Monday, April 19, 2010

Mom n Me Monday

Mom n Me Monday was started on the Peanut Gallery blog where she started it "in an attempt to make myself get in the picture with my kiddos. When my kids are grown, I don't want to look through my photos only to find that I am not in any of them! So, I'm on a mission to "capture" these memories."

Here's Seth and I snugglin' in the comfy chair, one of our favorite pastimes. This for sure will be one of those things that he will outgrow far too soon and I will look back at these pictures as my only proof that he really did this! I miss it already.

Friday, April 16, 2010

You know you're the parent of identical twins when...

So this post is piggybacking off of our friend Ami's, which piggybacked off of Nicole's  which piggybacked off of something else too.  But anyway, here Scott and I present:

You know you're the parent of identical twins when...

If you get flummoxed when people use singular phrasing (like "Helping your baby sleep through the night"), you may be the parent of identical twins.

If you've ever wondered why this one is so much chubbier than that one, when they are only a few ounces different, you may just be the parent of identical twins.

If your house looks like Babies 'R' Us threw up in your living room, you may be the parent of identical twins.  (Right, Robyn?)

If you've ever muttered "one diaper down, one to go" under your breath, you may just be the parent of identical twins.

If you have a reasonably good idea what the second breast is for, you may indeed be the parent of identical twins.

On that same topic, if your 3 year old has ever seen a picture of an animal nursing her litter and exclaimed "That's like you mommy!," you may just be the parent of identical twins.

If you have to put toenail polish on one of your sons to tell them apart, there exists the possibility you're the parent of identical twins.

If you crash your car, and the major criteria for the replacement is "carseat capacity," you may just be the parent of identical twins.

If assessing which of your double strollers will be needed for the day's outing is a substantial part of your weekend, you may be the parent of identical twins.

If you've ever showed photographs of one of your children and the following exchange has occurred:
"Now, which one is that?"
"I don't know"
...there exists the possibility you're the parent of identical twins.

If you've ever eyeballed one of those catalogs with the "beer helmets" in them and wondered if it would be possible to devise a means of bottle feeding out of that "technology,"... you may just be a redneck.  With identical twins.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Child Care Conundrum

So, today's blog will be another one full of math.  It will also be a lot of rambling, but I really need your opinion, so if you can, bear with me...

Unfortunately, when you have multiples, life seems to require a lot more math.  You might even say it requires more math exponentially.

Today's math is the sum total of childcare expenses.

This year, since I went back to work in October, I have been blessed to be able to work only part-time, 3 days a week.  I LOVE it and would love to be able to do it for another year or two, but unfortunately, we are blowing through our savings pretty quickly as we are not making enough to pay all of our expenses.

So, that being said, I've been bracing myself to go back to work full-time in July.

Our babysitters (and wonderful friends) Kimberly and Tad have agreed to continue with the twins for 3 days a week. Another wonderful friend, Amber, has agreed to take the other 2 days. Great.  All set.

Then there's Seth.

We have been so blessed this year as Seth is attending the preschool where two more of my wonderful friends, Faith and Ada, teach. He goes there for half of the day and then my Aunt Gwen and Uncle Mike generously and out of the kindness of their hearts, watch him the other half.

Well, as of right now, we don't have a daycare option for him for next year that would be willing to drop him off and pick him up at preschool four days a week and watch him all day on Friday. So, we are looking at having him switch to the full-time preschool at the elementary school where I work.

This would be nice in that he'd be right here on campus with me, but we've been so happy with his current preschool, I would hate to switch.  Also, honestly, I don't know how he'd do in an all-day environment.  Plus, it's A LOT more expensive.

So, here's where the math comes in:

(by the way, check my numbers as math was NEVER my strong suit)

Full-time child care for all 3 kids next year:

$365 per WEEK
($240 for the twins and $125 for Seth)
$1,460 per month

That is more than double what we are paying right now.

So for me to go back to work 2 more days a week, and after taxes and these childcare expenses, I will bring home a little over $900 a month.

Obviously, $900 is $900 and we need $900.  So I will have to work.  Not working is not an option.

So, my conundrum is this (and this is where I need your opinion), should I continue with my plans to go back to work full-time and just suck-it-up and pay $1,460 for child care. Or, should I try something else.

I was thinking about maybe starting my own in-home daycare.

I did some more math and figured out how many kids I would need to take on to make up the difference of $900.

3 kids at $25/kid = $75/day
$75/day x 4 days/week = $300/week
$300/week x 4 weeks a month = $1200/month

3 kids for 4 days a week would net me $300 more than working full-time as a teacher AFTER childcare expenses.

Now, I realize that there are a LOT of things I am not taking into account here:

My numbers are a mix of post-taxes (teaching salary) and pre-taxes (daycare salary).

There's insurance to think of.

There's the inherent costs of running a day care to think of.

There's the 9 weeks of vacation that I would lose to think of.

There's the loss of adult conversation with great friends and co-workers to think of.

There's the fact that I love my job and helping kids learn to read to think of.

There's the fear of not being able to get back into a job in teaching (at least the job I want) to think of.

There's my husband's obvious reluctance to think of.

But, I gotta tell ya, the idea of being home with my kiddos and not just working to pay childcare really has its appeal...

I don't know.

What do you think?

Friday, April 9, 2010

As you know, we have been cloth diapering in earnest for about 2 weeks at home now and it is going pretty well!  I plan to post soon on all the good and all the poop about cloth diapering, but for now I wanted to tell you about my new favorite website to buy baby stuff:

15 months ago, my cousin-in-law, Alicia, who had just had her beautiful little boy Jack, told me about this cool website where you can buy diapers online and have them delivered to your door for a price that was very comparable to Costco.  

At the time, we knew we were expecting (not that it was twins) and Seth was a few months short of potty training. It didn't seem like any big deal to me as we visited Costco often and could always just throw a box  of diapers in the cart.

Well, then there was this flurry of multiple babies and many, many, MANY multiples of diapers. We had boxes and boxes stored in the shed. We didn't need to worry about diapers. We had PLENTY! In fact, we were worried about the glue on the diapers going bad in the heat of the shed (tee hee, remember that Bambi?).

Then of course you already know about all my math and the crunching and the decision to switch to cloth as much as possible.  I did some research and started looking for places to buy cloth diapers and I came across...!

I had never even considered them as I figured they were all disposables.

Doing my homework, I started doing some comparison shopping online and found that Amazon actually had the gPants and Wal-Mart had the cloth inserts for cheaper.  So I was trying to figure out if it would be better to order from the other sites or at with the first time user $10 coupon.  

Then, I noticed that has a price match guarantee!  All you do is click on it, enter the link to where the cheaper item is and they discount the matching item in your cart!

Coolio.  Now, what other deals could I get?  They also have a 10% off pretty much everything else deal for first time customers. So, I added baby food to my cart, but it didn't seem to work.  I emailed customer service and they responded in 20 minutes or so that, alas, baby food doesn't qualify, but they would give me another $10 off credit for the hassle.

So, I got what could've been $93.26 worth of stuff for $61.26!!  Yay!  Love it!

Plus, it literally was on my doorstep the next morning.

I HIGHLY recommend it to everyone!  

If you need anything for your baby, and I mean anything you can buy at Target, Wal-Mart, or Babies R Us, they have it. Food, formula, diapers (including cloth!), clothes, toys, books, gadgets, accessories, ANYTHING! AND you can spend as much time as you want looking at everything and deciding.

Plus, use the code on the top right of my page, MADS8919, and you get $10 off your first order, I get $5 off my next order and then you can recommend it to all of your friends and do the same.

Then again, maybe you have plenty of time to do your shopping.  

I know for me nowadays, to get anywhere, it takes at least two adults to wrangle three small children during that perfect "not time to eat, not time to sleep" period of the day, into the car and then when we get there, it is a ticking time bomb before we NEED TO GO.

I did take them all to Costco by myself... once... 

I almost had a panic attack in the frozen food aisle when I came to my senses and realized what I was doing.  What would I have done if one or more of them had melted down?  Walked out, abandoning my cart full of food, with one baby strapped to me, one in a car seat and pulling a 3 year old behind me? 

Luckily, they all did great and we even stopped for hot dogs, but I don't think I'll be doing that again anytime soon.  Thank goodness for online shopping... especially :)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Another love...

Those of you that know me, know that I have another love.

A developing love with photography.

I have absolutely no training, but I love to take and edit photos and thought I might be able to post some on my blog.

So tonight, for my blog entry, I've created a new page on my blog.  You'll find it right under the family photo at the top next to the word "Home."  It's entitled "My Photography."

These photos won't necessarily have anything to do with our family or the happenings, but just photos that I thought turned out pretty well.

The first few are from my Aunt and Uncle's backyard a few weeks ago.

Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Swing away!

Our first video posted!  

Here we are at the park a few weeks ago where the twins got to swing for the very first time! 

You can see the boys found another perk of having a twin: you can go in the baby swing sooner than if you were by yourself as you wouldn't be able to quite sit-up and swing at the same time! 

(Thanks to Dache for the idea!)

Sorry about the quality of the video.  I took it on my phone.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter Eggstravaganza!

Whew! We had a jam-packed full o' fun Easter weekend.  

On Friday, we met a bunch of teacher friends and their kiddos at the park for a beautiful picnic (forgot my camera)

Then, later that day, we picked Aunt Shannon up at the airport. So fun to have her here for all the festivities! Most of these pictures were taken by her (unless they have her in them).

Saturday, we went to the Easter Egg Hunt at church where Seth cleaned up!

Hmmm...what's in this one?

Look at all those eggs!

Taking stock of his spoils:

Shannon takes the opportunity to snuggle a baby Ben:

Daddy thinks Seth is the sweetest of all his "Peeps"

Then, home to dye the eggs:

Seth's note to the Easter Bunny:

Dear Easter Bunny,
Happy Easter!
For my Easter basket I would like:
-Toy Story coloring book
-something little, like a dinosaur
-a chocolate bunny
-a yellow marshmallow chick
Please bring my brothers:
-baby food
P.S. Have a yummy carrot!

Easter morning:

The Easter Bunny was very good to the boys this year.
Thanks Sandy, for the darling bibs.

"It's just what I always wanted!!" (Toy Story mini-coloring pages)


Ben in his Easter shirt, ready for church:

Parker in his Easter shirt:

That afternoon, after naps and another Easter egg hunt in the backyard, we went to G.G. and Boppa's house for a wonderful ham dinner with all the fixins'. Yummy!

Aunt Shannon reads the boys a story before she leaves. I think she really gets a kick out of holding both of the twins at the same time:

And that was our BORING Easter Weekend!

Monday, April 5, 2010

"Cloth diaper update" or "the learning curve."

Hello.  Guest poster Scott here again.  I can see by the zero comments to my last post that no one has objected to my contributions so far, so here we go.

I can also see that yesterday's post advertised something about Easter Eggstravaganza.  I'm guessing that was supposed to involve the posting of some pictures.  Well, judging from the pile of dishes in the kitchen that need my attention, I'm not about to learn how to post any pictures, so we will have to have the Easter post at another time.

In the meantime, how about an awesome cloth diaper update?  Okay, suppose I were to tell you all the steps to how to change your own oil in your car.  I might even show you by pointing out some key items under your hood and showing you the equipment.  Suppose I then were to have you go ahead and change your oil some time when I wasn't around.  (For the sake of this example, assume you've never done this on your own before.)  So, it would probably be... imperfect.  It might be messy.  It might not be done "the right way."  And your disposal of the hazardous leftovers might not meet with all local regulations.

Well, the oil change is a metaphor.  You see, the oil change represents the cloth diaper change.  The car is the baby, I guess.  The "key items and equipment" are the outer diaper shell thingee, the liner, the thing that goes inside the other thing, and the thing that snaps into place (assuming you've got everything pointed in the right direction and not inside out.)  And the hazardous leftovers are the, well, I believe the correct term is "fecal matter."  (I use a different word for it when Seth isn't around.)

So, this is all a coyly-worded song-and-dance to divert blame away from myself regarding the dirty cloth diaper that may or may not have ended up in the dirty bin without first being properly, uh, swished.

Ah well.  Fecal matter happens.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Our Favorite Things at 8 Months Old!

It's hard to believe, but the twins are 8 months old today! Time flies when you're in survival mode! ;)

The boys are so much fun right now and we are really starting to get to see their personalities and differences, but here are some things that they both really love:

1. Our TOES!! We are getting really good at getting them in our mouths and it is great fun!
2. SETH! He is hilarious!
3. Ceiling fans.  I mean, come on, have you seen these things?
4. Our Jumparoo and Exersaucer.  We will literally jump until we fall asleep.

5. Being tickled by anyone
6. Jabbering "Dadadada, Mamamama, ahahahah"
7. Our seahorses (Fisher Price Soothe and Glow) which put us right to sleep
8. Peek-a-boo
9. Looking at each other
10. WIGGLING! So much so, that whomever is holding me gets quite a workout!

Tomorrow: Easter Eggstravaganza!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Things that make Scottieay happy

Hello, everybody.  Special guest Scott posting at you today.  Here we go, in no particular order....

- Spending time with any or all of the members of my family
- Superhero comics
- Playing with Seth
- Being funny
- Long naps/sleeping in
- Gaming (roleplaying, card games, board games, video games....)
- Watching TV that we both enjoy with the wife and then talking about it together
- Staying up late talking with friends
- Writing (in theory... haven't actually done this in forever)
- My favorite movies, shows, etc.  Listing these would be a whole 'nother post
- Keeping in touch with or catching up with old friends
- Listening to audio content (like podcasts or DVD commentaries) during drudge-work or commutes
- When one of my boys grows up a tiny bit more and does something I've never seen him do before
- Strawberries, pineapple, peaches, spicy food, my mom's macaroni recipe....  Oh, and a certain type of soda....

Tomorrow: The Twins!

Friday, April 2, 2010

10 Things That Make Seth Happy!

A few weeks back, I was invited to write up a list of 10 things that make me happy.

Then last week I noticed on another blog that a mom asked her kiddos and husband the same thing.

I thought it might be fun to hear what my family has to say!

I wondered if Seth would be able to understand the question and give genuine answers (not just "playing with this toy, and this toy, and this toy").

When I asked him, both Scott and I were really tickled by his answers.  I SWEAR I did NOT prompt him on these:

1. Tickling the babies (cheeky, cheeky)
2. My Cars movie
3. Playing with my trains
4. Swimming in Kimberly's pool
5. Being superheroes with daddy
6. Playing with my race cars
7. Going to Target to look at toys
8. Reading books 
9. Coloring and painting with G.G.
10. Going to the train station to look at trains with Boppa Mike and Grandpa Steve  

Tomorrow: 10 Things That Make Scottieay Happy

Thursday, April 1, 2010

You're doing WHAT?

So, I know a lot of people might think we're a little bit crazy for even trying it, but Scott and I have decided to try cloth diapering on the twins and NO, this is NOT an April's fool joke.

I'd like to say it's because we've re-evaluated our carbon footprint and are finally doing our part to "go green" and while this is an added benefit, it would be mostly a lie.

Yes, I do cringe when we take out our two huge pails of diapers two or three times a week thinking of the amount of garbage we contribute on a weekly basis.

Yes, I do know that each of those diapers will take something like 500 years to decompose.

Yes, I do know that disposables have lots of chemicals in them, including chlorine, that could possibly poison my babies (although, I've never actually heard of that happening).

The main reason is cold. hard. cash.

Diapers are expensive.

We were so lucky to have two amazing diaper parties before the twins were born (thanks Georgia, Lori, and Karen, and Josh and Ruth for hosting).  Between those two parties and generous gifts from coworkers, church friends and visiting family members, we figure we must have received around 3,200 diapers.

Wanna know how long 3,200 diapers lasts a pair of twins (minus one box that are still too big)?

7 months, 1 week and 4 days
228 days.

That works out to approximately 14 diapers per day.

Now, granted, the babies used more diapers when they were newborns and less nowadays, but
we are still using about 10 - 12 diapers a day (depending on unexpected treats).

We sat down to do the math on how much this will cost us until the boys are potty trained and here is what we came up with:

If we potty train the boys at 32 months (2 yrs. 8 mos.) which is when Seth was potty trained, we are looking at two more years (or exactly 24 months) of diapering.

If we use 10 - 12 diapers a day, 31 days a month, for 24 months, that works out to be about 8,000 diapers.

Diapers, at Costco, cost (on sale) $0.17 apiece.

8,000 diapers at $0.17 is $1,360.

We can probably get a decent sized stash of good cloth diapers for somewhere between $300 - $500. (Right now we are trying the gDiapers with cloth inserts (bought a few) and BumGenius (borrowed from a friend)).

That's $1,000 difference!!

Hey, if it's good for the environment too, added bonus!

8,000 less diapers in the landfill has to count for something right?

Let the great adventure BEGIN!  {I'll let you know what happens!}