Monday, December 31, 2007

What Goes In Must Come Out

There is a general rule in the Stuber house that goes something like this: what goes in, must also come out. Meaning that in order to manage the amount of stuff that kids need, we must constantly trim back our belongings. It is part of a futile battle to not appear that we live in a daycare center. So each holiday, birthday, shopping trip, etc. is coupled with a skimming down.But then some very well-dressed girl cousins come to visit, and well, we lost the battle. Clothes, shoes, games, dolls, more clothes and then some clothes arrived at the end of last week. Uncle Curt couldn't see his own children in the back of the car on the way here because of all the stuff! Enough stuff that the girls would no longer have anything to wear if we stuck by the normal rule. Even so, we are so very thankful to have such a great haul for the future. So we coordinated packing in Christmas, taking bookshelves out of the kitchen after one-to-many times of the boys climbing up them, putting the lamp we love away until we can get it rewired and children don't see it as a toy, storing a gigantic suitcase that airlines want to charge us to bring, and the cousin haul for a shuttle to the attic, which is located through a tiny hole in the girls' closet with no ladder. All during nap time of course, so the girls got a comfy spot in the playroom to sleep. A couple of bad backs, 15 loads of laundry, and five furniture rearrangements later, we are back to normal.
But we had so much fun not being normal! Erika tried to help Nicholas learn his alphabet, but he really just wants to hide the pieces that belong on the fridge but wind up anywhere but there.
Lauren was a worthy opponent in a sword fight bravely fighting without a sword.
And some fudge was all it took to get everyone together for the cousin shot. (Hmm, the Stuber children are all looking off to the left there as if there might be a tv in sight.)
In other news, Alida now has Elaine's cold. Yesterday morning began at 7:00 with a 103 degree fever, a stripping of clothes, a cold bath, and some Motrin followed by a naked nap on mom and dad's bed. And, we're teething. Not the babies. Nicholas. Poor little fellow decided to rupture his last four teeth yesterday, and it was not good. Add a runny nose, and he had a pitiful day. Benjamin has the cold now as well, but his is taking the form of a scratchy throat and deep cough. Try getting him to drink something warm though--not fun. And we think next in queue in teething for Alida. Elaine? Getting over her cold and feeling rather nice now with some lingering cough.
Happy New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2007

I'm Not Copying, I Swear

So to the question: How do you do it? I reply, I usually spend my drive in to work thinking about what post needs to go up today. They are usually prepared ahead of time on the flash drive, or I work out the language in my head on the drive in.So when I saw the Farthings doing this today, I laughed because I was already thinking of posting the boys doing what you see below today.
So when we finally had to wrench the basket back so that we could perhaps finish the millionth load of laundry that weekend, guess who got upset and screamed bloody murder. Yep, Benjamin who apparently was enjoying his not so quiet, quiet time.
And in other parts of the parallel universe, our Elaine is now taking her first round of Amoxicillin for her first ear infection thanks to a stuffy head and chest that leads to such things. Poor girl was a trooper through a breathing treatment and poking a prodding at the doctor's yesterday even though she was blowing snot bubbles all over Dr. Snapp. (Fourteen pounds and 14 ounces when weighed yesterday even though she's been refusing food for a day or so.) The morning report is much better, and she has turned a corner with no fever and no nose dragging with the bulb syringe this morning. Both girls decided that 5:30 would be a great time to wake up this morning and play. By 7:30 they were beside themselves and chowing down on bottles looking exhausted right in the middle of the boys routine of morning cartoons and then breakfast. And, I slipped out the door leaving Jenny-the-master to deal with the chaos and grandma and grandpa using a bit quicker step to get out the door to experience our city with the kids' cousins and uncle who came in last night to spend some time with us.
I am hoping that long morning naps are now taking place.
And, in other news we have now hired Sarah to do all of our web design since she was so awesome in making the new banner for the blog, which I LOVE.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Happy New Year All!

There was a trip to the park where we made the seven-seater minivan into an 8-passenger outfit of sorts. Dad was very gracious and took the floor seat between the ladies.
Dad did not refrain from commenting however that I perhaps went a little overboard with the stockings.There were naps.
There was a nature lesson when a hawk flew in to the backyard with his breakfast one morning.
There were naps.
There was food.
There were baths in mommy's tub, which has been cleaned out. This involved being invited into mom and dad's room, which is an extra special occasion since that is the last place in the world that doesn't belong to babies.
There were naps.
The shower tanked and will have to be replaced. The garbage disposal tanked and had to be replaced. And, the coffee pot has come to life apparently and will have to be replaced since the steam it is letting out is starting to wear down the cabinet it is under, not to mention the racket it makes while brewing now days. Oh, and after the fire in the oven (I should have listened to Jenny when she said smoke poured out of it the other day at lunch time) I was prompted to run the self-cleaning thingy.
Yeah, they look guilty because they are. That chair does not even come close to belonging against the counter being put to use as a step stool to the jelly beans. At least they didn't break the ceramic bowl they were in--proof that the toddlers can be quiet if they want to be.
Happy New Year All!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Come On Already

Here Uncle Brian, can you help me with this packaging?
Oh, I can't wait!
Get it together! What's taking so long?
What's with this guy?This is useless.
And eventually the loud truck was freed from its packaging and was free to make noise. And when both boys finally had their toys they wouldn't let go. And the trucks had to go to naptime. And the trucks had to go to bedtime. And the monitor sounded as if it had been left in a construction zone.

Merry Christmas

With Much Love From The Stubers--one tiny step closer to a decent family picture

My Favorite Thing

Ben loved the Radio Flyer so very much that he laid down in it for a good ten minutes. That is the boy who does not ever want to be left alone outside in case he miss a single thing that is happening where everyone else is.

Merry First Christmas Ladies

You were taught tactics by daddy while he held you.
You slept in the laundry room at night and napped where ever we could find a place during the day.You were held.
You were held.
You were held.
Boy girls, were you held.
And you were very good natured through all of it (even with a very runny nose girl Elaine). And now, we will have to work to break you of wanting all of that holding, and it will likely take a little time...

Friday, December 21, 2007

HO! HO! HO!

So the Farthings pointed out that all of the red and "Ho, ho, hoing" might cause a scene at the Santa photo op. So this year we will use our imaginations. Let's imagine shall we? Let's take four little people to the mall to see Santa and get our pictures taken. First off, there is no way that either of us would miss that whole mess, so you know that we would take all of the children. Then we could spend 1/2 an hour packing bags and loading the van. Then we could park at our crazy mall. Then we could try to get in there with four kids. Then we could (HA!) stand in line. Um, I mean chase people in and out of line. Then we would have the fun of trying to get a photo for two minutes. Then we could skip the line part and reverse the rest. Then the boys would take a five minute nap on the way home and be refreshed enough to scream bloody murder all through their nap time.
Nah, we'll just pretend.
Nicholas on the left; Benjamin on the right.
Elaine on the left; Alida on the right.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Uh, Oh

No, not that kind of uh, oh. Thank you Dr. Long.In some horrible, freak accident (like Elaine probably spit on herself and we grabbed what was there) we have babies dressed alike. Seriously, I think that may have been the first time that happened. And seriously, we had a very serious conversation about who was who and how we may be seriously messing something up if we got it wrong. But then I remembered that Alida's tongue has this weird white mark on it. HA! Try to get her to stick it out when you want her to. And, then we remembered that Elaine is more likely to put weight on her legs. HA! Both are standing there grinning with their tongues nicely tucked away. Okay, Alida's head is rounder when compared side-by-side. HA! Dad and I disagree on whose head is rounder.
Nope, that didn't help.
All we really had to do is take our best guess and wait for night because there is where the Elaines are separated from the Alidas.
Elaine--the new master of rolling over during the night--will think nothing of rolling over and falling back asleep. Alida, however, is a little more likely to practice rolling over in the middle of the night, wake up the entire house, go back to bed, for five minutes, do it again, and again, and again (seriously last night: 10, 2, 3, 3:30, 4:15, 6:30). It's liable to make a mom take the monitor and flip it sound-side-down in the bed while she wills a little girl to go back to sleep. Liable even more-so to make that mommy roll over on the sound-side-down monitor in order to squelch the sound a little more because that baby isn't hearing her mother's silent pleas because that baby is being too loud. Liable perhaps to make the mommy put a pillow over that sound-side down monitor that she is laying on top of and squeeze until the power button switches off accidentally and the bed is flooded in silence. I'm just saying, it's liable to happen like that some time.
Good thing Elaine is such a good sleeper.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Hambone

Last year we thought it was skepticism. Now we know he is just a big Hambone.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Library, Four Kids, and Iraq

We don't really agree with it, but apparently it is customary to allow Jenny to have a day off here and there. We would tie her down and keep her all to ourselves if we didn't think the kids liked her so much that they would probably free her. Anyway, some days, Jenny gets to take the day off.
And it is Patric's turn at duty because mommy has meetings and no time off at work because she's been birthing babies for the last two years. And then you remember that daddy also has a speaking engagement at a middle school to talk about Iraq (no weapons or talk about war please...)
And the school fills the library up with kids to hear daddy talk about war without talking about war.
And all you can do is take the little ones along and say many prayers and pack many Oreos for the trip. And, you know what? We have pretty charming and well behaved kids when other people are around! No incidents to speak of, and Benjamin, of course, walked right in like he owned the place. The ladies were swept up by many teachers. And Nicholas? Well Nicholas, I dare say you contained your naturally overflowing energy very well son.

Friday, December 14, 2007

If A Baby Rolls Over During the Night

And no one is there to see it, did it really happen?
Of course it did. Although, Elaine, you beautiful sleeper, didn't have to show off to the whole world. But, it didn't matter because even though you flopped over and promptly fell back asleep, Alida made sure that we (by we, I mean daddy since it was his night this time) came up to see because she apparently DOES NOT SLEEP AT NIGHT ANY MORE! But, Elaine, congrats. Now, lets get it going during the day so we can witness your technique.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Bad Hair Days

We tried buddy.We really did.
Awe, that one's even kind of cute.
Audra says you probably have a double crown, which you probably got from me.
So sorry.
It often cracks us up how even after playing in the sprinkler, it still has a mind of its own.
And who doesn't have bed head in the morning most days?
But this was the last straw.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Do You Love It?

This thing is crap!
No, we do not love it. Should we be letting Benjamin try to install it? Who cares? It may actually work if we let him do it. It is the third piece of crap DVR that we tried over the weekend.
Saturday: Daniel comes over and installs our new DVR, turns on the tv, and we rejoice as picture fills the room. "Well, that's not right," says Daniel, who can't figure out why it just started working when he turned it on. We perhaps should have wondered at that point. Daniel goes away and comes back with a new one and installs it. It doesn't work, which makes him happy. Then he programs it and all is good. Daniel goes away. An hour later, we have no television--on a Saturday.
Sunday: Jay comes over and installs our third new DVR, turns on the tv, programs it, and all is good. Jay goes away. An hour later, the remote stops communicating with the DVR. We change the batteries--even though it will still control the television just not the box. We re-program the remote. We troubleshoot. We call DirecTV. We troubleshoot. (By we, of course, I mean Patric who is starting to get antsy about the 3:00 KC game.) We call Jay.
Monday: Patric calls anyone that will pick up a phone.
Tuesday: Jay calls at 7:30 in the morning. I tell him the problem. He sits silently in what I imagine is dis-belief and says he'll come over that day. At 8:00 in the evening, Jay and Daniel show up, check everything out, admit they didn't believe us, and call their supervisor. "Can we give them a FOURTH DVR?" Jay and Daniel leave at 8:30 (what a long day!) saying they will be back tomorrow with a new DVR from a new shipment.
They did say that we can use the box to record if we want while we wait. Oh joy, let me just manually flip through the gagillion channels of crap you offer to find the one program that ... oh, never mind.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Hey I Got An Idea

Let's get the kids in their Christmas pajamas and get a photo for the Christmas Card!




Their dad really is very good at humoring me; the children not really so much.(Yes, those are my man-arms up there made bulky by toting around four babies all the time. Such as in the mornings when you want to quickly and quietly whisk the toddlers through the upstairs hallway and downstairs before they notice anything distracting and start talking and wake their sisters. So you give in and carry the one whimpering one down the stairs stopping halfway to go back and also pick up the other one that just discovered that whining will get you a ride down the stairs. Alas, the novelty of woking down the stairs has worn off.)
Strikingly similar to last year only now we are seeing double/double.

Monday, December 10, 2007

2!

The morning began with a castle filled with toys. The last time we will likely ever see the castle built...
Because this is the first thing that happened when the toddlers arrived on the scene.
And then there was some climbing and knocking and learning to unwrap.
And then they found the chicken and the dog, and it was all over because naturally the loudest toys with the easiest-to-figure-out on/off switch were the favorites.
Later we watched a movie and had cake. Since the boys are used to being served too-hot food that must be blown on before inserting in your mouth by their mother who just wants them to sit down and eat already, it wasn't too hard to point out that the candles needed to be blown out. And yep, the boys didn't even get dressed on their birthday and stayed in their pajamas all day long and it was good.
Benjamin even allowed himself to get a little messy.
Nicholas, of course, needed no encouragement. They did get fresh pajamas before bed however.
And the two-year stats are as follows:
Nicholas:
26 pounds
34 1/2 inches
Benjamin:
27 pounds 12 ounces
34 1/4 inches
Both were incredibly well behaved and charming at their visit and got a good report from the doctor, who wouldn't stop complimenting their behaviour as she poked and prodded. Their tubes are still in their ears and as we all suspected, we're not worried about autism...

If A Baby Flips Over During the Night

And no one is there to witness it. Did it really happen?Of course it happened, because we were there to hear it happen loud and clear through the monitor at 3:30 Sunday morning when you surprised yourself and couldn't get back over. Now, let's get some replication for the cameras lady.

Friday, December 7, 2007

The Year In Pictures: The Boys

Getting too big for their toy box
Going to work in the yard (pre-fence)
Sometimes enemies
Sometimes best friends
Most always near one another
Getting ready to begin the next chapterAside from welcoming their sisters home in July, one of the biggest events of these boys' year was walking out of daycare June 1 and never turning back. Since, we have been to the doctor's office for one well check-up, one mole, and are on our way for the two-year well check-up today. It has been an amazing benefit to their health and growth, and we could not do it without Jenny who has quickly settled into our mayhem and acts as if the kids are the best in the world (even if she may leave every day shaking her head). And this morning she brought new crackles for the boys' birthday that CANNOT write on the wall!
Happy last day of being 1 boys.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Year In Pictures: Nicholas

Turning 1
First Road Trip in the Minivan
Spending the weekend with friends
Tomatoes in the back
The only one who would try on Halloween costumes that day.
Thanksgiving at home.
It has been a year of adventure, and on most occasions, Nicholas has been leading the pack into new discoveries or new disasters. He's had a bronchoscopy, a Cystic Fibrosis test, and a couple million slatherings of lotion for eczema. He's also learned to walk and quickly turned that into running and climbing. He's had many attempts at having hair, but we've given in and embraced the buzz cut. Mostly he has charmed us all with his gigantic smile and his boundless energy. When I come home at the end of the day, Nicholas is the one that I hear while I'm still getting out of the car screaming "Mommy! Mommy!" and who comes tearing around the corner to give me a knock-you-down hug to welcome me home.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

THINGS TOO AGGRAVATING TO GRAB THE CAMERA DURING: The Fine Nuance of the Word Crackle

It’s not really what they’re saying, but it’s what you hear them saying that can cause the problems. Crackle.Outside, if someone tears off toward the sandbox screaming crackle, they are really saying cackle, which is toddler for castle. The entire screaming of that word means: “Come make me a sand castle, and I will in turn knock it down so that you can be forced to build it again.”
Inside, if someone comes in the kitchen with an extended hand, whining crackle, they are really saying crah-cah, which is toddler for cracker. The entire whining of that word means: “Give me a cracker and give me one now because I know the babies are sleeping and you want me quiet. If you don’t give me a cracker, I am about to get pretty loud in this house.”
Inside, if the toddlers climb in their chairs at the table, repeating crackle like no one heard them the first time, they are really saying cala, which is toddler for color. The entire Rainman repeating of this phrase means: “I am climbing up in this chair because I want to color, and you must provide me with colors now because you won’t give me a stool tall enough to reach the top of the fridge.”Most of the time you just hear crackle until they repeat it a few times, and you watch what they are doing to figure out the rest. Hopefully you remember to pronounce the word correctly for them upon fulfilling the wish. In the morning when you are prepping tonight’s dinner, getting toddler’s breakfast ready, turning to the monitor every few moments because you can’t tell if the baby is crying or if you just hear crying all the time in your head now, and slamming crackle (toddler word khaki, which means coffee), you can imagine that the interpretation of crackle may become confused.When the boys found a cracker on the floor by the window this morning, I felt guilty for a few moments because I decided to let them eat a cracker off the floor. But they did seem to be sharing, and I was almost done with the sausage and had convinced myself that it really was just the crying in my head that had distracted me. As Jenny’s car door closed in the driveway, a real baby cried on the monitor, and the oatmeal in the microwave beeped complete, I turned around to SEE the cracker they found, which was really cala, which is toddler for COLOR. As in the COLOR PURPLE from a MARKER on the window, the wall, the floor board, and the tile floor. And this was all too aggravating to go grab the camera during, so the boys fortunately have no proof. Because then we had to get down and why (toddler for why, which means wipe). Many purple whys later, we had it mostly up.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Daily Grind: Part I

The dishwasher used to be filled to the brim with pots and pans made dirty by lazy days of slow cooking and recipe trials. Or the complete opposite would happen and it would sit empty for days on end as we ate from take-out, or didn’t eat, or just ate from a bag of chips, or whatever. Maybe we just got in the car and drove out of town for the weekend at the last minute and never even thought about the dishwasher.Now we know that it must be run every single day and it will contain: 10 plastic bottles, six plastic sippy cups, six plastic plates and spoons, five plastic snack containers, four plastic Tupperware containers, four plastic coffee cups, two plastic bowls, one plastic cutting board, and one pot.Do you know how useful the auto-dry feature is on plastic in the dishwasher? It’s not.

Monday, December 3, 2007

If It Weren't For This Overworked Camera

There would be no proof for Uncle Brian and Aunt Lori that these kids aren't perfect since they acted like angels all weekend.
That up there is the meal after Brian and Lori left where we got back to normal.

This is how National Guard weekends should be.
This time: Four children, one day, and at most all times at least three adults. And people telling mom to sleep in while breakfast is cooked and children diapered is not a bad thing either.
We went to the park to celebrate the first day of December and dad's birthday (in his honor really since he was working), and that fleece was probably a bit too warm.
Even the ladies got some fresh air.The boys were gifted new soccer and footballs.We fed babies in the wet yard near dark and Aunt Lori graciously just plopped down and pitched in.And despite Brian's organizational skills, we were still unable to get a group photo with anyone looking at the camera.

Friday, November 30, 2007

THINGS TOO AGGRAVATING TO GO GRAB THE CAMERA DURING: The Bouncy Seats

The scene:The witching hour (6:00 to 7:00 p.m.)Our peaceful dinner is complete and dishes cleaned, but it is too soon to start putting them to bed.The living roomTry us. We know every cartoon that is on during the witching hour on any network.The Source of the Aggravation:Bathing children and calls from work do not compliment one another.Around 6:30 mom will suggest that she go start bathing babies one-at-a-time, alone, upstairs, with one child, while the remainder chew on each other and scream with dad watching on. That generally works rather well, until the phone rings, and it is dad’s work.Mom is upstairs bathing one baby, dad sets another in the bouncy seat to go grab the phone quickly, the boys start running toward the phone unrelentingly believing that one of these days we’re going to let them answer it. It’s work. He moves to the back bedroom to get away from the toddlers, who are chasing the phone, still thinking that they are going to be allowed to talk on it. Where did they come up with this idea? The back door closes.Here you may start making judgments, but we have to make them sometimes as well. Two toddlers and one baby left in the living room. Dad is on a quick call with work in the back. Mom is almost through bathing a baby upstairs. The toddlers are a little wound up because they could have sworn that this was the time they would get to answer the phone. It takes only a moment to realize the freedom and figure out a plan. Seriously, I don’t know how they come up with these things so quickly.In his rush to grab the phone before the answering machine, the baby in the bouncy seat was placed in the bouncy seat, not buckled in the bouncy seat. One fresh baby later, mom comes downstairs to exchange babies. On her way down the stairs she hears “Reeeeee! Reeeee!,” coming from Benjamin (toddler speak for “Weeeee!”) and fits of laughter from Nicholas. She smiles because this is better than quiet. Quiet means something is wrong. She rounds the corner with a smile on her face getting ready to join the fun. And instead she sees Benjamin laying on the bouncy seat testing the engineering and metal frame by bending the top all the way down to the ground. In one swift movement he rolls, yells “reeeee!,” starts Nicholas laughing, and releases the seat, catapult-style, baby and all.For some unknown reason, the baby only lifts momentarily in the air and lands back in her little seat. Hence, the utter lack of protest from the baby to this point, although the repeated attempts have been nudging her out of the chair and she is getting close to simply falling out. And this is all far too aggravating to go grab the camera during, so we fortunately have no proof.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Is This What They Mean?

You know, in those parenting magazines, where they tell you to choose your battles and insist he eat some vegetables but let go and let the toddler express his fashion savvy. Yes, we have actually loaded up the car in this particular outfit; thankfully, we were headed for the drive through.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Dinnertime At The Stubers

Where to begin?
I would like to say something witty here about the kids being so hungry for their mother's food that they start eating the toddler paints while they are waiting. But, it's really not the case, he just does that.
We do attempt to remember to wash our hands.Everyone says a prayer that involves being thankful that she didn't feed us that.
We just sit with the milk jug now because we got tired of getting up to get it out of the fridge to fill one cup, put it back, have another child start screaming "mow, mow" (toddler for more), and then say, "what do you say?" The child responds, "Peas," although we know he doesn't want peas, that means please. However, if we're having peas it might mean that he wants more peas please because, well they eat green tomatoes and for some reason love vegetables, but "peas" mostly means "please."
Meanwhile, mom gets up to grab a baby that is crying even though she was just fed/burped/changed by dad. Dad bends over to wipe up some junk from the floor that someone just threw down and the first time-out is threatened. As he picks up his fork to eat, a child starts asking for mow, but we don't know what. So we do the little "mow what?" dance. Then the other baby starts crying because she just figured out she is alone, and she didn't finish her bottle earlier so she's decided she's hungry now. Dad gets her and starts her bottle for the second attempt. Mom gets mow. Everyone sits down. The other toddler just decided to test the boundaries and throw some more junk on the floor. Dad threatens time out another time because he really just wants to eat a couple bites of food before getting up yet again. The other toddler decides he is finished and shoves his plate away and begins screaming for the get-down ritual. Dad gets up to clean him off and let him down. Mom puts the first baby down and grabs the second baby from dad. While feeding baby two, she shoves in two bites with her free left hand dropping junk all over the baby, which makes the baby laugh and stop eating her food again. (She feels a little guilty that she got two half-bites of food and her husband has only gotten one half-bite so far.) (She is doubly worried about the pervasive use of the word 'got' in her vocabulary these days.) The toddler that was screaming to get down is now eating his food for the first time during all of dinner. Everyone sits down. The first baby starts to protest in the other room. It is concluded that she must miss her sister, so baby two is taken to the other room for some face time with her. The toddler throwing all of his food on the floor has now decided that his napkin should go into the milk glass so that he can soak up all of the milk and suck on the napkin. "That's it. You're finished," comes out of mom and dad's mouths simultaneously, his food is taken away, and he is freed. The girls begin to get aggravated with each other because one is poking the other in the face, so they are separated. Toddler one has walked over to toddler two's chair and is now eating out of toddler two's hand. Except toddler two has now decided not to share any more, so he is holding food out to his brother and snatching it back at the last minute, much to his own delight. An aggravated toddler starts tugging at his father who has managed an amazing three bites. Mom has given up and started clearing dishes. Eat your pie. It's yummy.Are you crazy? I don't want that.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Not Thinking We'll Be Needing the Genetic Testing

If we ever screw up and put Elaine in a solid pajama and Alida in a print pajama, the whole balance of the universe will be knocked off allignment because it is NOT getting easier to tell them apart as they grow. Byt the time they can start exerting their will regarding their own clothing, I am hoping they have some hair so that I can start cutting it different lengths or just shave a letter into each head.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Oh, I Get It

The reason they don't remember the first couple of years is because their mother can really screw up the whole tradition thing a couple of times. Apple walnut oatmeal will not be part of the tradition. Staying in our pajamas all day and not going out shopping will stay on the day-after-Thanksgiving itinerary however. Well really, staying in our pajamas the whole weekend has felt like a pretty good tradition, especially since the girls seem to have forgotten how to sleep at night after a pretty encouraging start. We got the call at 11:45, 2:10, and 4:00 last night--for no apparent reason what-so-ever.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Why I am Thankful

A chilly Thanksgiving Day wok.
Sharing secrets already.No sun in the sky ... doesn't matter.
As night turned into Thanksgiving Day and morning broke, the girls woke up a 6:00 in not such a good mood. They had been up at 3:30 and were now inconsolable as a clouded sky shielded the morning sun. We had expected that the grey day would perhaps afford us sleep until 7. That was not the case this morning, and we each took a baby off to a different room in the hopes that at least one of us would get one of them quiet and that it would happen before the boys were torn from sleep. We met again at 6:45, walking down the stairs, heads hanging, pajamas unusually rumpled, what hair we have left a mess, and praying that we would have 15 minutes before the boys started throwing books.We poured coffee and sat down next to each other to catch the news before the television was put into service for the toddlers. We sat and drank our coffee and talked for a few minutes, which brings me to why I am thankful. I am thankful for the chaos. I am thankful for the chaos because I shared a cup of coffee with my husband this morning and truly enjoyed it. The chaos gives us a whole new sense of accomplishment. The chaos often results in laughter, and sometimes it results in sheer wonder. The chaos draws nearly everything into sharp contrast and makes those small moments, like sharing a cup of coffee, meaningful.Mostly though, the chaos has stripped me bare and left me in awe. We are constantly planning ahead, and at the same moment we are constantly dealing with the here and now of four children in diapers. We are tired and frazzled. But there are those moments in the constant circle of days where I am thankful. When we look down and Benjamin has laid down between his sisters with an arm around each and all on their bellies, or when the immense energy of Nicholas brings him screaming into the living room at full speed, I wonder at what I ever really enjoyed before these people arrived. When Elaine comes three quarters of the way toward rolling over, I imagine there is no one I will ever cheer for more. When, at 4:30 in the morning, Alida will not eat her food and I suddenly hear her laughing, I can’t help but smile and my heart swells. And in all the chaos, I hope we continue to remember that we are thankful. We are thankful to God for the chance to be the custodians of these four little people as they make their way up in the world.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Four Month Stats Are In

Growing nicely, thank you. Elaine is in pink and Alida in green.
Elaine
13 lbs and 8 ounces
24 1/2 inches tall
Alida
13 pounds 11 ounces
25 inches tall
She's really a happy baby except for those days she is yanked from the house and given a shot.
However, Elaine took the prize at the doctor's office. When dad called to give the update, he began the no-nonsense conversation with: "It's your turn next time. Elaine went crazy."
"Oh, poor thing didn't like her shots?"
"No, we walked in the door and she went crazy and DID NOT STOP until we were home."
"Did the nurses do that thing were they tell you the babies can sense that you're stressed and it stresses them implying that you're an uptight parent?"
"No. You're kidding? They do that? It's a good thing no one started in with that while I was there."
Apparently the girl was making such a racket, the doctor forgot to mention starting the girls on solid food; does that mean we can skip it? Oh yeah, it's fun with your first baby (even your first and second babies together), but the idea of four children's seats in the kitchen and the coordination of feeding times is not high on the to-do list. We're sorry Jenny, but it's on the way. We'll hold off as long as possible.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Zoo Take Two

Saturday, the Veteran's Administration threw Patric a little party to thank him for serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and they invited the whole family.
Nicholas got all of the doughnut holes they handed out at the entrance because independent Benjamin was too busy walking off/leading the march into the zoo. Gee, the guy's been there once, and he just walks right in like we have a pass or something.
The boys were a bit more impressed with the cats this time around. Here we are looking at some slinking cat with big teeth.
The lizard house was a bit more deserted so we took the opportunity for a coffee break to discuss Lizard Music. Yes, Starbucks was all over the zoo that morning handing out free coffee and thankfully empty paper cups to the little ones.
(Sarah and Joe these look about the right size for the Saturday morning gymnastics crowd.)
Then we had hot dogs and chips with some seriously strong lemonade. We're learning that sitting next to the trash can speeds up recovery at the end of the meal.
The ladies came too. But they were a little unimpressed and working up those noses for the Saturday evening festivities...

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Stubers Announce: Five Little Noses

Four of the human variety and one of the saline variety. The bulb syringes have been put to the test, and the ladies fight them off as well as the boys ever did. We're so proud. Saturday and Sunday nights have been full of snuffles and snoring and sucking, poor things. And an extra thank you to Gracie's whole crew: Jen and Mark and Elvetta and Larry for babysitting through the beginning of our first snuffles and loving babies with stuffy noses. We swear, we had no idea the congestion was going to get that bad while you were on shift...

Friday, November 16, 2007

Un-Fried Green Tomatoes

As we approach the door at the end of a wok, the boys generally start to whimper until they realize that around the corner are the tomato plants. Then they take off, at least in the same direction. Dad can usually heard them back to the door once they have each plucked a tomato--red, green, turning black, doesn't really matter. Benjamin will usually eat at least 3/4 of a full tomato and Nicholas will eat his until it is 100 percent gone, including all innards and stem matter.(Yep, we still have crazy green tomatoes growing on the vine here in November.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Family Photos

It all started with a sweet moment. Benjamin sat down by his dad, held out his hands and nodded after his father asked him if he wanted to hold a baby. Then mom looked up from whatever she was distracted with and it all went downhill.
Mom ran to get a camera. Seeing the camera, Nicholas ran to get in the shot.
Elaine was whisked away from her comfy play on the floor and inserted. For one brief moment, there was a wonderful shot of all four happily nestled together on the couch. This was not that moment. It happened somewhere between clicking the button and the camera taking the picture.
And then Benjamin started getting antsy.
And it was all over for Alida.

Flip Flopping

Uncle Brian reminded us the other day that we are late on our registry for baby gymnastics for the GIRLS. Now if you know the brood, you know that we spit some coffee out on the monitor while scoffing at the baby gymnastics article, choked a little bit, and then started a diatribe on economics/child rearing/loss of common sense/accompanying lack of social discretion/and working mothers, and this exact diatribe was spewed out for the 50 millionth time and has really become a stump speech that those closest to the brood are sick of hearing.On further reflection, we would like to announce that the brood is publishing a policy change effective immediately. We support gymnastics for your baby; we support all forms of structured activity for your baby, whatever age. We support you spending the money that you spend on it. We support your choice to provide developmentally appropriate activities for your 4-month-old baby; we support your well-thought-out plan to socialize with other baby's parents; we support your need to fit in with the other parents in paying for classes for your baby; we support you.Because when you do that, we get this:


That's right, our own private park at 10:00 on a beautiful Saturday morning. See all those cars over there? We guess they were all carrying the children off to their classes at the community center.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

What?

7 Months ago hanging out with Gracie for the weekend.
When did that happen? The little guy looks like he's ready for college.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Happy Veteran's Day Dad

Elaine is wearing her hair similar to her father's this year, except perhaps she has a little more.
A little pre-lunch bonding with Alida.Watching football with dad on Sunday afternoon while brothers are tucked away sleeping.Thanks for all you do for our freedom and for all you do for us.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Toybox

I don’t know what all the excitement was about that stick in the last post, but we’ve not seen it again. So I guess it must not be that big of a deal. We did want to show you our favorite toy box in the house. One day when we came home, all of the cupboards that we could previously open were mysteriously locked. But we did figure out that the stove was still open. The first time we tried to get in, Benjamin pulled so hard that the drawer popped out and hit him in the mouth. Mom was a little more freaked out about the blood than dad was, but she still lets us get in here. At the end of the day, she even just starts shoving random toys in there so we can find them again.

Friday, November 9, 2007

We Remember

"[L]et us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us re-consecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain."

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Wok! Wok!

When we hear these words, we don't usually imagine that Nicholas is yearning for some stir-fry. Our first clue is generally the pounding on the garage door that accompanies the demand. So we load up and we're off.
In different directions.with a widening gap.
Or we come together for inspection.
After inspection.
Who didn't believe me when I said our grass was invasive?
Here is how the wok usually ends: A girl starts crying. Not that we can't tune out the crying, but we pick her up because we don't want the neighbors calling the police. Nicholas promptly plops himself in the free seat of the stroller. This sets Benjamin off because he becomes suddenly tired of woking. So we pick up another girl and let Benjamin in the stroller in a further effort to quiet the clan. Now the second girl is mad because she was comfy in the stroller. So mom and dad attempt to each carry a screaming baby AND guide the stroller together with one whimpering Benjamin and a pleased and proud Nicholas. Yep, we're usually at the farthest point from home when this happens.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Mother's Day

Mother's Day 2006: An old-fashioned spirea planted well before the toddler's could toddle giving it a chance to firmly establish itself in our clay-filled soil. The white blooms in the spring are wonderful to gaze at in the morning with a cup of coffee (at 5:30 in the morning mind you because that is the only time of day to actually sit with a cup of coffee and enjoy your Mother's Day gift.)
Mother's Day 2007: The old-fashioned lilac never had a chance against the now-toddling toddlers. But I show you all of this in order to set the scene for the following:
We made it through National Guard weekend in October without much drama. And success means that we only had three blood incidents, none involving a doctor or hospital. A certain sing-songy rhyme came to mind when I looked up and saw Nicholas with his green pale go bottom over teacup down the hill then come up with a bloody lip. Yawn. We’ve seen that before. I should maybe have listened to Benjamin when he was begging for the chapstick before dinner, but I really thought he just wanted the colorful tube. The next morning, the poor guy’s chapped bottom lip had busted and bled a little. But the winner in originality involved my beloved Mother’s Day gift pictured above.
As the bush sits there dead in our yard waiting to be dug up, the boys periodically wander over to crinkle the dead leaves or pick them and bring them to a parent or break off a brittle section to run around the yard with and threaten to whack someone. Who would have guessed though that Benjamin could take part of the dead branch still attached to the bush, shove it up his nose, and pull out a bloody twig before anyone, including him, could even comprehend what he was doing?
Mother's Day 2007 Do-Over: The butterfly bush was adopted as the beloved gift.But it didn't take long for the boys to pull it apart, dive into it in their run down the hill and use it as a landing pad for wrestling matches. That is a branch of the butterfly bush in Nicholas' hand that Benjamin finds so funny.Mother's Day 2007 Do-Again-Do-Over: The variegated privet. Originally planted to cover an ugly corner of the yard, it will now be gazed at fondly over coffee at 4:30 in the morning with a flashlight since the end of daylight savings time has pushed our mornings forward an hour.

Today's Perfect Post Goes To Sarah

...Goes to Sarah, who has compiled an invaluable list for any person who associates with twins and their families--whether close relative or relative stranger passing on the street. The Stubers agree, especially with that part about heaping compliments on us. We like that a lot.THE DO's AND THE DON'Ts

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Year In Pictures: Benjamin

Turning 1
Enjoying Ravioli
Relaxed at home
Taking over the world
Finally, new towels
Taking a break from protecting his sistersIndependent Ben has surprised us this year. The boy who came into the world screaming and didn't stop for three months, now marches forward with purpose where ever we are, saying "hi" to all he meets. He began the year walking and has now mastered kicking a ball around the yard and rolling down a hill ever so deliberately sometimes stopping to make sure he isn't out of control. These days it is likely that we'll find him laying on the floor with his sisters talking to them and laughing at his own jokes or singing them a song. When I come home at night now, I'll often get a wave and a "hey" with a smile before he goes back to watching tv or flipping through a book.

Reporting for Duty

They were all ready to go see what this National Guard thing was about, but dad said that ladies aren't allowed in his unit. Only 2 days this time, but still 4 babies despite the girls' effort to go with. No blood incidents this time, but stay tuned for the story of last month's drama. (Alida on the left and Elaine on the right...or is it the other way around? I think we're in trouble.)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Toddlers Celebrate Halloween

Dragons like Twix bars too.
The Hoot Owl hooting (not sure where the devil is headed over there).
The Introduction to The Nightmare Before Christmas was riveting, and an encore presentation was presented when the tears came at the end.

The Babies Celebrate Halloween

No words necessary regarding Alida's cuteness.
Elaine, the little devil, takes a pretty break in her pink chair.
Alida is correctly nervous about making a deal with the devil.

Halloween--Pumpkins

Dad's pumpkin made its appearance last night. A wolf howling at the moon. You know, just something he just kind of cut out of the pumpkin. Certainly at least one of the children will inherit his talent.

Halloween--A Scary Day

The day began with our best Frankenstein's Monster impression.
Thank you for the masks Jenny!
Nicholas was not pleased with his vampire cupcake until he could dissect it and figure out the mystery.Benjamin just didn't want to be a mess from foolin' around with the cupcake.Thank you Jenny for dealing with the mess that came anyway.Art Project time! Spiders from hand prints and ghosts from foot prints.Jenny! You had a mess of a day, thank you!In the background, dad left work early to get the boys to take them for flu shots, ran home to relieve the nanny, got dinner ready and fed boys, fed the babies and got the movie ready for the evening. Mom ran to the grocery store to load up on a week's worth of groceries on her way home from work, unloaded, laid out clothes for the following day and bedtime, cleaned up dishes, and dressed babies for the festivities. Whew.The mandatory sit everyone down and attempt a photo shot. Yes, they are all watching the tv.Wait for trick-or-treaters. Poor Nicholas got his hand slammed in the door after one customer. It was a little spooky having screaming Nicholas, feeding babies for bedtime, and passing out candy all at once. His fingers still bend though, so we think he's good.

Look Who Showed Up to the Party

And he had to be drug kicking and screaming out of the costume at the end of the night.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

An Owl, a Dragon, and the Devil Fly Into a Pumpkin Patch...

Nope, Benjamin would have nothing to do with the shenanigans of dressing up.
We'll try again tonight...smiles or tears.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Check, Check

Impossibly cute babies in Halloween-y tops? Check.
A huge family of Jack-O-Lanterns? Check.Vampire-bitten cupcakes filled with cherry blood? CheckA ridiculous amount of candy? Check.Costumes? Check, check, check, check.(You didn't really think you'd get to see them before Halloween did you?)

Monday, October 29, 2007

They Made It Out of the Van

Spoons ready and baby propped.
Scooping seeds, which dad thought we should roast. Then mom laughed at him. When she got impatient and just reached in there with her hand, we looked at her like she was crazy. Who would touch that stuff? Get bored and threaten to hit your napping sister. Go to time out.
Artistic daddy is still working on his. Mom and dad pumped these out during nap time.

Friday, October 26, 2007

First Car Keys

Little does she know, that we already have plans for her sweet 16 and her first set of real car keys. Alida will get a matching set. And if you hold them up against their brothers’, they will look strangely alike. A gold, seven seat, 2004, automatic Toyota Sienna awaits! Complete with her own day of the week that she gets to drive, as long as she takes her siblings too.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Mayor

We're not sure why he does this,


but we call him the Mayor.
To all well-meaning suggestions, no he won't wear a cap unless its bedtime and he's inside. And, yes, that is precisely where the lawn mower belongs if you ask the Mayor.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Just a Little Imagination

In the Stuber house, the box that diapers comes in is generally larger than the children that will be wearing them.
And of course, what a great box for a fort, said mom. I’ll reinforce it and make it into a tunnel, exclaimed dad! They could color it and cut out a window and have a fort, insisted mom. OR, they could color it and make it into a tunnel, remarked dad.

And in the end, it became a slide.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Tale of Two Cribs

The pre-National Guard playroom.
There were two brothers who shared together. There were two brothers who fought together.During dad’s week home with the tots, there was some furniture rearranging, which needed to happen. The Stubers lived prior to that week wondering when Child Services would show up due to the children standing in the upstairs window every morning. The double bed that had served as baby staging area, second changing station, sometimes parent nap place, trampoline, and medicine administration point of service had changed. It had become the morning path to the window because it was shoved up against the wall. Once to the window, little feet fit nicely on the sill and hands hold on just right to the locks, and it is just wide enough to accommodate two toddlers greeting the day from the second story. It had to be moved.A happy coincidence of having to rearrange the room to move the bed, is that the toddler’s cribs wound up right next to each other. Mom and dad had dreams of peeking in on their children sleeping quietly in the night holding hands across cribs. (Na├»ve perhaps, but you actually read people saying this happens in the Twin magazine.) They can play together before falling asleep! They can comfort each other in the night through the slats! In the morning they can chatter quietly as the day breaks!Or, you can deal with reality.Sunday afternoon nap:Trip to the room one: Mom comes in to calm everyone down. She finds that Nicholas has taken every single clean diaper that his little arm can reach off of the changing table and passed them out amongst himself and his brother. They are now each sitting in a pile of diapers, tearing them apart. The changing table is moved away from the crib and shoved in the corner.Trip to the room two: Mom comes in to shut up the escalating screams for GAGGEEEE! (read: “gah-gee”, which has somehow evolved from “uker,” which is the toddler version of “yucker,” which is the father’s version of “pacifier.”) Child one has given his pacifier to his brother and brother will not return it. Another pacifier is given to the toddler who no longer has one.Trip to the room three: A repeat of trip to the room two, only the children have reversed roles. The toddler who previously had no pacifier is now holding three and the other is screaming at the top of his lungs.The final solution? Haul the children out of their cribs and start moving furniture. It doesn’t even matter where at this point as long as the cribs are not together and none is touching the changing table. This is trickier than it sounds with a full size bed in the room. The changing station is moved into the closet. The bookshelf is pinned against the door. A crib with wheels is flung to the far corner. The bed, holding toddlers who have been instructed not to move an inch, is wheeled around and around in search of a place to land. The bookshelf is moved into the closet. The changing table is moved back to the room. The cribs are separated by the bed. This is reconsidered. The changing table is shoved back in the closet, the bookshelf drug back to its original spot. A crib is nearly shoved into the closet. Children have escaped the bed, and a screaming infant was brought in at some point and is now sleeping in one of the cribs while the toddlers begin pushing their toys around mimicking their mother. Where is the other infant? We have no idea at this point.And in the end, the puzzle fit together and no child is touching another or the changing table. The bed has stayed and the bookshelf has been banished to the closet. This means that the diaper wipes had to leave their home atop the bookshelf and live down on the changing table. The children must have been eyeing them all night because the first thing Benjamin did Monday morning was march straight to the changing table and pull out the wipes in an effort to begin distributing them.As night closes on National Guard weekend, we are thankful that it darkens the mess so we can ignore it.And so life marches on in a continual struggle to beat the toddlers at their own game.

Monday, October 22, 2007

God Bless America

Three days,
Four babies,
One Mommy
Everyone in their pajamas and ready for bed at 6:00 in the evening.
So on what would be Patric's evening, the girls got up at 1:30 AND 4:30 to eat.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Tube

By far, the hardest worker in the Stuber house.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Ah Ladies

Alida and Elaine
ElaineAlidaYou will be 3 months old this week, and we are patient, and you are beautiful. We're not in a hurry for you to do a bunch of tricks for us, which is good because you don't. No real roll overs have happened, only that time that Elaine got a little mad... We love your smile, but here's the deal. You're killing mom, who believes you are in cahoots already. Since mom and dad switch nights up with you, they do get pretty good sleep considering. And, you really do have the bedtime thing down pretty well. But, she is convinced that on dad's nights you conspire to sleep from 8:00 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. and then you go back to sleep until 8:30 or 9, and on her nights you sleep from 8:00 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. and from 3:15 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. She's even imagined Alida nudging Elaine at 2:28 a.m. mumbling about how it is her night to get mom up; or Elaine hushing Alida on an alternate evening reminding her that it is dad's night to sleep. What's that about?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Pumpkins

The girls were dumbfounded to actually be dressed
and not spend the entire day in their pajamas and bouncy seats.
As you can see though, the jeans for the ladies were probably over doing it
since we are still wearing shorts and sandals here.
How Tall This Fall?
Tall enough to have to be pinned to the board for the photo op.
Can't you see the joy?
That didn't come until later when we went to McDonalds--priorities you know.
A woman there stopped on her way out the door to complement us on our manners. She was invited to view dinner at home some evening, but I don't think mom was actually serious.
Mom and dad had the same thought later that evening.
Will they actually make it out of the van for the holiday? Or will they just rot there before we get to them? Do we really want to get to them and the mess that carving will make?

Friday, October 12, 2007

Overheard By Mommy

Are you chewing on your brother's toes?Stop it!

Gentle Ben

Works hard at mastering new skills.
The little guy can now walk up and down the stairs using the handrail all by himself. (It even makes mom a little sad to see how quickly independence overtakes the toddlers. More often though, she is glad to have the extra hand since she is likely carrying at least one if not two babies.)
Needs only the television to quiet him for a few minutes.
Has yet to break his sunglasses
And after a rough start (and yes that is her pacifier in his mouth), he is proving to be a good big brother offering kisses and running to pat a girl on the back when she is upset.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Little Did Gracie's Granny Know

That when she sent the boys cereal straws,
we would have a little impersonator on our hands.
Thank you Gracie's Granny.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Zoo And Other Thankless Outings

First off, mom almost pulled out her gun and shot these until dad explained they were pelicans not storks.
Saturday morning: up at 6:00 to feed girls, boys throwing books at an early 6:45. Sitting around by 7:30 on a Saturday morning wondering what to do today is a bit daunting. So we load up and are on the road to the zoo by 9:00 a.m.
And the unobstructed view of the lions so early was obviously very impressive to the toddlers. Mostly, we looked like an exhibit at the zoo with MANY visitors stopping to stare and ask questions. The most often asked question: "Are you ALL together?"
Eating crayons at lunch at the first restaurant we've been in since the girls showed up was a highlight. We also insisted on eating mom and dad's food instead of our own, threw some stuff on the floor, and drank a lot of lemonade.
But the ladies did sleep through their experience at Bahama Breeze, so we at least didn't have to abandon dinner early.
Once home after such an exhausting morning, mom and dad put us down for our nap, and we played as loudly and rambunctiously as we could for two hours before they figured out we weren't going to go to sleep.
Okay. We're a little dramatic; we did like the zoo. We did LOVE the penguins, and mom and dad said we caused quite a scene when they tried to move us on from that exhibit.

Monday, October 8, 2007

A Little Then and Now

Then: So cute. Little boys enjoying their bath in a clean tub, chewing on their clean toys and writing on the walls with their cute letters.
Now: Half clean boys attempt to escape the murky, black water because it is a little too gross for even them to stay long and play in.

Friday, October 5, 2007

A Week With Daddy

Daddy is obviously not a slave to either fashion or comfort.
Ingenuity kept us fed.
There was a dance party.
And in the end...
We made it through none the wiser and even pretty happy. But mom will make sure there are pictures to tell the tale.Some things that did get done around the house once he realized that mom wasn't making this stuff up?
Day 1: Child locks replaced on the kitchen drawers
Day 2: Furniture rearranged to keep people from climbing on the bookshelves after the phone and from jumping out the second story window.
Day 3: Laundry folded and another load complete.
Day 4: Well, you can't get things done every day.
Day 5: We'll report back at the end.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Try, Try Again

Two and a half weeks ago, we made it to church--all of us. It has taken two and a half weeks to get the stunning pictures up, but we made it--once. We may have worn ourselves completely out that weekend also going to the zoo and a restaurant--all of us. Since that weekend, we've not left the house except for a few evening walks. As you can see by the last picture there, three out of four Stuber babies agree, television is just as good as getting out of the house any day anyway. And, let's not be silly, if Alida had any neck control what-so-ever, her head would be cranked to the left as well.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Wheels on the Bus

Are broken. A naptime fatality.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Alright, Alright

Apparently posts without pictures aren't even worth it. The girls are happy because mom went back to work today and they are spending the day with dad. (Elaine in stripes; Alida in solid)

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Weather Report--Soaking It All In

The night of the red hoe incident, the weather was cool and clear. The ladies aren’t quite ready to participate in the fanatical arguments over the lawn mower, the broken wheel from the trike that no one has long enough legs to actually use, the sandbox toys that are used anywhere but the sandbox, and, yes, the red hoe. But, they are able to watch and soak it all in. We can see them laying on their blanket watching and waiting. Waiting for the day they can join in the chaos instead of contributing from a stationary point of view. They are indeed learning. They must be learning that the children’s picnic table is for tipping over and crawling on like a boat or for pinning a brother to the wall of the house. They must be learning that flowers are for eating. They must be learning that the swimming pool makes a good fort when propped up against a tender, young tree or better, a prison for a brother when tipped over the top of him and held down. They must be learning that the shovel can carry sand to all parts of the lawn. They must be learning that if you dig long enough, you can always find a good pointy stick mixed in with the mulch. We are only hoping that they are not learning too quickly that legs are for walking and that freedom makes everything possible.

The Two Month Stats Are In

Elaine10 pounds 11 ounces22 3/4 inches longAlida11 pounds 1 ounce22 inches longSome things that mom and dad stocked up on that we are glad to report have not been nearly as useful this time around:Hospital-Grade Bulb Syringes (7). They actually wore one out to the point of breaking it in two last time they went through this infant thing. She had to go back to the hospital to beg more from the hospital black market at the time. Other than Ben getting hold of one and shoving it in our noses, we don’t even know what these things are for.Various forms of pain medication and fever reducers (The Sam's Club stock of Tylenol and Motrin in particular)Balmex (14 tubes)Kleenex (Again, the Sam's Club stock up)Burp Cloths (or vomit rags as they have been referred to in the past) Food allergies like Nicholas had make for all forms of vomiting from leaky to projectile; however, we have displayed such distasteful behavior from the ladies so far. Well okay, Elaine kind of let all of her bottle and the oral vaccine flow at the doctor's today, but who wouldn't?)Heating Pads: There was an effort to relieve Ben’s colic with the warmth of a heating pad. The Back to Sleep folks probably would have been horrified by the baby laying on the floor face down with a heating pad under his belly sleeping, finally.One thing that was not stocked up on that we at least haven’t missed really—baby scented wash and lotion. The threat of eczema has her scared to use anything other than Dove and Eucerin on her children.So far, girls are easier than boys. We will report back in approximately 15-16 years.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Past Due

Dad gives us our bath. As with everything, we have a rhythm, a schedule, a way of doing things. I guess that is why they hadn’t really given up the baby towels yet. That, or it is just off mom’s radar and dad is very good at making do. But there is a rhythm. Dad gives us our bath and towels us off, quickly puts on a clean diaper if we don’t escape him (the carpet must last at least a little longer), and we’re off. The baby towels have a little nook that goes on our heads. As the towel hangs down like a cape, we escape the bathroom and run. We run and laugh and scream with our baby towels flowing behind like a super hero’s cape.Problem is, we’re getting bigger. Much bigger. And then mom gave us our baths on Saturday. As we wriggled through the toweling off (part of the rhythm), she started grumbling about using a washcloth to dry us off. We don’t even know what a washcloth is; dad doesn’t like to bother with them. (And, shhh, he really just uses soap as shampoo as well.) “These don’t even make it to your butt anymore!” she exclaimed.We guess it’s just part of growing up, but Tuesday night we no longer had the baby towels. The bath time rhythm isn’t nearly as heroic feeling, but it sure is much softer and warmer now.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Helping

Yes, mom says that is the most casually dressed that grandpa ever gets. Thanks for your help grandpa and grandma, who heroically took night duty while she was here.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Efficiency Expert

Mom appreciates anything that resembles order and efficiency in the care of four young people. She must. We have processes that must rival the most successful emergency management plan. We are stocked to the roof with most everything baby related from bouncy seats (6) to diapers (thousands). Almost anything goes in the name of making things easier. However, she stops short at endorsing the orange juice and Fruit Loops mixture.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Naptime

She’s right. We fling books. The other day Nicholas tried to stand his on its end to get some height to escape the crib, but the darn thing isn’t very stable. What else are we to do to signal that we are against the idea of naptime? We must fling books; she can’t hear us otherwise. She says she’s done with the monitor thing for us. So we must fling books. When we are out of books, we fling stuffed animals. When they are laying in a discarded pile, we must resort to throwing out our blankets. The thing that makes her snicker is when we resort to throwing out our pacifiers. She says the resulting hysteria generally wears us out enough to induce sleep and something she calls “a moment’s peace” with just two babies.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Soaking It In

There is something about the Bumbo chair that makes the Stuber babies appear a bit disgusted. Or perhaps Alida is just now getting a good look around at what lies before her. There are boys flying through the room with capes hanging down their backs, and one doesn’t appear to have a diaper on. There is a swing wildly carrying a screaming girl off to her left—up and back, up and back. Who set that thing on the highest setting? Boys? And there is a rocking horse across the room, laying on its side the handle shoved dangerously high in the air, and it is now being used as a means to climb onto the couch. In the distance she hears a great racket as the bath time pirate toy’s massive suction cups are wrenched from the bathroom wall for cleaning by dad (why can’t those dinner plates have suction cups that good?) Mom is now chasing Nicholas with a diaper in one hand and a bottle of lotion in the other. Dad flashes in with his signature, “Whoa, whoa, whoa. WHAT are YOU doing?” to the one that has made it onto the couch and is now judging the leap to the top of the bookshelf where the telephone is at. From the next room there are echoes of “no, no, no” coming from Nicholas as he fights the nightly slathering and mom tries to keep hold of the half-greased wriggling child. And she is pretty sure that it is time to be changed and fed herself, much as Elaine has been exclaiming to her side for some time.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Kid's Table

It is certainly an interesting idea. Give the toddler a plate that suctions to the table. When said toddler cannot pull up the plate, he will not throw his food on the floor. And there will be happiness in the kingdom as the toddler highchairs become booster chairs. Then we will be one step closer to a happy meal filled with funny anecdotes from the day and discussion of the latest books we’re reading as jazz floats through the house. Mealtime is a time to come together. A time to share with one another. A time to thank God for the blessings he’s provided. A time to enjoy, to laugh, to love. A restorative moment in the hectic day.That was the idea floating through mom’s head as she picked out and purchased the suction plates, took them home and lovingly filled them with macaroni and cheese (hey, she’s busy cut her some slack. We know hot dogs aren’t the food of fond memories, but come on.)
Yeah, we managed to ruin that dream for now as well. And really, if you grab hold strong enough and scream loud enough for an extra boost of energy, you can pop that sucker right off the table. She stills says that it is only a matter of time before Sunday meals are in the dining room and manners will be put to use and we WILL be little gentlemen. Then she just grumbles and walks away to the storage closet full of paper towels.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

That Crazy Red Hoe

Some toys come in threes. A wonderful idea thought mom and dad. A rake, a shovel and a hoe packaged as one. Surely enough to keep two boys happy during yard work time. A green shovel used mainly for transporting sand from the sandbox to a nice little pile on the patio in front of the back door. A blue rake for coming in and re-dispersing yard waste that dad has used his big rake to make a pile with. And a red hoe. We’d not seen that red hoe in a long time. She’d been chased off by mom and dad. This was a respectable yard, they said, and there would be no fighting by their boys over a red hoe.But then something happened. We discovered that the green shovel had a weak point. The green shovel became a pan and a long weapon with a handle—two new toys made from one. Mom didn’t like the idea of that, so the green toys disappeared. We were left with a blue rake. That didn’t really matter so much because raking doesn’t really happen that often in a treeless suburbia. It doesn’t happen until a cold front comes through and gives us a bit of cool weather that is.Dad got a chance to clean out the flower beds the other night as we played and mom discussed the “pit” with a man who said he can send people to clean it up bi-weekly. She was happily telling dad about the cleaning women coming and laughing about admitting house cleaning defeat when we discovered that there was only one blue rake to re-disperse the pile dad had made from the flower beds. And the fight was on.“What about the red hoe?” she asked him.“Really?”“It has been awhile, maybe she isn’t as charming any more. Enough to stop the brawl over the r-a-k-e?” She was unsure why she was spelling a thing that was already being fought over, but it seemed motherly and she was tired.“We could try…,” he said hesitantly.She was here for a brief moment. Nicholas was first to warmly welcome her back. For five seconds Benjamin continued raking as Nicholas was reunited. But the red flashed in front of Ben’s eyes and the chase was on after he quickly reclaimed her.
We will miss you red hoe.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Already?

Private Benjamin and Czar Nicholas cannot believe it--another National Guard weekend again?
Mom believes it. And the ladies don't even realize it as long as someone feeds and burps them, soothes them, and cleans them. Saturday night went well. Mom managed to bathe the boys and get them to go to bed on time. And everyone ate at least all of their corn for dinner once again, although mom had to clean some spaghetti off the walls and floor. (Too aggravated to take a picture of that at the time. Thank you Benjamin.) And the ladies were down by 9:00, up at 1:00, and up a 6:00. A pretty successfully night, especially since the girls are learning that other than feeding, burping and changing, nighttime is for sleeping. It might help that mom and dad fumble through the dark for the feeding, change diapers without much sight, and never, ever make eye contact.
7:00 a.m. and books are being flung from the cribs in the toddler's room. It might not be long before the thud of a book becomes the thud of a child since they are learning that climbing means freedom. And climbing can take place in the crib, on the furniture, onto the dryer from the vacuum cleaner, on the turned over rocking horse with scary features sticking up in the air, over the console to the front seat of the van, and on and on. Still mom is more afraid at this point of providing the freedom of a toddler bed. For now, the ladies will call the pack-n-play home and the boys will call the cribs jail.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Happy Labor Day

It started with Sesame Street and Fruit Loops.
Then we went to the park.We learned about the slides.
And we learned about the tunnels.
Much better than the elementary school's playground down the street from our house. Mom's not sure we met the height requirement for this one, but dad said it would be fine.
Elaine even made it out for a nap in the grass.
Alida never made it out of the car seat.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

In Service to the Country

Once all the the National Guard Weekend help has gone home, and you are left with four children wanting food and clean diapers, you find yourself doing a few things you promised never to do. Frozen dinners are well-balanced meals for the toddlers and you can certainly provide a loving bottle-feeding to two infants at the same time in bouncy seats set on the table, can't you? Yes, the bouncy seats have been stripped of all colorful and stimulating toys by either the toddlers or the mother who found them annoying to work around.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Men At Work

Not only do we blog, but we blog simultaneously. Not sure what happens when the ladies are old enough to contribute. Mom says she doesn't guess there will be twice the posts going up. We don't see why not.

Monday, August 20, 2007

A Grown, Educated Woman's Conversation with Herself

"You have two feet; therefore, you need two socks," she said to herself as she stared at the pile of socks and wondered how to cope with dressing herself. (So she grabbed two pair of socks naturally.) Having put one pair of socks on her feet, she looked down at the other pair of socks. For a few moments she actually wondered what her reason had been for getting the second pair of socks before realizing that she was just a very tired mommy who always grabs everything in pairs now days.Bad enough to have to remind yourself how many feet you have attached to your body; horribly worse to actually get it wrong after having given yourself such a reminder.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Tummy Time

Elaine
Alida and ElaineElaineWe may have to come up with a new plan for tummy time if these girls are ever going to hold their heads up high because this seems a little too restful to be useful as neck exercise. Perhaps tummy time shouldn't be taking place on the comfort of mom and dad's bed for one...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Drama

Sad to say, but we couldn't even tell you at this point what the drama was about. Why does the sad one have everything in his hands and the happy one nothing? Oh, that's right. Benjamin hates the camera unless he is allowed to maul it. Nicholas, on the other hand, is trying to build his modeling portfolio at all times.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Before

The forecast turned to: 104, 105, 104, 104, 103
Before the summer sun turned the lawn brown (which mom and dad smile about).Before the ladies came.Before, I was the King of the Yard.
And I, the King of the Picnic Table.
Now we wait until nearly bedtime to get some good time outside in the fresh air. Mom has been pleasantly surprised at what good that does for bedtime and morning time. She says she can't wait for the ladies to join us in the evening escapades and general wearing out of the children. We're just holding on until October at this point.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

What?

Yeah, because there are lots of long soaks in the tub happening around here. Right.Last night was mom's first night solo with four tikes. There was only one truck flung at a baby's head; five pre-dinner melt downs; we at least ate the corn portion of our dinner and didn't throw too much on the floor; the ladies at least waited until 8:00 to start snacking continually and alternately until 10:00; 2 trips to the boys room to put them back to bed; dad waited until midnight to call; the ladies woke up at 12:30 and ate like they had been starved, but that only lasted until 4:15 when they were starved again. EVERYONE woke up at 7:00 and the boys got all of the crackers they could eat and the ladies all the formula they could drink and we all watched all the cartoons that would keep our attention until 8:00. Mom only missed one diaper change this morning; and when Frannie arrived, she disappeared.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Eat Your Vegetables

Being a good German and a good Cornhusker, Grandpa says there are two acceptable styles of eating corn on the cob.
The "typewriter" style and the cylinder style going around and around.
He's not had corn on the cob with the Stuber boys yet and experienced free-style.
Another good summer vegetable is the tomato.
Dad gave us these right off the vine.
And now he's wondering what he'll eat.

Monday, August 6, 2007

As Good As it Gets Right Now

Behold the Mighty Stuber Brood. Too much to ask all four to be compliant at once we guess.

Friday, August 3, 2007

The Two Week Stats

Alida
Wired like daddy.
7 pounds
19 1/2 inches
Doing Lovely
Elaine
Tired like mommy
6 pounds 12 ounces
19 1/2 inches
Doing Lovely