Wednesday, November 21, 2007


I was sick of it! The sneaking, the smuggling, the whining, the sticky wrappers behind the couch.

"No more!" I declared. "Today is the last day of Halloween candy."

My children were perplexed by the statement, and downright shocked as I proceeded to dump all four buckets of candy out into the middle of the kitchen table. It was 8 am.

"Eat up," I say. "Whatever you don't eat by noon, goes into the trash."
Kate embraced this. She's the number one offender of sneaking candy anyway. She began shoveling the sugar into her mouth as fast a she could open packages. Collin was more suspicious. He'd never encountered this mommy before. He needed many questions answered and still throughout the allotted time needed permission to indulge. He even quietly asked, "What about breakfast?"

"This is it, ," I say as I hand each of the twins a dum-dum. Joe strolls through about this time. He's been listening to my rant from the office, and has a smirk on his face.

"Quite a way to start off Thanksgiving break," he comments more to himself than me.

An hour later, the twins are in bed and Collin has disappeared, but Kate is still parked at the table, sticky candy residue clinging to her chin. "Kate," I say, "are you trying to eat all of that candy?"

"Yeah." She seems to be speaking and moving much slower than usual.

"What's going to happen when you do?"

"My stomach's gonna hurt real bad, and I'll probably throw up."

"So why are you doing it?" There's no response from my daughter; she's staring off into space with a lollipop in each hand.

No one complained when "lunchtime" came, and I scooped the rest of the candy into the trash. No one wanted any lunch either. Weird.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Clothing Optional

Collin got in the car at the bus stop Friday, looked into the back seat and said, "Are the twins completely naked today or do they have diapers on?"

This gave me pause, because I'm already a little sensitive about how much time they spend undressed... but come on -- they always have a diaper on! It got me to thinking though: why don't they wear clothes more?

Now, granted, this wouldn't even be an issue if I lived anywhere but Arizona. I mean, we're well into November and it's still in the 90's. It's hot outside, and I'm sure it's much cooler in nothing but a diaper.

Still, just because I can forgo dressing them, why do I? Last week my mom was helping me go through the twin's dresser, replacing everything they've outgrown with bigger sizes. She commented, "The twins have plenty of clothes! How come you always dress them in the same thing?" You mean a diaper? Even when I do dress them, I often just pull the next thing off the pile. Two of the same thing. No need to strain my brain.

So laziness is obviously a possible answer. But deep down I believe the root of this is more of a subtle variation on laziness: my extreme dislike for re-doing tasks. My typical day will explain this.

Get up in the morning. Take the babies' jammies off, change diapers. Now -- do I put outfits on them? I have to take them down and feed them breakfast. There's going to be oatmeal everywhere. They'll put bananas in their chairs and sit on them. They rip bibs off as the first bite is heading for their mouths. No, they'll eat naked, then I'll dress them.

But after a quick, messy breakfast it's time to rush everyone to school. Into the van, school kids and naked babies! When we get home I tie into cleaning up the kitchen, scraping food off the floors, hosing down chairs, washing dishes. By the time I finish, they're screaming for bottles and naps. So I plop them into bed and tell myself I'll dress them after naptime. It's pretty hot still anyway, and they love to cuddle with their blankets.

After naps, I change diapers and have another perfect opportunity to dress these cute boys... but, they're hungry. It's lunch time, and if you thought breakfast was bad! No, no... I better wait till after they eat again to put clothes on. But now we have to run to get Kate from preschool, so into the car the boys go -- again in nothing but diapers.

We get home. Lunch is a messier repeat of breakfast. There's more cleaning and distractions and honestly I don't usually make it back upstairs until it's time for nap number two. They get plopped down, no energy for dressing. A few hours later I rush into their room, grab them from their beds, throw them in the car and head for Collin's bus stop. Which brings us to 4:30 pm. We get home just before 5:00. Dinner is an hour away, followed immediately by a bath and bedtime. It would be silly to dress them now. What, just to undress them again? So around 7:00 the twins get dressed for the first time today... in their pajamas!

Now, here's where that extreme dislike of re-doing things comes into play. Let's say I dress them first thing in the morning. Like if we have to go somewhere in public where the twins might have to get out of the car. To keep them in clean clothes, I will have to redress them after each meal, and possibly more due to diaper leaks and drink accidents. I don't want to dress them more than once a day, and in my effort to do that, I generally don't dress them at all!

Here's the kicker though... I don't think the twins like wearing clothes. They fuss quite a bit when I'm dressing them. There's usually some chasing and holding down involved, but that's just babies, right? Today during church though, we looked over and Logan was pantsless! He had somehow shimmied out of his khakis and was moving up the aisle. We replaced the pants and figured it was some sort of freak accident, but no. Several minutes later, he shed those things again. Yeah, I think it's them. And now that I think about it, Kate spends an awful lot of time in nothing but underwear. Hmmm... My kids must not really like getting dressed, and who am I to tell them what to do? Their mother?!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

For those of us who still clean our own showers...

I've found the best shower cleaner... and since this is one of my worst housekeeping chores... I thought I'd share. It's called Easy Off BAM Power Cleaner for Grime, Lime & Soap Scum. It's in a purple and orange spray bottle. There's another BAM for something else that's in a green bottle. That one doesn't work on showers. Sometimes it's hard to find in stores, but I just discovered you can buy it online at Happy cleaning! And please share any other easy cleaning discoveries with me -- I need 'em!

Monday, October 15, 2007

There goes "Mother of the Year"...

The twins are too heavy for me to carry them at the same time upstairs anymore, so I take them one at a time up to their cribs for naptime. Seth was first today. I tucked him in and returned to grab Logan. This is where I found him. Now granted, the stove wasn't ON, however this still looks bad.

I know, "Bad Melanie," but alas -- it gets worse.

After everyone gets up from their naps, Kate is invited over to play at a friend's house and I realize there is just dust left in the bottom of the formula cans. So, let's make a trip to Wal-Mart and grab a few things! Now our Wal-Mart doesn't have carts with spots for two children, so I've created a way for both twins to fit in the top of the cart. They each get one leg hole; their other leg is kind of wedged sideways. It's very comfortable, I'm sure.

I park close to an abandoned cart, load up the twins, and we're off across the parking lot. The wind blowing our hair, the twins giggling, I'm revelling in the cleverness of my motherhood. Now I've learned a few shopping tips as a mother of four. Chances are I won't make it through my entire list, so I get the MOST important stuff first. That way I can abandon my mission at any time. I head to the back of the store first, for formula. As I'm loading can after can into my cart, the twins realize what I'm doing, and they start to beller. I calmly explain to them that formula does not taste good dry, but they don't care, and they start to arch their backs and thrown little tantrums.

Not a problem, I say. I'll just grab a few more items on my way to check out. See, I'm so clever that I already got what I came for -- I can leave at any time. The deli is on the way. I just need a pound of turkey -- and there's no line. I can stand a little more noise. I place my order and realize the screaming is escalating on the left side of my cart.

"Logan, what's the matter honey," I start to say when I notice he has somehow wedged his foot (the one without a dedicated leg hole) through the tiniest of slats in the cart. I do not exaggerate when I say the slats are a mere inch and a half wide. I try to move the foot, but his pudgy ankle doesn't even budge and he screams louder. Now we start drawing attention. Deli workers, other customers, and eventually Wal-Mart management begin to converge as I continue to work on the now-swelling body part. I mumble about needing lotion, as I overhear someone say they're going to get something to cut the bars with. That seems extreme, I think, but what else am I going to do? I'm beginning to panic when an angel in a Wal-Mart shirt runs up with her hands cupped. "Try this," she says. LIQUID SOAP from behind the deli counter -- brilliant!

I rub it on Logan's leg and -- POP -- the foot slips out. So the worse is over for Logan, but the panic is rising on the faces of management around me. Do they really think I'm going to blame them for this? Okay, carts with slots for two kids would be nice, but this little predicament was all me. Don't worry, folks. No lawsuits here. Just get me to checkout!

Of course, I have to carry the still-sobbing Logan and push the cart with Seth (who now gets two leg holes, but would rather be carried too). We pay for the groceries and make it to the car without further incident. As I'm driving home, I look in the mirror to see the twins making spitting noises and laughing at each other. What little sweeties. And I think to myself, why don't I order my groceries online?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

I could still pass for 17, right?

I was called to be in the Young Women's presidency in my new ward. I'm the second counselor -- over the Beehives (12 & 13 year olds). I'm really excited. I served as YW president when I was 26-28 years old. When I was called, I was working full-time, not even a mother yet -- still immature in a lot of ways. I loved those girls -- hey, one of them became my sister (shout out to Erin!). But recently I've thought about how I could do it differently, with a little more maturity. I'm thrilled to be with this particular group of girls. We're small in number -- about 10 girls. I can't wait to see what's in store for us.

I have to recognize Joe in all of this. There's the obvious -- he's in charge at home every Wednesday night. But here's the biggie -- twin one-year-olds, by himself in Priesthood on Sundays! He's the best -- and hey, he can fill up his own blog with all their antics!

And, wow -- we just switched to a 2:00pm meeting time. Those twins were so bad even before Sacrament meeting started. Crazy yelling and arching backs and whining. Their afternoon nap time is between 1:30 and 2:00. The chaos created by Logan and Set is punctuated only by Kate -- who also doesn't get a nap. She will not be outdone by anyone being naughty. And Collin who thinks he can get away with anything when Mom and Dad have their hands full with three others. We are in for it........

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Doin' time in DC

Joe and I spent our 10th anniversary doing some house-hunting. These are a couple of our favorites... but we're wondering, are they just a little more house than we need? Not to mention... they're really old!

Laura and George's place

Mt. Vernon -- front yard and back

This place is striking, but too many stairs!! (Isn't Joe a great photographer?)

Now, some of you may know that I have an unnatural love of cemeteries, but Joe even wore me out at this one -- 3+ hours at Arlington!!

Taking a homeless nap on my Prada purse.

Out on the town -- WWII memorial -- very cool fountains.
Lincoln Memorial -- Truly a shrine to this great president. My favorite spot.
Hot stuff in a sweater vest in Chinatown. Is there any major metropolis that doesn't have a Chinatown?

Smithsonian museums -- Natural History and Joe's fave -- Air and Space. I had to drag him away from these planes to catch OUR plane back to Phoenix. This was our last stop.

Just a little anniversary gift from Joe. Isn't he sweet? I didn't even know you could buy the Hope Diamond....
We did and saw lots of other stuff, but you get the picture! We had a great time. Thanks to the Hansens for taking care of Collin and Kate, and to my mom for watching the twins. They now like her better than me. But there are prices to pay to get away.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

We're one!

Logan and Seth turned one year old on Sept 29th. Our very talented friend and photographer, Heather Hallett, captured these moments. Grandparents: you'll be getting copies soon!

So big!

Aren't they just the cutest?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

"Play Play"

The twins love to play! Seth lunges and screams if I pass by the playroom without taking him there and setting him down. It may have something to do with the fact that the playroom is on the way to the bedroom, and they're not such good nappers anymore.

Seth loves a box of toys. He's just starting to move around -- a funny crawl that involves kicking and sliding across the floor on his forehead. He seems so proud of himself. He's been watching Logan getting around for weeks now. The first day he figured it out, I found him tearing into the dvds. I let him pull every last one off the shelf in celebration! Here's Logan's new trick -- cruising furniture. He's a wild man now and he's into everything. He can even climb the stairs!!! Some of his favorite discoveries: the insides of trash cans, coffee table books, tiny bits of floor food. Joe says we should attach a Swiffer pad to his tummy and let him clean up. He's still fastest scooting around on his belly.
Yes, that's a number four buzz cut. Today I buzzed all three boys. Once Seth got his helmet off we realized there were some pretty scary growth patterns... and Logan's mullet was getting out of control. They look a little grown-up, but I love my boys with short hair.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

We don't need no stinkin' lid

My mom and I are constantly bored, so we decided to make and bottle homemade applesauce. First we ordered apples from Utah for too much money, then realized they were so old they're probably from last year... No worries, we'll make sauce! Except, we don't have an apple miller (handy-dandy device that grinds up the apples and separates the peels and seeds from the sauce).

"That's okay," says Sherry. "We'll do it by hand. I like chunky sauce anyhow."

9:00 am We start cutting and peeling apples.

11:20 am We're halfway through one box (there are two), and we want to throw all the apples away.

12:30 pm We decide to use Sherry's Vitamix to pulverise the apples. "I don't see why we need this lid," are the last words she utters before the photos. Bits of apple cling to my 2-month-old cupboards, floors and ceilings. Logan is creating the soundtrack for the event, wailing because he hates loud noises and I forgot to feed him a real meal all day (we wouldn't realize this until about 5:30 pm when Grandpa came to the rescue with bottled food).

1:00 pm I call a local kitchen store and ask if they have an apple miller in stock. They do for the BARGAIN price of $79.95.

1:30 pm Hop in the car with three kids heading for kitchen store. Buy apple miller. Skim copy of "Applesauce Making for Dummies." Ahhhh, that's how it works.

3:00 pm Begin making applesauce the "dummie" way. It's not so dumb.

7:00 pm We finish with 20 quarts of sweet, yummy, healthy apple sauce. The kitchen is a wreck, I spend an hour trying to scrub burned sugar off the stove, and realize we now own an apple miller and a steam canner so there's a good chance we'll be repeating this next year!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

The Pearl behind Mini Pearls

Okay... I have to come clean. Mini Pearls is actually a tribute to a nickname my mom used to (still does) call me -- Minnie Pearl, then just Pearl. Now you may think Pearl is a bizarre nickname for Melanie, but it's actually one of the better ones. Some of the precursors were Bernard, Bernadette, Melissa (?). I know there were others, but I can't remember anymore. Maybe someone can comment with more (Mom?). And don't think I was the only one to grow up with crazy nicknames -- you should talk to my brothers... or my children, Caller-ID, Tatertot, Logs and Setherball. And here's a little-known fact: there are similar nicknames for all of Sherry's grandchildren... go ahead, ask Sherry your child's nickname, if you don't know it already. :)

So much pressure

And I'm not talking about oysters and pearls here...

It really seems that one's first blog must be tremendously profound, witty, or at the very least informative.

The obvious question from you, my friends and family, must be: Why now? Blogging is practically passe. Well, guilt is a powerful motivator in my life. I call myself a writer by trade (albeit retired), and have nothing to show for it these past few years. My journal collects dust; my scrapbook is paused at my first-born's 6-month mark (he'll be 7 years next month); and I'm afraid of forgetting the beautiful experiences with my children.

Besides record-keeping, I find writing terribly cathartic. In the tradition of my super cool s-i-l and fellow mother of twins, Hailey, I long to deposit all my trials and frustrations in a somewhat funny forum for all to enjoy.

After all, a pearl is made whenever an oyster doesn't have sufficient strength to expel foreign matter stuck inside it. It's been awhile, and these are my pearls.

(I know some people in my family who are going to take that the wrong way and really have a good time with it....)

There is also a law, irrevocably decreed, that I shall do nothing significant in my life until cousin Kelly does it first. Kelly has now entered the blog world at She wanted me to comment. In order to do so, I had to register. Once I registered, a prompt asked me if I wanted to start my own blog -- it was only a matter of time before the powerful forces of guilt and Kelly finally pushed me to it.