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


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


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


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:
26 pounds
34 1/2 inches
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


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.