Friday, April 26, 2013

There's this dance I do...

Before our babies even came home from the hospital, David and I had cleared our calendar of any activities that weren't absolutely required (read: gave us a paycheck). We knew we'd miss Church for a few weeks, so Dave arranged a replacement to cover running the sound. We had meals frozen. We pre-bought birthday gifts for the next month or two, knowing we wouldn't likely get a chance to do any shopping in the near future. We even pre-paid some of our bills.We planned to hunker down and get to know life as a family of four.

It was a good thing we prepared in such a way, because it ended up being completely necessary, albeit for much longer than the short amount of time we had "allowed" ourselves. We were so overwhelmed with two newborns and my recovering from surgery and trying to figure out breastfeeding and not having two minutes to sit and rest and think.

So, we backed off of a lot of our regular, pre-babies activities. For a long time.
We didn't attend family gatherings. We didn't go to celebrations. Or meetings. Or home groups. Or even out to eat.
 We were just trying to manage things at home, and it was all consuming.


We've been slowly adding them back in over time, with conditions.

The Summer the babies were born, David did play on the softball team, but didn't arrive to games super early to warm up and practice. After about two months, I finally went back to Church, with our twins in tow. 
Three months in, I went back to work, but only 15hours a week. Six months in we traveled a whole hour to a family gathering. =).

And with time, things have gotten easier. The twins are much more flexible when it comes to any sort of schedule. Handling the dinner/bath/bedtime routine is no longer daunting when running a zone defense. We all feel like a Family of Four living here, and less like two angry, tiny houseguests moved in with Dave and I and won't stop yelling at us!


But sometimes I get a little cocky, and I over commit. I start thinking...things are pretty smooth right now...it'd probably be okay if I committed my time/energy/emotion to this thing....
and most the time, it all works out just fine. 
Momma's gone a little bit more, and a little bit more harried and stressed than usual, but we all survive and the house continues to run.

And then there's the other times. 

The times were I get in WAY over my head with taking on too much, and everyone suffers. My kids are outta whack because I'm not around as much. I'm impatient with everyone.The laundry piles up so much that I'm forced to either stay up super late to complete it or run to the store and by everyone new underwear. 

I try and avoid these situations, as my first place to serve is my home. This is not to say I don't have rights to get out and do other things, or that I am exempt of any obligation to do anything for anyone outside of our home. But simply put, if my patience is extended completely somewhere else, there is none left for my family.

So, I dip my toe in this activity over here, or that group over there, and I hang out and get involved until I feel the shift of patience. And then I pull back.

And we hunker down for a bit, and find our rhythm again.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Wheeerrreeee's Abbey???



Abbey's latest "cozy spot".

I just love her.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Quotable

If we're at home, Abigail is pretty much always in pajamas. No matter what we are doing...


Lately both kids have loved bringing out all 584 of their blankets and lovies from their beds to the couch each morning to snuggle in and watch Curious George while they drink their milk and wake up a bit. It's pretty precious, and on non-work days, David and I can usually be found snuggled up under the massive pile of blankets right there with our babies.

Sunday morning I was helping Abbey pick out her clothes for Church, when she suddenly started crying.

Me: "Abbey, what's wrong honey?"
Abbey: "I don't wanna go to Church"
Me: "But baby you love Church, you always have so much fun there..."
Abbey: "I just don't want to get dressed!"
Me: "Why?"
Abbey: "Because if I take off my jammies I just won't be so cozy anymore!"

Just like her Momma.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Easter 2013


I'm "behind" on blogging, and although I'm pretty sure no one is really losing sleep over that fact, I'd still like to catch up as much as possible, since this is where I document our family's memories. 

The Saturday before Easter we attended our Church's annual Easter Egg Hunt. Although we've gone the previous two years, this was the first year Abbey and Luke really got it. 

As a Christian I do believe the reason we celebrate Easter is our Savior died for our sins and then rose from the dead. I believe it's important to share this truth with our children. We talked about Easter and Jesus plenty. But I also don't think there is any harm in Easter eggs and candy =). I don't do Easter baskets, but simply because their birthday is always right before Easter, so our house is full of new toys already. I'm a cheap Momma like that =).


 






Proof that Momma was there too...



 After the hunt is over, we enjoyed all the fun activities...






This Spring our Church nursery had grown big enough that a 2's and 3's class was created, and Luke and Abbey began their first "classroom" experience =). This also meant they were a part of this year's Easter Program. 

I nearly wept when I saw Luke and Abbey up on stage the Sunday before Easter, practicing with all the big kids after the service. 
Big Kids are in programs. Babies aren't in programs. 
I have Kids now.

Easter Sunday David was feeling crummy, so he stayed home from Church that morning. He was so bummed to miss the "performance", so I took video, but blogger and I are battling over posting it. Stay tuned. 

 I do have some pics though...


 I mean, really. Have you seen cuter three year olds?!?


Me neither.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

No more Ni-Nights

 A few days after the twins turned 3, we had a big event in our home.

We said good-bye to binkys.

When they turned 1, we made it a rule that binky's were for bedtime/naptime/car rides only. They could only have them in their cribs or carseats. It was around that time that Abbey and Luke deemed them "Ni-Nights".

Truthfully, both kids probably could have handled saying goodbye to them sooner than this, but I was just not willing to do anything that could mess with our sleep. I guess I'm still traumatized from their first 1.5 years of terrible sleeping, that now that we're all sleeping so wonderfully all night long (*knocks on wood*), why on earth would I want to do ANYTHING to jeopardize that!?? Plus it seemed like anytime we'd get to talking about it, we always had something come up - an illness, or trip planned, etc - where it just didn't seem like a good time to take them away.

In my mind I'd always said three years was the cutoff though. So, a few weeks before their 3rd birthday we started talking to them about how soon we'd be saying good-bye to their ni-nights, but we'd be getting new lovies instead! And we talked about how they were about to be Big Kids, and Big Kids don't need ni-nights anymore.

As much as we played up the "Big Kid" card, I didn't want to make getting older a bad thing...like you become a Big Kid and all your comforts are taken away from you, ya know? So this seemed like a good compromise.

So...the Monday after their party, we collected all the ni-nights from the basket in their bedroom, and any that were in both cars. We gathered them in bags and Luke and Abbey carried them themselves so they really had a visual for what was going on.


All bagged up and ready to go!

We headed to the mall to pay a visit to Build-A-Bear...
 
We've been past our days of needing a stroller when running a 1-on-2 defense out in public for awhile now. Luke and Abbey do pretty good to stay close and hold hands when required of them. But while at the mall I saw these super cool Firetruck double strollers, and began to think it *might* be a good idea to have a way to contain my children, lest they decide to become tantrum throwing demons when it was time to leave the store without their beloved Ni-Nights.
So I see the sign that says something about 50 cents. I immediately deem 50 cents being totally worth it, and let the kids get all kinds of excited about the Firetruck stroller. I mean they were psyched. And then I realized that 50 cents was the credit upon return. To rent the stroller, it was $7.00. SEVEN DOLLARS to rent the super cool Firetruck stroller.
Crap.
Not wanting to put my kids in a foul mood right before they said goodbye to their Ni-Nights, I proceeded to pay seven freaking dollars to rent a stroller for a little over an hour. (David if you are reading this, consider this my lip-bitten confession)


 ...and off we went!

Once inside the store, Abigail immediately picked out a white kitty cat (which seems to be her current Love Language), while Lucas settled on a brown doggy.


  Have ya'll ever been to Build-A-Bear before? It's so fun! Once the kids had picked out which animal they wanted, we took the "shell" of the animals over to where they would be stuffed. There each kiddo got to pick out a heart to put inside their animal, and step on the pedal to turn on the stuffing machine themselves...




 Luke was encouraged to rub the heart on his muscles so his doggy would have a strong heart =)



 After they were stuffed to satisfaction, they needed a good (air) bath and brushing...


 Once our new animal friends were good to go, we went up to the cashier and handed over our bags of ni-nights as payment. (Momma also handed over her debit card on the sly). I was so impressed with the cashier, she was SO encouraging of the kids and kept saying how they were such Big Kids now, and how they were going to love their new puppy/kitty.
 


 All in all, it was a very smooth transition. Of course that very night Abbey came down with 103 fever and was throwing up.
Not. Awesome.
But we survived and the kids have only asked about their ni-nights a handful of times, and we just remind them that they have new lovies now. Easy peasy.

(Although, during a fit the other evening, Ab's did ask for her ni-night and when I reminded her we didn't have them anymore, she sobbed "but can we please go back to that store and see if that lady is done with them yet?!?" But really, that was more just part of her fit than truly a ni-night missing, in my opinion)

Luke has named his doggy Dory, and Abbey has named her kitty Gnocchi-Gnocchi-Abbey-Kitty. (Gnocchi is the name of the kitty in Curious George)

They are both well loved and well cared for, in fact, I found Gnocchi-Gnocchi-Abbey-Kitty lovingly tucked into Momma and Daddy's bed the other day for a nap =). 
 
 
  

Big Kids indeed.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A (third) Party Post


We celebrated the twins' third birthday Mickey Mouse Clubhouse-style, and it was well received!
As we have in years past, we hosted their party at our Church, which works so well. We have amazing friends who help us set up the night before, leaving very little to be done the morning of. 
I did need to leave a little earlier that morning though, just to help with some finishing touches. Sister was heartbroken that I was leaving without her, and threw on her boots, insisting she was ready to leave as well...


But pants were required at this party, so Daddy brought her and Brother shortly after.


Even though we've done "themes" the last two years (Sesame Street the first year, Mickey this year), we've kept things generic and primary-colored enough that we've used the same decorations every year. I just picked up some simple decorations at The Dollar Tree and used some Mickey stuff we had from around the house as well.
 

Our Church runs a dayschool and we've been so fortunate to just bring up toys and play equipment for our party. The kids all love it, the space is big enough, and I don't have to clean my house in order to host a party =).




 My mom and stepdad brought these adorable balloon puppies. Luke and Abbey were IN LOVE with them!






 It's such a blessing to Dave and I to see how much these two just naturally gravitate towards each other...





Of course, they also had lots of fun playing with their friends and cousins!






 Besides the play equipment and toys, I set up just a few little crafty stations with coloring sheets I printed off the internet, foam/sticker activities, and Mickey puzzles...






Love this Birthday Boy!!!






Every year I'm amazed by how many sweet friends and family members come to celebrate with us. Each year I've walked away from the party feeling like our little family is so very loved.



 This is our sweet friend who helps me SO MUCH each year. She's always more than willing to help me set up and decorate, and she keeps an eye on things during the party (replacing an empty quiche dish with a fresh, hot one or making sure there is enough coffee) so that I can just play and enjoy the party. It's such a gift.



Once the food had been nibbled down to the bare bones, we knew that meant it was time for...

...CUPCAKES!!!


Abbey and Luke sure enjoyed being sung to, and were thrilled to get to try those tasty cupcakes they'd been eying.



Pretty sure they were worth the wait...














 I die.



After cupcakes were enjoyed by all...



 ...it was on to present time!




 New umbrellas!!



A new tool set and magnetic dress up dolls!


 TOMS!!


New aprons!!


What could be in these HUGE boxes???



Abigail was pretty darned determined to find out..

New booster seats!!! We're Big Kids now =)




One of my personal favorite presents...
=)



 A good time was had by all, especially these two THREE year olds...




Happy birthday Luke and Abbey! No matter how many years we celebrate, you'll always be my sweet babies.