Sunday, January 15, 2012

Two Words that Go with Everything

Brooks and Adlyn's vocabulary is expanding.  A few weeks ago, I noticed that Adlyn adds the word "maybe" to the end of practically every sentence and phrase.  This week, I noticed that Brooks adds the word “think” to the end of sentences.  Once you clue into the word, it is hard to stop noticing.  But, there are a lot of times when it works well at the end of the sentence, maybe, I think. 

Wipeout

Do you know what Brooks and Adlyn  love about Thursday nights at 7 PM?  The show Wipeout on ABC, of course.  From the perspective of a three-year-old, it makes a lot of sense.  Lots of action, guys falling in the water, what more could you ask for?  We only have an antenna and pick up three channels, so our entertainment is limited.  I think the original show aired in Japan and China, and if you’ve ever watched it in their language, it is really funny.  Basically the show is a large obstacle course with water underneath.  So, if you mess up, into the water you go.  You know what else is fun?  I really don’t mind sitting and watching it with them either.

Budget Conscious Toddlers

I tend to take the kids to the grocery store with me on the weekends to give Zach a break and allow him some time to focus on his homework without interruptions.  Little did I know that Brooks and Adlyn are very observant during our time at the grocery store.  The other day, when I grabbed the large vanilla yogurt that we buy each week for our smoothies, I mentioned it was on sale.  Adlyn let out a, “Yeah, woo-hoo!”  Other times, Brooks will let out a sigh if I say something isn’t on sale and we don’t put it in our cart.  Yes, my three-year olds recognize what a sale is.  This weekend, just like many others, Brooks makes sure that we get avocados for Dad because they are his favorite.  Brooks likes to count the gallons of milk once they are in the cart.  They consume about 5 gallons of milk a week, which takes up a lot of room in the cart, and in the fridge.  They are really good kids at the grocery store and are very helpful and cooperative.  At the end, they help put the groceries on the conveyor belt for the clerk.  Depending on who does the bagging that day, they also get a sticker.  A trip to the store isn’t complete without sitting on the handicapped grocery cart scooters.  They like to sit on those for at least a few minutes before we head out the door.

It is much easier now than when they were infants.  I didn’t dare take them to the store.  How was I going to put two infant carriers in a cart and actually have room for some groceries?  I wasn’t for sure how I would handle that.  I think they were at least a year old before I took them to the store on my own.   

Working in the Garden

I'm not for sure why the kids think this is so funny, but they do.  I don't even know where it all came from, but I'm guessing it is from a combination of our neighbor's immaculate garden and from when Zach plays tickle spider with them.  When they are in the bath tub, one will be facing the side of the tub.  The other one sneaks their hand behind the other and tickles their back.  The one at the side of the tub turns to the other and says, “Hey, I’m working in my garden.”  Then, they switch roles and do it again.  Once again, I’m not for sure where it all comes from, but they sure do enjoy it!

Miss Ham

Brooks and Adlyn's preschool has two teachers in each room.  From what I gather, our kids are not together during small activities.  Brooks's teacher is Miss Shay and she is a nice, young lady.  Adlyn tells us her teacher is Miss Ham.  Even though I know her teacher's name is Pam, I continue to ask because it makes me laugh. 

Swim Swim Soup

I like to take the kids to the pool on the weekends, and this weekend we met up with a friend and her little girl.  It was more fun to have someone else to play with and talk to.  My favorite part is when we are getting ready to go to the pool.  Both kids, Adlyn in particular, call their swimsuit a swim-swim-soup.  It makes me chuckle.

I’m glad there isn’t a bad mom police out in the world.  Why?  Because once they put their suit on at the house, they don’t want to wear clothes over the top.  Therefore, they ride in the stroller (yes, it has a cover) from our house to the pool, even in the winter, with hardly any clothes on.  I can manage to get a hat on them, but that is it.  No shoes, no coat, no pants, no shirt.  Just a swim-swim-soup and a hat.  Luckily, they allow me to spread the towel on their lap.  Once we are done swimming, it is about the same.  They just like to be wrapped in a towel with their hat on and placed in the stroller.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Confirmation that Twins Speak Their Own Language

Today we took down the Christmas tree and the kids weren’t really helping, but rather playing with all of the ornament packing materials.  They enjoyed putting small bubble wrap sacks on their feet as I un-strung the lights.  Later, Adlyn asked me for something, to me, the word sounded like chocolate.  I tried to ask her if she wanted some chocolate.  She responded with a firm NO.  Then, I thought it she might be saying stocking.  They were still hanging up at that time so I thought it might be a good fit.  Adlyn was getting frustrated, repeatedly asking for the same thing.  I had Zach come up from the basement to see if he could understand what she was saying.  To Adlyn, the word was so clear.  Zach couldn’t figure it out, so, he called Brooks over and told Adlyn to tell Brooks what she wanted.  Adlyn said the word, Brooks quickly responded with, “Oh, O.K.,” and he ran off to the living room.  Zach and I looked at each other, both thinking this is really weird.  Could he really know what she wanted?  We following him out to the living room, he was looking for something, and he found his own small bubble wrap sack and looked and Zach and I and said, “Like this.”  I found Adlyn’s bubble wrap sack in the large tote where the tree would go and I handed it to her.  She smiled and went on playing.  That was exactly what she wanted.  Interesting, neither Zach nor I had a clue what she was saying, but to Brooks, it was perfectly clear.  Twins really do speak their own language, and it is not designed for outsiders to understand.  This only confirms my belief! 

Snow Bridge

Dad built a snow bridge this week, and here is a short video showing how the kids collapsed it.
video

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Twelfth Day of Christmas

I am visually reminded to take down the Christmas tree this weekend.  Christmas has come to an end.  The kids are one year older, and it is much different than the first Christmas we had.  We celebrated that first Christmas with two little babies that we didn’t even think would be born before Christmas.  They didn’t even feel like our own at that time.  We could only help the nurses take care of them, you didn’t bother them outside of their three hour schedule, and holding them was a challenge since you only had a short amount of time to do it and there were so many cords.  We couldn’t wait for the day to see them without a cord, or a wire, or a piece of tape or tube on their face, or in an environment free of beeps, dings, and buzzes.  Now, they are all ours, every minute of the day.  We can scoop them up at any time and give them a hug, a bear hug, a kiss, a dinosaur kiss, or now, even a shark kiss.  Every year brings changes, and I can’t wait to see what 2012 brings.  Merry Christmas Brooks & Adlyn.

The Eleventh Day of Christmas

I went back to work and the kids were up early that morning.  I enjoyed spending some time with them before I left.  The kids had a good day with Zach.  They still remembered preschool and they told us several times that they were saying, “Ohhhh Daaaaaaaaddd,” and reminded us that we weren’t there to respond to their calling.   

The Tenth Day of Christmas

It is the last day of my Christmas vacation and Brooks and Adlyn’s first day of preschool.  I was glad to be home today so I could take them to school with Zach.  We were up and ready, and got to school on time.  We stayed with them for about ten minutes and they were doing great.  They were playing well and we said our goodbyes.  Both of them were happy and it seemed perfect.
We came back to the house and I unpacked everything from the night before.  It was odd to be at home without the kids in the house.  It wasn’t hard on me because the transition seemed to go well.  We were both excited to go and pick them up.
Zach and I arrived about 5 minutes early and saw Adlyn on the teeter-totter as we pulled into the parking lot.  Zach took a peek and she was playing with her friend, Brooks.  He said they looked happy.  We went inside and looked forward to talking to the teaching assistant, Pam.  She told us it was horrible, and I just looked at her and thought she was joking.  But, she was right.  As soon as free play ended, Adlyn became teary eyed and sad.  Shortly after that, Brooks noticed her tears and began to cry as well.  They took turns crying and didn’t participate in any activities.  Both of them refused their milk and snack.  They wanted Mom and Dad.  Pam told us Adlyn managed to paint a picture through her tears, but that was it.  They began having fun about 10 minutes before the conclusion of the morning during outside playtime.  I was a little surprised, but as soon as we saw them, we asked them how it went.  They said they liked it, they were smiling and happy.  Maybe it was because they got an owl sticker and a gummy bear upon returning inside.  We walked to the truck, loaded them up, and asked them more questions.  They did tell us they were sad and that they cried.  Poor fellows, I felt bad for them.  We’ll try it again next week.
We came home for lunch and we all went out to run errands.  We even stopped at the fish store (Ace Hardware) so they could buy pop-a-corn (which they give away for free).  It was a great afternoon, we went to the county museum and the grocery store.  We enjoyed our last day of break together and they went to bed early.  They had a long day. 

The Ninth Day of Christmas

Zach went out fishing with a friend since it was the nicest day forecasted over the break.  They landed one big fish.  I spent time with Brooks and Adlyn at the saucer swing park.  We threw rocks onto the iced-over river and enjoyed our afternoon.  That evening, we loaded up and headed home after Zach was done fishing.  It was the end of our long vacation, and we were all ready to head back home.

The Eighth Day of Christmas

It was a quiet Sunday.  The weather was a little bit nicer, but still chilly.  We spent most of the day inside with the exception to see the trains at the pedestrian bridge in the afternoon.  We were hoping the bowling alley would be open, but it was closed, along with everything else.  I enjoyed reading books with the kids, playing with toys new and old, and watching some of their favorite episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  Once again, it was a relaxing day and Zach and I were able to enjoy a walk in the frigid air, down to the river. 

The Seventh Day of Christmas

It was really windy on Saturday which made us stay indoors.  We did make a quick to the fabric store in the afternoon, just to get out of the house.  The kids love going there, mostly because of the pretzels they have for the kids to eat.  I went to church, and enjoyed a great supper prepared by Grandpa on the grill.  Zach and I ate quickly as we headed out to a movie for New Year’s Eve.  Grandma and Grandpa intended to take the kids bowling and out for ice cream, but Brooks crashed around 7 PM.  Once again, he didn’t take a nap and tried to stay awake.  They didn’t get to go bowling while we were at a movie, but Adlyn enjoyed her special time with Grandma at the grocery store to pick out ice cream and her favorite sprinkles.  Zach and I saw the movie War Horse, it was ok.  It was our first movie together since 2009!  It was nice just to get out and spend some time together.  We were in bed shortly after 11:00, but I woke up at midnight to wish the kiddos, and Zach, a Happy New Year!  Three years ago we spend the midnight hour at the NICU and wished the A&B a Happy New Year and enjoyed sparkling cider with the nurses.  It was great, and we were so happy to be there with them late at night.

The Sixth Day of Christmas

We spend the morning relaxing at the house and after lunch we went to Rock Springs.  We visited some of Zach’s friends, saw Grandma at work, and did some quick shopping.  On our way back, we stopped at the library, which was closed, the kids were sad.  We visited another friend before we went back to Grandma’s.  I went for a run that evening and enjoyed looking at the lights.  Uncle Kalib (Uncle Cable, according to A&B) made a delicious dinner.  It was a nice and relaxing day.

The Fifth Day of Christmas

Zach and I loaded up the vehicle early that morning to get ready to head to the other set of grandparents.  We enjoyed our short time with Niki and cousins Avery and Andrew around the Christmas tree.  On the way, we stopped at Cabela’s to look at a few things.  The kids both loved the elephant, and Brooks couldn’t wait to show it to Dad.  On our way through the store to find him, I ran into Stan, an old man that always worked out at the gym when Zach and I lived there.  I was happy to see him as I often think about how he is doing.  We talked for about two minutes, and Brooks lost his patience.  He had to show Dad this elephant…he ran off down the aisle.  I said a quick goodbye and Adlyn and I chased after him.  We found Dad, but he was busy looking at something, and Brooks was frustrated.  He just wanted him to know there was an elephant in this place!  I tried to sidetrack him by looking at ice shanties, and mini four wheelers.  They also had a UTV.  The kids liked to sit in it and pretend to drive, and I thought I’d put them in the back bed-like compartment.  Well, what started off as a good idea quickly turned bad!  I put Adlyn in, then Brooks.  In a split second, the bed compartment lifted up, dumped out the signage, and somehow in that time, I grabbed the kids and got them out before they crashed onto the cement floors.  Let’s just say it was a really loud bang, the metal signage broke, a salesman was there instantly, and Brooks felt horrible.  He was completely sad about the whole ordeal.  Luckily, everyone was ok, and salesman was nice, and for some reason, the bed compartment wasn’t locked and their weight was just enough to tip it up.  How embarrassing!
We hopped back on the road, only to drive directly into a gazillion mile per hour wind.  It wasn’t long and we had to stop to fill up with gas, again.  The wind was horrendous!  During our drive, we count six semi’s that were tipped over, one of those was carrying livestock.  Gravel was flying in the air and peppered our windshield.  (The next day we had four rock chips repaired!)  We cringed as it continued to hit our vehicle.  Poor car, we rarely drive it, and when we do, it is disastrous…that is a whole other story.  We made it to Zach’s mom’s house safely that night and enjoyed pizza and presents. 

The Fourth Day of Christmas

Today we took another walk to the post office in the morning and it was a much warmer day.  Once again, we preceded to the railroad tracks without any luck.  We also stopped at the bank to ‘buy a sucker’ and saw Aunt Lynda & Uncle Cecil on Main Street.  In the afternoon, Adlyn took a nap, and Brooks was determined to stay awake.  I tried to get out for a run, but he was clinging to me.  I convinced him to run around the block with me, but by the time we went outside, he wanted to go for a walk to see the trains.  We walked across the tracks, not a train in sight.  We went through the elevators and watched the corn rain down from above.  The corn pile was still of interest, and I didn’t mind since it allowed me to buy some time to see a train close up.  Finally, we heard a train coming.  I grabbed Brooks and we watched it go by.  He covered his ears and clenched tight as it went by.  Shortly after, we could see another one down the track.  It must have been going turtle speed because it took forever to get to town.  He was patient, and it slowly went by us.  We walked back to my parent’s house and got ready to head over to the lake for supper at a BBQ place.  Both kids were excited to go out to eat dinner, but unfortunately, Brooks crashed on our drive to the lake.  He was completely out.  I held him through our delicious dinner, and Adlyn enjoyed it as well.  Low and behold, Brooks wakes up once we buckle him in his car seat.  He had no knowledge of sleeping, and a few miles later, I told him we already went to the restaurant.  He was bummed out and sad, so we picked him up a can of black olives, one of his favorites, at our quick stop to the grocery store.  We had a nice evening with the family and we also enjoyed looking at the Christmas lights.

The Third Day of Christmas

The guys went out hunting, so we spent time in town.  We enjoyed a chilly walk to the post office with Grandma.  The kids wanted to walk a little farther to go across the railroad tracks.  Believe it or not, we didn’t see a train.  Honestly, those trains go by every two minutes, but not when we were standing there.  We’ll try again later. 
In the afternoon, we went down to the river.  Uncle Mike and Grandpa shot guns and Grandma, the kids, and I threw sticks into the icy river.  It was really muddy!  After that, we went to the large corn pile, visible from my parent’s house.  The kids played in the corn and were excited to bring back a small container to feed the squirrels and birds. 

The Second Day of Christmas

Zach was moving around a little bit more on Monday morning so we decided we would try to drive to Nebraska to see my family.  We spent all morning getting ready and took off after lunch.  43 miles into the trip, we had already stopped four times for someone to go to the bathroom.  They kept saying they wanted to go to Grandma’s house.  Well, me too, and if you guys would stop having to go to the bathroom, we might just might it there a little sooner.  They kept entertained with their new blankets.  Adlyn was pretending to be a Christmas ghost and Brooks was pretending to be a green dinosaur.  I packed various snacks to keep them occupied.  Brooks slept for quite awhile, Adlyn just took a short nap.  They do travel well, but I don’t like to keep them in the car for hours on end.  It is a long haul, and even longer for two squirmy kids.  We will take as many stops as they need. 

A stop near supper time was just what they needed.  The mall has a great indoor play area and they remembered from another recent trip to Cheyenne.  Oddly, Subway was out of bread, so we didn't get a sandwich and had to resort to tacos.  We hopped back in the car to drive the rest of the way, it went quickly and I think we only stopped once.

The kids were excited to be at Grandma and Grandpa's, and to see Uncle Mike.  It was getting late, and they went to bed at midnight.  Travel can really mess up a sleep routine!

The First Day of Christmas

Christmas morning came, I was the first one up and started the crock pot of pork tenderloin, onions, and potatoes.  Adlyn woke up next and wanted cake for breakfast.  It's Christmas, she can do what she wants.  I put some in a mug-like container for her.  She smiled at me and said ‘coffee cake’.  I laughed.  This is going to be a good day. 
I started their bath water.  I went in to check on Brooks and told him Merry Christmas.  He told me it was Christmas Day and wanted to know if I could open my present.  What a kid.  He wasn’t concerned about his presents, but wanted to know if I would open the present the kids and Zach got for me.  Brooks is a little gentleman.  The kids hopped in the bath, got dressed, ate a little breakfast, and we opened presents shortly after 9 AM.  It was enjoyable, calm, and relaxing.  We spent the morning playing with Play-Doh and the ice-cream making tools and painting with watercolors.  Brooks got a little green freight train for his railroad so we built a track so he could test it out.  They liked their new blankets and scarves.  What a beautiful morning with the family. 
Zach still spent most of the day on the couch or bed, hoping to recover soon.  The kids and I went to our neighbor’s house.  They are the nicest people, and we couldn’t do it without them.  The kids have adopted them as grandparents and the kids love to go and see them.  We took them a present and spent some time visiting.  We are very lucky to have Jerry and Cheryl next door. 
In the afternoon, we watched Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and finished making Christmas presents for the rest of the family.  In the evening, we had our Christmas dinner, and drove around town to look at Christmas lights.  It was a beautiful Christmas day and I wouldn’t have changed a thing.  It reminds me of the first Christmas the kids had in the hospital.  Even though the circumstances weren’t great, it was a perfect day.  We spent the day with our little ones, opened some presents for them, took pictures, and it was relaxing.  We took a quick trip up the mountain for Christmas dinner with my relatives, but otherwise, we spent the day with Brooks and Adlyn.  We were in our own little world, and nothing else mattered. 

Christmas Eve

On Christmas Eve day, everyone slept until 9.  What a blessing.  I was exhausted and I don’t think I could have made it through the day otherwise.  The kids and I needed to go to the grocery store and pick up a prescription for Zach's back.  Safeway was bustling with people, and the meat department was nearly depleted.   We planned to stay home this year and have Christmas with our little family.  I thought I could find a turkey breast to put in the crock pot.  I’ve never cooked a normal turkey by myself, I wouldn’t even know where to start, and I’m pretty sure I’d gag and puke if I had to touch any turkey parts.  I could handle a turkey breast…  But, they were out.  My second choice was a pork tenderloin.  You can slide those things right out of the package and into the crock pot without even touching it.  Can you tell I have a raw meat phobia?  The pork tenderloin that was on sale was sold out, and I’m sure the meat man was looking at me and thinking, well, what did you expect lady, why would you wait until Christmas Eve to buy your meat?  Well, I’m sorry Mr. Meat Man, I’ve got two kids with me, a husband who is out of commission, and I’m just trying to pull it all together in the next few hours.  He must have known what was going through my head.  He gave me a nice peppercorn pork tenderloin for the sale price, and said Merry Christmas.  Thanks!  Maybe he was feeling happy after he told me they had $13,000 in meat sales on Friday. 
Next, we were off to get the tire looked at on the vehicle.  As we headed to the grocery store, it alerted me that a tire had low pressure.  There wasn't any way Zach was going to get out of the house to check the tire, let alone fill it with air.  The tire shop was closed, so I went to the dealership.  The service department wasn’t working on Christmas Eve, but a young car salesman was helpful and added some air to my tire.  Next, I needed to find some quarter inch quarter round for Zach.  The lumber store was closed.  I called Zach, and he asked if the salesman actually tested the tire pressure, I said no, and therefore, I went to the other dealership where our neighbor works.  He was helpful, checked the pressure, and told me it was fine.  Thanks Butch! 
We came home and started to get ready for church.  They were doing Christmas carols at 3:30, and I thought it would be nice for the kids to hear the songs.  I tried to get out of the house, it was impossible.  We arrived to church at 3:58 PM, it started in two minutes, and the parking was packed.  Zach stayed home, there was no way he could sit through church.  We were about 10 feet from the car and Brooks said he needed to go to the bathroom.  We went back to the car and he stood on the side and he went in the snow.  Of course, Adlyn wanted to pee in the snow as well.  Ugh.  Seriously?  In the meantime, I see the priest running form his house to the church, he was late, as was I.  Adlyn went to the bathroom.  I looked at Brooks’s pants and it was a good thing I packed a second pair.  He needed a change.  So, back to the car, I got him changed, and we walked towards church.  As we walked in, the priest was just walking down the aisle.  I asked the greeter if there was room upstairs, obviously noticing the place was packed, and we wouldn’t find a place to sit.  He told me there was room in the first 5 rows.  Ok, off we go.  We found a spot in the front row.  This could either be perfect, or a complete disaster.  It turned out to be perfect, with the exception that we had to leave the pew three times for someone to go to the bathroom.  Perhaps they drank too much milk that afternoon?  We had a perfect view of the nativity scene, poinsettias, and fresh cut Christmas trees.  Brooks was excited to see baby Jesus (Gee-zee), and they said Merry Christmas (Merry Kif-ma) to those they shook hands with.  They were squirmy during church, but quiet. 
We loaded up in the car, and Brooks really wanted hot juice (the punch we had for his birthday party) for Christmas Eve dinner.  We went back to the grocery store, it was still open.  Our first Christmas Eve dinner at home was going to be one of favorites.  We would have had Adlyn’s favorite, olives, but they didn’t last until dinner time from our morning trip to the store.  The kids already ate them.  Brooks insisted on having cake for Christmas, well, it is just like a birthday!  He was on the right track.  So, the kids started off with cake and ice cream, followed by some chip and dip (cheese, meat, and salsa), along with crackers with cream cheese and honey mustard, and red and green Jello, and hot juice.  Yes, it was interesting, but everyone was happy.  You know what?  It was easy and wasn’t stressful.  The kids got to open one present, and it was a big hit!  We got them silly putty, and they loved making imprints form the newspaper and bouncing it on the floor.  We watched Christmas Vacation, their favorite part was the ‘bad dog’ who tore up the house.  We watched that several times.  The evening was wrapped up by reading Polar Express, Three Snow Bears, and Olivia Helps with Christmas.  They fell asleep easily.  Now that everyone was off to bed, I put out the presents, filled the stockings, and went back to the sewing machine.  The scarves weren’t flat like I’d hoped, so I did some additional stitching around the outside to complete it.  Perfect.  Good night.

The Days Before Christmas

The days before Christmas I was up much later than usual.  Christmas gets the best of me.  I tend to delay everything, thinking it might all magically get done.  I wouldn’t call myself a procrastinator, but when it comes to holidays and special events, I tend to stall. 
Wednesday night I worked late, as I watched it snow about 12 inches in town.  It was a beautiful snow!  It is hard for me to go directly to bed after working late.  You have to wind down for a while before your mind can relax.  I stayed up late and sewed Brooks and Adlyn a scarf for Christmas.  What should be a 30 minute project lasted much longer.  If I can say anything, it is if there is a simple task, it was take Zach and I three times as long because if something can go wrong, it does.  I cut the last piece of Brooks’s scarf about 1 inch shorter than the other pieces, therefore I had to go back and trim the rest.  Then, as I went to sew the pieces together, I was about 1 ½ inches off.  Mink fabric isn’t easy to sew, it is very slippery, and I’m guessing something went wrong with the tension and the feeder to cause the error.  So, I trimmed it again.  By now, the scarf was getting as short as I wanted it to be.  I finished wrapping the presents that night, and washed their new blankets and tied them with the scarf.  Off to bed.
On Thursday, Zach encountered a weightlifting/snow shoveling disaster and messed up his back. He laid down most of the day.  Therefore, when I got home from work, there was 9 hours of mess to clean up from Brooks and Adlyn.  Downstairs, they dumped a large bag of mozzarella cheese.  I found nearly every upstairs toy down in the basement.  Zach said they were playing “Santa’s Sleigh”.  One by one, they filled a little wagon with toys for all the girls and boys.   I’m glad they were being so kind, but, maybe Santa could pick up all the toys for mom.  Of course I was annoyed, but I can understand.  Zach could barely walk, he had to crawl to get up the stairs, and how could I expect him to pick up after them?
On Friday, I had to be out of town.  Looking back, I should have hired a sitter.  Zach was still laid up.  I got home at about 8 PM, and was absolutely exhausted.  I really didn’t want to walk into another disastrous house, but I did.  They emptied the entire cupboard of towels, washcloths, and bedding.  They also emptied out our sock drawers.  I got the kids ready for bed, and then, cleaned up the house.  I can’t go to sleep knowing everything is a disaster.