April 28, 2010

What Happened to Manners?

When the girls had their birthday and only two people RSVP'd I had a small blog rant about etiquette... namely, why don't people RSVP anymore? I was surprised by the number of comments from people who had similar experiences. Now there's a new lapse in etiquette which baffles me: the thank you note.
I am one of those people who tries very diligently to write thank you letters. After birthdays or Christmas, I try to have notes written and mailed within a week. It doesn't always happen in that time frame, but it gets done. The last few birthday parties the girls have gone to have resulted in zero thank yous. The parents had the children acknowledge the gifts as they opened them, but no thank yous were sent.
I realize that until the age of 8 (give or take a year) the burden of thank you notes falls to the parents. In our busy lives, it can be hard to set aside time to do this... but shouldn't it still be done?
These days I ask the girls to tell me something they like about their gift. Their responses can be quite comical, but I make sure to include them in the letter. At the end, they each write the first letter of their name. Previously, they would make a scribble... something to show they took part in the process. They've asked me several times why we're writing the letters. I explain to them that it's important to let people know how much their gifts meant to us.
I've actually read blogs from twin moms who said they shouldn't be expected to write thank yous after the birth of their babies. (If you're one of those moms, please know, I'm not calling you out or trying to start an argument). I get it. Having one newborn makes life crazy. Having two or more? Chaos. I kept a running list of all the gifts we received. The list had a spot where I then checked off whether I sent a note and when I sent it. It was extremely important to me to acknowledge each and every item we received. I didn't want anyone to think their gift was overlooked, lost in the shuffle or unappreciated. To this day, I still feel guilty about a gift we received. One day Hubby came home from work with a bag full of diapers in various sizes. There was no card, nothing. We both happened to work at the same TV station at the time and the bag was waiting for him at the receptionist's desk when he arrived. I have no idea who gave us those much appreciated diapers and I still wish that I could have thanked him/her. My guess is it was a viewer of the newscast I anchored who generously thought of my family. I just wish I could have said "thank you for thinking of us."
I've given wedding gifts that have gone unacknowledged. I once emailed a bride months after the wedding to make sure she received our gift. Her response? "Yes, thanks" (via email). Short, void of emotion... but at least she said thank you! (eventually)

April 27, 2010

Secrets of the Split

Other than the first night, the switch to twin beds and new rooms (two girls in each room) has been a pretty smooth transition. How did I do it? I threatened them within an inch of their lives. KIDDING!!!!!!
My first night doing the bed time routine alone, I was a nervous wreck. I really envisioned myself up until all hours of the night trying to coax my daughters back to their beds. Turns out I had nothing to worry about.
We started the night the way we normally do, reading books on "the book couch." Each of them pick a book for me to read and they take turns sitting next to Mommy. Sometimes they're more concerned about whether it's "time to switch" than whether I'm reading a book they enjoy. When we finished the books I told them they could take their books upstairs. What? Mommy never lets us take books to bed. They were definitely intrigued.
Once we got upstairs we did the whole teeth brushing, potty routine and they were quite curious as to why the books were upstairs. I told them when they wake up it would likely be too early to get out of bed, so they could quietly look at books in the morning. But really, I had another trick up my sleeve. It was time to be tucked into bed, so I had everyone go to their rooms and sit on their beds. I went to Roo and Sue Sue's room and told them they had to be quiet, but they could whisper and look at books while I took care of Cakes and Tortilla. I shut the door and headed to the next room.
Cakes, Tortilla and I went through our regular routine. Then I tucked them in and told them I would be back to check on them. I approached Roo and Sue Sue's room. They were still on their beds, whispering and looking at books. I repeated the hugging, kissing, night-night routine with them. I stayed in their room for a few minutes to make sure they settled down, since they are my nighttime mischief makers. Mission accomplished.
See, my secrets aren't really secrets. And they're not without their flaws. Roo and Sue Sue still like to test the limits and get out of bed after I've tucked them in, but all in all, they've surprised me with how willing they are to behave... all because they have books to keep them occupied.

April 26, 2010

The Big Split

We finally did it. After having eight boxes of bed parts sitting in our house, we finally got all the beds put together and split the girls in two rooms. (I use the term "we" to essentially mean Hubby because my sole job in the assembly was to order the beds). So, bye-bye cribs that converted to toddler beds. We definitely put you through the wringer... thank goodness none of you collapsed on us!

There's still some decorating to be done in the "white room." It has a Tinkerbell wall paper border, but I want to add some fairy decals, too.
The first night went better than I thought it would, but not a good as I had hoped. Everyone was out of bed at some point. Yes, it was to be expected. But after preschool I had them outside running around the neighborhood in hopes that I could wear them out. Unfortunately, the excitement was too much to let exhaustion stand in the way of a good 'ol slumber party.
Cakes and Tortilla are my best sleepers. I decided to keep them in the "purple room." They are often out shortly after lights out, so I felt it was only fair to room them together and let them finally get some uninterrupted sleep. They, of course, were out of bed and running around the first night. Since then, they have been conked out in record time.
Sue Sue and Roo are what I'll call my "night time troublemakers." They giggle. They make endless trips to the bathroom. They will even go around to their sleeping sisters and try to wake them up. I was apprehensive about rooming them together, but, in the end decided I would rather deal with one disruptive room than have them in separate rooms. The first night, they were both up until close to 10 p.m. (and up at the crack of dawn the next morning). The next night, Roo was my hold out. The following night was Sue Sue. I would be lying if I said I didn't expect this. Eventually they'll settle down (right?!)
I was adamant that the first night in the new rooms had to be a night Hubby didn't work. There was no way I was embarking on this big change by myself. I've now had a few nights of going it alone.... and I'll share my little tricks for that process tomorrow.

April 21, 2010

It's an Emergency!!!!

There are a few things I do which inevitably mean one of my daughters will need my immediate attention. This tends to include:
  • Talking on the phone (I've been known to hide on the steps, in the bathroom or in the laundry room for important conversations so the caller doesn't hear "Mom! Mom! MOOOOOOOM!" the whole time)
  • Going to the bathroom (Just this morning Roo felt it was a dire emergency. I opened the door mid-"business" to find out that she wanted to watch TV.)
  • Eating lunch (I have no idea what it is about my need for food, but the second I sit down, mid-bite, I am surrounded by little girls who want dolls dressed, barrettes put back in their hair or absolutely need me to read a book to them right this very minute)

April 20, 2010

Waiting in Line

What is it about waiting in a line that makes adults forget some of the basic rules they learned in preschool and kindergarten?
In the morning when I drop my daughters off at preschool, there are always "cutters." Several of us will be waiting patiently to approach the drop off point and then someone will zoom past us, squeeze in as a car is pulling out, drop off their kid and zoom away. It makes me crazy. More often than not, the violator in this case tends to be a man. I'm going to go out on a stereotypical limb here, but this is what I imagine is going through his head: "Holly Homemaker has nothing important to do this morning except go home and eat bon bons. I have to be somewhere. These moms won't care if I zip in front of them." I'm waiting for a case of road rage to happen in the school parking lot. At the end of the school day there are parents who don't want to wait in line so they'll park in the drive through lane and block anyone who is trying to leave. My "favorite" parents are the ones who don't want to be at the back of the line, so they park in the handicapped spots. There are some parents and grandparents who legitimately need those spots, which are often already taken by those who think they're above the rules.
The grocery store is another prime spot for cutting in line. The store I frequent most rarely has more than two lines open when I'm ready to check out. Once those lines are about 10 deep, the managers will decide "Hey, maybe we need to open another lane." If the manager opens the lane, he or she will go over to the next person in line and push their cart over to the newly open lane. But more often than not, the cashier will simply flip on the light and say "I can help whoever is next" and then it's every shopper for herself. It's like a demolition derby with grocery carts. There are no rules as you compete to be the next person in line. I've gotten to the point where I just stay where I am.
Has common courtesy gone out the window? When did we forget the basic rules?

April 19, 2010

Show Us Your Wrist!

It's that time of year when my daughters have to do their IEP evaluation for preschool. I had an interesting conversation with the speech therapist about Tortilla's evaluation. Part of the eval required Tortilla to point to various parts of her body. When asked, she successfully pointed to her arm, forehead, eyebrows, etc. Then the therapist asked her to point to her wrist. Tortilla looked confused. Right about this time, the therapist needed to adjust her bra strap. Tortilla apparently took this as a hint. She smiled, pulled the top of her shirt down and proudly pointed to her nipple, exclaiming "Wrist." Oh, but wait it gets better. She then added "My mommy has a big wrist." (Just one?!) Never a dull moment....

April 18, 2010

The Winner is...

The winner of the Spring Sweet Treats Giveaway is: Mari! Congratulations! Thank you to everyone who entered. I enjoyed reading all your favorite spring treats. I'll have another giveaway in about two weeks so stay tuned!

April 15, 2010

Multiples and More Shout Out

Guess who's the Multiples and More Shout Out of the Week? Me!!! Check out the site, as they often have great interviews and posts. Thanks for the shout out!

April 14, 2010

The Writing's on the Slide

I live in a fairly "normal" neighborhood. It's pretty much your standard middle class suburban neighborhood. It's relatively safe, but we have our problems. The biggest problem seems to be bored teenagers and graffiti.
I can look at most of the graffiti and shrug it off. On the mailboxes. On a stop sign. It's not helping the community, but things could be worse. It's the graffiti at the neighborhood park that drives me absolutely bonkers. There are "gang signs" painted on the play set. (I use the term "gang" loosely because I'm pretty sure it's a bunch of clueless teens who think they're "cool" for spray painting initials. After they "tag" the swing set, they then wrap all the swings around the bar so no one can reach them. Not really a sign of that the Bloods and Crips are taking over). There is profanity and slurs inside the tube slide. It's disturbing. This is where countless children play. This is where countless parents in the neighborhood take their families to unwind and let off some steam. Fortunately, my girls can't read. I can only imagine how some parents are explaining the words and phrases on the slide.
This isn't something that just popped up. Last summer our Homeowner's Association decided to install security cameras at the pool due to vandals. Right before the cameras were installed, someone hopped the fence at night and put some "unknown substance" in the baby pool. I'm pretty sure it was shampoo. I know for a fact that it wasn't harmful because when I arrived at the pool with four little girls eager for a soak, I bit the bullet and let them in the water. I was willing to risk a skin irritation over listening to tantrums about being kept out of the pool.
The summer before that, I perfected my "mean mom" look... the one moms give to kids who aren't behaving. I gave this look countless times to the teens at the pool who were swearing up a storm. They left before I had a chance to go lay in to them for their profanity and perhaps teach them a few new words.
I spoke with a neighbor yesterday who has young children. She, too, is disappointed by the graffiti and the way the local teenagers are treating the park. Her solution? There needs to be something for them... a basketball court, perhaps. I don't disagree with her, but if they can't behave now, why reward them? OK, I should also note that most of the teens in the neighborhood are nice, well-mannered kids. It's just a shame there are a few who are ruining the reputation of the masses. (The few bad apples include a teen two doors down from us who did a stint in juvie for burning down a barn near our neighborhood. I'm also convinced he's the (insert profanity here) who shot a BB gun at our picture window. I would love to ask him for the $500 it will cost to fix it. Why did he have to shoot out the biggest window?! Hmmm... what was I saying about my "normal" neighborhood?)
I will give the local police credit. They have stepped up their presence in our neighborhood. Lately, an officer has been stationed near the park when school lets out, although it seems like the graffiti is still appearing on a regular basis. Seeing the officer, has been good for my girls. She gave each of them a police badge sticker and it led to a great conversation with them about how it's not just boys who grow up to be police officers.
Now if the graffiti culprits could just find it in their hearts to leave park alone, things could go back to "normal" in my neighborhood.
On a lighter note, there's still time to enter the Spring Sweet Treats giveaway.

April 13, 2010

The One Bite Rule

It's no secret that I have a picky eater. For the longest time, my Sue Sue refused to eat mac and cheese. Seriously... what child doesn't like mac and cheese?! She has, fortunately, outgrown that phase, but getting her to try new foods is no easy task. Her sisters are always willing to experiment, but Sue Sue will clamp her mouth shut and act like I'm torturing her.
On Easter, we went to my in-laws for an early dinner. Before we went, I told the girls some of the things they would be eating: ham, potatoes, bread, etc. No one protested. As we sat down to eat, Sue Sue caught site of the pineapple upside down cake. She wanted it. Now. Fine, but I instituted one rule: she had to take one bite of everything I put on her plate. She didn't have to finish her meal, just take one bite. (I'm not a fan of the "eat everything on your plate" method. They'll eat when they're hungry and if they don't want to eat, then they can wait until the next meal. I offer an "incentive" to finish lunch, usually a piece of candy or a cookie, but it's more to give them a small treat, not to force them to eat. And, yes, there are plenty of times when they willingly give up their treat because they don't feel like eating lunch. Normally I wouldn't let her have cake if she didn't finish her meal, but I saw my window of opportunity and I pounced on it).
OK, so back to my story. One bite. Of everything. She took a bite of ham. Didn't like it. She took a bite of corn. She thought it was OK and actually took a few more bites. She ate her bread. She took a bite of a green bean and one bite of potato. And then? I held up my end of the bargain. She received a piece of pineapple upside down cake. This didn't go over well with the cousins, who were told they had to eat everything on their plate, but different families have different rules, and getting Sue Sue to try new things was a huge accomplishment.
Since Easter, I've been able to cash in on the "One Bite" rule. The other night I made spaghetti. Sue Sue wanted nothing to do with it. "What's the rule?" I asked. "Try one bite" she said. So she did. She ate it all and at the end of the meal declared "I really like kasgetti." She has tried Hummus and lasagna as well. Finally... my picky eater may be changing her ways.
(Don't forget to check out the Spring Sweet Treats giveaway for your chance to win some fun prizes).

April 12, 2010

Giveaway: Spring Sweet Treats

I enjoy cooking and baking. I'm always looking for new recipes, so my family isn't eating the same old thing every week. Hubby's new work schedule makes it harder for me to experiment, but I still try to find one new recipe every other week to throw in the mix.
As a member of My Blog Spark, I recently had the opportunity to receive a pretty fun prize pack. Safeway and Betty Crocker sent me a "Spring Sweet Treats" pack. The package included a silicon baking pan, a stainless steel mixing bowl, an oven mitt, a Betty Crocker mixing spoon and a $25 Safeway gift card. I've been wanting to try silicon bakeware and I wasn't disappointed. It's my new favorite baking pan. Hubby is excited about the mixing bowl and he's already confiscated the oven mitt to become his new "grill mitt." (His other grill mitt had seen better days, so I readily agreed to let him have this one). I was also provided a VIP coupon, which should be arriving shortly, so my girls and I have been perusing the Bake Sweet Memories website to figure out what we're going to make. You have to see this site. I consider myself a decent cook/baker, but these recipes are amazing.... bunny cakes, rainbow cookies. There are plenty of less complicated, more traditional recipes, too. I actually enjoyed the site because you can download coupons to your Safeway card.
Betty Crocker and Safeway want give one lucky Buried in Laundry reader a "Spring Sweet Treats" prize pack, too. You'll receive the silicon baking pan, the stainless steel mixing bowl, the oven mitt, the Betty Crocker mixing spoon and a $25 Safeway gift card, which, according to the card, can also be used at Vons, Carrs, Genuardi's, Pavillions, Dominick's, Randall's, Tom Thumb and Pak 'n Save Foods. Don't live near one of those stores? Enter to win the prize pack, keep everything else and send the card to someone who lives near Safeway!
Here's how to enter the giveaway: (Please remember to leave separate comments for each entry!!!!)
  • Leave a comment telling me your favorite spring treat. This step is required and you must include your email address in your comment.
  • Earn an additional entry by becoming a follower of Buried in Laundry or if you already follow. Please leave a separate comment for this entry.
  • Earn an additional entry by blogging about this giveaway and linking back to this post. Again, please leave a separate comment if you do this.
  • Earn an additional entry if you sign up for Bake Sweet Memories. In order to complete this entry, return to this post after you sign up and leave me a comment telling me which recipe on the site other than the two I mentioned look like something you would enjoy making.
The deadline to enter is Sunday April 18, 2010 at 8 a.m. MST. It is open to those with a U.S. address. The winner will be chosen by Random. org. Once the winner is notified, she/he will have 48 hours to provide me with shipping info or a new winner will be chosen. Good luck!

April 08, 2010

How Many is Too Many?

I am a People magazine junkie. Since I no longer subscribe to the magazine (too expensive), I visit the website at least once a day for my fix. This week, the site had a story on the 19th Duggar baby leaving the hospital. I know I should have avoided the reader comments, but I went to that section anyway. I'm stunned by the things people had to say. Yes, I know the Duggars are a controversial family, but so many people not only insisted the family needs to stop having children but also blamed the baby's prematurity (25 weeks, I think) on the fact that she was their 19th child. Some people basically said the family deserved to have a fragile preemie.
I don't watch the Duggar's show. It doesn't appeal to me, mainly because I have enough chaos in my own house. From what I hear from people who do watch the show, the family seems to be a loving one and the children are fairly well adjusted. Duggars aside, I wonder this: why do we feel it is our place to tell anyone how many children they should have.
When the subject of more children comes up, people often say "you're done having kids, right?" Why? In theory I get it: In this day and age, four children is considered a large number, four at once can be unthinkable. But it's not unheard of for families to have multiples and then decide to have more children, nor is it irresponsible. Having a large family doesn't automatically equal living on the dole.
I never imagined myself having more than two children. Now here I am with twice that number and I love my life. Families come in all sizes. We walk a slippery slope when we put limits on what that size should be.

April 07, 2010

Things that Go Bump in the Night

The big room split is almost here. The beds have been ordered and as soon as they arrive it's game on. My biggest concern is what will happen at night. I'm talking middle of the night, Mommy's fast asleep night.
I'm a sound sleeper. I've somewhat been broken of that habit after months of crying newborn quads, but still, it takes more than a slight whimper to rouse me when I'm down for the count. I still have a monitor in the girls' room and it's been a lifesaver (or at least a carpet saver) on the nights they've woken up barfing. I am able to distinguish between a hard cough and a barfing cough. If I hear the latter, I know to run down the hall, flipping on all the lights so I can find the sickie.
So with the room split, I'm in a bit of a pickle. Can dual monitors work? I'm afraid with two monitors, their signals will interfere with one another, even if we set them on different channels. I'm considering putting the monitor in the hallway right outside their doors... but then I'm afraid I'll wake up due to mischief-making felines who won't be able to resist the new "cat toy" in the hallway. I know eventually we have to break away from the monitors, I just don't know if I'm ready to do it. I'm just not sure how to turn off the monitor and still be able to stay on top of any nighttime issues, ranging from potty breaks to illness to nightmares.

April 06, 2010

Charter Schools

I'm wondering whether any of you have experience with charter schools or even just have opinions about them. There is a charter school very close to our house. The parents I have spoken with rave about it. A few educators I have spoken with aren't sold on it, but haven't really given me specifics. I'm somewhat drawn to it because it offers all day kindergarten. I'm considering sending my daughters there for kindergarten and then switching them to our neighborhood elementary school after that.
I don't know much about charter schools. As a news reporter, I remember covering the opening of a charter school. The principal seemed almost like a salesman. Rather than simply speaking about what his school had to offer, I felt like he was trying to sell me something. Still, the students seemed excited to be there, and that's not a bad thing.
By the time my daughters enter kindergarten, they will have three years of preschool under their belt. Full day kindergarten is something I think they could definitely handle. But kindergarten is an important step in a child's education. What should I be looking for in the curriculum? What questions should I ask if I meet with the principal?
The school also has a uniform policy. At first I balked... more money out of my pocket? But then I realized I might actually save money: the girls can all share clothes and the morning routine would be pretty easy.
Still, all day kindergarten and uniforms can't be the sole factors in my decision. So, what do you know/think about charter schools? What kinds of questions would you ask a kindergarten teacher or the principal to make sure your child will receive a first rate education?

April 05, 2010

Easter and Multiples

Last week my daughters were on Spring Break. We also had family in town, so it seemed like a good week to take a blogvacation. But I'm back!
This year is the first time I've tried to incorporate some fun activities into Easter. In the past my girls seemed too young or we were too pressed for time. Since Grandma and Grandpa were here, I had reinforcements and decided to dye Easter eggs. This activity reminded me of the subtle differences between having one or two children and having four. I boiled a dozen eggs. A dozen eggs! We're not big egg eaters, so it's going to be interesting to see if we consume all of them. When I did crack open an egg to put on a salad, I was greeted with shouts of "Don't take the colors off our eggs!" Even with that many eggs, each girl was only able to color three eggs. I know they really wanted to dye more eggs, but I couldn't justify having two dozen hard boiled eggs in our refrigerator and I'm not brave enough to try non-boiled eggs. So, if anyone out there has ideas on other things to dye for Easter next year, I'm all ears.
Even our backyard Easter egg hunt had to be carefully planned. I bought two packages of plastic eggs at the dollar store. There were 18 eggs in each package, so thank goodness it only took two packs to have a sum divisible by four. Then I had to label the eggs with each girl's "letter" (the first letter of her name). Then I had to make sure they each had the same amount of goodies in their eggs. No, I didn't count the jelly beans, but I made sure they each had one egg with a Cadbury egg, four eggs with small Nestle candy and four eggs with jelly beans. I know life isn't fair, but I don't think an Easter egg hunt is the time to learn that lesson. I still remember and egg hunt I went to as a child and I only found one egg. The bigger kids who could move faster had baskets brimming with treats. Did it scar me for life? No, but I wanted a stress-free day. I will give my girls credit. When they found an egg labeled with someone else's letter, they would tell her where it was, but they didn't pick it up. After our egg hunt, they decided to hide the eggs for me. Their hiding spots were pretty creative.
Overall, we had a fun day, and I hope you did, too!