Tuesday, March 25, 2014

march madness.

I have to say, I'm fading fast. I have been so chipper and on top of things this winter, but no longer. I grew up in Idaho, and have lived in Michigan for 4 years, so I know spring doesn't show up in March and stay. No, there are warm sunny days, and then a surprise snowfall and a chill, and then warm sunny days. But you see, that is not happening. It is just freezing cold. All the time. The snow actually finally melted. We can see our grass! But daily highs are still below freezing and it has been so windy. So miserable. So while I know spring comes with it's glitches, I would just like to actually see a single day where the sun is warm. And then several more after that. Until then, I'll continue to self-medicate with high doses of sugar.

But we hold on. We had a fun simple St Patrick's Day. If you want to confuse and aggravate a couple of 2-year-olds, just start their day with a leprechaun treasure hunt. They were so not thrilled with it. We ate green food and corned beef and cabbage. It was a really cold day (surprise!) so we just played inside all day. Simple but good. Our current life theme.

My kids are cute. John's new thing is screaming "I did it!" whenever he does something. Its ridiculous in the best way. He really likes to do things himself: buckle his carseat, wash himself in the bath, put on his boots. Its really great when you like things to take 4 times as long as they should. He screams and runs to me whenever he gets red marker on his hands (which is a lot, he's not the most skilled artist). I couldn't figure it out until tonight I realized . . . I'm pretty sure he thinks it is blood. The kid really is just all over the place. The speech therapist came and called him "animated." They must get training to use polite diction because that is the most perfect word for him. Chris cut his hair and now his ears stick out all the more and I just want to eat him up.

Quinn says "no" with a French accent. She wears sunglasses 80% of the time and glass slippers 70% of the time (I often put her down wearing both). She has this little toy Minnie she loves and is constantly obsessing over which bow the Minnie should wear and which dress. She loves the concept of mama and baby, so she will pick out a large and small object (like a large rock and a small rock) and that will be the mama and baby. She also cares for her baby and is the most stressed out little mother I've ever seen. So that should bode well in the long run. She calls rocks "woah" because every time John or Carly throws a rock I say "woah!"  I've been teaching them both shapes and colors with mixed results (aka, Quinn is all over it, while John drives his trucks around). They are so fun.

Carly currently loves holding tea parties (where we drink "chocolate milk"). Today at the library she picked out a book about space and one about tornadoes. I told her all about tornadoes and tornado chasers and I think she is 70% fascinated 30% terrified. She has really been excelling at school. Every day I pick her up every kid in the line gives her a hug. We had parent teacher conference and her teacher said she has totally blossomed and is doing so great.  She is so smart. She and Chris read the picture scriptures every day and the other day she walked in and heard me listening to the New Testament. She heard the word "kill" and I ended up explaining to her that not everyone it the scriptures is nice. "Yeah," she said, "like Nehor."  I can't decide if she is tiny or huge. I suppose she is somewhere in between.

On Saturday we had a "favorite things" day. We went to a local place that sells big machinery (so appropriately called "the digger store" by me) so we could get a good look at some excavators and backhoe loaders. You'd think John had set foot in Disneyland. Then we headed to the Human Society so Quinn could pet some kitties and bark with the dogs. The cat room was totally terrifying, I will say. Nothing like being surrounded by perched cats. Carly took the opportunity to fall in love with a little white pit mix named Miss Piggie and left in tears over her. Because a dog is exactly what we need right now (or ever). We watched Carly's favorite movie (can you guess) and I ended the night with my all-time favorite guy watching my all time favorite show (The West Wing). All Saturdays should be so good (if they have to be so cold).

This March is leading to near madness. The sun will come. I know it will. And it will be so bright and warm and wonderful. It will come. It will come. It will come. Until then, we'll embrace the madness, embrace each other, and keep partying on.


Monday, March 10, 2014

marching right along.

This past week was "Spring Break", which I guess is a thing. We went to BYU, where there is no spring break, and Chris has since done 6 busy years of graduate school, so we've never really had a spring break to enjoy. What can you do? We joked that at least he is going to be a professor so maybe he'll get a spring break . . . after he gets tenure. Cheers! He did come home at lunch on Friday, and temps climbed above 40, so we headed out to the zoo. It was a beautiful afternoon and it felt incredible to be outside in the sunshine doing something fun. I have to admit, these lingering weeks of winter have been wearing on me. I don't usually get too upset by winter, but this winter has been totally cray. Maybe we are seeing signs of the end, but the foot and a half of snow lingering outside is going to take many 40 degree days to melt.

[Zoo day; waving to friendly Mr. Lion who only had eyes for meaty John; hand-in-hand; 
daddy giving John a good view of the passing train, because that is why you go to the zoo.]

We had a nice weekend. Carly went roller skating with a friend, I got a haircut and went to the gym, we went out to Mexican for dinner (I don't think we'll be able to feed all 5 of us for $20 for much longer. Bummer.), and Chris and I watched Catching Fire while consuming a pint of Chunky Monkey. Yesterday church was canceled because of a gas leak in the building. We had a lesson at home about thinking good thoughts. We made a little "head" by sticking eyes, ears, mouth, and a nose on a vase. Then I had strips of paper with bad or good thoughts written on them. I would read them out, and Carly would have to say if the thought should go in the head or in the garbage. It was good. Then we watched The Restoration, our current favorite Sunday movie. We went for a walk outside and ate pancakes for dinner. This life of ours is so very simple, but so very good.

We've got a good thing going. I have found myself really embracing this phase. Life feels a little bit more doable, and I think when spring comes and I can release them into the wild, things will be even better. I love their growing independence; I love that we can have so much fun with [relatively] less complication. We've got a routine down, we are out of that completely crazy two babies phase, and even though 2 toddlers will drive you up the wall, they are so so fun. I mean, they are really great kids. Every night before bed we sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Quinn has got the rhythm down and sings along. John is completely off, but sings random sounds along anyway, and it cracks us up. Carly is getting so big. She has a quality sense of humor, but just enough sweetness and blonde airhead to really be the frosting on the cake. We were watching Finding Faith in Christ one Sunday (1:00 church has driven us to more church movies, that is for sure) and Carly saw all the language options. She wanted to watch it in German, and Chris was translating as it went. "I didn't know Jesus could speak German!" she exclaimed. She is a constant delight.

[John's a simple man, Quinn a complicated woman, when it comes to crib company.]

[Life is good when you're the Czarina.]

I have been sugar and tv binging my little heart out. I seriously don't even know what is going on, but I don't really worry myself over it. YOLO, right? ha! Really it started with the Olympics. Oh, I love the Olympics. Tears and goosebumps and screaming at the tv for two weeks. You just can't beat it. I have to admit, I was kind of relieved to get my life back when they ended. The great irony of the Olympics is I would sit on the couch for 4 hours eating sweets watching world class athletes do their thing. And after it ended, the habit just kept on going. Few things relax me more than curling up on the couch under a blanket eating something sweet and watching television. I need to cut back . . . I promise I will when the weather gets better. Yep. In my defense I have been eating healthier besides the sugar, and cooking healthier for our family. It is going somewhat well, besides that one time the twins gagged their food out and Carly quite literally threw up all over her plate because the food grossed them out. You win some, you lose some. C'est la vie.

[Along with extensive Olympic watching and cookie making, we also held FHE Olympics. Luge in pillowcases down the stairs, daddy as the skeleton sled, and pillow sack races (naturally). We had three happy gold medalists as we listened to the Star-Spangled Banner.]

Chris's dissertation is chugging along. He is running all over the place getting his data collected and spending a strange amount of time on Facebook coordinating his undergrads' schedule. The man never gets on Facebook, so I was very confused at why I kept seeing it pulled up on the computer. "That is how these people communicate," he informed me. We have already had lots of little tender mercies occur during the process, like his IRB going through surprisingly fast and me getting home just in time to find the UPS man on the doorstep with an important package for me to sign for. Things remain stressful, and will only get worse before it gets better, but I'm so proud of him. He is my very favorite person, and I am glad he is the one sitting next to me watching Scandal and pretending to be disinterested even though he wants to know what he missed in episodes I watch without him (just saying). I wouldn't want anyone else.

The sun is starting to shine, and we just keep marching right along.


[Above freezing out, so naturally we're eating snow slushies.]

Saturday, March 1, 2014

two turn two.

I have no idea how we got here already, and I have no idea how it took so long to get here, but here we are. Quinn and John turned two on the 25th. We celebrated the big day with a little family fun, because that is what we like to do best.

We picked Carly up from school and headed to a local bowling alley. Luckily, the bowling crowd is pretty sparse on Tuesday mornings, so we had the place almost to ourselves. It should come as no surprise that John loved bowling. A big heavy ball going down a ramp and knocking a bunch of things down? What else could a little boy want? Quinn's interest was quite the opposite. The one time we got her to participate she came and quite literally poked the ball with a single finger to get it to go down the ramp. She enjoyed walking up and down the stairs, snacks, and cheering on her more passionate siblings. Carly would send the ball down the lane, and as it crawled ever so slowly toward the pins, whisper, "Please please please please." It was a fun time had by all, even if we only made it through 6 rounds.

We headed home for lunch, candles and cakes, and presents. The cakes perfectly fit the little gender stereotypes they both are. Quinn's was a little pale pink cake topped with gold star sprinkles. John's was a chocolate construction site with his beloved "dig dig" doing its thing. True to form, Quinn wanted to eat unlimited cake, while John really just wanted his digger back. We sang the birthday song twice and blew out candles (with a little help from big sis). We kept presents limited, but a few favorites included a pair of glass slippers for a petite princess, and Thomas the Trains in two sizes for his biggest little fan.

[I absolutely adore this picture. I have been trying to teach them to hold up two fingers, with obvious success.]

So now we have two two-year-olds and the party is already beginning. They scream at each other and fight over things ("mine!" is the most frequent word spoken by either) but they also have an immense love for one another. The other day John was laying on the couch not feeling well, and Quinn brought him his Thomas to play with. One act of love of the countless I witness between these two. They have also started being sneaky together. One evening I was making dinner and kept peeking out to see them playing together in the corner. I thought it was so cute, until I realized they had grabbed by iPad and were probably hiding in the corner where I couldn't see they had it. Stinkers. They certainly have a sweet, and humorous, relationship.

As for "Baby A"? Two years later she is a tiny quiet girl that holds a whole lot of opinion and personality. Quinn loves accessories. Sunglasses, hats, headbands, shoes, necklaces, bracelets, sleeve tattoos made of stickers . . . you name it. She has a STRONG opinion on what she wears, especially her shoes. She always has something unique going on, and I just go with it because how do you not? I have put her down for many naps wearing knit hats, fancy shoes, or even sunglasses. Carly recently showed her how to put her hands in her pockets, and now she can often be spotted that way, which is unbearably cute.

Quinn loves princesses and Minnie mouse. She loves her two blankets. She will lay on the ground with them and roll around until they are wrapped all around her. She loves sweet treats especially, but really she's pretty good about eating most food. She loves books. When we look at books she likes to pick out "me" on every page. It will be a page of butterflies and she'll pick out which one she likes best and say "me". A page with a mommy elephant and baby elephant, she'll point to the baby and say "me!". Its so funny, and it is actually interesting to see what she will pick to represent her. It is usually the smallest and/or cutest thing. She continues to be quite the little mama's girl, and I can't say I mind most of the time. She likes me to watch her or follow her requests, and if I don't she'll frantically say "Mama . . . Mama . . . Mama! Mama!" I mean, she'll do this if she's sitting on my lap and I don't respond to her fast enough. But mostly she's sweet as sugar, giving kisses and hugs and smiles. She has also started asking "Why?" A habit I think she got from her big sister.

Quinn is quiet. She has a soft sweet voice, and talks a lot in "Quinnish" as we have come to call it. But her English vocabulary is somewhat limited. A few words I can think of: mine, mama, dada, John Boy, Sissy, juice, sit, chair, chapstick, "pretty" (princess), Minnie/Mickey, shoe, mittens, bubbles, more, please, thank you, and all sorts of sounds. She just started putting two words together, like "more please".

Chris and I often joke that Quinn is our favorite. That is not true, of course, as we love all of our children equally. But she certainly does have us wrapped around her fancy little fingers. 

John is simultaneously a cranky little pain, a sweet little gentleman, and a rough little bruiser. He continues to be generally high-maintenance, though he is finally showing a bit of improvement. He still spends too much time screaming, but it is more bearable now than it was even a few months ago. 

He is incredibly sweet though. We were on a walk in the snow once and Quinn went up on someone else's doorstep. She cried that she wanted help back down, but I told her she could do it on her own. She stood there whining, so John turned around and walked back to her. He held out his little hand and helped her down the stair. It was the sweetest. Another time he dropped his water cup at night time. He was yelling "water! water!" so I snuck in in the dark and handed it to him quietly. It was quiet for a few seconds as he drank, then I heard him yell, "Tank tu, mama!" I couldn't help but laugh. He loves sitting on laps and looking at truck books. He loves, loves, loves Carly. He really just thinks she is the bees knees. When we drop her off at school, he always cries for her, and he is so happy when we go to pick her up. The two of them play so cute together, making each other laugh and doing silly things (Q is more of a finesse player). John will watch Carly and say "sissy! woah, sissy!" because she does such cool things. He really is so sweet.

And he is definitely "all boy". His very favorite thing is wrestling with daddy. He loves roaring. He loves balls. He LOVES any type of vehicle. I thought that was just something people said about boys, that they love planes, trains, and automobiles. But nope, it is real. This boy in a house full of princesses and rainbows loves vehicles. Tonight at dinner he was pretending his bread was a truck. He likes to dig in the snow, jump off things, knock things over, and hit things with sticks. I can't wait until spring comes (assuming it ever does), because this boy belongs in the wilderness.

John is a little more vocal than his sister, but not by much. His vocabulary is pretty similar. He does say "helicopter" and "orange", both of which come out as a hilarious series of gurgles. So naturally I ask him to say either as frequently as possible.

John is quite the little piece to our family puzzle. We wouldn't be complete without "Baby B". We love him like crazy.

We went to their two-year check-up on Thursday. John is 29 lbs 12 oz, 36 inches tall. Quinn is 25 lbs 4 oz, 34 inches tall. John is noticeably bigger than her, but the height gap is closing. They both hit growth spurts over the last 6 months moving up in height percentiles especially. I can tell because they have both started eating like full-blown humans, and the sudden shift to feeding 5 people means food flies off our shelves (in fact, lately they have both been out-eating Carly). They are both delayed in speech though. Their doctor said it didn't seem too bad, but he referred us to get an at-home speech evaluation so if any intervention is needed it will happen early and therefore hopefully be less than if we waited. I am not too worried about it. They are behind, I have always known that, but they are both very smart. It will come. I am endlessly grateful for their health and general perfection.

So now we enter a world with two two-year-olds. I remember reading a blog when the twins were very little. It was a mother of triplets who were 3, and people would ask her if it was easier now that they were older. She always wanted to say "No, its not easier, I have three three-year-olds! Its just hard in a different way." I feel that way a lot. It is not "easier", it is just hard in a different way. But I will say, I will take this hard over the newborn hard (knock on wood). Two-year-old hard also comes with two-year-old fun, and these two sure are fun.

When I was in my early days of their pregnancy, before I found out there were two, I wrote a post about being sick. As my head hung over the toilet, I got the most distinct feeling that "Deux was someone special," as I wrote. What a sweet thing to go back and read now. I think Heavenly Father was letting me know something out of the ordinary was happening, and He was right.

These two are certainly something special.

Happy two years, Q and J. We're glad you joined us.