Friday, April 30, 2010

FFC: Today is National Arbor Day

Today is National Arbor Day - so of course it is going on Friday's Featured Cause!  (if you want a cause featured please use the button on the side of this page).

What is National Arbor Day you ask - well Arbor Day is a nationally-celebrated observance that encourages tree planting and care. Founded by J. Sterling Morton in 1872, it's celebrated on the last Friday in April.

Trees have more benefits than most people imagine.  Let's take the young dogwood I have in my front yard.  It was planted for looks by the people who owned the property before us.  They had no idea what good it would do for us.
  • This year my 6 inch diameter, flowering dogwood tree will reduce atmospheric carbon by102 pounds. Considering a mid size sedan that drives 12,000 miles in a year emits 11,000 lbs of CO2, we can use all the help we can get.
  • My dogwood will intercept 367 gallons of stormwater runoff this year.  Stormwater is a huge source of run off pollution containing oil, gasoline, salt, trash, etc and sends it into our lakes and streams.  My dogwood will collect a lot of that!
  • My dogwood will conserve 21 Kilowatt / hours of electricity for cooling.  Just by being well placed, it shades the eastern side of my house and allows cooling to occur naturally.
There are other benefits too, like air quality and property value.  All from a young dogwood.  Imagine what larger trees do for us.  (if you want to know go to the arbor day calculator and plug in your location, tree, and its size.  That is what I did)

The Arbor Day Foundation has all kinds of resources for children through adults about trees and protecting our planet.  I donated $10 last month and received 10 seedling trees to plant around my yard (you can also have 10 trees planted in a forest).  The kids and I will be planting them this weekend in celebration.

Other ways to celebrate are to learn more about trees in your area, have a trivia contest, go on a hike and identify trees along the path.  Encourage the education about trees to others and we will be able to keep our world healthier for a longer period of time.

He who plants a tree
Plants a hope.
~Lucy Larcom, "Plant a Tree"

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Venting is good for the soul

  • i hate the terrible twos
  • i'm not ready for the terrifying threes
  • i wish blogger had spell check on it again
  • i hate having to spell check
  • i love to read a good book, and hate when it is over
  • good books suck me in and push the mommy out
  • i wish i had more time in my life
  • i love all the things i do have time for
  • i detest paying bills - not because of money issues, i just detest paying them
  • i also detest weeds, and was willing to spend the $10 for black paper to keep the weeds out of my garden (newspaper just doesn't cut it)
  • i wish i was a better friend.  i never keep in touch like i should
  • on the other hand, crowds scare me
  • at the moment i want a nap
  • i won't get one
  • i don't want a blog that fizzles after a year, and next month is my year
  • i wish i had more features for my friday causes.  there are so many good causes
  • i hate being pulled in a million different directions
  • i love being a mommy (which makes the last one null and void)
  • i want new feet - ones that don't crack
  • i detest poison ivy - especially at the moment since I apparently kneeled down in it.
  • i wish i could run, or had the motivation to run

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Happiness Project: taking a walk

The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet. ~James Openheim

Join Leigh in the Happiness Project!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Mother in Laws are good for making the kids barf

I have been holding out on everyone.  Mostly out of fear that if I let the cat out of the bag it won't be true.  It's been 2 years and three months since dear hubby had a real job.  He was in commerical construction before the bottom dropped, and his company was one of the first to fall.  I was predicting the collapse 8 months before it happened. 

Anyway - he became a stay at home dad, which was a difficult transition. 
Until 2 weeks ago.
Yes, he got a job, back in construction.  Not as great as it was, but a job! 

I feel weird about it.  But that is for another day.

In the meantime, his mother is watching the boys.  His mother who was conviently laid off about 6 weeks ago.  Typically she watches the kids at our house, but at times she takes them to hers.

Last week a terrible stomache virus went around her house.  Dear Hubby's grandmother got it and ended up dehydrated. 

Fast forward to 12:30 Friday night.  Peacefully sleep inturrupted by screams of a child laying in his own puke.  And hour later, the same screams. At that point I was up and cussing my mother in law.  Poor little man was sick every half hour there after until 4:30 am.  I felt so sorry for him.  Especially when he would look at me and say "mouth ehhhh mouth."

I decided my mother in law was to pay.  I haven't decided how much yet, but 4 1/2 hours loss of sleep must count for something.

What is your mother in law good for?

Friday, April 23, 2010

FFC: Just because Earth Day was yesterday doesn't mean we should stop saving it.

Across America Earth Day was celebrated by thousands yesterday.  It is great that we have a day to make us step back and look at what we are doing to our earth.
This week, for Friday's Featured Cause, I want to talk about your Earth Day resloutions.  Last week, I listed 10 easy things you can do to help save our planet.  Have you done any of them?  If not, do you plan on it?  Are you willing to join me and make resloutions for change?

Just because Earth Day is over, doesn't mean we should stop trying to help heal it. 

The first step is to take a look at your garbage.  If you make more than one bag of trash a week (that's all we use for a family of 5) then you have too much trash. Garbage goes to the dump where it hids in trash bags for weeks before it starts to break down.  Then it begins the breakdown process.
Oganic material only takes 6 months to breakdown, aluminum cans take 500 years.  Cotton, rags and paper only take 8 months, plastic takes 500 years.
Make a resolution to recycle more and throw out less.  All the cardboard cereal boxes, school papers, can go right in your bin along with your newspaper.  Don't forget all your canned and glass goods too.

The second step is to conserve energy.  Did you know that over half the energy produced in the US comes from burning coal?  Changing a few of your daily habits could change the world. 
Turn your thermostat down 2 degrees in the winter and up 2 in the summer.  You won't notice the difference, but the envoirnment will.
Unplug appliances when you are not using them.  We often forget that most of our appliances continue to run even after we turn them off.  Use the off switch on your power cord behind the television to turn off your DVD, Wii, TV, and stereo.  How many clocks do you need in the living room anyway?

Two simple steps to saving energy.  What are you going to do?

We didn't inherit the earth from our parents, we borrowed it from our children.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

If I lived in 1955, I'd have broken all the rules!

You know they were.  Your kids know they are.  Even Mama Kat knows we break all the rules.  That's why she asked us to list 10 rules that we "unlearned" for writer's workshop.

I love old things.  1950's I think were such a neat era.  But let me tell you if I lived back then I would have broken ALL the rules, not just ten.

  1. Ok, I love to cook and this isn't such a bad idea.  I love to plan a good meal out.  However, it is not because of only his needs.  I have 5 mouths to feed in my house and if he's late for dinner, we don't wait.

  2. Make-up?  What stay at home mom wears make up on a daily basis.  I sure didn't.  I have just been with some house weary kids, he got to escape.

  3. I can be a little interesting.  Let me tell you how "your son" decided he could feed the fish his bologna sandwich today.

  4. Just close your eyes and you won't see the clutter anymore.

  5. Kids ought to be able to pick up their own crap.  I am not their maid.  And I just used the dustcloth to wipe up the 2 year old's pee off the kitchen floor.

  6. When might I ask, do I get to unwind?

  7. Minimize the noise?  If I had a mute button don't you think I would have used it 4 hours ago when they were clawing each other's eyes out.

  8. This I agree with.  I am always deleriously happy to see my hubby.  Especially when he rescues me from the children.

  9. I greet him with a huge smile, but not out of a desire to please him.

  10. The only thing more important than our children is if he got fired.

  11. His world of strain?  Not that I'm saying all jobs are easy, but stay at home mom's take the cake anyday of the week!

  12. I try to make my home tranquil for me.  I'm the one living with all boys!

  13. When is the best time to tell him the stove caught fire?

  14. I don't complain if he goes out, it just means next time it's my turn.

  15. If it's not bedtime, no one gets to relax.

  16. Please tell me a grown man can take off his own shoes.

  17. Master of the house !?!?!?!?!

  18. I'll be damned.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

When twins figure out there IS an "oldest" child

Have twins have fights arguements.

From the moment they are born you know they will love each other and sometimes love to hate each other.  It's what siblings do, and for twins it starts even earlier, like in the womb.

There is a 20 minute time limit between birthing one twin and the other.  A rule put down in some book somewhere so the body doesn't start thinking it's done (or some crap like that).  My boys pushed that limit, and were born 17 minutes apart.  I knew soon after that 17 minutes would make a world of difference to the eldest child one day.  We chose right then and there to avoid telling them there was an "oldest" child for as long as possible.

It wasn't hard to do, we just never said anything about the time they were born.  They were born on the same day and that was it.  It was hard enough for them to understand that not everyone has a twin, and that most people aren't born at the same time as their brother.

When they were about 5, they figured out they couldn't have been born at the exact same time.  They came to me and asked who was first.  And I told them.  I was careful to use the word first, without any reference to time.

One of their first grade teacher assistant's happened to be a twin.  She approached me a few weeks into school and asked me, "They don't know who the oldest is do they?"
I responded "No they don't"
She said,"You did that on purpose didn't you?"
I just smiled as one of them approached.  She understood why I did it and agreed that avoiding one more reason to argue was probably a good idea.

Monday night, while showing off various ways to use body parts to make farting noises, T2 asked me, "Who is the oldest?"
T1 immediately interrupted and said, "I have to be the oldest because I was born first.  That's what a girl on the bus said."
(thanks girl on the bus)
T2 said, "Ok he is the oldest, but how much older?"
I was careful in what I would say next, because I knew it would be hard on T2.  I asked him if it would matter if he was a day older or a month older like a friend of theirs.  He responded that it wouldn't matter, because they are all the same.
"Ok" I said, "T1 is 17 minutes older than you."
"17 MINUTES!!!"
You would have thought I gave him a death sentence.  He literally keeled over.  And then made a farting noise louder than his brother to prove he could still hang with someone older than him.

A little while later, as I was entering their room to tuck them in I overheard this conversation.
T1: You know Mommy says you have to listen to kids who are older than you. (completely out of context)

At least I made it 7 3/4 years before I heard that one.

There are two things in life for which we are never truly prepared: twins. ~Josh Billings

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Happiness Project: Spring

I love flowers!  I love to plant and watch them grow.  Sometimes I photograph them so that I can tell myself,  "I will paint them when I have time."  HA - who has time?

What Makes You Happy?


Friday, April 16, 2010

FFC: Going Green from Paper to Cloth

In honor of Earth Day on April 22, this week's Friday's Feature Cause is about going green

We hear the words "going green" everywhere these days.  The words themselves cover a broad range of topics varying from using cloth diapers to renewable energy.  We all agree that we need to do our part to change the planet, but we are not all sure how.  We want to make the world a presentable place for our children and grandchildren, yet many of us are stumped after the recycling bin.

Today I have 10 easy things you can change in your everyday world to make a difference. Most of these are very simple and actually save you money in the long run.  (some even in the short run).  Then because I'm all about recycled cloth material, I have a super simple pattern for sewing your own cloth napkins.  (I just can't see paying $6.00 for 4 napkins, when I have a ton of material at home)

10 Easy Ways to Go Green
  1. Install compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) when your older incandescent bulbs burn out. I did this over a year ago and haven't had to replace a bulb yet, plus they use 1/5 the wattage of my old bulbs.  Don't ask me to calculate my savings here, just know I've save the cost of the bulbs already.
  2. Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible. As much as 85 percent of the energy used to machine-wash clothes goes to heating the water.  The only time I use warm water is on my white loads.  Cold water also preserves the color and size in dark loads.
  3. Install a low-flow showerhead. They don't cost much, and the water and energy savings can quickly pay back your investment.  I have a low flow faucet in my kitchen and the water pressure is the same as before.  I didn't notice the difference until I had to wait 10 extra seconds to fill up a gallon jug.
  4. Use a water filter to purify tap water instead of buying bottled water. Not only is bottled water expensive, but it generates large amounts of container waste. An easy way to save money here!
  5. Wear clothes that don't need to be dry-cleaned. This saves money and cuts down on toxic chemical use.  This may be my favorite tip, because it saves so much money!
  6. Buy locally raised, humane, and organic meat, eggs, dairy, and produce whenever you can. Purchasing from local farmers keeps money in the local economy and cuts down on shipping costs.  I'm in the transportation business and a truckload of produce costs a lot to haul, plus the fuel those guys go through.  There is plenty of other products out there to keep drivers busy without produce.
  7. Plant drought-tolerant native plants and grass in your yard. Many plants need minimal watering. Personally, I can't stand to water the yard, but love my flowers and veggies.  Checking to see what works best in your area makes a huge difference.
  8. Unplug appliances when you're not using them. Or, use a "smart" power strip that senses when appliances are off and cuts phantom energy use.  I had no idea that so many of the appliances, televisions, etc in my house use phantom power.  Just because you think they are off, doesn't mean they are. 
  9. Clean or replace your air conditioning filter.  It sounds automatic, but a dirty filter causes your system to use more energy and you to have filthy air.
  10. Utilize your city or towns recycling program.  Many cities have updated their programs to accept more products than previously.  Check to see what you could be recycling that you aren't.  I had no idea my town had added a few more plastic codes to their list until I called to find out - saves even more in trash!

 Cloth Napkin Directions
  • Napkins can be made in any size square you are comfortable with. The standard sizes are 12, 14, and 16 inch squares. The easiest way to make sure they will all be square is to make a poster board template. 
  • Your template should be square and should be 1/2 inch larger than your finished napkin size. For example, make a 16 1/2-inch-square template for a 16-inch-square napkin.
  • Place the template on the wrong side of your fabric, and trace around the template with a fabric marking pen or fabric chalk.
  • Cut out each fabric square along traced marking line.
  • Press each raw fabric edge under 1/4" and then press that edge under 1/4" again.
  • Pin the fabric edges into place. Use a sewing machine to stitch the napkin hem. (Hand sew the napkin hem in place with a backstitch if you do not have access to a sewing machine.)
  • Add a decorative touch to the finished napkins by sewing a decorative hand or machine stitch on the right side of the fabric along the edge of the napkin.
And you're done!  I will have pictures next week of the ones I'm making this weekend.  Never knew I was crafty did you?


What are you doing in honor of Earth Day?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bedtime? Who wants to go to bed? Other than me?

My assignment from Mama Kat was to write a bedtime story to enter in the contest for GoodNite Contest (winner gets $2500).  I could seriously use $2500, and I love a good bedtime story.  If you want to enter the contest and/or join writers workshop - go see Mama Kat.  She has all the details!!!

Bedtime is supposed to be about routines and calming your child.  It doesn't always work that way.  There were many nights that I sat in the twins room making up stories to soothe them to sleep.  The whole time I was wishing I was vegging on the couch watching Grey's.  I've decided to incorporate one of my stories into Iggy's.  (Now I just have to shorten it to meet their standards ;)

Mama's Losin' It

Iggy lay in his bed after his most recent baseball game. He couldn’t go to sleep. All he could think about was the game and how everything went wrong. Iggy tossed and turned because he couldn’t stop being frustrated with himself. If he had only hit the ball further, if he had stepped on the plate instead of on the line Iggy’s team could have won the game. Iggy didn’t know how to stop being frustrated with his own mistakes.

Iggy started to think about Babe Ruth and began to relax. Babe Ruth was the greatest baseball player of all time. Babe Ruth never got frustrated in a game, he was able to hit it out of the park. Iggy was wishing he was Babe Ruth as he drifted off to sleep.

Well after all the stars had come out, Iggy suddenly woke to a knock at his window. Who could it be he thought. Sluggishly Iggy went to the window and looked out. Stunned, Iggy’s mouth dropped open as he saw Babe Ruth in his backyard. The Babe Ruth!

Babe Ruth asked Iggy, “Can you come out here for a minute?”
Too amazed to speak, Iggy slowly crawled out the window and onto the cool summer grass.
“I’ve heard you are getting frustrated on the field.” Said Babe.
Iggy could only nod.
“Baseball is supposed to be fun, you shouldn’t be getting frustrated.”
Iggy immediately defended himself, “I am having fun, I just want to do everything right and when I make a mistake I get mad.”
Babe Ruth looked down at Iggy and smiled, “It sounds like you have a real passion for the game. You remind me a lot of myself at your age. Did you know I used to get frustrated with my own mistakes.”
“You never made mistakes, you’re the best of all time!”said Iggy.
“Oh I made mistakes alright. I wasn’t born a baseball player, I had to learn and practice like everyone else. Talent will only get you so far son.”
“You mean you had to go to practice just like me?” responded Iggy.
“Of course I did. Even when I went pro, I still had to go to practice. Do you want to know a little secret?”
“Even as a pro baseball player, I struck out more times that I made home runs.”
“Really? How come you never got mad at yourself?”
“Oh, I did, but I learned a little trick. I kept a penny in my shoe, and when I got mad, I’d grind my cleat into the ground pretending to smush the penny. That way I could quickly put my focus back on the game without being mad at myself or others on my team.”
“Do you think that will work for me?”
“It might. I brought you a special penny of your own.” Said Babe as he handed over an old penny.
“It’s from 1927! That’s the year you broke the record and were the first person to hit 60 home runs in one season!” said Iggy.
“Yes it is. Hopefully you’ll think of me when you’re out on the field. Remember that everyone makes mistakes. Everyone strikes out, even the Great Bambino.”
“I will Mr. Ruth, I will.”
“You better get on to bed son, it will be morning soon and you have practice today.”
“Thank you!” said Iggy as he climbed back through the window. Iggy knew something magical had happened tonight. He knew he would always carry a penny in his cleat, and a soothing calm washed over him.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Who are these smart mouthed kids?

That's for sure.
I think they get it from their father.

Background of the story - I work for/with my father at our business.
During dinner last night I asked the twins our normal round of questions about their day.  One of which is "Did you ask any good questions today?"  I think it inspires them to seek more knowledge and not just let it come to them.  They gave their normal responses about questions in math and reading.
When they asked me the question, I responded with, "I called Pe-Paw and asked him about some rates we were working on."
T1's immediate response, "Ohhhh, you had to call your Daddy and ask him questions!"
Incompetent, I'm not.

Also on the topic of discussion yesterday was the word "diva."  Someone had used the word to describe T2's girlfriend and he took great offense thinking it was similar to devil.  I explained that it was used to describe a girl that has to look just so and may be somewhat of a show off.  T2 was much happier with that answer.  Especially when he said, "Oh, so your an old lady diva!"
Diva, I'm not.

I don't know where these kids are getting it from, but it seems to be never ending.  That was just one day.  Imagine my week!
Does anyone else have a sarcastic child?

If there were no schools to take the children away from home part of the time, the insane asylums would be filled with mothers. ~Edgar W. Howe

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Happiness Project: Facebook

I know, I'm nuts.  But Facebook makes me happy - especially after this weekend.

In addition to being able to find all your old high school and college friends you can become a fan of your favorite places and things (like blogs).  Then you get to see when those things are doing something awesome.  OR if one of those things screws up - you can post for the world to see, instead of just chatting it up with the manager.

I posted a lovely comment on the wall of the hotel we were SUPPOSED to stay at this past weekend.  Look at my quick response.  For the record, I'm in customer service, so bad service infuriates me.

If you want to join in on the happiness project, check out Leigh!


Thursday, April 8, 2010

It's Finally Friday...

I know it's really Thursday - but to me it's Friday!!!

I'm taking the day off tomorrow for a girls weekend and I can't wait.  Plus it finally rained so hopefully I'll be able to breathe again soon. And today is my BFF's 30th birthday.  But I'm still swamped at work and feel like I'm neglecting you guys.  Hopefully I'll feel better next week.

If you're stopping by from the crib - we're out of diapers around here, and usually speak from bunkbeds or toddler beds.  This week I've been speaking from the land of pollen, which means not much. Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the view!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Considering the pollen count is twice as high as normal here....

Monday, April 5, 2010

Happy Anniversary to me

Happy Anniversary to me... and I guess my dear hubby too. 

So far I have recieved a lot of greenish yellow pollen outside, which has invaded my head and left me with the inability to breathe through my nose.

I've also received a mess at work- and as resident problem solver, I better get back to it.

Hope you all have a better day than me.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Twins mean never taking a break

I'm taking a break from Friday's Featured Cause - to talk a little bit about one of the biggest causes in my house.  (don't worry, you'll have a new feature next week).

The biggest cause in our house is not usually the chd, it is usually a four letter word.


Or sometimes a five letter word


It is amazing how two little people can cause so much chaos in one house.

The twins are 7 now, and I have attempted to get used to the fact that we have twins.  I refer to them as the twins, only to seperate them from little man.  Little man cannot do many of the things they can, so they have a different set of rules.  But in our house I call them by their names (except for when I say the wrong name, heaven forbid).  They are two different people who happen to look a whole lot alike and share the same birthday.

To be honest, all the boys in my house look alike.  They are all blonde haired and blue eyed just like their Daddy.  I'm the one who gets to deny them with my dark hair and green eyes.

The twins only stand out because they also happen to be the same height, carry the same facial expressions, and happen to be able to read each other's minds on occasion.  And on occasion it still drives Mommy NUTS!

Listening to them tell me about their day at school now requires raising of hands.  Otherwise the competition to talk, the completing of each other's sentences and the volume level all leave me not knowing who actually did what.  Just because they know what happened to each other doesn't mean I do.

Nuts is also what happens when Mommy accidentally switches someones lunch.  I have color coded most everyday items in our house to simplify life.  T1's favorite color is red, so his bookbag, lunchbox, jacket and bat bag are all also red.  T2's favorite color is blue - so there you are.  It works great, except when Mommy is in a rush and doesn't pay attention to which bag she grabs and puts it in the wrong bookbag.  "MOMMY HOW COULD YOU?" is the response I get when they return home.  As if they don't have the exact same lunch (somethings are actually the same).

When they try to yell at their tone deaf Mommy from across the yard, I think they go nuts.  Mommy only gets their screaming from an acre away voices right 50% of the time.  For some reason that gets on their nerves.

Bedtime is still rough, although it isn't as nutty as it used to be.  We've never quite mastered the don't pester your brother when it is time to go to sleep.  It is a whole lot easier than it was, just not great.

There are a lot of things I've learned about twins in the past seven years, and I know I still have a lot left to learn.  They are two very different people, they just have a lot in common.  As their Mommy I work hard to take care of them both at the same time, while adjusting to their individual needs.  But still, when they were very little and I had no sleep, I would sit rocking them both and think "thank God, I didn't have triplets." 

When you are looking for a break, I've got the spot for you.
Today's post was inspired by the blogiversary at Multiples and More.  It's a great group that I have been a part of since right after I started blogging.  If you are looking to find out more on twins, triplets, quads, quints, then hop on over there.  Plus they have a ton of giveaways to celebrate this week!!!

Multiples and More: Blogaversary Celebration

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Why I don't do April Fool's

I used to love a good April Fool's joke.  I would dream up great ones to do and really get people going.

My last semester in college, my friends and I decided to fool my father and say I was preggo.  We were going to his house for easter dinner anyway.

After dinner he and I took a walk and I told him I was pregnant.  I thought he was going to have a heart attack considering I wasn't married yet.  Just as he was getting over the shock, my friend yelled April Fools.  It was a great classic moment.  My best joke to date.

One year later I was actually pregnant.  With twins. 

Karma comes back to bite you in the arse.

While you may all go about laughing and joking and playing wonderful pranks, I will sit here quietly.  I will laugh at your jokes and secretly wonder where you will be next year.

Happy Karma Day!