Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas

When I put my blog address on our Christmas cards 3 weeks ago I had every intention of updating my Blog with a very nice "Christmas Newsletter." However it's been quite a crazy month here at the Hive and not just your normal December crazy. We're in the process of refinancing our house, in the midst of that we found a leak in a pipe above the living room, we got a plumber to fix it but then Matthew had to repair the ceiling, he also discovered a hole in the dryer vent and had to repair that as well. And of course the part of the ceiling that had to be repaired required us taking down our ceiling fan and light fixture, which required the power to be shut down in the living room. And did I mention it was also right by the Christmas tree, the same tree that has a already toppled over more than once. So it's been a rather frustrating month and all the things originally on my to do list have been pushed further and further down the list. In the grand scheme of things really it's just life but with the fact that this year I volunteered to invite my entire family for Christmas day it's been a bit overwhelming, to say the least. We're grateful to friends and family who helped us out, Matthew's friend John and Papa Hardin came to help Matthew install the drywall and Lettitia and Justin were nice enough to let me sic my kids on them for the day so that they could get out of the way of the project.

So now it's 2 days before Christmas, tomorrow we'll be gone most the day, and the next day we're expecting close to 40 people here. So now I'm off to knock out my to do list with hopes that there are no more surprises. Wishing y'all a Joyful Christmas.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Shout Out to Awesome Teachers

As the Thanksgiving season is upon us I have a lot of things for which to be grateful, but one thing that keeps coming back to me is how blessed we have been by our children's teachers since we've moved here. For the girls sake, I don't want to go into too many specifics but they've both had their share of struggles academically. The teacher's have always been very open to communicate with us and to provide whatever resources they could for us.

I keep hearing from other's about "one size fits all" teaching and I can honestly say that has been the furthest from our experience these past 3 years. I know each of these teacher's has gone out of her way to adapt the classroom and teaching to my specific kid and her needs. All of them have communicated with me openly and freely and what I love most is that they always come to me with a solution already in mind. Eveen when they have felt stumped they've mentioned that they would talk to the other teacher's in the grade for helpful ideas. They've been willing to listen to any of my concerns and to act on the things we've discussed quickly.

I can't express enough what a blessing and a relief it is to send my kids to school and know that whatever struggles they have that day they have someone at school who I know is in their corner routing for them. It's made an amazing difference. It fills my heart when Kendall comes home telling me how she did and I know it's a direct result of her teacher showering her with positive reinforcement and encouragement. Or when Rebecca comes home telling me of something she learned or accomplished and I know it's because of a teacher that has repeatedly demonstrated that she knows Rebecca can do it even when she might not be sure of it herself. Not only has it made a world of difference academically but socially and emotionally as well.

So I just want to give a big but inadequate THANK YOU to Mrs. Morea, Mrs. Proctor, Mrs. Jensen, Ms. Buchwald, Ms. Keiffer, Ms. Heard, Ms. Hurst and all the teachers that support them. I couldn't have asked for better teachers for my children if I had hand picked them myself.

Monday, November 3, 2008

My Poor Neglected Blog

Well sometimes something has to give and lately it's been this Blog. Matthew has been hounding me to post something for sometime. I was a little busy getting ready for Disney World and Halloween and then I came home to a broken computer. I have lots I wanted to share but it's just not the same without my pictures which I don't have easy access to at the moment.

The kids have been busy with school and all their other activities. The 3 younger girls are loving their dance classes and thanks to the Lego catalog I can now at least picture what it is that Rebecca does every Friday at Robotics club. We had teacher conferences the week before our trip and both girls are doing well in school. They both struggle with the same concept (spelling/ sight words) which I'm thinking must be a genetic thing. Both teachers are perfect fits for each of the girls and we feel like we've hit the teacher jack pot since we moved to this school district.

Prior to our trip I got the idea to make outfits for the girls to wear to Disney. So, much to Matthew's delight after 2 lonely years I finally pulled out the sewing machine. I've been having lots of fun with it. So far I've made each of the girls a dress for Disney and a Halloween dress and a vampire cape for Elliott. My next project is scrubs for the kids and Christmas gifts.

Papa completed the Play House and the kids are loving. Matthew has decided it's not bright enough in there so has been digging up the yard and laying cable so that it will have electricity.

Our trip to Disney was fun and exhausting. The twins had a hard time sleeping and it made for far more tantrums than we expected. Despite that we had a good time. Some of the highlights were probably getting to see the twins ride their first roller coaster, Rebecca overcoming her fears and being more adventurous in her rides (she actually road Everest), Kendall meeting Tigger and bouncing with him, having dinner with Matthew's friends, and meeting up with some of my online friends. We stayed in the Fort Wilderness cabins and we loved it. I would love to go back there for a week and spend half the time just at the campground and half the time in the parks. In fact someone told me that they've even stayed at the campgrounds and not even gone into the parks. It really was a great place to stay.

A couple of funny things. My brother Benjamin let us borrow his TomTom (GPS) for the trip. Well the kids didn't know what to think of it and Dakotta would start to argue with it. The TomTom would say "Turn Right" and she would retort "We already turned right." Then one day we got of the boat launch at the Magic Kingdom and Corinna says "Turn left and then turn left" just like the TomTom.

Also, the automatic flushers were quite the issue. Corinna and Dakotta caught on quickly that you have to hold your hand over the sensor. So we'd walk into the stall and they'd take turns holding the sensor for each other. Kendall on the other hand didn't trust them with this most important job and insisted that I was the only one responsible enough to cover the sensor for her.

Elliott got to spend the weekend with his cousins and Uncle Stephen and Aunt Shelene. He seemed to have a great time and came home barking whenever he sees a picture of an animal. And he even got to sing in church with them during the Primary program. His sisters were not happy with us for leaving him home but I think he had a great time and am pretty sure Matthew and I couldn't have handled all 5 of them without some help. I'm sure they will be sure to let Elliott know that they all begged mom and dad to take them but we were the mean ogres that didn't bring him to Disney.

Well maybe someday I'll have my computer working and will be able to update with some of the hundreds of pictures I've taken this month.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Some Odd Tuesday Update

Here's what's up with with the Hive:

Matthew is working as hard as always. When he's not working or keeping up with his fantasy football leagues he's been making plans to implement phase 2 of the backyard landscaping project. If if his estimations are correct we'll be getting twice as much dirt this go round. So if anyone likes a good mud fight give us a call.

As for me I'm living for Tuesdays thesee days. It's when I get to leave the house for 4 hours without any kids!!! The babysitter, Sara, is great and sometimes even manages to get a little housework done while I'm gone. In the past 6 weeks since she's started, I've gotten my hair done, (way overdue) started reading again, become obsessive about saving money at the grocery store, and even started a craft project. I'm also teaching the Sunbeams (3-4 class) at church. I think the Bishopric thought they were being clever when they asked me to teach that class but I'm not sure the fact that I will have 2 kids in that class come the first of the year is just a coincidence.

Rebecca got a job. Well technically I think it's an internship since she's not getting paid. Her teacher told them at the beginning of the year that anyone wanting a class job would need to apply and be interviewed for the position. Rebecca was worried because she wanted the secretary position but so did most the class. She filled out her application and had to get a letter of recommendation. The teacher's husband interviewed her and said she seemed perfect for the job. She came home beaming the day she got the news. I just hope she still has energy for her organizing projects at home after a hard days work.

Kendall is enjoying 2nd grade. Her exuberance kind of made for a rocky start to the year but her teacher is great and they came up with some helpful ways to remind her to stay on track. She's worked hard the past few weeks and ended up getting the Blue Bear award for her class for her effort. She also got a perfect score on her very first spelling test which is quite remarkable considering a family history of pour spellars.

Corinna is now daytime toilet trained and will even sometimes wake up dry in the mornings. She insists on wearing her "pretty panties" the minute she gets up. She loves being a big girl and is always volunteering to be mommy and daddy's helper. She continues to be bossy and we are working on toning her down a bit. She's also quite girly and gets upset when her curly hair dries because she prefers it long.

Dakotta has also been making progress in the toilet training, she's been wearing panties mostly with an occasional accident but I'm planing on how to spend the extra diaper money once they're completely trained. I've decided that Dakotta will either be an architect or a pro wrestler when she grows up. She can spend hours with the Legos, in the sand box or any other type of building project (cardboard boxes, couch cushions, canned vegetables). When she's not doing that she's bulldozing her family members. Apparently the 9 months of abuse she inflicted on Corinna is a lifetime addiction.

And as much as I hate to admit it Elliott is starting to be quite the little boy. He's really learning a lot of words lately and it's funny to me how much of a gender leaning there is (ball, car, (ba)nana, cracker, cookie, more, milk). Yes the boy likes to eat. There are nights that he out eats all of his sisters. I hacked his hair off yesterday but luckily his natural good looks make up for the botched hairdo. And one of the bonuses of me teaching the Sunbeams is that he got to start in the church nursery early. The teacher says he's doing really well but then a room full of other kids and toys strewn around, some singing and snacks isn't that different than home.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Walk in the Woods

Since Saturday was such a beautiful day and the girls were getting ready to head back to school we decided to go do something fun. We ended up just a few miles from our house below the Buford Dam and took a hike on one of the trails by the Chatahoochee River. We had taken the kids on a hike on the West side of the River a few weeks ago so this time we decided to try the East side. Corinna and Dakotta were funny because they would yell "Bear" and start running. And one point Dakotta said. "Whew! We made it past the grumpy bear!" On the return trip Rebecca said she though a particular mound of dirt was what they thought was the bear. Then when we stopped on a bridge for a rest Corinna started to do arabesques using the bridge railing as a barre. She looked like a little ballerina with her hair pulled back and dressed all in pink. Rebecca dubbed her, "The Hiking Ballerina." Towards the end Rebecca was offering piggy back rides to her sisters. At first Dakotta took advantage of the offer but when she was rested Kendall decided to hop on. About that time I decided to let Elliott walk himself. He didn't understand the concept of a trail and would immediately walk right off the path. It was funny to watch him climb all sorts of obstacles just to do it HIS way instead of what everyone else was doing. When we got back to the dam the were getting ready to release water so we hydrated ourselves and headed home.

Hair Today... Gone Tomorrow

So part of our back to school preparations included getting hair cuts for Rebecca and Kendall. Both had enough that we should be able to donate. They have both donated to Locks of Love in the past but this time we've decided to give it to Pantene's Beautiful Lengths. Kendall cut off 9 inches and Rebecca's was so thick they put her's in 2 pony tails and cut 11 inches.

My House is a Circus

So the other day while my mom was visiting I was going through some old premie clothes for my brother Stepehen's foster baby. While I was looking through bags of old clothes I came across a little lion costume. I commented that it was cute but that Elliott would probably be too big for it by Halloween. Apparently Rebecca tackled him and put it on him and the next thing I know all the kids were scrounging through the dress up clothes for circus costumes.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Art Education

The twins and I were looking at a book that had a picture of THE MONA LISA in it. As they do with everything else, one of them pointed to the picture and asked, "Whose that?"

I replied, "The Mona Lisa"

To which Dakotta declared, "She's grumpy" and quickly turned the page.

I'm thinking we may keep their art education to Little Einsteins for a bit longer.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Problem Solving: 3 Year Old Style

So yesterday Corinna was eager to go out and play in the sandbox but I was still getting breakfast for everyone, so she took it upon herself to get dressed. She came down stairs with a long corduroy shirt and some long pants. She brings them to me and asks me to help her get dressed. I look down at what she's picked out and say, "Corinna you can't wear those, they're too hot." She gets very mad and throws them down on a kitchen chair and exclaims "But they're not hot." Dakotta, who had witnessed the whole exchange decides to take matters into her own hands. She walks over to the clothes, blows on them a few times, hands them back to Corinna and says, "They're not hot anymore."

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Best Laid Plans

So the backyard is coming right along but we've had a few bumps in the road. First, even though we're in a drought, we have the biggest mosquitoes I have ever seen. At night we put out citronella candles and lanterns but they only seem to help a little. And certain members of my family (me included) will be eaten alive within minutes of being outside if we forget to put on bug repellent. I finally convinced Matthew to put up a bat box. He actually opted to buy one instead of building it himself, but he'll still have the privilege of mounting it. So we've taken some temporary measures until our bat box arrives but are really hoping that we'll get us some bats soon to take care of our little mosquito problem.

Well then after Corinna uprooted all of Rebecca's vegetable plants and then used Matthew's flower bed as a sandbox Matthew decided that he wouldn't wait until the playhouse was finished to build them a real sandbox. Now mind you, Meme has been begging us to take a plastic "boat" sandbox but of course Matthew turned his nose up at that because his kids need a proper sandbox. So last week he selected the perfect spot and started leveling out a spot, except he didn't realize that a bunch of yellow jackets also thought it was a perfect spot. And of course this made our backyard pretty much useless for our 4th of July cook out with his family. So after watching the fireworks we came home to do a little exterminating. Not the most fun thing to do when you're allergic to them.

Anyway it appeared we successfully got rid of the nest under the sandbox and Matthew was able to finish the project. But now the rest of our yard is covered in them and we can't seem to find another nest. He spent hours the past two days trying to find the nest with no luck. So if anyone knows any ideas on how to get rid of the yellow jackets when you don't know where the nest is, we're all open for suggestions.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Check Ups

Well in the past 2 weeks 4 of my kids have had check ups. Last week I was able to get a sitter and take just the twins but Monday I wasn't so lucky.

So I had to take all of them. I had scheduled check ups for Kendall and Elliott but ended asking them if they could squeeze Rebecca for a follow up on some stomach issues she's been having. We get everyone weighed and measured and they ask Kendall for a urine sample. So we take trip #1 which of course means they all tag along because no one wants to be left alone in the exam room. (Luckily they were handicap restrooms). Then Kendall freaks out about the toilet (she has a fear of public toilets). I finally convince her to sit on the toilet. 5 minutes later. NOTHING.

Back at the exam room waiting for the doctor Corinna busts her lip playing hopscotch (they have a board painted on the floor tiles). Then the big girls get a kick out of pretending to page the doctor at the doctor's office. Apparently the irony of getting hurt in the doctor's office was not lost on them. Nothing like a minor injury to amuse one's siblings.

Finally the doctor comes in with a resident which was good thinking (although a bit crammed) since one is able to examing each of the 2 kids for the check ups. But apparently there wasn't enough going on during the exams so Dakotta bites Corrina.

Then the doctor asks for a urine sample for Rebecca. Which resulted in trip #2 to the bathroom. Rebecca pees in the cup. Since we're there I have Kendall try. Still NOTHING.

Back at the exam room we're greeted by the nurse ready to give Elliott a shot. I thought the poor woman was going to melt from all the evil glares she got from my girls. It was a good thing it was only one shot because I seriously doubt she would have been able to get to the 2nd before they mounted a protest. They all hovered over him with hugs and kisses when it was done.

Then as I'm packing them all up Kendall announces quite frantically "I have to go to the bathroom" while doing that signature dance that every mother knows all to well. I finally sent her and Rebecca for trip #3 thinking it was a wasted effort but not wanting to take any chances. Then while I'm checking out Rebecca comes out of the bathroom to report Kendall actually peed in the cup.

And the best news of the day was that now all my children are officially on the growth charts. WOOT. Elliott is now weighing in at 20lbs putting him in the 3%. The way he eats I suspect he'll be caught up to Corinna,, who only weighs 25lb in no time. The one nice thing about this go round of having a small baby is that when I told them I wasn't worried and to look at my other kids they actually listebed and didn't make an issue about it. Oh the benefits of experience.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Grocery Store Game

Objective: Get home with all the items on your grocery list, preferably unopened and in one piece.

Players: You, 1 set of 3 year old twins and a 1 year old. (Do not let them convince you that they are your team mates, they have their own objectives).

What you need to play: one grocery cart with a plastic car attached to the front. Since you have 3 kids you will need the ones with 2 seats in the car and 2 seats in the basket. If your area is like mine their is probably only one store that has this cart and will require you to pay a membership to shop there. Once you've found a store that carries this cart you may need to circle the parking lot multiple times to actually find one in a cart corral. If that doesn't work, watch the front door and stalk any carts that come out. Then try to discretely park near this other mom and offer to take her cart for her. If she mentions how popular they are try not to mention that they are the only cart you can use for your 3 children. You especially shouldn't do this while giving her and her 5 year old laser beam glares because the child wasn't even IN the cart. Now once you've procured the cart, if you find them without any functioning belt buckles consider yourself elevated to the EXPERT level of the game.

How to play: Take your list and begin to navigate your way through the store selecting your items. Every 3 minutes you must stop and have all the children with you rotate positions. Possible positions include, the 2 seats in the car, the 2 seats by the handle, in the basket of the cart, your 2 hips, or walking beside you (since your 1 year old is not walking this will not be an option for him). You must stop at any sample stations. You must answer the questions, "Are they twins?" "Are they identical?" "Are they all yours?" pleasantly without letting on that the inquirer is not the first person to ask you. You are not required to stop when someone says, "You've got your hands full" but should smile and nod.

Bonus Round: You may bypass the bonus round by getting in the cashier line. If you wish to play this round you must use the self scan line while keeping an eye on all the children.

How the Game is Scored: Points are given for every item on your list that successfully makes it home. Points will be deducted for every item you make it home with that was NOT on your list. Extra points will be given for staying under budget. Extra points will also be earned for each coupon used.

Now that you know the rules, who wants to play?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Playhouse Progress

Papa Hardin has been working diligently on the playhouse for the girls so I thought I would post some more recent pictures. The girls are already loving it they've moved some table and chairs in there for tea parties and such. I think they enjoy having Papa Hardin more. I think they'll be a little sad when he finishes because he won't be coming over as often. I guess they'll have to invite him for tea.

An in addition to the playhouse, he and Meme gave the kids a set of Monkey bars that attached to the swing set they got for Christmas.


My goal is to make my backyard more fun than inside so that they only want to come in to sleep.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Econ 101

This morning while getting ready for school Kendall, Rebecca and I had an interesting discussion on economics. Matthew had been up most the night working from home. Some of the things he does have to be done at their client's least busy times, which usually means about 3am. Well because he got to bed so late he wasn't going to be able to take the girls to the bus stop like he usually does. First they wanted to know if he was staying home the whole day. I said he'd probably go in to work after lunch. Then Rebecca wanted to know if he still got paid for the full day. I assured her he would because he could count the hours in the middle of the night he worked.

Then Kendall wanted asked what he did. They know one of his company's biggest clients are Hasbro Toys so I used them as the example. Telling them that if people wanted to buy toys that DH writes the programs so they can go to Hasbro's website to buy stuff (actually DH doesn't do this for Hasbro but it was more for illustration purposes and I knew that would sound cooler than saying he wrote programs for the American Medical Association). I explained that people picked the items they wanted out online, paid with a credit card and then the people at daddy's office shipped the items to the customer. Thanks to Webkinz they seemed pretty familiar with the concept of an online shopping cart. Then Kendall's eyes lit up and said, "So the more things people buy, the more money daddy makes." I didn't have the heart to tell her that the more things people buy the more money daddy's company makes. Rebecca wanted to know if all the money went to the toy store or if the credit card company got any of it. I explained that the toy company probably paid the credit card company a small fee, like around $3 for every $100. Then Rebecca began to explain to Kendall that they take the money from your credit card but you have to pay the credit card for it and if you didn't pay for it all one time you'd have to pay EXTRA.

I tell you it was conversation to make their frugal mother proud. Next thing I know they'll be asking about 401Ks and mutual funds.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Granny Lives in a Circle

My mom lives in a town called Social Circle. The other day I was busy and I heard the following conversation.

Dakotta: Granny lives in a Circle
Corinna: Yeah but we live in a square.
Dakotta : With Rectangle doors.
Corinna: Yeah with rectangle doors.
Dakotta: Yeah we don't live in a circle.
Corinna: No, Granny lives in a circle
Dakotta: We live in a square.
Corinna: Yeah we live in a square with rectangle doors.

I didn't get it at first but my mom finally put the pieces together for me. We've had the different variations of the same conversation a lot this past week. Apparently the play house is a triangle house. Today, Dakotta said she wanted to live in a circle with Granny. I hope she's not disappointed the next time we go to visit her when she realizes the house is just another square house.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Friends in My Computer


This past weekend Matthew and I had a chance to go to Charleston, South Carolina to meet some friends from a twins message board I've been on for almost 3 years. As someone else noted, it really is a weird feeling to walk into a room of "strangers" and know their life stories. They really are an amazing group of people and have really been my sanity in the past few years. The thing about being a mom of multiples is that it in the early years it can really be quite isolating. It really is very hard to get out and do the things that people with 1 kid or kids spaced out better can do. But if you know me you know how I crave interaction and preferably some of that needs to be adult conversation. At first I joined to read about how they dealt with bed rest, nursing twins, getting them on the same schedule and things like that. Eventually my needs changed and we discuss things like religion, global warming and what should I cook for dinner. They've celebrated my kids milestones and cried with me through my trials. They've kept me engaged in what's going on in the world and given me a release when things were too much in my own little world.

Poor Matthew wasn't quite sure what he was getting into when he agreed to go. But he wasn't so sure about letting me go alone either. And we both really needed some time away from kids and work. He's always been very supportive of me and in fact was the one who finally convinced me it was ok to actually post instead of lurking on their discussions. I think he realized that they were a great resource but I don't think he really understood the magnitude of these friendships until this weekend.

Now when I told people we were meeting a bunch of twins parents I think they thought it would some sort of conference with seminars on parenting twins. But it really was just a chance to not be "parents" for a weekend. We hung out on the beach, played games, toured Charleston, did some shopping, lots of eating and basically just enjoying each other's company. And really we spent very little time talking about kids. Matthew and I both pointed out how simple chores like doing dishes and taking out trash didn't seem like work when we didn't have kids climbing on us or whining at us while we did it (and it helped that someone else cooked the meal). It was just so great to be Melissa for a few days and not Mom. Matthew and I didn't even spend that much alone time together but I think he enjoyed seeing me be myself for a few days and not just the mother of his children.

That's not to say I didn't miss my kids. I had been so worried about leaving them and how best to do that. 5 kids seemed too much for my mom but I'm not sure I wanted to split them up either. I finally decided to leave my mom with the girls and Elliott got to go hang out with his cousins at Stephen and Shelene's house. And despite all but Kendall getting sick while I was gone, they seemed to have survived and hopefully there's no permanent damage. In the end I came home with some even greater friendships, a renewed energy and calmness to deal with my kids and a little more in love with my husband than before. What more could one ask for from a vacation?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Friday, March 28, 2008

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Sponge Bob Square Cracker

My kids love Ritz crackers. We buy them in bulk and go through them pretty quickly. They call them circle crackers. Well Ritz are fine if you want some cheese or peanut butter on them but for soups I prefer the good old saltines. Tonight I opened a pack of saltines and the twins seemed really intrigued by these "new" crackers and, as they tend to do, they kept asking "What's this?" And as is often the case, I go through different answers of the same question. "A cracker" "A saltine" " A square cracker" So then Corinna asks me for the twelfth time "What's this?" and before I can answer she sings "Sponge Bob Square Cwackwer?"

Monday, March 24, 2008

FIRE!

Our chimney caught fire tonight.

We had just put the twins to bed when our neighbor called to tell us our chimney was on fire. I immediately yelled at the big girls,who were downstairs, that there was a fire and to get out while I was grabbing the twins out of their beds. Rebecca had been watching Elliott in the living room but we've always told her just to get herself out of the house so it took me a few seconds to find him. I had dropped the twins on the front porch to go get him and when I got out the door my girls were running to the meeting spot just like we've talked about. The fire alarm went off right as I was walking out the door and that was just about the time I first smelled smoke.

I had grabbed one blanket for Elliott and the twins were in thick pjs but poor Kendall was in short sleeves and no shoes. Luckily my neighbor came and we all headed back to her house.

DH was on the phone with 911 as I was leaving (he was also looking for pants because he had just taken off his work pants when the neighbor called). Then he grabbed our 2 fire extinguishers and used both of them to put the fire out in the fireplace.

The twins and Elliott thought it was exciting, Rebecca cried that she didn't want kitty cat blankie and lambie to burn, Kendall cried about something or other. I kept telling them it was just the chimney and the important thing was that we were all safe. Then we watched from my neighbors house as 4 fire trucks, an ambulance, and the fire chief come blaring up to my house. There were no flames at this point. (Of course I now realize that my house is a total disaster from a very crazy weekend and now not only was the whole fire department running through it but now neighbors were stopping to check on things).

A little bit later DH called us with the all clear. The house is a little smoky but it's more of a weird chemical smell from the fire extinguishers. We've had as many windows open as we could. Luckily the little ones went to bed pretty quickly. Kendall's sleeping on the sofa down here at the moment but I suspect it could be a long night with the big girls.

It was really scary but I keep telling them that they did everything right so that everyone is safe. I'm so grateful that our school has a fire safety week because both girls had homework this past fall where we had to talk and practice all these things. When we were doing this back then I realized that we hadn't picked a new spot since we moved here. So I'm glad that we were prepared and I'm so proud that my girls did everything that we'd talked about.

And while I feel blessed that things turned out fine I'm sitting here still shaking and sick to my stomach because it's things like this that the reality of having 5 people so completely dependent on us is just so overwhelming.

PS. Check you smoke alarms and go over your fire plan with your kids.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Happy Birthday Baby Boy!

A New Low

So today I actually resorted to vacuuming my children. In the past few days they've figured out how to get into the basement. That wouldn't be so bad because there's a playroom down there, but it's also where I keep my scrapbooking and stamping supplies. I discovered them in my stuff and ordered them to put back a jar of glitter and herded them back upstairs. Well apparently the sneaky little team smuggled it upstairs without me seeing their slight of hand. (Things like this make me question if the concept of teamwork is as great as the Wonder Pets make it out to be). A few minutes pass and I go to check on them and see them and my living room sparkling like the ruby slippers.

Well this wasn't your basic craft glitter but my good (expensive) stamp glitter which is very fine. A while back one of my older girls had opened the jar and just the little bit that she got out was all over Elliott's swing; for months my poor boy would sparkle in the right light. So I immediately grabbed my new vacuum cleaner and was actually pretty impressed with how well it did getting up the mess and I looked up and my girls were watching me all covered in glitter. That's when I decided to give the vacuum a try on them. I used the brush attachment and it actually did a pretty good job. Unfortunately they really got a kick out of it so I hope it isn't an incentive for them to get into more messes.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Playhouse Progress

Papa Hardin has been planning this play house for years. Once we signed the papers for this house he started building it in his basement. Well we've had other things come up (like a baby) so we are just now finally getting it put up . He's been here almost every day we've had nice weather and even showed up as soon as the sun came out after the recent tornadoes. And he does all this with not only our kids but many of the neighborhood kids running around him; he doesn't even get mad when his tools decide to play hide and seek. My kids are so excited. My kids sure are blessed to have such a patient and generous Papa. Here are some picture of the progress from the last week. (Oh Matthew helped some too).

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Bowl of Fruit by Nibble and Peck


This is what happens when I leave the twins in the kitchen unattended. They were coloring when I left them but they took my absence as an opportunity to help themselves to a snack. I found one and since it only had a few bites taken out of it I put it back in the bowl. I figured we'd just cut off the bad parts (yes, I'm aware I'm cheap and proud of it). Then I realized that this morning I had a bunch of apples so I had to go find the rest of their stash. Rebecca was not happy when she got home from school but she was a good sport. And unlike her sisters she ate not only the rest of the one of the apples, but also the core, the only thing left was the stem and the seed. I guess I should be glad my kids like fruit.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Father/Daughter Dance


I'm just a little slow getting these up. Last Saturday Matthew got to take the both Rebecca and Kendall to the Father/ Daughter dance at the Elementary school. They got pictures taken at the dance but here are the ones from home. The theme was "A Night in Paris" which was easier to dress for than last year's Luau (on one of the coldest nights of the year). Rebecca asked me to French braid her hair to go along with the theme.

Kendall was very excited to be able to go after watching Rebecca get to go in past years. She was so excited that she fell running to get to the dance and skinned her knee and put a hole in her tights before she even got in the door. She had a great time except for that and getting separated from Daddy at the dance. Luckily our neighbor helped to reunite them. Matthew even seemed to survive the Hannah Montana and the Chicken dance. And Mommy survived bathing 3 little ones without the help of Daddy or even big sister helpers.


Monday, February 18, 2008

My Klepto Was at It Again (And It Landed Her a Night in Lockup).

Well it wasn't actually lockup but the ER, which is like jail with Barney.

Once a month my family get together for Family Home Evening. We take turns hosting and last night was our turn. We'd had a really nice time and most of the family had left. The few remaining adults were in the kitchen and the only kids left were my own and my nephew who was sleeping in his daddy's arms. I was enjoying the company and actually able to sit back and relax after a busy day. (As much as I would love Sundays to be quiet and reflective that is never the case when you have to get 5 kids ready for church).

Anyway Kendall comes is the kitchen to says, "Mom come here." I slowly follow her into the kitchen thinking she's built some Lego structure she wants to show off. What I find is Dakotta with the contents on my Sister-In-Law's bag thrown about. And the first thing I see is the bag full of bright red pills. I ask Dakotta if she ate any and she nods. I ask her how many and she says, "1-2-3-4." I'm impressed with her rote counting skills but not sure that the answer means anything. They were Tylenol which I had heard horror stories about so I called poison control. The guy on the line told me the magic number for her weight was 4 pills and since I wasn't sure how many she took Matthew headed to the ER.

The initial blood test didn't show any signs of Tylenol but they need to check again in 4 hours. They tried to get her to drink a cup of charcoal, but she was not having any of that and has the shirt to prove it. My Sister and her hubby were here so they stuck around while I got the kids to bed (all except a lonely Corinna) and then I relieved Matthew of his ER duties. He came home to hold down the fort and to get Corinna asleep while Dakotta and I killed time at the ER. For the most part Dakotta thought it was pretty cool because she got one on one time with both her parents, videos and people to bring her juice and crackers. She was not going to sleep, however. About the time I thought she might sleep they came in to get the 2nd blood work. She was a trooper and was very brave. The 2nd results came back that she didn't appear to have taken any. So an hour later after a brief lecture on medicine safety we headed home. By then it was after 1 AM and she was asleep before I pulled out of the parking lot.

When I had newborn twins I'd run into other parents of twins and they'd assure me it does get easier. What they've all neglected to tell me is: WHEN?!?

Friday, February 15, 2008

My Body is a Temple, Not an Amusement Park.

There's a Garth Brooks song titled Much Too Young (to Feel this *#$* Old) which is exactly how I feel most days. Instead of waking up feel rested; when I wake up my back hurts, my hips hurt, I'm covered in bruises and feel like a walking zombie. I keep thinking how nice it would be to feel normal, but I honestly can't remember what normal feels like. Then the part of my brain that likes numbers went into overdrive and I came up with a list of what my poor body has been through lately.

In the past 3 1/2 years I've had anywhere from 1 to 3 other people living off my body. That brakes down to approximately 23 month pregnant or nursing twins, 3 months nursing twins while pregnant and 16 months pregnant or nursing 1 baby.

In that time a typical nights sleep consists of about 6 hours of sleep with an average of 2 awakenings for any combination of taking care of kids or nursing a baby or bathroom breaks.

1 night a week I'll spend a good 30 minutes to an hour curled up on a toddler bed trying to get a toddler back to sleep. (sometimes more if I happen to fall asleep that way).

I've gained 40 lbs, lost 30, gained 40, lost 45 (and still have lots more to lose).

I've had 2 C-sections (in other words I've had 3 people pulled out of my uterus).

I spend a significant part of my day doing chores while carrying a baby/toddler on my hip.

I have probably climbed up and down the stairs 20+ times a day and at least half of those I'm carrying anywhere from 16 to 50 pounds of baby/toddler (not to mention the extra weight mentioned above) .

I spend about an hour a day wrestling or chasing kids that don't want to come inside, get their diapers changed, stay by the stroller/grocery cart. (Please tell me I can count this towards my aerobic weekly goal).

And last but not least an hour a day where I'm the human jungle gym (or furniture if there are sick kids in the house). If I get down on my hands and knees to clean up, someone is going to jump on my back. And if I sit down, someone will be climbing me.

Somehow after reviewing this list that tummy tuck and boob lift don't seem all that scary anymore.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

More Doodlepad Art by Dakotta

Sponge Bob
A Self Portrait

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Snow 2008

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Thank You Meme and Papa!!!

So instead of a crazy amount of toys that I would have to clean up Meme and Papa Hardin decided to give us a family gift this year for Christmas, a new swing set that they had installed yesterday. The kids were so excited until they found out they couldn't play on it until the cement had dried. So today I had to distract them until about noon so that it was above freezing before we went outside.



Elliott loved the baby swing and was so happy to swing away while I was constantly getting the other kids in and out of different swings. The had to test each swing for all of 30 seconds each.





Dakotta was the one that was the most upset yesterday about not getting to go out on the slide, but she was miserable out in the cold today. She kept trying all the swings but she just wasn't having fun. Eventually she decided she was done and just headed back up to the house all by herself.


Rebecca

Corinna

Kendall

Dakotta and Corinna taking turns


Corinna couldn't wait to try out the "baby" swing.
I think she liked how high up it was.