Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Holidays

Well, our Christmas was great and white! The family loves snow, B, myself and the girls. This was the year to enjoy the weather especially because B was on vacation. It snowed for days on our hill, my only word for this was INCREDIBLE! We were able to drive everywhere with Brian's car that is truly a snow machine and the girls played outside several times.


Christmas Day: While the girls were not jumping for joy at the site of gifts, we think they had an awareness of something special. And, if nothing else they always enjoy an all day grazing on food. As we opened their girfts the girls played with their toys and some of their clothes. While they preoccupied them selves Brian and I were able to open our gifts without too much interruption. For whatever reason we believe that some items should be adorned as presents are opened (as you'll see in a couple of the video's).


In the video they have their new furry coats on, with morning jammies underneath and thier new monkey slippers. They are listening to their musical christmas cards and dancing to their own tune.

video

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

November Updates

Halloween was fun. Both girls were extremely mesmerized by our candy bowl and if you've ever had a toddler, you know that everything within grabbing distance is fair game for the mouth! Samantha had her hands all over the twix bars, as fast as I could put the candy back she had another in her hand. Eventually, I gave up and that's when she chewed through the wrapper and managed to take a large chunk of caramel. We had to check each bar for bite marks!

The girls were able to do some trick or treating. They greeted three neighbors in their costumes, walking almost completely on their own. They would walk to the door, wave at the home owner, and quickly determine what fun decoration they could play with before being dragged away by their parents.

Thanksgiving was great. This year we ate at the kitchen table together and we had enough food for twenty. Brian and I managed to make an excellent meal for the family while the smaller 1/2 of the family was demanding our attention at every moment. It was great - we grazed all day (the girls prefer this method of eating) and they had a lot of variety to choose from. Samantha's favorite was stuffing and Michaela liked the black olives!


The girls are just over a year old, and developing fast. They are talking, using baby sign language and trying to help out with everything. They throw their diapers away, they help to empty the dishwasher and they are learning how to wash their hands. It's amazing to see how quickly they learn because the language is making sense and they understand how to follow direction (when they want to).

Love of all things music. The girls know all the "moves" to wheels on the bus - and their animation makes it cute as heck! Patty Cake, Itsy Bitsy Spider and Thumpkin are more favorites. Both really enjoy music, and love to dance. The visual goes like this...imagine an iddy bitty methodically swaying their hips side to side while intermittently doing squats, then add the occasional head bang. It's a treat!

Below is a video from a couple months ago and it's my favorite. They are playing in the corner of the living room next to the toy box and they began to banter with each other. Typically it's impossible to film them because as soon as I whip out the camera they stop (as soon as I reach for the camera). I could not help but continue filming until Samantha almost pulls down the plant.

video

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Amazing Toddlers

Two girls walking - now we're in serious trouble. Samantha started walking a day before she turned one and in less than a month she is trying to run. Michaela just started walking independently a few days ago and as I thought she is already bending over to pick up toys and walking off with them. They are able to stand up from a sitting position and take off. The funny thing is that Samantha dosen't care where she walks/runs.

Samantha reminds us of John McCain in the town hall debate walking around aimlessly as Michaela tries to concentrate during her spotlight moment!

From mid September until about a week ago I think the girls hit a growth spurt eating everything we put in front of them. This is amazing because before now trying to keep them in a high chair was tough after 10 minutes. Now they can sit comfortably anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour (even longer if we continue to let them throw their food on the ground). Michaela likes to bite into whatever we are eating. At her birthday party she liked the pizza not cut into pieces but eating directly from the slice. Michaela also prefers burgers on the bun just like the adults she models.

A little weak on the communication side of things, most other developmental milestones are being met. Now if we could only get them to stop eating the crayons and stacking instead of knocking down the blocks, we'd be in good shape.


We went to the pumpkin patch and Michaela and Samantha are now lifetime fans of Halloween. The pumpkins are kept outside in view for the girls and they routinely point at them and visit them at the window. They also enjoy spotting spiders at the grocery store, where the spiders move up and down from the ceiling. I've even been practicing scaring them. It's not cruel it's lots of fun and they really enjoy screaming (with delight)! Now they hide and wait for me to jump out after them so they can fall to the floor screaming, laughing and running behind another corner. We are excited for their first interactive Halloween.

Photos will provide you with a preview of what they will be. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Year in Review

Next Tuesday the girls will be one year old. It's been a wonderful year full of excitement, reflection, anticipation, and celebrations.

This year we've traveled a lot (I think more than originally anticipated) to Hawaii, Pittsburgh, DC and Aruba. The girls were wonderful almost every time. There have been more than 100 loving people in an out of their lives including both family and friends. They have tripled their birth weight and have successfully exceeded so many milestones. Can you imagine being them with so many changes happening? I'd cry too!

The best thing is that they always have someone to share it all with...their sister!

While most parents seem to forget their lives before kids I don't think that has happened to us. We certainly remember life before the girls and we cherish it (even look forward to getting it back) but we are so very amazed and delighted by them every single day. We can wait as long as needed, or 19 years (whichever comes first) to get back to the jet setting life we had. The most astonishing thing to us is how easy it is to put everything aside just to satisfy them. Whatever it takes to get the next smile or burst of laughter.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Our Summer Vacation

The girls are officially international travelers! Not an easy feat might we add. Who would have thought you needed passports for babies. We obviously didn't.

We traveled to Aruba to visit with family and friends (over 20 people this trip) and although we eventually made it, there was a lot of drama (initially anyway). Our first delayed flight from Seattle took us to Dulles Airport near DC where we planned to spend one night. No big deal as we are accustomed to airline delays. As the flight crew curtly requested passengers to find their seats we ended up delayed due to no air conditioning.....as we sat at the gate with a full plane of people, it got hot and the girls got naked (not entirely but down to the diaper). The flight went well and the girls were awesome. We felt fully prepared for our early morning flight to Aruba!

We show up at the airport with mounds of luggage in tow to wait only a few minutes in the Premier line. We get to the kiosk and Brian finds himself requiring the assistance of a desk representative. The desk representative reviews our documentation and believes that we need passports for the girls, so she proceeds to check with her manager. She returns stating that passports are necessary for us to continue. Brian tries to impress upon them that when we purchased the tickets, the person assured him passports were unnecessary. The conversation escalates, leads no where, and we stand there dumbfounded for 10 minutes. The manager at the desk suggests that we go to the government passport agency in DC to get passports in less than 24 hours....yeah...right!

Well, with no other option Brian rents a vehicle, books another night at the hotel, changes the flights to the very next day and with the help of a lot of our east coast friends we obtain phone numbers and addresses and all the info we need to get us started on our mission....PASSPORTS!!!. Long story short - it is possible to get a passport in less than 24 hours, it's not fun or inexpensive, but possible.

BONUS - since we were staying in town for a full evening we were able to meet up with the girls Aunt Dina! It turned out she works merely 5 minutes from the airport. Very good indeed.

Next Day - back to the airport with hopes of Aruba revitalized. We check in with passports for everyone and sail through security to our gate.

But wait! Where is the ticket for Samantha (the one lap child)...uhhh what? We made it all the way to the gate and now we find that we need another ticket. So Brian and Lauren (our summer nanny) went to a ticket counter (multiple gates away) as the plane continued to board. With two people left to board we still don't have a ticket. My stomach tumbles and I wait. I think to myself, I will do whatever it takes to ensure that the door to the plane does not close. Thank goodness Lauren and B are on their way back with ticket in hand. Relief!

BUT WAIT ONE MORE TIME.... as Lauren is walking in front of me I notice that something is not right. I say "Lauren where is your purse" (a big blue momma of a purse). She turns in terror and exclaims OMG! As I wait one minute, two minutes and now a lifetime - I imagine a crying 19 year old with no passport to get us to Aruba. Luckily, she finds the purse that was still sitting at the ticket counter. Unbelievable!

Finally we make it to our destination of Aruba - the happy island.

We manage to escape additional drama until dinner time. We had all gathered 20+ people, at Champion's, the pub connected to one of the hotels. Everyone is catching up and enjoying themselves as we wait for a table. Just as they finish getting a table set up and are on their way to let us know, a water pipe bursts in the pub. Water is spewing directly above our table of 20! More water pipes begin to bust and the power fails. My girl Jaime pounds her beer and we scatter to the lobby. We ate Pizza Hut that night.

Our relaxing vacation officially begins - we spend days at the pool, eating and drinking with all our friends and family for 6 days. Michaela and Samantha love, love, love the water and seem to be delighted by almost everything, especially being held and adored by so many. Michaela took to everyone - even Larry. Samantha spent most of her time infatuated with Brad.

We arrive back to Seattle at a disheartening 4:00am but it was all worth it. We loved visiting and relaxing by the pool in 90 degree weather and a swift breeze. Who could ask for more?

Developmental Updates:

Michaela can now clap her hands, wave "Hello" and "Bye Bye", and give you her toy on command. As of 7/31/08 she weighs 17pounds.

Samantha loves to climb everything, she can stay in a pool for days, wants to walk so badly and started clapping her hands with closed fists. She also got her first two teeth within days of each other. One tooth stated the day we left for vacation and within a week the second one was popping through. The great thing about Samantha is that she never had a change in temperament. As of 7/31/08 she weighs 14.3 pounds.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Anticipation

This blog was going to start with a clever beginning to talk about the fact that every person has some sort of anticipation. I can't wait for the day when....

I'll let you finish the sentence. When I thought of the topic for July my anticipation was to say things like I can't wait for the babies to start walking, eat solid foods and so many other hopes and wishes. Sadly, life isn't all giggles and smiles and bad things happen.
Children are so vitally important in times of sorrow. I can cry with my family and laugh with the babies all in the same breath. Michaela and Samantha have no ability to know what happens around them emotionally and they are totally dependent on us. So when they smile and laugh, (when we cry) it's hard not to change direction, laugh with them, and hold them tight.

While we don't live near our family and we don't always talk as often as we might like, but we do love each other. We love you, miss you, and wish we could be there with you.

With my family, I anticipate the next time we can be together for a hug, a drink, happy memories, and a time when the pain is less than prominent.

With the babies, I anticipate today and savor every moment.

DEVELOPMENTAL UPDATE - because life doesn't stop.

Michaela the little vaccuum cleaner has two teeth now, both were cut within a week of each other. On 7/12/08 she managed to climb to the top of 16 stairs all by herself (mom only 2 inches away the entire time, just in case). Michaela still has the army crawl but is versitile enough to use all fours. She can readily walk from here to there if the placement of her hand holds are close to one another.

Samantha is still gumming her food but eating more variety and better than I expected. My sister Dina was a climber when she was a baby so maybe that's where Samantha gets her climbing desire. Forget about walking, Samantha is in climbing mode. Why walk when you can gain inches of height and new visuals as you clutch onto things you probably shouldn't be on in the first place!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Very Little People

I look at them walking along the furniture and trying to climb on everything saying to myself that they are "little people." I'm amazed first of all that we have two "little people" in the house but also at how fast time passes and how quickly they are learning. At nine months and a hand full of days they appear to be so itty bitty...and well...they are. Samantha is 13 pounds and Michaela is 16 pounds, the growth gap widens between them as the bond begins to develop.

In April we went back to Hawaii. This time we tried the Big Island and it was a lot of fun for everyone. The girls had it rough though. Wake up Mom and or Dad at 4:00am, eat, sleep go to the pool, reapeat and repeat until bed time. They loved the pool and we enjoyed swimming with them. The girls handled the flights pretty well considering their naps were off and they weren't able to move around a lot.

Two trips in April! As soon as we returned from HI, we took the girls to Walla Walla Washington for some wine tasting (literally the next day).

Picture this, four hours in a car with twin 8 month old babies and only one rest stop. Actually it wasn't that bad until we hit the last hour! Based on their feedback, car seats can get real uncomfortable.


Michaela
Still has lovely blue eyes and is developing quite rapidly. She crawls at a quick army crawl pace, she has started saying Da Da and occasionally I'll catch Ma Ma.

She is such a determined little person it amazes me. She will repeatedly try something until she accomplishes "her" goal, so much like her Dad and yet she has a calmness about her that doesn't really come from either of us.

More big happenings with Michaela - She is Binky Free! The girl's a superstar. She went from binky addict, to sleepy time binky, and now nothing at all. Cold turkey I might add.

Samantha
Our pediatrician says she has her own growth curve. Figures! She is less than the 3rd percentile (not even on a chart). But her eating has improved significantly. There really isn't much she doesn't eat (or at least try).

Just as I was telling the entire world that she would not crawl, but likely skip that step and head straight to running down the hall...she started! She just started semi-crawling a few days ago. When she is on the hardwood floors she will, with some encouragement at her feet, place her hands to the floor and manage to scoot a couple inches. This morning she considered using her toes but thought better of it and decided to continue using that upper body hand plant pull.

Samantha's first word was Da Da and aside from screaming, and blowing raspberries, and the need to be constantly on her toes she seems in good health. Let's again not be fooled by the tiny child, she may take a little longer than Michaela for development (in certain areas) but it comes easy to her. She is a thrill seeker and enjoys all things that push the envelope!

The Pair
Both girls are getting more and more playful and also a bit shy. Samantha shows her fear with tears and Michaela turns her head away and down while still regarding you with her big eyes. So funny to watch.

Both girls are selectively ticklish (when they are in good spirits) you can barely touch them for a laugh. They love to imitate sounds and actions, unfortunately I taught Samantha how to scream YIKES!!

Developmentally both girls are right on track; unless you ask us, then of course we will go on, and on, and on and by the time we finish talking we have convinced you they are ahead of the curve!