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Friday, August 29, 2014

Wherein I reference poop… and other things

I'm happy to share that all our air conditioning at the old house needed was extra coolant… to the tune of $250, but still, I am well aware that it could have been much worse! We also had a couple of other showings this week, and decided to go ahead and lower the asking price just to speed things up, so we're hoping these are all steps in the right direction. In the meantime, I will continue clenching my jaw in my sleep and beating myself up over every dollar we spend until it sells, because that's productive and helpful.

In other news, we had a first at the Joiner house this week when Colby's hands had a (thankfully brief) encounter with his dirty diaper. I will spare you the details, but let me just state that it was an inconvenient time for the kids to have spilled raisins on the floor a few minutes prior. You can imagine my alarm when we finished cleaning him up only to spot those scattered about where he had been playing. Phew.

And on a happier (and less disgusting) note, how about those Aggies last night?? We made sure the twins were decked out in their new Aggie gear, and I sported my new maroon shirt from Francesca's. Brian was also wearing maroon, but didn't make it in a pic, so you'll just have to trust me on that.

And that's about all I have to share with you today. We are looking forward to a long weekend AND to having the Olivers come visit… almost as much as we're looking forward to the day in the not too distant future where they don't have to visit because they will live here :)

And now I will leave you with the following video that Clara loves very passionately at the moment… because I cannot get it out of my head and, well, misery loves company. Enjoy!

(Who knew that what the owl actually says is "to whit to whoooo?")

Monday, August 25, 2014

Quick weekend getaway (with children)

We spent the weekend in La Grange with Brian's family, and a good time was had by all. As expected, we all ate too much and the twins thoroughly enjoyed being the center of attention for a solid 24 hours. The only downfall to the weekend was that we came thisclose to running out of diapers thanks to Colby's very efficient digestive system (seriously, he had no less than 10 dirty diapers in a 36-hour period of time), but we didn't actually end up running out, so we'll still call it a win.

We brought some of the twins' toys, but it should have come as no surprise that these kitchen supplies were more entertaining to them!

Clara was, once again, a little (ok, a lot) standoffish with everyone and spent a good deal of time in my lap or in my arms. Thankfully she let her guard down a few times and agreed to let Brian's dad entertain her!

Meal times were pretty amusing- they usually ate with an audience of at least half a dozen people!

We were thankful that our old house had a few showings while we were gone (good news), but our realtor also mentioned that we need to get our AC checked out because it doesn't seem to be working very well (bad news). The only thing more frustrating than having to spend money on home repairs is spending money on repairs to a home in which you aren't actually living.

The silver lining (barely) is that thanks to the Olivers' recent announcement, Allison and I get to commiserate about the ups and downs of selling a house, so at least I don't have to suffer alone. And on that note, we would greatly appreciate your continued prayers for our old house to sell and for their house to sell ASAP.

Also, did I mention how excited I am that they are moving here? This brings us one step closer to our lifelong dream of sharing a duplex wherein the guys live on one side and Allison and I live on the other, ha! Now that we have children, that dream might have to be altered a bit, but I'll settle for having them in walking distance. 

That's all I've got for today. Hope everyone has a great week… in my book, every day is one day closer to Fall and therefore one day closer to bearable temperatures, so hooray for that!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Battle to blessing

Two years ago today, we found out that we were (finally)pregnant. I still remember the day very clearly- what I was wearing (my favorite purple dress)...
what I was doodling on a notepad during a conference call that morning because I simply could not concentrate...

what I ate for lunch (peanut butter sandwich, which I was taking a bite of when the phone call from the nurse came through)... 

and what kind of DQ blizzard I consumed in celebration that evening with the Olivers (Reese’s, sadly not pictured). The crazy thing to me is that we knew then that we were pregnant, but had no idea yet that it was with twins. We really had no idea what was in store for us.

Someone shared the following quote on facebook yesterday which I found to be especially fitting given today's anniversary:
As I look at the faces of these two little people that call me “Mommy,” I understand now why the battle was so big, so draining, so drawn out, and so… necessary.

I’m sure many of you are fighting your own battles right now, battles that likely seem insurmountable. But take heart, because the blessing that comes in the end - whatever that may look like - will be well worth it.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. - Romans 8:28

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!