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?)

Friday, June 27, 2014

Wiped Out

Babies poop a lot. And with twins, you get double the poop (yay!). So we made sure we're always well stocked with diapers and wipes. At least three times the amount we think we really need. Maybe that's why this story strikes me as so funny. Though, at the time, I was certainly not laughing.

Forrest has been out of town for work for a while (he's back now thank goodness!), so I've been spending a lot of time at my mom's house. I had taken an entire box of diapers and what I thought was plenty of wipes. But the wipes were in one of those big plastic hard containers - not convenient for travel. So when I packed up the diaper bag for church, I opted to leave the box of wipes behind and grabbed the travel bag of wipes from the car. Then as we sat in church, feeding the babes a snack, some of it inevitably spilled on my dress. So I reached for a wipe. And what did I find? A whopping two wipes, both dry as a bone. I got one wet with water from the sippy cup and mopped up the spill on my dress. And then I spent the rest of church hoping and praying that there would be no poopy diapers to change. Fingers crossed! 

Jump ahead 1.5 hours. Sitting in Sunday School. And my sister hands me Charlie, who stinks something terrible. So I take him into the Mother's Room, which is a small room in the building where moms can nurse, change diapers, rock babies to sleep etc. Usually it's empty. Not today - I walk in to find two other moms there. I don't know either of them. I lay Charlie up on the counter to get him changed and find a massive explosion of brown disgustingness. I use the sink to get my one precious remaining wipe wet and start cleaning him up as best as I can. But of course it's one of those times where he refuses to hold still. I'm talking sticking hands into the diaper, trying to roll off the counter, inevitably spreading poop everywhere. Keep in mind there are still two other moms in this tiny room, all the while having a hushed conversation behind me. Thankfully there are paper towels by the sink, so I get a few of those wet and use them to finishing wiping Charlie and then put him on the ground so I can scrub the counter clean from all the poop. I'm sure the whole process only took 10 minutes, but it seemed like an eternity. I returned to Sunday school thinking the worst was over.

Turns out Caroline had also pooped, so I immediately went through a similar situation again with her (thankfully the other two moms had left). And then to top it all off, Charlie pooped one last time. Seriously? Usually we go through the entire 3 hours of church with no diaper changes. And of course, the one time I only have two measley little dry wipes, my kids turn into poop machines. Oi. Good thing I can laugh about it now! 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Twins by Numbers

2 mouths to feed
2 faces to scrub
2 bodies to wash head to toe in the tub.

20 fingernails to trim
13 teeth to be brushed
Countless tears and cries in the night to be hushed.

10 diapers to change
Just about every day
And 2 best little buddies to play with, hooray!

3 loads of laundry
4 changes of clothes
And at least 13,000 wipes of the nose.

72 oz of food
In 3 meals a day
That makes 42 lbs of baby to weigh.

500 books read
With 1,000,000 to go
And how many songs have I sung? I don't know.

8,000 kisses
And 10,000 hugs
And an eternity to fill with nothing but love.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

My Dad, the Baker

If my dad had a real job description, it would be something like technical support/professor/product shipment specialist. But at home, his job description is a bit different. It ranges anywhere from expert mechanic to professional napper, and includes jobs like floor tiler, gun extrordinaire, and wood worker. And for those who know him the best, there is one job that he loves more than any other: baking. Ok, I joke a little. He probably loves guns the most. But seriously, he bakes more than anyone I know (besides perhaps my mother-in-law).

My dad makes the best bread in the world. And he's quite proud of that fact. Any time a guest walks into his home, his first item of business is to head to the kitchen to make them some bread. He also makes his own strawberry jam and beautiful wood cutting boards that he can send with the bread when he delivers it. It is simply the best.

He makes cookies too. This is a more recent development, but it started when he would stop at Maverik every day on his way to work for breakfast. And he would get a package of peanut butter cookies, which cost him probably $0.99 every day. But in his problem solving mind, he couldn't handle paying a dollar a day for something that he could make better and cheaper himself. So he started making giant batches of delicious peanut butter cookies to take to work, and he generously shares them with all of us. (Actually, I'm not sure he is aware that he shares them..)

In short, my dad is the most wonderful person on the planet. If I was stranded on a desert island and I could pick one person to help me get off the island, it would be my dad. Because I honestly believe there is nothing that he can't do. He is a complete genius (I'm serious, his brothers nicknamed him Eddison when he was a kid because he could invent just about anything there was to invent).

And more than his brilliant mind, my dad is kind and patient. It takes a special sort of a man to raise five daughters, and when we were kids we terrorized him. I remember someone shaving his head with my mom's razor while he was napping in the bathtub. And covering his face and head with lipstick during another afternoon nap. And climbing up his back and stepping on his head every single night while he "slid" me into bed. Best dad ever.

I am so grateful to have had a worthy Priesthood holder in my home for my entire life. My father has been and continues to be such a blessing to me. And that is a tradition that was passed on by his loving, courageous and hard-working father; as well as by my mom's dad. My Grandpa Giles, or "Grampsy," as he is affectionately known, is my only living grandparent. I am so grateful and blessed that Charlie and Caroline are able to know him and spend time with him, because he is an absolutely incredible man. I learn something from him every time I am with him. We all love him dearly. And now that I am married I am so blessed to have a fantastic husband who also honors his Priesthood. Forrest is the most wonderful dad I ever could have picked for our children. He is perfectly their father, and perfectly my husband.

Today in Sacrament Meeting, the Primary children went to the front to sing to their fathers for Father's Day. They sang some darling songs with actions and smiles, and then they ended with one of my favorites, "Teach Me to Walk in the Light." On the second verse they had all the men in the congregation stand and sing with them. Tears flooded into my eyes as I looked around the chapel and all the Priesthood brethren, standing and singing with the children "Come little child and together we'll learn of His commandments that we may return home to his presence to live in His sight, always to walk in the light." It was so touching and a perfect reminder of a father's role in the home.

I am so grateful to have grandfathers, a father, and a husband who love the Lord and serve him with their whole hearts, and who love and serve their families with all their strength. My little family has been so blessed by them. To Grampsy, Dad, and Forrest, we love you. Happy Father's Day.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Only for a Season

You know before you have kids when you look at other people with their children and think "I'll never do that" or "I can't believe they do it THAT way"? Yeah me too. I plead guilty on many, many accounts. In my pre-child mind, having kids wouldn't change the way that I lived my life. I would still like the same things, go on the same types of trips, hang out with all the same friends, still go on weekly date nights... you know. And even when I found out I was having twins I still thought it would be possible. "It's a choice" I thought. Which it is. I just failed to realize that my priorities might change. And that sometimes a baby getting in a good nap is more important than making it to a lunch date with a friend. Not always, but sometimes.

I love the thought of being outdoorsy and adventurous. I've done a lot of camping, boating, snowmobilling, and hiking (confession: according to my sister, I've done SOME hiking.. not a lot). The point is, I love doing all of that stuff and I thought I would make the choice to keep doing those things. And I still want to. But in the last ten months I've learned that some things aren't worth doing anymore. Someday they will be, but not right now.

My family is all about adventure too. In March they planned a trip to hike Havasupai. It's a trip I've heard rave reviews about, and I wanted to go SO bad. I tried just about every way to make it work, but when it came right down to it, I was nursing, Forrest was busy at work, and asking someone to take care of my twins for a week was A LOT to ask of someone. So I stayed home, and tried to be positive about it. And today, more of my family went to hike King's Peak. I had planned to go, until last week when Forrest got a last minute out-of-town work assignment. Camping trips to Goblin Valley, entire days spent with friends and family, late evening dinners and activities.. I want to do it all. But I have to remember that my kids will only be little for so long. Months and years from now they will LOVE to camp and hike and run and play and spend all day out in the sun without taking a nap. But for now, they are happiest when they can nap on schedule, have an air-conditioned (or heated) building nearby, and get to bed on time. And happy babies = happy me. 

So for now, sacrifices will be made. Today will pass all too soon and in the blink of an eye my babies will be grown. It is only a season. After all, isn't parenting all about putting your childrens' needs in front of your own?

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

How My iPhone Changed My Life

Let me just begin by saying that I agree wholeheartedly with the "Look Up" campaign. So often our phones and other digital devices keep us from having real, quality interactions with those around us. That being said, let me tell you how my iPhone has changed my life.

In the beginning I was really resistant to the thought of getting a smart phone. I didn't like the idea (and still don't) of being so plugged in to everything. Having internet access with me everywhere I go. It's a great thing, but also a terrible thing. It took me a few years after the smartphone craze started, but I eventually gave in and I got my iPhone just over two years ago. It was great to be able to check my email anytime of the day, make posts on social media anytime and anywhere, and have a reasonably high quality digital camera with me everywhere I went (without having to carry a separate device). All those things were great. I liked my newfound connection to the world, but I didn't really start to love my phone until about a year ago.

That was when all of my family got some kind of an Apple device. And then we discovered iMessaging. Greatest thing ever! Since then, my family has been so much more connected. We have a long-running group conversation via iMessaging. Of course we still call one another frequently, see each other often, and talk in person. But the group convo is perfect for sending pictures, sharing funny stories, and asking questions so everyone can see it all at once. When the twins were born it was ideal to send out one message to everyone, and we could all share pictures without having to send each picture to every individual person.

And now we take it to a whole new level. Every once in a while, someone comes up with a plan to get us all involved in some sort of contest. We love competition, you know. Most recently, my brother-in-law challenged us all to a lipsync battle. So he sent out a group message first thing in the morning with the challenge to come up with a lip sync, record it, and send it out before midnight. Maybe one day if I get brave enough I will share mine and Forrest's lip sync to "A Whole New World" from Aladdin. Other competitions we've done include Chopped, Funniest Moments in Whiting Family History, and Music Video Challenges. It is so fun to have the whole family involved and connected, despite the fact that many of us live far apart.

I'm sure if we didn't all have an Apple device, we would find another way to stay connected. But this is what works for us, and it has really transformed my life and improved our family relationships. Hooray for iPhones! 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Travelling with Two

Last week we ventured out on our first vacation as a family of four. Forrest and I, Charlie and Caroline, and my sister and her little girl all loaded into our van and made the 10 hour drive (which really look us like 13-14 hours with stoppage time) down to Southern California, where the twins were born. We stayed for almost a week and we had a blast! I was really nervous about travelling with the babes, and with good reason. I think most nine and three-quarter month old babies don't love spending an entire day in their car seats. But they handled it like champs!

The things I most worried about were food/meal times, sleeping, time in car seats and sun exposure. Especially with Charlie being so fair and light sensitive, the sun exposure worried me a lot since I knew we'd be outside most of the time. But we made it all work, and this is how:

Squeezable baby food pouches are the best things ever. I'm not exaggerating. At all. I have some refillable pouches that I use around home to fill with my own homemade purees. They are great, but have the down side of requiring refrigeration. The store bought ones don't. So for the month before the trip I shopped as many sales as I could to get as many of those little life-saving pouches as possible. Charlie and Caroline each eat about 3 of them per meal. So that's 9 pouches each per day, or 18 total. Every day. That's a lot of little food pouches. The cheapest I've found them is 88 cents each. Not too bad, but still cheaper to make my own. Before we left Forrest and I had a puree party and we made a whole bunch of baby food, stuffed all the pouches that I own (which is 13) and froze them. So I took those in a cooler for the ride down, then had all the pouches that I bought for the rest of the meals. It worked great!

For meal times, I have two bumbo's. One that I bought used, and one that I borrowed from my sister. We don't use them much around the house, but when we are at Grandma's house or anywhere else away from home, they are great. I loaded them both up at took them on our trip with us and they worked perfectly in place of their high-chairs. Food and meal times problems = solved.

The sleeping situation could not have been better. We stayed with our very best friends in California and they were so awesome to give up their kids' bedrooms so we all had beds to sleep in. They even put their sweet little 3-year old in a pack-n-play so that Caroline could sleep in her crib. Then we took our pack-n-play and set it up in the bedroom by the crib and that's where Charlie slept. They did great in there! It couldn't have been any more perfect. I was a little worried about them not napping etc. but I just had to prepare myself in advance to know that we were on vacation, and that it was ok if they didn't stay on schedule. And they didn't. They napped in our arms multiple times out of sheer exhaustion (which NEVER happens). But it was fun! They were really really good despite being thrown for a bit of a loop. Sleeping difficulties = not so bad after all.

The car seat issue is just difficult. My kids usually do pretty well in the car, but I think anyone would get sick of being strapped in a car seat for that long. We tried to break up the trip by stopping for meals, bathroom breaks, gas etc. and getting everyone out of the car to stretch every time. It was perfect for my 4 year old niece to run around. And it was good for the twins to get out of their seats, but a little hard since they just wanted to crawl around and there wasn't much space to do that. On the way back we stopped at a park and let them crawl around on the grass and that was perfect. It took a little longer for us to get to our destination, but getting the kids out of the car every few hours was absolutely essential. Time in car seats = not fun, but doable.

From the time the twins were newborn, I knew taking Charlie out in the sun would be a bit of a challenge. But I also knew that we couldn't never go outside because it was hard. He needs to experience the outdoors just as much as Caroline or any other person does, and I didn't want him to grow up in a bubble just because of his condition. So we just have to prepare a little bit more. Any time we go out, he wears a hat and his sun glasses. And sunscreen. I bought him a cute little one-piece swimming suit/rash guard that covers most of his legs, arms, chest and neck. And we have a pop-up sun shade that I take with us on our outdoor adventures. He hasn't had a sunburn yet, and his eyes seem to do ok with the hat and glasses combo. So being on vacation it wasn't much different, we were just outisde more often. We did go to the beach a few times. I bought an inflatable pool for the littles and we set it on the sand, the kids filled it with buckets of ocean water and we let it set in the sun to warm up a bit before putting the babes in it. They LOVED it! It was perfect for them to get to play in the water but not have to be down by the waves (which they were fascinated by but did not want to touch). The pool made for a great time at the beach and the sun exposure = conquered.

We had a lot of really fun adventures on our first family vacation. We visited the Aquarium of the Pacific, which the kids were thrilled about. Charlie loved the fishies, Caroline loved the stairs and chasing her cousin, and Hallie loved just about everything. We did a little bit of hiking, went whale watching and saw tons of dolphins, and ate frozen bananas on Balboa Peninsula. We visited with family on Sunday and played some fun games, saw friends we haven't seen in 8 months, and had a good time catching up with everyone. Oh yeah, and Ashley, Forrest and I did a triathlon! I almost forgot. It was really fun and we all did pretty well. All in all, it was a fantastic trip and we were sad to leave. Hooray for surviving our first road trip with twins! Now to prepare for our trip to Michigan this fall... :/

          (Excuse us for all looking a little worn down - this was right after the triathlon!)