October 31, 2012


Update: I just realized I never mentioned anything about the costumes!  "Quick" synopsis: I have wanted them to be Thing 1 and Thing 2 for Halloween since I found out I was having twins.  The Cat and the Hat was a favorite growing up (my dad still has long portions memorized).  To my delight, the twins have fallen in love with it as well (I am proud to have long portions now memorized myself!).  The biggest challenge (in my mind) was the blue hair.  Then I had the lightbulb moment where I realized I could just sew blue yarn to stocking caps.  I told the twins what they were going to be (no fight from them - thank goodness).  I held my breath when others asked them what they were going to be (afraid they would want something different after I had already put in the work!), and not only did they never waiver but they even agreed on which one should be Thing 1 and which should be Thing 2 (something I actually hadn't thought about...).  When presented with a costume idea I was sure they would like better, they simply responded, "I like that!  Maybe I will be that next year."  Phew.  They were as delighted with the costumes as I.  Success!

This year we decided to go Up North for Halloween.  I have always thought that Halloween would be more fun with the grandparents, so we went to Nana's!  Not only did we enjoy a restful couple of days   at her house, but we had a really fun Halloween.
Skyping with Lala.
 Mischievous Things getting into the candy.
 A sweet little Thing lining up the (many) stolen goods
(bonus points if you can guess which twinner!)
We wanted to get some pictures first things (before their wigs were all crooked and their costumes got dirty).  It was a challenge to get them to stand still.  Once in costume, they seemed to fully embody the personalities of the Things from the Cat in the Hat - moving fast and into everything at once.  Thankfully, they weren't quite as destructive!
One cheesy smile...

"Mom, are you done yet?"
 We started by driving around to visit family that lives in the area (namely the great-grandmas).  We called to let them know we were coming - which is good because they apparently don't usually get trick-or-treaters and didn't have candy in the house.  But they spent the time collecting goodies they thought the twins would like, and they seemed to compensate for lack of candy with a large volume of other surprises.  After 3 places the twins' bags were full!
Great Grandma D
 Little Grandma
Aunt Darleen with her first trick-or-treaters ever!
 Aunt Darleen borrowed Allie's wig.  I wasn't fast enough to get a picture of her wearing the wig, but I did capture her face as Allie snatched it away!
Then we went to a couple of houses of friends.  I should note that we expected the weather to be rainy and crummy (the rest of the weather was during our time there), but it cleared up during trick-or-treat time.  Since their wigs were actually stocking caps, and Nana helped us find red gloves to cover their hands, we put extra layers of clothing underneath their costumes and let them go without coats.  I repeat, they were fully clothed underneath their costumes and I checked frequently to make sure they weren't too cold.  It actually ended up being pretty perfect.
Waiting at the first door...I can honestly say that the bags are the only thing that let me know which is which!
 We ended the evening with dinner at McDonalds (we went out pretty early so that it would be light while we went the the houses).  It turns out that McDonalds gives away Sundays on Halloween!  The twins got the largest dish of ice cream they have ever had in their life!  Then we headed home to try to help them unwind and get to bed
Checking out their "booty" - as Allie calls it.  The girl apparently wants to be a pirate...
 Sneaking candy even though I made it clear I did not want them to eat any...and, in the name of consistency, I snapped a picture of the offense before correcting it!
As I put them to bed Ryan said, "Mommy, that was so fun.  Can we go trick-or-treating again tomorrow?"  and Allie keeps begging to go back to Nana's house (because she thinks she will get more candy?).  Thank you, Nana, for such a fun Halloween!

October 30, 2012


I've mentioned before that I coordinate the local Moms' Group.  One thing we have started is a costume party for Halloween.  Basically, I like to create as many opportunities to wear their costumes as possible!  This year we scheduled it for the afternoon so that older siblings/moms with school age kids could attend.  I wasn't really thinking it would be any bigger deal than last year...until about 4 days before when I started actually counting up how many people said they were going to attend (23 kids with roughly 35 people once adults were included).  Suddenly, it seemed like a much bigger deal.  Thank goodness I used to be an Activity Director.  I literally put together the party we used to do each year for the residents - complete with "Pin the Stem on the Pumpkin" and a Scavenger Hunt!
Allie trying to give her friend L a hug.
 My favorite costume.  His eyes lit up!  Sadly, he didn't win the costume competition.  I should have voted...
 Since the day was beautiful, we actually held the scavenger hunt outside...in the cemetery.  Normally, I stay away from all things scary.  But I LOVE our cemetery.  It is so beautiful and one of my favorite solitary places.  The twins and I frequently go for walks there.  Because of that, and the gorgeous day, it honestly didn't feel scary.
 Taking a break from the hunt to play in the leaves.
 Unfortunately, the twins (and pretty much all of the kids their age) didn't quite get the team aspect of a scavenger hunt.  So it ended up being a lot of little kids running around with their parents to find things, and then mashing the found items together in teams after (because no one could remember who they were with before).  The ONLY team that stayed together was, not surprisingly, the only team that won.
Running to show me what they found.

 The party ended with pizza and goodie bags (made up of non-candy items brought by each mom) for each of the kids.  I think the pizza and goodie bags alone made the party a success :)  
My mischievous little Things...

October 24, 2012

Fire Safety Fail

Remember the Fire Safety Day we had about 6 months ago? 

Well, I have been thinking that we needed to have another one.  Partly because I asked the twins what they do if their smoke alarm goes off and they looked at me with completely blank expressions.  Partly because the tree where they are supposed to run and wait for us is gone.  The neighbors removed it this summer.

Last night we ended up having a real, live fire drill.  Here are some things we learned:
 - If we are watching tv when the smoke alarms go off, Lucas will assume (for several minutes) that it is happening on the tv.  It will only be when the actors go too long without responding (while his wife is racing toward the children's room) that he will realize it is for real.
- Our system is the best kind in that it is set off by particles of any kind floating through the detector.  The down side of this is that the new humidifier we got for the sick twinners will set it off.
- All of the alarms in our system are connected, so when one goes off they all go off.  In the absence of smoke (and considering we didn't know that they were connected before) it can be difficult to tell which alarm is the trigger.  The good news is that now we know to look for the flashing light that lets us know which is the offending alarm.
- Our alarms are awesome and cannot (I repeat, CANNOT) be turned off simple by waving a hand, towel, or blowing a fan at them.  Once on, you either evacuate the house or turn the system completely off.
- Our alarms are wired into our electricity.  This means that turning the system completely off means that we have to flip the circuit breaker AND take the battery out of the offending alarm.  Something we did not previously know.
- It doesn't matter if the alarm goes off for ten minutes (because it took us that long to figure out which alarm and how to get it off) - causing temporary deafness in me and Lucas - or if Lucas and I argue loudly about what to do.  The twins will sleep through all of it.

I supposed I can't complain about a fire drill where everything happens as if there was danger, when there is actually no fire, smoke, or anything to cause true alarm.  It was a great opportunity for us to learn the ins and outs of our alarm system (and be relieved that it is literally the best I could hope for).  It was good for me to see how everyone responds to an alarm (especially the twins) to have a better idea of what to expect in the event of an actual emergency.  Now it is time to start planning our next fire safety day armed with better information...

October 22, 2012


 I'm totally going to kill 2 birds with 1 stone.  Not only am I finally answering the requests for a new post, but I'm showing a couple pictures from our photo shoot last week AND giving an adoption update!  I guess that is actually 3 birds...

We were trying to get a family picture that I could use to make some Thank You's to send to all of the people who have supported us during the process thus far.  I was hoping to get a family picture with us holding our current number on the list.  Sadly, in every picture someone had their eyes closed, or was making a funny face, or something that made it not work.  But...I found a few gems...if I cropped our the rest of the picture...
Allie - the only one paying attention when this picture was taken!
As you can see, we are currently #23 on the list.  What does this mean?  This means that there are currently 22 other families waiting for children from Uganda who were placed on the list before us.  Does this mean we will be family #23 to be matched with a child?  Not necessarily. The list is somewhat fluid based on the children that are available to be placed and the needs/requests of the families waiting.  For example, we want 2 children that are younger than the twins.  If a set of 2 year old twins became available tomorrow and no one on the list before us wanted 2 children, we would jump to #1!  However, if we wait until we get to the front of the list and then for several months the only children they have available are 5 and over, we wait while families behind us are matched.  Sure...this might make it seem like the number is meaningless - and perhaps it is.  But, in a long period of time filled with waiting, it gives us something tangible to hold onto.  The first week of every month we get an update (yes, this means that this number will, hopefully, be different in 2 weeks...thus the picture below with a blank chalk board in which I can photoshop the latest number!).  I look forward to this week each month like I used to look forward to ultrasounds with the twins. I get to see how things are moving along.  I get to hear the latest updates in the program.  I get a peek at the progress that is slowly, but surely, happening.

In case you were wondering exactly how things have been moving, when we first went on the list we were number 29.  We have moved 6 places in the last 4 months.  If things continue at this place, and we are matched in order, it will take 16 more months for us to be at the front of the list.  Slightly longer than the original estimation.  Of course, it could always be less, but in light of a consistent slowdown I feel it is more wise to be prepared for the longest time frame.  Some days this is difficult - the desire to have all my children safely in one place (like a mama hen with her chicks all tucked under her wing), to know the age, sex, and names of my future children, to see an endpoint to all the waiting is so strong I want to cry.  Most days I am able to rest in God's plan - remembering all the times I wanted a different time frame but saw His wisdom in the end, resting in the peace of His perfect plan, looking for Him at work around me when I am helpless to act myself.
In the meantime, we are enjoying life day-by-day.  It has been an exciting fall at the church - filled with new attendees, new members, baptisms, and - most exciting of all - a long prayed for heart given to God!  It has been a fun fall with the twins - filled with adventures and learning and the funniest conversations you have ever heard.  We are gearing up for the holidays (Yes, we have the twins' Halloween costumes picked out.  No, I have not finished making them!).  We have even been planning ahead for Thanksgiving and Christmas - in hopes that thinking ahead about the busy season will make it more enjoyable and less hectic.  Let's face it, once Halloween hits, the next 3 months fly by so quickly you find yourself in a new year wondering when fall ended!  So we are doing our best to enjoy each day while knowing it will be January and our number will be somewhere in the teens before we know it!

October 15, 2012

Cloud Dough Tracks

Ever heard of Cloud Dough?  I stumbled across the recipe at the end of the summer when I was looking for some preschool ideas.  I've been literally saving it for a rainy day.  Today I had actually planned to do some baking with the twins (Not only was it the perfect cold, rainy day, but we needed bread...), but when I told them, they immediately responded, "But I don't want to bake!"  I could have tried to persuade them (we needed bread!), but felt like it would take more energy than it was worth.  So I whipped up some cloud dough, put it in the water table, and let them play in the kitchen while I did some baking!

They loved it!  The dough was completely engaging!  About 45 minutes later, Allie was by my side saying something about "traps" she had made.  "Oh, that's nice honey," I responded absent-minded.  She asked me to come and see them and I responded, "In a little while."  She insisted again that I needed to come and see her traps...and, suddenly, a little alarm went off in my head that said, "You should stop and listen to her."  I stopped what I was doing, turned to give her my full attention, and asked, "Traps?  What are you trying to catch?"  "Mommy, not traps!  Tracks!"  Uh-oh.  I followed her around the corner, and found these:
I was just about to say, "Allie, what have you done?!" but, thankfully, I kept my mouth closed long enough to wonder what I expected?  Of course some of the dough was going to fall our of the table.  Of course some was going to get on their feet.  Of course it would be tracked through the house on their way to the bathroom.  It wasn't intentional.  And then I realized that it would take about 30 seconds to vacuum it up, which really wasn't a big deal.  So I laughed.  And Allie laughed.  And Ryan laughed.  And we went back to what we were doing.  I'm so thankful I kept my mouth shut long enough to realize how cute these little Allie tracks actually are!

October 14, 2012

A Visit from the Indy Cousins!!

This past week we had a visit from our Indy Cousins!  We crammed a lot of adventures into our almost 24 hours together - swim lessons, dinner out, and a bunch of board games.  But our chief adventure was our zoo trip.  We've gone to the zoo before, and wanted to make it an annual trip.  Unfortunately, last year we were sick the day of our trip, and they had to do something else.  But we revived the trip this year.  We were also joined by our little neighbor girl.  As you can see in the pictures, it was a cold day, so we bundled accordingly.
In the aquarium (the lighting is literally blue, so we all look a little off.
 Watch out for the shark!
 We took our wagon and we would pile all of the kids (count the heads, there are 4!) in to cart them around.  We also grabbed a blanket to cover them and keep them extra warm (it ended up feeling colder than we thought it would).
 Thankfully, there are several indoor exhibits.  We would walk around and see the animals outside until we started to feel too chilly, and then we would head to an indoor exhibit (most of the animals outdoors were huddled somewhere hidden trying to stay warm anyway).  One of the biggest hits were these monkeys (baboons?  I never actually looked to see what specific animal they are...).  A Daddy, mommy and baby.  The baby was very active - jumping and climbing all over.  The daddy was very still, but fierce looking (as you see in the picture below).
 And second after this picture the mommy came within feet of the window and did something that was the talk of the trip (and still is almost a week later).  She ate poo.  While I have heard it isn't uncommon, that was the first time we have ever seen such a thing at the zoo.
We also spent some time being fierce animals ourselves.

 Another noteworthy experience (of which I have no pictures - for Nana's sake) happened in the reptile house.  It was starting to sprinkle (a surprise since the forecast had NOT mentioned rain), so we took shelter in the nice, warm reptile house.  It turned out that we got there during feeding time (another first).  I was a little concerned how my children would react to the sight of a zookeeper offering live rodents in tongs, but I couldn't draw them away from the novel sight.  I was both shocked and relieved when Allie started cheering the reptiles on yelling, "Eat it!  Eat it!  Yay!"  My children seem to have no problem with the food chain...
Chasing a peacock.
 We wanted to get a picture of all of the kids in these leaves, but couldn't quite get them to cooperate.  But I did get some nice pictures of M playing!

 Another, surprising first (since we have been to this zoo so many times) was discovering, with our cousins, a whole part of the zoo we have never seen!  It is called the backyard, and was an incredibly fun place to play.
Allie found a butterfly (made of plastic bottle/jar lids)
 Ryan found a caterpillar.
 In the eagles nest, cousin Lauren explained to everyone what the pieces of wood showed and what birds were represented by each color.  Allie immediately tried to see which bird was her size (her wing span is similar to a crow, in case you were wondering).
 They also had a playhouse and the kids had a blast in there.  It took about 30 pictures to get 1 with all of the kids looking out the window at the same time, with no one's head blocked by a periscope or telescope, and with no one ducking down below the window.
 Our last stop was the barnyard to see the chickens and goats.  Before this, it had started to warm up and was feeling like it might get sunny.
Hi, goats!
We wanted a picture in front of the farm picture.  Allie took off her hat...so M took off her coat.  Then they all sang Old McDonald :)
 While at the farmyard, the clouds came in once again and it started to get colder.  We decided it was a good time to head to the exit and go in search of a place to eat.
Allie decided to be helpful and pull the wagon herself.
Just outside of the farmyard it started to rain.  We stopped at an enclosed look through to get hoods and and get everyone covered and then took off sprinting to the next covered spot.  On the way, it started to hail.  We made a tent over the wagon to protect the kids in there (Ryan and Allie's giant coats protected them pretty well). and took off for the aquarium.  Lauren and I took the kids in the aquarium (to get out of the weather and warm up), while the guys went to get the cars.  By the time we left with the kids, it had slowed down to a slow, cold drizzle.  The terrible weather was the final first we experienced on our adventure to the zoo.
Thank you for the adventure, Indy Cousins!  We can't wait to see you again!

October 12, 2012

Happy Birthday, D!

It doesn't seem like it was that long ago that the cousins (there were only 3 in the cousin crew then) were hanging out at Triple F, waiting for Baby D to arrive.  Last weekend we celebrated her 2nd birthday!  Time has flown! 
Uncle Luke with the girls.
 D is lucky because she got to have 2 parties for her 2nd birthday - one at home and one up north with Nana!  So, it was a small group - just us, Mindy's mom, and her best friend (whom she's known forever) and her little boy.  It was laid back and really, really nice.
 Best friends getting ready!
Eating a yummy brunch.
D opening presents
 Allie wearing one of the bows.
 Me with H under D's umbrella.
Blowing out her candles
 EVERYONE enjoyed the cupcakes!

* Yes, I was the bad aunt who took a picture of her disobeying her mom while her mom was telling her to get down.  But it was just so cute!