Monday, November 13, 2006

Very Exciting News from the Pruetz House!

Okay -- I lied. There is no exciting news. I just wanted to hook you and get you reading. I've got updates and news that is exciting to us, but nothing that any of you will jump up and down and do a cheer over. Unless you're psychotic. And if you are, please refrain from telling me about it. I just don't want to know. I've got enough to worry about.

Things are movin' and groovin' around here. The girls are making daily strides in their quest to go from potato-like creatures to human beings.

First and foremost, these girls want to move. Grace especially wants nothing to do with lying on her back, batting at the play gym. Instead, she immediately rolls to her tummy and starts inching her way toward something...anything. She's even managed to get her feet up under her and push up, so that she's like a little triangle with her bottom in the air. It scares the heck out of me -- only a glimpse of things to come!

Faith is also not content to stay in one place and she has figured out that rolling can be a mode of transportation. She spots something across the room and goes for it -- back to tummy, tummy to back, back to tummy, tummy to back. strikes fear in my heart.

The twins are also very interested in sitting up and thankfully, a new product on the market called a Bumbo Seat helps babies to strengthen the muscles they need to sit up. We only have one and may need to invest in a second one very soon!

The girls also started on cereal yesterday. Normally, babies start rice or whole grain cereal at about four months, but because of prematurity issues, we were instructed to wait until five-and-a-half or six months. They will be six months this coming Sunday, so we decided we were close enough.

Naturally, the first few sessions have been more for practice than they are for actually filling their tummies. But surprisingly, both girls have done very well. It didn't shock us that Grace attacked the spoon as though this were the last bit of rice cereal left in the world. She's already a pro.

Faith, our sensitive little girl, is a little more resistant to change (hmmmm...wonder where THAT comes from). She will take a bite or two, but then resort to pushing most of the cereal out of her mouth with her tongue. Often, feeding time ends in tears, too. It's what we expected, though, and knowing that Devin was the same way makes us feel confident that she, too, will learn to eat just fine. Devin's never met a food he didn't like. Except Burgoo. Sorry Aunt Shirley and Uncle John.

Along the same lines of filling our kids' tummies with yummy food that sticks with them, comes the most important part of enjoying parenthood: When your kids sleep through the night.

The girls have slept through the night once before, on September 8-9. Apparently, though, it was just a fluke, as they have been waking up around 3:00 a.m. ever since.

Now I never let Devin play me when he was a baby and he slept through the night at four months. I wasn't going to be a sucker.

But with the girls, I'm a total sucker. Maybe it's because they almost weren't or because they struggled so much in their first few weeks, but I just can't say no to them. I'm just now learning to let them "cry it out" at nap time and that has resulted in them just recently starting to nap in their cribs. Seriously. I'm a sucker, I'm telling you.

So, while I know they should have been sleeping through the night two or three months ago, I've just let it go on and on until now. Now that they have some real, solid food in their bellies, I feel better about letting them cry at night. I know it will only go on for a couple of nights before they get out of the habit of waking up, so starting last night, we resolved to make them sleep through the night. We braced for a few hours of early morning wailing.

What a total non-event it was, which only lends credence to my theory: They were ready a loooong time ago. They've only been waking up out of habit and not out of necessity.

Sure enough, at 3:00 this morning, a cry was heard from down the hall. Todd got out of bed, shuffled to their room, popped a pacifier in Grace's mouth and came back to bed. The next thing we knew, it was 7:30 a.m.

Here's to hoping this trend continues.

And Finally...

The holidays are upon us and that means only one thing: The Dawn Arrow Celebration of Lights. It all started last year when our next door neighbors, Billy and Lisa, decided to have the eves of their house lined with lights by a professional. Suddenly, there was neighbor envy and the rest of us (the other four families, including us) decided to do the same with their eves. This was only the beginning. Runway lights down the driveway, trees as tall as our homes wrapped from trunk to tip, spotlights, wreaths, etc. Driving down our street was like driving down the Vegas strip.

We've started early this year in an effort to be able to turn on our lights as soon as the last piece of turkey hits the colon. Todd has already lit our soffeting (we've decided to forgo the professionals this year in an effort to save a few bucks) and three trees in the front yard. Even our back deck is lit.

Soon I'll do my garland and lights around the front door and Lord only knows what new and ridiculously innovative products we'll be suckered into before December 26th. I'll be sure to post photos as soon as the decorating is complete on all of our homes.

There's a strong possibility that our street will be able to be seen from space, too. I'll see what I can do about a satellite photo.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Brush with Yard Work

This story has nothing to do with our kids. In fact, it has nothing to do with me, either. I just thought this was the funniest thing I've ever seen (maybe with a few exceptions) and wanted to share it. Welcome to my world.

In San Antonio, we have brush and large item pick up twice a year. It's those two days that the trash guys will pick up old mattresses and big pieces like that, along with large tree-trimming and yard paraphernalia. The other 363 days of the year, it's your responsibility to get the stuff to the dump.

Our day was this past Monday, so Sunday afternoon Todd said to me, "I think I'll get some trimming done before the brush pick up. I'm just going to do this bed up by the house." Said bed is in the backyard.

Well, two-and-a-half hours later, Todd has all but anhilated the bed by the house. He's taken all of the underbrush and ground cover and pulled it up. The only things left were a couple of loquat trees and a crepe myrtle. It was all dragged out to the street for pick up the next day.

On Monday, after a line of thunderstorms moved through the city, Todd said, "Before the brush guys get here, I'm going to do some of the front yard."

We only have one bed in the front yard and it's of moderate size, so this did not take long. But it certainly added to the pile at the sidewalk. Neighbors were starting to talk. There were a number of, "Mine is bigger than yours," jokes made.

When the brush guys didn't arrive by early afternoon, Todd set out to tackle the back bed in our backyard. This is by far the largest bed we have, spanning from one end of the yard to the other, and as deep as ten feet in places.

Sure enough, tree branches, ground cover and surpuflous plants started flying. And out it all went to the street. By now, we have a mountain in our front yard.

True to form, the pick up did not happen on Monday and the pile sat at the curb overnight.

Tuesday morning arrived and Todd said, "I have a few more pieces to get." Back to the three beds he went, finding more and more to add to the enormous mound of rotting foliage in our front yard.

By the grace of God, around 2:00 Tuesday afternoon, the trash truck arrived They pulled down our not-so-long street and picked up the brush at our neighbors' homes.

They approach our home.

They slow down.

They speed back up.

They leave.


We were horrified. Were they seriously going to leave that huge pile of stuff at our curb? There were no restrictions put on this deal! We were told we could put out large items and brush for pick up. No one said there was a limit!

We stood in awe, staring out the front window, wondering which neighbor or family member would allow us to use their pickup truck to haul this stuff off.

Just as we were making plans, though, another truck rumbled down the street. Followed by another. And they both had boom-style cranes with claws on the end. Oh my.

And to work they went. Claw-ful after claw-ful was dumped into the backs of the trucks, as Devin stood on the front porch, mouth agape at the opportunity to be so close to such large and noisy machinery.

Todd was so proud of this feat, that he actually got out the DVD cam. That's right, folks, we got it all on film. Thank God. Heaven forbid we don't save this for posterity's sake.

The still camera also made an appearance. Here are some before, during and after photos.

Not only is this pile like ten feet high, it's also about 12 feet deep.

To give you a little perspective, the pile appears to be the size of our four-door Honda Accord. But the Accord is a good 20 feet closer to the camera than the pile is.

One truck had already left as we neared the bottom of the heap.

What my yard looks like, sans mountain.

Like I said...Welcome to my world.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Spoooooookiest Night of the Year

Halloween was a roaring success in the Pruetz household. Thanks to our extraordinairly fun neighbors and some bizarre encounters here on the homefront, it was one for the record books.

The day started out like any other -- a trip to the grocery store and a batch of homemade chocolate cupcakes with orange icing for the neighbors and their kiddos. And when I say "homemade," I really mean, "Betty Crocker." I'm no idiot.

We made sure that Devin, who has all but given up napping, laid down for awhile in the afternoon to prepare for the sure-to-be late night. He chose to sleep in our room and I wasn't about to complain about long as he naps, I don't care where he does it. We set him up with lots of pillow and blankets and quietly shut the door. He was out light a light.

The girls laid down, too, and Todd went to the store. Ahh...a moment of peace for Erin. I laid down on the couch and drifted in and out, enjoying a rarely found moment of silence.

Not suprisingly, it didn't last long and soon I was wide awake again. About 45 minutes into his nap, Devin was awake. I heard him walk down the hall, into his room and start noodling around in there. He as a particularly noisy floorboard right by his bed and he stepped on it a number of times. Then he walked out of his room and into the guest room next door. More noodling and heavy footsteps. What was he doing to make so much racket?

After ten or so minutes of this, I came to my senses. How had Devin gotten out of my room -- the door to which is at the immediate top of the staircase -- without my hearing him open the door? I glanced up the stairs from the living room and sure enough, the door was closed. Not only had he opened the door, but closed it, too. Hmmmm...

I went upstairs to investigate. I peeked in the guest room. No Devin. I peeked in his room. No Devin. I peeked in at the girls. Asleep -- and no Devin.

Now I was more than perplexed.

I walked back toward the stairs and stopped at the closed door of my bedroom. Slowly I opened it, in order to catch what was surely a toddler running around like a maniac. As I peered in, though, I was astonished at what I saw.

There was Devin, curled up asleep in my bed, in the same position in which I left him an hour before.

At this point, Todd walked in the door from the store and I shared with him my story. He, too, investigated, and found nothing. There was zero cause for the footsteps I heard.

Later that day, I talked to ZZ and told her the story. What she told me freaked me out more than the phantom noises I heard.

Last Halloween, she was alone in her house. All of the kids were at school and Brian was at work. She was waiting for her oldest, Addison, to get home from school. She laid down on the couch for a quick rest and heard her cat, Tigger, upstairs. She heard her jump off the bed in the master suite, pad down the hall into the laundry room and jump up on the dryer. Tigger must have knocked something over, as there was a loud crash that prompted ZZ to get up off the couch and investigate.

As she did, though, she glanced out the window to see Tigger outside. She ventured up the stairs, only to find nothing out of place that would have caused a crash and nothing that could have made the footsteps she heard.

Amazing that virtually the same thing happened to us, exactly one year apart on Halloween, huh? I blame my mom. She loved Halloween and enjoyed a good practical joke. I think she's making sure that ZZ and I have truly spooky Halloweens. I love it. Bring it on, Mama. :)

About an hour later, Devin woke up and we started to get ready for the big night. BLT sandiwiches are traditional Halloween fare in our house and I made dinner while Todd and Devin got ready. Down they came and we all sat down to enjoy our food.

Devin wouldn't eat, though. He kept saying that his tummy hurt, which is usually code for, "I need attention." We told him that he needed to eat for trick-or-treating energy, but he only complained more. Finally, he said, "I need to throw up." I looked at him and I could tell this was no false alarm. I picked him up out of his booster seat, but it was too late.


All over the kitchen floor. And again on the rug in the hall. And again in the hall. And twice more in the toilet. How could so much stuff come out of such a little kid?

He cried for awhile and said, "I don't want to trick-or-treat," but as he started to feel better, he decided to go. I couldn't possibly tell him no -- Halloween comes only once a year! But we agreed that if he didn't feel good while we were out in the neighborhood, he could say he wanted to return home.

Then it was time for costumes. Buzz Lightyear for Devin and then Todd and me. We went as one another. I won't explain. I'll let the photo say it all.

We met our neighors outside. There are five families on our street who are very close. Lisa, Billy, Zach and Dillon next door. Gina, Guy, McKenna, Jordyn (identical twins, too!) and Alyssa on the other side. Duke, Susan, Dale, Reid and Macy across the street and Kurt, Elena, Jasmine, Emily and Nate next to them. We all have a spectacular time together and our kids have a blast hanging out together. Zach is the oldest at 13 while our twins are the youngest at 5.5 months.

We all gathered and made our plan. The ladies would take the kids around the block and return home to take over the candy-giving-out duties while the men took on the responsibility of trick-or-treating.

We made our way up the street and it was quickly obvious that it was going to be hard to stick together. The older kids zoomed from one house to the other while the little ones like Devin and Reid were much slower. So Susan and I stayed behind and let the others go at their own pace. It wasn't long, though, before Devin turned to me and said, "I want to go home." I wasn't about to argue. The poor kid really wasn't feeling well!

So we returned home. Kurt and Elena turned their garage door into a large movie screen and were showing, "The Corpse Bride." Devin relaxed in their front yard and enjoyed the movie.

The rest of the night went off without a hitch. We had the perfect amount of candy and everyone who showed up was well-behaved and deserving of free treats. :)

Hope your Halloween was as spooky as ours!

In Other News...

Today marked the girls' first day to receive their Synagis shots. Synagis is a medication given to preemie babies during cold and flu season. Preemies are particularly at-risk for RSV, an upper-respiratory infection that causes only mild symptoms in most kids and adults, but that can be life-threatening in babies born earlier than 37 weeks. The girls were 31 weeks.

They have to get the shots once a month throughout the fall and winter seasons. I hate having to see them get poked and pricked like that, but it's so much better than the alternative.

The only fun thing about the visit was getting the girls weighed. Faith is now 11 lbs, 5 oz and Grace is 12 lbs, 3 oz.

We will go back on December 1 and the first of every month through April. Poor kiddos.

This has been quite the long post, so I will leave you with some Halloween photos that are sure to make you laugh!


Just a few of the neighborhood kids -- McKenna is the werewolf, Emily is a pirate girl, Jordyn is a Southern Belle, Alyssa is a kitty cat, and Nate is a train conductor.

Devin as Buzz Lightyear, in front of our house

Devin as Buzz Lightyear, in our house

Erin and Todd as Todd and Erin.