Friday, September 30, 2011

Vacation - Papa's point of view part 3

Again, if you’re just joining me you should really go back and start at the beginning of this saga. 

Everything is planned, so this is the point where the deception begins.
We are still in July – I asked six friends on Facebook to post a comment on my wall about things to do in their area of the US.  Each of them came through for me.  Each of them lives in a location which would require roughly the necessary amount of flight and drive time I had mentioned to Julia.  Pennsylvania, Kansas, Texas, Michigan, Florida, and Minnesota were now in play. 
I wasn’t getting any reaction from her, which was a little disappointing.  I know she had seen the first post as I saw her reading it, but she remained stoic.  A day later the second post hit. 
She then confirmed seeing the first one, but was trying to be nice and pretend she didn’t see it.  The fact that I hadn’t deleted the first post, coupled with the second post hitting, cleared things up for her.  At first she was a little upset since she thought she had figured it out so early.  When the second one hit she did figure it out – I was messing with her mind. 
I then told her one of the posts on my wall was the actual location, while the others were there for deception.  This was a half-truth.  Ultimately, our destination would be posted on my wall, but so far it had not been.  I didn’t clarify to Julia whether or not it had already been posted, so I wasn’t officially lying.  John was going to post it AFTER we were in the air, so my statement to her would become a true one by the time we arrived.
Sometime in July, John and I started emailing back and forth.  Jane gradually got cut out of the emails, but I’m still not quite sure how that happened.  Oh, wait, yes I do.  John was planning a little surprise of his own for her!
Having two allies at our destination was wonderful.  They each played a vital role.  Jane was spying on Julia to find out what about the trip was concerning her, and then reporting back to me so I could be sure to take care of those issues.  John was working on filling our days when we were there.  Both of them were a huge help in making sure I had planned for everything.  All of us, I think, were enjoying it a bit too much.
August – Julia spent some time with another friend of ours that “accidentally” made a statement about pushing the double stroller on the beach – this coincided with her husband’s wall post about going to the panhandle of Florida. 
A week later she sent her an email to ask if we might have some room in our luggage to bring something back from her mother, who just happened to live in the area we were travelling to.  Georgia and Alabama were now possibilities.

To further the deception, I had my brother-in-law (the husband of Julia’s sister) “accidentally” send her a Facebook inbox addressed to me asking for our flight number and arrival time.  She replied and accused him of being in on the plot to trip her up.  He confirmed he was, but cleverly asked her not to say anything about the incident to me as I had been working so hard to keep it a secret.  You see what he did?  By asking her not to mention it, even though he was claiming to be involved, he planted enough doubt in her mind to cause her NOT to mention this to me.  I assume she thought we were going to see them.
There was now another state in play – Wisconsin.
This puts the tally at nine states, but none of them were correct.  See you again soon for the next update!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pardon the Cheese

My wife wanted you all to know how awesome I am, and to say some very humbling things to me here, on our fourth anniversary.

I had a few things to say too. You can hop over to her space to read them there



So, you know those silly facebook status things? This was someone's status yesterday:

HAPPILY MARRIED WEEK - If your spouse is still your best friend, works extremely hard, has been with you through triumphs and tragedies, who loves you when you're at your worst, whom you are proud to be married to, post this as your status with the date you got married.
So, I guess we picked the right week to get married. If we'd chosen any other week, who knows?! We might be completely miserable.

Regardless, I'm not declaring my love through a facebook status in honor of "Happily Married Week".

I'll do a blog post instead!

As I sit here and write by the window it's breezy and warm. Pretty much exactly how it was the day we got married. Do you remember how windy it was? Gloriously sunny, warm and windy.

The breeze is blowing my dress gently against my legs as I write to you.

I laugh.

It never occurred to me when I put on the dress that it's exactly the same dress I wore the night before our wedding.

So, while my wardrobe, apparently, hasn't changed in four years. We certainly have.

I love who we are.
I love where we've been.
I love that I'm as excited to live life with you today as I was the day we said "I do" (or did we say "I will"? I can't remember).


Here we are, standing in grace.

Four years,
three dogs,
two daughters and
one house later.

I'm so incredibly blessed that you chose me to be your wife four years ago. I hope your readers will pardon all this cheese. Here are just a few reasons I love you:
  • You still open the car door for me (as long as your arms aren't full of babies).
  • You enjoy firing up the grill to give me a night off from cooking.
  • You make me coffee, even though you hate the taste and smell of it. September 29th is actually National Coffee Day, so there you go--one more reason for one of us to celebrate the day.
  • You tell me I'm beautiful and compliment me often.
  • You love to travel with me, and planned the most perfect surprise family vacation for us.
  • You pull weeds, spread mulch and stake tomatoes to help make my garden beautiful, because you know I love it so much.
  • You kiss me like this:

Basically, you rock.

I love you! 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The secret to dining out with little ones

During the first 18 months of our girls' lives we ate at a restaraunt a grand total of three times, I believe.  The girls did well each time, or at least well enough, but we were still afraid to make it a routine occurence until they were a little older.

Vacation caused us to press the issue. 

Over the course of five days we ate almost every single meal either at a restaraunt or in the hotel breakfast area.

We packed everything we needed such as forks, spoons, bibs, and wipes.  The one thing we didn't have were our high chairs.

Even when we eat out in town we take those travel high chairs as they are, in my opinion, the greatest chairs ever.

Since we were such a long way from home we didn't take them with us. 

Once again the girls adapted wonderfully to everything we threw at them.  Along the way we learned a few little tricks I thought I would share.  I might have mentioned how much I enjoy a good list, so here we go:

1 - When you order food, don't order anything for yourself unless you think know the children will eat it.  Order more of the smaller dishes off the children's menu and let them eat what they will.  You, then, get to be the parent that finishes everything they don't.  Obviously, you can tell them there are starving children in Africa that would gladly eat what they won't, but I don't think that line is as effective as it once may have been.

2 - Most every place will have some sort of children's size cup that comes with a lid and a straw.  As long as your kiddos know how to drink through a straw (very similar to a sippy cup, though a bit easier) you should be good.  BONUS - you now have more cups to drink from at home - cups they will most likely not be able to break.  And if they do?  So what - it was free.

3 - For us, fruit is a good "go-to" food as the girls will almost always dig right in.  It's also a lot healthier than a side of fries or onion rings, so make the substitution where you can - assuming your little ones like fruit.  Also, fruit can be eaten immediately, but you'll have to wait for a piping hot plate of food to cool down.

4 - Find places that are at least semi-kid friendly.  They don't need to have a playground, but any place that has paper table cloths and crayons counts.  Don't let them fill up on crayon appetizers, but feel free to let them scribble on anything that should be scribbled on.

5 - Try to get a table in a place that will bother the least amount of other diners as possible - just in case your little angels become little demons.  It's just a consideration thing.  The other people eating there are paying for their meal as well, so try to be aware of them when planning your outing.

6 - If you aren't sure how they're going to act, and if it works with your schedule, try going to eat a little earlier than the normal crowd.  Eating with the blue-hairs is not a bad option.  Not only have they probably been in your same position at some point in their lives, but since they don't hear very well your children can be as loud as they want and still not disturb them!

Six is not a very good number for items in a list, but for now it will have to do.  If you have any other thoughts to add I would love to hear them - and put them to use when we head out next.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Go, Go Gadget Arms

My height is 6'5".  My wingspan is 6'5".  I am unable to stretch myself any farther than this, but how useful would that be?

When the girls were little(r) I always thought I'd love for them to be more mobile.  Now I am paying for those wishes.

It really doesn't matter what we are doing or where we are, the two rugrats always try to go their own way.  Just like in Operation Puppy Dog they never have the same destination in mind.

Almost every time we go outside to play, one of them will run toward the back yard while the other heads toward the street.  This is fine if both Mama and Papa are around, but when we aren't, it quickly becomes a hassle.

The danger scale comes into play when I'm alone with them.  Playing in the street is a 5, while rolling down the hill is only a 3.  Unless they make it to the retaining wall, which then puts us up to a 5.

They don't show off the speed they inherited from Papa often.  Actually, they try to keep it hidden and only use it when I'm not fully paying attention.  The more I write, the more I realize just how often I am not paying full attention.  Maybe it doesn't happen as frequently as it seems, but they sure do notice it, and take full advantage of it.

On second thought, they're intentionally doing things to divert my attention. 

We are sitting on the driveway, drawing with the chalk (or trying to ingest it) when Hadley brings me her chalk, sets it down, and gives me a big hug. 

Strange.  Why would she stop playing to give me a random hug?

The answer - Brynne is 10 yards away and still accelerating.

In my first glimpse of her, all I see is a torso and a blur of legs.  Once she realizes I have seen her, she drops her pace to a clumsy trot.  I try to get up and start the chase, but Hadley is latched onto me.  I fumble with her grip and try to get her to release.

I know if I take my eyes off Brynne, those legs will start blurring again, so I work without the aid of seeing what I am doing.  I finally release the anchor and head toward Brynne.

I know in my mind Hadley is already up and headed in the opposite direction, but I can't worry about that now.  Brynne is headed for the 5. 

Brynne's giggling when I reach her.  She can see past me, and is watching her sister escape around the side of the house.  I get to her quickly, but now have a decision to make. 

Would it be quicker to follow Hadley's path directly or to circle the house and meet her head on?

Even with an additional 27 pounds in my arms I decide I am quicker than Hadley and begin to track her down.  For once, I make the right decision as she has stopped sprinting to smell the flowers.

What a wonderful thing she has learned so early in life - to slow down and enjoy all of God's creation.


The reason she really stopped was to try to get the taste of chalk out of her mouth - by replacing it with the taste of flowers and rocks.

I guess it's time for a glass of milk to wash them all down.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Vacation - Papa's point of view part 2

You’ll really need to read part 1 before jumping in here.

When we last left our story, I was just starting to plan our first ever family vacation, so that is where we'll jump back in.
January - I broke into Julia’s email to get Jane’s email address.  Once I had the address I lobbed the first test email to see if she was receptive.
She was.
February – I broached the idea of a vacation with Julia, and she shot it down; it was out of the question.

March – I tried again and the answer was the same.  I now decided that trying to suggest this each and every month would get us nowhere, so I let my plans simmer.
April and May – Nothing to report.
June – I throw caution to the wind since the girls were making great progress of their own and reached back out to Jane.  I was targeting a trip between August and February, so the girls would be under two years old and, therefore, could fly for free.  Jane was due with baby number three in October, so that limited us a bit.  John would be taking vacation in September, around their girls’ birthday, so we set that date.
July – I booked the flight, car, and hotels once Jane confirmed John’s vacation plans.  The only thing I told Julia was the trip would involve a two hour flight and a 90 minute car ride.  I also told her how much went into scheduling the flight, car, and hotel. 
You cannot book a flight for an infant on your lap over the internet.  You first have to book the flight and then call in with the other two riders.
For the car, you have to call the location to confirm they have car seats and can reserve them for you.
The hotel is a little trickier.  Unless you want to spend an arm and a leg to get a suite with two different rooms, you have to call around.  I couldn’t afford the suite, so I had to find a hotel with adjoining rooms.  Even if you do that, you have to find a hotel that can provide two pack n plays.

I distinctly remember one call where the person informed me they did have a pack n play.  I was in the middle of booking everything when I decided to ask a stupid question.  Did they have one crib or more than one?  In a hotel with 1,400 rooms they had only the one crib.  Click (that's me hanging up in disgust), on to the next.  The ninth hotel I called had what we needed so I booked it.

So everything is booked.  Julia has no idea where we're going or what we're doing.  Just to make sure she didn't figure it out by accident, I decided to throw her off the scent.  More on that to come next time. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What is that sound?

I've discovered another trait the girls picked up from me - large feet.

Sure, they have their mother's coup de-toe, but they seem to have my length.  They also have the ability to outgrow shoes quickly.

Several weeks before our vacation Julia ordered them new shoes as their little toes were becoming scrunched in their current pairs. 

Several weeks went by and we still had not received said shoes.

The night before we left we decided they were not coming, so we headed to a local shoe store.  By local, I mean the only store that carried the brand we (and by we I mean Julia as she does the shoe research) wanted was 30 miles away.  We called them and confirmed they carried the shoes and had the ones we wanted.  Off we went.

The store did, in fact, have one pair of the shoes we wanted.  They had nothing else in the style we wanted in the girls size.  We contemplated buying a different type, but they didn't have the features and support Julia was looking for. 

Then it happened.

The salesman brought out a pair of Squeakers

We slipped them on and the girls took off.  Fortunately, we were the only ones in the store at the time.

Do you hear that funny, squeaky sound?

Squeak, squeak, squeak, squeak.

With every step they took a squeaking sound was produced by their shoes.


That was my initial reaction. 

I mashed their feet back into their old shoes and prepared to leave. 

Brynne started to take her shoes off.  Only then did I notice how the velcro strap appeared to be cutting off her circulation. 

MacGyver might have just cut the end of the shoe off and created space for her toes, but that wouldn't have allowed the blood to flow to those toes freely.

We tried on several different sizes of other shoes, but none fit quite as nicely as the Squeakers.

The salesman assured me the squeak-making piece of the shoe could be easily removed, so we went ahead and purchased the shoes.

I had every intention of removing the squeaky thing, but I didn't. There are a few reasons for that:

1 - the squeaky sound is very easy to identify and lets me know exactly where they are.  If for some reason they escaped my grasp and took off I could follow the squeak better than a GPS tracker.

2 - they love to hear the squeaky sound.  Both of them have done their fair share of toe walking, but this was encouraging them to walk properly.

3 - one of the squeakers did fall out on its own on vacation, and this caused a little distress for Hadley.  She went from "squeak, squeak, squeak, squeak" to "squeak, (silence), squeak, (silence)".  She then stopped and just started stomping her squeak-less foot in an effort to get the squeak back - this is how I realized the squeaker was gone.  No sound was being produced and she didn't want to move until it did.

At this point we went back to the hotel for bed time, searched for a local store that had the Squeakers, and found one the only one in a  60 mile radius just happened to be right close to our next morning destination - so we stopped in and got a replacement squeaker.

So, I 've gone from vehemently opposing the squeak, to actually seeking out a replacement squeak.

All was once again right with the world. 

As with anything you constantly hear, the squeaking is now hardly noticeable to us.  People are constantly commenting on them and we have yet to hear a negative remark.

Yes, I did use some form of squeak 28 times in this post.  I dare you to outdo me.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Don't have what you need? Be creative

As we arrived at the airport for our vacation, Julia had a bit of a freak out moment.

Bink = pacifier

It wasn't strapped to her shirt.

It wasn't on the ground.

It was nowhere to be seen.

Like an idiot, I suggested the following:

Well, we've been thinking about helping her kick the bink habit - maybe this is a sign that now is the time to start.
Apparently that wasn't a good idea.

I was politely informed she would probably like to have her bink for the flight to help with her ears popping, and we wouldn't want to wipe it down every time she dropped it.  And she would drop it.

She knows when it is dropped it is still right there for her.  So even if she sneezes it out (which is a pretty cute sight) it is right where it should be.

As luck would have it we could not locate her back-up holder before we left, so the AWOL holder was our only option.

I had a brilliant idea!

The shops at the airport have a very strange inventory they maintain.  I was sure they would have a holder.  AND it might even be duty free!!

They did not. 

I could buy a little yapping dog that flips over all by itself.  I could choose from a wide variety of shot glasses, magnets, and even bumper stickers.  Or any number of pills, electronic devices, or reading materials.

SIDEBAR - I think it's very interesting how the airport shops sell Playboy, Penthouse, and other adult-themed magazines.  Do people really buy them there and then read them on a plane?  What an awkward flight that must be if the reader sits next to a member of the clergy or a little old lady.


I couldn't, however, find anything that would even come remotely close to fitting my need.

There comes a time in every man's life when he must ask himself one very important question:

My answer was simple: 
  • I pulled a spare bink from the bag of them I held.
  • I pulled out my shoe.
  • I removed the shoe lace.
  • I used it to fashion my very own (patent pending) bink holder and tied it around Brynne's neck.
  • I actually tied it through a button hole on her shirt - her neck was too big.

 Problem solved.

I'm sure we looked like the biggest rednecks in the world with my daughter sucking on a bink being held to her clothing with a dirty shoe lace, but I didn't care. 

She would have that bink in a familiar place if she needed it - and that mattered more to me than my appearance.

We did, however, stop by the local Walmart once we landed to purchase an actual bink holder. 

It was the wrong kind, but that didn't matter.  With a little more MacGyver ingenuity, and the assistance of a local seamstress, we had our bink holder - and I had my shoelace back.

It was a little moist, but still functional.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Vacation - Papa's point of view part 1

I am better than Clark W. Griswold – Sparky if you will.

We hadn’t taken a real vacation since our honeymoon, so I thought it was time we did just that.  Staycations just don’t provide the same level of adventure and anxiety that real vacations do.
I also know how much Julia loves surprises, so I decided to make the entire trip a surprise.  Yes – I said it – EVERYTHING was to be a surprise.
How would you react if your spouse decided to plan a trip for you and your two children that were under two years old?  Julia will be posting her experiences in the whole thing soon to help you get a feel for what she thought.
I’ll start with the basics.  The only two people in the world other than me who knew where we were headed were two people that neither my wife nor I had ever met – John and Jane Doe for now.  I told our girls, but I don’t think they got it.  I even tried to sign it to them, but apparently you have to know what the signs mean before you can interpret them. 

Oh well, less chance of a slip from them.
I tried to get her to go in the spring, but due to the girls weaning and nap schedules Julia didn't want to take any trips.  I then decided we would do it in the fall, around our anniversary, and she couldn't object since I was giving them all ample time to prepare.
What will come out over the next five Fridays is the “diary” of my deviousness.  The planning took nine months; the trip took five days.  I can’t foresee doing anything like this again, so I am not worried about giving away the magician’s secrets.  Maybe you can use this to surprise your spouse as well.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

One-on-one time is tough with twins

Not often do our girls get split up.  If we go somewhere or do something, we're usually doing it as a foursome.  I hadn't really thought too much about it until this past week. 

Both of our girls have a tighter bond with Mama than Papa.  It sounds weird to say it, but it's easy to see why it happened.  They're home with her all day every day; I go to work. 

It's not a competition, just a fact.

In my opinion, Brynne and I have a tighter bond than Hadley and I do.  Mostly, because Brynne's car seat is behind me so I'm the one to put her in it, take her out of it, and carry her around when running errands.

On the girls' first flight we had to sit in different rows.  Hadley came with me; Brynne stayed with Mama.  It was a great flight.  She handled everything so well and we got to just hang out.  We played (as much as you can in an airplane seat) ate, drank, read, and napped (a little) together.

I loved it, and I think she did too.

That night, after Brynne was sick and sleeping with Mama, Hadley came to bed with me.  I didn't get much sleep.  She thrashed about, and I feared rolling on top of her. I'd do it all again though--the snuggles were worth more than any amount of sleep.

I really loved that one-on-one time.  Now, I'm trying to be more intentional about getting it with each girl  (including Mama).

It's virtually impossible to do if I'm alone with Brynne and Hadley. The instant I take one with me to take the dogs outside, the other is wants to go too. 

As long as Mama's home, though, it's possible. 

I'm trying to decide if running errands with one of them while the other stays home (with Mama) is a good idea now, or if I should wait.

Are you intentional about getting one-on-one time with each of your children?
What age did you start doing this?
How often do you attempt one-on-one time with your kids?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts - and yes, I'm begging for comments here, so if you would oblige me I would appreciate it.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Vacation, all I ever wanted. Vacation, time to get away

So our first official family vacation took place this last week.  All in all, it was a great time, though we did get off to a rocky start.  Let's walk through the list of what happened.

1 - Thanks to hurricane/tropical storm/tropical depression Lee, we had a little longer trip on the way out.  Our flight was delayed about an hour, and we only found out about it once we were at the gate. 

2 - When we finally boarded we discovered the plane was full, so we did not get to sit together.  Even though we booked  our seats (a window and an aisle seat) in the same row.  Since the girls were on our laps and each set of three seats only has four oxygen masks, Hadley and I were forced to move up a row. 

3 - We were nearing the end of our flight and the girls were nearing the end of their patience - not to mention their snacks/books/moving the tray up and down. The captain came on the PA and informed us that we were going to have to circle the airport for 25 minutes until we were cleared to land.  Not exactly what we wanted to hear.  Fortunately, five minutes later we were cleared.

4 - After landing, we had to wait for a gate to open up.  Then, since we were in the back of the plane, we had to wait for everyone else to take their sweet time unloading.  Finally, we were free.

5 - We went to the rental car lot and were given our car after a modest wait.  The girls had been travelling for five hours and were ready to be done.  Mama walked with them while I got the vehicle.  We discovered it was too small to hold us and our luggage.  Fortunately, they had larger SUVs so we were able to take one - for a few dollars more.

6 - The rental car seats were crap - utter crap.  The girls may have been safer just sitting in a cardboard box on the hood.  We wanted rear facing ones and they claimed to be such.  They did not, however, have all of the appropriate connectors and straps to install properly.  For the first time ever our girls rode facing forward.  They seemed to love it.  We loved being able to look back at them and see what was going on, but it just isn't as safe for them at their size.

7 - We got to our dinner location about two hours later than I had planned.  Since we were so delayed, we decided to feed the girls in transit some blueberries we brought with us for snacks.  They were starving, apparently, and gobbled them all down.  In the middle of the night, Brynne's stomach decided it didn't want them in there anymore and she expelled them.  At 3 AM I got her up, we cleaned the vomit off her, changed her to a new sleep sack, replaced her bedding (with towels since I didn't pack back-up bedding), and put her back down as she seemed empty.

8 - Less than 30 minuted later she needed new towels.  She was reenacting her Papa's trip from a few weeks ago, so Mama laid in bed with her.  Hadley was not happy about her sister getting more attention than she did, so I took her to sleep with me.  This was the first time either of them had slept a good part of the night with us.  Everyone (except me) slept pretty well.  Once again I was a chicken and feared I would either roll over her or let her roll off the bed, so I remained awake.  Even if that fear wouldn't have been there, she is a very active sleeper, apparently, and if I got close to sleep she would kick me, roll over on me, or put her head right on my windpipe to constrict my breathing.

This may seem bad, but this is all that went wrong.  Five days away from home, and this is all we had to endure.  Our girls did a wonderful job in adapting to whatever was thrown their way.

Now that the bad stuff is out of the way I can move on to all the great things we did.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Lists, lists, lists

I am a big fan of lists. 

I never leave home without my red European man-bag.

If I have any reason to make a list I will.  I suppose it's not so much the list itself as it is the ability to then cross things off that list.

I will write something new on the list AFTER I've done it, just so I can cross it off. 

Not only does it give me a sense of accomplishment, but it helps ensure I don't forget anything. 

For my money, there is nothing worse than getting home from running errands only to realize I forgot one thing - usually from the place furthest from home.

Taking our first family vacation provided me with the perfect opportunity for some lists.  Here's a list of those lists:

1 - things I needed to plan before we left

2 - things I could do to deceive Julia about the trip

3 - clothes to pack for me

4 - clothes to pack for Julia

5 - clothes to pack for the girls

6 - things to pack for the flight

7 - toys and books to pack for the girls

8 - toiletries to pack for all of us

9 - things we could buy once we got to our destination

10 - documents I needed to pack

11 - other things I shouldn't forget

Have you ever had that sinking feeling you were forgetting something?  I have, but not often. 

With my list(s) prepared well in advance, the actual packing takes less time since I don't have to think about what I'm missing.  I just know it's all there since I've reviewed my list and added items as time went on.

Yes, I am probably a bit insane, but it all seems to work out - for the most part.

More on the vacation to come soon!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Professor Papa - Part 1

I've had a lot of teachers in my days.  Some were good, and some were not.  They all taught me something, whether they believe it or not.

Today I thought I'd look at one good thing and one not so good thing I have taught the girls.

Let's start with the good one first.

Picking up.

I am a firm believer that everything has its place.  My office is organized - some might say it's too organized, but it works for me.

The garage, basement, and pretty much anywhere else I have any influence is picked up and neat most of the time. 

Let's face it, once we get past the basement and garage I have no influence - and the basement is limited to the unfinished part.  Pretty much, any space we don't routinely use, I can control - at least until someone uses it.

The girls have an uncanny ability to make one heck of a mess wherever they are.  Everything goes from organized - to scattered - in minutes.  I don't mind picking up someone else's mess, but doing it two or three times a day was getting out of hand. 

I like games.  The girls seem to like them as well.  It only seemed logical to make a game out of organizing.

We start with the books.  I ask the girls to bring me the books, and as they do I stack them on the shelf and praise them for helping.  Sometimes, they stack them all by themselves.

Then, we move on to the rest of the toys that go in the toy bin, ball bin, or toy bag--everything has a place.

Finally, we put away everything that comes with its own storage capabilities - puzzles, cups, shapes, etc.

Typically, we do the clean up just before they get changed and head to bed.  This lessens the likelihood of them undoing all their (and my) hardwork.

Now for the bad one.

Running their fingers through their hair. 

At first, you may be asking yourself why is this a bad thing?  It's not, by itself, a bad thing.  It becomes bad based on timing.

If they do it in the tub while we have soap in their hair, then it is a good thing.

That almost never happens. 

Most of the time they run their fingers through their hair when we have placed blueberries, blackberries, or a red pasta sauce in front of them during meal time. 

They also love to touch their hair when any sauce that is sticky is covering their little digits.  Syrup and BBQ are their favorites, but any sauce will do. 

It started as a cute little joke to make Mama laugh. 

We did the Home Alone pose, but then it quickly escalated to hair.  Once they realized how funny it was, they couldn't stop doing it. 

Fortunately, they have stopped it for the most part.  I'd love to take the credit for teaching them not to do that at mealtime, but I can't.  For them, it stopped being funny when they started using forks. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Golden Rule

Being in the financial services industry, I deal with privacy concerns every day.  There are so many rules and regulations surrounding most everything I do. 

  • I can't send, nor would I, social security numbers, account numbers or anything similar in nature through email without having it encrypted.
  • I can't speak to a husband about his wife's accounts unless I have her permission.
  • If I mention my company's name on my facebook page or Twitter, I have to have a disclaimer stating that the opinions are mine, and not that of the company. 
  • I can't let one client know another person is a client of mine, unless I get his authorization first. 
  • I can't even tell one person if the friend of theirs they referred to me became a client without the other person's permission first.

There are a lot of rules to follow and they all have strict penalties for failing to adhere to them.  Blogging does not have any such rules.  I can do almost anything I want.  But I don't, and neither does Julia in her blog

When she first started blogging, we discussed what was fair game and what was not.  We've stuck to those rules for anything and everything we've written whether it's for her blog, my blog, or my upcoming book.

We agreed:
  1. Not to post any naked or semi-naked pictures.  That goes for the girls as well. 
  2. Not to post anything that would indicate when one or both of us were out of town.
  3. Not to post anything if either of us is uncomfortable with the content.   
  4. Not to publicly bash any person or organization.  
I can't think of one instance where either of us have failed to live up to our end of the bargain, and I don't expect it to happen. 

While it may seem as though our lives are an open book, they aren't.  Most of the truly intimate details of our life are kept between us.  If they're written down, it's in pen, in the journals we keep for the girls. 

I still see the occasional blog post or facebook update of a little naked one running around, the moaning about how one spouse mistreated the other, or how one's friend has wronged them.  I usually don't comment on them, because people are free to do what they want - even if I don't agree with it.
For us, we try to keep one thing in mind - once you hit submit it's out there, and will continue to be out there.  You can't take it back. 

Sure, you can attempt to delete it, but if one person has seen it, or if technology doesn't work exactly as it should, the damage is done.

Why risk it?