Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009 In Review

Wow, 2009 is coming to an end.  If ever a year in my life has had a theme, 2009 is it.  I did a Facebook Status compilation, and Danielle pointed out her favorite, "Because God has a sense of humor."  That, my friends, sums up 2009 for the Kihn household.  If on December 30, 2008 you had told me that Dana would need several eye surgeries and change jobs, I'd have believed it.  Had you then gone on to say that we would also find out that I was pregnant and having twins no less, and that I would have surgery to save their lives, well I would have thought you were insane, and yet here we are.

One moment in 2009 really stands out for me. I haven't blogged about it, and really didn't know anyone else had seen it, until my mom mentioned it to me.  On Sunday, June 14th, the day before the surgery for TTTS, we sang the hymn It Is Well With My Soul.  On that day, I sang that song, and I meant every last word.  I knew that no matter what the outcome of the surgery, God was handling it, and I had peace in that.  And that has been the biggest lesson for me in 2009.  God is in control.  While we don't understand it, our whole family is thankful for the blessings of this past year, and I'm praying for easier times in 2010.

Now, let's take a look back at some phrases and photos from 2009.  The photos do not necessarily correspond with the phrases.

January: This just secures my non-placement in the Mom of the Year Award.

February: He has an excellent pedigree, excellent colors, and great temperament. What she didn't count on... he's gay.

March: So if my tubal ligation could interfere with God's plan, how did I see this on March 1st?

April: I just got back from my doctor's appointment. Kaia came with me, and she was thrilled when I pointed out the baby, and then the doctor pointed out the other.

May: It wasn't long before she was able to turn everything into a life or death situation. For instance, sitting on metal turtles.

June: I'm feeling good that the boys will come through the surgery, and I'm praying that they continue to thrive after their blood vessels are separated. I have peace that we are doing what is best for both boys, and the rest is up to God.

July: No, I don't mean sexy. Unless you consider hippos sexy, then maybe...

August: Then she began to rub her belly and say that I should avoid vitamins and that powdered milk from China. Because you know China, it's really sperm. And that sperm if you put it outside in the sunlight it will just shoot in all directions.

September: I agreed, and I told him, "Next time you are 32 weeks pregnant with twins, I promise you can be as cranky as you want to be." He laughed saying he never wanted to be pregnant with twins, and quickly corrected that to never wanting to be pregnant at all.

October: They are so cute that they had to be part of a matched set.

November: SOS isn't dinner. SOS is letters, you can't eat letters.

December: And as of last night, they showed me one of their super twin powers: synchronized farting.

Wow, was my belly really that big?  Amazing how fast we forget.  Thanks for revisiting 2009 with me.  I wish you all a very Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas 2009

A few photos by Dana

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Eve Party Planning

It's our turn to host again.  Actually, we volunteered to host since it's easier to not drag the "twinkies" around town.  I LOVE to plan parties and have get togethers, something I wish I did more often.  I think my lack of housekeeping skills is the main reason we don't do more.

This year I'm all about keeping it simple. The menu is dungeness crab, cold cuts, cheeses, meatballs, and possibly ceviche.  There will be plenty of sweets.  Including Christmas Cookies and orange cake.  I'm also planning to put my adorable cups to use with this spiced cider and cranberry juice recipe.  Those cups were free the day after the church yard sale.  There was a box of 20 something, and I thought they would be perfect for my retro kitchen someday.

What big plans do you have?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

What Would You Do?

Me, greeting at a New Leaders Event, just 2 days before we learned I was carrying twins

My best friend mentioned to me the other day that she wished Dana and I would win the lottery, that way I could take a certain job.  I'm not looking, but it's a job where they could really use my skills and it would allow me more time at home with the kids. 

I love working at United Way, but sometimes I miss doing work that has very defined tasks.  Also sometimes I'd like to have more time at home.  So I started thinking, if money wasn't an issue, what job would I do? 

Honestly, there are so many jobs in the world I think might be fun.  Would I be a fashion designer, a chef, an actress...  But, the job I know and miss is being a barista.  If I could do anything at all, I would work in a coffee shop again.  I love chatting with the regulars, meeting new customers, making the perfect cup of coffee and knowing what people like.  Although it has been 10 years since I worked at one local shop, I still remember my customers.  The gal at the dry cleaners takes a tall decaf americano, the dentist- a short americano, the pastor- short skinny latte extra hot no foam, the radio dj- tall double mocha no whip.  There are many more.  I loved that once I cleaned up at the end of the day, I was done.  There wasn't anything to think about at home, I would go in and serve customers, clean up and the day was done. 

So if you could work at any job in the world, and childcare and money were no object, what would you do?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Fun Reading

If you have ever wondered what life is like here in Central Washington, I recommend you visit Yakima Magazine and take a look.  I just discovered this today, and it is a great magazine.  I also had fun seeing people I know in the social pages (some photos from our Pillars Event were included).  Today though, it is all about snow.  We finally got snow just in time for Kaia's Christmas concert and hopefully it sticks around for Christmas.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Boys

Can you tell which is Brendon and which is Bryce?

Hard to believe that Brendon and Bryce are 8 weeks old already, and at the same time it feels like they have always been here.  Both boys are doing well, and growing like... like babies in growth spurts.  Brendon is now 9 pounds and Bryce is 10 pounds.  Both are still shrimps in the length department.  Brendon is just about to outgrow the newborn sized jammies, and Bryce is already too long for them.  Both boys though are still a bit too short for the 0-3 month jammies, so we often have to rescue one of them when both legs end up stuck down one leg-hole. And as of last night, they showed me one of their super twin powers: synchronized farting.  Not sure either realized what the other was doing, but they were in synch, and it made the 2 AM feeding amusing for me.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

More of Mo

Not only has Santa died in a train wreck, and then miraculously survived, but Mo has really picked up a sense of storytelling, humor, and mimicry.  Kaia has always been the actress, the drama queen, the starlet.  Mo has just been the easy-going, laid back kid, until now. 

Kaia has a newfound sense of modesty and will screech at Mo "Don't look at me!" whenever he sees her changing.  Mo then tries to look more just to annoy her.  I never expected him to pay her back though.  I was halfway through a pull up change on him, when he took off naked from the waist down in to Kaia's room.  He waited until she looked up and shrieked "Don't look at me!" and came running back to me giggling.  I couldn't help but join him.  I found it hilarious that he came up with it all on his own.

I purchased the "Smooth Away" hair removal at a discount store.  Mo saw the box as I unloaded the groceries, and excitedly said, "You bought Smooth Away?!"  I was shocked he knew what it was (he wasn't reading it).  Then the other day in the car he told me "You have Smooth Away, you don't need to shave.  Daddy, he still has to shave."

I was leaving for Fred Meyer and Mo asked if I was going to "Red Meyer."  I told him it was called "Fred Meyer" and he said, "No, it's Red Meyer.  What's on your list today?"  For those of you that don't live in the Northwest, "What's on your list today?" is the slogan for Fred Meyer a store similar to Target or Walmart where you can buy groceries, clothing, home and garden... except they are a bit higher end.  And they match Walmart's $4 generic rx's!

We have a bib that says "Future NASCAR driver" that used to be Mo's.  When I put it on one of the boys, Mo looked and said, "NASCAR on Speed," just as I'm sure the spokesperson on the advertisement does.

We never know what Mo will say next, but one thing is certain: We had better watch what we say!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My First Frugal Accomplishment

When Dana and I first moved back to Yakima, we rented a 2 bedroom unit in an older duplex.  The fact that it was older is what really drew us to that place.  It had a small yard, and it was in a residential neighborhood.  There were built in bookshelves and a curio display in the front room, and a built in drawers and cabinet in one of the bedrooms.  It was a fun little place that really stood apart from the cookie cutter rentals with their white walls, brown carpets and fake wood cabinets.   It also had baseboard heating and terrible drafts!

Money was almost non-existant for us.  I was doing an internship that was entirely unpaid, and we were relying on Dana's work and me picking up odd jobs.  I mostly cleaned homes for family and friends.  Keeping our house warm was a priority, yet we couldn't afford to just run the heaters and lose all the heat out the door or windows.  We hung a wool blanket (the bright woven kind you find in the Southwest and Mexico) over our large front window, and it definitely helped, but the door was still a problem.

One morning, I had no side job to do, and Dana was at work.  I was picking up and some of our "trash" was small strips of foam.  I swear a lightbulb must have appeared over my head as I held onto that foam.  Very quickly I grabbed the duct tape from the garage and went to work.  In less than a half an hour, I had sealed our door with my invention.  I used the duct tape and foam to create some weather stripping for inside the door jamb.  I also created a small flap that hung at the bottom of our door, that created a nice seal at the bottom when closed, but still allowed us to open the door easily.

It doesn't sound like much, but within an hour I could feel the difference in the temperature of our home.  I think it also helped that I was beaming with pride in my accomplishment.  I had helped make our place a bit warmer, and it cost us nothing!

Things haven't changed too much since those days.  Sure we live in a larger house, and we have 4 kids, but this weekend found Dana and I hanging (ok it was Dana that did the actual hanging) a thermal curtain over the front door to keep our front room warm.  Some day we'll buy a nice door that seals, but it was fun to recapture some of that adventure of making do.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cheap and Easy Taco Pasta

The other night I made one of my infamous throw together meals.  I look at what we have laying around and start throwing things into a pot.  They are infamous in that they can be horrible, or turn out to be a stroke of genius.  This one was so good that when I saw all the leftovers still in the pot during a middle of the night feeding I was deeply disappointed.  I hate it when I do that.

Taco Pasta
1 medium round steak (or 1/2 lb of ground beef, or leftover roast beef)
1/2 c chopped onion
2 cloves of garlic smashed
tomato chicken boullion (or beef or vegetable boullion)
1 large can of tomatoes (whole or diced)
1 can of kidney beans (or cooked beans from dry)
1-2 cups of macaroni
1/2 packet of taco seasoning

Take the steak or ground beef and put in your pot with a bit of oil.  This is perfect for those really tough and really cheap cuts of beef.  Cook the meat, onions and garlic together until the onions are soft.  If using ground beef make sure it is nearly browned before adding onions.  Then add your boullion, the can of tomatoes (stick the knife into the can and roughly chop if using whole tomatoes) and water.  I used about 2.5 cups of water.  Cook with lid on until meat is nice and soft.  If you are using leftover roast, just cook the onions and garlic then throw the meat in with everything else and cook for at least half an hour for flavor.

Once meat is soft, remove from pot, slice into small thin pieces and put back in.  Add drained kidney beans, 1 to 2 cups of macaroni (enough to soak up the liquids) and taco seasoning.  Cook until macaroni is tender and liquid is soaked up.  Then Enjoy!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Pet Peeve

Blind Dudley

Many of you may not know this, but Dana and I used to have 9 ferrets.  Yes, you read that number 9 (nine) correctly.  They were Frosty, Stoney, Holley, Haley, Harley, Dudley, Ashley, Chi Chi and Spud.  This may be obvious, but we didn't name Chi Chi and Spud.

We loved our ferrets, they were so sweet.  We lost Harley to cancer in the Fall of 2002.  Right after that we lost our hedgehog Thorndyke.  And right after that we learned I was pregnant with Kaia.  By the time Morgan was born we had lost all of our ferrets, but Dudley. 

Kaia loved Dudley.  He was our big baby.  Big, lumbering, dumber than a box of rocks, and so sweet.  He was mostly blind and had bouts of baldness, but he enjoyed being carried around by Kaia and was always up for some hopping around with her. 

So if ferrets are such vicious creatures, do you believe that Dana and I would have ever allowed our daughter to play with Dudley?  Of course not.  Yet every radio and tv commercial I've seen for the past 5 years has made ferrets out to be horrible biting creatures.  Even the APA recommends that they not be in homes with children (they don't like hedgehogs for pets either). 

Out of 9 ferrets, we had 1 (one) that bit.  Holley was a tiny, silky albino female.  We were her 5th owners, in just over a months time.  She had a biting problem. I personally had her bite down on my knuckle, hit bone and hold.  It started with the first owners, and each owner after brought her back because they couldn't handle her. 

Ferret babies, like kittens and puppies naturally nip when they get excited.  Ferret mommies or owners have to teach the babies not to nip.  Now at a pet store, you might hear the teenage worker tell a customer to "flick their nose" when the cute little baby nips.  Feel free to flick the teenage worker's nose, or whap them upside the back of the head.  Flicking their nose teaches them to bite because they fear hands.  Proper ferret training involves the scruff of the neck, pinch the scruff and drag the ferret while saying "no."  See, now you can educate any stupid pet store workers you may run into, although I think flicking his or her nose would really be more fun.

We don't know if Holley was flicked first and that started the biting habit.  What we did learn years later was that she had had her ribs broken prior to living with us.  They were broken and began to calcify, scaring the crap out of us when we were sure the big lump was cancer.  Even though someone did that to her, we were able to teach her that people were ok.  We took our time and handled her carefully.  We used proper training when she was naughty, and at the end of her life she only nipped if you made a sudden move toward her.  And then, it was only a little nip. 

I can't stop the media from demonizing these sweet pets, but I can at least tell my readers and you can spread the word too.  And if you ever need personal testimony just ask Kaia about Dudley.  But be prepared for the tears and lamenting over the loss of her pet.  She even used to ask me if Jesus would send Dudley back so she could have him here again.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Just in time for cold & flu season, Boiron

This last review is the one I'm most excited about.  I received a package of 3 children's cold & flu products from Boiron.  These products are homeopathic remedies for the viruses.  I love it when I can use natural and homeopathic remedies.  I have only used 2 of the products, as we have thankfully not had the flu in our home yet. 

The first product we used is Chestal Honey.  Mo and Kaia both had nasty coughs.  If you have young children, you are probably aware that traditional over the counter cold and cough remedies aren't recommended for children under 6 years old.  So while I can attempt to trick Kaia into drinking the expectorant by telling her it doesn't taste horrible, Mo cannot have anything but his nebulizer treatments which do not soothe the throat or loosen much of the phlegm.  Children's Chestal though can be used for kids 2 and up.  With the first rounds of coughs I opened the bottle.  It took some convincing to get Kaia and Mo to take that first dose, but once they did, they were the ones reminding me they needed medicine.  Mo declared it "dewicious!" And, it helped.  The coughs weren't so forced, they quieted down and sounded more productive.

The second product was Children's Coldcalm which is for children 3 and up.  This medicine is teeny tiny balls that you dissolve in your mouth.  Mo started to get a nasty cold, about 3 weeks after we first used Chestal (the crud has hit us hard this year).  You kind of kick start the fight by taking 5 of these little balls every 20 minutes for the first hour.  Then follow up every 2 hours that there are symptoms.  Mo again wasn't convinced that the balls weren't icky, but he took them without complaint and went back to playing.  He reported to Grammy later that day that he was feeling better, and he told me that evening that the medicine made him feel better.  Later during the cold when I'd forgotten about giving him medicine (I'm not sure why I would forget things...) his symptoms definitely began to make a reappearance.  Mo reminded me he needed his medicine, and I happily obliged.

Here is the best part about these medicines: They are affordable!  I honestly expected that these would be out of my price range and that I'd never buy them at the store.  So often the natural medicines are $15 +, but while shopping at Fred Meyer (a Northwest Kroger affiliate) I checked out there natural medicine section.  I was delighted to find that the products started at $6.99.  They were comparable to name brand over the counter medicines in price, but are safe for younger children and a natural medicine. 

If you have a child or a houseful of them, I completely recommend these remedies.  If you don't have a child, Boiron makes the same medicines for adults!  I have to investigate the safety of using them during nursing, but I will definitely use their products for myself in the future.  No coupons to giveaway, but if you are a mom with a blog and would like to try these products too, visit

Stay healthy this winter!  All my review business is wrapped up, and I'll be back on Monday with posts from our life.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Olay Professional Pro-X

Several months ago I joined which is a marketing website for Procter & Gamble.   From the site, I received Olay Professional Pro-X wrinkle smoothing cream just after the boys were born.  This wasn't just a small sample either.  It was a real jar of the cream!  The marketing promises "your skin won't just look younger, it will act younger."  Kaia thinks this is amusing and keeps asking why I'd want my skin to act young.

I really like this night time cream.  It goes on smooth, but doesn't feel heavy.  I cannot attest to the actions of my skin though.  I'm not very good with a night time routine.  So I don't use the cream every night as I should.  I also started my sporadic use of it right after the boys were born, so my skin was going through just a few hormonal changes at the time. 

I do know is that my skin definitely feels soft and moisturized when I'm using it.  That softness, and you might even call it silkiness lasts through the day.  I think this cream could really make my skin look and feel better, and perhaps act younger, if I'd just figure out a way to follow a routine before bed.  I would definitely recommend the cream, and plan to look for it myself once my jar is empty. 

If you'd like to try one of the products in the new Olay Professional Pro-X line, then I have a coupon for you!  $10 off any single Pro-X product.  Just email me at DTKMKihn at requesting a coupon.  I'll send them first come, first serve.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Bounce Dryer Bar Review

Another free item I received after having the boys was my Bounce Dryer Bar from  I admit to being unsure about using it.  Someone I know had a bad experience with the bar not sticking to the side of her dryer and it banged about inside during drying.  I decided I could live with that.  Then I smelled the package... Whoo!  It was strong.  I am sensitive to smells and typically avoid even walking down the detergent aisle at the grocery.  Did I really want to wear that smell?  I was also hesitant to dry Brendon and Bryce's clothing with such a strong scent.

All of those hesitations are long gone.  I really like the bar.  It is still stuck to the side of our dryer.  And, while the bar itself has a strong smell, our clothing does not.  The clothes come out with a faint scent that is just right.  Our air has been cold and dry, yet there hasn't been any static on our clothes. 

I haven't kept track of the number of loads of clothing we have dried, but it has been in use for 6 weeks and we wash at the minimum 3 loads of laundry a week, but we have done extra now that we have urpy babies that only have a few outfits that fit.  So I anticipate that we've washed 25 loads of clothes and there is still some bar left.  I'm not sure the cost of the Bounce Dryer bars, but I hope they are a good price.  It is wonderful not to have dryer sheets floating all over the house, or worse finding them balled up in my pants mid-day.