Did I Mention Long Hours?

I think my blogs over the past few weeks have hinted at how many hours my husband has been working lately. But I think it says it all when the doorbell rang this evening and I received these below. No, not from Adam…

Flowers from Adam's Boss, with an Apology for Keeping him at Work so Many Hours this Month

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Potty Training

Ben has been showing a lot of interest in the potty lately. Possibly it’s Jack’s 4 year old potty mouth – every other word is poop or diaper or butt. It can be terribly embarrassing at times but I try not to discourage it too much because I realize it’s the start of a sense of humor.

Pooping with Prudence

Anyway, I’m on a tangent. This blog is about potty training, not potty mouth.

Jack was pushed into potty training kicking and screaming when he was 3 and 1/2 years old. Ben is not even 2 and 1/2. Already anytime you stick him on the potty he can produce a pee for you. But last weekend, he pooped on the potty! IN THE POTTY!

Seems anti-climactic now that I’m sitting here writing it but at the time it was a dancing, call your father at work, hugging, kissing and grinning widely kind of event.

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Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey

Sunday afternoon we were treated to tickets to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey‘s circus show at the 5/3rd Bank Skybox.

It was a very civilized way to see the circus. In fact, with kids as small as ours it was the only way to see it enjoyably. I can’t imagine trying to keep them in their seats for over 2 hours.

Cotton Candy!

I was surprised how long our 2 year old, Ben, was able to keep his attention focused on the show. Jack, our 4 year old, seemed to really enjoy the clowns with their slap-stick humor. I found the whole thing dazzling, but a bit like a metaphor for our modern times. There were so many acts going on at the same time it was hard to focus on one thing and as a result I ended up missing a lot.

After half time we got cotton candy AND the dessert cart came by. All the sugar had it’s effect and the boys were soon wrestling under our feet. But no worries – we were contained in a sky box!

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Make New Friends, But Keep the Old

Thanksgiving is always a great time for my husband (who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago) to see lots of his old friends. A lot of them are back in town visiting their family for the holiday. It always prompts get togethers not only with the visiting friends but also with friends we never seem to get a chance to see all year, even if they just live down the street.

Dinner at Dave and Karen's

Both Friday and Saturday night were spent with Adam’s high school buddies. It was so nice to see everyone! Adam and I were confident that, unlike last year, Jack and Ben could wander around almost unsupervised like they do in our own home. Within minutes of entering the house there was pee on the wall and one of the ornaments was broken. I guess we were over confident. Maybe next year…


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Zoo Lights

Zoo Lights, Lincoln Park Zoo

Last night we decided to visit the Lincoln Park Zoo for their annual Zoo Lights.

It was unusually warm which made it very pleasant to be outside. Unfortunately everyone else had the same idea as us. Or maybe it was because it was opening night. Either way it was packed. A big open space with lots of exits, huge crowds and darkness are a lethal combo for a mom of young kids. I spend a lot of time screaming at them to stay close. I didn’t care if I looked like the crazy mom who yells. I wanted to see my kids at all times!!!

Roya and Ben riding the Train

The kids didn’t seem to mind. As long as they all had each other (we trolled around with 7 boys, ages 1 – 6 for most of the evening) they were happy. Mom tip: I finally told them to form a train. They held onto each other’s shoulders and shouted ‘choo-choo’ and ‘all-aboard’. It kept them all together which was a great relief to me.

The actual zoo lights are free but if you park in the lot it will cost you $17 for the first 3 hours. It’s pretty amazing what they’ve done and I highly suggest going down for a look. They run November 25–27, then again from December 2–4 and 9–11. Finally they open nightly starting December 16–January 1 (Closed Dec. 24 & 25).

Besides walking around to see the lights, you can also see ice carvings, do holiday crafts, see Santa and also see some animals. Lots of the indoor exhibits are open, as well as the train and carousel. The food kiosks like popcorn truck are open too.

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Thanksgiving 2011

This year we celebrated a little differently than in previous years. We added 15 more people! You would think this would add a lot of stress to the preparations, but actually it made everything much easier.

Pam's Pumpkin Pies

We decided to do pot-luck. Not only did this drastically reduce the amount of hours my mom and I slaved in front of the stove, but it added another great surprise. People all have their special dishes that they do really well. We got the best of the best. My mother’s cranberry chutney and sweet potato casserole. Cindy’s stuffing and famous cookies. Pam’s white chocolate pumpkin pie. Bubbie’s apple pie.

I’m hoping it was more fun for the adults. I know the kids had a blast. At one point Adam decided it was time to use the piñata that his mother’s gave us for Halloween. All the kids left with another bag full of candy. In fact, I don’t think Ben ate anything last night besides candy and cookies!

Kiddie Table

Adam also gave a touching speech about how it’s all about friends and family in life. I was amazed how coherent it was considering he once again woke up that morning at 3am to go to the office and worked a 12 hour day before coming home to a house full of screaming, running, laughing kids.

I know lots of you reading aren’t living in America, but for those who are American or living here, I hope you had a good Thanksgiving.

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Pregnancy Update – Week 15

Had another appointment with my ob/gyn this week.

I weighed in at 139 pounds. That’s about 20 pounds weight gain so far.

My heart rate was good – 106/54.

The babies must be getting big because this time she was able to hear both heart rates without using the ultrasound machine.

Secretly I was disappointed. My mom is in town and I was hoping she could see them on the screen.

But the most important thing is that the heart rates are completely normal.

In two weeks I have to go back for a blood draw for the United Screening Approach. Hopefully it will put our mind at ease in regards to Chromosone 21 (Down’s Syndrome).

In five weeks we have our twenty week ultrasound. That ultrasound can tell us the sex of the babies, but don’t get too excited. We don’t plan to find out in advance. It was scheduled in another office. Apparently it takes a long time to do with twins and they don’t want to jam up the ultrasound machine in their office.

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Musical Beds

You ever have those moments as a parents where there is a situation in your house that you know is completely wrong but you lack the will power or knowledge to fix it?

My husband has been working long hours lately. He always works long hours, so when I am actually saying it’s long, it’s long. Last night was the earliest he’s been home in a at least a week. He got home at 10pm. It was only because he needed to get some sleep in before his 3am call with the UK.

But that is not the situation that needs fixing. I mean, I think he has a situation that obviously needs fixing at work but that’s not the situation that I’m talking about.

Here is my problem. Look at my schedule last night.

10 pm – Go to bed.

12:30 am  – Ben cries. Go into his room and fall asleep on the couch until…

1:30 am – Go back to my own bed.

2:15 am – Adam’s alarm goes off and he gets up to go to work.

3:30 am – Jack wanders into our room. I walk him back to his room and fall asleep in his bed.

4:30 am – I wake up in Jack’s room and go back to my own room.

5:15 am – Ben cries again. Back to his room and onto the couch again until he falls asleep.

6:00am – Jack finds me in Ben’s room and we are up for the morning.

First of all, you should not have a schedule at night!

Second of all, well, second of all… I’m just too tired to think of a second of all. But I’m sure it has something to do with me being weak to the crying or not giving in to just letting them sleep in our bed. Perhaps I’m just hoping when we bunk the boys together to make room for the twins it will work itself out somehow.

Ha ha ha. I’m laughing at myself even as I write this!

Okay. Ben is napping now and I think I’m going to do the same. I’m just going to pull a Scarlet O’hara on this problem and think about it tomorrow…

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Opart Thai

As I mentioned yesterday, since I moved to Chicago back in 2004, I’ve been on a quest for real, authentic Thai food. I’ve been Arun\’s (tasty, but too fancy), Spoon (just okay), Star of Siam (not as authentic as I’d like, but I do love how you can get brown rice and almost everything can be made vegan), PS Bangkok (not memorable). I’ve tried Thai dishes at places like Shine, a place that we frequent for sushi but the thai food was too Americanized.

I’ve complained of this problem often to many people. No one had any good suggestions. I just could not believe Chicago, a food lover’s dream destination, did not have a single place with good, authentic Thai food!

Recently I got a recommendation about Opart. After so many disappointments I was weary. But my determination won in the end. We checked it out.

Yummy! Best Thai food I’ve had since I moved back to the states. I always order my favorite dish as a base line, the Pad Kra Praow. It is ground meat of your choice (I do chicken) sauteed with basil and hot peppers. It was by far the most authentic I’ve tasted outside of Asia. If you’re craving Thai food, you should check it out!

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