Saturday, December 31, 2005

New Year's Eve

Our plans for New Year's have COMPLETELY changed, but I'm really looking forward to tonight. We had originally invited a bunch of people who also have young kids to come to our house for New Year's for a "family friendly party" - starting at 4, ending whenever kids started melting down. It would have been the perfect thing for people like us who didn't feel like getting a babysitter but still wanted to have a good time with friends. Well, we feel like total losers because NO ONE could come. There was one family who couldn't commit but thought they might be able to stop by, and that was IT! So ultimately we decided to just cancel the non-existant party. Of course after we did that, three different families have come out of the woodwork to celebrate with us, but we already have plans now.

We are going out to dinner with N and her husband B. N is literally my oldest friend (we've been friends since first grade). Unfortunately she lives about an hour and a half away, so getting together is never as simple as we'd like. Tonight should be fun. We're leaving here at 2:30 to get to there house at 4. The kids will all exchange presents for the holidays and play for a little and then we have a babysitter coming who is willing to (and experienced enough to) watch all SIX kids. The adults will go out for an early dinner and then we'll come back, get the kids ready for bed and drive home. DH and I have rented a movie for the two of us to watch after the kids are in bed, and then we'll turn in. We have attempted to stay up to ring in the New Year for so many years now, and it has been so hard, harder every year. This year we're finally giving ourselves permission to go to bed at our regular time and we're thrilled. The kids get up around 6:30 every morning - it's really tough staying up to midnight or later and then dealing with them real early in the AM. So I'm looking forward to tonight!

My goal is to balance the checkbook (ugh!) and clean the house (double ugh!) before we leave this afternoon. I want to start the New Year with my finances in (relative) order and a clean house. DH is taking J to the doctor to get a rash checked out (I think he'll tell DH to apply Cortisone cream and a strong moisturizer like Eucerin or Vaseline to it, but he wants to get it checked out officially), but when he comes back he'll be in charge of the kids until 12. I plan to clean the upstairs and as much of the downstairs as I can during the time. And, if the boys let me, I'm going to try balancing the checkbook now (it's on the computer, which is in the playroom). I will feel fabulous if I can start the New Year like this. Just have to keep reminding myself of that so I don't get distracted.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Cough, cough

Figures - my first chance to sleep in and my coughing wakes me up at 4. And there's nothing on tv that early. I had lots of things planned for today; DH has the kids until 1. Now I probably should work in a nap. Oh well, can't complain - of all the weeks to get sick, the one week that he is home from school is the best!

I've been having trouble falling asleep recently, focusing on our financial situation. Things wouldn't be so tight right now if we weren't trying to keep both boys in preschool right now. They go three mornings a week. Two tuitions is killer! Right now we're trying to make decisions about what we're doing this summer. For so many people that means where/how they should spend their vacation. For us it means how are we going to pay our bills since I don't teach at the synagogue over the summer. On the one hand, I will begin getting paid double what I'm currently paid starting in March when I begin watching my soon to be born niece or nephew (DN-A's brother or sister). That will help. And DH is going to be paid to co-teach a 2 day, one credit college course for the PA Writing and Literature Project (we're both fellows). But now we're trying to determine if I should teach at the PWLP summer writing camp and/or run the "camp" that we did last summer at our house. Basically I extended the MMO that I run during the school year and did a preschool camp. We figured that with DH and I both running it we could accept up to 6 kids (the rule is you can watch up to 3 unrelated kids, with the two of us that's 6) but we didn't have that many. We had a lot of fun running it together, coming up with fun ideas for our kids plus any extras to do. But we still don't know DH's summer schedule yet - he may be taking classes towards his masters. He might not be here to help. Bottom line, I have to figure out how much I need to make this summer to cover all our current expenses. Who knows - if I can make enough, we might have enough to take a short vacation! We probably should put any extra into savings, as we went through all of that paying for tuition this year. It's so complicated. I feel I'm a relatively intelligent person, but I just can't figure out how to work our budget so we end up putting money away. And we're definitely not spending money on frivelous stuff! It's very frustrating.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Warming my heart

Nothing warms a parent's heart more than going into your children's room in the morning to a chorus of, "We want DADDY!!!" The cries and whines increase as I tell them that Daddy is getting ready for work and that I'm getting them dressed today, just like usual. Aaaahh - the true rewards of being a SAHM. Just doesn't get any better than hearing your children cry, "But we don't want you - where is DADDY?!!" Life is good.

I went to Kohl's last night and used up my two gift cards on clothes for myself, bought with no guilt. Because I was focused, I actually went back and forth to the dressing room SEVERAL times (I hate shopping, so that alone is pretty remarkable) and even left the store with several pairs of jeans and long sleeve shirts. Not bad! Plus Kohl's has a special right now so I now have a paper for $20 more dollars to spend in the store starting Thursday until the following week. Woohoo! :) Considering I NEVER go shopping and have been wearing the same pair of jeans (my only pair of jeans) for a very long time (don't judge me!), I'm very proud of myself.

There is a kids' concert at the library today (free, of course) at 2, so I'm going to have to adjust lunch times so I can adjust nap times so we can be up and at the library by 2. It will be tricky, but worth it. Better start the morning in earnest so we can go out in order to get back, eat early, nap early, and get up and ready to go out the door.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Still sick, but faking normalcy

I feel like I'm walking around in a total fog. It's not as bad as it could be, but it's just that foggy blech, eyes burning, head pounding feeling that makes me want to go upstairs and die, I mean go to sleep. DH was home today (he's off all week!) and helped me with the Mom's Morning Out (I'm so grateful - the noise alone would have split my head open if I had been alone), but he ran out to chill at Border's as soon as I started lunch. It's totally fair - we've split up this whole week so we both have time on our own to do whatever - but it's a little frustrating to me. In my free time, yes, I will be spending my gift certificates to Kohl's (YES! I have been wearing my one pair of jeans so much that a hole is forming in the knee - can't wait to buy NEW clothes that only I have worn!), but my big plan is to box up all the @#$% paper around this house and sort through it. Woohooo - sound like fun? There are 50 million projects to do around this house - I would love to take care of at least ONE this week. Anyway, DH is coming home in 20 minutes. We just worked it out (gotta love being able to speak up for myself instead of playing the martyr - I'm really working on this one!) so I will take a nap when he gets home and then he will take the rest of the afternoon to do whatever he wants. I will get Thursday afternoon for myself.

Anyway, let me try to at least clean off the counters before DH gets home, maybe get the papers boxed up as a start.

Monday, December 26, 2005


We went to my in-laws for Christmas, as we always do. It's my way for this Jewish girl to survive the holiday. We don't do Christmas at our house; we go to my in-laws and do it all there. This year, my ILs slept downstairs, the kids took over my IL's room - the boys shared my ILs bed and J slept in a pack in play in the corner. DH and I "slept" on the pull out sofa bed in the office. Unfortunately, not much sleep was had by my family. B woke at 12, intent on going downstairs. He kept crying and calling for us (though did stay in bed). When we went in (taking turns) to calm him down, J woke up and freaked out, thinking we were going to take her out of her jail cell and quite indignant when we didn't. After we calmed them both down, we would return to bed, only to be awakened in a few minutes? an hour? by one or the other of them again. A remarkably slept through it all. When they awoke at 6 we decided to call it a night. Opening presents was quite nice, and we spread it out this year so the kids weren't overwhelmed too bad (though it is still quite overwhelming being the only grandchildren to my ILs - LOTS of presents!!!). We decided to come home last night rather than attempt another potentially sleepless night at my ILs (we normally spend two nights).

I realized that this was my 14th year celebrating Christmas instead of doing the traditional Jewish thing (going out for Chinese food and seeing a movie). Hard to believe.

And last night I came down with the mother of all bad colds. Okay, not that bad, but tied into the worst day of my period, I feel like crap! Luckily DH took them all morning. I'm about to change diapers, put J down for a nap and the boys down for "quiet time" and maybe I'll be able to lay down for a little more.

Happy holidays, everyone!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Why I Became a SAHM

I feel like every few months or so I really need to take a minute and focus on this. I did NOT become a SAHM to clean my house. Or do projects around the house. I became a SAHM to be a MOM! Full time! And that's what I have to put foremost in my mind. I'm not saying I'm giving up on cleaning (I wish), but I have to balance it more. I'm fed up with so many areas of clutter around the house, but I still need to put the kids first. That's definitely my resolution for the New Year, and I'm going to create a doable plan (AGAIN) for how to get everything accomplished during any given week.

Now ignore what I just wrote because I'm off to ignore the kids so I can clean the house before we leave for DH's parents to spend Christmas. :) All right, I'm not REALLY ignoring the kids, DH is "in charge" this morning, but that's the kind of mood I'm in!

Friday, December 23, 2005

House Envy

I went to a playdate at a house in a neighboring town yesterday and came home with a severe case of house envy. DH and I talked about it later that night, and we're both on the same page - we think (and I hope this proves to be true) that we can afford a much bigger house in that town than what we currently own in this town. The amount of space in the house I was in was fabulous - I could think of ten different ways that I could utilize each room! I literally could not go to sleep last night because I kept thinking of all the different things I could do. I fell asleep dreaming about a finished basement used only as a large playroom, and how I would designate each corner as something else. One corner would be the creativity corner, set up with a table and arts and crafts supplies. One wall (the far left wall, to be exact) would be painted with chalkboard paint and magnetic paint. We would pull up the rug for that wall so the chalk dust would be wiped clean each night. I would buy some of those big pillows that are vinyl (?) and can be cleaned off - they're different shapes and the kids can climb on them. We could even put some riding toys down there. I could even do the majority of my Mom's Morning Out down there, and if I added on doing Mommy and Me classes, it would be the perfect space. I can visualize a lot of what I would do with a house like that, so it really leads me to think it might happen. We had been planning to stay here forever, adding on when we could afford it. The main reason we planned to stay was we have fabulous neighbors. When I mentioned my thoughts to DH, he told me that every time he drove through this town on the way to work he has thought the same thing. So I guess now I need to start investigating houses in the area. It's all very preliminary (our deadline would be before the kids start KINDERGARTEN so we have some time - the boys are only 3 1/2), but also very exciting! Have to get the kids dressed now (B woke up requesting a treatment - he needed it - so we came downstairs in our pajamas) and ready for school, but can't wait to start researching it!!!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Poor Me

I'm so tired of feeling that way. I come down in the morning and am instantly disgusted with the condition of the house. Well, HELLO, I did go to bed leaving it that way! I know what I need to do: put away as I go so it doesn't become monumental, and then take just 15 minutes max. to clean up. I know what to do. Why don't I do it?!!! The nights that I do it I wake up feeling great. I truly think of it as a present to my future self, and what a present it is!

Last night DH and I were busy getting presents ready for him to bring to school today (his last day before vacation). We worked too late, so when we were done we didn't have the energy to clean up completely. It was just dumb! If I had just cleaned up completely from dinner BEFORE running out to pick up some things we needed it would have been done. So frustrating.

I want to just pack up EVERYTHING in the house and start over. Does that make sense? I'm not saying I want new furniture (though I wouldn't complain) just a way to deal with the crap that spreads out and expands like the oil leaking from under my washing machine.

Okay. Enough of that. Really trying to stay on top of feelings of being overwhelmed this week, because it's a real slippery slope for me.

Isn't it amazing how, as a parent, you are able to classify the various kinds of throw up? There's the bad kind - the stomach bug - and then there's the other kinds: B coughed a little too hard as I was picking him up from preschool yesterday - WHOOPS! J put too much food in her mouth last night at dinner - WHOOPS! By the way, anyone have any strategies for cleaning vomit off of leather sneakers? Will I ruin them if I toss them in the washing machine?

Looking at the holidays quickly approaching, I'm happy to say that I did better this year in preparing than I did last year. I'm still not where I wanted to be, but not bad. Last year (and many years before) DH and I were both up very late the night before we were to leave for his parents' house for Christmas finishing presents. This year, while I didn't make my December 1st deadline (though that would have been so NICE!), I am 90% finished. I have to make some more cookie jars (gotta love those S'mores in a Jar), some more cookies (hmmm...S'mores sound pretty good), and finishing painting an ornament for my father-in-law. We have a few more things to wrap, and that's it. It's do-able! :)

Alright, off to make lunches for the children running and bouncing off of the couch cushions. No one is crying yet, but since B is now calling in, "I'm okay, Mommy!" it's only a matter of time.

My house threw up

Did you ever have the kind of morning where EVERYONE is pulling you in a different direction all at the same time? I'll check-in later today because right now I have half an hour to get the kids ready for our Mom's Morning Out to begin, clean up EVERY surface in the house (because it seems like the house threw up on itself), and prep for what we will be doing this morning. Woohoo.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

I have a great husband

After the extra kids were picked up yesterday, I suddenly developed a terrible headache that soon progressed into a migraine. Oh, I was not happy. I e-mailed DH (dear husband) to come home as soon as humanly possible. He did. I was so relieved to see him when he walked in at 3:15. I was upstairs by 3:30. I napped for the next two hours. I felt better when I woke up for about fifteen minutes, and then it started coming back. So I stayed in the dark bedroom for just about the whole night. I have a little residual headache now, but nothing like yesterday. DH took over with the kids, even so far as making dinner when I didn't even have anything pulled out (I was planning to make dinner during naptimes, but had to lay on the couch instead).

B and J are both coughing now, so the nebulizers are getting a work out yesterday and today. Neither are showing signs of any respiratory distress beyond coughing, so hopefully we're in the clear. I stil remember our first bout with breathing trouble. DH was at a conference for the weekend and I was staying at my parents, but they were out for the evening. B's cold kept getting worse. I was on the phone with the doctors a lot, looking for these foreign concepts they were asking me: Is his breathing too fast? (Um . . .what's too fast? How do I count his respirations?) Is he retracting? Can you see his ribs with each breath? (Um . . . definitely!) Is he wheezing? (Um . . . you mean that awful noise he's making every time he tries to breath?) They sent me to the ER - I think my parents came home in time to watch A so I didn't have to take both of them - with my little 10 month old baby boy. It was so scary. We were sent right back, and had to test him for RSV (a truly unpleasant test requiring me to hold him down as they shove a tube down his nose) which came back positive, and we were admitted. During all that, my dad showed up to keep me company, my in-laws showed up (my MIL couldn't help but start crying at seeing B looking so small, asleep on my chest, hooked up to monitors - a sentiment I understood but couldn't deal with right then), and I was troubled with the decision of when to call DH. The trouble was, he was far away without any way to get home on his own. What would I solve by telling about all this? It wasn't life or death, though it was scary - he would just get really worried about it. B was admitted and everything was brought under control in a day or two. It was tough because I was still nursing then, so I had to go home to nurse A and then come back for B. Luckily I did have some expressed milk for my parents to give A, too. We had to go back in a few weeks, and again in two months to be admitted again (that was on New Year's Eve - what a way to ring in the New Year!). I think we had a couple more ER visits that first winter. Lots of fun.

The following RSV season we ended up in the ER a bunch of times too, but we weren't admitted. The next season was J's first, and se ended up in the hospital with RSV pneumonia, which was actually worse than all of B's episodes - she actually needed to be given oxygen in addition to all the medication.

In any case, as long as we catch the colds early, we're doing okay. Hopefully it stays that way!

I'm off to get the kids and me ready for school. There's a Hannukah party at the boys' school that J and I can go to at 11 - I'm really looking forward to it, as long as my headache doesn't come back!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


On Sunday (my weekend day to get up with the kids - DH gets up with them Saturday), I was able to hit my human snooze alarm twice before I got up. Okay, I didn't really "hit" her, but you get the idea. I told J, "It's too early to get up," gave her the pacifier again, helped her lay down, covered her up, and shut the door. It worked twice. Each time I was so grateful to get back in bed.

This morning, I hit my actual snooze alarm five times. Each time I said to myself that this was the last time, that when it went off THIS time I was going to grab a shower, get dressed, get the kids' breakfast on the table, etc, etc, etc. Didn't happen. What finally happen is B eventually opened his door. I quickly got up before he woke up A and brought him into my room, laid him down on my bed and turned on the end of Sesame Street. He LOVED it (because he never gets to start the day like this). While he was chilling, I quickly got dressed just in time for A to wake up. I put him in bed with his brother and went down to get breakfast on the table. By the time I was finished, J was awake too, so I brought all the kids back into the boys' room to get them all dressed/beds made before we headed downstairs. We cleaned up their rooms by playing "Queen R," a game I invented last week with my Mom's Morning Out group. We were focusing on the letters Q and R for the week, so the game seemed appropriate. It's really a glorified Simon Says with no one getting out, and I give orders in a regal kind of voice. They begged me to play it with them. There is nothing cuter than hearing your children call you Queen. :)

B just ran in here complaining that he doesn't like this part (whatever was happening on tv at the time during Dragon Tales). He gets scared very easily. The bad part is that now, whenever he gets scared, J imitates him. So even though she had been next to me the whole time, she started saying that she didn't like this part either. She didn't even see it!!!

And just a quick brag: A actually READ 75% of Marvin K. Mooney, Will You Please Go Now (a Dr. Seuss book) today - the first time I heard him read a whole book. And he was actually reading the words, they weren't memorized (we haven't read it together in a while). I'm so amazed that he is reading, though my prediction in September is that he would be reading by January. Granted, still no interest in the potty, but the boy can read at the age of three!!!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Long night - tired morning

Poor B - I think. He has Reactive Airway Disease (basically that means that every cold he gets goes instantly to his lungs causing Asthma-like symptoms - it's just not diagnosed as Asthma until he's a little older), and started a cold Saturday night. We're on top of it, upping his inhaled Steroid to twice a day, started his Albuterol yesterday morning. He's not retracting (where he struggles to breathe so much that you see his ribs with every inhale) or wheezing, but is coughing a lot. He was up a few times last night crying for us to come help him. This morning he feels warm, so I kept him home. He's lying on the couch now watching a video that has a part that scares A - he's so excited that he gets to watch the whole thing without fast forwarding it! As soon as I'm done here, I'm going in to do his Albuterol and Pulmicort (steroid). Luckily he wears a mask for it now, so I can set him up and then still do some stuff around the house. When I told him that he was staying home, he started crying, so I told him that he gets to lay on the couch and watch tv. That cheered him up, but then A started crying. A even started saying that he was sick too (I checked - he's not). B started saying that A can't go to school because he's his brother (I guess that means that since they're brothers/twins they have to do the same thing?), but I convinced him it's okay.

I have a lot of little stuff to finish up to get ready for the holidays, and a lot of basic clean up I want to do around here. It's funny - I feel really good about what I've been able to get accomplished most of the time, but begin to get really depressed/overwhelmed when I start to PMS. Now that I'm noticing the connection, I feel like I can identify my cycle just by watching my moods. Last couple of months have been REALLY bad, even had to start medication again to stabalize my moods in November, but I'm hoping that knowing how I might feel will help me not allow it to get too bad. I'm going to work really hard this week to go to bed by 10 at the latest and to push myself to do stuff around the house in fifteen minute spurts (I can do ANYTHING for 15 minutes). The tough part comes when I get really depressed and I feel almost as if a physical weight is pushing me down, making it difficult to move. Every thing I do requires a tremendous effort. I'm fine around my kids, and when the other kids are here for my Mom's Morning Out, but it's as if that required so much effort that I "deflate" afterwards. But, like I said, I'm going to work on staying focused and try to stay on top of it this month. Let's see how that goes.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

My fabulous Mother's Day Present

Last May when my husband asked what I wanted for Mother's Day, I turned to him and told him what every SAHM desperately wants, "I want time to myself!!!!" He listened. He gave me one day a month to do whatever I wanted. Today is my December day. Can you see the smile? I just came back from meeting up with some of my FLYfriends (from our local Flylady group) for breakfast. What a great way to start the day! Came home as DH was getting the kids ready to go out. J had a poopy diaper that I didn't have to change. A carried his leaking sippy cup upside down to the kitchen, dripping milk all the way, and I didn't have to clean it up. Life is good. Of course, J showed her almost two year old personality and refused to carry her dirty diaper to the trash can (something she normally LOVES to do), even threw it at Daddy when he handed it to her the second time, so I did step in at that point and "help" her listen by putting the diaper in her one hand and take her other hand and walk her to the trash can. Halfway there she took over holding the diaper herself and was able to finish the task alone. She then went back and picked up her brother's diaper, saying, "Throw A's diaper away," and proceeded to do just that.

In any case, I plan on spending the day locked in our bedroom, spreading all my scrap supplies all over the bed, and finish all holiday gifts still left to do. Since the kids and DH were planning to go the library when it opened (as was I), DH will be coming back to pick me up so we can all go together. I plan on picking up a few girly films to watch while I work to make the day extra enjoyable. I need to finish three pages of a photo sharing card of J's life (times three - gifts to be given to three different people), the cover page of the two calendars that I had made at Staples, and the scrapbook of my mom's surprise party we threw for her last month. I also need to decorate the ornament I make for my FIL each year with the kids' picture on it. That will probably take me the whole day, but I'll be loving it! If I have any extra time, I would love to box up all the papers lying around the computer and sort/purge as much as I can, but we'll see how the gifts go. This is the most on-the-ball I have EVER been with the holidays. No staying up until two finishing hand-made gifts the day before we leave to celebrate Christmas at my in-law's house this year!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Today is a fifteen minute day

In an e-mail I received from FLYlady yesterday she declared yesterday a fifteen minute day. I didn't read it until this morning, but I'm using it! I have so many different things I need to get done. I'm setting the timer for fifteen minutes. For fifteen minutes each I'm going to work on: answering all my e-mail, picking up everything on the floor, dusting the house, vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom, mopping the kitchen, doing some laundry, finishing my holiday cards, taking care of some MOMS Club business, making a phone call I've been dreading, cleaning up the kitchen, paying the bills - I'm sure I can think of more, but that will do for now. The idea is that I only have to do the task until the timer goes off. It's a trick to keep me focused, but it makes it more fun than just a long to do list.

It's funny - today is the one day that DN-A does not come here. It's the one chance we have to not rush in the morning, trying to get dressed, beds made, room picked up, and downstairs for breakfast before 7:30, when he arrives. Of course, today was the first day in a while that the boys were up during the night PLUS up by 6:30, the earliest we let them get out of bed. J kept sleeping, but the boys were dressed and downstairs by a little after 7! AARGH! :)

Time to get them all ready to go to school so J and I can come back and start our fifteen minute day!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

J takes a swim

Yesterday I should have won the Mother of theYear award (NOT). I was busy with transferring the laundry into the dryer when I heard J crying. The kids had all been quietly watching Sesame Street, so I didn't think much of it, but when it didn't stop right away, I went to investigate. No J in the living room. I realize I left the gate open and hear that J is crying from upstairs. I head up the steps when I see J in the bathroom. In the toilet. Crying and saying, "All fall down!" She had sat on the potty earlier in the day and I guess she wanted to try again. So she climbed up the stairs and up the stepstool to the toilet. She didn't care that both seats were up. She sat down right into the water and she was stuck - legs up in the air. Pulled her out and she was drenched, so I gave her a bath and cleaned her off. It was pretty funny - she looked hysterical - but it also made me realize how lucky we were. What would have happened if she had decided to look inside instead of sit down? This could have ended SO differently.

A former MOMS Club member lost her daughter (who was the same age as J is now) this summer by another freak accident. The mom had gotten distracted in the kitchen (as we ALL do) and didn't realize that the door had not been closed all the way when the dog had been let out. Then the phone rang and she started talking. When she hung up she realized that she hadn't seen her youngest daughter in a little bit, and then noticed the door open. It had rained the day before, so the creek that ran through her back yard was higher than usual. She ran out to the creek and told her older daughter to get their neighbor (a doctor). The mom was searching the creek, desparately trying to find her baby. No one noticed that the gate to the pool was open a little. When the neighbor came over to help, he discovered the baby floating in the pool. It took all of these events - the pool's gate not being locked as it always is, the door not getting shut all the way as it always is, the phone ringing right then - to have let this happen. Such a tragedy.

It takes things like what happened to J yesterday to make me realize how accidents can happen ANYtime. I'm almost at the point where I can picture her sitting in the toilet, legs folded up almost to her chest, or remember her telling her daddy, "All fall down toilet," and laugh. Almost. Eventually my heart will stop racing as I imagine what might have happened.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Rushed morning

I slept in this morning (the alarm didn't re-ring after I hit snooze for the fourth time), so I had to skip my morning shower (if I run into you today pretend you don't notice). It's really hard for me to feel awake without it! So now I'm kind of dragging.

Had a great night last night - out to dinner with friends to celebrate one of their birthdays. A night out with grown-ups - YAY! :) It was lots of fun, but then I got home around 10 and stayed up a little too late winding down.

J just got a toy car to go down the slide of our toy garage. She looked up at me with such amazement that she got it to work.

Okay, DN-A is running around screaming and J is chasing him yelling NO - have to mediate.

I'm back. Alright, have to get the kids ready to leave for the day. The boys are going to school in half an hour and J and I are going to our MOMS Club meeting. J is now sitting on the floor crying, "More more poopy" so I should probably check her diaper. I swear she is going to be potty trained before A. I know, every kid learns at their own pace and you can't rush these things, but I've been bringing A to the potty every hour or two for the last two weeks and he has yet to ever pee on it. B always peed a lot, so it didn't take him long to figure out what to do. I'm not quite sure what to do about A. If anyone reading this (is anyone reading this?) has ANY suggestions, PLEASE let me know!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Ways to make my life easier

My life would be so much easier if I would just DO all the different things that I know would make my life easier! Does that make sense? I love FLYlady ( Using all her tricks and techniques has literally changed my life. I had a very productive day yesterday, partly from adapting something I heard Marla talk about at the Baltimore FLYfest that some friends and I went to in November (I know, I'm a total dork). I have so many papers to sort through - they seem to multiply over night! So I set a timer to go off every thirty minutes. While two of the kids were napping and the other two were laying on the floor for "quiet time" (Why are they laying on the floor instead of the perfectly comfortable couches? Don't ask me!), I got a chance to do some work that I needed to get done. But every thirty minutes, when the timer went off, I would go to my pile of papers and take care of 3-4 (working for about one or two minutes). Then I'd go back to my work until the timer went off again. Doing this, I was able to go through an entire box of stuff! Some people might think why didn't I just work straight through on the papers, but it's just so overwhelming that I would have procrastinated until it NEVER got done. This way, I was able to do a little bit at a time without hardly noticing.

Anyway, one of the things that I know works really well is doing a "Before Bed Routine." It's like a present I give my future self in the morning. When I got home from teaching Hebrew School last night, what I SHOULD have done was clean up the living room (put away toys, vacuum), wipe down the table and counters, make lunches for today - all these things would have made my morning SO much easier. But instead I collapsed on the couch and then eventually went upstairs. And now I'm kicking myself!

It's Tuesday and I run my Mom's Morning Out starting at 9. So . . . in the next forty-five minutes, I need to: clean up from breakfast, brush everybody's teeth and hair, change diapers (again) and do another potty run, run the cordless vacuum (Love my Shark!) in the Living Room and Dining Room, gather a load of laundry and put it in (have to do one load a day), prep for activities for today (we're making Oatmeal Raisin cookies for "R" week), get shoes on two of my kids, and clean off flat surfaces in the kitchen and dining room. Here goes!

Monday, December 12, 2005

2 year olds

Maybe I just blocked it out. I know the boys went through all these stages - I just can't remember them. They're definitely going through the "why" stage right now! I swear I answer over 400 questions a day between the two of them. But J is going through the "terrible twos" like crazy right now, and she's still three months away from turning two! PLUS DN-A, who doesn't turn three until April, is here all the time - I can't even tell you the number of times my guys are quietly playing or otherwise occupied and then I hear DN-A screaming, "NOOOOOO!!!!" from the other room.

I've been dreaming really weird dreams recently - they're almost made for tv movies in their twists and turns. They're so strange that I wake up and have to hit the snooze button (the one on the alarm clock this time, not telling the kids to go back to sleep) just so I can go back in to the dream and find out what happens next. Very strange! Last night I dreamed that I was ill and had to take a plane ride to Seattle (where I've actually never been) and I kept missing the people I was supposed to be meeting until I was finally laying on the ground in the terminal but it must have been a moving sidewalk because I kept on moving and was able to read the signs in the airport. The night before I was teaching again and the computer got a virus that threatened to destroy the world and it was up to my class and I to solve the problem but we couldn't tell anyone because the government was trying to cover it up.

Okay, off to clean up from breakfast, get shoes on my three, take DN-A and A to the potty, pack the boys schoolbags and help them pick something out for show and tell, make a grocery list, brush my teeth and theirs, get their coats, hats, gloves, and scarves on - all within thirty minutes. Ready? Go!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Sleepy Sunday

Stayed up way too late last night. I was working on putting holiday presents together. Because money is so tight, I have gotten very creative with gifts. It used to be (before kids) we would set a price limit for each family member and buy and buy until we reached that. Now we set a gift number per family member and I rack my brain coming up with something meaningful for them. My in-laws took us on a family vacation this summer, so one gift is a photo collage of the trip. I took all four kids to the Picture People Thursday and (miracle of miracles) managed to get a photo of all of them looking at the camera with no one making a face or scratching his butt. That's in a frame waiting to be wrapped but is the perfect gift for my sister. And since I used the coupon for a free 8 by 10, it only cost me the price of the frame, which I managed to buy on sale at A.C. Moore. Of course, it also cost me the time and energy it took to get all four dressed, cleaned, to the mall, waiting for the photographer to be ready . . . well, you get the idea. :) My mom's gift is taking a little longer. My sister and I (and my dad and brother) threw my mom a surprise birthday party last month. We had about 75 people there (it was her 60th - had to be big). I'm making a scrapbook of the event, including in it all the "memory cards" we asked people to write while they were there. But even with that, I'm over halfway done. I'm thrilled. Normally I am still working on most of this stuff the week of Christmas. I feel really good about getting so much done so early. But I foolishly stayed up last night, even after I stopped working for the night.

When A started singing at his door (we keep a gate at the boys' door so they can't leave their room) this morning, I was able to convince him to lay down for a little bit more (it was only 6:15!) so I was able to lay down for a little bit more. It was like my human snooze alarm. On the weekend the kids get to have a "picnic breakfast" - they get to stay in their pajamas and eat breakfast while watching tv. So they're eating breakfast and I'm checking in. But now I have to get them more food and run up and grab a quick shower and dress so I can go to work (Sunday School). I'm off!

P.S. Thanks for all the nice comments after my first post. It's nice to know my friends are checking in, even if you won't be regular readers. I appreciate the support.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Starting Out

After reading other people's blogs for about a month now, I decided I was ready to start. So who am I? I am a stay-at-home mom of three: A and B (my three and a half year old twin boys) and J (my one and a half year old daughter). I have been happily married to my husband for over ten years. I also provide full-time daycare to DN-A (my two and a half year old nephew) - four days a week, 10 hours a day. I am president of my local MOMS Club (Moms Offering Moms Support). I also teach part-time at my synagogue and run a "Moms Morning Out" program on Tuesday and Thursday mornings here at my house for three extra kids. I know it sounds like a lot, but I'm doing what I can so I can afford to stay home and send my boys to preschool. In my "former life" I was an elementary school teacher who also loved singing and performing in community theater. I don't know what exactly I'm going to use the space to say, but figured this was a start. Okay, off to put J down for a nap and set the boys up with a video for "quiet time."