Tuesday, December 30, 2008

7 years

Andy and I have been married for 7 years now. Wow!! That makes me feel a little old really to say I've been married for so long. We did get married fairly young I guess, a year before we even graduated college. I tell Andy all the time I'm glad we didn't date in high school or we would have been married way too young!!



We didn't have a sitter to watch the kids, so we decided to do something fun with the kids. We considered ice skating or roller skating, but that seemed too dangerous and that was not something we could hold Alex and do (neither of us are proficient at skating to say the least). So we decided to try bowling. This was the 1st time the kids have been bowling(unless the Wii counts). Old Orchard Lanes in Savoy is very kid friendly!!! We entered our names into the computer, and then the kids names, and you could pick whether you wanted bumpers or not for each person. They would pop up for the kids, then go back down for our turn. I think I should have used them, as I first bowled a 96 and then a 102. Andy was not a whole lot better, I think he bowled a 121 and then a 111 or something. It has been awhile since we last bowled, but I'm not sure that really makes a difference at our skill level.



The kids had a great time bowling. They used
the 6, 7, & 8 lb balls, depending on their mood each turn up I guess. Or it was more likely the color, as one was orange, one yellow, and the other pink. Faye would walk up there and throw the ball as hard as she could. She would sometimes drop the ball about 3 times on the way up, maybe miss the lane altogether (how is that possible?), then try again. She was watching how Andy and I threw the ball, so she'd get the ball behind her and then try to throw it. Not a good idea for a 4 year old!!! About 2 minutes later it maybe had made its way down the lane to knock over some pins. This was not our fastest game of bowling - it was probably the slowest ever played, but it was one of the most fun. Drew on the other hand would run up as fast as he could, throw the ball, and run back. Now his ball did not make it much faster down the lane. He had time to run up to the chairs and tables and eat a handful of pretzels before his reached the pins.




We eventually went up and asked for the ramp. The open bowling ended at 5pm and we weren't sure we would have time to finish our 2nd game the kids were so slow. They used it a few times, but they preferred to throw the ball themselves. It did make the game go much faster when they did use the ramp though.



Andy bought me a 3 legged pig for our anniversary. Huh? Well, he also got me a necklace, earrings, and a bracelet made in Kenya. The 3 legged pig, or 'chanchito' was made with clay from the mountainside near Pomaire, Chile, and is supposed to bring me love and good fortune. Lets hope so!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

dada

Alex started saying dada tonight. It is so cute... but I do wish he were saying mama. That will be soon enough I'm sure, and then it will be nonstop mama this and mama that, just like Faye and Drew do sometimes.

He started saying dada at dinner. We had some takeout Chinese and he had carrots for the 2nd time. He loves them by the way!! Andy gave him a bath while I cleaned up the dinner mess, and he just would not stop saying dada. He's said it about 20 times now and it is cute every time. He knows its cute too...

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Go Vegan

We've been vegan now for 4 1/2 years, and I don' t see that ever changing. It was actually Andy's idea to become vegan, which is surprising to some people, as he was a huge meat eater. I was never a huge fan, and I was actually vegetarian for about a year in college. But one day while I was in the hospital, pregnant and on bed rest with Faye and Drew, he came in and told me he was going to be vegan now. He watched a show on factory farming, then did some research on the Internet, and he decided that was it!! I didn't have a problem with that. My only thoughts were,"no more M&M's?"

I was reading Reader's Digest the other day, and came across an interesting article. It was about a guy who started a 'simple till six' diet, which basically means he ate vegan until 6pm and also didn't eat any simple carbs either(white flour products or sugary junk food). At dinner he ate his regular meal. He felt better, lost a ton of weight, and solved his blood sugar and cholesterol problems. Go VEGAN!!


There were also a few statistics from Animal Planet about the consumption of animals. They say that eating a steak dinner for a family of 4 is the energy equivalent of turning on every light in your house and driving around in your SUV for 3 hours. Does that make sense to anybody? Consuming animals is not good for your body or for the environment.
There are tons more facts about why going vegan is good for you and the environment - I don't have time to list them now, but I"m sure I'll add some more later. Go Vegan for a week or a month (or forever), and see how you feel. I bet you'll lose weight, feel better, and have lots more energy!!!


We don't eat carrot sticks and celery for dinner- buy a vegan cookbook or borrow one from the library. You might be surprised at what you find inside! We had BBQ seitan sandwiches with coleslaw and lemony potatoes for dinner. Yum Yum!!

Friday, December 26, 2008

A new little one coming soon....

After all the family and friends have been told, we can finally announce that a new little one will be arriving soon.... Billie Jo Henson is pregnant!!! I visited her at her new house a few weeks ago, and she broke the good news to me then. She was just beaming and grinning from ear to ear when she told me, and I was so excited for her I smiled all day and could hardly sleep that night!! But I couldn't tell anyone just yet. She was waiting until Christmas to tell her family. What a great Christmas present for her family!! She is due July 10th, 2009 which just happens to be Andy's birthday.

Billie Jo and Mike - We wish you a healthy and wonderful pregnancy and a healthy, happy baby!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Early Present


Andy gave me an early Christmas present on Sunday. It was an extremely cold day and I hate hate hate being cold. He gave me a new pair of warm up slippers! You put them in the microwave and then they warm your feet for up to 3 hours! Yeah! I had a pair a few years ago, but I wore them out and exploded one in the microwave.

We've been married for almost 7 years now, and I don't think I've yet received a gift from him that has been wrapped nicely, but he is inventive. Here is his duct tape bow he made!




Sunday, December 21, 2008

Cute kids



The kids were being cute yesterday. We finally started baby proofing our house a bit. We cleaned up the kids 'toy room' and removed all the little toys so Alex can safely play too. Alex was playing with Drew while I swept the after lunch mess in the dining room. I look out there and they were lined up playing choo choo trains. It was so cute! They all just had the biggest grins on their faces, so I ran upstairs and grabbed the camera. They actually stayed there and let me take their picture.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Velvet is ready for Christmas!!

There is nothing more that Velvet likes than opening presents. Well, maybe corn on the cob or going for rides in our van, but opening presents has to be one of her favorites. I was very careful to not let her see her presents this year. I didn't talk about them; I wrapped them while she was sleeping and put them under the tree. Somehow, she still knew they were there. The next day I saw her pawing under the tree looking for them. She knew which ones were hers even! They must smell different? I don't know how she can tell. I wrapped them the same as I would any other present and used the same paper. They are just toys and a new collar, so they are not snacks. If they were dog treats I could understand it.

Well, I was washing dishes last night, and I hear some rustling over by the tree. I figured the kids were probably getting anxious and starting to mess with the presents or the tree. Nope... it was the dog. She had finally dug out one of presents and was opening it. She decided she couldn't wait a bit longer and she was just going to open one. What a dog...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Cookies

The kids helped me make Brownie cookies on Friday afternoon. They love making desserts, mostly because they love licking the bowl when I'm done. This is one advantage of being vegan... no eggs in the batter to worry about!! So we can all eat batter till we have tummy aches!! They've been helping me for years, but they have just now really started helping. They count out how many cups of each ingredient, and they patiently take turns. They know if they help nicely they will get to eat the batter when we're finished! Faye really gets into the batter! She does not care if she is covered from head to toe in a mess.


Drew on the other hand is a very neat little boy and does not want anything on his hands, face, or clothes. He barely even needs to wash his hands when he is finished. Here he is waiting patiently for the cookies to bake!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Alex Alex Alex


Alex is so ready to crawl! He pushed up on his hands and knees yesterday. Uh oh!! This morning I had him on his tummy in his room, and he was inching forward and trying so hard to get where he wanted to be. He knows it is possible, it is just figuring out how to actually accomplish this. Velvet was laying in his room and he really wanted to get over by her to grab and pull her hair. I really hope crawling takes some time for him to learn. I am really not ready for him to be moving yet. It is much too early!! Andy and I will be baby proofing the house over Christmas break!

He is still not sleeping in his own bed yet. He seems to think that our bed is his bed. Oops! I have to admit I am probably to blame for this. When he was real little he'd wake up every 1 1/2 hours to eat, and I didn't want to get out of bed so much. I need some sleep or I really lose my patience with Faye and Drew. Now it is cold and it is really hard to get up. We have our thermostat at 60 degrees at night, and I hate, hate, hate being cold so getting up and going into another room is really impossible for me! I can at least lay him down in our bed and he will sleep, although I feel like I have to stay in the room and watch him as our bed is probably not the safest place for him to be. Here he is sleeping in our(his) bed:


Parent -Teacher Conference

I attended my first of many parent-teacher conferences yesterday. Kids sure grow up fast. It seems like just yesterday I was pregnant with them, and then they were little babies, and now they are growing up and going to school!

I met with Ms. Angie, Drew and Faye's preschool teacher. She is a great teacher and you can tell she really cares about the kids and spends a lot of time with each of them. She really knew Faye. She said Faye loved learning new things and had no trouble trying new things, but was not daring either. Faye has just now started easily talking to her teachers, and when in group circle time if nobody answers her questions, Faye is jumping in to answer them. She also said Faye loves story time. Really? I can't imagine that. She only wants me to read 50 books a day to her. So she is doing well and adjusting well to school.

Drew is very shy at school and really wants to fit in. The first word he spoke at school was 'cubby'. If they make a drawing or painting at school, when they are finished they get to walk out in the hallway by themselves and put their picture in their cubby. I guess this is 'the thing to do'. Ms. Angie said Drew discovered he could do this the day before Thanksgiving, so she told him if he wanted to do that, he had to say cubby. So he did and ran out and put it in, then rushed back in to draw some more. Then she made him say, "I want to put this in my cubby", and he did! She said it was awesome and she was so excited she nearly started crying! Then he was talking to her the rest of the day. But then was Thanksgiving break and now he is back to not really wanting to talk much. They have family style snack now, where they sit at the table and they have to put their hands in their laps and thank the person who brought the snack. Then they have to ask, "please pass the juice," or "please pass the snack," before they get any. She said that has been hard for Drew because he really wants the snack but doesn't want to talk , but it is helping getting all the kids talking! Apparently it is a quiet bunch of kids this year!

Drew is trying really hard to fit in and do the right thing at school. He will look at Ms. Angie before doing anything to make sure it is right. Sure wish he'd do this at home sometimes! But when it is time to do a potty, wash hands, clean up toys, etc. he double checks. She just thinks this is part of being shy and not wanting to stand out from the other kids. But he was playing with Jack at school and talking to him - they were building with Lego's together, so that is promising! She is not as worried since he seems comfortable talking to some of his classmates.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

1st Tooth

Alex got his first tooth today. I knew he was going to teeth soon, but not this soon! He just turned 5 months old, so it seems really early to me. The past week he's been waking up nearly every hour or two hours at night. So he's been making us a little loony to say the least. He's been his happy baby self during the day, but at night he has been fussy and even crying. That is something considering he hardly ever cries.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Shower curtain troubles


Andy put up our shower curtain rod Monday night. I hung the shower curtains, and they did not go all the way around. So I had to buy another. We now have 3 shower curtains! We took our first showers last night, and the curtains are way too long, so now we have to take down the rod, cut it shorter, an
d put it back up higher! We considered cutting the curtains and hemming the ends, but with my poor sewing skills we decided that may not be the best idea. Plus Andy is much taller than me, so he was spraying water out the top! It would have been put up higher to begin with, but as you can see in the picture, our bathroom ceiling slopes quite a bit and that was as high as it would go. Maybe someday we'll be finished with this project!



I've been trying to get a picture of the kids to send out for Christmas cards this year. I've taken about a hundred pictures, and there is always one kid looking away from the camera, or eyes closed, or something. This is an impossible task! And in order to get Drew to even consider sitting still, I've had to bribe him with twiz
zlers and a cookie last night, and a muffin this morning!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Our Christmas Tree

Usually we get a real tree every year for Christmas, but this year we decided to try an artificial tree. We don't have as much room in our house now that we have a baby - all that baby equipment. We have a swing downstairs and a swing upstairs, and a highchair, and an exersaucer, and I could go on and on about all the baby stuff. I saw a flyer for Menards and they had some 'slim' trees. That might work. We took the kids last night and picked one out. Andy thought it was a little weird looking, and it probably is, but I liked it and it will fit in our house. The real trees we usually get are huge, and they do make a large mess, but they smell so good. I'll miss that!

I got the tree out this morning and Faye and Drew helped me put it together while Alex was napping. Faye really enjoyed helping, while Drew brought over the branches to us or watched. Drew was not even going to let me take his picture, but I did bribe him with a Twizzler if he would hold Faye's hand and take a picture. He agreed to that!




We'll decorate the tree later once
Andy is here to help. They get a little carried away with decorating and last year knocked over the tree several times while putting on the ornaments.



Here is Alex e
ating a cracker. I can't believe he is old enough for that already! He'll be 5 months old tomorrow. Of course most of the cracker ended up on the floor, but he really thinks he is big stuff when I give him something he can feed himself. He also learned how to use his sippy cup today! I've occasionally been giving one to him to try, and he usually just chews on it, but today he figured it out! He's never yet had a bottle, so we'll probably just skip right over that, but that will be easier later anyways.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving day deer

No, we didn't eat a deer on Thanksgiving, but I hit one. I think this is the first time I myself have hit a deer. I've been in the car before when somebody else has hit one, but this is my first.

We decided to drive over to Andy's parents house on Thanksgiving afternoon; we had dinner and took showers. I made a Gluten roast in the slow cooker, although we didn't have any seitan so it wasn't that interesting. I hadn't planned on taking it anywhere, but then Andy said it would be awhile before our bathroom was finished, so we should drive over. So off we went. The kids had a good time at Grandma and Grandpa's, but it was getting late so we headed home. Andy was driving, but he was getting really tired as he'd been working all day on our bathroom. He pulled over in LeRoy so I could drive. I had passed another car awhile back, and was heading back into the right lane, when Bam! There it was! I turned my head for 1 second to look behind me and there was a huge deer in the right lane. I swerved just in time to avoid a major crash I think. We did end up with 2 dents in our van (no big deal - we drive a really old van), and a broken passenger side mirror. We'll have to have that replaced, but otherwise no major problems for us. I don't know what happened to the deer though! I felt so bad all the way home. I don't think I killed it right then, but it had to be hurting.

Andy had just fallen asleep when I hit the deer, and he woke up and yelled, "Are you awake Steph?" So I pulled over and explained what had happened and he got out and surveyed the damage. The lady behind us was nice enough to also pull over and ask if we were all OK. We made it home OK after that, but it was a little scary!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Bathroom remodeling

We finally decided to finish our bathroom. We started not long after moving in, and it is 2 1/2 years later and still unfinished. We had to get a new sink right away. The old sink had separate hot and cold faucets and you had to hold them on for the water to come out. I couldn't figure out how to wash my hands or anything else. Then the floor - what a disaster. Somebody redid the bathroom at some point in time. They put down particle board, then ceramic tile on that. Well, the tub setup was a disaster and would leak water out the side. Then the particle board would get wet, expand, and the tiles would break. So we took all that up and redid it properly when we moved in. We just have vinyl tile for now, but it is easy to remove and we can always have something nicer put down when we're ready.

So we decided to finally remove the tub disaster and put in our claw foot tub that has been sitting in the garage for 2 years. We bought it newly refinished from a family in Gibson City I believe. We found the faucet and supply lines and drain on Ebay, and they arrived on Wednesday morning. Thus our project began. Andy started tearing apart the old tub parts while I watched the kids. The demolition went fairly quickly, as whoever redid the bathroom did such a poor job that everything was just ready to fall apart. There were glass blocks built up on top of our bathtub so you could take a shower. Andy basically just had to push on them and they came right out. That is a little scary. We're lucky the kids didn't push them over! Here you can see what they were sitting on.


Then he started to pull off the tile surrounding the tub. Well, it was glued on to drywall, which water had leaked through that so the drywall just fell off. It was mushy and stinky and moldy! So now we have to rebuild the wall. I'm not surprised after seeing what was done to the floor!

Andy finally got all that tore out and decided to get the bathtub out. He asked our neighbor Denny to help him carry it out. It was a good thing too, as it was a cast iron tub and ridiculously heavy. Andy and our neighbor are both big guys and really strong, and they had a really difficult time carrying that tub outside. I have no idea how much it weighed but I'm guessing it had to be 400lbs. So right now it is just sitting outside our front door. They weren't going to move it any further than they had to. Anyone want a tub?

Here Andy is contemplating the plumbing. And no, he is not a plumber and has no experience, so he probably should not be doing this, but he thinks he can do anything after reading about it online. He did manage to install our sink with no leaks, so we'll see what happens here! You can see the yucky wall and missing part of the wall.


He did manage to get the new stops and drain installed, and we have the floor built. We're working on the wall today, then finishing the floor and the tub should be ready to be brought up!


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gridley



So we left Andy's parents house Saturday morning on our way to Chicago. We took 24 to Chenoa, but as we were almost in Gridley, I look up, and what do I see but a huge Johnny Martin looking back at me. Now I had heard that he had a sign up in Gridley. I guess I was not expecting it to be this large, but then who would? Andy almost missed it, so he turns around for a second look. It is impressive to say the least. How many of your classmates have a billboard with a giant picture of themselves?

On our way back to Andy's parents house Monday evening, Andy decided to stop in Gridley for gas. I was sleeping in the backseat and so were the kids. I sit up and look out the window, and right there is Andy and Erin Cooper. We had a great laugh about this. Andy thought it was probably one in million chance that we would run into them. Taking a look back at the events that led up to that, it probably was. We were stuck in traffic in Chicago, then we had to stop and feed the baby. He almost stopped in Chenoa for gas, but then decided to wait until Gridley. We were even just talking about them on the drive. Every wedding we go to, Andy and Erin Cooper are there; this wedding was one of the exceptions because it was my family. But then, sure enough, we run into them at a gas station on a wedding weekend!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Chicago Diner

Sunday night after the wedding we took the kids to The Chicago Diner. The link is here:

http://www.veggiediner.com/

It is a great little vegetarian restaurant in the Lincoln Park area just north of Chicago. We were staying in Schaumburg, and there are of course plenty of restaurants in Schaumburg, but not any quite like this(or at least none that we know of). Being vegan, it is always difficult to eat out. There are many restaurants that don't have a single vegetarian option listed on their menu. Then there are the others that have maybe one or two vegetarian meals, and then we have to ask for no cheese or eggs. So being in a huge city with lots of vegan/veg restaurants, I was not going to miss this chance. We arrived around 7:30pm, and the line was out the door. I was not expecting this, as it was a Sunday evening and usually restaurants are not as busy. But the wait was only 10 minutes, so we could do that. We were seated in a booth and handed a menu. I could not decide what to order! Everything sounded good, and everything was vegetarian or vegan, with the option of making it vegan. Whoa! I could order anything I wanted off the menu. I can't remember the last time that happened. It is a very strange feeling and I couldn't decide what to get. Normally the decision is very easy - spaghetti with marinara sauce. Not tonight! Andy had a Reuben sandwich with sliced seitan. He ended up picking for me; I had the Philly Cheeze "Steak" sandwich which also had sliced seitan. It was delicious!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Chicago

We spent the weekend in Chicago and took the whole crew and had a great time. It is much easier to travel now that the twins are a little older. It is still difficult with 3 kids and very exhausting, but easier than when they were babies. We left Saturday morning from Grandma and Grandpa's house. They agreed to watch our very pathetic dog for the weekend. Apparently she did ok during the day, but at night while we were gone she would start crying. She did survive the ordeal and is very happy to be back home. We took the kids to Woodfield Mall on Saturday. It was jam packed - we could hardly move. We were there for probably 3 hours and only made it to 2 stores. I of course had to visit the Lush store. It was awesome and I found a lot of great bath products! They sell all vegetarian products and over 75% are vegan. None of their products are tested on animals, and they don't buy ingredients that are tested on animals either. All of their packaging material is made from recycled products and is recyclable, although they use very little packaging. We then took the kids to Build-A-Bear. They loved that and Faye picked a dog which she named Princess Leia, and Drew picked a white bear he named Storm Trooper. Can you tell they play Lego Starwars? Andy already has their brains warped I think.


We headed back to th
e hotel and Grandma and Uncle Jadon arrived a bit later. We spent the evening swimming in the pool. We all had a great time. Even Alex went swimming for the 1st time. The water was very warm, but he did start getting cold after a few minutes so he didn't swim long.



Justin and Maribeth got married on Sunday morning. We left in plenty of time for the wedding, but once again google maps failed so we ended up missing the beginning. I hate hate hate being late, but there was nothing we could do about it. We basically just missed them walking in, so we saw all of the ceremony. It was short and sweet and surprisingly enough the kids were well behaved. They sat all through lunch really nicely, although we did tell them that they would get wedding cake eventually if they kept sitting. Maribeth did great and made kiddie gift bags for the kids, with coloring books and flashlights and even a bracelet and ring for Faye. She is still wearing the ring! Justin put on a fedora and used a belt whip, while they played the Indiana Jones theme song while he removed the garter. Jadon caught the garter. Are there wedding bells in the future? Only time will tell. The kids love Hallie and Uncle Jadon, but unfortunately Hallie was unable to make it to this wedding. Next came dancing, and Faye is quite a dancer! She was out on the dance floor the whole time, doing the chicken dance and the hokey pokey and everything else you can imagine. She had a great time but was exhausted by the time the wedding was over. Drew played lego star wars on the Nintendo DS rather than dance. But as Jadon commented, it was the best behaved he'd been the whole weekend. He loves video games!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Baby fish

Well, Faye's fish Princess had babies last night. We've only had the fish for 4 days now, and already we have more. I'm not sure how many she had, but there were 4 in there this morning. I read up on Molly fish, and they tend to have babies all the time. Like every 30 days. Even if you have only one female fish, they could have babies 3 or 4 times. They can apparently store semen and use it later. Wow. They also eat their babies sometimes, so there could have actually been more. Now I don't think Princess actually ate them, as she appears to have died in childbirth and is floating on the bottom. We may be having a fish funeral later tonight. But Mr. Fizzwizzle is swimming around the tank looking for them. At lunch I checked the tank and I could now only see two babies. They are adorable so I may have to go get a small tank and put them in there until they are bigger!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

New Pets



We took Faye and Drew to the pet store today to pick out their new fish. I finally got the tank all set up and ready this week. I ended up buying a heater, as we keep our house cold and would probably kill the fish. We asked the pet store lady for recommendations, and she suggested a black molly and also mentioned that they liked to have babies. Drew was sold. So he got a black molly and named it Mr. Fizzwizzle. For those of you who don't know, Mr. Fizzwizzle is a computer game and Drew loves playing it. It is a puzzle game and really gets you thinking. Even Andy and I have trouble completing some of the harder levels!

The website for the game is here:
http://grubbygames.com/

Faye picked out a dalmatian molly. It is silver with black spots and is really pretty. She named it Princess. Imagine that! Her fish and Drew's fish seem to be getting along really well. They are swimming all over the tank together. Drew and Faye fed them right after putting them in the tank and they were hungry! Alex and I picked out a Sunburst. It is yellow and orange, and we named it Freddy. We'll probably add a few more in the future!

We're Moving!



Well, we're not really moving, but I sort of wish we were! I don't want to actually move all my things as that would be too much work with a baby, but I wouldn't mind the new house part. Alex and I drove to Pontiac yesterday morning to see Billie Jo and her family and their new house. It is beautiful! They have a huge kitchen with stainless steel appliances and anti-slam drawers and cabinets, lights everywhere, and a huge pantry. I have to say I would love love love to have a kitchen like this!! Did I mention they have a master bathroom with a huge jet tub! Their living room is also large with a fireplace. Yep, that's right, a fireplace! I love fireplaces - my next house will have one! (billie jo, I'm moving in) Haha! Anyways, they have worked very hard for over 2 years, picking everything for this house, making thousands of decisions, and painting and staining and doing who knows what else. Their hard work really paid off!



Billie Jo and I were able to go out for lunch at How Sweet It Is, a new little place on the square in Pontiac. It was really good. We had hot apple cider and I had a grilled Veggie Panini, and they also make Fudge so they gave you a sample with your meal. It was Wedding Cake day, and it was different, but very good. After lunch we went back to her house, and Alex had a fun time playing with Billie Jo'
s step-daughter Brittney. Alex and I had a great time spending the day there!




We decided to stop in Flanagan and see Oma while we were there. She was surprised to see us, but I think she was glad we stopped. We played a game of cribbage while Alex slept, then we had dinner and fed Alex. I decided by then I'd better head home and assess the damage of leaving Andy home all day with 2 kids!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I'm Sick!

As we were getting the coats on the kids this morning, ready to take them to preschool, Drew informs us, "I'm sick!" Well, he was not at all sick, but thought he'd try getting out of preschool. I think we're in for a lot of trouble from him down the road, if he's already trying to skip preschool. It occurred to him to try this excuse, as Faye really was sick on Tuesday and stayed home. Drew went to school without Faye, but not without a fight. Andy actually carried him into the school kicking and biting and screaming. His teacher Ms. Angie came out in the hallway and got him and carried him in, and after about 10 minutes he was fine and had a great time at school. It was his friend Maddie's birthday, so they had cookies, and since it was raining they went to the gym to play and they had bikes and slides out for the first time. He was very excited and had to tell Faye all about it!



Here's a picture Faye took of me and Alex. I thought it was a good picture of Alex, although she did cut my head off.




I took Faye to get her hair cut last week. It was just crazy, so this is a little better. You can see she is not feeling well in the picture - her nose is all red from wiping it. Poor girl. She woke up crying on Tuesday from not feeling well. It is so hard to explain to little kids why they are sick
!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Alex 4 months old

I took Alex to his 4 month checkup yesterday. He is 16lb and 26 1/2 inches long. So he has grown 6 inches in 4 months. He's a tall baby! The pediatrician said he looked and acted more like a 6 month old baby. I'd have to agree. He thinks he is much older as well. He gets very very frustrated if Drew and Faye are playing and we're not 'playing' with them as well. He is very anxious to get moving, so he can go where he wants. I think he'll be following his big brother and sister all day. I think he'll be crawling really early so he can keep up with them. Uh oh!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Secret language?



I've heard that twins sometimes develop 'secret' languages, but so far I've never seen it in my twins, until today. It was a beautiful day outside today so we went for a walk. The kids were so excited about the leaves, that we decided to go home and rake the leaves and play in them. I did most of the raking, while the kids jumped in the piles and had a blast. Drew did try a little raking, although mostly he tried raking the trees to try and get the berries to fall. Alex sat in the stroller and watched, giggling as the kids jumped in the leaves.



The kids were really tired after
all that playing, so we went upstairs to take a nap. I have to sit in their room until they fall asleep, or they never go to sleep, no matter how tired they are. I even have to insist they close their eyes. So they are both lying there with their eyes closed, and I hear Drew make a noise. It was sort of a humming noise, and I wasn't sure what it was, so I just ignored it. About 10 seconds later, Faye makes a similar noise. This went back and forth for about 10 minutes, with them occasionally smiling or laughing like it was some sort of inside joke that only they understood. I'm not certain that what they were doing meant anything to the other, but it sure seemed like it! But finally they did fall asleep!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween


The kids had a great Halloween this year! Faye went as a butterfly and Drew was a Ninja. They woke up Friday morning so excited about going trick or treating. They weren't too excited about waiting until dark though. "That's too long to wait mom!" they kept telling me. We tried getting them to eat dinner before we left, but they weren't hungry. More room for candy I guess.



Finally once Andy was home from work we had them all dressed and ready to go. Drew did not want to get his picture taken once again. But we did manage to get them to sit on the couch for a couple pictures. Alex was mesmerized by the orange pumpkins and would not stop staring at those.

We got out and at the first couple houses Drew and Faye would ring the bell , but once somebody came to the door they would not say 'Trick or Treat'. I figured they would get the hang of it after a few houses, but no, they would just stare and wait for treats. I guess that worked too!


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Popcorn balls

Every year around Halloween I get a craving for popcorn balls. My great-aunt Millie made the best popcorn balls and gave them out each year at Halloween. I haven't had one in years, but I can still remember exactly how they looked and tasted. They were delicious and probably my favorite Halloween treat! I've been so desperate for some in years past, that I've considered driving all the way to Flanagan on Halloween for one, or calling and asking to have some mailed. I'm sure she would probably save some for me or even send some my way if she knew.

This year I decided we'd try and make some. Andy told the kids they could help. They succeeded in getting popcorn all over our kitchen and dining room, but didn't help with much else. I found some 'old fashioned' recipes on the internet, trying to guess which one might taste similar to my aunts. The recipe needs a candy thermometer, and for some reason we just can't keep ours around without breaking it. So I would try it without, testing the sugar mixture in cold water to determine its temperature. It turned out well, with the kids and Andy devouring them quickly and wanting more. They didn't look anything like my aunts used to - it is a bit harder than it looks to make them pretty. Maybe with some more practice mine will someday be as good as hers!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday News


We made a little more progress on our garage today. Andy finished sanding the front side and I went out and painted this afternoon. We decided to take turns taking care of the kids/working on the garage. It seemed to work a little better this way. The kids just can't seem to stay out of trouble otherwise! I started painting the trim, then Andy came out and informed me it wasnt yet ready to paint. Oops! Well, at least we have a better idea of what it will look like. It is a remarkable improvement over the red colored trim.


We still have a lot to do, but it is looking much better already!



The kids were playing nice all day. Drew pulled out Faye's bed this morning and I found them laying under Drew's bed reading books and playing cars and pony's. They hid when I tried taking their picture. We were going to get 4 year old photos of them, but since Drew thinks he should hide from the camera every time, I think we'll wait a bit.

We started feeding Alex cereal and bananas this week. He loves the cereal and usually wants more. He's not so sure about the banana.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Grandpa's Birthday

We took the kids to Bloomington yesterday for Grandpa's birthday. We met at Noodles and had lunch. Then we were off to the Miller Park Zoo. The kids were having so much fun just playing at the park, we never made it to the zoo. Drew once again would not let us take his picture. He would not turn around - we may have a lot of pictures of his backside from now on!



I think Grandpa and Andy had fun too!


Alex was just hanging out in his horse costume with Aunt Sarah and Grandma. It was a little cool and windy, so it kept him nice and warm!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Pumpkins!

We took the kids to the pumpkin patch today to pick out some pumpkins to carve. Instead of going to Curtis Orchard, which we normally go to, we tried a small family farm - Neganguard I think. Their prices were much much more reasonable, it wasn't as crowded, and they had a great selection. Curtis Orchard is great, but is so crowded this time of year. They do have pony rides, hay rack rides, inflatables, apple cider slushes, etc. but we really just wanted pumpkins.


First they checked out the huge pumpkins. We decided against taking one of those home. Then we got a wagon and started loading it up. Of course the kids fought over who pulled the wagon, so we took turns.


Finally they decided that Drew would pull and Faye would push, and that worked out well. The wagon was getting really heavy! We ended up with a whole wagon full plus, for $8.00. It was a great deal!! Alex slept the whole time, so he missed everything. Maybe next year!




I was trying so hard to get a good picture of them at the pumpkin patch, but they just would not cooperate and sit or stand still! It must have been too exciting for them. When we finished paying, I saw they had some huge pumpkins and some bales of hay sitting there, so I tried getting them to sit and get their picture. Drew would not sit - you can actually see him hiding behind the hay so I couldn't take his picture.


The kids had a good time helping carve the pumpkins. They didn't want to touch the ooey stuff inside, so we used spoons. Andy did all of the actually carving, but the kids instructed him what shapes and where.




Friday, October 17, 2008

Alex Sitting!


Drew woke up early from his nap today, so we were out in the playroom playing. Alex was awake of course too. Drew wanted to get the 'baby piano' out for Alex. This was Drew and Faye's toy when they were babies. Alex just loves sitting and looking at this. Usually I hold him, but today I let go and he managed to sit there for about 10 minutes looking and listening to his piano. He's a little tipped over, but I think that will improve in the next few weeks!



Here's another photo I took of him today. I think these are about the only two times today I was able to put him down and not have him scream. He must be going through an attachment to mommy phase. Or maybe he is not feeling well - I've been sick all week and he has been a little snotty.

Here he is with his Pooh toy. He loves holding Pooh and biting on him. Everything now goes straight to the mouth. We'll have to start picking up Drew and Faye's little toys soon!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Pumpkin Pie


I made the first(many more to come I'm sure) pumpkin pie this fall last night. Yes, you can make a vegan pumpkin pie! Usually Andy starts asking about it, as I think it is one of his favorites, but this year as soon as the kids saw pumpkins at the store, they started asking, "Aren't we going to have any pumpkin pie?" The pie wasn't out of the oven until almost 10pm last night, so it was too late to have any. The kids were so disappointed, as they love pumpkin pie. I don't even like it really, but I enjoy making it. The kids woke up this morning asking about it, so I promised a small piece after lunch. They were excited to try some as you can see! The picture is not great, but you can get the idea.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Alex waking up from his nap


Alex fell asleep in his car seat yesterday while we were out doing some errands. So I brought the car seat inside and let him continue sleeping. I was sitting on the couch with the seat nearby when he started to wake up. This is how he almost always wakes up - big smile on his face! Luckily I had the camera nearby and was able to snap a photo of him. He is such a happy baby all the time. We are so very lucky!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Painting the garage

So we finally decided to paint the garage. I've been wanting to do something with it since we moved in here two years ago. It is a mess, really. It should be torn down, but we really want to do minimal work on this house. And it does serve its purpose. The garage doors open and we can park our van inside, and put all of our tools, etc. inside. What else do we really need in a garage? I'm hoping to move in the next few years, so why bother making it really nice? I convinced Andy Friday night that we were going to get started on the garage. It usually takes some convincing to get him to start on a project, as he would rather spend his time on the computer. But he was finally convinced- it needed to be done. So Saturday morning I sent him with Drew and Faye to the store to buy the paint and supplies needed. I don't know what made us think we could actually get work done with 3 kids - one of them a baby, but we thought we could do it. The kids were really good helpers at first. They were excited about scraping off the old paint.



That lasted about 20 minutes and they were ready to paint. Well, the garage is old and in very bad shape, so we were no where close to being ready to paint after 20 minutes. So the kids ran around the yard, chasing the dog, asking us "are we ready yet" every 5 minutes, playing with the paint rollers, etc. Alex calmly sat in his stroller and watched all of us. He was the only one that remained calm throughout this process I think. The kids were so eager to paint, so we let them have our trim paint and start on our door.







They had about a pint of paint smeared in one little spot on the door, but it kept them occupied long enough for us to finish half of one side of the garage. Woohoo. We made some progress. But we have brown trim paint pretty much everywhere you can imagine. Next time - we'll wait till they're at Grandma and Grandpa's before we work on the garage again. At least we'll finally be rid of the red!