May 31, 2011

A Memorial Week to Remember: Part 1

Such a fun (and picture)-filled week that we have to split it into different parts!

For the twins' birthday, Papa & Gigi bought them a swingset! My dad built a swingset for me when I was 2 (created one himself because he couldn't find one to buy that was good enough), and it was one of the most cherished items of my childhood. Who am I kidding? I used that swingset until I graduated from high school and we moved! If I needed to clear my head or get away, I would go outside and just swing. I loved that thing. I know the potential for how much my kids will like this one!

Papa & Gigi promised to come out when it got warmer (now!) to build it! Papa started building it in the garage (because it was raining), but finally we had some brief sun Saturday AND Nana and Poppy were here on their way home from Baby Hugsy! So the twins' 3 favorite guys (Daddy, Papa, & Poppy) built their swingset together!

The twins watched their progress through the window.

Every now and then they would check out their work.

Finally, it was finished! And our cousins came over to help us break in the swingset! This was the best picture of the 4 of them (with Nana & Gigi).

Allie wanted to play football with the guys.

Watch out, Allie!

Enjoying the swings.

Poppy would hold Baby D so that he sister's toes would touch her. She loved it!

When he would get to the bottom of the slide, Ry-guy would clap, cheer, and hop to his awaiting fans.
I love this picture because Nana is hopping :)

Then he would jump in their arms for hugs. Everyone waiting. It was a blast!

The kiddos even got me up there. Here we are cheering Harper on!

Thank you, Papa & Gigi for our swingset! Thank you, Papa, Daddy, and Poppy for building our swingset!
We love it!

On Sunday, everyone came to our church's special Memorial Weekend Service (read more about it HERE). After the service, everyone leaves the sanctuary & follows the flags out to the cemetery

Then we have a special Memorial Service, complete with the Gettysburg address, Patriotic Songs, and the playing of Taps. It was helpful having the grandparents there as I am the photographer for this event!

And this is just the beginning of the fun we have been having!

May 30, 2011

Milestones and Snapshots

Once upon a time, I was really good at recording the twins' milestones - things they were doing, favorite toys/songs/books, things that were unique to that time. I did this almost monthly their first year, and I was looking back and loved the way there was a descriptive snapshot of those points in their life. "Oh, yeah! I remember that!" After a year I started doing it less, and now I can't even remember the last time, so here is our current snapshot of their lives right now.

Favorite Book:

Both - Go Dogs Go. I almost have this book memorized. You both DO have it memorized! You read the book to me almost as much as I read it to you!

Allie - You love any book with the alphabet - Dr. Seuss' alphabet book, the Michigan alphabet book, Touch and Feel alphabet, and so on.

Ryan - You are a sucker for peekaboo flaps. Where's Spot, Who Lives in the Jungle, and our Peekaboo Counting book. These are your true favorites.

Note: You both like to take a book to bed. Not necessarily to read (although you use sea horse's light to do this when you wake up in the night so we happily let you take them!), but to sleep with like a teddy bear. You love books!

Favorite Song:

Both - at night you like to call out a word (like "clock" or "cheese") and see if I know a song with that phrase. Currently the "apple" song is your most requested at bedtime.

Ryan - ABC's. You recently mastered it, and you love showing off your skills!

Allie - Twinkle, Twinkle. Although Wheels on the Bus has maintained a spot high on your list for forever.

Favorite Thing to Play or play with:

Both - the water table from Lala. You request it daily. You get to play with it at least a few times a week. Indoors and out, it never gets old!

Allie - dress up. You are constantly finding new accessories, trying on clothes, wearing our shoes. And you love to look in the mirror whenever you put something new on (even the clothes you are wearing for the day).

Ryan - Your basketball hoop. You spend a good chunk of playtime downstairs shooting hoops. My favorite is seeing you mimic things/moves daddy does when he plays with you!

My favorite things you say:

Ryan: "Wow, wow, wow!" You have such enthusiasm for everything.

"Hand! Hand!" You say this when you want to take someone to their spot (you are very particular about where people sit when you are playing) or when you want to hold your sister's hand.

"Elmo!" I've mentioned this before but you say "Elmo" in place of "I love you." You picked it up from our favorite Friday night movie (the library only has 2 in stock that are age appropriate) - Elmo Loves You! I think it is adorable :)

"Guy-guy and Seees" this is what you call yourself & your sister. I love it.

"Hello!" and "Goodbye!" You say this enthusiastically. To everyone. We were at the McDonald's play place and some older girls were playing in there with you. You cheerfully said, "Hello!" to each of them whenever they/you crawled by. I heard one say to the other "Did that baby say hello to you? I think that is all he says!"

Allie - "Sis ok!" this is what you say whenever you stumble or fall. You also ask everyone who might be hurt in any way if they are ok. Frequently you pat their head or rub their arm when asking!

"Up! Up! Up!" You say this when you go upstairs, climb up the stairs/ladder to a slide, jump on the trampoline. At the playground you were determined to 1) climb the BIG ladder 2) climb the curvy jungle gym ladder. I didn't want you to do either, but you persisted and have mastered them both - chanting, "Up! Up! Up!" the whole time!

"I making a mess!" I don't LOVE when you say this because you are always making a mess. But you got it from Disney Junior (seriously, I could just about strangle the person who came up with that idea!). And you make messes so joyfully...this is the phrase you say the most often during the day.

"Love you!" You say this often, and it melts my heart.

"(fill in the blank)________ so funny!" You say this whenever someone laughs or makes you laugh. "Buddy so funny!" "Daddy so funny!" "Sis so funny!" (the last one when YOU do something funny). This is probably the most common phrase out of your mouth. You are surrounded by humor!

"Come on!" You frequently lead the way on any new or suggested adventure. As you enthusiastically run ahead, you call this to everyone behind. I see energetic leadership in your future!

Things you do that I love:

Read books - I can't get enough of hearing your version of our favorite books. Sometimes you mimic me. Sometimes you make up your own stories. Always it is awesome.

Sing - I love hearing your little voices sing. Anything. You even make up your own songs and I love them. I can't understand them, but I love them!

Hop - my goodness, you learned how to jump and hop and now you do it all the time. If you aren't running, you are hopping.

Mimic - I live with 2 of the most adorable parrots! While frequently you mimic things I didn't even realize I said, or said that often (like today when Allie put on one of my shirts and walked around saying, "Oh, goodness!" - something I immediately recognized, but didn't realize I said often enough to have it be my catch phrase!). Thankfully, you have not yet picked up or pointed out any bad habits I have (although I am actively working on correcting any of the ones of which I am aware!). The worst part of this is that you occasionally call me "Kim" or daddy "Lucas." I hate that most of all. I am "mommy!"

I LOVE this age. I always heard about the "terrible two's" and dreaded it for a long time. Don't get me wrong, you both know how to throw a serious tantrum, but they are comparatively rare. Most of the day you keep me laughing with the funny things you say and do. I love watching you learn new things every day. I love interacting with you. I love so much about this age. I could keep you here forever!

May 23, 2011

He's Here!!

He's here! He's here!! Our very first nephew! He arrived on Saturday, and as you can see below, he is perfect.

We were hoping to go down right away to see him, but it worked out that the only day we could go was today...and this is their first day home. No one wants to come home from the hospital to a house full of people...especially twin we will head down once they are a little more settled. Although I can barely wait!

We made our traditional "Welcome to the World" poster that we have made for our other cousins.

So far, the twins have been having a little trouble with his name. Currently, they are calling him "Baby Handsome" or "Baby Hugsy" (because they thought I said "hug some" for his name?" Personally, I think both are cute, and could easily become his bloggy nickname :)

Congratulations Uncle G & Lala! Welcome to the world Baby Handsome! WE LOVE YOU!!!

May 13, 2011

This Year's First Zoo Trip!!!

After a talk about how Mother's Day being on Lucas' biggest workday of the week being a huge bummer for me, we decided to observe Mother's Day during the week. How did we celebrate? By going to the zoo. If you've followed us for very long (a.k.a a year), you know that I LOVE taking them to the zoo :) For our first trip of the summer we went to the Toledo Zoo!

The classic picture on the tortoises

They have a FABULOUS kids area, that we weren't able to fully enjoy last time we were there.

In the goat pen - this goat kept following Ryan to nuzzle him.

The goats were happy to be fed, which, you may remember from the cows, is one of Ryan's favorite things to do!

The pen filled up with kids and the goats started to retreat into their house. Allie wanted to see where they were all going :)

They have an enchanted forest type area indoors, and Ryan loved sitting on the toadstools.

They have a "bug" theme indoors - ants, spiders, bees - and after climbing all over the giant honeycomb exhibit, Allie noticed there was a real beehive!

It took a while, but they discovered a sand box. We had to bribe them (after a significant amount of time) to leave.

We bribed them with the playground and they had a blast going down the slides!

As you can tell, we didn't spend a ton of time looking at the animals. The way the zoo was laid out, the exhibits that we love (like the hippos) were closed and were first, the children's area is in the middle (and we spent the majority of our time there), and they were so cranky and ready for naps by the time we made it to the back exhibits that we decided to just go. But, last year they were new walkers and we were never fully able to enjoy the kids play areas, so it was fun to be able to fully enjoy those places this year!

May 09, 2011

Cousin Sleepover

Last week the twins celebrated a very important event - their very first sleepover with their cousins! We were lucky enough to have Cuppycake and Baby D stay with us so Logan and Mindy could have a night away. We had so much fun!

Baby D!!

After naps we played outside. It was then that I realized that the twins have developed a sort of shorthand for the games they have made up to play outside (our outside toys are kind of lacking, so they've had to be creative). For example, they would look at each other and say "Rocks!" and take off running for their favorite spot to look for cool rocks.
and then they bring them to show me. We describe the rock(s) (ex. big, small, color, shape), and then they put them back. Poor Cuppycake was so confused when, with one word, her cousins took off in sync, and she was left trying to figure out what they meant. But they would call (as they ran off) "Come on!" and she would follow behind and eventually join in the game. (note: I had Baby D with me in the sling. I tried to get a picture, but none turned out).

Playing "Balls!"

We decided to move up our usual Friday Pizza & Movie night so that the cousins could enjoy one of our favorite rituals together.

At bedtime, all 3 of the older kids packed into my lap for stories and songs (Baby D got Uncle Lucas' lap all to herself). Bedtime went exceptionally well...except for my 2. They were so wound up from having their cousins here that they did NOT want to go to sleep. But by 8:15 all kiddos were in bed and quiet!

There wasn't a peep all night. Baby D woke up once, but only needed her binky and went right back to sleep. It was one of those incredibly perfect nights that makes you think that 4 kids is incredibly easy!


We spent the morning at the park. It was a little chilly so we bundled up (those are not Cuppycake & D's normal coats & hats), but we had a blast and it warmed up quickly! Cuppycake & D clearly loved the swings. We spent most of our time there.

I had tried over and over to get a picture with all 4 cousins together, but with 3 fast-moving toddlers this was pretty much impossible. I figured the swings at the park would be my best chance. Turns out I was wrong. This is the best picture we have of the 4 (the only one with all of them facing forward):

Allie wasn't thrilled about having to be on a "big girl" swing, and threw a fit once Lucas set her down. So this is the picture we have of the 4 of them. 3 on the swing, one crying on the ground, only 1 facing forward as the rest watch Lucas.

We had so much fun. I've said it a million times before, but I had so much fun playing with cousins growing up. I love opportunities like this for the twins to spend time with their cousins. And it won't be long before another will join the group!

May 03, 2011

We've had a lot of crummy weather lately. It isn't so much that it rains all is that it stays cloudy and gloomy and threatens to rain all day. If it isn't raining, you feel like you can't go outside because it looks like it might start raining at any moment. We have occasional bursts of sun through the clouds, or dry spells that look promising and take as many of these moments as possible to get outside. But, we have spent a lot of time indoors the last couple of weeks. And since we are trying to conserve on gas, and there is virtually nothing close, most of that time has been in our house. We are getting a little antsy. I've used all the cards I keep up my sleeve. I've run out of special tricks to entertain during the l-o-n-g days. Desperate to come up with something fun and new to shake up the monotony, I racked my brain for something, Anything. I came up with this:

A giant blanket tent is the quintessential rainy day activity. This one filled our entire living room. I used whatever I had on hand: plenty of sheets, random strips of tulle (proving that it can be used for more than making tutus or decorating for weddings!), the random bar hanging in our living room,

brooms, chairs, and my limited knowledge of physics!

We left it up all day and had a blast playing inside! The twins spent a significant amount of time reading books.

They also spent a lot of time running into the tent (where I would catch them) and running through the tent (back and forth, back and forth).

Completely at a loss for anything on one side of the living room to tie sheets to, I used a rope made of several tulle strips to tie one end of a sheet to the freezer door. This ended up leading to a very unexpected game - we'll call it "Tent-tie Volleyball." As you can see, Ryan would throw the ball, over the tulle, to his sister,

and she would throw it right back!

These pictures are mostly for the grandparents, who humored me by playing along when I sent them a picture of the tulle tied to the freezer and asked them to guess what it was! Several hours, many guesses, and a few more clues later, and the moms guessed it right (within seconds of each other). Prizes will be forthcoming!