Parenting Tales, Points to Ponder

Not for the Faint of Heart

Having just celebrated my twin boys’ 5th birthday, I’ve been mulling over some of the things I have experienced since having twins. Now, granted, I was not a parenting veteran when Joey and Josh were born. We had a 5 year old, 3 year old, and a toddler who already broke us in pretty well. However, from that first shocking ultrasound where I saw not one, but two little bodies, we knew we were in for a wild ride. (Check out the back story of our guys here.) And a wild ride it has been–full of ups, downs, and all kinds of craziness, good and bad. Mostly good, just wild and woolly at times. I recall seeing a t-shirt online when I was pregnant with them that read “Experience Wildlife. Raise Twins.” Oh, how true it is. Here are just some quick anecdotes and factoids about my twins. I could tell many, many stories on them, but these are the ones that first pop into mind.

(Warning: If you are easily grossed out, embarrassed, judgemental, prissy, or a germophobe, you may want to skip this post. If not, do read on!)

*When they were @3 and still in diapers, I went out for an evening and left all the kids home with my man. Upon returning, I heard the sound of our washer running, which is not normal at all for nighttime at our house. “Why is the washer running?” I asked my husband. He let out a big sigh. Then he proceeded to tell me that while he was in another room, one of the twins came in and said, “Hey Daddy. I need your help in here.”

“What’s going on?” he asked.

“Well, Joey pooped and I was helping to change him. See…” He walked into our bedroom and saw why help was needed. Let’s just say our bed comforter was in need of some major washing. Apparently one twin was trying to wipe the other one and had poop smeared everywhere. (See, I told you not to read if you are easily grossed out!) Oh, and don’t worry–that comforter is NOT on our bed anymore.

*Right after my guys were born, I quickly learned that you can not discreetly nurse two babies at once. Ever. Especially if you are out and about. I was once nursing them in the front seat of my van, parking at what I thought was far away from other vehicles and using a big blanket to cover up with. Well, some poor guy pulls in right next to my van and happened to look over at the wrong time. One of the boys had grabbed a corner of the blanket and yanked it away from everything. I’m not sure who was more embarrassed. I’m sorry, dear stranger, if you are now scarred for life. By the way, there’s a funny old episode of Friends where Joey (the character, not my son Joey) is visiting someone in the maternity wing of the hospital and happened to accidentally see a woman nursing twins. “It’s like a freak show around here!” he says. Yep, pretty much.

*The first 4 days that they were home from the hospital, they went through 80 diapers. Yes, 80. That doesn’t even count the diapers and pull-ups that our toddler and 3 year old were going through.

*Our twins are very much identical, but there has always been something that has helped us tell them apart. For starters, their head shapes were different. We also left their hospital bracelets on until they had almost outgrown them–Joey’s was on his right wrist and Josh’s was on his left. When we had to cut those off, I painted Joey’s big toenails red for awhile to help me. Once that wore off, I was pretty good at telling who was who.

*Also, when they were a little over a year old, Josh fell off a riding toy and chipped his front tooth. I was devastated, but when I told their Daddy, he said something like, “Good, now I can tell them apart.” Even now our older boys can hardly tell who’s who, but our daughter is usually pretty good at it.

*Besides being nicknamed Joey and Josh, we call our guys “the Bubbas.” We’re so used to it that we don’t even think about it. If our other children mention “the Bubbas” to someone who doesn’t know us well, they usually get a quizzical look. I can see them thinking to themselves, “the Bubbas?” They then explain that “the Bubbas” are their twin brothers. (Yes, we may be just a tad bit redneck around here!)

*In my twin pregnancy, I carried them for 38 weeks. They weighed 6 lb 5 oz and 6 lb 3 oz and were both close to 20″ long.

*A couple of years ago I was brave enough (or crazy enough) to purchase a pool pass and take everyone to the community pool by myself a couple days a week.  One of those days I had taken the youngest three kids in the bathroom with me. Well, the twins locked themselves in one stall and supposedly couldn’t unlock it. I tried and tried to coach them to get it unlocked to no avail. Finally I had to shimmy under the stall door on the skanky bathroom floor to go in and rescue them–in my bathing suit, no less. Since then I have a whole plethora of public bathroom stories where these boys have embarrassed me to some extent.

*This past winter their favorite thing to do right after dinner was run to the downstairs bathroom, strip down naked, and do what they called “the naked parade,” followed by the “butt butt dance.” They even had very choreographed moves and their own music that they made up as they went along. Both of them thought this was hilarious and would laugh wildly as they did their moves. Fortunately they moved on to other things since then.

*We took a little vacation as a family when the twins were one. One night we took the kids to a steakhouse for dinner. They were doing so well and we were so proud of ourselves–that is, until the Big Blowout happened. I went to lift Josh out of his highchair and felt that his back was wet. I looked and saw that he had a huge blowout. So, I grabbed the diaper bag, held him at a distance from my body, and hustled him into the bathroom. I got his nasty outfit off, changed the diaper and wiped him up, put on a fresh diaper, and then went rooting in my bag for a clean outfit. Did I find one? Oh no, I did not. Not even a clean t-shirt or onesie. The only thing I found to wrap him in was his sister’s yellow cropped silk short-sleeve jacket (from her Easter dress outfit), which happened to be in the diaper bag. The poor child–I did take a blackmail picture of him in it, but will not post it here. It’s a real shame. Luckily he was too young to remember it.

*My guys went through another short phase back in the fall that cracked me up. Whenever we were headed anywhere, I would hear one say to the other, “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” It would be followed by the other twin saying, “I don’t know, are you thinking what I’m thinking?” Then they would both laugh like hyenas.

*Since being potty-trained they have discovered how handy it is to pee outside. We’ve been trying to teach them at least some outside pee etiquette (if there is such a thing). Not too long ago they were watching TV and we heard the front door open. Joey was holding the front door open with one hand, peeing outside the door, and had his head turned towards the TV–all so he wouldn’t miss whatever was on TV at the moment. I apologize right now to my poor neighbors who I’m sure have witnessed some of this.

There’s so many more stories I could tell, but I’ll stop there for now. Since having those two we have had our share of heart-warming, scary, funny, cute, gross, and so on. One thing is for sure, though–raising twins is not for the faint of heart!

Parenting Tales, Uncategorized

An Interview with Joseph & Joshua

Our family hits a huge milestone this week. My favorite little duo is turning 5 years old.

Joseph, aka Joey or just plain Joe.

How in the world did the last of my babies get to be this old already? Crazy! Anyhow, in part of celebrating their big birthday, I thought it would be fun to interview them and see what they tell me. (Oh, how I love to hear kids’ perspectives on things!) I sat down with a pen and notepad while they were playing Legos this week, and here’s what they had to say…

Me: You know, your birthday is on Thursday and you’re going to be 5. Do you like being big boys?

Joe: Yup.

Josh: Yes.

Me: What do you like about being big boys?

Joe: Because we love brushing our teeth by ourselves. (This is the same child who insisted that Mommy brush his teeth the other night and acted helpless, saying he was still like a baby.)

Josh: Because I love you.

Joshua, aka Josh, cheesing it up for the camera.

Me: Well, what do you love about me?

Josh: I don’t know.

Joe: That you make us what we want to eat.

Me: So guys, what do you love about Daddy?

Joe: That he plays dragon fight with me. (“Dragon fight” is the favorite evening game of the moment where they take turns pummeling and jumping on my husband. )

Josh: Yeah, just dragon fights.

Me: Do you like preschool?

Both: Yes!

Me: What is your favorite thing to do in preschool?

Joe: Just playing.

Me: Well, what is your favorite thing to play with there?

Joe: Playing with firetrucks.

Josh: I like doing papers.

Me: Okay, I have another question for you. What is your favorite food?

Joe: My favorite food is spaghetti-o’s with meatballs.

Josh: Hmmm……Uhhhh….I think spaghetti-o’s with meatballs.

Me: Do you two like being twins?

Both: Yes.

Me: Joe, what do you like best about Josh?

Joe: Playing fighter rocket. (I have no idea what that is, but they have all kinds of crazy made-up games they do)

Me: Josh, is there anything you like best about Joey?

Josh: I don’t have any. (At this point he has the “I wish you would get this over with” look on his face, so I didn’t push it)

Me: What is your favorite movie?

Josh: Diego! (whispers to his brother, “Say Diego.” Diego is their current favorite movie as they suckered Grandma into buying them a Diego DVD this past weekend.)

Joe: I love Diego.

Me: What kind of cake should I make you for your birthday?

Joe: Umm…I think chocolate.

Josh: Vanilla….or maybe I mean chocolate.

Me: Okay boys, I only have one more question for you. Can you handle that?

Both: Yes.

Me: Tell me what did you two do when you were babies?

Josh: Well, we put food on the conveyer belt in your belly.

Me: (Laughing) What???

Joe: Yeah, because we were workers in your belly. We worked a lot. (They have lots of colorful stories about when they were in my belly.)

Josh: Yeah, me and Joey were afraid that the food wouldn’t come down to us, so we made sure it did. We were worker men.

Me: I mean, like when you were little babies, not in my belly anymore. Did you cry or anything like that?

Josh: Yeah, I think we cried some.

Joe: And we pooped in our diapers. (I’m shocked that the word poop hasn’t come up until now. Right now they love potty humor or discussing bodily functions.)

Me: Yup, you both cried and pooped. A lot. (They did!) That’s all the questions for now. Thanks guys.

Josh: Can we watch Diego now?

***End of interview***

Craft/DIY Ideas

Kitchen Window Valance

Check out my new kitchen window valance.

I like to switch mine up now and again, just for fun. This is the window above my sink that overlooks our deck and backyard. Therefore, I like just a valance there to allow more natural light in my kitchen. I had bought a piece of this graphic print home decor fabric from Goodwill for @$2. (It’s actually a Waverly fabric called Groovy Grille) Oh, and if you recognize the framed Easter bunnies, I made these last week–check out this post to see how.

Making a basic valance is pretty easy and would actually be a good project for a beginning sewer.

Here’s the steps I took to make the valance:

First off, choose a fabric and cut it so that it is @18″ wide and nearly twice the width as your window.

Fold each edge in 1/4″, then another 1/4″ and sew a straight stitch along all 4 sides. This will nicely hem up all of the raw edges.

From what will be the top of your valance, fold down 3-4″ towards the back and pin.

From the fold you just made, sew a straight line about 1″ from the top of the fold and another straight line about 2″ below that. You may want to change those numbers depending on how wide your curtain rod is. This will create a pocket for your curtain rod to slide through.

That’s it. Pretty basic, huh?

Set it up in your window and enjoy the view!

Points to Ponder, Uncategorized

Memorizing James

Just this past month I accomplished something I would have previously never thought possible–I memorized the Book of James in its entirety. It was a challenge posed to me by a Beth Moore study on the book of James that the ladies in our church are working on. To be honest with you, when Beth (yes, I call her Beth because after doing many of her studies you really feel as if you know her) first challenged us with this, I thought to myself, “yeah, right!” You see, I used to be at least kind of smart and was great at memorizing lots of stuff. That was before I had kids. When my oldest son was born, followed by 4 siblings in just as many years, my brain felt as if it had turned to mush. Sure, I have done a number of Bible studies in the past decade, but haven’t done much memorization at all other than a verse here or there.

So, like I said, my first reaction to even the thought of memorizing the Book of James was not so enthusiastic. Anyway, I started in on the study, attending our Bible study group and tackling the homework portion. I found myself starting to say the first few verses of Chapter 1 to myself without really even thinking about it.

” Hmmm….maybe I’ll attempt just the first chapter.”

Surely that is enough of a challenge and can benefit me. As Beth would say, “a little word is better than no word.” Well, I started to seriously work on James 1 and flew through all of it and was into chapter 2 by the end of the first week. Whoa. Okay, maybe I can do all of it.

I prayed something like,” Lord, can you help me out here? I would like to do this, but cannot do it by myself. Please help me to be disciplined enough to see this through. Amen.”
Well, the Lord got a hold of me and I became a memorizing machine. Chapter 2 was soon a breeze, followed by 3, and so on. There were a few small sections where I always got a little tripped up and would need to peek, but other than that it somehow just flowed for me. Amongst my many daily interruptions, the Lord somehow always provided a bit of quiet time every day for me to diligently pursue this.

So, what’s my point? And what recommendatons or tips do I have?

First off is this: If I can do it, so can you. Most everyone I know is pretty busy, including myself. On a daily basis I have what seems to be a million thoughts and details cluttering my mind, not to mention all the little people that depend on me for lots of things. Again, if I can do it, so can you! Really.

Second: Pace yourself. Sure, you may not do it in a month like I did. In fact, Beth recommends stretching it out much longer than that. For some reason this happened quickly for me, but that may just sound nuts to you. That’s OKAY. If you’re in the word every day that is awesome. I usually worked on it for about 20 minutes a day, sometimes more, sometimes less. It is so worth it. You wouldn’t believe how many times the words of James come to mind and I catch myself saying verses in my head over a situation.

Third: Commit to it. This isn’t something you can half-heartedly do all that well. You need to decide to do it and commit to seeing it through. Set small goals for yourself and take it piece by piece.

Fourth: Say it out loud. There’s an article written by Beth’s daughter Melissa about how when James was written, a large percentage of the population was illiterate and there weren’t lots of copies of scripture just floating around. The people most likely would have heard these words spoken out loud. Speaking God’s word out loud on a daily, consistent basis has been a wonderful experience for me. I would literally walk around the house or even outside with my Bible open to James and would say my verses (without trying to peek). Oh yes–my husband, my kids, my dog, and whoever was walking by would get to hear and see me talking to myself. I’m sure I looked a little crazy, but I think it’s a good kind of crazy 😉

Fifth: Find a translation that is comfortable for you. No, I don’t use the word comfortable to mean that James will give you the “warm and fuzzies.” James does not mince words, no matter what translation you are reading from. He gets to the point and if you’re not feeling convicted through most of it, you’re either a way better person than I am or you aren’t focusing on his words. What I mean is that you need to find a translation that is most comprehensive and flows the best for you. I’m an NIV girl, so that is what I used.

Sixth: Set small goals. As you reach each one, push yourself to go a little further the next time. When reciting my verses, I would most always start from the top. That is, I would start at James 1:1 and go until I reached the verses that were my current goal.

So, those are my main recommendations based on my own personal experience. I am by no means an expert as this was the biggest passage I’ve ever done before. I can say without a doubt that every minute spent in memorizing these words was hands down worth it. After memorizing I am eagerly looking forward to digging into these scriptures even more and applying them to my life. As I said before, James is full of challenging and convicting stuff. But it’s good stuff. Sometimes we need a good “kick in the pants” so to speak (or at least I do).

Blessings to you all,

Craft/DIY Ideas

Easter Bunny Specimen Art

This is my first attempt at making any kind of specimen art, just in time for Easter!

This was a really easy project to do and I like how it turned out.

First, I took a thrifted mirror in which I had spray painted the frame a cream color some time ago and hadn’t found the right place for yet.

Then I took out the glass and covered the inside cardboard insert with a piece of burlap.

For my “specimens,” I decided on a peeps-style bunny shape. I cut out one to use as a template and then replicated it many times over using printed scrapbook paper scraps.

I mounted the shapes in rows using double-sided adhesive foam dots to not only adhere them to the burlap, but to make them pop out a little bit.

What do you think? After making it I wondered whether solid colors would have looked better. Oh well, it’s done now and if I wanted to do another I now know how easy it is.

Happy Spring!


Points to Ponder

Facing Your Nineveh

My beloved and I just had a wonderful date together to see a production of “Jonah” at Sight & Sound Theater, which isn’t terribly far from where we live. We were fortunate enough to score free tickets to the show, which just came out within the past week or so. It was absolutely amazing! I’m not a huge musical theater type of fan and neither is my husband. However, seeing a familiar story come to life in such a way really makes you think of aspects you may not have otherwise. Growing up as a typical Sunday School girl, I heard the tale of Jonah a number of times and as a Sunday School teacher, I have probably taught it just as many times to children. Usually the story focuses on Jonah’s running away from God and how, in his flight from the Lord, he gets swallowed up by a large fish for 3 days and 3 nights. Only after being spit up on dry land and surviving this ordeal does Jonah decide to obey God and preach to the Ninevites.

After seeing the show, certain things resonated with me and one thing in particular has really stayed in my mind. There was a song addressing one of themes, which was how everyone has their own personal Nineveh. To Jonah, Nineveh was a wicked place full of godless people. It was the very last place he wanted to go to, especially to preach the word that God had given him to tell these people. I can imagine him pleading with God, “please Lord, I’ll go anywhere you want to use me, just not there!”
What is your Nineveh? Think about it. Perhaps it’s a person that you may have felt a nudge from God to talk to, but you think they would mock or ridicule you. That person may be in your own family or a complete stranger. Maybe it’s something that’s far out of your comfort zone. Even more so, it may be that thing you swore you would never do. Ever. Extending forgiveness to someone who has deeply wronged you may be your Nineveh. Or, like Jonah, perhaps it’s going somewhere you would never in a million years have a desire to visit. Each individual’s Nineveh is different because God has designed each of us differently and to fulfill a unique purpose. Throughout the Bible God uses common people in uncommon ways to do His will. Each one of us has our own set of flaws, insecurities, and things that scare us. If we truly trust in the Lord and allow ourselves to be used, He can use us common people for uncommon purposes as well. For His glory, and His alone.

Now, back to the prophet Jonah. Though he was terrified to go to Nineveh as the LORD instructed him and “preach against it,” he finally did. What astounds me about this story is what happened when Jonah became obedient, went to the imposing city, and preached that the people there would be destroyed in 40 days. Did they lock him up, torture him, or even publicly mock him? Not according to the scriptures. In Jonah 3:3-6, on the first day when Jonah went into the city and proclaimed its impending destruction, the scriptures say: “The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust.” In the following verses everyone is urged by a decree from the king to call on God and give up their violent ways so that God may have compassion on them and spare them. God does indeed have compassion on them and this city of 120,000 was spared.

So, to me, whatever God has called us to do or wherever He has called us to go, we won’t be doing it by ourselves. Whatever your personal Nineveh is, you won’t be facing it alone. The Lord obviously was with Jonah in his journey and was working in the hearts of the Ninevites. God Himself will be with you and will in fact help you and enable you to fulfill His purposes. Isn’t that reassuring? It sure is to me. So, thinking about facing your own Nineveh, whatever that is for you, be encouraged by these words found in Joshua (one of my favorite verses, by the way): “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 NIV)



PS- There’s even more to this story! Check it out in the book of Jonah, which is a tiny book sandwiched between Obadiah and Micah in the Old Testament.

Craft/DIY Ideas, Favorite Things

My Favorite Things: Sewing Tools

I haven’t sewed a whole lot lately, but I get on different kicks of making things, so I’m sure I’ll be back at it soon. Today I’m sharing with you my favorite sewing tools and what I deem to be necessities when you learn to sew. I’ll preface this by stating that I am not an expert and in fact taught myself how to sew a few short years ago. In fact, I’m still learning as I go and have a lot more to learn.

I’ll put the obvious one on the list first. I love my Singer Stylist sewing machine. However, I started out on a very basic, cheap Singer model and worked my way up to this model, which has lots of fun decorative stitches and just works a lot better.

A seam ripper. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used this handy tool to undo some of my mistakes. If you’re just learning to sew, you will mess up, but experience is the best teacher sometimes. Luckily this little baby can help you redeem yourself.

Good fabric scissors. My best friend did me a great favor by giving me a pair of Gingher scissors one year for Christmas. They are awesome!

Embroidery scissors. These are small, sharp scissors that are perfect for trimming little threads. I use mine all the time.

Sewing pins and pincushion.

Rotary cutter and mat. These aren’t absolute necessities, but they are quite helpful. After sewing for awhile, I purchased a set that came with the cutter, self-healing mat, and clear plastic ruler. I promptly cut my finger on the rotary tool. (This should not surprise some of you.) So yes, they are awfully sharp. But they do a great job and having the measurements laid out on the mat is a lifesaver.

Iron and ironing board. I’ll freely admit it–I don’t normally iron. At all. Except when I’m sewing something, then I find that it makes everything that much nicer. When I am being a lazy sewer and don’t press as I go, I notice a big difference. The iron I use is ancient, so I should probably invest in a better one, but for now it gets the job done.

Well, that’s it for now. There’s more things I could put on this list, but those are the basics. If you’re an experienced seamstress, you may be nodding in agreement with some of these or have your own preferences. However, if you’ve never sewed a stitch in your life and would like to learn, please don’t be intimidated. I bought my first basic machine right after I turned 30 and didn’t even know how to wind the bobbin. Seriously, I had to watch the little instructional DVD that came with it to learn all the basics. Some of my first projects were pretty laughable, but hey, we all have to start somewhere. Fortunately I’ve gotten a lot better since then but still have a long way to go. To me, sewing is a creative outlet and has come in pretty useful since I’ve learned.

Oh, and before I sign off, Happy St. Patricks Day! (It’s also my best friend’s birthday, so Happy Birthday Melissa!)