Friday, April 29, 2011

Welcome to my store

So I have a store, but unlike typical stores it doesn't earn a profit. Several weeks ago I stumbled on a mom blog about using a ticket system to get some help in keeping the house clean. I loved it and implemented it. The kids have their own glass jar to keep their tickets in and 2 days a week they can use the tickets to buy whatever they could afford.

On the first day I let the girls buy immediately so that they get the idea. They were able to get a candy. J had a hard time. She kept asking for something even if she couldn't afford it. It was tough. A couple of days later she did finally understood it.

The system was pretty successful though it was obvious that my merchandise were priced way too low. I had to do some tweaking daily. But now they are not so motivated to clean anymore. Once in a while the girls remember they want something from my store so they go on a cleaning frenzy. I guess I should still consider that a success though, shouldn't I?

Now when I go to the store I am on the lookout for cheap toys so that there are always something new. Though Daddy doesn't quite understand the meaning of cheap. He bought a bunch of $5 Legos. Big M drooled over them and asked that I not let his sisters buy any of them. I told him that everyone could buy whatever they could afford so he then went on a personal campaign of telling his sisters (one at a time) that they DID NOT want the Legos. It must have worked because they hadn't asked for them.

J and K were for the most part only interested in the gum. For 2 tickets each for one stick of Doublemint gum they see it as a bargain, especially since this is the first time they've both been allowed to eat gum. They also liked the lip gloss. I bet they'll be cleaning for days if I put kid make-up in there.

So what do they need to do to earn tickets? I have a specific list of chores and how many tickets they earn: putting their own plates in the sink earn 2 tickets, putting toys away get 1 ticket, putting their own seat belt immediately after getting in the car earn 2, etc.

The system doesn't work as I would like but I consider the system successful. We buy them toys (especially for Big M) when we go to the store before, and sometimes it results in a tantrum when we refuse. At least now the store is no longer associated with goodies. The toy-buying is also now more spaced out and now associated with hard work. Not bad, huh?

twin monkeys jumping on the couch

It may sound like I was egging them on, but I'm not. Well, maybe. They were doing this but stopped when I started video taping. That's why you can hear me tell them to jump. :)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

the weaning process has begun

For the last 3 weeks or so, I've started cutting out the morning feeding. It has worked quite well because Little M has now fully accepted soy milk. After he has breakfast, I give him soy milk in a sippy cup and he's good to go until about noon. He would be fully weaned during the day time if not for his need to breastfeed in order to fall asleep. So the process is going well. The only thing that isn't going well is the middle of the night feeding. Sometimes Little M wakes up 3-4x a night. The nurse in the pediatrician's office looked at me with pity and gave me some papers to read about weaning. If she only knew what I went through with Big M. Little M is a cake walk in comparison.

In the last couple of days, there is something amazing going on though. When Little M is napping in his crib he usually cries when he wakes up. His cries intensifies when he realizes there is noone in the room with him. But a few days ago he woke up and started playing and went back to sleep! A day after that, I tried to put him in his crib drowsy and not asleep and it worked. The next day, I tried the same thing and it worked again. I am giddy with excitement!

Daddy and I originally planned on transferring him to his own room by 12 months but decided to delay it since he is still breastfeeding in the middle of the night. With the progress of the past few days, I am encouraged that I will eventually get him fully weaned. :) And when we move him to his own room, maybe, just maybe, I wouldn't have to sleep in there with him. A mom can dream.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dear daddy

I bought the kids a white board with dry erase crayons and placed it in the breakfast area. When Big M came home he wrote Daddy a message. He told me that he wanted Daddy to take him to Walmart instead of me because I don't let him buy a lot of things. After he wrote the first sentence I told him that when he asks for something he needs to offer something in return hence the massage.

tantrum of a 1-year old

I caught a tantrum on video. Let it be known that when it comes to tantrums this is a very tame one. What are the odds that this will be his tantrum style for the next 5 years or so? A mama can hope.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

One of those days

I am the recipient of this evil face. I don't exactly know why but I'm guessing that it was because I was forcing him to take a nap. He could barely keep his eyes open in the car after school.

Latex allergy?

Yesterday, J woke up with some redness on the inside of one eye. It was red but I didn't worry about it because I saw her rubbing. In the middle of the day I received a call from school letting me know that J's eye has now little raised bumps around it. Five minutes later I get another call that they've discovered one of her ear is red all over with little bumps that is going down her neck and that the back of her ear was oozing.

Daddy gave J Benadryl in the evening and that helped the redness, but we had to think about what could be causing it. J has eczema which oozes when not treated immediately but this is a wider area that is very localized. Daddy did a search on the internet and had an AHA moment. The day before, I bought the girls Disney Princess Barbie dolls and that night J slept with it on her bed. Daddy discovered that night that she was actually resting her face on the doll...the same side of her face that is now inflamed and itchy.

I gave her a bath, changed her sheet and this morning she looked a lot better. I think Daddy is right. She may have reacted to the dolls. Is it Latex? what do these dolls have? J has never reacted like this before, but then again she has never slept with these dolls on her bed before.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Kindness Jar and Water Fight

The Easter Bunny do not visit our house. He's not such a big thing, unlike Santa. But we do love egg hunts and some presents because it is a special day after all. In fact, it's so special the kids get to start eating candy again after giving it up for Lent. As family, we decided that we would not eat candy. Instead we have a "Kindness Jar" that we fill up every time someone does something kind. After a week, K figured out that if she could at least put one Jelly Bean in when she says I love you to someone. Smart cookie. For Easter we finally get to eat all the candy we saved up and divided them equally. So it's a very special day indeed!

As an extra present, everyone got water balloon also and they were excited to try them out. Both J and K didn't want to get wet but after some explaining, K at least tolerated some wetness. J refused to get wet, but I think it's partly because she didn't feel well.

J is the one wearing a pair of shorts only, and it's Big M's pants at that. :)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

backyard egg hunt

honest Abe

So I hear this a lot from J, "Mama, you stink. You need gum."

Well, pardon me.

Helicopter egg drop

We tried a different kind of Easter Egg hunt yesterday. It's one where a helicopter drops the eggs!  The egg hunt was broken up by age group so I stayed with Big M while I had Little M in a carrier. Daddy was to watch the girls in another side of the field.

It was fun to see the eggs falling from a helicopter!

What wasn't fun was when people do not follow the rules. For ages 5-7, parents were not allowed into the field. But as soon as everyone heard the word, "GO!" everyone ran for it. I stayed behind. But when I couldn't see Big M anymore, I started looking for him. But originally told him to come back to me where I was, I had to go back to my original point hoping and praying we would find each other! Thankfully, the organizers of the even knew there would be kids lost so all the kids wore bracelets with their parents' cell phone number. Thankfully we didn't need to come to that. We found each other! PHEW!

When were all finally reunited, K and J wasn't able to find eggs. Apparently, we had missed the egg hunt for their age group so when all the big kids ran for it, the little ones were just no match. Thankfully, Big M got enough eggs for everyone to trade for candy bags (the eggs were empty).

Oh, I almost forgot to mention the interesting start to our day. On the drive over to the egg hunt, Little M threw up all over his car seat. There was so much vomit we had to turn around to clean up. The car seat was a mess. Daddy suggested that Little M and I stay home, but if I did that I knew he would have a hard time with all 3 at the egg hunt. And knowing how it went now, it was a good decision for me to have gone. Besides, we knew Little M wasn't really sick. He has been having asthma problems that when he coughs, it results in vomiting.

Rewind 2 days earlier on Thursday, Big M was ill when I picked him up from school. He was suffering from severe headache and vomited that evening. Also that evening, J came down with fever and headache. J had to stay home on Friday, which was her school's Easter party. K made sure she brought J's goodie bag home.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Bluebonnet pictures

Bluebonnet is Texas' state flower an it is apparently a big Texas thing for families to take pictures in a bluebonnet field. So wherever there is a large area of Bluebonnets, you will see families scattered about taking pictures. So one day, I took the kids to one after soccer and discovered what the hooha is. They are beautiful and they are fragrant. So with some friends, we met and took pictures of each other. Unfortunately, from the time I saw the field for the first time, and 2 weeks later when we took our pictures, the flowers were not so blue and were not so perky. So note to self, next year plan on taking pictures as soon as they're in bloom. So here are some pictures. Thank you to some great new friends! Otherwise, I would be missing from the picture. :)

The pictures were great considering the fact that it's hard to get 4 young kids to look in the camera at once. Also, we had to take pictures fast and didn't have time to consider the background and other things. So I decided to fiddle with Photoshop. It took hours, but the pictures look better. I was figuring things out as I was doing them, but I think the pictures are better.

I removed the building from the background, removed K's tattoo and enhanced the color. (K is in pink.)

Building removed, tattoo removed, Daddy's teeth whitened just a tad. :)

M removed from the background, building removed and the other people removed. Also added some flowers to cover our legs.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

12-month size check

Little M had his 12-month check up this week and here are his stats:

Height - 29 7/8 inches (25th - 30th percentile)
Weight - 21 lbs (25th - 30th percentile)
Head - 17 3/4 inches (30th percentile)

This puts him oh-so-slightly bigger than his sisters and much smaller than his big brother. But if the older 3 says anything about our family, Little M will catch up and still be a big boy.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

trying to talk

Pay attention halfway through the video when he answers my question. ;)

And as always, he likes shoes and he likes to stick out his tongue.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

It's time for playareas

K and J met new friends today. Twin friends. For a change they're the ones who couldn't tell their friends apart. We went to a story time in the mall and then to the play area. They played with other kids and then I saw them playing/guiding younger kids. They both gravitate towards young kids. They will make great babysitters one day.

Little M also had fun. He crawled, climbed and walked around. He didn't even mind that some bigger kids knocked him down sometimes. He absolutely enjoyed it even if I did have to restrain him a few times. It's hard to be in 2 places at the same time - keeping the girls from doing something they shouldn't and keeping. Little M from being trampled. I think I might have to bring him there alone one day.

As of today, Little M continues to walk more and more steps by himself. This also means he is practicing a new found skill of pushing his rigid little body in order to escape my hold and get down.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Busy little monkey

I am too busy lately to sit on the computer long enough to post birthday pictures so here's one. Once a week we take his sisters to dance class so I try and bring things that would distract him. And nothing does a better job than food. So here is little m munching away at his Cheerios and showing his 2 upper teeth finally poking through.

He is very good with all the errands we do. And lately if I let him walk around, he is even happier. He walks fast holding on with on hand and he with some urging he walks about 5 steps unassisted. Today I even saw him start to walk without encouragement.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Happy 1st birthday, Little M.

Yesterday Little M turned one.  We didn't have anything big planned, but we had to cancel what we did plan. Little M vomitted his birthday pancake breakfast. He gobbled them up so we thought he was just too full. But after the 3rd episode we had to call our friend to cancel. We didn't want what was potentially a bad bug to spread. Other than being tired from the lack of sleep the night before, he otherwise behaved fine. He had his presents, his first cake and of course lots of pictures.

Big M commented on how few presents Little M. We told him it was because all the baby toys he and his sisters had are now all passed down to Little M. Daddy and I feel a little guilty about it too but we know he will be asking for his own toys soon enough.

Pictures later.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

oh no!

In case you've noticed J's little smudge under her nose, it's from a fall she had at school. I was sitting in the living room trying to make Little M happy when my phone rang. A moment of panic came over me when I saw that it was from the preschool. Ever since the girls had a new preventative asthma inhaler, I haven't gotten a call from the school (to bring the nebulizer in) so my mind braces for the worst.

The assistant director said that J fell off from the 2-step bleacher type seating they have in class (why they have this in 3 year old classroom is not a smart thing). She was on the top and loss her footing and fell face first. The top of her lip hit the first step, and she slid down onto the floor hitting her forehead. She was pretty upset and started breathing fast. The director said it was probably because she was scared. And that she has a pretty big knot on her forehead. They had given her ice and will keep a close eye on her for the rest of the day.

I wasn't worried when I picked her up. Big M had a few of those at this age. But when I saw the assistant director she said it looked a lot better. I'm thinking, what? I would probably have freaked out had I seen her right after this happened then.

The sad thing is, J has fallen from the same spot before without any bump. I told her to pleeeeease not to play on top of the bleacher step again. J said, "OK, Mommy."

Spring Fling

The girls and I made it to our very first Moms of Multiple group event. None of us have ever seen so many twins and other higher order multiples in one place.

The girls are wearing something I made for them. I took up sewing a couple of months ago and just enjoyed this pattern very much. It's easy and very pretty! J is wearing the flowers, and K is wearing the blue with butterflies.

They are identical twins, and that's a fact. They will always be special because of it. So I like to celebrate how different they are from each other, especially when people have a hard time telling them apart.

lovin' soccer

Big M is the one with the ball wearing a hoodie.

We have a pretty busy 6 year old! Big M is currently in soccer and Drama Kids. Drama is after schools on Wednesdays, then 2 hours later he goes to a Jr Soccer Academy where he works on skills (no games). Then on Thursdays he has a soccer practice with the city soccer association, and games on Saturday. There is also a skills class on Saturdays but we don't get to go on that one when it conflicts with the game. He played his first soccer game when he was 3 years old, and hoped he would like it. And like it, he does. He is also actually pretty good. During games when the players are rotated, he sometimes refuses to rest. And when he has had enough rest, he goes out to the field and demands to play.

On the first game, he was a clear favorite as a defense. He anticipates where the ball is going and runs ahead. Though the team got creamed on the first game, Big M did block several goals. But though he is great as a defensive player, Daddy and I have seen what he can do as an offensive player, so we try to encourage hi to just "go for the it!" and not to give up trying to get the ball. With his brawny stature at 4 foot and some tall, and 52 lbs there is not much the other kids can do when he decides to fight for the ball. He doesn't look big, but he is thick. With the excitement of the first team goals on the 3rd game, a mom was swinging her son around and decided to do the same with Big M. Was she surprised at how heavy he was!

And may I just add that the parents in our team are great also! There was a lot of screaming when the team made the first few goals. You'd think we were winning the game how loud we usually are. I just love it!
The girls also enjoy going to the practice and the game. They love playing with the younger kids. :)

With Big M's exhausting schedule, he doesn't get to play with the neighborhood kids as much lately. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but that's a topic for another day.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

a very silly silly baby

A while back, we discovered Little M's tendency to remove his pants. One minute he has his pants on, the next he doesn't. Then I discovered that he also has a natural inclination to strip his shirt, too.

I had to clean the carpet within the kid corral so I decided to experiment. I opened it up and covered the perimeter to block off the TV and other escape.  In one end, I pushed the exersaucer against it so he couldn't push out. That didn't work. While I was upstairs giving J a bath, he escaped into the kitchen. K was in the enclosure with him and didn't know he had escaped. The corral is now closed again.

But then again, we wonder how long he will be kept in. Several months ago, he started using his big toe to climb the corral. No worries, right? He could only get up 4-6 inches anyway. Wrong. Pay careful attention to where his left foot is. Nowadays he can go 3/4 of the way up, which is 2 feet off the ground.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

fearless girls

The local mall had a kiddie festival for a couple of weeks so we decided to bring the kids. This is Big M's second time but the girl's first. It is a lot of fun for them to be able to go on the rides on their own. The only thing is, I don't remember it being this expensive. But that's what happens when you multiply everything by 3. They're not even 4 years old yet and they were tall enough to ride on their own, and that they did.

This thing looked pretty scary to me, but they both wanted to ride it. The metal bar that holds the rider in is much too big for them. I had to repeatedly tell them not to move and not to wiggle. Thank goodness they listened.
(K in yellow in the foreground)

This is a flying ride. I explained that when they push the bar forward, the helicopter would go high up, and when they pull it, they will go down. I don't think I did a good job explaining because as soon as they pushed it, they pulled it right back. Either that or one wants to go up and the other wants to go down.
(J in white, K in yellow)
I don't have a picture of Big M since he was an elusive animal. During part of the fun, he and Daddy had to separate off so he could ride more fun rides. Little M just watched everyone had fun. I'm sure he'll have his fun in a couple of years.