Sunday, September 22, 2013


As I mentioned before, we have some wonderful friends who generously rent us their vacation home at a stunningly low rate, allowing our little family to take longer and nicer vacations than we would ever be able to afford on our own.

I try and make vacations a priority, and have our family get away together at least two times a year. Even when money is really tight, it's usually figured out in the budget somewhere. I feel like that little time away together is so important for us. If you've been around here for awhile, you know my mantra is close families don't just happen. You have to be intentional about it.
Vacations are my favorite way to do that =).
I feel like honestly, it's a gift to my family...getting Vacation Momma. She is so much fun. I mean, Regular Momma tries to squeeze in fun pretty often in our day to day lives, but Vacation Momma is always a blast.
She's so relaxed.
And she's so much sillier.

While we generally keep to our schedule on vacations, it's so much easier to be lenient about, well...everything! For instance, one of our vacation traditions is to get donuts for breakfast at least one morning we're away.
Don't feel like consuming an ounce of protein for breakfast? Just two donuts? Yeah...okay.
Wanna stay up a little later tonight?? I think that's a great idea!
Family Movie Night every night we're away? Of course!

Even though Time Outs, struggles, and disappoints still occur, they are few and far between on vacation.
Because the only thing vying for our attention is playing together.

And I feel like that pulls us all in tightly together, so that we're okay when we come back home if the schedules and frustrations of day to day stretch us out a bit.

So in 2013, both our family vacations took place at The Adventure House =)

We just love it there. Sunriver was tons of fun in the Winter, but even more fun in the Summer! We had a blast riding bikes, swimming, eating dinner on the porch, going for walks and watching the wild life.

We got to stay 4 nights and 5 days!!

We left after I got home from work on Friday, and got there late Friday night. To Dave and I's surprise, the twins did not fall asleep on our way over! It was just shy of 11pm when we pulled up to the house, and the kids were looney.

We got them quickly settled and then Dave and I unpacked and settled in ourselves.
Our first morning there we loaded up and headed out on a bike ride. One of my favorite things about Sunriver is the endless, beautiful bike trails.  Abbey and Luke were so excited to go exploring!

 We stopped and played at this cute little park outside the Aquatic center for a bit...

My sweet Abigail and I...

Our crazy adorable boy...

So big!!!

My three loves...=)

We biked around a bit more, then headed back to the house for lunch and Quiet Time.
That afternoon we put on our swimsuits and sunscreen and biked down to play at the Aquatic Center...

The SHARC area had this super cool beachy area, and Abbey could have lived there. She had so much fun here. I just pulled a chair in there and soaked up some sun while watching her play...

Momma was here...

Luke came to see what Ab's was up to, and ended up spending a good hour in here playing with her...
 We swam and swam and played and swam some more, and hours later, we were all ready to head back...

We biked home, enjoyed dinner and family movie night together =).

The next day we had a leisurely morning at the house and then headed down to the SHARC center again.

Ab's was all about the sand again.

Later we biked to get pizza for dinner...

...and then biked over for ice cream at Goody's...

We biked all over that evening, just enjoying the beautiful scenery...

The next morning the kids and I were getting ready to go for a walk, and walked outside the house to see this...

I was so stunned it was so close to us! I even had Dory with us (on leash) and the dear still seemed unfazed.

Luke took this picture of us...

That evening we went to a local park and played...

And then back to the house to relax in the "hot pool", as the kids call it =).

The next morning we got up and headed to the SHARC center to play. It was our last day in Sunriver, but since we were staying at a friends house, we didn't have a rigid check out time, so we were able to really enjoy the full day of vacation =)

Early afternoon we decided to bike back the house and finish packing and cleaning to leave. We were so sad our vacation had to end, but so grateful for the fun we got to have!

Friday, September 13, 2013

A moment, captured...

I've hesitated to post these pictures, because honestly I felt a little bit like I was eavesdropping on an intimate moment just by zooming in with my camera to capture these.
But I want to remember the moment I was blessed to witness. It's captured in my heart - hopefully forever, but I'd like to document here as well...
This precious encounter between our two babies...

It happened this Summer. We were at the splashpad with some friends enjoying the sunshine. Our friends had to leave before we did, so on our way to the car we stopped and played on the big boulders near the soccer field...
Luke and Abbey were running back and forth, jumping off rocks, and giggling wildly. They were quickly involved in one of their little games they often make up...where they know the story and the rules instinctively.
At one moment, Luke was upset about something. Abbey had inadvertently broken some rule in the game, and Luke was bummed it was "ruined".
He wandered over to sit on a boulder and pout.
Abbey called to him a few times, and when he didn't respond, she made her way over to him. She stood in front of him, and cheered "Cheer up! Cheer up! Cheer up!"
An earnest attempt at getting her twin to smile.

When that didn't work, she just sat down beside him...

They talked for a bit, and soon her hand was resting on his back...

They talked a minute or two longer, and then grabbed hands and went to stand...

They made their way back over to me, talking rather seriously and holding hands the entire time...

And before they reached me, they were smiling and playing again .

It was a moment so pure and honest, and so full of beauty.
In that moment, I gave earnest thanks to God for every hour I paced with two screaming newborns at the same time. I thanked Him for every moment I pulled my hair out when two infants needed something at the same time. I thanked Him for the countless times I've chased two toddler in separate directions.
Being a twin must be amazing. I'm so blessed to get to watch it up close.
My prayer is that these two always recognize the gift of having a twin. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

First day of "school" pics =)

School is in quotes above because really, it's only two mornings a week, for 2.5 hours. 

And it's not even really Pre-Kindergarden, as it's for 3 year olds. Pre-K is usually considered for 4-5 year olds.

But it's the first day we've packed up and headed to a classroom to be taught by a teacher. 

So it counts =).

Here are the obligatory First Day pictures...

Yes, yes you can see my reflection in the front door window, making crazy faces in an attempt to get them to smile.
(they were excited about school, but not so excited about being forced to pose and smile)

And if you're wondering why their bags are A:not backpacks and B:so giant, it's because the teacher specifically requested each child bring "a large tote bag", so there you have it. I am assuming that means they'll be coming home with some big, fun crafts throughout the year!

I went back and forth earlier this year on whether or not to enroll them in Preschool this Fall. Part of me was really hesitant...they are only toddlers once, and they have a lifetime of school ahead of them.
 While there are great things about school (no matter what form you participate in; public, private, charter or home), in any fashion it still means schedules and homework and academic expectations and responsibilities.
Were they too young for that?
Was I rushing them into the beginning of these types of days?
Was I pushing them out of "the nest" too young?

Back and forth I went.

I saw this article on Facebook this week, and it sums up pretty perfectly how I feel about early (early) childhood schooling pressures. I just don't really sweat the academics at three years old. I mean, yes, we work on letters, numbers, and colors. I want to challenge their minds and teach them a love of learning. 
More than my desire to see them excel academically is my desire to see them excel as whole people. 

I finally came around to deciding that for us - for Luke and Abbey- a 3's class would be a great experience.  While we've made sure they've had lots of social experience for the last two years (via church nursery, playgroups, my Mom's of Multiples group, or just out and about) a school-like setting could be a new beneficial social setting to experience. 
(and I say the "last two years" because their first year we basically tried just tried to survive =) )

I think it's good for them to learn to listen and obey other adults, good for them to interact with their peers, and good to set the tone that learning & school are fun =).

I researched a bunch of local preschools, and finally settled on one at a little church a few blocks away. It met all my criteria (safe, small, short days/hours, etc) and so my sister Natalie and I took the kids to visit there in the Spring. Both kids seemed to love it, so we signed them up! 

And before we knew it, it was Open House day!

  (yes, Luke insisted he bring his slippers)

 We learned where we'll hang our bags each morning...

Where the drinking fountains are...

And where the potties are (no pics of that, I'm only so picture crazy)

And then Abbey and Luke jumped right in to exploring...

They loved the open house, and we're so excited to come back the next day for their first official day of "school!"

They did great at drop off, and when I came back 2.5 hours later to pick them up, they were happy to see me and excited to tell me about their first day. Their teacher said they did great!

Abbey reported to me: "Momma, it was so much fun and no mean kids hit us!" 

Not sure exactly what she had anticipated for her first day of school. 

Luke said: "I liked going outside!" 

Big surprise there.

And thus begins our very first School Year.