Seven Quick Takes - Celebrity Edition!

Friday, August 30, 2013

This week the blog here hit the big time.
I posted 50 Reasons My Toddler Won't Nap and you will NEVER guess who commented.
I just about peed my pants.
Now if I can convince Simcha Fisher to comment, I think my life will be complete.
Many thanks to Mandi for tweeting the post!
(Is it weird how excited that one comment made me?  Actually, I get excited by EVERY comment!  I don't know, I just really like comments...  Maybe because it's one of the few ways I can connect with the outside world when I'm home with the kids all day?  Although now that I'm back at work, I have a feeling I'll like comments just as much...)
And speaking of Cecilia not napping, today was a really...  special? day when it came to her not-napping excuses.
I know I already posted it on facebook, but her antics are too ridiculous not to share with everyone:

Today's reasons? Aside from the usual, she wanted her Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck underwear (that got thrown away several months ago when it got too holey), she opened the door to go use the potty and I found her sitting in the sink, and then she had to bear crawl naked and backwards down the hall to get a new pair of underwear and have me put it on like a diaper because she's NOT Cecilia, she's Baby Bear and she's patendin' her bed is a cwib and she needs Mama Bear to put her in her cwib.


Shortly afterwards she needed me to hug her while she pooped.  It's a tough life.
Then at bedtime she couldn't go to sleep because her hair was in her face.  And then John Paul wanted to know how much he weighs. 
Also, Cecilia is NOT Cecilia, she's Baby Zebra.
But she's NOT Baby Zebra, she's just Cecilia.
Because, you know, sleep is for the weak.
I got some really awesome suggestions for getting iron into the babies as comments on this post and through facebook friends.  So we've added breakfast to their meal routine and this coming week they'll be getting lunch as well.  And the mess has reminded me why I take such a slow, lackadaisical approach to solids...
I took this picture BEFORE it got bad!!!
But seriously, have you ever thought, "Hey, maybe if I mix molasses with the cashew-almond butter I made and spread it on a cracker, the babies will like it and they'll get extra iron!"
You haven't.  Because you are not an idiot.
1.  They LOVE cashew-almond butter on crackers (and I need some iron-full crackers because those townhouse things are just junk...) - I just food processed a cup of raw cashews and half a cup of almonds and it's delicious and full of iron!
2.  Molasses has iron, but I hadn't figured out a way to incorporate it yet since I still had the original batch of nut butter.
So I decided to just pour some molasses in a bowl and mix it with the nut butter.  But I poured too much molasses and it was just a runny mess.  Then I put it on a cracker anyway.
Even John Paul wouldn't eat it.  Mary Claire liked playing with it.  Elizabeth cried.  And the mess was so disgusting that Mary Claire's tears were BROWN when I was cleaning her off, because she had molasses in her eyelashes.
Other than that, iron boot camp has been going well - I need to get a cast iron pan to make them eggs, but Mary Claire has been eating really well and Elizabeth has at least been eating better.  Hopefully we can get their levels up!
The babies have been more and more aware of each other lately, and I'm just now understanding why people think having twins must be so awesome.  Because while it is a lot of hard work, can you even imagine how amazing it is watching two 9-month-olds play peek-a-boo in a play tent?  Or face each other on the ottoman and drum with their hands, giggling at each other as the game escalates?


Or very carefully bite each others fingers and then start giggling.  Or RACE to their dad when he gets home, both eager to show more affection than the other.  Yeah, it's amazing.

Most recently, Mary Claire has gotten REALLY into waving.  It's very VERY serious to her.  Elizabeth has been into it for a while.  So when they started waving to each other, I had to get the camera, but then they wanted to perform just for the camera:

I don't know why that one cut off...  But imagine them facing each other and taking turns waving, giggling at each other all the while.  It's the cutest EVER!
You hear the end of that video?  Yup, that's Cecilia asking me to put her underwear back on.  I think this was after I hugged her to help her poop...


I got tired of printing so many worksheets for John Paul, so I got him a Brainquest workbook and he's having SO much fun!  And it's a behavior modification tool - if he doesn't obey, he gets no workbook.  He has even been so engrossed in his workbook that he doesn't even notice that it's 4 o'clock (the earliest I'll let them watch TV)!

Cecilia has made up an imaginary animal.  It's called a Zopey.  At least that's how I assume it's spelled - she told me it starts with Z-O and then since she had stretched herself intellectually, she gave up on that part.
In case you were wondering, a Zopey lives in Mary Claire and Elizabeth's room.  It's feeling sick.  It wooks wike a snake.  It has 8 wegs.  And 2 feet.  And wings.  It's owange and wed.  It does siwwy hopping wike a kangawoo.  And it gives siwwy kisses wike waspbewwies!
Only yesterday the Zopey wooked wike a tinny tiny mouse.  So needless to say, we're all VERY confused about the Zopey.  But since it's almost always asweep in da babies woom, we can't check on it.
I had to do most of bedtime by myself last night (I got Mary Claire to sleep and then Andrew left, so I only had to worry about 3 kids on my own!).  So I decided that we'd skip bath time because really we just spend the entire time refereeing between Cecilia and John Paul and telling them to be quiet.  And then we played "Who can get dressed in their jammies the quietest?"  And since it was a game, John Paul was REALLY good at it and won.  Then he lost the "Don't pour water all over the floor while brushing your teeth" game, but he cleaned it up. 
Elizabeth wasn't doing well, so I told the kids that if they went to the playroom and were VERY quiet while I got her to sleep, they would get TWO stories!!!
And THAT is a bribe that worked.  Hooray!  And after that they both chose ridiculously short books anyway.  Winner!
These takes of mine are never quick...  Hopefully you'll find something more worthwhile over at Jen's!

50 Reasons My Toddler Won't Nap

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

In a typical week, here are some of Cecilia's reasons not to nap:
1.  She needs to pee
2.  She needs to poop
3.  She needs a drink of water
4.  She has a hair in her mouth
5.  She wants the light on
6.  She wants the light off
7.  The noise on the noise machine is wrong
8.  The new noise on the noise machine is ALSO wrong
9.  She wants the original noise machine noise
10.  She tried to pull a book off the top shelf and bumped her head
11.  The crack is too big (because she pushed her bed away from the wall)
12.  She wants to be tucked
13.  She wants to be untucked
14.  She wants her bear in bed with her
15.  She wants her bear to sleep next to her bed
16.  She doesn't want her pillow in her bed
17.  She doesn't want her bear in the room
18.  She can sense her bear in the hallway and wants it to be moved to the living room
19.  She wants to be tucked
20.  She wants a new outfit
21.  She wants to nap in just her underwear
22.  She wants to nap in clothes
23.  She wants to nap in just her booty (no.)
24.  She wants me to see her silly outfit

25.  She's stuck in her jumper and needs help unbuckling
26.  She can't find the other shoe that she outgrew 1.5 years ago
27.  She needs something to wipe her nose
28.  She needs to poop
29.  She needs to pee
30.  She needs something to wipe her tears
Most attractive picture ever...
31.  Her crotch is hurtin'
32.  She wants her tiara that broke 6 months ago
33.  She wants a book
34.  She wants to finish her lunch
35.  She wants another prayer
36.  She wants another song
37.  She saw a bug (a piece of lint)
38.  She just needs a little snack
39.  She needs help getting her socks on
40.  She doesn't want to wear socks
41.  She wants her OTHER blanket
42.  She doesn't want a blanket
43.  She needs to use the potty
44.  She needs a baby
A happier child you will never see...
45.  She's stuck!!!
46.  She needs to be tucked in again
47.  Her blanket is covering her chin
48.  Her blanket ISN'T covering her hand
49.  She had a fart
50.  It's morning time!!!

Sometimes I think it would be easier to skip naptime altogether...

What are some of the most ridiculous reasons your kids use?

The Dress That Still Fits

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A while ago Katrina posted a picture of her baby bump while wearing her wedding dress, which reminded me that hey, I've still got my wedding dress and should totally try it on! 
(Yes, I was the one who searched for "Katrina pregnant in a wedding dress")
After all, I actually weigh *less* now than I did when we were married (a few months before the wedding I finished school and thus no longer had the 2+ mile walks every day that kept me trim...  Hello, 10+ pounds!).  And even though my measurements are significantly different, it's got a corset back, so I figured it would fit.
Many months later, I was cleaning out the closet and saw that laaaarge article of clothing just hanging there so innocently in the back.  So I had Andrew lace me up (a FEAT, let me tell you, particularly considering the state of undress that he was faced with as I asked him to lace the dress) and tada!  The dress still fits!
And let me say, this nursing mom's "assets" certainly fill out the dress more than on our wedding day...  This was the one picture that didn't emphasize how much my "cups" runneth over!
So now what do I do with it?  I saw somewhere that some moms use their wedding dress to make first communion dresses for their daughters.  Think I have enough material for 2 dresses?  I'd hate to make one for Cecilia and then make either Elizabeth or Mary Claire have to wear something different when their time comes...
But before then, maybe we'll find a time to do wedding picture re-dos, like Mandi?  On our wedding day we went out to the lake after the ceremony and it subsequently started HAILING!  So we stood there huddled on a bridge under a couple of umbrellas for nearly an hour, and consequently got very few pictures together...
Buuuut if we did a re-do session it would have to wait until the twins are weaned.  Because let's imagine the state of my "assets" from the beginning to the end of a shoot...  INCHES of cleavage would be added, I warn you! 
So for now it goes back in the closet, but I must say I LOVE how a corset feels and fits, and do wish it were a type of undergarment that were more commonly worn!

7 Quick Takes - 9 month update!

Friday, August 23, 2013


We had the twins' 9-month appointment today - only a bit over a week late!  Considering I skipped well visits for Cecilia for an entire year (she had one at 6 months and then not again until she was about 20 months...), I'm pretty proud of myself for actually getting it scheduled!  It was going to be a week of well visits - John Paul had his on Tuesday and Cecilia's was scheduled for yesterday but then Andrew had court and there was NO way I was taking all 4 kids to a doctor's appointment by myself!

And now I know that I'm not trying to take both babies by myself again any time soon...  WOW that was hard!  We skipped any immunizations at the end because it was just too much!

Still not out of all of their 9-month clothes, but quite a few outfits have been retired!  I'm hoping we can stick it out through the fall with their summer outfits so I don't have to buy any larger sizes...


Because I know you want their stats, Mary Claire is tipping the scales at 17 lbs 10 oz and Elizabeth is 16 lbs 12 oz.  That's right, Elizabeth is less than a pound away from Mary Claire!!!  Considering Mary Claire has a *much* chunkier frame, is longer, and was 2.5 lbs bigger than Elizabeth back when Elizabeth wasn't gaining weight, this is HUGE!!!  Mary Claire's between the 25th and 50th percentile for weight and up near the top for head circumference, because that's what we breed for.  Elizabeth is between 10th and 25th percentile for weight, which is also huge considering it took forever to even get her ON the growth chart!

See?  Mary Claire no longer totally dwarfs Elizabeth!


They're doing great with milestones, and the doctor was pretty surprised that they're not delayed at all, since twins often are.  They've been crawling and sitting up for quite a while, and they're now good enough at pulling up that they pretty much don't need to be spotted anymore.  HALLELUJAH!!!  Mary Claire has started cruising veeeeeery slowly, Elizabeth hasn't quite figured it out yet.  I'm predicting walking by 11 months, which will be the latest of any of our kids.  Again, HALLELUJAH!!!

Buuuut they're pretty severely anemic.  Our pediatrician is pretty low-key, so the fact that she was worried about this is telling.  Soooo I'm going to cram them full of iron-rich solids for the next few weeks until they have another blood draw (just from their toe, which they totally didn't mind, so I'm not concerned).  Any suggestions?

Corn on the cob is a big favorite, but rather lacking in nutrients...

I think a big part of the iron deficiency is:

1.  I'm pretty much always anemic, so they aren't getting much from me
2.  They weren't born at or after 40 weeks like my other babies, so they didn't have time to get all their iron
3.  We started solids late and are still only feeding one meal a day, at dinner time when they're at their fussiest so they generally don't eat much.

So I'm going to have the babysitter start giving them lunch when I go back to work on Monday and hopefully that'll help!


That's right, summer is over and school is starting!!!  We start about as late as possible, with the first day of school right after Labor Day.  Teacher work days start on Monday and I'll have a full week of inservices, meetings, more meetings, and getting everything ready for the classes I teach.

I know, you probably didn't even realize that I work!  I pretty much never talk about it, but I teach part-time at a local secondary school.  2 girls' choirs (7th and 8th grade) and a music lab for 8th graders, which is mostly piano and guitar.  It's pretty awesome, I LOVE my students and I love teaching music, and it gives me a little break from the kids!  Plus it's not yet financially possible for me *not* to work...


I was trying to get a picture of the twins alone, but then Cecilia joined in (refusing to put on a shirt because she wanted to wear "just my tummy!"), and John Paul couldn't be left out!


John Paul has been spending most of his time writing and drawing these days - for a kid who REFUSED and showed absolutely zero interest for so long, I'm kind of amazed at his progress!

This is the first representational drawing he has EVER attempted:

Above you can see a baby in his mom's tummy, the dad on the far right, and a man named John in between them.  Who is John?  We have no idea.

Then I asked if he wanted to write anything else and he decided to write "Disney Classics" since that's the CD we were listening to...

And for some reason because it was a card, he wanted to write everything vertically on the front...
So...  That's pretty much all we need to do with homeschooling for the rest of the year, right?  I mean, he just turned 4 and is reading somewhere between a 5th and 8th grade level (according to the same reading test we did last year), writing fluently, doing simple math problems, etc...
Okay, I'll leave things off here.  Have an awesome Friday and go check out more takes at Conversion Diary!

Theme Thursday - Food

Thursday, August 22, 2013

There's something about baking bread that is profoundly satisfying.   Perhaps it's the complete transformation of the raw materials, which move from powder to muck to goo to dough and then to a delicious loaf that fills the room with a smell that can't possibly be duplicated by an air freshener or scented candle.
No, there's no smell in the world like freshly baked bread.
And after I shelled out $5 for a mini loaf of cinnamon bread at the farmer's market on Saturday, I remembered just how much cheaper it is to make it myself...
So away to the kitchen I went! 
Well, away to the computer I went to find the perfect recipe...
But everything was too fussy, or didn't look right, or called for ingredients I didn't have (dry milk powder?  Really?)...

And then I remembered!
I used the white bread recipe with the alteration for cinnamon swirl, only I omitted the raisins, kneaded in some cinnamon chips, and brushed the top with butter, topping it with cinnamon and sugar before it went into the oven.
And behold!
An $8 loaf of bread for a fraction of the price, and without even leaving the house!
"Wait two hours before cutting, allowing bread to reach room temperature."
Ha.  As if I could resist warm bread fresh from the oven?

And there you have it - the crispy sugary crust, the buttery cinnamon swirl, dotted with cinnamon chips and warm from the oven.  Who needs grocery store bread?
Well, the kids do.  Because I'm not sharing.
Linking up with Cari at Clan Donaldson for Theme Thursday - I'm so excited to see what everyone else is cooking up!

Five Favorites: Toys for the Under-5 Crowd

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

If you have more than one child close in age, you've probably realized (as I did after I had #2) that a baby's favorite toy tends to be something that big brother or sister plays with as well.  Granted, there are some really great baby-specific toys out there, but those only last babies so long before they're totally TOTALLY boring.  So here are some of my favorite toys that fulfill the following criteria:
1.  Not choking hazards!  Those get banned from the house anytime we have a baby who tends to mouth a lot of things (so, for all but like, 3 months of the past 4 years).
2.  Interesting for older kids.
3.  Not so annoying that I want to gouge my eyes out.
With that in mind, here are 5 of my favorites - links are Amazon affiliate links, so if you buy anything through my links I get pennies and pennies and maybe even enough to buy a candy bar (ok, when did those get so expensive???  I remember when they were 3/$1!)!
Any and all Duplos.  I particularly love the Baby Zoo and often get that and some Building Plates as a 1st or 2nd birthday present.  The babies LOVE chewing on Duplo animals and the heads of the Duplo people, and pretty early on they all started enjoying trying to stick them on to the building plates. 
Again, every piece is extremely chewable for the babies (and honestly, mine don't seem to enjoy playing with things that *aren't* chewable, so that's the number one thing I look for!).  And the bigger kids LOVE playing doctor with each other and their animals.  A huge bonus is that the kit helps get them ready for check-ups and they're always really excited to get shots because they practice with the syringe all the time.  Like, a 2-year-old John Paul was excited for shots at his 2-year well visit because he had been practicing with the syringe.  Totally worth a purchase!
Okay, most people already have a set of these.  BUT, anyone on their 2nd (or 3rd or 8th) child probably doesn't have a complete set.  We have 3 different sets and only one is complete...  But they're AWESOME!  Great bath toys for bigger kids, my babies always love nesting them, and once the babies are rolling or crawling the big kids love stacking the cups so that the babies knock them down.  We stack them and then roll balls toward the tower to go bowling.  There's just so much you can do with a set of stacking cups!

I like this brand because it's one of the kinds *real* musicians use.  So they produce a pretty good sound, but they're cute colors and have an elephant on them!  They're super-durable, we've had the same set for almost 4 years.  They're great for teaching kids the concept of steady beat, and I particularly like them when paired with the stacking cups - we do lots of "in and out" games with the babies, spin them around on the coffee table to mesmerize them, and hide them under stacking cups to practice object permanence.
I know I've mentioned this one before, but the twins are teething and loooove these screwdrivers right now!
I hide the little nuts so that the babies don't try to swallow them.  But the big kids LOVE "fixing" their toys, practicing fine motor skills with the screwdrivers and pliers, hammering the nails, you name it!  And the babies...  Well, they love sucking on the screws and chewing on the tools!
It's on sale on Zulily right now - if you're not a member, you can click my link and get $5 off!
Linking up with Hallie at Moxie Wife - check out more favorites today!

WIWS - Sick Edition

Sunday, August 18, 2013

But first, WSWF (What She Wore Friday):

Friends, this is Cecilia's fashion sense.  I imagine she's in good company with many of your daughters :)

"POOP!!!"  Yeah, we're clearly mature enough not to laugh... Sadly, Aunt Sister has ended her nice long visit with us :(  We won't see her again until Thanksgiving, maybe not even until Christmas!
We were all dressed and ready to go to Mass, except for John Paul, who was lying on the couch with an untouched graham cracker in his hand,  I had been up late the night before prepping cinnamon rolls (SO good!) and scrambled eggs (modified heavily and also delicious!), so I promised him "big breakfast" after Mass.

And then he ran to the bathroom and puked.

Soooo Andrew stayed home with the babies and John Paul, and I took Cecilia to Mass.  And she was AWESOME.  Said the responses (thanks, short psalm response!), tried very hard to follow along with the prayers, and even went and introduced herself to a big girl after Mass (who smiled and walked away, poor Cecilia...).

I keep finding a giggling Mary Claire under the bench where John Paul and Cecilia sit for meals.  I think she has realized that that's where the good crumbs are...  So there you go, if I were a better housekeeper she wouldn't get to have this delicious impromptu snack time!

Thankfully Elizabeth hasn't realized the beauty of under the table yet!

John Paul and Cecilia have spent much of the morning trying on all their fall clothes from the consignment store.  He BEGGED me to take a picture of him with Mary Claire!

Aaaand a terrible picture of what I wore - can't do much with bad lighting!  At least Jesus is poking out of my head :P

Skirt:  Ann Taylor (5+ years ago)
Jacket:  Banana Republic (again, 5+ years ago)
Hat & Shirt:  H&M
Shoes:  DSW

Check out more lovely outfits at Fine Linen & Purple!

7 Quick Takes - Quickety Quick!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Trying to write these SUPER quick because my sister's about to get back from Mass with the big kids and this is my reward for cleaning the playroom while they were gone...


This is what Cecilia wore to Mass yesterday - terrible picture, but I think you can see most of it...  Ballerina dress, polka dot cardigan, pink shorts underneath, and she completed the ensemble with striped socks with glitter hearts and pink flower shoes.  Yes, she got MANY compliments on her outfit!
Her outfit today is even better - she came out with a striped dress and plaid skirt, so we reminded her that she needs pants or shorts under a dress, NOT a skirt.  But she REALLY wanted to wear the skirt, too.  So she added white leggings, her polka dot sweater, and her flower shoes.  

Fashion icon, this girl.


But more importantly, everyone actually did a really good job at Mass!  We went to a noon mass with a ton of other families all sitting in the same section and I was prepared for mayhem...  In our pew alone we had our four kids, me, my sister, Andrew, and a friend of ours and her toddler.  None of the older kids needed to be taken out!  And Elizabeth only had to be walked around a little bit, AND none of the other families had issues either!

It's an Assumption miracle. 


I was really excited to see all those young families but I feel so awkward trying to talk to them after Mass...  I need some ideas for family pickup lines.  What exactly does one say?  

"So...  What's your favorite homeschool curriculum?"
"What type of NFP do YOU practice?"
"Does your minivan seat 7 or 8?"

I don't know...  I need ideas! 


Look at what I got in the mail!

It's my penpal packet from Ashley!  Isn't it the cutest?  I'm working on my first letter :)


Our tomatoes are out of control!  The yellow pear tomato plant is trying to invade everything else - we've had to tie it onto other cages, stake it all over the place, and brace various branches.  There's one section that has FIFTEEN tomatoes on one branch!  I'm a little concerned that I should pick some off while they're green so that they don't break the branch when they get too heavy...

This doesn't even show what a ridiculous mess it is...  


We saw our pastor at Costco yesterday and the kids were pretty excited!  Awkwardly, he didn't know our names and thought that we were a differently family that lived with our grandmother?  So that was a little weird...  

In case you were wondering, apparently priests buy bottled water and eggs at Costco.  So now your curiosity should be satisfied :P

THERE!  Quickest takes ever!  Check out more at Jen's!

PHFR - Wedding-style!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Linking up with Like Mother, Like Daughter to give you a wedding picture photo dump:

The flower girl in her tiara
Surprisingly, the little girl who refuses to keep hair accessories in her hair EVER actually kept the tiara in her hair all day!  Well, she took it out to admire it many times and then put it back in...  But still, I consider it an important milestone!  She was the flower girl, and threw most of the flower petals on the floor right before walking down the aisle.  But she's so cute that it didn't matter, right?

The happy couple and family (photo stolen from my mom)
I can't explain John Paul's expression, except to say that he's John Paul.  And he's 4.  I think that's explanation enough!

We bribed her with pickles to get her to take more pictures


Can you guess who didn't make it through the whole wedding?

John Paul actually did a pretty good job with his ring bearer duties, but he was VERY upset at having to actually wait until everyone was ready for him to walk down the aisle.  And he did really well at the beginning of the wedding, but once it was time for me to play the piano for one of the songs Andrew was singing, he freaked out because HE wanted to be the one playing the piano.  So he got taken out, since the twins didn't even make it through the processional and Cecilia walked right out with them!  To be fair, it was a wedding that took place in my father-in-law's living room, so they weren't exactly used to having to sit still in such a familiar location...

He calmed down later.  Once he got some pickles...
No duties to perform, but the babies may have stolen the show with those dresses and shoes!
Of course, they couldn't pose simultaneously...
Particularly not when there's grass to be eaten!

The kids looooved the bubbles!

And John Paul can actually blow them by himself!

Check out more PHFR links at Like Mother, Like Daughter!

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