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Halloween – Trick or Treating

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I cannot imagine a more fun Halloween night than this one was. The boys were just so, so, so into it! Everything about it was so fun for them. They got to carry flashlights, which was HUGE. They got to run around in the dark on everyone’s lawns, which was HUGE. They got to say, “rooaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrr!” about 100 times, which was HUGE. They got to ring everybody’s doorbells, which was HUGE. They were absolutely adorable and delighted everyone at every house we went to. The boys would run up to the door, ring the bell, wait patiently for the door to open up, and then shout: “Trick or treat!!!” I mean, seriously, how is that not the cutest thing going? They got tons of candy, which they could barely care less about (although we let them eat waaaay more of it than you’re probably supposed to let a 2-year-old eat). But after we went inside at the end of the night they never even looked in their pumpkins to see all the loot they had collected in there. Who cares, right? (well, Braydon and I cared– we ate it all after they went to bed). It really was a magical night. Rooaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

Halloween – The Morning After

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These photos were taken by Braydon the morning after Halloween…

Kyle is dazed and confused, apparently experiencing the after-effects of some sort of post-Halloween-sugar-crash hangover…

Owen however is still flying high, apparently still feeling the rush of his Halloween-induced sugar-trip…

Just Another Manic Monday (oops!… I mean TUESDAY!)

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Sick Twins with Mama
(note the struggle to hold them both gracefully on my one little lap, note that they both want their mama’s affections when they’re not feeling well, note the look of desperation on my face, note the large mug of black coffee)

That’s just how manic it was: I barely even knew what day it was amidst all the manic madness of that day! The last day of October, 2006, was one of our little tiny family’s most incredibly full/intense/up-down/high-low/roller-coaster of emotion days yet. I’m going to be posting a whole ton of stuff about this day. So whoever out there in blogland is actually interested in reading/seeing all this is gonna have a lot to take in on these postings!!!

Well, so far Braydon and I agree that the hardest part about the whole dual-career-with-young-kids-far-away-from-extended-family-“thing” is those unfortunate scenarios when all hell breaks loose because one or more of the four of us get sick. I feel like we manage very well and the whole ball of wax holds together pretty nicely (all things considered) until… the dreaded: that phone call from the daycare to “come pick up ___ *now* because he’s sick.” And then, almost just as dreaded: that “conversation” with the daycare director when we pick up the poor little sick baby and she says as flatly as can be: “Oh, and you cannot bring him here tomorrow in case it is contageous.” And then she adds, as if it is just a side-note: “And really, they both should stay home since if he has it he probably has it too.”………….. UGH. It happened on Monday.

I picked up Kyle and went straight to the doctor. He said it was an ear infection. And he wrote a prescription. Antibiotics are wonderful. Braydon posted to the blog on Monday night (see “Alone At Last”), and our baby boy slept like the precious little bambino he is– and those antibiotics went straight to work in his little system. Braydon and I had our team huddle (sadly, our team consists of just the two of us), and decided that for Tuesday our strategy would be the following: we’d both cancel all our meetings to stay home, trade of-and-on with childcare throughout the day, and each try too to get as much accomplished work-wise as humanly possible when we were “off duty” childcare-wise. We went to be early Monday night, prepping ourselves mentally for whatever the next day would bring.

By Tuesday morning at 7:00 a.m., this was the scene:
Note: Do either of these children appear to be sick to you?

O.k., so we had our ups and downs all day… the photo at the top of this post portrays an actual scene that occurred multiple times that day– but those times were countered by just as many crazy-fun-“this feels like we’re playing hooky, not taking a sick day”-moments. By the afternoon, and after another round of antibiotics dispensed, both boys were absolutely FINE. I mean, really, really themselves. Would never have even known they were ever sick at all.

Here Kyle tries to take his own temperature with our ear thermometer. Note: he did not have a fever all day (it had broken in the night Monday night thanks to those antibiotics).

And seriously, this next picture is Owen… he doesn’t look a bit sick, does he?! I can’t help but think that the look on his face is expressing something along the lines of: “Ha! Fooled ya! You fools actually thought I was sick!!! I’m only TWO and I’m already playing HOOKY!!!”

At the end of it all, the high points of the day were so high that they waaaay off-set any of the sick-babies-srambling-to-hold-down-two-jobs… Read on to find out why! :)

Alone at last….

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Not being a twin myself, I can’t really imagine what it’s like to have to share everything. Right now the boys have very little that is not interchangeable. Actually, it might only be their beds that are really their own. And their shoes (since Owen is a size 12 and Kyle is a size 11). And their lovely lion and honey bunny. But that’s about it.

To top it off, while it’s obvious to anyone who looks for 1/2 a second that these boys are very close and love each other dearly, they almost never get a break from their twin. So, tonight, Kyle is sick – he has an ear infection – poor guy (and poor us) – and went to bed before Owen.

I guess if there is a perk to your brother having an ear infection it would be getting a moment to yourself with a good book. Same can not be said for said parents….

Owen Rides It! Kyle Rides It!

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Our boys are kind of exceptionally physically capable for their age. Their birthparents obviously gave them something incredible that we never could have: unbelievably awesome genes. They’re not even 2.5 years old yet and they can do stuff like: dive & swim underwater for long distances, walk unassisted on a high balance beam and then perfectly land their jump off on both feet, throw a frisbee better than me, ride a scooter, dribble a full size basketball, golf like you wouldn’t believe, drop-kick a kickball, and throw a baseball up onto our garage roof over and over again. They’ve got good genes for sportsy athletic physical (or like I’m fond of saying: “boys’ boys”) kind of stuff. Their sheer size probably helps too: they can easily ride on toys made for “3+” year olds and fit baseball gloves made for 4 year olds and comfortably use golf clubs made for 5 year olds. It is sort of a relief to me that Braydon and I don’t have to “claim” any of this– that we can say, “Wow, yeah, their birthparents must have come from an incredible gene pool!” It would feel really weird to me if they were my biological children and I somehow had to explain where all of this awesome-ness came from genetically. It is nice for me that it has nothing to do with me. So, anyway, they’re really quite amazing in the physical realm. Given all this it has come to a surprise to Braydon and I that the boys haven’t been able to figure out how to pedal a bike. We bought them little tricycles this past spring, and they’ve been trying for several months now, but they just have not mastered the whole concept of the pedals. They love the idea of the bikes, and they’ve been playing with them daily for a long time now– but basically, what that has involved is the two of them “riding” their bikes around the driveway by pushing along with their feet on the ground. It is the whole pedal thing that has been getting in the way…
Up until this weekend!
Maybe it was that they both took such nice long naps, or maybe it was that the sugar from trick-or-treating with Joy Lin still hadn’t worn off, or maybe it was just that it was an exceptionally beautiful sunset, but late Saturday afternoon they both got it! They were playing around on their tricycles like any other day, and suddenely Owen was peddling. And then suddenly Kyle was peddling. I thought that maybe it was a fluke, but no!
We were out for the morning today – we went for brunch at the home of our friends Brian and Emily and their adorable son Lucas – and we had a great time. No bikes were involved (just good bagels and bloody mary’s!). Anyway, after we got home from our outing K & O pulled their tricycles out of the garage and sure enough- they did it again! They’re now peddling like old pro’s!
Owen rides it!

Kyle rides it!

Photos From This Weekend

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The view from our driveway on Saturday afternoon

It is so beautiful here right now. Before we ever even met, when we were both teenagers (me in New Hampshire, Braydon in Georgia), Braydon and I separately dreamed of living in Bucks County Pennsylvania some day! Now we’re here. And weekends like this are so gorgeous here, they almost feel like we’re still dreaming…

Trick Or Treating with Joy Lin

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Friday night we went trick-or-treating with Joy Lin and her family! It was trick-or-treat night in Joy Lin’s Gram’s neighborhood and we had the honor of being invited to join the whole family. These three kids are like three peas in a pod, and whenever we get together it is total, complete, utter mayhem… especially when Gram (thus candy/sweets/sugar) is around! Joy has almost as much energy as K & O. Seriously! And even though she’s 4 and they’re only 2, the three of them are more like triplets than like friends. It is a LOT of fun to see them on a normal day, let alone on trick-or-treat day!! Whoa! We had a blast. They went wild trick-or-treating. For all of you who know my boys… well, let’s just say you should use your imagination and then multiply that tenfold re: the level of gusto and energy that they poured into this evening’s activities. Two highlights: 1) at one point, walking across the porch of a house where we had just trick-or-treated, Kyle picked a huge branch of beautiful purple flowers off a potted mum plant. The family was inside, watching from the window, and started laughing hysterically. Kyle went back to their door, knocked, and handed the lady the flowers!!!!! Hysterical!!!!!!!! 2) at another point, when the three kids were really starting to get comfortable with the whole trick-or-treat routine, the three of them were collecting their candy in a doorway of somebody’s house. For whatever reason, Owen decided to make himself at home there and just strolled inside right into the living room and started hanging out in there with the family. Braydon literally had to walk into the house to remove him!!! What a riot!!!!!!!! Anyway, we just love Joy Lin and her whole family. And we’re especially really, really excited because Lisa and Chris (Joy’s mom and dad) just announced they’ve begun the process to adopt again: a baby sister for Joy! We’re already dreaming of the day they bring the new little Kulp home from China! Poor little thing will have her work cut out for her to keep up with K, O, and Joy Lin! :)

Joy Lin strikes a pose!


Post-trick-or-treating hot chocolate — Cheers!


A great time was had by all!

Daycare Halloween Parade!

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Our two lions roaring loud

Today was the annual Halloween Parade at daycare! This is one of the highlights of the entire year for K & O. Man, do they just love it! Last year they were sheep for Halloween, because at the time their favorite animal noise to make was sheep: “baaa baaaa baaaaaaaaaa!” Well, in keeping with the tradition, this year, they are LIONS because right now their favorite animal noise to make — by far — is lion: “rooaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrr!” Last night, given that it was the eve of the big parade day, we tried on their costumes after supper! They spent about 20 minutes just dancing in front of the mirror in their room roaring and carrying on. I think Halloween might be their favorite holiday. I’ll probably take that back in a couple months when I’m posting about Santa… Anyway, we’re in full Halloween mode now and everything they’ve been waiting for is now officially underway! They love it! Love it love it love it! If you say, “What are you for halloween?” They’ll say, “LION!” If you say, “What does the lion say?” They’ll say, “Rooaaaaarrrrr!” If you say, “Where does the lion live?” They’ll say, “AFRICA!!” If you say, “What kind of lion are you?”—then you’re in for a surprise… sometimes one or both will say, “Scary lion!!”, other times, “Happy lion!!”, other times they’ll just look at you blankly like they have no clue what you’re talking about. Last night, when they were wearing their costumes for the first time I heard them saying something I hadn’t ever heard them say before– out of the blue they started saying, “Trick or treat! Candy time!!” :0

Kyle marches in the parade

Owen is so excited about all his friends in costume

The “parade” is actually just a stroll down the sidewalk outside the daycare center (!)

K & O find their friend Maddie, dressed as a giraffe, and sandwich her with a huge double-lion-hug!

Singing songs in costume at the end of the parade route

Quote of the Day: "Good Boy!"

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So today was a big day for the Johnson-McCormick family! We had a big Lehigh event to attend- a Book Party for me, celebrating the publication of my first book, The American Dream and the Power of Wealth. The party was co-sponsored by my department (Sociology & Anthropology), Women’s Studies, and Africana Studies. It was a big deal. And it turned out to be a really, really nice event. Anyway, K & O, in all their glory, of course stole the show. As they love parties and all social events, they were the life of the party and the Big Guys on Campus. I had lined up two of their favorite Lehigh students — a grad student of mine, Xochitl, and her boyfriend, Dave, to babysit at the party. They all had a ball. So… the Book Party was over, it was the end of a very long day, we picked up a pizza for supper on the way home, and were all sitting around the dinner table eating our take-out. To celebrate The American Dream and the Power of Wealth (and to reward them for their best behavior at the Book Party) K & O got to have a special treat to drink with their pizza: Yo-Baby Yogurt Smoothies. To celebrate The American Dream and the Power of Wealth (and to reward us for our best behavior at the Book Party) Braydon and I got to have a special treat with our pizza too: Wine. Things were starting to wind down, the pizza was almost gone, and the Yo-Baby Smoothies were almost finished. The glasses of wine were long empty. Kyle says, “Mama, more wine?” And I said,”Yes baby, thank you, I’d love more wine!” So, Braydon pours me another glass. Kyle says, “Papi, more wine?” And Braydon then pours himself another glass as well. Owen then says to Papi, soooo approvingly and supportively: “GOOD BOY!”


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Alex & the boys. Photo taken last Wednesday afternoon, by Alex, with her cell phone.

One of the MAJOR perks of being a college professor is the incredible babysitting pool I have access to! I have 6,000 Lehigh students to choose from — most of whom would be great babysitters for my kids. Last spring, after an extensive search and interviewing process (!!!), I hand-chose one- in my opinion, the most superb of the bunch, to be Kyle and Owen’s babysitter. Alex has come to hold a very special place in our family. She babysat for the boys 20 hours a week this summer so that we could cut down to part-time daycare for the summer. K & O had the time of thir life! Alex is perfect for us. She is a cool, calming, creative presence in the boys’ lives. She off-sets me & Braydon’s frenetic craziness with an entirely different type of energy. And she has a dog, Cypress, something that Braydon and I will probably NEVER provide for the boys!!! On top of it all, she’s utterly ridiculously dependable and reliable – which makes the entire scenario almost too-good-to-be-true for Braydon and I. Once the fall semester began, the boys went back to daycare full-time, Alex started her senior year of classes at Lehigh, and we began a new babysitting routine. Now Alex picks the boys up early from daycare every Wednesday and spends that afternoon with them each week. This gets them out of daycare early once a week, and it keeps their relationship with Alex steady. She also stays late every-other-Wednesday night so that Braydon and I can have a regular date night together. Which makes EVERYONE’S life better! đŸ˜‰ I think Alex might be the only Lehigh student with two carseats in her car! She’s definately the only Lehigh student who regularly eats dinner at our house and gets a glimpse into Professor Johnson’s inner world! Eeks! As for Kyle and Owen, well, they just think Alex is the best. Braydon and I agree. Alex does such fun stuff with the boys. She takes them to parks, they go on walks with Cypress, she introduces them to her cool college friends when the boys hang out with her on campus or at her apartment. She takes them through the car wash, she runs errands with them, she gives them cookies and ice cream and lolipops. She brought them to softball games all summer, she brought them to the Crayola Factory once, she took them to see The Lehigh Women’s Center one day this fall. She also just lets them chill and do their own thing at home a lot. Yesterday afternoon she and some other Lehigh students took them to a Halloween Party at an After School Program where K & O got to play and eat chips and candy with some big kids ages 6-15… How cool is THAT?! My dad says Alex is his “hero” because she does all of this alone with them. He has direct experience, he knows how incredibly amazing all this is!– Like, for example, she gives them a bath and puts them to bed solo, which is (believe us!), truly worthy of some sort of medal of honor. I am already dreading the day Alex graduates. I’ve never had her as a student in class. Believe me, if I had her in class I’d do everything in my power to fail her… just so that she couldn’t graduate on time.

Owen and Kyle last week, at a park with Alex. Photo taken by Alex, with her cell phone.

Kyle and Owen this summer, at home, at the end of a rainy day, playing in the puddles. Photo taken by Alex, with her cell phone.

Excitement is Building

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We are getting really excited about Halloween around here! When we’re driving in the car Owen and Kyle point out every pumpkin they see. They especially love those huge blow-up lawn decorations that are now appearing in Halloween themes on many lawns!– Especially the ones of pumpkins. Being a New England Girl the huge numbers of such lawn decorations are all new to me. So all three of us get a big kick out of what we’re seeing through the windows of the car as we speed along. But I think we’d all agree: we’d choose a real pumpkin over a blow-up one any day of the week! (See photos below!)
Kyle, Owen, and one of their best friends – Ben Uhrig – have fun in the pumpkins. This photo was taken by our friend Stacey a couple of weekends ago, at a farm in New Jersey.

Owen and Kyle check out some gigantic pumpkins at a farm along the Delaware River, about 5 minutes from our house. This photo was taken this past weekend.