Friday, December 29, 2006

Something Special

While Randy & I have spent the majority of this week accomplishing projects around the house, we wanted to make sure we took time to do something special with the kids, too. We don't get a lot of time off, and it's difficult to make the time to do that "something special" during the regular week when errands like grocery shopping and cleaning up fill all of the hours not occupied by work, sleeping, and meal times.

So, this afternoon, we took the kids out of school after their nap time and headed to downtown Kansas City. We went to Crown Center to see somethings that we had missed out in our previous trips.

Our trip actually started with a very unique run-in. We ran into a couple (and their twins) that we were in a mutliples birthing class with - about 3 years ago. We haven't seen them since, and it was so neat to be able to see their kids and catch up.

We started out by touring the Hallmark Visitor's Center. This was really cool - and the kids enjoyed it some, but it would be a great thing to do without 2-1/2 year olds tugging at your pant legs. We made a whirlwind trip of it - and they were rewarded with a new (free) book at the end.

We were disappointed that Kaleidescope was already closed - here they help you do art projects with your kids and leftover items from the Hallmark manufacturing process. How cool is that? We'll put it on the list for next time.

Then, we headed back inside for our real mission - to see Santa's Crayola land. Yes, Santa was gone, but it didn't seem to deter our kids one bit. In fact, the big guy in the red suit probably would have only terrified them. And, when we tried to go the last two weekends, the wait was HOURS long.

So, while Santa is gone, the elves will slide....

Crawl through tunnels...

Play in your Crayola House...

And do silly things in the funny mirrors...

I'm not kidding when I say we drug them out of there kicking & screaming. But, it was all for a good cause, because we went to eat at Fritz's. Now, I've heard of this place before and that it was a great place to eat at with kids. And now I know, Fritz's is made for kids.

At Fritz's, you order your food by telephone, and then this little train

hauls your food from the kitchen out to your table. When it reaches your table, there is a little arm that drops down and holds that white tray of food onto a little lift:

The lift then lowers the white tray of food down to your table. Causing little children's faces to light up like this:

And this:

The food - well, it pretty much stunk. But, really, a place like this doesn't rely on good food for repeat customers. On our way out, we checked out the Gingerbread House / train set, too.

We had a near repeat of the McDonald's incident, but Mommy bribed the girl with some candy, so no accidents to report this time around. We ended our stay at Crown Center with a ride up two sets of escalators.

Finally, on the way home, we made a small detour. If you'll remember our visit to the see Santa's train a few weeks ago

- we always thought it would look neat all lit up, but had no idea it would be this neat. This is just the engine - there were five other cars, too!

These are the days we enjoy ~ and I guess they are so enjoyable because they are exactly that ~ something special.

Thursday, December 28, 2006


I'm not sure if this is a twin thing...or just a girl/boy thing...or a toddler thing...or what. But, it's driving me nuts.

Morgan is our vocal child. She started talking earlier and has always been much clearer and more outspoken than Tanner. For the longest time, Tanner would let her talk for him.

We finally cleared that hurdle - although Tanner is still in pretty extensive speech therapy. He understands but is not very intelligible when he speaks.

He's getting better - and now we have a problem. He is constantly provoking his sister. Whenever we drive anywhere - he will say something to annoy her. Today, he kept saying "Geek", "Geek", "Geek". (We can only assume he picked up this word from daycare.)

While that is annoying, worse is Morgan sitting there saying "Tanner called me a geek" or "Tanner said no" or "Tanner did __________". We've tried to tell her that she didn't need to tell us what Tanner does, and she came home last week saying "I'm not a tattletale" (again, the daycare).

Is this reporting phase something all toddlers go through? Is it unique for twins to fight like this (I always picture it so rosy)? Do other twins face this battle where one child is so much more vocal than the other - and then the other gets left behind?

Any input / advice is welcomed!

Update on the week: Morgan threw us a curveball and was home sick yesterday. She had a raging ear infection - it go so bad that she actually had blood oozing from her left ear (eww....). Poor thing is on ear drops, another antibiotic, and tyleonol for pain.

1. Tax review is done
2. Santa havoc clean-up is nearly complete
3. Kids' room cleaning is done
4. Christmas decorations - the outside lights are down, the trees are undecorated, but we still need to take them and some miscellaneous lights down
5. Errands are run
6. and that may be postponed
7. Volunteering - done
8. Working out - slowly getting back into the swing of it
9. Still on target for this weekend.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas +1

Phew...we made it through the holidays. It's been a big weekend. Grandma Red & Grandpa Elmer came out early to beat the blizzard. So, they were hear from Wednesday night through Monday night. That's five whole days. And, folks, that is a long time.

The kids were spoiled, and they were really sad when they figured out the grandparents were gone for good. We're having a hard time getting the kids adjusted back to "normal" life. Especially when this isn't a normal week. Randy & I took off the week, and we're getting things accomplished.

This include:

1. Doing a quick assessment of year-end taxes ~ I absolutely hate owing the goverment anything or having them owe me anything. So, each year, I cut it pretty close, and when we get to year end, I do a quick check to figure out where we are at - and what needs to be done to not owe any taxes (make an extra house payment or pay the second half of our property taxes). It's a game to me, in a sick, sad way.

2. Cleaning up after the havoc that Santa (and the grandparents) wrought. The kids did well this year ~ a play kitchen, play tool bench, a railroad table, matchbox cars & rug, animals galore, large cars / tractors/ semis. And, all of this stuff takes room. We're purging, and headed to Good Will later this week.

3. Cleaning - while purging the kids' bedroom and toy room (both kids sleep in one bedroom, and we use what would be Tanner's bedroom for a toy room), we do a pretty deep cleaning. We clean the windows, the basebooard, wipe off everything on the wall, the baseboards, fan, light fixture, doors, etc. We even went through clothes and got rid of some items that don't fit, or aren't practical now (potty training makes onesies obsolete).

4. Taking down the Christmas decorations. I put them up early, and I take them down early. If it were up to me, I'd probably leave them up for a few more weeks, but realistically, when mid-January hits, we're busy and we've got time now.

5. Things you just can't seem to get done with a full-time job. The cars are going in for oil changes & tire rotations this time around. Some shopping and general errand run sans kids.

6. Getting ready for next year. We do a thorough update at the end of each year. New file folders, back-up of comptuer data, scanning in of tax receipts, creating new files for next year.

7. Volunteering. Randy & I don't get an opportunity to give back often. So, we get to spend 1/2 a day on Thursday helping out an organization that we are really excited about. I'm not sure what they have in-store for us, but we are looking forward to giving back some.

8. Working out. We're getting a jump on our New Year's resolution. We've been members of a fitness center for awhile, but we haven't gotten in the groove like we would like to. So, we're focused on getting to the gym each morning this week, and really enjoying things - without worrying about getting called to the kid's gym for a diaper change.

9. Catching up with old friends. We get to go to Wichita this weekend and celebrate New Year's with some good friends of ours.

I'm exhausted - and the week has just begun. I'll be looking forward to work next week!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Our Christmas Letter

Dear Santa The Claus,

Hello Santa, it’s MoMo. Mommy and Daddy have asked me to write the Christmas letter, again, this year. Daddy said that I either write the Christmas letter or I could go to timeout for 3 minutes, since I was hitting Tuffy. Santa, do you know how long 3 minutes is? Forever, believe me.

In February, we celebrated Tanner’s 1 year happy liver operation anniversary. We had a big party and everyone dressed up with these big beads ‘round their necks and wore funny looking hats. Daddy explained to T and I that the beads came from Louisiana. Daddy started to explain how one gets the beads in Louisiana, but Mommy yelled at him to not say anything else and sent Daddy to timeout. Now, Santa, 30 minutes is a LOOONG time out.

This summer, we started attending “school". Poor Mommy and Daddy. Tanner and I had never been out of the home environment before. We were in daycare 3 days the first 2 weeks of daycare. One day Daddy had to pick T and me up at daycare ‘cause I had vomited. As Daddy was putting me into the car, I not only vomited on him again, but I produced this nasty smelling stuff out of my other end. Later that night when Daddy was preparing to bath T and me, T decided to warm up Daddy’s side by peeing on him. Now, Santa, you know that Daddy has a bad temper, but that day, Daddy never lost his cool. I think that Daddy felt sorry for us.

School is very good for us. There are kids in our classroom from our age all the way through five years old. Man, those kids are ANCIENT. We learn our ABCs and get to color and paint. We get to have recess outside, and we have lots of friends there. Tanner is in a different classroom than I am. Mommy says that Tanner is more vocal & independent now – I think he’s gotten a little sassy being in that other room.

Mommy & Daddy take us to school everyday so that they can go to work. Daddy is still working as a Design Engineer at GB. Mommy is still at Q, although her job has shifted some. She travels occasionally, but that’s ok. When she travels, Grandpa Three Hairs or Grandma Red come down to help Daddy out. And then, we get spoiled ferociously.

On Father’s Day, Daddy took me out to the mailbox. Daddy looked at all of the letters, but he kept saying bad words at one, thin envelope. After looking at Daddy’s face, I’m not about to repeat them. When we got back into the house, Daddy started yelling as loud as I have ever heard him before. I thought that I was heading to timeout, again. Daddy than ran down the stairs with me in toe to tell Mommy that he “passed”, he “passed.” Daddy had finally passed his professional engineers exam after trying 4 times.

In September, we went on our first family vacation to St. Louis. We made six trips to parks, two trips to the zoo to see the tigers, elephants, rhinos, monkeys, and penguins, and one trip to the doctor. We also went to Grant’s Farm where we fed camels, watched another elephant, saw these big ponies that Daddy told us pull the beer carts, and spotted some buffaloes. Are there any buffaloes at the North Pole, Santa? The last day, we went back to the Build-a-Bear at the zoo. We got to make our very own stuffed aminal. T made an elephant named “Ross” in honor of his liver doctor, and I named my tiger “Tigger.” They are our best friends now.

This fall we also joined a local health club. Mommy and Daddy say it’s fancy. All I know is that they have a great play area with slides, half a gymnasium and they will let me color whenever I want – and no parents are allowed. We kick Mommy & Daddy out for two full hours. It’s good for Tanner & I to have some time without Mommy & Daddy.

In November, I got really sick and had to go see the doctor. I had pneumonia in my left lung. I was also told that I might be asthmatic, but we won’t know until I’m about 5, when I can blow into a big tube. For now, I take some medicines that help me breathe better. Mommy and Daddy are sad about this, but I gave them a kissy. It’s amazing Santa what a kissy and a tight squeeze will do for Mommy and Daddy when they are sad.

Daddy and Mommy are also saying how fast T and I are growing. When Daddy asks me if I am “his baby,” I keep reminding him I’m a big girl - I’m 2½ now and I even potty-trained myself. Tanner’s big, too – he actually has packed on a lot of weight lately and actually weighs more than me now.

Hmmm…I guess you could say that we’ve had a really big year. Thankfully, it is mostly good news and neither Tanner nor I have spent any nights away from Mommy or Daddy (although Daddy keeps mumbling something about he doesn’t think that is such good news).

Give Mrs. Santa Clause & Rudolph a big kissy and tight squeeze from us. And to everyone else that reads my letter to Santa Clause, remember to keep the Christmas spirit and have a safe, healthy, & happy holiday season.

Morgan & Tanner
(Randy & Stacy)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Singing Twins

Following the lead of Sarah, here is a video clip of my twins singing Jingle Bells - even complete with dancing!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Things to Remember Part III

Number 1:

Today, I looked over and noticed Morgan had one of her fleece winter hats on & pulled all the way down over her eyes. A quick scan of her face and body position, and I knew all was not well.

Morgan for some reason must have her head covered to poop. I'm not sure what the reasoning behind this is, but covering her head with a towel is one of the few ways that we've gotten her to calmly poop since beginning the potty training experience.

Sitting on the toilet with a stocking hat down over her eyes - just wish daddy had gotten a picture, because I'm sure it would be good bribery material in the future.

Number 2:

We're trying to introduce the concept of Christmas to the kids - which is not an easy task. It's hard to explain WHY we celebrate Christmas in the midst of all the commercialism we have. But, I'm proud to let you know that I feel like we've made progress.

Me: "Why do we celebrate Christmas?"

Tanner: "Because it's Baby Jesus' birthday."

Morgan: "And he's five years old."

Number 3:

I had to go out tonight before the kids went to bed. As I was getting in the car, I waved to Morgan and said "I love you!"

Her reply: "I love you twice!"

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Challenges of traveling with a potty-training 2-1/2 year old

We're back from a quick trip to Iowa to make-up for the missed Thanksgiving trip. Traveling with a potty-training toddler - not fun!

On the way up, we picked the kids up from daycare right before nap time, and headed north. Our mistake - we gave them their sippy cups when we got in the car. Morgan downed most of the 10 ounces, and then fell asleep. She was asleep when we hit Cameron (our normal stopping place & about 1/2 way), so we decided to try to make it another 40 miles. 10 miles before that stop - she was awake & wet.

Ok - not a big deal, we knew this was a possibility, and we were prepared with a piddle pad (handy dandy little pad you put in their car seat to absorb the wet without having to change the whole car seat). We stopped at McDonald's, and I took Morgan to the Women's Bathroom.

Here is where I have to apologize to the poor soul that has to clean the bathrooms at the McDonald's in Bethany. You see, my daughter is MY child. She was terrified of this public bathroom, and besides writhing in pain, she kept proclaiming "I don't have to go to the bathroom".

So, I took off her shoes, her pants, and her soggy underwear. I turn around to grab her dry clothes, and notice she is starting to dribble pee on the floor. So, I pick her up and swoop her onto the toilet.

She is screaming, and with each scream, comes a stream - at a 90 degree angle. I had no idea girls could pee at that angle - let's just say I still have some speed & agility left in my old age & I managed to avoid being pegged.

At this point, we have urine in the corner from the undressing, underneath the wet clothes that I dropped when she started dribbling on the floor, and in front of the toilet from the 90 degree stream. I assume she's all done. And, she says she is, so I find the last remaining dry corner in the stall, and I put her in it.

And, she starts peeing down her leg AGAIN. I swoop her again onto the potty, precariously balancing and doing Twister-like maneuvers to keep myself, my purse, and the diaper bag dry. Finally, success without a riot.

It then takes me 10 minutes to unroll toilet paper and swab what I can off of the floor. Of course, it's one of those locations where they don't have papertowels.

So, floor cleaner at the Bethany McDonald's - I'm very sorry for the mess we left behind. I now truly understand why public restrooms look the way they do sometimes.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

84 Hours and Counting

When I picked Morgan up from daycare last Friday, they anxiously asked if we were planning on switching Morgan to panties anytime soon. It seems that she was discarding her diaper and making frequent bathroom stops all day Friday.

I warned them that we thought she was close to ready, but she hadn't done #2 in the toilet before, and we were a little leary of this. Ms. K is back from maternity leave, and she assured me that this wasn't going to be a problem and to send her.

So, all weekend, we worked on potty training. And, we've had great success - even when we were "out & about" town for 4 hours, she remained dry, and we only had one set of 4 bathroom trips (we were at Rainforest cafe, I think part of it was to see all the different animals). And, she's been all day Monday & Tuesday at daycare without an accident yet.

The problem? Since we put here in panties around 11 a.m. on Saturday - she hasn't had a bowel movement. We thought some new ashtma meds might be the culprit, but their side effects are diaherra, not constipation. I can only guess that she is so focused on not messing up her pretty panties, that she is holding it in.

I'm a little fearful for the poor soul who is around when she erupts...