Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Gifts Times Two

I have a lot of blessings by being a mom of twins. One of them I LOVE is getting two homemade Christmas presents that they make at school. I don't know if my Christmas would be the same without them. Seriously. I tear up every year when Matthew and Lucas come home with their gifts made at school. Even better is that Derrick and I don't have to share-we each get one! In Preschool is was the traced hand ornament with their picture on it, Kindergarten was a painted coffee mug, and first grade was a wreath made out of their hands with their picture in the middle. This year it is an ornament made out of MiniWheats, molded and mixed together with glue then shaped into a circle. I know for certain that Matthew wasn't excited about making it. That is enough to make me love it even more. I can see him sitting at his desk, while all the other kids are getting messy and molding/mixing, with his hands up as if the teacher was asking him to touch a snake. He does not like things that feel funny, and mini wheats mixed with glue is high on that list. Part of the process was breaking up and crushing the MiniWheats before molding. To avoid touching this, he told me he put it in a bag and sat on it.

In Kindergarten, they were all about hiding the coffee mugs under their beds until Christmas. This year, Matthew wanted me to open it ASAP when he got in the door. I managed to put it off...trying to wait until Christmas, encouraging him to hide it, wait until Daddy gets home...but nothing worked. Finally after dinner, he asked me nicely to open it and so I did. He even included a letter-they're learning about friendly letters in school.

His letter says: "Dear Mommy, I love you. You are the best mom! You are the 'allsomest' (read awesomest) mom ever! Love, Matthew

When Derrick got home, Lucas asked him to open it. Lucas's approach was different. Since it was for the "family" tree, he thought he should help Derrick open it, and the letter inside was "Dear Family....". So cute! Matthew's wrapping paper-a cross with Jesus on it.

And the topper on all of it, is the homemade wrapping paper. I loved how excited and proud they were to give us a gift. It showed their sweet side! The front of his paper bag-a heart, and nice coloring!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Feeling Like Christmas

It's feeling more like Christmas! We had a nice little snow fall Thursday night, and into Friday. That caused a two hour delay for some schools here, including Alder and Marysville. Friday night we invited my parents to go to the zoo lights with us. Oh so fun! Dad, Natalie, Matthew, Lucas, and Mom

We ate at Applebee's before we headed to the zoo. The boys were SO squirmy and impatient while we were waiting..but they were obviously hungry...they can't go 5 minutes without eating lately...or so it seems. They, and Natalie, chowed down on their food, we talked with my parents for awhile, and after a bathroom break we were out the door. We arrived at the zoo around 7:15. It was super crowded. I give credit for how crowded it was to two things-it was a Friday night, AND it was in the upper 30s/low 40s..which is very warm for a night at the zoo lights. This visit was a huge contrast from last year-it was SUPER cold, Matthew was whiny and wouldn't pose, and Lucas wanted to be in every picture. Matthew and Lucas with the peacock.

This time it was "warm", and Matthew posed for almost every photo. This year, all the lights are LED, which made it so much prettier. Derrick had a "God" moment while we were walking in. He was "praying"/thinking to himself that he wished we had some cash with us because hot chocolate sounded good. Well, I was behind him, as always, with the boys, and Matthew stumbled over a piece of paper. I thought it looked like a dollar, and I picked it up. It was $20! I looked around to see if anyone was frantically looking for cash they had dropped, and there wasn't anyone. So, I put it in my pocket. I told Derrick about it. That is when he told me about his "hot chocolate prayer". Too funny! Derrick and I enjoying our hot drinks-provided by God!

We walked around, looked at the lights, had the kids pose for pictures, and Matthew had his first hot chocolate, we had hot lattes and cider, and we all shared a warm pretzel. I think Natalie had the best bundled in her stroller that the poor baby couldn't move! It was a good night!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving in Pictures

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Matthew and I ready to start on his gingerbread house.

Kristin helping Lucas with his house. See all those candies? He used them ALL on his house..and then some.

Joey getting some help from Matthew on his house.
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Lucas is many decorations!

My attempt at getting a photo of all three of them in front of the tree..good thing I wasn't planning on using it for Christmas cards :)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Day

Lucas standing in front of the tree in their room.

Thanksgiving Day was so rainy and windy this year! We started the morning by putting up the Christmas trees-the living room one and the boys' in their room. The one in their room is a kids decorated it, lots of kid ornaments, hodge podge sort of way. It's funny to watch them decorate it-they carefully place their Superman and Flash ornaments so they look like they're flying through the air. Matthew carefully placing the train at the bottom.

And they have some train ornaments that Joey and Kristin gave them a few years ago-they always get a spot at the bottom of the tree so the boys can see them easily. We finished the trees in the morning and had an easy lunch. Then it was quiet time and getting ready to go to Aunt Cindy's. We had dinner, and then the kids decorated gingerbread houses. Matthew and Lucas really got into it-I helped Matthew pipe the icing on his house, Matthew piping his icing on his house.

and he diligently lined up all his candies to look like Christmas lights. Derrick was on Natalie patrol, and Kristin helped Lucas with his. He wanted to use ALL his tiny colored candies and it took him quite awhile to do so. After they were done, we packed up and headed home. Lucas and Kristin working on Lucas's house.

I actually considered going shopping this morning, and even woke up at 3:30, wide awake. Had I been more prepared with my coupons and more of a plan, I probably would have, but online shopping took care of most of our gift giving this morning.

On the day after Thanksgiving (aka Black Friday), we went to the Hursts' for lunch. Our family on that side is getting so huge! Everyone, including Darragh now, has a boyfriend, girlfriend, or significant other of some kind. Devon made a fabulous turkey, and we played the Wii...rock band..and sat and talked and visited with each other. It was super cold, and the fireplace going made it so much more homey and comfortable. Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Christmas Cards

Remember my last post on our Christmas cards? It took me forever this year to make them...since I knew I was getting 50 free cards for posting it to my blog, I worked hard on choosing the right ones and the right layout. It took me longer than usual-and shutterfly had so many to choose from! But in the end, I love them and can't wait to send them out!
Seasonal Chic Noir Christmas Card
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Sunday, November 14, 2010

"Homemade" Christmas Cards

Yes, homemade Christmas, I'm not a cardmaker or a stamper. Scrapbooking is about as creative as I get, so I make homemade Christmas cards the non-conventional way-on the internet. We used to send them the old-fashioned way-buy a box of Christmas cards, enclose a letter with our family happenings from the past year, and off they went. I always admired and looked forward to the photo cards
I'd get in the mail every year, and decided that I was going to make my own-after all, why not show off my super cute kids at Christmas? This year, when I sat down to begin thinking about and sorting through our photos, I couldn't decide which ones to include. THEN, I got on Shutterfly, which is where I make our cards, and they have so many cute designs this year, I can't even begin to decide which ones to use. I made about four the other day, using pictures from our Disney vacation, and some good ones I had of the kids. Then, since I couldn't pick out one really good picture, thankfully they have designs where I could include up to four pictures, make them black and white, or sepia, too. Choices, choices!

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Maybe Not......

We had parent teacher conferences for Matthew and Lucas on Monday. Mrs. Kinney said that she had never had a set of twins before, so she wasn't sure what to expect achievement wise, but she was shocked. Our district has a ridiculously low standard (as far as I'm concerned) that second graders should be able to read 5-10 sight words in September. By May, they should be at 180.

Matthew: 171, Lucas: 173 ......only off by two, and in my mommy mind, based on the standard, that screams OVERACHIEVERS!

On their HearingandRecordingSoundsInWords (or HRSIW), the expectation is 48...that means they can write down, correctly, words that are dictated to them.

Matthew: 58, Lucas: 58....exactly the same. I wonder if it was the same words they had correct/wrong?

BAS reading level expectation is that they are at a Level I....

Matthew: J, Lucas, J

Math Facts: They should know 25/100 in September....

Matthew: 43 addition/32 subtraction, Lucas 62 addition/41 subtraction

It was funny to see Mrs. Kinney so surprised at their similarities....and I was a proud mommy when I left the conference :)

A Year Ago

Here are two comparative pictures about a year apart. Natalie is such a different child...there is no comparing her to her brothers. She is getting to be so much fun right now. I love how we'll read a book and then she lays her head down on the floor and says "ni, ni". Like she's going to sleep, or as we call it having a "night, night". She's also becoming more verbal and better at telling us what she wants. She is preferring to walk, once she pulls herself up using furniture or something else that's sturdy, off she goes. Natalie is picky-she knows what she likes and what she doesn't. She loves on her babies, but refuses to push her stroller when she has a baby in it. Too funny. She carries her babies around, and hugs them so tight. She is very interested in what we are eating-eggs, chicken, noodles, cooked name it, she wants to try it...even pizza. The minute the boys walk into the room, she completely lights up. She is so interested in what they are doing, and just sits on the floor and watches them push their cars, planes, or whatever they're playing with back and forth. She is finally mastering a better sleep schedule at night. We've moved to having her cry it out, and after about 15 mins or so , if she doesn't stop, then I go in. She's also getting good at mimicking animal sounds. If you ask her how a kitty goes, she'll say "meow"...and for a puppy, she makes the "f" at the end of "woof, woof". So cute. I'd forgotten how much they change in their first year of life....and she is getting cuter everyday.

Friday, November 5, 2010

They're Different

Yep, the title of this post definetly states the obvious, but it didn't become obvious to me until just "recently" in the last few months or so. Matthew and Lucas are becoming such their own little people. The other day I was discipling them for lying, and I was using the term "boys..." when I was addressing them. Matthew was distracted by this and said, "Why don't you call us by our names?" He was irritated about that. After this, I started to reflect on how much they really are different in a lot of areas-even simple and complicated differences.

Yogurt: Matthew likes Yoplait Orange Creme, Lucas prefers Go-gurt
Chili: Matthew will eat it, Lucas won't touch it
Cooked Carrot and Potatoes: Matthew LOVES cooked carrots and won't touch potatoes, but Lucas LOVES potatoes and won't touch cooked carrots.
Playtime: Lucas takes a break to suck his fingers and hang out with his jacket watching cartoons. Matthew, plays constantly and doesn't understand Lucas's preference to rest
Routine: Matthew gets out of whack when our routines are broken. Lucas is more flexible.
Helping: Lucas likes to help Derrick around the house. Matthew would rather play
Sports: Lucas is more athletic than Matthew (but not an Olympian by any means) and enjoyed going to the Blue Jackets game last week, Matthew prefers to do karate and not very partial to team sports or going to a sporting event.
School: Lucas's handwriting is great and he gets right to his homework and finishes it. Matthew's handwriting can use some work, and he dawdles through his homework and it takes him almost twice as long.

I"m sure I can go on and on and I'll probably add to this post sometime. But when I think about it, they aren't the "same" as people think they are. And I'm needing to be ok and adjust to that. It's hard being a twin mommy. Seeing them grow up, plus become different from each other at the same time is a double whammy.

Lucas's Thoughts

The other night, I was getting the boys ready for bed. Natalie was down, and Matthew was putting on pjs while Lucas was in the bathroom going potty and brushing teeth. He decides to strike up a conversation about frogs and their ears.

Lucas: Mommy, where are a frogs ears?

Me: (from the other room w an exasperated voice),"I don't know Lucas, why?"

Lucas: Why don't you know? You're a teacher.

Me: Yes, but not a science teacher. Maybe we can look it up online tomorow.

Lucas: Fine, I"ll just ask Mrs. Kinney. She'll know. She teaches us Science. does brushing teeth and going to the bathroom make him think about where a frog's ears 8:30 at night? I just wonder how their minds work sometimes....

Shimmy and Shake

Matthew and Lucas ready for the rockin' musical, "Showbiz".
Last night, the boys were shakin' what God gave 'em. They had their second grade musical, "A Little Bit of Showbiz". Super cute! Once again, Mrs. Galemmo delivered. They went through a "history" of music and showbiz, ranging from Broadway, to Detroit-the home of Motown, to Hollywood and singing about "Paparazzi" and posing for pictures.

Matthew in his rockstar pose. I think my favorite song was "I Got to Be Rich", and during the main music parts, they kids were to be freestyle dancing. Lucas and Matthew were up there doing robot moves during almost the whole song. All the kids looked great in their "bling",
and the boys fit right in with their rockin' guitar shirts, rock star hair (thanks to Daddy and a lot of hair fiber), and their sunglasses (a last minute add on as we were walking out the door).

I think the pictures speak for themselves :)

Lucas in his rockstar pose.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Chili and S'mores

Our church has been working hard to do more things together to build fellowship amongst the members and new members. Last weekend, on Natalie's real birthday, we went to the Daley's for a chili dinner and S'mores. They live outside of Marysville on a huge acreage of land. They had a nice bonfire and lots of room for the kids to run around. The weather was just right-sweatshirts and bundling up in winter coats. One highlight of the evening was the S'mores. My kids LOVE these things...and it's just another way they differ. Lucas loves them full out with chocolate and marshmallows. Matthew likes them with chocolate only between the graham crackers. For some reason he calls them "dwarfs" I don't get it, but it's his imagination at work again I suppose. The night wasn't complete without some bobbing for apples, and yes, both my boys stuck their heads in the pool and pulled apples out with their teeth. Also, Justin had glow sticks for the kids-a huge hit with Natalie!

Another Crazy Busy Weekend

Halloween weekend was the second crazy busy weekend for us in a row. Last weekend was Natalie's birthday party, and we followed up with another round of entertaining this past weekend. The boys had their fall party at school, and after much deliberation decided to go as GI Joe. They had a costume parade to end Red Ribbon Week, and Lucas made a super cute banner to hang around his neck. They played Spooky BINGO and loaded up on sugar just to be sent home to their parents. Friday night we had plans to go to Boo at the Zoo, but they were thwarted by Natalie's super late afternoon nap. No big deal, we called in plan B: Pumpkin Carving and seed roasting. I get a small bit of joy as a mother over the strangest things-like when my kids beg for roasted pumpkin seeds this time or year, or when they come home from school and they've eaten all their carrots, but haven't touched their fruit snacks :). The most creative we get with pumpkins is a jack o lantern face, but this year we went one step further. I had a grand scheme to carve each kid's initials in the pumpkin, but that wasn't going to work out. Let's just say, the more square and straight the carving, the better off we all are. So, we decided to make their first letters as the eyes, and just put on a nose and a mouth. Done. I got the lovely job of pulling out the guts and separating the seeds for roasting, while Derrick did the carving. The boys weren't much help-they were engrossed in netflix, GI Joe, Rise of Cobra. Oh well. I tossed the seeds in some oil, sprinkled them with salt and put them in the oven for about 45 minutes. YUM! They crunched on them while watching Star Wars the Clone Wars-their Friday night ritual.

Saturday, I had a major errand running marathon. Derrick made us all pancakes, and I was out the door ASAP to hit the grocery and Sawmill Road. When I go to Dublin, I try to do as much as possible in one day. So, it was Target, Kohls, Meijer, JoAnns, Giant Eagle, and Kroger. Seriously...I didn't get home until about 1:30! I was beat! But, we won't have to go to the grocery for about three months! Since January, I've taken on a new attitude towards couponing, stockpiling, and trying to get the most out of our grocery budget. I try so hard to get the best deals, and return things if I have to when I find them at a lower price somewhere else.

Sunday was the big trick or treat day. Of course, as Lutherans, we also celebrated Reformation Day in church...but let's face it, trick or treat overshadows Martin Luther when you're seven. The day was full of being in the kitchen. I was a cooking fool-and exhausted that night to prove it. I made potato soup before church, two loaves of beer bread, oatmeal muffins, and chicken and noodles. I seriously didn't sit down until about 4 o'clock. Our families arrived around 5:30 to eat and help get the boys in their costumes. I must say, this year's costumes have been my favorite so far. They were Mario and Luigi. They had already decided that Matthew would be Mario and Lucas would be Luigi based on the first letters of their names. Ok...whatever. Well, I ordered the costumes a size too big for layering purposes, and because Luigi was online only at, and that's the size they had. So, that meant the mustaches were too big, too. Thankfully they wore them for a few pictures, then I let them take them off. But they totally made the costumes. Not to be outdone, Natalie was adorable in her poodle costume. She was a trooper for about 45 minutes of trick or treating, then I think her hands were freezing, and she wasn't a fan of being cold. The boys RAN from house to house, as if they were in the video game. In fact, Matthew even said that when they go from street to street, it's like they're going into another world on Super Mario Brothers-that kid and his imagination! While we were out loading the bags with candy, my in laws were at our house helping Derrick pass out fresh hot popcorn and candy. It was a super fun weekend, and the boys were in bed asap-after a serious teeth scrubbing of course!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Natalie's First Birthday

Happy Birthday! We had two firsts this weekend-Natalie's first birthday, and the first time we've had BOTH sides of our families over for a birthday party. Since our house is much bigger now, we were able to have both sides, along with Natalie's godparents, over for her celebration. We had everyone over for pizza, stromboli, and salad. As you can see in the above picture, she had a butterfly cupcake cake, made my my sister Kristin. She also made Matthew and Lucas's first birthday cakes, so it was fitting that she make Natalie's, too. When it was time to blow out her candle, she had plenty of help from Matthew, Lucas, and they're cousin Mabry. She wasn't overly interested in her cake, so we didn't get any smashing pictures of her and she didn't get messy at all. She ate a few bites that we broke off for her, and Derrick tried to get her to eat some but she wasn't overly interested.
She did, however, proceed to tell everyone that she is "So Big!", and when you ask her if she is 1, she puts up her right pointer finger. Too cute! She was most interested in the gifts that came in gift bags, as she could pull out the tissue paper one by one. She lost interest after the first two bags or so, but she had plenty of help. Matthew, Lucas, Mabry, Charlie, and Eliana made sure every gift was opened. She got a lot of clothes and some baby dolls. She LOVES her babies. She also got her first purse, as well as a xylophone and a walk behind/ride on zebra, a stroller, and a Fisher Price piggy bank.

One of the GREATEST blessings our kids have in their lives is that they are growing up around their grandparents and that they have six great grandparents who are still living. All six were here for the party. In the picture above is Natalie with her Hurst side great-grandparents-Omi, Opa, Grandpa and Joyce. In fact, at one point my grandma (Great Ma) and Natalie were snuggling on the couch together playing babies. She had lined up all of Natalie's dolls and stuffed new toys and they were singing Jesus Loves Me. Precious! It was an awesome evening with our families and our friends.

Dear Natalie

Dear Natalie,
Happy Birthday, my sweet girl! I am so thankful to God for you. You are truly an answer to my prayers for a baby girl. I adore your brothers, but a part of me always felt like our family would be complete with a girl. A year ago, you made your entrance into our world on a cool, sunny fall afternoon. I pray that you will have a God filled heart as you grow. I know that you will grow up to be a beautiful, Proverbs 31 woman...who loves her husband, cares for her children, and above all carries Jesus in her heart. I love coming home from work and seeing your smiling face when I walk in the door. You are such a happy baby, and you are friendly to everyone you meet. Your "mama" sounds are very sweet, and when you play patty cake and peek-a-boo (which you played the other night with your pjs while I was readying you for bed) your fun personality shines. Blessings on your birthday, my princess. Jesus loves you.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

John Bryan State Park-On A Perfect Fall Day

Sunday we went with my family to John Bryan State Park. Joey and Kristin, Lindsey and Ben, Wesley and Riley, my 82 yr old grandma, and the five of us all picknicked and hiked at the park. It was a BEAUTIFUL, warm, fall day. We all collaborated and brought something to eat. When we got there, we had sandwiches, fruit, and chips and cookies of course. After we fueled up on lunch, the kids found a fallen log to explore. It had obviously been climbed on a lot because there were many spots that were very smooth. Too fun. They happily climbed and walked from one end to the other over and over again.

Matthew picking the burrs out of his shoes after the hike.
After we were done eating and ready for a walk, we hit a trail. It took us back to our Colorado days when Derrick and I would spend hours on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon in the mountains, far away from the city and hiking while enjoying God's creation. The colors were starting to peak, and the leaves were crunchy and the air was warm.

We came to the bottom of a hill to what I think was the Little Miami River. Anyway, this made for a lot of great entertainment-the kids threw rocks in the water while the adults took pictures and talked.

Lucas throwing in the biggest rock he could find.

We hiked on for awhile, and after an hour or better, Grandma decided she was ready to go back. So, back we went to our picnic spot. We had a snack, the kids climbed on the log some more, and the kids engaged in a "kids vs. Ben and Grandpa" game of baseball. Too fun.

Matthew and Lucas down by the river.

I love these times with my family-when all of us get together and hang out for the day, not worrying about what we have to do, or getting to work on Monday. It was a perfect fall day!