Pumpkin Carving

The newspaper covered the linoleum floor. We sat the fat pumpkin with the chewed up stalk (thanks to our dog Mickey) on the kitchen floor, ready to be carved. I examined the knifes in my kitchen. I picked the one I thought was sharpest and started cutting the lid. It was hard and I was barely making any progress. I scanned my knife selection again and chose an old one. It was skinny and extra pointy at the end with a good angle to it, it looked like a Jack the Ripper knife, perfect for Halloween. It cut right through the pumpkin flesh.

My job for pumpkin carving is simple. I cut the lid and help the kids clean out the pumpkin. Brad carves the face. Before I had kids I would spend hours designing and carving elaborate designs on numerous pumpkins. Now with so many little ones and limited time, we carve one or two and clean it the best we can. A little innards left gives it a spooky feel. I forget about the day of a perfectly smooth and even flesh of the inside of the pumpkin. I have forgotten about the elaborate designs. We go by Bradley’s ideas on how he wants his Jack-o-lantern face. It always ends up really cute. Oh, and my other job is snapping a lot of pictures until Brad grumbles so much that I just put the camera away…for a few minutes.

My favorite part about carving pumpkins is that last cut and pulling up the lid. I love the smell of the fresh pumpkin that rolls out when you pull off the lid, the strings and seeds trying to hang on to the inside, even though they have no chance of clinging on. I love digging my hands in the slime and pulling out all the junk and seeds. I love the smell. I love feeling the cold fall nights that are stored in there.

We did pretty good and it went pretty well. I rolled up Collin’s sleeves and the boys dug in, grabbing handfuls of pumpkin brains, as Bradley calls it. For the first few minutes they did good working together. It didn’t last, though. Before I knew it they were thunking each other on the head with theirs spoons and throwing pumpkin guts at each other.

“Mom! Collin just hit me,” Bradley whines.

Collin stands up and points at Bradley and yells something back. I’m assuming he is trying to whine and yell back to defend himself. It’s the same tone as Bradley’s. They stick their tongues out at each other and bicker.

I eventually get them on track, after I sit back and enjoy a little bit of the show. Because I know one day they will look back at these time and miss them. I miss fighting with my sister over silly things.

“Mom, it’s a pumpkin until you cut it. When you make a face on it, it’s a jack-o-lantern.” Bradley is very particular about which is which.

I’m very particular about my pumpkins, too. I like a clean-cut so you can see the light of the flickering candle shining through. I also like a properly cut lid. This means some sort of crazy shape that kinda resembles an octagon with way too many irregular sides. I don’t like a pumpkin lid cut around in a circle. It’s too hard to figure out which way the lid goes on. I like an obvious shape to match up. It’s really quite obvious if you think about it. You always know which way to pop on the lid.

We turned on our fake plastic candles and the boys dropped them in. We turned off the light and admired our jack-o-lantern.

I love Halloween!


Paper Mache Pumpkin

I have always wanted to make something paper mache. So Bradley and I made a paper mache pumpkin for Halloween. It was a lot of fun…AND really messy, but that’s half the fun.

Bradley insisted it had lots of blood. That’s a boy for you.

One thing I learned when it was all done, which I didn’t think about at the beginning, was to make a flat bottom on it. Our pumpkin has a rounded botton from the balloon and it doesn’t sit up right. You have to lean it up against something. That’s alright though, it’s still cute and we had so much fun.

I love the conversations we have while doing projects. I learn alot about what he is thinking. Check out the video below. You have to watch towards the end because he totally cracks me up when I asked him what kind of face he wanted to make for his pumpkin.

Did you make anything crafty this Halloween?

Thanks for reading and watching.


Counting by Tens and Counting My Blessings

I pushed a thick sunflower stem into the floral foam and built up the arrangement with fall mums and lilies. I caught myself singing as I worked, “10, 20, 30…40, 50, 60…” and so on. Bradley’s little catchy tune has been stuck in my head for days.

I am really glad he is learning to count to 100, but that is all I hear all day long. It was really cute the first hundred times, but I think I have heard this song at least a million times by now. But I guess I’m missing my kids today, so his song is keeping me company.

As I left for work today I made my rounds and gave each one of them a hug and kiss, “Bye, baby!” or “Bye, hunny! I love you,” and around and around I went to each cute chubby cheek. I looked back at them around the dining room table with their cereal bowls and spoons and I felt full, not on Cheerios, but love.

I am a lucky mom to have such wonderful and beautiful children. You know how you get those days or moments, and you stop in the middle of the chaos and realize how truly blessed you are just by looking at those sweet faces.

I’m in awe and wonder. I am thankful.

But here is Bradley’s song, so you can get it stuck in your head, too. Watching Brad and the kids in the background just cracks me up. Welcome to my world.

He is getting so smart.


Things I’ve Never Done

I’m 34 years old.

And I’ve never:

1. Wrestled an alligator.

2. Been to Australia.

3. Ate a bag of cotton candy I didn’t like (or ran from it).

4. Taught anyone how to Dougie, nor do I know how. (I will have to put this close to the top of the “to do” list, even though I’m a year or two late to be cool.)

5. Made homemade gravy, unless opening a jar really does count.

6. Rode an antelope.

7. Successfully changed a tire, but I tried once.

8. Jumped off a waterfall.

9. Walked a tight rope.

10. Met a clown I didn’t like.

11. Waltzed or learned to salsa.

12. Had triplets, but I’ve had twins.

13. Been snow skiing.

14. Met Tom Hanks.

15. Made Chinese food.

16. Peirced my nose.

17. Stood on my head while saying the alphabet backwards.

18. Left the United States.

19. Owned a pair of Crocks.

20. Won the lottery.

21. Climbed Mt. Everest.

22. Been on a talk show.

Now it’s your turn.

Mama’s Losin’ It


Bradley’s 6th Birthday

It’s the anticipation, the excitement, the adrenaline…of a birthday when you’re young.

The waiting for a whole entire year and the day is finally here.

Bradley has been counting down the days since the first of October.

Each day he would say, “Twelve days left until my birthday, Mom.” Or, “Mom, only three days left,” and I could see the excitement in his eyes as he jumps up and down.

“I can’t wait to turn six, Mom. Almost everybody in my kindergarten class is six.”

My boy’s day is here. His special day.

The sugar rush from frosting and melting icecream getting soggy in cake.

The presents waiting to be torn open.

The great big birthday smile.

Running around with cousins up and down the stairs, being as noisy as possible.

What a great birthday party.

I love you. I am proud of you. I can’t believe my first baby boy is 6!



Baby Gate Blues

I love baby gates. They are one of the greatest inventions; right next to the dishwasher, cheese slicer, and disposable diapers. I can get so much done in the kitchen all by myself.

The kids do not like the baby gates, especially when they know it is just about dinner time.

***Note: You might want to make sure your volume is down for this video.***

Aren’t they just adorable? Well, I think so, even if they are screaming and crying.

They were much happier with full bellies. They love their green beans.










And on a lighter note, here is a little bit of Collin cuteness.

And not so cute…

He just got done sticking his tongue out at me. heehee. I can’t even remember why he was mad. I think it was because I turned around to take Mallie’s picture. It’s rough being two.


Just a Few More Bits & Pieces

I watch the kids play and they are getting so big. Bradley has a birthday in four days! I can’t believe he is going to be six. The girls will be one in less than a month! And Collin just turned two, and you can tell, he is perfecting the art of toddler temper tantrums lately.

Oh, my dear Collin. He is so cute and sweet…and ornery. He  does love helping. though. The other day at my sister’s house Elsie was crying. Collin jumped down from his chair at the dinner table and swiped Mallie’s pacifier from her mouth and stuck it in Elsie’s. He then got back up and finished eating. One less baby crying. Poor Mallie, but she didn’t seem to mind.

Collin also loves fighting with his brother. Oh, they torment each other so much. Sticking their tongues out at each other or making faces. Collin will steal Bradley’s markers when he is doing homework and take off running. It can be a regular zoo around here sometimes.

My sister and I were talking:

“Where do these boys get this orneryness? I mean, Jonas did those same things when he was little,” my sister said.

“I know, and so did Bradley,” I say. “Couldn’t be from us! They must get it from each of their Dad’s side,” and I can’t help but laugh.

“Remember that time Bradley got so mad at you for eating that cookie?”

“It was one of the greatest temper tantrums I have ever seen.”

And sweet Mallie, I can already tell she is going to be his partner in crime, like stealing pacifiers and chasing her sister. You can read more at this previous post and watch a video. It’s too funny.

The girls are starting to get too big for the sink. I’m going to start having to give them baths in the tub. But they are so cute in the sink.

Mallie’s bubble beard. She tried to eat the wash rag full of bubbles.

Mallie finally has two bottom teeth AND she took her first little baby step the other day. She holds on and walks around the furniture like a pro. It will be no time before she is walking and chasing Collin.

Below is Elsie waiting for her bath.

She is finally crawling and working on pulling herself up and standing by things. AND she is finally starting to pick up her own food with her fingers and eat. Mallie shovels it in. Elsie will sit there with her mouth open and screams until you feed her. I finally just walked away and left her with her favorite treat. She started picking it up and eating. FINALLY! I think sometimes she would prefer to have you do it. She was the same way with her bottle. She wouldn’t hold it either until I just left it on her chest. She finally quit crying and started holding her own bottle.

Elsie is also really into clapping right now. She claps when she is happy…and she claps when she is mad. Check out the video below.

They get big so quick. I just try to remember to slow down and enjoy the  little moments in this crazy, beautiful, busy life.


No Sick Days

I am gaining a new insight into motherhood. It could be the cold medicine. It could be the lack of sleep. Maybe it is the lack of sick days.

The one thing I am for sure…being a mom and being sick just don’t go together. I don’t have time to be sick…and they (the kids) wont let me be sick anyway. They wont give me a sick day. They wont let me rest. No way!

It’s like I’m working in a sweat shop with no breaks. They barge into the bathroom door when I’m blowing the gallons of snot out of my nose.

“Mom, Collin just hit me!”

They still need fed and watered…even though I am so drugged I can hardly keep my eyes open and every inch of my body aches from this stinking cold/flu crap.

“Mom, can we have a snack?”

I move like a zombie into the kitchen and take out two snack bowls and  grab the first thing on the shelf. I plop a handful of marshmallows into each bowl and lay back down.

I just need some rest. I just want to find a hole to crawl into and sleep for a couple of days until the symptoms have passed. I just want to sleep all day.

That isn’t going to happen. I’m lucky if the babies’ naps overlap for 20 minutes so I can get a power nap.

Funny how things change.

Long gone are the days of lying around on the couch watching prime time tv, coming and going as I wish, spending a lot of money on myself for shoes and new clothes and needless items. Long gone are the days of going out and drinking every weekend…and during the week…and eating dinner at the bar. Long gone are the days of wasting time and sleeping in.

And sick days are long gone, too!

But that’s ok. I don’t miss it. Those days, even though it was not very long ago, are a blurry memory that I can barely recall. I’m ok with that.

I’ll take the dirty diapers and dishes. I’ll take the cute smiles and hugs and kisses. I’ll take the potty training and messes on the floor. I’ll take the playing all afternoon with the cutest kids in the world.

But it is soooooo hard being a mom when you are sick (yes, I’m whining).

The other day I was in a hurry to get out of the door. I tried to take a Mucinex (cold pill)that was larger than a horse pill. It got stuck in my throat.

I’m gagging and puking…I run to the kitchen garbage. SHIT! It’s full. I don’t want to clean up any more messes. I run to the sink before it explodes all over my kitchen.

I’m gasping for breath and running the water. GROSS!

And while all this is happening I have Bradley at my shoulder, “Mom, can I watch a movie?”

And Collin climbing the cupboards next to me.

And Mallie hanging on my legs.

And Elsie clapping behind me. 

They are oblivious to my condition.

I wash up. Mommy’s ready to go again. Even though I’m dying for a break.

That’s why being a mom is so hard. You do everything…no matter if you’re sick or puking. You just get things done.

My mom did it. Your mom probably did. You just do it, even when you’re sick.

Being a mom can be hard. There are no sick days.


p.s. Maybe when they get bigger I can have them trained to bring me chicken noodle soup when I’m sick. Right now, there are just too many diapers to change and dishes to do. They are still too little. Soon…though.

p.p.s.  Thanks, Mom! I hope I made you chicken soup when I was little and you weren’t feeling good. Or at least brought you some chocolate chip cookies or something.

Maybe I’m Hearing Things

The other day I was sitting on my basement steps, where I hide out if I really need a break or a mommy time-out (every mom with small children does this, just depends if she admits it or not. Do you really think it takes that long to switch the laundry over?).  I was reading my Erma Bombeck book (she just cracks me up) and I hear a baby crying.

I thought to myself: Really?! I just put them to bed. She doesn’t normally cry this early. It sort of sounded like Elsie, who is always waking up in the night and I have no idea why…probably habit.

I waited for a few minutes. I didn’t hear Brad get up to go check, he was in his recliner watching tv. I listened for the baby to stop, but it was a persistent cry. 

Ugh. I put my book down in mid sentence and got up , annoyed because Brad didn’t get up and go check. Why is this always my job? Even if he is closer?

When I went to go upstairs, I didn’t hear a thing. I stopped at the bottom of the steps and listened. Nothing.

I could have sworn I heard a baby crying. It wasn’t the tv. It was real.

I was telling this story at work and Donna asked, “Did Brad hear it?”

“No! He doesn’t even act like he hears the REAL babies crying,” I laughed.

I have heard this before, this baby crying, which actually doesn’t sound like one of mine, but when I hear the crying I have to go check.

It’s not the neighbors, they are old and you hardly ever see them or anyone coming or going.

So where the hell is this cry coming from?!

It is just the strangest thing. Sometimes I just think I hear one of the twins crying. I’ll ask Brad to mute the tv to see if I really have to get my butt off the couch or not, because sometimes you just think you hear your kids crying.

But this cry, I know I hear it. It is persistent. Plain as day.

I’m not hearing things, but maybe I’m losing it.

I would actually believe that last statement a couple of months ago when I was sleep deprived. But I have had this happen several times before, that same cry. Drives me crazy that I can’t figure out where it is coming from. It is not very often, every couple of months or so. Strangest thing.

MAYBE I’m hearing things… MAYBE I am loosing it…  Or MAYBE there is something strange about this house…


Now it is time to turn the imagination off, because I think of too many crazy things of why I hear a strange ghost baby cry in this house.




Two Cribs for the Twins

When they were in the NICU they were in separate isolettes. I longed to put them together in one crib. They had to be separated because of all the wires and tubes, but the isolettes were next to each other. Elsie’s covered in a yellow fleece blanket and Mallie’s in a lavender one. When one would cry, the other would look around for her sister. It broke my heart. They were so tiny.

Mallie was the calmer newborn. Elsie was more high-strung and cried louder, she also went through a lot more trauma with being smooshed on the bottom in the womb and the difficulties with the pregnancy. She was on oxygen longer. She was on a feeding tube longer. She just had a rougher start. They both did really, being born 5 weeks early.

 I still remember the first time we put them next to each other, I think they were a little over a week old. It is like they knew they were supposed to be together. Their vitals were more stable when they were close. I cried when I seen them reach out to each other for the first time, grasping with tiny little fingers for their other half. I knew they must have missed each other, I mean think about it…they were in the womb together forever…all they knew was each other (and me and my heartbeat, it must have been kind of loud in there with all those heartbeats and outside noise). They could hear each other’s heartbeat, they could feel the other’s every move, they even knew when the other had hiccups.

When I finally got to bring them home, the day before Thanksgiving, I always put them together. They wouldn’t sleep very long unless they were next to each other. I would swaddle them in soft baby blankets and tuck them in close to each other. They cuddled so sweetly. 

That lasted for the first 9 months or so. Now that they are more mobile it is a whole different story.

It started with stealing pacifiers. As soon as Mallie realized how to grab things and put it in her mouth, she was always after Elsie’s pacifier, even when she had her own. Elsie finally started to learn to do the same, she is just not as aggressive as her sister.

These are the peaceful moments I love. Sweet little sleeping faces; relaxed, calm, quiet. I love sneaking in and taking pictures at night, something to remember the little baby faces because they grow up so fast. I am extra careful because I fear waking them up with the flash.

Pure peacefulness. I love the way they snuggle – the closeness.

It doesn’t always last long, though. I’m going to have to separate these two into their own cribs, even though they are cute as can be in these pictures. I would love to keep them together, but it just isn’t possible anymore.

My head sinks into my pillow and I’m just heading off to dreamland when I’m jolted awake by screaming. It’s Elsie, I can tell, she has the high-pitched wail. I roll over and look at the clock. 10:12 pm. I lay there, listening to the screaming subside to fussing. Maybe she will stop. I close my eyes. A second later a bloody murder scream comes from their room. I stumble out of bed.

Mallie is mauling her sister. She has one pacifier in her mouth and the other one in her hand. She has her sister pinned down and is just smiling. If she could talk I think she would say, “Look, Mom! I’ve got two!” She is so proud. And poor Elsie is screaming her little head off under her.

“Mallie! you have one,” I tell her and take it away. She starts crying because I took one away…Elsie is still screaming. Now I have two crying babies. I stuff the pacifier in Elsie’s mouth and she subsides to a quiet whining and drifts back to sleep. I lay Mallie back down on her side of the crib and tuck her in. “Go to sleep now. And leave your sister alone.” She sucks on her pacifier and snuggles into her blanket.

I go back to bed and collapse into sleep…until about 4 am when it happens again. Geesh!

This type of thing also happens a lot at nap time, too. Just when I think they are down for the count I hear the screaming.

I go upstairs and Mallie has chucked her empty bottle on the bedroom floor. She is leaning over her sister, chugging Elsie’s bottle like a football player after a game full of touchdowns. Elsie just lays there screaming, poor thing.  

It’s not always so rough. Sometimes you can listen to them playing in their crib, laughing and giggling and bouncing. Then I don’t want to separate them. And of course when they are cute and cuddly I don’t want to separate them.  But I love my sleep and desperately need it… as you can tell from a few of my past blogs; No Need for an Alarm Clock, I Have Kids and A Letter to Sleep. I’m sure I have mentioned sleep, or the lack of, many other times, but those are the ones I know are all about sleep.

I decided I will put the cribs next to each other so they can be close…AND they will still be in arms reach  so they can still torment each other, but Elsie wont be pummelled. Oh, the tormenting. Does it really start this early? But that’s what sisters do. I guess that is just all siblings, Bradley and Collin have it down to an art form, sticking out tongues, chasing, tackling, the whole nine yards.

Below is a cute video of them playing. Mallie is chasing Elsie and they are laughing and giggling…until Mallie gets too rough.

Oh, it is going to be interesting to see what the future will bring. I’m sure there will be lots of fights, don’t we all remember that with siblings? But there will also be lots of fun times and we will be sitting on the front porch laughing about them later.