Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Plant the seeds now....

Here's a little tidbit of successful parenting advice.

When Mason and Evan were "tweens" and school would let out for the summer, Gary and I got completely frustrated hearing "There's no food in the house!" - despite our weekly shopping trips.

So, we came up with the brilliant idea of giving the kids $35 week (more like every 10 days) to pick out their own foods - barring main courses of course. They were ecstatic - all that power! lol. We laid down some ground rules: they were responsible for jointly agreeing on how to spend their shared money on snacks, desserts, special drinks, etc. They could use coupons, we'ld help him look for them. They would have to make up the difference at the checkout line if they went over. Anything they didn't spend could go in a "bank" until the next shopping trip.

So while we shopped, they had their own cart and because we didn't want to hear the bickering - we even made them shop away from us. Nice, huh? They'ld run up and ask us if "bread/bagels" counted as theirs or if it could go in our cart. If it wasn't unreasonable, it could go in ours. We thought we'ld have to police their cart way more than we did. I mean that first trip out, I had visions of $35 worth of BBQ chips and Pepsi.

However, even we were shocked with how well our little plan worked: Not only did it immediately put a halt to the constant whining, but we started hearing new (much nicer to our ears) phrases like, "Wow - those cookies didn't last at all. Next time, we'll get that other brand." and "Okay, this week you can get those chips and next week I'll get pop-tarts." Compromises. Budget conscience.

Once Mason started driving, they would even head out on their own.
Fast forward to this weekend. I'm always busy. Taking twins to the grocery store is not fun. And Gary usually gets home too late for me to go without the kids. So, Mr. Evan got tired of waiting around for food to come for him. And he basically did our weekly shopping trip for me.
He's done this two of three times recently. And he still budget shops. He's proud of what he saves. He makes goals, games like we used to - trying to keep it under $100, etc. And he'll come home shocked and griping about the price of milk.

When he saw me taking pictures...
Evan: "What are you doing?"
Me: click

Evan repeats: What are you doing?

Me: "I'm going to blog about you being the family grocery shopper. I think it's awesome. I don't think that many other (almost) 17 year olds are doing that. And I'm super proud of you."

Evan: "Oh."

Me...In my head interpreting that "Oh" as: "Gee, Mom - thanks. I can't tell you how much I appreciate all that you have taught me and that I recognize that you and Dad have given me a leg up in this big old cruel world I'm going to have to go off into one day...."

But seriously, if we had sat down 6 years ago and tried to figure out a way to raise money conscience children at the level they are now, we might have been stumped. Instead, our quick solution to "get the kids off our back" and to "cut out all that fussing" has paid off big time. And you can bet, we'll do the same thing with our next two!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Da-fendin' Momma!

(.....as in "defending Momma")

Last night getting ready for bed, I had Austin almost dressed (in his Pj's) and Gary was still chasing Logan around the bed. He was climbing up and then jumping off - their usual.

I said, "Austin's gonna get his bottle (I know, the horrors!! But it's the only way we can get any milk into then right now)."

Logan: "I want MA (my) bottle."

Mommy: "Well, then, you need to get your pj's on."

He came over and laid down. Daddy is bigger and stronger than Momma and within seconds, Logan was naked and Daddy was whipping a new diaper on him.

Mommy (evah the competitor): "Ut-oh, Daddy's beating Momma, now"

Both Austin and Logan: "No, Daddy! No BEATING Momma!"

While Gary and I exchange looks like, serious? How the heck do they know the meaning of "beating" I say, "No honey 'Daddy is beating mommy like'...(I was gonna say something like..."like in a race, when we say 'I win, I win'"....although in our races, everyone wins...)...but all Logan heard again was that key phase: "...Daddy beats Mommy...." and he rears up and clomps his teeth down on Gary's hand and repeats "No, Daddy! No beat Momma!"

At the unexpected attack, Gary yelped in his big deep booming voice and scared the dickens out of Logan. Then we tried to balance between admonishing the little tyke that "It's never appropriate to bite" in between peels of laughter and as I look over Logan's shoulder while consoling him during his high pitched wails of terror and share a look of glee with my husband, my heart swells:

Like a lady of the castle, I lift my head a little more regally as the message from my Knights in Shining Armour comes through loud and clear:

"Don't mess with my Momma!"

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Motherload of all updates!

Each of these events is probably a post in their own right, but in an effort to "catch-up" , here goes.....(come back often, if needed, to actually finish the post!).

Here's a picture of our favorite Honorary Triplet, Van. We had a play date a while back. He's now recovering from his cleft-palate surgery. Can't wait until he's ready to play again!

The whole gang at the playdate: Tracey and Van of http://www.handsomevan.blogspot.com/ and Cheryl and her precious two from http://www.twinspiration.blogspot.com/ and the friend that introduced all, the ever-blogless Gena and her two - we all took on a fantastic day at Pretendland!

Givin' Van some twin-lovin!

This just makes me SO happy! When ever we go somewhere, the twins chat, sing songs, look out the window - and often shout "Hold hands!"

More pictures of our second day of Preschool:

Logan heading off proudly, chin up and looking very dapper!

Austin strollin' with an over-the-shoulder jacket strut!

They're not big eaters first thing in the morning, so we sneak in a quick snack in the car to hold them over. Because they are big eaters around 10:00 AM!

Grandma and Grandpa Taylor came all the way from Maine to visit!! Austin and Logan took zero seconds flat to jump all over them!

Logan between his two Grandma's!

Come back soon, Grandma and Grnadpa! We love you and hope to make it up north this year!
Doggie Double

One is real, our beloved ever-on-a-diet, Chubby (a Chow-Spitz-Lab mix) and Austin's $1 doggie purchased a while back from our church yardsale. Stand-in doggie is indispensable! Whenever the stuntmen want to go horseback riding or whatever on Chubby, we say, "Ah-ah-ah, not on Chubby. Go jump on the 'other' doggie!" and it works like a charm!
Best Friends

These are major key players in our lives! They are my best friend's children: Grace, Jacob and Eli. (My BFF) Anne and I live within 5 miles of each other, work together, go to church together, and talk on the phone about 5-8 times a day. We do not however, ever take pictures together!! I believe this is the children's blog debut! (Note to self: work on that!)
Family portrait

I'm the one second from the right. lol Obviously by our dressing standards, this was an impromptu picture. (Note to self: schedule family portrait at professional photographers!)
Real haircuts!

Daddy took the boys along with him on his last hair cut. Logan sat in his lap and soon after this picture was doing just fine having his hair tickled!
Big Boy Austin (you may remember from the BuzzFest video was wailing his head off during his first family-provided buzz) sat ten feet away from Daddy and in his own chair! No tears!

Note to hubby: Thanks for taking the camera along and providing Mommy with some shots of this special occasion!

My cousin got married a few weekends ago.

My brother, Brian entertaining Austin in the pew pre-wedding.

Great shot: The new bride and groom sending some lovin' to their one year old daughter! (photographer: Nonnie)

Me and the boys. I know we're not all looking and smiling, but we have so few pictures of the three of us together I wanted to post it anyway!

Nonnie and .... yeah, even I can't tell this one! Logan, I think? lol

Nonnie looked so pretty that day. But looking through photos, this is all I had. (note to self: take more posed pictures!)
Trying to tell me something?

Austin all snuggly....
Logan seems to be saying, "Can't I have some peace and quiet?"

After all, this is our new living domain now:

Austin and Logan dragged their pillows and blankets into the bathroom. ??? Mayhaps because we spend so much time in there these days, they thought they'ld move on in? hahaha

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

He's leaving...

Okay, I was all ready to sit down and do my "catch-up" post but all that's gone to pieces because my oldest just told me he was moving out.

I knew it was coming, I knew he was looking. I. just. wasn't. ready. He's found an apartment and filled out the application.

There's no reason to stop him. He's almost 20. He's not enrolled in college per se, he's in a 3-year automotive technical training program. He's got a great job. He's on his career path. He's dating a wonderfully sweet girl that he plans to marry. He's always been older than his years. He's got a good head on his shoulders. He's ready for his space.

But I could barely stay in the room when he told me. It was one of those "sucking-the-vortex- out-of-you" feeling. The reality of "he's gone" just smacked me in the face. This is it, I blinked and it's over. The is life-changing, a new phase. He won't be living here. He'll be visiting, coming over for dinner..... Oh. My. Lord.

I'll be happy for him. In a few days time. But right now. Right now. I'm mourning. I'm crying.

AND I just got done whining to my mom that after two days of preschool, I'm having to chase Austin down and sit on him for kisses. I used to just say, "kisses" and he'd smother me. I could tickle and wrestle with him for hours and he never tired of it. Now that's he's got his new found autonomy, he's like, "No, Momma - I want to go play. No tickles. No kisses." And he's off and running and playing. By himself. Like a big boy.

Oh - this parenting stuff sucks some time, doesn't it? We want them healthy and independent, but then when it happens, Oh - it's just hurts so much!

Friday, September 12, 2008


Austin and Logan had their first day of Preschool! Nonnie and I took them for their trial 1-hour run on Tuesday.

They jumped right in and started playing.
Then, they colored monkeys - how appropriate!
Logan spent some time in the mini-me book section reading a mini-book. How precious!

And Austin, ever the girl -charmer was busy helping in the kitchen!

The "real" first day was Thursday and Gary took them in that day. He said they went kickin' and screaming! Oh my heart!
But, their wonderfully sweet teacher, Miss Cindy happens to be one of Evan's friends mother who also happens to be our next door neighbor! Okay - that's not a coincidence! It's really one of the only reasons they're even in preschool! I have only left them with Daddy, Nonnie and one incredibly sweet lady, Miss Liz from my church. With each one of those - I get full blown minute by minute detail of what my babies do when I'm not around - we're talking, what they ate, what they said, if they fought (or rather WHO fought! lol), etc. And I can call whenever I need to if I miss the boys. So, I think the three hours away is harder on me than them!
Miss Cindy said they did fine after drop off. They get A+++ on their first day for being such good boys!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Together We Can Make a Difference

I have made a dear friend in blogger land, Dawn of "A Life Outside The Box" blog. Dawn is an incredibly sweet, insightful, and amazingly faithful Momma. She has brought to my (and others) attention of an urgent need.

PLEASE go visit her blog for more details and PLEASE, PLEASE consider following her links to make a donation to MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

I have about 50-70 visitors a day - if each of us gave as minimally as $5 that would go a long way!!


Monday, September 8, 2008

Beginnings of the "seconds"...

For the last week or two, I guess as we rolled along into September, I started feeling a flutter of excitement that I couldn't quite pin down.

Last July and August, Austin and Logan's first two months home were mostly a whirlwind, a glorious blur. Everything was new - going to the grocery store, to church, taking them out by myself the first time...

I know this was probably technically they're "second" summer home - but it sort of felt more like their first. First time to the beach, first time really enjoying and absorbing all that summer has to offer.

Now, with the change of season's approaching, I truly feel like we are on our first round of "seconds." Their 2nd year of football games (at the high school), their 2nd trip to the pumpkin patch, their 2nd Halloween.

And oddly enough, today marks their 432nd day in the US. That means they've been here longer than they were there. No, I haven't been counting the days, I was just feeling reminiscent and remembered having that same thought as I was sitting in the airport in Guatemala (okay, well not so much sitting as running around in two different directions chasing on-the-go 14 month olds...but anyway, I was) thinking - Wow, we're finally going home, I'll finally get to be the mother to these two little souls that I had poured out so much love onto for an entire year - and yet they barely knew me. For thirteen months they had been raised by other women. And now we would begin weaving our life tapestries together. The day when I would begin raising them in their new home, our home. I remember wondering about 14 months from now - 14 months of me imprinting my love and mothering onto them.

The amount of time that I HAVE them being equal to the amount of time that I didn't have them. 14 months of having them tucked in safely at home - right down the hall from me.
There are moments when I am appreciative of the time they had in Guatemala. Moments when I'm grateful that they got to spend so much time in their home country with loving families and having those imprints go into shaping their lives as well.

Don't get me wrong, if I could change time and bring them home sooner, I would have! It's just that now that the pain is gone, now that they're with me - I can step back and see at least some of the positives to having had them spend a full year of life in their birth country.

And, at least in my case - I wasn't exhausted going into chasing 14 month olds.
Last summer - I was soaking in every minute with my babies. And every minute brought me some new discovery, some new delight in getting to know my children. July and August were a wonderful blur.

But the fall, the changing of the seasons - I remember. Dressing them in jeans. And long sleeves as the weather cooled off. And little coats. Later, hats and mittens. Seeing their first snow.
There's something so incredibly charming and peaceful and yet at the same time, something so exciting about "seconds." I guess, it's creating memories. Creating traditions. Creating a family. A history. A history of togetherness.

And what's a walk down memory lane without some pictures to go along with it:

And now some cuteness from my big boys....

Friday, September 5, 2008


The Twin Group I belong to has a massive yard sale twice a year and I've been busy tagging items for it. I came across last year's Halloween outfits that drowned them last year. Since they eventually ended up going as M & M's, I wanted to see if the costumes still fit for this year.

They seemed to finally be at the right height, but they're sort of busting at the the waist and chest (size 12 - 18m Gymboree)

Funny story, earlier this summer, Austin and Logan wanted to wear these and I said, it was "too hot" to wear them. So, when I tried to put them on this week, they both started crying and saying, "No, no Mommy, too hot, too hot, don't want to." They literally thought "too hot" meant it was going to hurt them. ha ha ha


My Little #1's!

And then, these are last year's pictures at a Fall Festival that we went to.
"Vroom, vroom drive the car!" Notice both the arms and pants are rolled up and they were still too big!We never did get a successful picture of the two looking up at the same time!

(I loved this picture from last year.)