Saturday, November 29, 2008

Make Your Own Napkin Rings

We've been discussing "Christmas lists," pretend playing with baby Jesus and the nativity scene beneath our tree, and giving our Christmas cds a run for their money, as they've been filling the house with Christmas cheer for quite some time now.

And, I understand that most people decorate for Christmas sometime after Thanksgiving day. But I'll be honest, we've had our tree up and this table decorated for Christmas for nearly 2 weeks now.

Pretty cute, right? That's what I thought each time I walked by our dining room table that's set for six. But it seemed as though something was missing. Until today.

Ahh! Much better. Napkins dressed with a napkin ring. I found a similar idea over at Charlotte's and thought it was a grand idea. Here's how it's done.
First, gather paper towel or toilet paper tubes, flatten a little, and cut to your desired size. Then, glue a coordinating paper and ribbon around the tube. Embellish with a button, and wala! Napkin Rings at their easiest.
Now this little crew has plenty to cuddle up with while they're waiting for the three wise men.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

If you were a fly on our windshield

If you were a fly on our windshield on the way to Thanksgiving today, this is what you would've seen. Well, this and a floor full of things meant to pacify those two dollies in red. They're tricky little buggers, that's for sure. One day sippy cups, mascara tubes, straws and books do the trick. Other days it's to the floor they fall.

And then when there seems to be nothing left to try and I'm really desperate to soothe the disheartened ones, I flip down that dvd screen you see up there--the one that we've never, ever, not once put to use, maybe now is the time--and narrarate a fingerplay of the scene in Nemo when Dory goes dillusional because Martin is following her. You know the one.

The little ones love it. For two seconds.

Then it's back to tugging at their straps in hopes of breaking free.


But, Mr. Marvelous said it perfect this morning--on our way to his aunt's on his mom's side of the family--"There's this funny thing about being a parent. Even when you think you are entirely beyond annoyed with something, after it's all over you completely forget about it."

And it's true. Even though I about pulled each hair out of my head during our time in the car today--which by the way is growing back in rather nicely now--just thinking about those two little muchkins makes me want to go crawl in bed with them.

Which is very possible these days. In fact, I have crawled in bed with them a few times now. More on their new sleeping arrangement is forthcoming.

three four cheers for...

Meet the hat that I fashioned for Mr. Marvelous to wear to a big game that he and his buddies took a road trip to see.

And meet the little tough guy who now claims it.

Any guesses as to who our 4under3 cheer for?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

globbing on a pretty shade of pink

After I published my last post I remembered that I had this picture.

One afternoon--just a year and a half ago--after Mr. Marvelous had returned home from work, Julia modeled her brand new skirt for her daddy then slipped away into our room to paint her fingernails by herself. While we were making supper in the kitchen, she was globbing on a pretty shade of pink polish being careful not to dribble a drop on her clothing or our white duvet.

There was a huge "thanks" that went out to the Bible that was sitting on my nightstand that day. Julia decided it would work nicely as a flat surface in which to perform her painting activity on.

And it did.

It caught every trickle and slop of spilled paint leaving no fabric permanently polished pink.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Violet Light #11

It was after I had been running around the house this morning changing diapers, refilling sippy cups for our morning outing, wiping the counters, and vacuuming crumbs that I remember asking Julia to "Please go potty, and get your coat and shoes on. We're ready to bounce." And that's when she obliged with the most polite, easygoing, "Ok, my favorite Mommy," that I have ever heard come out of her mouth.

And as I stood there watching her polish off the last swallows from the glass of water she was holding, I thought, "Wo, wo, wo, she's really got the importance of talking in a respectful manner down pat here. Now that I think about it, she has responded in the most angelic way for at least the last 20 minutes.

While I continued to pat myself on the back while rolling compliment after compliment through my head of the wonderful parenting I felt Mr. Marvelous and I were exhibiting, my eyes landed on her fingernails. Then her fingers. Then the front of her dress.


It seems as though her little get together with Revlon's Violet Light #11--behind the couch in the loft--left her feeling a bit guilty. Thus, the explanation for all the, "Sure, Mama!" "I'd love to Mama!" And the "I'll do anything which pleases you, for thou art the most magnificient Mama for always."
Ok, so she didn't say that last one.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

For your quick 4under3 fix...

  • You were right about my twitter. Mr. Marvelous did gift me an early present. And, yes, they are some sassy, wool lined boots. But, what I didn't tell you is that I was in fact doing the shopping solo and happened to call him to tell him the details of my newest favorite pair. That's when he in turn replied with, "Hon, how about you get them today." Woot Woot! So, really, I am the one who bought my Christmas present early. But only with the go-ahead from the true gifter.
  • Tonight I allowed Julia to wear her new Snow White dressup glass slippers to bed.
  • We made Gingerbread cookies Friday afternoon, and then again tonight. We all decided that this is the start of a 4under3 tradition.
  • Before our church service started this morning, we arrived in our row--second from the front--Mr. Marvelous stood up to talk to a friend, and I set Norah and Hazel down so I could dig out my chapstick from the bottom of my purse. (The same kind of chapstick that the Gift Giving Elf sent Alex when I drew her name last week.) And out of the corners of my eyes, I saw all 5 children--our 4 year old niece included--disappear out of sight. At that moment, I wasn't a bit bothered by it, and continued to take my time applying my Burt's Bees. However, 3 other church members must have noticed, because when I turned around, one anxiously announced that I had lost my children, while the others waited for my response. "Oh, thanks. They are quick ones. I just thought if I waited long enough, someone else might round them up for me." was my joking remark. They seemed pleasantly humored by my comment. Then off I went.
  • I gave in this afternoon during a trip to Walmart. I bought Julia something that I promised Mr. Marvelous I would not let her wear outside of our home. While Julia and I were there last week, she found an incredibly gaudy, pink, Sleeping Beauty hoodie that had a big plastic picture of the snoozing princess on the front. And if that doesn't scream, "NOT ON MY CHILD!" the plastic princess flashes when you move. Ah. But last week, Julia looked me in the eyes and told me it was the "only thing" she wants for Christmas. And she hasn't forgotten about it. So, I gave in while the children were home napping with daddy today, and bought it to put under the tree.


  • Wouldn't it be saWEET if the winner of MckMama's Small Fryday contest received their very own playdate with her and her four Charming Kids. I'd love to win that. Oh, wait! We've already got a playdate down on the calendar. Yipee. (Don't hate me because I'm beaut get to hold Stellan.)


Friday, November 21, 2008

Can I sit on the ballerina's lap instead of Santa's?

Halfway through the play that the Children's Dance Theatre put on this morning, Julia turned around and whispered quietly in my ear. "I love this Mommy!"

And I did too.

I was out on a special morning date with my firstborn, she was sitting on my lap holding my hands, I was breathing in her sweet 4 year old smell alongside one of her pigtails and we were watching The Polar Express together in an auditorium filled with children.

"Thank you for bringing me," she whispered again, with a honey-of-a-smile.

Ah. I could have melted. I mean, I know I melted. And, I'm sure I've said that 3 year olds are the most fun--and I bet before that I declared twos to be the best--but I take it back. The fours are so fantastic!

It's a good thing that I decided to make this to keep track of all these wonderful memories:

It's the memory journal I made for her. Soon, "Julia" will adorn the front in the most perfect font. It's here where I started writing her letters about my thoughts, perspectives, and feelings of a day in the life of Julia's Mommy.

Before naps are over, I'm going to write about the mini-sermon she gave in the car on the way home. And how she much rather preferred hugging one of the little ballerinas that was dressed in a white tutu...over Santa Claus.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wild Turkey Wednesday

Alternately titled: You thought my tweet was an exaggeration.
Alternately titled: Would my sheriff neighbor notice if I went on a turkey hunt within city limits?
Alternately titled: Do people actually eat wild turkey?
Alternately titled: I wonder if they're friends with these guys?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Favorite Post-S

I almost twittered to you all after I [s]napped Luke into his carseat and proceeded to crawl into the truck this evening. We were off to little man's [s]wim lessons in 30 degree weather. The tweet would have went something like this.

"Why in the world did we pick November to start our 6 week stint of wet heads in freezing weather? Couldn't we have put our already fish-like son in gymnastics--or something--and gained just as much bonding time with him as we worked on his flexibility? I mean, flexibility! That would have at least helped him to reach his feet and put his socks on more effectively. And I'm pretty certain we both would leave the gym with dry hair."

But, all of that most definitely wouldn't have fit on that tiny little screen that Twitter gives us. So, the long-winded one that I am just kept those thoughts to my [s]hivering [s]elf.

However, on the flipside, Luke and I had great toddler conversation on our way to the swimming pool, I was so proud of my energetic [s]uper [s]wimmer while we were there, and I was reminded of how much I really do love watching his [s]mile appear when he asks, "Mommy, you swim wit me in dat pool?" and I assure him I will. So it ended up being a [s]pecial night with my little guy once again.

And rightfully so, as tonight's activities came to a close, I had [s]wimming and [s]hivering--along with Julia's plea to God to drop the right amount of [s]now tonight that would allow her to [s]ki tomorrow morning--on my mind. This gave rise to yet another Favorite Post-[S]. Right behind B and P.

So, [s]it back and enjoy the [s]how.

I'm [s]ure there's a favorite of yours [s]tuck in here [s]omewhere.

We'll start with [s]nowbunnies...especially this one from last year:
And, [s]now! [S]now that's made into [s]nowmen, [s]now that falls as [s]nowflakes, and [s]now that's piled [s]ix feet tall along the [s]ides of our driveway. I love [s]now!

And [s]wimming laps...especially when I've got a full hour entirely reserved for me and my goggles.

And [s]ewing, and [s]ailboats...which Mr. Marvelous reassures me we'll never own. For, I guess, the [s]tress of moving it down the river doesn't [s]ound enjoyable to him.

I love [s]tars...especially the ones I can see from the roof outside my old bedroom window on my parent's farm. I used to lay a blanket out on clear nights and try and imagine how big the [s]olar [s]ystem really is.

[S]kiing with Mr. Marvelous is a very favorite of mine. We've made week long [s]ki trips--the week after Christmas--an annual thing, and I look forward to it each year.

Then there's [s]nail mail, [s]crapbooking, [s]unshine through my bedroom window, [s]nuggling with our [s]ixteen month olds, [s]inging loudly in the car, [s]teamy hot [s]howers, [s]urprises, and p[s]alms 139.


Oh, yea, and hitting the [s]ack early.

[S]o long now.

[S]ee ya.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

THE FINAL UNVEILING: because he was daydreaming of me during class


The following photos are snippets of the painting that hangs above the fireplace in our bedroom. It was designed, created, and given to me by Mr. Marvelous on Christmas 6 years ago. We had been engaged for 9 months and were to be married the following May. It goes without saying that my husband-to-be did a great job hitting it right on the nose in the melt your fiance's heart department. (Which he was a pro at--by that point--since we had been dating for 6 years prior.)

He told me that he designed the rough draft on a notebook during a college ed class, as he was thinking about his lovely wife-to-be. Ahem.

Then being the ambitious, get 'er done now type that he is, he went a hunting for the frame, special paints and brushes, and got right to work. Upon finishing, he named his creation "EMBRACE," tried his best job at wrapping it, then handed it to me--that Christmas Eve--with the look of anticipation spread across his face. Can you tell what he created atop this canvas?

With a husband that is sweet as pie, it's easy to brag on him. Which is what this post is all about. Now, don't get me wrong. We have our moments. The moments when the eldest child comes out in the both of us, meeting eachother head to head. But, with 11 years under our belts it seems we're better able to read eachother's minds and "plan accordingly." I wonder what 50 years will feel like?

So, without further ado...allow me to present all it's geometric splendor...and black and white, straight lined glory...

EMBRACE by Mr. Marvelous.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I can't hold it [in] any longer.

Remember the Gift Giving Elf I warned you about?


She's excited to announce that it's time to dispense her first packages into 3 unknowingly oblivious mailboxes. If you left an "ok" to be added to the gift receiving recipients list of 4under3, then your name and snail mail address is snuggled in a rod iron basket next to my computer monitor. When I complete a new, crafty eye candy item or find a much loved cutsie item while I'm out and about, I pull a name, package said item, and send it off a sailing. All this done in efforts of calming my compulsion to give.

I can't wait!

I know, I'm kinda spoiling the surprise here. But I just couldn't hold it in any longer. I mean, look at those Christmas books in all their ribbon-and-pretty-paper glory! As much as I love them, I love it more to give them away.

If you're eagerly awaiting the names of those receiving these part ornaments part books, don't worry. I'll share them in a couple of days, giving the delivery team enough time to distribute the surprises.

I'm even biting my nails because of all this excitement and suspense. I love surprises. Like when Mr. Marvelous surprised me with a 5am Hot Air Balloon ride. Or when my MIL surprised me with an hour long Facial Massage just 2 hours prior to the appointment.

But even more, I love to do the surprising. It feels good. Kind of like the heat radiating from the fireplace right now. That feels good too.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Rocky Roads & Peanut Butter with M&Ms

UPDATED: I believe I failed to clarify that the following spoonful was consumed solely and completely by me.


Some days, this:

helps mute two crying 16 month olds, that seem to sympathize with eachother way more than I wish they would. Because lately, the girls seem to feel eachother's pain together.

Don't get me wrong, if someone is sad, I immediately put on my doctor hat and roll in to the rescue. But this morning, I pulled out every soothing tactic I had, seemingly falling short of complete restoration for Norah and Hazel.

There were tears, drippy noses, crying, red faces, and a dazed and confused mama who wanted to stop the madness. And she did, with this:

all by herself.

Thank goodness for simple pleasures.

Friday, November 7, 2008

focus in on.

When snapping this photo of Juj and I--ready and rearing for her first field trip that I helped chaperone--our intention wasn't to focus in on this green bus seat, leaving Julia and I blurred in the background. But after thinking about it, this green bus seat was the #1 reason our little 4-year-old wanted so badly to go to preschool this year. Therefore, it was quite appropriately developed after all.

And speaking of eye candy surprises. (Well, we weren't really speaking of those, were we?.)

Christmas is coming! I know this full well because of what I saw outside my window this morning. And, because of these bEEutious falling flakes and the snow dusted trees, I'm feeling as though I'm about to go off the deep end in the gift giving department. Tis the season, right? So, if you'd enjoy a random surprise gift, or maybe a Christmas card from the Gift Giving Elf that helps run 4under3, please leave me your, "Ok" to do so. Oh, yea, and then email me your snail mail address.
Wahoo. I'm off to focus in on gifts, packages, Christmas music, and this hot pink boa that I bought for our Girls Night this evening.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Taking care of business.

I've reserved 4 tiny, little seconds to post while these babes nap this afternoon:

(L to R: Lukers, Hazey, Norie, & Juj)

So I'll be making this quick. I've got to take care of some business, so here it goes.

After hearing your countless cries for more info on my Exponent Shirt, I decided I'd give up my secret. I see that Robin--mother of twin girls also--was spot on with where you could purchase one just like mine. I--on the other hand--happened to snag my braggable-chic'ish-screen-printed-T over at Couture Moms 'round the start of summer. And I've got great news. I just clicked over to find that you could get your very own for nearly half price. Wahoo! It almost creates in me the urgency to add to our family, raise our exponential power, and buy another shirt.

Kidding! Kind of.

And don't fret my dear bloggy friends. My garlic cloves and organic, raw apple cider vinegar are simply creative attempts to ward away the bad bug that's been floating around our house. After googling home remedies for an ear infection, I found that infused minced garlic/garlic oil/cloves in the ears clear up the unwanted ick. If you try it, they say it's helpful to forewarn the people you come in contact with after the Garlic in Ears friends, Bible Study members, etc.

And that's all I got folks. Tonight I'm off to another class: The Power of a Plant-Based Cuisine. Tomorrow is the start of a fabulous Christian Mom's Retreat weekend. I can't wait!!

...'til next time.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

...if I told you.

Would you believe me if I told you that I have two cloves of this:

resting in each of my ear canals as we speak?
Futhermore, would you believe me if I told you that while driving between the two meal drop-offs--that I twittered of this morning--I had to slam on my breaks, jet into a nearby college parking lot, and finger swipe an ice cube from my 2 1/2 year old's throat? After which, he threw up all over me, himself, and his beloved Twins hat. The latter seemed to be the biggest letdown for him.
And would you believe me yet one more time if I told you that by watching the little girls hug, kiss, snuggle, tackle, play with, and laugh at eachother, it makes me wish I was a twin too?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

my exponent.

...and I love it!
What's your exponential power?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Not Me! Monday and a Pumpkin Pop

Last week, I did not wear my pajamas for 2 days in a row--night and day. Who would do that? Not me! It didn't matter that we were carless for 4 days and had no way of getting anywhere anyways. And, regardless of being housebound, I would never allow myself to appear as if I'd just gotten out of bed--all day long.

Last Saturday I did not secretively love the fact that our 16-month-old was the only one singing--loudly--along with Mr. Cowboy at our library's Special Program. While the twins sat on my lap, a hundred or so other children--Julia and Luke included--impatiently sat around us with their parents, while Mr. Cowboy struggled to keep our attention on his banjo. Even though we were all supposed to have our voices "off" and our listening ears "on," I would never enjoy having the center of attention be on our little Norah who was doing quite the opposite. Even if it was much more entertaining then poor Mr. Cowboy.

And, last night after returning home from a long, intense trip through the grocery store with all 3 girls, I did not--for the first time--grant Julia her wish for just a bowl of cereal for supper. I'd never! No matter the convience of it, the non-nutritional value of it, or the fun of it for her, I much rather prefer wholesome meals to fill my children's tummies. And if I ever did this--which I didn't--and Julia promised me to be the "best mommy in the whole, big, big world," I'd still never do it again. Ever!

Now, if you haven't already, head on over to our Not Me! Monday ringmaster's place. MckMama's new addition--baby Stellan--is home and has a clean bill of health. God is so good!

But, before you go...

How about a pumpkin pie-sicle!

I found this recipe and Julia and Luke thought we should try it. If you like pumpkin pie, you'll love these. They taste just like your sinking your teeth in a chilled slice of pumpkin goodness...without the whip, of course.


  • 1 butternut squash

  • 1/2 C pure maple syrup

  • 2/3 C light cream

  • 1/2 to 3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1. To make a batch, cut a butternut squash into quarters and scoop out the seeds.

2. Bake the squash until it's soft. Let the squash cool a bit before scooping its flesh into a medium-size bowl.

3. Add pure maple syrup, light cream, and pumpkin pie spice to the bowl. Use a potato masher to mush the squash and blend all of the ingredients.

4. Spoon the mixture into ice pop molds (we were able to fill about 10), add sticks, and freeze for at least 6 hours before serving.


If you give a pig a pancake...

...or better yet, if you give an on-the-go, mama-of-4 her car back, she'll get all excited and want to go somewhere. Anywhere! Then she'll remember it's Monday and that means preschool for Julia.

She'll load everyone in her car--the car that has a new tire--and drive across town to drop off her preschooler.

As she's paying very close attention maneuvering in the parking lot, she'll notice her precious cargo staring back at her in her rearview mirror.

She'll probably get a crazy idea to go buy fabric to make dresses for two of them, so she'll head to her favorite crafty store.

On their way back to her car--the car with the new tire--she'll praise her 3 little ones for excellent behavior in her favorite crafty store, then she'll notice what a glorious day it is.

She'll surprise her children with a trip to their favorite park.

With a packed lunch in tow, she'll probably suggest a nature walk. As she kicks her heels up, down this path with her children:

...she'll want to stop along side the trail and roll in the fallen leaves.

While fooling around on the ground she'll want to snap a picture of her little guy being silly:

and then of being sweet:

Being sweet will remind her of these two little ones, whose legs were getting a little tired from their walk:

When she asks the little girls if they'd "like a ride in the stroller," she'll remember that she does in fact, have her own ride now, and it's waiting at the end of their adventure.

And chances are, if she has a car...

...she's going to want to go somewhere...else!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

a pivot point.

With a kleenex box in hand, my cheeks are stained, my nerves have shaken me, and my stomach won't stop churning.

All because of this broadcast.

Today, some might be hoping for Barack's pledge to "keep our country safe." His plan to make life run "smoother." However, I'm on my knees for the little ones. The ones that won't get a chance at life in our country if Mr. Obama gets his way.

Please be informed!