Monday, August 30, 2010

First day for the dynamic duo

Levi and Noah had their first day of Kindergarten today. They were all smiles and completely excited. Levi even dressed himself this morning, he was so excited.

Paige claims he looks "exactly like me" in this picture.

Mrs. Marquard, their teacher. She did such a great job with Ella, we sent the boys back to her as well.

All lined up, and off they go! All growed up...

Luke lasted exactly six minutes in the van after leaving school before he asked "Where are Levi and Noah?"

To which Paige replied, "At Kindergarten."

"But I want them!"

Gonna be a long school year kid!

And how did Paige spend her first day of freedom quality time with Luke?

She organized the pantry.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

After the storm

Ohhhh, the humanity!

Jason always wanted to sign our boys up for twin studies as babies, but he never found any so it never happened. We do not need scientific studies at our house to know that twins are wired a little differently (or the same) as the rest of our household.

This is an update to the post I wrote last night.

Today I took Noah shopping at JCPenney to pick out his new pair of kindergarten shoes. I brought him over to the kids shoe section and showed him the line up of velcro shoes and let him pick. First we tried on a black pair with red lettering and lights. I thought they were going to be "the ones" so I loaded them into the cart and headed out of the shoe isle. But wait! There on the end of the next isle over were a pair that caught his eye and he immediately wanted to try those on and put his other pair back.

Hmmm. Those were the exact same pair that Levi had tried on the night before at Kohls. That was the first pair Levi had loved and was about to pick as "the ones" but had second thoughts about how fast they went. Levi set the "super cool, blinky light shoes" back on the self and chose the silver ones instead, because "they were much faster," of course.

So, back to today.

Noah chose the blue light up shoes and we headed for home. I mentioned nothing of Levi's love for those shoes the night before and hoped for the best as we entered the house. Levi came bounding down the stairs to see Noah's new shoes and instantly burst into tears. "Those were the shoes I wanted! You said they were to small so I choose the fast ones!"

***Just to clarify, I did NOT say those were shoes were too small, but I am often blamed when anything in the universe does not go exactly to their liking. The other day I was responsible for Noah's popsicle melting as he ate it. The 113 degree weather had nothing to do with it, it was Mom's fault.

Anyway, back to the story....

After all that stress and self talk to make myself take the boys separately to the store (2 different stores mind you) and allow them to pick their own special shoes for school. After all that, they wanted the same ones! Soooooo, back to Kohls I went and exchanged the less then 24 hour old purchased shoes for the blinky light up ones that match his brother's. And in case any of you were wondering, they were $6 cheaper at JCPenney, but I was not willing to drive back there again and hope they had another size 12 in stock.

So there you have it. Two perfectly matching pairs of shoes!

Awesome blinky lights and all!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Neurotic Mother of Multiples

Tonight was a big step for me in the "Yes, I am neurotic" category, so I thought I would share. Tonight I took Levi shopping for new shoes for kindergarten. I have been talking myself into this all week. Not the going shopping part with a five year old boy, but the part where I take JUST Levi. Just Levi and Mom and I let HIM pick out his OWN pair of shoes. You see, typically I would run into a store some evening when I have a minute to myself, and Jason is at home putting the kids to bed. I would cruise down the shoe isle, if that's what I needed, and grab 2 pairs of shoes for the boys. Two lovely matching pairs of shoes in the same size. (Yes, there is always a conversation when you check out as to why you have two pairs of the exact same shoes.) Two the same is just easier. Just faster. Just cuter. Just matchier. :) I am admitting my problem to you all now, I love to have my boys matching! I would match them all the time if possible, or better yet coordinate. Heck if I can find the same thing in a smaller sz I will snag clothing for Luke also, just so he can match his brothers.

So tonight while I was out shopping with Levi I had to do a lot of self talking (soothing) to get through the experience. I kept reminding myself this was for kindergarten and I can not have them dressed the same forever. I kept reminding myself that they would enjoy picking out their own special pair of shoes for school. I kept reminding myself that it was probably best for their feet to not always be sharing and switching shoes. I kept reminding myself that it would be okay if their feet didn't match. Ahhhhhh. I made it. Levi and I had a lovely time picking out just the right pair of school shoes. He was a joy to shop with and was hilarious with his insights as to which shoes were faster and would be better for tag.

All was going well, and then I opened my mouth and said, "Hey buddy do you think you need a new shirt for kindergarten too?" He looked down and his shirt and declared that it did indeed have a hole in it and a new shirt was in order. So off to the clothing section of Kohls we headed. I was so proud that I had only one pair of shoes in the cart that I was sure I could let him pick out a new shirt for himself as well (without there being a duplicate in the cart at check out time.)

*I warned you at the beginning of this post that I am neurotic, so just go easy on me!

Sadly AZ switches seasons in the stores with the schedule of the rest of the nation that enjoys all four seasons. Long sleeved flannels and jeans when it is 116 outside is a little hard to swallow this time of the year. So we searched and searched and found one rack of tees. Much to Levi's delight they were Mario Brothers tee shirts. UGH! Again the self talk began, as I reminded myself over and over that it was okay for him to wear that horrid shirt in public. It was okay to fuel the obsession with Mario (we don't even own the game, but believe you me, my boys are OBSESSED). It was okay to let him choose this shirt all by himself. And it was okay that there was only one of that shirt on the rack. As I was searching through the rack for anything else, ANYTHING, I came across a similar Mario shirt just in green. Levi decided he liked his blue one better, but we should get the green for Noah. Man, I love that kid. He picks out a hideous shirt, but still thinks about coordinating with his brother! (See, it wasn't me, it was Levi!) But seriously, it felt so much better to have two shirts in our cart, rather than one. If Levi is going to wear that ugly shirt in public, he might as well be sporting it with pride along with his matching best friend.

So here he is... Levi with his new "really fast" shoes and his Mario tee shirt.

(Good luck Mrs. Marquard, he's all yours on Monday!)

Tomorrow I will be taking Noah shopping to let him choose his very own pair of shoes.
I think I can do it. There is one thought that keeps running through my mind that brings me such great joy. Next year they will be wearing uniforms to school and they can match every single day!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Wonder how many pediatrician bills this will cost us?

Since we don't have a pool, water fun around here usually looks like this.

So far, no broken bones, although I've got to imagine it's only a matter of time.

For Luke, water fun usually looks more like this, since the slide freaks him out a little.

Along with the occasional faceplant.

But today, on my way home from work, it finally looked like this.

(Seriously. I've been waiting all summer for a decent thunderstorm. I'll take the 5 minutes I got today. But I could go for more.)

And when I pulled up to the house, this is what I found.

Levi is actually wearing one more item of clothing in that photo than the state I found him streaking out of the garage in.

So they all put on swimsuits, and we headed down to the ol' swimmin' hole.

Otherwise known as the drainage area in the park at the end of the street.

Keep in mind, it has rained all of about 4 times here in the last 6 months or so. And that park drains all the water from our block. That puddle isn't exactly what you would call sanitary.

But the kids thought it was the best thing since sliced bread. They ran back...

and forth...

and back.

Luke got in on the action as well.

And despite our stern warnings, I think he actually managed to take a few slurps of that nasty water.

Finally, I am fairly sure that the rising moon on Noah in this picture...

is highly correlated to the giant grin on Levi's face in this one.


Then we were treated to a lovely sunset on our walk back home, where we attempted to thouroughly scrub every last bit of road grime out of the collections of scratches and scrapes they seemed to have picked up playing in the cesspool.

Hopefully none of those scratches start tuning the color of that sky, with who knows what kind of nasties inhabiting the ol' swimmin' hole...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sodium polyacrylate

Saturday morning mud making in the sandbox with his big sister.

That sodium polyacrylate is amazing stuff.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Uniforms are a good thing.

This was Ella's choice of clothes a few days ago.

Uhhhh, yeah. Obviously gets her fashion sense from her father (who sees no issue with combining stripes and spots, and totally would have taken her on a daddy date like that.)

Ella started first grade at Gilbert Christian School yesterday. Thankfully they have uniforms there.

She was oddly excited about the whole thing. I was ready to throw up, just remembering the icky first day of school feeling. I hated the first day of school. She, however, popped out of bed nice and early and was ready to go.

Marched right into her classroom with hardly a wave to her parents, like she has been going there for years!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Everything is amazing

I think I am becoming an old man (newflash, I know.) I sometimes walk around just thinking "You've got to be kidding me. This is real life? It's like magic..."
Paige decided last night she wanted a dresser.
Today she found one on Craigslist. Now, not that long ago, someone would have had to place a classified, pay for it, and wait for it to show up in the paper a week later to sell something. Or drag it down to a swap meet. Or drag everything out onto the driveway for a garage sale.
And we would have had to tramp around to all those garage sales or swap meets to find this deal.
No longer. Now, a quick, free, online Craigslist post, and a few hours later I have a happy wife with a dresser, and some lady in Glendale just made $50.
Of course, I have to find her house in Glendale. Used to be she would have to give me turn by turn directions. Or I'd have to drag out a paper map. Now she just asks... "You have Google?"
Yup, sure do. On my phone.
Work just got me one of them fancy new Iphones. So I type in her address. The phone already knows where I am, and generates turn by turn directions to her house. And shows my progress on the map as I drive.
As I drive, I hook up my Ipod. I distinctly recall road trips as a kid. When my dad wanted to listen to Rush Limbaugh, he had two options. Tape a bunch of shows from the week in advance. Or scan the AM stations and spend 2000 miles driving in and out of range of whatever station possibly carried Rush.
Now I just plug a gadget into my computer, and it automatically downloads more right wing talk radio than I can possibly even listen to.
Dad would be amazed.
So I arrive at the lady's house, swap cash for a dresser, and back home I go.
On the way, this sweet Cobra Coupe pulls alongside me on the highway. Man, I wish I could take a picture and share it with my friends.
Oh wait... I can.
Pull out my phone again, and snap a picture.
With my phone.
Then upload it to Facebook in about 30 seconds (no comments about texting and driving.)
Are you kidding me?
While I've got my phone out, I decide to switch from right wing talk radio. I wonder if Pandora works without wifi?
Sure enough, it does. I can now listen to my own custom radio station, playing the type of music I want, from my phone plugged into my car. I can even tell it I like or don't like a song, and it will adjust what it plays to suite my taste.
I happen to look down at my dash. I've got 75,000 miles on my car.
In 75,000 miles, other than basic maintainance, I've had to replace the air conditioning compressor. That's it.
Now, first of all, modern air conditioning wasn't even invented until 1928, and most people didn't have them in their homes until much later. And now I've got one in my car. And get bent out of shape when it doesn't work.
Second... 75,000 miles? That is equivalent to driving around the world.
Three times.
I've driven my car around the world three times, and all that broke was the AC?
That's insane.
One the drive home, Paige calls and wants me to pick up apples and milk. I stop by the grocery store.
Used to be that if fresh fruit and veggies weren't in season around you, you just didn't get any. You had to eat whatever you had stored or canned from the previous season. Now I just stop by the grocery store and pick up some perfectly ripe Gala apples.
Ripe... because they just arrived from New Zealand.
And sitting right next to them are oranges from Australia.
Seriously, occasionally I just look around and think "This is just amazing."
And then, to top it all off, it's like God sees me driving around with my jaw hanging open and goes "You think the stuff you can build is cool? Watch this..."

My dad was always a gadget guy. Loved having the latest gadget. I recall having the internet before it really hit mainstream. He got my mom this giant car phone when it first came out. Thing was ginourmous. He had one of those Palm Pilots when they were all the rage. He was always into computers. Etc.
I always wonder what he would say if he could somehow stop by for a quick visit. Even in 10 years, the pace of technology has been amazing. His Motorola StarTAC was top of the line at the time he died.
And it could only make phone calls.
In 10 years, from making phone calls... to email, web surfing, camera, music playing, and whatever else my crazy new phone can do.
Everything really is amazing...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Must have been double coupon night!

Paige just got back from the grocery store on the post-vacation restocking trip. The fridge was pretty much down to a few rotten mangos, and some several month old humus after my 4 weeks of bachelorhood.

But I guess there was a smokin' deal on Old Spice.

I'm not sure that much smell of freedom is even legal in all 50 states.
You did see all the "Old: Responses" videos, right?

"I must ride my jetski lion into the sunset."


Best. internet. ad. caompaign. ever!

Did you hear Willie Nelson died?

Yup, he was playing on the road again!

Ahhhhhhh, best joke ever.

After my whirlwind of a vacation, we loaded up the van and headed out. Nothing too exciting on the road trip, just lots and lots of miles, hours of movies and VSmile, and plenty of crazy right wing podcasts. Certainly we did much better than some of our previous road trips (and one of the very first blog posts.)

We did manage to squeeze in a stop at the volcano and ice cave in New Mexico.

I see the signs every drive, and always want to stop. I've got this vague recollection of stopping at some sort of ice cave on a road trip as a kid. I don't think I actually got to go into the cave, but I think I recall my dad going into the cave, and thinking that I'd never see him again because he'd slide to the bottom of the slippery ice tube and never get back out. I guess I had quite the imagination as a kid.

The volcano was interesting, but I can't say it was overly impressive. I did have the kids going for a second when we heard thunderstorms, and I told them maybe the volcano was erupting again. After three huge sets of eyes swiveled right at me, I was told by Paige that I can't make up stories like that and freak them out.

But it's just so much fun...

This was as close as we could get "ok, everybody look at the camera and smile!"

This way to the ice cave! They were totally excited. They apparently had no idea that their dad could possibly slide down the ice tube never to be seen again.

Ok, so this was not the ice tube memory of my youth. Basically a large entrance to a lava tube, filled with ice. It stays about 30 degrees in the bottom year round, due to the cold air trapped in the hole and the insulation of the porous lava. Interesting... but not worth the price of admission.

That was our one sightseeing stop in 1906 miles and three solid days of driving.

Then it was back to work for me the next day, and 18 loads of laundry for Paige, while the kids did their best on the nice clean house!

My two days of vacation

While the wife and kids get 4 weeks of frolickin' about the countryside, I get two days. I flew out on Wednesday, spent Thursday and Friday in Michigan, and then loaded up the van for the long drive back home.

We spent one afternoon at Lake Michigan.

Luke was in his glory with that much sand around.

You might want to put on some sunglasses, as the shine from my lily white legs is intense.

Max and Luke played "run full speed down the beach then faceplant into the sand" for quite a while.

We did a little fishing again. Thankfully no norovirus was involved this time.

Luke's first fish ever.

Julio caught one twice as big as his head!