Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Happy Birthday to my Crazy Father

So, my dad asked my mom if she was throwing him a party for his birthday. He's turning 57.

Since I was young, my father has been fodder for many jokes among me, my siblings and my friends. Luckily, he's a good sport and continues to provide us with more and more material to keep us entertained. Here are some of my favorite (and not-too-revealing) dad stories:

  • My father chaperoned a field trip to the beach with my class. One of my classmates threw my dad's shoes into the ocean and in response, my father clothes-lined the kid and threw him in the ocean while the whole class watched. We were in the 5th grade. (Strangely, the teachers sided with my father...)

  • I came home from school one day and my dad told me that he got me a job. I told him that was impossible because I was only 13 and there were child labor laws against that sort of thing. He said, "Oh, well, I told them you were 15 so make sure you say 15 if they ask."

  • He regularly haggles over prices with employees at places like KMart and Kohl's.

  • His favorite father-child bonding activity was driving with us on the highway on-ramps, going so fast the car would practically be on two wheels, asking us, "kids, wanna hear the tires sing?!"

  • He adds many spoonfuls of sugar to his Coca-cola.

Grandpa with Sebastian on Christmas Eve.

Happy birthday, Dad! Thanks for the laughs and the memories!! We love you!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Makes My Monday: FLYing

Through some various Internet avenues, I managed to stumble across a new site: FLYLady.net. People (women) were talking about how it has transformed their lives and their homes. Basically, it helps you keep your house looking neat and orderly all the time without TOO much work each day. OK, sounds good - but would this really work?

Well, let me say first that I am responsible for all the cleaning and most household chores which is fine with me. Most of the time. However, there are instances where I feel overwhelmed and other instances where Billy (and Kim) feel I could do a better job. And the thing is, I completely agree with them. I am not, by nature, I neat and orderly person. So, while it is my "job", I'm not particularly well-suited for it. That's where most people would say, "hey, why don't you get a cleaning lady?" Unfortunately, that would not work for me, either. Due to a mad combination of unfounded pride and stinginess, this idea makes me feel very uncomfortable. And that brings us back to square one.

I knew that I wouldn't just change my way of being without help. And my kids, dog and husband are more distracting than helpful so I would have to find outside motivation. Enter FLYLady. I can't explain it all here but let me just say that I love it. All those people were right - it is life changing. It has made me think differently about everything I do around my house. In less than a week, I feel like my home is cleaner and I am in more control than ever. AND I do not feel burnt out. If I keep up with this, I know that I will never have to do a 2-day long marathon cleaning session. I just do certain things, each day, in small time increments and added all up, it makes a huge difference.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by your household chores, I promise, checking out this site will make your Monday, too!!

And head over to Twinfatuation for other Monday makers.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

8 Months & Thursday Theater

I started this post two days ago and its already outdated. Gotta love how fast things change with babies. Also, the video for Goddess' Thursday Theater is hiding at the bottom of the post so I guess you're just going to have to read the whole thing.

For me, 8 months is a big milestone because we can start a new bunch of foods. In particular, we will add (or have already because I cheated and started a bit early) meat, berries and spices to their diet. Blueberries and strawberries went over just fine. We added some cinnamon to their strawberry oatmeal breakfast and it was fine but when we tried again the next day (with apples) I put in a bit too much and both babes got a rash around their mouths. No other symptoms but for now, no more cinnamon.

Meat is up next - I'm not really sure how I feel about pureed chicken (or beef/pork/turkey) but if Gerber does it, I guess I can. Still kind of revolting.

We also have started finger foods. You already know how its going with
Cheerios. Mommy Esq. suggested we try bagels and, wouldn't you know it, they love 'em. Billy thinks they are unhealthy but its not like we need to keep them on the Atkins diet or anything. Anyway, they will probably be carboholics just like their mommy so we should just get on with it.

In non-food 8 month news, Sebastian is DYING to crawl. He rolls around constantly to get where he wants but I can tell that he would prefer forward movement. Unfortunately, he hasn't realized that he needs to use his knees* and that's kind of an important aspect of crawling. Oh well. He'll get there - I'll worry about it when the pediatrician tells me to. And knowing her, that won't be for a while.

Now Collette - she could care less about rolling/crawling/moving. I do not see an athlete in this one. Unless they make
blogging while simultaneously channel surfing a sport because I could totally see her getting into that. Although, she does put her hands in front of her from a sitting position but, like her brother, hasn't yet discovered her knees.

*Update: This is the part where my post became wrong because I waited one day to finish writing it. Yesterday, Sebastian discovered his knees and has been doing the pre-crawl rock, featured below. I was beyond excited for this little breakthrough - it makes all that
whining totally worth it.

video

And finally, their chair pictures:





Happy 8 months, Sebastian and Collette!! I couldn't ask for better babies than you two.

Serious Applicants Only, Please

In search of: Human merry-go-round

Responsibilities: Keep my son in constant motion so that he doesn't drive me crazy doing this. All day.

video

Qualifications: Two arms, two legs and ability to spin around for extended periods of time without falling down or getting sick.

Compensation: Occasional home-cooked meal and unlimited play time with a very cute pug.

Serious Applicants Only.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Makes My Monday: Bye Bye Buckets!!

Check me out over here for a tasty scallop recipe!

We finally bit the bullet and purchased convertible car seats. We estimate that Collette is pushing 19 lbs, getting her very close to the 22 lb cut off for our bucket car seats. And obviously (I think...) I wouldn't switch just one baby so Sebastian gets the upgrade as well. After some google-research and bank account consideration, we decided to go with the Graco My Ride 65s. I think they're new, as I had never heard of them a month or so ago when I first started looking at convertible seats.

First off, they are enormous! But I read reviews and people seemed very happy with seat. Plus, I have a minivan so if its gonna fit in any car, its gonna fit in mine. We didn't have time to install them yesterday so we'll probably do that next weekend when Billy gets back. (He just started a new project, again in NJ, after being home for 2 weeks. *sniff sniff*) Besides being huge, though, they are quite cute and not as heavy as a comparable Britax. They fit babies up to 40lbs rear facing and up to 65 lbs forward facing. So, we will be in these seats for a looooooong time. That, in addition to the great discount we got (retails for $170 but was on sale, plus twin discount, plus a 15% off coupon got them down to $115 each), make them a great investment. IMO.

It will be sad to say goodbye to the double snap'n'go, with all its lightweight convenience and limo-like length. Not sure if it will be replaced by our very well-used double Maclaren umbrella stroller or the jogging stroller, which isn't as difficult to get in and out of the car as I thought it would be. I'm considering getting yet another double stroller and selling the Maclaren but not really sure if its in the budget. I like the Combi double (around $200) and also the City Mini (a whopping $400) but will have to at least give our double umbrella a chance before we shell out anymore money on baby gear. Twins sure are expensive...

Brighten up your Monday with more stories at Twinfatuation!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday Foto Finish Fiesta: Cardboard, Please!

Here is a new toy I bought for the twins (they seemed to like it when we were in the store):




And here is the box it came in:



Everyone knows this will happen, so why do we not have stores that simply sell cardboard boxes for children? We could save a lot of money and I'm pretty sure it counts as recycling so we'd also be helping the environment.

Check out more Friday Funness at Carrie's place!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Theater Thursday: Blowing Raspberries

This is not a new skill but a skill that both twins have been perfecting lately. Sebastian practices blowing his raspberries in this video, while Collette does some light whining in the background. I'm not expecting any Oscar nods for best action short film but FavAuntie requested some videos of the babes. And I'm happy to oblige!


video

Check out other (better) videos at Goddess in Progress!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Finally, some *solid* solid food

My days of pureeing fruits and veggies are by no means over. But we have added some actual solids to the babies' solid food menu. 8 months is just around the corner and I figured, what the hell, close enough!

I got a 3-ton box of cheerios at BJs and assume it will last me until enroll the twins in preschool. At least at the rate they are going. Their pincer grasp is not so much developed yet so success has been limited. Unless you define success as feeding Lola Cheerios. I'm pretty sure that's how Lola defines it.

Sebastian's method of eating Cheerios is to completely ignore the fact that he has an opposable thumb and simply scratch the food tray. This mostly results in Cheerios reaching the far edges of the tray, totally out of reach, or Cheerios flicked onto the floor for Lola. See! Success.

Collette's method is a bit more advanced although she lacks in follow-through. She uses the stickiness of her hand to get Cheerios onto her palms. Then, she brings her hand to her mouth. However, her hand doesn't actually touch her mouth - it comes close and then she starts to chew air. Her hand then falls to her side, Cheerios fall to floor for Lola. More success!!

My next attempt at solid baby food was pasta. This would have to turn out better because I can still feed it to them on a spoon. Well, little grasshopper, you are wrong again! I've heard about all these babies making themselves throw up because they don't like the texture of some food they're eating. And now, my Sebastian gets to join this not-so-exclusive club. And I get to join the not-so-exclusive club of moms who have to clean up multi-colored alphabet pasta throw up.

So, how long does this last? When will they start to get the hang of non-pureed, non-liquid nourishment?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Makes My Monday: Twins' Baptism (and a FB scam...)

The Heavens cleared the skies and let the sun rain down yesterday as our precious little babies were baptised into the Catholic Church. It was a very nice ceremony, with about 5 other babies in attendance. Needless to say, the Soto Twins stole the show. Sebastian was so enthralled with the church, he would not stop squirming on my lap, as I tried to keep my skirt down and not flash the entire congregation. And Collette started blowing raspberries as soon as the priest began the prayers. How angelic.


In this one, you can see Sebastian staring up at the ceiling. He was definitely digging the church.


Collette likes the bath now and thinks she ought to jump right in and do it the old-fashioned way.


Sebastian and Collette with their Godparents, Nick (my little bro) and Jenn (BFF)

Twinnies with Grammy, Grandpa and Great-Grammy

Last but not least, Billy and I are with Mimi (his mom) and Enny (Edwin, his step dad) who came all the way up from El Salvador!

***
On a completely unrelated note, there is a scam going on in Facebook-land. I was an attempted victim of the scam and here's how it happens. A "friend" starts a chat message with you and says that they are stranded, in London, and need money to get a ticket home. I got this message (in the form of a chat convo) from a friend of mine from college who I haven't actually spoken to since graduation in 2003. We didn't actually get to the part where the impostor asked for money but I knew something was up. The next day, I looked for her on FB but couldn't find her! Turns out, someone told her that her account had been hacked and she was able to freeze it.

The reason this is so scary to me, and the reason I'm taking the time to write about it here, is because this has been going on since, AT LEAST, January! There isn't a lot FB can do in the short-term to correct it but I hope that they will be making password rules more stringent so that its harder to break in to accounts. I had not heard about this scam until it happened to me this weekend. I started doing some google-research and found lots of other stories, going as far back as January - but probably it goes back further. So, beware!! DO NOT SEND MONEY TO FRIENDS IN LONDON (or elsewhere) UNLESS YOU know IT'S THEM!


Check in with Twinfatuation and brighten your Monday!





Friday, July 10, 2009

Mastitis and Canine Hemorrhoids

OK, so I think the title has given you all the info you really need. My lovely staycation has been interrupted by me getting some kind of infected blister on my boobage (thanks Medela!) which pretty much knocked me on my ass all day. Saw the Dr., got some antibiotics and will be fine in a day or so. Resting until then.

Later on, when Billy got back from Daddy Duty, talking the twins and the pug on their daily jaunt, he notified me of the giant hemorrhoid Lola had - and it was bleeding. Oh Joy! Called the vet, she said to bring the dog in. Well, 20 minutes and $160 later, they were back with instructions and medications. One antibiotic, one topical ointment and one other ointment which must be...inserted. And we have to come back in one week to check it out again. We also have to add Metamucil to her food. So, apparently she is a 75 year old trapped in a pug's body.

So, please don't come to our house because you will have a 2 in 5 chance of developing some sort of sore or boil on your body.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Staycation

The Soto family is on a staycation of sorts. Billy is between projects, working for the Man, so he took this week off. We may have made plans to go somewhere (maybe some place where it doesn't rain all the time) but it was so last minute that his vacation had to be a simple staycation.

What that means for me is that I pretty much get to do the same thing I always do except I only have to do half the work. Roughly. I won't keep score. And despite the rain, we are trying to make the best of what the area has to offer. We went to the Stone Zoo on Monday. The sun was out and babies were in a good mood. The zoo doesn't have much but it was fun enough - at least a new place to push around the stroller. The highlight was seeing a jaguar throw up. Hot.

Billy with the twins, saying hi to the dying reindeer. (OK, he wasn't dying, he was just losing his hair and growing new antlers for summer, but it looks a lot like dying.)

Yesterday was a total wash out - literally, crazy down pour T-storms in the afternoon. We had planned on doing lunch out with the babies after picking up our CSA share. But, Billy had to take some weird, cryptic call for work with some lawyers and he was supposed to be in a "quiet place where no one could hear him." He figured he could just take the call from the car while I walked around the shops with the babies. Well, the rain was so bad we couldn't even get out of the car to go into the restaurant. So, he took the call from the car, in the parking lot of the shopping plaza with the rain so loud that I was sure he couldn't hear a word those lawyers were saying. And then the thunder and lightning got the babies all worked up and I was in the back trying to keep them from crying hysterically. Good times.

Not sure what's on the docket for the rest of the week. We're hoping to go to the beach, or at least the shore and eat some good seafood. 'Tis the season for fried clams and lobster rolls. And on Sunday, the twins will be baptized - I'll be sure to report on that, of course!

So, if you don't see me here for a few more days, it's because I am spending quality time with my family.



PS - I totally need a new camera. I have photo-envy of all those other bloggers out there. Any suggestions??

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Saturday Snapshots: Teaching my kids...

...the art of blogging:


The kids will change into their 4th of July outfits before we head to my aunt's cook out - we have a serious drooling problem on our hands (and still no sign of teeth...) so outfits don't last long.

Happy Fourth of July to all!! And find some other Independence Day shots over at Cheryl's.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Way Back When-esday: Happy Birthday Lil Sis!

While I'm sure that random guys dressed up as rodents would not be a big hit at your party this year, I thought I would give you this little treat to remind you of birthdays passed - Let the good times roll!!


Happy Birthday, Stacey!!

Lots more old school photos at Twinfatuation!