Monday, April 29, 2013


It's a birthday! My baby twins are four today. It's hard to believe. We had a spectacular sports party birthday party yesterday and today we are quietly recovering; I am wading weakly through a cluttered house trying to put away party stuff while the boys are dressing their new magnetic hockey players on the fridge.

More on the party later, but for now I just wanted to post a couple pictures.

April 29th, 2009
1st birthday
2nd birthday
3rd birthday
4th birthday!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

How Ziggy the Alpaca Became a Household Legend

At first I was horrified by the amount of time the boys spend discussing and laughing about poop. Gross. How could they do this? And why is it always so funny? Brian patiently explained to me that to boys there is something inherently hilarious about poop, even at his age. I don’t get it. Why would I ever want to think about or talk about poop more than was necessary? And having twins has involved a whole lot of poop, none of which has been funny, with the one exception of when Cal’s poop shot across the room off the changing table at Brian when he was a couple months old. That’s it. Every other experience I’ve had, especially the two-in-a-row explosive diarrhea pants at Target about a year ago, has been an experience I’d like to forget.

Not so for the boys. They are constantly talking about poop in all its forms, along with puke and potty. I've written about it in the past, but it seems to have kicked into high gear lately. They also went through the phase of likening their poop to other objects. I’ve sadly grown accustomed to it and accepted that it’s just going to happen, so all I can do is draw strict parameters around when it’s okay, i.e. never at the table or around guests or around other people. Preferably, I’d like it restricted it to bath time with Dad, but that doesn’t really work very well.

Anyway, yesterday we took a trip to the National Zoo with some friends. The first place we visited was the elephant house, where the hit was not the giant elephants, but the huge tube of elephant poop. They wanted pictures in front of it; they wanted to touch it; was it real? Does it smell? Next, on to the pandas. Of course there’s a mold of a piece of panda poop on a string that they can touch and pull— way more interesting than the cute pandas rolling adorably around in their habitats. Later on they had the thrill of their lifetime as not only did we get to see alpaca poop, but Ziggy the Alpaca turned around, squatted, pooped and peed right across the fence from us. Wow! All four boys were entranced. “This is the first time we’ve ever seen an animal poop, Mom!” they all yelled repeatedly as we walked away, after having to pull them away from the fence when the show was over. As we left we even got a glimpse of the pig pen, dotted with pig poop. Oh, the joy.

The boys keep reminding me about Ziggy and that he pooped right in front of us and how cool it was. It's only been twenty four hours, but already Ziggy has become a household legend.

Elephant poop!
Holding panda poop
The fake elephant doesn't poop. Boh-ring.
Ziggy the Alpaca puts on the show...
...which elicits squeals of joy 
Pig poop
Another big hit on the trip was the hand dryers in the women’s bathroom. Shrieks and squeals didn’t stop until their hands were all dried much more than they actually needed to be. So glad we bothered to drive for 45 minutes to see poop and hand dryers. 

I wasn’t upset by the poop. I think I’m used to it. I just have to roll my eyes and try to tune it out. I keep thinking there must be coming a time when it won’t be funny to them, but I’m not sure that will ever come. So for now I need to try to keep the poop talk to fitting contexts and hope that they don’t lose friends over it—I can understand parents not wanting their kids to hang out with two kids who love to talk about poop.

I think only a short while ago I would have been reluctant to publicly admit how much my boy love to talk about poop. Acknowledgement is the first step to healing, right? Or is it the first stage of suffering?

Sea lions- no poop sightings
Being prairie dogs
Three side-by-side hand dryers!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Sports Stars

The boys tell me all the time, "Mom, we're stars in every sport!" And every time they wear their Converse All-star shoes that have stars on the sides, they tell me that's why they're wearing them- their stardom. These are a couple boys who are absolutely obsessed with sports right now. Last year at this time it was astronauts and R2, who is NASA's space robot. Now it is nothing but sports.

I mentioned it here recently, about how every day is a football game, and about how Brian turned the living room into a hockey rink with masking tape. Well, now that it's spring and baseball is in the air and hockey playoffs are around the corner, every day is a baseball game and/or a hockey game. In the living room. Then we usually take it outside, but at first it's inside and it starts before breakfast even. As soon as they decide which sports shirt they're going to wear and manage to get dressed, the game is underway. Downstairs neighbor- I'm so sorry.

Last week the boys had their first T-ball practice. It's actually a modified version of T-ball for four year-olds called Blastball. It involves home plate and first base. No other bases. No outs. I kind of accidentally volunteered for Brian and I to be the coaches, so we're the coaches of the mighty Red Wings, together with one other father. He rightly noticed that I probably won't be able to do anything other than try to keep the kids in line to hit. My body does not agree with any bending and twisting right now. There are only six kids on each team, and the parents never leave them even at practice, so it won't be too challenging. Last Saturday we had the Reston Little League Opening Day parade. So cute.

Clark at practice- showing everyone how
The smiles didn't stop all the way home from practice.
At the parade
I didn't know it would be so easy to get six boys to hold hands.
They loved it.
If you know me at all, you know I have always loved baseball, and I have to say that having the boys start T-ball has been super cool for me. Here is one post I wrote about my baseball love. It's just so cool to have little boys who love baseball and who are now playing on a team. Makes me proud. And it really helps to have a good professional team as our home team. Here's another baseball post  where I wrote about getting to go to games. I didn't grow up where going to a Major League Baseball game was easy.

But back to the sports-crazed boys.

About a month ago Cal fell on his teeth on the kitchen tile while Clark was chasing him. I think it was a hockey-related fall, but it might have been simply a bedtime crazy-man race. The dentist today confirmed that his front left tooth is dead, so he might have to do a root canal to ensure it doesn't get infected until it falls out in a few years. Cal thinks it's cool because he will look like Alex Ovechkin (The Washington Capitals' hockey star, who Clark claims to actually be most days) without a tooth.
Cal's fading tooth...
The other day we caught them playing indoor strip baseball. That's right. They set up their little rubber bases in the living room and then Clark made up the "rules." You run to first base, take off your pants, second base, take off your underwear, third base and take off your socks. Then you run home. Yesterday I was able to capture the scene without the nudity. This time it was batting gloves and hat at first, pants at second, and underwear at third. For some reason this game causes the clothed boy to laugh hysterically at the stripping boy and just causes Brian and me to shake our heads.

The scene in the living room
This past weekend we went to a birthday party, where Clark chose to take on all the other kids at once as the goalie. He told them they'd never score on him. Of course they did, but not before he had thoroughly grass stained his khakis. As a follow-up, Cal took a turn as goalie, but not before first pulling the goal over behind a small tree for assistance. The other kids didn't like that much.

Clark the sports star goalie
Even though we now have two football helmets and two hockey helmets in our house, thus eliminating the need to create helmets from household objects, the boys still find ways to supplement our sports equipment supply. They use bibs as catcher chest protectors, snow gloves as hockey gloves, snow pants as hockey pants.
Clark in his frog bib chest protector and adult size catcher's mask
I can imagine that Cal and Clark might annoy some parent at some of our games...since they both think they're real stars, they take a lot of time to approach the plate (fully decked out in batting gloves that we will hopefully always remember to leave home), mimicking their favorite player. Clark usually admires his hits rather than running, and he can really hit, as we've noticed since he was tiny- he has a knack for it. But they're both learning how to act on a field. We had a fun practice tonight and are all ready for the first game this Saturday. Hopefully the showboat-y-ness will lessen as they learn they are not actually Nationals' players.
Clark doing his methodical Bryce Harper approach to the plate
Something else they love to do is be sports announcers. Usually their favorite place to do it is on the toilet-- especially Clark. I will hear him shrieking in the back bathroom and worry for a second until I hear that he's shrieking about shots going wide of the net and the goalie being out of position and Ovechkin SCORES!! They have no shame doing this while in public or in front of guests either. And they completely give themselves over to the moment: wide eyes, screaming so intensely that they spit, hands raised, hats flying off in celebration. Then they hug each other (their chuthers!) and jump around. They were doing it at the restaurant we were at for lunch today and got some amused looks.

The sports obsession also has bred a competition obsession. They compete at many things- some of which are quite helpful such as the nightly pajama race, and the clothes-sorting race, and some of which are not like who can throw the pillows the farthest or who can pee the fastest.

In about a week and a half we will have a full-out sports birthday party for them. Almost four years old already! It's so hard to believe. Sometimes.

Taking in Dad's softball game- and some popcorn

Thursday Thesicle

Suburban boys sometimes have to learn for themselves that 
sheep don't eat rocks.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Thursday Thesicle

Sometimes the mark of a good day can be found on 
the seat of a boy's pants and on his shoes.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Pancakes With Gammy

I just wanted to document this before I forget. Last week was my mother-in-law's birthday, and since she's been coming over almost every weekday morning, we have a lot of wonderful Gammy time and could celebrate better than ever. For her birthday we bought her a pancake pan with molds for bug pancakes, some maple syrup, and we made a pancake mix for her. So the boys made pancakes with Gammy for her birthday. It reminded me of how nice it is to give gifts that involve the gift-giver being a part of the gift and made me want to try to do it more.

Anyway, the experience provided one of the best ever pictures of Clark, if not the very best, so I needed to be sure to share.

You've been Clark-faced!
Cooking bug cakes
Bug cakes to eat!
"My favorite are the dragonflies. They just taste the best." -Clark
Apparently this was a morning of face-making as well as pancake-making.

Monday, April 8, 2013

I Like This

During my last year in college I spent a lot of time with a couple other English Education major friends who I shared several classes with. Naturally, we were all thinking a lot about the future. One of the girls was telling the other two of us that all she really wanted was to be a wife and mother. She loved crafts and Martha Stewart (I believe that was pre-prison) and making dinners and having a clean bathroom. There was nothing quite like perfecting the crepe and displaying the fruit in alphabetical order just in time for a tea party or having a stew in the crockpot for a rainy night, she explained.

We were both incredulous and even made fun of her for it. It seemed so unusual and so…un-college of her to think that way. Ironically, she was the best student among the three of us— never missing a single point on the linguistics exams that made me want to shoot myself. (I’ll admit that I do get a thrill out of correctly diagramming a sentence, but that class was just a little too intense even for me.) I tried to understand what she was saying, but I really couldn’t. I was excited to be finally ready to graduate and teach English— to be helping kids learn the magic that is reading and writing; to be a young professional with my own apartment and growing bank account; to not rely on any man; to take chances and learn new things. Who cares about cookbooks? That’s for old ladies. I was ready to change the world by uniting pimply-faced readers with classic novels that would change their lives.

I suppose there’s a time for everything. It is now my time for stew and cookbooks and piles of Spiderman underwear and little jeans with knee-holes and grass stains. And when I have dinner ready to eat when Brian gets home? Well, it’s hard to beat the feeling. I’ve searched, because I feel like I should, but I don’t find any part of me that feels that I need fulfillment from a real job. This is my job. And most days I love it. Why does having our meals for the week planned or hearing the comforting hum of the dishwasher make me feel so complete? Why does finishing a messy art project or teaching the boys how to plant basil and rosemary seeds make me feel like my day was a smashing success? I don’t know. But it does. And I love that it does because I know it doesn’t for everyone.

I did teach. I taught for five years and wrote online curriculum for two years. I taught a lot of pimply-faced kids, as well as ones with spotless complexions, about writing and books. And I liked it. But I really only liked it until I had kids. I taught from when the boys were 4 months old until they were 9 months old and I hated it. Even though I taught at an amazing school with talented and kind administration and wonderfully motivated teachers, all I wanted to do was leave and go hug my babies. I’m so happy that I’m able to stay home with them. I’m also happy that I feel fulfilled by staying home with them. I have great admiration for women who can both work full-time and run a household. I have no idea how you can do it. I think it would fry my brain. 

Maybe I’ll go back to teaching when the three boys are in school- I don’t know. I took a class and renewed my license so I’ll have the option. I’m hoping I can finding something in writing that I can do from home though- while the stew gurgles in the crockpot and the laundry gets done. But maybe by then I’ll want to venture out into the professional world— dress in real clothes and speak in full sentences and such.

There are annoying things about being a full-time mom— cleaning the toilet seats after little boys, doing so much laundry that you want to make them go naked for the rest of forever, (or at least until puberty) just potty training is pretty horrific, being constantly in the middle of making a meal and forever behind on dishes, remembering to have snacks and wipes and extra pants and Tylenol and sunblock and crayons and diapers and water packed in every possible carrying case, that kind of thing. But for all the annoying things there are a million fun things. And very weird things that give me reasons to write, so that's cool.  

It took me ten years, but I finally understand what my college friend meant. Being a housewife and mother can be fulfilling and fun and rewarding in itself. And that’s okay. 

Sometimes this happens. I'm pretty sure it was clean underwear at least.
Cal is arranging his quinoa baseball field to have pork chop outfield seats.
 It is also delightfully flanked by a broccoli forest down the first base/right field line. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Thursday Thesicle

Bath towels + team hats + boys = new mascots bursting onto 
the professional sports scene!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Beach Notes and Baseball Season

We spent part of Brian's spring break down at the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It was a nice change of scenery and even though it wasn't very warm, it was mostly sunny. My aunt and uncle have a beach house down there and we stayed with them.

It sure is a lot of work to have kids, but I'd say they make most things more exciting. I like the beach, but showing it to them, helping them find seashells and build sand castles and hit golf balls in the sand and watch dolphins and dig holes to China-- it's way more entertaining than just sitting there on the sand. In addition to our beach-sitting, we went to the Wright brothers monument and museum, a kite festival in the sand dunes, to Cape Hatteras lighthouse, played some mini-golf, flew airplanes off the balcony, did some dog-walking, and Easter egg-dying and hunting.

Perhaps the most important discovery we made was that there are two parallel streets next to each other in Kill Devil Hills with some great names:

We checked out the names of the streets on both sides to see if perhaps we'd find Peapod's name. Alas, neither Baum nor Martin appeal to us. But the boys loved driving on themselves.

Here are some other beach pictures so I get them out here on the blog before I get all wrapped up in baseball's opening day today. Go Nats!

We made a stop at Richmond's science museum
on the way there...
The spot the Wrights took off on their first four successful flights
Boy-airplanes taking off- each marker marks the
 landing spot of the first four flights
Walking to the monument
Up at the monument
They momentarily ran out of steam after sprinting around for an hour...
Running from the waves
Finding crab parts and shells...
On the way to China
Sand castles
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
Shooting gang signs Spiderman webs from the lighthouse door
Hitting golf balls
Saltwater taffy!
Clark's favorite was blueberry.
All set to dye Easter eggs with Kool-Aid
Finished products
Aunt Anne made a March Madness bracket to determine the "best" egg.
The final showdown: Bunny vs. Funky Blue Buzz. Bunny was the big winner.
On the way to the kite festival
Climbed the sand mountain!
And ran down with Aunt Anne!
There was an amazing amount of sand in every possible crevice on the boys.
Sunset on the sound

Last night there- fell asleep on Dad/booth at the pizza restaurant
Uncle Pierre finishes his drink before carrying Sleepyhead B to the car.

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