Friday, December 31, 2010

2011 Goals - Happy New Year!

I have to say blogging has helped me in so many ways. It introduced me to people like Marcia who inspire me to live a more intentional life.

Yesterday, as we drove up to see my parents, which takes almost 3 hours to get to, DH and I took the time to discuss our goals for 2011. We have some really out there lifetime goals that we've worked on, but we decided, especially from Marcia's example to sit and think about what do we want to accomplish this year. I'm going to organize this better, but these are just some of the things we came up with, other than our exercising a certain number of days per week.

1. Put a certain amount of money toward our debt (yes we have some - I did a lot of IVFs and other holistic treatments, you know?)
2. Go to Cape May, NJ for our family vacation this summer
3. Put a certain amount of money in Phoebe's savings account.
4. Install 4 ceiling fans - 2 in upstairs bedrooms and 2 in the conservatory on the first floor
5. Make adjustments to increase our 401K retirement plans
6. Update our wills
7. Organize the garage (this will help with other house projects)
8. Plan our 2011 garden (what will we plant this year?)
9. Start planning out finishing the basement
10. Send taxes over to the accountant by Valentines's Day.
11. Reassess our 529 plans (college savings) - need to increase now that we have two more kids
12. Start learning French - both of us
13. Start piano lessons - me for now
14. Go out on at least 4 date nights per month (I think this often is a stretch goal, LOL!)
15. Clean out the papers in our office drawers - keep only what is necessary.

We had a lot of fun doing this and we even said we wish we started doing this sooner in our life. I like that we did our goals together, because if you know DH and I, we do most of our stuff in sync with each other. It's pretty odd, but we move around each other a lot like a well oiled machine. We do make a great team.

That said - Happy New Year!!! And write down some goals for this year and see if you can get them done! What do you think your goals would look like if you wrote them down?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

No More Monkeys Jumping Out of Bed

We bought more outlet covers, drawer latches and blind cord holders from the local Lowe's this morning after our eye doctor appointment. Don't get me started about the eye doctor appointment. It was like Christmas mass over again. Liam was an angel and Tommy a total devil. Poor kid is getting his eye teeth in now along with Liam and he gets so stubborn about wanting to do what he wants to do! Whew, does he tire me out! Thankfully, I have my ways of getting him to relax a little bit, like singing "The Wheels on the Bus" a million times, with hand gestures. After we got back from our morning errands, the boys wanted lunch and a nap. They slept really long this afternoon and DH was making dinner by the time they woke up, so we haven't had time to do the installations yet and take the sides off the crib.

So this morning, I got up early and made sure I was showered and ready for my day before they were. I was waiting to hear them wake up on the baby monitor (which does have video thank goodness!) and then I could run in before they think about climbing. I did the same for the afternoon nap and I'm sure I'll be doing the same thing tomorrow morning. I really don't want them to hurt themselves. So good luck again tomorrow for us all!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Guess What And Who

Guess who climbed out of his crib after his afternoon nap today? Liam did. I'm completely not surprised, as I do call him my Monkey Boy for a reason. He might be smaller by Tommy by 2 inches and 5 lbs, but he's a climber. They were finishing up their nap this afternoon when all of a sudden I heard a really loud cry. I didn't hear a bump or a bang, so I don't think he fell hard. I ran upstairs, knowing this was not a normal cry and I found Liam standing in the middle of his room, crying and looking confused like, "What did I just do!!!!!" And Tommy was looking at him like, "Wow! That was cool. Can I try it?"

We're going to take the sides off the cribs very soon. We need to get drawer latches to baby proof their furniture, otherwise we'll end up with clothes all over the room every day. Their sister never did that, but I know they will. I have a dresser near their cribs and the top drawer is now empty as they would empty that from their cribs when they needed some entertainment. So we need the drawer latches, some of the really hard to pull out outlet covers (Tommy finds the easier ones a challenge when he sees them and takes them out), DH needs to hang a poster that's sitting in a frame on their floor and I'm sure we'll come up with something else that needs to be done quickly. Our thought is to have them all done by the end of the week.

For tonight, we have pillows on the floor outside their cribs in case either of them decide this is a good thing to try again.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas

Hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas! We survived the holiday yesterday with our now three kids running around on nervous energy and not enough sleep. Now we're getting dumped with our first Noreaster of the winter season. For those not on the East Coast of the USA, that means we're getting dumped about a foot of snow tonight and it's really windy outside. I'm taking the opportunity to relax in the kitchen and bake up some pumpkins to freeze the mash for pumpkin pies, muffins or even pancakes. I've been so busy since we bought them, we're rarely ever home for enough time. So as I watch the snow fall and my pumpkins bake, here is the cup of coffee I raise to you all to toast the season. My special Christmas coffee topped with whipped cream and festive sprinkles. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Ear Infections and Pomegranate Martini Recipe

Tommy was having a hard time falling asleep last night. I felt so bad for him. He was tossing and turning and moaning, not crying, just moaning and I could see he was tired. I gave him some ibuprofen and he fell asleep. Took him to the doctor's this morning. Wanted to get him in before everyone scooted for holidays. Sure enough. Both ears infected. He's now on Zithromax or whatever generic equivalent there is, and the mending will now begin. Poor guy.

However, to celebrate the festivities of the season, I've been in the mood for a beverage that is red and not too sweet. I came up with this Cosmo-Style Pomegranate Martini that I think is quite tasty. Enjoy!

2 shots of plain vodka (don't use flavors, it makes it taste wierd)
1 shot of triple-sec or other orange flavored liquor
2 shots of pomegranate juice (see it's healthy! good for you!)
dash of lemon juice

Mix all ingredients in a martini shaker with ice and serve in a martini glass. Yum!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Mullets and Other Early 80s Fun

Tommy's hair has been starting to look like a mullet and I couldn't take it anymore. So before bath time tonight, I took a trimmer my DH has and just trimmed the back of his head. It's not the best job. I am not a good hair dresser; however, no one would notice any issues as he doesn't sit still to look at his head to begin with. At least he no longer has that look of "serious up front, party in the back" look to his hair. I really couldn't take it anymore.

That said, also in the topic of the early 80s, have you ever done anything earlier in your school life that people (especially mean girls) used to tease you about until you graduated and now you think it was really cool? So all I have to say is "Tara White, if you are out there, I'd really like that pic you have of me dressed up as Boy George when I was in 7th grade." It embarrassed me when I was younger, but now I feel like I was pretty cool. Yeah, I know it's cool only in my own mind, but I'd love that pic she used to go around showing people to embarrass me. I need that piece of history.

Pecan Pie Recipe

I brought my award-winning pecan pie to the work holiday potluck today. Wow! It still got rave reviews and was all gone by 2 PM. There were lots of other desserts still lingering, but mine was gone! And I had lots of people come up and ask if I made it so they could say how good it was. I'll share it. I don't mind. I use a really big pie dish for this. I think it's 9 inches in diameter, so I have to increase the filling by 1.5 of what my original recipe called for. I'll give the recipe for both amounts, so you could see what it might be for a regular pie pan size

Pecan Pie Recipe - a la Heather
4 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups dark Karo syrup (this is corn syrup and can be found next to pancake syrup)
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
3 Tablespoons melted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice (this makes it not taste so sweet - you cannot leave this out)
3 cups chopped pecans (I buy whole and chop myself not too small)
Pillsbury pie crust
cooking spray

Use a metal whip to mix the eggs, Karo syrup, sugars, melted butter, vanilla and lemon juice. Mix in the chopped pecans with a wooden spoon. Spray the bottom and sides of the pie plate with the cooking spray to keep the pie crust from sticking too much and place the pie crust in place, trim the sides and fill with the filling. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 60 minutes. I also like to put a shield on the pie edges for the first 55 minutes and then take it off, to keep the edges of the crust from burning. When you check on the pie after 60 minutes, if it still jiggles in the middle too much, keep it in for another 5 minutes. Sometimes I might end up doing that one more time for a total cook time of 70 minutes, but the pie pan is huge. Nothing is worse than a not fully cooked pecan pie.

Here's the proportions for a normal size pie:

3 eggs
1 cup dark Karo syrup
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 Tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 to 2 1/2 cups chopped pecans

And then you probably only need to bake about 50-60 minutes.

Enjoy!

No Naps = One Very Tired Mommy!

I don't think I'll ever let Liam miss his afternoon nap again. We were really busy on Saturday getting ready for the holidays. We went to our favorite store, Nordstrom Rack, for clothes shopping presents. Found lots of great stuff, but both boys did not nap. The worst part is that we were going straight to an Alumni Holiday Party from my DH's MBA program and the boys were OK in the beginning, but after awhile, they were the worst ever. We fed the boys first and then DH and I ate in shifts. Ever the gentleman, he let me go first, while he kept an eye on the kids playing. This is a family event, so they had some crafts for the kids to do, but our boys, being the toddlers they are, just wanted to eat the little puff balls and sparkly things they had for the kids to glue on. At least that's one of the things they tried to do when I was watching them. They were fine for DH, but for me, they were eating the crafty stuff, running off in different directions, which they never do, and getting into every non-childproofed thing in the place. I will say, I'm usually pretty laid-back about the things the boys do, but this was so bad, I was breaking a sweat and counting the minutes until we could leave. Hopefully, next year will be easier, but I will make sure we don't have holiday shopping to do that afternoon and they do nap.

They still needed yesterday to recover too, so yesterday wasn't that great. Liam in particular was fussy and just wanted to be held when he wasn't napping. I was so glad to get them to bed last night.

The good news, is we are done holiday shopping after going out when the boys were napping. We left them home with Aunt Niki. Then last night I baked a pecan pie for the Holiday do at work and learned to make a fabulous pomegranite martini. I will be sharing the recipes. Hope everyone is close to being ready for the holdays. We just need to wrap presents and do some baking.

What holiday stuff do you have left to do?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Orange Glazed Pork Chops

I've been hit by another cold. I'm calling the boys "my little germ incubators". This is my second cold of the winter and we're only starting!!! So exercise has taken a back seat while I get sleep and lots of it. It's the only thing that helps me when I don't feel good. Which didn't help when it took me about 3 1/2 hours to get home last night. My 1/2 hour drive home became a parking lot because we got a dusting of snow last night and it was so cold there was ice on the roads. I also haven't been good about having a definitive menu plan, but I have had ideas ahead of time what we were having for dinner every night (except last night as I got home at 8 PM!). On Wednesday night, we had a good dinner for a cold winter night. I was so proud of being able to finally recreate a childhood dish that I've aways liked, orange-glazed pork chops. We had orange-glazed pork chops, baked yams and roasted brussel sprouts. Which was a very good combination. The roasted brussel sprouts are easy, cut the bottoms off the sprouts and put into a roasting pan with olive oil and kosher salt. Mix around a bit and put into a 400 degree oven where the yams are baking for about 20 minutes. The recipe for the pork chops are as follows:

6 boneless pork chops
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons of olive oil
3/4 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons orange marmalade
3 tablespoons brown sugar
small touch of champagne or apple cider vinegar

Sprinkle the pork chops with salt and pepper on each side. Brown the pork chops in a large skillet in the olive oil, 5 minutes each side. Combine the remaining ingredients and mix them well. Pour over the pork chops and reduce the heat. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes. If you need to thicken the sauce, take the lid off at the end and increase the heat to simmer until the sauce reduces.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Exercise

So I'm trying to find time to exercise. In particular, I'm trying to get my butt up in the morning to exercise first thing and to change my mindset to enjoy that. I have to admit it is nice to go through the day without that guilty feeling that I need to work out. Knowing that I've done it already and having that great feeling that I did something for myself that makes me feel good. I will admit exercise does make me feel good. Ever since having the boys, I have had problems with anxiety sometimes and that seems to completely go away when I've gotten all that extra energy out of my system. I've also had lower back issues ever since having Phoebe ten years ago and nothing helps it as much as ensuring I spend regular time on the elliptical machine and get some stretches in. It really is the combination of the two. I've tried just one or the other, but I have to do both to get my back into peak condition.

So I'm trying to tell myself to get 45 minutes on the elliptical machine we have in the basement at least 3 times a week and to do some yoga on a few evenings to stretch things out and get some good relaxation going. I was doing really well in the summer time, but then I fell off the wagon and now I'm trying to get back on again. I was able to do two times last week and I just got off the elliptical a few minutes ago, so I'm feeling pretty happy right now.

So tell me, do you try to find time for exercise? If so, what do you like to do?

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Time for More Gratuitous Pics

I took some pics of the boys running around the other day. So just to show you how they are acting like little boys and not babies, I give you the following pictures of cuteness.

Here's Tommy, my big boy, acting like he's up to no good.



Here's Liam with his cute little elf face. He still looks just like me as a toddler.



Tommy is such a happy boy. This is the way he is most of the time.



And more Liam cuteness with his monkey blanket. Liam loves any receiving blanket. He's not very picky about that.



Oh my goodness! I better take more pictures of these cute boys! The next set of pics should be of them in regular clothes and not their pjs.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Santa Picture!

We went to the mall on Saturday morning for our annual Santa photo. For all that Phoebe says she doesn't believe, she still acted pretty excited to see Santa. I knew one of the boys would cry for Santa. I just wasn't sure which one it would be. It was Liam. Thankfully, they took the pic very quickly when they realized it was going to escalate. They were good. So he just looks like the beginning of a good cry. Poor kid. You'd think he'd be OK with his sister on one side and his brother on the other, but nope. I still like the pic though. It's a memory of this year.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Twin Boys Early Intervention Update

Last Tuesday we had the annual Early Intervention assessment update and both boys do still qualify for therapy, but different than before. Here's the update:

Physical Therapy: Liam will be down to 2x/month (was weekly); Tommy no PT.
Occupational Therapy: Liam no longer needs. Tommy never needed.
Speech Therapy: Both boys qualify. They are going to go back and discuss if it should be a speech therapist or a teacher to work on their communication skills and the frequency.

I'm not worried about the speech stuff. I'm sure it will come soon enough and we'll be begging them for a moment of quiet. But I'm all about getting them help to communicate better as they have said some things, but they will say it once and then never again. Then they do get frustrated when you can't understand what they want, so at this point, I'd be happy for better communication of what they want. I can't always say I'll give it to them, LOL! I also think they are a bit delayed in communication and talking as they have spent a lot of time and energy learning to walk and now run. They definately understand what we are saying, as we'll ask them things like, "Where is your nose?" or "Where is Phoebe?" and they will point to their nose or Phoebe without issue. BTW, this comes in handy for distracting them from other things like when they are fussy at a restaurant and want to get out of their seat. They love to show off what they know. But the funny thing I've noticed Tommy do sometimes is if I ask, "Where is Mommy?" he points to himself. I never realized Tommy and Mommy sound so similar. I'm trying to show him the difference in how I say the two, so hopefully that will help. However, if it is a hearing issue (like my husband had when he was little) we'll find out in January, when the pediatrician is going to give his ears a once over, I believe measuring the pressure in his ears. He did have an ear infection in November.

So that's how things are going in our house. I will be posting this week's menu plan soon.