The Tovsky Tribe

Chocolates, Cocktails, Friends, Babies...A Girl Should Never Have Just ONE!!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Merry Christmas!!!

As a Jew I was raised, like most, celebrating Christmas day with Chinese food and a movie. Limited with choices, this option was quite enjoyable. When I got older and started making plans of my own, the only thing that changed was that Chinese food became Japanese Food and Christmas Eve became an annual event celebrated with my cousins. I began to look forward to the holiday almost as much as a child waiting for Santa.
Then I had children and though the holiday season is even more enjoyable when experienced with kids (particularly your own) the movie and dinner plan goes right out the window. Hoping to have an activity for our kids combined with the need to entertain (since our annual NYE party is on a temporary hiatus), we decided to host a Christmas Day Brunch. Promising myself and Todd that I would not go overboard with my entertaining-ism's, I tried to keep it relatively low key. 4 pounds of lox and smoked whitefish salad and 24 adults later, our brunch was off and running.
The night before at the annual cousins dinner, which is worthy of posting itself due to its good time and its expected laughter, I honestly bugged out a little bit. It dawned on me after a few glasses of wine and some slivers of raw fish, that we were going to have 17 children, 16 under the age of 4, in our home the following morning. I saw chaos, and crying, and whining, and chaos. Being one who often welcomes chaos, even I saw this as maybe too much. But, the party went on.
Not unlike other parties, it went off well. No crying, no whining, no chaos, nothing but a good time, seemingly had by all. The number of children was not overwhelming, nor was the number of adults. The amount of whitefish salad leftover, well, that is truly overwhelming.
Unfortunately, I do not have any good pictures of the event, hopefully some of our guests do. And, we will likely make it an annual event, at least until we return to our NYE celebration.
As far as my ism's on a scale of 1-10 I would say I kept it to about a 5 or 6. Yes, I set the tablescape the night before, and yes all the plates were marked, but I only cooked one thing, and kept the menu pretty basic. It was a fun day for me, Todd, our kids and our friends, and since I take the responsibility of other people's good times very seriously, that is a very good thing.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Battle for Three!

When Todd and I were dating we lived on either side of the corner of Third and Vine Streets. It was rather convenient. Often times we would make plans on the phone and the conversation would end with, "ok, I'll meet you at the corner." We met at this corner before dates, hanging out, nights at bars, restaurants, concerts. It became our corner. It also became our unofficial mantra "Meet ya at the corner."
Our relationship grew, in addition to the good time we had together, due to the ability we shared to communicate with one another, and our ability to compromise when necessary. Compromising was when we would refer to "meeting on the corner." This is something we were always good at, I am proud to say. But, what do you do when the situation has no compromise? How do we meet at the corner on the battle for three? I never made it a secret to Todd that I wanted a large family. I remember telling him I wanted four kids and he laughed at me as if I was kidding. He learned pretty quickly I was not joking. Although 4 is my ideal I was pretty aware it was a stretch, also aware that Todd only wanted 2 children, something he never kept a secret from me. He is pretty adamant on the number two, the fact that we had them at one time is a bonus for Todd. I see it another way entirely. Being that I want 4 and he wants 2, three seems like the natural compromise. But, since Todd does not see it that way how do we possibly meet on the corner? A dog? Cat? Bird? Perhaps a third house somewhere to complicate our lives? A solution that I came up with, in attempt to find a compromise, was to let fate decide. Give it the all natural attempt at baby making and see what is in store for us. Coming from the experience of unnatural conceptions and a twin pregnancy, this seems more than fair since we really have no idea what will happen, when, if at all. Todd, again, does not see it this way. I am out of ideas for the moment, but the point of contention remains. I am not giving up on my quest for number three, despite the fact that every time I bring it up the conversation ends the same disappointing way. And, Todd does not seem to be budging on the idea of adding a 5th member to the family. And, unless someone has a suggestion, I do not see a way to meet on the corner.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Crib Tent

I can zip it myself, Mommy!!

Screaming, yes, but in delight!!


So, we seemed to have resolved the crib jumping phase, at least temporarily. We invested in a crib tent. At first, the idea of this scared me, but so did the idea of a broken neck or concussion, or even just sleepless nights. We decided to give it a try and talked it up as a really cool tent. It seems as if it may have worked. Excited the minute he saw it, Ryder actually tried to climb into his crib. He got right in, laughed and squealed, jumped around, asked us to zipper it shut. Chase joined him in the "tent" and our new concern was whether or not Chase was going to feel left out. So far, Ryder has slept peacefully and soundly, not to mention safely, since its installation. Hopefully, this will buy us at least a few more months.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Outta Here

Ryder developed an aversion to his crib. Is aversion the right word for a smiling child who, upon being put into his crib, bursts into a fit of rage with tears and screams like we have never seen? we would pick him up, he would stop crying instantly. Put down....cry, pick up.... quiet. This began on a Saturday night and it resulted in him sleeping on me in our bed after staying up until 1am. That is clearly not a solution. Sunday night we try again. We decide to let him cry it out, like we did when he was an infant. The crying went on for what seemed like hours and just as we were getting good at drowning it out....THUD!!! He climbs out of his crib and greets us at the door of his room. We calmed him, and ourselves, down, assuming it was a one time thing and quietly put him back in his crib only to have him do it again. He then climbed out of his crib anytime he was in there and awake, morning, naps, and nighttime. Ryder is our climber, so technically this kamikaze act is no surprise, but at 17 months we are not ready for a bed, a separation of the boys, or for him to be screaming frantically at bed time. Plus, we are a concerned that the number of times he has landed on his head could affect him later in life.
Against my beliefs, and probably my better judgment, I have resorted to driving around at nap time and letting him fall asleep in bed with me. I am well aware of how bad of an idea this is and we are working on a new solution to keep in safe, and sleeping.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Funeral

I know this sounds morbid, and I do not mean it as such, but I often times find funerals inspiring. I know, most people find them depressing and sad, which they are, but beneath the tears and heartache I sometimes find inspiration.
I went to a funeral of the father of a friend I have known almost 25 years. He passed away what seemed to be suddenly, despite being very ill. A respectable man who raised a respectable family, the news came as quite devastating to me and my parents. I could go on about all the reasons it is so sad, but instead I will focus on how a man I knew as a kid is affecting me posthumously.
As far as anyone knows you only get one chance at life. Though most of us expect to live forever, it seems that without much notice at all forever can become tomorrow.
I love listening to eulogies. I wish I never had to hear one in my life, and wish more that I will never have to hear one again, but in this case where wishes can not come true, I do enjoy hearing them. I love hearing the words of the mourning as they present the life of the deceased from their perspective...all the good parts of a person wrapped up in a single speech. A eulogy focuses on their strengths, their successes, their memories shedding the most positive of a light on a rather sad situation.
Some people, perhaps those people that inspire those around them while living, can inspire their wider circle in their death. When you hear about their kindness, or their courage, their energy for life, or their passions, the way they lead by example or by sheer lesson, it is inspiring. I find, often times, it makes me want to be a better person, or improve on the person I am. It makes me strive harder for the days between my birth and death to be enjoyable, kinder, more generous, shared with the people we love most in the world. I am reminded again to tell those that I love that I do, to give apologies, and accept them, when necessary. I am reminded to be a good wife, a good friend, a good daughter, sister, and most importantly, mother. I am reminded to set examples for my children that will hopefully mold them into the type of people who can inspire those around them.
I know everyday for the rest of my friend's life, she will think of her father and, despite her pain, will smile with the memories of the man that he was. And, I know that it would make her smile more to know that the man he was affected those around him, both in life and in death.

Shoeless Joe

Ryder lost his shoe. Some time between 5:30 pm on Wed. afternoon and before he went to bed that night (8:30pm) His shoe vanished into thin air. Most people I tell this story to, find it hilarious. I suppose it is funny, but when it is one of the coldest days thus far, it is sleeting rain, you have a class which begins in 15 minutes and you are trying to get yourself and two toddlers out the door at 9:30am, the humor is lost. I searched all visible objects. I tore the couch apart and looked between the pillows. I looked in all trash cans and checked all bags and bins....still no shoe. So, I took him out without them. When they were infants they never wore shoes, so it is only a year later. I took them to class, only let Ryder's feet hit the ground once we were in the classroom and right after class took him to the shoe store to buy him a new pair of kicks. He made out because he also got a new pair of sneakers. The shoe was never found. Our guess is one of the two boys deposited it into one of the trash cans and it went out with the trash that Wed. night.
Last April we had a similar disappearance act. Todd and I were in Jamaica. When we left there were 8 bottles. When we returned, there were 7. None of the babysitters knew where it was nor what happened to it, and all said they washed two bottles every time. Hmmmm.....three weeks later it was discovered behind the couch. Maybe I should go move some couches?!

Monday, December 10, 2007

A letter to my sons on their 17th Month Birthday!

Family picture on Thanksgiving

Chase- all smiles

Ryder's grin

Dear Chase and Ryder,
On Friday you turned 17 months old. We were at the shore enjoying a quiet weekend.
Chase, at 17 months you have really enhanced your verbal skills. You will repeat, with a good amount of clarity, almost any word we say and you continue to build your every day vocabulary. It seems you have more words and use them more often than other kids your age. You answer Yes and No to simple questions, though they are not always the answers you mean. You seem to understand everything we say and are good at following small commands. In addition to your speaking words you are learning more sign language and though you do not use it fluently, you are certainly improving. The problem is, you often watch sign language videos (signing times) in the car, so I can not see what you are watching. I have picked up on a few, however. Someday soon I will sit down and watch the video myself.
Ryder, you seem to do more talking when we are one on one. You still have this knack for saying difficult words perfectly, despite the fact that you barely use words. You recently have said Delaney a few times. We laugh because Chase, who talks a lot, calls her DiDi. You say a few choice words in addition to the ones previously listed: Bubble, Baby, No, More, Pop-Pop, Daddy, Mommy, Mom-Mom, Banana, Elmo, Shoe, Shower, Breakfast, please. It is not the amount of words that you lack, you just choose to not use them. You are much more in favor of the grunt and the point.
Chase, you are such a flirt! You continue to charm the ladies wherever we go. You flash your dimples and wave and blow kisses and the girls marvel. You give smiles and laughs out to anyone who will take them. Ryder, you are a bit less extroverted. You actually make people (me included) earn your smile and your laugh. But, once we work for it and you flash your grin, your whole face lights up and it was worth earning. You are very independent and though it takes you a bit of time to warm up to a crowd it is not because you are clinging to me. You are often content playing by yourself, figuring out how things work. Daddy and I always wonder if you will become a scientist.
You both prefer to sit at the table in the regular chairs and fight me when I try to put you in your baby seat. You are using forks more often and are using plates a bit more too. You still occasionally throw the food on the floor, but you are improving. I am amazed that you can sit at the table like big boys and eat most of your meal. You are learning to make decisions based on choices I give you (do you want milk or juice? pancakes or waffles?) Though still decent eaters, you are certainly becoming more particular and the variety of food you eat is a little less. Bananas and cheese, though not together, rank amongst your favorite foods. Chase, you have a new love for cookies, which you clearly get from me. You can ask for them by name and know exactly where they are. You also love cookie monster, and I am not sure if that is a coincidence or not. In addition to Cookie, you know many of the Sesame Street characters, Big Bird, Elmo, Ernie and Burt, particularly. You love to dance when you hear music and you have learned Ring around the Rosie.
Ryder you like to figure out how things work and are still fascinated by buttons, dials, lights, and phones. You tend to take off your clothes, whether it be your shoes and socks or your shirt. We have found you in your crib just diaper clad.
You both love your toddler table that we put in your playroom. You will sit there to play with a toy or eat a snack. And, sometimes you love to just knock the chairs over. You both prefer to drink from real cups, sometimes with a straw, sometimes not. It is not uncommon for you to drink my whole drink at a meal and as a result I try to no longer order soda. You had your first juice boxes and did pretty well with them. I was impressed that you did not have it squirting all over you. It did get messy after some time and I made a note to myself to only give you the smaller ones.
You have basically transitioned to one nap a day which is somewhere between 2 and 3pm. The inconsistency is my fault, as our activities often take us to that late in the day. Sometimes you will take a morning snooze in the car, about 30 minutes or so.
We are in the middle of Hanukkah and it has been fun. You have enjoyed lighting the menorah, particularly the wood one we bought. This allows you to put the flames in the candles and it is great to see you dexterous enough to do it. The first night we watched you Ryder, as you changed the position you were holding the flame so that you could correctly place it in the candle. Although you have been enjoying the gifts you are getting, I am not sure you get the fact that Hanukkah means 8 nights of gifts. I am sure by next year though I will have something new to write about that. We have gotten together with friends and family for the holiday, which you and I always enjoy.
Though you both love our cell phones, Ryder you have become a master at programming new numbers or sending texts to people, particularly Ali. I have to go into my phone everyday to delete your contacts.
Chase you love to tell us when you take a poopie. You will point to your hiney and say poopie. Most of the time you are correct, sometimes there is nothing there. Daddy believes you will be very easy to potty train as a result. I suppose he is right.
Ryder, you have fallen in love with a peek-a-boo all over again and will hide yourself beneath your hands, then show yourself with laughter. It is very cute. You both love to throw away your dirty diapers and know exactly where they go on both floors. You love it.
Today we went for your 2nd flu shot and afterwards I gave you each a lollipop. You both loved it, but the funniest thing was Chase, you called it a lollipoppop. Needless to say, your pop-pop thought this was really cute.
We looked at pre-schools this month, for which you will begin in September. We looked at both Ohev Shalom and Shir Ami. Though we are leaning towards one we are going to look at Rainbow Academy on Wednesday. We will soon have a decision.
We celebrated Thanksgiving, which was fun and daddy and I had our 4 year anniversary. It has been a busy month that seemed to pass quickly but as always it has been filled with fun and laughter. You seem like amazingly big boys these last few weeks, doing things boys do, not babies. It is startling and amazing and overwhelming all at once. I want to see you grow and learn and yet I want you to be my babies forever. This is every mom's emotional conflict. Regardless, I am proud and happy and doubly blessed every day, and I know it.

Never forget how much I love you so.
Mommy.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Festival of Lights!

Ryder lighting his first Hanukah Candle

Chase, with his buddy Max, lighting the first of 8 candles

Applesauce all over me!!!

Hanukkah becomes a whole new celebration when you see it through the eyes of children. Of course, when your kids are 1 year old and do not fully get the concept, the celebration becomes more fun for the parents. Convinced that Chase and Ryder would remember Hanukkah, if not forever;), then clearly by day 8 they would remember it from the day before, I made some small efforts. We lit candles every day, including a wooden menorah which allowed them to do the "lighting," We gave them presents, we ate latkes, we sang hanukkah songs and played dreidel, and every morning at breakfast I read them hanukkah stories. All that and I do not think they remembered a thing. I never got either one of them to say the word hanukkah, but unlike many of their pals, they did not say the word present either. They did not seem to get as excited about the books as they do about "Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?" And the potato latkes barely hit their mouth before they decided they did not like it....though they loved smearing applesauce all over themselves. We had Hanukkah parties with friends, with playgroups, with family on all sides. They received way too many gifts, everything from cell phones and keys, to remote control cars, to the entire product line (almost) of Little People. Tickle Me Cookie, which scared Chase initially, is amongst the favorites with the words "Cookie, Cookie, Cookie" being repeated endlessly. They received the tools necessary to help Mommy clean, and to my great delight, they love their new Lego's. They love their new keyboard, the vacuum cleaner is a huge hit, and the airplane that hangs in the room is always identified upon entrance. The guitar Uncle Mat gave them ranks pretty high but since they can't say guitar, they just repeat "Mat, Mat, Mat!" All of these gifts (and so many more) but it was never about the gifts for them. I would show them a present and they would not get excited. Now that they have these things, they love it, but it seems they never expected gifts, not even by day 8. They're my boys!!! Their favorite part was simply lighting the candles. They got so excited when they lit their wooden menorah and seemed to be intrigued by the blazing fire in the real menorah. They truly enjoyed the festival of lights

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Marital Bliss





On 11/25/2007 Todd and I celebrated ten years of being together. Two weeks earlier on 11/11 we celebrated five years since our engagement and on 11/26 we celebrated 4 years of being married. Apparently, November is our month. Although 4 years is not the typical large celebration year, when you have 1 year old twins at home every night out is a celebration. Being that our actual day was on a Monday we celebrated early with an overnight stay at the Four Season's Hotel. This is quite the place of luxury and it seems wasteful if not saved for special occasions. We were most looking forward to relaxing and sleeping, both of which we did!!
We checked in about 4pm and settled in on the couch where Todd watched his alma matre (WVU) slaughter their opponents as they near a potential national championship, and I took a much needed nap. We then got ready for our dinner plans while enjoying a bottle of champagne and the hotels complimentary chocolates. We have been trying to dine at the appropriately named Restaurant Bliss for many many months and for one reason or another it never seemed to work out, until Saturday night. Being the food critics that we tend to be, we began our grading upon entrance. A less than half-filled restaurant allowed us to see the dim lit beauty of the small space. We sat upstairs next to the rail, allowing us to oversee the bar. Our server was as good as required of a place like bliss and the menu had many things on it to which to tempt our diverse palates.
We began, of course, with cocktails; a pearberry martini for me and Johnny Walker Black- rocks for Todd. My martini was not nearly as sweet as it sounded and wooed me to have another. Our appetizers included tuna sashimi with king crab meat and lemon wasabi sauce, a yellow beet salad with watercress, boston lettuce, mozzarella cheese and white balsamic vinegar, and a japanese udon noodle in not enough broth to call it a soup. All three were absolutely fantastic, but certainly no larger than a small appetizer size. We shared them all, and despite how it may sound we did not over order. Our main courses included a braised short rib for Todd, though very good, it seemed to lack enough of the braising to make it as succulent as short ribs tend to be. My scallops in truffle sauce with a single chestnut ravioli was very good, the single ravioli being the standout of flavor and leaving you wishing it was served as a couple.
Dessert was a chocolate cake I can't seem to remember the name of accompanied with a fine port wine that was quite delicious both with the chocolate and with out. We left the restaurant satiated and gave the overall experience of dining at Bliss a B+, which Todd and I believe to be a very fair grade.
Our night continued with drinks, at a bar we believe was a kennel in its former life, with Rob and Jamie, Ryan, JJ and Jon. We then joined them briefly at a party before we headed back to our home for the evening, room 333 of the Four Seasons Hotel. We slept til 11, though we did briefly wake up around 8am, enjoyed a breakfast at an old favorite and then headed to home to see our very missed boys. And in our very much anticipated journey towards forever, I am already looking forward to celebrating our 5 year.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Gobble Gobble

"A turkey is a funny bird, his head goes wobble wobble
he only knows just one word, gobble, gobble, gobble"

I think this is a cute song. I learned it in mommy and me and the boys seem to like it. I am not sure how well it went over when I sung it to them as they looked at the raw, dead flesh of an about to be cooked turkey. I hope they still find the song fun!!
Overall, Thanksgiving was great. The soups I made were a hit with the peanut gallery, though I felt that after simmering for nearly 20 hours they both tasted a bit burnt. Being my own toughest critic, I suppose it is more important the gallery approved. Our turkey was pretty delicious, but an overstuffed middle led cause to an undercooked leg (or two.) Luckily, there was more than enough delicious food to go around (plus a whole other turkey) so it was not missed. Amy's banana birthday cake was a hit, and Jill's assortments of cakes left us once again in a position of hard choice forcing us to have a piece of everything. My parents put on a wonderful dinner, the food was all fantastic and all the guests were on time and in good spirits, the indulging of spirits always helps, of course.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. A non-religious gathering of family and loved ones that revolves around food, you gotta love that. I know we all did. Here are some pix from the night.

Here is a picture of Chase enjoying, all too much, chicken noodle soup at Thanksgiving dinner. Notice the glass bowl? It was not long before that bowl was on the floor, in pieces. Lesson: Never give glass bowl to toddler.

Here we see Chase donning a pair of Mom-Mom's glasses. He always loves to wear them, and if I must say so myself, he looks pretty cute!

An attempt at a family picture.

Amy and Madden

Monday, November 12, 2007

Brotherly Love!!



People always ask if the boys play together, if they enjoy the fact that they always have a playmate. The answer is NO. They are still too young to realize they live with their best friend, still too young to grasp the concept of playmate. But, despite these facts, every now and again you catch them playing together like only brothers could. True, this includes pulling hair, pushing, fighting over a toy but it also includes laughter, hand-holding and the occasional evidence that they really do have brotherly love!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A letter to my sons on their 16th Month Birthday!




Dear Chase and Ryder,

Today you turned 16 months old!!! We changed the clocks back on Saturday and as a result you have been waking up a bit earlier these past few days. And so, our day began around 7:30am. Which was fine since we had to be at the doctor by 9:15 for your flu shots....on your 16 month birthday??? The amazing thing about this was your mild reactions. Chase you were first and you cried a bit when I put you on the table and then again after I put you back in the stroller, only because you wanted to be held. During the shot you let out a faint whine. You were so brave. Ryder you went second and it was as if nothing at all happened. You did not flinch, grimace, cry or anything, you just fought me going back into the stroller (as usual) and I let you walk. I was actually surprised by such non-reactions. Then we went off to gym where you both had more fun today than anytime we have ever been there. You were running, playing, climbing, laughing and managed to not spend the whole time at the stereo. Ryder that is your absolute favorite annoyance...playing with the stereo, at home, at the gym, anywhere, but today you seemed to enjoy other parts of the gym as well.
At 16 months I am astonished by how much you learn in a given day. Chase, you learn a new word everyday. Your list now looks like this:
Bubble
Pooh
Flower
More
Apple
A-Boo (as in Peek-a-boo)
Tickle
Dirty
Airplane
Nana (Banana)
Shoes
Hello
Hi
Daddy
Mommy
Melmo (Elmo)
Cookie
Buh (Balloon)
Ball
Shower
No
Doodie
Hi
Doctor
Animal
Doll

The last three were just added on recently. It is funny how you use certain words. You are always asking for apples, but when we give you one you usually do not want it. You use MORE for everything and sometimes I have no idea what you need or want more of. You say MELMO for Elmo, which is cute. Doctor you just learned today, since we were going and animal you learned over the weekend when we went to the zoo. It really does amaze me that tomorrow you will learn a new word.

Ryder, though you are not quite as verbal as your brother your list of words does continue to grow. You also say MORE for everything and NO is another of your favorites. You continue with your tendency to say a word perfectly then not use it too often but you have added NANA, PLANE, and HELLO to your daily talking. You now blow kisses, which I love, and it is not uncommon for you to stop what you are doing and walk up to me and give me a big hug!! That is one of my favorite things.

Chase you finally got a 5th tooth last week (top right next to center) and it looks like number six is close behind. Ryder you nearly have a mouthful. You have all of your molars now and are just waiting for the 4 eye teeth to come in.

You have both begun to use forks. Ryder you are really good at it and Chase you are improving daily. You seem to like eating with a fork or a spoon, though the spoon is still quite messy, though you have not grasped the concept of a plate. You both have the terrible habit of throwing food on the floor when you no longer want to eat. This is much to the dismay of daddy and I. You also enjoy drinking from regular glasses and using cups with straws. It seems you both like Iced Coffee.

You have learned to follow small commands. I recently asked Chase to get me the Hippo book, and you did, without hesitation. Daddy then asked Ryder for the So Big book, and it was retrieved. I have asked you to bring me your shoes, or to please put the books back, both of what you did. The books, however, we are still learning to put back properly. It is funny, after you follow these commands you will often applaud yourselves.

The few times when I have either of you one on one there seems to be a difference in your reaction to things. Particularly Ryder, who seems to be more responsive when it is one on one.

Chase your new favorite book is Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton. It is a silly book and it makes you crack up laughing. Ryder your new favorite book is Charlie Monkey but you always skip to the last page because when you open it the flies light up and buzz and you love that. You love books. You will both bring some over to me and ask me, without words, to read to you. We put you to bed at night with a book in your crib and if you are not ready to sleep you will look through it. You will also "read" it in the morning when you wake up. This is something I hope you hold onto and perhaps my love of reading (and both of your mom-mom's) will be passed on to you.

You now love to sit on the big chairs, like big boys. You climb right on up and sit at the table. Unfortunately, you also stand on the chairs and sit on the table both of which we tell you are unacceptable. It is really cute when you sit at the table, though. You also love your little table in the playroom. You will sit there to eat a snack, do a puzzle, or watch television. You also love to knock over the chairs, but fun is not fun without some destruction.

You love technology, especially Ryder. Things with buttons and lights hold your attention for long periods of time. You love the phone and the cell phone and when I give you the old one to play with you will both hold it to your ear and say hello. Ryder you will study the phone forever. You have an interesting perspective of toys, which are not so much to play with as to examine, perhaps to see how it works.

You both love peek-a-boo and now will hide yourselves (under crib, blanket, in a corner) and wait for us to find you.

We celebrated Halloween this month and it was a lot of fun. You loved wearing your costumes, enjoyed trick-or-treating, befriended a jack-o-lantern, and enjoyed a chocolate candy bar. You were a lion and a dragon and you each wore each costume, once for the parade then you switched for trick-or-treating.

We also went to DC this month where we spent time with our Citrenbaum cousins. You seemed to have a great time with them, as they did with you and we hope we will get to see them again soon.
Then we spent time with Sawyer (and his parents) and it was fun to see all of the kids together. In DC we went to the zoo, where you got to see some of your favorite animals. A zebra, an elephant, a lion, monkeys. It was a fun time had by all.

You both seem to be very dexterous and agile. At the playground you enjoy the swings, anything you can climb and coming down the slide, often head first. As expected, Ryder you have no fear at the playground and run to every piece of equipment and get right on it. Chase, although you enjoy most things and do them all well, you are a bit more tentative and it seems you may be scared of heights. Often when walking on planks you will hold on to the sides (or my hand) very tightly. You are very good at holding hands and walking, but Ryder we are still working on that. You have very little interest in holding my hand, or anyone else's.

Our activities continue, which keeps us quite busy. Although you both still enjoy music, your favorite part is sneaking out the door and running down the hallways. Ryder you must do this 10 times a class, Chase only about 6. Ryder, sometimes, you sneak out without my knowing. It does not ever take me long to notice you are gone, but you do manage to slip out the door unnoticed. Chase your favorite part of music class is when Miss Marilyn brings out the guitar, and at the end when she lets you strum it.

Although we did transition to one nap a day, lately it as been a bit messed up. You are taking morning naps the last few days (probably because you each have a cold) and it has been your only nap of the day. I am not sure if you would prefer 1 or 2, so we are still working on it. Although you continue to be good eaters, you have definitely lost some interest in a few things, particularly the vegetables. Everyone said it would happen. Chase you do love salad, however, and will eat it right from my fork when I am eating one and you both love edamame, which is one of mommy's favorites.

Life is fun, you are two good boys and we really do have fun all day. You laugh often, smile lots, and cry little. We are so blessed.

I love you so......
Mommy

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Road Tripping

The Citrenbaum's- Bunny, Danny, Wendy, Ryder, Bryan, Chase, Judi, Sarab and Michael

The weight of an elephant


Chase, Sawyer and Ryder- Buddies

On a weekend when the Flyers beat the Capitals in Washington, we spent the weekend near and around DC. Our journey began on Friday afternoon when we departed Richboro, Pa and headed South to Silver Spring, Md. Both Chase and Ryder were fantastic in car, entertained for a good portion by a dvd and sleeping for another portion. We arrived at the Citrenbaum home right on schedule without any traffic delays and spent a few hours watching Sarah, Michael and Bryan enjoy their baby cousins. It was fun to see 11 year old twin boys show the way to twin boys ten years their junior. Many times I heard them refer to Chase as Michael Jr. and Ryder as Bryan Jr. We then left the boys in the capable hands of Judi and Sarah as we headed into Alexandria, Va for a fantastic dinner in honor of Scott Pierce's 4oth Birthday. Should all 4oth birthday's come along with the same great time as his. After a late night and a quick sleep at Reid's parents home we headed back to the Citrenbaum's where we enjoyed a brunch and the company of the cousins and my Uncle Bunny. It was wonderful to see all of them and to allow Bunny to spend some time with our sons. The day continued with a trip to the National Zoo. It was a beautiful day and it was fun to see the animals live, even for us. Did you ever realize how big an elephant really was? I have a picture of one on a scale weighing in at over 4300 pounds. And, you know, it is pretty cool to see a Panda just chilling out, even if she is spreading herself wide open. The boys seemed to really enjoy it, Chase learned to use the word animal and Ryder is probably storing it away for another time, and it was fun spending the day with Scott, Reid and Sawyer and their friends. We then headed back to the home of Reid's parents where we enjoyed the time watching three one year olds play and repeating, seemingly a million times, the word NO. After the kids went to bed Scott played master chef and cooked us up a dinner that rivaled the restaurant from the night before. We drank a whole lot of wine, thanks to Mrs. Armstrong being a wine enthusiast, but I still know good food when I have it. Sunday morning we rose early and enjoyed our last few hours with our close but living far away friends. It is fun to watch these little boys forge a friendship. Before our final departure we headed to the playground where Chase and Ryder found comfort in headfirst slides and swinging on swings. Sawyer did pretty well at keeping up and the 4 adults had a blast just watching. Is it likely that these boys (and Sawyer's sister who will soon arrive) will form a bond similarly to their parents? We sure do hope so!!
The way home was as easy as the way down and though the boys did really well....mommy and daddy sure were exhausted.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Halloween!

Despite the fact that technically this was Chase and Ryder's second Halloween, due to their infancy for last years holiday we treated this as the first. As a result, it was a multi-event celebration spanning over 11 days. It began with a trip to the Fall Festival/Pumpkin Patch of Shadybrook Farms (See posting) which included the obligatory seasonal hayride and the posed, or in this case unposed, pictures with the pumpkins. Just a few days later we did this again, with playgroup this time, at Styer Orchards and in addition to the aforementioned activities we also went apple picking/apples straight from tree eating (read this posting.)
So far, so much fun, and yet we had not even started yet with the costumes!

Next we had a Halloween Parade which was an adorable display of puffy animals and large smiles. Chase and Ryder were proud as the Dragon and the Lion respectively and despite the excess weight making them a bit clumsier they still seemed to master the playground. A wonderful video was recorded and edited by their buddy Adam's father and despite trying to add it to this posting I have been unsuccessful.





































The celebrations continued with a halloween style free play at My Gym where they were dressed as the devils they can sometimes be, and the befriending of a Jack-O-Lantern, hand-carved by me, who was appropriately named (thanks Randi,) Felix.




















The grand finale came, of course, on Halloween night with visits from all grandparents and Aunt Carri and Uncle Chad, a switching of costumes, and an adventure down the bend of their first ever trick-or-treating. We carried them from house to house, but let them walk up the path to the door. Chase has a new favorite activity of knocking on doors, so that in itself was fun for him. They seemed to enjoy dropping the candy they were given into the bag, one bag for both kids was more than enough, and we all had fun walking around on what turned out to be a beautiful night. When we got home, they enjoyed their first ever candy bar....a Kit-Kat....which they seemed to love as it smeared all over their faces.
I had not realized how much fun Halloween could be....I am already looking forward to next year!




For more pix from Halloween click here

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Toddler X2




I named this site Times Two for very obvious reasons. I have even written a posting with the same title many months ago (to read it click here.) There were moments, phases even, when having to multiply things by two was overwhelming, and times when it was not so bad. I could not have anticipated then that ToddlerhoodX2 would be the chaos, I mean fun, that it is.
I was warned often about the first six months of twinfancy. But, despite the warnings I found the first 6 months to be ok (click here to read the six month entry.) Amazingly, I was not warned about toddlerhood. I suppose it is better that way.
Both boys walk now, they also run, and they often do so in different directions. They are beginning to understand yet still not listen and they are starting to have opinions which are usually opposite of mine. They are developing personalities that, so far, seem to be very different from each other and every day they remind me that they are 100% boy!
I run around like crazy all day. I have tried going in both directions at once, but as I am finding that to be rather difficult, my new tactic is to stand in the middle and watch...the one in more danger usually wins.
But, it is not only danger that keeps me running around. Ryder is a bandit. He is into everything and prefers to press buttons, both figuratively and literally. The television, phones, remotes, stereo's, computers, light switches, door knobs, dishwasher, you name it, Ryder eyes it, then attacks all while flashing his devilish grin. It can be rather frustrating. Ryder does not necessarily play with toys, instead he looks at them, turns them over, tries to figure them out. Perhaps he is a budding engineer.
Chase is a charmer and a flirt, but he is at his best when he is by my side. If you put him in a room with other kids he becomes the shy one. He is a bit more reserved than his brother and tends to use a bit more caution. Of course, I am grateful for such caution when he is in the same room as Ryder. Ryder has no caution, he has no fear. He climbs as high as he can on anything he can and does so all with a giggle while I run to rescue him with my heart pounding, praying he does not fall. Sometimes he does, it never deters him.
With toddlerhood also comes tantrums and whining, two of my very least favorite things. Chase has a tendency to do both, more so than Ryder who is too busy at the top of a bookshelf. I have nothing to compare these tantrums to, though they seem to be seldom and mild, but still, it is too often. They have no concept of sharing and now fight over toys...mini tug-o-wars are common, and often result in Chase whining.
Their energy level is mind blowing and merely exhausting but it comes with the territory of toddler boys, I suppose. I am not sure what is to come of 18 months but 15 months certainly has me jumping.
But toddlerhood also comes with the adorable attempts at talking and the obeying of small commands. They offer hugs and kisses now, sometimes when told to and sometimes on their own, all of which are the very best moments in a day. They are developing their sense of humor and will crack up in spurts and are very good at making mommy and daddy laugh. They will flash their smiles, or give high fives, or clap their hands in delight and quickly the tantrums are forgotten and the button pushing is forgiven. They learn something new everyday which leaves me amazed and they seem to continue to get cuter by the day:) Yes, toddlerhoodx2 offers the special moments in multiples of two just as well as the trouble making it that much more special of a time.

Apple Picking Playgroup





Our first playgroup outing was to Styer Orchards where we enjoyed a wagon ride to the orchards and some apple picking...well, at least in theory. For Chase and Ryder it was an opportunity to play in dirt and some of the other kids just wanted to play with all the "balls." All the kids did get to enjoy an apple from the trees, however!!
The highlight seemed to be the rusted out tractor that the boys used as their jungle gym. Boys, once again, will be boys!!!

(For more pix of the day click here)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

pumpkin patch




A beautiful Saturday, unseasonably warm, seemed to be the perfect day for the pumpkin patch. The boys did enjoy the wagon ride, particularly climbing the ladder up the wagon, but had little interest in the pumpkins nor for posing for the obligatory picture in the patch. Oh well, it was a great family day, and they may never remember it, but we will!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

WVU

So tomorrow we set forth on a three day weekend trip to Todd's Alma Matre. He is so very excited it is like we are taking the kids to Disneyland. For me, it is quiet time, time with Todd and the thrill of seeing him at a place he loves so dearly. I can't wait to sleep in, have a few drinks, walk the beautiful, hilly campus and look at the tree's autumn colors. With that being said, however, I am sad to leave my boys. I know I need to, and it is good for them and for me, but when you spend your days caring for your kids something is missing when you have a day or three off. I will be calling daily for reports, and since we are in the country, perhaps even more than once. I will likely look at the pictures on my camera. Yes indeed, I have become one of those moms who feels disconnected from her kids when on a mini-vacation. Sick, isn't it? I will report back when we return about the fun of our trip!!

A letter to my sons on their 15th Month Birthday!



Dear Chase and Ryder,

Happy 15 months!! We spent the day at Ellie Betesh's birthday party. It was a carnival with a moon bounce, a ball pit, a balloon tent and an obstacle course. You both had so much fun and daddy and I went into all the rides with you. Your smiles brought smiles to our faces. Though it is early October, it is summer weather outside and we spent the weekend at the shore. Blessed with sunny, warm weather we went to the beach where you both ran around freely. It was fun since the beach was empty allowing you all the space you needed. Chase you actually went into the water. This was surprising because all summer long you were scared of the waves when they crashed on you. This weekend you found it fun. You sat right at the water's edge and let the waves crash right into you. Ryder you just ran all around, taking a few steps then falling. I think you had a hard time finding balance on the unmatted sand.

At 15 months you weigh in at 21 pounds (Chase) and 20 lbs. 14 oz (Ryder). Chase is one inch taller at 32 inches (31 for Ryder) and though you head sizes are 18 inches and 17 3/4 we are not sure if that is right, since they said your heads got smaller from last time. It is certainly not an exact science to measure a squirming baby.
This month has been a fun one. You challenge me daily. Now that you walk, it is often in opposite directions.
You are beginning to understand yet still not listen and you are starting to have opinions which are usually opposite of mine. You are developing personalities that, so far, seem to be very different from each other and every day you remind me that you are 100% boy!
Chase, you are a charmer and a flirt, but you are at your best when you are by my side. If you are put in a room with other kids you become the shy one, at least in the beginning. You are a bit more reserved than your brother. Ryder, you are independent and a daredevil. You climb, fall, cry, then get right back up and do it all over again. When I tell you NO, you get a look of thrill in your eye and a devilish smile and do it all over again.
Chase you continue to learn new words. We can add tickle, dirty, and airplane to your growing list. You love to ask for more, both by saying "mo" and signing the more sign. You love to spot airplanes in the sky (and in the books) and can hear them whenever they are above, even if you can't see them. Your favorite thing right now is Nursery Rhymes on ON DEMAND. You walk over with the remote control and hand it to me. If I put on anything else, you whine until I get it right. You will sit and watch and dance and clap.
Ryder, you enjoy the nursery rhymes as well, but still get a kick out of turning the television off mid-song. You too have mastered the word and sign More. It is the only word you actually use, although recently I have been hearing No's from you. You continue to absorb words but not use them. The other day you said chicken, which we were having for dinner, perfectly, clearly. But that was it, once and done. One day you will just ramble off sentences. You have recently begun pointing in the direction of the things you want, similarly to how Chase does it.
Chase you have begun with some minor tantrums and you have a tendency to whine. Daddy and I are trying to teach you that whiners don't get, but you have not yet begun to understand that concept. Once the whining is over, however, you flash your grin and how quickly I forgot about the previous tantrum. During these tantrums, Ryder you will just look over at your brother to make sure he is ok. Tonight, while Chase was crying, I rubbed his back and said "it's ok" then I told you to do it. You rubbed his back. It was so sweet. someday perhaps, you will do it on your own for your brother or your friend.
Ryder you are trying to run now. You run, sometimes fall, and then laugh. You seem to laugh at a lot of things. I will hear you across the room laughing to yourself. You are very independent and find enjoyment (and humor, apparently) at looking at the bottom of a toy, or playing with the remote or phone, or taking the batteries out of a toy. You are still a lovebug who gives the best hugs!!
Chase you seem to learn something new everyday. Just today you learned to HOOO like an owl. You recently started bringing me over specific books to read to you. Your favorite book is the First Words book. You love to point out the baby, the airplane, and most recently, the tractor. You love to hide whether under a crib or behind a chair.
Our activities continue. In music I spend a lot of time chasing you down the hallways as you escape the classroom. In gym, I stand in the middle and try to manage the level of danger from a spot equidistant to both of you. Most of the stuff there is safe, but Ryder you just want to mess with the stereo. It is your favorite thing. We started Mommy and Me but because of the jewish holidays we have only had one session so far. I am looking forward to starting it up again.
Last week we had a playdate with our neighbors. For two hours you played with Jacob Eubanks. He has a baby brother Brady who is 8 weeks old. Ryder you and Jake high fived, which was adorable. Maybe you will all become great friends.
We are working on transitioning you to one nap a day. Some days it works, some days you need both, some days you doze off in the car. I am going away next weekend and I am not sure what kind of instruction to leave for your grandparents as far as napping goes. Many days I let you guys decide.
You both continue to attract much attention. The fascination of twins continues even at 15 months. People are amazed that you could be twins, and yet look so different. Despite the attention I have gotten much better at continuing on my way, when necessary. You are such happy boys. We laugh a lot in this house and when we are playing we are silly. It seems to be wearing off on you as you both laugh often. Daddy and I have such a good time with you and our favorite days are family days. We look forward to them and have them as often as we can. It is always the highlight of our weekend.
Not a day goes by that you are not loved. Not a day goes by that I am not the proudest mother in the world. Daddy looks forward to coming home to us at the end of each day and you greet him with smiles and hugs. He loves it.

All of my love,
Mommy

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Sample This

When we dream about becoming parents we dream of the coos, the laughters, the dimples. We dream of the hugs and the kisses. Yes, we dream of a lot of things, and tend to turn a blind eye (in our dreams) to what comes along with the cute stuff. Feedings every few hours for the first months, not fun, but yes we expect it and deal with it. Dirty diapers, not fun, either, but it becomes second nature. What we can not ever expect nor prepare for, no experienced parent will warn you and if they did you would not listen, is the diarrhea explosion. I apologize for the graphic but when you enter your child's room first thing in the morning to find a crib splattered painted it is revolting. It was dealt with and may it be the first and last time!!!
After such a nightmare, we went to the doctor, just to make sure there was nothing more than obvious wrong, and I was told I needed to collect a Stool Sample. In my experiences up to now, the word sample meant great things. When I heard sample I was thinking of the diced varietals in the cheese section of whole foods, or better yet, the chocolate tastings at godiva. Yes, that is what a sample was until I was asked to take a stool sample from my son. I have not completed this homework assignment yet, I am waiting for his participation, but I can assure you this never would have made it onto my list of responsibilities when I became a mommy.
And, I thought being the recipient of their stomach virus was nasty! Oh, the things we do for our babies.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Wine Tasting, Why Not!


For years Todd and I talked about hosting a wine tasting. We flirted with the idea for a number of new years extravaganza's. It never seemed to workout for countless number of reasons.
This month Todd turned 35 years old. Being the party planner that I consider myself to be and the partier that Todd is, we thought this was the perfect occasion.
The most difficult part of the party was that we hosted Rosh Hashana just two nights earlier. By Sunday morning Todd and I were shot. We are both in temporary retirement from cooking.
The party, however, was a success. Because of Rosh Hashana we could not set up the tables until Friday night, giving me much less time to work on the tablescapes. Despite the time crunch, we managed to decorate
nicely. Vases full of corks, personalized cocktail napkins (burgundy for the red wines, cream for the white wines), and a wine bottle cake that was made by my cousin Mindy. A sommollier came to lead us in the actual tasting, and the rest of the evening was a tasting of homemade hors d'oeuvres and appropriately paired wines. It was great to taste wines we do not usually drink (WHITES) paired with a food that really brought out its flavors. There are white wines I actually do like, it seems.
Most importantly, Todd had fun and his 35th birthday will not be one he easily forgets.


For more pictures from the event click here

New Year, Same Old Chaos

Despite never being all that religious, I have always enjoyed the Jewish Holidays. The traditions, the gatherings, the food, and yes, even the chaos. I admit I was happy to know, however, that Chaos does not just come along with our holiday dinners, but at many of my friends' dinner's the same chaos ensues.
My parents hosted Erev Rosh Hoshana on Wednesday night. Everything was fantastic even though we had to eat without three of our very late arrivers, and we had 4 kids who had no interest in sitting for dinner leaving a minimum of one adult missing from the table at all times.
Todd and I hosted Thursday nights dinner. We have hosted holidays before, even since the boys have been born, but not since they have been quite so active. As a result we had to part with them on Thursday in order to prepare for this dinner. The thing is, Todd and I tend to get a little excited about even the smallest of gatherings. I am not sure if Todd was always this way or if it a bug he caught from me, either way he is equally effected. I must say, I am very proud of Todd and I, in that we managed to have everything ready, including our showered selves with time to spare. We were organized, neat, and the kitchen was clean. All was great. We called it for 5, intending to sit for dinner at 6:30. You would think this would be plenty of time for the guests to arrive, but we still had a few late comers, as we've learned to expect. We did sit promptly, however, the boys were whining, the 5 other kids were wild, no one wanted to sit, the volume was loud and the soup, despite simmering all day long was somehow served cold- thank god for microwaves!! Other than these few minor setbacks, all was well. The food got pretty good critiques and we think we know how to better our brisket for next year.
Things were finally beginning to calm as our bellies were full. We had people cleaning up, coffee brewing and we were getting ready to have dessert. We gathered around the birthday cake and as we were placing the candles in the cake, my niece, nesting in her father's arms, used this moment of calm as her opportunity to throw up all over my six and 4 year old cousins. The screaming that erupted from their little bodies as they became drenched was piercing, causing the rest of us to explode with laughter. Jay took Delaney to the bathroom, while a hysterical Mindy and Jay S. rushed their daughters to the bathtub, and still the rest of us laughed.
We laughed for a good 10 minutes before anyone made a move to clean up the mess.
Delaney handled it wonderfully, never shedding a tear, Alexandra and Emma handled it as any child would who had just been puked on. Those of us who laughed, well, I am not sure we handled it so well but how often does anyone get witness a Stand By Me type barfarama.

Another year, same old chaos indeed.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Sneak Attack!

So, I started dreading the boys' first birthday at about 8 months old. For some reason, at that point I just felt like my baby boys were all grown up. As the day got closer I became a little more sad. Then it happened, they turned one, and all the dread went away. I got over it much faster than I expected. I guess I realized quickly that ONE is far from grown up and we still had plenty of moments to enjoy. Since then the boys learned to walk and I took in this milestone with delight, excited that they would no longer clean the floors of every place we entered with their palms. And, for some reason, this did not make me feel like I had lost my baby boys.
But then I took them for their first pair of sneakers. When they were non-walkers I could not wait to buy them shoes, completely suckered by all the cute pairs on market. So, the time had come and we went and the shoe buying experience was rather painless, though tiring. Ryder was more interested in escaping into the mall area by a combined travel of crawling and walking and Chase wanted to try on every pair of shoes in the store. Anyway, we bought two pair of shoes, a size 5 hunter green and black sneaker for Chase and a size 4.5 light blue and gray pair for Ryder, both of which I am pretty sure are too big for their tiny feet. (On a side note, I am not just saying that in hopes of holding onto my babies, the first time they were measured just two weeks before I was told they had tiny feet!)
As many excited kids, they wore the shoes out, and I looked at my baby boys sitting in the stroller in their new kicks and I swore I had traded in my babies for two bigger kids. Suddenly the feeling of pre-ONE swallowed me whole again and I felt like my baby boys were gone forever...literally walking forward into the big world of toddlerhood.

Friday, September 7, 2007

First Pictures with the new camera




Ah, a new camera. It is my special little toy. It is hard to explain why I am so attached to my camera, in spite of leaving it in an unsafe of place, but it is just the way it is. I have a new one now. I vow to keep it safe. These are the first three pix I took....for what they are worth