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Quick Bits

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  • Having a baby doppelganger still sort of catches me off guard sometimes. I mean:
  • facebook_12181355I have no idea what I am getting anybody in this house for Christmas, I haven’t thought about Christmas cards, and I haven’t started making the 2014 calendars yet. I need to get crackalackin.
  • I don’t really have a plan for Thanksgiving…except to not work for 5 straight days and to eat pie. I’m ok with this plan.
  • I woke up with a mild cold and scratchy throat business this morning and I’m really hoping it doesn’t get any worse. I don’t really have time to be sick.
  • My Favorite Things post is still open.  I’ve only gotten one entry on my survey, so it’s maybe not going to be as fun/helpful for everyone as I thought. But, you know.  If you are so inclined: here.

Saly’s Favorite Things

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I was in the kitchen making dinner the other night, quesadillas if you must know, and I stopped for a minute to tweet about how much I love my quesadilla maker.  “If I were to make a list of my favorite things, Oprah style”, I said, “my quesadilla maker would be pretty high ranking.” This fostered some dialogue on Twitter, and I decided that (1) I would put together a list of my favorite things and (2) I would ask The Internets for lists of their favorite things.  I will somehow compile the end results in to a master list, and maybe, just maybe it will be useful as a gift guide.

As I wracked my brain to think about what my true favorite things are, it occurred to me that I am something of a commoner. I like things that have purpose.  I like things with functionality. I am the kind of girl who enjoys a practical gift. This gives me an idea—maybe we will categorize the different lists.  Yes.  I think we will. I love it when a plan comes together.

ANYway. Without further ado, I present:

Saly’s Favorite Things

  1. The Aforementioned Quesadilla Maker

Quesadillas are a favorite meal around here; only one of the 5 of us (who eat non-pureed foods) doesn’t like them. I like to throw chicken in the oven or Crockpot to shred and freeze in batches so that we always have quesadilla meat on hand. I used to fry ours in a pan with oil, and while there is much to be said for a crispy, fried tortilla, the amount of time it took plus adding in time to keep them warm while the others were cooking so we could all eat together, totally zapped my will to live. What was supposed to be a quick and easy meal just took way too long.  And then I found this! I am able to pre-assemble all of the quesadillas, and then pop them in the maker one after the other.   BAM! Quick and easy dinner achieved!

2.  The Hang Up Wall Organizer from 31 Gifts

This one is actually a little bit on the spendy side at $45, but I love it so much.  It hangs on my office wall, and holds pictures, a calendar and pretty much everything else you could ever want. I have pockets set up for bills, coupons, school stuff, and a miscellaneous “to do” pocket. Anything to keep all the crap off of my desk, I say.  Here is mine in action:

organizer

I also really love that the pattern matches my walls.

3.   Nordic Ware Deluxe Plate Cover

This baby cost me a whopping $1.97 at Target. I picture myself in an infomercial, struggling to get cellophane wrap over my dishes, having it shrink in the microwave or putting like, a bowl of gravy uncovered in the microwave and being surprised and disappointed when it spatters everywhere. Ok, that depiction is not entirely untrue. This is one of those little things that I always thought about buying but never actually remembered until I happened to see it on a recent leisure trip to Target.  It is $1.97 well spent, my friends. It doesn’t just cover plates, but is tall enough to fit over my bowls as well.

4.  Melamine Appetizer Sized Plates

I don’t actually have this pattern, but these are the perfect plates to have on hand for breakfast and lunch, especially considering how breakable my stoneware dishes seem to be.  I watch the Target endcaps for these to go on clearance, and have scored several for $.48 apiece. I feed the big kids almost exclusively on these plates. The only downside is that they cannot go in the microwave—the plastic bubbles and peels.  I find them to be a fantastic alternative to paper plates, and BONUS, they are pretty too.

5. Fat Trapper Grease Container

This thing, man.  It comes with bags that seal so you can throw the grease away without worrying about it leaking in the garbage can.  Placing the lid on top also keeps odors from escaping which is nice, because sometimes I only have a little bit of grease to drain.  This saves me from using a soup can or something similar.  I just add my grease until it’s nearly full, zip it up and then throw it away.  This was actually one of my Mother’s Day gifts this past year.  I love it a lot.

6. Honorable Mentions—the following are also favorites of mine that I use often, if not daily.

  1. Keurig Vue– I like that the Vue packs are 100% recyclable.  The plastic goes in my recycling bin, and the coffee pouch goes in my composter. Win.
  2. Kindle- I have the original one, and I love it.  I don’t need anything fancy. I’d consider upgrading to a Paperwhite though
  3. Tervis Tumbler–  I used a coupon at Bed Bath and Beyond for mine.  Expensive, yes. But a solid beverage container. Mine has owls on it, because, of course.
  4. Thermos Insulated Coffee Carafe– I work from home, in my basement office. If I have a busy day, I like to brew a big pot of coffee, and bring this downstairs with me. It keeps me going all day. It’s also nice for road trips.

Now we get to the part where I ask you about your favorites. You can play along a few different ways.

  1.  Fill out the Google Spreadsheet I’ve created HERE. I will use this list to make one big master list.
  2. Write your own post and leave a link in the comments.
  3. Tell me about your favorites in the comments here.  Be sure to include links.

I’m hoping this works out to be a good thing, with lots of participation. I am new to creating forms in Google, so any feedback and suggestion is welcome. Have fun!

 

Things that (maybe irrationally) bug me (in no particular order…)

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  • Interchanging the words “every day” with “everyday”.  It is not the same.  At all.  “We go to the store everyday.” NOPE. You go every day.  2 words.
  • People thinking that because I have 5 kids, it’s ok to just dump off their bins and bags of clothes and say “just donate what you don’t want!”, leaving me to sort through their crap to see what I can use.
  • Using plurals in the wrong place.  For example: Lines of Businesses or Prisoners of Wars. Nope.
  • My mother sleeping on my couch in the morning while I am prepping 5 kids (and myself, and sometimes Ed) for the day. I am so grateful that she is here to watch the babies all day while I work, but I could really use the extra hands in the morning.
  • That the Starbucks buy one get one ends at 5 and I won’t make it until at least 5:30.
  • There aren’t ever enough hours in the day for me to accomplish everything I want to–and a lot of the time what I want to accomplish is to relax.
  • Lone wolf tonight, to include TKD with 5 kids.
  • That we’ve just finally gotten Mr. and Miss Rashypants back in to their cloth diapers, and Molly has a disgusting, awful, horrible and no good stomach bug.

What’s bugging you?

On having older children

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403For Eddie’s first Christmas, way back in 2004, we did a lot of things, thinking “Oh, hey! Maybe we will carry on this tradition for our other children!”. I was already pregnant with Caitlyn at the time, and I had big ambitions for having traditions the kids would remember all their lives. We bought Eddie his own tree that year–one that we could actually plant outside in the spring. Wouldn’t it be great to get all of our kids their own tree for their first Christmas? We could watch them grow in the yard! that tradition didn’t pan out.  We did plant Eddie’s tree, but it died a slow, horrible pine-needle-scattering death, and we never did it again. One of the traditions that did stick though was fresh Christmas pajamas. It’s not a unique tradition by any means, but it is one that I’ve really enjoyed through the years.

Of course, once I had 2 girls, I began matching their jammies. The girls would be in the same pattern and Eddie would sometimes have something similar, and other times something completely different, but decidedly not “matchy”. Naturally, I’ve been pretty excited about Eddie and Gus matching this year. How fun for the brothers to finally match!

Except, no.

Eddie is vehemently against wearing matching pajamas.  In fact, he’d rather not have Christmas pajamas at all, considering that he does not sleep in pajamas, and will really only wear them the one time, and wouldn’t it be kind of a waste of money? Besides, should a 10-year-old (you are not 10 yet, son!) really have matching clothes with a baby? No.  No he should not. Because how embarrassing. And there would be pictures! That I would probably put on the internet! What an outrage!

I just…I mean…GAH, this is frustrating.  I asked him if he would consider doing it just this one time for me and he flat out said no. Honestly, I am the parent, and I could tell him to suck it up and just wear whatever I tell him to, and to smile for the Facebook photos that his friends’ moms will likely see and share with their own kids, because I am the mom, and I am the boss, and I said so. I could. But I do get where he’s coming from. I understand that age 10 is a lot different than the younger kids, and that he has a reputation to protect now.

Let’s be real though; this isn’t about the pajamas.

My very first baby is rapidly growing up, and not in the “how cute, they grow so fast” kind of way. He won’t kiss Ed anymore, and he usually tucks himself in to bed. He doesn’t snuggle up next to me and twirl my hair anymore. He’s joined clubs, and is doing more things on his own and is really turning in to his own person–which is a good thing.  I think we all hope for our kids to be well adjusted, happy and independent kids. I guess I just didn’t realize it would happen so fast. And in case you are wondering, having other babies doesn’t fill the void that’s left upon realizing that your very first baby, well, isn’t a baby anymore.

I have to figure out this new dynamic, the one where my kid is still a kid, but maybe shouldn’t always be treated like one.

And I still haven’t decided about the pajamas.

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Friday Free For All

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  • Ed and I went away without the kids last weekend, to The Fingerlakes, and did the wine trail.  It’s so pretty there in the fall, even when it’s late fall, but I forgot to take pictures because, well, I was drunk.  This is what I looked like most of the weekend:

Sara

EdSara

  • In addition to a lot of wine, I also ate an entire block of smoked gouda with bacon.  Thumbs up; highly recommend.

Cheese

  • Sunday night when we got home, a gorgeous Siamese cat followed us.  He’s been around on and off, and I’d been planning on luring him in, to live with us (after being checked by a vet, of course). Yesterday, he showed up with a collar and a handwritten tag.  It turns out another neighbor has also been taking care of him and intends to keep doing so, but wants to keep him outside. Now I don’t know what to do. I mean, look at him. But if I keep him, I may be stealing him from 2 people now.

cat

  • I volunteer in Hannah’s kindergarten class for an hour every Friday morning, and by the time I am done, I am Wrung Out. How that teacher does not go home and drink every night, I do not know.
  • Eddie is going to spend Sunday with my parents watching football and eating snacks. They’re making a whole big thing out of it.  I think it’s cute.
  • I am very much looking forward to this long weekend.  Work is BUSY. I’m kind of regretting using so much vacation time to extend my maternity leave.  The end of the year is dragging. I have 7 vacation days to get me through Thanksgiving and Christmas. Ugh.
  • I’d planned on doing NaBloPoMo, and that…didn’t happen.  I figure I’ll focus on quality instead of quantity, as evidenced here obviously. (Ha.)
  • Oh, look–I did take one halfway decent picture of the scenery

scenery

Thoughts on Twin Parenting–Month 8

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The babies turned 8 months old on Friday.  Eight. Months.  I mean, seriously. As the months go by, I am more and more in awe of these tiny people and who they are becoming. And as this age hits, we really are starting my very favorite time of babyhood.  They’re not lying around like lumps anymore.  They’re very interactive and engaged with everything we do. I feel like they are realizing their place in this family.

Molly continues to be so joyous, sometimes I can’t even take it.  She seems to vibrate with excitement when she sees me.  She loves to sit on the floor and just play with all the toys, all at the same time.  She also asserts fairly often that she is the boss, and will steal Gussy’s toys right out of his hands.  I feel like she’s already operating with a toddler mentality–If I see it, it is mine.  MINE. But really, unless it is nap or bed time, she is just always so so happy. She learned a trick this month; she waves bye bye.

Angus is such a sweety love. He is a mama’s boy through and through. He will accept Daddy, Grandma, and a select few teachers at school, and that is IT. He is very cautious, very suspicious of new people and things, and is always looking over his shoulder to make sure one of us is there. He still startles very easily, and is terrified of loud noises–even laughter, sudden movements and the like. He really is just so sensitive, and this is different for us, since we are a family of loudmouths. We find ourselves having to adapt for him, which I wouldn’t say is bad, but it is definitely new. Still, he is just such a love. He learned how to clap this month, and to wave bye bye too.  Just last week, he pushed himself forward on the floor a bit and can just almost get back to sitting from his belly. He also sprouted his first tooth! He’s been a busy boy.

Month 8 Happenings:

  • Babies are now eating 3 meals a day, and are working on sippy cups and some finger foods.
  • Gussy puts everything in his mouth–in fact, he choked on a paper raffle ticket and I had to perform the baby Heimlich on him. It was maybe the worst experience of my life.
  • Went to Letchworth for the first time, had their pictures taken on the stairs.
  • Both became strong sitters.
  • Gussy likes to sleep on his belly.
  • Mol is really good at mimicking the sounds we make.
  • Gussy got a tooth!
  • Molly enjoys tasting everything we are eating and loves to chew on rolls, pizza crusts and other things like that.
  • Gussy also likes to taste foods, but gags on non-pureed textures.
  • Molly loves loves LOVES to take a bath.
  • Angus…does not.
  • We had an epic EPIC diaper rash that required a prescription to clear up.
  • Had their first school photos taken.
  • Celebrated their first Halloween as Luke and Leia

Month 8 Photo Dump:

 

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Halloween 2013

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Orchestrating 5 kids and costumes and pumpkins and anything else you can imagine turned out to be not so bad, mostly in part to my parents who handed out candy, and took over baby duty when the rain/up past bedtime proved to be more than they could handle. We carved pumpkins after school, because, you know, nothing like waiting until the last minute, and were on our way with one of Eddie’s friends and his mom by 6pm.

It had just started raining at that point, so Ed and I took the babies to see our neighbors and then brought them back home, while the kids stayed with our friends.  Ed caught up with them later.  Every year they say they’re going to do several streets, and every year they make it up our side and back down, and are done.  We live at the corner, so the warm house in the midst of a cold rainy evening is pretty tempting, I think.

Everyone was in by 7 and we put the babies to bed and ordered pizza & wings.  When I went to extract Ed from the neighbor’s porch, she began raving about the homemade wine she and her husband made.  The next thing I knew, I had a glass in my hand and in the 20 minutes or so that it took Ed to get the pizza, it had been refilled 3 times. It was good stuff.

We all ate our dinner in front of the TV, and put on the Toy Story Halloween special. My parents left, and everyone was in bed by 9.  It was a really good night.

And now for some fun photos:

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Meal Planning

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Something that has been severely lacking since the (actually before) the babies were born is a meal plan for our house.  It was hard in those early months when there were sporadic schedules and never knowing when I would even have a spare minute to pee, much less cook a whole meal. Now though, the babies are mostly predictable, and the kids are in a really good groove of helping so I really have no excuse for standing in the kitchen at 5pm having no idea what we are going to eat.  We are all tired of sandwiches, and things thrown together at the last minute, and most of all, going to the store almost every single day.

So yesterday, I read the paper. I looked at the ads. Ed and I talked about which nights he would be home for dinner. And then I made a plan and dragged my butt up off the couch and went grocery shopping.

I had to bring the babies because Ed and Eddie were working in the yard, so the girls came along to help. I’d plugged my list in to my phone app and pretty much organized it by aisle. I had the babies in the stroller, and Hannah pushed a child sized cart while Caitlyn pushed the regular cart.  Hannah would put the items I grabbed in to her cart and then deliver them to Cait’s main cart. It worked out pretty well, and while grocery shopping with more than one kid usually stresses me out, it wasn’t a bad way to spend our afternoon. I don’t know if it’s a plan I can stick to every Sunday, but it’s nice to know that it was doable.  And best of all, we are 100% set with meal ingredients through Friday and should only need to pick up ancillary items like milk and bread. I feel like such a grown-up!

So! Here is what we are eating this week:

Sunday: Sweet and Sour Chicken

Monday: Hot turkey sandwiches with gravy and fries

Tuesday: Crockpot Beef and Broccoli

Wednesday: Smoked Sausage, sauerkraut and mashed potatoes

Thursday: Halloween.  Take-out.

Friday: Italian Goulash

I feel so good about having it all planned out, and ready to go.  It’s also all stuff that I can throw together during the day while I’m working and have ready whenever we decide to eat.

What are you eating this week?

Friday Free for All

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  • Before 9am today, I’d gotten 5 kids to their respective places, picked up some letters for Ed from the printer, stopped at Panera, and completed a Target trip.  This afternoon, I have kindergarten volunteer duty and I have to drop E and C off at different parties on different sides of town before picking the babies up.  I’m BUSY is what I’m saying.
  • Speaking of Target, when I went in the other night to pick up formula, they were completely out of the big containers I usually buy.  The associate in the area told me they were getting another shipment in the next morning. I stopped today, and rather than the nice plastic containers we are used to, they had the tall cardboard ones that were around when I was buying formula for Hannah 5 years ago.  Anyway, really, it’s no big deal.  But then, I read the little sticker on the canister. “10% more than 36oz container for the same price!” This confused me because the plastic containers of regular formula on the shelf (we buy sensitive) were 40oz and the cardboard container is 39.4oz.  Obviously, 39 is not greater than 40.  When I got home, I checked the container we had, and sure enough, it was 36oz. I had noticed in the past that the sensitive formula was the same price as the regular, and I’d given mental props to Target for not up charging for something I consider more of a necessity than specialty item. Now though, I’m questioning if it’s been a smaller container all along and I was just too dumb to notice and if that is in fact the case, is this what Target was counting on? Maybe I’m over thinking it.  Who knows.
  • I am struggling a lot with Caitlyn and her attitude and the way she speaks to me.  She is 8.  Not 13. And she is so full of sass. I don’t really know what to do about it, especially since my instinct is to grab her and shake her. And if it’s this bad now, what will it be like when she actually is a teenager? The fact that she only does it to me says something too.  I’m not sure what, exactly.
  • I read this yesterday.  You should too. Sarah has a real way with words.
  • And speaking of a way with words, I’m planning on doing NaBloPoMo again this year, and I’m hoping to focus on some actual posts with meaning instead of the drivel and minutiae I’ve posted over the last year or so.

Favorites

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This is probably my favorite current photo of the twins.  In Ed’s words “It blows me away that they sit there.  And play. With each other! They are like little people!”

sitting twins

I went with Caitlyn’s class on a field trip today, and she packed my lunch for me.  Salami with spicy brown mustard on wheat, a water bottle, cookies and a granola bar. She’s a really good kid.

cait

Eddie has decided to play the tuba in the school orchestra. Music was so important to me in school for a variety of reasons, the biggest of which was that I was socially awkward and very shy, and music was safe for me. Eddie is neither of the above, BUT is a kid who is just “meh…” about a lot of things, so it pleases me to see him be passionate about something so cool.

eddie

Hannah is learning to read and is sounding so many words out, and can figure out how to spell things based on sounds, and it is really cool to watch. I still think of her as my baby, but she really is one of the big kids now.

hanjump

I turned 35 this week, and Ed went out of his way to make sure I had a really good day.  He even let me take our picture.

edandme