Saturday, December 31, 2005

Routine bathing of the twins

Something tells me that someday, I'm going to miss things as mundane as making sure the kids get washed up. When I'm at work and I'm telling my stories to co-workers who don't have kids, they smile and nod and their eyes kind of glaze over. I can tell they're thinking "Yeah, that sounds really cute, but having kids seems exhausting. Can these moments really be worth all the work and sacrifice, and lack of money, lack of privacy, lack of rest, and lack of freedom?"

If they asked me out loud, I'd say, "Hell yeah."

I wouldn't trade these moments or these years for any freedom, money, or experience in the world. I just hope I remember to try harder to lock them into my memory, because they'll be grown up way too soon.

Oh great, now I'm getting verklempt.


(top: L-R, Paige got undressed and I discovered that she's been rather creative today, "I need four pictures for a collage so give me some nice smiles", standard tub play, how superheroes and polly-pockets party.)

The pretty side of winter

A few pictures I snapped while walking through the woods by our house. I don't think I've ever mentioned this before, but... it's GOOD to live in the country.

The ugly side of winter

The first picture is something I saw this one morning when I opened up my garage door - I ended up being late for work.

Belive me, these pictures do not accurately portray the heinous extent of a Michigan winter.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The single most exciting moment of the year.

Do you remember the way it felt when gift-opening was immenent?

You'd been looking at the presents for days, fantasizing and scientifically deducing the mysterious contents. Then when it came time to open them, you're parents had to do 'just one more thing' before you could start. You were so breathless and excited it was almost an ache.

Then the moment finally arrives and the frenzy begins.

Each wrapped package was an emotional roller-coaster in itself - sometimes there was an amazing thrill at the end, if it was something you desperately wanted, sometimes it was bitter disappointment. . . but you'd smile anyway, thank your mom for the socks, and move on to the next wondrous gift -- after all, they can't all be socks.

I love seeing the Christmas drama being replayed with my own children. Hearts beating fast, excited squeals of joy, I even get a kick out of polite plastic-faced thanks for things they didn't really want. I wish I could give them every thing they wanted and blow their minds with lavish surprises, but like any responsable parents, we forced to admit that we can't afford to do that. We spend about 70-80 dollars per child which is a fraction of what other parents I know spend. I'm glad they're not spoiled and haven't learned to have unrealistic expectations about materiel gain, but I love them so much, I want to give them everything their hearts desire. In the end, the real magic happens, not when they see what bought them at Target, but when we're taking it out of the package, holding their excited bodies in our lap, assembling the toys or dismantling packaging while they hover, intense and waiting. The real thrill is being a part of their joy, seeing them happy, and maybe getting an appreciative hug.

Christmas '05

We had a great Christmas, celebrated Friday the 23rd because we had Christmas with both sets of Grands on Christmas Eve and Hailie had to be back with her Mom at ten. Hailie got a lot of jewelry and gift cards, the twins got lots of Polly Pockets and Littlest Pet Shop toys (millions of tiny pieces distributed evenly over every carpet in the house), and Chantze got action figures, a karate DVD, and Playstation games, including my favorite game ever, SPIDERMAN 2 BABY!!

I picked out some clothes for Cindy because that's what she said she wanted, all black, a little trashy (that's right), but she's taking them all back because, "they don't quite fit". What do you think the chances are that she'll come back with more all black, slightly trashy outfits? The last time she wanted me to buy her clothes for a gift, I got all of the shirts too tight (that's right) but she decided to keep them that time. Either I'm a bad judge of size or a bad judge of style -- and something tells me its not exactly a size issue.

Oh, and I got some shirts (which are stylish AND FIT), a bottle of Carolyn's Irish Creme and a nice refillable pen for my writing. Cindy is apparently a much better gift-giver.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

A few quick twin stories.

Story 1 -- Paige: Last night I was trying to get her to come to her bedroom and get in bed. She's the queen of dilly-dallying, and when she finally came, she twirled and pirouhetted down the hallway with all of her finest ballerina moves. I said, "Wow sweetie, that was really beautiful."

She looks me straight in the eye and asks, "Can I have some money for that?"

Story 2 -- Paige: The kids were all running back and forth through the house tied to each other in a straight line with two bathrobe ties. All four of them were laughing like they'd lost their minds, until Paige started hacking and gagging. She had been last in line behind Hailie, and Hailie turned and set her free so she could go straight to the bathroom and retch her little guts out. I got everything cleaned up then held her in my lap and asked her what made her throw up. She said through miserable tears, "Hailie farted. . . now I'm allergic to Hailie's farts. . . I'm allergic to three things now," she counted them off on her fingers, "kittys, boys, and Hailie's farts." My theory is that the bathrobe tie got too tight and maybe jerked too hard.

Story 3 -- Brooke: She knocked on our door and woke me up at around 11:30 one night last week. She seemed scared. She said, "Dad, I heared a noise in my room."

I said, "What kind of noise?"

"It was in my pillow, it was like my heart was beeping."

I said, "Well, that's a good noise, your heart's supposed to do that."

She seemed relieved and somehow proud. "When my heart beeps, that means cuz I'm growing bigger."

"Yup, you sure are."

She smiled, gave me a big hug, and ran back to bed.

The movie we've been waiting for.

Our wonderful Uncle Brian (see July 20th) sent some nice cash for a Christmas present to the Veenie Babies, and we decided to have a wonderful family night. First, we went out to Pizza Hut, (see previous post), and then we went to see 'The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe'. We've been very excited about this movie coming out for quite some time. They're some of my all time favorite books. Cindy's almost through reading them, and even Chantze and Hailie have read the first one.

We all absolutely LOVED the movie. It's very exciting and magical, and, most importantly, family-friendly. I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a movie to take their kids too. It was a little long for the twins, though. Brooke told me several times, "I wanna watch the rest later. Can we go ride the horses?"

For those who don't know, there's a carousel in the lobby of our local movie theatre.

Thank-you, Uncle Brian, do you know how much it costs to take a family of six to dinner and a movie? This was a rare treat.

A very pleasant family night.

Top L-R: Our pleased and thoroughly entertained expressions during the credits. Daddy and Brooke, Paige and Mommy, Chantze and Hailie.

We ate at pizza hut before the movie and had just a nice, happy, special meal together, as a family. Nobody argued or stole food from one another or spilled any drinks, a first for us. The cool people ate a large meatlovers, the two wierdos (bottom left) ate a medium Hawiian. And yes, if you must know, the beverage of choice was Pepsi. I might as well mention that we had cheese bread sticks and cinnamin sticks for dessert, just to be thorough.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Chantze and Paul

Chantze had his buddy come over this afternoon, and they did the usual stuff, playstation, basketball with a kid sister's doll, and various other whatnot. But what really took me back to when I was a kid was the wrestling.

They were playing Yu-Gi-Oh, one of those strategy, trading card games, and started exchanging insults. Paul copied everything Chantze said, and Chantze made fun of him for farting. He asked him if he'd rather be called 'Tooter' or 'Tootsie', then settled on 'The Substi-toot' and the brawl began.

Watching them laugh and try to cause each other maximum pain reminded me of when I was ten. Trying to kick your best friends butt was about the most fun thing a guy could do.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

They make my head spin sometimes.

Weird stuff happens with two five year olds around.

Take last night. I realized I hadn't seen Paige in a while, so I asked Brooke what she was doing. Brooke says, "Oh, she doing 'something'."
I'm like, "Thank-you, sweetie, but what is the something that she's doing?"
"Um, I think she's putting on makeup."
"OK, could you tell her to come here please?"
Paige finally comes out with no shirt on (and no make up), and I ask her what she was doing. She says, "I want to wear a dress, Daddy."
I said, "Brooke told me you were putting on makeup."
They both start laughing and Brooke says, "I was just lying to you, Daddy."

Now, the point I'm trying to make here is just how abstract our daily events and conversations become, and we just take it all in stride. Thirty minutes later, I came out of my bedroom where I was writing, and these two were 'riding' Chantze's stuffed spider and laughing it up like nothing funnier ever happened on planet Earth. The weird part -- the cow was driving.

Christmas lights.

Ain't it purty?
We've got an excellent start on the holiday as you can see. Bought, wrapped, and under the tree. Our kids, our nieces and nephews, and I shopped for Cindy already. Perhaps this doesn't seem all that impressive, but if you know us, you know that this is quite an accomplishment for us.

And yes, we put the gifts out as soon as they're wrapped.

It amuses us to have our children beg us twelve times a day to "just open one gift, pleeeeese!" That, and, there isn't enough room in our closet for all this, and dirty clothes.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

The ten-year old and his robot.

We had Chantze's tenth birthday party on Friday, and it was an overnighter. We had eight kids overnight, girls and boys, ages 9-11, and can you guess how late they stayed up? Well past two... Chantze claims he didn't sleep at all. Here he is with his new buddy 'Robey'. It's just about the coolest toy in history. I can't even begin to tell you all the cool things this robot does, don't get me started or I'll be typing all morning.

The kids...

Clockwise: Robo-Raptor draws a crowd, the girls in the girls room, can you spot the 'not-quite' girl? Breakfast the next morning, random shot of kids enjoying the 'morning-after, slumber-party-comraderie'.

The fun...

Clockwise: cake and friends, you can't read it well in this small picture, but since I knew he knew what Robo-Raptor box was shaped like, I wrote on it, "definately not a robo-raptor, but it is something cool", Chantze's bedroom the morning after, hallway B-ball