December 29, 2010

Family Pictures

For Christmas, I gave my mom an appointment to get professional pictures taken of our whole family. Nice...right?
You saw how our family photos went previously. Picture taking with toddlers is unpredictable at best. What made this even more difficult was that we had one of our worst nights with the twins in a while (a combination of days of bad naps and late bedtimes combined with teeth that I finally saw popping through...), so we were all tired. The hour long drive to get to the studio resulted in some crazy car seat hair. And our photographer seemed to have shockingly little understanding of toddlers - despite the fact that the place claims to specialize in children's photographs! We kept finding toy props to make them happy, and she kept thinking that taking them away and then teasing that she would give them back would make them didn' did the opposite!
The whole group...out of dozens of shots, there were only a few where someone wasn't blinking, adjusting hair or clothes, or crying (usually it was the twins who were crying!). And I accidentally did not copy any of the good shots! Sorry, Nic...
I only wanted to get a decent group picture, but the photographer wanted to do a bunch of smaller combo shots...
So we got this lovely shot with the grandparents...and this was the best of the bunch!
We got pictures as our family of four, but they were so awful I refuse to show them.
The photographer INSISTED on these profile shots...which required a background change and our children sitting alone on a stool...

Allie's looked kind of cheesy...and a little too much like she belonged on Full House... ...and Ryan was clearly scared (and crying and reaching for the camera in all of the other shots...) I finally found some toys to distract in order to get a decent picture - 2 footballs!

We love footballs!
Success! A decent picture!
We did get some good group shots...and my parents were thrilled with the small combo shots. They walked away with their holiday cards (Dad made mom wait to send out New Years cards because he knew I was giving this gift), and various combinations of their kids and grandkids. While the picture taking was an experience, the good pictures that came out of it are appreciated mementos. Plus, we were able to teach our photographer "The Wheels on the Bus" so now she has that in her arsenal for future trying toddlers!

December 28, 2010


The day after Christmas we had the twins' Dedication. Why did we wait so long? Because a dedication isn't just about the parents dedicating their children to God and themselves to raising them in a home that reflects God's love and salvation - it is about a community of family and believers dedicating themselves as well. So, we wanted to wait until we were in a community of believers (church) where we would be long-term, and then wait until we could get all of our family together! What made this service extra-special was that my dad was the "guest" pastor who did the dedication. He reminded us that part of our responsibility as Christian parents is to encourage our children to "taste and see that the Lord is good." He used one of my favorite authors & books (Dr. Seuss' "Green Eggs & Ham") as an example. Just like Sam persistently insists that his friend try the strange dish before dismissing it, we should continuously encourage our children to "taste" a real relationship with God. The following is what he read:
"Say! God is so good. I'm glad I know!
Thank you, Sam, for telling me so!
And I will trust Him in a boat.
And I will praise Him with a goat.
And I will seek Him in the rain.
And in the dark. And on a train.
And in a car. And in a tree.
God is so good, so good, you see!
So I will pray even in a box.
And I will share Him with a fox.
And I will read His Word in a house.
And I will show His love to a mouse.
And I will follow Him here and there.
Say! I will serve God ANYWHERE!
I do so LOVE God, the Great I AM.
Thank you, thank you, my good friend Sam."
As part of the service we also asked the family and congregation in attendance to commit to reflecting God's love and their personal relationships with God to the twins, and help us guide them to become a man and woman after God's own heart.
After the dedication, the daughter-in-law of one of our members sang a very special song. I often refer to this song as the "twins' song." This is the song I sang to them the day I found out I was pregnant, and that I have sung to them on an almost daily basis since. So much of their lives - their miraculous conception, the unbelievable way God stopped active labor (befuddling all the doctors) to keep them growing 3 weeks longer before being born, their daily antics that are to me a living gospel of God's grace, love, mercy, and majesty. This song is so much my response of praise to the wonderful gift of these 2 children in my life, as well as a prayer that they are blessed enough to see God's miraculous, unbelievable, living power in their lives in such a way that their heart has no other response but praise to our Great God.

There are also some funny moments I want to remember (because even a serious service with toddlers has funny moments, and God has a sense of humor and enjoys them as much as I do!).
Right before we went up Allie looked at me and grabbed her diaper (a sign I have recently discovered means she is pooping). Sure enough, we smelled her fragrant aroma throughout the dedication...

Ry-guy chucking the small brush/mirror that Gigi gave him to keep him occupied...and then crying because he wanted it back.

Allie playing with my necklace, putting it in my mouth, and then shrieking with giggles!

Ryan crying during his prayer (and then being completely silent after I asked him if there was anyone he wanted to pray for when Papa was done...).

December 27, 2010

Christmas Day

Continuing the tradition, here is our day in pictures:
Monkey Bread!!
It took me a month to figure out how to make it without butter, and it isn't quite the same as real monkey bread, but it is pretty close. I was so thrilled to share this tradition with them!
Creating on our easels from Papa & Gigi (we almost didn't get them to open any more presents...)
Pillow Pals from Uncle Nic

Uncle Matt (having worked at a camp where the kids didn't know the song "When You Wish Upon a Star") did his part to introduce the twinners to the wonderful world of Disney!
It took a l-o-n-g time, but we finally got them to tear into the presents on their own.
After it was opened, they had to stop and play with each toy before opening another. Probably the longest present opening in history, but I didn't mind!
Their big present from mommy and daddy (no more jumping on the bed!)
They love jumping!
After naptime they tried out their polar bear sleds from Nana & Poppy.
Everyone out there took turns pulling them in the sleds.
The twins had a blast!

I promised pictures of our most amazing gifts, and here they are - handmade quilts from Auntie Min! Aren't they gorgeous?!

As for me, my 2 favorite gifts were: my own quilt made by my talented sister-friend (not pictured because it is already on my bed...and my room has been the hiding place for any and all clutter during our days of company...), and some of my favorites of my talented brother's photographs framed for my walls! There is nothing better than gifts created personally by those I love!

The Days Before Christmas

Our December has been busy, but the days leading up to Christmas were increasingly filled with excitement...and presents! The first presents were from Ariel (a.k.a. Imp), and can be seen in the following pictures (look for bracelets on Allie and a sparkly ball in Ryan's hand) on Thursday. So thrilled were they with these tokens of love that we could have ended the present giving there!
I managed to finish the twins' reindeer shirts before Christmas Eve! Remember them from last year?
It was a little sad to see how much my babies have grown in one short year.
It was also amazing how much more difficult it was to get a decent picture of both of them in the shirts than to actually make the shirts themselves!
On Christmas Eve they saw both sets of Grandparents and every one of their aunts & uncles (at various times)!! They also received a few...or a lot...more gifts!
Initially, they weren't sure about the unwrapping thing - and found the boxes more interested as chairs...
...or stages.
But we finally managed to get them to open their presents! The big ones being a garage & cars for Ryan!
And a doll house for Allie!
both presents have been HUGE hits, and they love playing with them.
Other presents included a basketball hoop and homemade doll from Aunt Darleen, clothes, books, puzzles...
...and polar bear sleds!!!
Every single present was such a hit that the next morning they played with what they had until we were ready to start in on the presents under the tree!
We finished up the evening at our church's Christmas Eve service (during which Ryan tried to out preach daddy, causing us to leave early...), and Christmas with Lucas' side (stay tuned for pictures of the most amazing presents we received!).

December 21, 2010

Happy Birthday, B!!

In the midst of the Christmas craziness, we took some time to celebrate some other births! Those of our friends B & his little sister M! Unfortunately, the twins still weren't healthy enough to attend M's party (and I forgot to take my camera), but they were for B's - which was great because his was at a place FULL of bouncy castles of all shapes & sizes!
Ry-guy was immediately into bouncing, climbing, and sliding.

Allie, on the other hand, was more interested in:
stacking the big, cushy blocks,
Coloring on the chalk board,
and sitting in the little chair...
Ryan did eventually convince his sister to try the bouncy slide with him (he went down a dozen times)
And she liked it!
Definitely the coolest party they've been to yet, and a tough one to beat.
Happy Birthday B!!

December 20, 2010

Holiday Snapshots

Completely random and in no particular order, here are some snapshots of our last few days:
Mama was making peppermint brittle, and needed help crushing the candy canes. Thankfully, I have 2 ready helpers!

The finished product!
Shortly after they were born, someone gave us these bathrobe sets. I thought they were gigantic, I thought it would be years before they fit in them...then I recently found them in the 24 mo. bin. How did they get this big already?
They LOVE their "special jackets!"
The other night we decided to go on a spur-of-the-moment Christmas Adventure to see the drive-thru light show at the loacl fairgrounds. I dressed the twinners up in their Christmasy gear, took some pictures (not good ones, but I wanted to capture them looking decent), and headed out...without the camera. I left it by the door. Even more of a bummer when we discovered that at the end of the drive-thru lights was an indoor "Winter Wonderland" with Santa (the twins refused to sit on his lap, but gave him high fives and blew Mrs. Claus some kisses), a Christmas Tree Festival, A funny puppet show, and REAL LIVE reindeer (they were in heaven and pushed through the big kids to be right up front and pet them)!! For this shutterbug mama, it was a true travesty to not have my camera at such an event!
Checking themselves out before we left

We've been busy, busy, busy having a blast!