Red, White, and I Loathe Fireworks

Happy 4th Weekend to all the Americans even though a giant percentage of us aren’t particularly feeling very patriotic these days. Our day was pretty chillaxed actually. I say that in the sense that I wasn’t a raging psychopath about having things in order at all times!

The in-laws are in town which is lovely. We so very rarely get guests that even if it is long, it is still really comforting to have family around. But also, my German speaking abilities were thrown into a dark dark closet since January so I’m glad I was forced to dust that off because I’m back to speaking it like it never was ditched to begin with!

I searched high and low for a parade and I found one that was held in a town about 25 minutes away and completely in the middle of nowhere. Somehow, that made it all the better! People were kind and the event itself was well organized.

Of course it was hot as all getup but we survived. Arjen had a heart attack per usual from the sound of the horns and sirens so instead of catching candy he was busy plugging his hears the whole parade. Landon was loving it and would chase down the candy and gather it for his Opi to put in a bag for him. Could they be any more opposite?!

Baby Aurelia loved checking all the people out and jumped half a mile every time someone beeped right in front of us, which begs the question…do people in parades not realize that the horns and sirens are a bit much for toddlers/babies?! There were a ton near us so I was surprised.

After the parade, we headed home in the heat and waited for a giant storm to hit with sparklers. Again, blondie wasn’t into it but Brownie dove right in to his pyro-loving way! As the storm rolled in we set ourselves up for a movie night with the big projector. Boys love this so called “movie night” however it’s basically watching the few shows they are allowed to watch on YouTube.

We were gifted a beautiful double rainbow afterwards and as we went up to bed all was quiet. Or so I thought. Then it begins. The dreaded fireworks. Every year the same nonsense. And here’s what I hate about it. An organized firework show through the city is fine because it will be 10 minutes then it’s over. The bad part is the idiot homeowners who think they are magicians with their glittery sky bombs and set them off one by one.

BOOM

then wait 15 minutes till the bozo can set up the next one.

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and now I have kids who are crying because it sounds like someone is trying to blow up their bedroom. So there I was at 10:00pm with two overly tired kids (bedtime is at 8:20 mind you) and I sat on the ground with my back to their cribs and my arms stretched out like Jesus on the damn cross holding a hand of each kid until they fell asleep.

11:00pm and I’m still hanging on although I’m pretty sure all the blood left my arms at this point. The things we do, amiright?!

Anyways, I was never a fan of fireworks nor will I ever be so I’ll complain until the day I die. But it’s not for me but for little kids and for wild animals and house pets. It’s absolutely pointless to put a dangerous blow up stick in the hands of common folk. Just saying!

What did you all do to celebrate?! Anything fun?!

Until next time, Readers! Xoxoxoxoxo

The Calming Corner

Three-year-olds are ridiculous. They are emotionally charged, whiny, and logically disconnected.

My dudes are not exempt from the nonsense, unfortunately, and so I’ve had to curve my “parenting skills” constantly. Even more so, with twins, you have to change the way you parent each kid as both are completely different individuals with completely different needs. It’s been a challenge, to say the least.

Blondie is what the modern world is now calling a “spirited kid.” What is that you ask? Let’s be real…he’s full of the devil! Full of energy, spite, and love. He is sensitive and high-strung, loving yet psychotic, lol. No for real…he’s a tough cookie but I am certain he will do amazing things when he’s older. Own a Fortune 500 company or cure cancer. But for now, he’s a doozy and I’ve been trying to find ways to comfort him before his massive blowups happen.

 

Brownie is the complete opposite. He wouldn’t hurt a fly but is very very sensitive. To the point where if we tell him not to do something and logically explain why not to do said thing, he will throw himself on the ground as if he was shot down. He literally just falls out of his chair without bracing his fall. It’s pretty hilarious actually. Kind of like those fainting goats. That being said, he doesn’t get in trouble much but he also won’t listen when you tell him “No.” So, it’s a bit out of control on both ends here.

I began to dig around for an all-around thing that would work for both extremely different children. I’m not sure where I first heard of the idea of a calming corner but I happened to search a bit and found a zillion things on Pinterest and other places about it. Phew! I’m not the only mother who has lost her damn mind and needs SERENITY NOW!

 

***wooooosssssaaaaaahhhhh***

 

First things first, we had to find a spot to have this said Calming Corner. I don’t know why but setting it up in the formal dining area was good enough. I needed to have these two jokesters in plain view so another room wouldn’t have worked. Then I trucked over or mom-vanned it over to the dollar store and grabbed all the essentials to make a calming corner..well..calm.

So in our bucket is:

2 sensory bottles (1 with glitter, the other a lava lamp look)

3 playdough filled balloons with different emotions drawn on them (Happy, Sad, Angry) which act as a stress ball of sorts.

1 snuggly bug

2 squrimy thingies (I bet you like it when I talk about technical, don’t ya!?)

1 firm yet squishable football

1 rubix cube

 

The only rule that is set with this area is that when they are done playing there, they have to put all the toys back in the bucket so they are ready for the next person to use. Essentially, the idea is that we try to catch them before they are upset or if we see that they are starting to get emotional about a situation we ask them if they want to go to the calming corner for a little bit. They are allowed to bring their blankets, loveys, and pacifiers with them if they want and they can choose when they are done. Both boys have sat there quietly for 15-20 minutes at times.

This is not to replace time-outs. It’s supposed to be a “safe space” where they can go to try to identify their emotions and work out how to handle them. It’s not easy being green or three for that matter and this so far has been a great option for both of them. At this point, I’m willing to try anything to get these kids to quit their antics but let’s face it, toddlers will be toddlers.

Hell, I should throw myself in the calming corner and see if they leave me alone for a minute actually! (Going to go try that right now! I’ll report back! ha!)

 

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxoxo

A Ball Of Pink Fluff

I thought I would always be a boy mom but the Universe had one last big surprise for me and granted me the most beautiful little ball of pink fluff and tulle! She literally arrived wearing a pink tutu, I swear!

Let me introduce you to the newest member of our German-American family

 Aurelia Margaret-June

 

Is she just not the most stunning thing ever?! No really, even the nurses at the hospital took her from me to go show her off to the other nurses. And others came in to get a peek of “The Most Beautiful Baby on the Floor!” #proudmommoment

 

I tell everyone I worked really hard on her considering she almost took my life those first 6 months of pregnancy. Seriously, the sickest I have ever been and for the longest period of time that I can remember. IT. WAS. AWFUL. Our parents are literally angels walking this crusty earth because the Mother-in-law came and stayed for several weeks and literally the day she left, my mom arrived and took over for forever. I could not get out of bed, I was throwing up 5 or more times a day, I rarely ate anything outside of rice, oyster crackers, and toast. Wouldn’t recommend doing that again but knowing myself, I’ll do it 4 more times! (HA! Kidding…maybe…?!?!?)

 

Anyways, her hair is out of this world and sticks straight up. It cannot be tamed and I hope that speaks to her personality once she’s able to show it a bit more. She sleeps through the night with one feeding at 4am and she’s quite literally the easiest baby ALIVE! I honestly, do not know how I even survived the twins. In all seriousness, that was the most difficult thing I had ever done in my life and I am surprised I made it out alive without too many scars.

 

So what’s in a name?

Aurelia – meaning “Golden” (Obviously, she is the golden child! She can do no wrong!)

The story behind this name is quite simple actually. Before there was ever a breath of Toblerone I watched a movie and one of the characters was named, Aurelia. I knew at that moment that this would be my daughter’s name should I ever have one. I’ve been holding on to this since 2003. Literally, right after I graduated high school. (Hint: I’m almost 35 so that should tell you how long I’ve held onto this.) For anyone who has seen the movie, Love Actually, the girl that plays opposite of Colin Firth is the “Aurelia.”

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Margaret – In honor of Toblerone’s beloved Oma who we lost when we arrived home after seeing her over Christmas in 2015. She was such a strong woman who was extremely intelligent and I hope Aurelia takes that quality from her.

June – In honor of my sweet, sweet Grandma who we lost in 2013. She was this nurturing bundle of wit and I hope Aurelia gets her sense of humor and compassion.

You’ll be seeing the likes of this little lady often on here. I make no apologies! Now off to get in my baby snuggles before she grows again!!

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxo

Saying Goodbye To Harley Noodle Jones

I hate that title. I hate everything about it. Note: This is a long and sad post. So read at your own free will.

I didn’t think I would be writing a post like this for years to come and its completely breaking my heart to do so. Harley deserves a post all about him and for those of you that have followed closely with my journey moving to Germany, you know how huge of a part he really played in that whole ordeal.

Toblerone and I got Harley when he was just a couple months old in March 2010. He solidified everything for us and from that point on we were a family.

H-man went first with Tobi to Germany and I couldn’t join them fast enough. I had to finish out my duties at work and tie up loose ends in the States before I moved. Once I got there, Harley was my main focus since I didn’t have a job or anything else to do except take care of the house (and who wants to spend their time doing that! lol) I dutifully made up a dog training excel spreadsheet and got to work on that! Harley would be smirking at me knowing that lasted all of 4 days! Ha!

Truthfully, Harley was the only close friend I had in Germany as strange as that sounds. It was so difficult to make friends there. He was the one reminder from the US I had and he spoke perfect English. He got me 🙂 On days when I was especially homesick he would take me out for walks to ease my mind for a bit. He was my person.

Back in the US, my world traveling dog watched us go through a heck of a time trying to get pregnant and he sat right with me throughout my pregnancy even though I was barfy (is that even a word?) and barely could move. When the boys arrived he was ALL about them. I didn’t know for sure how he would react and was worried because he was my baby for so long, I was sure he would NOT be impressed with how much attention they would be getting.

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He did take the backseat a bit and I felt awful for it. The twins took over my life and with no family around to help I powered through and did the very best I could trying to manage his schedule and their schedule. But I think he knew I loved him all the same.

Harley and Arjen barking at people passing by. They were a team!

Our blondie twin had a crazy special bond with Harley and I didn’t really see it until I was going back through pictures and there the two of them were over and over again.

I got pregnant again with our little girl this past summer and once again, Harley man had to take the backseat since the sickness took over my body. I laid in bed all day – could NOT function. I did slowly start to feel better later in the pregnancy and by Christmas time, Toberlone was awarded his green card and we booked a last minute trip to Germany. (Side note: NEVER travel during winter holidays with 3yr old twins while 7 months pregnant. NEVER. EVER.)

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Fur Ball got to go on vacation at a great place he loved to go to. A doggy resort so to speak. Fireplaces, fluffy warm dog beds, access to jump on the couch or a bed and to run outside free. NO kennels. That wasn’t his style. While he was there over Christmas he was having the absolute best of times with the resort staff 🙂 (aka the wonderful family who treated him like their own.) He got loads of pets and snacks during their family Xmas party and he sent us daily pictures to brag about how awesome his days were there. Meanwhile, in Germany, I was in WWIII with the time change and toddlers who were kept indoors due to the freezing cold weather. It was interesting…

New Years Day we were driving 3 hours to a hotel in Frankfurt near the airport to make it easier for us to wake up the following day and hop on the plane with the kiddos and my large and barely in charge self. I get a phone call from his host family telling us that he was having a hard time using his back legs and at one point he couldn’t walk up the steps anymore to go inside. They asked for permission to take him to the emergency hospital and we immediately said “YES.”

Initially, the Vet at the hospital said she thinks it could be a pinched nerve in his back and they wanted to do a CT scan the following morning to take a further look. However, his glucose levels were extremely low so that was a different concern.

Fast forward, upon arriving in Detroit and waiting in line at customs, I get the phone call from the Veterinarian and her words to this day are just muddled letters. How do you take in difficult news with 40 languages going on around you while trying to wrangle two extremely tired and moody children through customs? How? Well…you don’t. You listen…you try to take it in… and you cry in front of hundreds of strangers.

Diagnosis: Insulin-producing tumor in his pancreas. His glucose levels dropped so low that in fact, even with surgery to remove the tumor, he would never regain the use of his legs and would only have a few months with us.

What. The. F*ck. Is. Happening. Right. Now. (sorry for swearing but I needed to emphasize the pain)

I couldn’t get home fast enough. In hindsight, I noticed things about him that were giving us signs. He was always thirsty…was starving and begging for more snacks and waiting by his food bowl in the mornings (this is a dog we had to beg to eat!) and he needed way more potty breaks.

As soon as we got back to the house we rushed over to the hospital to see him. I couldn’t even tell the receptionist who I was. I squeaked out a, “I’m Harley’s Mom…” and the rest Toblerone had to take over. The Vet met with us and through tears, we asked her to let us take him home but she recommended not to do that because he had a seizure the night before and they wanted to keep him alive until we arranged his euthanization. Ugh. “Keep him alive.” Double Ugh.

When we went back to see him in ICU…omg…I can’t even describe how awful it was. There were surgeries going on in the middle of the room and all around were cages full of sick dogs. When we got to Harley he lifted his head up, looked at us and laid back down. I couldn’t believe that we were seeing our boy in this situation. It was unreal and maybe the jet lag didn’t help or the pregnancy hormones for that matter.. He didn’t want to eat and there were catheters and tubes hooked up to him all over the place. At this point, I still had not come to terms with the fact that we had to let him go.

We arranged for a home euthanization the following afternoon and as Tobi brought him home in the snow, he put him in the grass one last time to feel the snow on his paws. My heart was crushed watching him carry him inside for the last time.

The Vet gave him a steroid to hopefully keep him going and seizure-free until he got home and that alone made it seem like he was his old self! Gave him a bit more pep and when he saw me he lit up and tried to stand up to come to me.

We laid on the floor together and with his paw on my heart I told him it was ok and I was sorry for not being here for him but he was home now. And all would be ok.

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We tried to help the boys understand that they needed to say goodbye because he was going to heaven but that was the first time they heard the term “Heaven” so the concept was out the window. They patted his head and our nanny took them off to the library and out for donuts so we could say goodbye to Harley. Just us three musketeers again.

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The actual process happened so fast that I couldn’t even catch my breath. A month shy of his 9th Birthday, he was asleep and gone within seconds and I broke. I sobbed and cried asking the doctor to bring him back. As if somehow willing him with my broken heart was enough. But there he laid, peacefully on the couch in slumber like he always did in that spot. The Vet placed him on a stretcher but she put the coziest and softest blankets on him and tucked him in like a baby. He looked so peaceful and I didn’t even know what I was looking at anymore. I kissed his soft ears and watched as he was carried out to the car. I said goodbye one last time and off he went.

A week or two later we got his ashes back in a beautiful box, a clay ornament of his paw print and the first thing I did was look at his ashes. How did our beautiful 90lb boy end up as a small bag of flour? How did that happen?

Days following his passing I walked around with his favorite bear in my shirt because I couldn’t deal with life without him. I even went outside and took a walk as I always did with him at noon, imagining him there with me.

The boys watched me break down every day and would say, “Mommy sad? Mommy miss Wau Wau?” (Wauwau is what the dog says in German but that’s what they called him.) Eventually, the crying wasn’t full sobs, it was silent tears and then it shifted. The boys started to cry and ask where he was. This was worse than anything else. I had to try to put on a brave face for two little boys who didn’t understand where their dog went. And to this day, (even this morning actually) they cry for him and miss him so much.

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I ache to my bones for this dog who was my friend. He was the constant thing I had in my life and I feel guilty that since the boys came around he took the back burner. He didn’t deserve that.

 

I’m not a religious person but I hope more than anything that wherever he is he is happy. Or that he’s somewhere with me here. If there really is some sort of afterlife or rainbow bridge, I hope to meet him there one day. For now, I like to imagine him swimming, playing frisbee, eating a million snacks, and keeping a collection of his favorite sticks.

He was my very first baby and I knew that if I never had kids, he would be enough. I lost my first boy and the grief is all-consuming.

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Miss you sweet Harley Noodle Jones ButtButt.

Until next time, Readers. xoxoxoxoxo

 

 

 

 

 

A Newborn Photo Shoot

As painful as it was to go through this after 10 days of being home with twin boys, I’m so glad we did. A photo shoot to remember all the itsy bitsy pieces of our precious boys! We arrived at 10:00am and didn’t leave until about 4:00pm!!! LONGGGGG Day!

Without further ado….take a look at some of the beautiful images captured! (I’m a little biased of course!)

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I mean…how could I not?!?! 🙂

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Hope you liked them! Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxo

Spice Has TWO Babies

It’s true! The twins have arrived! Granted, they made their debut on February 24th, 2016 but as you can imagine I’ve been quite busy!

Here we were getting ready for the big moment! And yes…I was huge. I see that.

Their birthday was a whirlwind. I can barely remember any of it! (I was also drugged lol). We did a c-section for safety reasons and at 9:39am out came Baby A with a wail! The doctor said,”He’s got a full head of blonde hair!” Imagine my shock when I heard that! I thought for sure he couldn’t possibly be mine! A blonde?! 🙂 Lucky me!

Let me introduce you to Arjen (R-yen) Paul. Previously know as Baby A or Alpha. Weighing a cool 6lbs 15oz and 20.5 inches long.

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As he was being weighed Baby B made his way into the world with eyes wide open and quietly taking it all in. Which I would soon learn is a stark contrast to his current personality. Read: drama queen. With a full head of brown hair this little guy took a while to cry it out but eventually got the hang of it.

Let me introduce you to Landon Thomas. Previously known as Baby B or Beta. Weighing in at 5lbs 9oz and 19.5 inches long.

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Afterwards, we got to hang out in a recovery room where I got sick from all the meds (yay) and grandma and grandpa got to hold their new grand babies for the first time. And Toblerone was just attached to them both and so in love. I however was sicker than sick so I could care less what was happening around me! Or maybe that was the drugs?

I was sooooo out of it in the pictures but there is happy Daddy!

We got to ring the lullabye announcement twice which was pretty special. Once in our room where we would stay to recover from the hectic morning it became more insane! Babies everywhere, nurses barking out rules and information that I couldn’t comprehend. Our room was like an afternoon on Wall Street. Everyone talking, no room to move! At least from my perspective, that’s how it all felt.

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This particular hospital is baby friendly which means no nursery and babies sleep in the room with you. I use that term “sleep” lightly. As you know…that isn’t what happens with newborns. Let’s just say the exhaustion hasn’t stopped since that morning. (They are now 11 weeks old!)

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Harley meeting his baby brothers for the first time!

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It’s been a crazy ride since then and although we are still trying to get to know each other I’m sure the fun will never end! I am officially a twin mom. That’s pretty special 🙂

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Until next time, Readers! Xoxoxoxo

Another Day Of Spoiling

The fun continued from one party to the next! I had my awesome NY baby shower with friends and family back home and our fantastic neighbors here in Michigan threw us another great baby shower/diaper party. We’ve lived here for just a little over a year now and we have accumulated a really great “family” that is always watching out for us.

We had the baby shower with all the ladies in our home and all the men gathered at the neighbor’s house for the diaper party. It worked out perfectly and I got SO many presents (once again!) I never thought I’d be so excited to open presents for my future children and not for myself. Ha! Who knew!

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Harley even wore his fancy new collar which he got as a present from the first baby shower (Thanks Aunt Addie and Uncle John!) He was lovin hanging out with all the ladies!

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Granted I am now the size of a beached whale but my hostesses kept it organized and not too long which was great for me! I have zero energy these days and immediately had to nap after the party was over. I loved showing Toblerone all the new things we got and the adorable outfits people gave us. I mean…little khakis!! Can you get any cuter! The boys also got a few German-esque things geared towards their Dad’s favorite soccer team, FC Bayern Munich. Whether they like it or not, they are going to be fans 🙂

We can’t wait to read them books in English and in German and sing lullabies in both languages. It’s going to be a really fun experience to get them to be bilingual. Nothing cuter than kids speaking in German!

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A rubber ducky with lederhosen! I mean….how cute is that?!

Only 8 more days until their arrival! It may take me some time to get back here to write again but lo and behold…I will be back!

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxoxo