"Oh You Have YOUR Hands Full..."

Ninety-eight percent of the time, this is what people say to me when they see me with twins and a two year old.  I just smile and nod..."yep, they keep me busy."  
 It's been a while since I've written about twin-life, they will be 10 months old in a few days.  Life is immeasurably better than it was 7 months ago, and 10 months ago for that matter.  I keep them on the same schedule for eating, sleeping, and playtime.  We've started to notice differences in their personalities and the "Nature vs. Nurture" issues are quite obvious.  Jadah is content to play by herself and is overall more playful.  She loves being tossed and standing on Simon's hand (like we did with Christian).  Selah is clingy and follows me from room to room whining.  She tenses up and starts to cry when lifted in the air, and refuses to stand on Simon's hand.  So even though we do everything the same with them, they are obviously not the same.  
It amuses us that Jadah loves to crawl on top of Selah.  And Selah hates it.  Maybe they're trying to recreate the womb... Jadah was on top.  Either way, it is cute:

And look what Jadah can do:
I can't believe it!...it seems like yesterday she couldn't sit up, and now she stands there all on her own (not for very long though).  She is also crawling "normal" now... both the girls have been army crawling for a few months.  Jadah has four teeth, Selah is working on her third.  And I keep thinking that I'll stop carrying them two-at-a-time soon, but somehow I just keep doing it.  It is nice now that they can stand in their cribs and reach for me, it makes the picking up process MUCH simpler.  Scoop #1.  Scoop #2.  Down the stairs we go... (unfortunately, the setting down process isn't always as smooth, we've had a few mild flops along the way). 
Sometimes we sit here and wonder how we ended up with two babies at one time.  It is a new adventure raising two at a time instead of one.  We are filled with joy when we look at our three little ones, something you understand perfectly if you have your own children.  It is a blast to watch them grow and learn new things each day, literally. 
One thing I know for sure, we are one happy blessed family!


New Look for the New Year

I know, I know, an expected title.  But something new is always nice.  
Soon I'll share some of the nice things that are new to our home since Christmas!
A Belated Merry Christmas!


Something fun to make for next year...

Just saw this on a blog I read (thingsorganizedneatly.com), and will need to remember it for next year...


Sent to you by Rachel via Google Reader:



Things you can do from here:



Road Trip with Mama

Simon had a week-long trip for work, so instead of staying home with the three little ones, I decided to load them up and take them with me to visit some friends in the vicinity of Lancaster, PA.  It had been a while since I took a trip like this by myself (went a few times to my parent's over the summer), but I needed some time with other adults, especially familiar faces and old friends. 

My trip was delayed when Christian ended up getting a fever the night before we were to leave.  We were up a few times during the night, and he moped around and laid on the couch the next day (SOOO unlike him, I sort of enjoyed it!). 
But I still wanted to leave that day, so that night, after getting all the kids ready for bed and giving the girls their last bottle, I loaded them up and made the 2 hour drive to my cousin Judith's house.  Judith is married to Joel, and they have two daughers, Kaelyn and Janessa.  Get this:  Judith and I are one month apart, and our kids are each one month apart (in case that confused you, Christian and Kaelyn are a month apart, and my girls and Janessa are a month apart). 

Christian still wasn't feeling great that night and greeted Kaelyn with a soft punch in the face.  Yeah.  That pretty much set his tone for the entire trip: how is it that he chooses to be the most defiant and selfish child the week that I'm visiting people?!  Honestly, it was such a challenge with him.  He probably got more whallops on this trip than all his previous ones combined.  But I didn't want to give up and let him have his own way, he will not beat me, I am in charge.  My hosts were all gracious and understanding enough, even through decapitated snowmen, unshared toys, and uneaten food.  Many thanks to each of you.

I stayed at Judith's the whole time, and each day visited a different friend.  I thought they all lived closer to each other, but after getting directions, it turned out that they each lived about an hour from my starting point.  What little troopers my children are... 2 hours each day in the car, for 4 days straight.  Surprisingly though, car-time was when they were the best and I was just hauling three sleeping bodies around Pennsylvania. 

First I got to visit the lovely Rachel (Carr) McGlynn, whom I had not seen since 2007!  How refreshing to catch up!  You also served up some awesome Cheeseburger Soup (which I made a few days ago!).  Unfortunately, I have yet to meet your husband.  Someday...

Second, I visited Melissa (Davis) Koonce, a friend from church during high school, and I got to meet her husband, Mike.  You guys were so sweet to let me barge in on your work (and sleep)(Melissa is a nurse)!  You get the award for creative children's food: cookie cutters to cut Christians sandwich into fun shapes!  [Not even his mom does that].   So good to see you!

Finally, I stopped in Harrisburg on my way home and had a super sweet visit with Annie (Miller) Phillips, also a friend from high school and college.  Her new little dog Flynn must've had enough after five minutes, because he departed to his crate and slept for the remainder of our visit.  I was so glad you had off work and could let us come to see you, you were such a laid back and joyous host!
Judith and I (and our kids) got to spend a lot of fun time together doing the "mom thing."  It's always good to see other mommy tricks and have playmates for your kids.  Christian finally got a little nicer the last day we were there, and wasn't bad the entire time.  I'm glad he had the interaction (he obviously needs to learn more about it!).  In addition to rearranging their sleeping conditions, Judith also made us some yummy meatballs and fed us, well, me in particular, some delicious peppermint cookies and brownies.  Thanks so much for your hospitality!  It was crazy fun!

Oh yeah, and even with all the challenges of traveling with 3 children, one of whom is a 2 year old that is probably making your hair gray, I would totally do it all again.  Don't you want me to come visit YOU?


Reader Opinion: Dish-Washing Hands

I'm happy, my dishes are getting washed every day!  But I'm feeling the repercussions all day long in my hands: they are so dry!  This is the first time in my life that I've had hands this dry  (I thought only my mom and sister dealt with it!...maybe they were busy washing the dishes all the time?). 

So here's my inquiry: what are your best ways to keep your hands soft and moisturized in these blustery winter months?

Thanks for your help!
PS- this post and the one preceding it are dedicated to my Father-in-Law, who proclaimed while seeing me load my dishwasher, "I could have had all the dishes washed in that time."  You got me thinking! Thanks!

Oh the Dishes

I haven't used my dishwasher ever since I read this post about washing dishes by hand.  If you have been contemplating the "dishwasher vs. hand-washing" issue as I had been, then this is a must read. 

 {source unknown}

My game plan consists of washing the dishes each night as soon as the kids are in bed.  It isn't realistic for me to wash them after each meal since I have 3 little ones ready to move on to the next thing.  But once a day is a good place to start.  I had been spending so much time rinsing all the dishes, loading the washer, running the washer, unloading the washer, blah blah blah. 

The hardest part for me was keeping it unloaded.  I would have a whole new loads-worth sitting on my counter, but the washer had yet to be emptied.  I still have to put the dishes away now, but it is so much easier since they are already sitting in the drying rack (no, I do not towel-dry my dishes...I let air work for me on this one).  Sometimes I put a few away throughout the day, or all at once when I get a chance.

Another thing I am loving is that I get to wipe down my counters and table each night.  No more grimy food getting stuck overnight.  This also forces me to put away other clutter that may have gathered on my counters. 

I am not totally anti-dishwasher though... either when guests eat over, or if our family continues to grow, a dishwasher may cut down on the time (and hopefully there would be more people to help load/unload!). 

So for now, I'll be hand-washing our dishes.  But I have one dilemma... check out my next post.


Bulletin Board Makeover

I saw a fun idea over at Budget Wise Home (a great starting point for DIY home crafts/decor) a few weeks ago and decided to get crafty.
My bulletin board was looking a little outdated, so it got spruced up.

And after!...

Much better.  I used some leftover fabric from the diaper bag I made a year ago, and also had the ribbon and spray paint from other projects.  It only took a few minutes spread throughout one morning, Christian even "helped' with the whole thing.  
For the details, go to the instructions here.

Recently, I have been using every spare moment to finish painting in my kitchen.  I can't wait to share the pictures with you!  I tried something new, and it's turning out pretty swell.  
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