Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fa La La La La, La La La La...

Christmas Eve is in 3 days- it's crunch time- and some of the items that "Santa" got the kids (online), have been showing up at the door. The girls notice almost every package that is delivered, so I have to try to be pretty careful about it, but I apparently can't hide everything. They saw a few big toys come in the mail that "Santa" got for the babies, and they had a few questions. I explained that sometimes Santa mails gifts ahead for mommy to wrap, because he's so busy, and they're short on elves this year (you know, the economy and all...). It seemed like they were processing this in their heads, but couldn't quite pinpoint the inaccuracies in my story. Kind of like when Santa came down the street last week, and Ariel asked why there was a truck pulling his sled, and why the police were following him... and how she asked why Santa was sitting in a chair at the mall all day... "why isn't he at the North Pole?"

Uhhhh... who wants icecream??

Speaking of the mall, this past Saturday, Monte had work stuff, so I decided to go to the mall with the kids. The Saturday before Christmas, alone... with all four kids. Yay. Parking was a bitch, but I eventually got a good spot up close. The main reason for my trip was not for Christmas gifts, actually (otherwise, I would have waited for a weekday), it was for baby clothes for Atticus. I realized he had no "normal" boy clothes, only onesies and footie PJ's. We had a baby shower to attend the next day, and I wanted him to look snazzy. I have plenty of girl clothes, oodles of it, actually. I know people say that girl clothes is so much more fun to shop for, but let me tell you, after having 3 girls and then finally getting that little boy- I LOVE shopping for boy clothes! The cute little collared shirts, cargo pants, loafers, baseball caps and ties- SO adorable! I was having way too much fun at The Gap, I had to hold myself way back from getting too much loot. The kids were being pretty good, but I ended up having to bribe the girls with toys to get them to last the hour that we were there. The babies got fussy, and I had to switch them out from Ergo to stroller, and back again a few times for them to nurse so they'd calm down. I finally got a few fabulous things for my little man, and got his Christmas outfit covered as well.

The parking lot was a madhouse, so when I arrived back to my parked car, another car quickly noticed, stopped, and threw on their blinker. I had opened the sliding doors and back hatch of the spaceship before I had even reached it, so I was able to start loading immediately. Now, if you're waiting for a lady to load 4 kids into a minivan in a parking lot, so that you can get the spot, you want to be waiting for me. I'm as quick as they come, but I'm no magician. I tell the girls to jump in and get seated. Meanwhile, I remove an infant seat (with child) from the stroller, and snap it into one of the car adaptors. I then remove the second infant seat from the stroller (sans child), and snap that into the car adaptor. Then, I remove whoever is strapped to me and place and buckle them into the infant seat. Then, I remove shopping bags and purse from stroller, which are now very wet, and throw them in the front seat. Then, I quickly fold the stroller and throw it in the back, then close the hatch. The person in the waiting car throws up a hand as if to say "Any day now", and gives me an impatient look. I mouth "sorry" to them while giving an apologetic smile. Why am I being so nice to this wanker? Not even 7 years ago, I'd have rolled my eyes, and given them a dirty look, but now I'm apologizing to them because they chose to wait for the spot of a mom with four kids to load in? I then reach into the back from one side-door to help Ariel get fully buckled, then I switch to the other side, and buckle in Aurora. I look back at the asshole in the still-waiting car, and give a little half-wave. Happy now, shithead?

I think I made a decision in my subconscious, years ago, that I'd just let things go when on the road. Road rage is a serious thing, especially in LA, and it just wasn't worth it to me, anymore. I used to drive aggressively, like I was playing Tetris. I'd speed through traffic in my Mustang convertible, zipping in and out of cars, honking and flipping people off. Ya know, like a normal L.A. driver. Now, I let people cut me off, I let people steal my parking spots from right in front of me, and I drive the speed limit. I try not to let it bother me, and I just grit my teeth, and curse them out in my head. Or, I write it down, and post it on my blog.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Great Escape

Where do all the braincells go when you have a baby... or two... or... more? Are they stored away in some sad little neurological file somewhere? Are they escaping via breastmilk? Did I just get way too boring for them, and they jumped ship?

It is now imperative that I have a system in place for certain things like, say, cooking. For example, I have to set the oven timer, even when using the stove, otherwise I'd destroy every meal that I cook. It took a lot of over-boiled pasta and over-steamed veggies to learn that something had to be done. But, my lack of brain power is not limited to the stove. I quite often place perishables in the cupboards, and put cleaning products in the fridge. One time, I was actually laying in bed about to fall asleep, when I suddenly remembered that I had gone to Trader Joe's earlier in the day, and it was all still in the back of the car... let's just say that a few things had to be thrown out.

It seems that the only things that I don't forget are my children. That's a plus, eh?

One of the most annoying things that challenges what's left of my braincells, is when I drop Ariel off at school, through the valet drop-off. I always get nervous because there are so many steps for my slow, tired brain to remember, and, of course, I don't know how to use all of the features on our semi-new minivan. Did you know that if I unlock my car while driving, it will re-lock itself within a few minutes if I don't open a door? Did you know that if I don't have it in park, the auto-sliding doors won't open? That's a great safety feature, by the way. Fantastic.

Did you know that this is too challenging for me to comprehend on most mornings?

This is how a bad morning with the valet, for me, unfolds: I unlock the doors while waiting in line, so that it's checked off my list. The babies are usually crying because they hate being in their car seats, and Aurora is whining something along the lines of "I want to be a big girl, too." or "I want a lollipop!" So, I pull up to the spot to drop Ariel off, the doors are now locked, and the sliding door won't open. Drat. So, I unlock the doors again, meanwhile, the nice 5th grader, who has the good fortune of getting my car, is trying to open the door which is now unlocked, but still won't open for some mysterious reason only reserved for a special few (namely me). I absolutely cannot figure out why it won't open, I rack my brain, and I start to panic because the cars are waiting behind me to move on, but my kid is still in my car. Crap, crap, crap. I finally grab my poor, confused child from the back of the car and quickly shove her out the front passenger door, "Bye sweetie, have a nice day!" The 5th grader is looking at me like I'm insane, as I pull out and drive away. It's only then that I figure it out. Damn it.

So, now, every day when I drop her off, I have a system. I seriously have to repeat in my head: "Unlock the door, put car in park, push door button. Unlock, park, door. Unlock, park, door."

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Get Into The Groove

Monte is home! Hallelujah! I'm so excited! Yay!

Let the re-acclimation begin.

First off, let me just say that Monte is the most amazing father and husband I could ever ask for. He's putting up with my crazy antics one minute, and having tea time with the girls and their Barbie dolls in the next. Massaging my shoulders on a moments notice, and then he's strapping a baby on him in a carrier, so I can feed the other one- he's a great man! Only, it always takes him just a few days to get back into the swing of things. Being out on tour is a whole 'nother world from our Dora Explorin', mini-van driving, suburbia, and I try to keep that in mind every time.

Depending on who he was on tour with, he always comes home with almost an entire new wardrobe that corresponds almost directly with the artist he just worked with, and/or the people around him or her. Like, last time he was on tour with Madonna, he came home with very strict rules about brand-mixing. For example, he wouldn't wear Nike shoes with Adidas socks, a fashion tip learned from the dancers, no doubt. This time, he showed up not only with smudged black eyeliner and a trace of glitter from previous night's London show, he was also wearing skinny jeans tucked into boots. Skinny jeans. On my husband. And NEW boots, I might add. Boots that look exactly like two other pairs that he has in our tiny, overstuffed closet. When I nag him about why he bought new boots that look exactly like the other two pairs, he says "It was cold in Sweden, I needed boots." That is also the same explanation he gives when I ask why he bought new sweaters, scarves, hats and jackets. How long does he really think he can keep playing the "I didn't know how cold it was going to be in Northern Europe in winter" card? He does this absolutely every time. Nice ploy... but, I'm on to you, honey!

Can we talk coffee mugs? The man can't help himself- he must buy coffee mugs in every city and country he visits- and he's been to a lot of cities and countries . I admit, I should take some responsibility for this because when we first met, he had never had a cup of coffee in his life. I turned him into a coffee fiend and now he has a mug from just about every place in the world- Jerusalem, Moscow, London, Tokyo- I have giant tupperware containers of them in the attic because they no longer fit in the kitchen cupboards. I've asked him to move on to magnets or Christmas ornaments or anything else, but sure enough, he came home with (only) 4 coffee mugs this trip.

I think I need to have a talk with him about shower time. On tour, the man can sleep, shower and eat almost whenever he pleases (he will claim the opposite to be true)- I should at least try to be a little understanding of his naivety. The poor dear was away for 6 months, after all. Maybe I should practice here: "Monte, I love you very much, but when you disappear without notice, only for us to discover that you've been in the shower for 30 minutes... it makes me want to spike your coffee with cat pee." How's that?

Another thing is when he asks where random things, that I never knew even existed, have gone.

Him: "Where's that ginger tea that I got in Singapore?"

Me: "Ummm... you went to Singapore 6 months ago."

Him: "Yeah, I know... so, where is my ginger tea?"

Me: "Did I know you got ginger tea? Are you kidding? Check under the couch. While you're at it, let me know if you find my pre-pregnancy body."

Monday, November 29, 2010

Why So Grimm?

So, Ariel was watching Hannah Montana yesterday (yes, I know), and she asked the question:

Ariel: "Where is her mommy?".

Me: "Uh... dead."

Ariel: "Oh... that's so sad."

YES! Yes, it is sad! So why does almost every kids character have dead damn parents?? She asked the same about Harry Potter: "Where are Harry's parents?"... "Dead." Then, of course there's Cinderella, Snow White and The Little Mermaid- dead, dead, dead. I don't ever remember thinking about this stuff as a child!

Disney did base most of its movies on The Brothers Grimm stories, which are, well... grim. And I know there's the whole, "there wouldn't be a story without the challenge for the character" thing, which is true in a sense but now, she randomly asks me if she can live with grandma and grandpa if we die, and if it's okay if she brings her bunk beds to their house. Gee, thanks!

At least she's a forward thinker!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Get In Ma Belly!

I survived! Getting out the door with 4 kids is one thing, but getting out the door trying to make everybody look at least halfway decent for Thanksgiving- nightmare!! First of all, nothing fits me. What are my options... dress, or leggings... or sweatpants. I feel like a stuffed sausage in most of my clothes, including dresses, and I refuse to buy new pants or jeans in my "new" size- I WILL fit into my favorite jeans again- I will, I will, I will! So, after digging through my closet, I settled on my uniform of late. leggings, boots, Spanx, tunic. Shower, hair, makeup- holy hell! Ever tried doing your mascara while holding a squirming baby? A baby who decides at just the right moment to reach out and grab the mascara wand, and then quickly sweep it across your eyebrow and into your hair? This happened when I was already 30 minutes behind schedule and none of the kids were even dressed, let alone had brushed teeth or hair. I finally told the girls to wear whatever they wanted, and they chose some outfits that I must say... really represented their hobo chic side.

Absolutely no creativity went into the babies outfits, I realized that, um... I was completely unprepared for their holiday wear. Isn't that what I'm supposed to get all excited about and prepare in advance for? New babies= fancy, adorable little outfits for Thanksgiving and Christmas that they wear only once. Yep, dropped that ball. As for the older girls... they looked kinda homeless. Their hair looked like a few pigeon families had chosen to nest in it. I completely gave up on shoes and Aurora even had red marker up and down her arms and legs. I realized then- mascara smeared across my face, gnarly-haired children, plain-dressed babies- that my efforts were futile. It was only Grandma and Grandpa's house. My mom- who used to wrap our Christmas gifts in NEWSPAPER- won't care that the kids are shoeless and dressed like they belong in a Tim Burton movie, and it was really only them and my grandparents this year because my sisters household got hit with the flu and my brother was with his fiance's family- what the hell was I so concerned about?? I should really just invest in muumuu's for such occasions- no need for Spanx, or faboosh shoes- I could eat the whole table and nobody would be the wiser! It would be so comfy and I've always secretly wanted a flamingo and palm leaf print muumuu for myself- I could totally rock the Mrs. Roper look! Why aren't they more popular??

Should Monte be worried?

Well, we got to their house a little late, but Grandma had it covered. She brushed hair and even had a stash of backup clothes for the gypsy children. Dinner was amazing- gotta love that Tofurkey- and the only thing missing was Monte. I wish he could have spent the holiday with us, but I'm getting pretty used to shlepping it alone at this point, I don't know if that's good or bad. A little of both, maybe.

Happy Tofurkey Day!

When I was a kid, we used to take camping trips in the desert with a large group of friends. We had a tradition of spending every Thanksgiving in Ocotillo Wells, where we'd dirt bike and explore for days. We'd set up a "table", made up all of our camping tables, in a long row that was probably about 50 feet long. It was a big yummy pot luck made by all of the mama's, and a good time was had by all, sometimes we'd even dress up like Indians! After dinner, all of us kids would play hide-and-go-seek in the dark desert. We'd hide under the motorhomes and behind bushes (hello snakes and scorpions??), and later, all of the dads would tell tall tales by the fire and we'd sing and play jokes. Us kids would climb trees and build forts by day, occasionally jumping on our dirt bikes and zipping off into the desert together- with no adults at, like, 7 years old??? It was great fun! I cherish these memories, and the friendships that I still hold dear to this day.

Ocotillo was just one of many trips that my family would take very year. We'd go to Yosemite in the Spring, Lake Mojave in the summer where we'd waterski, jetski and boat... Mammoth every winter to ski and snowboard, and every few years, we'd rent a houseboat with friends on Lake Powell. I can't imagine how much work went into these trips- the packing of clothes, food and essentials to take a trip with 3 kids (let alone 4!). It's a big friggin' deal! All I had to do was get into bed in our motorhome at 4am, when we'd leave for the trip, and I'd wake up to the smell of pancakes that my mom would be cooking in the kitchen while we drove. One of my favorite things to do would be to hang my head out the back window like a dog, and listen to music on my walkman. My dad would always drive. My mom wasn't allowed to drive the motorhome because as my dad would say, "If she sees one bunny rabbit in the road, she'll swerve, and kill us all!". My dad would stop at every plaque on the road and read about the history of every little thing- I'd roll my eyes and beg to stay in the motorhome- but, why??? Now, I get it. Sorry, Dad... teenagers can be such ungrateful little sh*theads! Before having kids, I never appreciated or thought about how much work my parents put into this stuff, not to mention the expense of it all, and my parents worked hard for it.

Married at 18, they saved every single penny they had, and working as a waitress and a machinist, bought their first home at 21. My mom started an in-home daycare and my dad became a sprinkler-fitter, and when I was 4, they put every penny into buying a house that was a big-time fixer-upper. Basically, the people they bought it from were in the middle of construction when they got a divorce. There were many holes in the walls and floors and my sister got so many flea bites that her school called CPS on my parents when she told them that "the bugs came from the big holes in the floor and bit me!". It was pretty torn up... but, now my dad owns his own company and that fixer-upper is their dream home. I barely remember those "hardships" as a kid- I just knew that I was always fed, and loved and didn't have a care in the world. Just as it should be.

I am grateful for my wonderful parents, and priceless childhood memories, and for my amazing husband and beautiful children. I look forward to the many adventures to come for our sweet family!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Midnight Boobie gymnastics!

I used to be able to tandem nurse the babies with my twin nursing pillow, but now they hate it so, I have to do one at a time. It's really FUN when they both wake up at the same time in the middle of the night. The last few nights, they both decided to wake up at 3am. Both of them. At the same. Damn. Time. Because we co-sleep, normally I'll just nurse whoever is awake, while lying down, and we can both fall back asleep pretty quickly while he/she eats. But when it's both of them, I can't use the pillow like I used to, so I try a few different methods and just use the one that makes them the least pissed off. Stacking them one on top of the other has worked in the past, but not anymore because they're getting so heavy that they smoosh each other, so my only other option (that I frantically attempt in the darkness) is to side-lie and nurse one, and then drape the other over the side of my body and just focus on making sure their noses aren't smooshed into my boobs, so they can at least breathe. Not the most comfortable of things in the world to do, but it works. Both babies fall asleep, and eventually, I can too! It's midnight Boobie gymnastics!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


 I've gotten pretty good about toting the twins around when I'm out and about, but there's no way to stay low-key with twins. Absolutely everywhere I go, somebody has to make a comment.

"Wow, you've got your hands full!" is #1, and as much as I want to say "Yeah, no sh*t!", I usually just smile and say "Yup, I sure do!", little do they know that this is only half of my kids, but I leave that part out because that's just asking for more comments, and looks of pity.  If I'm out with all four and they see the twins, I'll hear "Looks like you went for #3 and got a big surprise, eh?", or some other version of that. The one that I'm most surprised by is, "Are they natural or did you do fertility treatments?" or if I mention what a surprise the babies were, they'll say "Oh, you mean you didn't do IVF?" with a shocked expression- not that there's anything wrong with fertility treatments, I just can't believe how bold people can be to a stranger, and I also don't see why it matters? Then there's "Do they run in yours or your husbands family?" and I say "No, they don't run in my family, they do in my husbands though, but it doesn't make a difference because it has nothing to do with the sperm, it's all about how many eggs you drop." They usually look at me a little taken aback, having just been given a somewhat graphic biology lesson by a total stranger, and I think, hmmm... maybe that was TMI? But, it is a common misconception that I want to clear up, it sure shuts them up, and they then seem more than eager to get away from the nutjob, so, I use it a lot... with a smile.

I also get, "Are they boy/girl?" Me, "Yes.", then they ask "Oh, are they identical?". Really?? They're a boy and a girl and they clearly look nothing alike, hello- Mcfly! But, I know some people just don't know. Honestly, I'm kind of a hypocrite for even getting annoyed, because, I'd probably asked that question before having twins. I've had many a blonde moment in my life, and I also know that people are just trying to be nice and start a conversation because they're curious about the twins. It turns out that people are completely fascinated by twins. I had no idea, before having them, that this is how it is. It happens to all moms of multiples- who knew??

Then, there's the "OMG! OMG! TWIIIINNSSSSSSSS!!!!!!! I WANT TWIIIIINNNSSS!!!!!". This one cracks me up, because I used to be one of these people. I totally wanted twins, but thought I'd surely never have them, so it was more like a "Oh, that'd be cool, but it will never happen." kind of thing. So, I tell these girls (because they're often, like, 17 year olds saying this to me) "I used to say that... and I'd say it again because it IS awesome." and for the teenagers I'll add "But, it's a lot of work, so, wait about 10 years before you have kids." My little PSA for the day.

It really is awesome. That's what I want to say to the people who give me those looks of pity and say "Oh, you poor thing." Really. People say this to me. Sometimes I don't want to give them the pleasure of sounding overly defensive and/or I don't have time to really get into it, so I ignore them. But, if I'm in the mood to set them straight, I ask "Why do you say that?", so they feel uncomfortable for being so rude. Then, they usually mumble something about how hard it must be, and then walk away. My favorite reaction to my family is when somebody says to me "What a blessing!". Now, I'm about as far from religious as you can get, but that makes me smile, and I usually respond with "Thank you, they really are a blessing!".

When I was at Toys R Us, yesterday, a woman came up to me and started shrieking "OMG- TWIIIINNNSSSS! I WANT TWINS!!! You've got your hands full! Are they identical? Do they run in your family? Did you use IVF?? You poor thing!" I was so shocked that I couldn't think of anything to say- I'm sure my face was priceless. She gave it a moment, then started laughing and said "Sorry, I'm totally kidding. I have twins and I've always wanted to do that to somebody else!". Brilliant! We both had a good laugh and then went about our shopping.

I really should just pass out cards that say:

Yes, I'm aware that I've got my hands full.
They are fraternal boy/girl twins.
No, they don't run in my family,
No, I didn't use fertility treatments,
and, I love my big family.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Much Ado...

Upon waking up, this morning, I knew that today, I must:

A. Take a shower.

B. Do my hair because I had gone too many weeks looking like a (the) minivan mom (that I am).

C. Go to Trader Joe's because we are ridiculously low on food.

Tasks that would seem simple to most, but for me are monumental, and I was determined to succeed!

Before I got to shower, there were basic things around the house that I needed to at least attempt to accomplish. Dishes and laundry are the least favorite of my domestic chores and avoid them like a bikini pool party... so, I wasn't exactly disappointed when the babies woke up from their morning nap in the middle of all that pleasantness. Oh, darn!

I got the babies changed and the kids fed and they all seemed pretty content... so, I thought it was an opportune time to jump in the shower. I normally take lightning-speed, 3 minute showers, but, today I was going to wash my hair of the crusted spit-up it was sporting- so, this shower could possibly take as long as 6 whole minutes! I placed the babies in their Jumperoo entertainment center contraption thingies, the girls seemed content playing with their Barbie's nearby and I asked them "could you please make the babies happy if they fuss while I'm in the shower?", they nodded their heads yes and I thought surely I had just bought myself 10 minutes. Shower time!

I sudsed and scrubbed and was covered in soap and bubbles, enjoying the quiet, when just one minute in... dun dun dun... could it be? Could all four kids be screaming and crying at the same time?! I turned off the water to listen and monitor the level of seriousness. Okay, Bea was quiet, the girls were obviously fighting, and... Atticus sounded almost happy? I think he was actually shrieking in delight! The girls screams began to escalate, so I hopped out of the shower and grabbed a towel, but still managed to trail water down the hall and through the living room. The girls each were white knuckling opposite ends of the same Barbie. "Who had it first?!" I barked at them, "I did!!" They screamed simultaneously. Oh, for Pete's sake. I confiscated the Barbie, stashed it in a high, out of reach cupboard and sent the girls to opposite corners for well deserved time-outs- all while sopping wet, soapy and wrapped in a towel- I then swiftly returned to the still running shower. At this point, enjoying a quiet moment was not an option- rinsing was my goal and rinse I did, but not soon enough. I heard a loud thud in the hall and knew immediately what had happened. Damn it. I didn't wipe up the water in the hall and Aurora had slipped in it and fell. She was now screaming and both Beatrix Atticus picked that moment to start crying, as well. Yes! Pile it on, kids!

After my pathetic attempt at a shower, I made lunch for the girls, while rotating the babies between different contraptions.. I asked the girls if they could sing to the babies while I made their sandwiches, which they did for about 30 seconds. Then, the babies started to fuss (gee, thanks for the help, kids) and it was clear that their big sisters had vanished from the room... and then the house suddenly got quiet... too quiet... and that's when it's time to worry. So, I stopped what I was doing and went to look for them. I could see them both standing very still in the backyard, looking down at something on the grass. Ariel had her hands over her mouth and both had their eyes open wide... "What are you girls looking at?" I asked. Ariel answered "Mom! Token is eating a rat and you can see it's guts!" Aurora added "Yeah, and there's so much blood!". Great. Now I get to clean up shredded rat remains before somebody steps in them... oh, and bathing Token, the devil cat, should probably be put on that list, too.

I knew it wouldn't be easy to maneuver Trader Joe's with the kids, but, why do I always underestimate the difficulty of just getting everybody out of the actual house to go there?? There was no time or energy left for that, nor for the doing-of-hair. There was only time for mommy to take a much needed nap, yes, a na- oh, wait... never mind... well, I got a shower and the cat got a bath. That's impressive. We can eat mac and cheese.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Bread And Circus

Yesterday was Veterans Day, so that meant that Ariel had the day off from school, but, Aurora still had her gymnastics class in the morning. So, all 5 of us piled into the spaceship and zipped to it. Thankfully, there are some awesome mama's there who are willing to help me out by holding a baby when they both want attention. We spent most of the time talking baby wearing, strollers, breastfeeding and sleep issues, ya know, typical mommy chatter... which I love. It's funny how that happens, once you become a mom. Suddenly your favorite topics of conversation are the contraptions in which you transport your child, what you feed your child, how your child sleeps, and the color and consistency of their poop. Yup.

After class, I had to go to the mall to make a return. Hmmm... was I really up for this challenge? I'd done it alone before, but not after already having had an activity in the morning, maybe it would be too much... but, the kids were hungry and food was low at the house, so, it was really between the mall where we could have a quick lunch by the pretty sea shell fountain, or Trader Joe's... where I would spend half the time removing random items from my cart that the girls think we can't live without... one baby strapped to me, another in their car seat in the cart, and a 5 and 3 year old walking in different directions.... Aurora chiming "Mommy! Are these happy chickens?" while pointing to, and balancing, precariously, a carton of eggs in her tiny arms... Ariel raiding the sample counter nearby-- um... mall it was!

How I ended up spending nearly 2 hours in the mall, and made it out alive, is still a mystery. I think a soundtrack of circus music following me around everywhere I go would be appropriate, considering all of the looks of shock and awe I get whenever I attempt such an adventure alone with the whole crew. First, we ate. Sweet potato fries, quesadillas, and a veggie wrap at Tacone's. Yummy! Then the girls had to go potty, which, let me tell you, is fun stuff when you've got 4 kids. Luckily, the big stall was open, so I could park the stroller inside while I helped the girls and made sure they didn't touch anything gross. Then, when they were done, I made sure everybody was out of the stall before flushing with my foot and hopping out because toilet water sprays up to 15 feet when flushed- big eew. Then it was hand washing time and a nice lady held the door for us and we were done. Whew.!

Then, we headed to Pottery Barn Kids because... it's kind of like an indoor playground, right? After a little while in there, we then went to a large craft table that was set up in the middle of the mall and the girls made cornucopia's out of paper, stickers and yarn. The babies had been rotating from stroller to Ergo all the while, so I could feed them and walk, which saves time. I even met a twin-mommy-to-be who took my stroller for a test spin to see if it's the one she wants to get. I swear, I should be a spokesperson for the Baby Jogger City Select Double stroller- I'm obsessed with it and I think I've convinced just about everybody I've met to get one. I find myself getting a little too excited to tell them about all of its features and even offering demonstrations like a crazy person!

I knew it was time to go when I noticed that Aurora had no shoes on, and I honestly couldn't remember how long she had been walking barefoot through the mall... though she had them on in the bathroom, they were now in the basket underneath the stroller... yup, mom of the year!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Drink up ye hearties, yo ho!

Sleep is very precious to me and these days, as it's extremely difficult to come by. So, when I finally have all of the kids to sleep and when my head FINALLY hits the pillow, it is truly a joyous moment. I co-sleep with the babies, which makes night feedings way more convenient, but, I have to be careful about not waking them. Last night, as usual, I got into bed and slowly, quietly, got into a comfortable position, as not to disturb the little darlings in their sweet slumber. Just as I got settled in, I heard the wood floors creak in the hallway, and I knew what was coming. Damn it. Our cat Pirate is like a dog... well, actually, all of our cats are like dogs in their own irritating little way, but Pirate is an especially (annoyingly) friendly cat. Is it too much to ask for a cat that acts like a cat?? I want an indifferent, aloof, a**hole of a creature that will notice you every now and then for the occasional head scratching, but is otherwise completely uninterested in the human race... but, I digress...

So, last night, Pirate decided that he wanted to cuddle and nudge not only me, but the sleeping babies in my bed. He kept trying to walk ON them and was nudging their heads with his cold wet nose and he couldn't have been any more determined! I would pull him by the scruff and he'd happily collapse into my arm and start back on nudging me while purring and kneading my face with his needle claws. I was trying so desperately to keep him quiet, it was like a silent wrestling match with a fluffy orange monkey-cat! I kept pushing him off the bed, but, like flubber, he was right back on! Over, and over, and over again!! I couldn't close the door because I had to listen for the girls. I was having fantasies about furry orange hats and winter moccasins for the kids... but I settled on scooping him up and locking him outside. I'm feeling a little guilt about it now... but last night, I felt completely justified.

After getting stalker-cat out of the house, I got settled into bed, once again, and fell asleep at about midnight . For 20 minutes. Then, Atticus woke up to eat and I fell asleep at about 1. For about an hour, because Beatrix woke up at 2. I fell back asleep at about 3, but, Atticus woke up again to eat at 4, conveniently when Ariel decided that she was going to scream in terror because she had a bad dream about "Bad trees, and a superhero that came down to take the bad trees to the 'Bad Tree World' ". Nice. So, Atticus was (of course) now wide awake, and spent the next 90 minutes smiling and staring at me in the semi-darkness. After pacing the house with him in my arms for what seemed an eternity, he fell asleep at about 5:30 am, and I crawled into bed, completely knackered... only to have Aurora come in at 6am, ready to start the day!

I really should buy stock in coffee.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

(Insert evil laugh here)

I love my gardener, Sylvestre. Why I was previously so stubborn and determined to do all my own yard and house work is beyond me! Maybe because as a teenager, it was one of my weekly chores at home, to mow and edge the lawn, and I was always just used to doing it? It takes less than an hour and can be strangely therapeutic, same with vacuuming- I love to vacuum! Is that odd? The only thing that stopped me in my tracks was bed rest when I was put on bed rest while pregnant with the twins. When that happened, we got a maid and a gardener and the girls went to stay with Grandma when daddy worked because my bed rest was strict as could be. Who says stay-at-home-moms don't do anything? If my bed rest resulted in the hiring of housekeepers, gardeners and (basically) a childcare provider, then nobody can tell me that staying home and taking care of the house and kids isn't a job. Hmph! So, once I was able to move around again after my C-section, maybe at a month postpartum, we sadly let the maids go... but I just couldn't let go of our gardener- I had to have at the very least the outside of our house looking like I had my sh*t together, and the inside... well... I'd work on that.

Our yard looks better than anything I ever did to it, and I don't get the strange looks anymore when I'm running the mower along our front lawn with a huge belly... like I did while I was up to 9 months pregnant with Aurora. Even while sans belly- I would still feel like an oddball! I really don't see what's so strange about a person maintaining their own lawn, if it weren't for my sudden gaggle of kids, I'd still be at it! But.... I can get used to Sylvestre... okay, fine- I AM used to Sylvestre and hope to never mow another lawn again! Muahahahahaha!

Just throw 'em in a basket in the back seat!

So, the babies are growing fast. They're almost 6 months and, Bea, my little butterball turkey is now almost 18 lbs and Atticus is a solid 16 lbs of lean muscle, and I am proud to say that it's been 100% breastmilk! So, they're getting way too heavy to carry around in their infant seats and I'm debating upgrading them to the girls old Britax Marathons soon. The older girls recently got new Sunshine Radian XTSL seats (in Flora, sooo puuurty), and we've been using the Marathons in Grandma's car for when they visit over there. One of the seats is a flower print, the other is a moo-cow print, so they're perfect B/G patterns for the twins. My issue here is this: carseats expire! Drat! The flower print seat is expiring in February 2011, so, not long to go, and the cow is in April of 2012, so that one's got some time. I'm so not in the mood to spend another $300 on a new car seat or two, but it must be done. So, naturally, I've been obsessing over car seat crash test videos and reviews which really, are just making me never want to drive again. Ever. In fact, I think I will just keep my kids in a big plastic bubble and never let them out of the house again after watching those videos… but I have been known to be overly paranoid…

So, it's really down to the Marathons or Radians. I love how narrow the radians are, and I could fit 3 across the back seat of the spaceship (AKA Honda Odyssey) if need be, but the Marathons are so cushy and comfy (but wide). Another issue will be that I would now have to unbuckle and unload the babies every time we get out of the car, rather than carry in the bucket seats that hold the sleeping babies... hmmm... maybe I’m putting waaaay too much thought into this…

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Boo on you, flu!

So, I haven't had the flu in 10 years, but yesterday, it finally decided to pay me a visit. Why it didn't wait for Monte to be home to help me, I don't know, but I guess I'm at least grateful it was just a 24 hour thing and it wasn't a barf-a-thon like when Ariel was sick. The girls went to grandma's house, but the babies had to stay with the boobies, so I spent most of the day rotating the babies from nap nanny, to jumperoo, to boob to swing, to crib, to floor, to boob. I tried to nap when they did, but whatdaya know? They took 30-40 min naps through the day, which only overlapped by 15-20 minutes- so that resulted in me getting maybe 10 minutes of sleep the whole day, which is almost worse than none at all- what a tease! I think I would have paid anything to sleep. So, I called my friend, Erin, who nannies part-time for some other families and asked her to come over to help and told her I'd pay her anything- but, she was nannying! Argh! The only other people were a few friends that I could count on for help, but they have kids, and because they have kids, I didn't want to possibly spread anything to them. My friends who don't have kids have no clue what to do with a baby, let alone two, and so that would have just caused me more stress and I wouldn't have been able to rest. My mom had the girls, so she was out of the question, and my super-duper Grandma Jane lives close by, but I didn't want to risk her getting sick, also. So, I toughed it out, the babies had me up every hour all night to eat (when will this growth spurt be over???), but I woke up feeling 98% better, yaaaay!

So, I talked to the girls yesterday and they told me a little story about Uncle Marc. My brother, Marc, is 22 and an awesome kid. He helps me out sometimes by picking up Ariel from school and sometimes takes Aurora along for the ride, then he drops them a Grandma's which is only a few blocks away from her school- that's the only reason I'm okay with it, because it's so close and it's in a residential neighborhood. Otherwise nobody else but me or Monte drives them because I'm SUPER-paranoid. So, Marc normally puts our two extra car seats in his car or just one, depending on who he's driving. I have gone over how important it is to get a tight install with the LATCH and the chest-clip at armpit level, etc. The guy is an Eagle Scout, so you'd think this would be easy peasy, right? Not. So, I called the girls yesterday to ask them how their day went. Ariel told me how Uncle Marc picked them up, then Aurora chimed in "And we had nooo cawseeets!" I said "WHAT??" then it got worse... Ariel added "Yeah and he drove us to a store and Uncle Marc left us in the car while he went in." Me: "WHAT???!!!" Aurora then added "Yeah, he went into the dwinking store!" Me: "WHAT THE-??!!". So, I got off the phone with the girls and then texted Marc to chew him out: "Ummm... why did the girls just tell me that you drove them to the "dwinking" store with no car seats and then left them in the car while you went in??????!!!!!!" He called back quickly and apparently, he had driven to a gas station right on the edge of the neighborhood (that helps), and ran in to pay (grr, which I would never do, it's all about the pay-at-the-pump!) and got a Monster energy drink. He was at the pump closest to the door and he locked the car with the sunroof open. Not as bad as it sounded, but I was still furious about the car seat thing! But, since it was the first offense and most certainly the last, I have forgiven my little brother and I know he has learned a lesson. He will definitely be knowledgable about all things baby by the time he has kids! Just today (after he asked if the babies were sick, too), I informed him of one of the many magical benefits of breastfeeding- I told him that "If I'm sick, I can make and pass the antibodies for that particular illness to the babies, so they can't get sick with what I have! Isn't that awesome?!"... He didn't seem as excited about it as me, but someday he'll think it's cool!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

If you're gonna spew, spew in this...

Is it bad that I actually uttered those words to my barfing 5 year old last night? It seems 5 month old twins nursing round the clock on a growth-spurt wasn't enough to keep this mommy sleepless, a 5 year old with a stomach bug needed to be thrown in the mix to guarantee it!

I never really find deep sleep, it seems I'm always listening for crap to happen, even while sleeping. I think most moms know what I'm talking about. Anyways, one of the freakiest things my kids do, is when I (must sense something, and) open my eyes in the middle of the night and there is one or both of the girls standing motionless staring at me, either from my bedroom doorway, or right next to my bed. WHAT THE FRIG is up with this?? It's downright terrifying and way too Paranormal Activity for me!

So, this is what happened to me last night at about 1am, only it was just Ariel... and she was covered in barf... and it was foul smelling. It was so foul smelling, that for a moment, I thought she had... done something else. I kept asking her "Did you just throw up or did you do something else, too??". WTF kind of vomit smells like this? As I was peeling her sheets off her bed, I gagged and almost hurled, myself. She had barfed over the rail onto her sisters bunk, below, fortunately it was directly on a pillow, so I didn't have to change that whole bed, too. I threw the sheets and her PJ's directly into the washing machine and ran them through 2 cycles. I then spent the rest of the night rotating between nursing babies and holding Ariel's hair back. Needless to say, I got no sleep. Having Monte home would've been pretty helpful in this instance, but thanks to technology, we had him on Skype for a good portion of it. He's in Europe right now, where it was daytime for him last night, so that was quite convenient. He was trying to be helpful by giving Ariel words of encouragement, but obviously it's not the same. As poor Ariel was bowing to the porcelain god, Monte was saying "Good girl! Get it all out!"- sometimes I wonder about what kind of strange memories we are creating for our children... is this going to be therapy worthy when she grows up? Ariel: "Yeah, we used to eat at the dinner table with a laptop in the spot where my dad should have been." and "Yeah, when I'd get sick, we'd just prop the laptop on the bathroom counter, so my dad could support me while I puked up my dinner".

So, all seems better today. The sheets are clean, the puke has been washed out of Ariel's hair and now she's lying on the couch, watching cartoons and eating toast. I'm hoping the others don't get sick, too, but I guess we'll cross that bridge if/when we come to it!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Daddy's coming home...

... For a whole week! His plane lands in 90 minutes and boy oh boy, am I excited! The girls are at grandma's, so all I've got are the twins here. I was hoping to get a lot done around the house before he got home- but alas, the babies doth protest! Talk about taking turns all day long, I haven't had a moment when both were asleep where I could get anything done- there's always been one or both awake! Somehow I've managed to clean the bathroom and kitchen and do a few loads of laundry, but that's been with a baby strapped to me in an Ergo- not that easy, believe me. The only reason I'm even able to type this is because I'm nursing Bea and I've mastered typing with one hand. Now, Atticus is crying in the other room, but I'm just getting Bea to drift off a bit. Argh! This is always the dilemma I am faced with- do I risk waking the almost asleep, nursing child to tend to the crying, waking up child? Or, do I take another few minutes to get the currently nursing child to sleep and let the other one cry until I can get to them? ...Well, I chose to pick up my lil' man, so now I've got both awake and they won't let me put them down, so, I've gotta go! Ta ta, for now!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

On the road again...

Day 80 of being alone with 4 kids 5 and under. I probably should have started this blog a while I was pregnant with the twins, though I don't know what I would have written about during my almost 2 months of bed rest. All of the TV shows I caught up on on Netflix, perhaps? For what it's worth, I'm team Bill, I don't care how tall Eric is ;)

Here's the rundown; My husband is a musician, he travels on average 6 months out of the year. We have a lot of kids, 4 to be exact. I spend most of my time trying to stay sane while he busses and flies all over the planet being adored, while drinking cocktails on the beaches of the world- just a suggestion, honey: when I call and ask how your day went, don't tell me that you just drank some unpronounceable drink in the mediterranean sea (I swear this happened) with all of your buddies because I promise I will perform your long overdue vasectomy myself. You think I'm joking. I'm not.

Our oldest, Ariel is 5, Aurora our technically "middle" child is going to be 3 in a few weeks, and our two youngest, Atticus and Beatrix are 2.5 months. No, we did not name Ariel and Aurora after the Disney princesses, though they do think it's pretty dang cool that they have those names now that they're old enough to be obsessed with princesses. Poor Beatrix, she's going to wonder not only why she doesn't have a princess name, but why she has the only name starting with a "B". Well, the 3 "A's" and "B" thing was not intentional, we just happened to really love the names Beatrix and Atticus, despite the other "A's". Anyways, I want to write more, I really do, but the babies are crying, I think they know mommy is doing something creative for herself. They're lucky they're cute!