Exciting news! I think I'm mostly over the hump with diaper and clothes changing! Do I LIKE doing those things? Of course, not. But I don't feel like it's the hardest, most frustrating thing ever, anymore. It's just work that needs to be done.

My biggest improvement came last weekend, when Anne left me alone twice with them to go run some errands. Each time, she managed to come home precisely 30-45 minutes AFTER the time we know they would both wake up and need changing and feeding.  Yes, of course, I think it was on purpose. But it did help, since it forced me to do it.

There were two things that really helped. First, I applied what I learned by watching Ultimate Fighting. Wrestling and Ju Jitsu holds, especially a forearm to the chest, arm holds, and leg holds are particularly effective. Second, I found it extremely helpful to point at their face, and shout, 'Oh yeah, I'm the MAN, I'm the MAN!' Alternatively, I'd look them straight in the eye, and say, 'Who's the MAN?' 'That's right, I'M the man!' When I finished changing their diapers or clothes, I would then do a dance in the end zone, pump my fists,  and shout 'Woohoo!', 'Oh yeah,  I'm the man!' I told Anne about this technique, thinking maybe it would help her, and she somehow thought it was funny! She asked me if I really thought it helped me or the kids more. Boy, you try to be helpful, and she says something like that! Well, I still sometimes do my touchdown dance after a particularly difficult change. Anne laughs, the work gets done, the kids don't seem to mind, and everyone's happy.   

Anne:  Writing on 10/10

Yes, it's true-- John is getting much better at changing diapers!  Even the cloth ones!  I don't think I mentioned that I found the diaper he threw across the room, mentioned in a previous entry... couldn't figure out how it got there!

Last week was my first full week at home with the kids.  It went well, but I was truly exhausted by Friday afternoon!  I was thrilled to see John walk through the door.  It seems that nothing, not even a floor full of brightly colored toys, is as interesting as the electrical cord or the stereo cable that your parents keep dragging you away from.  I must say, the two of them are persistent and single-minded! 

It's been a real thrill to see them growing and doing so many new things, though.  People have always said, "They grow up so fast!"  That certainly seems to be true, as they master a new skill every day!  They are changing physically, as well... getting bigger, stronger, more hair, more teeth!  Luckily, they enjoy walks and car rides.  If the weather is good, we try to walk every day.  Last week we road tripped to Burlington so that Grandma Jacobson could introduce Daniel and Maya to her teacher buddies.  Then we had a birthday dinner with Grandpa Jacobson.  We also got to meet Aunt Debby and cousins Sidney and Ava at the park for a fun picnic!  We also enjoyed dinner with Bruce, Joann and Nicholas, our friends here in Oak Park who arrived home from Kazakhstan in June.  Last Sunday we met our friends Jeanne and son David, and Katie and daughters Lindsey and Mollie, and had a great time at the botanical gardens. Today we met our friends Paul, Angela, Claire and Duncan Luning in Elkhorn for apple and pumpkin picking.  It was a perfect fall day!  The kids had on their best farmer overalls, and we were ready for action!  We picked lots of apples... looks like tomorrow will be a "baking with apples" day!

Here are a few pictures of all the action...

Maya in picnic pose

The swing is the thing!

Posing with Grandma J. in her chemistry classroom

With "Aunties" Katie and Jeanne at the Botanical Gardens

David, Daniel, Mollie, Maya, Lindsey

Ollie and Ginger wait patiently at the park!

Checking out the balloon with friend Nicholas -adopted from Kazakhstan in June!

Claire and Maya

In the pumpkin patch...

... waiting for the Great Pumpkin!