Friday, October 24, 2008

Our grand tour of the upper midwest

It's obvious how behind I am in updating this blog when I'm posting pictures from last weekend - on a Friday.  I've had a mental block about writing lately...but I figure a rainy day is as good of a time as ever!

Last weekend, we visited Joey's family in Mishawaka, Indiana to meet his brother Aaron and wife Michelle's new baby boy, Logan, who was even cuter than in pictures and remarkably calm and well behaved.  Proving once more that our 2 wild monkeys, Anna and Margaret, were indeed the high-strung, colicky babies that I remembered.

Here are a few pictures of the new babe and family:

Logan in all of his adorableness
Proud parents Aaron and Michelle
And a tired Daddy taking a nap with Logan
Uncle Joey
Uncle Joel (Aunt Karolyn, so sorry I didn't get you in this picture!)
Grandma and Grandpa and their 4 nieces and 1 nephew

And a few pics from enjoying the beautiful fall weather and falling leaves in Indiana:

The friendly stray cat that's hanging out at Joey's parents' house:
Perhaps it won't be by as often after getting chased:
Margaret enjoying a few throws in the air by Daddy:
Anna attempting to catch the leaves we threw in the air for her
Margaret not enjoying this game as much

Sunday night, we drove to Columbus, Ohio, as Joey found out quite last minute that he had to be at a work meeting Monday morning.  I was a bit apprehensive of the whole experience, as we had yet to sleep in a hotel with the girls, but it went surprisingly well.  The 2-room hotel suite was perfect, and the girls were strangely giddy and ran laps around the hotel room when we walked in at 10 p.m. - well past their bedtime.  The hotel bathtub was also a huge hit, as apparently the travel sized hotel shampoo, conditioner, mouthwash and lotion bottles are the coolest - things - ever to 15 month olds.  I think they carried those bottles around the entire time we were there.

Monday morning, Joey attended his meeting and I lucked out to find a city park (Goodale Park) right next to our hotel to burn some energy and entertain the girls before we got back on the road.  Anna and Margaret tried out the playground (doing their requisite attempt at climbing up the slides, as they do every time), petted a few dogs (the new obsession in their lives), and even posed for a few photos taken by several Ohio State University photography students at the park doing class homework.  We wandered over to the pond and gazebo area, at which point the girls were drained and wondering why their mother was denying them of the critical morning nap - note the exhausted looks:

After they could take no more of the park and stroller, we went back to the hotel room and had a little Fruit Loop snack party on the floor while we watched Elmo.  Who they strangely refer to as "Da."  Spoken in a high pitched, frantic, "DA!!!!" every time they see him on TV.  Elmo is #1 in their lives right now.  Don't try messing with them when Elmo's World is on in the morning-  that's must-see-TV for these chicks and their furry, red, monster friend.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A trip to the farm

Joey, the girls and I made a trip to Gentry's Farm and Pumpkin Patch this past Sunday.   Anna and Margaret had a great time - Gentry's had this children's activity area where the girls saw goats, chicken, and roosters; rode the toy tractors; climbed up a little barn ladder and slid down a slide; played with farm animal toys in a little barn play area; swung on the tire swings (with assistance from us, of course); ran through the 4-acre corn maze; and their favorite thing of all - they played in this area that had feed troughs set up filled with shovels, toys, and grain feed. That seriously fascinated them - I think we were there for 45 minutes.

Here are a few photos from the fun day! What is lacking is a trip to the actual pumpkin patch - we wore them out so much doing everything else that we never made it to the pumpkins.  But we managed to pick 2 up for our front porch on our way out.

Walking up to the farm entrance - on an unusually hot October day.  We had 4 straight days of upper 80-degree weather.
Anna quite proud of herself for climbing up an old, rickety, narrow barn ladder (and Margaret in the background, contemplating going down the slide on the other side).  And then there was me - praying for no trips to the Emergency Room.
This little city girl can drive a tractor!
Or maybe not.

Anna caught site of the goats (which she called "dogs," hee hee) and was immediately out of there.

Playing with the toys in the troughs

Do not feed the animals.  Don't feed the goats, either.
And we're back to the troughs.  Those things held their attention for so long that I briefly entertained the notion of buying a trough and putting one out on our deck for them to play in.  And hey - I can feed them out there too!
Running after Daddy in the corn maze.  I love the fact that they've actually started to figure out how to run - even if it's still a little bouncy and awkward looking.

Catching up to Daddy!  I was so proud of the girls - they walked/ran the majority of this corn maze without Joey or I holding them.  I think they were so enamored by the fact that they could walk wherever without us stopping them.  Margaret lagged behind because she kept wanting to pick up the ears of corn on the ground.  Our little hunter/gatherer.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

We have a nephew!!

Joey and I are thrilled to announce the arrival of our nephew - the son of Joey's brother, Aaron, and sister-in-law, Michelle!

Logan Anthony 
Born October 13, 2008
4:20 p.m.
8 lbs, 8 oz
21 inches*

He is beautiful and perfect and gorgeous in every way - an adorable face with rosy cheeks, long, dark, eyelashes, and a head full of thick, black hair.  Photographic evidence is on their blog!

We're so thrilled for Aaron and Michelle, and so very proud to have a nephew.  It's so hard to not be there and hold him - so we're making a trip up to Indiana soon to visit, during which I plan to cuddle Logan and stare at his adorableness.  

Congratulations and welcome to the world, Logan!!!  Logan is the first grandson on Joey's side, after 4 girls in a row.  Prepare yourself, Logan.  You may have to fight off some bossy girls in a few years from attempting to dress you up or make you join a tea party.

*Making note of the fact that Logan is just a little less than 1/3 of the size of my very petite sister-in-law, Michelle.  Hee hee.  

Friday, October 10, 2008

Busy, busy, busy

 I usually hire a babysitter for about 3-4 hours on one day of the week to get out by myself, get some errands done that ordinarily are impossible to accomplish with the girls in tow, and just get a little sanity break.  I just realized the other day that I haven't hired a babysitter to come in over 3 weeks - and I find myself happy to say that I have just been having too much fun with the girls, and our schedule has been too packed with fun activities, to even bother having someone come watch them.

I think that really made me aware of the fact that I'm truly settling into this parenting thing, that I finally - after 15 months - have got the hang of it, and that it doesn't seem like as much work anymore.  I won't say that taking care of two 15-month olds is a breeze - I collapse on the couch out of exhaustion every night after we put them to bed - but I will say that now that they are aware of so much around them, that they can enjoy so many activities, and that I in turn am experiencing things a second time through their eyes - I'm totally loving spending time with them.

The girls thrive on a busy schedule, and did particularly well this past week, during which I gave them little downtime to just play around the house, and even forced them to skip a morning nap one day (an experiment that I have chosen not to repeat) in order to pack in several activities during the day.  We spent the week hopping around town from one play date to the next, exploring various playgrounds and parks around town, and enjoying our weekly music class.

One of my friends in our moms' group is awesome about taking photos of our group events, and managed to snap a bunch of photos during a trip to The Little Gym on Thursday afternoon, during which our toddlers tumbled and jumped and climbed various gymnatics equipment.  I thought I'd show off a few of Anna and Margaret:

Margaret taking a photo break

Anna, Margaret and a friend running up and down (repeat 10x) this inclined foam mat
Margaret shows off her impressive balancing skills
The girls tap their sticks along to the music during circle time
And my favorite photo of all: Margaret attempting a forward roll.  The instructor had demonstrated with each of the kids how to use that barrel shaped foam to show a toddler how to roll - and after the demonstration, Margaret was desperate to do it herself.  She sat in this position for a couple of minutes, trying over and over.  Go Margie!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Way Back When-esday!

I decided to take part in blogger friend Cheryl's "Way Back When-nesday"!  Thanks, Cheryl, for letting me participate!

Here's my "way back" photo:

Date: July 9, 2007
Twins' Age: 2 weeks old

This photo shows Anna (left) and Margaret (right) in their post-bath glory after their first sponge bath at home. My Mom was staying with us at the time, and took the lead in bathing the girls. I can't believe how tiny they are - and how those newborn onesies are huge on them! It's amazing to think that we could bathe them on the kitchen counter and not worry about their rolling off. We have a video of this bath somewhere - and at the time, I remember finding it fascinating to see their little movements (look, she blinked! listen to those coos and gurgles!) - but now that I look back at it, I realize that newborns are slightly, well, boring.   But adorable, beautiful, and best of all - easy to contain. ;)

Have a great day!!  Thanks, Cheryl - your blog continues to be so much fun to read!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

15-month check-up stats + picture update

Yesterday was the girls' 15-month pediatrician appointment, during which I discovered that:

A) Anna and Margaret can now open the doors of the exam rooms and fling themselves out into the hallway, running in opposite directions with delight and shrieking while nurses chase them down;
B) They now have sympathy for each other during the dreaded immunization part of the exam and whimpered alongside each other...sad but cute. And not a good thing for the second kiddo (in this case it was Anna) to get her round of shots, as this time around, she had an idea of what was about to happen to her, judging from Margaret's howls;
C) They hold grudges against nurses bearing said shots - Margaret gave Nurse Jessica a growl as we passed her on the way out; and,
D) They have huge noggins. Check out these stats:

Weight: 23 lbs (49th percentile)
Height: 31 inches (60th percentile)
Head circumference: forgot the number...but 92nd (!!!) percentile

Weight: 21 lbs (18th percentile)
Height: 31 inches (60th percentile)
Head circumference: Also joining the big head club at 92nd percentile

I'm behind on getting any photos up but grabbed a few off my camera from the weekend. Enjoy!

Margaret swinging at the park (with her new sneakers on, which she hasn't quite figured out how to walk in just yet and sort of clomps around like she's wearing clown shoes)
The girls' favorite part of Dragon Park: the water sprayer
Anna playing peek-a-boo
Dressed in their "Commodores in Training" t-shirts for a visit to Vanderbilt's campus last Saturday morning for ESPN Gameday
What is it about sneakers and jeans that makes a kid look so grown up?
Margaret being helpful by feeding her friend Josie Cheerios
They actually shared a toy for like 9 seconds
I've made a couple of attempts lately to allow them to feed themselves with a spoon (in this picture, Margaret trying Mott's strawberry banana applesauce). I'm not sure they have the hang of that just yet. But, they had fun. And Mom had a lot to clean up.
Captured during their daily make-out session. Funny, yet kind of weird.

Friday, October 3, 2008

We live in Tennessee, after all...

I present to you, 2 gals in a pick-up truck!

Taken by my lovely friend Carrie, who allowed Anna and Margaret to crawl around the back of her Honda Ridgeline while it was parked in our driveway. The girls were endlessly amused - it was like an elevated, outdoor playpen.

Carrie and her beautiful newborn baby girl, Adylin Claire ("Ady") came to visit us the other day, during which we (the girls and I, as well as our friend Mandy and her beautiful 9-month old daughter Hannah) sat and ooh'ed and ah'ed over her 3-week old baby, a whopping 7 lbs of cuteness. Her little gurgles and stretches and funny newborn faces (and audible toots - baby farts are funny) made my heart melt. Even her tiny little socks were falling off of her. I loved every second of meeting baby Ady - and was also eternally grateful to my girls for sleeping for the first hour that Ady and Carrie were here, as I knew that the second they were up, we'd have to be protecting poor lil' Ady from a toddler mauling.

As predicted, the girls wanted to touch baby Ady's face and were fixated on the poor kid the entire time she was there. Anna seems especially interested in babies (her new favorite word is "baby," repeated 10x per day - baby, baby, baby). Carrie took a photo of Anna's reaction to a sweet sleeping Ady - that little smile was on her face the entire time Ady was here.

In fact, Anna seems extraordinarily fascinated by both babies and dogs at the moment. Joey and I have been making a habit as of late of going for a jog down our neighborhood's greenway with the girls in their jogging stroller when he gets home from work. It's a perfect way to calm down the girls, get some exercise, and get outdoors and enjoy the fresh, crisp fall air. About that time of the day, many of our neighbors are taking their dogs for walks, and Anna practically jumps out of her seat with excitement every time we pass a dog.

I mention her love for dogs and babies because I find it sweet that Anna, typically the more aggressive of the two girls, has such a sweet side and love for those of the canine and infant variety. It's heartwarming to see, and a nice relief after watching Anna bulldoze through the house all day long, terrorizing poor Margaret and stealing toys out of her hand at every opportunity.

That's the cool part of raising twins - seeing 2 completely different personalities develop, and then being surprised the minute you see a side to them you never expected.