A Wild Morning

Instead of an alarm clock, this morning I was awoken by roaring dinosaurs outside my bedroom door. I don’t know how long they had been awake, but my guess is that these two little boys got an early start to their day. They were loud and very active and having a grand time together while they were the only people awake in the house.

For most of the past week, Ruslan has been carrying his “dinosaur bible” everywhere with him. If you ask him about it you should be prepared to sit and discuss every dinosaur in the book. He is very upset that I won’t buy a dinosaur for him. He also thinks that Daddy is a dinosaur expert and anything that I say is subject to confirmation from Daddy (I think he might be confused about who the geology major is in this family).

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The dinosaur toys that haven’t been touched in over a year are suddenly the most prized toys in the house. The T-Rex has been doing battle against various Super Heroes all week.

The roaring is so loud and you never know when a dinosaur will make an appearance. This morning they were roaring so loudly that Juliana yelled, “STOP, I can’t concentrate on brushing my teeth! Leave me alone!” Of course it is difficult to deal with personal hygiene when under dinosaur attack.

When I dropped Ruslan off in his preschool room this morning, he walked past the children who were quietly coloring. He headed directly toward two little girls who were dancing to the music that was playing. He stopped next to them and roared. The two girl giggled and ran and Ruslan laughed and followed them across the room.

Mid-morning I went upstairs to get something and noticed that the boys had opened the window blinds in their room. In order to open the blinds, you need to reach up to the tiny knob at the top of the blinds and turn it. If you are a little boy, that means that you are standing on a headboard or footboard (on tippy toys) to reach the tiny knob. And yes there is still security over their bedroom windows – it is a 3-story drop outside - I don’t trust those windows against bounding little boys. As I closed the blinds this morning, I noticed teeth marks. They probably aren’t from today because they look too small to be made by dinosaurs.

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Ten Years Ago, Part 2 – A Proposal Story

As I reflect back on these memories of ten years ago (Part 1 – The Meadow Party), I am using photos and notes to help me remember. When I started to think about the weekend that Scott proposed, I opened our wedding album. Included in the album is a timeline from the meadow party to our wedding day and some of the events that happened along the way. This part of the story was already included so I decided not to rewrite it.

I will save you the math – there were 155 days from the Meadow Party to the day that Scott proposed and I would have said yes many days before this.

Here are the words that I wrote in 2004 about that day.

A Proposal Story – Scott and Jennifer – March 14, 2004

There is a show on The Learning Channel called A Proposal Story.  The show helps men plan and execute elaborate proposals.  I have watched many episodes of romantic and creative proposals and I have never seen anything that compares to the perfect evening that Scott planned for us on Sunday, March 14, 2004.

I was going to New York City for a tradeshow and decided it would be fun to take Scott with me.  We arrived in New York on Saturday and went to the Big East Championship game that night.  Sunday afternoon we went to Serendipity for lunch and wandered around shopping.

Scott had asked me to bring a nice outfit for dinner on Sunday so I bought a black sleeveless dress with a pink beaded shawl prior to the trip.  We got dressed up and ready and Scott asked me to wait for him in the hotel bar (Westin New York   Times Square).  When he came down to the bar we got into a cab and headed to a destination unknown to me.

The cab left us at the entrance to Central Park where we boarded a horse-drawn carriage and rode through the park.  Eventually the carriage stopped near a lake and Scott and I walked down to the water where he proposed.  We didn’t stay by the water long because it was cold; we went back to the carriage and bundled up in blankets for the remainder of our ride.

The carriage dropped us off at One Central Park West, the address of Trump World Towers.  Scott had reservations for us at Jean Georges – a fabulous restaurant and dinner was very good.  Once we were inside I had the opportunity to admire my engagement ring.  The ring belonged to Scott’s Great-Grandmother Luella Leindecker.  I love that it is a family heirloom which makes it even more special.

After dinner we took a cab back to the hotel (we started to walk, but I was wearing pretty shoes, not walking shoes).  At the hotel, I waited outside the room while Scott went in first.  After a few minutes I walked into a hotel room which has been transformed.  There were pink rose petals and pink candles everywhere and a bottle of champagne on ice.

I later learned that Scott had the freeze-dried rose petals shipped ahead to the hotel from Flyboy Naturals a company in Oregon.  He purchased the candles and brought them to New York.  Scott also had some help with the final room set-up.  He made arrangements with the concierge to disperse the candles and rose petals throughout the room so Scott just needed to light the candles.

The end result was a magical evening and true fairy tale proposal.




When Bouncing Baby Boys Get BIG

Moving, bouncing, rolling, pushing, kicking…these are all words that I would use to describe my busy boys since before the day that they were born. I never had to sit and count movements when I was pregnant because it was rare that they stopped moving. With two of them in there I could feel and see them moving most of the day and night. I looked forward to my non-stress tests, it was quiet except the sounds of their heart beats. I could relax and think about them and what the future would hold in the coming weeks. They told me that the tests would take 30-60 minutes as the needed to record a certain number of movements to end each test session. I don’t think that I was ever there for longer than 15 minutes.

At my 36-week NST both of the boys were still breech with Wyatt’s head lodged in my rib cage and Ruslan’s head pressed against my left side. They never stopped moving and pushing that week. At 37-weeks we went to the hospital early in the morning for an amnio to determine if they would deliver the boys that day. The Dr soon confirmed that both boys had managed to turn over and were head down – I have no idea how they had enough space to mange those acrobatics.

They loved to bounce and swing and rock and push up to look at the world as babies. As soon as they could move they got into trouble. As soon as they could get on all fours, they started climbing. By the time they learned to walk, they were helping each other climb higher by working together. Wrestling, rough housing, running and all manner of complete wild behavior soon kicked in.

I started looking through pictures of the wild boys to include and then looked through old blog posts.

Wild Boys – (May 2010) “Throwing toys and food, chasing each other, biting each other or me, climbing everything possible – the boys have fully entered toddlerhood. Juliana was never a biter and although she was a busy toddler she wasn’t like this – I don’t know if it’s because they are boys or twins or a combination of the two…

They are starting to understand that they can stack larger toys and use them as steps to get things that are just out of reach. Of course they watch each other and learn by example.”

Troubles with Two Toddlers – (July 2010) “Ruslan thinks that” No” is the funniest word.  He laughs and keeps doing whatever it was he was doing at the time and when I push his arm away he tries to bite.  Giggling the whole time.  Wyatt bursts into tears when you tell  him ”No”; he thinks it is a very sad word.”


dino-climb1 Life with 2 Two-Year Olds – (May 2011) “I keep expecting them to out-grow this phase but they continue to lead a fearless existence.  Wednesday evening Ru was running full speed across the room when he slipped and fell hard.  His head landed on a toy and a bruise immediately started to form over his left eye.  He screamed for a while and then went back to reckless running.  Yesterday he and Wyatt were driving their Radio Flyer cars around the room and I was a few feet away packing a bag to leave the house.  I turned around to see that they had picked up their cars and put them on the fireplace hearth.  In the time it took me to run across the room, Ru had hopped on his car and flipped it over onto the floor.  He hit his head in the same spot that was already bruised.  One positive sign – Wyatt watched what happened and carefully placed his car on the floor.  Of course they did try to climb the fireplace again today so I guess it is a slow learning curve.”

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It’s all fun and games even when you get hit in the head with a shovel – (September 2011) Video of how they interact on a daily basis.

They were wild and there were lots of bumps and bruises in those early years, but they could be contained. I could put them in their cribs or inside a gated space. And even during the worst rough housing, they were light-weight enough that they didn’t injure each other too badly even when they stood on top of each other…the better to reach what they wanted.

Now that they are 40 pounds, when they run full speed across the room and slam into my legs it stings. When they knock each other over, they fall hard. The jumping is higher, the running is faster, the screaming is louder, the pushing is harder, and when they land there is usually a mix of laughter and tears.

The most wild time of day is generally right before bed. That is when they want to jump off the head boards of their beds and knock each other over. Most of all they want to involve me in their rough housing and I generally end up with my glasses knocked off or two boys climbing on me in the process.

As I was putting my shoes on one morning this week, Wyatt crouched down and jumped and the top of his head made solid contact with my jaw. I was numb for a moment and Wyatt was holding his hand on the top of his head. I quickly realized that he was ok and I was in a lot of pain. I ended up with a good bruise on my jaw, some swelling and a bad headache for a few days, but I will survive.

Yesterday I was helping Ruslan with his coat and he kicked his leg back and forth and made sudden contact with my lower lip. It’s never on purpose, they just don’t stop moving and if you are near, there is potential for danger.

They are getting into trouble more often together at school. Yesterday Wyatt told me that he was bad and when I asked him why, he said that he was running in the classroom and had to sit in time out. Guess who he was running with and was in time out with him.

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Over the past few months they are spending more time together instead of playing separately. In the course of the weekend, I am often asked “where is my brother?” Sometimes they play nice and sometimes they get into mischief. Fortunately there is more playing together than fighing each other most days. They willingly take turns and share on most occasions. And when they do fight over a toy they quickly make up and get back to the business of having fun.

Fake Spring

After many weeks of below freezing temperatures we had a brief reprieve. One of the days was actually warm – spring jacket warm. Our driveway was still covered in ice and snow and our street was narrowed by the snow piled along the sides. So I packed the van with an assortment of riding vehicles and drove to a big empty parking lot. Room to run, space to ride fast and far, and fresh air to breathe. They had so much fun being outside and riding bikes.

That evening  Juliana asked, “Is this Fake Spring?” I told her that it was unfortunately fake spring and she sighed and walked away.


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At Least We Don’t Need To Go Far To Sled

It’s been a very long winter and it isn’t even March. Our yard was covered in snow for many weeks, but it has been so cold that we haven’t been able to enjoy it. Last week we had yet another snow day; I’ve lost track of the number of days school has been delayed or closed. But this time is was warm out…well warm enough to play outside.

So after lunch I bundled them up in snow pants, coats, boots, hats and gloves and we headed outside with sleds in hand. This is once of those times that Pittsburgh geography is on our side, our sloped front yard is perfect for sledding. Perfect once a snow wall is constructed at the bottom to keep them from sledding into the street.

There was lots of sledding.

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A snowball fight.


A secret meeting behind the shrubbery.

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And a whole lot of happiness just to be outside for a little while.

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Juliana’s Book of Complaints

Juliana is not allowed to come downstairs after she is in her room for the night (illness, serious injury, etc are obvious exceptions). She was always finding an excuse to leave her room – something that she needs to tell me or she needs something for the morning…

In order to facilitate her need . . . → Read More: Juliana’s Book of Complaints

Conversations with Ruslan and Wyatt


The boys have reached the point of endless chatter. I remember when we were worried about Wyatt’s conversation level; we certainly don’t worry about that anymore.  The boys are always talking and sometimes they argue about whose turn it is to talk.


Ruslan makes me laugh everyday, here are a few recent favorite . . . → Read More: Conversations with Ruslan and Wyatt

Random Ruslan and Wyatt – January in Pictures


January was a long month, it was cold and snowy and there were school delays and closures. We spent a lot of time at home with plenty of pj and movie days. I hope that February involves more weeks with the regular routine.

All 3 kids got plasma cars for Christmas and Ruslan spends hours . . . → Read More: Random Ruslan and Wyatt – January in Pictures

On the One Month Anniversary of Christmas


On the One Month Anniversary of Christmas, I finally found time to write about Christmas.

Between Thanksgiving and vacation and business travel we got a late start on Christmas decorating. Eventually the tree was up and then the train and the Christmas village joined a week later. The kids spent hours rearranging thing and . . . → Read More: On the One Month Anniversary of Christmas

Wyatt and Bunny Bunny


When Wyatt asked for Brer Rabbit at Disney World, I wasn’t thrilled about adding another stuffed animal to the many in our home, but it was his money to spend. I thought that it would be like the others – loved for a week and then discarded. Instead Bunny Bunny, his official name, has . . . → Read More: Wyatt and Bunny Bunny