December 31, 2009

2009's Top 10

A lot of blogs I've been reading have done their favorite post from each month of 2009, or a similar type of recap. But, we had a few missing months because 1) I was on bedrest for the majority of January with no internet access and 2) we had twins and I went MIA from the blog world until we felt like we had things under control here (ha!). But, it was a big year, and I love reminiscing...plus, Lucas cannot resist any sort of a countdown! So here are our respective Top 10 posts of 2009:

Kim's Top 10:
*for those of you who are not necessarily internet savy (I won't name names...), you click on the underlined title to link to each of the posts :)
#10 Halloween
# 9 Christmas
#8 Hospital Hopping
the one that started the year off and marked the return of the blog!
#7 Welcome to the World Harper!
#6 So much Thankfulness
#5 Ryan Crawls!
#4 Allie crawls!
#3 Loralee's Wedding Part 3
Logan's Wedding Part 4
we couldn't decide which would get higher billing, so we decided it was a tie!
#2 6 months
#1 Then & Now
The first blog after the twins were born!

Lucas' Top 10
#1 So how's Lucas doing?
Lucas only authored 1 blog post this past year...so his Top 10 is only a #1...perhaps his resolution should be to add some input to the blog for 2010?

Thank you for your prayers, support, and love during this past (eventful) year. We are so thankful to have each of you a part of our lives (as I went through all of the posts from the hospital, and remembered how much we FELT the prayers of all of you, I was so grateful, blessed, encouraged, and joyful all over again!). Here's to a very blessed 2010!

Happy New Year!!

December 30, 2009

Fun with Family

Since this is just one stop in Nana & Papi's whirlwind holiday tour of their children, and they still have to see Loralee & Grant to see before returning home for work on Monday, our time with them is short (although all our visits with family have been too short...). But we've been cramming in as much fun as we possibly can!



Papi & Nana got the babies sweaters to match their winter hats...and penguins to match the babies! Of course we HAD to get pictures! Here are a few...


The babies enjoy spending every waking moment that they aren't eating (and entertaining Papi & Nana by making faces and silly noises, cramming food into their mouths, and looking like big kids as they sip casually from their sippy cups) playing with their grandparents. Ryan especially loves that there are ALWAYS fresh arms willing to hold him while he jumps...and jumps...and jumps...Allie loves having an audience whenever she finds a new way to stand, climb, or otherwise get into things. Oh, how terrible life will be when they're back to only having mommy!




Lucas and I have been enjoying games with them in the evening. The first evening we played Euchre (which we loved because NO ONE here knows how to play. So we only get our Euchre fix when family visit). Last night we played every single one of the games we got for Christmas. I discovered that I'm awesome at Scrabble Slam, a legitimate competitor in Bananagrams, and decent at What's Yours Like (definitely better at giving clues than guessing). At more than one point in the evening we broke down laughing (like when I helped Denise win Bananagrams...until the guys discovered that the word airape was in the center of her board...), and once laughed so hard we had tears and stomach aches (when we were giving clues to Denise to try to guess the word Mother-in-law, and my clue was "mine is confused." Keep in mind that I meant for the moment!). As I write this I'm realizing that all of the funny moments somehow involved me and Denise...we must be quite the comedy duo!

Today is our last day and tonight is our last night. We're going to enjoy every last minute and not think about them leaving tomorrow!

December 28, 2009

Papi & Nana

Nana & Papi are here! They arrived last night, and there has been no end to the fun since they arrived (well, a little non-fun...Allie - who had about 4 beautiful nights of perfect pre-teething sleep - reverted back to the sleep of one who is giddy with newly discovered mobility and is hurting with another tooth poking through. Mama is sad...and sleepy). However, the babies are still trying to figure how Nana & Papi (who they recognize from regular skypes) got out of the computer!
It was fairly warm (for December), so we walked to the playground to have some fun on the swings!

But shortly after we got there it started to sprinkle, and then heavily sprinkle, and we ended the walk practically sprinting home in the rain (we had no rain cover with us so Nana and I were trying to hold her jacket over the babies while Papi pushed the stroller - a kodak moment...if anyone had a free hand to take a picture!)

One highlight was another Christmas celebration! I hope the babies know how spoiled they are. They have received gifts from many generous friends and family. While we are so thankful for all of the people in their lives who love them and have so generously made this first Christmas very special, I'm thankful that the babies won't remember this first Christmas and think this is the standard to be met every year! Papi & Nana brought some wonderful new toys that the babies have enjoyed playing with all day!

Allie LOVES her duck finger puppet book she received in the Dunsmore family gift exchange from Great Grandma!


Ryan is a big fan of the hammer he received from his Nana in the Dunsmore family gift exchange...just a little confused about how he is supposed to use it.

Ryan enjoying their new music table. A BIG hit with both babies.

Allie works on her dunk - I see many basketball games in our future!

A few BIG happenings:

Allie is standing. She has been working on this for a while, and now pulls herself up swiftly and easily (much to mommy's terror). This is part of the non-sleeping...she has figured out how to stand in her crib...getting back down to fall asleep is a little more difficult though!

Not only did I turn around to find her suddenly standing, but even with all of the new toys she managed to sniff out her old favorite - her car!

AND (drumroll please!) Ryan is crawling! He has crawled some before. We've seen him crawl a few short distances. Once or twice I turned around to see a lot of distance covered, and no other way for him to have covered it. And once Lucas witnessed him crawl across the room. But for the most part he chose to feign ignorance and simply have someone move him wherever he wanted to go (or just stand him up so he could jump). However, he seems to have suddenly discovered the freedom of crawling wherever he wants, and today he took off. I'm SO excited because he was getting more and more grumpy during independent play times because he was stuck with whatever was near him. BUT, as I watched two babies go in two different directions I began to wonder how I am going to survive two mobile babies (especially on the small ration of sleep Allie is allotting me...). Regardless, enjoy the video!

video

December 26, 2009

The Babies' FIRST Christmas - Our Day in Photos

Christmas morning before we opened the presents.

The twins start to unwrap - which it turns out they weren't really into...and we ended up unwrapping most of their presents for them!

The stockings were much easier to get into, and they enjoyed finding the goodies in them.

Playing with some of the Christmas loot. The containers of puffs were one of the favorite items...we could have given empty containers and they would have been happy! Other favorites included a cardboard wrapping paper tube!

Ryan laying claim to the saucer sled that daddy bought. Mommy thought it was a little too old for them, but...

...it turns out they LOVE sitting in it while playing with their toys! Way to go, Daddy!

Allie loves the crawl tunnel! I had trouble coaxing her to come out!

The squirty bath toys are a favorite for both...very soothing to teething gums!

After we opened presents (and played a little), we enjoyed a special breakfast.

Babies had toast with a little cream cheese and pureed blueberries. Grown ups had monkey bread!

Then back to playing! They were eyeing each other's toys...

...so we switched them, and that worked...for a while!

Allie discovers she can play with more toys at once if she uses her feet!

Ryan takes a break from reading to chew on a new toy and plan the fun he will have playing with his new goodies!

We hope you all had a very Merry Christmas! We sure did!

December 25, 2009

Christmas Eve

I woke up on Christmas Eve completely giddy. Partly because,
for the first night in a l-o-n-g time the babies 1) didn't wake up at all before we went to bed 2) slept completely through the night 3) slept in until 7 am!!! It was a true Christmas Miracle (special thanks go out to Night time Orajel & super absorbent night time diapers). But another part of it is that I was so aware the whole day that this was the babies' FIRST Christmas. Even though they wouldn't remember this one, I knew every year from here on out Christmas Eve would be so exciting for them!We had no big plans during the day (except skyping with my parents), but late afternoon the festivities began with us dressing in our holiday clothes and heading out to meet Lucas. We had decided to drive around and look at Christmas Lights before our church's Christmas Eve service - mostly because we were going to be keeping the babies up later than their normal bedtime, and we figured they would probably fall asleep while we were driving around (which they did). The only problem was that there were no Christmas Lights. We would find a random house here or there, but we drove around for about an hour and definitely saw fewer than 20 houses with lights (and I want to say the number might not have even been in the teens). It was sad.

Then we went to the Christmas Eve service. The twins sat in the sanctuary for the first part of the service (favorite moments were Allie peeking over the pew and jumping for joy when she
saw the people behind us & Ryan sitting on Miss Karen's lap, holding a canister of puffs, eating them by the handful - which I NEVER allow him to do. He looked like he was at a movie eating a giant tub of pop corn!). They started to get fidgety though, so we moved into the cry room where there were tons of other babies (ok...4) and big kids (2). Allie, new to crawling, got a little overwhelmed, and crawled into a portable pulpit on which she hit her head. Ryan, not crawling, LOVED watching all the commotion around him!

Of, course, they were near meltdown when the service
was over so we rushed them home and into bed. Then Lucas and I worked on creating some Christmas magic (a.k.a. wrapping presents and putting them under the tree) while watching It's A Wonderful Life (we usually have an IAWL party every year, but this year it had to be cancelled because I was sick....). I love that movie more every time I see it.

Before

After

Around midnight we settled into our bed and drifted off to sweet dreams of what our babies' first Christmas!

December 24, 2009

UPDATE

We just read this update on baby R from the mama's facebook:

Thank you to everyone for your thoughts and prayers. I went for the gentics testing today at U of M and unfortunatly there is nothing we can do to help the baby now. I will be going in for Surgery on Monday or Tuesday to take the baby. Our hearts are very heavy but we will get through this!!!! Thank you again everyone ...and please have a very Merry Christmas.

Please, join us in praying for our cousins as they face this difficult loss.

December 21, 2009

General Merriment

The big highlight of the last few days was Lucas' birthday! We had some fun establishing some family birthday traditions! One I totally stole from my uncle Jon is a homemade birthday banner. Granted, my uncle Jon is a talented artist...and I am not...so his banners are works of art, and mine...well, it's the thought that counts!

Lucas also got to pick whatever he wanted for each meal (a tradition of my family growing up), including a free steak and peanut butter thing from not Your Average Joes!!


Gummy Peaches...daddy's current favorite sweet treat.

He tried reading Dr. Seuss' "Happy Birthday to You!" to the twins (which I had done on my birthday), but they were getting sleepy and he didn't get to finish before the meltdowns began...
Don't you just LOVE the way Ryan is looking at Lucas?

what are some of your favorite birthday traditions?

The twins are getting more interactive and fun every day! We have always had the tradition of bringing whatever baby wakes up first in to get the other baby singing "we love brother/sister!" But we switched it up recently by placing already awake baby in the crib with newly awake baby (ok, so we needed to free hand and did it once out of necessity, and they were so cute we kept it up!). While we thought they would be possessive about the other baby being in THEIR space, they seem to love it. They happily welcome the incoming baby and excitedly talk and giggle!



This morning I ran to get my camera and came back to find that Allie had dragged Ryan into her lap and was hugging him! He was smiling...but had a "help me, mommy!" look in his eyes, so I separated them before snapping a few pictures. I love how much they love each other!

Another fun new thing is riding in the laundry basket!! I was suddenly struck with the idea that they might like this (while thinking of alternatives to sledding), and we tried it the other day. Ryan liked it so much that every time we took him out of the basket he threw a fit (a not so fun end to a really fun activity...).

BONUS: I had been looking for an easy way to transport both babies through the house together. I used to leave one while I moved the other, but they are too mobile to leave anyone alone anymore. I tried once carrying Ryan and trying to get Allie to crawl behind, but she kept trying to go where I did not want her to go (bathroom & kitchen), and so I had to set Ryan down, take her, and come back for him.

Now, I just load them both up in the laundry basket and away we go! They are thrilled with the fun ride, and I don't have to worry about leaving anyone behind! Thank God for the many uses of the laundry basket. Ours have served so many purposes since having babies!!


Every night, before bed, we pray with Allie and Ryan for their not-yet-born baby friends (5 to be exact). This morning we received word that one of these babies made a safe and healthy arrival into the world (Praise God!). Shortly after, we found out that another of these babies potentially has a serious neurological defect that might mean we never meet him/her this side of Heaven. While we stand before our God with unspeakable joy over the miraculous blessing of baby Sarah Grace, our hearts break for our cousins who received this devastating news. Please, join us in praying for Baby R and parents.

December 20, 2009

All Dressed Up & Nowhere To Go: How We Spent Our Snow Day


We caught the tail end of a fabulous snowstorm that dumped record amounts of snow all along the East Coast. We got so much snow, in fact, that church was cancelled (since the storm was at its peak during the time everyone would have been trying to get there). So, we got to enjoy one of the greatest pleasures of winter: a Snow Day. Because there is nothing better than a beautiful winter day with no where to go!

Now, the twins both have some adorable Christmas outfits. We missed church last week because they were sick, and then with no church this week...we were running out of opportunities for them to wear them. So I decided they would wear one of their outfits today - regardless of the fact that no one would see them!

Allie's dress is so adorable! It was a hand-me-down, and I almost forgot we had it! Thankfully, it surfaced in time to wear before Christmas. It was amazing how much she looked like a princess (we called her "Princess Alethea" all day...because we've always thought Alethea sounds like a princess name, and it seemed especially appropriate today)! While wearing this dress, everything she did looked like a picture. It made me want to dress her in frilly dresses every day, but she had enough trouble crawling that I won't!

Ryan looked like a little lumberjack to me. His whole outfit was also a hand-me-down, and I thought it matched pretty well with Allie's considering they didn't come from the same place! Button-up shirts always make him look so much like a little man...and he talked like one today! He babbled something at Lucas and me and I turned and said, "oh, ya?" and he shrugged and said "ya" before turning back to his toys. I wonder what he actually said...

And so we lazed the day away. The babies wore their festive attire. Daddy shoveled a lot of snow, and then had to leave for the Sr. high youth Christmas Party (so he didn't get to enjoy a full snow day). And me? I worked on a project I've wanted to finish for a while. I was inspired by a tutorial on a friends blog (http://monkeys-on-the-bed.blogspot.com/2009/12/tutorial-tuesday-foot-and-hands.html). Normally, I look at crafty tutorials and think "I'd love to do that, but don't have the time." But she used her daughter's hands & feet as a template to make a reindeer shirt, and mentioned how much fun it would be to see her hands & feet grow through the years - and I'm a sucker for anything that measures their growth and serves as a keepsake!

Mine is a little different (I put the reindeer on PJ's that my mom gave us, and I changed the design a little to make the reindeer more manly for Ryan). I also still need to add a few finishing touches (googly eyes and a bow on Allie's). I think they are my favorite things I've ever made, and I really can't wait to make them next year and see how much their hands & feet have grown!

December 18, 2009

Growing!

We had their 9 month checkup today! Allie is 18 1/2 lbs (in the 30th percentile) and 28 in. long (55th percentile!). Ryan is 20 1/2 lbs (50th percentile) and 28 1/2 in. long (55 percentile). Allie is still a bit of a peanut, but the doctor said she really is growing well. Ryan is obviously the bigger of the two, but the doctor said he is exceptionally well proportioned (50th & 55th percentile, so he's almost perfectly even!). He said both are really growing well - especially considering that they were around 2 months old before they were the size of an average newborn!

Allie has one lovely tooth coming in, and the doctor confirmed (since he can actually hold their mouth open with a tongue depressor and look in with a little light) that Ryan has a second tooth that just popped through.
It turns out that Allie is probably having night terrors (a little earlier than most children, but not uncommon). Poor girl apparently takes after her mama in having vivid dreams. The problem is knowing how to comfort her...the doctor suggested going in and picking her up, but I often find that she isn't awake when she cries out, and picking her up just wakes her up, and then I spend forever getting her back to sleep...I'll figure out what works best I suppose!

When it came to shots, they both took them like a pro. Allie actually screamed more when he put the tongue depressor in he mouth (she is very particular about being the only person who puts anything in her mouth), than when she got her shots. Ryan hardly cried at all. One big scream and then he jabbered away...until I refused to let him pull all the papers off the doctors desk - then he threw a fit!

It is always so reassuring to have these checkups, hear they are doing well and are on target, and get information on what's to come. And, being a mommy of preemies whose world once revolved around weight gain, I love tracking how much they've grown! Next time they see the doctor they will be a year old...crazy!