Sunday, January 20, 2013

Monkey's 4-year Photoshoot Date

This weekend was Monkey's "birthday" photoshoot date.  I'm no professional photographer, but I love doing these photoshoot dates.
We went up to my parents' neck of the woods so that they could watch the other kids while Monkey and I were out.
The night before we left I was packing up what we would need (we were also spending the night at my sister's house afterwards, since Mr. Fox was going to be working on Saturday anyway). 
I had already picked out what she was going to wear when she asked me if she could show me her clothes.
"What clothes?"
"The clothes that I'm going to wear for my pictures."
"Oh, uh, I already picked some out for you, but show me what you had in mind."
So she happily came and picked out the outfit: a fishy Maui t-shirt with pink pants.
Not at all what I would pick.  ever.
So we made a deal that she could wear both outfits. 
She started out in her t-shirt and cords.
None of the pictures taken with that outfit were especially stellar...mostly because we were just getting warmed up (figuratively...not literally, it was quite cold out). 
But here's a picture to show the outfit:
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Quick wardrobe change and bathroom break at the local grocery (and second bathroom break, because she'd forgotten her CTR ring at the sink), and we got down to business.

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3 (My favorite)
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7  (This is when she said , "I don't want to take pictures anymore.  I'm cold.")
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8  (Monkey's serious favorite)

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9  (Monkey and Chick's favorite because they like goofy pictures.)
 Towards the end I had to make a deal: we'll start walking to the car, and I'll keep taking pictures as we go. Just turn around once in a while.
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She was determined to have ice cream with sprinkles, despite being cold.  So we drove around the countryside for a while to warm up before tackling the ice cream.
Mint chocolate chip with rainbow sprinkles.
She shivered the whole time.
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Love that sweet little Monkey.
All in all, a fun but cold date.
Then dinner at Grandma & Grandpa's, and over to Aunt Judy's to sleep.
I didn't get as much sleep as desired...two babies with colds and no husband.  I know there was a good three hour chunk of uninterrupted sleep in there somewhere, though.
The next day I got a big tote of grow-into clothes for the older girls from my sister, and went to a thrift store with my Mom and sister (and babies) to get supplies for an upcoming project.
Ok, time for a giveaway.  Leave a comment ON THIS POST telling me which picture is your favorite (and why, if you have a reason), and I will pick a winner at random next Monday.  The contest ends on Monday the 28th at noon.
The prize is your choice of a thrifted item (chosen with you in mind) or a homemade item of some sort.  Or a combo of both (a remade thrift item).  The winner can decide which option they'd want.

New Year Musings

I'm four days away from the one year anniversary of finding out that I was having twins. 

2012 consisted of six months twin pregnancy, and six months twin babies.  Certainly a year unlike any that I've ever had or ever will have again.  Some years are rather like the next, but not 2012.  I did a LOT of sitting around on the couch, either holding the babies in my arm or in my uterus.  All in all a good year, but with it's share of frustrations, fears, and stresses.

Which leads us to 2013.  I can't really set the usual resolutions.  I don't feel like I can be "resolute" about much.  I can't say that I'm going to do anything for certain...because honestly I'm not really the one deciding things about my life.  For example: yesterday I came home from an out of town visit fresh with a determination to NOT sit on the couch all day.  I have things to do, and I'm sick of having such a messy house and unfinished projects and flabby body!  But then I had fussy sick babies that just wanted to be held.  It was all that Fox and I could do to keep all the kids happy and fed and bathed and into bed at a reasonable hour.

And so it seems to go.  However, I have hope that things will mellow out before 2013 is over.  So things that I am resolute about improving in SOME way:
  • Speaking more kindly to (and about) my family
  • Attending the temple with my husband
  • Reading scriptures with my family (we've already been working on this, but need to continue our efforts)
  • Resuming healthy habits (I've begun baby steps with this, and that's enough for now, since it's all that I CAN do for right now).
  • Two things that I hope to do to encourage the healthy habits are to plant a garden this year, and to do freezer cooking, which I've begun.
  • I'm considering getting a gym membership again, since that would provide a fun diversion for the children AND babysitting AND Me-time AND exercise.

At any rate, the worst case scenario is that 2013 is another year that will be like no other...with twin babies that may be the case.  So the one resolution that I can make for certain is: I resolve to keep trying to keep up with my life and to ENJOY that process.

Monday, January 7, 2013


Our neighbor's driveway was getting some new cement poured, and the kids were watching.  Moose had just been given a tigger costume and wore it continuously for a while, and Chick had her Cinderella dress on while we ran our errands. 

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Sunday, January 6, 2013

So this is Christmas

This may have been one of the nicest Christmases in my opinion.  The kids slept in until 8:00, and I hadn't taken on as much homemade because of the I was in bed by 12:30 (earlier than other years).  The babies slept in even later...they got up after we'd had breakfast. 

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The three older kids got up and were given permission to start opening their stockings while we got breakfast set out.  Breakfast was oranges, spiced cider, poptarts (a novelty for us), and an experimental crock pot french toast recipe that I found on Pinterest.  The french toast was the worst part of the day-- over cooked and sorta yucky.  I regretted abandoning my traditional breakfast casserole, and regretted it even more the next day (my birthday) when I didn't have leftovers for breakfast.

At any rate, no one really cared about breakfast...there were presents to open!  Too many presents, in fact.  Ok, maybe not, but the kids were so contented with everything that they could have had less and been just as happy...we had to keep them on track to finish opening them.

Mr. Fox got me a food processor, which I've wanted just forever!!  And it's as wonderful as I'd imagined.  I actually helped him get it.  I saw a FB notice from one of my thrifty/money saving sources telling about a really great deal on a food processor.  I looked it up, sure enough, about 70% marked down for Cyber Monday, good brand, good reviews on  But it was late, Fox was in bed asleep already.  I went in, woke him up, told him about this amazing deal, and asked him if he wanted to get it for me.  I think he fell back asleep, and I shook his arm again, and he mumbled, "I don't know."  Well, of course I couldn't risk the deal being over the next day, so I bought it, and told him what a good husband he was afterwards. : )  (He is a really awesome husband, btw, regardless of food processors).  I have a similar story from 5 years ago when "he bought me" some cute black boots : )

Anyhow, Santa brought Moose a strider bike.

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This'll be a picture to show the future dates: Buzz Lightyear jammies, superhero cape, Cinderella shoes, on a bike.

Monkey got a camera.

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Owl and Otter got owl and otter stuffed animals from Santa, and Buntings from Fox and me.
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Chick got a Cinderella dress and shoes. 

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hem looks funny in this pic because she'd just finished twirling.
Santa had put a letter in under the dress, saying that Mrs. Clause had made the dress especially for Chick, but she's grown so much since last year and it might not fit he was including extra fabric in case Mama had to fix it.  Which I did.  She didn't get to wear it for two days because I had to cut it open down the back and put in a zipper and button.  I'm going to pat myself on the back, though, because I think it looks rather intentional.  It's a beautiful dress...made from remnant sparkly fabrics bought long ago (for such an occasion), notions and things on hand, and a $4 thrifted formal dress.  Plus it's fully lined in white satin, so when she wears it inside out it looks like a wedding dress. 

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Monkey got a photo calendar from Fox and me.  Moose got a homemade super hero cape. 

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Fox's brother got us a fantastic new printer, and it's amazing.  Plus we've been without a printer for a it's even more wonderful because of the stark contrast!!

Anyhow, lots of present opening, and such.  No tantrums or drama.  Sometimes my kids are the sweetest ever.  Then they spent a long time all sitting quietly at the table coloring in some new coloring books that they'd gotten.

Because Christmas sometimes feels rushed, and because getting my family out the door is often difficult and tedious, the party came to US.  My parents and my brother and his family came and had dinner with us (with all of us taking part in the food assignments, so I didn't have to stress about "hosting" much).  It was a nice informal dinner and visit.  The three older kids and my brother's two all got flashlights from my parents...and then we'd just see them as they ran from dark room to another dark room.  Lots of giggling and cousin fun : )

Oh, and a non-present: when we were getting ready to set the table I lamented using the old table that came with the house...we had a nice new one downstairs and were waiting to set it up (I think we were waiting until we'd completed the kitchen remodel that we have yet to start and have been discussing but not doing for over a year).  Anyhow, Fox agreed to set it up.  It was a Christmas miracle : )

Lastly, it doesn't matter how many babies I have, I still have to make things for Christmas.  I made song cubes-- the cubes themselves are bought, but I made the inserts.  One had 50 primary songs to use for Family Home Evening (roll the cube like a die to decide what song to sing), and the other had a set of 6 primary songs, 6 colors, and 6 generic kid songs.

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I made cookies in a jar for all of the kids' sunday school teachers (and my Mom made kleenex holders for the two school teachers). 

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I made a fort kit for a family exchange gift.  I had intended to make one for our family too, but I had to abandon that plan in order to not get too stressed and lose too much sleep.

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And I did Christmas cards.  Some still have yet to be some of you reading may still get a card...I think I'm aiming for Presidents' Day now.....

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It really was a Merry Christmas.

Baby update and Other Kid randomness

Ok, I keep hearing that once I exit "twins as babies" land I will not remember any of it.  So here are some stats to help me...

Otter began rolling over within days of her 5 month birthday, Owl was the week after her. They both started batting at toys at around that same time.

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Otter pop.
At their 6 month checkup we discovered that they've barely grown since their 4 month checkup.  Otter had gained 1/2 pound and 1 inch, and Owl gained just a couple of ounces and 1/2 inch.  So now I'm pumping a little, taking fenugreek, drinking herbal tea, drinking more water, and trying to be more generally healthy (it's appalling how my habits have digressed since the babies were born!).  I supplement with formula a little, and I feed them more often.  I notice the extra feedings most during the night-- they were sleeping through the night except for one (sometimes two) feeding... now when they wake up I don't just give them a chupa (pacifier) and let them go back to sleep, but instead I feed them.  It seems that they wake up a lot more now.  : (  For now I'm ok with it, since it'll help get my milk supply up as well as help the babies get some extra milk in...but I hope that it won't be too permanent.

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Though the babies are quite skinny and small, they are very strong and generally happy.  They are strong enough that Otter threw herself out of her carseat (not buckled) at the dr's office when we were busy paying attention to giving Monkey her shot.  Those baby seats are rather bucket-like and reclined, so it took some good muscle for her to do it.

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They love to stand and play in the exersaucer, and they have started to like the bumbo seats well enough.  They like tummy time a lot more now that they can roll over and hold themselves up better.  They are just starting to try out getting on hands and knees.  We're trying to give them lots of opportunities to practice sitting up to build their core strength and balance.  I think they'll be sitting and close to crawling by a month from now.

Otter is a prolific smiler, and likes to talk the most of the two of them.  She gets really loud...probably to be louder than her siblings.  Otter also screams sometimes when she cries.  Owl, on the other hand, has an harsh throaty thing that she does.  Thankfully the throaty thing and the screaming are both extremes...not their regular cries.

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Mr. Fox doesn't like this picture of Otter, but I love it. 
I don't usually see resemblances between the twins and Chick, but in this picture I totally do. 
The heavy lids and occasional indent under the cheekbones are just like Chick.
Chick thinks we should rename Otter "Sadie" because she has so much to SAY.  She's called  her Sadie all day today.

The kids are helpful by degrees. 
Chick can reliably pick the babies up, walk around with them, and has changed diapers (though not often).  She is comfortable and big enough that she can soothe a crying baby, and I think they trust her.  She's matured a LOT since they were born, and though she will always be strong-willed, she has taken the initiative to help without being asked and is responsible and able to be reasoned with.  One of her favorite pasttimes lately is writing notes and lists.  She'll write a list of who has been good and who hasn't (ie, who she is upset with and not), or write a note telling her teacher something. 

About a month ago we noticed that she had two new teeth growing in behind her baby teeth on the bottom.  After asking on Facebook it sounded like it wasn't completely uncommon and the best thing to do would be to *encourage* the baby teeth to get out.  Chick doesn't like pain of any kind, though, so she didn't wiggle the tooth much.  It wasn't until a couple of days ago that the tooth finally came out.  The one next to it is now quite wiggly without the stability of its neighbor...the tooth fairy might need to come make another stop soon.

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You can still see her tears in this picture.  I don't think the pain of the tooth coming out was as bad as the sight of blood...but she was fine after it stopped bleeding and I reminded her about the tooth fairy coming.  The tooth fairy brought her "Seven."  seven coins.  Monetary value didn't mean as much as monetary quantity...I'll just enjoy that now while it lasts!!  But the value was 48c... put into the piggy bank, and Chick is making plans to squander all of her piggy bank money at the store soon.
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Monkey can pick the babies up and hold them.  Sometimes she walks with them, but that is discouraged.  She doesn't hold them for long before she is done, and she can't get them to stop crying so she only likes to help when they are happy.  She sees Chick getting attention for helpfulness (with babies and also with housework) and she wants that too, so she's learning to do things, and she likes getting to be a "big girl" too.  She's inbetween, though...sometimes she follows Chick's example, and sometimes she reverts down to Moose's level.  She's still very creative.  Here's a picture of her holding some toilet paper.  She'd gone to the bathroom and then came out with this toilet paper saying, "this looks like a truck."  Sure does...I would never have noticed.

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Moose.  Oh dear Moose.  What a two-year old he is.  He loves loves loves his babies.  I commented to Fox last night that I wish I could hear Owl and Otter's blood pressure readings continuously...specifically when they see Moose come into the room and come over the pay attention to them!  He just doesn't know how to be gentle enough with such little people.  But he does as well as any toddler.  He can hold them when supervised, and gets in trouble if he's not supervised.  He wants to help, though, so if a baby is crying he'll give her a chupa or bring her to me...which of course is not safe or approved.

Having twins wouldn't be too much of a challenge if it weren't for Moose in the mix. 

Yet, he is so so so SO sweet.  I hate to think of my family without him.  He's going to be such a blessing to me personally, when all of the girls are teenagers!  He almost never refuses a hug, or denies a kiss, and he calms right down if you offer to scratch his back or cuddle with him.  And it's super fun now that he's expressing bigger thoughts with his bigger vocabulary.  Most of the time I don't know what to do with him, but I wouldn't want to do without him.

Today as we were leaving for church the older girls noticed (for the first time, really?!) that there was a "pirate ship" on our front door.  Monkey thought we should paint it brown.  I said no.  Chick thought we should paint the house, and I agreed and said that I've wanted to paint the house since we moved in.  Then I thought (somewhat bitterly) that we've lived here for five years this month and still haven't painted the house...but then I realized that we've had four kids in those five years.  So I guess we've kept busy enough.

Fox and I are tired and happy with our quiver full.  The house will get painted eventually. : )

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Baby Bling

Ok, so when I last left off on our narrative, I was about to tell you about the ear piercing.

I put in a lot of thought and asking around before deciding on where to get the babies' ears pierced.  I heard conflicting opinions about what was best when it came to infant piercing, so I followed my Mom's advice and trusted my instincts.

Which led to needle piercing at Enemy Tattoo. 

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The piercer looks a little rough, but he was really nice.  He talked a lot about his own new baby.
I was very impressed with the sanitary procedures. 
The babies didn't like being held still, so they started crying even before being poked, and of course didn't like the actual piercing...but they calmed down quickly afterwards.

(It was a little nerve-wracking there...we'd taken the whole family, thinking that it'd be a fun Family Home Evening and that Monkey would get pierced too.  She backed out,  though, and after getting there we learned that they don't allow kids and were not happy to see ours.  Oops.  After a few stressful minutes in the waiting area they let the kids go back to a little break room that had cartoons.  Much better.)

I paid quite a bit more for the tattoo parlor piercings, rather than going to someplace at the mall ($150 vs as little as $30).  In my pre-piercing decision-making my Mom gave me two pieces of advice.  The first I've mentioned: just trust what I felt was the best choice.  The second was that it seems like such a trivial thing, but it will actually last them for their whole life (hopefully), so a little more money paid now is not going to matter for such a long-term result. 

And I really appreciated the knowledge of the piercer when I talked to him on the phone.  I preferred the idea of needle rather than piercing-gun, and I wanted to be careful of the type of metal.  All reasons pointing to Enemy Tattoo (I just like saying the parlor name...sounds so sinister!!)

I began to doubt my decision, though, when in the first day or two we woke up to see Owl's earring OUT of her ear and laying on the bedsheet.  I freaked out about it, but in the end I was able to just put it back in with no problems whatsoever.  Then later in that first week Otter lost a back to one of hers, and we couldn't find it.  The earring came out a couple of times since there was no back to keep it on, and I finally had to admit defeat and go to the mall, spend $50 more for a whole new pair of earrings.  However, the earrings are better for the long run, because her original ones were actually aqua colored, and I needed emerald.

Diamonds for Baby D,
Emeralds for Baby E.

Or, for those of you who follow the blog and don't know the girls in person:

Diamonds are a land gem, like OWL is a land animal.
Emerald water, for swimming OTTER.

Since then we haven't had any problems with either pair of earrings (never did find the missing back), and both babies seem pretty well healed up.

And I do not regret a penny of the money spent.  It truly is priceless to have people come pick up a baby, look at her earrings and say, "Well hello, ____(insert correct name here)___."  It makes me very happy.

Plus, though I've never been a baby earring fan, they do look incredibly cute, and dainty, and feminine.

This is actually the best picture that I have of both babies showing their earrings.  They were in their cute matchy-match Christmas dresses.  Sometimes twins are so much fun : )

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