Sunday, August 31


A couple of days ago I thought Mia wanted to color. Thanks to a really annoying cartoon called "Max and Ruby," she has started talking like the character Max, who aggravatingly speaks one word sentences to try and get his point across. So when she said "Mia cahwuh," (she can't say her "L's" very well,) I was kind of annoyed that she was talking that way again, but asked if she wanted to color.

"Noooo! Mia cahwuh!" Huh?

"Sweetie, I don't understand. You don't want to color?"

"No! Mia cahwaaaaah!" she was getting so frustrated. Then she said "Ban Wagonuh." Oh. Mia Cara Van Wagoner. She was trying to demonstrate the latest big-girl thing she learned. Isn't it awful? Mom thinks she's talking like a baby, and she's really talking like a grown-up. With a speech impediment. Drrt.

I'm thinking this incident, and many similar to it, is the reason I found her on the couch the other day practicing saying "sled." With a real "L" sound. It was so cute I got out the video camera and recorded what came next:

(Pllllease pardon my nagging after she asks for paper- I was so entertained by the way she was saying it, I didn't care that it totally sounded like I was making her beg... mean mommy. Kind of a bad word to practice on, I guess.)

Friday, August 29


I loved the song "The Prayer," that pretty duet sung by Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli. I had the Italian words memorized years before I knew Italian. I still remember digging that CD out in Agrigento, Sicily. After months of church music I wanted to listen to it because it was my favorite song. (And my companion/trainer said she thought it would be okay.) As was my most annoying habit, I started to sing along with Celine. Then Andrea took his turn, and as I sang those old, familiar words my eyes grew wider and wider. The most surreal feeling- my brain realizing it knew the words I was singing this time around.

It was in that same house, and with that same companion, that I was introduced to another song that I didn't understand yet. Have you ever heard Michael McClain's "Gentle?" She listened to it a lot, actually. I don't know if she was trying to get a point across, but I definitely didn't get it. I was too busy working on (and worrying about) all the new missionary things I was supposed to be doing. And having grown up with somewhat of a perfectionist mindset, I was completely incapable of comprehending it, I think. It's weird to remember my thoughts about that song. I was so focused on the "be ye therefore perfect" part of life, I was blinded to the true meaning of that scripture. And the lyrics to the song my companion was so impressed to share just seemed cheesy:

Like a gentle wind can blow the clouds from the sky,
Like a gentle touch can ease the pain of goodbye,
Like a gentle smile embraces empty souls in lonely places,
We should be more gentle with ourselves.

Like the friend who gently builds us up when we're down,
Like a gentle kiss can turn our world all around,
We've been hurt by others often,
We've forgiven and forgotten,
We should be more gentle with ourselves.

Life can be hard but
we need not be so hard
on ourselves,
If we will see

Like the Shepherd leads his flock with gentle commands.
With his gentle voice that only hearts understand.
One thing we can know for certain, He has borne the awful burdens
so we can be more gentle with ourselves.

One thing that I know for certain:
He will bear my every burden,
So I can be gentle with myself.

After 30 years of confiding perfectly in the "wisdom" of others, it has only been lately, I've realized that peoples' perception of me doesn't equal truth. That I'm good enough- no matter what anyone thinks.

Reading these lyrics now is just as surreal an experience as was understanding the lyrics to a song in a previously foreign language. That same scripture about what I thought was perfection, is really about love.

Matthew gave a list of commandments before he told us to "be perfect." That was easy for me to misinterpret, unfortunately. King Benjamin takes a slightly different approach explaining the same concept. Before he reminds them of the commandments they have been given, he makes it clear that they are completely reliant on the Savior, no matter what they do- reminds them of their "nothingness." And then after he tells them all the things they should be doing, he says, "And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order."

It was also easier for me to understand the way King Solomon put it: "Let your heart therefore be perfect with the Lord our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day."

It's my heart that He wants. And my heart is good enough. "Let [it] be..."

Thursday, August 28

Favorite Things Swap

I really enjoy making cute presents, and I've seen people having so much fun doing this, so I thought I'd get in on this one and invite my own blogging buddies!

1. Let Wendi know you want to participate. RSVP by August 30, 2008.

2. Pick three (or more) of your favorite things to share with your partner.
(I am sure no one would complain if you wanted to send more.)
This does not have to be expensive.
It could be your favorite book, a new mascara, or a book of your favorite recipes.
It might even be some personalized note cards, or a box of your favorite chocolates. Items can be new, bought, or even homemade.
Just remember to send a package that you would be excited to receive. Be creative!

3. Email Wendi at with the following information:
Your name
Your mailing address
Your email address
Your website/ blog /or flickr address.(you must have one of these)
A little something about yourself.
Please let her know if you would be willing to ship internationally.

4.She will email you the information about your swap partner shortly after the sign up deadline.
The delivery deadline is September 22, 2008.
Be sure to have your packages ready and postmarked by then.

So...are you ready to join in the fun? Share this with your friends! Tell your neighbors! Email your associates!

Contact Wendi at with any questions

Monday, August 25

Hindsight is 20/20... and so is my IQ/IQ

Surefire way to give your kid a cold:

Step 1) Take kid to nursery for the first time.
Step 2) Spend a couple days in a well air-conditioned home.
Step 3) Feed kid early dinner
Step 4) Take kid outside into the heat, and get in hot car.
Step 5) Crank up the air-conditioner until car is nice and cool.
Step 6) Take kid out of car into heated parking lot.
Step 7) Take kid into air-conditioned mall.
Step 8) Feed kid nice sugary fruit snacks while rest of family eats Chinese.
Step 9) Go out into the heat again.
Step 10)

Step 11) Have a temporary lapse in sanity.
Step 12) Go back with wet kid into air-conditioned mall for ice cream.
Step 13) Give kid some of your nice, sugary ice cream.
Step 14) Go back out into the heat and get in hot car.
Step 15) Cool car.
Step 16) Hot garage.
Step 17) Cool house.

Saturday, August 23


The Opening Ceremonies for these particular events were held in a much smaller venue- a hospital in Utah- and weren't televised. The two-part series was, however, videotaped over a hiatus of nineteen months. There were no digitally enhanced fireworks, but a few photos did go through a Photoshop blemish/frizzy-post-partum-hair treatment.

The most popular event at our house is "Wipe-Out." Game objective: see how many baby wipes you can pull out before Mom notices. Factor in proximity to mom during wipe pulling. After rigorous weekly training, the winner of the gold was actually leaning against Mom as she snatched enough wipes to build a pile as tall as herself.

Another well-known event is "Diaper-Distraction." Game description: A team event requiring at least two players. One must have a poopy diaper. Game objective: Player with poopy diaper (Player 1) must try to get poop on their hands by using one of three methods: reach between legs and grab front, reach around legs and grab bum, reach diaper and grab poop. Player 2's goal is to help Player 1 complete their mission by using blocking and distracting tactics. The most talented teammates will crawl onto and sit on Mom's lap during the diaper change while simultaneously grabbing the poopy diaper. Another popular tactic for Player 2 is to play "Wipe-Out" during "Diaper-Distraction."

"Divide and Conquer," although dangerous, is an event loved by generations. Game description: Team event in which members try to be born as close to their team-mates as possible for ultimate effectiveness. Game objective: Get as far from each other as possible as fast as possible. Wide open areas are the preferred arena, such as the library, park, doctor's office, and freeway.

"Collision" is the most rugged of events- not for the faint of heart. Game description: the same as "Divide and Conquer." Game objective: Acquire whatever object anyone else is interested in. Although the most effective method is using actual object to whap opponent; pushing, hair pulling, screaming, crying, and whining are also popular methods of choice.

Finally, the crowning event at the 2008 Games: "Misplacement" although a misnomer, which origins are thought to have been derived from 18th century Olympians who didn't know the phrase "pig-sty," is a game closest in description to the passing of the Olympic flame. In the same spirit of eternal flame, "Misplacement" is the goal of Baby Olympians to preserve the eternal mess.

Closing ceremonies will hopefully not be televised, because unlike the grown-up Olympics, televised retiring Babe-O-Lympians are usually talking about their experiences on Maury Povich or a couch next to a psychiatrist.

Friday, August 22

Wife's Wessons

Our books came! I pulled out the one I got specifically to check my impulses to brag about Mia: "My Kid's an Honor Student, Your Kid's a Loser: The Pushy Parent's Guide to Raising the Perfect Child." You want a laugh on this subject- this one's a page-turner. (And only costs $1!!)

Lately my biggest concern has been learning where to draw the line between giving her too much life, too fast, and feeling like, "She wants to discover this, why not give it a shot?" So far, the line gets drawn the second either one of us gets impatient.

Mia begged to go ice-skating because she saw it on Caillou and Backyardigans. So I took her skating. At first she seemed to like it more and more each time we went. So I bought some pre-paid Murphy discount passes for the next few weekends. Seven days later she fell and bawled until I got her off the ice, which behavior I would call "Mia being impatient." She gets one more try before I give up for a year. And if anyone wants some pre-paid passes to the Chiller, I've got four that expire in a month. They might be cursed, but hey- they're free.

She begged every day to do her "lesson," from the book I just bought, "How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons." We got to lesson 22: "That is a seed. See a ram eat it." As soon as she came to a word she couldn't sound out right off the bat, she started whining and leaving the book to go play on the slide. This time I got impatient. "Mia, don't you want to know what animal we're reading about? I'll give you a hint: Daddy made one out of a purple balloon yesterday." (yes- Zach is one of those rare med students who started out working as a children's birthday party entertainer.) We're done reading for a few months, I don't care how cute she looks when she pretends to read "The Grouchy Ladybug," and then begs to do "wessons."

A few weeks ago we ended up with a CD from the library geared to expose babies to Italian. I think it was sitting on the table when we walked into the kiddie area, and I grabbed it telling myself it might help me in my efforts to brush up on my grammar. I actually am sick of feeling a lump in my throat and a skipped heartbeat every time someone from my mission sees me online and starts a chat. But really, I was thinking, "Who knows, maybe these kids will want to learn a latin-based language someday. If what they say about brain connections fizzling out by age two is true, I might as well take advantage of the little synapses that are still left." I enjoyed hearing the poems and Italian nursery rhymes and songs. The babies did a little bopping. Mia got over her annoyance at the seemingly silly words and finally started requesting "the Italian CD." The book says you should have them listen to it for approximately three hours every day for it to have any affect on their ability to perceive certain sounds when they're older. When we went back to the library a few days ago, I asked if they had any other languages. Now we’re listening to French. Neh- who knows if it's an academic waste of time. At least no one's impatient with it.

Oh- and I’m not too worried about confusing their language skills. Mia is too old and set in her ways, and the babies don't have any. Well, okay. Bree says “no,” now. Even though Mia was already stringing together sentences by this age, for some reason this little “no” is really impressive. If she doesn’t want to eat anymore, she’ll shake her head and say “no!” which sounds really weird, I guess because it’s the only word she’s ever said. Imagine the feeling you'd get if a cat you'd had for 15 months suddenly started saying "No!" That's as close as I can describe it.

It’s really cute while she’s watching Diego. They ask “Can Diego use a frying pan to shoot the emu?” And all the characters chant in unison, “NOoooooo!” and Bree is chanting right along with them. So anytime she hears a question now we get the same little response. “Bree you’re hanging on my leg drooling and pointing at this fruit smoothie with your tongue sticking out. Do you want a bite?” “NOoooooooo!” Yeah- my kid's an honor student...

Wednesday, August 20

Record-Breaking at the Van Wagoners

This evening I made the absolutely worst tasting dinner in the history of the Van Wagoner kitchen.

I end up at Meijer for the week's grocery visit, at the end of the day- by which time all of the produce is either wilting, missing, or walking away by itself. We need lettuce, but I don't dare touch the slimy little lumps of leaves they are trying to pass off as saleable. I move toward the pre-packaged salads, when a large, dark green bag catches my eye. "Fresh n' Clean Collard Greens."

Hmm. It rhymes. And I have been curious about these greens since seeing them on Rachel Ray and Martha back in the days when I actually aspired to adventurous cooking. Alrighty. Into the cart you go.

This afternoon I looked up some recipes. Google Search: Collard Greens. Collard Greens and Gravy? Sounds easy enough, let's check it out. Oh. One of Australia's hottest blues trio's. Not edible, moving on. A description catches my eye, and upon further investigation I find the winner.

"...whenever he had collard greens it was with barbecued ribs, and the sauce from the ribs would make its way over to the collard greens, making them taste oh so good. Well, that was enough incentive to try it, and I must agree, collard greens are excellent served with a little BBQ sauce. They are also pretty good on their own with onions and garlic. Here's my dad's recipe:"

I print it out, because everything I read on the internet is true. And at first we're pretty convinced. I fry up some bacon, use the grease to saute some onion and garlic, while cornbread bakes in the oven. Zach can't help but admire the delicious smells coming from the kitchen. I'm pretty excited about our new healthful and tasty meal idea, already planning on incorporating this recipe into our latest weight loss cooking phase. The last thing left to do is add the collard greens to the skillet, and cover them for 8 to 10 minutes, or until tender.

Cornbread is ready, and so are the babies. We cut some cubes up for them while we wait for our greens to cook. The kitchen is really smelling good now.

Then I go to stir the greens. Off comes the lid and out comes the smell. Yeah- all of you Southerners who have dealt with this supposedly edible plant are and nodding and smirking at the poor, ignorant, housewife raised by Danish people whose every recipe begins with "a pound of butter," and ends with "two pounds of cheese."

Well, maybe the BBQ will have some magical redeeming properties. Bravely, we sit beside the steaming pile of smell and say the blessing. I have mixed feelings about Mia's lengthy, "bless us to go to church and have a good time and bless us to go to sleep and bless..." as my nose begs my hand to hurry up and cover the greens, but my brain begs my mouth not to find out if this is really going to taste as bad as it thinks it will.

Prayer over, we all reach for the cornbread.

I slap a green pile onto Mia's plate. She says, "Mmmmm! I like this!" and points to the leaves. She must think it's salad. But her enthusiasm gives me just enough courage to slap a pile onto my own plate and hand the spatula to Zach.

I have never eaten so much of something so disgusting. Mia ate a bite, and didn't seem too offended, so I figured I'd better not show any sign of repulsion, even if I was worried it might lead to convulsion. Zach ate a bite and reached for the BBQ sauce. We agreed as subtly as possible that we couldn't stand the stuff, and would definitely be throwing away the left-overs. I ventured a couple of times to instruct Mia to eat another BBQ-smothered leaf, which she willingly popped into her mouth for the reward of more cornbread. But after she nearly gagged out a couple of peices, I told her what a great eater she was, gave her five, and let her off the hook.

We set another record: fastest husband garbage take-out without nagging from wife.


Thinking back

I found some blogs of mom's with twins who are playing a "way back when-sday" game. Bree just graduated a size, and Anya doesn't fit in one of the high chairs anymore. I can't help looking at Mia's stringy little grown-up toddler body and wanting to grab their little baby-fat rolls and hang on for dear life. I just took this picture yesterday, didn't I? Sigh.

Monday, August 18

Old-Fashioned Love

Have you noticed that Nickelodeon, Disney, and now sometimes PBS all have the idea that every kid, everywhere should and does have the same life dream? To be a rock star.

Every show, every commercial: You can be like Hannah Montana! Every kid show sports a professional musician character somewhere in it. My personal gag-fest favorite: "Chuck-E-Cheeses- where a kid can be a STAR!" Plphhhh.

I give Miss Montana two years before she joins the ranks of the dysfunctional has-been pop divas whose super-infamous names I don't even need to mention. Do these networks think we haven't made the connection? Er- duh.

This isn't a new phenomenon. I remember right after high school, the second or third in my collection of gay friends confided in all seriousness one night while driving and listening to Gwen Stefani, "I'm going to be famous someday." I just kind of raised my eyebrows.

What was I supposed to say? Good for you? When what I was thinking was, Shallow, dude. Shouldn't you aspire to greatness and then become famous for it? But no- he just wanted to be famous.

"For what?" I asked in as curious a tone as I could muster. (This is also the friend who bragged about his poop floating, so I was braced for the worst.)

"I don't know yet. But just wait, you'll see. I'm going to be famous."

I didn't say anything. He then proceeded to get offended that I didn't "have faith" in him.

I don't think he was alone in his need to be worshipped by strangers. Unfortunately, I suspect, as evidenced by the overwhelming amount of performing stages on television, that he was only voicing the immature goal being instilled in every kid who watches the new craze in sit-com themes.

There is a love void spreading. And we are trying to fill it with all the wrong stuff.

Thursday, August 14

Hello, my name is Summer...

I have bought more books in the last week than in the last ten years. And I'm worried it is becoming an addiction. In preparation for the arrival of The Grandparents, I cleaned our house from the top of the cheese-and-BBQ covered microwave we keep on top of our fridge, to the toybox bottom we haven't seen since two moves ago, and stumbled across a coupon for As mentioned a few posts ago, I've been reading the library's "Little House" series. When I saw how cheap their prices are, and realized the coupon expired that very day (kind of weird, huh?) I went nuts and got as many books in the series as they had available.

Then they started this $1 sale, and I went nuts again. Of course we need this book about Australia! Cultural awareness for $1!! And I want to buy The New International Webster's Pocket Medical and First Aid Dictionary of the English Language just to see how they fit the title on the cover. One dollar!!

There are coupons all over the place online. (Enter the coupon number ultimatecoupons-5 and password to get $5 off an order of $35- that's five free books if you get them out of the promotion list!)

Ooh- I'm awful in bookstores. I'm like a kid in a candy store, while my kids are like... really bored.

I'm going to have to get some new-fangled filter for my computer now. Forget about porn, I'm in danger of bookstore exposure.

Tuesday, August 12

Play it again, Sam

So what if it's all been done before. Most of us weren't even here then.

Saturday, August 9

Evolution of a Complimentee

Zach and I came out of Giant Eagle just as two tan little teenage girls walked in. They missed the whistle of the boys driving by the entrance, and it landed on me and my hubby. I appeared to ignore it so the boys wouldn't feel stupid, but for a split second- my heart remembered the feeling it had the last time I was whistled at by strange boys in cars, and I blushed a little.

Happily, during that time I truly did appreciate my "teen prettyness," and never took it for granted. It was a gratitude born from some relatively unique circumstances. I grew up with two parents who didn't do the compliment thing- not to each other, not directly to their kids' faces, or anyone else. I remember a few random remarks of admiration about the way our sister ran so beautifully, or how pretty my friends were. Once my dad said he noticed how patiently I waited for my mom or someone to get off the phone, and for the rest of that month I walked around thinking "I'm patient. I am a patient person." But over-all, it was just not something that they were into.

In elementary school, I got glasses and became the lowest of the lowly nerds. I even had a group of kids chanting the "Freddie Krueger" song at me with my name in his place. It was bad. So, aside from a handful of some very memorable positive comments, compliments were pretty much a foreign language spoken in a country called "Adulthood."

After a few curious encounters with this language in middle school, (I still remember the Jackson twins saying I did a good job singing in 11th grade choir one day. I pretty much thought -and still think- they were the nicest people in the world) highschool rolled around. People actually talked with me, and I was thrilled. Boys flirted, and I was thrilleder. I dreaded the end of highschool when all of the nice people I had met would go lead lives without me. But it wasn't so bad. Graduation brought in a new era of employment and dating; and it thrust me unsuspectingly into the world of compliments.

My eduaction in Complementese started with my first dates. Of course, you're going to be complimented by your date... it's just polite. But I wasn't used to it. At all. Had absolutely no idea how to react. Usually, I just plain disagreed with whatever I didn't believe. Which was pretty much anything subjective. I appreciated and understood compliments about my artwork, or things I had worked on- but if it was about the color of my eyes, or my smile or something- they might as well have said "I think you are like a pair of utility scissors."

Finally, someone I'd been dating awhile said, exasperated, "Just say 'Thank you!' Don't you realize how frustrating it is when you don't just take a compliment? I want to give it to you. So take it!" That sunk deep. And not because I now believed all compliments. I simply now realized, embarrassed, how annoying it was for someone to go to the trouble to take a second to make me feel a bit happier, and me turning it into a minute. So after that I really tried to shorten my reply to "Thanks."

But I still found myself unable to restrain the inclination to explain compliments away. If someone said they liked my hair, I'd say "Thanks! It doesn't actually grow this color, though." My cute outfit wasn't picked out by me, being thin was only a side-effect of being tall, being tall was okay- at least I could reach things for people, if you thought my eyes were blue, you should see my sister's.

Unfortunately the explain-away inclination was still in full effect when I received what I fondly recall as my favorite compliment.

Picture it: Sicily.. 1923. Okay- no that's Golden Girls.

Picture it: Salt Lake City 1997. I'm working at JayLynn Studio, and today I curled my hair and wore my favorite dress from Haroon's. You know the kind they had that was made with layers of light- fluttery material? With wildflowers on them? You'll see a video of it in a future post I've been working on. Anyway. There was a customer waiting alone at the front counter, and getting impatient. I came out of the back room as soon as I could and saw a guy in his mid-thirties and a suit with a frown on his face. He didn't hear me coming, and turned in my direction to come find someone. I startled him. His jaw dropped as he looked me up and down and stammered accusingly, "Y-Y- You're beautiful!" then proceeded to almost literally stick his foot in his mouth and try to get back to business- as if he couldn't believe he had just said that out loud. Ha! And what did I do? I said "Thanks! It's probably just this new dress."


Thanks to the kindness of many people who did do "the compliment thing," over the years I have had practice reacting more and more normally to an originally almost painful situation. Although it started rather awkwardly, I even learned how to give compliments. And then found myself thinking effortlessly of more and more compliments to give. Maybe the evolution is complete. Maybe I've a little way to go, yet. We'll have to try it out:

You've made it to the end of this completely self-absorbed post! What a great blog-reader you are!

How did that compliment come across? Awkward?

Friday, August 8

All's Fair- well almost

Grandma and Grandpa are here!! We went easy on them and waited 'til a whole day after they arrived to cart them to the Ohio State Fair with us.

We pre-bought Mia a wristband for all-day access to the rides, with a cute picture of her running from kiddie-ride to kiddie-ride giggling and saying "That was fun!" in our heads. So the first thing we did when we arrived was search for the kiddie rides. We ran across some bumper boats, and she agreed to take a shot. No one else was there, so she got all the attention of the ride controller. But she still ended up bawling before the ride was over. She couldn't steer in any direction but "spin."

After trying to coax Mia onto another couple of kiddie rides, we gave up and went to the petting zoo, where all three girls had a great time. Oh- except Anya. It was hilareous to see how twin sisters could react so completely differently to the exact same things. You think I'd be used to it by now. Bree loves to be held upside-down by her ankles and swung around. Anya clings like velcro if you bend over while you are holding her tightly.

Enter the camel. Anya started bawling when he got too close. Bree was happy to see a camel so close-up. There's a picture of it below. Anya: bawling. Bree: grinning. Camel: trying hard, but suffering from mixed messages.

Ohio State Fair: 5 stars (I'm not into book reviews quite yet- still have to fix the food for these pesky children. But since I'm such a joiner, I thought I would try in my own "special" way.)

Ohio State Fair Funnel Cake: 0 stars. And 5 dollars.

Being 30 and screaming your head off while spinning backwards, upside-down and a little to the ri-- no left-- for the first time since becoming a mother: priceless.

Wednesday, August 6

First-time Mama

My 101st Post

I dunno. I thought it was worth mentioning.

Tuesday, August 5


Last night the thunder was so loud that at 2:55 the jolt set off our smoke detectors.

The girls all slept through it. Zach and I didn't.

Sunday, August 3

Twin Daze

We decided to celebrate the specialness of twinhood by driving to Twinsburg for the Twin Days Festival, where everyone else is also celebrating their special twinness.

After driving two and a half hours (two of which were supposed to be nap time, but ended up being story/movie/binki-retrieval time,) we drove past the sign that said "Twin Days- Welcome Twins!" And then, to make it official, Zach chimed in: "I see twiiins." And he was right. There were twins.

They were all dressed exactly alike- many in costume. Many in very skimpy costumes. I immediately felt bad for not having bought matching jeans for our girls. They seemed to be the only slackers that had come in matching shirts only. And to add insult to injury- Anya was the only one with socks on.

We gave $3.00 to some very tan girls named Lindsey and Nicole, who were wearing shorts they couldn't bend in. Zach noted they had nothing but walkie talkies to lend any credibility to their "we own the rights to this highschool parking lot" demeanor. Hmm- maybe next year we'll show up a little earlier with some walkie talkies and skimpy clothes... seems like good money. They waved us past lot after lot until we parked about a half mile away from the shuttle which would then take us to the actual fair. This thing was a bigger deal than I thought. We were pretty excited.

The first thing we did was go to the contest booth. I figured it would be the easiest way to get a photo with a bunch of twins in it. I thought the "1 to 3 year-old least alike females" would be a good one, and we happened to show up just before they went on stage, so we got in line. Zach snapped a few pics and we were ready to go- except we had to wait to be judged. Looking around at the twins who were practically opposites, I knew we didn't stand a chance, even though when you see our girls you wonder if Anya ate the triplet. While we waited the gal next to me asked us to take some pics of her and her girls. I told her I'd e-mail them to her. I put the card with her e-address on it in my back pocket. It isn't there anymore. Sorry lady.
If anyone knows this family...

Then we walked past all the booths selling matching everything and found a nifty little park. Which we didn't go to, because Mia wanted to go on the swings on the other side. The babies were really exhausted mellow by then, and were content to watch the fair from afar.

I thought we'd try Mia out on one of the rides we passed coming in, (we have tickets to the Ohio State Fair next week- I wanted to see how she'd do.) So we headed back toward the fair entrance. Mia was excited to go on the spinning ride. She waited in line with the twin kids, completely unaware of her inadequate presence as a singleton. Oh the shame. But it seemed to hit her just as the ride started to spin. She bawled her eyes out.

Maybe she saw all the other kids next to their doubles and realized what an outcast she was. Maybe she thought she was seeing double. At any rate- the ride controller had to stop the ride to let her get out, so the people who deserved to be on it could actually have a good time. Good for you, Mia. You know your place.

So in the end- we drove five hours so Mia could go on some swings. This is definitely going to be a family tradition. For two more years.

Friday, August 1

Pulling up roots and getting grass

Today we've been in Ohio for a year.

We were out back watching the girls splash in the pool and I was thinking there was no way I could have pictured this last year. When we first moved here, we thought we were trapped into a year lease at Jefferson Chase. After realizing they had no play area, the pool was disgusting, and the grass around the pond was covered in goose poop until it was too cold to go to the pond anyway. Mia wasn't two yet, the babies were three months. And we were all pretty unhappy in our dark, malfunctioning townhome.

I thought we'd have spent another spring and summer there by now- but we got out of the lease six months early! To think we almost didn't even ask. We couldn't have paid a fee for breaking the contract. But they had just gotten a new manager, and somehow their policy allowed us to leave because we had signed up just before they changed it.

And so we've spent every warm day this year in our own house on our own lawn. I had no idea a backyard would mean so much.