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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

Another Thanksgiving is behind us, and as usual, we had much to be thankful for! We joined my family in Dallas to celebrate turkey day and as usual, chaos ensued and lots of food was consumed. Before diving into a recap, I have to give the twins props because they did a great job on both the drive there and back. 4+ hours with minimal whining and, miraculously, no stops for potty breaks? Children after my own always-in-a-hurry heart.

This is my only picture from Wednesday, but Allison and I took a kid-free trip to Target with our dad and we educated him about the idea that not taking a picture of an activity basically means it didn't happen.

Thanksgiving day was spent playing at the park...

... jumping in the leaves...

... lounging around the house...

... posing for pictures...

... hanging out by the chiminea... 

... and although not pictured, eating a lot of food with 20+ family members, followed by watching the Aggies pitifully play a football game. 

We spent Saturday eating leftovers and generally taking it easy ("easy" being a very relative term when 4 children between the ages of 3-5 are involved). It's important to note that I did convince my mom to buy 3 bags of Boom Chicka Pop holiday flavors, and I need you all to stop what you're doing right now and go buy them for yourself.
(1) dark chocolaty sea salt (yes)
(2) white chocolate & peppermint (yes)
(3) frosted sugar cookie (yes)

Before hitting the road on Saturday, we joined the same family members from Thanksgiving (plus some more) for a 90th birthday lunch for my grandmother. Hard to believe what started out as her and my late grandfather has now turned into a family of 30+ people... also hard to believe someone is 90 years old and looks this good, am I right?!

Mom Brown + grandkids (minus my brother in Utah!)

Mom Brown + great grandkids (love those 3 scheming behind her)

Time for another family pic

And just like that, we were on the road again. One of the little ones slept...

... and one not so much:

And now that I've had a couple of days to recover from Thanksgiving, I'm officially looking forward to the fun ahead with another Christmas season with the twins!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Santa Visit 2016

Soooo we definitely paid Santa a visit early this year (2 weeks before Thanksgiving), but just like last year, I stand by our decision because:

1. No line
2. Happy Santa that was not yet tired of children
3. No line

We actually went two days after Colby got his tonsils out, so we were relying heavily on his pain meds to make him cooperate (parents of the year, I know!). It was touch and go with him, but in the end he pulled through with a smile. 

Clara surprised us all by running up to give Santa a hug as soon as she saw him, and then later declaring, "him is my best friend!" Funny, Clara, because your pictures with him from 2014 and 2015 would not suggest as much.

Practice pic before meeting the Big Guy

This was a great contender, but in the end, this one was the winner:

1. Smiles!!
2. Who are these giant children and what did they do with my babies?!

I was admittedly a little disappointed that we didn't get another classic crying picture, but it was nice to get a picture that didn't make me feel like we were torturing our children.

After they were finished, Clara told Santa she wanted a house for Christmas. Lest he call child welfare services or nominate us for one of those home makeover shows, I quickly clarified that she was talking about a doll house. Then Colby followed it up by saying he wanted two houses, which is not even remotely true, so once again I had to make something up so Santa wouldn't be confused.

Here's a collage to show the twins' progressive relationship with Santa:
Top left: 2013; Top right: 2014; Bottom left: 2015; Bottom right: 2016

Sweet babies, please don't grow up any faster! Also, please continue humoring me with Santa pictures until you leave for college.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The latest Colby & Clara-isms

Me: Are you going to move out on your own some day?
Clara: Yes.
Me: Who are you going to live with?
Clara: Strangers! [glad she's so discerning]
Me: Oh, so you don't want to live with us forever?
Clara: No. I want to live outside... by myself. [sometimes I feel the same way, minus the outside part] 

We recently told Clara that Brian is going to take her to see "The Nutcracker" in a few weeks and asked her if she was excited about it. She responded enthusiastically with a 'yes,' and then Colby jumped in with equal enthusiasm and said, "And I get to stay home and play quietly by myself!" An introvert's dream come true...

Clara: Mommy?
Me: Yes, sweetheart?
Clara: Sometimes I like you... and sometimes I don't.

Colby has this habit of adding "y" to the end of words as a sign of affection, which makes sense when you think about it because of words like Mommy/Daddy/Mimi/Franny/etc. He has been occasionally referring to Clara as "Clary" for a while now and even sometimes calls his aunt Shannon "Shanny," but my most favorite recent usage was when he referred to his action figure as "Darth Vadie" :)

Things that are equal parts endearing and terrifying: suddenly hearing Clara loudly and very clearly say, "Colby, you wanna build a house with me?" over the video monitor at 4 am. (She was talking in her sleep rather than waking up for a late night play session, thankfully.)

The twins have both been in a "I want Mommy to do it!" phase lately, which is neat. Colby had been particularly difficult at bedtime and was refusing to let Brian do anything. Brian was clearly frustrated, so Colby walked over to him and said, "Daddy, you're still my best friend. You can put my clothes on in the morning." It was sweet of him to try to make Brian feel better, but also amusing that he acted like getting to put his clothes on was some major honor that he was graciously bestowing upon Brian!

Clara has this habit of separating herself from any wrongdoing by vaguely suggesting she wasn't responsible for it. For example:
Upon realizing she had had an accident recently, I hadn't even opened my mouth to address it when she said, "Mommy, sometimes people pee pee in their pants and it's ok." 
I also recently woke her up and realized the Curious George book she had gone to bed with had a page torn out of it. Before I could ask about it, she muttered sleepily, "Mommy, someone broke the George book."

Oh, this age!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Bouncing back

We're now 11 days into Colby's tonsillectomy recovery and while he hasn't been physically uncomfortable in several days (that we're aware of), I would say he is still not 100% back to normal. He has been fairly irritable and has spent a decent amount of time whining, losing his temper over the tiniest things, being rude, and generally testing our patience. I know what you're thinking- isn't that standard 3-year-old behavior? Why yes, yes it is; but it seems to be at an exaggerated level for him at the moment so we're hoping this is not his new normal.

All that to say, his continued recovery hasn't slowed him down one bit, so thankfully we've been able to squeeze in some fun amidst work, daycare, and managing temper tantrums. 

Colby and Avery got to go on a lunch date with Allison and my mom when she was staying with him last Monday- we haven't informed Clara of this because I'm fairly certain she would die of jealousy.

On Wednesday night, we headed out to the opening night of Zoo Lights with some friends. This was our first visit and although it's admittedly harder to keep up with two 3-year-olds at the zoo in the dark than in daylight, we had a great time! We were warned in advance that we wouldn't see many actual animals and that the lights were the focus. We tried to prepare the twins for that, but it didn't stop them from asking 700 times where the animals were and when we were going to see them. Fun times.

I'm sure it will shock none of you to learn that Colby wasn't interested in stopping to take pictures, but at least my little shadow was up for a few! (Also, on a more shallow note: why is my face always so shiny no matter what changes I make in my skincare/makeup routine?!)

3/4 ain't bad

It was fun having one of the few open exhibits mostly all to ourselves!

On Friday, the twins had their annual Thanksgiving program/dinner at daycare. As I shared on facebook, they opted only to participate in the dinner portion and not so much the performance portion:

Clara, hiding like a turtle in her turkey costume

Colby, looking as disinterested as possible and making as unphotogenic an expression as possible

But hey, at least the food was good!

On Saturday, Brian joined Wade and Davis for a trip to College Station to watch the Aggies play. The twins and I held down the fort at home and thankfully had perfect (albeit a little chilly, but you will definitely not hear me complaining about that!) weather at our disposal.

Making leaf turkeys with Avery

Agreeing to take a picture with a candy bribe (story of our lives)

Joining me on a stroll

Our sweet neighbor invited the kids over to pick oranges and lemons off their trees- I was so impressed with everything they were growing in their backyard. Pretty much all we have in our backyard is dog poop.

Though not pictured, we spent Saturday evening enjoying our first fire in the fireplace, making s'mores, and putting up the Christmas tree. We gave the twins each a new ornament to put on the tree and in less than 24 hours, they had already broken one of them. Can't wait to see what the fate is of the rest of the ornaments once we put them up!

I also didn't photograph much of Sunday, but it involved a morning full of church and an afternoon full of birthday parties. I did manage to capture this cute girl's outfit, of which I was totally jealous:

We're all looking forward to a short work week and celebrating Thanksgiving with family. In the meantime, can everyone please pray for my patience with both of my little turkeys, lest I offer them up to the highest bidder on Black Friday? I promise to do the same for the rest of you :)

Monday, November 14, 2016

Adventures in tonsillectomy recovery

As most of you know from Facebook/Instagram, Colby went in on Thursday to have his tonsils taken out and a second round of ear tubes put in. When I found out on Wednesday that his procedure wasn't scheduled until 10:30 am, I began to panic- how was I supposed to convince a 3.5-year-old that he wasn't allowed to eat or drink anything for that long in the morning?!

We let him stay up late the night before so he could have an extra snack after dinner in hopes of filling him up, which means Clara also got to stay up late and have an extra snack- this expectation for equal treatment proved to be a recurring theme throughout this process. They woke up around 7 that morning and we took Clara to school before heading to the surgery center, which thankfully meant she got to eat her breakfast there without Colby having to watch!

Carb-loading Preparing for the next morning

Contemplating life en route to the surgery center

Once we arrived, Colby had a great time playing in the waiting room/pre-op room and apparently I worried for no reason because he didn't ask about food or water at all! Before we knew it, it was time for him to head into surgery, and it calmed my anxious mama heart when he willingly went back with the nurse without any tears... although he later told us that he was scared when they put the mask on him and that he was crying because he wanted to go home :(

Having a terrible time

He was loving this guitar and when I asked him what song he was playing for me, he said "Stitches" (he clearly knows how much his mommy loves teeny bopper music) 

Less than 45 minutes later, we were called back into recovery where we awkwardly watched him sleep alongside the nurse. Do you make small talk in that situation or just stare at the sleeping child together in silence or what? I chose small talk because my extroversion knows no bounds.

Once he woke up, he was groggy and kept crying that he wanted to go home. Once they finally cleared us to leave, we buckled our grumpy guy into the car and headed home. For the rest of the day, he was either sleeping or crying, and often the tears were silent, which was about the saddest thing ever. Getting him to swallow even the smallest sips of juice (let alone his small personal pharmacy full of medicines) was a battle and he was generally pretty miserable. It was a big relief when he went right to sleep that night and didn't make a peep until the next morning.

I was taking this picture because I thought it was cute that he was holding his beloved "Teddy" - then I saw the look on his face :( 

Not happy about life

He was not a happy camper when he woke up on Friday, but about an hour after taking his pain meds, he perked up and was actually in a pretty decent mood the rest of the day. His diet consisted solely of apple sauce, ice cream, and juice, so you could say it was his ideal day.

"Hmm, maybe this isn't so terrible after all?"

Clara had been at school again all day so it was nice for us to be able to focus on taking care of him, but you could tell they missed each other because as soon as she got home, they didn't leave each other's sides and Colby said more words to her in the 2 hours before bedtime than he had said to us the whole day. We finished the day with a fro-yo outing, which thankfully fit his dietary restrictions quite perfectly.

I call this, "No Yogurt Left Behind"

Saturday was similar in that he was not happy when he woke up, but settled down once the medicine kicked in. Having Clara home all day was a bit more challenging as he was watching her eat things he couldn't have, including the giant bucket of popcorn at the "Trolls" movie. Although he was surprisingly understanding about it, he was over it by the day's end and had a meltdown at dinner about not getting to eat an actual meal. Thankfully, he eventually realized that having a milkshake for "dinner" was not the worst alternative.

Sunday was more of the same, but after so many days of togetherness (and it becoming clear that he was starting to take advantage of the coddling/pitying), we were all excited to have my mom come into town last night so she could stay with him today and part of tomorrow while Brian and I go to work. Thankfully he is mostly himself, minus the ability to eat completely normally, but it's safe to say we are all ready to get back into our normal routine soon.

Thanks to those of you that have been praying for his procedure and recovery, and for checking in on him- it's always nice to know people care!

Monday, November 7, 2016

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

... except truthfully, it was mostly just the worst of times. The twins' first soccer season wrapped up this weekend and I would be lying if I said any of us were sad about it.

Before the season started a couple of months ago, I had grand visions of joyfully watching my children running around the soccer field together, perhaps occasionally stopping to chase butterflies, but at the very least happily participating in the game together. In reality, Colby semi-willingly participated in most of the games whereas Clara willingly participated in approximately 1.5 games and spent the rest of the time whining and protesting on the sidelines.

I regret to admit that the only thing worse than her complete unwillingness to play was how I behaved in response. I vowed each week that I would let it go and just let her do her thing, and every week I ended up with high blood pressure and having said a number of words that I wished I could unsay.

When you're a type A control freak, you spend a lot of time worrying about what other people think of you as a result of your actions. When you're a type A control freak parent, you have the added bonus of spending a lot of time worrying about what other people will think of you as a result of your children's actions, because of course, they are an extension of you. So yes, I think it's safe to say this was a challenging 8 weeks for me in particular.

With that said, I hope that by the grace of God and because children are a lot more forgiving than adults, the twins will at least have some fond memories of their first sports season... and that eventually all of us will have recovered from this less-than-ideal experience enough to give another sport (or maybe even soccer) another try.

In the meantime, at least we can be thankful to have so many cute pictures so that in 20 years, we can look back on them and hopefully forget the stress that accompanied them ;)

(Pardon the negativity of this post... just keeping it real for my fellow strong-willed moms with equally strong-willed children!)

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Halloween superlatives

Halloween 2016 finally died came and went and as expected, the twins loved every bit of it, from their parade and party at school to trick-or-treating and every bite of candy in between. I'll recap with some of the day's superlatives

Sweetest moment: Watching these two (blue/yellow in the middle) giggling at each other amidst the daycare crowd during their parade.

Tastiest moment: Tie between my department's annual Halloween potluck breakfast (I brought these easy chocolate chip pumpkin muffins, like I do every year!) and dinner at Freebirds with the Olivers

Strangest moment: The kids knocked on one door and a lady opened it and said, "Oops, sorry, I don't have any candy!" Um, then maybe don't answer the door on Halloween...?

Cutest moment: After leaving each house, the would yell to us, "Look! We got candy!" as if it was a surprise each time it happened. Oh, and also listening to them yell, "THANK YOU! HAPPY HAWOWEEN!" as they ran away from each house.

Funniest moment: The kids got to a house that had a gate in front of the porch. Upon finding out the gate was locked, Colby turned around and yelled to us, "Hey! We need a key!" Good call, bud, let's just make our way in. 

Proudest moment: Colby was standing at the back of the group of kids waiting for candy and Clara, sweet little mama that she is, put her arm around him, gently pushed him forward, and made sure he got some candy, too.

Most frustrating moment: Realizing once we got home that we lost Clara's "Belle" wand... surprisingly, I was more upset about it than she was (she suggested that a monster probably got it).

Candy break midway through the evening... these eager beavers sure did work up an appetite!

Once we left the last house, Clara leaned her head on my shoulder and said, "Mommy, I'm tired. Halloween is too long for me." Preach, preacher.

Hope your pumpkin day was equally exciting!