Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas at Aunt Kay's

When I was growing up, one of my favorite things to do at Christmas time was go to my Aunt Kay and Uncle Dave's house. We always had SO much fun. We would bake sugar cookies, exchange presents, get a visit from Cookie Monster (my uncle in costume) and just spend time together as a family.

Well this year I got to share that tradition with my own children, and it was honestly one of my favorite days of 2010.

On the 22nd, David and I packed up Luke and Abbey right before their nap time and got on the road. They slept most of the way, and when they weren't sleeping they just played or stared out the window and hardly fussed at all. They both did SO well on the 2 and 1/2 hour road trip, we were thrilled!

Once we got there we were greeted by my Aunt and Uncle, my Mom and StepDad, my grandparents, 3 of my 4 sisters, and 2 of their boyfriends. Oh, and of course my Aunt and Uncle's "kids" =)...These dogs were AMAZING with my babies. I couldn't believe how gentle they were, and how tolerant they were when a baby would grab a fist full of hair and yank. I was also surprised how fearless Abbey and Luke were of the dogs, they just lunged for them!

Auntie Vanessa and Luke

Auntie Natalie and Abbey

Auntie Emily and Luke

My little family

Lukey showing off his new skill of backward crawling

Dinner time! Everyone over 2 feet tall had DELICIOUS steaks, sweet potatoes, and bread. Mmm..mmm.mmm..my mouth waters just thinking about it!

Daddy and Abigail

Daddy and Luke
(one of my new favorite pictures)

Me and my sisters
(don't let the picture start rumors, I am not 6 months pregnant, it's just my dress and the way it is hanging in my ridiculous pose)

After we had our wonderful meal, we did a really fun gift exchange. The deal was you brought "something that makes you smile" for $15 or under, and then we drew numbers and picked gifts and stole from each other =)

Like I said, one of my favorite days in all of 2010.

Monday, December 27, 2010

9 months!!!

I hereby interrupt these Christmas posts (one down, two to go!) to write about the fact that my babies are NINE MONTHS OLD.

Can you believe it???

Me. Neither.

Here are our pics from our monthly photo session:

What are Abigail and Lucas up to at 9 months?

-you celebrated your first Christmas
-going to bed between 6:30pm-7:15pm
-getting up for the day between 5:00am-6:00am
-taking 2 - 3 naps a day
-eating 3 meals of solids a day
-eating more and more "grown-up" foods!
-wearing size 3 diapers

My little Lukey, you have become SO adventurous this month! I am pretty convinced you are going to give me gray hairs before I am 30. This morning you stunned your Daddy and I as you went from sitting to standing in one swift unassisted movement off your new chair. Then of course you nearly face planted (I caught you), but you didn't seem phased in the slightest. Lord have mercy. And you have become an absolute wild man in the exersaucer (see video below) or in the jump-up. You have started to "moon crawl" and it's hilarious to watch you scoot backwards with such precision and grace. What's even funnier is when you lift your arms and legs and move them about at a rapid pace...all while your belly is still firmly planted on the ground. It's like you know what needs to take place to make forward motion happen, you just haven't put all the pieces together yet. And when you do, look out. We have a feeling you are going to be allllll over the place!
You are a filled out little guy, with the same deliciously chubby cheeks you have had since birth. You have grown out of a few 9 month outfits, and it won't be long before I am breaking out all the 12 month stuff.
You are SUCH a charmer, and a flirt. Lord help me when you are a teenager.
You are returning to being a pretty good sleeper (*knocks on wood*) and have actually begun preferring to put yourself to sleep. The last two times I tried to rock you and sing to you to get you drowsy before nap time, you have wanted none of it and practically lunged for your crib! Once we lay you in there, you roll to your side and position your hands to receive your lovie. You have been sleeping really good for us at night, sometimes going 11 hours before we hear from you!!! THANK YOU SWEET BOY!!!
Naps are getting better too (*knocks on more wood*), you still have your occasional 30-40 minute nap, but you have also been having 1-1.5 hour naps too.
We think you might be getting ready to finally cut your first tooth! You have been a little fussier lately, and just the other day had your very first blow out diaper! And you have had a few more since then (this is very out of character for you!) It could be one of the many new foods we let you try over the weekend to though...you LOVE food, and especially anything that Daddy and I are eating. You get SO excited when we share with you!! You started figuring out sippy cups a few weeks ago, and I dare say you've got it down now!
Speaking of you being fussier, last week you just seemed really cranky. I took you to run an errand with me and you cried the entire time we were in the car (this is unlike you!). I had noticed you tugging on your ear earlier, so I called your ped just to see what she thought. After asking a bunch of questions, she said it sounded very unlikely that it was an ear infection (no fever, no runny nose or cold symptoms, no tummy troubles -at that time!!) and that you were probably just teething or just being fussy because you are at an age where you are more aware of what you want. Sounded ok to me. Well a day or two later, Daddy and I are pretty sure we figured out what was ailing you. You were bored. And mad you are totally mobile yet. When I took you on my errands, every time we'd get out of the car, you'd be so happy looking around and taking everything in. In the car- crying. And when we traveled a few different places over the Christmas holiday, you were happy as can be and we never heard a fuss from you. You LOVED having all the new places to explore and people to watch. Back home in our living room - fussy. But now you have some new exciting toys, so that will hopefully tide you over until you master crawling.
You have started to show signs of separation anxiety, but so far not as severely as your sister has. Just beginning to prefer it be Momma that holds you if I am in the room, and not as quick to go to others as you used to be. But you are still very friendly.
You have earned the nickname "Distructo" around here, because you sure love to "explore" your toys vigorously. Your Uncle Tony and Aunt Risa got you a hammer and nail set for Christmas, and I only had to show you once what to do with that hammer and you were all over it. You love to bang things together, and throw things! You've got quite an arm already!
Even though you are becoming busier and busier, you are still an affectionate little soul. You are so tender about giving kisses and hugs. We love this about you sweet boy.

My sweet Abbeygirl, you have mastered your giggle this month, and it has been a delight to watch and hear! You are so adorable with your petite little features, even your loudest chuckle is dainty =).
You are such a funny combination of dramatic and calm. You are the same baby who will sit in our laps for literally an hour and play with one toy, and then throw a tantrum when I take the remote out of your hands. Ha!
You are a very observant little girl, and you make the funniest faces as you scrunch up your eyebrows when you are taking in something new. Daddy often walks you around your room and explains things to you while I am nursing your brother at bed time, and he tells me that you really seem to take in all that he is telling you.
You are working on becoming a better sleeper (*knocks on an entire log cabin*). You have gone 11 hours without so much as a peep a few times, but you still sometimes wake up once a night and need some comfort before nodding back off. You go down for your naps and bed time SO much easier for your Daddy than you do for me. When he picks you up, and turns you into his chest, it cues sleep for you! You close your eyes and are nearly asleep before he reaches the end of the hall!
You are a good little eater for us. You usually let us know you are full before your brother does, but you are willing to try anything and rarely turn your nose up at new foods. Just like Lucas, you LOVE when we give you bites of what we are eating. I can tell you like being treated like a big girl =). You're favorite thing is yogurt melts, and you will pick those out and eat those first amongst a tray full of Cheerios or Kix.
Even though you are a good little eater, you are still a Peanut. You are in your 9 month clothes, but thin as a rail! I am pretty sure you have grown in length big time over the last few months, and I am curious to see what your measurements are at your 9month check up next week. Curious about your weight too!
You have been really attached to me lately, which means I don't get a lot of "breaks", but I really don't mind. I am so pleased to know that you have a healthy bond to me, and that I have taught you I will meet your needs.
You have started going from a sitting position to a crawling stance overnight. You still have one leg that seems to stay stuck, but I have a feeling it won't be long before you figure that out. It seems like you wait until you are pretty sure you can do something before you try it out, I think this comes from being so observant. Just like when you started sitting up unassisted, you were a pro from the moment you first did it. You have started pulling yourself up on things from a sitting position, and even though you have yet to go from laying down to sitting up, Daddy and I decided it is time to lower your crib...just in case!
Here is some evidence:

Your favorite toy right now is my water bottle. You LOVE that thing. I give it to you and you could play with it forever! Your sippy cups however, you still just kind of teeth on. Oh well =).
You are such a pretty little girl, with such delicate features and still just a wisp of hair that only seems to be growing in length on the top of your head. You have beautiful eyes that light up whenever you crack a smile. We love your sweet smile and even sweeter spirit, baby girl.

Happy 9 months babies, we are so proud to be your parents.


Video of typical morning playtime at our house:

Sunday, December 26, 2010

First Christmas!

Since we were traveling for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, we decided to do our family's Christmas on Thursday.

The babies were already in their Christmas jammies from the evening before at Aunt Kay's, so we were all ready for Christmas morning=).

We started our day EARLY, as usual, but decided that "Christmas" couldn't happen until the sun was up =). So after the twins had gone down for an early morning nap, and woke back up around 9:00am or so, and David and I had each had a cup or two of coffee, we brought out their gifts and let them go to town!

Because they are only 9 months old, and because we knew they would be spoiled by grandparents and aunts & uncles alike, we decided to only get them a few things this year. We gave them each two of these books, and also gave them this chair , which had been in our closet since I was pregnant, but was new to them.

They went absolutely ape over the chair.

Don't believe me? See for yourself...

(Abbey left, Luke right)

We peeled them away from it for a moment to open their books...


And then it was back to the chair!


After presents we introduced our babies to our Christmas morning tradition of eating orange sweet rolls for breakfast.

(Daddy & Abbey)

They were fans for sure, and very grateful we shared...

The rest of the day was spent playing and relaxing and spending time as a family. We took the whole day "off" and didn't do a single chore around the house. David suggested we put in a season of "Friends" on DVD and just let it play throughout the afternoon, which of course sounded fabulous to me =). That night after Abbey and Luke went to bed, David made us hot cocoa and popcorn, and we watched National Lampoons Christmas Vacation.

It was a fantastic first Christmas as a family of four.


1. How do you fight the post-Christmas blues? Me, I look through the 248 photos taken on our camera from the last week and re-live all the fun. Posts & pictures to come soon.

2. We finally ordered a back-up lovie for Luke. He loves his little bear so much, and it has (so far) worked brilliantly at cuing sleep-time for him. Months ago when I saw how attached to it he was, I intended to get a spare just in case something happened to the original, but I just hadn't gotten around to it yet. We have it now, washed in Dreft, and today while we were playing in the nursery I let him have it. He inspected it, chewed on the arm, and then kind of looked at me like "ummmm...do you know this is an impostor?" Will have to rotate it with the original one so they each get some love.

3. Eating crow sucks. I am not very good at it. I fight doing it even when I know I was wrong and need to apologize. Today I had to remind myself that even though humbling myself and admitting fault is hard to swallow, and "righteous" anger, pride, and stubbornness seems to taste sweeter in the moment, crow digests better in the long run. And makes for a much more peaceful home.

4. Are you ready to hear something ridiculous? Over the last few days Lucas has started to show signs of separation anxiety, and I have been relieved to see it.
Why, you ask? Well because when I was doing all kinds of reading about separation anxiety when Abbey first started to show signs I kept reading about how it was a normal sign of healthy attachment. So naturally, I then started to worry that perhaps Luke wasn't properly attached to me. I knew it was unlikely that this was true, but I couldn't shake those thoughts, especially when Abbey seemed so desperate to know I was there and Luke didn't. So, now I have two clingy, needy babies. And I am thrilled about it for the moment. Ridiculous, I know. But YEA for babies bonded to their Momma.

5. One thing David and I talked about a lot when I was pregnant was the need to make sure we treat the twins as individuals. One goal we had/have is to make sure they each get to spend some one-on-one time with both of us. Today we got a glimpse of what that can look like. David took Luke to the grocery store and to run a few errands with him, while Abbey and I stayed at home and organized some things in their nursery. We have been very blessed with loads of hand me downs for the babies to grow into, and today I set to work on separating out sizes and packing them away, while also putting clothes they have outgrown into boxes for friends with newborn babies or babies on the way. Abbey was an absolute delight while I worked, she just played happily on the floor with some toys and in one of the empty boxes...

6. I have consumed way, WAY more chocolate in the last five days than one person should.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Luke 2:11-14

“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.””

May the Peace and Joy of Jesus be with you and your families today!

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

I know I've said it before...I LOVE this time of year. I love Christmastime. I just love the entire month of December. I am that person who the day after Thanksgiving turns to the radio station that starts playing only Christmas music 24/7, and even though that means I will hear "Last Christmas" by Wham! hourly for the next 30+ days, I never tire of it.

I love Christmas shopping, and wrapping presents. I love watching ridiculously cheesy made-for-TV Christmas movies. I love baking treats and packaging them up in Christmas tins and delivering them to friends and neighbors. I love decorations and lights and Christmas trees in front room windows.

I love it all.

And this Christmas is extra special for a few reasons. The first - and most obvious- is it is Luke & Abbey's first Christmas, and our first one as a family of four.

It's also special because it is the first one our new home, the first home we've ever owned.

Being that there are a few "firsts" this year, it's got me thinking about establishing traditions. After reading this post, I've been thinking about it even more. And then the other night during my nightly reading in this book , I was presented with these two quotes....

" 'One of the most important aspects about family traditions -rituals that families continue to do year after year- is that traditions have symbols and families need symbols. You bring out the old glass, you sing the old songs, you say the same prayer, you wear a certain outfit, you set the table in a certain way.' These are the unconscious moments of family ritual that become emotional security blankets to be tugged on in times of stress." - George J. Wolin (Clinical professor of psychiatry at George Washington University Medical School)

"Traditions are the guideposts driven deep into our subconscious minds"-Ellen Goodman

Aren't those beautiful?

I have so many wonderful memories of Christmas traditions growing up. Going up to my Aunt Kay's every year. Bundling up and piling my entire family of 7 into our suburban and driving to the other side of town to go through the neighborhoods that went ALL OUT with lights and decorations. Christmas dishes for the whole month. Getting a new ornament each year that symbolized something we had done that year. Putting out cookies and carrots for Santa and the reindeer. The sheer elation of getting to open one present every Christmas eve. Running down the stairs and seeing the new presents that weren't there the night before in the special wrapping paper that said "from Santa".

David and I have already started a few traditions over our last 6 Christmases together. We always take a night and make popcorn and David makes hot cocoa the REAL way (melts the chocolate himself and everything!) and we watch National Lampoons Christmas Vacation together. And we always make orange sweet rolls for breakfast on our Christmas morning. But that's it so far.

And now as I dream about our children growing up and having Christmas memories, it makes me think about what kind of traditions I want to establish with them and for them.

I love the idea of watching Christmas movies while snuggled under Christmas blankets. I love the idea of Christmas jammies each year. I want us to read Luke 2: 1-20 as a family. I was asking around at work what some favorite Christmas traditions are, and one of the surgeons told me every year he and his family make and package sandwiches and then go downtown on Christmas day and deliver them to homeless people that are living on the streets. That's something I would definitely like to do with our kids when they are a bit older.

One of my favorite ideas comes from a family I know from my preschool teaching days, every year they make a birthday cake for Jesus. I LOVE this idea. We aren't going to start it this year, because the twins are too little for cake, David isn't real big on sweets, and I have an aversion to throwing out unused food...add those 3 things up and you've got me eating an entire cake myself. This would not be good. So we will try that one next year when we can share it =)

We have some decorations up this year, and after Christmas I intend to hit up some sales and collect some more for the years to come. I loved having a decorated house growing up, and I want Luke and Abbey to have the same experience.

I'd love to know what some of your favorite Christmas traditions are! I would especially like to know how you commuicate the real meaning of Christmas to your kids.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Greetings from Luke & Abbey

We wish you a Merry Christmas...

We wish you a Merry Christmas...

We wish you a Merry Christmas...

And a Happy New Year!

Good tidings we bring...

...to you and your kin...

Good tidings for Christmas...

...and a Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Saturday, December 18, 2010

An adventure of sorts...

Last week to celebrate David's last day of work until January we decided to take the babies (and ourselves, really) out to lunch at Red Robin. This was Luke & Abbey's second time in a restaurant (I think...there are a lot of blurry times over the last 8 1/2 months!)

Here are our little bears before we loaded up...

And here they are exploring their place mats...

(Luke looks like such a big boy to me in that picture...tear)

Little Miss Abigail Mae...

And the Little Mister...

And my genius husband who used a straw to get the perfect size melon bites to give to our babies...

A good time was had by all.

Luke and Abbey seemed to love the restaurant, and they were SO good the whole time we were there. I think they loved just watching everything that was going on around them, and getting bites of french fries =)

Speaking of french fries, too many carbs can make one drowsy...

David and I successfully transferred our two sleeping babies from their carseats to their cribs (hooray!) and then after they woke up from their nap we spent the afternoon playing together. I just love when we all get to be home together!

By the way, doesn't Abbey look ADORABLE? Sure, a lot of the credit goes to GOD for creating her, but as far as her being adorably dressed, credit goes to my friend Heather who awhile back sent us a GIANT box of hand-me-downs from two of the most adorably dressed little girls in all of blogland. (Did you click on the link? Am I right or what?) I have been WAITING for Abbey to be big enough for so many of these outfits! Having cute new clothes to grow into makes the fact that they are growing so fast a little more manageable =)