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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Eve

I'm sad to report that one of our little turkeys has come down with not one, but two ear infections this week. I'm even sadder to report that we were convinced her recent fussiness and sleep drama were a product of teething, and as a result, we weren't doing much to help her other than the occasional dose of Tylenol.

Thankfully, we put two and two together yesterday morning and were able to take her to the pediatrician and score some antibiotics prior to commencing our Turkey Day travels. And you fellow working moms will appreciate that I was simultaneously listening to a conference call yesterday morning while waiting on hold to make the appointment with the doctor. Good thing I didn't mix up the phones and start to inform all of our company's HR Managers about Clara's bodily functions.

Now that that's behind us, we can commence packing into close quarters with my family, eating entirely too many carbohydrates, and reflecting on the countless reasons we have to be thankful, namely these two:

But before I go, allow me to leave you with a few unrelated but important-to-share points:

1. Colby and Clara both refer to each other by the same name "Rah-rah" (originally coined by Colby as his name for Clara). I do want them to be able to say Colby's name (and know that they don't both have the same name), but I wouldn't be entirely upset if they both call each other "Rah-rah" forever.

2. I have to make a Thanksgiving confession: I don't like pie. I know that's un-American of me, but I can't help it... I just think it's gross. This partially stems from the fact that I don't like fruit in my dessert, but that's not the only issue, because I don't like pecan pie either.

3. Today is my 7th anniversary at my job! Some days are less enjoyable at others (it is called "work," after all), but generally speaking, I enjoy what I do and just as importantly, I like my co-workers. And for that, I am thankful.

Monday, November 24, 2014

For your Monday amusement

Just two things that have amused me lately and I hope will do the same for you:

1. I shared this on facebook last week, but wanted to make sure my non-facebook friends had the opportunity to see my budding actor/actress in action as well. For your viewing pleasure, here is Colby & Clara's class performance at the daycare's Thanksgiving program:

To answer a few questions:
a. No, Colby did not just wake up from a nap, nor was he under the influence of any medication.
b. Yes, Clara is (almost) always that clingy.

2. I receive brochures for various seminars in the mail at work on a regular basis. I usually throw them in the trash, but I came across one last week that was so intriguing, I had to share it with you: the "Conference for Women."

"What kind of relevant and inspirational material will they cover at a conference entirely for women?" I wondered to myself. I opened up the brochure and learned that for the low price of $150, I could attend such sessions as:

- "Personalize your work space to feed your spirit"
I'm sure the Conference for Men is covering the same topic.

- "Keep your emotions from running the show"
You mean, you can even teach me how to do that during that time of the month?!

- "Presenting yourself as a woman who's going places," described further as "how to foster an appearance that shows you're in command, yet approachable"
Don't bother taking me seriously because of my knowledge and abilities - take me seriously because my wedge heels compliment my blouse without being too distracting!

Seriously, I couldn't stop laughing while I was reading this. I wouldn't describe myself as a big time feminist, but even I found the whole thing to be a little insulting. And don't you think this would make great material for an SNL skit?

Anything making you smile (or scratch your head) today?

Friday, November 21, 2014

My apologies to Thanksgiving (aka: stocking stuffer ideas!)

Remember a few years ago when I wrote a blog post about my ideal stocking stuffers? Well I figured 3 years was long enough to make you wait for a second edition. But you're in luck, because this year, I was nice enough to include ideas for the men and children in your lives.

Some of these are updated versions of the 2011 items, because I'm nothing if not predictable consistent, and some of them are new. Most importantly, all of them are awesome. Also, I should clarify that I'm not even remotely trendy so if you're here to read about 2014's Hot New Christmas Wish List Items, you are most definitely in the wrong place.

For the ladies:
1. Philosophy "Peppermint Stick" bath gel

2. A tube of candy cane chapstick (shout out to my pal, Heather, for introducing me to this last year!)

3. Family calling cards/gift tags (like these)

4. Maroon Kendra Scott earrings (for those of you that don't support the Aggies, shame on you there are other color options)
"Elle" earrings in maroon jade

"Morgan" stud earrings in maroon jade

"Dee" earrings in maroon jade

For the men:
1. Subscription to Dollar Shave Club (who knows, maybe it would even result in guest blog posts from your significant other?)

2. V76 by Vaughn hair control balm - This is not cheap, but has worked well on Brian's hair since he started growing it out... and as a bonus, it smells good!

3. Hot sauce 

I hear this brand is legit, and if not, there's always...

For the children/toddlers:
1. Personalized placemats (like these)

2. Jammies! You can never go wrong with jammies, especially if they have owls on them (like these and these from Gymboree, which we might or might not have purchased more than a month ago for the twins, Davis, and Avery):

(Kind of wishing they made these in my size...)

3. Duck & Goose books - I picked up "Duck and Goose Find a Pumpkin" on a whim for the twins and it was an instant hit. This one is next on the list:

If you have any great stocking stuffer ideas, please share!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

And now for something completely different

Hello, blogiverse, I have returned for a guest blog to entertain you and enlighten you. Well actually that, and to take some of the blog pressure off of my wonderful wife, too. Recently I was encouraged inspired by the folks at Dollar Shave Club* to write about some things you SHOULD try to squeeze the most out of, and things you SHOULDN’T squeeze too much out of.

(*Their advertisements are also pretty amusing...)

As you may or may not know, the Joiners are cheap frugal creative about how and when we spend money. For example, I have developed quite the reputation at my work place. People know that I WILL take their Whataburger receipt with a survey on it, take the survey, and then claim a free burger on my next visit to that fine establishment. People also know that I play similar games with Starbucks and Freebirds when it comes to their loyalty cards. I have also been known to go back to the kitchen at work and freeze the leftovers after everybody else has finished so that I have some extra free lunches. Judge if you will, but I will be laughing all the way to the bank.

So now that I have painted a picture for you let’s move on to this list.

Things you SHOULD squeeze the most out of:

Toothpaste: The picture below probably gives Amanda the warm fuzzies. I try to appease her by complying and squeezing from the bottom as well.

*I could have also pictured a Capri Sun OR one of those fruit pouches that the twins like to suck the life out of as well. Trust me, they get ALL of it out.

Free Time: Anyone with children knows this to be a truth: nap time and bed time = your free time. Those precious few hours a day when you get to choose what you want to do and don’t have to plan on how you will entertain your children are invaluable. It becomes “how much can I possibly accomplish in the next 90 minutes? Can I do the yardwork, take a shower, AND still have a couple of minutes to watch football?” To those who don’t have children, enjoy your free time now because one day you will want to punch yourself in the face for ever being bored.

Credit Card Companies: They want to take your money for not paying off your bill each month. Solution: find the company with the best rewards, only use that card, pay it off every month and reap the benefits. It is like they are paying you to use them. It kind of feels like you are sticking it to the man, too.

Cookie Butter: Trader Joe’s version of cocaine. Try it. Love it. Eat all of it. Pretzels are a good choice for dipping in cookie butter.

Ok, and now for…
Things you SHOULDN’T try to squeeze too much out of:

First I asked Google:

Not too sure about the Charmin Song. I think it was a little before my time. As for the tea bags, I checked around and it can make the tea bitter. So for you southerners making sweet tea, NO SQUEEZING!

Motor Oil: As the son of a man who spent much of his working life running service centers for autos, please take my advice: change your oil. It is easy, usually inexpensive (unless you have to use full synthetic, in which case I feel your pain) and is the easiest way to help your car/truck last a while. I could really name a bunch of different things on cars to do, but this is the simplest.

Vacations: To me a vacation means a vacation from ALL work, not just my job. I like having things to do, but I don’t like feeling that I have to stress to make it all happen. This may explain why I like beaches and all-inclusive resorts where waiters bring the drinks to you.

Technology: Specifically old technology. Just because the computer you got 8 years ago turns on doesn’t mean you should still be using it. The same goes for the iPhone 3G you got in 2011. The frustrations aren’t worth how slow they are. 

Last but not least...

Razors: The inspiration for the post gets the spot of glory. Instead of using that month old razor that will make your face (guys) or legs (ladies) like a scene from a horror movie, do yourself a favor and check out the blades from the only club I am in... other than the club for cool dads and husbands that I am starting.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Call off the search- I'm alive

So in case you didn't notice, I was missing in action last week. And I can't decide if the fact that no one harassed me about it is a good thing (because I don't have to feel guilty for slacking in future) or a bad thing (because I could have been dead and no one was alarmed). I'm going to go with it being a good thing.

I hosted a baby shower at my house for one of my best pals on Saturday and that meant any discretionary time was spent on the 3 Cs: crafting, cleaning, and cooking... when I wasn't hanging out with my own two Cs, that is.

The shower was a success so now I can focus my obsessing tendencies on the holidays instead. Hooray! (And just for the sake of transparency, I should tell you that I did listen to Christmas music the entire time I was prepping for the shower. I even considered having it play in the background during the shower but I thought that might conflict with the "little pumpkin" theme, so I refrained.)

Here's a little bit about what else I've been up to...

Two Fridays ago, Colby, Clara, and I attended a play date with a bunch of other SAHMs and their kids. I felt like a total impostor, but they welcomed us with open arms. The twins were big fans of the trampoline, as evidenced by Clara's goofy face. Thanks, Brittnie, for including us! (And not pictured, but I went to happy hour on Thursday with some of those same SAHMs and it was so much fun! Our goal is to make it a monthly tradition, so wish us luck.)

Parents-of-the-year update: Brian and I are trying SO hard to get the twins into watching TV. If we could get them to sit still for even one 20-minute show, it would be fantastic. I blame daycare for the fact that they have almost zero interest in it, and while I know it's a real "blessing" that they aren't addicted to television, it would also be a real "blessing" if we could fold a load of laundry/clean up the kitchen/eat some chips and guacamole in peace without both of them being all up in our business.

And when all of the togetherness-without-any-breaks gets to be too much, sometimes we start bath time just a tad early to preserve our sanity get a change of scenery. I always love it when they have a whole bath tub to spread out in and choose to sit together like this.

In the midst of all of the baby shower crafting last week, I also got to craft this lovely family collage for daycare. I couldn't help but think how crazy it was that I was putting something like this together for my own children, because I'm pretty sure I was just assembling a similar "all about me" collage for my sorority pledge class directory about 5 minutes ago. (5 minutes = 13 years)

It has been straight up cold lately, which is exactly how I like it. I live for these 2 months out of the year where I don't sweat any time I leave the house. And for the first time EVER, we live in a house with a fireplace, so we are taking full advantage. And by "we are taking full advantage," I meant that Brian is 100% responsible for starting and maintaining the fire and I just sit there and enjoy it.

And speaking of the fireplace (nice segue, I know) here are some pictures from that "little pumpkin" shower. This was before it started, so don't worry, there were about 800 more presents added to this pile. Baby Campbell will have no shortage of clothes, that's for sure! (And don't tell Colby, but I put one of Clara's bows on his stuffed bear.)

Here's the spread! All of the other hostesses live out of town, so I was responsible for all of the food (minus the pigs in a blanket). Thankfully no one complained about any of it to my face, so I'll call it a win.

This was my proudest accomplishment: a cheese ball rolled in Dorito crumbs to look like a pumpkin (with a bell pepper stem). Thank you, pinterest, for the inspiration. And thank you, low standards, for convincing me this is an admirable accomplishment.

Allison helped me make these chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes, and most importantly, she frosted all of them. Reason #8,053 that I'm glad she lives nearby now.

The big brother of the baby being honored at the shower coincidentally had a birthday party the next day, so off we went to The Little Gym to celebrate! Colby was much more adventurous than Clara, but they both had fun playing. I, on the other hand, had no idea how much work The Little Gym was for parents. I was literally sweating from all the activity. At least I "earned" my Elmo cupcake, right?

And this has nothing to do with anything that "happened" over the weekend, but at one point, I was taking some selfies with Colby while he was playing with my hair (I have high hopes that both children will perfect and continue this habit for many years to come).

And then he stopped to hug me and my heart exploded. Also, I look like Kermit the Frog here.

Alright, so now that you're caught up on my life happenings, I can get back to posting my requisite 2-3 times per week. Or not. We'll see.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Who needs sleep when you have so much sugar in the house?

(In case you're a new visitor from Twin Talk, welcome!)

Just in case you notice Brian, Colby, Clara, and I continuing to walk around like zombies this week, take a peek at what our weekend entailed and you'll understand why:

1. Halloween
Posted this gem on facebook. Took it before leaving the house on Friday, and quickly learned that one should never force a toddler into a costume in the wee hours of the morning without first feeding him some Cheerios.

In a rare turn of events, Clara was the more cooperative and easygoing of the two.

Dorothy and the lion enjoying some breakfast at daycare

Went trick-or-treating at Daddy's office and the Cowardly Lion was living up to his name

Scoping out the competition

So much candy, so little time

Dorothy snuck in a power nap between visiting daddy's office and eating dinner... love that her sparkly red shoes made the shot!

This would be what Dorothy looked like after the tornado

Pre-trick-or-treating dinner with the cousins

It's too bad the girls don't have much personality

Family pic, in which Allison's magical camera made the twins look much more cooperative than they were actually being!

Favorite things about this pic (1) that cute little lion (2) Avery yawning (3) Franny chasing Clara in the background

Clara was more interested in stealing the neighbors' pine cones than getting candy

I know this is a little lazy, but I don't care. Way better than having to corral and/or carry them all night!

Both of my determined children sucked on candy wrappers for so long that they eventually got through to the good stuff. Here's Colby in a Reese's peanut butter coma at the end of the evening.

2. We celebrated Avery's first birthday!

Yep, this little muffin turned one on the day after Halloween! I'll let Allison do the picture-posting (mostly because I didn't take any). The day also included lots of family time, playing, and eating, and ended in Mexican food meltdowns for the twins at dinner.

3. The time change!

You will not find me complaining about the time change because (1) it normally accompanies cooler temperatures, (2) it meant we could put the twins down for bed at 6:30 pm on Sunday and have the rest of the evening to rest and recover from the weekend. AND because we already have to wake them up so early for daycare (6:30 am), we didn't even have to worry about having to suffer for it the next morning!

And here's a gratuitous shot of Colby playing at the park with his cousins towards the end of the weekend. Please note the tired eyes and dirt all over his face. I just love that little boy!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Guest post: on being a twin with twins

Happy Monday, everyone! I know you're really disappointed not to have another Halloween recap post to read today, but have no fear, I'll be back with more pictures of my children in costumes than you ever cared to see on Wednesday.

In the meantime, I had the privilege of writing a guest post on Twin Talk blog today, so be sure to head over and check it out. In case you don't recall, I shared a link to the blog back in July when they posted Colby & Clara's birth story.

In today's post, I share a little insight about being a mom to twins from the perspective of a mom that is a twin... that's a mouthful. And as a bonus for those of you that are reading this post, allow me to share one more thing you should know about having twins that I forgot to include in my guest post:

6. Never get in the way of a twin fight. My mom discovered this when Allison and I were very young, and in the years ahead, our friends, college roommates, boyfriends, and eventually husbands learned the same. My mom put it best when she said that if you do make this mistake, the twins will stop fighting with each other and instead turn on you. She speaks the truth!

Of course, there are times when it's necessary to intervene in order to avoid a trip to the ER and/or being reported to CPS, but my general advice when a twin fight starts is just to let them work it out. It will teach them to problem-solve without making you the permanent referee, and for that, you will you be grateful.

Thanks for stopping by, and happy reading!