Friday, August 31, 2012

Fall Frenzy!

My older two children are wrapping up a successful first week of school!  They both like their teachers and are making new friends.  My twins go today for their open house and will get to meet their teachers, check out their classroom and see friends.  They start school next week!

Now that school is back in session, we are gearing up for Fall!  OT started back up yesterday, ballet starts tomorrow, tennis next week and lacrosse and girl scouts next weekend.  In addition, we will have play dates and the "party circuit".  Are your kids on that?  With four kids, we get a lot of invitations to birthday parties!  My kids love this.  They love seeing their friends outside of school and who doesn't love a goodie bag and some birthday cake!  I try to be pro-active about the parties and plan ahead!  When I see toys on sale, especially barbie dolls and Lego kits, I do pick up a few extra and put them aside.  This way when the last minute invite comes in, we are prepared!  I do also stock up on wrapping paper.  This I get at our local 5 and Below Store.   I try to have the kids make cards for their friends.  My oldest isn't really in to this - it is hard to even get him to sign his name on the card!  But, my three little ones love this and will spend days perfecting a card for their friend!  While I'm at 5 and Below I also will pick up a few small items - candy, hair ties, etc. and place this on top of the present in lieu of ribbon.  All the kids love this!

Next on my list to start planning for is my daughter's 6th birthday and Halloween!  This is the first year, that I do not have at least 1/2 of the kids costumes by now!  

Have a great holiday weekend!  Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Mission Completed!

For those of you who follow my blog, you know that I have been on a quest for the perfect family portrait.  I'm not talking about just any portrait.  I'm talking about the Christmas card, display on the mantle, Facebook worthy kind of portrait! I'm also talking about a portrait with the entire family! All four kids and two parents.  Getting six people to smile at the same time is no easy task - but we did it! Something that I have never been able to accomplish before, until now!  (If you are new to my blog, thanks for stopping by! Please check out my previous post "Say Cheese" from July 16th to see how we started this!)

A few weeks ago, we met with a very talented photographer, Michelle Guilbault with Memories by Michelle, who also happens to be our neighbor. Be sure to check out her website at:  If you are in the Washington, DC Metro area please take you kids to her.  Take your family, take your pets! You will be blown away with the photos, I know I was!

Our photo shoot was scheduled for early evening to optimize the natural lighting. We planned to meet at a golf course located in our neighborhood.  The day of the shoot we had very bad thunderstorms and had to cancel.  Then, out of the blue the sun came out again and we were back on! With the full Virginia heat and humidity!  Michelle with her fabulous "assistant" Mr. Marc were wonderful!  They interacted with my children and got them to smile, giggle and relax.  That made me relax!  I think that is very important to having a beautiful picture taken.  You know that old saying, "if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy".  That is the truth!  My kids knew I was at ease and we all had fun.  We got to make our nice smiles and silly smiles and poses to help get the giggles out.   When I received the proofs, I was amazed not only by the number of pictures Michelle was able to take in a short  period of time, but that every single picture was terrific.  There was not one proof that I did not like!  It made ordering time very, very difficult!  In the pictures, Michelle was able to capture my children's individual personalities and the love they have for one another.  These are more to me than just a picture.  They are capturing our family, how we truly are and I will treasure them always.

If you haven't done it recently, go take your kids and your spouse and get a nice portrait done.  Those mall places are okay - but you can really tell the difference when you use a professional photographer.  Get to know your photographer.  Ask lots of questions.  If there is something that you don't like during your photo session, speak up and get it fixed.  Not only is it your money, it is your memories.

Please enjoy some of my most favorite pics from our shoot.  Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!

Me and my twins.  Photo by Memories by Michelle
                                                                               My twinies! Photo by Memories by Michelle

Friday, August 24, 2012

'Tis the Season!

I'm not talking about Fa la la la las or Decking the Halls!  I'm talking about pencils and notebooks and erasers!  Back to School Time!  I love school supplies - always have!  I have been enticed by all of the commercial for the penny and quarter items.  I am building up a stash of extra composition books, index cards and markers.  Now, I'm not hoarding them like those shows you see on TV - just a little shopping bag with items I know that the kids will need throughout the school year. It is not like a notebook will expire!  I remember last winter buying my son index cards for his word study and paying close to $2, I picked up two packs at Target last week for $.48 each! Now is the time to buy them, while they are all on sale.  Also, pick up supplies that your little ones that may not be in school yet will use, like markers and crayons.  I do need to get some more pencils and crayons.  You can never have enough of those!  There is something so great about a pack of freshly sharpened pencils!  This year, for the first year, I did buy the pre-sharpened ones.  (Last year my husband broke the pencil sharpener at his office trying to get them all sharpened in time so I did want to avoid that this year!)

My two older children will start school on Monday.  My twins will go back the day after Labor Day.  This morning the older two had their classroom open houses.  We were able to go to the school, check out the classrooms, meet their teachers, see friends and drop off all of the school supplies.  My children each had a list sent home with required school supplies that are needed for their classroom. The list is very specific.  For my daughter's kindergarten class we were asked to bring in 10 Elmer's Jumbo Glue Sticks.  I have been losing sleep over this - I did not buy Elmer's, I did not buy Jumbo and I did not buy 10!  I bought 15 of the Big Lots brand glue stick (they were three sticks for $.24 - you can't beat that), but will my daughter be shunned for sending in and using generic glue sticks?  Will the glue sticks, stick?   I was speaking with another mom this morning at the open house and we both commented that when we were growing up, we never had to do this. We just showed up for school and that was that. Of course, we had our own backpack, lunch box and trapper keeper (remember those!). But our parents did not have to send in tissues or wipes or hundreds of boxes of crayons!

The beginning of the school year also means meeting new people. New teachers, some new kids and of course their parents.  While it is always great to make new friends and get to know the other parents in your child's class, I am very tired of being asked, "are they all yours" and hearing, "boy, you have a lot of kids", and my all time favorite "how do you do it?".  I know it is hard for my older kids, the attention should be on them and it pains me when adults say to them , "wow, is that your entourage?" or "you brought the whole crew, huh?"   Now, some people are nice and just plain curious.  But, the snarky comments and tones we can definitely all do without. Especially, when they are directed towards my kids.   I am very tempted to have a shirt made that says "YES, THEY ARE ALL MINE!"  But, I'm afraid people will think I'm talking about my boobs and not my kids!  So, I smile and nod my head and move right along.....with my kids following in a nice line!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Art of Multi-tasking

Multi-tasking is something that pretty much all moms do.  I think when you are a mom of multiples you have to. You are outnumbered everyday!  It is very common in our house for me to ask my kids, "how many mommies are there, and how many kids do we have?"

I realized that lately my multi-tasking as gotten a little out of control! This morning I was sitting in my van in the parking lot of CVS.  Waiting for a prescription to be filled, giving the twins their snack, putting on a DVD for them and cleaning smeared chocolate off the car seat, all while trying to do a interview on the phone for my event planning company.  Not my best or most professional moment.  But the kids were actually quiet and I did get everything done. I am definitely guilty of the one more thing or more minute syndrome. Trying to get as much as I can done before the timer goes off.  Whether it is the real kitchen timer or the timer in my head before I need to start the next task or be somewhere.  My kids, especially my oldest son, are the first to remind me "Mom you burned our food, what is more importanter your work email or our dinner?"   Of course that is a no brainer. 

Sometimes my multi-tasking is actually successful.  When my oldest son is in the bath or shower, I will put the linens away (linen close is in bathroom).  Or, when my oldest daughter is in the tub, I will fold towels and put them away.  This way we can chat about her day,  I can keep an eye on her and make a dent in the never ending, ever growing laundry pile!

Are you a multi-tasker? What are somethings that you can do simultaneously that work for you and your family?

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Third times a charm!

It is almost 11am EST, and I just made myself my third breakfast.   The first one I made was over four hours ago.  Now, this was the third breakfast I made, but the first one I actually was able to eat!  What happened to the other ones - the kids ate them!  My kids are good eaters. I am really happy about that.  My friends and relatives are always amazed at how well my kids eat.  My kids are open to trying new things and rarely complain. They are okay with our two family rules on mealtime: "If something is on your plate, try it. You don't have to eat it all, but you may not complain about it." and "We don't believe in the clean plate club in this house."  I am happy that my kids don't feel forced to eat and get really annoyed when other people who use this "rule" with their kids try to enforce it on mine!  My kids eat when they are hungry and they stop when they are full.  Some days they eat a lot, other days not so much.  Some days I feel like I am in the kitchen all day, other days not so much.

For our first breakfast this morning, I asked the kids who wanted eggs.  No response.  My older two kids do not eat eggs, I know this and I'm fine with it.  They were happy with some cut up fruit.  My youngest had a bowl of cereal, her twin wanted a banana.  So we proceeded. I got the kids settled and I did make myself some eggs (they came out perfectly too - I still do want to take a cooking class on eggs though!).  Then my older two decided they wanted left over tacos.  To me that was gross - tacos at 7am.  But, that is what they wanted and they ate every last bit of the veggies that were on top too.  Then the twins decided they wanted eggs after all.  Then they decided they wanted some fruit too.  What I thought was going to be a quick and easy breakfast turned into a 1/2 hour+ process.

Fast forward a few hours and I realize that I was hungry because I didn't eat breakfast.  Back in the kitchen, I throw a slice of whole grain bread in the toaster and get out the peanut butter.  Just as I'm spreading the peanut butter on, one of the twins comes in "Mama is that for me. Thank you.".  So, I hand him the plate.  Then the other kids come in and are ready for lunch. (We get up really early and they eat lunch early!)  What do they eat, more tacos!  Now, I need to go clean the lettuce off the floor and do another round of dishes!

While I am happy that my kids are good eaters, one thing that does not make me happy is feeling like a short order cook chained to the kitchen!  We do have healthy snack choices both in the fridge and pantry that the kids can reach and get themselves (although this morning Baby B some how convinced her dad to give her a bag of potato chips at 9am! - no worse than eating tacos at 7am right?!).  I would love to hear from other parents some tips and tricks on how you handle this or avoid it in your house!

Thanks for stopping by.  Have a great weekend!

Oh - I was able to eat a piece of toast!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Dreaded Words.....

"Mommy my tummy hurts", cried one of my twins from the backseat.  Recently the kids and I went to the beach to visit my mom.  For "normal" people, this drive should take about 2 1/2 hours.  For us, it took almost 4!  I did this drive, just me and the kids.  We live in Northern Virginia and my mom lives at the beach in Delaware.  To get there we do cut through the District of Columbia, to Rt 50 and go over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.  Now, if you have never driven on this bridge before, it is a very big bridge!  In reality, with no traffic it should take about 6 or 7 minutes to cross.  To me, those minutes feel like 6 or 7 hours!

The whining from the back seat for a potty break started while we were still in DC - on Pennsylvania Avenue - but not the section near the White House!  I was sitting on a bridge going over  the Anacacostia River and there was no where to stop.  The whining continued and still there was no where to stop!  I promised the kids that we would stop as soon as we could. The whining turned to crying and moaning. Once we got to Rt 50 I pulled over at the first McDonald's we came to.  Everyone got out, used the potty and piled back in the car.  Things were fine. We decided to go through the drive through to pick up lunch since the lines inside were so long.   Then it tummy hurts.  Then it twin was sick all over himself and the new van.  So, what did I do.  Opened all the doors and windows.  Cleaned him up and the van and skipped the McDonald's lunch. Then we waited and waited to make sure there was "no more".  Then I started praying that he would not be sick on the bridge.  We were very close to the Bay Bridge.  Once we got a few miles down the road there would be no where to stop until after we crossed the bridge.  Our Angels were with us that day and my little boy fell asleep before we were at the Toll Plaza and slept almost the rest of the way to Grandma's.  The other kids didn't get a "real" lunch that afternoon, but did survive on the fruit and snacks I had packed.  The bag of lollipops and new DVD didn't hurt either!

Have a great day!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Restaurant Conversation

My twins crack me up!  They are 3 1/2 and I love how well they play together.  Right now they are playing Restaurant and this is a conversation that is currently going on:

Baby B: Is this a French Restaurant?

Baby A: No, this is a Chinese Restaurant.

Baby B: Okay,  I will have spaghetti and meatballs.

Baby A: We have that.  But, I am not a food cooker.  I am food server.  I bring the food for lunch and dinner.  Not breakfast.  This is a Stinky Cafe. (I'm not sure if that is the name of the restaurant as the play currently does not stink!)

Baby B: Sounds great! Come with me, I have your new menu.

Baby A has now abandoned this game and moved on to cars.  Baby B is now the hostess and answering calls for reservations on her sister's MP3 player.  Her new menu is the book "Harry the Dirty Dog".  No wonder it is a Stinky Cafe!

Article on Twiniversity!

Please be sure to check out my article on our cruise this summer!  It is featured today on the Twiniversity website!

Thanks for checking it out and have a great day!!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Short Cuts!

I love a good short cut!  I love anything that will save me time.  Even better, anything that will save me time and money!

The Flat Iron
This morning I discovered another use for my flat iron.  Now, you know how much I love it on my hair.  This morning I used it to iron the hem of my khaki shorts!  You know what, it worked! If you are going to try this at home, please be careful.  Don't have it on too high of a setting and gently go over your hem.  You do not want to leave it on too long and burn your khakis.  (My disclaimer: Flat irons should never be left on unattended and never, ever left around children.  Momof4va is not liable and/or responsible for any burnt clothing or skin!)

Wrinkle Release Space
This is a product that I can not live without.  It has been off the market for sometime (at least near me!).  When I was still working in hotel sales, I would have a bottle of this stuff stashed everywhere!  I didn't want to show up on any of my sales calls all wrinkled - especially those days I had to wear a uniform (mom pants khakis and polyester hotel shirt that would still wrinkle!).  You could find this in my car, my desk, my bag, etc!  It is a spray made by Downey.  You spray it on your clothing, smooth it out, let it dry and like magic the wrinkles are erased!  This also does work if you spray your clothes while wearing them (the bottle doesn't tell you this!).  Just stand still for a few minutes after you smooth out the wrinkle!

Rotisserie Chicken
This is an excellent time saver.  They are quick if you need something last minute for dinner.  I also like to use them in the winter time as the starter for my chicken noodle soup!  They are a great deal if you get them at a big box membership store - I can pay $4.99 there. However, at the grocery store, I have seen them go anywhere from $7.99 - $8.99 and this really isn't a great deal.

What are some short cuts that you use?

Have a great weekend!!!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Good Egg!

I just did something that I have never done before.  Of course, I just had to share!

I cooked the perfect hard boiled egg.  Some might call them hard cooked eggs.  Growing up we always called them hard boiled.  The egg is such a simple food, but one that gives me so many challenges when cooking!  Definitely my nemesis in the kitchen! I no longer attempt omelets - I can't do the flip and mine always burn.  My fried eggs are just as bad.  I burn those and manage to mess up the yolk. My eggs are pretty much limited to cheesy scrambled eggs for the twins made in a fry pan.  Or eggs cooked in the microwave that I throw a slice of cheese on.  The twins don't really like this version!

I still have not gotten to the grocery store since returning from the beach and wanted something easy to make for lunch, using ingredients I had on hand!  I decided on egg salad and just cooked the most perfect eggs for it!  Normally when I hard boil the eggs it is a bit of an ordeal - I need to call someone to confirm the cooking time or look it up on line (I usually turn to Rachel Ray!).  This time I didn't!

I filled my pot with cold water, added my eggs.  Put on stove until water came to a boil, then cooked for 9 minutes.

Which food item is your nemesis?  Do you still attempt to cook it or have you thrown in the towel?

Have a great afternoon!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


My twins are going to be four.  My twins are going to be FOUR!  This is something that just dawned on me when I was talking to their Preschool Director yesterday, confirming their class assignments and making sure I signed them up for the correct class.

Obviously, they are getting bigger and each year they do turn a year older.  But it really hit me, in January they will be FOUR.  They are no longer babies, not even toddlers.  They are kids.  Big kids.  Where did the time go?!

Certainly I have noticed their growth, their changes and independence.  They can get themselves dressed. They like to pick out their own clothes.  They can help make their beds.  We can stay at places longer. I no longer need to plan our lives around nap schedules.  I no longer need to haul my double stroller everywhere.  My triple stroller is gathering cobwebs in the garage!  (If you live in the Northern Virginia area and are looking for a triple jogger - I do have one that I will be listing on Craig's list soon - it is pink and very nice!! Message me directly and we can work something out!).

My twins are amazing. They have their own individual thoughts, personalities and ideas. They have questions about pretty much everything, too!  At almost four, this is quite evident, and they do make it known!.  I think I went from shock  (we found out when I was 19 weeks we were having twins) to survival mode.   Just now I have come up for air and realized that they will be FOUR!  My sister-in-law has always told me, enjoy every minute, it will go by faster than you think.  She told me this when I was going to college, when I was getting married, when I was pregnant with my first child.  She has been telling me this for close to twenty years and it has taken me that long to believe it!

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!

No matter how old they are, they will always be "The Babies"!

Thursday, August 2, 2012


Catastrophe!  Now, say it very loudly with a French accent (just like Gaspard and Lisa!).   This is something that we need to work on in our house.  Understanding exactly what catastrophe, emergency, urgent situation means.  Whatever you want to call it, this is something that my kids just don't get!  Maybe we watch too much Gaspard and Lisa (but they are so cute and they are French!). 

This morning after my third attempt to use the bathroom, yes, third attempt (puddle on the floor time).  My oldest son started banging on the door - CATASTROPHE!  The problem - he couldn't find an outlet to charge his tablet!

The other day I was in the shower and my youngest son came running in the bathroom , "Mommy there is an emergency".  Silly me assumed that someone was hurt - but no, his emergency "I want a sandwich!" 

I have reviewed with all the kids what I consider to be an emergency:

-Kid escapes out front door
-Blood, a lot of blood, not paper cut blood -that can clearly wait!

What is not an emergency:

-Food/Beverage requests
-Entertainment requests
-Getting out of shower to answer door from political campaigner (this happened the other day too!)

So, I now take my showers at night!  But I still need to use the bathroom during the day!

Is this something that you have problems with in your house?  What are some tips that work for your family?

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Twenty-Six Days and the great backpack debate

Twenty-six.  That is the number of days until my two "big kids" go back to school.  I do not know where the summer has gone!  We do have one more beach trip planned (leaving tomorrow woo hoo!) and a week of camp.  Then, that is it, back to school!  My son will be in 2nd grade and my daughter will be starting kindergarten.  It feels like just yesterday I was bringing my daughter home from the hospital, how can she be starting kindergarten already!

The kids are very excited about going back to school, riding the bus, seeing friends and finding out who their teachers are.  They are also very excited about selecting new back packs.  I am holding off on this.  I did complete the school supply shopping, but do want to wait on the back packs.  I would prefer to get them a LL Bean or Landsend backpack that they can use year after year.  They would prefer to pick their own backpack that has one of their favorite characters on it.  Fine by me - but they have to wait!  Every time we go to the store they change their minds!  Right now I think Hello Kitty is in the lead for my daughter and the Washington Capitals for my son. Last week we spent a good 20 minutes + in the backpack aisle of Target checking out all the options.  Then another hour searching on line!  I have not gotten them anything yet, becuase I know they will change their minds again!  I also am anticipating requests for new lunchboxes that match the new backpacks.  It never ends! 

The twins will not be getting new backpacks this year.  Last year was their first year of preschool and they each received a Pottery Barn Kids monogrammed backpack - these are good to go until kindergarten for them - which thankfully I have two more years to prepare for!

How do you handle back to school shopping for your kids?  Please share any tips and tricks!

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!

Twins Very First Day of Preschool - September 2011