Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Just Ask

 
Anybody else feel like the last few weeks have been a whirlwind of parties, activities, festive dinners, sickness and gift opening? The month of December always seems like that, but I feel like it's exaggerated when you have little ones that still need to nap.

In the midst of the December whirlwind, we recently attended an extended family party with lots of cousins we hadn't seen for at least a year and all of their children, many of whom we had never met. It was a lot of fun visiting and catching up with everyone.

While we were there, we were also given a brief glimpse of some of the social challenges that our little Charlie might have to face. The kids were all running around and playing, Charlie among them, when some of the older children noticed his eyes. They commented to Forrest that his eyes looked red, and then, keeping their distance, they came to the conclusion that he was creepy. Forrest calmly explained why his eyes sometimes appear red, and told the kids that he thought it was pretty cool. They all walked away, not sure what to think about it.

When Forrest told me that story, my heart broke and I got tears in my eyes. I know they weren't intending to be hurtful. And I know that Charlie's eyes are very different, especially to someone who's never seen him (or a person with Albinism) before. But it was still quite painful to hear other children refer to my precious son as "creepy."

In contrast, at the same party I was standing in line getting food when I heard another young girl ask her mom about Charlie and his white hair. I was so grateful when the mom told her daughter that he had a condition called Albinism, and then turned to me to ask more about it. She explained his light coloring and vision difficulties, and then also mentioned another child in her daughter's school with the same condition. I can't even describe how refreshing it was to have someone ASK. What a great example for her daughter.

Nearly everywhere we go, I see people turn and whisper to their neighbor. People point and stare, many people smile as they do so to make it seem less awkward. But so few people ask. Sure we get comments like, "look at that towhead" and "which one of you had the white hair when you were kids?" and (from old people) "his hair is as white as mine!". Sometimes when people comment I do take the time to explain that he has Albinism. But most of the time I just nod and smile, or say he's very special or unique. Because he is. But I really appreciate it when people just ask me.

I know it's difficult to find the right words to use. How do you ask without being offensive? But if you are honestly trying to learn more about a person without passing judgment, they have no reason to be offended. I think children often learn to be bullies because of their parent's unintentional teachings. Parents who point and whisper and stare will teach their children that those with visible challenges are scary, creepy, or weird. Parents who aren't afraid to talk to and ask about those with difficulties will teach their children that they are people too, and not something to make jokes about, shy away from, or treat cruelly. Please don't inadvertently teach your children to be a bully.

I know Charlie is different and I know he will be faced with a lot of bullying in his life. But I also know that Forrest and I will pour our hearts and souls into teaching him to be the bigger person. Also, Forrest is determined to teach him karate, just in case.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

It Takes Patience

I am a lot of things. I'm a mom, a wife, a sister and daughter. I'm an avid online shopper, a sour milk despiser, and a fan of The Biggest Loser. I'm a sloppy gift wrapper, a stomach sleeper, and a whimp at amusement parks. There are a lot of things that I am. And a lot more things that I am not. And let me tell you, I AM NOT PATIENT! I never have been. I have what my husband would call the "need-to-be-right" complex. I think my ideas are always the best way to do something, and I get really frustrated when someone tries to do it a different way (something I get from my dad).

So what in the world is a non-patient person doing raising twins?! Trying to learn patience I guess. In church on Sunday we had a lesson about patience, and it was one of those lessons where I sat thinking I was doing a pretty good job at it. I am not always the best at being patient with my husband (I know, I'm working on it), but during the lesson I was thinking about my children and my thoughts honestly were something like this: "I think I do a pretty good job at being patient with my kids.." and ended right about there.

And I think the Man Upstairs heard my thoughts and decided I needed a little motivation to take that lesson to heart. So He sent me yesterday. Yesterday my little monkies decided to climb onto the table and open the nearly full bag of cheerios and dump them all out. Including the dust at the bottom of the bag. And they thought it was hilarious, of course! And they chose to play in their cribs for 2+ hours instead of nap, so they were super cranky. And when I went to get them up from their "nap" I found a little boy with poop spread all over his mattress and clumped under his fingernails. And that was after 5 poopy diapers already changed earlier in the day. While I worked on doing the laundry and cleaning up the now-brown crib sheet, the littles climbed into the dryer and shut themselves in. I opened the door to find Charlie sitting right on top of Caroline. Charlie was thrilled and Caroline looked like she didn't know whether to hit him or cry. Most of the day went about like that. Caroline shut Charlie's hand in the door. Charlie pulled Caroline's hair. They both fell off the kitchen chairs multiple times while climbing onto the table, which I can't keep them off of. They refuse to sit in their high chairs. They insist on feeding themselves with the spoon instead of letting me feed them. I finally sent Forrest a message at 5 PM begging him to come home from work and rescue me. 

And when I think about it, I don't know if the incidents from yesterday were really that much worse than the average day; but for whatever reason, my patience was wearing quite thin. Perhaps it was a not so gentle reminder that nobody's perfect, and that while I am generally quite patient with my children, it is something that I still need to work on. Thank goodness they are so cute in the midst of their mischieviousness! That makes it much easier.

Moments like this make it easier too. They really do love each other!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Our Favorite Things

Sometimes I feel like I get in a major rut when it comes to entertaining and feeding my children. Like we do the same things over and over. So I've been trying to switch it up a bit! The twins' preferences change just about as often as mine do (which is a lot), but for now, here are a few of our favorite things!

Toys: 

 
I wish I could remember what website I got this idea from, but I can't. I went to my dad's work and picked up two cardboard tubes of different sizes, and then taped them to diaper boxes stacked on top of each other. In the bottom of the bottom box there are a bunch of books so it will stay in place. Charlie and Caroline LOVE this toy! And it was free. They stand there for 10 minutes at a time (which is a really long time for a 15 month old!) and drop toys down the different tubes and get quite a thrill out of watching them come out the other end. Originally I only had the bottom box/tube combo, but now that they are a little older I added the top one and they think it's great looking at different toys to try and determine which tube they will fit down (the top tube is about half the size of the bottom one). It's been a great toy/learning station for my littles, and I think it will be especially great heading into the winter months!


Anything with wheels! Caroline is obsessed with sitting/riding on things with wheels, and Charlie is fascinated by flipping the item over and playing with the wheels himself. I am sad about winter coming for this one reason alone! There are so many bikes and scooters etc out in the courtyard that they love to play with! 


This toybox (I got it at Ikea for under $10 I think) has been the source of lots and lots of enjoyment! They love climbing inside, tipping it over, throwing the toys in and out etc. 

Activities:


Helping me "fold" laundry is a favorite of theirs! Charlie loves to sit in the laundry basket while I pull the warm clothes out of the dryer, and they love to help me sort the colored socks from the white socks. 


Charlie and Caroline love doing "chores." Their favorite is throwing the diapers away, but they also are responsible for putting their clothes in the laundry basket, cleaning up their tubby toys at the end of the bath, and wiping off their high chair trays after a meal. 


This basket in the living room used to be filled with baby blankets, but we recently made a switch to something a little more practical and fun: balls! We have a ton of them (mostly small soccer balls) and they love them all. A favorite activity is dumping all the balls out and then throwing them back in one at a time. We are still at the point where the basket is right next to them when they "throw" the balls in, but we're trying to move it farther away a little bit at a time. 


We can't forget climbing! That's quite possibly their favorite activity. Every once in a while we take the cushions off the couch and line them up to make a "balance beam". The littles think it's hilarious to try and walk on it because it's so squishy and wobbly so they always fall right off. Other times we drag the chair into the middle of the floor so they can climb all over it and won't hit anything when they fall off (if there was only one of them climbing on it, falling probably wouldn't be an issue.. but with 2 it definitely is!). Sometimes we pull out all the pillows, cushions, crib mattresses etc and make a climbing obstacle course in the living room. They think it's pretty fun, and considering how much of a mess they usually make when they play, it's not too bad of a clean up.

And I don't have a picture, but another favorite activity is reading. They've always liked being read to, but especially in the last few weeks they really LOVE picking out a book, sitting down on our laps and looking at pictures over and over and over. Caroline isn't shy about it - she picks out a book, throws it at one of us, turns around and backs up and plops her little bum right down on a lap and wiggles herself back until she's wedged in tight. Charlie is a little more hesitant. He picks out a book and shows it to me but won't come sit on my lap unless I pick him up and put him there. But once he's there, he grabbes my hand and sticks the book right in it to read. I love it :)

Food:

I don't make separate meals for the littles. They just eat whatever I eat, chopped up small enough that they can eat it. They'll eat most anything, but these are a few of their favorites:

-steamed squash
-kidney beans
-toast
-frozen blueberries
-raisins
-tilapia
-apples and peanut butter
-shredded wheat
-oatmeal
-yogurt
-string cheese
-mandarin oranges
-olives

I could keep going for a long time but I won't bore you with every single thing they eat. I hear most kids go through a pick stage when they get closer to age 2, so I'm trying to enjoy them being fantastic eaters while they can, and crossing my fingers that we won't go through that picky stage!

MY favorite things:

And now a short list of my favorites.

-during the twins' afternoon nap, I really enjoy cooking and prepping dinner, baking, cleaning the kitchen etc. (I'm being serious, I really do enjoy it!). I take the iPad and turn on Netflix and cook away. Then I can enjoy watching TV but don't feel guilty about sitting on the couch all afternoon wasting time. 
-reading. Right now I'm in the middle of Outliers and It is fascinating! I don't get much time to read, so I've been reading this book for months.. but even if it takes me forever to get through it, I still love it!
-yoga. I didn't get to work out at all while I was pregnant with the twins so this is new for me. Earlier in my pregnancy I did a lot more cardio work, but it's become much more difficult for me to do that now. But yoga is the perfect balance of exercise and relaxation. I LOVE IT! And I do it at home in my living room while the twins are napping, so I don't have to pay for a gym membership or worry about finding someone to watch the twins.

These are a few of our favorite things. What are some of yours?





Friday, November 14, 2014

Just How Much?

With a third little munchkin on the way to join our family, I've been thinking a lot lately about our use of diapers, wipes, baby food etc. and how much we use of everything now. And then I think about how much more of it we're going to use very very soon!

When the twins were newborn, we went through approximately 24 diapers a day. Yes, that's right, 24. Per day. Which means that we spent roughly $150/month on diapers alone. Now it's a little better than that. Ok, it's A LOT better! On a typical day we use about 8 diapers. Which means that our diaper spending has gone down to $50/month. Much better! Not for long though, soon will have a cuddly new little poop machine to keep covered up. But newborn diapers are so much easier to change!!

Ok enough with diapers and poop. Let's talk about food. Charlie and Caroline are eaters. Big, big eaters. They always have been. When they were 5 months old, they started eating a ton. Seriously, A TON! I would buy 1 lb bags of frozen veggies, heat them up and puree them, and then they would eat the entire bag in one sitting. We don't have to make special baby food for them anymore, thank goodness. They just eat whatever we eat! And between the two of them, they eat about as much as I do. And remember I'm pregnant, so I eat a pretty good amount! If I make myself a bowl of oatmeal, I make an extra for the twins. I eat a sandwich, they eat a sandwich. I eat a yogurt, they eat three yogurts. Though it is really wonderful to not have to make purees anymore, there has definitely been an increase in our grocery budget lately! But I am super grateful the littles eat so well.

Other things add up as well. Up to this point, they have just shared everything we have. And now they want their own of everything. My logical half says they can just learn to share. And then my irrational half says to just go ahead and get them each their own of everything so they will stop fighting over every toy and sippy cup we own. I'm still on the "learn to share" bandwagon, but it is tempting at times! 

Clothes are another issue. Thankfully up until now, nearly all of their clothes have been given or loaned to us. But now we're having to start buying clothing and let me just say, D.I. is the best thing ever for baby clothes. I got Caroline's winter coat there for $5 a few weeks ago, and it looks brand new! Thank goodness for that, because buying double the clothes is super super expensive! 

I know our lives are about to get WAY crazier. There will be way more poop, a whole new hungry mouth to food, another tiny body to keep clothed (oh, the laundry!), and a third set of nap schedules to work around. But most importantly, there will be one more cuddly baby to hold and to love. More giggles and smiles and a whole new set of firsts. And for that, I absolutely cannot wait! 


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Just a Boy and a Girl

When I found out I was expecting boy/girl twins, I was super excited! There are a lot of things to love about that. Most people say "you can just be done now!" Clearly that's not the case. But having one of each is perfect, in my opinion, and I was super excited to get to see the differences in their personalities and devolepment, side by side. 

So far I have not been disappointed. They are so, so different. And obviously they have both had the same parenting, at the same time. They share all the same toys, are given all the same foods to eat, and are exposed to (almost) all the same experiences. And yet they are different. It amazes me.


Charlie is 100% boy. He is not the least bit interested in stuffed animals, clothes, dolls etc. He LOVES things with wheels. Cars, strollers, walking toys etc. He plays with them constantly. Sometimes he pushes them around the room, but many times he purposely tips them over so that he can just spin the wheels around and around. And then he examines every little part of whatever he's playing with to try and figure out how it all works. He loves pulling things apart and putting them back together. He loves hinges and is thoroughly entertained by opening and closing doors, books, and anything else that operates on a hinge. And he loves climbing anything and everything in sight.


Caroline, on the other hand, could not be more girl. She is obsessed with dolls, stuffed animals, and her blanket. She hugs them tight to her and rubs her face against the softness. She loves combing her hair, blowing her nose, cleaning the floor with wipes, putting on my blush, having bows in her hair (even though she prompty pulls them out, she begs me over and over to put them in for her), and dressing and undressing herself. She loves shoes and wants them on her feet all the time. She loves wearing my necklaces, and constantly brings me lotion to put on her hands and chapstick to put on her lips. She loves carrying around purses and stuffing random items in them. Like I said, all girl.

Charlie is a little bit reckless. He has no fear and he climbs everywhere and then head dives back down (even though he knows how to get down safely). He falls AT LEAST 10 times more each day than Caroline and is constantly covered in bumps and bruises. Caroline is a bit more careful. Her balance is much better than her brother's and she rarely falls. Charlie is pretty easy going and Caroline is a little high strung. Caroline crawled, walked, pick up food etc. quite a bit sooner than Charlie did, but Charlie's vocabulary was bigger at an earlier age. And by vocabulary I mean that he could make a number of animal sounds and car noises pretty early on :). 

They are simply the best. I love them so so much, and I love the special bond that they have. When Charlie cries, Caroline goes and squats down next to him and jabbers some nonsense in his direction, then pats his head and gives him a hug. When Caroline cries, Charlie cries too. Or occasionally he laughs. They can make eachother laugh more than anyone else can, and they love tackling eachother to give hugs and kisses. They think they are hilarious when they stand on either side of a door and swing it back and forth to eachother, or when they hide on either side of a chair and play peek-a-boo. I am so grateful that they always have their best friend to play with. And frankly, I'm a little bit jealous that I didn't grow up with a twin!

We Worked Hard for This!


When Charlie and Caroline were 8 weeks old, they started sleeping 8 hours at night (together - at the same time - without eating). And it was wonderful! Within the following month they moved up to sleeping between 10-12 hours/night, and since then they have been fairly consistent at sleeping 12 hours. Occasionally some teething, sickness, and other sleep disruptions occur, but generally speaking, my children are fantastic sleepers. Hallelujia! 

I often get people who ask about their sleep habits (especially when they were younger) and when I tell them how well they sleep, I get comments like, "You are so lucky to have such good babies!" and "Wow, count yourselves lucky!". And I do. We have been extremely blessed to have such wonderful children and fantastic little sleepers.

But when I respond with the usual, "Yes, we sure are," a part of me also wants to tell them that it's not all luck. Actually I am more of the opinion that it has very little to do with luck at all. I've mentioned before how difficult the first 5-6 weeks with newborn twins were. Partly it was just really hard getting things figured out - learning how to breastfeed two tiny infants, trying to discipher their different cries, and all the other things that come with being a first-time parent. But also I think it was extra hard because we (Forrest and I) made it that way. We were determined to do the hard things then, in the early weeks, so that we could have peace and quiet later on. By that I mean that instead of enjoying the ease and convenience of only feeding one baby when they woke in the night, we chose to wake the other baby too and deal with the commotion of trying to tandem feed in the pitch black at 2 AM, 4 AM, and so on.. I also mean that we sleep trained the littles when they were only 5 weeks old. (Side note: I get that there are arguments for and against cry-it-out. It's not for everyone, and that's fine. I'm only sharing what worked for us.) It took about 3 days of letting them cry in their cribs for what sometimes seemed like hours (in reality it was probably 45 minutes at the very most) until they learned the valuable skill of putting themselves to sleep. And since then, except for the rare circumstances when we are away from anywhere with a crib/pack'n'play, I have never had to rock a baby to sleep. 

Not that I didn't ever want to. The few times that one of the babes has fallen asleep in my arms are times that I treasure and remember with a smile (a sad one, because they are getting so big!). But the minute Forrest went back to work I knew it was impractical for me to rock each of my babies to sleep for naps ALONE. Sleep training was so worth it for us.

And now that the littles are not so little anymore, it is so wonderful (for me and for them) to have the predictability of our routine. I sometimes get easily overwhelmed when it's first thing in the morning and the house is already a mess with breakfast dishes and toys spread everywhere. It's a lifesaver for me to know that regardless of what happens during those couple of hours, at 10 AM the munchkins will be snoozing away and I can deal with the dishes and the toys then. 

Charlie and Caroline thrive on their routine. Caroline a little more-so than Charlie, now-a-days. When I say the word "naptime" she actually runs into the room, grabs her blankie and her panda/dolly/bear (whatever is her favorite at the moment) and tries to climb into her crib. I'm not kidding. Charlie usually makes a break for it in the other direction. Their little personalities crack me up! 

Anyway, my point is, parents have a lot of control over what kind of sleepers their littles ones turn out to be. Not complete control, but a good amount of it. So find something that works for you! Happy sleeping everyone :)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Halloween Time!

Happy Halloween! I like Halloween, but I don't love it. I was super lame and didn't even put up decorations this year. I had good intentions, but with Forrest out of town and then my trip out to Missouri in the middle of the month to bring him home, decorating was low on the totem pole of things to do! But I still wanted to make it fun for Charlie and Caroline.

They are learning to LOVE Halloween. The courtyard at our apartments is all decked out with ghosts, pumpkins, witches and scarecrows. Our neighbor's door is covered in skeletons and Happy Halloween signs. And the kids think it's the best thing ever! Especially Caroline. She walks around pointing at everything with her jaw dropped and says "Ooooohhhhh!" It's adorable. When we were at the grocery store I walked them down the Halloween aisle and the both kept saying "boo!" over and over at every new decoration they saw. Silly kids.

We had our ward Trunk or Treat on Saturday. We dressed up our cute little munchkins in a bumble bee and a lady bug costumes. Forrest and I carried nets to go with our "bug catcher" costumes. The littles thought it was wonderful going from car to car and getting oodles of candy that we will never let them eat. And they looked super adorable!


It has been pointed out to me that Charlie's head looks 100 times bigger than Caroline's in these pictures. Let me explain: His head isn't huge. It's actually kinda small percentile wise. But the allusion is due to his constume being a 6-9 month size, and Caroline's being 12-18 month. Hey, we make do with what we've got! And on the bright side, a future child will be able to wear them both on different years.


We try to do a fun family activity every Monday night. In our church, we call it Family Home Evening. Yesterday for FHE we were planning on carving pumpkins. Then it turned out that the only pumpkins we had were pint sized and a little too small for our unskilled hands to carve. So we opted to paint them instead, and Charlie and Caroline thought that was the best idea ever! I made edible paint using Sweetened Condensed Milk and food coloring. Caroline painted her pumpkin and the floor really well, and Charlie had a blast painting himself and eating the paint. They were so cute!



In the end we had a giant mess to clean up, but I think it's good for kids to get messy sometimes. And it's not so bad cleaning up when you don't have to do it alone! 

So we've had a great Halloween so far, and it's not even October 31 yet! Holidays are so much more fun when you have little ones who are experiencing everything for the first time. 



Monday, October 20, 2014

Growing Up

My kids are 14 months old. They are a little crazy, and I love them to pieces. They laugh nonstop and love to tackle/climb/headbutt/roar at/wave at me, Forrest, and eachother. And anyone else for that matter. They aren't babies, but they're not toddlers yet either (some people would argue that they are.. I refuse to listen to those arguments). But they're still MY babies. I know it won't seem that way when the new baby comes, but for now they can still be that. They are teeny tiny little humans of the most adorable nature. And in my mind, they will always be that way.

Until today. Today Forrest and I went on a date to see "Meet the Mormons" in theater. (Side note: it is an outstanding film and was so inspirational. Everyone should see it and love it as much as we did!) The last section of the film is about a family from Utah with a son who leaves on a two-year volunteer mission for the Church to South Africa. And the mom. The mom of course is an emotional wreck, saying good-bye to her son. Until that point, I thought Charlie would never grow up. And then it hit me all at once. One day (hopefully), I will be that mom sending my little boy off on a mission to some far away place. The mom in the movie says something to the effect of "I learned that he was not mine, but he was on loan to me. And I was returning him to his Father for a short time." And then the tears flowed. Hers, and mine. 

I know we will have eternity together as our family, and what a blessing that is. But to even think of saying good-bye to my son - my perfect, sweet son - for two years is completely heart-wrenching. (Can you tell I have some major pregnancy hormones going on? I mean the kid just barely turned one for crying out loud.) Like the mom in the movie said, your head knows it's right and good but your heart says no. And really, I hope Charlie makes that selfless decision to go and spend two years of his life in service of the Lord. I really do want that for him. But the thought of it still makes my heart hurt.

Today was the first time I ever thought of my children growing up. And parts of them growing up make me excited. I can't wait to watch their sporting events and be their biggest fan (in whatever they choose to do). But I now know what my mom, and every mom means when she tells her babies to stay little and never grow up.

Please, please my babies, never grow up. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Surreal



Today marks 10 weeks since I drove my husband to an Army base, kissed him goodbye and drove away in tears. In those 10 weeks we have talked on the phone five times. Two of those phone calls lasted less than a minute, the other three were 20-30 minutes of bliss. I've recieved 20 letters, some short and some long. I've sent 100 pictures of Charlie and Caroline, and showed videos to them of their daddy every single day so they don't forget him.

Later today I will board an airplane that will take me to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, where tomorrow I will get to hug and kiss my husband again. The only word I can think to describe it is "surreal." I can't believe the time has passed. I can't believe we all survived. I can't believe that he will be back home with us so soon and that we can have meals together like a normal family. I can hardly contain my excitement, and I can hardly believe it is all happening.

Everyone says the time flew by for them. And you know, sometimes it did for me too. There were days that seemed a lot longer and harder than others. But in general, the days went by fairly quickly. But when I look back at what life was like 10 weeks ago, it makes it seem like a really long time. Charlie and Caroline hadn't even turned 1 yet. We celebrated their birthday a week early so Forrest could be there. Now they are 14 months old. Caroline wasn't walking yet. Now she is practically running. The babes couldn't talk much, and now they jabber non-stop (with a lot of real words included!). I was only 10 weeks pregnant when he left. Now I am half-way there. When I think about it in those terms, it does seem like he's been gone forever.

But we survived, and the long weeks of waiting are over. I am so looking forward to having him home with me again. I'm just trying not to think about Spring-time when he leaves for the next 10 weeks training, because we'll have three kids then, icluding a newborn. Here's to focusing on the time that he IS here, and not the time that he's not. Wish me luck!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Good Days

Today was a good day. Yesterday was NOT a good day. Both days I was at home, taking care of two toddlers, all by myself. Both days my husband was gone. I didn't get phone calls, texts, or emails from him. Both days I had minimum amounts of food in my refrigerator because of a serious need to go to the grocery store. Both days were freezing cold outside. And both days, I had a billion things on my to-do list. 

Yesterday I got up out of bed, got the kids breakfast, played for a little while, then put them back down for a nap. Then I layed on the couch like a potato and watched the Price is Right. Nap over, lunch, play, afternoon nap. Lay on the couch and watch Friends. Nap over, dinner, bedtime craziness. Lay on the couch and watch Modern Family. Bum around and waste time until I finally go to bed close to midnight.

Ok I exaggerate a little bit. I did write a check, get the mail, go on a beautiful scenic drive, give myself a manicure, and put some laundry away. But that was about it. I didn't shower. I didn't do my hair. I didn't put on makeup, get dressed, cook a real meal, clean the disater that is my apartment, or go to the grocery store. And honestly, I felt like crap all day.

Today started the same way. Wake up to the cute back-and-forth jabbering of my babies. Breakfast, play time, the nap. But then I did something different. Most days at this point I try to workout, shower, do my hair, and get dressed. And that's good too. But today my house needed me. So instead of turning on the TV and laying on the couch like a potato, I make a to-do list. And then I started at the top: clean the bathroom. Not like a basic "pick-up" the bathroom. It was in desparate need of a good scrubbing. So I got dressed in my grungiest grunge-wear and got to work. I love crossing things off of lists. It is the best feeling in the world.

The rest of the day went about like that. Wash the dishes, check. Fold the laundry, check. Vacuum, sweep and mop, check. Make a real dinner, check. Take out the trash, check. Seriously my list was two pages long and I cruised through it in a few short hours. Why yes, I do think I deserve a gold medal for that! (Pause here to give props to my kids for being such good sleepers, that I actually have 4+ hours of naptime each day to get things done.)

Not every day is like that. I don't always get a billion things done in less than half the day. But all "The Good Days" have a few things in common:

1) Less TV - If you know me at all, you know I love my TV shows. And I'm not saying NO TV, because that would be really hard for me. But just less of it.

2) A Clean House - Whether the house is already clean or the day involves me cleaning (let's be honest, I have 1 year old twins. The day ALWAYS involves me cleaning), having a clean house makes a serious difference in how well my day goes.

3) Positivity - Ultimately, I know that every day I have the power to choose how I feel. Not physically, necessarily, but emotionally. If I wake up and lounge around and decide not to do anything, then I usually have a bad day. But if I wake up and decide that I'm going to do something and feel good, then I do it. And it almost always ends up as a good day.

I declare that if I am in control of whether or not I have a good day (and I think that my above thoughts will confirm that I am), then I will choose to have far more good days then bad days. In fact, I would like to have no bad days at all. (Ha! Wouldn't that be nice.) But really, it's my choice. So I think I will choose the good. What about you?

And we'll throw in a TBT to this GREAT day last week, when we got to FaceTime daddy for the first time in 8 weeks. 13 days and counting!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Albino.

I cringe when I hear that word. For the first few months after Charlie was diagnosed with Albinism, I found myself getting frustrated and even angry with people whenever I would hear them refer to him as an albino. I felt like I needed to defend him from others who didn't understand who he really was, and that "albino" had nothing to do with his real identity.
Lately, though, I've been thinking a lot about my son's future. For years Forrest and I have dreamed about travelling around the world and spending years living in different countries. And I always imagined that we would take our children along with us, giving them new experiences that most children wouldn't have. We talked about travelling while the our children were young, and being settled by the time they reached high school. But now my thoughts have shifted toward Charlie, and what would be best for him. 
And I think it will be important for him to not be offended by the term "albino". Because he's going to get called that - not necessarily out of cruelty or meanness, but just because people don't know the proper term. I was one of those people, until my little Char-monster came along. I also think it will be important for Charlie not to be the new kid all his life. I think we will need to be settled long, long before his high school years so that he can grow up with people who know him and who don't think he's strange for having albinism.
I realize I can't protect him from every harm and evil out there. But oh how I wish I could. I realize that he will be teased and stared at, and the thought of it makes me want to cry. But I know he will be so much stronger because of it.
He reminds me of this talk in the April 2014 General Conference, given by Neil L. Andersen:

"In nature, trees that grow up in a windy environment become stronger. As winds whip around a young sapling, forces inside the tree do two things. First, they stimulate the roots to grow faster and spread farther. Second, the forces in the tree start creating cell structures that actually make the trunk and branches thicker and more flexible to the pressure of the wind. These stronger roots and branches protect the tree from winds that are sure to return."

That's my Charlie. I know the winds are going to come. And I know he will grow stronger and be given the tools he needs to withstand the damaging forces around him. I already find myself amazed by Charlie's determination. Where Caroline gets frustrated with something that she can't do and brings it to me to do instead, Charlie spins an object around in his hands and stares at it closely until he figures it out for himself. I have learned so much from him already, and I think he will continue to teach me things throughout my lifetime. I'm so blessed to be a parent to such a wonderful and special spirit.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Cake Smash

Let's pretend I wrote this post a month and a half ago, when my babies turned one.


The past year has gone by so incredibly fast. It seems like just yesterday we were waiting (not so) patiently for our little bundles of joy to arrive. I remember the hour-long drive to the hospital, knowing that the end of our child-free life was there. I remember the first night in the hospital, and the blur of sleepless nights that became the next five weeks. I remember their first smiles, first coos, first time rolling over. All like it was yesterday. And now my little bundles are 1.

I'm not particularly talented when it comes to throwing parties. I've never been good at decorations, themes etc. So we kept it simple. We had a small family party at my mom and dad's house with Minnie and Mickey Mouse cakes made by my super talented sister, Ashley. That was the second cake smash we had done. The first was after family pictures when they were 11 months old. But both cake smashes went about like this:

Charlie - mmm, that looks fun, I wonder what it feels like?
Caroline - I don't know what that is but it looks scary.
Charlie - wow it's really fun to squish in-between my fingers. I wonder if it tastes good?
Caroline - well it must be safe since Charlie is touching it.
Charlie - this is the best thing I have ever tasted! I think I'll shovel handfuls into my mouth as fast as possible. 
Caroline - (slowly poking her finger in) I'm not so sure about this.
Charlie - do you think they'll take it away before I eat the entire thing?
Caroline - (through tears) mom my finger is dirty!

I'm not kidding. Caroline barely even tasted it. And Charlie couldn't get enough. My mom took his Mickey cake away after he ate more than half of it. I am thoroughly convinced that if we had let him, he would have licked the plate clean. 



Silly kids. They are so different, and their little personalities crack me up. Here is a little of what they are up to lately:

Caroline is obsessed with ambulances. She walks around all day singing "wee oh wee oh wee oh." She loves to read books and her new favorite activity is bring a book to me, plopping down on my lap and then turning the pages while she jabbers nonsense and pretends to read the story to me. She likes most any food, but lately she has really been loving peaches, bell peppers, strawberries and pears. She is getting really good at expressing herself by pointing to what she wants and saying "want some!" which really sounds like "ant some." She really loves her shoes, and she associates putting shoes on with going outside. So she brings me a pair and says "shoe!" and then sits on my lap so I can put them on her. She also really likes to hold her shoes so half of the time after I put them on she takes on off and walks around the house with only one shoe on so she can carry the other one. She loves naptime and when I say "are you ready for a nap?" she runs into her room, grabs her blankie and tries to climb into her crib. She also loves giving things to people - she brings Charlie his blankie from his crib every morning after breakfast, and she picks up little tiny things on the floor and hands them to people. She loves waving at everything and gets really excited when people wave back. She has a spunky little personality that I love with all my heart.

Charlie has two favorite words: "no" and "ball." He thinks the word "no" is hilarious which makes it really hard to try and discipline him or keep him away from things. And he loves balls, particularly the ones that flash colorful lights when you bounce them. He knows how they works and he is really good at throwing them on the ground to make the lights come on. He has started trying to stack blocks together and when he is working on it he holds them up so close to his eyes and examines them thoroughly. I love the way he looks when he is concentrating so hard and figuring something out. He loves climbing on anything and everything, and although he knows how to get down safely, he prefers to dive head first. Both he and Caroline learned how to get down the stairs last week and now I can't keep them away. Charlie gets so excited to go up and down the stairs. His favorite game is to crawl up the stairs when he's not supposed to and crack up while I chase him. He starts laughing before he even gets to the stairs. I love his little sense of humor and that he is always laughing. Always. He loves playing peek-a-boo, loves swinging doors back and forth, and loves pulling every single book off of our entertainment center. He is so happy and content and he brings me so much joy.

In other news, we are counting down the 20 days left until I get to go to Missouri to bring Forrest back home. Yep, you read that right, 2-0. We're almost in the teens people! I'm a little excited if you can't tell. I am 17 weeks along, and my ultrasound is scheduled for the week after Forrest gets home. We've decided to keep the gender of our baby a SURPRISE since we already have a boy and a girl. Ah! I get so excited just thinking about it and wondering what our little miracle will be. The next three weeks will probably drag, but the time will pass. And then Forrest will be home and all will be right in my world again. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Silver Lining

With my husband having been gone for five weeks now, I've realized that it's A LOT harder having him gone than I expected. Some days are good and ok, but some days are not. We really miss him, and I am literally counting down every single day until we get to see him again. Did I mention that it's hard to have him gone? 
In an effort to stay positive and keep myself out of a hole of self-pity, I've been trying to look at the bright side of things. The "silver lining" to being husband-less for 10 weeks. And it's a short list:

- Much less laundry, and no work shirts to iron (unless you count the 10 shirts that have been laying on our bedroom floor for the past 5 weeks that have been washed but need ironing..)

- We get to have a long distance romance told through love letters (actually, they usually go something like "Dear Forrest. I threw up 7 times today. Caroline bit Charlie on the face. Love Alfalfa." Not romantic)

- The Army pay is pretty decent. They pay for all sorts of extra things while your soldier is away, like "family separation." Almost makes up for him being gone. Almost.

- I've learned to do all sorts of things that I never would have tried to do before. Like how to change lighbulbs inside of fixtures that I didn't know how to open; how to take apart, clean, and reassemble my vacuum; and how the garbage doesn't magically take itself out to the dumpster - someone actually has to do physically do it! (I kid a little on that last one. But only a little.)

- I have lots of extra time to do yoga, put together puzzles, read and nap. Somehow I still don't have enough time to cook, clean, do laundry, shower or do my hair. 

That's about it. I told you it was a short list! Here's to hoping the next five weeks go faster than the first five.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

How He Works

When I was on the track team in college, I clearly remember making it to the half-way point in some incredibly difficult workouts and, despite our sheer exhaustion, a few of us bursting into an off-key rendition of Bon Jovi's "Livin on a Prayer." And that's how I'm feeling today - halfway there and living on a prayer. Forrest has been gone for 5 weeks, and in 35 days we get to see him again, hooray!

You know those days when you wake up early, feeling well-rested and refreshed, and everything goes right for you that day? Well today was not one of those days. I'm finally into my second trimester and I had been feeling much better lately. And then last night happened. It was a rough one filled with a lot of sickness and very little sleep (by me, not the babes. They did great). When I finally dragged myself out of bed I thought the day would be better, because it usually is. But it wasn't. What do you eat when you can't keep anything down? Usually my go-to is ice cream (I know - don't tell my midwife), but even that wasn't working today.

Enter amazing heaven-sent mother-in-law. She kindly checks on me often, and when she discovered I wasn't feeling well today she arrived with a full meal on hand, complete with still-warm-from-the-oven cookies. I couldn't eat much of it, but it was so kind and thoughtful and took the stress off of me to make dinner for the babes. And then as if that wasn't enough, she continued to wash my dishes, clean my kitchen, and pick up the living room. I know, she's incredible.

I am continually in awe of how in-tune with the Spirit people are. I had multiple offers for help today (many of which I gratefully accepted) and had some fresh bread delivered by a neighbor. It is such a testament to me that our Heavenly Father is aware of each of us and what we need, and he works to meet our needs through other people. I am so grateful for those people who have acted when I was in need, even when I wasn't aware of what I needed myself. People are good. And our Father in Heaven is so loving.

One time when I was a teenager, our family piled into my dad's car to make the 13 mile trek home from my grandparents' house. There were more of us than there were seatbelts, so my parents sat in the front and all the girls (I think there were only 4 of us) loaded into the back seat. It was a slightly foggy evening, but everything else seemed normal. The first half of the drive was quite uneventful. And by uneventful I mean that someone probably had their bum pinched, another likely suffered an attack from the tickle monster, and there may even have been a "full-moon" sighting. But let's stick to the facts. Four girls in the back seat makes for a fun time. As we rounded the corner into our little hometown, Ashley suddenly pushed Carlia's head down, opened and closed the car door quickly, and shouted, "Oh no, Carlia fell out of the car!" We all laughed, and my dad jokingly slammed on the brakes. I mean slammed on the brakes hard. So hard that my mom started giving him a hard time. And then the fog in front of us cleared, and less than 10 feet from where our car had skidded to a stop stood a giant black-as-night cow. Right in the middle of the road. There is absolutely no way that my dad could have or would have seen it if we had continued driving. The car went silent, and right then and there I became very aware that our Heavenly Father is aware of us, and that He works in mysterious ways.

I think the way the Spirit speaks to us is different from person to person and from situation to situation. In this case, Ashley and my dad may have been acting on impressions that they thought were silly at the time. But they didn't seem so silly as we sat looking at that cow that could have caused some serious harm to, if not killed, my family. I believe that as we live our lives in line with our Savior, our thoughts and the promptings of the Spirit become one. I am so grateful for those who have listened to their thoughts and the whispers and impressions of the Spirit to reach out to my little family when we've been in need. My point? Act. Always act. Even if the impression seems silly or you are afraid of what people will think. No bad can ever come of sending a text message, making a phone call, visiting a friend or taking a dinner. So go and do.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Happy Moments

Last week I was challenged by a friend to list three happy moments every day for a week. I got busy and didn't get a week straight, but here are seven days' worth of my happy moments:

Going to Swiss Days with my mom and sisters
Watching Charlie and Caroline show off their dance moves
Reading a letter from Forrest
Making it to church just in time to take the Sacrament
Seeing Charlie and Caroline smile when I picked them up from nursery
Talking to Forrest on the phone for the first time in 3 weeks
Picking peas in the garden with Charlie and watching his smile as he ate them, pod and all
Canning peaches with my mom and sister
Watching Caroline crack herself up during dinner
Sleeping past 7:30 AM
Walking through my parents jungle of a garden and discovering a zucchini bigger than my thigh
Making Charlie giggle by chasing him up the stairs
Waking up at 2 AM to get my niece a drink of water because she was "too thirsty to sleep"
Watching Charlie and Caroline sit outside in their diapers and devour a whole peach each
Having the babes nap during dinner so I actually got to eat a full, uninterrupted meal
Going to lunch with my sisters and grandpa
Watching Caroline wave at everyone and everything she sees
Seeing Charlie walk through our courtyard behind his walking toy
Making it to the halfway mark of Forrest's training
Looking at a family picture and asking Caroline "where's mommy?" and seeing her point right to me

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

When the Unexpected Happens




We think we have a plan for our lives. Then a giant obstacle gets in your way and changes everything. It leaves you on a completely different road than you'd planned, but soon you adjust to this new path and get settled into a groove again. If you're lucky, you get to stay in that groove for a while. But some people aren't that way. And I'm one of those people.

In my previous post about infertility, I mentioned how hard it was to cope with not being able to have children. The twins were an absolute miracle, and I thank my Father in Heaven for them every single day. After going through IVF, I dreaded the day that I would have to do it again. Of course it was worth it - but it was so so hard. Emotionally and physically. I crossed my fingers and hoped and prayed that somehow, someway, I would never have to do it again. But I knew they were false hopes. Infertility is a part of my life now, so I need to accept that and realize that this is my new normal. Most people don't have to pay $15,000 for their children. But I do. 

I'd accepted this new normal and was moving on in my own merry way, leading a crazy life filled with my two crazy 11 month old munchkins. And then all of the sudden, in one moment, that normal became not so normal. That was the moment I got a positive pregnancy test. The first of my entire life. (The nurse called me the first time. I never actually took a test). I was completely shocked. And speechless. And dumbfounded. I couldn't stop shaking. And smiling. You always hear about those people who try for so long and then either adopt or do infertility, then without even trying or knowing they get pregnant out of the blue. I'd heard about them. But I never in a million years thought I'd be one of them. 

There are a myriad of different thoughts that run through my head. More emotions that actual thoughts, really. Excitement. Relief. Terror. Shock. Joy. Inadequacy. Gratitude. Fear. They are all there. But the most present emotion is shear happiness. Words cannot express how happy I am to have this baby. This baby that is every bit as much of a miracle as Charlie and Caroline are. 

Like I said, I still have fear and doubts. I mean, I'm going to have 3 kids 18 months and under. Do we get a 3rd crib? 3rd high hair? Or do my twins just have to grow up super fast? Do we need to move? Is it at all possible to potty train before 18 months old? How am I going to handle 3 kids in diapers? I could keep going. But I won't.

My point is, the bad feelings are there. The fear and the doubts and the insecurities. But I choose not to focus on them. I choose to recognize that this baby is a complete miracle and a blessing sent straight from heaven, rather than thinking "why me?".

I don't know why we had to go through infertility. Maybe Forrest and I needed to learn patience. Or maybe Charlie needed Caroline right by his side to help him weather the storms that are sure to come his way. We'll never know. Either way, even with this miracle baby, it's likely we will have to cope with infertility again at some point. But for now I will just be grateful. Grateful to have my three little miracles. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

10 Things I Didn't Understand Until I Had Kids

1) Nap time is sacred.
I mean that quite literally. Don't be offended if you call me during nap time and I don't answer. Or I answer but only talk briefly. It's that amazing (yet always too brief) part of the day where you can shower, eat, clean the house, catch up on your TV shows and try to relax. Like I said, sacred.

2) You can sweep the floor five times a day and still have crumbs everywhere.
I remember thinking it was odd that one of my friends had sweeping the floor on both the morning and afternoon chores list for her kids. But seriously. When there are children roaming free in the house, you can sweep all day long and still have food sticking to the bottom of your feet when you walk around barefoot.

3) You will forget what life before kids was like.
Being able to leave the house on a whim? Spontaneous weekend getaways? Enjoying a nice quiet candle-lit dinner at home? Those things will all seem worlds away, like a dream that you are unsure of whether or not it actually happened.

4) It is impossible to have nice things.
That cute shirt you bought on a killer sale? NEVER wear it unless you want it to be covered in ketchup, yogurt, or blueberry stains. Your smart phone/tablet/laptop? Hide them. Up high. And don't ever let them be seen. Those cute lamps that you spent hours refinishing? You have two options: 1) put them in a storage until for the next 15 years or 2) take a picture for posterity and then give them a kiss goodbye.

5) Your house will never be clean again.
Your perfectly decorated house will be cluttered with an endless amount of baby things. It starts with swings, bouncers, burp cloths and diapers. Soon it turns into jumpers, bumbos, high chairs, books, stuffed animals and toys. Add a cute little crawler or walker into the mix and you have a constant "my-house-looks-like-it's-been-hit-by-a-hurricane" feeling.

6) Picking someone else's boogers isn't as bad as it sounds.
Neither is cleaning up a child with poop up their back. When it's your own child, it's not weird. It's just life. I remember watching my sister pick her daughter's nose and thinking that it was the most disgusting thing I'd ever seen. Now it's a nearly daily occurrence for me.

7) Everything in your house is deadly.
If your kids are awake and let loose in the house, you will never go outside for long. You will constantly be worrying that they will pull over that 300+ pound entertainment center that you have yet to secure to the wall. Or that they will eat something nasty out of the garbage. Or fall and hit their head on the corner of your $7 Ikea end table. Basically anything in your house could kill your child.

8) Hanging out with friends is nearly impossible.
You swore you would be the cool parents that would still go hang out with your old friends and do pretty much anything you want. Oh wait what about nap time? It's sacred, remember? And then there's the time you need to breastfeed. Can you do that easily where you're going? Now make sure you pack enough diapers, wipes, burp clothes, bibs, toys, books, spare change of clothes, snacks etc. in the diaper bag. Got it all? OK go. Then once you get to wherever you're going, your child decides they want to scream the whole time. So you go home, probably before even really getting to see your friends. And you decide just to stay home next time.

9) You never knew what love really was.
Your heart will hurt with how much you love your little mini-me. And your love for your spouse will grown and change too, when you see how much they love your little one. You will be overly emotional about any potential harm that could come to your child. And you will be completely irrational. You would literally do absolutely anything for your baby.

10) The laundry/dishes/housework will never be done.
You will no longer be able to get away with doing one-two loads of laundry a week. It's a daily thing now. And the dishwasher will be run on a daily basis. You should vacuum at least weekly but you don't. You will pick up toys all day every day and still miss some. You will have a pile of folded laundry that sits outside the baby's room all night (and maybe for the next few nights) until you get a chance to go in and put everything away. And folding all those teeny tiny baby clothes is pure misery.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Confessions of a Twin Mom

Sometimes, when both my babies are crying and I don't know why or how to help it, I put them in their cribs and walk outside for a minute (or five) under the pretense of checking the mail.

Sometimes one tackles the other, pulls hair, bites, sits on them etc.. I just let it happen.

I always feed them with the same spoon. Even if one is sick, dripped snot onto it, threw it on the floor.. I don't need any more dishes to wash than I already have.

Sometimes my kids eat Graham Crackers for lunch. Not often, but sometimes.

Sometimes I let them play in the dishwasher, refrigerator, or bottom part of the oven. Whatever makes them happy.

Sometimes I wipe their snot onto their shirt. Or my shirt. Or a nearby blanket. Even occasionally my hand.

My kids always have, and still do, share pacifiers, botttles, sippy cups, etc.. Germs are shared freely here.

Sometimes when I find a chunk of food that is to big for them to eat, I chew it in my own mouth first and then take it out and give it to them. Much easier than finding a knife.

Sometimes if they poop in a fresh, clean diaper, I dump the poop in the toilet and put the diaper back on.

Sometimes I feed my babies off of the floor. I usually try to put a plate under it, but the plate doesn't ever last very long.

Sometimes (I mean most times) we stay in our pajamas until noon. The only exception is when Charlie has therapy or we have a dr. appointment. Or my mom is there, because she doesn't let that happen.

Sometimes when my kids are outside and they put something from the ground into their mouths, I just let them eat it.

When I'm feeding them and they spit something out, I put it back in their mouths. Or sometimes into their sibling's mouth. Not usually my mouth though.

Sometimes when a baby crawls onto the couch, I forget and leave the room. They always follow me. And I've never actually seen them get down from the couch, but they don't ever cry so I assume they are doing it safely.

Well, I think that's it. You can go ahead and judge me now.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Grocery Store Games

Prior to having children, I'd heard friends tell horror stories of experiences with their children at the grocery store. I remember being absolutely terrified to every take my own children to the store. But once the kids arrived, it was inevitable. There were times that I had to decide whether to starve or to brave a trip for groceries. The first time I took both babes shopping by myself they were 6 weeks old. I left Caroline in her car seat and put that into the cart, and I put Charlie in a pack and wore him on my chest. And it was great! Sure I couldn't fit hardly anything into the cart because it was 98% occupied by a car seat, but the kids both slept the entire time and it was a piece of cake (relatively speaking). Being in the store was the easy part. The hard part was getting the kids and groceries back into the house. And it hasn't gotten any easier. I usually carry both babies in and set them in their cribs (which brings lots of tears and screaming) while I run out and bring in the freezer and refrigerator items. The rest of the groceries come in later after they are in bed, when Forrest gets home from work, or sometimes even the next day. I don't love that, but there are times that it just has to happen that way. 

After that first shopping trip, I remember thinking that I was supermom. Two kids and a grocery store? No problem. Bring it on. I continued to take them both to do the grocery shopping a few times a month until they were about 7 months old. Every time we went, I would leave one in the car seat and wear one in the pack. Easy peasy. Some days they were a little fussier and didn't sleep at all, but we still made it work. Once in a while I would go shopping while we were out on a walk. I would take some reusable grocery bags and use that in lieu of a cart. I would hand them from the stroller using the "mommy clip" which is an awesome giant carribeaner that fits on the handle of the stroller and can hold a lot of stuff. That worked well as long as we didn't need big and heavy things like milk etc. 

I thought we had it made. Shopping was no problem. Then they started getting bigger. And heavier. And much less content to just sit in their car seat or a pack. At about 7 months they wanted to sit in the seat in front of the cart. There are a few problems with this option: 1) unless you are at Costco, most carts only accomodate one child in that seat, 2) trying to carry both babes to a cart is ridiculously difficult. (Note to self - always park next to a stray cart. Always.) I drive around the parking lot until I find a stray cart, and then I put them both in that one single seat anyway. They just have to stick both legs through one hole. Actually what they usually end up doing is putting one leg through and bending the other leg up on the seat. They're not the most comfortable, but they usually sit happily like that and enjoy trying to reach out and grab every item we pass. Sometimes, though, they don't sit happily. Sometimes they steal eachother's toys. Sometimes (by sometimes I mean ALL times) Caroline pulls Charlie's glasses off his face. Sometimes Charlie pulls Caroline's hair. And sometimes I want to pull my own hair. Not feeling so much like supermom anymore. 

I need a new plan. Last time I was at the grocery store, I saw (far away from the rest of the grocery carts) some of those awesome carts that have a little car with steering wheels down at the front of the cart. And it's a little tender mercy that they have two buckles and two steering wheels. I'm hoping beyond all hope that those little car carts will distract my crazy little munchkins enough to prevent hair- and glasses-pulling, at least for 30 minutes so I can get enough food to keep us fed for a few days. Fingers crossed! Let the grocery store games continue.

The Rhinoceros and the Puppy Dog

A few weeks ago it was pointed out to me that Charlie is a little bit of a bulldozer. Or a "rough and tumble" little boy. I prefer to think of him as a rhinoceros. Seriously though, that kid has no fear. He also has no regard for anything or anyone that gets in his way. If Caroline is trying to get to a toy on the other side of an obstacle, she crawls around it. Not Charlie. He goes right over it, even if "it" is Caroline's face. Or mine. He literally headbutts his sister 10 times a day. She doesn't mind so I usually just let it happen. Except when he does it at church - then I at least try to appear like I'm trying to keep him from bowling her over. And he dives off of everything. I mean DIVES. Head first. From the couch onto the end table. Out of the bathtub. Into the bathtub. Down the stairs. He seriously falls 378 times a day. And gets bruises and bloody noses and bloody lips and any other kind of skin abraison you can think of. I promise I do try to keep him safe. I've seriously considered just wrapping him from head to toe in layers of bubble wrap. He eats like a rhino too. I give him half a banana most mornings to start his breakfast. He picks it up, squishes it between his cubby little fingers and then tries the shove the entire thing in his mouth at once. What doesn't make it in ends up smeared on his face, his arms, his high chair, and the wall. And anything that is left on his tray ends up bouncing off when he pounds his tray with his fists just for the fun of it. To save myself some trouble I've started stripping him down to a diaper for every meal and then throwing him under the sink afterwards to clean him up. It's just easier.

Caroline, on the other hand, is the most dainty little eater I've ever seen. She rarely drops food or gets anything on her face. She is perfectly clean all the time. Other than the cleanliness, everything she does reminds me of a puppy. And that's not just because she barks nonstop. She follows me everywhere. From room to room, right on my heels. And if she's playing with a toy when I leave and she wants to bring it with her, she carries it in her mouth. I'm not kidding, she really does. It's pretty adorable. She is always happy and she pants when she gets excited. And she is so incredibly smart. My parents have stairs at their house, so my dad built a gate many many years ago to keep us from falling. It has been in place for roughly 30 years. The latch isn't super easy to open - some of my nieces (4-6 years old) even struggle to get the latch open and closed. Not Caroline. She watched intently while people would open and close it, and the figured out how to do it herself. She sneaks over and opens it and tries to get Charlie to go down the stairs and fetch all the toys they threw down there. Crazy girl. 


And then this happened today. They are both so smart. They watch what I do and then try to copy it. They LOVE going outside, and clearly they are determined to find a way to get out whenever they want. I'm in big trouble. My little rhino and the puppy dog sure do keep me on my toes!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Note to Self

Parents make mistakes. And as a parent of twins I sometimes feel like I make twice the number of mistakes as the average parent. Usually after I make a mistake of some sort, I make a mental "note to self" in an effort to remember not to do it again. They usually look something like this:

Note to Self - Never ever ever fall asleep while the twins are awake and running free in the house. There are many possible disasters that can occur. IE) getting a banana smashed over your sleeping head, getting a mini baby bite (which hurts equally bad as a non-mini baby bite) on you toe, having the house torn to pieces.. you get the idea.

Note to Self - Never leave a basket of newly washed and folded laundry on the floor. Unless you are ok with having to rewash and refold every item in it.

Note to Self - Never put an infant into a car seat without buckling them in. At some point, you will put them in the car and drive all the way home only to realize that they were unbuckled the entire time.

Note to Self - Never EVER let a little boy eat spaghetti while wearing white. Even if he is wearing a bib. Just don't do it.

Note to Self - Remember that same little boy that you aren't going to let eat spaghetti while wearing white? Also take note to never let him go without a diaper. Even if it's for 10 seconds. You will regret it 100% of the time.

Note to Self - Don't put your kids in car seats, high chairs, or on your hip while they are wearing a swim diaper. Everything they touch will smell like pee.

Note to Self - If your twins aren't used to sleeping in the same bed, DO NOT try to get them to sleep in the same bed. If you are lucky, you may be able to pick one up and move them in with the other while they are asleep.. but only if you are lucky. Save yourself some pain and lots of tears by not expecting or even half-hoping that they will fall asleep by eachother, because most likely it will turn into an all-out brawl.

Note to Self - Never let Charlie and Caroline play next to eachother while Charlie is wearing his glasses. Both will end up in tears.

Note to Self - If your kids are afraid of the vacuum, don't try to vacuum while they are asleep, awake, or playing in a different room. Basically just never vacuum. It will save you a lot of heartache.

And the list goes on..   
 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Absent

It's been a slightly crazy summer, to say the least. And I feel like I've been totally absent from my normal life - whatever "normal" is. A few weeks ago Forrest was sent to California on a work assignment for three weeks. So I spent most of that time at my mom's house. It's just easier that way. And since he got home it's been a whirlwind of "do this" "go here" and "run there." It's all been fun and wonderful, just crazy. 

Last week Forrest joined the National Guard. It's a decision we've thought about and prayed about for quite a while, and it just felt like the right thing to do. Do I like it? No, not particularly. I don't think any wife, mother, sister etc. can say she's ever really excited about a man joining the military. But it feels right, and that's nice. It's also good to see Forrest excited about something. He doesn't love his job, and that wears on him a lot. But he does love the military. He's always been so fascinated by it, so I am happy for him that he is getting to do something he will enjoy (hopefully). There are good things about the military - benefits, extra pay etc. But there is one part I am dreading, and it's only about three weeks away: Basic Training. He leaves August 5, just days before our 6th wedding anniversary and the twins' 1st birthday. And he'll be gone until mid-October. :/ Eek! What am I going to do in his absence?

I honestly have no idea. As much as I'd love to, I can't just abandon my life in Salt Lake and move to my mom's. The twins sleep SOOO much better in their own beds. And we have therapy and doctor appointments and bills and things that I just need to be here to do. But I don't want to be alone for that long either. I just keep telling myself I'll take it one day at a time until the 70 days are up. 70. That's not too bad, right? 

In other news, we just got back from our first camping trip with the twins. We went to Idaho Falls with the Whiting family and we had a total blast. I think we a little bit cheated on the "camping" part because we stayed in cabins, had bathrooms and showers, and ate out for a few of our meals.. but we were surrounded by dirt, we roasted hot dogs and s'mores, and I didn't wear makeup or do my hair. So we'll call it camping. The babes did really well, considering that it was 1,000 degrees and they didn't get to nap much. They loved to play in the dirt, crawl around the cabin, and eat everything they could find off the ground. Charlie even got his first taste of dead moth, yummm! (I know - I'm still completely disgusted by it). And Caroline took her first step! It was adorable and I know they're both getting so close to walking, but I am in no hurry. I'm sure parts of walking twins are easier - but all I can think is that I'm going to have to be the leash mom. And I don't want to be the leash mom. I'm trying to gear myself up for the havoc they will wreck once they figure out how to walk and then run. Heaven help me. 

We had a few other "firsts" on our camping trip. Caroline learned how to bark like a dog. Now she thinks every animal (real or fake) is a dog, so she barks anytime she sees one. Half of the time I think she thinks peple are animals because she barks at them too. It's the cutest thing ever. Charlie got to ride on his first roller coaster (he sat on my lap on a little one at Bear World) and he thought it was the best thing ever. He had a major perma-grin and he cried when we got off. 



We took both babes on a little train ride and they were completely thrilled. And they LOVED the petting zoo. Caroline liked to watch the animals from a distance, but Charlie wanted to hold them and eat them and grab them.


He got to pet a deer and he couldn't get enough. He laughed right out loud when the deer licked him feet and arms. It had fuzzy antlers and he loved to pet them. We had a blast!

We also decided it was time to get convertible car seats. Char and Care are so tall that they've outgrown the height limit on their infant car seats. It took us a while to make them fit rear-facing, because they are giant, but we finally got them secured. And I think the babes like them!

We weaned Caroline from her pacifier last week and she actually handled it very well. It's nice to not have to worry about taking one with us everywhere we go, and trying to keep them clean. That dolly she is holding has taken the place of her pacifier. She LOVES it! Her Aunt Sara gave it to her and she hugs it and kisses it and sleeps with it and takes it with her everywhere she goes. It's fun to see her get that excited over a toy!

This is one of their favorite places to play in our home. They were beyond excited to be back in their own house and be able to crawl freely without having to worry about getting stickers in their hands and knees. Our vacation was a blast, but it is always nice to be home again. I'm ready for things to be normal again - at least for the next three weeks! 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Mischief Managed

I've heard one devious child can create a lot of mischief. If that's the case, think of the havoc that two little pre-toddlers can wreck. Still trying to think? Let me help you with a few examples.

Some of Charlie and Caroline's favorite play places are NOT mommy's favorite places for them to play. IE) refrigerator, dishwasher, under the table, drawers, toilets, floor vents, barstools, couches etc. Most of those are places that are dangerous in some sort of way. Whether doors can shut on them, chairs can fall on them, they can drown in them, they are covered in germs, they can fall off of them.. You get the drift. Try as I might to keep them from these places, when you have two crawling munchkins going in two different directions, you have to make a choice on which danger is more urgent. So that leaves room for situations like those I'm about to describe to you.

The first happened about two months ago. I had just finished feeding the babes and pulled them out of their highchairs and set them on the ground in the kitchen. I had to run in to the restroom, but I must have left the refrigerator partially opened because this is what I returned to:


Caroline had climbed up into the fridge, found the yogurt and either dropped or handed it down to Charlie who had successfully punctured a two-baby-teeth sized hole in the top and proceeded to suck it dry. And all of this probably happened in less that 3 minutes. They were quite proud of themselves when I found them!

Oh yes they are sneaky. Especially our little Care-bear. She loves her pacifier, you see, but we leave it in her bed and she only gets it during nap times. She's caught on to this and has devised her own plan to thwart our attempts at keeping her separated from her beloved binky. Now when she wakes up from a nap, or first thing in the morning, she cleverly throws her pacifier out of her crib to a slightly hidden location that only she knows. Then when we get her out of her bed and let her play, she retrieves the prize from said hiding place, sticks it in her mouth and comes out bursting with pride and joy that she has stumped us yet again. That girl! She keeps us on our toes.

Charlie has his days too. I try to keep the bathroom door closed, but sometimes I fail. One day Char made his way into there and accidentally shut himself inside. He loves door stoppers, and I think he got so excited playing with it and hitting it that he didn't even realize he was pushing the door closed. It took a while for Caroline and I to get in there, but when we did - oh dear, it looked like Christmas. Little tiny shreds of toilet paper EVERYWHERE. I think he used the entire roll. Whatever he didn't shred, I'm certain he ate. At least he didn't fall into the toilet!

Next example - Caroline again. She is obsessed with her cousin Hallie. We were staying at their house the other day and Hallie was taking a bath. The babes were in the bathroom with her, already bathed, lotioned and pajama-ed for the night, sitting in their bumbos watching her play in the bath. Then Forrest called and I stepped out for all of 30 seconds to grab the phone. As soon as I picked it up I heard a crash and then "Aunt Holly!! Come quick!" And I run as fast as I can into the bathroom to find Caroline sputtering, dripping wet and as thrilled as can be in the tub with Hallie. Apparently she knows how to climb out of her bumbo, I wonder when she was planning on sharing that little development with me?! After I got past the shock, terror and frustration with myself for leaving the babes in there for 30 seconds, it was actually pretty funny.


She was overjoyed with herself and didn't even seem to notice that she was fully clothed. Can you tell that she is dripping from head to toe?

I could continue on with stories like this for days.. but pictures will do the job much more quickly. 


He finds himself in some pretty precarious situations..


Another one of Caroline's tricks - pulling her arms out of her PJ's! She's clearly not too happy about it.


The minute their clothes and diapers come off, they run (or speed-crawl) as fast and as far as they can get.


Most days, Caroline needs a little more sleep than Charlie does. Sometimes he sneaks back in the room without me knowing and tries to get her to come play with him.


This poor boy falls about 10,000 times a day. This particular fall was after pulling up to a barstool and falling backwards, pulling the stool on top of him. I think I cried about as much as he did over his first bloody nose :(


And last but not least.. what fun is a twin if you can't wrestle with them? They seriously crawl over eacher nonstop. Mostly Care over Char, but sometimes he returns the favor. They don't usually mind it, unless their head gets kicked!

I think it's safe to say their Mischief is Managed! (Harry Potter anyone?)