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Friday, December 28, 2012

Teddy Bear Hair

This girl.  She cracks me up.  And she has new way to make me laugh...I don't know about the rest of you but we have a dog, and binkies.  Put those two things together and you get the occasional dog-hair-on-the-binkie emergency.  The kids are used to it- they hand me the binkie and say it's "icky" or they come to me with their tounge out and say "dog hair."  Once it was a mama hair and so sometimes they say "mama hair."  Recently Evie had a clump of little hairs in her mouth and I pulled it off her tounge correcting her "dog hair" with "nope, it's a teddy bear hair" since it appeared her new teddy (aptly named Baby Jesus Teddy Bear...oye) had been shedding in her bed.  Ever since that incident, whenever Evie gets something in her mouth that she doesn't want in there, she comes to me and says, totally dead-pan and straight faced (aside from the crinkled nose of displeasure): "Teddy bear hair" (which sounds like "Teddy bahr hahr.")  I dare you not to laugh...

Friday, December 21, 2012

Baby Jesus

I cannot not blog about this.  It just happened and I immediately dropped everything to write this story down.

Evelyn has been having a difficult time going to sleep lately for naps.  She hangs out in her room alright, but I often have to go in several times and remind her to get back in bed.  That's the rule- you can be awake, but you must be playing quietly enough that mama does not know you're out of bed or else you'll get put back in!

Anywho, I hadn't heard anything for awhile and thought it was safe to just confirm everyone was sleeping before I got started on my next project.  When I entered Evie's room she'd stripped the bedding off the bed and was nowhere to be found.

Then, quietly from behind her bed I heard her say "Baby Jesus."  Evelyn inherited my old nightstand.  I got it a garage sale and it's pretty old.  The top is a regular table, the underside has a spot for magazines or books placed on an angle.  There are two slats of wood that form a sort of "V."

Evidently Evelyn recognized this "V" shape as very manger-esk.  She had carefully laid her little blanket in there and I can only assume her next step was to place her little baby doll in as a Baby Jesus stand in.

She threw a fit when I reached over for the blanket (not having put two-and-two together yet), yelling "Baby Jesus, Baby Jesus!" So I put it back in place and while I did not want to reprimand her for what can only be described as "the best pretend-play ever."  I gently told her to stay in bed from now on...

Night night Baby Jesus.  And Evelyn.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Things to Remember

I have to remind myself occasionally to write these posts that highlight cute kid moments.  Since I left my camera at a family get-together and cannot post cute kid pics this seems like the perfect opportunity.  So here are some "lately" moments from the kiddos.

Elijah in the car-
Eli- "A train!  Thomas!"
Mommy- "We don't watch Thomas, how do you know who that is?" (thinking I was pretty much talking to myself, I did not expect an answer)
Eli- "Eli watch Thomas at Gramma house!"
(This is probably one of the longest sentences he has ever uttered, caught me totally off-guard)

Evelyn at a Live Nativity where Christmas music about the birthday of Jesus was playing-
"Happy Burfday Baby Jesus!"

Both kids in regards to Samson licking them-
"Sammy!  No bite Eli!"  "Sammy! No bite Evie!"

Evelyn in response to someone asking her what her full name is-

Elijah after a shower with Mommy, Daddy put him in his bed all wrapped in a towel to wait till we could get him dressed.  When I went to get him he said: "Eli sooo nuggly!"  He repeated this perfectly adorable phrase tonight when I tucked him in bed.  He wrapped both arms around himself and said "sooo nuggly!"  Good grief child.

Evelyn's favorite phrase is "See you soon, Mama!"  Or "dada," or whoever else is leaving...

The minute we get in the car, both kids ask to listen to "Bone Away."  Carrie Underwoods- Blown Away...

And now for some of the not-so-cute: It seems like lately it's a constant dance to keep both kids from dissolving into terrible fights of sibling rivalry.  Every light switch that gets turned on, every button that needs pushing (elevators, van doors, etc.), every piece of trash taken to the trash can MUST be able to be done twice.  It's difficult for me to say no every. single. time.  Sometimes it's easier to let them turn a light off, then turn it back on so the other can turn it off (but I draw the line there), but boy does that stop the day cold and add extra second or minutes to each and every task.  I also struggle with how bossy they've gotten lately- everything must be "just so," especially for Elijah.  They now have preferences for the colors of their cups, the clothing they wear, even where Mommy sits on the couch when we watch tv together.  It's a fine balance, as I'm sure I don't have to tell other moms, between keeping the peace and also keeping them from ruling the roost.  "Choose your battles" is truly the name of the game these days!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

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Sunday, November 18, 2012


 I feel like a walking dichotomy at the moment.  I googled the definition just to be certain and here is what I found: "A division or contrast between two things that are or are represented as being opposed or entirely different."  Pretty accurate and here is why...I have never been a toddler person.  By that I of course mean other people's toddlers because I've never had any of my own until now.  I love other people's babies (although the infant stage was hard for me as mom with two to care for, I still LOVE a good baby snuggle), but once they hit toddler hood I've always been kind of hands-off.  Even with my own nieces, nephews, and friends' kids...I love them, in the way that you love family and friends, but from about 2-4 years old I have just always felt this disconnect.
Additionally, while I am still SO THANKFUL to be done with 3-a-day naps, bottles, up-all-night crying, and babies that cannot communicate, toddler-hood (and the "terrible twos") have officially descended upon our household and are rearing their ugly heads.  (I feel like I need to add at this point too however that we are not done having children, just that in the future we hope to have them one at a time;)...
 Here's where the disconnect comes in...I am LOVING this stage way more than I ever thought I would!  I'm exhausted, I feel like my brain is on planning overload most of the time, I sometimes talk in toddlereese, I'm occasionally desperate for adult company, and of course I still feel like I'm losing my mind on a regular basis, BUT...the personalities, interaction, and just all-out craziness emerging from my two year olds right now is SUCH A BLAST.  We had such a fun day yesterday.  It started out with the Grand Rapids Jaycees Santa Parade in downtown GR.  I'd wanted to go last year but we missed it, which honestly is probably not a bad thing considering how well the twinners sat through...anything....last year.  But this year was perfect, even better than the parades we attended earlier this summer, they seemed to really get it and we just really had fun.
 Don't let Elijah's stoicism fool you...he had fun, but about halfway through I think he just got a little overwhelmed and tired.  He was content to be held or sit quietly on the curb and take it all in.  Near the end of the parade the Davenport University Rugby Team came by and were asking for a little boy who would hug the rugby ball for a picture.  None of the other kids were stepping up so I sent Eli up there and he happily hugged the ball for a picture.  The best part was- they let him keep the ball!  They just walked away leaving him with this giant red/white/black ball!  It's been a hit ever since, he loves to carry it around or sit in his carseat with it on his lap beating it like a drum.  Pretty sweet if you ask me, I searched all over Daveport's website to see if they'd posted the pic anywhere but I haven't seen it.
 Evelyn met and made friends with "Gracie" the big, beautiful Bernese Mountain Dog (I hope to have one of these one day!).  I just love this picture, Evelyn must seen Santa coming and Gracie is obviously hoping Santa has dog treats.
 And there he is!  After almost two hours of parade he was there!  In his bright red sleigh with 8 tiny reindeer :)
 We finished up the day with dinner and games at The Tallman's house with all of our great church friends: The Paarlbergs, Westhouses, and Shelley's.  Six toddlers, all within 9 months of eachother- lots of fun!  Spaghetti was a hit, and a big thank you to Jessica and Rebecca for watching the kids so the parents could play :)
Cheeseball loves to smile for the camera in between slurping spaghetti noodles!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween 2012

Halloween, love it or hate it, it's so much fun with little ones!  This year we had a little "pack" of monsters.  The two girls- Evelyn and Molly were both Sully from Monster's Inc (Though Molly was much fluffier as I had to wash Evelyn's costume and made the mistake of putting it in the dryer- doh!), and Elijah was a cuddly little green, furry, horned monster with no specific name. 
They melted my hearts as they bravely walked up to each door saying "Hawoween!"  or "Twick oh Tweet!" and following it up with "See you soon!" as they departed for the next house.  The twins got to hitch a ride with uncle Brad on the sit n stand, which was really nice as short little legs can make it a slooooow process.
Much to my chagrin though, they are still subject to picking the prettiest, most eye catching packaging rather than the boring brown (chocloate!) packages which often contain the yummier candy.  Twice they each chose a butterscotch disk, mini reeces cup, or rootbeer barrel when other, more enticing (bigger!) candies were right on top of the same bowl.  Sigh.  We'll have to work on that for next year....

Happy Halloween from our 2 Little Monsters!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Time for "Two"

I don't do it often enough so allow me to take this opportunity to record what is going on right now with our TWO, TWO year olds!

Elijah-  One thing is clear, he is a quick learner, a mind like a steel trap.  I would not be surprised to find out one day that this kid has a photographic memory.  We have books that he can basically read to me, and while a lot of this is due to repetition, there are some that I swear we don't read often enough or simply have too many words for him to know so well!  He's smart as a whip and very much like his Daddy in the way he zones in and focuses on one. thing. at. a. time.  Sometimes I have to work my way around this- like acknowledging the thing that has his attention so firmly before I can get him to move on to the next thing.  For example, if he sees a green car and wants me to know about it, he will say it over and over and over and over well past when the car is out of sight and until I say back to him "yes, a green car!"  Another option is to break his line of sight and make him look at me, instead of in the direction of the green car that is no longer there, but even then I may just get a louder "Green Car!" shouted in my face...He's nothing if not insistent.  Also like his daddy is the way he sleeps.  While he struggles to fall asleep some places (not like Daddy), he also seems to pass out in the strangest positions and often mid-activity.  While it's been awhile since we found him on the floor, when he first figured out how to get out of his crib he would often turn off his white noise and lay next to the door so he could peer out and listen to us as he fell asleep.  Also like Andy is WHEN he sleeps best- given a choice he is an early riser and a long napper.  While he's struggled with sleep off and on throughout the last two years this has really always been a pattern once he settles into a good sleep routine.  In fact it was part of the reason the two can no longer share a room- Evelyn would much rather sleep in late in the morning and take a shorter nap while Elijah would prefer to wake up early and nap longer.  It ended up with both of them being consistently short on sleep so for now, seperate rooms is a must for our little twinners.
Now that he has a big boy haircut, I hardly recognize the little curly-haired munchkin from pictures past, though he's still skinny as a rail and only getting taller.  He's in a big boy bed- has been for several months, and loves to ask us to "lay by you" at night, which actually means "lay by me" and sing songs/read books for a few minutes before he goes to sleep.  His favorite is "Pooh," but Mommy also insists on singing "Jesus Loves Me" and he's usually game for that one as well.  He is always excited to see "Puppy," his little beanie-baby-like dog, and MUST have at least 2 but preferably 3 or 4 "boos" (binkies) to sleep with.  Before I leave the room I ask him if I should make his airplanes go (his airplane mobile) and I know he'll go right to sleep if he says yes.
Favorite foods are...hit and miss.  He will always eat toast, yogurt, pizza, and usually bananas.  Cereal w/ milk is a current fave, but even those classic kids foods like hot dogs and chicken nuggets are awesome one day and completely repulsive the next.  I am thankful for Carnation Instant Breakfast and children's vitamins right now, as both things, in moderation, give him some of the nutrition I'm afraid he misses in his chosen diet.  I'm also thankful that subtle forms of bribery and just good old fashioned discipline are beginning to work.  I can get him to try things by withholding favorite foods until he does, or telling him that he can be "all done WHEN" he eats whatever it is I'm trying to coax down his throat.
At the moment we oscillate between loving baths and being terrified that bath toys are going to drown or disappear.  He is obsessed with cars/trucks/trains, animals of all kinds, balloons, bikes, and above all- Mickey Mouse.  Favorite books are "Old Hat, New Hat," "Gossie," (I LOVE hearing him say "gosling."), "Peedie," and "Shake a Leg."  With each book comes specific things he must point out or say during each reading (I'm afraid he may have some of mama's OCD ;)  He is such a joy to us, always ready with hugs and kisses, quick to please, and even though he's our early riser, he is generally content to watch cartoons and let whichever parent is up with him snooze on the couch while getting great Elijah cuddles. 

Evelyn- While her brother is quick to dissolve into tears and terrible sadness, this girl can hold her own in a battle of wills.  She makes us work for our kisses, withholding them until she gets sad faces all around.  Her tantrums are epic (I'm not sure I'll ever forget the 15-minute-long episodes we've seen over too-tight footy pajamas and her 2-year checkup), but she can turn around and melt our hearts with a well-placed "wuv you" and huge, gap-toothed grin.
This girl pretty much embodies a love of life.  She's a thrill-seeker- loving playing "Dip!" with Daddy (when she suddenly throws herself backward and Daddy catches her before she hits the floor...oye), and "Cowboy" on our knees.  She'd swing and slide at the playground all day if she could and often runs in circles with excitement when people she loves (or has just met) stop by for a visit.
It must be said that she LOVES her Papa, getting a huge smile and yelling his name anytime she gets a glimpse of his picture or he drops by to visit (sorry Nana and Grandma, this girl just loves her some Papa!).  But she is also a Daddy's girl through and through.  When Andy returns home from work late at night he always goes in her room to get a quick kiss and "ni-night Daddy" before she drifts back  to sleep, and she often goes to bed asking for a kiss from Daddy when he is not home at bedtime.
She has a hard time sitting still and shows how many calories she must burn by being a fantastic eater.  While she isn't a kid who will eat everything, she is willing to try just about anything and for the most part seems to enjoy what she tries.  Her favorites are fruit snacks, pretzels, hot dogs, mac n cheese, soup, and french fries, and she's the perfect yin to Eli's yang as she loves the ice cream while he loves the cake.  One of her cutest quirks is getting oh-so-excited when the song "Happy Birthday" is sung that she runs around looking for candles to blow out.  Even scented jar candles will do, she simply sees it as a must.
Her best phrase at the moment is "Evie got it" which means: "leave me alone I'm going to do it myself."  I know she learned this from me as I often tell the kids: "Mama's got it"-awesome grammer, I know- when they try to do something themselves that I'd rather they let me do for them (like zipping up coats, putting on shoes, or turning every light switch in the house on and off).  In the speech department she has always been a bit behind Elijah but is quickly catching up.  In the last couple of months she's learned new words in spades and while he is putting together sentences with 4-5 words she is not far behind with 3-4.  She has a bit of a lisp that I'm sure will go away soon but is exaggerated by how pitch-perfect Elijah is with his pronunciation.  However, I really love hearing her raspy little baby words for things, particularly when she calls an orange an "onch."  Good grief it is too stinkin' cute.  By far my favorite sentence she uses frequently is "tay-too mama" (thank you mama), which she uses for everything from a meal placed in front of her to a change of diaper, to getting her hair combed, or even buckled into her seat...I love how thankful this girl is!
Evelyn's favorite books are still flip books, she loves to sing the ABC's, and while in the past she's never been big on playing with toys she is starting to finally show some interest in---baby dolls!  I've never seen her play with one real toy for so long and I must say I am SO thankful.  She pushes them around in her stroller, wraps and rewraps them in everything from a washcloth to an old t-shirt, feeds them bottles, and walks around with them up on her shoulder, patting their backs saying "shhh."  She also loves it when I help her "wock" (rock) them, and has a fascination with watching real moms nurse their babies (sigh...I'm just waiting for the day she starts feeding her own baby dolls this way;).  She's a great little caretaker with a tender heart, even for all her busy, fearless, bruiser ways.
She melts our hearts (and all our defenses) every day...we LOVE this sweet little girl!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

ArtPrize #3

For the first ArtPrize I was approx 37 weeks pregnant.

For the second ArtPrize we had curious one-year-olds.

For the third ArtPrize we have hot-dog-lovin' crazy, still curious, tantrum-throwing almost-two-year olds.

I think I may always see ArtPrize as a milestone of sorts.  They certainly fill up their strollers much more than they did last year.  They are easier to feed, just as uninterested in riding along rather than walking as they were...So this year we added shoulder rides to our modes of transport.

Evelyn's "handle bars" were not prompted in any way.  This is simply how she chose to hold on.

Pretty cool.

Family portrait on the bridge.  I see that a combinations of summer, the end of Body by Vi, and the energy-suck that two two-year-olds provide has made it high time mommy steps back on the treadmill...   :(

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tubtime Terror

What does the sum of the above three images represent?.........................................................................
Elijah's new Worst Nightmare

Yet another thing to record for posterity to share with him when he gets older- we have entered the age of irrational fears.
I was warned of this by Nana and Andy but last night got to experience it for myself.
Elijah is absolutely terrified that his bathtoys are going to drown, at least, this is our best guess.
It began last night when we entered the bathroom to start the tub; all of the bathtoys were scattered across the bottom of the bathtub and Elijah began to point and scream.  Tears followed.  I turned on the water and the screaming got louder.  Andy suggested I pick up all the toys and put them in our toy basket.  As the last toy was deposited in the basket- the screaming stopped but Eli continued to sniffle until I hung it on the hook safely out of harm's way.

Upon getting the kids in the tub I tried to offer them a few toys and the screaming began again as he scrambled about trying to pick up every toy and rescue it.  I swear I've never seen him so distressed!  Apparently he is afraid that any of the toys he cannot hold onto will either disappear down the drain or drown. 
We finally settled at a cup and scoop for Evelyn and a boat and spongy star for Elijah.  As long as all the toys were in someone's hands Elijah was fine but the minute Evelyn let go of the cup, Elijah began to yell: "Evie, cup!  Evie, cup!" as he tried to pick it up while holding the boat and star under one arm.  When a washcloth was added it could. not. be. set. down.  Otherwise I got a soaking wet washcloth whipped at me by a frantic Elijah.

Thankfully this seems to be "normal."  I had heard of such things (remember my fear of Jack Frost mom?), but goggled it anyway and found that other kids his age have such weird fears as "buildings with high ceilings" (one mom said anytime they went somewhere new her son would ask if it had high ceilings), a sibling's striped shirt, round food (plate, peas, nuggets), cake being squashed (another mom said it happens a lot in cartoons and her daughter runs from the room as soon as she realizes the cake is doomed), flies (Evie had a momentary problem with them as well: "Bugk!  Bugk!"), and my personal favorite: the song "to market to market to buy a fat pig" because the child insisted the pig did not want to go home, it wanted to go to the sand pit...

While it's a bit inconvenient and makes me sad because I wish I could help him not be so terrified, it's also very cute in it's own way and will hopefully pass quickly.  I only wish I could figure out what the trigger was...did he sit on a toy and it hurt so he doesn't like not being able to see them under the bubbles?  Did he lose one down the overflow tube?  I know a couple have dissappeared down there...I doubt we will ever know.
Oh toddler-hood, what a trip!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Big Kid Beds and Bless You

Two big things over here lately...Big Kid Beds and Sentences!

I put off big kid beds as long as possible, but Elijah was climbing out constantly and I was worried about his breaking a leg or arm or neck.  He also kept falling asleep on the floor, right. in. front. of. the. door.  Which means he was effectively a giant doorstop that squeaked when you bumped it.
Evelyn on the other hand could get out, but being the lover of sleep that she is, stayed in (and still does!) quite well.

Off we went in search of beds (which means, I turned on my computer and opened craigslist and my fave fb garage sale group).  We picked up two very cute twin beds and headboard/footboards for $55.  Then it was on to mattresses which we got at Sleep Doctor along with free boxsprings from Bradi's friend (Thanks Brenda!).  Because I'm a girl and a planner and occasionally a bit Type A...oh and I like shopping...the next week of my life was devoted to finding the perfect bedding.  Let me tell you.  It wasn't easy.  I wanted something that would grow with them, or, at the very least, I didn't hate so I wouldn't hesitate to use it for guest bedding when five years from now they beg and plead for bieber bedding or something like that (which is another story because my daughter is not sleeping with a boy that she's not related to until she's 35 and married so why would I let her start with the giant face of one at 7?). 
Of course, as all things are, girl bedding was the easiest- I found something I loved on the first day out.  For Elijah the search took longer but I finally found something I really liked and that he can truly use until he graduates if he wants (we might have to switch out the sea turtle and alligator sheets but who knows?).
Now it's been a fun struggle of staying in bed...Elijah still doesn't want to...but I am really enjoying being able to lay down and cuddle with my cuties before bed or pile on the bed to read books at night.  Evelyn stays in her bed for the most part and is loving her new freedom to sprawl.  At Nana and Papa's this weekend when I tried to put her in the pack n play for bed she said "No, bed!" and pointed to the king size monolith.  She got her way and promptly took up the entire thing with her little 32" body.  It was pretty precious.

In addition to the big beds, Elijah has begun to use sentences.  His first one (that I know of) was "Daddy inside sleeping" one day when Daddy was sick from a bad toothache/headcold.  Today however he took the cake when his cuteness when Evelyn sneezed and he responded quickly with "Bless you Ebie."  Sigh....even though he pushed every button I had today, those three little words completely made up for it!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

My Teenage Daughter

She thinks shes 12 and she's not even two.
It's a good thing she can't talk well b/c then there would be absolutely nothing holding her back!

Today I got a sneak peek into what riding in the car with twin teenagers will be like.  First of all, Elijah was asleep, but in this fictional world we'll say he had his ipod-of-the-future and headphones on (aka: dead to the world).  Evelyn was talking on the phone to her daddy, but for this fictional scenario we'll pretend it was her bff, not all that far off actually ;)  So here she sits, phone to her ear, feet up on the seat in front of her, aaaallll smiles and chatting daddy's ear off while she stares happily out the window.  She even gesticulated with her hands a little.  Here's what it kinda sounded like:

Evie: "Hashteesh (she says this a lot, we don't know what it means) Yaya (Elijah) Mama.
"Hashteesh baba, kisha boosh Cheese!"
(pause as she listens)
"Hashteesh nana papa beep beep!"
(mommy honks horn)
"Uht oh!"
"Mama phone, hashteesh mama yaya."
"Puppy, puuuuuuppppy. meow, woof, no."
"Hashteesh Dada."
(looks at phone to turn it off and hands it to me)

Seriously, I hope I have painted enough of a mental image for you because the child was grinning from ear to ear.  There was not a doubt in her mind that she and her (bff) were having a long and involved conversation.  Probably solving world peace and all that :)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Oh My Word I Think He's Gifted

I'm hesitant to admit that my kids are the coolest kids out there.  I mean, they are, but in mommy-world it's just not cool to state it as fact.  Unless you put the words "to me they will always be..." before those sentences as a qualifier.  Such as: "to me they will always be the cutest kids in the world," or "to me they will always be perfect," even when you think it's really 100% true, no qualifier is needed...Along the same lines, it's also not that cool to say "my kid is advanced," or "my kid is smarter than your kid," don't ask me why, it's just a little frowned-upon...crazy.That said, I need to let you in on a little secret (all five of you that read this, hi mom, hi dad!)...shhh...I think Elijah might be gifted.  Particularly in the animal and color-identification lobes of the brain.  I'm telling you, that kid soaks. it. up.  It sounds most impressive to say that my child is 1 year old and knows all his colors, including shades like white, gray, pink, every animal he's ever laid eyes on whether in person or a book, and most of their sounds.  In reality he is nearly two and most other kids his age do have a color or two down and a lot of their animal sounds but seriously, he amazes me sometimes with his ability to retain and repeat information.For example, yesterday while he ate his Cheerios (Chee-ee-oos) and watched Praise Baby (Pays Baby) in bed with mommy he pointed to a yellow dot on the bedspread and said "yew-wo."  Then he pointed to the grey, I told him it was grey, and the same with the white.  This morning, again eating chee-ee-oos and watching Pays Baby, he spotted one teeny tiny letter amongst all the other, mainly primary-colored letters, and shouted "White!"  Um...seriously kid?  Most children your age would hardly even notice that non-color of a letter, let alone know what that color is called.  However he did it several other times today throughout the day when he encountered something white, in addition to the normal "boo one!"  "Geen one!" and yew-wo, wed, puhpul, pink, onch (orange) etc. that we are used to.
Lest you think I'm just being the proud mommy, I'd like to point out that throughout all of this Evelyn remains mostly mute unless it's to point out some color that invariably, is wrong, with the biggest, heart-wrenching smile on her face as she waits for the praise she is due.  Maybe this is why she doesn't know her colors...I don't have the heart to tell her she's wrong...I digress.  Evie right now is mainly preoccupied with finding new ways to steal food, rip out her hair pretties, push her brother, run from mommy, tear apart books, climb on the table, wind up in timeout, and make up for it all with the biggest, sweetest, fish-face kisses a mom could ask for.  I'm not concerned about her development as she is really pretty right-on with what she says and knows, but her "normalcy" only serves to point out her brother's slightly accelerated skills all the more.
At the end of all this, I will be the first to admit that I have no idea if this knowledge will serve him well in the future- at this rate he's destined to become a starving artist who travels the world to paint "doggies" and "kitties" and "piggies, la la la" in brilliant technicolor.  Maybe one day I'll be nice and teach him that in fact, a pig says "oink," a mouse says "squeak"(not cheese), and a horse says "neigh" (not haaa-ay).  Havin' fun in the Heights!  ~Krista

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Body By Vi

I recently acted on a whim and signed up for the 90-day challenge from Body By Vi (Visalus).  Yes, it's one of those "fad" diets and will probably be obsolete in 2 years but hey, I lost weight on the Atkins diet about 12 years ago and there are very few people who do that now-adays so I guess a loss in popularity doesn't always mean something doesn't work.  In addition I actually know personally several people who have assured me this is not a sheme to get my money- it worked for them!
Anyways, I've kept it kinda quiet, partly because anytime I've mentioned it to someone there is a little bit of scoffing, but also because over the years I've discovered that with dieting it's best to have a small support group and just let everyone else notice once there is something to take note of.  However, since my blog is read by about 8 people that I know and love I figured I could write about it a little bit on here.
My goals are simple- lose weight, get healthier, make meals easier.  I've been proud of myself for how much I've worked out in the last year, but I'm hoping this is just the boost I need to actually make those pounds come off.
So far, I'm really enjoying it.  The shake mix itself when you just add it to milk is tasty- it tastes a lot like sweet pancake batter or cake mix, it is called "sweet cream."  But the best thing about it is that you can mix it with just about anything to get all kinds of flavors.  The company includes flavored mix-ins that pull double-duty with immunity boost, metabolism boost, etc, but I haven't needed those yet as I've been having fun just using various fruit combinations!
I honestly haven't made one yet that I haven't enjoyed, but some of my favorites have been frozen raspberries and powdered bakers chocolate, peanut butter and chocolate powder with banana, and applesauce with cinnamon, nutmeg, and a little uncooked oatmeal for bulk (tastes like apple pie!).  Another great thing is that you don't need to add much of these flavors to each shake.  For the peanut/chocolate/banana one I added less than a teaspoon of peanut butter (keeps down the extra calories), even less cocoa powder, and half a banana.  It was so tasty!
The shake mix itself is packed with about a million vitamins, metabolism boosters, minerals, omega-3's, protein, and all kinds of healthy stuff.  They also post lots of recipes on their website for new flavors, I want to try the Chai flavored recipe I read about and there are even some that include spinach!  I make two shakes a day to replace two meals, usually breakfast and lunch, have some light and healthy snacks if I need them, and eat one "sensible" meal.
All of this said, I like it so far, I find I'm so busy during the day and this is so quick and easy I don't even miss "regular" food.  It is a little harder for me to do just a shake for dinner, but it's not out of the question to pair the shake with a salad or veggies, or if I've been "good" all day and not snacked I might throw in something like with a bit more bulk.  I've found that it's easy to forgo snacks when I'm spending money on this plan and putting a lot of effort into it (I mean the shakes are good and all but if I'm going to replace too meals a day with a liquid diet then I'm not going to mess it up with snacks!).  I also really like that there is no calorie or points-counting to worry about.  I did Weight Watchers before and I cannot imagine trying to keep up with that while chasing around E2.  I might add a program called "my fitness pal" just to keep track of what regular food I'm eating but we'll see.  Portion control comes naturally because my appetite is already shrinking and the scale this morning showed a loss of 3lbs (I'm not overly excited as our bodies can fluctuate naturally throughout the day, but at least it's not a gain!;) since I started on Friday.
I'll try to keep this updated as I go, and hopefully you'll be able to see for yourself soon that this is working!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Locker Room

I got a littler reminder of what it is to be a pre-teen (tween, as they are called these days) at the gym today.  There was a school having their 4th Grade end-of-year party there so of course the locker room was a popular location for the girls to giggle and hang out.  After my workout I had to shower, and since the showers at my gym are not made to bring your change of clothes into I always dress in the main locker room. 
Normally this is not an issue, but the moment I saw 10 4th graders milling around I knew this would be awkward- not for me, for them.  So I tried to dress as quickly as possible.  Midway through getting dressed I needed to remove the towel from around me and put it on my head so I could put on my bra.  I was alone in my "section" of the locker room but a group of girls was just on the other side of the bank of lockers from me.  It was at this moment that one of the girls went to leave and, apparently, saw me sans bra and towel as she popped back to her group and I heard a sudden hush as one girl (not discreetly enough for her friends' taste) asked "don't go over where?"  There was much "shushing" and another girl who had also missed the directive to "not go in that area where that lady is naked" asked the same question.  Meanwhile a little blonde girl pretended to nonchalantly wander into "my" section, see that I now had my bra on, and sidle back over to her friends while yet another girl answered loudly: "you know, where Michael is, don't go where Michael is."  (This must have been the quickest she could think as their conversation 30 seconds earlier had revolved around going to find Michael and see if he wanted to hang out with one of the girls).  There was much giggling and more repeating of "don't go where Michael is" before they finally left the room.
Anyways, that was fun, and even though it's been quite awhile since I was a "tween," I was surprised by how vividly I remembered being shell-shocked by, and feeling oh-so-awkward around the women who dared to be completely naked in the locker room!  Now I'm one of those women...how times have changed.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

He DOES Exist!

Evelyn would like you all to know that she FOUND bigfoot.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Cousin Love

 This first picture is just cute of Evie...I can't help it.  And i know, I know, the little piece of fabric hanging off the binky isn't that cute but it makes it into a lovey and easy to find so...
speaking of which where is that thing...?
 This is the real story- Elijah loves Sydney.  He thought tackling her over and over and over and over was about the coolest thing ever.  I've never heard so much giggling from that kid!
 Those are Elijah's little pudgy hands holding onto Sydney from behind.  He wasn't letting go for anything!
Yup, I think he's got a crush.  Sorry bud, but we live in Michigan, not the back woods of Tennessee...

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Twister and The Rod

I just love this comic of various "techniques" kids use to avoid being strapped into their carseats AGAIN...
Elijah is definitely "The Twister" and Evelyn has totally perfected "The Rod." I am usually exhausted by the time everyone is in the car.

I must say though, I totally empathize with the Noodler as that is a tactic both kids use in other situations- like when mama says it's time to go home from the park and they are not quite ready.

Sunday, April 22, 2012


Anyone who has raised a child (or two) or been in a close relationship with a small, developing human being, can probably share in my marvelling at how crazy it is to see their little personalities make their first appearances. 
It's difficult at this stage to know for sure what my kids' strengths and weaknesses will be in later life but I love watching and making predictions about what they will be good (and not so good) at when they are a little older.  I find that it's more difficult to determent their weaknesses because all kids have a lot of the same weaknesses at this point and because what looks like something bad could actually turn into something good later.  Emotions are just so amplified at this young age, without the benefit of foresight or even a whole lot of hindsight, everything seems like "the greatest thing ever" or "the end of the world."
That said, here are a couple strengths I've noticed lately:
Evelyn.  This little girl is just so sweet and caring.  She likes to deny her mama (or just about anyone else for that matter) kisses when asked, but put on a pouty face and she'll immediately come back to offer up a soft-lipped smooch.  The same goes for when she gets too excited and hits; I put on my sad face (trying to teach some cause and effect here), and she immediately pets me or gives me a hug.
She has a lot of compassion- especially for her brother.  When he falls down, she runs to his side and tries to pick him up (two hands under his belly and HEAVE!).  If he's crying and I'm holding him she goes in search of a binky and always manages to find one (I think it's because she knows where he stashes them).  Tonight during their bath Elijah slipped and bonked his chin.  He was wailing away when Evie crouched down beside him and began to rub his back and give kisses until he stopped, he was all smiles after his sister's tender loving care!  She's also been known to get very upset when daddy seems to pick on mommy (tickling or teasing) or someone is crying around her- even joining in with some tears or plantiff whines of her own.
I also think she will be very good with detail.  She seems to remember just about everything we do once, and will show me what to do when we come back to it the second time.  She seems to always be one step ahead of me and offers things like; a kleenex, a fork or spoon, opening or shutting doors, a blanket for my feet, my shoes and coat, etc.  She's a little helper and very particular, I can see her being a big help with any younger siblings she might have(but only when she wants to of course, she is nothing if not strong-willed, reminds me of another big sister I know :).

Elijah.  Elijah is a little more go-with-the flow than Evelyn but I've noticed that he is a pretty conscientious little guy.  While he breaks his fair share of rules, he naturally puts things away when he is finished which I think is pretty awesome.  Maybe he's a creature of habit, I'm not quite sure which, as it doesn't seem that he puts a lot of thought into these things, it just seems to be very matter-of-fact behavior.  For instance a couple days ago both kids were eating banana halves (with the peel, must have the peel ON mom!) after their nap.  At some point I found Evelyn's peel on the floor next to a toy she had been playing with and I started to look around for Elijah's.  Where do you think I found it?  In the trash of course.  The little man had finished his banana and naturally, when one finishes a banana, one throws away the peel.  It was something I'd been telling them to do but I guess I didn't expect them to do it on their own for awhile.
Another example happened today when we were playing outside.  Elijah was pushing around the pretty pink stroller (his favorite thing to do outside besides picking up and carrying around sticks), when I said "lets go in and have dinner."  Evelyn was already at my side so I picked her up and headed for the front door.  Elijah however continued to push the stroller and made a beeline for the backyard.  Since I already had Evie in tow and her shoes off I continued inside and walked through the house to head him off at the back door before he could find any wayward doggie doodoos.  Instead, I found his little red-headed self standing at the backdoor and the stroller placed neatly in the garage.  Wow, what a good little boy.  He must have some of his Nana in him because he didn't learn that from either Andy or I!  While we both pick up at the end of the day, putting an item away right after we use it is not necessarily a strong suit for either of us!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

We Could Win a Photo Contest

Saturday, April 14, 2012

At Least I Have Jeans Now

Allow me to paint you a picture of our recent (approximately 3 hour ago recent) shopping trip.  First, there's mom (me), dressed in a 12 year old long sleeve shirt from my high school junior powderpuff football team and what I can only describe as Mom Pants.  Truly, these things are so much the quintessential Mom Pants that I don't even know why I keep them around, nor why I wear them so frequently.  I assume that is how all Mom Pants get their name as moms like me don't get a whole lot of chances to shop (for themselves) and so non-trendy but comfortable clothing gets held on to and worn far too often, thus earning itself a name...I digress.  (these are almost as bad as the day I went out in ill-fitting skinny jeans and tennis shoes, but that's another story).
Then there are my kids.  For some reason I put a cute polo bodysuit on my son today and then decided to pair it with a pair of baggy sweatpants...he looked like a nerd from the 1960's, don't ask me what I was thinking other than that we rarely stay in one outfit from am to pm, today of course, being the exception...and finally Evelyn, who was wearing a cute body suit that had originally been outfitted with a sassy bright blue pair of pants but had been replaced for naptime by some of her brother's too-short sweatpants.  A better mother would have changed her back after she woke up from her nap and on a whim decided to go shopping for light bulbs and pacifiers, but it was an "ugly day" at the Heemstra household and I hadn't planned to go anywhere that afternoon so I guess the trip to Target caught me as off-guard as it did them.
As I pushed the stroller into Target I found myself noticing how nicely everyone was dressed for Tar-jay, but then I remembered, hey, it's not Walmart! And instantly felt disgusting.  Oh well, I grabbed some pacifiers for Elijah, some lightbulbs, and as I headed towards the register I realized that Maurices is right next door and they are currently having a BOGO half off sale that ends tomorrow.  Momentarily forgetting how truly terrible we all looked I thought, I'll go there!  The reason I'm dressed like this in the first place is because I have zero jeans (just tore a hole in my last pair last week), and the sale ends tomorrow!
So in the checkout lane I grabbed a bag of fruit snacks and off we went...Entering Maurices I again became aware of how terrible I looked (here is your glimpse into a woman's mind, truly we think about our appearance that often), especially as I worked to force the double side-by-side stroller through the only working door.  Upon finally entering the store I realized there would be no easy maneuvering but was grateful for the well-dressed and perfectly coiffed woman who immediately asked me what I was looking for (she could tell how badly I needed new clothes, I think).  I told her I needed jeans and what size, and off she went to find some for me.  She brought me no less than 15 pairs and we wedged ourselves into the handicapped dressing room; stroller, twinners, and all. 
Since we were locked into a dressing room and the natives were getting restless I let them out to clamber about the room.  That was when I remembered that the door latch was broken and Evleyn repeatedly opened the thing while I tried desperately to cover my big white butt each time.
To save time I'll just give you bullet points of what happened during the rest of our time in the dressing room:
-Elijah banged a hanger on every surface to find out what each one sounded like.
-Evelyn ate about 3/4 of the bag of fruit snacks and an entire granola bar
-Evelyn opened the door 3,478 times
-Elijah did a bellyflop off the bench and screamed bloody murder in a bathroom-sized room (think echoing baby screams)
-People nearby began commenting on the unhappy child in the room next door
-I happened to mention to the dressing room attendant that I needed t-shirts and she brought me approximately 17 styles that all looked terrible on me
-I began sweating
-My face got red
-I rethought ever having left my house in the first place
-I had a moment of terror that Elijah might have fallen hard enough to be bleeding on the ugly and ill-fitting shirt I was wearing when I picked him up to comfort him

Finally, two pairs of jeans secured, we exited the dressing room (catching the handle of the stroller on the handle of the door on our way out causing me to curse repeatedly under my breath because it took me a full minute to free it) and tried to make our way to the register.  This is when I found myself hopelessly stuck.  All the other women in the store, well-dressed and adorable as they were, seemed oblivious to me and my giant stroller and blocked my every turn.  As I squeezed through the final obstacle between us and the register the stroller caught a few pairs of pants and...you guessed it...the whole danged thing fell over.  About 30 pairs of jeans and at least as many shirts littered the floor.  The store got quiet.  I sweat more profusely, Elijah screamed.
At the checkout line Evelyn grabbed the pen to the credit card machine and tried to pull it off the table, she stood up in her seat (she was not buckled back in) and tried to sweep stuff off the counter.  Elijah just stood and cried, even as women nearby who had children and were piteous of me and my plight tried to calm him.  At long last the cashier produced Smarties (bless her!), and we settled into blessed quiet.
As the sales lady held the doors open for me and I finally exited into the cool air, as frustrated, grumpy, and slightly embarrassed as I was, I was just so grateful that I could go home and take off the damn Mom Pants!!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


This was one of the things I have so been looking forward to doing with the kids...The ZOO!  Since every kid is obsessed with animals it was, of course, a hit.  Especially the lions, fish, and penguins.
 The bears were lounging.  It's what bears do.  I must say this is a vast improvement over what they were doing the last time I was at the zoo.  A few years ago the bear stood there and shook his head like he was going nutso in his tiny enclosure.  They have since broadened the enclosure and plan to make it even larger.  Makes the tree-hugger lobe of my heart happy :)
 Has anyone, anywhere, EVER gotten a picture of three toddlers smiling and looking at the camera?  If they have, they deserve a medal.  And a large latte with extra whip cream.  This is the best we do on drip coffee and limited patience.  (That's Ani, our church friend, for those of you that don't know:) Also, notice Elijah's fat lip.  He totally tripped over someone's foot before being out of his stroller more than 30 seconds...yeah, my kids are a bit accident-prone.
 Now THIS is a great picture of 3 toddlers....
 Petting zoo time!  Hands down the best part in my opinion.  Lions and tigers and bears are all fine and good (oh my!), but you gotta get your hands on something after all that looking...
 I mentioned this on facebook but Elijah (and the other two) really liked the sheep until he baa'd at them.  It was loud, and he was the only animal making any noise.  They all screamed and ran for the exits.
 The playground afterwards was very fun!  Of course my two just wanted to climb and test fate as much as possible by standing at the precipice of certain doom (the little platform that drops six feet to nothing if you choose not to use the firepole).
 Climbing!  It's what we do.
 You know mom, a better mom would put down the camera and remove us from this situation.
 "But I'm tired, and besides, you're almost to the top."
Elijah thought running back and forth over the little bridge was the bee's knees.  Especially open-mouthed and yelling.  P.S. Elijah perfected his "roar!" on this trip to the zoo :)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Recovered Pics

I recently had a little camera problem, somehow my card got corrupted and I thought I had lost these pictures.  I was bummed because there were some really cute ones!  Like my daughter using the dog as a step stool to look out the window at her brother and daddy (brother is sitting on the recycling bin, by the way).
 And then there are these great ones of my kids sitting in a dirty pool on the first really hot day of the year...in March.
 But it was really these ones of Evelyn filling the pool that were just so cute.  She looks so happy and summery in her little denim jumper.  Thank you to our friend Craig for recovering my pictures!!