Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Perfect Little Gifts

Here's ANOTHER video from yours truly; this one documents Christmas Eve and morning. My family and Uncle Dan helped us celebrate with the twins. We spread out the gift bonanza throughout the day on Christmas Eve, so the babes wouldn't get too overwhelmed.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

e.'s Favorite Things 2010

***DISCLAIMER:  No one paid me to write this post (but they should have).  I'm about to endorse some of my favorite gift ideas for the holidays and the only way I'm getting paid for this is if you kindly click (a few hundred times) on the google ads to the right of the screen.***

Oprah's not the only one who can create a gift guide for the Holidays.  In fact, I've become so obsessed with cyber shopping since Thanksgiving that I've decided to share with you fine people some of my favorite gift giving ideas--in case you needed some creative help.

But first, have you heard of Ebates.com?  It's my new favorite shopping buddy and a fairly user friendly search engine of online retailers offering the best deals and discounts.  I'm getting cash back for my holiday shopping this year!!  If you create an account with Ebates and shop at any of their partnered retailers, you can get anywhere from 1% to 15% cash back on your total purchases.

Ebates uses some sort of magical (potentially intrusive) tracking method to calculate your online orders and then sends a check every quarter with your cash back rewards.  I should be getting a small check sometime in February for this new found obsession (just in time to buy the twins another pair of shoes--lucky me).

Without further ado, here's some neat ideas for those of you needing a little inspiration:

Budget Friendly Ideas:
Shop the stocking stuffer sections of super pretentious, uber-trendy stores like Restoration Hardware, Land of Nod, William Sonoma, Pottery Barn, etc.  Who knows, you might actually find something small you can afford  The store name alone adds more value to the item's monetary worth.  Remember to get a gift box so you can 'name drop' where that sucker came from!

Sip 'N' Swirl glasses from Restoration Hardware for only $5.49!  Best. Useless. Gift. Ever.

Baby's First Christmas ornament from Land of Nod for only $9.95 plus free shipping!  The perfect ornament to dangle from the bottom of the tree where 'someone' will most likely be hanging out.

Thoughtful Ideas:
Monogram it for the person who has everything, or what they want you'll never be able to afford.  Personalized hand towels for a guest bathroom, beach towels for the teacher (or overly tanned friend), apron for the aspiring chef or just about anything monogrammed for that friend who clips bows to her shoes.

Monogrammed Oval Paperwhite Soap Set from Pottery Barn for $39 plus free shipping!  This is perfect for someone who has everything or just moved into a new house: because, really, who in their right mind would spend good money on monogrammed soap--but still nice to show off in any guest bathroom!

Gift of Nothing by Patrick McDonnell.  One year I gave this awesome book to all my sweet girlfriends (and kept a copy for myself).  It's perfect, simple, and says it all.  Can't wait to actually read it to the babies.

Foodie Ideas:
Gourmet food for the family feast you couldn't attend is always a plus--and will ensure you're not forgotten at the dinner table (I've yet to try some of these items, so feel free to ship them my way . . . ).

Chocolate Chocolate Croissants from William Sonoma for $39.  Oprah swears by the original ones, the fact these use the word 'chocolate' twice have won me over regardless of their ridiculous price.

Gift box of 4 cookies from Levain Bakery in NYC for $22.  I've HAD these amazing cookies, right before I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes--quite possibly why I was diagnosed.  One cookie is the size of Mt. Everest--so four are well worth the $22 and will keep 8 grown adults satisfied.

Awesome Almond pound cake from Cakes by Jane for $36.95.  Endorsed by Food Network, Southern Living, Bon Appetit and me these pound cakes are worth it.  The baker is from Asheville, NC so if you're wanting to send something from the South this is the winning ticket.  There are other flavors like key lime, lemon, turtle, etc.

Book Ideas:
Back in 2000 I started collecting that year's Pulitzer Prize novel for fiction.  Now, every year, Dave gets me the newest hardcover for Christmas to add to my collection.  But if snobby book awards are not your thing, go for funky almanacs, pretty coffee table books and favorite children's books from when you were little.

Schott's Almanac is an annual gift at our house.  This book chronicles the weird, bizarre and curious events and statistics from the past year (perfect for the bathroom reader).

The Hunger Games Box Set by Suzanne Collins.  Alright, don't be hatin' but I really liked this trilogy.  It's been the most absorbing teen read since I ventured into the Twilight series a few years ago.  Good news, no waiting for the release of more books, the series is finished and Hollywood is about to start casting for the first installment of movies.  So, if you have a twi-hard on your list--give them this set and thank me later.

Anything by Taschen.  Taschen is an amazing German publisher that continues to produce amazing art books from as little as $15 dollars to upwards of $4500 (yup).  When I worked in Marketing I use to browse various Taschen books to gain artistic inspiration for ad campaigns, etc.

For the Toddler(s) In Your Life:

Alright, here are some of the items the twins are getting--or have already gotten (due to an overly curious attraction to colorfully wrapped packages sitting under a blinking tree that might as well have a huge sign attached saying 'I'm right here!  Open me! Open me! Open me!').

Little Reader chairs by P'kolino.  Let's just say one arrived this evening and we were so thrilled Dave wants an adult version (not sure if one exists . . . ).  I've been dying to create a reading nook in the nursery.  Currently our 'library' is a long pile of books stacked against a wall that Finn tries to sit on when he's 'reading' a story.

Kitchen Accessory Kit by Melissa & Doug.  At the moment the twins are rummaging through a few harmless drawers I've left open for safari.  Unfortunately, I've about had it with rolling up the saran wrap for the 800th time.  So my compromise is this:  the twins get only ONE drawer to play in but it's filled with some pretty pint sized cooking equipment.

Dantoy Crocodile Rocker by Original Toy Company.  Boojah!  I've got twins, guess what they can do . . . play together!!  Don't be hatin' (seriously don't).  We already gave this to them when it arrived and even though they can both ride it or one can sit in the middle and rock--I've heard more screaming than laughter . . .

Weebles Treehouse Value Pack by Playskool.  This was one of our Odes to Mindless Entertainment and good old-fashioned consumerism gifts.  So, naturally, it's a gift from Santa--'nuff said.

Little People Racin' Ramps Garage by Fisher Price.  Gift number two in our Mindless Ode . . .

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Merry 4ft. Christmas!!

I was terrified of putting up a tree this year.  Who cares the tree was cut from it's roots, stuck in water to prolong it's pending death and then subjected to embarrassing forms of holiday fashion--I was more worried about the wee ones terrorizing it mercilessly (Mommy's collection of Crate & Barrel clearance ornaments are irreplaceable, as in she'd never be able to buy them for that cheap again--EVER!).

My friends suggested putting a baby gate around the tree to deter the twins--too bad I sold it this past fall at the Twin Moms' Thrift Sale.  Actually, I sold it because the little Einsteins' knew how to open it.

Nonetheless, we purchased and decorated our tree last weekend.  Good news:  it's still standing--even after numerous attempts to yank the strands of lights, pull down any ornament within a 4 ft. clearance and rip open two wrapped presents.

The novelty finally wore off a few days ago and these monsters-disguised-as-angels seem uninterested in our twinkling new home accessory . . . for now.

The half decorated tree.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Where Do Llamas Poop?

Apparently in the middle of the street during a parade.  
But more importantly, how do you clean up after a Llama poops in the street?

  By sweeping it to the sidewalk . . . right next to where you are sitting.

We watched our first Holiday parade with the babies this past weekend.  It was insanely cold, but with the proper gear--super duper new winter coats for the twins, we had a blast!

The parade didn't start till 7:30p, prime time for putting two toddlers to bed for the night--but it was a Friday night so we made an exception.  The best part about this parade:  free candy, tooth brushes (thanks to a very practical dentist) and one cute stuffed Santa from some anonymous float.  These items, I'm told, are crucial to the success of any reputable parade.

We loved this particular float by Autumn Care, an assisted living facility; mainly because they were grooving to 'Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer' the entire time.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving, M'F@#$!!

Hugs & Kisses,

Finn & Belle


It was only bad when the evil egg and sperm donors tried to make us pose for a thousand lame photos.  Other than that, the trip was tight.  We got to deconstruct ancient relics the Giants called 'toys' at Grandma's house.  

Didn't have to do too much to get someone's attention, bartered hugs and kisses for food, stayed up late and continued the par-tay early every morning, ate like a future Kobayashi 'nana pudding champ and left enough carnage behind for even Helen Keller to follow our tracks.  

Oh, Mom says it's time for bed (whatever).  Later peeps--keepin' it real in the 910.  fb


Mom (she asked we call her Mommy, but that's for babies) wanted us to post this stupid picture. We tried to look resentful and wanting to gag (worked like a charm).

Monday, November 22, 2010

Nobody Puts Baby On The Floor

Aunt G sent an early Christmas surprise this weekend.  Two hand made, from Germany, all natural baby dolls for the twins.  Belle has developed a definite attachment to her belongings.  Of late, she refuses to leave her room without her blanket, tag rag, giraffe binkie, and Violet--her purple talking dog (it takes her about five minutes to make it three feet across her room; she refuses to make more than one trip).  Now she's adding her Baby to the mix.

Finn has yet to throw Baby out of his crib at night while he's depositing his pillow, blanket, Scout, and other plush contraptions--this is a good sign.

I filmed a brief video showing the twins playing with their Babies.  It seems Finn loves his Baby, but still has a strong attachment to throwing objects on the floor--thank goodness there's Sister Belle to save the day . . .


It's A Pizza Party!

'Auntie' Sarah's sweet boy turned two last week.  She rented out a local pizzeria for the big event.  Each tiny guest made their own pizza and received a custom chef's apron (because, naturally . . . this was a Sarah Event).

We had the best time EVER!

Yes, Dah'ling; you could make a trash bag look fabulous.

There will be cake, right?  I was specifically told there was cake at this event.

Finn was more interested in eating the cheese than making his pizza-- 
Lady Belle just wanted her crayons back.

Outdoor Retreat

The back patio tile is sealed and the furniture delivered (our joint birthday gifts to each other).  Here's the finished product.  You're all invited to come sit out back and have a drink; in trade we ask you watch our kids while we take a much needed nap.

Check out the ferns!  I managed to keep them alive all summer!  

Finn is modeling our patio set from Target.  
We have lunch out here almost every day--the cushions are indestructible!!

Lady Belle intrigued by the dog door--which Bailey is FINALLY using on a regular basis (except when it rains, then she pees on the tile).

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Note To Self

I've learned a lot these past two weeks.  Here's what I've managed to remember from it all:

  1. One person CAN raise twins all by themselves, but two people make it so much easier (Dave was traveling most of last week for work).
  2. If you keep serving the same thing every night for dinner, eventually your children will break down and eat it (Mommy made too many mashed potatoes, so she turned them into potato pancakes and will continue serving them until they are all gone).
  3. Car accidents make the heart grow fonder (yes, we were in one over the weekend and yes we are all very grateful to be okay-- the car will be in the shop for the rest of the month).
  4. When your child's toe breaks through the sole of his shoe, it's time for a new pair--or your other child starts ripping out the inner soles of her shoes, it's time for a new pair (either way, we had to buy new shoes this weekend for the twins.  Already!?!  I know, right?).
  5. Always remember to ask 'is this covered under our insurance?' (I mistakenly asked for an $800 alternative endometriosis therapy medication that might not be covered under our insurance plan--whoops!  I wonder what sort of return policy there is for a used Mirena . . .).
For now, that is all.  

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Deceptive Detective

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about what and how to feed the twins.  Mirabelle will eat anything sweet tasting:  fruits, candies, cookies, cakes, etc.  She'll eat most cheeses and some meat but really has no taste for vegetables.  Finn, however, will actually try vegetables and hates fruit; but loves other sweet things like graham crackers, cookies, candy, etc.

Developmentally, we are entering those dark days of dining where the floor gets fed more than the twins.  Everything I've read suggests this is normal and will eventually phase away--but I can't help but wonder 'if only I cooked it better', 'tried a different technique', 'coated it in ketchup . . .'

Then I heard about Jessica Seinfeld's cookbook for picky eaters called Deceptively Delicious.  When I first heard about it I rejected the idea of 'hiding' vegetables in brownies, cupcakes and chicken nuggets.  I'm still recovering from being lied to about Santa--why would I break my children's trust by sneaking quality nutrition into their daily diets?

Jessica was recently on Oprah; which I accidentally deleted before realizing she's the author of Deceptively Delicious (at the time thinking 'who the heck is Jessica and why do I care what Jerry Seinfeld's wife has to say?').

So now I'm searching the web trying to find out about deceptive cooking.  So far, it sounds like a ton of work.  Before you actually make any meal, you have to prep the hidden vegetables into purees by steaming or cooking them for a hundred years.

In my sleuthing, I stumbled on two pretty cool articles from Jezebel and the NY Times.  The NY Times article was mainly about a recent study on picky eating and addressed the method of deceptive cooking.  Apparently the majority of toddler food preferences are genetic and the best methods to deal with them are patience and repetition (so got this last one in the bag--I have to do EVERYTHING twice!!).

So, if we are genetically wired to hate broccoli then it's okay to steam it, puree it and hid it in the chocolate pudding?  Here's were I still have issues and the psychologists seemed to agree.  The other 20% of food preferences are learned behaviors--if you never introduce broccoli in it's God-intended form; how will you ever learn to eat it smothered in cheese sauce (another God-intended form).  Then there is the issue of trust--if you knowingly hide spinach in the brownie and call it a 'brownie' instead of a 'spinach brownie' are you teaching your children that lying is okay, as long as Mommy is doing it?

Let's not forget about the added work involved in making these deceptive foods.  Should it really take three hours to make chicken nuggets (that's how long it would probably take me to prep, steam, puree, cook, and clean . . . Mommy would rather chat with you fine readers)?

At the end of the day, I'm going to keep offering the green beans in green bean form--even if Belle ignores them and Finn flings them on the floor (yesterday's sad performance).  Both Dave and I love food of all kinds and we will try anything.  I want the twins to grow up enjoying this variety as well.  If that means we waste a year's worth of vegetables that could possibly feed a small starving nation--in order for me to repeatedly introduce squash, then we waste them!!  This is America!!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Round & Round, Up & Down

The county fair is in town right now.  Yesterday they opened early for 'Preschool Day'.  We met our friend Charlie out with her little Boo.

The fair only opened those rides suitable for preschool kids and at the main stage they had free drinks, snacks, and some guy with a crazy guitar singing children's music.  One can only assume the twins enjoyed their adventure, the majority of the day was spent in blank stare and wonder.

We rode the carousel, a mini train and some fire truck contraption that rotated up and down.  We're definitely doing this again next year, it was well worth the $6!!

1 out of 3 children want their Mommy . . . 

First time on a carousel, they got a little nervous when it actually started
and ended up sharing a saddle.

On the train headed to nowhere.

First in line for the fire truck ride, I assume Finn liked it
 since he spent the majority of our wait trying to unlock the gate.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Live Action Short

Now that the twins are extremely mobile, I find we're taking more videos than pictures.  Here's our very first video montage capturing some of October's best moments.  We had a blast visiting and seeing all our family and friends.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween 2.0

Dear Halloween, we miss you already.  Oma-ma came down to spend the weekend with us and celebrate Halloween with the twins (of course, we miss her too).

On Sunday, Finn &Belle invited a few of their friends over to participate in our neighborhood's 2nd Annual 'Trunk or Treat'.  For those who don't know, this is where residents park their cars at the clubhouse, decorate their trunks and pass out candy to all the kids who show up.

We paraded down to the clubhouse and let the kiddies beg for treats, half of which they wouldn't be able to eat.  Regardless, we had a blast.  Afterwards our group headed back to the house and hung out on our back porch chowing on chili and drinking hot apple cider.

Here's some highlights from our adventures:

Mirabelle the garden gnome with her very handsome Daddy

Finn as either a garden gnome, dwarf, or hobbit:
and Daddy dressed as a Daddy

two garden gnomes, a baby bumble bee (who liked her costume better 
when she wasn't wearing it), a baseball player and a cow.

one and only photo op with the hat on, we didn't even bother 
with the matching beard.

We transformed the wagon into a magical garden for our little gnomes.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mug Shots

The babies had their first school pictures a few weeks ago.  Apparently Mirabelle was not feeling the love from the photographer and refused to sit for her solo portrait.  They did manage to get a sibling photo of the two.

We opted not to get the photos this time, they'll do them again in the spring.  But since these were their 'first ever' school portraits, I at least digitized the proofs for your viewing pleasure (and my growing book of embarrassing baby photos meant to torment my children at some far future date).

Alright.  Mriabelle, look on the verge of tears
for the camera; and Finn, look clueless. 

Great!  Now, Mirabelle, look bored; and Finn, don't move.

Who's Happy And They Know It?

Happy, right?  You remember . . . don't you?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

How To Build Self Esteem

Every Christmas, my Oma sent each of us chocolate-filled advent calendars.  I'd put mine on the wall above my bed and every day open the little window and eat a small piece of chocolate (thus reinforcing my lifelong addiction to chocolate).

It's one of my favorite holiday memories, and now that I've got my own little munchkins, I want them to enjoy this same tradition.  I've been searching the internet to find an advent calendar I can reuse every year.  I love the ones at Land of Nod; however, I don't love the price.

So, today I went to the craft store and priced out materials to make my own felt advent calendar.  By the time I reached $40--just in basic materials, I decided to cut my loses.  After telling Dave we'd be better off just purchasing the super cool Land of Nod advent calendar than having me spend over $60 to make a lesser quality one from scratch he replied:  'Honey, you couldn't make that regardless of what it cost'.

Safe to say I'll be purchasing the 'Christmas Countdown Calendar' from Land of Nod with a guilt-free conscience. . .

Da, Da, Da

 The twins call each other 'Da'.  I finally learned this the other day while putting their names on the wall above their cribs (been wanting to do this for a year and a half).

I found a pretty cool website, Wall Written, with a super easy online tool to create custom phrases.  Of all the sites I researched, this one was by far the simplest to use while providing a great selection of font and color choices.

At first, I was nervous about installing the decals, but the instructions were pretty idiot proof (phew).  After I'd placed the stickers on the wall, Finn & Belle ran into the room and demanded I put them in their cribs.  Then each proceeded to point to their names, turn to each other and squeal 'Da!'.

Now it all makes sense.  Like homing pigeons, they shout 'Da' throughout the house when one is trying to find the other.  After nap time, I'll hear the first one wake up and 'quietly' say 'Da', until the other one wakes up, or responds.

If I'd known this sooner I could have saved some money on the size of my lettering by simply ordering two different colors of 'Da'.

Monday, October 25, 2010

What A Difference A Year Makes

Around this same time last year we took the babies to a mini photo shoot with our favorite photographer, Katie Matthews (here's the post).  This year we visited a pumpkin patch at Indigo Farms and I managed to get a similar picture of the twins by a random wall of hay.

We've come a long way in one year.  For starters, they can actually sit up, even walk.  They can almost smile on command--but the blank stare is still their go-to expression.  We're hearing a lot of 'Momeee' and 'Dadeee', Mirabelle even said 'up' yesterday instead of 'unnnhh'.  They can hold their own bottles--too bad they don't drink them anymore.  Oh, and Mirabelle actually grew some hair, while Finn's turned blonde.  It was a pretty busy year. . .

October 2009

October 2010

Friday, October 22, 2010

Whaz' Up, D!?!

Our virtual friend, Dexter, has been hitting the chocolate pudding pretty hard (via a recent blog post).  Dexter is a super sweet baby boy we've never met, but enjoy keeping track of on his blog.

For those of you who don't know, his Mom started a blog journaling their fertility struggles, Allison, Daniel & Dexter's Journey.  A mutual friend recommended I read this blog, and possibly start my own, while Dave and I struggled to face our own fertility challenges.  Two years, and 350 posts later, we're still chronicling our journey and you're still bored enough to read it.

Here's our own version of dinner with chocolate pudding:

We didn't mind they played more than ate their pudding.  It will be another 90 years before that's consider socially acceptable anyway.