thursday, March 12, 2009

TK has to watch what he eats

As I've mentioned before, B-man has food allergies. We talk about allergies quite often, to make sure B-man understands he has to be careful about what he eats, and also to assure him that it's just something about him, not bad, not good, just a part of him.

So I'll talk about how I'm allergic to some medicines, and TK is allergic to cats. See, many people have allergies! That was the message I was trying to convey.

That message got a tad garbled.

Here's the conversation we had the other day.

B-man: I'm allergic to nuts. I can't eat any nuts.

Me: That's right!

B-man: And you're allergic to medicine.

Me: Yep, there are some medications I can't have.

N-man, chiming in: And Daddy's allergic to cats. He can't eat any cats!

Me: ......


Another great parenting moment: I realized tonight at dinner that three out of the last four meals the boys have eaten have been pizza.

Ironically, about 3 minutes after that realization, I got a phone call from a Gallup Poll. One of their questions: in the past seven days, how many nights have you had a healthy dinner?

Um, pizza is healthy, right???

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

N-man's drinking problem, and a house showing

We had someone coming by tonight to look at our house, and TK wasn't going to be home from work, so I took the boys out to dinner since they were coming right at dinner time and, well, kids have to eat.

I figured these folks might be less likely to buy the house if we were sitting in the kitchen having dinner while they tried to look at our house.

Anyway, the boys got chocolate milk, which I poured into small coffee cups, with those coffee cup lids where a piece bends back so there's a place for you to sip out. They really liked that set up, and didn't want to use a straw, so I let them go to town.

N-man, however, went to take a sip but didn't line up the open part with his mouth. When he tipped the cup, the milk just ran right out, all down his shirt and pants.

"Ah! Ah!", he exclaimed. "Mommy! I tried to get the milk in my mouth, but then EVERYTHING went WRONG!"

I just burst out laughing. Have you ever heard a better explanation for a spill?


We were out all day looking at houses in a town about 45 minutes away from where we currently live. While we were out, our agent got a call from someone who wanted to see our house tonight at 6pm. Okay, fine, we'll do whatever it takes. Even though our house is kind of messy (you know, kid-messy) and we're 45 minutes away. And TK is going back to work and won't be home to help clean up, or to help take the kids out at 6. And 6 is pretty much exactly dinner time. If I fed them at 5, it would be a race to get the kitchen cleaned up (and to get the kids done eating...sometimes dinner can easily last an hour, an amazing occurrence when you consider that my kids eat almost nothing!) And if I waited until the showing was done, it would be too late given a 7:30 bedtime.

So out to dinner we planned to go. At 5:30, I was getting on the kids shoes. Their agent came in the door. Half an hour early! Good thing I was already getting ready to go. Then the couple pulled in. HALF AN HOUR EARLY! Huh? And, crap, you've blocked my car in!

For a second, I wanted to make them move their cars. But no way, I'm not giving anyone a bad initial impression of us or our house. I smiled, apologized for not being gone yet (even though they were a ridiculous THIRTY MINUTES early), and bundled the kids out.

We actually have a restaurant we can walk to. About 1/4 mile away, there's an Au Bon Pain. The boys really like their mac and cheese, and I've been desperate for their Chicken Rice bowl.

We got in and ordered. They were out of mac and cheese. Gasp! But with little complaint, the boys both agreed that grilled cheese sandwiches would be acceptable.

The buzzer buzzes. I go up to get our food. And they're out of my chicken rice bowl. What? So I went there for mac and cheese and chicken and rice, and they don't have any of it? I got some gross spicy beef rice bowl instead, which I mostly threw away. And the boys didn't like their grilled cheese...it was on hard crusted bread. So they mostly threw their meal away. What a waste of money.

And all because these people couldn't come when they said they would to see our house. Or at least come a more reasonable 15 minutes early. If they had, I would have been able to take the car and go to the pizza place like I'd originally planned. Mmmm, pizza! They better buy our house... (hee! That would be nice, if to make up for this reasonably slight inconvenience, they place an offer. I know they were at least kind of serious as there are footprints all through our snowy backyard. I doubt I'd traipse through someone's snowy backyard unless I was at least somewhat interested.)

In other house-selling news, we have a broker open house Thursday, someone scheduled to see our house Saturday, and another open house Sunday. Let's get this house SOLD!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Running around, completely paralyzed

Fair warning, I'm back on the house buying/selling thing. Yes, I'm completely neurotic.

Here's the thing: I feel like this is such a huge decision that we're completely paralyzed with the fear of making the wrong choice. I mean, it was a big decision when we bought our first house, but we knew it was a starter house...that we'd be looking to move in 5 or so years (it's been 7 years). We were okay with making some trade-offs, like having less closet space than we'd like, or living on a busier road than we would have preferred. We knew that we'd only have to live with it in the relative short term.

Now we're trying to buy our FOREVER house. But as everyone knows, you can never find the perfect house. You always have to sacrifice some of what you're looking for. It just seems like such a bigger deal now, though.

Part of the issue is we're not sure where we want to live. We're looking in the town just north of where we live now. It's very similar in feeling to where we live currently. Very much a suburb...subdivisions and plazas aplenty. We don't dislike this area, but we aren't in LOVE with it, if that makes any sense.

We're also looking in the more western suburbs. It's still suburb-y, but more rural as well. Everything is more hilly and spaced out and...idyllic looking. It appeals more to us. But, to be honest, we've never lived anywhere like that. Would we miss the convenience of having three grocery stores within 10 minutes of our house? Of the relatively high number of restaurants and shops available? The convenience in general of having most of what we need close by?

And then the uproot factor comes into play. If we choose a town close to where we currently live, we don't have to change anything. The boys' preschool, our doctors, our friends: things might be slightly further away than they are now, but not unreasonably. If we moved a half hour further west, it would be far enough that we'd really be starting over. We'd have to change everything. Which is scary, though we've done it a number of times before, and it's always been kind of exciting as well as nerve-wracking.

It's confusing. As I said, we're having trouble making this decision that will have such a far-reaching affect on our lives.

Oh, and I'm also flipping out about taking on a bigger mortgage than we have now.

On the plus side, we found a house we like in the close town. Of course, there are a number of negatives, though: it REALLY would max out our budget, it only has 3 bedrooms when we'd really like 4, it is on well water, it has a ridiculously large master suite (completely out of control, and not at all what we need or want...the wasted space of it just makes me angry!), it only has one garage space. There are actually good things about the house (quite beautiful, beautiful, quiet lot, bigger than we expected to be able to afford), but as I said, we're finding ourselves completely overwhelmed and unable to commit!

Part of me wants to say, "Well, we're having doubts for a reason. Better pass this house by". The other part of me yells, "You're NEVER going to stop having doubts about any house, and you'll never find another house this nice! Don't be an idiot! Make an offer!"

Who knows.

Of course, ha, ha, our current house hasn't sold. It's not getting a ton of interest, either. Only one "second look", and the couple ultimately decided they didn't like that there are duplexes in our neighborhood. What? It's weird the things people will latch onto as a negative.

It'll all work out.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Kitchen Adventures

Remember when I used to post lots of recipes here? Remember when I used to write about cooking with kids (mwah ha ha!)? Yeah, between the winter sicknesses and my pregnancy food aversions, that has fallen by the wayside. But I rallied the other day and decided to try something new with my kids. I had come across a new (to me) cooking blog the other day, and saw a recipe for pop-up baked pancakes. Sounded good and easy to me! So the boys and I got to work.

And they started fighting.

Quite honestly, they'd been fighting all day and it was wearing me out. We measured out the flour, each putting in half the amount, but when we got to the milk, all hell broke loose. B-man demanded to add the FULL amount of milk, but N-man wanted to add some, too. Adding half amounts just wasn't going to cut it as a compromise. But tough noogies, that's what we did. B-man was having a full-out tantrum, and I was just ignoring him, going to the fridge to get some eggs. But in the midst of their fighting, they knocked the blender. Which fell off the counter. And smashed into a zillion shards of glass.

So I stuck them on the counter so they'd be away from the glass, ran and got some shoes for myself so I wouldn't cut my feet up, and began the long and arduous task of cleaning up broken blender pieces. It took about half an hour, and by the time I'd gotten all the glass up, the milk and flour had dried into glue. That absolutely would not wash off the floor. Another fifteen minutes with a scrub brush finally loosened the "glue" enough to clean it up.

So after 10 minutes of cooking (and fighting) and 45 minutes of cleaning, we had soybean butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch. Want the recipe??

I might not be quite ready to get back into the kitchen just yet. What do you think?

Monday, March 2, 2009

When I grow up...

Have I mentioned that I'm not awesome at all this preschool/parent stuff?

This Friday is "career day" at preschool. The kids are supposed to come dressed up as what they want to be when they grow up. Um, what? Besides Firefighter or Doctor, how do you even dress kids up as a job?

And, they're THREE! How do they know what they want to be?

So I asked them what they want to do when they grow up. N-man said he wants to move boxes into storage spaces. Can you tell it's not just been me whose been super focused on moving??

B-man immediately jumped on board with this idea, expanding it to "I want to move really, really, really HEAVY boxes!" I think he wants to be a weightlifter/mover.

I just asked them again, and they're still intent on "mover". I think I might get them little boxes and write "N-man and B-man Moving and Storage" on the side and let them bring those to school on Friday.

I will admit that I've been talking up doctor or firefighter, though. Yes, I'm unapologetically choosing future careers for my children based on how easy it would be for me to make a costume by Friday. They didn't bite, though. Putting out fires or curing disease just doesn't have the same draw as toting heavy boxes from here to there!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Yet Another House Update

I swear I'll try to think of something more interesting soon. The whole "sell the house/buy a house" thing has just become so entirely all-consuming, it eats up all my attention!

Okay, so we had our first open house today. Ten couples came through. No one made an offer. Our real estate agent is going to try to get some feedback from other agents for us. I suspect it's primarily things we can't change (i.e., it's on a busy street, or it's an odd layout, etc), but maybe there are some minor things we could fix/change to appeal to more people. Who knows. It's only been on the market for 4 days, so I'm not getting worried yet.

On the house hunting side, I am getting a little worried. We haven't seen anything that would be acceptable yet. Today we saw the nicest house yet, but it was at the VERY top of our price range, and it was on the LITTLEST lot. I doubt there'd even be room for a swing set, except maybe on the side of the house. Oh, and it was pretty darn close to the commuter rail tracks. A lot of negatives for completely maxing out our budget.

Yesterday, though, we saw what was both the most awesome and most depressing house ever. The good: very affordable, in an awesome location (closer to TK's work than most of the houses we're looking at), and it had a frikkin' secret room! Off one of the bedrooms, there was a fake built in cabinet. When you pulled on it, it was door to a rather large secret room! So, so cool!

The bad: it was in a swamp. Literally. The basement would flood regularly. There was standing water right up to the edge of the house. Can you imagine the mosquitoes in the summer?

The best part of a house in a swamp: Monty Python quotes :)