Monday, October 10, 2011

The Seattle Times - Boys and Girls Club

While taking the hour long break from our kids, which I usually manage most nights thanks to my husband, I picked up The Seattle Times at Starbucks and was really struck by one article. I started reading about how three generations of alumni met at the North Seattle Boys and Girls Club in Greenwood to have a reunion and barbecue.

Where do you remember spending time as a child? What do you remember doing? Is your youth filled with wonderful memories, are the memories of your childhood not so great, or maybe it was a mixture of both? As I was reading the article tonight, I thought of where I was as a child and it was a mixture of both good and bad times. I thought of our children and how they will remember their past.

It was so inspiring to hear how the alumni of North Seattle's Boys and Girls Club all had wonderful memories of this place which really stuck with them through their lives and how they all had a commonality, which was the place and how it was a home away from home.

The article went on to mention that the club had been in existence since 1948 when it was started to reduce vandalism and crime. I think that is awesome! A youth center that has been running for 68 years is obviously doing something right and ought to be praised. I continued to read that the Boys and Girls Club in Greenwood is touching many peoples lives and having a real impact on them. My heart warmed because it's very rare that we read what good is happening in today's society.

I got involved, twelve years ago, with children and youth and reading this article tonight made me think about why. One reason is because I remember being 15 and... well... an idiot. When I asked my husband if he could remember being young and stupid and doing stupid things, he thought about it for a moment then with a coy smile said, "Yeah but I don't remember getting CAUGHT," and gave me a little laugh.

At one time or another we are all young. There's no escaping the idiotic things that some of us do. All of us are stupid at some point (or many points) and those of us willing to admit it are humbled at the thought. (Might I add that I am still very young at 28 so I, by no means am claiming to be any wiser than the next person...but I think I've got one up on the 15 year olds of the world!)

What helped me get through childhood and adolescence mostly unscathed is this: I had adult figures in my life. People I looked up to, admired and wanted to emulate. These role models helped keep me from breaking my neck, getting arrested or even getting myself pregnant at a young age. (Thank goodness they did too because I'd most likely have had TWINS knowing me!) I am convinced that without access to some of the hard-won wisdom of a grown up who's been there and done that, most of the members of our species would not have survived to their 20th year. I can also empathize with some of my closest friends who didn't have anyone like that in their life. How hard life can be if you don't have someone passing down the wisdom of older generations. This is one of the many reasons I have a Children's and Youth Work degree.

I thought the article in The Seattle Times was most inspiring! How I would love to be able to throw all my time and effort into youth and children's programs like I used to do. (like I'm not already, right!) I thought about how much I would love to help the Boys and Girls Club in Greenwood as they link arms and support each and every young person who walks through the doors of their building. Though I don't have thousands of dollars to donate or have as much time to go there and be with the kids as I used to do with other groups, I think I can still do something for the Club in Greenwood.

The Boys and Girls Club in Greenwood has come across financial struggles and they are trying to improve the conditions of the building. How great would it be if the citizens of the City of Seattle were to gather together from all of our different walks of life and help build people up and get funds for this organisation?!

What I am proposing is that we make a small campaign for the Boys and Girls Club in Greenwood. Together we have the resources and the networks to get funds together and have real fun doing it! The director of the Boys and Girls Club said that they are "bringing in new leaders and volunteers to get the club back up to the prominence it once had." How wonderful would it be to give them a monetary gift that they could use to bring about some of that change.

I'm currently working on ideas for drives, cake auctions or some ideas to help make the Boys an Girls Club some money. I don't know how much help I will be able to offer on my own, or with the amount of time that I currently have. What I do know is that we, together, can make an impact on our community. We may not know who is helping out on a daily basis at the Boys and Girls Club, volunteering, leading and passing on that all-important hard-won wisdom...but I don't think we need all the details to know that they are doing something good. What we do know is that they are giving themselves, they are mentoring the future of our city, and above all, they want the best for our kids. How much more do we need to know?

If this touches you, if you have a heart for the younger generation, this may be just right for you.
So, please do send me a comment or email if you want to be involved or have an idea. I would love to hear from you!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

You know youre a Mom of Multiple MULTIPLES when

- your nurses at the hospital are SHOCKED at how easy it is for you to latch them both on within hours of their birth and then call other nurses in to see

- your children think that those 'neck pillows' that you get for cars are really tandem breastfeeding toys, "JUST like mommies!"

- you have to sniff FOUR little bottoms when you think that one might have had an accident

- there is NO WAY of getting out of being a 'celebrity' EVERY place you go because of your unique situation

- people point and look like your in the zoo

- it takes you FOUR hours to just get out of the store because EVERYONE and their dog stops you to talk about twins DOUBLED

- you get all the children to sleep and wonder why there is no chorus singing, "HALLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH!"

- you can breastfeed one, change the others diaper while having a conversation on the phone

- you get up late and it takes you less time to get ALL five of you dressed, get breakfast for all and get your double stroller and be in the car driving than it takes one person to do that (26mins is my record so far)

- you're stuck with poopy diapers and you have just changed one and then a twin comes in and runs off with the first one while your stuck changing the second.

- taking JUST one set of twins out on a date with hubby sounds EASY

- your friend is pregnant and your kids don't understand why there's only ONE baby inside

- you know the official term for one baby is a singleton and wonder what life would like if you had JUST one

- You calculate the cost of everything by doubling or quadrupling it in your head automatically.

- you learned to roll a baby blanket and place it across two carseats and plop two bottles on it while grocery shopping

- your husband and you are compared to Noah's Ark


You know your a Mom of Multiples when...

- you are VERY creative in order to hold both of them at the same time with ONE arm free

- you get very creative with your nose, feet, bottom etc with getting things/opening doors (while holding them both)

- you realize that you never knew quite what EXHAUSTION was until now

- you can hold two car seats in one hand, a diaper bag in the other, purse, groceries, the mail, keys AND a coffee to go mug

- you can tandem breastfeed them both while checking your email

- you can fit EVERYTHING, just like a clown car, into the bottom of your "double wide" stroller

- you get so creative when holding them and they've BOTH gone to sleep that you slither a baby down a leg because you can only put one down at a time

- you can tell by the momentum of the swings that their dying so you replace the batteries before the babes awake

- it takes you an hour to just get out of the store because EVERYONE and their dog stops you to talk about the twins

- you light up the face of every older person you see

- you scare EVERY younger person into being more responsible with their birth control

- you ask for a twin discount at every possible store

- you think sleeping in till 8am is heaven!

- you wear tank tops everywhere because your arms are the fittest they have ever been because you're carrying around 20lbs in each arm all the time.

- you can breastfeed one and change the others diaper and then toss the diaper in the trash like an NBA player

- you can tandem breastfeed AND do the folding clothes at the same time

- you can hold the baby in one arm, hold the bottle with your chin and read the mail with the other hand

-the term "just sleep when the baby sleeps" means nothing to you because you have two babies who sleep at different times

- fighting starts as soon as they can move

- they try to change each others diapers

- a dentists visit sounds relaxing

- you wonder if life with a singleton gets boring

- when talking to moms of singletons, you refer to their baby as "they"

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Dreading the day or....embracing it???

Recently I've signed up to take a Bible study at my Church.  I walked into Church a month ago  and saw the title of the book was, "Lord, change my attitude".  I laughed internally and KNEW that I needed to take this course.  It begins at 9:30 every Wednesday morning.  You have to realize what went through my head when I saw the study and decided to do it. You see, because I have four children still in diapers I knew it would take me at least an hour to get them all ready to leave the house and about half an hour for the trip from our house to church.

I have really been through some internal turmoil about my attitude lately though, I don't like it and neither does my family (half the time). Internally I have been asking God why He thinks I can cope with two sets of twins and almost blaming Him for "blessing" me with so much.  I've been complaining internally to myself and God about how I have no time for myself. On an average day I get up at 6:30 and I am on my feet until 10 maybe 11 at night. It leaves me frazzled and it becomes easier and easier to find someone else (family or otherwise) to blame for everything that goes wrong or annoys me or takes more time or...or...OR! It's a miserable state to be in, and deep down I knew it.

So I have a new outlook on life. Instead of "Oh GOD!  How can I cope today?"  Or sometimes, "What WAS God thinking when he 'blessed' me with this beautiful lot of screamers?!"  The simple act of getting up and out the door on time for this Bible study course is teaching me how to focus more on how EXCITED I am about the day and how I can do A LOT more than I thought I could in a lot less time. Sometimes (most of the time) I surprise myself by how well things go on Wednesday mornings. I get up at 6am and get all four children changed, dressed, fed and out the door within the hour.
And so I take one day a week to go to Bible Study and get out of the house.  The course work itself is teaching me to be more grateful for the gifts in my life and the wonderful women are helping to teach me that I really am doing a good job with my kids even if I feel completely overwhelmed 65% of the time and mostly overwhelmed the rest of the time!

I've been approached by several of the women taking this class with me (and people outside too, when we go to Costco and such) and many of them ask me "how I do it", call me Super Mom or tell me that they are encouraged or inspired by me, some of these people I don't even know.

Inspired?! By me?? What?? I smile and say thank you, I tell most of them life is hectic but very blessed and leave it at that.  I have thought often to myself that I'm definitely NOT Super Mom.  I don't do all that I should do all the time, there are almost always a few daily tasks that don't get finished, or even started...but none of us get everything done every day, and striving for that kind of perfection is part of what leads me to a resentful attitude!

We ALL need a break and I am certainly not any different.  I am EXHAUSTED by the end of each day, even the days when 'The Hallet Hoard' stay at home.  I do all that I do because I want the best for my family.  I do it because I want my children to have the 'same sort' of upbringing as other children, so that their Mommy does FUN stuff with them, not just sits at home and has a 'stinky attitude'! ;-)

So...all of that was build up to this:
Several people have asked me what my days are like on an average Wednesday so I'm going to cover it here.

All the magic begins on Tuesday night. My husband and I tag team, one of us works on getting the pre-schoolers to bed around 8pm, the other makes sure the babies are settled down and sleeping. Once all the kiddos are asleep I get their bags ready, their lunch ready, the bottles of milk ready, etc. I then haul everything out to our car.

On Tuesday nights I prepare:
1 Diaper Bag,  (this is usually a bigger back pack seeing as it has to fit everything I need for the day to cover  FOUR children)
- diapers
- wipes
- extra set of girls clothes x2
- extra set of boys clothes x2
- UNDERWEAR for boys (jeez, potty training!)
- bags for dirty diapers, dirty clothes and dirty underwear
- sippy cups
- bottles
- formula or frozen breast milk
- a full 2 gallon water jug water for the car (for formula/drinking water etc)
- at least 2 burp cloths
- binkies (at least 4)
- blankets

1 Lunch bag
- Primal/Paleo lunch for myself and two three year olds
- TWO (to go) mugs for the car FULL of coffee ;-)
- breakfast for the car
-Study book and not to forget a Bible.

I then lay all their clothes out so that I'm not bleary eyed and put them in polka dot shirts and stripey pants in the morning. ;-)

Once that's all done, I blog or clean/wash dishes or vacuum...or sometimes when I'm lucky, I get to sit down with the hubby and watch some TV for an hour or so.


-6:30am. Alarm
-DRINK COFFEE (sometimes gulp coffee)
- Change diapers for 2 babies
- Clothe 2 babies in daytime clothes
- Change diapers for 2 preschoolers
- Cloth 2 preschoolers in daytime clothes
- Get myself dressed
- Put my make up on so that I look at least a little put together. ;-)
(All this takes me about 45 minutes, half an hour if I push it and do it double time. lol)
-7:15am Herd children toward car, herd children in to car, herd children in to car seats, strap children in to car seats, place babies in car seats, strap babies in to car seats.
- 7:45am (if all has gone well...) Strap myself in to car, start car, leave house!

-8:45-9:15 (roads can be rough) Get to Church, put the boys in Child Care and take the girls into study with me. (They don't as of yet have baby care...which is, well...the way its gotta be so its OK)

-11:30 Finish Bible Study
-12:00-12:30 everyone in the car
-1:00-1:30 Kids Quest Museum which we have a membership to
- Lunch first, then...
-CRAZINESS running around the kids museum (kids have a FABULOUS time though)
-2:30 Leave and pick up Daddy in Seattle
-3:30-4 Daddy comes home

I called this post "Dreading the day or...embracing it???" because I wanted make a point.  I could dread the day OR I could embrace it.  Every day that we wake up is a gift and if I dread the day then I'm not looking forward to all the gifts that God has prepared for me.  Even if it's just a smile from one of my little girls in my HECTIC day, or my screaming three year old who wants things his way (again), I should look at that moment in time as a gift, my three year old is asserting his independence or my little girl is HAPPY. Embrace It.

So first of all I want to tell you that I am NOT Super Mom.  I don't have it all right at the right times...and I may inspire you or encourage you, (and THANK YOU if you've told me that) but I'm just the same as any of us.  I have the same heart and the same wants for my family.  I'm trying my hardest to be the best wife and the best mother I can be. For that matter i'm trying my hardest just to be the best person I can be. we are all walking along the same path and learning from each other. In today's world that path is almost always FILLED to the brim with busy-ness but we keep moving. Keep looking for the blessings and Embrace living a life of Extreme Mommying.

Peace and may God inspire you to embrace the day!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Bumbling Bothersome Boys

We went to MOPS for the first time this school year and what a totally wonderful way to start the morning! It was really good to see everyone again and to watch everyone holding and cooing to my two little babies... * relieved sigh* :-) (As a mother of multiples I find that I am *always* OK with someone else wanting to hold the babies...Trust me, I get ALL the baby time I need!) So a big thank you to all of you wonderful Burien area MOPs!

Now, you might be surprised to find that although our boys were SUPER DUPER excited to go to MOPs and had a great time *at* Mops...they also threw a total hissy fit on the way back from MOPs today.

Luckily the ride home is only about 5 minutes but when we pulled in to the drive way it was time to start the discipline. I told them that if they continued their behavior I was just going to ignore them. They HATE USUALLY works too. Today...not so much...they continued to scream and cry in a way that only 2-3 year olds can master and so I just undid their seat belts, took the girls out of the car and left them to follow me inside when they calmed down. (Of course, they didn't know I was hiding around the corner just out of site... Wonder of wonders, Mark, the one that is usually much more stubborn about his fits, hopped right out of the car and left his bad attitude behind him. William on the other hand couldn't believe that I ignored them. He got out of the car and stood there in shock, with his mouth wide open in disbelief that I would so dare to leave them behind. He honestly appeared to be completely floored and unsure of what to do next.

I walked in the house and he followed me, (fake) crying all the way. I turned around at the door and said in a matter of fact, stern but calm voice, "If you continue that fake crying you're getting a time out." He stopped immediately. It's good to know that they're learning that Mommy and Daddy are just not going to put up with that sort of behavior.

Unfortunately today's been a toughie. The boys have been fussy all day. They didn't get a great night's rest last night and they absolutely refuse to take naps unless it's 4 or 5 at night and then they absolutely can *NOT* nap or they won't sleep at bed time... Days like this lead to a very tired Mom by the end of the day. I have 2 two month olds and two three year olds...difficult enough to deal with WITHOUT tantrums and fussy screaming, fighting twins all day long.

That said, Mark and I are growing to have an understanding. He's very strong willed, he wants to be in charge but he is finally starting to understand that I am Mommy and I am in charge, no matter what. He still fights me about it but I definitely have the upper hand what with being taller and all! lol! But seriously, I'm reading The Strong Willed Child and the authors techniques are really working for Mark. I'll write more about that later I'm my spare time ;-) ya know, cause I have so much of it!

Extreme Mommying eh? lol Extreme insanity more like ;-) with four children all under the age of three...oh no, four of three weeks ago. So here's to seeing if they fall asleep and my sanity break from the little angels that my beautiful children are.

Update: 2:00pm

I've actually managed to get them down for a nap...GOD! Please let them fall asleep QUICKLY so that I have at least one drop of sanity left! ;-) I love my children, I love my children I LOVE MY CHILDREN! My mantra for the day.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Many a Mommy voice

There are millions of Mommies out there and I am just one of them, telling my stories as they progress, letting my hair down and relaxing in the few minutes I have online.

This is just going to be a short introduction to our'll get the chance to meet each one later. :-)

So much has happened in my life over the last few years. 4 years ago we had no idea of the absolutely wonderful blessing waiting for us around the corner. Wonderful yet so challenging it sometimes makes me want to pull my hair out. ;-)

We were just wandering on our merry way and then we found out we were pregnant...with twins, boys to be more precise. Any mother or father of twins knows beyond the shadow of a doubt that it is a challenge and a half to raise them. I'm sure that raising any child is a God-given, wonderful challenge...but there is something about twins that seems to multiply the challenges as well as the blessings in a unique and sometimes overwhelming way!

In November of 2010 we found out we were expecting again. We were very excited and looking forward to meeting our new little blessing 9 months down the road. We found out 2 months later that we were having twins, again! This time precious little girls!

So, lets get to the introductions. Our eldest is Mark, born two whole minutes before his brother. Mark is a rambunctious and very strong willed little boy. A real leader in the making, with all the joy and challenge that comes with. I'll write a whole blog on him later I'm sure. ;-)

William is our second born. He is rough and tumble, just like his (slightly) older brother. He also refuses to allow you or anyone else to call him "Will", "Bill", or any other nickname derivative. William he will stay, and if you don't 'get it' he will be sure to explain to you his entire name, all three of them. (Lately he has been toying with the idea of Willie though, since we call his sisters Gweny and Miri...we'll see if it sticks!)

That brings us to the girls. Gwenyth is our third born. She was born just one minute before her sister, Miriam. We don't know too much about them yet. We do know that they LOVE to smile! I mean, don't get me wrong, they do cry...just not too much. :-D That small fact makes me want to cry with happiness most days!!! What a joy to have two laid back babies! lol!

We have been through a roller coaster of emotions through this past year. Now that our daughters are here though, we wouldn't be without them for the world!

So we've got two girls and two boys. Very rambunctious boys and very sweet little two month old girls.

I did say this was going to be a very short introduction...don't you worry about it, I'll introduce everyone in a little while. Let's leave it at this: Raising multiple multiples fills my days with Joy and raising multiple multiples fills my life with challenges. I'm a better person for it and I hope I continue to grow stronger, wiser, and more loving as the days, weeks, months, and years go by.

Thanks for stopping by and reading. Please come back again soon!