Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Year in Review: The Twins Finish Their First Year of School!

It is hard for me to believe that Michael and Matthew have finished their first year of PreK.  Time has flown by so fast.  With the passing of each year, the boys continue to amaze me with the progress they have made.  The boys had their end of the program today and it was adorable.  Michael was up on stage with his walker and Matthew in a stander and they were as happy as can be.  They looked like such big boys up there.  They both have come a long way this year.  Here is the breakdown:

Matthew and Michael being silly
Michael uses his walker EVERYWHERE now.  At the beginning of the school year I was still pulling him and Matthew in a wagon to and from the classroom and he would crawl around.  Now he is unstoppable in his walker; uphill, downhill, grass, gravel, concrete, it doesn't matter, he does it and does it well.  He is fearless.  He has also been taking independent steps at therapy and some at home.  I believe it is only a matter of time before he has the confidence to walk on his own without any help.  God has given him an adventurous spirit and that will carry him a long way in making his goals and dreams come true.

Matthew has made progress too.  He has become more independent.  He wants to do everything himself.  His body just needs to catch up with his mind.  He crawls and moves around very fast now.  He can sit on a big boy swing without falling off!  He has even started taking steps in his walker.  His cerebral palsy affects his legs more than Michael so it will be a harder road for him.  He has a determined spirit!  He can write his letters and knows how to spell his name. 

 Both boys are extremely smart (sometimes too smart for their own good.)  They are both funny too and have the biggest hearts.  Matthew is always ready and willing to give hugs and kisses. Michael loves to play ninjas and star wars while Matthew is more content to play with his leap pad.  They both love to play with their older and younger siblings!

I have currently applied for a great for a special Therapy called TheraSuit Therapy.  It is relatively new therapy that could especially help Matthew to learn to walk faster among other things.  It is a very expensive therapy so I hope to get the grant at least for Matthew.  At some point, I would like to do a fundraiser but, I will keep you posted about that :-)

(The hardest working 4 year olds I know)
Mark and I couldn't be more prouder of the boys.  They continue to defeat the odds and are an inspiration to us all.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What is the best ingredient in a chocolate chip cookie?

I was baking cookies with my kids this weekend and every time we do they always ask, "What is the most important ingredient?"  When I tell them love, they say no, it is using Crisco instead of butter :-)  (I have taught them well).  I learned from my mother-in-law that Crisco makes the cookies softer, chewier and last longer.  Cookies do not last long in my house though!  Here is the recipe for yummy chocolate chip cookies:

Ingredients (Recipe on the Toll House package)

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened  Use 1 cup of Crisco instead
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels (I like to use half chocolate chips and half butterscotch)
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (I usually use walnuts)


PREHEAT oven to 375° F.

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Another happy customer...  (P.S. The best ingredient for me is making cookies with my babies :) )

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Reminder on Life and Death

Caution:  This might be too heavy for some on a Monday morning. 

I was reminded this past weekend about the meaning of life and death.  The vice-principal of my children's school passed away on Friday.  She was also a friend.  Her death felt sudden, because it was only a little over a month ago that she was diagnosed with a cancer that she would lose her fight to.  I won't go into the details of it all but, it was very shocking and sad to me and to our school community.  As sad as this all is it was a good reminder of who really is in charge of life and death and it is not us.  As I was driving into work this morning I thought about how we get so caught up in our own lives that we forget that our lives will come to an end someday.  The fact is, we will have little or no control when it does happen.  I am sure Fran didn't intend on dying now.  She had so much to live for, children, grandchildren, friends and a community who loved her. 

God's timing and our timing is not on the same page usually. 
Going Home 

I don't mean this to be depressing but, it is a truth we all must face. We shouldn't live afraid of death though! I think it is important to know that death will come and we should LIVE our life!  Life is short and precious and I know that I get too focused on the little problems of life instead of the little joys of life.  It is really the little joys that make this life so beautiful.  For me personally, maybe I should worry less about if the kitchen is clean and go sit and play with my children.  In the end it is not going to matter how many dishes I clean but, what I will leave behind through my children and hopefully grandchildren. 

I truly believe that God does not want us to walk around in fear of death.  He wants us to live our lives to the fullest and leave a legacy of love, peace, mercy and compassion.  Last night as I sat at her wake, I realized that is exactly what Fran did.  She left in her "wake" oceans of beauty, laughter and love.  Isn't that what we all should do? 

I want to embrace life more and her passing helped me to see that.  I live in too much fear.  I need to embrace life more and have less fear.  Life is too short for fear. 

I know Fran is in heaven now with God and she is being rewarded for a life full of service to Him and to His children.  I hope the same for all of us when it is our time.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Multi-Tasking X: How to Exercise and take care of the kids!

Ok, so the only time of day that I can exercise is between 3 and 6 pm on most days.  Some might ask, why don't you get up before the kids get up?  Answer:  I can not get up at 5 am to exercise, it is not an excuse, it is just the way it is.  By the time the kids go to sleep by 8pm, is not a time for me either so I am left with the afternoon when everyone is usually home and awake.
Well, today is like any other day except the kids are home for Memorial Day.  Right now I am doing a P90X/Insanity hybrid from Beachbody.   Most routines take between 45 min to an hour.  Today was a day when I was doing P90X.  It started off good, my little boys (Michael, Matthew and Christopher) were napping still and my older 2 were playing quietly (which doesn't happen often) and Mark was hanging around.  I had just finished the warm up and I hear the screams of children from their rooms, "Let me out"!  So, it is time to go into multi-task mode.  I told the big kids to let the little ones out of their rooms and to try and keep them playing in their rooms.  That last for about 5 minutes when the littlest, Christopher comes out with a sleeve of crackers trying to open them.  Inbetween push-ups and pull-ups I worked on opening it for him and taking some out for him before he grabbed them all and proceeded to drop/crush them everywhere.
Once I got him settled the older two, Abigail and Daniel come out with crackers and proceed to sit and watch me.  Usually it doesn't bother me to have an "audience" but when I am doing weights, resistance work, etc, I don't want people not only sitting behind me on the couch but eating on top of that.  I kindly told them to take themselves somewhere else!  Once they all left, I did have a good 15 - 20 minutes to myself for the carvan of kids came out of their rooms into the living room.  Luckly, I was almost done.
Today actually was a quieter day then most. Some days I have all 5 of them "exercising" with me.  Most days it can be fun to have them exercising with me.  It is especially cute to see the little ones try to do the different moves.  It is also cool for them to see me exercise in hopes that they will see exercise as a good thing ( I never so exercise as a "good" thing until the last year or so). 
As I write this I am refering battles between ninjas...Power Ran...
LIife with 4 boys...