Friday, December 17, 2010

More Joy

Joy #4 Lemon ice after lunch and after dinner, twice in the same day

Joy #5 Jackson FINALLY taking a nap after 4 days of no-naps

Joy #6 Lola sat on a block yesterday and said, "Ouch! Mom, I hurt my penis." I responded, "You don't have a penis honey. What hurts?" "Mom, I DO have a penis. I have a boo boo on it." Now if you can't laugh at your 2 year old daughter insisting that her penis hurts you really are missing the Joy.

Joy #7 Feeling little tiny baby kicks

Joy #8 Helping set up for the school Christmas party and thinking that Lola and Jackson are going to have SO MUCH FUN! Can't wait to get some pics!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Finding Joy

We've got a lot going on in the Freedman house right now. We're in the painstaking and financially draining process of selling our house and buying a bigger one, a move we hadn't really intended to make. Happily,  the move has become necessary in order to make room for our newest addition; baby Freedman #3 will be coming in May. The discovery that we'll be becoming a family of five is very exciting but also nerve wracking and stressful, forcing us to re-consider some of the decisions we had taken for granted when we though it would just be the four of us. And we're going though all this buying and selling, packing and moving, questioning and re-considering during the holidays, which carry with them their own busyness and stress and financial strain. December is Aaron's busiest month at the restaurant and 12-14 hour work days become the norm rather than the exception. Add to all this the everyday issues that come up when parenting a couple of rambunctious 2 year olds and it can be difficult to look within and find the Joy in the holidays.

I was just reading a blog article titled "An Experiment in Joy." The author, in an attempt to rebound from a particularly difficult time, is challenging herself to document through pictures and words 100 instances of Joy in her life during the month of December. She has invited her readers to participate. While I don't posses that kind of blogging disciple, as several of you have gently pointed out, I really love the idea. So I'm going to try and document my own moments of Joy.

And in the process I hope to remind myself 1) where the true Joy in my life comes from 2) how easy it can be to put aside the stress and worry and find the Joy in the present  moment 3) that laughter is free. And contagious. 4) and that time passes whether I'm paying attention or not. If I don't SLOW DOWN I will miss moments of Joy, and so might Aaron. And so might Lola and Jackson. And no amount of stress and worry and questioning and re-considering is really worth sacrificing my Joy and the Joy of my family.

So, if I try to document my moments of Joy can I get to 100 between now and December 31st? Well, I have no doubt I will experience 100 moments of Joy in the next 2 weeks. But 100 moments documented.... that's quite an undertaking for me.

But I just downloaded and am listening to a new Jack Johnson album (Joy #1) and will now find the Joy in searching through some recent pictures to post. I will smile as I remember the moments they were taken. And I will imagine the ones I'll be taking in the next couple off weeks. (Joy #2)

Only 98 Joys to go...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


 Here are some pictures of the late summer/early fall goings-on in the Freedman family:
Lola and Jackson's first Shrimp Po-Boy. I think this moment was more special for Aaron than the kids' first day of school!
Hooray for Po-Boys!

Jack enjoying swimming lessons. Pretty cool goggles, right?!
Lola and Daddy having a blast during her swim class.
Decorating Halloween pumpkins.

Enjoying a snack in the cooler fall weather!
"Princess Lola" enjoying her apple.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Colorado Trip

We recently went to see my parents at the home in Woodland Park, CO. Everyone had a blast. The kids had so much fun with their Oma and Opa and really enjoyed all the fabulous new things we got do do while at their house. The kids got to pet horses and even got a ride from a miniature horse pulling a cart. We saw deer, rabbits and a fox. We also go to take the kids on a couple of hikes in the forest that neighbors my parents' property. By far Jackson's most favorite thing was building campfires in the back yard with his Opa. Looks like he'll be growing up to be quite the little boyscout. All in all the trip was a rousing success and we can't wait to go back next summer!

Monday, August 30, 2010


I'm a bit gloomy about the changes that are happening in the Freedman house right now. Aaron and I will be going to the Little School Orientation Meeting Thursday morning and then the kids first day of Nursery School will be next Wednesday. Sure I'm excited that the kids are starting school. I'm happy for lots of reasons, not the least of which is that I think they're really going to enjoy it. But I'm having trouble getting past my own feelings of nervousness and sadness about this next phase of our family life.

I have to admit I like it when people ask what I do and I get to say "I stay at home with my kids."  Well, I might have liked it a little better when I got to say "I stay at home with my babies," but over time I've gotten used to the sound of "my kids." I have enjoyed having the well defined role of "stay at home mom." But lately my answer of "I stay at home with my kids" has been followed by the question, "What are you going to do when they start school?"

What do they mean "What am I going to do?" Cry. Rejoice. Fall into a deep depression. Found a future Fortune 500 company.

"What are you going to do when the kids start school?" The snark in me wants to respond "Go to the grocery store by myself." Or maybe "Have a complete thought for the first time in 2 1/2 years." The defensive part of me wants to say "It's only going to be 9 hours a week, what do you suggest I do with ALL THAT TIME?"

But the the more mature part of me realizes it's a perfectly fair question, and one that occurs naturally to people who aren't stay at home moms, people who are out there "doing something." And when I really think about it that question is in fact NOT a thinly disguised insinuation that what I have been doing the past 2 1/2 years isn't "something." It's an acknowledgment that now I have the opportunity to "do something" else. What else will I chose to do? Who knows.

Right now just thinking about that question makes my chest tighten. I don't want to do anything but be The Mom. How can I think of doing anything else? I don't have time to do anything but take care of by babies! My babies need me!

Obviously thinking about "what I'm going to do" brings out the panic filled and less mature side of me. Thank goodness this school year is only going to provide me with 9 hours of free time. Any more than that and I might actually have to "find something to do."

Monday, August 2, 2010

The days are long...

The days are long but the years are short. I keep repeating that to myself.

Jackson has been very clingy lately. I feel like there is an invisible rope tying us together. When Jackson feels the space between us growing bigger and the rope being pulled tight he starts to panic. I hear "I need Mommy!" many many times a day. Jack will be playing with blocks or watching Mickey Mouse and it's seems like all of a sudden he feels that rope pull tight and he desperately needs me to hold him. He announces "I need Mommy!" and comes running to find me. This happens A LOT.

This attachment may sound sweet and cute but by the end of the day (or sometimes by the lunchtime, occasionally by mid-morning) it is exasperating. My patience grows short and my temper grows large and I find myself wishing Jackson would just leave me alone.

And of course there is the ever-present sibling wanting whatever the other child has. So once Jack has decided he must be held this instant Lola often comes running behind chanting "up up up up." Jack freaks out and begins crying "No Lola No Lola NO LOLA!" while she tries to climb my leg. I sit down so I can hold both children in my lap which satisfies neither and both cry passionately at the injustice of having to share my attention.

It is in this moment that I remind myself that the days may be long but the years are short. Soon they will be playing it far too cool to fight over space in my lap.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Letting them show me the way

Aaron and I recently returned from his annual family reunion at Lake Catherine State park. 5 days of fun in the sun, we all had a lot of fun and also some much needed relaxation:

First on our vacation to do list was to take the kids on a short hike to see "the falls," a small waterfall Aaron and his family have been enjoying for years. Only minutes after setting out we learned that no hike is short enough for a couple of hot thirsty 2 year olds. After 45 hot cranky frustrating minutes we decided that for the rest of our time at the lake we would do our best to let Lola and Jackson lead our adventures rather than being dragged along on them.

This doesn't mean we didn't get to do a bunch of what we wanted. Aaron's family was fabulous about watching the kids during naptime and after their bedtime so we were able to play poker, go on boat rides, jump off a bridge into the lake, and spend a lot of time hanging out with Aaron's cousins. But while the kids were awake and up for fun, we did our best to let them lead the way. If they wanted to throw pine cones into the lake, then that's exactly what we did. We played on swings, piled rocks on top of small boulders, ran down hills, and played with (poked and yelled at) turtles.

I came back from the trip with a renewed belief in letting the children lead some of our leisure time. I wanted to remember that provided with opportunities for creativity and play, many times the best thing I can do is participate in THEIR activity and not the other way around.

But as with many renewed beliefs and senses of purpose, this one faded from the front of my mind as we jumped back in to our regular routine. The piles of post vacation laundry and the endless parade of dirty dishes took precedence over water balloons and crayons. Despite my best intentions I found myself telling the kids things like "you guys sit and color, I'll be over to play in a while." Thankfully yesterday Jackson interrupted my frenzied cleaning and offered a perfect moment of clarity. Crayon in hand he asked, "Mommy draw big bird?" "In a minute, Jack, I'm trying to sweep" I mumbled, not even really caring if he heard me. "Mommy draw big bird?" he asked again, pushing the crayon into my hand. "I don't know how" I said, hoping that would satisfy him and he would go back to drawing on his own. But his wonderful simple toddler mind solved that problem immediately. "Like this mommy," he said, and noticing I was holding the crayon upside down he took it from me, turned it over and handed it back the correct way. Problem solved, let's get to coloring.

Thanks Jackson, for reminding me to put my agenda aside and take the time to follow your lead.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Summer Fun

We've been having some great times around here lately. We've hit our summer stride, playing outside in the garden:

enjoying some delicious warm weather treats:

and spending some hot afternoons inside:
The kids are really developing their own senses of humor and are absolutely HILARIOUS when they try to make jokes. They're really starting to communicate with each other which is adorable. I went in their room today and Jackson was "reading" Lola a book. Majorly cute.

But it hasn't all been fun and painting. Along with the advancements in communication skills and imagination has come advancements in attitudes and lots of asserting their independence. Lola says "No!" to pretty much everything except offers of tv and candy. Both kids are on their way to mastering the 2 year old mega-fit. They practice their tantrum skills intermittently between working on their whining. Meanwhile I have been working on my deep breathing.

So I guess there's been a major amount of fun and a medium amount of fussing. That's not such a bad ratio for a family made up of 50% toddler, right? :)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

2 1/2 years later? You've got to be kidding me!

All right, I know it's been a while since I posted and anyone who's still checking my blog is no doubt looking to see some cute pics of the kids. Maybe even hoping to read a funny little story about what Lola and Jack have been saying lately. No worries, they'll be up soon so check back in a jiffy. But right now, I've got to get this off my chest. And since I can't yell and scream at the only people around right now, the kids, my blog readers are going to get it.

Can you believe, after HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of dollars (literally) in medical bills that have been processed by my insurance company, 2 hospitals and 2 doctors offices in 2 states we just got a notice in the mail that credit agencies have been notified of our debt... of $168.00. You have got to be kidding me!!!!!! We have paid close to $10,000 out of pocket and our insurance company has paid over $300,000 in the past 2 1/2 years. We have not had a payment request in over a year. And today I get a notice that our debt (all $168 of it) has been sent to a collection agency. When I call the agency to plead my case: "Yes, Ma'am, we notified you of that debt by mail on February 11th and when we heard nothing from you we sent it to the credit companies on April 23rd. Then I called and spoke with your husband on April 29th and he gave us your correct address. We then sent you the notice you're now holding."

Ok, hold up, anyone else smell something rotten? First of all Primrose Hospital, to whom I find out I'm indebted, has sent us countless payment requests in the past, all to the correct address. In fact, we have paid them thousands of dollars as a result of payment requests that were sent to our correct address. So first off, the fact that they gave our incorrect address to the collection agency just seems mean spirited. And the fact that the collection agency called to make sure they had the correct address only AFTER they notified the credit companies about our debt also seems fishy.

When I made this point to the woman on the phone she put me on hold to speak with her manager. She came back and presented me with a solution. Yep, you guessed it: "Ma'am, if you'll pay this amount in full right now on the phone we will notify the credit companies and have it removed from your credit report." No time to contact Primrose Hospital and find out what the charges are for. No time to contact the insurance company and see if this is something they should have paid. She got me right where she wanted me. I wonder if she's in the running to win a prize for most debt collected same day over the phone. I bet it's a good one. Maybe even a vacation.

"Do I have any more debt that I don't know about?", I asked her. "Not that I'm aware of Ma'am," she answered, "Have a nice day!"

Monday, April 5, 2010

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

2 tomorrow

So it's almost here. The birthday is almost here. My babies are officially 2 years old tomorrow at 8:35 and 8:36 pm.

I am almost the mother of 2 year old twins. People will stop me and ask if they're twins (they will always stop and ask if they're twins) and then they'll ask, "how old are they?" As if the mismatched outfits, marker-covered arms, and contrary attitudes don't give it away. When they ask this I will say, "They're 2." Maybe I'll say, "They just turned 2," that way my babies won't sound so old.

Today the woman delivering our census asked if Lola and Jackson were twins (as I said, they will always ask if they are twins). Then of course the next question was, "How old are they?" "They'll be two tomorrow," I told her and she looked at me with what I would swear was the tinniest bit of envy. Not one of the looks I usually get. I get curiosity, amazement, and occasionally pity. But not often envy. Her look made more sense when she said she had twins that had just turned 26. She and I are, I'm sure, very different but in one way at that moment we were very much the same. We are so proud our twins have made it this far and still a little sad that so much time has passed.

So much time. 2 whole years. Tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Lola: Cheese.

Mom: Lola, would you like some cheese?

Lola: No! Juice.

Mom: Would you like some juice?

Lola: No! Crackers.

Mom: Would you like some crackers?

Lola: No!

Mom: Is it time for a glass of wine yet?

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Lola and Jackson each have a different list of things they take to bed. Lola's list is rather short (at least compared to her brother's) and consistent. Each night Lola gathers up her 3 blankets, monkey, baby and Elmo and brings them into her room for story time. Occasionally she adds a book or a special toy, but usually it's just the same 6 things, 3 blankets and 3 dolls.

Jackson has a very different approach to bedtime. Once we tell him it's almost time to read books and go to bed he begins gathering up every toy, foam letter and number, book, car and doll that he has played with the previous hour and throws it in bed. Many nights I sneak back in to his room and remove half the stuff from his bed to give him some more room to sleep.

Well last night something happened that has never happened before. The bedtime ritual went as usual as the kids prepared for bed: Lola gathering her 6 things and Jackson throwing in as much as we would allow. After the night-nights were said and lights were out they started laughing and squealing, clearly doing something they found hilarious. They played loudly for about half and hour and then the noise died down. Aaron and I went in about 9 o'clock and here is what we found:

Apparently the game that was soooooo hilarious was her throwing everything she had into Jackson's crib:
The picture was so funny I had to risk the flash to get it! Can you believe he's sleeping so soundly with all that stuff!

Easy Morning Off, Watching Sesame Street

Friday, February 5, 2010

Almost 2

Lola and Jackson are still over a month away from their second birthday and already I'm looking askance at that date. It looms there, ever-present on the calendar. It mocks my sentimentality. March 11 approaches steadily no matter how much I beg time to slow down. Surely my babies aren't turning 2 next month. Not MY babies. Not my BABIES!

The signs of change have been overwhelming lately. Aaron and I have bought potties, begun the registration process for nursery school and are planning our first vacation away from the kids. Come over for a visit and you'll notice that the high chairs are gone; the kids ask for what they want to eat and then climb up on the chairs at the table, ready to eat like big kids. And maybe the most difficult change for me to accept... Lola and Jackson only sit in my lap and cuddle during 2 very precious times in the day: after they first wake up, all drowsy and unsure of the world, and when they are watching television. I'll admit it now and certainly deny it if you ask me in person; I occasionally put on Sesame Street just so they'll both snuggle in my lap on the couch. I kiss the tops of their heads and smell their hair like I did when they were infants. That snuggle time is like a drug and sometimes a momma just needs her fix.

Sure I'm enjoying planning their Elmo birthday parties (yes, we are having more than 1... 3 Freedman birthday parties are happening this March). And so much of their growing up makes our everyday lives easier. And really, would I rather the alternative? Certainly not. I don't want them to NOT grow up. But it's still hard. And it's even harder when I begin to think that Lola and Jackson might be it. They might be my last.

Everything becomes sentimental when it might be the last one. "Awww, we might never feed a baby in a high chair again." Suddenly those disgusting food covered chairs are incredibly sentimental. "Awww, once Lola and Jack are potty trained I might never change a diaper again." Never before did I think I would lament our last diaper change.

And maybe it won't be our last. No irreversible decisions have been made. But I'm very aware as our lives shift from infant to toddler and soon to preschooler that the shift will possibly be permanent. And knowing that Lola and Jackson's second birthday celebration might be our last makes it bittersweet. So as March 11th looms, I try to make the sweet overpower the bitter. I try to think about celebrating what is instead of feeling sorry for what isn't. And if planning 3 birthday parties helps me do that, than 3 birthday parties it is. A momma's gotta do what a momma's gotta do, right?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Breakfast Smoothie, Two Ways

Lola and Jackson approach life very differently. Any of you who know us can testify to how different they are. So it's kinda fun to give them both the same item or task and see how they handle it. A fun little family experiment. Here's what happened when I gave them each a cup of smoothie and a spoon for breakfast:

She ate her smoothie neatly with her spoon and barely had to be wiped off after breakfast.
And Jackson:

And notice that Jackson carries a collection of toys and other precious things with him everywhere he goes, even to the table at mealtime:

It's really fun to watch my kids becoming who they are.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Two Cute

Sometimes having 2 toddlers can be a challenge. There are twice as many tantrums, twice as many tears about lost blankets, special toys and sippy cups, and twice as many strong opinions about exactly how many pieces a banana should be cut into before being served. There are twice as many children to argue with about how much ketchup should accompany a serving of chicken. And there are 4 tiny missing shoes to find every time you leave the house instead of 2.

But there are also times when having twin toddlers is just so absolutely adorable that I can't imagine ever having just one!

To fully appreciate the absolute adorable-ness of this picture you must know that they got their books and onto the chair together all by themselves. I was in the kitchen and looked up to find out why it was so quiet. This is what I saw, Lola and Jack enjoying some side by side story time: