Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Mini Post (Christmas Wishlist)

For those who need to know... here are gift ideas for the boys:

"Cleaning" toys- They love to help clean. Sweeping and vacuuming is very big with them right now.

Bop Bag- Those inflatable punching toys that don't fall down.

DoodlePro/Art Toys- The boys LOVE doing art (taking after Daddy already), so anything that is toddler safe would be fun for them.

Toys with buttons to push- They are big fans of the remote control and the phone. It'd be nice for them to play with actual toys, not actual electronics.

Here's a link to a toy "wishlist" I put together at ToysRUs. I don't really care about the brand of items, it's more about the type of toy that they like. (Under Find Wishlist, type in our last name and it'll appear)

Clothes: Heck if I know what size to get them anymore. Evan is still comfortable in 6/9 month pants. Joel's in 12 months. Both wear 12 months on top. Good luck figuring that out.

Books: Please, PLEASE no books. We have a huge library at this point. The boys LOVE to read, but we've got books coming out of our ears right now.

Videos: Both boys really enjoy Sesame Street, especially Elmo. They are really into music, so the more musical, the better!

Also, please note that one of something equals massive fights between them! If it is something they can share or play together, they enjoy it, but if it is something small/handheld, they nonstop attack each other. So please keep that in mind. Make my life a little easier!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Lonely December Post

I'm calling it this, because, let's face it, these postings are getting to be few and far between! So, in this one post I'll try to sum up anything that may be of interest, and that'll just have to do for now.

November was a fun month. The boys are SO active now. It's unbelievable to look at those old pictures of them lying around. I think to myself, "Why on earth did I feel so busy? What was I DOING all that time?" (Maybe I just have a terrible memory, but for the life of me, I can't figure out what made it seem like such hard work!) NOW, though... this is WORK! It's a great stage in development. The boys are enjoying being able to explore, and that actually gives me an opportunity to attempt to get a few things done around the house. Not that I truly accomplish much of anything, but I'd say my productivity level increased from about 20% to, oh, maybe 40% in November? At this rate, we should again have a somewhat clean home by the year 2012. No, I'm not taking into account that I will have three kids running wild. I refuse to even try to imagine what it will be like around here at that point in time. My head is stuck in the sand-- no, make that snow-- and I'm perfectly happy leaving it there for awhile.

We had a great Thanksgiving! For the first time in many, many years, but we decided to head down to see the Missouri crowd this year. We figured it'll probably be much harder with three kids, so this was the one year that seemed like a great opportunity to visit Janice's side (my stepmom), as well as get in a short visit with Todd's Dad and grandmothers. Days before leaving, I was cursing the decision, fearing a difficult car ride (with toddlers that HATE carseats), worrying that we'd be chasing them nonstop at the Mercantile (my aunt is a dollmaker, which means we would be tempting the boys with about a thousand breakable dolls within easy reach), and finishing that with a visit with Grandpa's dog (the cutest, but shyest thing I've ever seen. I imagined her having a heart attack while being preyed upon by the boys!)

I worried for nothing. The car ride went great. We broke the trip up into three parts, staying with Mamaw (Todd's grandma) for one night, then a few nights in MO, then the trip home. The Mercantile visit was fun, and the boys enjoyed exploring but didn't get into trouble (hurray!) And at Grandpa's house (Grandma Linda had a jewelry show, so was out of town), the boys happily chased Musashi (the dog), and she ended up enjoying being around them. Plus, we had steak for dinner while we were there, which automatically deems the visit a success in my book. (I've been craving steak all throughout this pregnancy, so it was nice to finally get to enjoy it!)

December has not been so kind to us. I guess we were enjoying November a bit too much, and needed to be knocked down a bit. Nothing major, but just enough to remind me that I really, really hate winter, so I'm not a fan of this month in general.

A few days after returning home from Missouri, I made the mistake of giving Joel an itty bitty teeny tiny miniscule bite of my peanut butter toast. Oops. Turns out what we already thought may be allergy is now absolutely, most definitely, an allergy. After a few hours in the ER and multiple medications, he was fine, but not until after I had nearly had a heart attack from guilt and worry. (Have you ever seen an EYEBALL swell? Not the lid, not the skin, but the actual eyeball? That was the first sign that things were wrong. When a swollen eyeball is the initial sign of "something is wrong", you know it is not a good thing.) Everything turned out fine, though, and I'm actually glad we now have confirmation that peanuts are completely off limits. (FYI- He's allergic to tomatoes as well. Just in case we ever come over, please don't serve tomato salad and pizza with spaghettios on the side!)

So, after our little ER escapade, life went back to normal. For a day. Then we all developed a lovely stomach virus. It lasted for days. Four very sick people in a house does not make for a pretty site. Today was the first day we all pretty much felt normal again.

That brings me to current day. See how easy that was? Oh, if you are wondering "how's the pregnancy, Sarah?", the answer is, so far, so good! It has been so easy compared to last time that I nearly forget all about it half the time. Hopefully we'll have gender news sometime next month. Names are completely at a loss so far. I'm thinking I'll post a naming contest, and you all can do the work for us!

And where might the pictures be?
Well, pictures are getting much harder to come by these days. The boys now think the camera is a toy. They know that it has a screen on the back to see the pictures. So, this is pretty much all I get nowadays:

Here's one that I think is pretty fun, though. The boys were enjoying chocolate pudding. They don't get it very often (if you've ever changed a kid's diaper after eating pudding, you know why.)


I've been taking a lot of video, though, so just as soon as I can remember how to actually load it onto the computer, you'll get some real viewing pleasure.
Oh, and before I forget, we've got an official first word! (Besides Mama and Da-ee)
The first word is...
They both said it the same day, nearly at the same time. We were out in the wagon, and went over a bump. I guess they felt the need to inform me about it.
Haven't had much beyond baby babble since, but they say "bump" regularly and with gusto!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Halloween Pics

I'm getting these up a bit late, but here are some photos from Halloween. The boys LOVED trick-or-treating. The weather was incredible (high 60s that day, amazing!) They were quite a hit throughout the neighborhood. It was sad to have to stop, but really, how much candy do they really need (meaning, how much candy do I really need?)

For all you Dr. Seuss fans, here they are: Thing 1 (Joel) and Thing 2 (Evan)! (From the Cat in the Hat, for those who don't know.)

We've had bouts of illnesses in the house lately, but nevertheless, we always find time for fun. Last weekend we took the boys to their first sporting event. Soccer? Nope. A Bulls game! Todd scored tickets (pun intended, ha!), so we decided to take the boys out for a night of fun. They loved it. We had great seats, so they actually watched the game quite a bit of the time. They seemed especially interested when the LuvaBulls cheerleaders came out and danced (typical guys.) It was a great time.
Yesterday we decided to head to the Shedd Aquarium for a few hours. It was cold and rainy/snowy outside, and packed in the aquarium. The boys didn't complain, though! They loved the seeing all the different fish, and were especially happy to be allowed to get down and walk throughout the exhibits. They are walking all over now, and it was quite funny to see these little boys toddling along amidst crowds of adults. We ran into another set of twins, girls who are just three months older than our boys. The girls seemed HUGE next to Joel and Evan. The boys haven't grown in awhile, and it's becoming apparent just how short they are! Oh well, there's nothing wrong with being little. Other than it's hard to reach things. I don't mind, though... keeps them from being able to climb on the couch!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Blog Construction Ahead

I'll keep posting, but as you may notice I'm making lots of changes to give the blog a new look. Please ignore the mess as I try my hand at blog design 101!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

October Happenings

Does it seem as if I've forgotten about my blog? Really, I haven't, its just hard to find the time to sit down and write. Plus, my camera has been on the fritz, so getting pictures uploaded to the computer has been a bit of a chore.

I can't believe how quickly this month is passing by! There is always so much to do, and never enough time. I really cannot figure out how working moms do it.

I haven't been able to take too many pictures this month, but here are a few taken the other day. The boys are enjoying being "toddlers" now, and they walk, well, toddle, all over the place. Here we went on a walk outside. They were very pleased to be able to make the decisions of where to walk all by themselves! Evan discovered our neighbors dog and kept turning up the driveway to see it instead of following me. He's definitely got a mind of his own!



Evan with his proud find!

We are loving the fall weather and trying to get out every day. We recently took a trip to a local pumpkin patch, and our lovely photographer, Drew, accompanied us and did a photo shoot. He did a beautiful job, as always. Here a just a few cute ones from the shoot. They're unedited, so this is "raw footage"... but I still think they are gorgeous.

And here's one that I turned into a scrapbook page:

Were you paying attention?

That's right... I'm pregnant again! For those of you who know how much of a struggle we went through to have the boys, you know what I mean when I say this is truly our miracle baby! It came as a total surprise to us. For years I've been saying that it would take a miracle for me to conceive. Oddly enough, a few weeks before seeing that + sign, I created this little signature for myself:

Does God have a sense of humor or what?

For those saying, "Oh boy... is it going to be like last time?", here's my response:
1. There is just one baby this time, so hopefully things'll go a bit smoother.
2. IF I end up with the cholestasis again (the itching, and yes, there is increased chance since I've had it before), I know the signs and can take measures to deal with it as best possible.
3. I feel much more mentally prepared this time around (I see the light at the end of the tunnel!), so I think that'll help tremendously.

So, we're thrilled at the idea of one more baby, and I'm LOVING my due date. My birthday is in January (think heavy snowstorms), and Todd's is in February (think frigid days and winter depression,) so to have all of our kids with SUMMER birthdays is the greatest thing in the world to me!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Our Little Boys

Thought I'd post a few pictures of the boys. I took them over the course of the last week or so. I can't believe how quickly they are growing. I was looking back at the pictures Drew took at 8 months (the Hat Series was part of that shoot), and they both had much rounder faces and MUCH less hair. My boys are looking more like toddlers each day!

Aunt Jessi brought them these shirts from China. The pandas are doing Tai Chi! We figured they'd fit in another year, but I love how they look on the boys now! Oh, and I've decided yellow is definitely their color (just like Daddy!)


Look at his legs up behind him. I think it's adorable when he lays this way!

Joel... too focused on Sesame Street to pay attention to the camera!

I do realize Joel has a lot of drool in this picture (teething... lovely, isn't it?), but I was trying to capture both of their faces for comparison. So many people struggle with telling them apart. I just don't get it... they don't look even remotely the same to me!

We went to an apple orchard last weekend. Funny thing is, there was so much to do, that we were all wiped out by the time we were supposed to go apple picking, so we skipped it! (I did buy a peck of apples, though, and the boys are fanatics about them, not that it's a big surprise.)

Daddy and the boys (Evan's hat is turned up.)

Addie (Joel and Evan's friend) driving the big rig

Cuties in the pretend train

Are they gorgeous or are they gorgeous or are they gorgeous?!

Here comes the Choo-Choo train!

Evan's happy

Joel enjoying the ride

Our last stop of the day was to ride the carousel. Little did we know it was insanely fast. Todd volunteered to ride with the boys. For those who know Todd well, you know he can't handle rides. He nearly puked! Evan was crying, I think because he could see that I wasn't riding with him. That, or he was scared of Daddy upchucking all over him!

Who cares if we didn't pick the apples ourselves? (Joel ate two in a row, and Evan had one and part of another. I think we can safely say they enjoy apples!)

And finally, some really adorable pics (unedited, so ignore the red eye) of the boys showing off their new shoes. Joel was especially excited about them!

(Yes, for those of you who are incredibly observant, that IS a toilet box in our living room. And for those of you saying, "Hasn't that been there for a while now?", well, yes, it has. We've found it makes a superb extra gate, which is why we have yet to return it to buy the correct one. And yes, you are correct, that means we still don't have a toilet in the downstairs bathroom. Anyone wanna take bets on how much time passes before we actually get to use the bathroom again?)

P.S. Did anyone notice my mistake in the caption of Daddy and the boys? I said "Evan's hat is turned up." Looking again, I just realized that is Joel, NOT Evan! Okay, maybe they do look kind of alike after all!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Birthday Party Pictures

Well, I lost my camera the day of the party (found it afterward, of course.) So all pictures are courtesy of my lovely guests who sent me lots of pictures. Thank you! I would have been pretty heartbroken to put all that work into the day only to not have any images afterward.

Here's the quickie montage I created.
View this montage created at One True Media
The Boys' Birthday Party

Monday, September 8, 2008

Birthday Pictures

Here are some pictures from the birthday party... more to come!

Look at these cutie pies!

The boys each had their own "Smash Cake", which wasn't even remotely smashed! They were very delicate, actually, but really enjoyed it.

The Birthday Cake (I'd like to take all the credit for it, but Melissa did most of the work!)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Happy Birthday, Sweet Babies!

Well, I survived the day without shedding any tears.

The babies are now ONE.

It really hit yesterday. It was one year ago that the doctor told us, "We're going to deliver tomorrow." I'll never forget the feeling driving home that evening. The shock, complete, overwhelming, shock, as I realized what I had been begging for all those weeks was finally going to happen. Suddenly, we weren't sure we were quite ready. Suddenly, I thought, a few more weeks, or at least a few more days, seemed more than necessary, and certainly survivable, on my part.

The morning arrived, we drove to the hospital, and that was that. Before we knew it, the boys were here. I knew their cries as soon as they were born. I knew that nothing could top that moment in time. 12:15-12:16pm; my two proudest minutes in life. Isn't it funny that I felt like I despised pregnancy, but I loved the delivery? I remember being frustrated and uncomfortable throughout the pregnancy (I certainly don't remember it being as miserable as I had made it seem,) but I remember my delivery as the most relaxing, cathartic moment I've ever experienced. It was truly lovely.

And now, it's unbelievable to think that whole experience was a year ago. I don't know exactly how I feel. "That was already a YEAR ago?!" or "That was only a YEAR ago?"

It's bittersweet, I guess. My little boys are growing up. We had their birthday party last weekend, and I couldn't have asked for a better time. The day was gorgeous, the park was a perfect setting. The barnyard zoo was a perfect backdrop for our "Barnyard" party theme. Joel and Evan were absolutely precious; they didn't really get a good nap in that morning, so I was worried they may not be up to partying, but they were little troopers and on excellent behavior the entire time. By the end of the party, both boys were completely exhausted and fell asleep on their great-grandmothers (Mamaw and Nana's) laps. Both ladies had made the long journey from near St. Louis to come to the party, but I think that moment probably made the trip well worth it!

The boys received so many fantastic gifts. It was a shame that they couldn't enjoy opening them, but I certainly enjoyed myself! I was in the hospital for the baby showers, so this was my moment to experience what I'd missed last year.

Everything was just perfect at last week's party, and we followed it up with another fun day today. We had swimming class this morning, which the boys loved. Then in the afternoon we had some baby friends over for a "Fisher Price Party"; basically, Fisher Price sent me a bunch of toys (for free!), with the instructions, "Invite friends over and play." So the boys got two parties for the price of one... I don't think they have anything to complain about!

We need to get to the doctor this week for the 12-month checkup. I'll post current ht./wt. info when I get it.

More pictures to come, but here's a start!

EDIT: Pictures will be added shortly. Blogger is messing with my brain right now, and not letting me publish the photos.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Post For Those Asking about Birthday Present Ideas

Lots of people are asking what to get the boys for their birthday, so I thought this is a good place to post my suggestions.

Quite frankly, I've never had one-year-olds before. So I'm not really any better than anyone else at guessing what sort of things they are going to like over the coming months. At this point in time, they really enjoy dropping balls into things. They like banging things. They like climbing into things. And they like soft things, such as stuffed animals and pillows.

So, if you want to get them some sort of gift, here are possible suggestions:
BATH: toddler bath towels, robes, toys, toy storage, etc.
CLOTHES: Cold-weather clothing: size 18months Warm-weather clothing: size 24months; Shoes: size 4 (Note: It's easiest for me to dress them identically or in coordinating outfits.)

FURNITURE: Kid-sized furniture for the playroom, such as little chairs, flip sofas, tables, playtents, etc.
FEEDING: Sippy cups, feeding utensils, dishes, etc. Please get BPA free (the front of the packaging will mention if it is.)
TOYS: toys to pull, push, connect, or have wheels (so they can push/pull/drive.) Also, outdoor toys for next summer could be fun (and they are probably on clearance right now!)

And of course, savings bonds, Google stock (haha, Jess!), and those sort of things are always wonderful.

Hopefully that'll be helpful to those of you who were wondering. I always have trouble shopping for... well, for pretty much everyone, but I find trying to figure out what to get toddlers especially daunting.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

27 Days of Babyhood Left

Look how close we are getting to the 1st birthday! These babies aren't going to be babies much longer. It's bittersweet, really. Months 10 and 11 have been absolutely amazing, as the boys' personalities are really becoming evident now. They are behaving less like babies and more like toddlers every day. They are both experts at climbing stairs now (we've got gates up, but they get to climb when it's time for bed.) We've got new teeth appearing each day (at least that's how it feels), and Joel is especially pleased to be testing them on his brother. (Evan's arm was covered in marks a couple days ago. Poor kid. I guess Joel is retaliating for Evan "bullying" him over the past few months.)
It's been a lovely time, really. They've been really cuddly over the past few weeks, which we are eating up, considering neither of the boys have ever really been cuddlers. Nowadays, they've been playing "Climb the Mommy/Daddy Mountain" while we lay on the floor. I guess climbing us is an exhausting feat, because once they reach the top, both lay on us for a few minutes, which makes the two of us feel like the greatest people on the planet. Then it's roll down the mountain, and off to fight over the same toy; nevermind the fact that there are probably two hundred other toys right next to them. A few bites out of Joel, a few slaps and scratches from Evan, tears shed, and back to Mommy and Daddy once again.
Beyond the fighting/playing/fighting (or vice versa on a good day), we've learned that these are FUNNY kids. They love to laugh. Games like "Fly-Swatter Mission Impossible" are especially fun. (The game consists of Mommy grabbing the fly-swatter and slapping at imaginary flies while making amazing kung-fu-like moves. It's hilarious, at least when you are 11 months old. Although Todd seems to appreciate it, as well.) The boys find joy in just about everything, whether it's a game of chase, playing Shake-the-Gates-as-Hard-as-We-Can, chewing shoes (I don't know where they come from, they just keep reappearing!), or whatever, life is just generally fun when you've got a twin to share it with.

We've been sick lately (Todd first, then the boys, now I'm finally getting over it), so I haven't had time to take pictures or post too much.) Here are a few pictures over the past few weeks. Enjoy!

We borrowed this horse strictly for pictures. I didn't realize how huge it was! They fell off pretty quickly.

A day in the pool

Not walking on his own yet, but Joel loves to stand!

Scrapbook page

P.S. A BIG THANK YOU to those who have been sending me coupons! I'm loving them! I've been getting some great deals, thanks to you all. Keep 'em coming! (Yesterday's shopping alone: I believe I bought around $200 worth of items for an out-of-pocket cost of around $45, give or take!)

As for Julia's question re: diapers, we've gone back to cloth (Joel gets rashes in disposables), but we use Pampers wipes. When I get coupons that I don't use, I can trade them for ones that I need. Also, expired coupons go to military families (they can use them), so even those are useful.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Will You Do Me a Favor?

Hello to all my lovely readers! I have a favor to ask. Being a stay-at-home mom, I am quickly learning the value of a dollar (oh the things I wish I had known before having kids!)

Anyway, I have become a major coupon clipper, and I am asking all of you to save coupons for me! Those who use them, keep doing so, but if you are someone who gets them and doesn't want to deal with the hassle of clipping, I'd love if you'd be willing to save them for me! Unclipped, just toss them into a bag and set aside. I'll pay shipping, just email me whenever you have a stash for me. My email is (and for those wondering, it doesn't matter where you are in the country reading this. Manufacturer coupons can be used all over the place.)

Coupons are hot commodities in my little world, and I'm not above begging to get extras whenever I can! I'm somewhat tempted to start some good ol' dumpster diving (through recycle bins), but for the sake of my family (who will no doubt throw a fit just by me mentioning the term) I'll leave that option alone for now. So please, if you want to keep me out of the dumpsters, save those precious inserts for me!!

(Just for a little guidance, the majority of coupons are generally found in the paper as a booklet, with one of the following headers: SmartSource, Valassis, and Red Plum.)

Thanks in advance!

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Hat Series

I know I just posted yesterday, but I just got these back and have been dying to share them with the world! Remember those incredibly gorgeous b&w photos of the boys from last December? Well, Drew did another photo shoot of them back in May. He is absolutely incredible. I got a lot of beautiful pictures, but what I call "The Hat Series" are by far my favorites. I hope everyone gets a kick out of these- there is such humor in the set! Please, please take a moment to leave a comment and let Drew know how fantastic he is. If you could see him in action, you'd appreciate how much went into these five photos alone.

Without further adieu, here is "The Hat Series" by Drew Pistilli.