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Monday, February 29, 2016

Excuses and such

For the 2-3 of you that have been wondering why I mysteriously haven't blogged in the past 2 weeks, wonder no longer. The good news is that I'm back in action; the bad news is that there is not an interesting explanation for my absence. But rather, my brief hiatus can be blamed on two things, which any of you that have spoken to me in the past month or so can easily guess:

1. The remodel. Yes, it is still going on. Yes, I am still complaining about it. Today is the beginning of week 5 of our "2-3 week project," so that's special. There have been more delays than I have cared for and less communication than I have cared for, but nonetheless, we are satisfied with the progress that has been made and are hopeful that the end product will be worth the hassle, inconvenience, messiness, and money. A couple of sneak peaks for you:

The bath tub/shower + new window

The tile (yes, tile) - it looks like distressed wood but is not, in fact, wood! 

2. Potty-training. Apparently, this is the developmental milestone that never ends. Tomorrow marks 2 months of our adventures in potty training and all I can say is that the inventor of the 3 Day Potty Training Method is either a much more effective mother than I am or a bit of a liar. While I still think it was a great way to kick off training, I think it is a highly misleading title because it clearly takes much longer than 3 days.

Remember when I declared Colby the winner? Well shame on me for putting anything like that in writing, because unfortunately he has slipped into second place. He is still doing well for the most part, but accidents continue to be an almost daily occurrence.

If you factor in excuse #1 and excuse #2, then you might understand why I have been a tiny bit preoccupied ever since 2016 began. I'm looking forward to the end of the remodel and hopefully continued improvement on the potty training front so that both will cease to be the only things I can think/talk about.

Other than that, we've been trucking along with the usual activities...

playing at the park and trying out new hairstyles...

feeding each other french fries...

refusing to cooperate for posed photographs...

and then turning around a few minutes later and smiling happily for the teacher at daycare, of course!

We have been taking full advantage of all of the wonderful weather we've been experiencing as of late, most recently by having dinner with friends on the patio at Live Oak Grill...

and taking our 2nd annual outing to the Sugar Land Kite Festival!

I was even able to check an item off my 25 before 32 list by eating lunch from a food truck (The Waffle Bus)!

I have grand plans to do at least one other post this week, and then hopefully when you hear from me next week, it will be with the great reveal of the completed bathroom remodel!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

V-day weekend in collage form

I know I've hardly mentioned it (ha), but this remodel is STRESSING ME OUT. As you've probably determined already, my ability to cope maxed out on approximately day 1, so I've basically been running on (disgruntled, impatient, irritable) fumes since then. So with that being the case, our quick Valentine's Day weekend getaway to Fredericksburg could not have come at a better time. 

Brian and I spent 48 glorious hours on our own with not much of an agenda besides sleeping, eating, and shopping (sound familiar?). The weather in Fredericksburg was perfect (much unlike our attempt at a getaway last Fall) and our VRBO rental (an attic above one of the stores on Main Street) was close to everything, so overall I'd say it was a winning combination.

Top left: post-dinner lounging at Silver Creek
Top right: sunny selfie in front of the pretty library
Bottom left: our lunch at The Peach Tree came with a pink carnation for me!
Bottom right: Brian enjoying one of many beers

Top left: As I mentioned, we stayed in a finished-out attic, so Brian's attempts at fitting in the shower were interesting, to say the least!
Top right: Dinner at Pasta Bella
Bottom left: I asked Brian to take a picture of the heart-shaped butter on top of his bread... clearly he has a future in food photography.
Bottom right: My fancyValentine's Day lunch on the way back to Sugar Land

Meanwhile, Colby and Clara spent a fun-filled weekend with Brian's parents. We're not sure who had a better time- them or Mimi and Granddaddy! We were so thankful not to have to worry about them while we were gone and also appreciative of the pictures and FaceTime sessions in our absence.

Top left/Top right/Bottom left/Bottom right: two little monkeys playing at the park

Top: Breakfast at Mimi & Granddaddy's
Bottom left: Enjoying some of their V-day loot from the grandparents
Bottom right: Clearly Granddaddy needed some help fixing that rocking chair! 

We were all reunited on the afternoon of Valentine's Day and though we were excited to see each other again, the adjustment back to reality was a little rough for the littlest members of our family (and consequently, for us). Fortunately, there were presents and pizza to help ease the pain.

Top: The twins' Valentine's Day gifts - puzzles & place mats from us and a shirt & purse from my parents
Bottom left/middle: C&C experiencing what I like to call "grandparent detox" - so sad that the fun times are over and that it's back to life with boring Mommy & Daddy!
Bottom right: Another fancy Valentine's Day meal saved the day - pizza!

Another holiday come and gone- pretty sure that if I blink, Christmas 2016 will already have arrived... so don't mind me as I attempt to keep my eyes open for the next 10+ months. Hope you all had a happy heart day!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Almost three

Somehow, these teeny little babies...

... will turn THREE in two short months. And with that being the case, it is imperative that I provide you with an update on the current life and times of Colby Wayne and Clara Lane.

Starting with baby A, let's talk a little bit about what my favorite almost-3-year-old little boy is like these days:

- Colby is full of opinions. Scratch that, he is overflowing with opinions. In a turn of events that none of us saw coming, he is particularly opinionated about what he wears (particularly his underwear) and can daily be heard saying whining, "I want [a] different one!"

- Colby is 100%, no doubt about it, all boy. He loves all things related to super heroes, Star Wars, bad guys, dinosaurs, "scary" animals, pirates, sports, vehicles, wrestling, Transformers, and tools. He has been known to inform us that certain things are "for boys, not for girls" and has even insisted Clara and I not participate in said activities. I thought having a sister his same age might make him have more of an interest in princesses and such, but I was mistaken.

- Colby does not stop talking... ever. He narrates all of our car rides from start to finish and has an endless list of questions. "What's over there? What's that noise? Who did that?, etc." When he's not talking, he's likely singing, especially when he's avoiding going to sleep. It's a guarantee that we'll hear him sing at least one round of "Happy Birthday," the alphabet, and various tv show theme songs before bed each night. So basically, if he's awake, he's making some type of noise.

- Colby has made a lot of progress with potty training and though I know it's not fair to compare, I would declare him the "winner" of the process thus far. He tells us any time he has to go and though he sometimes requests our company, we are often told, "I need to go potty. Leave me alone." So tactful!

- Colby is stubborn and though I would say he is generally pretty well-behaved, he definitely listens to instructions on a selective basis. If he's not interested in doing something, it takes a lot of bargaining and coaxing to get him to do it. Good thing he has two parents that were also award-winning bargainers as children!

- While Colby is quite attached to his friends and doesn't have trouble jumping into new group settings, I would definitely still peg him as an introvert. At the Super Bowl party last weekend, while the other NINETEEN children were playing together in various parts of the house, we found Colby playing upstairs alone, where he stayed for a good half hour and was perfectly content doing so. I cannot relate to this trait in the least, but hey, as long as he's happy, that's all that matters!

And onto baby B - here are a few tidbits about my favorite almost-3-year-old little girl these days:

- Clara does all things with intensity. I've said this about her before, but if she commits to doing something, she goes all out, for better or for worse. This means that when she's happy, she's laughing, dancing, and having the time of her life. And when she's not happy, well, watch out. Another word I would use is "passionate," as she seems to feel all of her feelings very deeply!

- Clara is a teacher's pet and likes to do what everyone else is doing. I'm hoping this makes her ideal in the classroom, though I'm also hoping she learns to discern when it's best not to follow the crowd :) Her favorite lead to follow is Colby's, and she is often following up what he says with, "I want ______, too!" or "I do ______, too!" She loves her "Bolby" something fierce and puts him on a pretty high pedestal.

- Clara's two favorite phrases are, "I do it!" and "DON'T WEAVE (leave) ME!," which perfectly describe her personality: simultaneously independent and desperately needy all at the same time. None of us are allowed to leave a room without her permission and she has been known to make quite a scene if one of us attempts to break that rule, especially if there is something "scawy" going on (darkness, crowd of strangers, etc.). "I do it" is the bane of my efficient existence because it means she is insisting on doing a particular task without any help from us, therefore taking 800 times longer to do it.

- As I mentioned last week, Clara loves to color and seems to be in touch with her artsy side. My dad googled what it means when a child colors things all in one color (and while pressing down on the paper with all her might) and the phrases "intense focus" and "asserting control over one's environment" showed up in the results. Sounds about right!

- Clara is doing fairly well with potty training, but doesn't seem to have much of an interest in telling us when she needs to go (#1 at least). She does NOT respond well to being prompted to try and go and really prefers the whole thing be on her own terms. Unfortunately for us, sometimes "her own terms" include peeing on the floor. 

- In contrast to her brother, Clara loves all things girly. She is obsessed with princesses of all types and has been known to refer to herself as "Princess Tara (Clara)." Her favorite toys to play with are baby dolls and she loves playing mommy to them. She also really loves to undress them and keep them in the nude, but that's another story for another time. I will say that unlike Colby, she is much more willing to go with the flow when it comes to participating in traditionally non-girly activities. It's probably because she is so anxious to do whatever Colby is doing, but she is just as happy watching "Dinotrux" as she is any other show, and has been known to take Transformers to sleep with her in her crib.

While we've had our share of "terrible two" behavior and more glimpses into the "threenager" phase than we'd like, the twins really are at a pretty fun age right now. And although I did love when they were squishy little babies, I really love being able to talk to them now and hear all of the things going on in their little heads. 

Don't grow up too quickly, little ones!

Monday, February 8, 2016

All's well that ends well (and involves food)

I'm going to be honest: I was not in a good place at the onset of this past weekend. When I left work Friday and arrived home to find that NO progress had been made on the bathroom remodel since Tuesday afternoon*, I more than lost my marbles. There were many tears and lots of irrational phone calls/text messages to Brian. There was also a breakdown on the phone with my dad, at which point I declared that I was simply not emotionally or mentally capable of handling a project like this.

(*I did find out that there was a semi-legitimate reason for the delay, but even if the reason had been that the contractors were tied up curing cancer, I'm not sure I would have coped any better.) 

Thankfully, Mexican food exists. And when your weekend starts off with quesadillas, nachos, and margaritas, you really can't be too upset, can you?

It was all uphill from there and we spent a lovely Saturday not doing much of anything except hanging out with the Olivers (and escaping our construction zone of a house in the process). There was playing...

... there was an attempt at watching a movie and there were tattoos...

... and there was even an impromptu trip to Dairy Queen. Much like a weekend involving Mexican food, I feel strongly that you really can't complain if your weekend includes a trip to DQ.

Yes, our table number was 69. Go ahead and giggle.

During the twins' nap on Saturday, I thought to myself, "I have a great idea! I'll go ahead and do our taxes!" I couldn't help but laugh when moments later, I looked out the window to see that Brian apparently had simultaneously thought to himself, "I have a great idea! I'll go ahead and get out my hammock!" That pretty well illustrates the difference between us, in case you were wondering.

As you can see, Brian wasn't the only one that enjoyed this novelty.

After church and naps on Sunday, we joined the rest of the USA in overeating and watching the Super Bowl with our small group from church. In total, there were 20 adults + 20 children (all aged 6 and under) and miraculously, no one was injured and no property was (irreversibly) damaged.

So with a fulfilling weekend behind us, let's hope the week continues in the same direction and that we make some real progress on the remodel so you can all stop listening to me whine about my major first world problem ;)

Friday, February 5, 2016

Scenes from our week

A few scenes from our crazy week...

Bathroom remodel
We've been looking at a whole lot of this. One fundamental difference between Brian and myself was illustrated this week during a conversation on our way home from work:
Me: Did you find out what they worked on in the bathroom today? I hope they got the bath tub in and are able to start on the tile soon.
Brian: No, I didn't ask. I prefer to be surprised every day when we come home... it's kind of like Christmas morning!

The twins' artwork 
We've noticed that Clara has a very distinctive style of coloring (she usually sticks to one color and presses down really hard on the paper). We saw these up on the wall at daycare one morning this week and couldn't help but laugh at how easy it was to spot hers! (Colby's is right above hers for a comparison.) 

Did I mention we were remodeling our bathroom?
After much obsessing, we picked out our granite (on the left) and our floor tile (on the right). Not pictured: white subway tile for the shower/tub.

As always, Colby and Clara
Everyone else's kids are rocking their Christmas jammies while ours just can't seem to let go of Halloween... 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Quick escape

Allison and I left the husbands and children at home this weekend and took a road trip to Dallas to hang out with our mom (and briefly, our dad, when he wasn't on an airplane or babysitting our niece/nephews). It wasn't any kind of fancy girls' weekend, but it was just as magical as I imagined, and here's why:

- In two nights, I logged 18 hours of sleep.

- We ate out for more meals than I care to admit to, and at no point did I have to remind anyone to sit on his/her bottom, nor did we have to worry about the speed of service, availability of crayons/colorable kids' menus, or the proximity of our table to the restrooms in the event of potty emergencies.

Yes, this meal from La Duni tasted as delicious as it looks

- I ate a lot of salads. I realize I can do this any time, but generally when we go out with the kids, we try to get a few meals to split amongst ourselves, and typically salad does not meet the criteria.

- We also ate a lot of Mexican food... you know, to balance out any potential health benefits from the point mentioned above.

- We got to meet our cousin's 1.5-week-old baby and spend some time visiting with our grandmother.

- We randomly ran into my best friend from 1st grade at Starbucks, whom I don't think I have seen in at least 20+ years! (And in case you're wondering, I'm such a stalker that when I saw her and thought I recognized her, I shoved Allison closer to the checkout counter so that she could overhear the name the girl provided to the barista, which, of course, confirmed my suspicion!)

- We spent a lot of time shopping, and a lot of time in general at the mecca of a mall we grew up hanging out in. And again, we didn't have to coordinate our activities around nap time or worry about hurrying home to relieve the husbands from parenting duties.

It was a great little getaway and of course, it was only made possible by my saint of a husband that was willing to wrangle the twins by himself all weekend. He even complied with my constant requests for FaceTiming and pictures without complaints:

The unfortunate news is that my relaxation from the weekend will be short-lived, as the bathroom remodel (and all the chaos and mess that comes with it) starts today! I'm trying to remind myself that it's only temporary and will be worth it in the end... I may need all of you to also remind me of that when I start having mental breakdowns about all 4 of us sharing a bathroom and not having full access to my closet! :)