Saturday, March 31, 2007

Gukey's Picks

Movie: Cars
Book: Dinosaur Roar
Food: salad--with "stinky cheese" and "dwessing"
Animal: guinea pig
Activities: trampoline and scooter

And last, but not least...

Imp-- noun
1. a little devil or demon
2. a mischievous child
All I can say about my fourth child is that it is a good thing he had you-know-who for an older brother! Since child #1 was SO hyper, SO dangerous and SO daring, I am completely mellow and rarely alarmed when #4 does his monkey impersonation.
This guy likes climbing, swinging, jumping, and living life on the edge. He pushes the kitchen step-stool around like it is on skates...using it to gain access to chocolate chips, goldfish crackers and Tums. His main obsessions are water, matches, food coloring and I have to keep an eye on him at all times! He can be very quiet and sneaky. He has also conned his wombmate into becoming accomplice to the following crimes: flooding all four of our bathrooms, painting the walls with White-Out and stuffing pennies in the car CD player.
Luckily, L. is extremely adorable. His personality is charming and generally very seems like he talks his twin into doing all the dirty work, like throwing a Sam-trum so they both can have an ice cream sandwich!
The main squeeze in "Gukey's" life is his kiki...a grey, smelly, usually damp blanket that has gone beyond the typical comfort object. Each twin started out with three kikis...and now L. is down to only one. I shudder to think what will happen if it ever gets lost. (One night, a babysitter could not find it, and hours later, on that frosty winter night, I found my little guy curled up in the corner of his crib, with only Check-Up-Elmo for warmth!)
My little Linus reminds me a lot of his uncle Josh, his Opa, and a little of William Shatner (especially when he cries). He is sensitive and artistic and likes "alone time". Every night he rocks in his crib until it bangs into the wall...the pediatrician calls it "self-soothing" and he does not like being disturbed at naptime until he decides he is ready. I guess even imps need to decompress sometimes!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Carrying on the Tradition

It's General Conference weekend and I'm loving it...watching church on TV, in my pajamas and eating "General Conference Trail Mix".

This tradition was started when I was a kid by my wise and wonderful parents who knew that the only way to get seven kids to sit and watch all four sessions of Conference was to feed them junk food.

Because, although it sounds nutritious...G.C. Trail Mix has had all healthy components removed, resulting in a big bowl of candy and peanuts. But, hey...that's why we love it.

I know each of my siblings will have his/her own version of the original recipe and I would love to hear all your secret combinations.

Over the years, Brad and I have played with the recipe and each have our own personal favorites:

Our Family's G.C. Trail Mix
Cracklin' Oat Bran Cereal
M&M's...plain, peanut, and peanut butter
Tiny pretzel knots
Spiced gum drops
Chocolate chips
Candy corn (October Conference)
Jelly beans (April Conference)
*Mix according to taste....serve and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Top Ten Reasons Why I'm Excited for my Dad to Come Tomorrow

1. He will laugh at all Oma's jokes.
2. He will get up at the crack of dawn and play with the kids.
3. He will read all the obscure books in my house.
4. He knows more historical facts about my hometown than I do.
5. He will take Em to the graveyard and look at tombstones.
6. He will take great photos of the twinkies.
7. He will go to bed at 8 pm.
8. He will show J. cool old stamps and coins.
9. He will tell me he's proud of me.
10. He will do his own laundry.

**"It's always fun when Opa comes!"

Top Ten Reasons I'm Glad My Mom is Here

1. She brought cinnamon bunnies.
2. She thinks my kids are cute.
3. She thinks my house is cute.
4. She thinks my hair is cute.
5. She thinks my husband is cute.
6. She always has the zaniest of adventures on plane/train/taxi rides here and she tells us all about them!
7. She can sing "Baby's Boat" to the twins.
8. She tells Shakey adventure stories.
9. She gives Em her undivided attention!
10. She is as bubbly as the Coke she drinks and sweet as the donuts she likes.

***"No one loves me any better than my M-O-double-M-Y!!!"

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Sambo's Picks

Book: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
TV show: Wonder Pets
Color: "o-mange"
Fearful fascinations: carwash, blender, vacuum
Breakfast cereal: Rice Spispies

Sambo's Turn

"I almos' free!" is his new line. It is truly amazing to realize in just a month he will really be free-years-old and into kid-hood. These days S is into Lightning McQueen, mom&me gymnastics, the trampoline, and pouring water from one container to another...over and over and over!
Because he looks so much like his dad and that side of the family tree, it is hard to see any of myself in Sambo. (I think that is the problem with 'biological''re always trying to figure out who they look like and where their traits came from. Adopted kids are easier to accept as they are!) From his father, S has inherited a very independent streak, a love of precision and (according to the shoe salesman) big, sweaty feet. However, today he sat very still for six storybooks in a row and ate approximately a half-pound of raw cookie I think he's mine, too!
Although he's tough on the outside, with his football-player physique, Mr. S. is teddy-bear tender. Often he asks, "You happy, Momma?" and he always checks my reaction to the other kids' behavior. I feel that he may be the one who takes care of me when I'm old. (I'll be screening future wives very carefully...)
This is also the kid who has the throw-himself-on-the-floor-in-public-places kind of meltdowns. His scream can shatter crystal and he has been known to bite. Luckily, Sambo's social skills are very advanced and he can charm just about anyone his million dollar smile.
What can I say? Temper tantrums come and go, but dimples last forever!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Warning: This is pretty sappy...

Today at the gym snack bar, a woman noticed the twins. The older two weren't with us and S. & L. were being very adorable--so it was a good kind of noticing.

We started to chitchat and she told me that this morning--at 10 am-- in a far-off city her daughter-in-law was trying in vitro.

"Oh, wow!" I said, "these are my IVF babies!"

I could tell the woman was ready to cry and I felt a lump in my throat, too. I just said, "It really does work, sometimes!"

At this point, the two of us had bonded and she sat down and we talked about Clomid and dye-tests and laparoscopies.

Then, I told her, "I tried IVF ten years ago and it didn't work."

"Oh, no!" she said, "don't tell me that."

"But, you see, " I explained, "it was the best thing that ever happened to me because now I have the most beautiful eight-year-old boy and the sweetest six-year-old girl alive and adoption is a wonderful thing."

"Wow," this new friend said, "we've never even talked about adoption."

"I know," I replied, "I didn't want to talk about it for a long time either."

"She's so nervous," the woman explained, "I think if it doesn't work, it will be the end of her world."

"I know."

After she left, I thought of times when my world ended... You'll never be able to bear children. The procedure didn't work. We're moving across the country. They have to stay in the N.I.C.U. Your son might be autistic...

And then I thought of times when new worlds opened up...You've been chosen! It's a boy! It's a girl! It's twins! Mama! I love you!

I'd love to explain all this to the girl in the far-off city, waiting anxiously in her hospital gown...but there are some things you just have to learn on your own.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Another tip... If you are driving home from the gym and think to yourself, "I'll just 'run in' to the store with my three hungry kids (one with an undiagnosed ear infection) in tow...all I need is milk, cream of tartar and stamps." ....and you get into the store with only two minor tantrums and then in the course of 20 minutes you: clean up two cartons of spilled blueberries , rip open a package of Oreos with your teeth, ditto a pack of Strawberry Newtons, drop everything in the middle of the cereal aisle so you can run back to the meat-locker-butchering section where the restroom is "conveniently" located, almost knock over a little old man (with a cane!) steering your gigantor-Dump-truck shaped shopping cart (which no one is sitting in, by the way...), smile politely as three people creatively suggest that "You really have your hands full..." and pay for $75 worth of Shrek shaped macaroni, PlayDoh filled Easter eggs and empty blueberry containers....don't beat yourself up for finishing off the rest of the Oreos in the car!

p.s. You forgot the stamps...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Book Recommendation

I am reading "Mr. Emerson's Wife" by Amy Belding Brown. It's a fictionalized account of Ralph Waldo Emerson and his second wife, Lidian. Very interesting. Christie, I keep thinking of you...since it's set in Concord, Mass. Have you read it? Anyway...I love the transcendentalists!! Enjoy...

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Pinewood Derby

"It's a great car, sweetie! I'm so proud of you! You worked so hard building remember, it doesn't matter if you come in first place or last. The most important thing is that you did your best and you are having fun with your friends."
...Pep talk I gave before Pinewood Derby (to Brad)

Jake had a great time at the Derby. He had a couple of 2nd place runs and a few opportunities to learn the art of losing graciously.

We celebrated afterward with fries and shamrock shakes at McDonalds. It was fun until Luke threw up all over the restaurant.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

Public Places Where My Kids Have Thrown Up

1. McDonald's
2. School bus
3. Airplane
4. Teacher's desk
5. Toy store play area**

**Actually, this last entry was not one of my kids...but my 14-year-old "mother's helper" who I had hired to help me while running errands. It's amazing how little you feel like paying your babysitter after cleaning up her vomit!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Em's Picks

Book: American Girls series or anything by Dr. Seuss
Movie: High School Musical
Activity: Karaoke and making movies on Mom's cell phone
Food: Spaghetti and meatballs
Clothing: Hello Kitty swimsuit

The Divine Miss Em

Playdates, kindergarten, birthday parties, arts and crafts, dancing, singing and being tortured by her brothers...these are the elements of Em-world. I can't believe that she is six. Baby no more, she has achieved girlfriend status!
I adore having three boys. They are a hyper, hungry and happy breed. But there is something SOOOOO wonderful about a daughter! Who else leaves me love notes on my pillow? Who else sings "Baby's Boat" to the twins while Mom is at Relief Society and Dad can't get them to go to sleep? Who else notices when I am wearing a new spring scarf?
"Squeege", as her dad likes to call her, is very independent, supremely confident and helpful. Although prone to moodiness (and what girlfriend isn't?!), Em can always be counted on to help out. If the house was burning down around us, Squeege would be the one to "keep it together." She would dial 911, help everyone arrive at a safe meeting location and provide juice boxes for all involved. Em is so efficient and capable, I can't wait to see what her future holds!
We are working on thickening her skin, though. Because it's hard to be so sweet, sensitive and considerate when everyone you live with is not. Em has been accused of being a "crybaby" at times, but I give her credit for putting up with a lot and loving others in spite of their craziness.
Emmie is excited for spring. She is playing soccer, taking "hip hop" and gymnastics. Every afternoon she jumps happily on the schoolbus...kindergarten is a magical place. (I confess that next year when she is gone all day, the twins will realize how boring Mom is...they will miss her terribly!)
So if you need help with little ones, making lunch for a crowd, or programming your DVR...give Em a call. But you can't keep her for long...I don't know what I'd do without her!!

Thursday, March 15, 2007


After we tucked the twins in bed last night, we heard...

S: Knock, knock!
L: Who's there?
S: Wonder Pets!
Followed by hysterical laughing by both.


L: Sammy! Stop making noises!
S: I not making noises, I making music!

Earlier today, after I caught them swishing an old butterfly net in the toilet...

S: We catching a crap!

(I realized he meant "crab"...but since no one flushes around here, they might have had a better chance with the first one!)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

JL's Picks

Movie: "How to Eat Fried Worms" or "Star Wars"
Book: The Taylor-Made Tales series
Food: salmon, fish sticks, pizza, cream cheese bagels
Treat: mint chocolate chip ice cream
Activity: trampoline or swimming

The JL Update

Here's the shakeman! Eight years old and growing fast. I am already getting our t-shirts and socks mixed up in the laundry! Things are going very well for my special guy. Second grade has been fantastic. His special ed class has been a tremendous blessing. The teacher is well-trained and gears her classroom to the needs of kids with Asperger's Syndrome. It is regular 2nd grade curriculum, but focusing a lot more on social skills and communication with the kids.

J. goes in with all the other second graders for lunch, recess, computers, science, library, gym, etc. I am happy that he has made some good buddies and excels in math and science.

This spring's activities include gymnastics, Cub Scouts, a bowling league and we promised to let him try horseback riding at the farm up the street! We'll see how it goes.

Also, we found an agency which is helping us work on appropriate behavior. It is all paid for by the Commonwealth of PA since Asperger's Syndrome is considered a disability! And they come to my house! It is great...a woman named Toby is our Behavior Specialist and she comes once a week to observe and make suggestions. I like her a lot.. It is helpful to have someone see J. in his environment and interacting with the rest of the family (instead of a more sterile office setting).

Toby helps me see what is reasonable to expect of Jake. Sometimes when he misbehaves, I get paralyzed by my own thoughts. Does he not understand? Can he not control himself because of the ADHD? Is he jealous because Em can do something he can't? ETC And then I lose my "motherpower"! It is good to be reminded that even though he does have issues...J still lives in the world with the rest of us and has to live by the rules too.

Also, once a week Joe (our mobile therapist) comes to do play therapy and socialization with J-man. Joe is from Nigeria and speaks with a very strong accent, but the kids think he is great! ("He's my first friend with black skin!") We have just started with all this...but we'll see how it goes.

We've come a long way, baby....

Monday, March 12, 2007

Good Book!

I just finished Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. Excellent! I learned so much about 19th century China. Lots of details about women's daily lives, including footbinding. It was fascinating!

This month my bookclub is reading A Train to Potevka by Mike Ramsdell...true story of an LDS CIA agent in Russia. It's not great literature, but the story is exciting. What are you reading?


Just a tip...
If the girl who normally cuts your hair is not available and the salon recommends another "top stylist" and you are so desperate that you make an appointment with him and you get to the appt. and he looks like a heroin addict and tells you that he is almost halfway through his two week cleansing fast and that he has not eaten anything but maple syrup, salt water and lemon juice for 7 days (but feels "amazing"!!) and proceeds to slice through your hair with reckless abandon and then uses only his hands to style your hair and tells you never to use a brush because your hair is awesome (proof that he is already hallucinating!!) and that it just needs to "be free" the money that you set aside for his tip and use it to buy a really cute baseball cap!

Sorry no pictures are available at this time...just trust me that 6 weeks after this horrible experience I am sporting a strange looking mullet that reminds me a lot of 7th grade!!!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Top 5 Name Suggestions for Heidi's Twins

Feel free to list your suggestions, too!
  1. Mary Kate & Ashley
  2. Sharon & Susan (Parent Trap--old)
  3. Annie & Hallie (Parent Trap--new)
  4. Thelma & Louise
  5. Ruby & Violet (together they could be "Indigo Girls"!)


So, Heidi (my little sister) is having twins soon! I am so excited for her. I thought I was cool having 4 kids under age 5...but she is going to beat me, by having 4 under 4...all girls. (What a show-off!)

I guess because I have just been down that road (or up that felt like Everest to me!), and because I am a bossy older sister, I feel the need to call her often and give her "advice". I know she loves it!

The truth is...part of me is really jealous. I know I just survived Hurricane Sam/Luke by the skin of my teeth, but now I wish I could go back and hold those precious twinkies when they were newborns. Now that I know "I made it"...I want to revisit those magical moments. Only for a few hours, of course!

(Right now the twinks are opening the 24-pack of Dove soap and dumping the bars and boxes all over the floor! It is so cute the way they are using the boxes as building blocks and it smells deliciously clean! Brad will not be amused...)
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