November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving was warm this year, and gorgeous.  We had friends over dinner, and spent a good bit of time playing outside with the kids.  We took our annual family photo, and looking back over the last three years is kind of mind boggling.

The boys, Monkey especially, are still into their trikes.  Our neighbors stopped by, and N (the birthday girl from the last post) brought her new scooter and they all went up and down the driveway together.

 Bear is still having trouble riding things. N showed them how to sit on the scooter footpad and ride, which looked ridiculous and uncomfortable, but they all seemed to be having fun.  B eventually went back to just walking his scooter along like it was a pet.

The dirt pile (our leftover leaf mold) continues to be a hit. These mega blok toys are getting a lot of use out there.

November 21, 2015

Trikes, a Party, and a Painting

 It's been a busy few days.  On Wednesday, I met up with fellow moms of multiples for our monthly meeting, where I also picked up two old tricycles from a friend.  I forgot about them, which was fine because it rained all day Thursday, but the boys found them in the car when we were headed for school on Friday. They were so excited, and they spent the trip to school deciding who would own which color.  Monkey took the yellow, and Bear took the red.

Learning to Ride
 They spent the afternoon riding them, only really breaking for their nap. Monkey took to it right away, but Bear doesn't really understand the purpose of the pedals despite my various explanations and demonstrations.

Today, Saturday, they were invited to our 7 year old neighbor's birthday party.  It was at one of those kid gyms, and my guys were definitely the youngest ones there. Following along with the instructors was not really happening, but they had so much fun.

This ball pit was basically their favorite thing.

Briefly following along with the group.

Living up to his name.

I was so proud of them for getting along with all the other kids even though they were mostly 7 year old girls.  They even sat with them for snacks and cake, and used utensils and were mostly neat.
"I'm going to sleep here." Okay kid.
 This evening, I met up with those multiple moms again at Painting with a Twist, a place that lets you eat snacks and drink booze while following along with a teacher who walks you through a simple painting.

Taking a break so the background can drive.

The sample painting.
 It was weird for me to paint around a lot of other people like that, especially with a teacher telling me how I had to do it.  After a while I just stopped listening to her because, well, sometimes you just have to follow your artistic impulses. Also, she told me us to use the white to put in bright snow in lines, and I hated it. I spent a long time trying to fix it, and I'm still annoyed with that. But I think the snowman looks awesome, and it was a fun night out.

This is a chain, which might be individually owned?, so you can probably find this, or something similar, in your area.  They have a smaller room for private parties, which is what we did, and you get to pick the painting your group will do.  You bring your own food and drinks and it's nice. They also have a large room, and anyone can sign up for those sessions. 

On top of all of this, DS was gone all of Thursday and Friday, so I was alone with the kids. Thankfully, there is nothing on the calendar tomorrow.  Cold weather is also coming in the forecast. It's time to start thinking about turkey and snow and the magical hibernation month that is Christmas.

November 08, 2015


It's been a year since I posted last. Oh well, I'm not even going to stress about everything I missed. Short version, the kids are nearly 3, started nursery school, and that 9 hours a week they're not home has made me somewhat sane again. Yay?

DS is off at a conference this week. It's been a while since his last one, so I'm a little out of practice. I think this might be the first once since they started school, so tomorrow should be interesting. He's getting out of autumn yard work.  I'd let it wait until he's back, but our town picks up leaves for us to turn them into mulch that we buy back in the spring for a great price, and unless they reschedule, this is the last week they're coming.  Of course, they were supposed to come once last week too, and they didn't. So maybe there will still be two, but I can't risk it. We have a LOT of trees, and I need as many of them out of here as possible before I'm stuck bagging what's left.

Since I was up at 6am on a Sunday (which is ludicrous), the three of us went outside to do full yard rake #2.  As annoying as it is to do it more than once, that seems to make it manageable. Our first year I think I tried to do it all at once in the short hours of the kids' nap and after DS got home from work. Which meant I did a lot of raking in the dark.  It was never ending and exhausting.  It still takes 3-5 hours to do a full yard sweep like this, but that's a lot better than it used to be. I can still have the entire afternoon free and be actually done (until the trees that still have leaves drop them again) instead of it all looming over me every night as I can't get finished.

Anyway, like I was saying, we did some raking.  The kids "helped," by which I mean they swung their rakes around and nearly decapitated each other and scattered my piles. And then they ran through them and jumped in them.  They had a ton of fun, and it was a rather amusing distraction for me so I didn't mind too much.  Enjoy some photos of them in leaves, including a gif that google made for me.

October 31, 2014

Getting Emotional

Life here is as crazy as ever.  The boys are keeping us hopping and sometimes it feels like I never get a chance to just sit and think.  They are hilarious and infuriating and wonderful and awful.  Usual toddler stuff.

Tonight DS and I are taking them trick or treating for the first time.  Last year I pushed them through the neighborhood Halloween parade in their costumes, but that was it.  This year we all have costumes (mine is something I'm throwing together from the closet; it seems I follow that trend of putting everyone in the family before myself and never got around to thinking about my costume), and we're going to take them just around the little street we typically circle on our no stroller walks.  We know all of our neighbors thanks to a yearly block party, and they all have kids, though most are older, so at least on that front I know it will be a smooth experience.  They do enjoy walking up to people's porches, but they don't have any idea about the concept of trick or treating, so we'll see how it goes.  I don't even think Bear will let me put his costume on him; it involves a hood.

I'm surprisingly emotional thinking about it this morning.  Parenthood never seems to stop throwing me for a loop.

September 15, 2014


This weekend, for my birthday, I went to NYC alone.  No kids, and no husband because he was watching the kids.  There were a lot of wonderful things about the trip that I'll try to remember to post later (though, let's be honest, my track record is poor at best), but one thing in particular happened that was terrifying.

I was on the subway heading back to Penn Station to catch the train home.  A young man got on the train, dressed all in back, wearing a backpack, his face covered in a white mask.  He walked the length of the car and settled in front of the door that was directly across from where I was sitting.  He fidgeted and hopped around, like he was psyching himself up for something.  He kept bending over and adjusting his mask, hiding his face, and generally looking uncomfortable and antsy.  Then he would stand up, mask in place, and blatantly stare at people on the car.  A few times he shifted so he was looking out the door between trains.

Now, this is NYC, so the chance that he was just a nut job, or weirdo, or even street performer, were all real possibilities.  Also, it's NYC, so the chance that he was a terrorist was also felt like a real possibility.  It was 9/11 weekend.  I was absolutely terrified at the possibility that this man was psyching him up to do something terrible.  I assumed there was a bomb in the backpack.

No one the train was reacting much.  Most people didn't even acknowledge him.  A few looked at him, curious.  Only one other person seemed even slightly concerned.  I could feel panic rising in me, but there was nowhere to go, and no proof that this person meant anyone harm.  I fought to keep my breath steady, to appear unconcerned.  I refused to look at him except when he bent over to adjust his mask, because I was positioned in a way that he wasn't hiding his face from me when he did so and I wanted to be prepared just in case something needed reporting.  I quickly decided that if he were a nutjob, I did not want to draw attention to myself by staring.  If he were a street performer, I did not want to encourage him to repeat performances terrifying people by engaging.  Not looking at him also help keep me from having a panic attack.

At the next train stop, he went to the open door, crowed loudly as if in triumph, and exited the train.  The people getting on sort of laughed, in that way that people do when they're trying recover from something out of place and feel reconnected with the herd.  I have never been so relieved in my life.

I still don't what his purpose was on the train, or how common an occurrence something like that is in the city.  I've lived in a metropolis long enough to have experienced many random and odd things on the subway, but this was the first time one has made me scared for my life.  It is not something I hope to repeat.  It's also not something that will keep me from going back to NYC and enjoying myself, because everything we do has an inherent risk, and the chance of this happening again seems small.  I am thankful that I have some grasp of my own continuous risk assessment of the world, because I can easily see how this one incident would completely shut down a person.

April 23, 2014

Garden 2014 - Post 01

I've had a container garden of some form or another for most of my adult life.  Gardening is something that feels like an extension of myself.  On occasion it feels like a chore, but for the most part it is something I constantly itch to do.  One of the bonuses of owning a house with a yard is the prospect of having a legit garden where I can grow my own vegetables.  Not just a tomato here or there and a few herbs, but a serious crop that could help feed us throughout the summer.

In pursuit of that goal, I spent quite a lot of time last week researching raised beds, where to find good dirt that will deliver, and sorting out which vegetables to grow and how to arrange them.  I had a very elaborate plan made within two days, thanks in large part to the site Smart Gardener, which is amazing.  Then I compared the projected cost of materials to what was available in the bank and became disheartened.  I thought I would have to wait a whole year again, and I had been so excited about all the plants that were going to fit into the little space I had planned.

DS was in full support of this garden, and so he helped me come up with a solution for this year that was easier on the wallet.  Last summer I had attempted to put a couple of green bean plants in the yard, and they were quickly eaten by bunnies.  So I knew whatever I did would need to be protected.  Our solution this year is some very cheap chicken fencing.  It was just big enough with two rolls, with enough left over to have a removable bit on bamboo poles that acts as a "gate".  I think I'll still need to use some tent stakes or something to pin down the bottom, because a determined critter could probably weasel its way underneath, but it seems pretty sturdy otherwise.

The start of one of the new garden beds

We also picked up a 2-sided garden tool for hoeing and cultivating.  I've spent my limited free time this week painstakingly removing the grass from what will be my beds.  For now I'm just scattering this around the areas of the yard that dip and flood during heavy rains.  I should probably get some grass seed at some point.  This is some serious labor right here.  As of today, I have one 12x4' bed done, and one more to go.  I've laid them out exactly where I had planned to build the raised beds, so hopefully next summer those will be easy to install.  After the grass is gone, I'll work in some compost and good gardening soil just to beef up the yard nutrients a bit, and then hope for the best.  I haven't seen any evidence of moles or anything that would come up from below to eat the plants, but I guess we'll find out.  For now, I have seeds sprouting in little containers, just waiting for their new home.  I'm planning to grow a lot of plants that are new to me.  We'll see how it works out.

Today was a bit chillier than the last few days, but here are some of the things we've been up to with the boys.

Practicing some stair skills.

First day it was warm enough for the water table.

Curled up on the couch playing with the LeapPad.

The boys' new bird feeder.  Monkey has already learned how to sign "bird".  It's very exciting.

April 16, 2014

Out of the House!

We've been struggling with Monkey wanting to climb every single thing in the house.  Some things I don't mind.  The couch? Go for it buddy.  Climbing to the top of the couch and then using it as a boost to climb on top of the window sill? PLEASE DON'T DO THAT!  Ugh.  Their antics are getting crazier and crazier, and I worry it won't be long before we're dealing with cracked skulls.  Bear doesn't seem to realize how rough and heavy he is, and prefers to show his love to Monkey by standing on sensitive areas like his face and stomach.

Brotherly love.

But it's not all bad.  They can be so incredibly cute or sweet, sometimes both.  Bear is my little scavenger, and he's constantly looking around for food scraps.  He'll eat anything he finds on the floor (which is usually something he threw there himself during lunch).  Tonight I found a couple of cookies that had been tossed off the high chair, and I placed them on the coffee table.  He noticed 30 minutes later, and his little dance of joy was spectacular to behold.

A dangerous game of hide and seek

We spent last weekend in SC for a wedding.  It was our second time flying with the boys, and they were great.  DS's mom met us there and watched the kids.  I'm pretty sure this was the first time we've had a whole evening away from them together.  It was so lovely, almost 8 hours!  Not to mention all of his "snowboarding" friends were there.  Such a nice reunion.

Honorary cousins of the boys!
Bride & Groom

On Sunday, his sister and her kids came up too, and the whole family went to the zoo there.  It was hot, and very crowded.  I'd been there before, but I honestly didn't remember a single thing about it.  We rented one of the zoo double strollers since we hadn't flown with ours.  There wasn't anywhere to put our diaper bag, and attaching it to the bar immediately made the whole thing tip, even with the kids in it.  So that was a pain, and there was only one "belt" for the both of them.  It was challenging.  Even still, hanging out with the four of the kids together was really fun.

Checking out an ostrich from the stroller.

Not long before that, Bri and I took them to our zoo.  It was our first time visiting with the new KidZooU open, which was actually really cool.  There was a farm section just for littles like mine that can be gated off so they don't get lost.  It has large wooden cutouts of animals with little buttons the kids can push so the animals make their sound.  Monkey thought it was the coolest.  They also got to pet some goats and sheep.  Some of the doors at the zoo are spectacularly lovely.

Smaller than an ant!

Petting some goats
Dragonfly wing doors
Now that the weather is (sometimes) nice, we've been playing on the deck more.  Lots of bubbles and running around.  They don't exactly listen when I ask them to come back yet, so the deck is an easy place to contain them for now while letting them get some fresh air.

This guy was "helping" clean the deck. Spoiler: He's the one that put that dirt there.


We also had some friends visit.  They wanted to visit this local sculpture park that was built by one guy over years and is a sort of architectural mosaic.  I had never been before, only walked past, so it was neat to run around inside it a bit.  We were holding the boys most of the time, but there was a section that was fairly open and empty of crowds, so we let them run a little bit.  Bear was completely fascinated with the floor tiling.  He looked at every step he took and kept bending over to touch the different textures.


The inside was also used as an art gallery that caters to mosaic artists, and there were some really lovely pieces that used maps and weather patterns and galaxies to great effect.

Art by Yulia Hanansen |
Detail of The Center of the Universe by Rachel Sager |

So if you get a chance, check out Philadelphia's Magic Gardens, because it's fairly inexpensive and pretty cool.  Better than I expected, if I'm being honest.

We also went hiking at a small local park.  It was our first time with the kids, which was exciting because DS and I have been longing to get back outside.  I don't think we'd really done anything together beyond neighborhood walks since I watched him climb when I was pregnant.

The remains of a formal garden, but no signage to clarify.
Under a train bridge.

It's actually kind of nuts how busy we've been lately.  How exciting!