One Step Closer

Every winter,
When the great sun has turned his face away,
The earth goes down into a vale of grief,
And fasts, and weeps, and shrouds herself in sables,
Leaving her wedding-garlands to decay –
Then leaps in spring to his returning kisses.
~Charles Kingsley

I am not exactly sure where January went, but it is now done. We killed it. The first month of 2011 is over and we are moving on to February.

I am always amazed at how fast a year can lose its newness. Not too long ago, we were all making our resolutions and wishes for the upcoming year, and now we seem to be back into the routine of daily life. Many of the changes we made are back to normal. Perhaps we will try again next year, perhaps not.

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and spring will not be too far behind. That is my focal point this time of year. Every year. Spring. In my opinion, the first couple months of a new year are always a little on the slow side. Everything seems so quiet after the Holidays and there really isn’t too much to look forward to.

But once we make it to March, things start to turn around. Birds start coming back, certain flowers begin to wake up. The sun returns for more regular visits. Everything begins to thaw after a long cold winter. 

So here we are, only one month separates us from March. Lucky for us, it happens to be the shortest month of the year. Farewell January, we will see you next year. Thank you for bringing us one step closer to spring… again.

Paying The Price For ‘Cheap’

Nathan’s bike was less than a year old when the bearings went out. The stitching started coming out on William’s Pillow Pet three days after he received it. A leg fell off Catheryn’s doll the first time she tried to position it. This seems to be happening a lot lately.  

My kids don’t get toys or surprises very often, but when they bring home a good report card or have been behaving really well, I like to get them a little something to thank them and encourage them to keep up the good work. I used to buy them a little toy from the dollar store or some place similar, but I don’t do that much anymore. These days I prefer to surprise them with a small treat or an ice cream cone. I never expect those to last, but the kids sure do enjoy them while they do. I would rather watch that than see them sad when their new treasure breaks after the second wind, twist or lauch.

I was reminded of why I avoid buying said toys just this past weekend. We went to get the twins a balloon for their birthday and I let each of the kids pick out a toy. Nathan’s was broken before we even made it home. The sad thing is that it is not only the dollar stores that sell this type of stuffEven the things we pay full-price for in a regular store don’t last very long before they end up at the bottom of the garbage can.  

Granted, kids can be a little rough, but when the propellers break off a helicopter the first time it flies, I don’t think it has anything to do with the kid. Of course, it goes beyond just toys. Most items seem to fall apart much faster than they used to.

I guess I’m just wondering why things have to be made so poorly. I know it makes them affordable and blah blah blah, but is it really worth it? It seems to me that if an item won’t last longer than 30 seconds, then it has no right to be on the shelf in the first place.

A Happy Day

I have always found my kids’ birthdays to be somewhat magical. I think it has something to do with remembering the day they were born and how it felt to hold and meet them for the first time. I think back over all the firsts we have shared together and how much they have grown in such a short amount of time. Childhood certainly is special.

The twins ended up having a great day yesterday. We had cake and ice cream for dinner, followed by dinner for dessert. We spent a couple of hours swimming at the Natatorium and then came home for cake and ice cream and a late night movie. As I tucked my brand new 6-year-olds into bed, I had the feeling that it was the end of a chapter. In the morning, we would start a new one. Year seven has begun. 

My Dear Twinnies

I would love to have seen my face that day in the ultrasound room when your dad jumped up, pointed at the screen and yelled, “I KNEW IT!!!” Oh great, I thought, my baby has two heads. “IT’S TWINS, ISN’T IT?!?” I think at that point I about fell off the bed. It’s WHAT?

As it turns out, there were two heads. I had you two, both perfectly healthy babies, hanging out in my tummy together. Baby A was my sweet little girl and Baby B was my adorable little boy. Sugar and spice, slime and snails. Wow, a two-for-one deal. I definitely wasn’t expecting that.  

It seems like just last month that you joined our family. In actuality, it has been years. Six to be exact. Six years ago today you entered our world and improved our lives in ways we never thought possible. Where does the time go? How can it possibly go by so fast? Are you really old enough to be in Kindergarten already?

You are so similar and yet so different. You are connected and yet individuals. You are both perfect with your bright eyes and big hearts and amazing personalities. I cannot begin to tell you how much we love you or how lucky we are to have you both in our lives. And yet, I feel as though there should be something I can say that will help you understand.

I think perhaps the best thing to say is… Thank You. For bringing such joy to our lives. For making us laugh. For reminding us what is important in life. For forgiving our faults. For simply being you.

Today and always, I wish you all the happiness in the world. You truly deserve it my lovelies, my angels, my twinnies.

Happy Birthday!!! Love you to pieces 🙂

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Licking the Batter Bowl

I’m up to my elbows in cupcakes and frosting and sprinkles. Oh my. Rumor has it that a couple of pretty special kids are having a birthday tomorrow. They are crazy excited about being able to share cupcakes with all of the kids in their classes, so I couldn’t let them down. The treats are baked, frosted,

Cupcakes for School

packed up and waiting to go to school tomorrow.

While I was at it, I decided it was a good idea to bake the actual cake as well. That too, is now complete with frosting and decorations. You know those little candy letters you can buy that are either fun shapes or spell out Happy Birthday? Well, I know I picked some of those up, but I can’t for the life of me find them. I can hear them laughing at me, probably because they are right under my nose. Still, no luck. If my very talented cake decorating sister-in-law lived a little bit closer, I probably would have asked her to help me, but as it was, I had to wing it with a tube of white frosting and no candy letters. It’s the thought that counts… right? I certainly hope so.   

Normally I tend to make homemade goodies, but tonight I thought it safer to go with box mixes. For those of you who remember my chocolate “pucks” or Nutella cookie disaster, you probably agree that it was a good choice. Either

Fresh from the oven

 way, the house smells like a yummy bakery, and if it weren’t for the fact that my belly is full from all the bowl licking I had to do, I would probably be in the kitchen right now devouring cupcakes. 

All that is left to do is wrap some presents. Oh, and clean the kitchen, but I am going to hold off on that in case the dish fairy gets bored tonight while I am sleeping. If not, then I can rest assured that the disaster zone that was once a kitchen will still be waiting for me in the morning.

But for now, I best get wrapping. It is already past my bedtime, and I’ve got some celebrating to do tomorrow.

Is The Sky Really Falling?

I was woken up this morning by an interesting commercial on the radio. It was talking about a man who has correctly predicted a lot of the country’s trends, and he has created a site telling us what is about to happen to our country and how we can prepare ourselves for it. Of course, I was half asleep as I was hearing it, so I didn’t fully understand the details, but I caught enough to peak my curiosity.

This evening I searched for the website, or at least what my half-asleep mind had thought it was, but I wasn’t having much luck. There are a lot of websites that have trends and predictions for the future, Gerald Celente being a big one, but I couldn’t locate the one I had heard about this morning. Rob took over the search and eventually found what I had been looking for. We then spent the next hour and a half listening to a man talk… and talk… and talk. He was one long-winded guy, but he made some good points, things that really made you think, and as far as I could tell, his research was firmly backed.  

I have seen and heard quite a bit about the condition of our country and the predictions for what is to come. Mostly it is related to our country’s finances. The fall of the dollar leading to food shortages and riots, and so much more. I am not a political person, and quite honestly I am not sure how I feel about a lot of what they say is to come, but it certainly makes me think. It makes me wonder what we would do if something that severe were to happen. 

My brain is so over-loaded with facts and statistics right now that I cannot effectively sort my thoughts. But what about you? Do you think there is any truth to the predictions? Do you think you would be prepared if something severe were to happen? I’m just curious. I don’t plan on running around like Chicken Little, but I’m not sure ignorance would be very blissful in this case.

Home Is Where My Heart Is

I was lucky enough to be able to stay home while all my kids were little. They never went to daycare or to a babysitter. They were always home with me, and I liked it that way. It was far from easy, but it was something that I was glad to be able to do.

I enjoyed it for more reasons than simply not having to go to work. I liked having dinner ready when Rob came home. I liked having the house clean so that we didn’t have to worry about it in the evenings. I liked making sure the laundry was done so we were never searching for clean clothes. I enjoyed being able to have a relaxing evening at home with my family, knowing everything had been taken care of.

Last fall, all of the kids went to school together, and I lost my “day job.” It suddenly became necessary for me to work, so I became an aide at the school. It has its benefits. I only work during school hours, so I don’t have to worry about finding a babysitter. I also get to see the kids from time to time during the day, I know their friends and teachers and I always hear firsthand about upcoming events. In actuality, it is the perfect job for me.

But I miss home. I miss having the house cleaned and the laundry folded and the dishes done. I miss having dinner ready and the table set. I miss our quiet evenings at home. Now we spend our evenings doing all the things that I should have already done.   

Most parents don’t look forward to summer break. I cannot wait. Staying home with the kids and playing at the park or going on an adventure is much less stressful than trying to get all four of us out the door on time every morning. It is much more relaxed. Peaceful. Perhaps I miss the freedom most of all.

We all do what we have to do. Sometimes it is enjoyable, sometimes not. But I have learned that no matter how much you know something is necessary, or how perfectly it may seem to fit, the head and the heart do not always agree. My head goes to work with me everyday, but my heart stays home.