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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Life with the twinkies

In case you were wondering, the twins seem to have adjusted well to their new surroundings, although I do think the move threw them off a little at first. The week after we moved in was when we were informed by the daycare that Clara had a “biting problem” in addition to labeling her as having a “feisty temper.” I was chalking both up to her incoming molars (#2 and #3, while brother still appears to have none), but a week later, she had mellowed out quite a bit and had taken the crazy down a notch, so I’m inclined to think it was maybe just her acting out. I hear ya, sister- change isn’t easy!

Nonetheless, I was admittedly feeling a little discouraged about the reports we were getting, because when paired with my own frustrations with her behavior, I felt like nothing positive was being said about her by anyone. I decided to make an effort to speak more positively about her (self-fulfilling prophecy, I hoped), and I really do think it made a difference both in my attitude and her demeanor. She can be as sweet as she is sassy, and I think there’s a purpose for both attributes, so I want to make sure and appropriately encourage both :)

It really is a pretty interesting science experiment to get to watch a boy and a girl grow up at the same time parallel to one another. True to the stereotypes, Clara is dramatic, expressive, and a little bit unpredictable, while Colby is pretty easygoing, minds his own business, and has fairly basic and consistent needs. Don’t get me wrong, though, they both have their share of ridiculous toddler moments… but then again, I feel like I sometimes have those, too!

Other current developments:
- They are both really into saying “uh oh,” right now, even when whatever they’ve done is 100% not accidental.
- Their attention spans are getting longer, which means it’s not uncommon for one of them to spend a solid ten minutes taking every item out of the toy picnic basket and then putting it back in the picnic basket… over, and over, and over again.
- They are becoming more intentional with their playtime, which means that they are actually interested in helping “build” things with blocks rather than destroying anything we create. This also means that they will pick certain stuffed animals out of the basket to line up or throw across the room and not others, and it is really amusing to me to try and figure out their “logic.”
- They’re starting to prepare for the transition to the toddler room at daycare, which means they are taking naps on mats instead of cribs. How the teachers accomplish this is really a mystery to me, but allegedly Colby naps much better on the mat than in the crib. Who knew?
- Semi-relatedly, one of the teachers just returned after being away for several weeks, and she mentioned that Colby had "matured" since she left. And while I'm sure she's right, that's hard for me to imagine with a guy that still wears diapers and yells like a crazy person if you don't feed him his banana fast enough.

Anyway, I've posted a couple of videos for your viewing pleasure, just for a small glimpse into their personalities:

They're pretty cute... I think we'll keep them :)

Monday, August 18, 2014

One very full weekend

Well I have to admit, it sure was nice to have a weekend that didn't revolve around moving for a change. The downside to getting unpacked and settled so quickly is that it's exhausting. The upside is that it frees you up to resume normal life more quickly. So this past weekend, we did indeed resume normal life.

Brian's mom very graciously agreed to babysit on Friday night while we went out to dinner. Clara was apparently a little stand-offish with her, which isn't a surprise given Clara's propensity to be a little stand-offish with most anyone that is not mommy lately. Nonetheless, they had a good time and we enjoyed a kid-free dinner and shopping (because it makes sense to continue spending money needlessly when you are financially responsible for two houses at one time, no?). 

Flowers Brian brought home before our date!

Saturday was action-packed and much to the twins' delight, primarily kid-oriented. We had a little impromptu visit that morning from my friend, Beth, and the twins' friend, Mateo, who is just 10 days younger (and expecting a baby brother in a few weeks!). 

Mateo and Colby lounging in the anywhere chairs... I think it's amusing that Colby and his friend, Hayes, did the exact same thing when he last came over to play- funny boys!

I also thought this picture was entertaining- Clara looks like she's not so sure about this tan young gentleman that's hanging out in her chair. 

After naps and lunch, we hit up a splash pad in a nearby neighborhood with one of my former co-workers, her husband, and their little boy, Kason, who goes to daycare with the twins. This was our first time to visit a splash pad and I'd say it was a success, but good gracious, chasing kids around at this age is exhausting! We spent the whole time chasing them while they just ran around aimlessly, often more interested in pieces of trash and strangers' shoes than the actual splash pad. 

She gets her svelte figure and friendly expressions from me :)

Happy guy with some sagging swimsuit bottoms

Looks like Brian is helping them through a blizzard!

I know what you're thinking: she totally has a future career in modeling.

Kason watching the action- he is such a smiley, chatty, outgoing little guy!

Brian went to ride down the slide (seriously, this place was like a miniature Schlitterbahn) and while I was on solo duty for a few minutes, I brushed up on my mother-of-the-year skills by planting them both in between straps on the lawn chair. Sadly, the photo opp didn't quite turn out like I had hoped!

We ended the day by celebrating some of our other favorite twins' first birthday party- happy birthday, Mary & Maggie!

We don't get to hang out with these two as much now that we've moved, so we were thankful for an opportunity to hang out! Also, my children look homeless here.

I just loved Clara's sweet expression in this one- clearly she was enjoying hanging out in the bounce house with the boys! (Add this to the list of activities she will not be doing unsupervised in about 15 years.)

Best friends forever, whether they like it or not!

Their daycare pal, Kennedy, showed them how to work a trampoline

Kristen showing Hayes and Colby how to jump

Can you tell it was getting close to bedtime?

Meanwhile, Clara convinced Daddy to take her for a spin in the Cozy Coupe

We wrapped up the day with baths and bedtime, and I figured that as long as I had the "good" camera out, I might as well document that as well!

Clara giving the whale spout a talking to

Love that happy guy and his pretty blue eyes

Sunday was much lower key, consisting of plenty of play time and a trip to Costco (on a Sunday afternoon in August right before the start of school - it was special). We did throw in one more social event for the weekend with the Blackburns coming over for dinner- we're so excited to be living so close to them now!

There were four children aged two and under in the mix, so you can imagine how chaotic it was. Thankfully, there were no major meltdowns and they all played pretty well together! Also thankfully, the Blackburns did not judge us for serving delivery pizza and basically having everyone eat on the floor. Ah, what a glamorous season of life we're in at the moment.

Colby and Camille were flirting, much to Camille's daddy's dismay ;)

Clara B. was playing with a game on the iPhone and Clara J. squeezed right in next to her to watch- pretty cute!

And now we are all rested, relaxed, and ready to face a new week... ha! Happy Monday, everyone!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The newest casa de Joiner: unveiled

(Remember when I "unveiled" our old house back in April 2010?)

As promised, I've fully documented the new house in its current state. Allow me to take you on a tour...

Ok so I stole this post from the real estate listing… I was not in the mood to walk all the way out to the street to snap a new one when it looks essentially the same. And yes, we are aware that the bushes/trees on the left need some major trimming! 

Fun fact: we're at the end of a cul-de-sac!

And here's the front porch, complete with owl door mat and handmade wreath from my crafty SIL

Come on in!

The front room, aka: the most confusing room in the house to me. Currently it serves as the twins' playroom and our computer room. Our sectional wouldn't fit in the TV room, so it has taken up residence in this room as well.

If you turn right just pass the front room, you'll get to the master bedroom. 

A view of our bathroom, and as a bonus, a sneak peek of the miniature door on the left, which we've affectionately nicknamed "the hobbit hole"

More bathroom

One view of the master closet, complete with an excessive number of shoes

Back to the main area of the house: the dining room. Note: that rug is not as black as it appears!

Entrance to the kitchen from the dining room- the counter goes on forever (and the party never ends)

The rest of the kitchen; another fun fact: that oven was installed a year ago when the most recent owners bought the house and they NEVER used it. And perhaps more importantly, it's blue inside!

The butler/dry bar/place where our keys and bags reside when we're at home

Half bathroom- 50% bathroom, 100% awesome

I should never be a real estate photographer because I am terrible at lighting… nonetheless, here's our breakfast room with a view of the TV room and stairs in the background.

And here's the breakfast room with the backyard in the background

The TV room

The TV room again, this time showcasing our new love seat (left) and old one (right)

I figured a picture of the stairs would be boring, so I threw this action shot in instead. Our old house was only one story so these stairs have opened up a whole new world to them! That would be why one of our first purchases was additional baby gates.

Once you get upstairs, the first guest room is on your right.

If you go down the hall, the second guest room is on your right...

And the bathroom is on your left!

For those of you with mad "Where's Waldo?" skills, yes, there is a picture above the towel rack in this picture that wasn't taken in the picture above. I actually took these on separate days, so sue me.

I didn't really have anything to put in the built-in next to the sink, so I decided to fill it with frames (and a candle)… I also think the ducky night light adds a nice touch, don't you?

And then at the end of the hall is the twins' room! 

Probably looks familiar if you remember seeing their nursery reveal- the main difference is that this room is much bigger!

Better view of the changing table with one cute little addition in the middle of the floor

I found them like this while I was taking pictures… apparently they take their play mat time very seriously. 

And lastly, a picture of the backyard, also taken from the real estate listing, because again- walking outside to take pictures in August? Not going to happen. 

So there you have it! In case I never mentioned it before, the main reason we moved was for convenience. The new house is 3.5 miles from my office/the twins' daycare, and has cut Brian's commute about in half. 

We're more or less in the middle of Sugar Land, which means we have easy access to just about anything we need (perhaps most importantly, a wide variety of Mexican restaurants). All that to say, we would love for you to come visit, so if you're ever in the area, be sure to let me know!

Thanks for joining me on the virtual tour!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Time flies when you're uprooting yourself and all your belongings

So in case you only follow me on the blog and know me from no other social media outlets (or real life), then you might not be aware of the reason for my blogging absence for the past 2 weeks! We closed on the new house on Tuesday, July 29th, and have been going non-stop ever since. Other than being at work and sleeping, I don't think I have sat still for more than 10 consecutive minutes during that time span. Suffice it so say that I am worn out and looking forward to settling into a new normal!

The move went as well as we could have hoped, especially considering that it occurred during August in Houston (aka: the time of year when living on the sun seems like a breezy paradise in comparison). We were so thankful for all of the help we had, including those who brought food! The Olivers and my parents came in town to help (Allison's recap can be found here), and Brian's family (who lives here now) also pitched in to assist. It's safe to say the move would have taken a lot longer and would have been a lot less fun without them all.

Love this picture of Colby watching Brian and his dad install the prison bars, er, I mean baby gate

Clara, of course, wanted in on the action/attention as well!

My grandparents even stopped by to visit, and my sweet grandmother brought a massive spread of food with her, cookies included :) Here's Colby with my grandpa, Roy.

We hired movers to move the furniture, and while they did a great job, I opted not to watch and busied myself organizing the kitchen instead. Something about watching sweaty strangers balance our most expensive household possessions in their arms (including up a set of stairs) was just a tad unsettling to my nerves!

Anyway, the move is done and praise God for that. The bad news is that we haven't gotten any offers on our old house yet, so yes, we are still the proud owners of TWO houses. It has only been 3.5 weeks, so I am trying not to get discouraged and am trusting Brian's and the realtor's advice to just be patient. Your continue prayers for the perfect seller (to offer asking price) (or above) (and pay in cash) (and without any contingency) (what, you don't think God can handle that?) are greatly appreciated!

In the middle of moving, we also celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary! And by "celebrated," we cleaned out the old house, shopped for curtains and furniture, and organized our master closet. Don't worry, we still made time to eat out for breakfast and dinner (shout-out to Brian's parents for watching the twins that evening).

Here's Brian at our romantic breakfast at Black Walnut Cafe

And here's me, looking almost as fancy as my omelet.

I posted this on Instagram, but had to share it again. The top pic is from our honeymoon and the bottom pic is from our anniversary last week. The romance never ends, my friends!

We spent the rest of last week tending to our real jobs and then staying up past our normal bedtime hanging pictures, rearranging furniture, and doing our best to get ourselves and the house into a "settled" state. I am thankful to report that we are feeling mostly at home and it should go without saying (if you know me) that no unpacked boxes remain!

I'm planning to post pictures later this week so stay tuned… or better yet, come visit!