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Monday, September 29, 2014

Some "important" things you need to know

1. This guy is the cutest bunny there ever was.


2. This girl has figured out how to brush her hair.




3. These two now have their own outdoor dining arrangement.




4. I went to a baby shower on Saturday and came home to find this special set-up. That would be a television propped up in our dining room in order for Brian to watch the A&M game while "watching" our children in the TV-less playroom. (Note to self: give in and get a TV for the playroom.)




5. Relatedly, the Aggies won this weekend. I'm sure many of you can relate, but when I root for the Aggies to win every weekend, I'm in no small part rooting for my husband to stay in a good mood for another week :)

6. Colby tumbled headfirst out of the shopping cart at Whole Foods yesterday. He reached for a box of cookies and although I was no more than a foot or two away (pushing the cart), I couldn't reach out in time to catch him. It scared him and it scared me, but thankfully he was a-ok and stopped crying as soon as we got outside and he saw the fountain. Clara, however, kept screaming while Brian carried her through the check-out line. It's a toss up as to whether she was concerned for her brother or just upset that I left her view.

I would love to say that we'll never make that mistake again by letting them ride together in the basket, but I don't know how else we're supposed to push them both around in one cart (if there aren't any double seated ones available). Moms of 2+ kids: suggestions welcome!

7. You should all watch this video for a good laugh:

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Currently...

I decided to share a "currently" post with my own twist…

Watching: Football. Lots and lots of football. And by "watching," I mean that I peruse Facebook and read entertaining lists on Buzzfeed (like this one) while Brian watches the games.

Listening: Who isn't listening to this jam these days (besides me, when I'm listening to this jam instead)?


Eating: THIS for the first time (thanks, Brian)! My verdict is that it tastes like ground up animal crackers, which is interesting, because right now all we have to dip in it (besides our fingers) is the twins' graham crackers. I'm thinking I'd like to try dipping pretzels in it. Any other suggestions?



Wanting to marry: this weather. And the fact that our new house is in an older neighborhood means that we have older trees, so leaves are actually starting to fall! It's almost like we live in a region that experiences actual seasons… almost.

Trying not to obsess about: the fact that our old house still hasn't sold. We're still getting consistent showings, and we even had feedback last weekend from a realtor stating that his client was intending to make an offer, but sadly that never transpired. I'm still doing a decent job of not losing my mind over it, but when I pay both of our mortgages and utility bills in the next week or so, I'll be temporarily singing a different tune.

So ridiculously excited about: the fact that the Olivers are moving here in almost 2 weeks. EEK. I seriously almost can't handle it.

Wanting: these maroon Kendra Scott earrings (whoop)!

Monday, September 22, 2014

We survived!

My trip went by fairly quickly, but you'll all be a little disappointed to learn that during my short stint in Chicago, the only places I went were the airport, my hotel, and the conference center. I'm independent and resourceful enough to travel to a big city alone and get where I need to be, but not enough to socialize and explore on my own. At least I know my limitations, right?

Relatedly, the purpose of the training I was attending was to become certified to interpret the results of one of the personality assessments we administer to our new hires at work. As a bonus, I got to re-take the assessment myself and see a very in-depth profile explaining my results. Some of them were mildly concerning (and I quote, "she may personalize discussion and dissent, so that her hostility is directed away from the issue and toward those who disagree with her.") while others were amusing, if not completely obvious, especially to all of you ("She is probably very comfortable revealing personal information to a wide range of people.")

Nonetheless, it was an interesting exercise and probably some much-needed time for introspection, even if it did leave me feeling like a high-strung, over-sharing mess :)

As expected, Brian handled solo twin duty like a champ, and was kind enough to FaceTime me for bedtime, bath time, and wake-ups. The twins honestly didn't seem to notice I was gone, and while they were happy to see me on FaceTime, I think they could have gone the entire 3 days without seeing my face and been just fine. Nice to know you're dispensable, right?

Chatting after dinner one evening

Here's the only picture I took while in Chicago… this was during my 3-hour wait at the airport before my flight home on Friday. Don't I look excited?


I didn't get home until 11 pm on Friday and was pleasantly surprised to find out that the Olivers had decided to come in town early and were waiting for me when I got home (and by waiting, I mean dancing in the driveway when I pulled in, because what else would they be doing?). They had some last minute items to tend to before the big move (just a few weeks away!!!!!!!!!!), so we got to enjoy some more quality time together while they were here.

I entertained Davis on Saturday while the twins slept and Allison, Wade, and Avery met the painters at the new house. (Also, you should know that I actually got turned around (which is a nice way of saying I GOT LOST) during the .7-mile drive home from their new house. I'm really awesome with directions, if you didn't know.)

Our friend, Michael, turned 3 on Saturday afternoon and the twins had a great time at his party, which was actually held at the church where Davis will be going to preschool. Indoor playscape + fish tanks everywhere = we will be going back for sure!



And my favorite (courtesy of Allison)…

After naps, Mexican food, and a few more errands, it was bedtime for the kiddos (aka: football time for Brian and Wade and Target time for Allison and Amanda). Brian was able to get a pic of all 4 of the littles during story time before bed on Saturday - can't wait for them to get to do this much more often! 



The Olivers hit the road yesterday and we spent the rest of the day doing the usual - recovering from the weekend and preparing for the week ahead. I am also happy to report that Colby actually napped! We put them down around 11:45 am, which seemed to be early enough to where they weren't over-tired, but late enough to where they don't need another nap before bed. They were, however, both pretty sleepy by around 6 pm. We obliged with another 6:30 pm bedtime… such selfless parents, aren't we?

Can you tell someone was already getting a little tired?

Looking forward to a low-key week and no traveling!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Work trip

So you know what's really exciting? I get to leave on a work trip to Chicago this afternoon and will be gone until late Friday night.

I get to fly on an airplane alone, during which time I will be able to read actual books.

I get to sleep in a quiet hotel room alone with no video monitor next to my bed.

I get to eat several meals in a row without having to pick up any sippy cups or wipe down any high chairs.

I get to sleep in until 7 am and the only person I have to get dressed and out the door is myself.

I will change zero diapers.

I will clean out zero food containers.

I will not have to load anyone in/out of a car seat.

I will not have to pick up any Cheerios off the floor.

I will not have to clean up any toys before I go to bed.

And I know all of this should make me really excited because- hello? - what mom doesn't want a break every now and then? But - cliche sappy mom alert - I'm also a little bummed about the whole thing. This is the longest I've ever been away from the twins, and even the longest I've been away from Brian in multiple years.

I will miss 3 bedtimes and 2 wake-ups.

I won't have anyone to sing to and rock before bed.

I won't have anyone to smile and run toward me when I get off of work.

I won't have anyone climbing into my lap every time I sit down (or at least I hope not, because that would be kind of awkward at a training session full of strangers).

I won't have anyone trying to share their snack with me (half-chewed Cheerios included).

There won't be anyone grinning at me from across the dinner table.

No one will cry when I leave to go to work in the morning.

I won't get to tuck anyone in before I go to sleep.

I know it will fly by, and I'll do my best to make the most of it, but I'm going to miss my babies and their daddy.

(Oh, and speaking of their daddy, best of luck to Brian in handling solo parenting for a couple of days. I know he is more than capable of handling it, but I also know he will be exhausted and ready for me to return!)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Things we did and did not do this weekend

(Side note: This blog post title goes against everything I ever learned about titling papers in my English classes growing up. Thankfully this is a BLOG and not an essay or piece of sacred literature, so I hope you'll forgive me.)


We DID...

… attend a gender reveal party for our friends, the Cruikshanks! Kristen actually entrusted me with the results from the ultrasound last week so that Brian and I could stuff confetti in balloons for the reveal. So for an entire 5 days, WE knew what they were having and they didn't… most fun and most difficult secret ever to have to keep!

Me with the baby mama
(Also, sorry for being so superficial, but WHY is my face always so shiny? I have tried liquid foundation, power foundation, and a combo, but still no luck. I don't really have oily skin, so I can't figure out what the problem is. But it's obnoxious.)


Surprise!

… attempt the transition from two naps to one for the twins. I wouldn't call it a success, but thankfully not a total failure either. On Saturday, we didn't put them down until 1 pm because we were out and about. Clara slept for 1.5 hours and Colby played for an hour and then slept for 30 minutes (translation: NOT LONG ENOUGH FOR EITHER ONE OF THEM IN MY BOOK). Thankfully, they weren't cranky the rest of the day but were definitely tired.

… put the twins to bed at 6:30 pm on Sunday evening. We put them down for their nap at noon (hoping earlier nap would equal longer nap), which worked better than Saturday for Clara (she was in her crib and quiet for 2 hours and 45 minutes). It worked the opposite of well for Colby, however (see below for details), so for everyone's sanity, an early bedtime it was!

… hit up Costco for entertainment on Saturday when the short nap left us with more time to kill than we knew what to do with. And as an added bonus, the free samples made for a great afternoon snack (or 5).

Chilling while Daddy picked out beer, er, I mean, organic fruits and vegetables in bulk.



We did NOT...

… contract West Nile Virus, though I did go for a run at dawn (mosquito prime time, apparently) and we did spend some time outside playing with the Cozy Coupes. I think the cool front that blew in might have put a damper on the mosquitoes' plan for world domination.

Love these two little munchkins

… this is not a "we" statement, but Colby did not take a nap AT ALL on Sunday. As in, he did not have one single second of sleep between waking up at 8:30 am and going to sleep at 6:30 pm. He spend the entire 2 hours and 45 minutes of naptime playing, screaming, banging on the wall, or some combination thereof. That kid has undeniably inherited both his mommy's and daddy's stubborn genes.

… make it through drop-off at the church nursery without tears from both babies. I for some reason assumed that having the twins in daycare would mean they would not ever have issues going to the church nursery, but that's because I didn't factor in that we don't go to the church nursery every single day. Thankfully they warm up quickly, but I still hate leaving them when they're wailing like we've betrayed and permanently abandoned them.

… consume any Dairy Queen blizzards, but I sure wish we did.

So what did you/did you not do this weekend?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Just living the (working mom) dream

Just a few tidbits about our week (aka: proof that I really should have blogged more often than I did):

- One of the daycare teachers informed me that Colby said Clara's name this week! She was apparently crying (shocking), and he said "Cara." I didn't hear it myself, but if and when I do, I'm pretty sure my heart will explode into a million pieces.

- Two of the daycare teachers asked me on separate occasions if Clara likes to clean. Ha! We don't call her the "Messy Misses" for nothing, so I wouldn't exactly answer that one with a 'yes.' She does, however, like to help pick things up, throw things in the trash, etc. Apparently she has been going around "cleaning" her classroom with a rag and trying to wipe the other babies' faces, especially if they spill their milk. I might or might not be beaming with pride at the thought of having passed on some of my neat freak tendencies.

- Some mosquitoes recently tested positive for West Nile virus in Sugar Land this week. You know, the place where I live/work/spend all of my time. So that's cool. Ever since I read the article, I have been itching just thinking about it and in a constant state of paranoia that they're coming after me.

- I have always thought it would be fun to be "regulars" at a restaurant somewhere, and as of last night, I think we have found our somewhere. There's a subpar-but-still-tasty restaurant right around the corner from our house called Los Tios. We decided to pay them a visit last night, and were pleasantly surprised to find that Happy Hour lasts all day on Thursdays. In addition to drink specials, they also have a FREE queso/salsa/bean "bar."

Add in the fact that we had a buy one, get one half off coupon, and our family of 4 had dinner - including a giant beer for Brian - for $18 + tip. The twins' dinner was basically queso and refried beans.

At first, they were fervently dipping their chips in the beans and queso, but quickly learned that their fingers worked just as well:

When we left, she had queso on her clothes, in her hair, and even stuck in her eyelashes.


Children after my own heart.

So do share… what was the highlight of YOUR week?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Highs and lows

So I decided that in place of recapping all of the details of our fairly uneventful - though still enjoyable- weekend, I would share each family member's favorite and least favorite part:

Brian
Favorite: Dinner (take-out from Chuy's) and watching the A&M game with our pals, the Cruikshanks
Least favorite: yard work… lots of lots of yard work; We received a code violation notice from the city of Sugar Land last week informing us that our tree branches were not trimmed high enough off the street. And while it was tempting to mail them a bag full of dog poop in return, we want to start off on the right foot in our new city of residence, so Brian went ahead and trimmed them (for the second time).

Colby
Favorite: Easy- eating. This always tops Colby's list of preferred activities. Most notable meal for him would probably be breakfast on Saturday, wherein he consumed a banana, pancakes, and scrambled eggs.
Least favorite: Being forced to attempt afternoon naps on both Saturday and Sunday. Thanks to this stubborn guy and his passionate hatred of The Second Nap of the Day, we're officially going to attempt the two-to-one nap transition next weekend.

Clara
Favorite: Running errands on Saturday, and her reasons are twofold:
(1) she and Colby were sporting matching Aggie attire, and therefore received lots of extra attention while we were out and about (she likes attention… not sure where she got that?!;)
(2) we took them into Petco for the first time and she went crazy over all of the "DAH! DAH! OOOO! DAH!" (dogs).
Least favorite: Being expected to behave like a normal human being when the Cruikshanks came over. She was in rare form and would not stop whining, hitting, and generally making her mommy insane/embarrassed.




Amanda
Favorite: Well besides hanging out with the Cruikshanks (Brian stole that one), I'd have to say running on Saturday morning. I have a weekend tradition of waking up before everyone else and going for a (brief) run and I really enjoy it. I don't enjoy the heat, humidity, and swarm of mosquitoes, but those will soon be a thing of the past… temporarily.
Least favorite: Allison has been dealing with some stress associated with the move and it seemed to peak this weekend. It was driving me crazy that there was nothing I could do to help or fix it, and as is often the case, I found myself absorbing the stress and being on edge myself. Hopefully everything will be smooth sailing from here on out!


And two pictures I just felt like including…

We busted out the crayons for the first time, and I can't say I was too shocked that Colby was the first one that attempted to eat them.

Watching/entranced by one of the Kids123TV videos on youtube, aka: the current soundtrack to our lives

Friday, September 5, 2014

17 months… and stuff

Oh, hey, guess what… our house still hasn't sold! Exciting, right? We are getting pretty consistent requests for showings, however, so I am confident hopeful that it will sell soon. And then we will go out to a celebratory dinner where I will stuff my face and have a margarita.

Except that probably won't happen, because every time I declare that I will do something exciting to celebrate a momentous occasion, I remember how lame I really am and bail on it. (In case you forgot, upon finding out we were pregnant, instead of getting permission to leave work an hour, I sent Brian to lunch at Freebirds on his own while I went back to work. And what's even worse? My boss was out of the office that day. Seriously, I am that lame.)

Anyway.

The twins are 17 months old today, so happy 17 months to them! I have mentally committed to making a few big changes when they reach 18 months (pacifier detox for Clara and officially dropping to one nap a day - aka: ONLY ONE BREAK FOR MOMMY AND DADDY A DAY), so I fully intend to enjoy every minute of this next month. Especially the really quiet minutes that occur when Clara has a pacifier in her mouth. And the really quiet ones that occur during their two separate naps. I hate change.

I also intend to take some non-professional-but-better-than-the-crappy-iphone pictures of them at 18 months, so perhaps I will accompany those with a more official 18-month update blog post. For now, all you need to know is the following:

- They are both saying more words. Colby's newest, as I mentioned, is "dump truck," and Clara's newest is "baby."

- One word they almost never say in context is "mama," which is only mildly insulting, especially considering the passion with which Clara yells "DAH" every time she sees anything that even remotely resembles a dog. Don't worry, I only endured 3 years of infertility, underwent a cycle of IVF, carried you in my womb for 8+ months, and went through major surgery to bring you into this world. No hard feelings.

- But don't worry, "dada" rolls right off their tongues, as does "Pop Pop," which would be their name for my dad, whom they see approximately once a month.

- They are much better at feeding themselves and thankfully will eat most things we put in front of them. This has made meal time immensely less labor-intensive… and stressful.

- They are busy. And they think they are really independent. Which is both aggravating and entertaining all at the same time.

So that's about all I have to share at the moment. Happy Friday!


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Labor Day 2k14

I'm pretty sure I've said this before, but I think my favorite thing about 3-day weekends is that you're able to accomplish everything that you need to get done and still have discretionary time leftover to enjoy the weekend… unlike in normal weekends where the two concepts are generally mutually exclusive.

We had a full house this weekend in the best way possible, and although it was cut a little short due to Davis getting sick, it was still a great preview of what life WILL be like in the near future (minus the 8 people living under one roof part). I will try really hard not to bore you all with the ongoing mental list I have of reasons I'm excited to have the Olivers living nearby, but no promises.

Now let's get on with the pictures, shall we?

Hold that thought: I actually didn't take any on Friday, but it was definitely a full day. I went with Allison and her kiddos to tour Davis's future preschool, grabbed a quick lunch out, and then held down the fort at home while Davis and Avery napped. Allison helped me pick up the twins at school and then we were back home for pizza dinner with the whole gang.

I headed up to the daycare again for an open house just before bedtime. I normally would have opted out, but the twins will be transitioning to the toddler room soon, so my attendance was requested so I could get the scoop. It was information overload but I'll leave you with one highlight: once they're in there, I have to label every single individual diaper that we send with them. I normally send a box of 180ish diapers at a time every 3-4 weeks, so you can imagine what one of my new hobbies will be.

Anyway, more on that transition once it actually happens. For now, let's get on with the pictures.

My best attempt at getting a picture of all 4 of the rugrats at breakfast on Saturday. Poor Davis was surrounded by his grabby sister and grabby cousin, Clara, both of whom were eyeing his cinnamon roll!

We have a banister that separates the front room/play area from the dining room, and shortly after moving in, we learned that someone's head is small enough to allow her to fit through the bars. This problem will rectify itself as she gets older (and bigger), but in the meantime, it is fairly aggravating. (And yes, we realize this could be dangerous- don't worry, we don't leave them unattended in this room.)

Wade and Allison went to look at houses on Saturday with Avery in tow; meanwhile, Colby and Clara were napping and Brian went to get a haircut, so Davis and I got to spend some quality one-on-one time playing games and watching Curious George. I also made him lunch and he declared that I make better peanut butter sandwiches than his mommy, so pretty much I'm the greatest aunt of all time.

Speaking of great aunts, "Nice Mommy" (as we refer to Allison) was an even bigger hit than normal this weekend. Clara stuck to her like glue and threw a tantrum any time she left the room. Colby was also enjoying having her around, AND she taught him a new word (well, two of them actually): "dump truck" (pronounced: duh-duh)! 

Here they both are wondering why they were momentarily left alone to play with me, aka: Sloppy Seconds.

We went to dinner on Saturday evening and after getting a tip from Brittnie about a cute owl step stool that she thought I might like at Home Goods, we decided to make a quick stop there on the way home. I posted this pic on Instagram, but had to share it again. Have I mentioned, by the way, how much I love living so close to so many shops and restaurants?!

We intended to try out a new church on Sunday, but Davis wasn't feeling so hot, so we opted to stay home. He was in better spirits after lunch, so it was off to Stomping Grounds (indoor playground) we went! It was a rainy Sunday afternoon on a long weekend, so yeah, I guess we shouldn't have been surprised at how packed it was.

Clear eyes, full diapers, can't lose. 

They were a little overwhelmed at first, so they spent the first 5 or so minutes like this, just looking around the room and assessing the situation. 

Colby warmed up once Daddy took him down the slide, but Sissy remained pretty cynical, as evidenced below:

Me with the clingy mini-me

Finally, Nice Mommy came to the rescue and showed her what she was missing. Also, how cute is her chubby little tummy?

Little monkeys

The Olivers made their early departure on Sunday, so sadly they weren't able to join us for dinner with some friends who were in town visiting their parents. We had a great time nonetheless, and the twins were so entertained by the new people, animals, and toys, that we even get to have some adult conversation! 

I definitely need to get one of these little picnic tables. It's the perfect size for toddlers and miraculously, the twins stayed put and ate their dinner there while we ate ours. Also, doesn't it look like Colby is third-wheeling/chaperoning Clara's date with Clay?

Labor Day was a wonderfully laid back day and gave us all the extra downtime we needed to recover and prepare for another school/work week. We FaceTimed the fam on several occasions, and I caught this video of the twins saying "bye" after one of the times that we hung up with my mom:


And then I took the one below during the twins' afternoon nap. I am often asked whether or not the they're able to sleep through each other's crying/yelling/general noise-making, and people are typically surprised to hear that the answer is yes. So I took this video as proof:


That would be Clara sleeping like a rock while Colby throws his standard afternoon nap protest about 4 feet away. We rescued him shortly thereafter, and he was quite content to snuggle with his mommy and his Cheerios on the couch while Clara got to nap in peace, so I'd call it a win for everyone.

What, Labor Day doesn't mean no makeup/shower required for you, too?

And that, my friends, is how the Joiners did Labor Day 2014. Hope you all had a great weekend and are ready for the SHORT week ahead!