Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Decorah Weekend

While Dad worked on an (unexpected) basement project, the boys and I spent a weekend in Decorah. I managed to capture most of the trip on camera. Surprise, I know. Taking all of these fun pictures reminded me how beautiful Decorah is. I grew up there, so naturally I take it a little for granted. Many small towns don't have nearly as much character as this one does.

Our first stop was Dunning Springs. I have memories of running near Dunning Springs while I was in high school. The ice-cold spring water cools the air and it was a good place to cool off in the middle of a run on a hot summer day. The boys loved throwing rocks. They can throw pretty hard but their aim isn't quite the best so we had to put an end to the rock throwing party.

Prior winding up!
Mason pointing to one of the rocks he threw. This looks posed but it wasn't. The boys' expressions these days crack.me.up!
Looking for rocks.
Mason reaching for more rocks. Thankfully this one was too heavy.
Out at Grandma's house we rode the tractor - of course! 
Riding on the tractor with Grandma Julie.
The next stop was the Decorah Fish Hatchery. The boys got to feed lots of pretty looking trout fish and man they were hungry! It was so fun to watch the boys' expression when the fish would jump out of the water to get the food. 

P feeding the trout.
Which ones should we feed next?
Mason laughing - so much fun!

There was a fundraiser at the Fish Hatchery and they were giving away free milkshakes. Yum! (P)

Seriously - the straws didn't leave the mouths until the glasses were empty!

There's even a mini-waterfall at the Fish Hatchery - it's so pretty out there. Ben and I had engagement pictures taken out there - just a few years ago...

P and Grandpa Don at the park.

P showing off his balancing skills at the park.

The boys talk about Grandpa Don's tow trucks daily - not exaggerating. So seeing them in person is always cool.

And we couldn't leave the shop until Prior was done "working on the computer" at Grandpa's desk.

Sick of pictures yet!?

Monday, August 29, 2011


Sometimes I feel there's a battle of the wills when it comes to raising kids. And by sometimes, I really mean daily.

After a long day, it's very hard to not give in! That would be soooo much easier.

A recent "issue" around our house has been bedtime. By the time you take a bath, go potty, brush teeth, and read 12 books, say prayers, get a drink 3 times, give hugs and kisses, etc. it's already been almost an hour. But, after leaving the room, the boys would turn on the lights no fewer than 42 times before giving in and falling asleep. And that means someone had to open the childproof door and turn the light off 42 times. Aside from hiring a 24-hour maid, I desperately need that 8 pm to 10 pm time slot to do things other than turn off the lights.

There were also several days in the week where we'd wake up in the morning and they light was on (but the boys were sleeping). 

At this point I was starting to feel pretty defeated.

Then I realized that this was no different than any other battle of the wills around this house. I needed to outsmart the competition! So I hopped online and typed in "childproof light switch covers" and crossed my fingers. I found one lonely brand on Amazon. That's it. Nothing else existed. Thank goodness! I'm a huge fan of ordering things online to save time...but this was a Class 1 emergency. So I called around to Target and Babies R' Us.

Both of the individuals I spoke to at Target and Babies R' Us said this:

"Wait - you mean the child proof plug ins for electrical outlets"?

Me: "No, not for the outlets. For the light switches".

The lady at Target laughed out loud at me and asked if I had my hands full. The lady at Babies R' Us just acted like she'd never been asked that question in her entire career at Babies R' Us.

So I went ahead and ordered the one on Amazon. I think it was $20 with shipping. They could have charged me $200 - I would have paid just about anything at that point.

But since it wasn't going to arrive for a few days, I needed a plan 'B'. So I used an empty straw box and a sh*tload of clear packaging tape and voila!

Mason cried and cried after I put it up. He was mad and yelled "take it off! take it off!"

But....that night, the boys went to bed *almost* instantly and there was no goofin' around. 

Here's the one I bought online. You stick your finger up the bottom to turn it on, and down from the top to turn it off. Little fingers aren't long enough to reach the switch. Yippee!

So now if the boys want to goof around at night, they at least have a chance at eventually fall asleep since the lights are off.

As Charlie Sheen would say, "WINNING!"

Sunday, August 28, 2011

New Toys


Old toys played with outside instead of inside are just like new toys!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Lake Minnetonka

We recently spent some time with our buddies, the Goeman's, relaxing out on Lake Minnetonka.

Thanks, guys - it was so much fun!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sweet Corn!

Thanks to our favorite Iowa farmers, we all enjoyed our fair share of homegrown Iowa sweetcorn this year. And we have the butter wrappers to prove it.

Most of us waited until it was cooked...


Sunday, August 21, 2011


This post is a few months overdue...but in May we went on our second family "vacation". I have put the word vacation in quotes because it ended up being the farthest thing from a vacation as humanly possible. But I think enough time has passed and hopefully I will find some humor in the story!

I was traveling to Grapevine, Texas to attend a conference to get a few hours of continuing education credit for my CPA license. The conference was at a very large and very nice resort - the Gaylord Texan. So I thought, heck - why not bring the boys and Noi?

Insert {bad idea} here.

The story continues.

On this trip they had their own seats on the airplane and it was great to have the extra space. The boys did really well on the flight. They loved the airplane and other than refusing to use their inside voices, they did really well.

The flight and trip to the hotel went very smoothly. As soon as we arrived in our room and started to get ready for bed, Mason did this:

He laid down on the bed and said he was tired and ready for bed.

HUGE red flag!

The rest of the story involves the worst case of Montezuma's Revenge that you can imagine! I'm not sure how the boys picked it up, but thankfully Ben, Noi, and I did not get sick. I can't even tell you how many diapers we went through. Each diaper lasted seconds, or minutes. Not hours. When it first started, we set the first few diapers in the hallway because they smelled so bad. I guess others thought they smelled bad as well because the front desk called shortly thereafter and said there had been complaints about the smelly diapers.

The next morning, we took them to the minute clinic. That was a waste of time!

Poor guys, they didn't feel good and we were away from home. Their little bottoms were so sore that we couldn't even use wipes. Each changing involved the bathtub. And there was vomiting too. So we did a few loads of laundry during our "vacation" as well.

This lasted a few days. Ben had left to go to Chicago for work. (Important note: He took the rental car back to the airport with him).

By this time the boys were lethargic and acting dehydrated. Me, the first time mom that I am, started to worry. It wasn't a crazy thought either - because it had been days since they had kept anything down.It was during one of the overnights that I thought they were getting really dehydrated so I called for the closest pediatric clinic. It was nearly an hour away. And I didn't have a car. The other option was an urgent care but they didn't open until 11 am. (It was 6 am). So Noi, the boys and I headed downstairs to take a cab to the closest ER. On our way through the gorgeous and fancy hotel lobby, Prior puked evvvverywhere. I can still hear and see the vomit splattering all over the porcelain tile! Yuk! Don't worry, we quickly cleaned it up and headed to the cab.

By this time, nursing duties took priority over my education classes....

The doctor gave the boys some zofran and we headed back to the hotel. The medicine helped the vomit but not the diarrhea. That continued. The next morning we headed to the airport to catch our flight home. I had wanted to fly home earlier but was waiting for the boys to get better. This part is my favorite. We debated on how many diapers to pack in the carry on bag. Noi and I agreed on 8. That had to be enough, right? Well, between the cab ride to the airport and when we actually boarded the plane, we were on #8. There were no more "spares"! This lady has some serious anxiety as I boarded that plane. Yikes!

Thankfully, the boys slept most of the flight and we made it home successfully. I've never ever ever been so thankful to be home!

{Vacation #3 has not yet been planned!!}

Despite the sickness we did get a few pictures of the trip - most are from the beginning of the trip. The boys still talk fondly of our trip to Texas and our ride on the airplane. I guess the trip only scarred me for life - thankfully not them!

P eating cereal (the trip was right after his finger injury)

At the hotel. (That backpack is full of diapers...)
Riding in the car.
Prior and mommy.
Lots of lounging time. Thank goodness for that iPad.
Two brothers.
Stopping to smell the flowers...
The hotel even had a giant train set. And we picked up a ball at Walgreens.
The fish were a big hit.
Outside the convention center.
Mason and Noi - riding on a train.
Prior snoozing on the flight home.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


I have a confession.

We lock the boys in their bedroom during nap times and at night. 

And by "lock", I mean there's a childproof doorknob cover over the inside door handle.

I know some of you think I'm crazy or cruel (or both). But if you lived with these mini-engineers, you'd be less critical.

I'm telling you - had we not installed these doorknob covers (and let me tell you - they're on EVERY door in this house), you would have heard about us on the news by now. "Twin toddlers escaped house at 2 am and found miles from house - all while parents slept". 

These two are brave. They're smart. And they're quiet - when seeking trouble. I guess when you have a twin right by your side you're less afraid of the dark. And they're already scheming. At the ripe ol' age of 2 1/2.

These doorknob handles are kind of annoying - and not very easy to open. But one afternoon, recently, the door mysteriously opened after nap time. 

So I asked P&M how they were able to open the door.

And the response I got from one of the boys (speaking on behalf of the team), was:

"The blanket helps us."

They then proceeded to show me. They jammed one of their blankies into the cover and were able to get it packed tight enough to turn the knob. [Maybe all two year olds do this? Pleeease say yes!!]

My favorite part of the story is when I was told that the blanket helped "us". Not "me", but "us". 

It's hilarious to me how much of a team these two are. 

I'm going to enjoy it while it's still cute...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Laughter is Contagious

It's nearly impossible to have a bad day when you live with these two little yahoos...

Monday, August 15, 2011

Not For Granted

I had professional newborn pictures taken of the boys...twice (couldn't help myself).  Once when they were about 2 1/2 weeks old shortly after we got home from the NICU and the other when they were about 4 weeks old. 

Anyway, the pictures taken when the boys were 4 weeks old were taken by someone I know through my MOM (mothers of multiples) group. Amy with 3Peas Photography. I ordered a few prints from her and they are some of my absolute favorites. 

So when I heard she was running a fundraiser this year for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, I was thrilled. I was able to donate money to a great cause AND get rights to the photos from that shoot. 

So I can't help but post a few of them here. These boys are so stinkin' precious - I adore them to pieces. And I looooove babies!!

P and M - I promise you...there isn't a day or a minute that goes by that I take you for granted.

Not even a little bit. 

Not even when you're whining from the minute I come home from work until the minute you go to sleep.

Not even when I go in your bedroom at night, take away a book you're reading to each other, turn off the lights, and tell you that it's time to go to sleep...for the 7th time.

On August 6th you turned 2.5 years old. You each weigh right at 30 pounds and the energy per pound is through the roof. We are so blessed!

No idea...
M/P - I can tell from their head shapes

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