Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Here are the pages from our day in Epcot. Brian and Laura joined us the night before, so the whole family's in there now. :) This lady in Japan only makes a few of these suckers at a time, so you're really lucky if you get one. Ruth or someone in her family has gotten one everytime they go. This time, it was me. :)

We happened to get to China just in time for this show. The acrobats were amazing. In the top photo, if you enlarge the page, you'll see the bowls flying in the air. She would put them on her foot, flip them into the air, and catch them on top of her head! The discs that they're spinning in the bottom photos just looked like fancy pillow covers. I have no idea how they kept them spinning while they were in such strange positions.
The next few pages have pictures that were taken while we were back in the hotel and the twins were taking a nap. That's why we're not in them. :(

Here we all are together. :) Look at all those strollers. We were quite the group. :)

I thought this was a perfect picture. Doesn't Ruth look so happy in the middle of all her grandbabies? Did you catch the double meaning in the title?

He's Better at This Than I Am

Catie got a beautiful baby doll for her birthday from her Grammie Herzog. She has soft, auburn hair, an adorable face, and a soft body that simulates the weight of a real newborn. Catie adores her. And, she tries to be a good mommy. She often gives her baby a "bath" with a wet wipe. She holds her close and smothers her with kisses. I've even seen her trying to teach the baby things, like Saturday morning when she held Baby's arm high and helped Baby pop the bubbles that I was blowing. It's moments like this when I get a warm fuzzy about what my daughter is learning from me about being a good mom.

But, even though Catie plays with her baby more than any other toy, more often than not, Baby often looks like she does in the picture above, alone, forgotten, and dirty. You see, as much as she loves Baby, she still drops her pretty often in the dirty garage and she gets distracted by toys and her brother and a million other things.

I've struggled lately, as I know many mothers of 2 year-olds do, with discipline, and I often wonder if I'm doing it right. When Nick scared his friend on Monday with his over-exuberant "No, no, no" when she wasn't doing anything wrong, it made me pause and wonder if that's what he thinks I'm doing. He doesn't understand why I'm saying no all the time either. But, I press on, because I am the mom and I know what is best.

Sometimes, I treat God as if He is a parent like Catie. He loves me, but he has other distractions that take up His time and sometimes I get left on the dirty floor in the garage. Like Nick, I fail to see that He knows what is best for me.

He isn't leaving me on the floor in the garage. He is standing there saying, "What are you doing on that dirty floor? Get up and hold on to my hand. I know exactly where we're going and I have something planned for you that you can't even imagine."

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.

1 John 3:1-3

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


After a bit of searching, I figured out what I was doing wrong when the photos wouldn't enlarge. If you're still interested, you can now enlarge the scrapbook page about Cindy's Castle.

Disney Day 2 and a random story about the twins

First, here's the second page for our dinner at Ohana.

The journaling says: Ohana means family, and that night everyone was our cousin. We ate salad, lots of meat, and bread pudding. Yum! During our dinner we had lots of entertainment: the fireworks at Magic Kingdom, the ukulele player, and the kids' coconut race. At one point, all of the people there for weddings and anniversaries stood up, including Ruth and Charles. They gave advice to the young couple and then they danced.

I have lots of pictures of the kids in their strollers. :)

I don't have many pictures from our day at MGM (Hollywood Studios) and the ones I have aren't very clear. The one in the top corner is us at Playhouse Disney Live. It was one of our favorite experiences of the whole trip. The kids absolutely loved it!

We had dinner that night at the Whispering Canyon restaurant at Fort Wilderness and we drank unlimited refills on milkshakes until our stomachs hurt. :) Here's a two-pager:

This afternoon when I was making the twins' lunch Catie was calling out something that I didn't understand. Since she said it over and over again, I decided to go see what the big deal was. Apparently, Nick thought that Pooh bear had a diaper rash. Both kids had Desitin all over their hands, and Pooh had a generous coat of the sticky white stuff on his shirt. I like to think of it as now we're one step closer to completely baby-proofing the house.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The third 2nd birthday party

The twins' Pirate and Princess party was a success. And I, of course, am measuring success by the fact that we only had one small tiff between the toddlers. Here are the asked for pictures:

The treasure chest cake:
The mini princess cakes (there were 4):

My flock of TP parrots:
My lame attempt at pirate hats. The ones we lost were way cooler. :(

The Pirate and the Princess enjoying some coloring pages:

Pretty, pretty princess! (That's Lanny in the background, and me of course. Oh, and Nick.)

Here are the twins' friends:




That sweet little prince is Caleb. I picked him up and he almost immediately went to sleep. That's why most of these pictures were taken by David. Thanks, David!

Friday, October 24, 2008

In which I confess that my children watch too much tv

I have a little boy who is obsessed with Mou (rhymes with how). This morning, as soon as he woke up he started asking for it. He asked for it yesterday at least 100 times. "Mou, mou, mou" is a constant refrain in our house.

No, he's not wondering about our foreign relations with China.

It's this guy. Mickey Mouse. Also known as "Mi Mou" or "Mou" for short.

I'll admit. I started it. Last week, I let them watch their Disney Sing Along dvd's a couple times during lunch, the ones that I bought to get them ready for the trip. They love them. And, before I put them on I always ask, "Do you want to see Mickey Mouse? Let's watch Mickey Mouse." So, it's my fault. It points out a flaw in my parenting, but it's awfully cute. :)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Why I Low-Carb

I'm not so sure that low-carb is a verb...

There is so much debate out there as to what is a healthy diet. I know that many people don't think that low-carb can be a healthy lifestyle. I often find myself fighting the perception that low-fat, high carb diets are the only healthy way to eat, even in myself. However, research has shown that people on low-carb diets are more likely to see increased HDL (the good cholesterol), reduced blood glucose, and decreased blood pressure.

In addition, I am living proof that the low-carb diet works. In 2005, when I was first made aware by my doctor, Stephen A. Foley, of the benefits of low-carb, I had high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Six months and 50 pounds later, my blood pressure was normal and my cholesterol went down by over 50 points. In addition to that, my HDL had increased.

(Why am I trying to lose weight again after this fabulous success? Silly me, I thought that when I got pregnant I could eat whatever I wanted. And, how come no one told me that some women actually gain weight while they're breastfeeding?)

I'd like to talk to you some more about why low-carb works for me, but I think I'll save that for another Friday. Instead, since I've done such a good job of convincing you that this is the best diet plan, I'll give you a run-down of how to do it. :)

Erica's Low Carb Diet

*disclaimer* I am in no way a diet or weight loss specialist. I haven't even read Dr. Atkins books. Consult your doctor before beginning any weight loss program.

Step One: Sugar Detox

I find it helpful when beginning a low-carb diet, or when you feel yourself getting into a slump, to do carbohydrate detox. For 2 or 3 days, or a week if I can stand it, I eat as little carbs as possible. This means that I am eating eggs, meat, nuts, and cheese.

Step Two: Add in a little more carbs

Low carb dieting should not be boring. You can eat a wide variety of foods, just make sure that you are watching your portions. For me, this means that I eat twice as much protein as carbs everytime I sit down for a meal or snack. My general goal is 30-50 grams of carbohydrates and 70-100 grams of protein each day. I don't worry about fat, because when you are eating this little, fat is what keeps you satisfied and steadies your insulin levels so that you don't need to reach for instant gratification, high carb snacks. This does require you, however, to be a careful consumer. Read those labels! They put sugar in everything these days.

Step Three: Settle in to the Lifestyle

This is the part where I fell off last time. Perhaps you won't always be a perfect low-carb-er, but you really need to make it a part of your life. If you go back to a high-carb diet, you WILL gain the weight back. I would recommend any of Dana Carpenter's books to help you fight off the boredom. Her recipes are down to earth and satisfying. Most of the main dishes don't require artificial or strange ingredients.

I hope this has been informative. Even if you decide that this isn't the right choice for you, I encourage you to challenge your preconceived ideas about low-fat vs. low-carb.

This week's weigh-in: I lost 2 pounds!

Good luck this week to my Fit Friday sisters over at It's Almost Naptime.

Just for fun

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Happy Birthday, Sweet Babies!

Two years, and 3 days ago, I went to the OB for a regular checkup. I did the usual complaining about heartburn, the urge to pee all the time, sleepless night, etc. etc. etc.... Then, the doctor explained to me that the difference in weights that the Ultrasound showed may not be safe for the babies, and that he wanted to induce me on Sunday night. He left the room, my blood pressure was checked for a second time, and I went to the waiting room to be called to the lab for some blood work related to my blood pressure. Soon, I was called back into the doctor's office and he told me that my blood pressure was way too high, and he sent me to the hospital for monitoring. A couple hours later they sent me home on bedrest. On Sunday, Daddy and I spent our last day together without babies. We watched Lady and the Tramp. We were going to eat spaghetti, but I was too nervous to eat. That night, we went to the hospital. The nurse tried to find the heartbeats, but she was having trouble. So, she sent for an Ultrasound tech so that we could see where the babies were. We were very surprised to see that the twins had moved from head down to laying across my belly! The doctors couldn't induce me with the babies being breach, so instead I stayed the night and they scheduled a c-section for the next morning. We started preparations early, and then they wheeled me up to the OR a little after 7. I don't know if I have ever been so nervous or so cold. I shivered uncontrollably. Being awake for my own surgery was surreal. But, nothing compares to the sound of a newborn's first cry, especially when that newborn is yours. I cried and kissed Nick's fuzzy head, but they had to hurry Catie out to the NICU. I didn't get to hold them until the next day. The time in the hospital was hard, eight days total, but it was even harder when we brought them home! In the time since then, I have watched them grow from helpless babies to independent toddlers. What a responsibilty and a joy!

Happy Birthday, my sweet, sweet babies! Mommy loves you more than you'll ever know.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Cindy's Castle

Here's the Cinderella Castle page again because my dad says he can't get it to enlarge and because I changed it a little.

Okay, I have no control over whether or not it will enlarge. I have no idea why it does that. So here are the two funniest pictures. Doesn't Catie look excited? :)

And, Uncle Andy, Nicky is definitely NOT happy to see Cinderella. Actually, he's saying he's tired and hungry and don't take him away from his Mama or tell him no. My favorite part is Ryder sliding down Papa. And, if you can zoom in on Cinderella, check out her smile. Does it look like she has Vaseline on her teeth or what? I've never seen such a fake smile in my life. I think her eyes are saying, "Oh Lord, please get me away from these crabby kids and the crazy people who thought it was a good idea to bring 4 toddlers to this."

The sad truth is...

I have no idea where the pirate stuff is for our Pirate and Princess party on Friday.

It could have been thrown away with all of our empty shopping bags when we were packing the last night of the cruise, but Brad says that we both looked through those bags to make sure that we weren't throwing anything away that we didn't want to. I blame my lack of memory on exhaustion from our trip and the stress of packing.

It could have been thrown away with all our empty shopping bags when we were packing our boxes before we left the States, but Brad says that we both looked through those bags to make sure that we weren't throwing anything away that we didn't want to. I blame my lack of memory on exhaustion from our trip and the stress of packing.

It could have been left at my in-laws house with all of our other stuff that we decided not to bring with us or mail here, but Ruth assures me that she can't find it. I blame my lack of memory blah, blah, blah...

It could have made it here, and then I could have put it somewhere so mysterious that even I couldn't find it, and then the gremlins came and stole it in the middle of the night. However, I have no idea if I even unpacked it from one of our suitcases or boxes. I blame my lack of memory on jet lag for this one.

Or, the only other viable option: someone in customs really wanted some pirate supplies.

Sigh, this afternoon during naptime I will be making pirate hats out of construction paper and parrots from TP tubes.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Okay, as promised, here is our first day at Disney. :) We had to check into our hotel before we could go to the park, so we got kind of a late start. It wasn't an ideal situation. Our lunch reservation was at 2:30, smack in the middle of naptime, and we were all a little crabby. Yet, my memories of the day are mostly good. There's something in the air at Disney, I think. :)

Our first ride. We got the kiddie stuff out of the way on this first day. This is a two page spread.
We had lunch at Cinderella's Castle. Take the time to blow-up this page (click on it). The expressions on the kids' faces are priceless. Maybe we'll try this again in a few years. Then again, maybe not. :)
In between this page and the last one I'll have a page with our first encounter with Mickey and Minnie. I don't have the picture yet.
Here's Ryder's favorite ride:
That night we ate at O'Hana's. The first of many anniversary celebrations:
I haven't finished the corresponding page with pictures of us at the table....

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Our Week in Review

Here's a synopsis of our week in dinners:
Monday we had sandwiches for dinner because I took a nap after MOPS.
Tuesday we had the Bacon Cheeseburger Quiche. It was delish. :) Catie and Nick ate some.
Wednesday we had skillet stroganoff. It was also yummy. Catie and Nick ate theirs over pasta and Nick ate his whole serving.
Thursday we went out to Turkey Central (Arabic food.)
Friday we had Tangy Warm Chicken Salad. It wasn't a hit with the kids, but Brad and I thought it was great. Brad suggested that I quadruple the recipe next time. :)
Saturday we had All-Meat Chili. I made pasta for Brad and the kids, so they had chili-mac and they liked it.

So, looks like all those recipes are going on the permanent rotation. Also, I'm happy to report that the kids only had one PB&J and we went to McDonalds once this week. :)

Here's the plan for this week. All of the recipes came from my low-carb cookbook so I can't link to them this time, but here they are:

Pork Ribs w/low carb barbeque sauce and Fauxtatoes Deluxe (We had a shipment of pork at the base and fauxtatoes are made with cauliflower. :) )
Omelet Night
Pizza Chicken

Hope I have some good reviews for you next week. :)

As Promised, Some Random Pictures in Doha

Eating at one of our favorite restaurants. What is it? Why, TGI Fridays, of course! You didn't think we had those here, did you?

Here's the entrance to the food court/play area at Landmark mall. One of many odd East meets West kind of pictures that you get around here.

Anyone want us to bring back one of these fine Oriental rugs?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Better Pictures

I looked out the window today, and lo and behold, it's clear. Here are some better pictures:
I told you we could see the water!

I had to laugh when I saw this. Why are they using a floor buffer? The ineffectiveness and ridiculousness! Someone needs to go down there and tell them that a hose would work much better. And, I'm not sure why it takes 4 guys to do this.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Jeans and Sweaters, Here I Come!

Two things: As you know, I've been doing the low-carb thing for the past few months, and doing pretty well. However, when we found out that we were leaving, I decided to give myself a week off, and that week has stretched to two weeks.... Second, since we are leaving, and chances are we will find ourselves in the US in the middle of the winter, I need to fit into my winter clothes that are currently in storage by January. I figure I need to lose roughly 20 more pounds. Therefore, I am joining Missy at It's Almost Naptime in getting Hot for the Holidays. :)

Here is my plan:
1. Follow my low-carb plan faithfully everyday except for Sunday which is my cheating day. My low-carb plan is simple: I eat twice as much protein as carbs every time I eat. There are other things, but that's the gist of it.

2. Spend at least 30 minutes a day doing something active. I'm not going to commit myself to traditional exercise, because, well, I hate it, but I will do something active even if it's just dancing around the living room with the twins.

3. I will take my medicine regularly at regular times.

4. I will make Brad hide the junk food and then I will not go looking for it.

I think that's it!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Not Your Average Desert

I can't tell you how many times people have asked about the weather when they hear that we live in Doha, Qatar. I don't understand why it's so ingrained in us to desire that information. I suppose you could say that we ask because it's polite, a socially acceptable question without any chance of sparking an argument. Invariably when I am asked about the heat here, people say some version of the line "but it's a dry heat." And to that I say, "Oh no, it's not. It's a wet heat. A very wet heat." But, I don't think they believe me. Tonight I met Brad and his coworkers for dinner at Turkey Central, which suprisingly has no turkey on the menu. As soon as he stepped out of the car, his glasses fogged up. I laughed and made some kind of comment about it being "steamy" tonight. I didn't think it was quite so funny after dinner. After spending the drive home doing everything in my power to keep the windshield clear enough so that I could see in the crazy after dark Doha traffic, I decided to check the humidity level on the Internet. Um ... 89%. Even Saint Louis rarely finds humidity levels that high. Imagine this: it's 84 degrees out but it feels like it's 97 because of the humidity. Imagine yourself in someone's mouth. Someone who has hot, moist, feverish breath. Yeah, that's what it feels like.

Why do I want to stay? Perhaps in part because we had playgroup today and we didn't have to break up any fights among the kids, freeing us up for actual adult conversation. Lovely!

This now concludes our pre-Disney scrapbooking :)

First, here's a page with pictures from my nephew's birthday party. I posted these pictures already, but here's the page I made:This is a page with pictures from the twins first 2nd birthday party. Yes, you read that right. They've had two birthday parties already in the States. Um... and I'm having another one here for some of their little friends next week... :)

Is this not the cutest thing you've ever seen? Wish you all could have seen this adorable-ness in person.
Labor Day weekend we went up to Wisconsin to visit Uncle Andy and Aunt Jenny and we spent some time at the lake. Some sweet little kids dug the twins a "baby pool" in the sand. Afterward we had a picnic. Fun!

So, the next pictures on my hard drive are the Disney pics. I'm really looking forward to it, but I'm also a little intimidated. I want my scrapbook pages to be just as wonderful as our trip, and that makes me nervous. Wish me luck. :)