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Finding a New Normal

My ears aren’t quite sure what to do with this newfound quiet they’ve experienced in the last 90 minutes. The clacking of my keyboard and the soft crayon strokes from Princess across the table are the only sounds in my house right now. Very eerie.

Although today is day two of our school year, it feels like the first true day of what will be our new normal. Tuesdays are my “meeting days”, I schedule my appointments outside home. Due to the busy-ness of the day, I didn’t really notice the change until this morning’s quiet set in.

I’m thankful for children who love school. They run to the bus with such enthusiasm because they love to learn. I’m thankful for teachers who have more training and more experience than I do at discovering each child’s individual strengths and needs. I’m thankful for 6 hours each day to think my own thoughts rather than answering hundreds of rapid fire questions as if I were on a game show.

On my way to my morning appointments yesterday, Stevie Nicks’ Landslide drifted from the car speakers. One of my favorite songs, I automatically sang along. To my surprise, I found my eyes welling with tears as she sang “Children get older, I’m getting older too.” Sure, it was a bit sentimental, but mostly they were tears of relief and amazement. I had survived what seemed impossible.

Honestly, I don’t recall much of those early years with three children under two years, and later four children three years and under. I do recall feeling desperate, isolated and overwhelmed. I thought days of 3 children in diapers would never end. I thought I would be doing EVERYTHING for them for the rest of their lives. I was wrong.

They’ve grown into amazing people. People who love to “cook”, make snacks, serve others. They enjoy learning the household chores. Most importantly, it’s been days since I’ve had to assist anyone in the bathroom. That may not seem like much to you, but after spending years with 2 or more hours a day changing diapers and wiping butts, that’s huge to me.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m grateful God blessed us with so many children in so few years. I frequently describe it as parenting bootcamp. I was never the young woman who dreamed of getting married and having a family. It wasn’t that I didn’t want it, it just was in the background of my plans. It was vague, something I’d do someday, down the road, but certainly not a goal to check off my list before the age of 30. Babies and kids just aren’t my thing, personality wise. I don’t coo over babies. I won’t ask to hold your baby. Don’t take it personally – it’s me, not you.

Despite all that, I’m so thankful. Thankful for my children. Thankful for the short span that creates an interesting family dynamic. But mostly thankful for surviving those years. Thankful for the lessons I’ve learned and the person I’ve become through it all.

I remember doing the math all those years ago. Knowing in my head this day would arrive, but my heart felt so entrenched in the moment I didn’t dare believe. Today I sit with more quiet and peace in my house than I’ve had in seven years. Did you hear me? SEVEN YEARS. I think it will take a while to get accustomed to this new normal.

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Buzz’s New Rocket

I can’t tell you how thrilled I was on Saturday when Mario asked if he could upcycle a plastic water bottle into a rocket booster for Buzz Lightyear.

We decided leftover streamers might be just the thing to create the look of fire.  All the kids had quite a bit of fun ripping, twisting and filling bottles with a variety of streamers to create different effects. It was a great impromptu craft session.

Streamers are definitely now added to my list of ‘must have’ craft supplies to keep year round. What’s on your ‘must have’ list for impromptu kid craft sessions?

Posted in Inspiration, Kid Crafts, Twin Mommy, craft, real life.

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87 Hours

That’s right, I’m counting down the hours until the school year begins. This has been one heck of a summer. Unless I’m completely off my rocker, we’ve had more “heat advisory” days this summer than in my entire lifetime. Usually that sort of thing only happens in late July or August, but we started them back in JUNE!

Do you know what happens to three boys, ages six and seven, when they are cooped up inside a house on what is visually a beautiful summer’s day? I do. I’ve witnessed it a lot this summer. It looks quite a bit like this:

You may know him as Luigi, I call him “The Whipping Boy”. Despite my best attempts, he always seems to “get it” from his brothers.

I wish someone would have warned me the auditions for WWE Smackdown had been moved to my house. The level of noise in my house has been phenomenal. Part of me wishes I owned a decibel meter, but then I think I might just cry reading the results.

I always used to think the stories of moms celebrating the first day of school with margaritas at 9 a.m. was strange. How could a mother feel like that? I’ve finally figured out they must have been moms to more than one son.

Would you like to know my favorite thing about next Tuesday? I’ll finally get to wash this black and white shirt I’ve been wearing forever.

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On Broadway: Wordless Wednesday

One of the first photos I took as part of the Kodak BlogHer 2010 Bus Tour in NYC.

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Back to School with Thermos

Before my plane even landed yesterday, my head began to shift from thoughts of BlogHer to back to school. Our district has it’s first day in just 8 days. I’m in serious need of some school supplies for my THREE sons who will be in full day classes this year. Whew!

As a child, one of my favorite parts of back to school shopping was choosing my lunch box for the year. When a list says 12 yellow pencils or 24 count of Crayola, it’s not that exciting to shop for. But, oh the joy of standing in front of a shelf full of color and choices!

One of my favorites was a metal Popples lunch box, I think I was in the second grade.

Don’t you love how you can find photos of anything on the internet? I do. This was a cherished lunch box for a long time. The only other box I really recall was a plastic magenta colored box with a Lisa Frank image on the front, probably a unicorn, given my tastes at the time.

Lunch boxes have certainly come a long way. With my twins making the transition from half day kindergarten to full day, my lunch requirements have jumped from one to THREE lunches a day! <sigh> I’m exhausted just thinking of it. School lunch will be a big deal very quickly in my house.

Several months ago I began to be a bit concerned about it, especially with all the BPA news swirling around. How can I find affordable (times 3) lunch kits that are safe without having to go disposable all the time. Thankfully I received an e-mail from Thermos brand recently about their products.

Thermos is taking care of all that wondering and concern with transparency about their products. If you have a Thermos product you can visit, enter the product UPC or product number and you will be able to download a certificate to prove your Thermos products meet all safety standards. Make sure you save your tag from your products so you can identify not only the UPC but also the manufacture date printed on the tag.

Thermos also sent us an IronMan 2 lunch kit to review. The kit is a rectangular shaped soft side, insulated bag with a plain white water bottle. I really like the size of the bottle and that it has a squeeze bottle style cap. As a child of the 80s and 90s, I must admit I was disappointed that the bottle did not have a matching IronMan 2 design like I had as a child. We’ll have to come up with a way for my son to identify his bottle on the school lunchroom table.

The soft sided insulated bag feels a lot thicker than others we’ve owned and other brands I’ve seen in the stores, so I was pleased with that. I would have liked have seen a sandwich size box added to the “kit”. When I think of the word kit, I think 3 or more pieces. Maybe that’s just me though. But for the cost, especially compared to other lunch kits, it’s not bad. I’ve seen similar kits at my local store for $8-10.

While at BlogHer last weekend, we also had the chance to see the new Foogo line of products for infants and toddlers. I have to say, those are really cool. I wish they would have had those when my kids were younger. I may have to pick up a couple of the straw bottles for my daughter.

If you are interested in learning more about Thermos, the ability to check online for safety certifications, or the new Foogo line of products, be sure to be on Twitter tomorrow, August 10 from 2-3 p.m. EDT for the Thermos Back to School Twitter party. Use the hashtag #ThermosBTS to be entered to win lunch boxes and FUNtainer products from Thermos. You can also find Thermos and Foogo on Facebook.

disclosurepolicybadgesm I received a complimentary Thermos brand Lunch Kit to review courtesy of Thermos. These are my personal opinions, no other compensation was received for this post.

Posted in reviews.

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JumpStart Wii Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Stefany (#18) for winning the copy of Wii JumpStart Get Moving Family Fitness. Check your e-mail for details!

Posted in Giveaways, Tech Fun, Video Games, Wii.

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Not Attending BlogHer?

Here are some quick links for those of you that may have discovered BlogHer too late to join in this year. Which is exactly where I was last year at this time, not to mention, it was the same weekend as my twins’ birthdays… anyway.

If you want to keep up in real time, Twitter is the best way. Most attendees are using the hashtags #BlogHer or #BlogHer10. Two ways I keep up with hashtags are by using either TweetDeck or TweetGrid.

TweetDeck is software you install on your computer. Once installed and set up, you can use the search feature to plug in a word or hashtag you are wanting to watch. Then all public tweets with this keyword appear in their own column. This is great if you have a desktop computer or leave your computer up and running all day and want to check in here or there. I’ve found using the word “BlogHer” catches both of the hashtags people are using.

TweetGrid is a website I use mostly for Twitter parties, but if you have a few hours to sit and don’t want to install software, it’s a great choice. Again, you can put in the hashtag you wish to watch to read all the public tweets that stream by.

These are great ways to keep up once the sessions start and you want to get the real purpose of BlogHer. If you want to see what’s happening at the parties, you’ll have to search out the hashtags people are using for those parties. A few I know are #marthablogger, #kodakbustour, #socialluxe, and #nikonnightout. If you follow the #blogher hashtag I’m sure you’ll find more.

Another way to join in the community is in this great post about why one woman is staying home. Show her some support and upload a photo to the BlogHer 10 at Home Flickr pool. Some of the photos have some really unique signs with reasons they aren’t attending BlogHer.

I know you’re thinking, “But what about the SWAG?” Never fear friends, I know how you can party along and maybe earn some swag as well.

Last year I had a lot of fun and found new bloggers to love at BlogHer at Home. There’s a lot of info on that site, but read carefully and most of all, make sure you follow @BlogHerAtHome for the latest info.

If you prefer to party on your own schedule, check out the NoGoBlogHer Blog Hop. Lots of fabulous prizes and giveaways because the always generous Stefany at To Be Thode wanted to make sure you didn’t feel left out of the BlogHer fun. You can also follow that party with the #NoGoBlogHer hashtag on twitter.

I hope you do take the time, especially Friday and Saturday during the session times, to learn a bit. I’ve learned much from wonderful bloggers who kindly tweet out the snippets of wisdom they find in those sessions. I’m always thankful for those who take the time to share.

Posted in Uncategorized.

BlogHer 2010: NYC Bound

Yes friends, in a bit more than 12 hours I’ll be headed towards the airport to board my flight to NYC for BlogHer 2010. It will be my first time attending the conference.

If you are looking for me at the conference, some things you should know:

  • I have wild crazy curly brown hair. Frequently I dress in bright jewel tones. This makes me stand out in some geographic areas, not so much in others. I have no clue what the population of BlogHer will look like.
  • I don’t really initate hugs. If you start it, I might hug you back, but really I’m really more of a handshake girl.
  • I have RSVP’d to the following events: Kodak Bus Tour, Martha Stewart Living’s Bloggers Night Out, Schick Intuition, People’s Party, Hallmark, A Green Affair, and probably a few more I’m missing. Not bragging, just info so maybe we can connect.
  • I have a background in journalism, I ask nosy questions to get to know people better. It’s not you, it’s me. :)
  • It’s cool to call me Wistful Wrists, Wistful, Wrists or Heather. I’d even take a “Hey You!”
  • I like to laugh, a lot. I try not to take too much seriously.
  • I trend towards optimism. Don’t like it, that’s okay.
  • I’m looking forward to meeting lots of new people. Please don’t hesitate to say hello.
  • And because that’s the kind of girl I am, most importantly:
  • I'll Talk to You

Guess that’s about it. I should probably quit procrastinating, microwave some nuggets for my kids and throw some clothes into a suitcase. Yeah, I’m that girl, I haven’t started packing yet.

And to my lovely municipality, thanks for resurfacing my street tomorrow and blocking my drive. Please don’t work too quickly, I’m definitely not going to “park on a nearby street” per your suggestion to parade my family of 6 plus a gigantic suitcase down the sidewalk for all my neighbors to see. Not. Gonna. Happen. What a way to start my week, right?

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Jumpstart Get Moving Family Fitness Wii Giveaway

Wordpress tells me this is my 100th post, which probably isn’t incredibly accurate, but I’ll go with it! Yippee! Yes, it’s finally time for my first official blog giveaway. The incredibly generous people over at Jumpstart have offered the chance for one of you, my blog readers, to win a copy of their latest Wii game Get Moving – Family Fitness.

This has quickly become one of our family’s favorite games. It’s especially handy for rainy days or if your summer has been like ours, those “heat advisory” days where it’s too hot to play outside and everyone has extra energy to burn. Not sure if it’s for your family? Be sure to check out my full review from last week.

For your first (mandatory) entry:

Visit Jumpstart to check out all three of their current Wii titles, return here and leave a comment for which you think your children would like the best. Please remember though, this giveaway is only for Get Moving – Family Fitness. I’m just curious to know which is most interesting to you. Please be sure to leave your e-mail address so I can contact you if you are the winner!

For additional entries:

For one extra entry each:

Please come back here and leave a separate comment for each entry to let me know your name (First name and last initial acceptable for Facebook) who you followed and/or liked so I can verify your entry.

For one extra entry each day, you can tweet about the giveaway. Leave a comment Tweet must include @wistfulwrists and a direct link to this post so I can verify. Or you may choose to go the easy route and tweet this out:

I entered to win Jumpstart Get Moving Family Fitness Wii game @WistfulWrists. You can too:

For Twitter entries, leave a separate comment for each tweet, for example:

I’m @wistfulwrists and I tweeted today about the contest:

Note: to get the individual URL of each tweet, click on the timestamp at the bottom of each tweet. It opens a new page with only that tweet. Copy the URL from your browser bar and paste it into your comment.

Rules: Only one of each entry method listed per person, family or household. Use of multiple accounts or identities are not allowed. Contest ends Sunday, August 8, 2010 at 11:59 p.m. PST. Winner will be chosen via random number generator on Monday, August 9 and notified by e-mail. Any violation of these rules will result in disqualification from this and future giveaways on this blog.

One final note: if you are a new commenter on my blog, I manually approve comments. Don’t fret if your comment doesn’t appear right away.

disclosurepolicybadgesm I received a complimentary copy of this video game to play and review courtesy of JumpStart. These are my personal opinions, no other compensation was received for this post. JumpStart is providing the prize copy and distribution of the prize. For more information please see my Disclosure Policy.

Posted in Giveaways, Things I Like, Twin Mommy, Video Games, Wii.

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Stream of Consciousness

Hey, MckMama can do it, so why can’t I?

It’s Saturday morning, early, I’ve fully awake for more than two hours, which is absolutely ridiculous. I’ve hit that point where I have so much on my mind that it’s difficult to fall asleep and the moment I wake up my mind starts whirling again.

In a few short days I’ll be boarding a plane for the first time in seven years. Yes, I said SEVEN YEARS. Seriously, why has it been so long? Oh yes, the parenting gig. Who wants to take four children along with them on a plane? Not me. Sure, I’m rusty, but as long as I can navigate whatever crazy current TSA regulations are, I think I’ll be good. If you hadn’t noticed on the sidebar, I’ll be attending BlogHer ‘10 in New York City.

For the first time probably ever in my life, I feel wildly popular. My BlogHer dance card is full. I’ve actually turned down a few events. Not that it’s a big deal, because there are numerous parties. I think it’s really excellent that there are so many, and unlike others, I think it’s a pretty good deal that most are overlapping on the same nights. I think it makes us choose what’s really important, and opens spots so hopefully everyone who wants an invitation to a private party can get one. Well, it’s a good theory at least, right?

Although there is that one party I’m still hoping to get off the waitlist for. So far I have no official Saturday night plans… wink, wink. I do love video games. I’m just sayin’.

I’m leaving my husband alone for five full days with all four of my children. At the end of summer, when the kids have hit that point where the novelty of summer is long gone and I’m forced to wear that ugly black and white striped shirt every day. Seriously praying for that man. Which reminds me, I need to get to the grocery store to fill the fridge with microwaveable goodies and pre-cut produce, lest they eat bowls of cereal, potato chips and fruit snacks for five days straight.

A random photo of Princess Peach. This is what she did when I said, “I want to take a photo of you.” She said, “Mama, I’m laughing for the photo.” Girl needs a video camera I suppose. Make sure you take note of the remnants of popsicle on her right cheek. Cute, right?

All in all, I’m surprisingly not stressed about the trip. I’m looking forward to lots of people watching, few little people voices… being able to think a whole thought without being interrupted (like I just was while writing this). Oh yes, I’m looking forward to meeting Twitter people, sitting in on sessions taught by bloggers way smarter and savvier than I am, and adding a few new tools to my skills.

I’m thrilled that it’s all taking place in New York. I’ve been wanting to return there for years. I love the energy of the city, it’s so full of life, art, business… and of course lots of great food.

Blogging time is over for today, the kid timer has gone off. Now, where’s my striped shirt?

Posted in Uncategorized.

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