BUCK UP BUTTERCUP

est. 2010

"I will take the sun in my mouth

and leap into the ripe air

Alive

with closed eyes

to dash against the darkness."

--ee cummings 

(via Darling)

July in Pictures and Stories

Hi Everyone! Happy Wednesday!

July has been so good to us.

There's been Sis reading on our bed...she loves magazines...and her pink sparkle cowboy boots:

Lots of swimming in our backyard pool:

The kids laying blankets down on the floor of their room, standing on them, and saying, "I'm wake boarding!":

Some alone time with Sis out and about...she brought her stuffed pig, who of course had to be strapped into the car seat:

Picnic breakfasts at the park (at which, apparently, according to the kids, there is a tiger that lives under the playground structure. There's also a camel that lives in the bushes):

Packing up of baby things (hard, but ultimately good)...there may be more kids in the future for us, but the door on me being pregnant has been closed I'm pretty positive at this point...it was time to let this stuff go...

Cute girls in hats:

A Sunday morning trip to Rebel Donut...yum:

A pensive boy:

A girl who has been loving dressing up in Mommy's shoes:

And Luke, who loves to play on our bed, especially when I'm trying to make it. The other day he wrapped himself in the sheet and said, "Look, Mommy! I'm a corn dog!":

And so many thing that I don't have pictures of.

Like a yummy peach cobbler from our neighbors over the back fence served with ice cream and Zo giving me some of hers and saying, "I feed Mommy ice cream and make everyone happy!"

Zo saying, "Yippie!" with great enthusiasm to most plans.

Rocking and singing to the kids before bed. They like me to sing "Rock-a-bye Trucks," the lyrics made up but suggested by the book "Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site"...goes like this (sung to the tune of Rock-a-Bye Baby):

"Rock a bye trucks, at the construction site.

There's no more work, because it is night.

You've got your blankies and teddies, and your night light.

And tomorrow's another day, happy and bright.

Luke saying, "I want to do it myself!" and having to start things over, eg if I carry him to the bath it's not enough for him to walk next time, he has to run back to the kitchen and walk back by himself right then and there.

Luke falling asleep anywhere but his bed.

Zo saying, "Oh my gosh, Bubs!" (I love that she calls Luke Bubs.)

Luke brushing Sissy's hair, and her sitting peacefully while he does it.

Sis saying "Enough!" just like I do when I'm tired of some behavior.

Luke talking about things making a racket when they are noisy.

Sis saying, "I like it!" at top volume when she finds out we're having cupcakes and ice cream as part of my birthday dinner. 

Luke with the near-constant litany of, "What's that, Mom? What's that? What's that?"

The kids doing stuff to keep each other out of time out, like I'll say to Luke (or Zo), "If you don't pick up that thing you threw on the floor you are going to time out!" and the other twin will hurriedly pick it up.

Me wrapping them in towels, and when I say "wrap" they think of the "Bad Kitty" book, in which the kitty's owner brings home a buffalo burrito wrap from the store. And another book that has a water buffalo in it. So now getting out of the bath is followed by a "water buffalo burrito wrap."

Daddy calling us all dirty hippies after coming back from Lake Powell not having had a bath for over a week. Sis now says,"I'm a dirty hippie!" after meals when her hands and face have food on them. Luke says: "I'm not a dirty hippie! I'm a little boy!" and "I'm not a dirty hippie! I washed the stink off!"

Sissy during a rainstorm covering her stuffed cat, Fuzzy Britches, with a flyer that came in the mail (like she saw people doing over their own heads with newspapers, etc.)

Me and now the kids using the phrase "You are cup cake--(or whatever)--ready!" eg, "You ate a good dinner, therefore you are cup cake ready!"

Finding Sis sitting on our time out bench one day.

"What are you doing?" I asked her.

"I covered the dog with cream cheese, so I put myself in time out!" she said.

(And sure enough, around the corner comes the dog, face covered in cream cheese.)

Luke waving his fingers and calling them sparkle fingers.

The kids and their dad and I snuggled in bed watching Sara and Duck (which I love. The kids also love Thomas the Train's show, which I unfortunately hate.)

The kids playing "Tackle Tackle" together on the bed.

Sis saying about Luke, "We are best friends!"

Also in July, a college and San Francisco friend of mine (a whole group of us from college ended up in the city after), with two daughters, ages 2 and 5, was lost in an accident, not unlike how my brother died. We'd been out of touch but other friends I'm very close to were very close to her...and I know her sister...I've just been feeling a lot for them...and been feeling the loss of my brother acutely...

August is going to be a whirlwind, with a college friend of mine getting married in San Francisco (I'll also see other friends, and meet my new clients while I'm there as well), a work trip to San Diego, a work trip for my husband as well and my parents visiting at the end of the month. Looking forward to it all...

Life is just full of life right now...

XOXO

Lake Powell Vacation

Hi Everyone! Happy Tuesday!

Wanted to share some of our Lake Powell vacation from a few weeks ago. Kids and I and my parents and my brother and his family, we went on the houseboat of an old family friend with his family, and a fifth family joined us as well. It was a great group. Unfortunately, at the last minute my husband couldn't be with us. We were soooooooo disappointed about that.

Kids and I drove from ABQ to Page, AZ on the 4th of July. It's desert and Indian reservations the whole way. We stopped and had a picnic at Petrified Forest National Park. Kids did great once again with the car ride:

Met my family in Page and got on the lake for the fireworks and some swimming for the cousins. Kids were so happy to see their Grammy and Papa!

We spent that first night on the houseboat in the Marina. I had a little cabin with a queen bed I shared with the kids. Everyone else slept on the upper deck of the houseboat, which was much cooler, but I felt safer with the kids in the room. Fun to wake up with them in the mornings! The first morning we woke up and saw some of the other kids outside our window on the dock and Luke said, "My friends are still here!" All the kids on the trip were older but so incredibly sweet to the twins. Luke and Zo loved hanging out with them. They were constantly saying, "Where are my friends?" (People were coming and going on the boats a lot to water ski, wakeboard, etc.) or, "I want to play with my friends!"

Here's Luke with his Uncle Ben driving the boat out to the side canyon where we spent the week:

And here we are where we set up camp. It was beautiful:

Miss Zo with Bailey, her cousin, and "Gugie," her stuffed pig. Bailey and some of the other girls did Zo's toenails (and Luke's too, and mine too) a tropical blue with white butterflies while we were on the boat. Kids loved having their toes painted.

Here's Luke with one of the boys, searching for shells:

There was a pinata for the kids one night...such fun!

And Luke with his cousin Bodie and one of the other boys...the boys were playing music for him...too cute...

We left the kids behind one day and went to Rainbow Bridge, my mom and dad and brother and his family. And had chocolate/vanilla twist ice cream at the marina after, which was such a treat!

Oh, and swimming...Luke and Zo had life preservers on and learned to maneuver just great in them. We must have gone swimming five times a day. I've never seen Luke so happy. He'd say, "Mommy! Mommy! I'm swimming like a jellyfish!" (I'm guessing the moving of his arms and legs reminded him of the tentacles of the jellyfish we have seen in the aquarium?) And Zo one day kicking around in the water yelled out, "I LOVE IT!" We'd go for a boat ride and swim off the back of the boat, or just as often off the back of the houseboat:

And there's so much I didn't get pictures of. Like the 10,000 games of Uno everyone played (Luke and Zo often on someone's team). The great breakfasts and dinners. The napping with the kids in the afternoons, which was Heaven. The kayak rides with my mom and dad, during which the kids searched for the perfect stick (Zo always found hers quickly, Luke had to examine stick after stick after stick before finding THE ONE). Glow sticks for all the kids one night. The cranes we saw boating and especially kayaking when we could get up close. The playing in the sand the kids did off the back of the boat. The late-night motor boat rides. The last night with a full moon when it was like someone shone a spotlight on the canyon. The long leisurely talks with people I love...

Oh, and Luke wanting to go off the very high slide...I (actually my dad) did get a picture of that: 

(I was in the water to catch him. Such a brave boy!)

Such an amazing trip. Thank you to everyone who made it so special. :)

XOXO

Grace in Small Things, July 14, 2014

Hi Everyone!

Just back from a little over a week on a houseboat at Lake Powell (just above the Grand Canyon). Amazing time with family and friends. Pictures and stories to come, but in the meantime, a few things I'm grateful for:

1) Sleeping in my own bed again...isn't that the best? (+ A/C after many days of over 100 degree heat...we could jump in the lake to cool off, but still...)

2) Clean clothes (vs ones simply rinsed out in the lake...I was especially short on clothes for Luke...)

3) Washing my hair for the first time since I left home

4) It's my birthday week this week! Have plans for a sushi dinner and cupcakes and I have a little money saved up to splurge on a new outfit (or maybe two)...excited!

5) Kids slept late this morning (7:15 AM definitely counts as late around here) and I didn't yet know how crazy this work week was going to be, so some time to sip coffee and write in my journal this morning...ahhh...can't remember the last time that happened...

XOXO

June in Pictures and Stories

Hi Everyone!

I love June. I can't believe it's over.

Lots of mornings at the playground this past month...our summertime favorite is shaded and has sand so we can bring our sand toys. It's also almost always deserted, which is bad in that how are we supposed to make new friends? but good in that the kids have the place to themselves. Often we'll pull up and Luke will ask, "Are there friends?" and I'll tell him, "No, it's just us. But it's fun to be just us." 

The kids seem like they are getting pretty advanced as far as playground equipment. I'm cautious with heights but otherwise trying to stand back and let them play. Here's Sis on what she calls the "swing mushrooms," which are unstable little platforms you have to grab with your arms to go from one to the next: 

The kids are so fun to watch together...I think that's the best part about having twins. In theory I'd like to spend individual time with each of them, but in practice they are almost always together, with me or someone else.

One cute thing that's been going on is I've been telling Sis if she doesn't want her brother to tackle her to say, "No." So she often says, "Tackle tackle no!" But sometimes she'll lay down on the floor and say, "Tackle tackle yes!" and let her brother tackle her and they both laugh like crazy. It's super cute.

Here they are engrossed in one of their games:

Daddy got them a wooden (Thomas) train set this month. Here they are setting it up in the living room. The kids LOVE it.

A couple pictures from the botanical gardens. We go there/the aquarium/the zoo a few times a month:

Luke giving me high fives (this is huevos rancheros at El Modelo, a Mexican restaurant we've discovered. So good):

The day we first went to El Modelo we also went to the Rail Yards Farmer's Market, where Luke was loving the live music. Must get that boy out to see more live music:

 

One day last week, both Sis and Luke were pretending to go to the grocery store (Sis in my shoes).

"I'm going to the grocery store to get food for Kitty! See you later!"

As I've mentioned, the toddler bed/potty training shift has also resulted in crazy sleep patterns, although things are getting better. My best friend sent us this "dinosaur" as Luke calls it, that turns green and beeps at 7 AM so the kids know it's time to get out of bed. This thing has been great:

Toddler beds mean they don't necessarily sleep in bed, however (this is the floor of the playroom):

Other cuteness this month:

 

  • Luke to me when I had to leave the kitchen to go back to my office to work: "Bye Mom! See you next time!"
  • Luke doesn't like to be kissed. "I don't LIKE regular kisses!" he says. But he will do "air kisses"
  • I have been singing "Rainbow Connection" to them, but they watched a show on TV called "Rainbow Horse" and now the song is by request "Rainbow Horse Connection"
  • Sis: "I need to act crazy!" (followed by running around at top speed in circles)
  • Sis: "I'm an astronaut!" (their imaginations are crazy active right now)
  • Luke (after I asked him to do something he didn't want to do): "I can't do that. I'm busy!"
  • Luke: "I don't LIKE asparagus! It makes me sick! Then I'll have to go to the doctor!"
  • Zo: "I want to wear my rainbow happiness shirt." (Her pink shirt with the ruffled rainbow on it)
  • Luke regarding spicy chips: "Hot chips burn my teeth!"
  • Both kids are super snuggly and lovey right now
  • Almost every day we see Daddy off to work in the driveway and then welcome him home at the end of the day...it's so nice... 
  • Both kids say the following daily and it is the best thing: "[Fill in the blank] makes me very, very happy!"(eg hugs, me making them lunch, trash trucks, etc.)
  • Luke has been saying, "Thanks, Mom!" when I do things for him
  • Zo has been saying, "I love you, Mommy" unprompted

 

And some not-so-cute things:

 

  • Luke seems to be either huggy/lovey or shoving his sister or other kids...there is no in between. Same with super happy or having a meltdown, which is true of Zo too
  • Zo is whining about Luke doing something to her a lot
  • In general, the kids will only let me brush their teeth when they are laying down. (I think toothbrushing is my least favorite part of having a kid. It's never straightforward)
  • I find both kids playing in Zoey's bed a lot (which is super cute in a way, but also--ugh....go to sleep you guys!)

 

Life is never dull with the twins!

XOXO

Day in the Life: June, 2014 Edition

Dear Luke and Zoey,

I love documenting your days...it seems like each is the same, but looking back just a few months (and forward too, I'm sure, if I could look forward) it's amazing how much things change.

You are potty trained now, almost completely, and start the day getting out of bed and going potty. Lately you've been up WAY before it's time to get up. We're trying to have you play quietly until 7 AM.

Daddy puts his lunch together in the kitchen and you love to help:

And then out to the driveway to say goodbye to Daddy. You hate to see him go:

We come back in and have breakfast, usually outside at your little picnic table:

And then stories (most often a stack of library books) and play time. You've both got the drawing pad Zo has in this picture. You love them.

You brush your teeth while Mommy showers in the morning:

And then "Dump Trucks" (a few 3-to-5 minute videos for kids featuring construction equiptment) on YouTube while Mommy gets dressed:

Here's your room with the toddler beds in it. Next comes getting you dressed and picking up a little:

I wish the playroom didn't always look like this, but it pretty much does:

Cleaned up bedroom and playroom:

Then there's usually some sort of housework...today it was changing the sheets and towels, putting laundry away. It's hard to make the bed with two toddlers who want to "get lost" under the sheets. But I just let this take the 1/2 hour it takes vs the 5 minutes it would take me on my own:

Swimming before lunch. We don't always get to go in, but it's nice when we do. Grandma came in with us today...I take care of you most mornings, but sometimes she hangs out with us too...

And then lunch, and stories read to you by Grandma while I prepped dinner. Luke, you fell asleep at the table which is NOT typical, but with toddler beds and potty training you haven't been sleeping...there is a lot of catching up to do!

You guys nap until 2 or 3 PM, and after that I work until 5 PM and Grandma takes care of you...you play and read and go outside. Usually I pop out and spend a little time with you here and there but this day I couldn't. Also, we almost always go back out to the driveway to greet Daddy as he gets back home from work, but this particular day it was my best friend's birthday so I was talking to her, plus my turn to make dinner...so you got to greet Daddy in the house:

Dinner with the family and then baths. You guys love bubble baths, although every night you say, "It's not shampoo night!" hoping it's true (and 2 out of 3 nights it is.)

You guys are two years old, so meltdowns happen. This is the only picture I got of one in progress, but I remember as I was taking pictures throughout the day how when there was screaming and crying and flinging your body on the floor I wasn't capturing it. It's over things like not getting the toy you want (which is what is happening here.) Or me putting on shoes in the bedroom not the playroom. Or putting a shirt on head first not arms first. Etc.

Anyway, after baths into your PJs and some time in your bedroom/playroom with Mommy and Daddy. You both also get to pick out a new pair of underwear after baths, which you love to do:

Zo, towards the end of our play time you ran in and yelled, "I made a mess!" and we went into the bathroom to find your hair elastics all over the floor. The house in continual disarray is just part of having toddlers, I know...

Toothbrushing, some playing in the playroom, and we haven't settled into a new nighttime routine yet but there's some combination of stories and rocking/singing and finding toys to go to bed with etc.

Then some time before you actually fall asleep (although that is smoothing out as you settle into your new routine). 

Each day with you is so precious, little ones. Love this time together.

Love,

Mommy

Potty Training/Toddler Bed Update

Hi Everyone! Happy Friday!

As those of you reading along know, 2 weeks ago we did the super-intense 3-day potty training with our 2-year-old twins. And transitioned them to toddler beds, as part of the method entails them being able to get up and go potty in the middle of the night. Here's how I feel about it 2 weeks out:

 

  • The first 3 days were a lot. Absolutely exhausting. If you're thinking of doing this, try to have help, even if it's just someone to run errands/do meals/etc. I had help and still...exhausted...
  • I was EXHAUSTED for about a week afterwards. Just now starting to approach normal. Part of this I think is the messed up nature of our sleep routine at this point (see below), but part of it is the physical, emotional, mental strain of doing the potty training. I didn't know it would be as hard as it was
  • I'm pretty confident in saying that Zo is 100% potty trained. Luke's got it too...I think there has been 2 daytime accidents this week. Zo has wet the bed at night once since we started. Luke's about every other night. Not sure how to fix this. Or deal with it...right now we're just changing the sheets in the morning as diapers have been banned from the house. He is young for potty training, I know. We'll get there
  • Cribs-to-toddler-beds...essentially the kids' entire sleep schedule got upended. We're starting to get it back but kids are not napping predictably like they were, and when they go to sleep is about an hour later and they are getting up 1–3 hours earlier than they used to. We're trying to institute "quiet time", where they don't have to sleep but they do have to play quietly after their bedtime at night and in the morning before 7 AM. (Although I'm up when they're up, which can be as early as 5 AM.) And honestly, they do much better as far as getting some sleep when Daddy is in charge...not really sure what to do about that...

 

Transitions, you know? Nothing stays the same. I will say if I had to do it all over again I'd probably do it the same way. Would have been good to know ahead of time how utterly exhausting the whole thing is, though.

Thoughts?

Hope everyone has a nice weekend! Thanks for spending some time here this week.

XOXO

Grace in Small Things, June 18, 2014

Hi Everyone! Happy Wednesday!

Had one of those moments this morning after breakfast and cleaning up outside and then just sitting with the kids out on the back patio...they both climbed into the chair with me and it's a beautiful sunny June day with the clouds scuttling across the sky and Luke ran around the back yard until he found the moon and the kids wanted to eat all the grapes out of my bowl--they'll eat them if I feed them to them but not on their own--and all the color in our back yard right now and I'm so grateful I get to spend mornings with the kids and oh, it was just divine...one of those moments where nothing happens but you know you'll recall that feeling of peace and happiness the whole rest of your life...

XOXO

Library Book Review (We've Been Reading Some Good Ones!)

Hi Everyone! Happy Tuesday!

Thanks for the support recently with the crazy schedules/potty training/toddler bed mayhem. Will do a proper update soon but the short version is things are getting better, not worse, even if everything has yet to return to normal.

Anyway...

One of the things I miss most about Seattle is the gorgeousness of the Central Library. And also the fact that you can select books online and they are set on a shelf together for you to pick up.

Well, guess what? The ABQ library does the same thing. And since we've switched to that vs letting the kids randomly pull books off the shelves, the number of books we get that I (and the kids) like has risen hugely.

Here are some of our recent favorites:

  • Little Oink—The language in this book is so clever and creative, and the story, about how little pigs are supposed to make a mess but this one actually wants to be clean, is super cute. There are lots of requests for this book around here
  • Hippo! No Rhino!--I may have talked about this one before...it's a book the kids specifically asked to have back once I'd returned it. It's about a zoo keeper who puts the hippo sign on the rhino display and the rhino is not pleased. There is pooping in this book, which is a big hit with the kids
  • Truck Stop--A quiet little book about a kid whose parents own a truck stop. I want to live in their sweet little world...
  • The Bathing Costume (Or, the Worst Vacation of My Life)--Great pictures, but I wasn't sure how this was going to go over because the text on each page is LONG. Turns out, the kids don't care and will easily sit through this story. The narrator is so likeable...a little kid going away with his grandparents and cousins and NOT his mom for the first time ever. The voice this little kid has is one-of-a-kind as SO funny. Absolutely love this book
  • This Is a Moose--Love this one too, about a movie director trying to make a documentary about a moose, but the moose really wants to be an astronaut, not just a plain old moose like the director wants him to be. This is one of those books that gets better and better every time we read it. I did return it today, but have a feeling we'll be checking it out again...
  • Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site--This book I didn't return, it's a great combination of trucks (which both kids love) and a bedtime story and oh my gosh, the big tough trucks are soooooo cute with their teddy bears, blankets, etc. at bedtime. I have a feeling this is going to become part of our permanent collection
  • Flora and the Flamingo--Cute pics. Very pink
  • I Will Never, Not Ever, Eat a Tomato--Picky eaters was a big theme in this batch of books...this one solves the problem by the big brother telling the protagonist things aren't the gross vegetables she thinks but exotic foods from other planets
  • Bad Kitty--This we originally got in Colorado and then checked out again here...oh my gosh so funny...the only thing is it doesn't put vegetables in the most favorable light. Essentially the kitty runs out of food and his owner wants him to eat an alphabet's worth of vegetables and because of this he (the kittly) turns into an alphabetically bad kitty. THEN, the owner comes home with tasty stuff (A to Z again...eg Buffalo Burritos, Baked Zebra Ziti, Shark Sushi, etc) and the kitty is then good, from A to Z. Love the kitty. He's so, so bad when he's bad...
  • The Princess and the Peas--Another book about picky eaters, I love the rhymes and I love the little house in the woods the little girl lives in with her dad and rabbits. Because she doesn't like peas, they decide she's a princess (remember The Princess and the Pea?) and gets sent to the castle to live
  • I Want to Be a Cowgirl--A big-city girl wants to be a cowgirl...love how this one ends...

Been having lots of fun reading to those kiddos. It's my new strategy in the evenings to get them to sleep... (jury's still out on if it's working or not...)

XOXO

Grace in Small Things, June 13, 2014

Hi Everyone! Happy Friday!

What a week it's been! I am beyond exhausted. Not sure potty training/toddler beds were worth it...reserving judgement at this point...but our nice little day-to-day routine has pretty much been destroyed.

And yet...always something to be grateful for...

1. Love this picture of Luke falling asleep at the kitchen table 4 PM yesterday afternoon (after 100% refusing to nap at his normal nap time):

2. Took the kids on a 45-minute walk in the stroller early this morning (with sippies of milk and baggies with Cheerios and raisins for breakfast) and, as a separate outing, an hour at the playground and no accidents either time. Yay kids! 

3. On the flip side, accident count at the house seems to be increasing. But love how hard my husband laughed when I told him Sis didn't make it to the bathroom, pooped on the floor in the hall, stepped in it and then ran all over the white carpet in her bedroom and playroom.

4. I have a massage scheduled tomorrow afternoon (at my husband's suggestion...he is the best!) And a fun-and-mellow Father's Day planned (with everything already in place...I'm organized and not running around last minute for once...) Should be a good weekend...

5. We have such a great stack of library books right now...our library's online ordering system is amazing...no more pulling randomly from the shelves...

Hope you all have a lovely weekend! Thanks for spending some time here this week.

XOXO

 

Total Chaos

Hi Everyone! Happy Wednesday!

Taking a short break from a grueling workday to tell it like it is around here.

Potty training seems to have been a success. Although we are not totally accident free, we are pretty close.

HOWEVER.

Everything has been thrown into total and utter chaos. 

I have barely slept since Thursday.

Kids don't nap.

Kids don't go to bed. 

Luke is up in the middle of the night.

Kids are up for the day at 5 AM.

My husband's got schoolwork/a big test today. And work.

I have an overwhelming work deadline end of day today. (Work that's time consuming and also very very very complex.)

I am so mentally and physically and emotionally exhausted all I want to do is cry.

And yell at my kids, which I barely ever do.

Kids are exhausted and cranky.

Husband is exhausted. Mother-in-law is exhausted. (Luckily they are not cranky.)

Leaning hard on my mother-in-law and she is helping TREMENDOUSLY...I mean really above and beyond, ie watching the kids all day today (she usually just does a few hours in the afternoons), urging us to do our early morning workout even if it means she may have to get up at 5 AM (which I love her for offering...but that's too much).

My mother offered to fly down and help (thanks, Mom!) but we're holding off for now. My husband says he has a plan...

I haven't felt like this since the kids were infants and I was feeding them round the clock.

Obviously, big changes with potty training and toddler beds, so there is a reason behind all this.

But still...absolutely drowning...

XOXO

P.S. Plus I feel terrible about having a hard time with any of this. This is not a real problem and in the big scheme of things is absolutely no big deal I know...

Three-Day Potty Training With Twins

The short version:

Friday: 25 changes of underwear (mostly Zo) and tears (again mostly Zo), refusal to go to bed (Luke and Zo), and utter exhaustion (me).

Saturday: 25 changes of underwear (mostly Luke) and tears (for Zo and for me). Refusal to go to bed (Luke and Zo). Utter exhaustion (me).

Sunday: 3 change of underwear (Luke), refusal to take a nap or go to bed (Luke and Zo), and utter exhaustion (me). I also miss my husband.

Bottom line: It's hell, but it works (knock on wood).

 

A guy at my husband's work potty trained his kids with the 3-day potty training method, shared the ebook with us, we picked at weekend (this past one), and gave it a try. Here's the blow-by-blow:

 

Friday

I took the day off work. Breakfast and then big-kid underwear all around. Luke for the most part got it right away. We were giving out M&Ms as rewards and he was all about M&Ms--to the tune of a trickle every 5 minutes. Sissy had lots and lots of accidents...didn't really get it at all, but that's OK, that's why you have three days. I had help with meals etc. and my husband set up the toddler beds. 

All and all, the day wasn't so bad until bedtime. (Honestly it was kind of nice to have all that kid time...and not have to do anything else.) Bedtime though was 2 1/2 hours of Luke going potty every 5 minutes, and Zoey, having not gone potty since before dinner, trying every 5 minutes and everyone getting incredibly frustrated. The night ended with her having a big accident and in hysterics.

Bed next door to the kids, fully expecting to be up most of the night.

 

Saturday

Luke woke me up at 5 AM, crying because he and his bed were soaking wet. Sis slept for another hour and woke up dry. (!)

Followed by breakfast and lots of juice and Luke having a bunch of accidents and Zo holding it, not peeing since the night before until about 10 AM and having an accident and again in hysterics...BUT she also peed a lot in the potty...and that seems to be the moment it clicked.

No more accidents from Zo, but lots from Luke (after almost none on Friday). I swear I'm not exaggerating when I say I went through 50 pairs of underwear Friday and Saturday.

Bedtime again, over and over every 5 minutes to the potty until I felt like I was going to lose my mind and my mother-in-law, bless her, agreed to take over so my husband and I could go out to dinner. She sat with them and sang them to sleep...apparently without me around there wasn't the constant running to the bathroom.

When we left for dinner I realized I had not been out of the house for 48 hours.

I cried at dinner for no reason.

Slept right next to the kids again. Luke fell out of bed twice during the night, the first time about 12:30 AM, put him on the potty and he went.

 

Sunday

The kids both woke up at 6:30 AM, both dry, both peed right away. There was a minor accident shortly after with Luke, and a couple in the afternoon as well. Kids went potty over and over, pee and poop. Grandma was more involved as I have to work Monday morning and the kids did great with her, too.

Naps were a nightmare, with it taking a couple hours for Luke to go down, both getting up to pee over and over and over. ("I don't know if they're working the system," I said to my husband, "or just really want to make sure they stay dry so any little thing they feel they feel like they have to go.") Zo never slept.

Started trying to put them to bed around 6:30 (their normal bedtime is 7:30), reading and stories and cuddles and somewhere in the middle threats and raised voices (mine). They finally went down about 8:30 or 9:00, after a talking to from Daddy.

(Note: Above photo is Sunday night, the 10,000th time Luke got out of bed to pee.)

Luke was up with me once in the night. Monday morning they both woke up dry.

I posted a comment on Facebook Friday night that essentially said, "Potty training. Good Lord." My husband's best friend said something to the effect that before you know it they'll be out of the house and cherish this time, which is so true...I'm so lucky to have these kids and know all too well how fast they will grow up...amd this is all going to make a good story someday and I'm sad I don't get to do this again. And I'm so proud of them...they did such an amazing job.

But still, in the middle of it? Not easy. Not easy at all.

XOXO

May in Pictures and Stories

The first half of May we spent in Colorado (glorious), the last half at home in New Mexico, spring easing into summer, the kids growing and changing every day. Some favorite pictures:

One of my favorite things about the twins at this age is how much they are starting to interact...it's generally friendly, such as when I give them the "wrong" forks at a meal (they are very particular about whose things are whose) and they will hand the forks back and forth and say, "Here you go, Luke." "Here you go, Zo." Or Luke watching Zo do a puzzle and saying, "Good job, Zoey!"

There is the flip side, too, which mainly involves Luke playing "Tackle, Tackle Zoey," which she almost never likes, and Zo stealing Luke's Hot Wheels and running across the house with them, leaving him in tears.

Luke is big into cars and trucks, Zo into her kitties, Stanley and Fuzzy Britches; she'll have them interact with each other...I'm actually seeing a lot of imagination from these guys, from cooking up play meals (a favorite activity) to picking pretend grass to feed pretend bunnies.

 

Some commonly heard phrases from Zo this month:

"I have a pocket." 

"I need a Kleenex!"

"I love you Daddy!" (Mommy, too. Me-ma and Grammy and Papa and Uncle Ben too.)

"I'm making a funny face!" 

And from Luke:

"Not yet! One more minute!" 

"Let's DO it!" (eg, "Would you like to brush your teeth, Luke?" "Yes! Let's DO it!")

"I love you Daddy!" (Mommy etc, too.)

"No, no, I don't LIKE kisses. Don't kiss me Mommy!" (Followed by frantic wiping away of said kiss.)

"Let's whip up dinner!"

"I don't LIKE Mommy!" (Ouch. Oh well, he's two.)

"I don't do shirts!" (Said while trying his best not to let me dress him.)

Cuteness from Zo:

"I need to be careful around cars. And monsters."

"I made a terrible mess!"

And Luke:

"I hurt Daddy's feelings. I need to fix them."

 

There are LOTS of hugs from the kids these days. 

Luke misses his sister if I take him out alone.

They both love looking for trucks when we're "out and about," as we call it; they can name pretty much anything they see on the the road (eg, "Box truck! Semi truck! Auto carrier! Cement mixer! Etc. All said as an exclamation.)

We still rock and sing at night, although the kids aren't always into it. Sometimes they run around the room while I sing. Or sit in the other rocking chair. I don't know how this started, but I've been giving them the choice of the "Regular Version" or the "Oink Oink Version" of a song, the "Oink Oink Version" having most of the words replaced by oinks.

Both the kids like playing "Tunnel" with Dad, where they give him a "toll," he gives them change, and then they go under his bent legs. They also like playing "Boat," where they sit between his legs on the bed to keep away from sharks. And Luke has been playing "Hit Hit Daddy," where he'll hit his Daddy on the chest and Daddy will tickle him and then stop 'til he's hit again.

"Baby Races," are also a big deal around here, where the kids will start with Dad and he'll outline a course for them, eg, "Run around the coffee table twice, jump on your bunny or bear rocker and rock, touch Mommy and then run back to Daddy. First one back wins!" The kids love to play, and it's fun to watch because it's totally unpredictable who will wander off course when and thus as far ahead as any one baby seems the other baby always has a chance of winning.

Saying goodbye to Daddy in the driveway when he goes to work and welcoming him home are also big activities these days.

And both kids still chime in at random with, "I'm happy!"

"I'm happy too," I always say back to them.

And June, wonderful amazing June is here, so looking forward to it! We're attempting the 3-day potty training method starting Friday and switching out to toddler beds at he same time, so big stuff happening around here! Wish us luck!

XOXO 

Grace in Small Things, June 2, 2014

Hi Everyone! Happy Monday!

A few things that are lovely in my world:

  1. How cute is my girl in her sunglasses?!? (Snapped during a bonus playground outing with Daddy...what a treat...)
  2. Since I've been back from Colorado I'm doing a better job of staying on top of paperwork, etc. My mornings are more hectic than they used to be, but a lot more is getting done...
  3. Pool, birthday BBQ, the Script and One Republic at an outdoor amphitheater with my husband (and a new blouse and scarf and earrings to wear to it...also first big concert I've gone to since I was pregnant with Luke and Zo)...it was a good weekend...
  4. I think I've figured out how to order books online from the local library...something I've been meaning to figure out forever...makes the library 100 times more usable...
  5. Birds are singing so early in the morning here right now...if I'm not going to CrossFit I lay half-asleep in bed listening to them...such a cheerful way to wake up...

Hope you all have a great week!

XOXO

 

Grace in Small Things, May 27, 2014

Hi Everyone! Happy Tuesday! Here are some things that are lovely in my world:

  1. Despite a cold and rainy holiday weekend, we still got in some pool time. And a couple BBQs. And a lot of relaxation...it was so needed and really great...
  2. Made it to CrossFit by myself this morning, which is usually pretty much impossible. But my husband needed some sleep after being up with Luke-with-bad-dreams last night. And I'm so lucky to have a husband who helps like this...
  3. All in all a pretty easy errand morning with the kids (including story hour, so something fun for them, too). It takes 10 times as long when I take them with me, but it's always nice to be spending the time together...
  4. We had friends over over the weekend and as soon as they showed up Luke offered the kids his brand new and favorite toys of the moment--a dmp truck and bulldozer--totally on his own...was so proud of him...
  5. Short work week...yay! And doesn't look like too bad a week, but I have a call at 2 PM that could totally change that...

XOXO

 

Grace in Small Things, May 21, 2014

Hi Everyone! Happy Wednesday!

Some things that are lovely in my world:

  1. My son running up to me, hugging my leg, and saying, "I give Mommy a hug"
  2. Being able to rock and soothe my daughter to sleep when she's having a hard time going down for a nap
  3. The back yard starting to look spectacular...all thanks goes to my mother-in-law...
  4. Making it to 5 AM CrossFit twice already this week
  5. My boxer Newton lying at my feet as I type this...

XOXO

Colorado Vacation

Hi Everyone!

Just back from a couple weeks in Colorado...it was glorious.

Don't know how I got so lucky, but the kids did really well both ways on our 8-ish hour road trip. I was by myself (my husband stayed behind to work), and wasn't sure how it was going to go. Going we left really early with the kids straight from the bed to the car seat. We stopped at the border for a diaper change and to get dressed.

The way we went was NM, into CO, into UT and then back into CO. In Utah near Moab is Wilson Arch, where we stopped and did a little hike. We also stopped at Milt's in Moab for lunch and milkshakes.

Grammy has a big, beautiful garden and the kids helped lots of mornings, with watering, weeding, shoveling compost into a bucket, etc.

One afternoon, Grammy made them chocolate pudding to eat and finger paint on the counter with, after which they went straight to tubs of water in the backyard. :)

The kids have been doing faces lately, like "funny face:"

And "moose face" with moose horns:

And this:

My dad and I took the dogs on hikes after dinner a number of times:

Lots of mornings we went out at about, occasionally ending with naps beginning in the car seats on the way home:

The weather was a bit unpredictable, really warm at the beginning and end, cold and windy and rainy in the middle. The kids got little gifts most every day, and the day when their gift was sand toys we did a picnic at the river. Windy, windy, windy, but we made the best of it:

Lots of afternoons out on the lawn:

One day, we went down to the train station to see the once-a-day passenger train arrive and depart...what a thrill for the kids...the world is such a cool and exciting place when you're two...

And one Saturday we went with Papa to the kite festival. Of course it was the one day all trip with no wind, but we had fun eating ice cream and there was a fire truck and a great playground:

With the kids in the garden, and me on the lawn:

Mother's Day weekend my brother Ben came over. He flew loop-de-loop balsa-wood model airplanes with the kids (he threw them, they pounced on them when they landed and brought them back for him to throw again), and Saturday night we had a campfire and smores, which the kids, needless to say, loved:

One morning, we went to the co-op in Fruita to look at the baby chicks. There were baby ducks and geese too:

Another day, the Botanical Gardens, including the butterfly room, and outside where there was this really cool life-sized bear sculpture:

We buried our dog Dexter's ashes, too, in a garden that my mom has for my brother Luke who died. The kids helped, and it was nice...it feels right for Dexter to be with Luke...

I took the first week off, worked the second just a few hours a day while my mom and dad watched the kids. One day, they made chocolate chip cookies from scratch:

One of our last mornings there we went a farm that a friend of my mom's owns...so fun to see all the animals...and she gave us eggs for lunch warm from the nest:

And the firehouse, which my dad arranged...the firemen could not have been nicer. (We brought them the homemade chocolate chip cookies, too...it's so good for the kids to give to others...)

And the kids had so much fun in the driveway in the "racecar" (as they call it) that belongs to their Papa:

And the cows across the street...every day the cows...

We did other things too (my mom worked hard to plan the funnest trip ever), like an evening out to watch acrobats me and my mom, my dad babysitting and introducing the kids to Winnie the Pooh ("Pooh likes honey," Luke told me yesterday as I was making him peanut butter and honey for lunch); twice to the library for story time; Enstrom's candy factory for ice cream (Zo chose raspberry, Luke Toffee Lovers) and we watched them making toffee, it was so cool; making pinecone-and-peanut-butter-and-birdseed bird feeders, a bunny out the window, making collages with flour-and-water paste; lots of reading of library books and playing with Grammy's teddies; a trip to my favorite kids used clothing store where my mom watched the kids while I got to pick out an outfit for each of them; meeting friends at the park a couple times and out to dinner with my best friend in town; playing the piano (and Luke put up blank pieces of paper as his sheet music...too cute); card games with my parents; Season 6 of Mad Men with my dad; Facetime with Daddy (I always miss my husband from the first day when I travel without him).

My parents made us feel so welcome and set everything up to be so comfortable. Two weeks flew by. 

Can't wait to do it again!

XOXO

 

March/April in Pictures and Stories

Hi Everyone! Happy Friday!

We've had a lot of fun around here the past month and a half, and the kids are continuously doing new and cool things. First, a few pictures:

The kids got sand toys for their birthday and a favorite activity is definitely playing in the sand. It's been warm some days, cool others but unless the wind is really blowing I try to get the kids outside every day:

This is the bed in my home office/our guest room...I've been trying to make this space more kid-friendly, with a coloring station set up and some special toys they can only play with in here, a nice soft throw on the bed they can curl up in, etc. My thought is that if they are in here and letting me work, they can hang out for short peroids (especially if I'm doing something that's more rote/not super mentally taxing)...but if they start to get disruptive they have to go back out with Grandma. Trying to eek out some extra kid time while still getting the quiet/concentration I need...we'll see how it goes...

These pics were taken in front of the house en route to the mailbox one morning (the kids LOVE to mail out letters)...

And the zoo...if I take the kids by myself somewhere I'm finding the stroller is imperative so I can corral them if need be. Here we are at the zoo one weekday morning:

And a recent Saturday with Daddy: (We have an annual pass to the zoo/aquarium/botanic gardens, which is the best thing ever because the kids love all 3 places and we can go for just an hour or two without feeling like we are not getting our money's worth.)

And these pics that didn't make it into my Easter post...a little walk with the kids up to a duck pond in the foothills...such a beautiful day that day:

And let's see...what else...so much happening around here that I haven't snapped photos of...

When the kids first got the sunglasses (see above zoo pic), they put them on inside and ran from mirror to mirror, giggling at their reflections...cutest thing ever.

Luke is starting to recite things pretty much word-for-word (my husband has a memory like that too). Like the "5 Little Ducks Went Out to Play" song, one night in the bath I listened to him do the whole thing start to finish. And "Where the Wild Things Are" (oh my gosh I love that book)...one night Luke sat on the couch with me and I turned the pages and he told me the story as written, even including the little wordless song I do on the pages where Max and the monsters are wild rumpusing.

Sis isn't doing the word-for-word reciting, but she is singing back songs I sing to them at night, like I've been singing "True Colors" and Sis now sits in the rocking chair and sings it to me, her voice so soft and sweet. She is still super snuggly and lets me rock and sing to her every night. Luke would rather sit next to me in the second rocker, and that's fine, he's his own person, I still sing him his own song, he's just in his own space while I'm doing it. Both kids also like me to make up songs these days because their daddy does it...he is much better at it that I am...

Luke also is starting to get frustrated easily...everything has to be a certain way, his food whole not cut, he has to pour the milk, he's saying (whining really) "Mommy don't kiss me!" a lot and one morning last week he said, "I don't do shirts!" when I was trying to get him dressed. He also says, "I don't like it!" a lot, about food, about songs, about strong winds outside, etc. It's challenging. He is also super caring about other people and kids, very compassionate and empathetic, a mix of contradictions like I'm sure most kids are but I'm really feeling that way about him these days. 

Sis is starting to say, "Yes." instead of "yeah," which makes her sound so grown up. She also says, "Sissy happy!" a lot which just melts my heart. She also talks about making other people happy (as does Luke), eg, "I color a picture, make Grammy and Papa happy!" (We color and send pictures once a week. And speaking of coloring, the kids have such distinct styles already, Luke more of a minimalist, Sis with color covering the page.) Sis also talks about things being cozy a lot, which is super cute. "My fuzzy blanket is cozy." "My play house is cozy." :My crib is cozy."

We're seeing pronoun issues with language development, eg, they'll say "Pick you up" instead of "pick me up." I know it'll sort itself out but it's kind of interesting to see how language progresses.

Sis especially is really into superheros. She runs around waving her Spider Man doll in the air going, "Bip! Bip! Bip! bad guys! (Helping Spider Man fight crime.) She also asks regularly to put on the pink superhero cape her grandma made for her and runs around the house with it flaring out behind her.

The kids are really attached to their daddy. We've been seeing him off to work in the driveway, and welcoming him back home (he'll call me when he's 5 minutes or so from the house). Yesterday morning we waved goodbye, and as soon as Daddy was out of sight Luke sat down on the pavement and said, "I wait for Daddy to come home!"

There is also lots of "Tackle Tackle Daddy" going on (where they bring him down to the floor), and "Tunnel," where they go under his bent legs, and they like to sit inside his legs when he's laying on the bed, they say it's their boat and outside of it are sharks. And "Baby Races" with Daddy as the referee/judge who decides the winner, the kids either running or crawling around the coffee table 3 times and the one back to daddy first wins. And "Ring Around The Rosy," which I taught them in the driveway one evening waiting for Daddy to get home...they want to do it now all. the. time.

We're trying to get together with friends once or twice a week...sometimes bigger groups...more often now just one or two kids they are starting to get to know well. One day after a playdate I asked Luke at nap if there was anything else he needed in his crib and he said, "Elliott and Annabelle in crib!" (Elliott and Annabelle being the twins he had had a playdate with that morning.)

We're talking a lot about potty training around here...we are going to try the 3-day method starting in a few weeks (wish us luck!). I realized a little ways into discussing potty training that the kids thought it was an actual train. "Potty train's coming!" they would say.

Stanley and Fuzzy Britches, the stuffed kitties they got for their birthdays, are constant companions around here. Kids are "feeding" them food and when I ask Luke what he wants for dinner he says, "Stanley wants Mac and Cheese!"

There is lots of racing around the house with their big dump truck or wagon. Full speed.

We've been having a lot of "where do babies come from?" talks, which I didn't expect this young. They generally go like this:

"Where do little cows come from?" 

"Big cows!"

"Where do baby bunnies come from?"

"Big bunnies!"

(They answer the question themselves or for each other these days.)

Etc.

Luke's also been having some nightmares, generally some sort of animal in his room...peacocks, donkeys, dogs...he's generally soothed back to sleep pretty easily but I hate to see him wake up crying...

We had a few days of Luke getting out of the crib...he wanted to be in Sissy's crib with her, which would of been fine with me but it wasn't fine with her, she wanted her space, which I respect but it broke my heart to have Luke crying to be with his sister and her saying no. (He also tackles her and pinches her sometimes...he's either 100% love or 100% a menace.) Problem solved by moving their cribs further apart so he couldn't just flip into her crib. I think we're about to go to toddler beds when we do potty training, though...nervous about that transition, mostly because I want to keep them safe and the thought of them having run of part of the house (I think we're going to block off the back hallway where their room, the playroom and their bathroom is)...I'm sure it'll be fine but I just don't want them getting hurt...

Easter was super fun...loved Luke's excitement. "The Easter Bunny is coming!!!!" he would run around the house shouting. Such enthusiam in both those kids...love it.

I'm doing letter flash cards with them at breakfast sometimes (just A through F to start...and honestly, they got their colors really fast but letters aren't going so well...but I don't really care...I want them to be kids and if they get it, great, if not for a while, they love doing flash cards for 10 minutes in the morning and I figure, what's the harm?) The cutest thing though is when Zo finishes eating before Luke and then she wants to do the flash cards and then holds them up one at a time and says, "What's this, Luke?" like I do, and Luke will guess...she is just so cute mimicking me I can hardly stand it.  

It's so fun to see how the kids put thoughts together. Zo is doing this sort of thing too but the examples in my head are Luke:

--Big white circular onion flowers in the garden, he tells me they are like jellyfish (and they are).

--The other day he was talking about reindeer when he was eating lunch/I was prepping dinner. I couldn't imagine where talk of reindeer was coming from...I asked him and he said "olive" pointing to the can of olives I had out...there's a story we read at Christmastime called "Olive, the Other Reindeer"

--The kids are really into trucks, which they know go "beep beep beep" when backing up. We were reading a story about a rhino, which you could tell it's a rhino, I explained to Luke, because it has horns. "When the rhino backs up it goes 'beep, beep, beep,'" Luke then said.

Anyway, lots of joyous stuff happening over here, punctuated by lots of whining for things the kids want or don't want vs just straight-up asking. And temper tantrums. And exhaustion at the end of the day.

Can't wait to see what May will bring!

XOXO

"Only Under Hip-Hop Supervision"

My brother Luke was killed 9 years ago yesterday. I didn't really feel like posting about it, because any sort of grief I'm going through these days...it's really hard to share for some reason...but then again I know isolation is not the answer...so a story:

2003, maybe 2004, washed-out pale-gray cracked 2-lane highway in Baja, Mexico you can only drive on during the day because a) it's not safe at night because, I don't know, we're just told it's not, and b) the speed and swerving of the semi trucks going the other way...are all the drivers drunk?...in the dark...just no...

We're coming back from a surf trip, nothing but salt water and campfires for days, my hair starting to dreadlock, everything filthy, so filthy that the military checkpoint teenagers with machine guns who stop us to search the car start poking around our tent and say what's that and we say hot sauce and they make a face and wave us through.

Anyway. Beastie Boys on I guess a first-generation (or close to it?) i-POD...God, it's been a long time since I had my brother with me...

There's this line before the song starts that talks about scratching a record and don't try this at home, only "under hip-hop supervision," except Luke thought it was only "ON the Hip-Hop Super Vision" like an actual thing you could buy at the store. We must of argued for an hour about it.No cell service so we couldn't Google it. (Did they even have Google back then? I can't remember. Or wireless? God, it's been a long time...) Luke even bought me play-turntables for Christmas that year and elaborately redid the box to brand the toy the "Hip-Hop Super Vision," just to proove his point.

I don't know why this converation sticks with me, but it does. I even use it on my kids sometimes...like they'll want to do something like smell my glass-contained candles and I'll be like, "uh-uh, not without me, only under hip-hop supervision."

My brother does live on in a million ways...

[Click the image above to listen...]

XOXO

Grace in Small Things, April 28, 2014

Hi Everyone! Happy Monday! 

A few things that are lovely today:

1) Botanical Gardens on Saturday, their toy trains weren't running because of cottonwood fluff that looked so much like snow falling down and in the little train village...it was magical...

2) I am loving the end-of-day light right now...makes all the colors so rich...beautiful...

3) I am finally getting a little break from work (been working so hard for what feels like months)...and have been able to not only make a dent in my (previously miles long) TO DO list, but have also been able to do some fun and rejuvenating things...feeling so much better and so much less burnt out...

4) The kids and I are headed up to Colorado this weekend...really looking forward to some time with my family... 

5) Whenever I have mail for the mailbox like I did this morning, I let the kids take it. But they don't just walk it out there, Luke has to get his dump truck and Zo her wagon...the letters go in...they get wheeled out the front door, out the front gate, to the mailbox...and then one kid puts their letter(s) in while the other "waits in line," as Luke said this morning...then close it up...flag up...and race back to the house with the dump truck and wagon. It's the cutest thing ever.

Hope everyone has a great day!

XOXO

Creativity--How Do I Make Room for You in My Life???

Ahhhh...this magazine cover...it's got me missing San Francisco because one of those tall buildings was my office building and that street is one I walked up and down a million times between my tiny little apartment and my advertising job. Seems like a million years ago...
I'm missing doing creative things like I used to do when I lived there, too...trying to figure out how to make a little of that happen with two crazy-and-amazing two-year-olds running around. (And a part-time job that is really closer to full time.)
Like:
  • Actually getting my guitar tuned (every time I sit down to do it I end up with a kid in my lap) and singing songs with the kids
  • Figuring out some new things I can do with my camera
  • Digging out my old video camera and making some cute little home movies
  • Writing a children's book or two (there's an idea I've been trying to make work for 10 years at least...)
  • Finishing my book about living in San Francisco a million years ago...
  • Heck, even just thumbing through something other than "Poetry" and "The New Yorker" just to get a fresh perspective on things (which, aside from the picture, is why I bought this magazine this week). (And "Poetry" and "The New Yorker" are both great, it just feels like they are the only things I've read simce the kids were born.)
There. I said it.
My little prayer today is to please please please figure out a way to make some or all of the above reality instead of feeling like there's no time in my life for that stuff anymore. All I need are some timy little doses of it...
Happy Weekend, Everyone!
XOXO