Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Forever Fourteen

Why is it that I feel like I'm stuck with the same set of insecurities I faced as a young teenager?
  • Who are my friends?
  • Does this new person like me?
  • Will they be my friend?
  • Why doesn't anyone want to hang out with me?
  • What's up with my hair?!

There's this group of moms at Caitlin's school that I've seen and waved to since kindergarten, but since I'm always worn out with the twins, I've never had time/taken the time to get to know them. This year, since the twins are a lot more interested in hanging out after school and playing in the sandbox, I've taken the time.

You know, hang out and chat. And I think...I think...they might even like me! Today I even went on a walk with one, after drop off. It went well! The twins got to go on an hour long walk/ride and I got to talk to an actual adult during school hours.

Imagine that!

So what I want to know is this: is it really this hard to make new friends and click with people? Gah! Has nothing really changed inside since I was 14? I'm still worried about making and keeping friends. I still freak out (quietly) when they don't call me for weeks on end. I still wonder what I've done or said or should've done or said that would have kept someone my friend longer. I keep wondering if I'm ever going to get over this feeling that I just don't fit in.

Besides, how do I explain all of this to Caitlin? Do I really tell her it never really gets better? That she's going to spend the next 32 years wondering if they're talking about her once she leaves the room? Ack!

Is it just me? Do you ever stop feeling like the kid on the other side of the fence?

humpf. I bet your grass is greener, too.

Monday, September 28, 2009

They Turned Two!

Blowing out a pair of tea candles.*

They made it through another 365 days, believe it or not. And what do I have to show for it? Not very many pictures at all. Fortunately for me, Misty stepped in to do some shooting, because I was so busy messing with the cake that I didn't take any until the party was ending. Of course, to make matters worse, I didn't take the time to empty my card, so there are even fewer photos than there might have been. Sorry Misty!

It's been a tough year, alrighty.

Anyway, yeah. The twins! Are two! Holy moly!

Emma wants to know what the big deal is.

I just wanted a clean house and a cake. I got a mostly clean house and a chocolate cake. The twins got to eat cake with Grammy and Grampy in the backyard, who didn't realize that the twins would eat the entire piece I put in the bowl and had to come back for more. I was gonna say something, but they moved so fast out of the kitchen and the massive pile up around the cake that I never had a chance.

Small surprise that those two can say "Cake" really clearly, isn't it?

I realized, later, that I was so busy cleaning right up until the first knock on the door that I never changed my own clothing into something nicer or their clothing into something more festive. Dang it! So. Hmm. Scruffy.

Year Two is all about The Scruff.

Logan showing off his chocolate face.

The company was good, though. Even though I keep trying to keep the parties small, once you get past immediate blood family, you have close friends that you always have to invite and then suddenly it's a party of 8 adults and 9 children. Eek! That's my version of small, alright.
Otter was there and cute as a button, although still terrifying to Logan. Again. (Photo by Misty!)

Everyone brought snacks to share and there was general hanging around, snacking, singing, cake and ice cream. By request there was only one present to open (Because this house is Full. No Vacancy to new toys.), which the twins descended upon once everyone said goodbye and we were entering the Calm after the Birthday Party Storm. Turns out that Grammy and Grampy need not have bothered with anything other than tissue paper.
The real thrill of birthdays: wrapping paper.

Oh and they liked the little cars, too, once the tissue paper went away.

Over all, it was a good day with little explosions of melodrama as these days usually are, but that just seems to be how we roll.

Happy birthday to my monkeys! Onto the Terrible Twos Times Two! Yeee-haaaaa!

* I've got a pile of number candles. Where are the 2s? Why can't I find any regular candles? Did someone eat them or something? Had to make do with tea candles. The twins didn't care since they didn't blow out their own candles this year anyway. Maybe next year.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Jam On!

Wonder Canning Powers...activate!

Form of:
Jam. And ice cream toppings. Because once you start canning, it's kinda hard to stop.

My first set:
Spiced wine peach jam and mango-raspberry jam. There's a whacking lot of sugar in jam! Yow!

Second set:
No sugar added peach jam and no sugar added cherry jam. This was in direct response to the huge amount sugar in the first two batches. Next time, I'll probably just use a cup or two of sugar instead of none at all. Strangely enough, these are a little tart and considering I was using really ripe fruit that seemed odd. Those two tablespoons of lemon juice packed more of a punch than I realized!

My third set:
Pecans in praline syrup and walnuts in a maple syrup sauce. Just because.

I noticed when I jumped into the first batch that it was really easy to run a second batch immediately after you finished processing the first one, since you were already set up with everything you'd need and the water was already hot. Thus the seemingly enormous different types of jams. I have plans for shipping several of them off to my mom and sisters (Shhhh!) as early Xmas presents. Hopefully I did a good job processing them!

I'm pretty sure I did, they all did that "Ping!" thing to let you know the jar was vacuum sealed.

I found out that while I really liked making all of these different jams, it's really hot work and is better saved for cooler days. Also, that it's only possible to get through one batch before the twins wake up.

Oh and that the twins really like my jam.
"Oooh! Pretty!"

It's funny how cracking out a new skill for me, which is actually a very old skill, makes me feel all industrious. Next thing you know I'll start collecting farm animals, churning my own butter, and wearing gingham aprons...

Or maybe not.

Have you ever canned before? If so, how'd it go?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Are you STILL using disposable plastic water bottles?

Watch this trailer.*

* Totally stolen from Fake Plastic Fish.

I think because our trash is taken away by large trucks and hauled off somewhere else, we don't realize what kind of an impact we have collectively. It's only when you either see the giant trash heaps or see the giant garbage pile swirling around in the North Pacific gyre. So in case you're wondering why it is I keep on making my own yogurt, kefir, sour cream and buttermilk when I have so many other things I could be doing, that's why. Reading that article is what made me want to stop buying bread all the time and instead, make my own. It's what led me to make more of my own dairy products, buy more products in bulk (loose leaf tea, flour, oats, etc.) instead of individually wrapped bits, use cloth diapers and make Caitlin's lunch. It's why we cook at home most of the time (that, plus it's less expensive plus twins).

All of these things add up to less trash to dispose. Less plastic for turtles to eat. A smaller carbon footprint. Also? A smaller trash bill.

We have the smallest trashcan (33 gallons) we could rent from our trash service. We have two larger recycling and compost containers that handle twice the volume that our trashcan does. I still compost all of the vegetative matter, but now the service will take all of the icky stuff I couldn't compost: meat scraps, bones, fat, dairy, and the giant seed-filled weeds from my yard. Of which, this year, there are a lot. Maybe next year the twins will be safer in the yard and allow me to get out there and weed without worrying about them ripping green tomatoes off the vine or crashing into the miniature pond. Either one makes mommy cry.

Does it take more time to make these things at home? Certainly. However, knowing what goes into all of these different foods that we're putting into our bodies and reducing the amount of plastic waste that we produce makes it worth it to me. So much of the plastic we consume in our society is completely useless. Everything is disposable. Getting out of that mindset is more important than you might think. Have a look at your own trash and note how much of it is plastic. How much is recyclable? How much of it can you compost on your own or, if you're lucky like I am, send off with your curbside composting service?

Thanks to Julie, over at Chez Artz, here is a link to some trash facts. There are some scary numbers in there, but without opening our eyes and acknowledging what we're doing, we can't change.

What are you doing to make a positive difference in the world?

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Quiz Time!

  1. Burn it all down and start over?
  2. Burn it all down and cackle madly?

Answers and reasoning in the comments! For bonus points, explain how you'll get away with it all.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009


Most of my days are spent uttering the following:
  • No.
  • Put that down.
  • Leave that alone.
  • Not for you.
  • Stop.
  • Leave it.
  • Leeeeeeeave it.
  • Close the door.
  • Put it back.
  • Don't touch.
  • No, baby.
  • What?! No!
  • Stop!
  • ARGH!
  • Why can't you leave that alone?
  • Did I mention that that's not for you? Because it's NOT FOR YOU.
  • No, you may not.
  • Quit it.
  • Why are you doing that?
  • Should you be doing that?
  • Wait! No! [Crash!] Siiiigh.
  • Get down.
  • Where's your father?

Most of those things are said while I have something in my hands. Or on my hands. Or the oven door open. Pretty much, I'm always tied up when short people decide they need to get into trouble.

They're plotting against me, I tell you!


Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Twenty Three Months

The twins want you to know that they plan on partying hard in just 26 more days. Yes, indeed.

Since they survived their wild attempt at mountaineering in their bedroom, I thought you could use a few photos. Also? I'm late on the 23 month update. Surprise!
Emma stares deeply into your soul. "Cookie?"

Emma wants you to know that in addition to her fabulous verbal skills (Chatter! Chatter! Chatter!), she's also a great mimic. She's taken to imitating Caitlin, at Caitlin's worst, to me. As in, the other day she turned to me and folded her little arms together: harrumph! And then grinned. See? It's cute when you're small, but not when you're 8.

The food thing is still and on-again, off-again issue. Some days it seems like they won't eat anything but carbs and then other days, they chow down on coconut curry chicken soup.
"Yum!" Logan has the best grin.

That was my soup, just so you know. They won't eat on their trays, but pop them in your lap and poof! All of your food disappears. I dislike it when it appears all over the floor but am OK with it going into their tummies.

While the twins still are madly in love with having baths, they don't really like being told that it's bedtime, unless there's a lot of this going on:
So tired!

In which case, they'll happy climb the stairs lickety-split and head to bed.
Up the stairs! Up the stairs!

It seems like they're just a little bit away from walking up the steps like big kids. Just a little...bit...more. I'm not in a hurry, though. Logan will occasionally practice going down the stairs by holding onto the bannister, it's very cute. They'll also hold your hand and walk down the "normal" way, as well as up, but they'd really prefer that you carry them.

Emma, aren't you coming?

As has been the trend all along, Emma continues to be taller than Logan. I point this out because it's really obvious in the next picture.
"You ready yet? You so SLOW!"

She's got at least 2 inches on him and uses it to her advantage. She gets on and off chairs, sofas, boxes, name it, she climbs it. She's been trying to climb in to the cribs and can so long as the side of the crib is down. Luckily, she hasn't tried to climb out yet. I'm not quite sure how we're going to handle the transition to regular twin beds yet. There are no other rooms for them to sleep in, so they'll still have to share a room, but I'm not certain how much sleeping will take place once they can actively get in and out of their own beds.

Note that they haven't figured out how to open doors yet, so we're safe from that skill for a little while longer.

"You ready for night diapah, yet? I hep you get ready."

Their language skills have taken a big jump this last month. They are saying many different words, bunches of them are quite clear, too. Emma said "Monkeys!" very clearly today in response to a picture. They make many different animal noises, with a nice roar being the clear favorite. They also listen pretty well to direction. Especially when you say something like "Get him!" This is the result:
Strange blue tones are from bouncing the flash off the very blue ceiling. Whoops!

Looks like a hug...

No! It's a take down!
Emma drags Logan down, giggling.

"You OK, right?"

But she also checks to make sure that he's OK.

They really like to tickle one another and chase each other around screaming. Chase games are even more fun if Caitlin and I are involved. Of course, the volume goes way up if that's the case.

There are still plenty of hugs

and kisses

going around, but you never know when it's going to go from gleeful hugging

into a wrestling match,

complete with hair pulling.

Good thing Logan thinks it's still funny.

Recently, Logan has been waking up in the middle of the night and screaming his tiny head off. I'm not sure if it's teething (they're still getting teeth in) or if it's because someone didn't eat enough at dinner, but it's no fun. He squeals like a stuck pig. LOUDLY. Then there's all the guilt from hearing him call your name over and over again. If you go in, he calms down, but only as long as you're in there. As soon as you leave, he screams louder.

Somehow, Caitlin sleeps through all of this. It's amazing.

Last night I went in armed with water and a muffin and after he'd calmed down, fed him the muffin and water. Eventually he let me leave without too much additional screaming. Emma woke up and stood up in her crib. Since it was pitch black, I couldn't tell for certain but I'd swear that she fell asleep again standing up next to me. After putting Logan back in his crib, I picked her up and laid her down. Not a peep out of her. Poor, tired monkey!

They love going 'side (outside) and will open the back door, if you leave it unlocked, and wander out. The only problem is that they're not safe in the backyard.

Or, rather, the yard isn't safe from them. They rip green tomatoes off, willy-nilly. Rip flower heads off with great abandon and make mommy cry. It's bad enough when the mice do it. So it's become impossible to garden with them in the garden, which means my garden currently looks like hell. During the day, it's too hot to weed and at night, while there's still light out, I'm busy making dinner. Sigh. Maybe in the fall?

The twins have discovered a great love for the playground where Logan will fling himself down the slides like a maniac. Emma follows, but at a much slower pace. She's more than willing to climb to the very top of the structure, but is less willing to just go down the slide once she gets there. Both of them have an unnerving tendency to change their minds and suddenly want off the level they're currently on and will back out over space. You have to be ready to grab them at a moment's notice. Park trips aren't easy with only one parent.

Logan's favorite vehicle is currently the plane. Whenever (and I mean whenever!) he hears one flying overhead he will start yelling "Fly! Fly! Fly!" until you acknowledge the fantastic sound of jets flying over.

Oh and he wants you to know that any round, reddish fruit is an apple. Even if it's a peach. It gets called an apple. You can insist all you want, he doesn't care.

On the potty training front, I haven't even tried, yet. If you have any recommendations on how to do it for twins, let me know in the comments. I'm worn out before breakfast is over. Having to stop and try to get them to sit on the potty? Not happening. Yet. Maybe we'll try a crazy weekend approach. I don't know, but I'm willing to listen to suggestions!

That's it for now. Now for a quick quiz. Which baby is which in the following picture without scrolling back up?

They look most like twins from back here. Can you tell which is which?

Make your guesses in the comments! The winner gets a warm feeling of satisfaction from being right. You know you want it!
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