Friday, September 30, 2011

Name those babies

Alright, I'm pretty sure you can figure out who is who (except maybe the twins, but that's always the case).  Kind of fun having all boys who wear the same clothes (and smile with their mouths wide open) so you can really compare similarities.

Friday, September 23, 2011

What I walked in on this time

Good thing we don't just limit ourselves to honey around here.

Monday, September 19, 2011


We had a LOT of this from Ashton over the last little while:

It was kind of a rough summer with him.  I knew it wasn't even just me when one time my sister got back from watching the kids for a while, and as we were about to leave again Ashton said, "I'm going in Julie's car!" at which point she blurted out, "LIKE HECK YOU ARE!!!" which made us all burst out laughing knowing that she had experienced the fullness of Ashton's tantrum-throwing.  Luckily since we've been back we've been working on it's a LOT better. They seem to take turns though being totally uncontrollable for some period of time because my family was all surprised thinking Phoenix was the difficult one when he was quite angelic all summer. Thank heavens there seems to be some sort of switch that at least alternates rather than having them both like that at the same time or I'd really lose my mind.

(Can I say how much I love these shirts my friend made? We have a few styles and I love them all.)

Anyhow, my chubby little twins are growing up and losing their baby look.  They're totally little boys now who run around the house yelling things like "BOO-YAH!" and "modified!" (some sort of souped up car terminology I'm assuming). I know growing up and losing babyhood is usually kind of sad or bittersweet. I'd say in the case of the twins it's actually swaying in favor of sweet rather than bitter.  :)  People told me the first 6 months of having twins was hard.  A few said the first year was hard.  I got to one year and was constantly running two different directions after self-endangering toddlers and wondered how they only thought the first year was hard.  Then I got to two years with tantrums and stubornness and defiance and no one listening to me and still running different directions and wondered how anyone survived the twos.  But hey, guess what?  After three years it's finally easier!  The independence is sooooo welcome. It's like we've finally tipped the scale to where they are now more fun than work.

In fact, I'm sure all the independence is quite responsible for the really pleasant time we're having right now.  I should knock on wood, but I'm feeling pretty good about 4 kids at this point and I'm loving their ages.  There are a lot of factors that play into it - last year we were gone 4 hours every morning while Cash was in school since we would just wait up there for him rather than have to drive an extra hour back and forth. I also used to go to the gym and take naps every day.  Well, guess what I found out?  When you're not out of the house four hours every morning, don't go to the gym, and don't take naps, and you have a baby that actually does finally take naps on his own...well, you actually get a lot done. I'm even sort of being the kind of mom I want to be. I realized this is why other moms don't usually feel as crazy as I did - they actually have time to do things and get housework done and aren't trying to squeeze it all in after 3 in the afternoon.  And even though I abruptly killed my naps when we took the twins' away at the end of the summer (so they would zonk out at night and not keep Cash up now that they're in the same room), I haven't become the total beast I thought I might.

Anyhow, it just seems every month the twins get more independent - and it makes such a huge difference not having to climb in the back of the car, the middle seat, and the other side of the car just to get everyone's seat belts on, or to have to chase everyone down and get each of them dressed multiple times a day, or help them with the bathroom every time, or to have to pick them up all day or carry them around.  I mean, I really had to ponder how bad I wanted to go anywhere before I went because of how much effort it was to get in and out of the car.  But now I have such appreciation for just dropping in an infant seat and going.

Someone even said the most miraculous thing to me yesterday, to which I said, "What?" just to hear those words come out of her mouth again.  She said, "Your kids are all so good in church." Then she said they'd sat by us two weeks in a row and felt more crazy with two kids than we were with four.  I was speechless for a minute, then realized they really had been good the last couple weeks. Granted, they're not sitting with folded arms listening to the speaker, and usually someone is playing on the iPhone by the end of the meeting, but it's  a far cry from rolling down the aisles and running up on the stand like we've had the past few years.

These two are really at the cutest age and play so well together. I think when any two of my kids are together rather than any three they play better, but really, with Cash at school, these two play all day long together and are so stinking cute. I love hearing their funny conversations about rock and roll or superheros, love hearing their creative play with different games and rules they make up, and love how well they get along for the most part.  It really almost makes me sad Diesel doesn't have a twin.  Almost.

And for some reason, when we are twins we must do this all the time:

(Seriously this happens every time I tell them I'm going to take their picture.)

Or even this:

I guess all that independence has it's downside - they always dress themselves and I can never get them to dress alike anymore!  I know I need to let them be their own person, but it's just so stinking cute and makes everyone in the world who sees them smile.  So I've taken to bribery and about once a week and I pay them to dress alike. :)  So far it still works. And on my day there will be no ugly character shirts, you better believe that. In fact I've taken to hiding those for most of the week or using the "it's dirty" excuse.

Anyhow, I smile so often during the day watching these two. I'm sure this is the time people were telling me about all along, that this time would come - and they were right. It's fantastic.

Friday, September 9, 2011


Alright. We're officially three weeks into school here.  Cash got in to the charter school at the Miami Children's Museum.  Big hooray, since I'd been hoping for years he would get in there and it was all up to a lottery.  We knew people who didn't get in.  We were lucky. And it is close. Very close. No more driving 25 minutes to school.  It's unique. I'm pretty sure my kids will never get to go to school in a children's museum again, so that was a big plus. And it has more than 0 white kids, unlike our local "F" rated school that we're zoned for.


Wow, what happened to the good ol' school days like we used to have? Cash had 20-something pages of homework this week in addition to the 30 minute reading log he has to fill out every day.  Now, I'm all for reading, don't get me wrong.  But I just have such little down time with my kids - by the time we get back from school, get the baby fed and down for a nap, do his reading and homework... it's time to make dinner, then baths and bed.  I mean, really?  Is it not fathomable that perhaps I would like to do something with my 5 year-old other than sitting at a table being his task-master while he traces the letter C fifty times?  Perhaps you don't realize my child has more important things to be doing at this age, like running around outside or playing pretend or jumping on the couch with his brothers. I mean, I really can't imagine that 6.5 hours of school a day (kindergarten is full-day here) isn't enough to learn whatever the requirements are by the time he finishes kindergarten. I had half day kindergarten and no homework. And I remember a big play-house in our kindergarten room. My husband didn't even know his alphabet when he started kindergarten and he's a doctor.  Unless kids these days are going to be building rocket ships by the time they graduate high school I just don't see why it's necessary.

I will say some of it is just the flavor of parents down here. Maybe the Latin influence. These parents are kind of intense. (The teacher seems a little intense too. I asked Cash one day if his teacher smiles and he had to think about it. ".....No.....well, maybe sometimes.") Anyhow, I overhear the parents here bombarding the teacher with the pettiest little things. Even if they are stay-at-home parents, their kids have been in "school" since they were two.  Last year the Pre-K teacher said we had no idea how many parents ask for homework (yeah, point 'em out to me and I'll take care of that)....  Anyhow it's silly to me.  If my kid fails kindergarten because he didn't do his homework you can totally blame his mother.  The other night when it was time for bed and we hadn't done his reading because we'd been out I just said forget it. I am not keeping you up for homework when you are five years old.

Actually, the teacher's introduction to the homework on the back-to-school night was as amusing as anything. She starts off giving this big speech about "Here at the Children's Museum we are going green." She even uses the word "paperless" and then proceeds to tell us how we will be uploading the homework at home. I start thinking, "Wow, uploading?  Really? Like scanning it in or what?"  Then I listen further and realize, oh, no, she means downloading. She says, "Every week you will have to go on our website and print the homework off at home for your child to do and then bring it to school to turn in the following Monday."  At this point I almost laugh out loud - then I look around at all the other intently-listening parents and I'm like, wait...are you buying this???  I so wanted to raise my hand and say, "Right, but that's not really going green, now is it - since we're still using paper??  That's just a covert way of saying we're not going to be using your paper - we're going to be using my paper at my printing expense." I seriously wanted to laugh so hard that they were trying to pass it off in the name of "going green!!!" and that everyone else was just nodding their heads feeling so proud that they were going to be teaching their children the importance of being conservation-minded. And they're telling me this just after I had to bring in three reams of copy paper for the school supply list. (Which brings me to another whatever-happened-to-the-way-things-used-to-be? When did parents have to start supplying everything from lysol and kleenexes to reams and reams of copy paper for the school?  I guess it's just because there's not enough money in education?  I certainly never did that when I was in school. Caught us off-guard as first time school parents. I would so rather pay a supply fee and have them get exactly what it is they want than have hundreds of parents all running around fighting each other in the store for the last "yellow folder with claps" and "blue plastic folder with pockets" or having to buy "kindergarten paper - found in educational stores." Why do I have to hunt down an educational store to go buy one item?)

Anyhow, back to the good things, Cash is a stellar student.  Shy, but stellar.  He says he's "too scared" to play with anyone at recess, but he's gotten on the good list of the few students that have gotten to go out to the museum to play every week.  And he never gets moved down on the behavior chart.  He seems to enjoy it, which is great.  We get to hang out at the museum after we pick him up which is at least a nice way for him to blow off some steam after school.  So 2 or 3 times a week we stay after school and the kids have a great time playing around.

Our museum visits are also increased because of the pick up situation.  This also boggles my mind a little.  I seem to remember the school bell ringing and everyone just running hog-wild to get out of the building.  Now I have to potentially sign in two different places to be able to get my child from school at the end of the day.  Because it's a museum and not originally designed as a school, there's not a great drive through area.  The parking lot isn't even paved, it's dirt. And if it's a rainy day, you have to go all the way inside to pick up your child.  Right, so instead of one kid getting wet, I have to get all four wet... and 4-wheel through the muddy/grassy/weedy parking lot with a stroller. And it's not like I just walk in the door. I have to enter the museum and sign in that I'm going to the school. Then go all the way to the back of the museum into the school area, wait for the tiniest little elevator with every other parent trying to pick up their K-5th grade students, go up to the second floor, and then maneuver my stroller through the tiny and overcrowded upstairs where the classrooms are, where I will again sign out my child and possibly even show ID.  Talk about inconvenient.  So my question is - is it just like this everywhere now?  Is that how the world is?  Or is this place as weird as I think it is?  Miami is not really known for efficiency or running things in a manner most would deem sensible, but maybe the whole world is getting frisked and finger-printed to get their children from school and I was just oblivious.

Anyhow, overall successful.  Not the most convenient - especially since in Miami at 3pm during hurricane season it is apparently raining more often than not. But having to get everyone out of the car go in and pick him up all the time means we're already in there so they might as well run around and play.  And keep the mess out of my house.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

More happy summer

I loved some of the every-day shots my mom took of the summer. It seems like when I had my camera out it was to try and get one great shot of the kids, but when I saw hers I was so happy that she had just captured what our summer was really like every day.

Although my picture-taking efforts did turn out some cute ones of everybody as well.

My cousins wedding reception made for a cute backdrop to try to get some pictures of the baby with everyone. And while he didn't always perform, there were still some cute shots!

Although the most winning photo of the whole summer had to go to Grammy:

I couldn't believe it.  I take hundreds of shots with my boys trying to get a decent one with everyone looking at the camera, no one picking their nose, no one holding toys up for the camera, pulling faces or throwing a tantrum... and it NEVER happens. My Christmas cards usually involve body parts and faces from about 17 different pictures being photoshopped together. So when I said, hey, sit here with the boys, and we got a perfect shot on the first try - and a picture I adore - it was nothing short of monumental.  Now that picture really sums up their summer. Just a natural, casual picture out in the front yard on a beautiful day with their Grammy.

It was the best.

(She deserves a good picture with them.  She put up with A LOT this summer.  And is still recovering.  :)

Thursday, September 1, 2011


We had the BEST summer in Utah. I never realized how blissful Utah is for having children until now. Everything is so accessible!  So much to do with kids. And people expect that you have multiple kids so prices are more reasonable and places are set up to accommodate it. Blissful grass that you can run around in barefoot all summer (and people that don't yell at you for letting your kids do so). For living in a tropical location, we sure have the nastiest crab grass here. Ouch. Anyhow, we had our fill of parks and playgrounds, bounce houses, children's museums, indoor play lands, hide-and-go-seek, ice cream and more ice cream.... Anyhow, as soon as we landed in Utah I saw a lady pushing 2 kids in a double stroller while carrying a baby in the front pack and I knew I was HOME!  :)

Here we were at the airport ready to go (ok, well, this was the first failed attempt).  But I loved seeing the boys walking through the airport carrying their lunchboxes.

Burning through all my planned entertainment.

Spent lots of time with cousins.  Boys, lots of boys.  Leading to lots of time spent like this:

Lots of time in the backyard - really the point of my trip.  I just wanted my kids to have a normal "kid" summer with a backyard and sprinklers and walking down the street to swimming lessons.  And bearable temperatures.  It was exactly what we got.  The boys were a bit hard to convince at first. They're really not used to being out that much because in our life it's an "outing" to go outside - meaning everyone has to be dressed, ready, bags packed to go out, no one napping.... So in Utah when I'd first say "Let's go outside!" they were all like, "No, we want to stay inside." And then when I'd get them out, every few minutes I'd have to go fetch someone out who had gone back in.  Finally they got used to it and loved being out. I was mad I didn't have my camera though - the first time we ran through the sprinklers was probably the most sheer delight I have ever seen out of Cash.  He was just screaming and yelling, "WOOOO!!! I LOVE this!!" all over the place.  It was so cute.  (The twins were terrified and wouldn't go near the sprinklers.)

We got to meet up with Brooke and her boys a few times while we were there which was great. Also our friend Rochelle who I probably haven't seen since college.

And some good old family entertainment.

(And I won for the worst pores on my nose. How lame is that?!)


And here are the kids at swimming lessons.  I kept wondering why Ashton was coming home with dry hair when all the other kids were wet, and then the day the parents came to watch they had them duck under the water - one...two...three! And there goes Ashton, eyes squeezed shut, big breath of air in, holding his breath - and ducks all the way in...until his chin is under water. And stops there. And the teacher keeps saying, "Maybe you can get your eyes in this time!" Too bad I didn't get a picture, it was pretty funny.

And gymnastics:

Enough for now.
I'm tired.