Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The End of a Great Year!

We had a great December, packed with lots of holiday activities. In fact, it's been such a busy month that this is the first time I've actually had a chance to see what pictures we took (and what pictures we forgot to take.)
At the beginning of the month, Todd and I joined his family in celebrating his Grandmother's 91st birthday. We stayed at a bed and breakfast near the family farm and had a great visit overall. It was our first weekend being away from the kids; Luke stayed with Nonnie and Poppy, and Evan and Joel went to Grammy and Grampy. We had a great time with the family, (and an even better time enjoying our first full night of sleep in over two years!), and the kids did pretty well without us. Good to know I can start planning that trip to Europe and feel confident the kids will do well staying home with the grandparents. (KIDDING!)

We had a holiday party with our college friends. Everyone has a slew of kids now, and it's fun to get together and see the transformation we've all taken. No more video games and endless sport conversation from the guys; I think I actually overheard them talking grocery prices! It was a lot of fun, though. The twins are very shy with other kids, so didn't really want to interact, but enjoyed doing their own thing most of the night. (Joel pushed a grocery cart, and Evan played with a balloon. Very typical behaviors from each of them.) Luke was his smiling self as usual. He's an easy kid most of the time, thank goodness.

The boys decorated cookies at a holiday party. They had fun!

This year I decided I really wanted our holiday season to be heavily focused on family, so we made an advent "event" calendar. The calendar only lasted two days before the twins managed to destroy it, but we still were able to enjoy a lot of family activities. We baked cookies, which they loved; did a night drive looking at holiday lights, which they loved; went on a train ride, which they loved... there was an activity every night for two weeks straight, and they loved them all. One of my favorite parts was making salt dough ornaments and using them to decorate the Christmas tree. I particularly enjoyed this because when it came to taking the tree down, I was able to toss all the ornaments in the trash! I think I've come up with a great new "tradition" in our home. (Todd hates all my "Christmas tradition" planning, but I think even he appreciates this one, since it was easiest Christmas cleanup ever!)

We also decided to start a new-- ahem,
tradition-- in our home regarding gift giving. We really want to make sure we teach the kids that Christmas is for celebrating Jesus' birth, and not just "gimme the gifts." So we've employed a great idea that I had learned about last year; we give each of the kids a total of three gifts to represent JOY: J- a gift about Jesus (the twins' received Bible music, Luke got a VeggieTales DVD); O- a gift to share with Others (all three kids received books for us to read together); and Y- a gift especially for Yourself (the twins' received CD players since they both love to sing, and Luke got a teething toy, which he immediately tossed aside and never gave a second glance. Oh well.) We also decided to buy one family gift, so ended up getting a Wii system (which I have mixed feelings about. I agreed to it only because I figure we can play the games as a family.) Between our gifts, gifts from relatives, and Shamu gifts (a fishing game that has been a tradition in my family since my mom was little), the kids made out like bandits and our house is now overrun with a host of new exciting noisy things that make random noise, even when on the shelf (those of you with these toys know EXACTLY what I am talking about. Nothing like waking up at 2am to the sounds of a toy train choo-chooing without being touched-- creepy!)

So Christmas was a blast, we enjoyed lots of visiting with family, and now 2010 is already around the corner.
I'm making a long list of resolutions this new year, including spending more time working on the blog. My very awesome brother built me a laptop, which makes it a lot easier to work on it throughout the day. Feel free to encourage my resolution my leaving comments every now and then; I miss hearing what you have to say (and I'm curious to see who is reading! Sometimes it gets lonely out here in cyber-world!)

Joel had a lot of fun over our 3 days of Christmas.

Happy New Year, everyone!

For those who wonder why we don't have family photos to share, here's an example. Christmas Eve, (I'm still unshowered, so ignore the hair and lovely face):

"Hey, let's do a family picture!" "Well, THAT didn't work!"

"Okay, everyone look at the camera! LOOK at the CAMERA! SAY CHEESE!"

"Come on, guys! Just ONE picture!"

Ah, forget it. Merry Christmas, all.

And some more random December photos, as my gift to you!

This is Saucy, one of our new pets. He and Wall-E (the other) are both eastern painted turtles. They seem very happy (by reptile standards.) They are surprisingly friendly and enjoy poking their heads up to see us when we look over the tank.

Bathtime at the White house! All three boys now squish into the tub together, but they love it!

His middle name ain't Matisse for nothin'. Here's Evan busily painting with yogurt.

(Evan was shocked when he looked up and saw me standing on the chair. He knows the rules!)

The artist at work.

I think this one is hilarious:

"Mom, do NOT interrupt when I'm watching T.V. with my brothers!"

Christmas movie+ new pjs+ snacks in front of the tv= 3 content little boys!

One of my favorite pictures! (The only child that actually took good photos this Christmas.)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Friday, December 4, 2009

Thanksgiving with Family

Here are the photos of our Thanksgiving trip to Missouri. It was BUSY, but we had a blast!

Family picture at the White house: Grandpa Adrian, Grandma Linda, Daddy with Evan and Joel, Mamaw, Foxy, Aunt Suzanne, and Luke. Anyone else find it amusing that it seems easier to get a dog to look at the camera than the two-year-olds?

Grandma Linda bought these really cool trucks for the twins, and they enjoyed playing with them out on the back patio (check out their gorgeous view of the lake!)

Iid Family Thanksgiving photo. My brain is too tired to list everyone's names. It's a huge, loud, fun group. I give loud and fun equal emphasis.

Family photo at my aunt's house. She's got an anti-social llama, a couple of horses, dogs (including one with only three legs), and many rabbits. The twins' favorite part? The swingset.

Mamaw and Sweet Luke.

Grandma Linda with Luke

Grandpa Adrian with Luke

The boys LOVED throwing rocks into the lake at Grandma and Grandpa's house.
(Joel on left, Evan on right)

Sometimes they chose really big rocks.

Mommy and Luke enjoying the beautiful MO weather that weekend!

Daddy and Luke enjoying the view

Is there any question as to who Luke looks like?

Seriously, this kid is CUTE!

Evan enjoying playtime with his little brother.

Our Thanksgiving weekend agenda (so you can have an idea of what I mean when I say it was "busy"):

Tuesday evening- 5 hour drive to St. Louis area to visit Nana (the boys' great-grandma). Evan got carsick about 30 minutes after leaving home.
Wednesday- Spent day with Nana. Left late afternoon, another 5 hour drive to Missouri. Evan and Joel got carsick shortly before we arrived. Todd and I got lost thanks to my over-reliance on GPS. I saw a hyena. Okay, not really, but it sure looked like one (it was a buck.)

Thursday- Spent the day with our huge family at the Mercantile (part of my aunt's doll business. She is amazing... see here: )

Friday- Went to visit our cousins' farms. The twins got to see lots of animals, throw rocks in the huge pond, and ride a 4-wheeler with Daddy (Mommy was too wimpy to ride.) After a major tantrum fest at the farm, we got in the car to leave. Joel threw up before we even left the driveway. Another short drive to visit Daddy's side of the family. Evan and Joel got sick just before we arrived at the condo.

Saturday- Visit with Grandparents, Mamaw (boys' great-grandma), and Aunt Suzanne. The visit was fun but way too short.

Sunday- Nine hour drive home. NO CARSICKNESS!

And just like that, we are onto the holiday madness that is December. Happy Holidays, everyone!

GIFT WISH LIST FOR THE BOYS (for those who have asked):


Toys-Love all things transportation... planes, trains, automobiles. Anything related to this would make them happy. They also enjoy music a lot, so anything relating to listening to/playing music they'd love.

Clothing- Always in need of pajamas! Size 2t shirts, 24 month or 2t bottoms. Adjustable waistbands really help because they have skinny tummies and pants fall down.

Characters- They love Backyardigans, Dora and Diego, and Pixar films.


Toys- Sensory books, teething toys, sensory balls/toys. He is very active so anything that keeps his mind stimulated would make him happy.

Clothing- size 12 month tops and bottoms for winter/early spring clothing.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Our Busy October!

There are so many pictures of the different things we did this month that I hardly feel the need to write anything extra. The boys make me laugh a lot, cry a little, and dream of the days when I will be able to sleep as long as I want. I'm exhausted from the moment I wake until I go to sleep each and every day. Nevertheless, I continue to love hanging out with my little guys who always keep me guessing what will happen next!

After a bout of illness through each member of the family, we decided the best cure for a cold was fresh air. We packed the kids in the car and headed to a local pumpkin farm to enjoy some time outdoors. It was a beautiful day, and everyone felt much better afterward, so the goal was accomplished!

Evan says big boys don't smile for pictures.

Luke was a bit sick, but he stayed warm being carried in Mommy's coat!
I swear that isn't a cigarette in Joel's mouth; he was given a lollipop to enjoy!

Joel says watermelons are cool!
Mommy and Daddy said, "Don't run into the corn maze." In toddler terms, that means, "Run as fast as you can NOW!"

Last month, Todd won bowling passes, so we thought we'd bring the kids out and enjoy an afternoon at the bowling alley. Joel and Evan enjoyed themselves and were on fairly good behavior until the end. Luke was a little angel and sat quietly in his carrier the entire time. It was a fun family event!

The twins used a ramp to bowl. They loved pushing it all by themselves, which Daddy let them do. They also loved trying to lift the ball all by themselves, which Daddy did not let them do.
Yay, Daddy!
Bowling shoes are for the cool kids. I've half a mind to sneak out the door with these snazzy shoes. (Just kidding. Although my mom told me that when she was a teen she stole a pair of shoes from the bowling alley because she liked the look.)
Who can guess how we knew when the kids were ready to leave?

Luke has started solids this month! I tried holding off as long as I could, knowing full well that once you start, there's no turning back. However, he has been eyeing and grabbing for food whenever he sees anyone eating, so I figured it was time. We're using a method called "Baby Led Weaning," which basically means that rather than causing a bunch of work for myself making pureed food, I just give Luke a part of whatever the family is having that day. His first meal was canned pumpkin, which he fed himself with a spoon. He has since eaten steamed broccoli, canteloupe, avocado, banana, and potatoes. He loves being able to pick up the food on his own, and I love watching him take actual bites of food instead of having to feed him myself. For those with kids this age, I highly recommend looking into using BLW in your own family.

Here are a few shots of the first meal: Canned Pumpkin!

Think he enjoyed it?

Trying desperately to pick up banana:


Some of you heard about The Great Flour Caper that took place in my house recently. Here's photographic evidence of why leaving two-year-olds alone with flour for under two minutes is NOT a good idea. (Four cups, to be exact.)

(These are just close-ups of a small part of it. It was on the walls, the counters, the curtains; everywhere you could possibly imagine and many places you'd never expect. We are still coming across coatings of flour on areas that we missed!)

And just to prove that Mommy is sometimes incapable of learning a lesson the first time, here we have the sequel: The Great Dirt Disaster. You can guess how much fun it was to clean the carpet and every surface in the living room.

Has Mommy learned her lesson yet? I'll let you know in a year or so.

One of the best parts of fall is the occasional great weather for spending time outdoors. Here are some pictures of my boys enjoying time together.

Daddy had a lot of fun teaching the twins about the fun of playing in the leaves!

As if the month wasn't already busy enough, we decided to bring the boys to a pumpkin patch last weekend. (Yes, this is our second visit, but this was a BIG pumpkin patch.) There were a lot of fun things to do!
Evan's driving the bus and debating whether or not to open the door for Joel.

Look who we found! Our favorite characters, The Backyardigans!

This is a giant hill of hay that was just calling to the twins to climb!

There was a big fight as to who got to drive the pretend... train? bus? Regardless, Evan was the winner.

Luckily, the boys soon found tractors that allowed each of them to drive alone. Unfortunately, they were too short to actually reach the pedals, but that didn't stop them from throwing tantrums when it was time to go!

Perhaps a future farmer? I hear Baylis, IL has land available!

The men in my life. Aren't they gorgeous?

And finally, what would October be without Halloween? After careful deliberation, I decided this year's theme would be "Black and White". The end result? A penguin, a skunk, and a panda bear all enjoyed a chilly day learning that, "costumes plus saying trick-or-treat equals CANDY!!!" While the twins fought me all week long and refused to try on their costumes, after about two houses they suddenly had an epiphany that this could just about be the greatest day of the year. I highly doubt I'll have to put up the same fight to dress them next year!
Aunt Jessi spent the day with us. Here she is with Evan the Skunk, Luke the Panda, and Joel the Penguin. The boys love playing with their auntie!

Even though temps were in the 40's, Luke was wearing four layers of clothing, so he seemed pretty comfortable hanging out in the stroller.

Running to the neighbor's house to get the loot.

"Mom, look what they gave us!"

And finally, a picture of Mommy and her little Panda:

This post may have come at the last minute possible (okay, technically it's no longer October at this point), but as you can see, there hasn't been a whole lot of time to sit and write. Happy Fall; there'll be Thanksgiving pictures to share soon enough!