1.    Don’t underestimate the power of Chuck E. Cheese’s to entertain the kids for 2 hours thus allowing you the opportunity to talk to your spouse with few interruptions.
2.    4:00pm on a rainy Saturday turns out to be the perfect time to go to Chuck E. Cheese’s.  It’s between birthday parties and before the dinner crowd.
3.    When your child wants to try to put the K’NEX windmill together by himself and insists he can follow the directions, let him try.  He learns nothing from watching you do it for him whereas when he tries to do it himself, what he gains is much bigger than just a windmill.
4.    When you go to the roller skating party, don’t be surprised by the number of times your kids fall down.  Do be surprised when the one who is usually less physically coordinated, and more likely to get frustrated and give up, turns out to be the better skater.
5.    When you lay down with your kids at night and one doesn’t fall asleep soon enough for you, don’t get frustrated and stomp out of the room.  But, if you do, take a deep breath, take a sippy cup with water back into the room, give it to the still-awake child and ask him to scoot over.  Wrap your arms around him while he sips and tell him how proud of him you are.  You will never, ever regret the time you took to let him know how much he is loved.

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I was in the waiting room at the doctor’s office this afternoon. As I waited, I leafed through TIME magazine with particular interest in the article on birth order – not surprisingly, it doesn’t mention how birth order affects twins. In the chair opposite mine sat an elderly man with a weathered, lined face, his oxygen tank hissing rhythmically. Shh . . shh . . shh . .
He paid no attention to me but I sat across from him deliberately.
He could have been someone else, not in looks but in manner.
A cell phone began to ring and I was surprised that it was his. Why am I surprised?! Why shouldn’t he have a cell phone? I don’t mean to eavesdrop but I hear him say that he’s at the doctor and should be done soon. “What are you doing” he asks and then “can I buy you a sandwich?”.
Suddenly, the waiting room goes into soft focus and I remember sitting at McDonald’s, having a cup of coffee. I see us sitting at a table, a younger me and Grandpa Jack. I remember the day distinctly. He was still driving then and he drove me around Lafayette and showed me the new construction. He talked about my Grandma and told me how much he missed her. He told me how proud of my Mom he was and of all his grandkids. Then he bought me a cup of coffee.
Then I was back to the present day and my elderly friend was called into the office. I went back to my magazine.
Still, time stopped for a moment and that memory filled me with warmth.

I can’t believe it’s 2008 already. I don’t have a long list of resolutions per se, but there is a lot that I want to do this year. I have several books waiting for me like “The Art of Power” which was given to me by my friend Priscilla and two books by Pema Chodron “Start Where You Are” and “Don’t Bite the Hook” – all of which I look forward to reading. Naturally, I want to be more disciplined about exercise – that’s a perpetual resolution. I told my friend Peter the other day that I plan to practice meditation every day and take 15 minutes every afternoon to enjoy a cup of tea. He kind of laughed and said good luck with that. He’s right, I’m afraid. I’ll be really good about it for a week or so and then I’ll get busy at work and won’t take the time. Still, I’ll give it a shot. I also plan to write more on this here blog. I’ve been playing around on another hosting site, too – it seems to have more flexibility when posting pictures – so I’ll probably move over there. I’ll post the link when I’m ready to unveil the new site.

Tom, being the adventurous one, wants to do some fun things this year. He wants to go whale watching and go up to the mountains so we can do some sledding with the boys. We also talked last night about signing the boys up for soccer or Tball this summer. They may need it more after they start school since I’m not sure how much physical education they’ll get. In any case, they’re ready for it this year.

Dean’s resolutions are: he wants to go to the new park a lot and he wants to collect leaves.

Jack’s resolutions are: he wants to collect rocks and crystals. So he can kill the bad guys.

Here’s to a New Year!

When Jack rides on his scooter he peddles with his left foot and his right foot is on the scooter. Dean peddles with his right foot. It’s as automatic as the sunrise.

When dealing with a Lego kit, Jack wants to put it together exactly as directed. Dean claims he wants to help but really only wants to make off with little pieces to build his own thing. Once it’s done, Jack isn’t so interested in playing with it. For him, the entertainment is in the building. Dean wants to play with the completed project but will often take it apart and redesign it to fit his own vision.

As I have mentioned before, Jack loves to help me cook. Last evening, after I had chopped some fresh basil and fresh oregano Jack leaned down to smell the oregano and then got this beatific expression on his face, sighed and said, “mmmm, it’s minty”. I leaned down for a sniff and sure enough, it has a minty scent. Is it possible I have a budding chef on my hands? Oh, that would be amazing.

The other day Dean said to me, “I know how you can tell me and Jack apart. Jack’s eyes are like circles and mine are like almonds.” Really. Where does he get this stuff?

We had a babysitter last night so we could go to our friends’ house for a little after dinner party of appetizers and karaoke. I got forced into singing “Achy Breaky Heart” of all the ridiculous things. I love to sing but get embarrassed doing it in front of people I don’t know. It’s silly but I still care too much what other people think. It’s something else Jack and I have in common.

Dean has a remarkable singing voice, full of emotion and vibrato. I love listening to him sing but he gets self conscious if I ask him to sing and then he uses a baby voice or a silly voice. So, I just have to enjoy his singing when it comes naturally and make sure not to let him know I heard him. I vividly remember singing in the back seat when I was not much older than Dean – I’m sure it was loud and off key – and my dad turned the volume down suddenly and it was just my voice. I still remember how embarrassed I got. I don’t want Dean to feel like I’m trying to catch him or embarrass him. I just want him to sing. Not that I think my dad was trying to embarrass me – it’s just how I felt.

The boys are playing well together this morning. Finally. I love sitting here watching them with their heads bent toward each other, talking about how they’re going to play, what the game is. “And then, you pretend like you fell off the boat? And I’ll come to save you?” It’s so beautiful when it’s real.

Buche de Noel

Brotherly love

Ready, set, unwrap! Note the time in the upper left corner.


We cleaned up as we went otherwise you couldn’t see the boys.

Leapstering.


Jack tells me that his favorite present was the Leapster and Dean’s favorite is his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle “Donatello” and the weapons that accompanied it. His favorite weapon is the ninja stick. He demonstrated how it’s used and in his sweet, sweet voice told me how you use it to “choke” someone. Nice.

The day began at roughly 6:01am. We forced them to wait until we at least got the coffee brewing. We just aren’t civilized until we’ve had a cup ‘o joe. But oh, it was magical. Their exclamations of surprise that Santa ate the cookies and drank the special Christmas milk (eggnog) and the reindeer ate the carrots! And all the presents! They covered the floor under the tree, blocking the path from the living room to the dining room.

After that, it was pretty much one big adrenaline rush that hasn’t really ended. They haven’t napped in days – except for Dean. He finally was so tired yesterday that he fell asleep in the shopping cart and slept for over 2 hours. They’ve been mostly at each other’s throats with brief moments of affection and I am sort of looking forward to going back to work. Except, I don’t really want to go back to work – I just want them to go back to school!!

And now, I’m thinking about 2008 and my hopes and goals for the year. But that will have to wait until later as the morning is getting away from me and I’m late for the shower.

Dean: Daddy, did you see this? (Shows him 2 feathers each with a heart strung onto them)
Daddy: No, they’re very nice. Where did you get them?
Dean: I made them. One is for me and one is for Mommy. Do you know why it has a heart on it?
Daddy: No, why?
Dean: Because I love Mommy. She’s all the Christmas I need.

First we dump the ‘snow’ on the boys.
Then they make snow angels.


Dean takes a break.

Flurries.

Jack takes a leap.

Spidey makes an unexpected appearance.

Spidey and Robin take a tumble.
Jack and Dean in the box.

Merry Christmas Eve!