Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Both couples had plans after the dinner hour, so I did a little mix & match with the place settings. Yes, we used paper plates and napkins (easy clean up, since we were having ooey, gooey cheese!), mixed with glasses and real silverware (easy clean up-straight into the dishwasher!), and added a splash a crystal (handwash only) to round out the table.
Our dinner was amazing. Anne made the cheese portion of the meal, and we dunked bread, apples and sausage in it. I took care of the chocolate portion of dinner, and we dunked fruit, marshmallows, graham crackers and cheesecake. I'm surprised to say that we had leftovers of the chocolate!
New Year's Eve starting out with Anne and Jason was a wonderful way to end 2008. What more can you ask for than to have good friends over, sharing a good meal in our new home. We toasted to that with a little Martinelli's (thanks to Grace) and then headed out to our repsective parties.
I pray that your 2008 was a filled with many friends, many happy memories, family to love and cherish, and hope for the coming year. May your 2009 be blessed beyond measure.
Happy New Year!
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Friday, December 26, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
So this edition of Love Thursday arrives a day late, because I didn't get the picture below until 5 minutes ago. In my life, Love is having the group of amazing women below (minus one who was on a cruise) to surround me with love, prayer, friendship, accountability, and support. For this and much, much more, I am so thankful...and so loved.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
In January Bakerella took a recipe from the Kraft Food & Family magazine and modified it slightly and created what looked to be these yummy Oreo Truffles. I bookmarked the site, promising myself that I would make them one day soon. 11 months later the promise came true! I made these today while the boys were napping. Start to finish, I'd say it took about 45 minutes. The recipe (Bakerella's version, not Kraft's version) is super easy.
Based on a conversation I had with Katie after she made them yesterday, I made a couple of modifications to the process. Katie suggested that I chill the truffles before dipping. I didn't do it with the first half (the white half), but I did with the second half (the green ones), and I could definitely see a difference in how the bark set up.
Here's a picture of my creation, with the recipe and my modifications to follow.
1 package Oreo cookies (divided)
1 8oz. package Regular Cream Cheese (softened)
Chocolate Bark, White or Chocolate flavored
1. Open package of Oreo cookies and reserve 7 from the package. With your food processor, finely crush remaining cookies.
2. Mix softened cream cheese with the crushed cookies.
2a. If flavoring truffles to be minty, add a few drops of peppermint extract in this step.
3. Roll the mixture into 1" balls and place on a plate.
4. Get out a cookie sheet and cover with parchment paper. This is important. If you don't use parchment paper (or wax paper) your truffles will stick to the cookie sheet and not come off easily.
5. Crush the 7 reserved Oreos, if you desire, so you can use them to dust the tops of the truffles. I crushed all seven of mine and used about the equivilent of 1 Oreo on 16 truffles. If I were doing it again, I'd crush two and give the rest to Dan to eat. :-)
6. Melt bark as directed on the packaging and then dip balls into chocolate bark. I used a fork and a spoon to accomplish this step. I rolled the balls in the melted bark, let the excess drip through the tines of the fork and used the spoon to transfer to the cookie sheet.
6a. If you are adding color to the white chocolate bark, this is the time to do it. For the mint Oreo truffles I also added a little bit of peppermint extract.
7. Refrigerate any leftovers. (You want to do this because of the cream cheese in the truffle.)
Makes about 36 truffles.
I made these to take to my Thursday night Bible study. I'll let you know how they were received.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Jason's words, in italics: Street cred is the amount to which you have a right to speak into someone's life. You have people who have a ton of street cred with you, and others don't have as much. There may be a correlation between a person's integrity and the amount of street cred he has with people. There is a correlation between a person's street cred and their closeness to Christ.
Who do you allow to speak into your life? Do you allow people to challenge you? Or do you just get people that agree with you all the time? With whom do you have street cred--does anyone look to you to speak truth and wisdom into their life?
I've pondered the words above since I first read them late last week. Often they come back to me at the most random of moments, and I have to think...who do I let speak into my life? Who do I let challenge me? I do believe as we grow and change with each passing year the answers to his questions change with us, just as God would have it to be.
As I consider my own answers to those questions I can't help but think about my children. Right now Nicholas and Matthew look to me (and to Dan) to speak truth and wisdom in their lives in everything they do. They look to me for comfort, safety, warmth, food, clothing, shelter and entertainment. They depend on me to meet all of their needs. It's a lot of responsibility. Responsibility I am not always sure I'm ready to handle! But really, what parent is fully ready to take on all of that responsibility at one time?
I am thankful, so very thankful, that I am surrounded by people who speak truth, love and wisdom into my life. I find it in my parents, in my husband, in the women I share my heart with on Thursday nights. I find it in relationships I am building in my local Twins Club...friendships created with women who understand what it's like to raise twins! I am blessed to even find it in old friends from elementary school and college. I could not be more thankful for each and every one of those relationships.
And yet I find myself turning my thoughts back to my children. I want them to form relationships with people who will challenge each of them as individuals. I want them to have relationships that are encouraging to their spirit. Relationships that will push them to one day become men of God, to stand for what they believe in and fight for what is right, and pure, and holy. It is my prayer that while Matthew and Nicholas are young, that Dan and I have "street cred" with them. And as they grow older, I pray that they find and form those all important relationships with other kids, teenagers, young adults and finally adults.
And as Jason asked me in his blog, I now ask you. Who do you allow to speak into your life? Who challenges you? Does anyone look to you to speak truth and wisdom into their life?" What does this look like in your relationships with your children?
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Improved product features a newly designed foot pedal and a newly designed hinge, both developed to make the gate stronger and longer lasting. (Launch date was 2/1/01.) Also improved were the pressure-mount pads for increased durability. (Launch date was 6/02.)
Watch out for smart kids!
Pros: Easy To Use
Cons: Less than 35 lbs pressure, Poor Construction
Best Uses: Infants, Crawlers
Describe Yourself: Parent of Multiples (Twins etc)
We have three of these gates in our home, set in strategic locations to protect our twins from the home office, as well as keep the dog contained in the kitchen when we are away from home.
This was a great gate until just a few days ago. We used them all with no issues for 17 months. However, now that our twins are 22 months, they have figured out how to open the gate, thereby rendering them useless for most of our purposes.
You see, the gates are rated for 35 pounds and our twins weight less than 24 pounds each! We assumed that with a gate that needed 35 pounds of pressure/force put on it, that these gates would last us until that point. Sadly, we were wrong.
On Friday, one of our twins stood with one foot on each side of the foot pedal and jumped/bounced until he freed the pin that keeps the gate locked. The first time he did it, it took him a good 30 seconds to get it undone. Now? He can walk up to the gate, place one foot on each side, jump once and the gate springs open. Before you go and say that we need to tighten the pressure mounts, please know that we did that just to rule that out as the reason he could open the gate.
With this product and all other safety products, remember to use them with caution. Just as a pool float comes with a caution of "Not a lifesaving device", baby safety equipment should say the same thing. Baby gates are a deterrent for while, but will not make your child stay put forever.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
1 Cup Water
1/2 Cup sugar
1 bag FRESH cranberries
2 cups confectioners sugar (or more)
1) Combine water and sugar in a saucepan and heat until all the sugar has melted. Remove from burner and cool completely. (This can be done by putting your saucepan in the freezer for five minutes or so.)
2. Wash and pat dry fresh cranberries. Pull out any that are soft and squishy and discard those.
3. Now you will need one or two dinner plates (last time I made these I needed a fresh one halfway through) and one or two clean, dry cookie sheets. Assemble your line. Cranberries, sugar water, dinner plate and cookie sheet all in a row.
4. On your dinner plate, sprinkle about 1/2 cup of confectioners sugar. (You will do this repeatedly throughout the process.)
5. Place a handful of cranberries in the sugar water. Scoop out the handful of cranberries with one hand (this is your wet hand) and drop them gently in the confectioners sugar. With your dry hand (which will get really gross!), gently roll the wet cranberries in the confectioners sugar, coating them completely. With your DRY hand, scoop them up and put them on a cookie sheet. Repeat this process until all cranberries are frosted.
6. These are better made the day before you plan to serve them. Also, the longer they sit out on the cookies sheets without being covered, the better they are.
These are super easy to make, and I've never actually sat down and typed out the recipe until just now. One year when Dan and I traveled to Minnesota for the holidays his mother was making these. I followed her lead and helped out that year. We've had them in Minnesota every Thanksgiving since! Dan and I brought the "recipe" home to Orlando and have been making them for holidays, parties and even gifts for years. The "recipe" has been given out at countless events. I hope you find them as easy to make and as good to eat as our family does! :-)
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Yes, it's been a busy month, and we still have another week of it! This has been a good month though, even with all of its craziness. We've managed to get out to Disney three or four times, spend lots of time with the boys, get some time for just the two of us, and spend a lot of time with family.
On another note, it appears that Matthew has caught the Grace Fellowship Plague of 2008. Something has been going around for weeks at church, and it's finally affected our house. Dan's been sick for a week, Nicholas and I had a couple of days of not feeling well, but Matthew seems to be doing the worst (or at least he sounds the worst!). So we'll take a trip to the doctor tomorrow morning and see what he says.
That's all the news from around the MacDonald home. I'll catch up with you again soon. :-)
Thursday, November 20, 2008
It's the simple things around here that mean the most, and hit me the hardest. Today I was sitting in the play room with the boys. They were eating a snack of graham crackers and apple juice. I was popping Cheerios Crunch into my mouth by the handful. I'm not a big fan of the "Crunch" part of Cherrios Crunch, so I offered one of the nuggets to Matthew. Not to be left out of the mix, Nicholas came trotting over for his own nugget.
We spent the the rest of snack time digging through my bowl of Cheerios. Me eating the Cheerios, them eating all the crunchy nuggets. Every time they put one in their mouths they signed and said "Thank You". It was a constant dialog of "Thank You" and "You're Welcome" for at least 10 minutes straight.
I love the age that the boys are at now. I keep reminding myself not to blink. If I do, I'll miss it.
Monday, November 17, 2008
After realizing that our order was gone, I sent a quick e-mail to Target sharing my displeasure at their decision to cancel my order and not inform me they were doing so. When I got a canned response from them, I started to get angry. Then I started hearing from several friends who had tried to take advantage of the great deal Target was offering. Seems like everyone who ordered a car seat, except those who ordered the one with the cowprint cover, had their order canceled.
This fact had me a little annoyed. So I took about 20 minutes this evening and expressed my annoyance to Target via their website. Then I filed a complaint with the FTC and the BBB. I doubt anything will come of it, but the fact remains that if a pricing error (what Target is claiming happened) had occured in their store they would have had to honor it. Target seems to be hiding behind a generic policy listed in their FAQ about online purchases.
It's too bad. I was looking forward to the idea of Dan having a really safe car seat in his car. It would have given us the chance to split up sometimes and have one-on-one dates with the boys.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Not long after I saw the posting, news of this deal spread like wildfire. I received e-mails and Twitter's left and right for a good three hours about the great price on the car seats. I read details of it in blog after blog. It was a Britax invasion!
But just now the invasion has come to a halt. Something happened on the target.com website, and the car seats are no longer available. (Oh, the humanity!) You should read the rumors going around now. There's talk of Target not honoring the purchases that people made. Discussions are happening about how this price was an error! I don't know what happened, but when I clicked the link to see for myself, target.com just said they were sold out.
We'll see what happens with our order. I hope they honor our purchase, and the purchases that all the other people made on their site. But it is Target, so who knows. But for now, the story has made an otherwise mundane Sunday evening quite interesting. I'll let you know the outcome when our order arrives, sometime between 12/16/08-1/6/09, which is what my receipt lists. :-)
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Welcome to your forever home and into your forever family. You don't just have wonderful parents, but you will always be surrounded by friends and family who love you. We are thankful that you shared your day with us.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Their language skills are just exploding. It's so neat to watch them learn new words and try so hard to say new things. And to think, in August I was concerned that they had a language delay...
Oh, and they say a lot more than five words on a daily basis. Those are just the first five that came to mind. :-)
Thursday, November 13, 2008
In the picture below, I asked them to give one another a hug. I recognize that it looks like Nicholas might not be participating in this hugfest willingly, but trust me when I tell you that he was very excited to be hugging his brother. They just recently started saying "Cheese" when a camera is pointed in their direction. Nicholas' face is a result of him saying cheese. On my honor, I promise.
Love is witnessing the relationship brothers share. If we could all be so lucky to have a relationship like this...
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
They are so sweet. When the fireworks ended tonight they both waved and said "Night, night" and then held their arms open wide to give the fireworks big hugs. It's enough to melt your heart...
Monday, November 10, 2008
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Saturday, November 8, 2008
2 pounds browned ground beef (one pound was not enough last night!)
1 onion, chopped and sauteed with the beef
1 15 oz can corn
1 15 oz can black beans
1 15 oz can dark red kidney beans
2 cans Rotel (hot or mild)
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 pack ranch dressing mix
1 pack taco seasoning
Dump all ingredients in a big ol' crockpot. Cook on low for 8 hours. Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, fresh chopped onions, broken up tortilla chips and beer bread.
Friday, November 7, 2008
1. The patio
2. Our neighbors
3. Having a living room and a family room
4. The washer/dryer that came with the house
5. The view of the golf course
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Thank you's go out to Dan, for giving the okay for me to spend far too much money on this concert (nevermind the gas money to get to and from Ft. Lauderdale), to my parents for keeping the boys for me because Dan was out of town, and to Katie for giving me a bed to sleep in, dinner to eat, and Wii! Oh, and also for even finding out about the concert and getting the tickets. :-)
The chance to see Steven Curtis Chapman and Michael W. Smith was nothing short of incredible. I could probably gush about the experience for days. In fact, as I was driving home today, I was listening to the radio and one of MWS's new songs came on the radio. As the DJ was saying that the two men were going to be making two last stops in Florida (and ending the tour), I called the station. The DJ, Melanie, let me gush and gush on the phone with her. Oh, and she even played my rave review on the air!
Seriously though, it was an amazing concert. Worthy of its own post, and most importantly, worthy of a spot in Love Thursday.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
1. Borrow (amazing) double stroller from a friend.
2. Arrange childcare should the line be longer than an hour.
3. Sync and charge iPod.
4. Grab my copy of Twilight to read.
5. Figure out where I'm supposed to vote.
6. Charge camera battery!
1. Pack lots of snacks and drinks to bribe kids with, should the line take a while.
2. Pack toys and books for kids so I can entertain them in line.
3. Don't forget to restock diaper stash.
I know some of you are probably wondering why I didn't just take advantage of early voting. Well, I decided that since I waited over FOUR hours voting in early voting with the 2004 election that I'd just take my chances on election day.
Plus, I really want to wear my "I Voted" sticker on election day. :-) I've heard there are lots of goodies waiting for those people who vote tomorrow. Ben & Jerry's is giving away ice cream, Starbucks is giving away coffee. But you need that darn sticker to get the yummy stuff. (Too bad the only convenient B&J's has closed down, and I don't drink coffee.)
All that to say, get out there and vote!
Sunday, November 2, 2008
It's still in the packaging, but as soon as the kids are safely tucked into bed I'll be learning all the ins and outs of it. We picked this one because it has video/sound capability, and also because it's so small it'll fit in my pocket. Very important feature when captures moments with twin toddlers. We will still heavily rely on Dan's awesome SLR for the really good stuff, but day to day life pictures will be snapped with this.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
For the last week or so, I’ve been gearing up for 2008’s edition of NaBloPoMo. It happens every year in November. Why the powers that be choose the busiest time of the year is beyond me, but I’m making the commitment to write every day for a month. Although the rules of NaBloPoMo don’t say anything other than to write every day for a month, I felt like I needed a little more direction than that, so I’ve decided to take a few different approaches to this month. Lots of bloggers have certain days of the week that they write about something specific. I’ve chosen the three listed below.
1) Wordless Wednesday. I have several blogging friends who do this, and I think it’s pretty cool. I know some of my readers only come to check out the pictures I post, so I want to at least try to get one picture up each week.
2) Love Thursday. I miss taking the time to celebrate something good during the week, so I’m reinstating Love Thursday. In the past, this helped me focus on the little things that are good in each day.
There are some other topics in the works, but you'll have to tune in to see what mysteries await in November! I’ve considered for a while taking a little bit more serious tone with the blog, and this may be the perfect time to do that. We’ll see.
3)Friday Five. I enjoy reading blogs with Friday Five’s in them, and each person has a different approach. Some people answer a series of five questions, while others make a list of five things that have something in common.
Monday, October 27, 2008
6 cups Crispix
3 cups Cheerios
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
In a large bowl, measure your cereal; set aside.
In a 2 cup measuring cup, microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter uncovered on High for one minute; stir. Microwave about 30 seconds longer, or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in vanilla.
Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Pour half of the mixture into a 1 gallon ziploc. Add 3/4 cup powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on wax paper to cool. Repeat with the remaining half of the cereal and powdered sugar.
Store in an airtight container, should any remain at the end of the night.
I should mention that I made the above recipe after my coveted caramel brownies committed suicide by falling out of the pan and onto the floor 30 minutes after coming out of the oven. Muddy Buddies were my consolation dessert. Apparently it was as well received as the caramel brownies would have been. Who would have thought it?
1 8oz block of cream cheese
1 pound ground chicken, browned
1/2 cup wing sauce
1/2 cup ranch dressing
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Dump all the ingredients above into a small crockpot, and cook for two hours, taking a moment every thirty minutes to stir.
Serve with Multigrain Tortilla chips or another, far more inferior tortilla chip if you can't find those.
Oh my goodness, this is an amazing dip. I made it for the party on Saturday night, and after less than an hour, I was making it again because the first batch was gone! No, I can't take any real credit for the recipe, because I took the ingredients from two different recipes in the same style and made up one that sounded the best. Plus, I really wanted to use my little crock pot!
It is my intention to bring this to the next several parties that I have to attend, so if you plan to be at the same party as me, don't steal my recipe and bring it yourself. Or maybe you should, because it's so good, it will be gone in a flash!
My only regret? People ate it so quickly, that I didn't take a picture.
When we first set the date for the party, which was thrown only because our dear friends Shane and Mikka were going to be in town, we had some serious goals in mind.
1. Get all the boxes unpacked.
2. Go through all the stuff we moved from one house to another and decide what to keep, what to sell, what to give away and what to toss out.
3. Have a garage sale and sell all the old stuff we didn't want, and the stuff that was too big for the new space.
We accomplished #2, and most of #3 with the help of Craigslist. I guess I could give myself a little credit here and say that we've even accomplished most of #1, with the exception of three boxes of my stuff that is now homeless since I lost my loft space (and my desk). Things were moving right along inside the house, and then bam! Dan went out of town.
Normally I like it when Dan travels the week before a party. I get to take my time, do lots of cleaning and prep work, arrange and re-arrange furniture and dishes. Then when he comes home on Friday night, I have a to-do list of things I couldn't do, and/or that I needed his help to accomplish.
However, this party is the first REAL party we've had since having children. Yeah, we've had friends over to hang out for the night, and even shipped the kids off to the grandparent's house so they could sleep in peace and we could tend to our friends. But this event was the first party we've had in over 17 months.
On Monday I found myself with a big to-do list. Grocery shopping for food to make. A trip to Target and Bed, Bath & Beyond to buy new drapes and other house accessories. Carpets to vacuum. The last few boxes to unpack. Laundry. Floors to mop. Furniture to dust. And that's just part of the list of things to do on the inside of the house. So that first day of Dan's business trip, I started working on my list. Tuesday, I worked even harder to check things off. By Wednesday, even though so much was done, my attempts seemed futile.
It was Wednesday afternoon that I said to myself, "Screw it. These friends who are coming over to our house on Saturday have known me for 15 years. They know what my house can look like at its best, and they all seen it at its worst. Who am I trying to impress?" I decided that while my friends were important, and I did want them to have clean surfaces to sit, eat and walk on, my children were the MOST important. I'd been letting them fend for themselves a lot early last week. They play together well most of the time, but that wasn't the point.
In that moment, I got up and walked away from the vacuum cleaner and the boxes, and I played with my boys. We went on walks, and we played on patio. We stacked blocks, and read toys. We had a great time, just the three of us. Now, don't let yourself think that I didn't go back to the vacuum, the dust cloth, and the boxes while they slept, because I did. I just took some time to enjoy my kids.
Thanks to my dad, who came over and took care of all of the outside chores, Dan was able to get home Friday afternoon and give me a hand with the finishing touches on the inside. And because in the end we were able to accomplish so much together Friday and Saturday morning, we managed to sneak away as a family and go to a birthday party. And then Dan was able to attend a surprise party for a new friend at church. And when 6pm rolled around and there were still a few things that needed to be put away, we opened the door to the laundry room and used that to hide the last of the stuff.
Back to the beginning for a second. Remember that I said this was the first visit for 99.9% of the people coming to the party? Yes, the majority of those people wanted the Grand Tour of our home. As I walked our friends around our new home, pointing out the improvements we made (we being Dan, my mom and my dad), I even showed our friends the laundry room. The room that had three boxes still needing to be unpacked, baby gates with no home, and a couple of empty boxes that we hadn't broken down and thrown away. It was with great pride that I showed off this room. I had learned two lessons that week leading up to the party...
1. My children are my priority, not what my house looks like, or what people think about me.
2. My friends who have known me for 15 years, love me for who I am, and not what my house looks like on the night of a party.
Technically, I learned one more lesson...
3. I have amazing parents. I already knew that, of course, but it has started to sink in a little more. They pitched in around our house last week, even though they were both sick with colds their grandchildren had given them the week before. They babysat on Saturday night for our party, even though the boys had very little nap and had the potential to be quite cranky. They made sure our needs were met, just so we could have a good time with an old group of friends. Thanks, Mom & Pop.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Not long after that event, and e-mail was sent out to the old MYAM group from one of the leaders. Even though the article featured in that e-mail was not geared towards me (after all, I had no kids), I saved it, because I just knew that people would have strong opinions one way or another on being a Christian and allowing my children to Trick or Treat on Halloween.
I'd forgotten about that article until five minutes ago, when I was reading the blog of our pastor's wife, Kelly. Apparently someone has said to her that she "shouldn't let her children trick or treat" or some such thing. It dawned on me that I'd read an article, written from a Christian perspective, that allowing children to celebrate Halloween can be a good thing. I forwarded the article to her, and I'll share it here too.
Kim Wier, Contributing Writer
In case you haven't figured it out, we're allowing our children to Trick or Treat. After all, who wants to buy all that candy when our kids can get it by knocking on our neighbor's doors? :-)
Sunday, October 12, 2008
A few weeks ago the boys had a photo shoot with a local photographer who is looking to build her portfolio. Here's a glimpse of some of the proofs...
I was amazed at how good the boys were through the whole photo shoot. We were outside with them for almost two hours. They had three change of clothes, and had to endure a stroller ride from Park Avenue all the way to the lake at Rollins. Not necessarily a long trip, but when you're 20 months old, it seemed like it too forever!
You can go to the photographer's weblog here: http://www.connierphotography.typepad.com/ This is a link to her blog, where she puts sneak peaks of her sessions for everyone to see. You'll be able to see the pictures above, plus another one if you check out her site. You can also go to her main website here: http://www.connierphotography.com/ If you check out that site, you can see the boys in some of her portfolio pages. :-)
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Over the last 17 months I have become heavily involved in the club. It started off slowly, just attending the once monthly general meeting, and progressing to clubwide playdates and "Class of 2012-2013" playdates (the year the boys will start Kindergarten!), and eventually working up to joining with women for Mom's Night Out. I started meeting and connecting with some of the other mom's in the group, which has been such a saving grace for this mom of twins! I have many friends with children, and I love spending time with them, but there is something about the camaraderie that comes from another mother of multiples that you can't find with a mom of singletons (even if she has more than one singleton).
This past May I talked to a couple of people on the board about becoming more directly involved with the club, and found myself nominated for the position of 3rd VP. Dan and I talked it over, and came to the decision that I would take the job, if voted in, but only if I dropped something else from my plate. At that point I started attending our monthly board meetings, and found them to be at least as much fun as our general meetings. We have a lot of fun together, but still manage to get great things accomplished during our monthly gatherings. When I was told that this would be the case (by someone who was almost begging me to take the job) I thought she was lying to me, but really, she wasn't. :-)
In July I was officially voted in to my position and took over in August. Essentially my job entails four things: 1) taking care of membership, 2) keeping a database of all members, their spouses & children, along with other pertinent information, 3) putting together a directory for each member, and 4) working on the meetup.com site. It's quite a bit of work, but I love all of it! Of every job on the board, this is the one I am best suited to do. I have the computer skills and the writing skills to tackle 1, 2, & 4 and hopefully I will learn the skills to do number 3 before November!
The new job and its responsibilities means an extra night away from home each month and a little bet less "free time" during nap time or the evenings, but I know it helps make GOMOTT a better club, one filled with great mom's and awesome kids for my children to befriend.
Monday, August 25, 2008
I hope the guy who bought our house loves it as much as we did. We had so many good times there, and I hope he does too. I also hope he does things like keep up with the butterfly garden. I also hope he doesn't change the nursery, but one day gets married and has his own children in the nursery we loved so much. I hope he's a good neighbor to our neighbors and friends.
And that's the big news around here. :-)
Most people know that after we had Alex, we attended a grief counseling group run through Florida Hospital called HEAL. It's an amazing support, and we were so blessed to meet so many wonderful people through the group. In particular, we still stay in close touch with the Brantley's and the Dullmeyer's. I wish I could find the one picture we all have of just the three couples just for comparison, but I don't. So you'll have to imagine us, three couples, brought together by the mutual losses of our children, Alex, EJ, and Julie, learning how to live again, how to be happy and how to go on. We spent a lot of time that first year with them, and we grew into great friends. Ones that some people look a lifetime to find.
And now our lives have gone from three couples mourning the loss of our children, to three couples with six children! Life is surely different. And one of the things that is so neat about our little group is that from the oldest-Josiah, to the youngest-Adelyne, there's only 20 months difference. Our group managed to give birth and/or adopt 6 children in just over a year's time. Crazy! You can't see it in this picture, but Laurie and Ed have baby number 7 on the way.
(L - R) Dan, Nicholas, Shannon & Matthew MacDonald, Scooter, Adelyne, Cathy & Colton Brantley and Jesse, Ed, Laurie, (baby) & Josiah Dullmeyer
Sunday, August 3, 2008
See it? A little thing called Skribit? I put that there for you, dear reader.
While I would like to continue writing about the mundane lives we lead, I know it might not be exactly what you're hoping to read about when you come here. So participate in the little widget to the right, and tell me what you wish I'd write about.
Yes, I'll continue to write about our boring lives. But maybe, just maybe, you will find it interesting because you've helped shape the blog to be a little more interesting. :-)
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
- July 8th: I come down with a stomach virus, that we think is a 24 hour thing. Bounce back very quickly the same day.
- July 9th: The boys and I pack up and hit the splash park for the greater part of the morning to hang out with the Alich's, who were in town for the week. We have a blast playing with all of the kids. There were 11 kids between 4 families. It was a little crazy, but definitely fun. Dan's parents arrive late that afternoon, and babysit for Dan and me, as we head in different directions.
- July 10th: Stomach virus is apparently NOT over, and I end up in bed the whole morning and part of the afternoon. It appears that Matthew has a touch of it as well. Not the best way to start out a weeklong trip with the grandparents.
- July 11th: Everyone seems okay, but we decide to take it easy and hang around at home all day.
- July 12th: Nicholas comes down with the bug, and I get my first experience with a kid who is throwing up. Not fun at all.
- July 13th: Matthew and Nicholas are both sick. I'm finally better.
- July 14th: Everyone seems better, but we still stick close to home...just in case.
- July 15th: The day the grandparents go home. This happens to be the only day everyone seemed well enough to go out for a while. So the boys and I took the grandparents to the bowling alley. It was the boys second trip to the bowling alley, and they seemed to have a good time. They definitely had a better grasp of what was going on this time, and insisted on carrying the ball. So funny.
- Somehow manage to pass the bug on to my mom and dad! Sorry! :-(
- July 18th: MOVING DAY!
- July 19th-today: Unpack boxes, try to arrange the house, try to corral kids in rooms that are safe for them to play in.
Monday, July 7, 2008
Last night I was dropped off at the airport after a quick weekend trip to visit my dear friend Jenn and her amazing husband Daniel. I elected not to pack a snack to take, knowing I would be at the airport two hours before my flight and would have the opportunity to get something there. Plane travel and me eating don't usually work well, hence the reason I said no. Although my flight wasn't leaving until 8:50pm and I would be arriving quite late (Midnight), I had planned to just deal with being hungry, should that happen. That is, until I saw that my flight had been delayed by 40 minutes. And then delayed again by another 33 minutes, putting me at a projected departure time of 10:03pm.
It was then that I began scouring the airport for a little dinner. Now, for some perspective on the time, keep in mind that it's 6:45pm, which gave me plenty of time to eat and digest my dinner so as not to have an upset stomach on the way home. I passed a Caio Bella, which was seriously calling my name. Boy did the gelato look good. But I ignored the cries from the stand (and my tummy) and looked for something more substantial. I looked and looked. And looked some more. The airport had your standard fare. Starbucks. Miami Subs. Manchu Wok. McDonald's. Nathan's Hot Dogs. The Grove. It even had two different diners. Nothing, and I mean nothing, sounded appealing.
I had given up hope of finding something appealing, and then I spotted the Ben & Jerry's. I jumped in line thinking that if nothing else, I can get a smoothie. So I waited. It seemed like forever that I stood there in line, watching everyone drool over the Phish Food and the Vanilla Heath Bar Crunch. Eventually I gave up the wait and settled on McDonald's. Shocked? Yes, so was I. I haven't liked (or even eaten at) a McDonald's since I was 4 years old and they tricked me by putting minced up onion on my burger and letting me think it was rice! But I remembered their trickery and ordered my cheeseburger with no onion. I also got the smalled fry and drink possible. (In retrospect, I could have ordered a kid's meal for less money and I would have gotten a prize!)
It wasn't the worst meal I've ever eaten, although I did only eat 3/4 of the burger and 2/3 of the fries. Based on some of the food coming out of other restaurants (Ben & Jerry's and Caio Bella excluded) it wasn't even the worst looking food. It probably wasn't even the worst for me food. And when my flight finally took off (at 11:30pm!!!!), I was definitely glad I decided to bite the bullet and try Mickey D's again. After all, who wants to eat dinner at 2:30am, when their flight finally arrives at their destination? Not me!
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Here we are, four great moms of twins! :-) Thank God for the Internet, because it brought us all together!
(Left to Right): Kristin, Nisha, Jenn and Shannon :-)
Saturday, July 5, 2008
Friday, July 4, 2008
My friend Jenn, who currently lives in West New York, NJ with her husband Daniel is having a baby shower tomorrow. I am so excited to be a part of her shower, and part of her special day. I will be helping her mom pull the event off, and am hoping for a great day for them both. Jenn is just under 25 weeks pregnant with twins after quite a rough road to pregnancy. Her pregnancy went amazingly well until 19 weeks, when she found herself on strict (only get up to go to the bathroom) bedrest. She's been in and out of the hospital since bedrest began, and endured a cerclage two weeks ago. But the babies are doing great, and growing like crazy.
So, say a little prayer that the flight goes well, and the event goes smoothly. More from NJ!
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
July's theme is "Food", and I haven't decided what that looks like for this blog. Maybe I'll post recipes. Maybe I'll come up with witty stories to share about feeding 18 month old twins. Or maybe I'll be satisfied with just writing something every day. Who knows! :-)
But for today, here's a picture that my friend Kim took of the boys on Sunday. It captures their love of food and their love of Snack Traps, and it's a pretty cute picture to boot!
Sunday, June 29, 2008
We were able to spend the afternoon hanging out by the pool with friends. It was most definitely a low-key event, but fun all the same. We were given the privilege to meet the girl that our friends are in the process of adopting. She seemed to have a good time here, after warming up (haha) to the cool water in the pool. Her parents-to-be were naturals with her, balancing fun and learning throughout the afternoon. The little girl loved the boys, and played very well with them while they were in the pool. She also took to Jack quickly, and showered him with lots of attention and affection.
We also got the chance to hang with Kim Tres, someone who is dear to my heart, even though I haven't had much opportunity to spend time with over the years. She was moving out of the UCF group as I was moving in, but we have many mutual friends, so I have the privilege of seeing her when she's in town. And really, she's not here too often, since until this year, she spend the last six years in Russia teaching. Lucky for all of us, she made a quick visit to Orlando, before she heads off to Qatar to teach for the next two years!
Tyger came over as well, not wanting to miss a chance to hang out with her "little men", as she likes to call Nicholas and Matthew. Having Kim here was an added bonus, but meeting J & T's soon-to-be daughter was the main draw, I'm sure.
All in all, it was a great day around here. It felt like what Sunday's should feel like...an opportunity for a great church service, combined with a lazy afternoon filled with good friends and family. Here's to hoping for many more Sundays like this one, both here and at our new home.
(Did you notice that I threw in the theme for this month, Home? :-))
Saturday, June 28, 2008
One might say I was the primary point of contact for the event. I guess that's because I asked Anne if I could throw her a shower first. Then a connection was made with her friend Rachel, who also wanted to throw a shower. From there I sent e-mails to a few of the girls from church and a little shower team was created. Let me say that although I am not one who typically likes doing things by "committee", this event has softened my view on group projects. 99% of the planning for this event was done via e-mail. I tried to be as thorough as possible in my initial contact, hoping to get all of the big things assigned early on. Getting everyone to pick and choose a responsibility seemed to work pretty well, and each person was off and running. I touched base with the girls every week or two, getting opinions on invitations and dates/times for the event, but pretty much tried to stay out of the way.
Those who know me well might say that I'm a bit of a control freak. I've softened that image over the years (or at least tried to), and I hope that anyone who witnessed Anne's baby shower can testify that I wasn't trying to control anything. (Although I did desperately want to win something during game time, because let's face it, I'm a little bit competative!)
All that is to say that I worked with some wonderful women. Kelly, Katie, Hilary and Rachel were a dream team. Each person stepped up and took on a major task for the day, and for that I am so grateful. And while my own mom doesn't even know Anne, she came through in a major way. She lent me the plates, punch bowl and cups, and vases. She arranged flowers, helped met set up the room, and generally made the room look beautiful. Oh, and the bonus was that she and my dad kept the boys all weekend so I could concentrate on making the baby shower a success. (Thanks!)
My Wednesday Night Girls, (my Bible study) came through in a huge way. Maruxa offered some supplies, which was wonderful. Maggie stuffed favors and wrapped silverware. Loni did the shopping for our gift. Kim (and others) stuck around and helped with clean up. I love those girls!
But the best thing about yesterday was being able to sit back and watch the event come together, with no snafu's (other than forgetting a can opener!). Watching Anne get showered with love and prayers and gifts for her baby boy was simply amazing. I must say that there is no one more deserving of such a special day than Anne, and I am so thrilled that I was able to play a small role in it.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Of course, this meant that the phone rang Friday night at 6:00pm, complete with a call from our realtor saying someone was going to come see the place the next day. Thankfully my parents were here to babysit, and they were willing to do some of the straightening up necessary for the house to be show worthy. The house was seen on Saturday, as always, we're hopeful that it went well and the people are really interested.
All that to say, thank goodness that we had the showing on Saturday. Because of the showing on Saturday, when a realtor came knocking on our door at 3:30pm this afternoon, it meant that Dan (who was home alone) only needed about 15 minutes to run around and put dishes in the dishwasher, pick up the few toys on the floor and make the bed.
I really do wish this house would sell. Yes, there are obvious reasons why we want that to happen...1) not having to pay two mortgages, 2) freeing up a little money so we can buy a stove that was made in the 21st century, 3) kicking our butts into high gear to move. But I want this house to sell, because it really is a great house. It's in a nice neighborhood with good people surrounding it. I don't want it to sit empty and alone. I want people to come here and love it, and make it their own home. It's ready for new people and new memories, and I hope it can have that very soon.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Anne's baby shower in Orlando (June 28)
Kate, Dan's sister visiting before starting her new job (Sometime between June 30-July 5)
A quick trip for me to New Jersey for the weekend (July 4-6)
Jenn's baby shower in New Jersey (July 5)
Dan travels (July 7-11)
Dan's parents in town (July 9-15)
To say that things will be a little busy around here is quite the understatement. Add into that working like crazy on the new house (well, Dan and my parents are working on the new house) and it's quite a whirlwind around here.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Since those first discussions of Huge Blowout Party, things have happened. Well, one major thing has happened. The house on Burning Tree Lane came into our lives and has sucked up all of our "free time". But it's all good. Yes, I'm a little bummed that we're not having the big party we talked about, but we had a great time celebrating, just the four of us.
If you know me at all, you know that I love Disney. Disney has connected to it so many great memories, so it is no surprise that we spent our first Family Day at Magic Kingdom. The boys really seemed to enjoy the park today, probably more than ever before. I suppose this will continue to be so, as they get a little bigger and can comprehend a little more of what their little eyes and ears are taking in. They danced in their strollers twice, once each way when we passed the show at Cinderella's Castle. They rode rides. They pointed out every balloon they saw. They put on bathing suits and played in the water. They had french fries for the first time! (Can you believe it?) Not one tear was shed the entire day, except by the Mom, who so desperately wanted their pictures taken with Chip & Dale (twins) or Tweedledee & Tweedledum (more twins). They went peacefully to sleep in strollers as we were leaving. (Note, not the best time for them to go to sleep, but we'll take it.) Best part of the day at Disney? Realizing it really is a "Small World". See?
After we got home from Disney, the boys got to have a snack on the special Elmo blanket and watch Elmo on TV. (Yes, Elmo is their favorite thing right now.) Once that was was over, everyone changed clothes and we were off to Lac Viet to have a Vietnamese dinner in honor of today. While I don't know that Disney will be a tradition every year (although one can dream!), I do think going to Vietnamese food will be. The boys loved their meal, and Dan and I enjoyed ours as well.
It's been a wonderful year. I can't believe it's over, and we're on to a new one. It feels like Nicholas and Matthew have been with us forever, and yet, it feels like just yesterday that they were given to us.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
So tonight, instead of reflecting on that last night we had as just the two of us, I will clean the living room and kitchen, do a couple of loads of laundry, pack the diaper bag, and get to bed early. Tonight I'm confident I will get more sleep than I did this night one year ago.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
In Vietnam, what makes your adoption official is a ceremony called the "Giving and Receiving". I have no idea why it's called that, but it is what it is. When I'm on the various Yahoo groups centered around Vietnam adoptions, I also talk about the g&r. I honestly have no idea what other countries call it, but as the years of international adoption have gone by, the term "Gotcha Day" has been coined to refer to the day a family adopted, or "got", their baby. Generally speaking, I hear that term in the China communities.
We decided that for our family, we didn't want to use the phrase "Gotcha Day". Although it has no negative connotations for us when we say it, or even when we hear it, it does leave a bad taste in the mouths of many in the adoption community. For some, the phrase can be construed as you "got" your child and ran away, never to return. Or, maybe that you "got" them from the depths of poverty. Or, you "got" them in your grasp. (I guess I should really research how the prhase was coined, because I really have no idea.)
Anyway, I did a poll on several of the groups I frequent. I had a little bit of feedback to my question, which was what we should call June 19th. "Family Day", "Adoption Day", "Gotcha Day" were the most frequent replies. I had wanted something a little more personal than those phrases and I really liked the one my friend Shana and her family use, which is "Familyversary", the anniversary of when they became a family. Very cute. I had a couple of other suggestions, but for the life of me I couldn't remember them...
But in the end, we decided to call it "Family Day", because it's the day that our family of two merged with the boys' family of two, and became one complete family.
Monday, June 16, 2008
1. Are they twins?
2. Are they boys?
3. Double trouble!
4. Wow, you must be busy!
5. Which one is older?
6. How do you tell them apart?
7. Do you ever dress them alike?
8. Are they the same/Which one is friendlier/Do they have the same personality/etc.?
9. You have your hands full!
10. Better you than me!
And more. After doing a quick search online to see what questions other mom's have been asked, I think the questions/comments above are the top 10 that I hear on a very regular basis.
Generally speaking, if someone asks if Matthew and Nicholas are twins, I just smile and say yes. Actually, for a lot of the comments, I just smile and nod. Typically I don't have the time to stand around in the grocery store/Target/Costco and have an entire conversation based around one comment. Also, I like to consider myself a little bit witty (read: sarcastic) at times, and can often come up with quick one-liners, especially during movies, long sermons, lectures, etc. But I just don't seem to have the same skill when it comes to answering the questions/statements above.
So here's a quick try...
1. Are they twins? "Well, Duh!" (This phrase spoken in front of my parents when they were out with the boys for lunch. Apparently the waitress asked if the boys were twins and her friend answered with that little gem. I wish I could have witnessed that. I might have wet my pants from laughter.)
2. Are they boys? "According to the referral picture we have of them where they are naked from the waist down." (Yes, it's true. One of the pictures we received of Nicholas and Matthew shows them with shirts on and nothing else. We have edited that picture for public view.)
3. Double Trouble! "No, double the love, double the kisses, double the hugs, double the happiness." (One day I'll say this, because it runs through my head each time someone says that phrase to me.)
4. Wow, you must be busy! "Well, duh. But I'm not any busier than any other mom."
5. Which one is older? "Nicholas." (Yes, that's the answer to the question of which one is older. At least, that's the answer as best as we know it, because, hello! We weren't there for the birth!)
6. How do you tell them apart? "Matthew wears blue and Nicholas wears green." (Okay, this one is legitimate under a couple of circumstances. a) When it's a child care employee at the YMCA, church, etc. b) When you are actually going to spend time with my children and not just be a passerby in the grocery store/Target/Costco."
7. Do you ever dress them alike? To borrow a phrase from earlier, "Well, duh!" (Yes, I get asked this question when they are dressed alike. And for those wondering, it's probably 60/40 dressed alike. It's too cute not to do it!)
8. Are they the same, etc.? "It varies from week to week." (Because, really, it does.)
9. Your hands are full. "Yes, but so is heart." (I have yet to use that phrase. I'm not sure why.)
10. Better you than me! "Yes, I think so too!" (Again, haven't had much opportunity to say that either.)
Deep down, I know why people say the things they do. Really, I do. I know, because even as a mother of twins, I find myself asking the same question, "Are they twins?" when I'm out in public and see children who look like they could be twins. I know people ask the question because they are trying to strike up a conversation, or they want me to know that they are admiring my children and not stalking me/us in the store. I get it. And that's why, when I get asked the more benign questions, I just smile and answer politely, and leave the snarky comments to swirl in my head. But really, I'd much rather someone tell my that my twins are cute and wish me well.
Yes, my hands are full, but so is my heart. If only everyone could be this blessed.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
We also got lots of boring stuff...primer, outlet covers and new outlets, light switches, a doorbell, drywall mud. But the other cool thing we bought was some new lighting. We don't know if we'll use them yet, since they're recessed lights, but we couldn't beat the price. They were on clearance, and the guy working the lighting section, Joshua, said that if we wanted them he'd sell them to us for $2.00 each. So $16 later and we had lots of new lights. Now we just need a place to put them! :-)
It's too bad we weren't in the market for a new wall sconces, because Joshua had a particularly special sconce that he was willing to part with for only a nickel.
Friday, June 13, 2008
Last year we had just returned home from Vietnam, and while we went to the beach 3-4 times the week everyone was there, we didn't sleep there. This year, however, we had our own condo (thanks to my parents!) and we stayed the entire week. It was wonderful to get away from Orlando for a few days, and the responsibilities that come with our day to day lives. Although Dan did work two days we were there, and we did drive back to Orlando one day to buy a new house, we had a great vacation.
I was a little concerned as to how the boys would handle the beach for a week. I dreaded both nap and bed times, but they were champs. They took great naps and went down each evening with no fuss. The trip went so well, that I even convinced Dan that we should go to Minnesota later this summer!
But anyway, back to the point. Below is a picture of the boys in their "home away from home". The beach trip this summer marked their third visit to condo 332 in less than a year! We're hoping to join my parents again late this summer when they travel for their anniversary. :-)
Thursday, June 12, 2008
We were also thrilled to see An Na at the picnic. She was our in-country facilitator and I absolutely love her. I want to take her home with me and keep her forever, because she is so wonderful. She has such a heart for children, and seems to be so in love with the boys. Last June when we met An Na, she had not been working for FHSA very long, and had never been to the United States. When we left, the only reason I was sad to come home was because I thought we'd never see her again. Who knew that she would be chosen to be the interpreter for the delegates on two separate trips to the US this year!? We're so blessed to know An Na, for she is the reason we were referred Matthew and Nicholas. We're so thankful that we have been able to see her again and again. We hope she comes back again soon!
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Any guesses on what chore will be their's when they are old enough? Oh yeah! :-) Now, if only they like sweeping and mopping. We'll work on that.
What does this have to do with home? Well, our current home has carpet everywhere, and it always needs vacuuming. Between two adults who like to eat in the carpeted areas of the house, two toddlers who like leaves, and a dog who I'm convinced is made purely of dog fur which he sheds all over, we should vacuum this house every day. Our new house is predominately tile (Boo!), hence the reason for teaching them how to sweep. :-)