Monday, August 31, 2009

19 months

Time for my monthly update on the boys. Yes, we're still counting the monthly birthday and probably will until they turn 2 ;).

They are changing so much all the time but it's hard to describe. It's just the little things they do and say. How they play with things and how they interact with each other. It's so fun to watch them. It's so different this time around, compared to when Maddie and Lily were little. Maybe it's because of the extra experience we have from having been through this stage twice before....I don't know. I just feel like I'm appreciating it and enjoying it more. Whatever they do I can always smile and laugh about it....even when they're down on the floor, banging their head in the middle of a tantrum. They sure have tempers, you should see it, they're so cute ;)! Maybe you saw the bruise on Jakie's forehead in one of the pictures I posted awhile ago, it's his own work. We try to ignore it when they do this, we don't want to fuel the fire, and it's usually over as quickly as it started.

Personality wise they are still so similar, with a few differences. Lucas seems to have a tad bit more of a temper. But that could quickly change. They seem to take turns as to who is more outgoing, who is more cuddly, who sleeps better etc etc. They enjoy the same toys and the same books. Thankfully we don't have too many fights over things as they are pretty good about taking turns or playing together. Lately, however, Lucas has been a real follower. Anything Jacob does he wants to do too and that doesn't always go over well. Jacob has really gotten into shape sorting, circles and squares are a breeze. And in the past few days he's even getting good at the star shape as well. He knows how to say circle too, it sounds more like ircle. Clock is another new word he likes to say. Lucas is really into making sounds, when he sees a dog he'll say "dog" and then he'll add a "voof voof" to that. It's the same thing with airplanes and cars....so cute.

They are still very good eaters and I can really tell that they have put on some weight during the summer which is great! They have been wearing the same clothes since last summer but now they are finally getting a little tight (some of them). They do eat a lot! But it's good food. They love most vegetables and fruits, cauliflower, carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, corn, beans, spinach, apples, bananas, pears, peach, plum....ok enough, I really cant think of anything they don't like. Lucas absolutely loves to eat, so does Jacob but Lucas will literally stuff his face and he's usually done way before Jacob. He's not the best chewer so for this reason I make sure to cut his food a little smaller.
We're still nursing and they show no signs of weaning themselves and I will keep going till next spring if they don't wean themselves before then. Lucas, once again, absolutely loves nursing time. We're down to twice a day and it's like they have a built in "nursing clock" because they know exactly when it's time. Lucas just has to be first! And last! He's hilarious. Most of the time when I'm by myself I let him go first because Jacob doesn't seem to mind and if I don't and no one else is there to distract Lucas he will be pulling at me and crying until it's his turn, sometimes he'll even find something to bang on Jacob with. Not very pleasant for any of us. As soon as Lucas is done Jacob will come running because he knows it's his turn. And when Jacob's done Lucas comes running for seconds....most of the time there's nothing left but I usually let him try. They have this special laugh of excitement when they know it's time for nursing, it's adorable beyond words. I'm so gonna miss that laugh after we wean. When Michael lets me sleep in the mornings he always brings the boys into the bedroom for nursing and their laugh usually wakes me up as I can hear them running down the hallway, I need to catch that on video because it's so special.

They are also playing a lot more with the girls. The boys are so happy when they come home from school in the afternoon. And the girls are great with the boys and enjoy playing silly with them or chasing them around.

Lily and Jakie

Lily and Jakie

Maddie and Lukie

Sweet Lukie.

Attempt at a group pic.

Mommy's little helper (Jacob).

Mommy's little helper #2 (Lucas).

Lucas and Jacob, I wish they would look at the camera at the same time.

Lucas and Jacob.

Jacob.

Traffic jam on the slide.

Playing.

Jacob's way up.




Sunday, August 30, 2009

Fun filled weekend

Maddie and Lily woke up at the crack of dawn Saturday, they've been waiting in excitement all week to go ice skating. We got there early, picked up their passes and ice skates and were ready just in time for class to start. There were 8 kids in their class and 2 coaches, Mr Paul and Alicia. They started out by walking on their skates off the ice and then marching on the ice. They skated back and forth across the ice a few times and tried some other things like bending their legs etc. It was pretty wobbly and lots of falling but overall they did great. Next time we will bring gloves for the girls because their hands got really cold, and maybe a long sleeved top would be a good idea :).

Lily

Maddie just got on the ice.

Skating around.

For dinner we went to our friends Fredrik and Brenda's house. We ate really yummy tacos and brownies and ice cream for dessert. It was very nice to get to hang out with them and all the kids seemed to enjoy themselves.

All 7 kids around the table.

Playing in the backyard.

Then on Sunday, the girls played in their banzai water slide pool pretty much all day. They did take a break in the afternoon to go practice ice skating, Michael went with them and skated too. They are really enjoying it.

Lily, Maddie and Taylor in the pool.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"Best mom ever"

Best mom ever

Thank you for packing
lunch for us so we did
a little somthing for
You!

Love Maddie
Lily

While I was working on something out on the deck this evening the girls cleaned up in the kitchen and picked up all the toys in the living room. They left this note on the counter. Aren't they just the sweetest! It's so hard being a mom but these moments make me feel like there must be something I'm doing right. Thanks Maddie and Lily!

(That is exactly how the note was written....pretty good spelling)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

New routines and storytime

With school starting our routines are once again changing and since the boys are down to one nap a day it is a little different from what it was before summer. I do like the structure that we have during the school year but if you know me well you know that I'm so not a morning person. Getting up at 6:20am is brutal! The girls like to walk to school so we need to be out the door by 7:40am and the boys and I are usually back home between 8 and 8:10am. Unless we go for a walk or play in the park on our way home which I plan to do if I can just get the boys to finish their breakfast before we leave. Yesterday and today they only had time to eat half their breakfast so we hurried back home to finish it. After breakfast or dropping off the girls we are free to do whatever we want until lunch at 11.

Today we were expecting our friends Jacob and Jonah to come over and play but poor little Jonah came down with cold so Shannon decided it best to keep him home. I hope he feels better soon so we can play again. I was very tired this morning so I decided we had to get out of the house and do something and then I remember that they do storytime at the library on Tuesdays and today they started their fall session. I have been wanting to go to storytime for awhile but it wasn't a convenient time before as the boys napped in the morning.
To the library we headed. We got there about 10 minutes early and the line to storytime was looooong! I talked to the mom in front of us in line and she didn't think we'd make this one but said they do 3 sessions back to back. I wasn't about to wait for 30 minutes to get in on the 10:30am one but I stayed in line thinking we could at least go check out some books (the library didn't open until 10 so the line was outside). Turns out we made it to the first session after all, I bet there was a total of 70-80 people in there (counting moms and kids) but it didn't feel very crowded at all. They started with a little hand puppet show, then we sang some songs, read some books and did some finger plays. It was awesome! The girls leading storytime were great and it was very well done, they used headsets with microphones and the pictures from the books, the words to the songs etc were displayed on a large screen. The boys didn't participate much. Lucas occupied himself with playing with the velcro on his shoes while Jacob checked out the doors among other things. But they did do a little dancing to "itsy bitsy spider", a little wiggling to "shake our sillies out" and some voof voofs to the dog puppet. All in all it was fun and I'm sure the boys will enjoy it more as they get older. It's free fun and we will definitely go again soon.

Storytime, todays theme was back to school.

Jacob enjoyed the little windows in the doors.

Back home the boys ate lunch and at 12pm I put them down for a nap. Yesterday I realized that I can get a ton of things done during this time when the girls are not around. For example, yesterday I did two loads of laundry, I scrubbed the girls bathroom (not an easy task because they had spilled nailpolish everywhere....sink, bathtub, floor and even on the cabinets), I cleaned the inside of the car, I did the dishes and cleaned the kitchen, I figured out how to scan a document and make it into a pdf file so I could email it to Michael and I even had time to eat lunch....wow!

At 3pm we pick up the girls from school. Back home we have a snack and then the girls are free to do whatever they want. If they decide to leave their homework till later they will have to do it right after dinner. We eat dinner around 5-5:30pm. The boys go to bed at 7pm and the girls are supposed to be in bed by 8pm but are allowed to read until 9pm if they so wish. My goal is to be in bed by 10pm which proves to be a little harder than I thought since I'm a night person and rarely went to bed before midnight during the summer. That's what our day looks like ;).

Monday, August 24, 2009

First day of school


Maddie outside school in the morning.

Lily outside school in the morning.

Maddie and Lily had a great first day. They both like their teachers and have made lots of new friends.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The last day of summer

We started our day by driving Michael to the airport. We made it home just in time for lunch and then the boys went down for their nap. Maddie and Lily played with their friend Toni and after the boys woke up we went to sign the girls up for ice skating lessons. Not the best day to visit the mall considering it's tax free weekend which means it was extremely crowded but they offered a discounted price for signing up by this weekend so we went anyway. Maddie and Lily will be taking ice skating lessons every Saturday morning, starting next week. They are both very excited!

The girls are now asleep. Nails have been painted, clothes have been chosen, bags have been packed and the alarm is set for 6:20 am. We're ready for school!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Preparing for school

Summer is coming to an end. Tomorrow we have meet the teacher night at school and on Monday school starts at full speed. This summer went by too quickly but at the same time we're ready for a new year to begin. The girls have mixed feelings, excitement to see their friends again and to find out what class and teacher they will have but also a little sadness that summer break is over.

This week I took the girls shopping, separately. Maddie and I went on Tuesday. She needed a lot of new clothes as she's been growing a lot lately, most of her clothes were either too small or really worn and/or stained. We had so much fun looking at clothes and trying things on. I was thrilled that she found 2 pairs of jeans that she really liked and she was beyond excited over her high top sneakers. She also got a dress, 3 skirts, another pair of pants, boots, 4 t-shirts, a nice blouse, a cardigan, a sweatshirt, some hair accessories, a belt and a nightgown. Pretty much a whole new wardrobe for Maddie, she truly needed it.
Here she is showing off some of her outfits.




On Wednesday I took Lily shopping. She mainly needed new shoes and a backpack but we also bought a couple of outfits for her so it wouldn't be too unfair. She got a jean dress, a pair of jeans, a cardigan, 2 t-shirts and some hair accessories but the things she was most excited about was a hat and some boots.




All three of us fell in love with this new store called crazy8, it's a cheaper line of gymboree. I had looked at their clothes online and then realized they have a store not too far away from us in Southlake, about a 40 minutes drive which was well worth it. I plan on getting the boys fall clothes there too.

Today the girls got their hair cut at Sweet and Sassy. It turned out really cute!

Maddie

Lily

I just had to throw this one in there because I think it's so cute and it really shows how big the boys are getting. This is Lucas.


Monday, August 17, 2009

My photo published in Schmap

A few weeks ago I was contacted and asked permission to use one of my photos from flickr for publication in a digital travel guide to New Orleans called Schmap. I had never heard of Schmap but they are actually pretty cool. New Orleans is only one of 200 destinations they have digital guides for.
Check this out, my photo from the New Orleans french market is on the right hand side of the page. I think it's pretty exciting :).

http://www.schmap.com/neworleans/shopping_souvenirs/p=59179/i=59179_46.jpg

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Our new tents

For the past few weeks I've been constantly worried about the boys trying to climb out of their cribs. I've seen them half heartedly attempting to and I knew it was just a matter or time. So we considered our options. The first option was converting the cribs to toddler beds....we're so not ready for that! The other option was crib tents. I found out about these through my mothers of multiples group a few months ago, what a great invention! We ordered them through Walmart and they arrived Friday. The boys and I spent the yesterday afternoon assembling them and trying them out. It was a mix of excitement and frustration. This is a big change for them since before falling asleep they usually entertain themselves with throwing things out of the crib. No more throwing stuff and no more biting on the rails. Bedtime went above my expectations, they fell asleep faster than normal and slept great all night.

These tents will hopefully keep the boys safe in their cribs a little longer.

Lucas sleeping.

Jacob sleeping

Friday, August 14, 2009

Day 5 and 6, our trip home.

We left Fort Collins Thursday morning around 10 AM. We (Michael, I and the boys) had had a rough night as the boys didn't sleep very well. They took turns waking up throughout the night and I think we were up about once every hour. The boys had gone to bed late on Wednesday evening and were overly tired which usually makes their sleep suffer and on top of that they were both coming down with a cold.
Our plan was to drive 8 hours to Wichita, Kansas and spend the night. The drive ended up taking a little longer than we had anticipated so we realized we would not make it to Wichita until late in the evening, way past bedtime for the boys. So we made the crazy decision to make it an all nighter, since we were so behind schedule anyway, and drive all the way home. An additonal 5 hours from Wichita. The kids slept off and on but not as much as we had hoped they would. At 2:30 AM we had to stop for gas and since the kids were awake we all got out to stretch a little. From there we had another 1.5 hours of driving and the boys watched Elmo while the girls played Nintendo, we were finally home at 4 AM. 17 hours after we left our hotel in Fort Collins. The kids ate some cereal and we headed to bed and slept until 9:30. Needless to say we've all been a little tired today.

We're glad we made this trip to check out Fort Collins. We really like the area but we haven't made any decisions yet, time will tell. For some reason this road trip was a lot more tiresome than the one we did in the beginning of the summer, even though this one was much shorter. Maybe it had to do with the fact that we were all coming down with a cold and the high altitude. We certainly had a good time but I think it'll be awhile before we attempt another road trip....we're tired!

We've made many fun memories and some not so fun. Let me tell you about the low points on this trip since there was quite a few for just 5 days.
On day 1 Lily got her hand caught in the sliding car door. I closed the door and didn't notice that Lily was holding her hand right there while talking to Michael in the front seat and she didn't notice the door closing ( it's automatic ). All of a sudden she starts screaming and when we look over the door is closed and Lily's hand is stuck. Michael quickly opened it and her hand was fine although it hurt for awhile, it scared us all.
Day 2....while visiting downtown Fort Collins we got a ticket for an expired registration, $75. And get this, it expired in September of last year! I don't know how we managed to drive around for almost a year without noticing. Usually they send out a reminder when it's time to renew which they didn't do and our other excuse it the fact that our window sticker said expiration 8 - 9 which we though was August 2009 but it was really September 2008. How embarrassing. By the way, Michael took care of it this aftenoon.
The on our way home, before even leaving Colorado I got pulled over for speeding! I got my first speeding ticket in 11 years of driving. I was doing 88 on a 75 mph road so I was obviously guilty, another fine....$170. Great! So that was part of the reason the trip took a little longer, getting stopped for speeding and then for driving at speed limit the rest of the way.
Finally, Lucas somehow managed to get his finger caught in the GPS while playing with the buttons. The screen folds down as the CD changer is located behind it and I guess he pushed the button to fold it down and grabbed the screen. I didn't know how to get him unstuck but Michael quickly came to the rescue. What an ordeal!
Then there were lots of little things, bumping into things, Lucas taking a tumble at the spray park, Jakie falling off the sofa, almost driving over a kid that ran out in the parking lot, making wrong turns while driving around, Maddie loosing the ball she won from a machine at the mall as it rolled into an empty "store" that was closed off with a curtain and wires. I could probably think of more but you get the idea.
Michael is leaving for work early in the morning (5 AM) and I'm looking forward to a few days of just relaxing at home.....as much as possible while taking care of two sick toddlers.

The boys are fascinated with trucks and enjoyed checking this one out as we stopped for lunch on our way home.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Day 4, Another day in Fort Collins

Our last day in Colorado was a hot one. The difference between Colorado and Texas summers is that here it cools down at night and mornings are fairly comfortable even if turns out to be a hot day which is nice. It doesn't get to be Texas hot though and the summers are not as long. And obviously, being Colorado, they have four seasons and plenty of snow in the winters....just what we're looking for. This morning we went to the Farm at Lee Martinez park close to downtown. It was a cute little farm ground were we saw cows, pigs, horses, goats, sheeps, chickens and turkeys. The girls enjoyed feeding some of the animals.

The boys watching baby Einstein while we were cooking lunch, Lucas is wearing Lily's goggles backwards....cute boy!

The Farm at Lee Martinez park.

Lily feeding the goats.

The boys, Lucas was trying to pull his hat off which is why he looks a little funny.

In the afternoon we drove around the area, once again, while the boys were sleeping. And after dinner we drove up the foothills to look at the view. The following pictures are taken from around Horsetooth Reservoir in west Fort Collins. Depending on which side of town we would live on this could literally be right in our backyard. Even if you're on the east side of town it would only take 10 minutes or so to get here. In fact, the city is so small that you could pretty much get to any point in 10 or 15 minutes. Fort Collins has a population of 137,200 people so it's pretty small by US standards but big enough to have everything you could possibly need.
The area is gorgeous, the pictures don't quite capture it but trust me.

The foothills by Horsetooth reservoir.

Horsetooth reservoir.
Picnic area overlooking Horsetooth reservoir.

View of the foothills.

Another view.

A shop in a cosy little place we drove through.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Day 3, Fort Collins

This morning we drove around some residential areas looking at homes while the boys took a nap in the car. There's a wide variety of homes in this area and plenty of nice communities, some nicer than others. We can definitely see ourselves living here. We are very surprised at how beautiful it is here, we didn't expect there to be so many trees everywhere and the view of the mountains to the west is just spectacular. We kind of get a feeling of a mix of California and Sweden.
After lunch we drove into downtown where we walked around a little bit followed by a visit to the mall. From there we went to a nice park where they have a splash park and playground.

One of the neighborhoods with a nice view.

View of the mountains.

In downtown Fort Collins.

Downtown.

Downtown, the building behind the fountain is the F.C bike library where you can borrow a bike for free for a few hours up to 5 days. It's a very bicycle friendly town.

Lily climbing a bear in downtown F.C.

Lucas in downtown F.C.

Downtown F.C

An old fashion sweet shop where Maddie and Lily bought ice cream.

Fossil creek park.

Splash ground at Fossil creek.

Cooling off in the water.

Playground at Fossil creek park.

Maddie on top of a mammoth in Fossil creek park.