September 27, 2010

Goin' to the Fair, Goin' to the Fair, Goin' to the Hillsdale County Fair!

Ah, the Hillsdale County Fair. Known (around here, at least) as the Most Popular Fair on Earth. Lucas and I have fond memories of going to the fair back in the day (although, most are not with each other). We were super excited to take the twins this year, as we knew they would love it.
The cows were our first stop and the twins were so excited to be so close to one of their favorite animals (from the pictures in their books...)
We started with the animals - cows, sheep, pigs, rabbits, all kinds of fowl, goats and horses. The twins were thrilled. Not only were we seeing TONS of their favorite animals, but we were seeing them VERY up close!
There is a lot happening in this picture. One sheep is being sheared. Another is trying to get into the pen of a friend. And the twins are wanting to jump in the mix!
The most stressful moment of our animal visit was when we somehow ended up in the way of a large pig being directed to the piggy shower - and he was NOT happy to be going there. I wasn't scared of the fact that I almost got trampled. I was terrified by the fact that my twins were desperately trying to grab a very angry pig!
This pig enjoyed licking the bottom of the twins' shoes. They enjoyed it as well. So much that they stuck their shoes out to entice every animal after this!
After the animals we hit the midway and the rides. This carnival had a lot of rides for little kids, and it was $1 ride day! Nana graciously purchased ride tickets and the twins had the time of their lives!
The safari train. The most tame of all the rides. Who is having more fun - the twins? Or daddy?
Ryan at the end of EVERY ride. He never wanted to them to end.
Allie's favorite ride might have been the one on Daddy's shoulders.
The Bumble Bee ride. Now who's having more fun - Ry-guy or Mommy?
Waiting for the carousel to start moving.

The Hot Air Balloon Ride. This was definitely the favorite, and we ended up riding it twice!

The one ride they didn't get to ride was the mini roller coaster. I wasn't sad because I was worried it would be too scary. Allie, who had been watching it go around and desperately wanting to ride it, was ticked. I don't think I have to worry about either of them (especially her) being scared of rides! We topped off the day with Lucas and I riding "Freak Out" - a giant spinning swing - with some of the girls from our youth group we happened to bump into. It was more fun, and less scary, than it looked!
It was one of the most fun times we have had with the twins - which says something because we've done a lot! We're really glad we went, and that Nana was there to join us!

September 26, 2010

Ebony & & Scarlet!

Lucas and I knew that ours was a marriage of contrasting cultures - college football cultures, that is. Initially, we thought it would be ok because our teams never played. Then our teams played in a bowl game, and it was a true test of our marriage. Sure, we made it through, but there were several silent hours after the game, and it is still a subject about which we rarely talk (because heated debate always follows). Then the Huskers decided to join the Big 10 Conference next year...where our teams will play each other EVERY year.
This immediately caused some friction. Lucas started "calling" children to "be his" on game day (and a "discussion" of how we might divide the children when our teams play ensued). Grandparents (we won't say which ones...) started teaching the children to cheer for their teams. It's been a little ugly, and our teams aren't even in the same conference yet!
But Ryan and Allie aren't phased by it. They can wear the colors of our different teams, and not only "play in perfect harmony," but love on each other via hug. No matter the colors they wear, they are family. Perhaps Lucas and I can learn from their example. Or, I can start teaching them the words to the Husker fight song so they know it by next year!

September 25, 2010

Fun with Colors!

We've been absent for a while. Partly because we've been busy (although not with interesting things), but mostly because I'm making a very strong effort to not be on the computer while the twins are awake. Since they are down to 1 nap, and my computer time also involves me working on the church website (which has had a lot to update for the fall), the blog was slightly neglected.
We have started a new fun thing this week that I thought I would show you...while reading the blog of another friend, she shared the link to a website she was using to provide interactive and educational activities at home. Wondering what they provided (because I had been wanting to do similar activities, but had no clue what to do on my own) I went, and was really impressed that they have curriculum for every age group up to 7 years! So I decided that we would start using things from their weekly suggestions for the twins' age.
Finger painting with red paint.

They have a lot of activity suggestions for each week, and you can pick and choose what you want. One of the activities involved teaching the colors red, blue, and yellow. They suggested having them color a picture with each color...I decided to take it to the next level! First we colored a few pages with things of that color, then we finger painted with that color of finger paint, then we did a scavenger hunt throughout the house to find things of that color, and we finished by reading the "Touch and Feel Colors" books we have for each color (Thanks, Aunt Darleen!).
On the blue scavenger hunt. The twinners push the basket and throw things in as we go. They LOVE pushing the basket!

Turns out we have a lot of blue "headgear." :)

The website also provides a lot of other suggestions for activities under various categories (exercise, literature, Bible, art appreciation, music appreciation, nursery rhymes, indoor games, language comprehension, foreign language, etc.), and this week we also incorporated the music appreciation (because I happened to have a Bach cd with this week's music selection!), language comprehension (this week was explaining everything you do - easy enough!), children's literature (I didn't have the book they suggested, but had another, by the same author, that incorporated colors. SO I used it instead!), and exercise (I was a little more deliberate about playing active games as I do not have any of the toddler exercise books they recommend).
Since we have a lot of empty space on our basement walls we set up color corners with all of our things for each color!

I'm really thrilled with the website. Their ideas are great, and even if I don't use all of the suggestions (or use them quite like they suggest) it has helped spur my creativity, and it has helped make our days MUCH less monotonous!

September 19, 2010

Zoo #5!!

Friday we went with our friends to the Toledo Zoo. Now, I have to confess that this was our worst zoo trip ever. Partly because I discovered, after the trip was scheduled, that I had mistaken the date of their 18 month checkup and it was that same day. It turned out to be a lot for one day. Also, the twins are at an awkward age where they want their independence, but don't really listen well enough to have it. To make it worse, the kid areas where we would have let them run around were mostly closed. It also ended up being nap time at the zoo - sleeping animals are not entertaining for tots! The final thing that was stacked against us is that this zoo isn't well designed for young kids. It's really spread out with a lot of dead space (plants, restaurants, open courtyards, etc.) between exhibits. My children really need constant animals or they get bored, and when they get bored they scream. There was a lot of screaming during this visit. But there were some really good moments:
The hippo exhibit was fabulous! They could get right up to the window to see them under water! (see the hippo?)
And the hippos were really good about coming right up to the window and giving the kids the thrill of their lives!
The twins with E at the hippo exhibit. The only picture of all 3 we were able to catch!
We started out the trip with a train ride around the African Safari exhibit (a picture I still need to get from our friends). The twins LOVED the train, but were more interested in the cars on the nearby highway than the animals...
Family pic on the tortoise statues (note: I have a picture of me on these same statues when I was in college!). The twins threw a fit when they had to get off of these!
They had a whole row of hanging animal masks...and animals. The kids loved playing with these.

The monkeys were better at this zoo than any other, and they twins had a blast watching the monkeys and the gorillas. Then they had a blast playing with the gorilla statues.
Ryan giving the gorilla 5 :)
Even daddy got in on the fun!
Allie was thrilled with all of the plants and wanted to touch and hug them all (and, since there were tons of bees, I was constantly redirecting her to keep her from getting stung - leading to another tantrum!)
We liked the exhibits when we got to them - the aquarium, the kids zone and pet place, the elephants - but the in between space just killed us. Perhaps we'll try another time, when they aren't so tantrum prone, and see if that changes our view!
The sight just outside of the gate. 2 screaming children (Ryan looks calm, but a split second earlier and later and you would see his tonsils!). And I, fabulous mom that I am, took a picture to capture the overall mood of the day!

September 18, 2010


Do you see what is different in the picture below? It's a big change for us!
The twins' car seats are now facing forward! I was originally going to try to keep them rear facing until 2...but I felt badly that their poor little legs always had to be curled up to fit! So we turned them around at 18 months instead.
As you can tell, they thought it was pretty fun to be facing forward (Allie is laughing, not screaming)...for about 15 minutes. Then the novelty wore off...Other changes being made around here: no more bumper on the crib. They've begun standing on it, and (excellent climbers that they are) I didn't think they needed a leg up! Every day they become less and less babies and more and more little kids.

September 16, 2010

A Visit from the Greats!

My paternal grandparents were here this past week for a visit, and the twins loved the visit from the greats!

Initially, the twins were a little shy, but they quickly warmed up to them, and by the end of the week they went to them before me! Unfortunately, the sickness hit the day before they arrived, and lasted for the majority of their visit. We didn't get to do all of the things I had hoped, but we did manage to have a little fun!
We spent a lot of time in our backyard, and the twins had fun playing on their outside toys with them
Grandpa pushing Allie in the little swing.
Grandma and Ryan at the slide.
Ryan likes for everyone to applaud after he goes down the slide by himself. Grandpa & Grandma were more than happy to comply!
Allie liked playing in the trees.
The last full day they were here we visited the local Flavor Fruit Farm. This is a spot that Lucas and I visited while we were dating, and it was fun (albeit a little surreal) to go back with the twins. Our first stop was the bakery and store. If there was any way I convey smell through the computer, this would be the one smell (or, more accurately, combination of smells) I would want to share. Baked goods, candles, candies, and treats galore. Yum!
The twins loved the assortment of marbles.
There is something so awesome about a towering tree of lollipops!
But the ultimate favorite had to be the assortment of friendly monsters :)
Then we stopped at the Triple F petting zoo!
They were intrigued by the chickens (especially one noisy one!)
Ryan loved petting the friendly goats.
Allie loved chasing a couple chickens who had escaped!
One of the pigs came out to visit the twins.
Ryan says hello.
Allie peeks in (and later got it to kiss her hand).
Even Grandpa said hello!
Both the twins talking to their new friend.
It was great having my grandparents visit, especially since they provided extra hands and help during a week when I was seriously handicapped by sickness! I did feel like I didn't get to enjoy their visit because I felt so crummy by most of it. By the time I started actively visiting, it was time for them to go home :( But, I know the twins really enjoyed them, and we can't wait to see them again!

September 15, 2010


On Saturday our church held a Community Carnival - an entire afternoon of games, moon bounce, pony rides, cake walks, face painting, prizes, fire trucks, food, tournaments all for FREE! Unfortunately, after months of rained! The only day in a week (and all sunny days since)...and only in the afternoon. God has a sense of humor! BUT, we still went and had a great time :)
Apparently Ryan isn't willing to challenge someone his own size to a game of one-on-one!
Allie at the Duck Pond. She kept wanting to keep the duck...ducks...she would have taken them all!
Ryan at the Duck Pond. He tried to climb in!
The moon bounce was a big hit! We went in before any other kids were there. Allie loved jumping.
Ryan loved throwing his whole body down!
And both of them loved jumping together!
My Little Loves.
It ended up being a bright spot during a lull in our week of sickness. And I'm thankful we braved the rain to enjoy it to the fullest!