Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Family Pictures 2012

Last year it rained on us during family pictures, this year we had 2 out of our 3 kids running fevers and not feeling well.  But our photographer is so amazing the pictures always look good and no one ever believes me when I say that all did not go so well for the shoot.

We didn't get any of just Justin and I nor one of just the 3 boys, but we're very happy with what we did get.  One day our kids will get bigger and maybe take pictures better, but they may not be as cute then. :)  I'm not sharing our favorite family picture until our Christmas cards get mailed out.

Jeremy - one of our sick kids that day

Jacob - the other sick kid that day

Joel - all the pictures of him smiling he is also running

Me with Jacob, Joel in front

Monday, November 19, 2012

Halloween 2012 (the short version)

We dressed as a family of skeletons for Halloween this year!
The boys are wearing pajamas for their costumes.  Because I am awesome.
None of our kids understand Halloween so I'm sure they were all confused.  We only went to about 4 houses on our street; I wonder how many more years we can get away with that.  

Then we came home and let them eat some candy before calling it a night.  I'm sure the kids were super confused then - we have never before or since just sat in the living room and eaten candy. 
Joel seems confused

Jeremy is in heaven

Jacob was the first to look tired

Friday, November 2, 2012

Our Wonderful Colby

Colby joined our family in April of 2007 when he was only 2 months old.  When we first brought him home we bought a gate with the plan to keep him in the kitchen anytime we weren't at home.  He was so tiny he could fit through the bars of the gate.
Colby's first day in our family

Colby was the perfect dog for our family.

It didn't take long after we had Jacob for Colby to learn what was his and what was not.  This was both good and bad for us.  Good: because it meant that the toys that were left on the floor were safe if we had to leave and they were still out.  It was good to know we didn't have to have everything picked up every single time we had to run off somewhere.  Bad: because it means that it became far, far too common for us to leave toys out on the floor.

Colby loved to chase birds from our yard.  If we were inside and we could see birds out in the backyard, we could call out "Birdies, birdies!!" and he would tear through his doggie door barking and chasing the birds away.  If he was already outside playing (either by himself or with us) and birds flew overhead he would run after them barking.  It seemed as though he was barking "Leave now! You have entered restricted airspace!"  We jokingly always thanked Colby for protecting our yard from those birds.

Colby loved to go to the dog park and his favorite thing to do there was roll around in the mud.  We had to plan to bathe him using the sprayers they had every time we were leaving because he was always covered.
Colby did this EVERY time we took him to the dog park

Colby was a good sport.  He let us put him in a little costume for Halloween each year.
Spider-Dog his first Halloween
Colby's Halloween pajamas

We think that Colby liked bubbles more than the kids did.  If you wanted a sure way to tire out that dog, simply set up a bubble machine outside and he could chase them until he had no energy left at all.  Sometimes we joked that Colby was like the one fish in Finding Nemo that would chase the bubbles saying, "Bubbles!  Bubbles!  My Bubbles!"
It might look like Colby is chasing Joel, but he's after those bubbles

Colby loved for us to throw balls for him and play fetch.  He was even able to jump and catch some balls without even having to chase after them.  And once you started playing with him it could sometimes be very difficult to stop.  He would constantly bring the ball back and drop it in front of you.  If you didn't pick it up and throw it for him he would whine, give a little yelp or stare you down until you were ready to play with him some more.

Colby was a great "sweeper".  He was usually right there when the kids ate, ready to catch food that fell to the floor.  This was great because we didn't need to sweep after every meal.  Not so great because sometimes the kids would throw food down just because he was there to clean up.  Colby also knew anytime I started cutting meat when doing food prep.  He would rush into the kitchen and sit right next to where I was standing with his big eyes and intent look, waiting for some fatty parts of meat to come his way.

Colby was a smart dog.  We only ever took him to 1 6-week puppy training course, but he picked up the "tricks" pretty well.  He understood "sit", "lay down", "wave", "shake", "high five", "park it", "off", and "easy". We think that he probably could have learned more if we had enrolled him in more classes or worked harder with him, but we felt like he was able to do all that we really wanted him to do.
Colby graduating from puppy class

Colby was a great watch-dog.  If someone ever entered our backyard through the gate (like a service person) he would bark like crazy to let us know someone was there that didn't belong.  If we let someone into our house, he was excited and just wanted to get to know them and let them pet him or play with him.  If someone just walked into our house that he didn't really know, he let them know they didn't belong.  Even if we had just let them in, they stepped out and then let themselves back in he would bark and growl to alert us and let them know they shouldn't be here.

Colby knew both times I was pregnant.  During both pregnancies, each and every time I sat on the couch or love seat in our family room he would jump up and sit on my lap with his rear resting on my belly.  Although it wasn't uncommon for him to sit on our laps, he has never rested his rear on my belly when I wasn't pregnant.  It was as if he was trying to help "hatch" the babies.

Colby was so good with our kids.  They might have driven him a little crazy every now and then, but when he was tired of getting pulled on or laid on he would just go to another spot to get his space back.  He was great with the kids when they were babies and I think he liked it when they got to be big enough to throw a ball for him, although he preferred it when an adult played ball with him instead.
Colby watching over baby Jeremy

Colby slept with us every night.  When we first got him we put him in our room in a soft crate and he would whine and whine.  Sometimes we had to banish him to downstairs and close our door to try to drown out his whining.  After we'd had him for a couple months one night he wouldn't stop whining and when I got him out of his crate to take him downstairs he jumped from my arms onto our bed and rolled himself up into a little ball and was quiet.  He slept with us every night after that.  When it was cold it was nice to have a little heater next to us.  (Colby slept with us every night, but we never let any of our kids sleep with us.)

We definitely love our Colby.

Monday, October 1, 2012

18 month stats

I was such a slacker when it came to scheduling the twins' 18 month well-check.  First I was waiting to find out if Jacob would be in morning or afternoon school, but even once I found out it took me a couple weeks to call and make the appointment.  Then they couldn't get us in until the twins were almost 19 months.  Now it has taken me a couple weeks to post the stats here.

I looked back at Jacob's 18 month stats to compare and it looks like Joel is definitely the lightweight out of our kids.  He weighed in at 21 pounds, 4 ounces - 10th percentile.  This actually isn't much lighter than Jacob, who weighed in at 22 pounds at this age.  But Jeremy is definitely our big boy at 24 pounds - putting him at the 43rd percentile for weight.  I happen to think that it feels like a much bigger weight difference between Joel and Jeremy than just 2 pounds 12 ounces - Joel feels like a feather in comparison!

Both boys measured to be 32 inches tall, putting them at the 26th percentile for height.  And Jeremy's noggin seems to be a bit bigger than Joel's - 47cm around for Jeremy (35th %-tile) , 46cm around for Joel (12th %-tile).

A couple other things about the twins lately.

A month or so ago, when I would lay Jeremy down to change his diaper Joel would run over and put his finger on Jeremy's bellybutton.  I would say "belly button" (imagine me saying that in a sing-song voice), pull up his shirt and point at his and he would laugh.  Then when I would change his diaper he would reach for his belly button and I would say a few times "belly button".

Now when I lay Joel down to change his diaper, he says "beeya beeya" and reaches for his belly button.  It is pretty cute.

Starting a couple weeks ago, diaper changes for Jeremy are horrible.  He screams and cries and twists all around and makes it so difficult to change him.  It seriously is one of the worst parts of my day.  I've tried to give him toys to hold or sing to him or something, but nothing seems to be working.  Every now and then he'll be fine, but most of the time it is just awful.  I have just started telling him that if he used the potty, I wouldn't have to change his diaper.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Day Out with Thomas

Yesterday was a long day for us.  We drove to Austin, picked up my mom at my sister's house and then drove another hour to Burnet, TX so we can take a ride on Thomas the Train!
"Mommy - why are you making me stand out here in the rain?"
It was pouring rain when we got there and we weren't there long enough to do all the activities that were set up (and I'm guessing that due to the rain some of the activities weren't set up).  When we first arrived we headed to the imagination station because it was under a tent.  Jacob was in heaven playing with some trains for a little while as we passed some time until we were ready to brave the weather and get in line to get on the train.

Just trying to keep these two from running away
Jacob was in heaven - I guess it's time to pull his set back out again
Sadly, Jacob went for a potty break and wasn't there when Thomas first pulled up for our ride.  My mom and I took care of the twins while Justin took care of Jacob on the train ride.  Justin definitely got the better end of that deal.  We were wrestling 2 19-month olds who really didn't want to be stuck on our laps.  Luckily the weather was nice and cool outside - if it had been typical hot Texas weather it would have been a bit miserable and crowded with two adults and two kids sitting in two seats.
The beginning of the ride before things went crazy
He might not look it, but I'm pretty sure Jacob was happy
After our train ride we walked around to have pictures taken with Thomas.  It was neat to see recognition on both Jeremy and Joel's faces when they saw Thomas.  Joel even pointed and jabbered in his own special language, Jeremy started jumping in my arms (which he does when he is excited).

When it was our turn, we put Jacob up on the box and he got so excited.  He pointed at Thomas, looked down at his shirt and started doing a little dance.  We had a lot of trouble getting him to turn around so we could get pictures taken of him.  We kept having to turn him around.

"Turn around Jacob!"

Got him to turn for a few seconds

"Jacob, turn around and look at Grandma!"

Wow - a pic of all 5 of us - that never happens!
Overall it was a tough adventure - 3 hours in the van to get there, another 3 hours to get home.  Twins who didn't get very good naps on the drive, our train ride was during the kids' dinnertime but it was the only time we could do.  But seeing the kids be so excited at seeing a life-size Thomas made it all worth it in the end.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Justin and Julie - Part 3

I'm telling the story of how Justin and I met and became a couple for our posterity.  The story is long, so I've divided it into three parts.

Start with Part 1 here.

Then read Part 2 here.


I didn't want to be dating Jared anymore and I had blown it with Justin.  However with only 2 weeks until Valentine's Day I decided that instead of being alone I would not break up with Jared just yet, but would wait until after the holiday celebrating couples was over.  Justin was dating that other girl anyway.

Valentine's Day was a disappointment, as I expected.  I think Valentine's Day was on a Friday and I'm pretty sure that Jared and I were not supposed to see each other again all weekend.  I was happy about that.  I thought it would be better to break up the next weekend because I didn't want him to think it was all about him not getting me flowers even though I had told him that it was the only thing I wanted.

So I was surprised when Jared showed up at my apartment Sunday evening.  It was an awkward evening of him just hanging out at my apartment when I didn't want him there.  After a movie had ended, I asked him to leave so I could head to bed.  And then he suggested that we break up.  I was relieved, but wasn't I supposed to be dumping him for being such a jerk practically the entire time we dated?  I was also upset that I had wasted time on him and lost an opportunity with Justin.

The next couple days I was just sad.  I obviously hadn't been thinking before when I told Justin that I didn't want to date him.  Now he was dating someone else.

SiLynn, also from church, had also broken up with her boyfriend over Valentine's weekend and we decided that we needed to go out and have fun that Friday night by going to dinner and seeing a new comedy that was out (I can't remember what it was).  But then we decided it was lame for just the two of us to go out and we should invite others to go with us.  I suggested to her that I invite Justin, but she wanted me to invite Justin's roommate instead.  She planned to invite Jay who had a crush on her, but she wanted to only be friends with him.

Since I knew I was going to have lots of spare time on my hands, I went with Stephanie to buy fabric so we could begin quilting.  On our way to the store together I told her how Jared and I had broken up, how I was an idiot to have dated him ever since I had moved there and how he was a jerk.  She was a great listening ear and told me she was sorry.

But then Stephanie said - "Julie - I bet you want some time to yourself for a little bit.  But can I just tell you, that when you decide you are ready to date someone else you should think about Justin."

I knew that she was good friends with Justin, but maybe not as good of friends as I thought they were.  Did she not know that I had shot him down almost 6 months earlier?  And that I had seen him with the other girl only a couple weeks before?

I told her that I had gone out with Justin when I first moved into town, but that we were just friends and I was sure he wasn't interested in me.  Plus I thought he was dating someone else.

"Oh Julie.  I don't know about him dating anyone else, but even if he was I don't think it would matter.  That boy has been completely enamored with you since you showed up around here.  ENAMORED."

Was she right?  Did I still have a shot with him?  

In order to find out, I called him as soon as I got home.  He sounded tired and not very enthusiastic.  I asked if he had plans for Friday night and he said he was going to be watching a movie with a group at someone's place.  But he asked what was going on so I told him about SiLynn and mine's plan for dinner and movie.  He said he would join us instead.  We said goodbye, but I couldn't tell at all what he might be thinking.  He just sounded apathetic.

When the four of us went out that Friday night, SiLynn was very clear that this was not a double date - we were just four friends having dinner and seeing a movie.  But while we waited for the movie to start I told Justin that Jared and I had broken up.  He acted surprised and I found out he had only gone out with the other girl from school a few times and he wasn't seeing her anymore.

As the next week passed, we talked to each other a few times and when we saw each other at the Thursday night activity at the church we made plans to go on our second date the next night - exactly 6 months after our first date.


In case you were wondering: 
Justin had a massive headache the night I called him to invite him to dinner - which is why he sounded so apathetic on the phone with me.  He said he was very happy to find out the next day from Stephanie that Jared and I had broken up.

Justin and I refer to the five and a half months I dated Jared as my "Justin Appreciation Course".

Justin read each of these posts before I published them so I could make sure I was remembering things correctly and not writing anything he wouldn't want published.

SiLynn didn't want Jay to think they were on a date when the four of us went out because she only wanted to be friends with him.  They got married three months before Justin and I got married and they have four children.

I think Jared thought we might get back together one day.  He called me every couple weeks to chat and would seem annoyed that I wasn't more talkative with him.  But, finally, I was the one to call him.  I told him, one day the first week of July, that Justin and I had gotten engaged.  Then he never called me again.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Justin and Julie - Part 2

I'm writing a detailed account of how Justin and I met and became a couple for our posterity.  It is long, so I've decided to write in three separate parts.

If you haven't read Part 1, read it here first.


Besides belonging to the same church and attending FSU, Jared and I didn't have much in common.  But for the first month or so we got a long great, except for his love of hunting.  Sadly I learned all too much about hunting while we were dating including the fact that the hunting seasons in Georgia and Florida are super long.

Jared's family had a hunting cabin in Georgia and most weekends he headed up there with his dad and brother to hunt.  I would always ask him to not go and to spend time with me instead, however he frequently told me that he HAD to hunt and that I could always call Justin and see what other people were doing if I was bored or wanted something to do.

Yes, my boyfriend would tell me to call the guy he didn't want me to go out with when I first moved there to see if we could do something together.  It was strange.  Sometimes Jared acted like he was jealous of Justin which was odd - did I not choose to date Jared over Justin?  Others times he kind of made fun of Justin and acted like he couldn't believe that Justin thought he had a shot with me over him.  Insecure, I guess.

So every once in a while Justin and I would do things together over the weekend.  Always just as friends and always with other people involved.  However once just the two of us rode down to Orlando to visit the Orlando LDS Temple, but someone else joined the two of us on the way back.

I enjoyed getting to know Justin better, but still never thought of him as anything other than a friend.

As that first semester that I was back in school went by, I liked Jared less and less.  The first month or so we dated he was considerate and kind, then he started being more selfish and self-absorbed.  I made excuses for him - after all, he was having a rough time with a new job, he was in his last year of school so his classes were harder than they had been before, etc.  I kept thinking that he would change back to the way he was before.  I kept thinking that I could change him back.  I think that is why I dated him for about 5 and a half months.

I was grateful to go home and spend Christmas break with my family and I hoped that when I got back to Tallahassee, Jared and I would start out the way we originally started out.  But the time away that he spent with his family made things worse.  His mother babied him and did everything for him.  I heard from both him and her that when it was cold outside she would go out and start his truck and get it running for him so it wouldn't be as cold.  She insisted that he (and his brother and dad) never had to do dishes - it was her job.  Little things like this had actually ruined Jared.

I started feeling like Jared and I needed to break up, but I was dragging my feet.  I had already invested almost 5 months in him, maybe I could still get back to the Jared I had first met somehow.  I even asked him once if we should not be dating anymore and just be friends.  He said no and I told him that he didn't act like someone that I wanted to be dating.  I thought we were going to break up then, but we decided we would stay together.

It was the end of January and I went to an activity up at the church that the singles' ward was having.  I was just kind of glad to get out without Jared.  They were learning some swing dance steps and, as usual with this type of activity, there were too many girls and not enough guys.  I sat on the stage to watch.  I didn't really know people very well, I had chosen to date Jared instead of getting to know people.  I watched people play around and flirt with each other and I wished I had more friends there.

Then Justin walked in.  And he wasn't alone.  Following close behind him (maybe they were holding hands?  I can't remember) was a pretty girl who was tall and thin with long, dark hair.

I was jealous.

I left to drive myself home and didn't stay to watch everyone anymore.  I kept thinking two things.

One - I needed to break up with Jared.

And two - I had messed everything up five months earlier.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Justin and Julie - Part 1

Last week was 10 years since Justin and I went on our first date together.  I posted once before (although I don't remember when) that there were 6 months between our first date and our second date (first date August 28, 2002; second date February 28, 2003) and said that I might tell why one day.  I decided that since this is my journal I would document the story - one day my kids can read it, and their kids can read it, etc.  I'm telling a long, detailed account for my own memories, so I've decided to tell it in 3 parts.

In 2002, after not caring for my job as an actuary for a little while and feeling super burnt out on having to take these terrible actuarial exams every 6 months I decided to go back to school and get a master's degree in statistics.  My plan was to open new career opportunities for myself (preferably in biostatistics) and then if I ever did get married and have children I would be able to teach at the college level with a master's degree.

I applied to 3 schools and was accepted to all 3 and offered fellowships at 2 of the 3 (BYU offers something similar but couldn't guarantee me how much of my tuition would be covered by working for them, whereas Iowa State and Florida State both could).  I decided to attend Florida State and in August of 2002 I quit my job and moved all my belongings from Houston to Tallahassee.

I actually met Justin at church about a week before classes started, and he talked to me a little the next night at Family Home Evening as well.  He seemed nice and friendly, but I was seriously just trying to get my bearings since I was starting over in a new place.  It was pouring rain as everyone was leaving FHE and Justin and another guy each had these huge umbrellas, so they were taking turns walking people to their cars.  I remember Justin walked me to my car and got my phone number (he said because he needed it as the ward clerk) before running back to help someone else to their car.

I should probably pause here and say I can't tell the story of how Justin and I started dating without also telling the story of Jared and I.

That weekend was the last "free weekend" before classes started.  One of my fellow students in the stats program had suggested we go to dinner so I was just hanging out at my new home until it was time to meet him when someone showed up at my door.  To my surprise it was Jared, who I had also met at church but hadn't really talked to much.  I never found out how he found out where I lived, but he said he hadn't really gotten to chat with me and since I was new he wanted to see how I was doing, etc.

While visiting with me he told me that his roommates and some other friends were all going to be attending a back-to-school party the next night and he wanted to make sure I knew about it.  He claimed that there would be quite a few others from our singles' ward at church and he offered to give me a ride.  I was glad to be included in something since I was new and I admit I was a little attracted to him.

The next night we went to this party and it was just weird.  The party was thrown by his roommate's mother and there were a total of about 4 of us from the singles' ward there.  Everyone else were about my parents' age or older.  Nevertheless, I felt attracted to Jared and he was quite the gentleman.  And to be honest I was a little shocked that someone seemed interested in me when I just moved there.  Let me tell you - this did not happen when I moved to Houston after BYU.

The next Monday evening (just over a week after I had arrived in Tallahassee) Jared gave me a ride to FHE and when it was over, Justin came over and said that it was his birthday and some people were taking him out for ice cream but then people were going to be meeting at his apartment to watch a movie.  I told him thanks, but I rode with Jared.  Justin then said that we were both welcome to come over and he left.  

Let me tell you, Jared did not want us to go to Justin's.  He said he didn't want to hang out with the people that would be there and he made it seem like he didn't really like anyone that might be there.  But I convinced him that it was good for me to go so I could meet more people.

Justin seemed happy to see us and after showing me his pocket PC and comparing it to my Palm Pilot (he was a geek from the start) everyone settled in to watch the movie.  Jared kept putting his arm around me and holding my hand and I felt like Justin kept looking at us, which made me feel a bit uncomfortable.  But uncomfortable in that I wished Jared would back off a little and not uncomfortable that Justin might be looking at us, if that makes sense.  I remember that by the end of the night I felt pretty aggravated with Jared, like he was trying to let people know that I was his property or something.

The next day I got a call from Justin, asking if I was free to go out the next night.  Part of me felt like I should say no because of Jared.  But I decided that there was nothing wrong with going out with Justin and I wanted to get to know him better.  That night Jared came over and I told him I was going out with Justin the next night and he was not happy.  He didn't think I should go out with anyone else and I pretty much informed him that we never said we were dating exclusively and felt even more resolve to go out with Justin.

The next day Jared surprised me by calling me a few hours before my date with Justin asking if he could meet me and talk to me.  He told me that he liked me a lot, more than he had ever liked anyone he had just met and asked me to not go out with Justin.  Even though I was annoyed about him acting so possessive a couple nights previous, I was still very interested in him and attracted to him.  I told him that I wouldn't cancel my date with Justin and that it was a little soon for us to say that we wouldn't see anyone else.

That night Justin and I went bowling on campus and then to The Pitaria for gyros.  We found we had lots in common - we were both starting masters programs, we had similar taste in movies and owned some of the same ones, as well as similar taste in music and were both fans of Guster, who most people had never heard of.

But on my part, there wasn't really any chemistry.  Justin seemed like someone I could be great friends with, but I wasn't attracted to him.

So that weekend I told Jared that I wouldn't date anyone else which he was super happy about and the next Sunday when Justin asked me out again I told him that I had also been going out with Jared a few times and that we decided not to date other people, but that I hoped he and I could be friends.

He smiled and said, "Of course we'll be friends."

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Backyard Fun

We should have been playing outside all summer, but for some reason we didn't really start playing outside until about a week ago.

I got an awesome blow-up pool from Target online so we decided to have some of our friends over for a little water party the Friday before school started.  In addition to my 3 kids there were 10 other kids that came over to play.  All of us moms have been friends for 4-5 years and we were talking about how in the world did we end up with so many kids?  When we first were becoming friends, there were only 2 children (none of which were mine, by the way).  It is crazy to see how much our families have all grown in such a short time.

Anyway - pretty much every night for the past week after the kids eat dinner, we strip them down and they play outside in their birthday suits.  On Friday though, Jacob took off his clothes while I was trying to get dinner ready.  Once Jacob does something, his brothers are ready to follow along so we decided to go ahead and let them play outside and have a picnic once the pizza I was making was done.  Are you ready for the cutest picture ever?

I decided that it was modest enough to share and too adorable not to share.

My kids say "We like eating outside naked!"

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Back to School - Our new routine

The only picture I got of Jacob looking happy about going back to school

Now that Jacob is back to school we have picked up a new routine and so far it is working pretty well.   Last year when Jacob started school he went in the mornings - the bus picked him up around 8:15am and dropped him off around 12:15pm.  Then his teachers found out that he doesn't take naps and they mentioned that maybe he would be in the afternoon class next year.  

At first I thought - please, no.  But then as I thought about it I started really hoping he would be in the afternoon class.  Jacob doesn't get up at a set time every morning, and it isn't abnormal for him to sleep in.  I had some school mornings where I was carrying him out of bed at 7:45am, trying to force him to eat quickly, fighting him to get him dressed and running around like crazy trying to get him out the door and on to the bus.  Those battles were awful and super stressful.

But I also started thinking about how our scheduling would work out for the day.  Last school year the twins were still taking 2 naps and were ready to go down for their first naps around 10:30am.  The twins and I would hurry to the gym after Jacob left on the bus, I would work out for about an hour and then I would bring them home, put them down for naps and then take a shower.  But now they only take one nap and typically go down between 11:30 and noon.  If the bus dropped Jacob off around noon - when would I take a shower?  And when would I be able to get anything done around the house during the day without a little helper making messes, etc.?  

That was the selfish part of me, but also as far as Jacob is concerned - he enjoys going to the gym and playing while I work out.  He looks forward to it in the mornings and get excited when I tell the boys it is time to go bye-bye.  And when I try to get things done during the twins' nap, he is bored out of his mind.  We also just started private speech therapy for Jacob that is Monday mornings and it is not so easy to get afternoon appointments.

So I started hoping that I would find out Jacob was placed in the afternoon class.  When I hadn't heard anything from his teacher a couple weeks before school started, I emailed to find out he had been placed in the morning class.  I asked his teacher if there was anyway for him to be in the afternoon and luckily, they were able to get him switched.  Yay!!

After a week of being back in school, it seems like the transition has gone pretty smoothly.  When we get home from the gym I feed all the kids their lunch (and they all cry that they are starving since they no longer get a snack and milk when we get home).  Then I put the twins down for their naps, get Jacob to use the potty and brush his teeth and then after just a few minutes of waiting the bus arrives and Jacob is off to school.

The twins can't agree so far to both take good naps on the same day, but I have been able to be much more productive than I have been in a long, long time (maybe since getting pregnant with twins?).

As far as the first day of school, I wanted to make a sign for Jacob to hold signifying the year or something but I wasn't sure what to put on the sign.  This isn't his first year of preschool since he was part of the program half of last year.  And he'll be in the program next year too so it isn't his last year.  Then I realized that Jacob wouldn't just stand and hold a sign for me anyway, so I should just take his picture standing with his backpack.  He definitely wasn't so thrilled about that.
Looking out the window for the bus
Upset with me because I wanted him to stand and look at the camera
Once I took him outside he seemed to be willing to stand still for a few moments, but not willing to look at the camera.
Looking a little bit concerned

Tired of waiting for the bus
It was about 10-15 minutes late, but we kind of expected that on the first day.  Here is our bus!!!

Again refusing to look at the camera, oh well!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

18 month old twins!

The twins are 18 months old!  This is a huge milestone because it means that on Sundays at church they can now go to nursery!  This makes for a very happy Mommy and Daddy - maybe we'll actually start getting something out of church again.

Here was my attempt of getting a picture of both kids together with the elephant.  They wouldn't stay still and then Jacob realized I was taking some pictures and felt like he needed to join in.  (Which is actually amazing the Jacob wanted to sit with his brothers - that just about never happens).
If only Jeremy were facing us instead of trying to moon us

I did get a pretty good picture of each twin individually though.

Joel - 18 months old

Jeremy - 18 months old
I just realized though that I never did a post for the twins at 15 months old, but I did get some elephant pictures.
Jeremy - 15 months old
Joel - 15 months old
So far Joel has 10 teeth - the 4 front on the top and bottom as well as a top molar on each side.  He is also nice and swollen from those bottom molars.  Jeremy has 9 teeth - he has the 4 front on the top, but on the bottom he only has 3 in front.  He actually got his top molars in before Joel, but Joel has gotten all the other teeth through before Jeremy.

Joel started walking about a week or so after the twins' birthday, but it took Jeremy a few more months.  When Joel started walking, it seemed that he only bobbled around for a few days and then he was off.  It took Jeremy weeks of a step here and a few steps there before he finally started walking around 16 months old.  It is lots of fun to see them chasing each other.

Joel has become quite the chatterbox.  He has a few words - bye-bye, up, down (at least that is what he is trying to say), drink, uh-oh; but he can babble tons and he really thinks he is telling me something important.  It sounds something like "wassa was dabba dabba".  So far Jeremy only says bye-bye.  Because of our experience with Jacob this is pretty worrisome, but the fact that he has a word puts his language a year or so ahead of Jacob's development.  Jeremy will sometimes babble, but not anywhere to the extent that Joel does.

Jeremy is our little cuddle bear.  He loves to give us hugs and sometimes he will just keep hugging for a few minutes.  Joel likes to hug to, but maybe for only a second and then he is just trying to climb all over us.
Jeremy hugging on Daddy
Both of the twins really like emptying all the placemats and napkins out of the drawers of the buffet in our dining room.  It drives me crazy because I don't have anywhere else to store all of these items.  And since the buffet is an antique, we aren't going to be installing any child locks on it.  If you come by my house, plan to see Halloween, Christmas and everyday placemats and napkins all over the floor in the dining room.

Joel really likes to put things into cabinets.  Pretty much anything he can find that will fit into the inch and a half gap left by our child locks will end up in our lower kitchen cabinets.  I've learned that if I can't find something, I better look through all the cabinets.  Sometimes he gets frustrated if he is trying to put something into a cabinet and it doesn't fit through the opening.
I see a car, a stuffed animal, a book, a puzzle piece, play plate and bowl as well as some trash in my kitchen cabinet that really don't belong

We took down all the gates and were allowing the babies to go upstairs and play whenever they wanted.  But we started having a problem with them emptying all the books from our huge bookcase in the gameroom.  Then they started throwing the books down the stairs.  We couldn't figure out a way to let them play up there but block off the bookshelf and we don't have anywhere else to put the bookshelf.  Then I realized - hey good thing we keep all this junk and never get rid of it - we have a TV stand with a big heavy TV on it that we have been needing to get rid of and hadn't gotten around to it.  We put it in front of the bookshelf and put a baby gate between the TV stand and the bookshelf so that they can't get to any of the books.  Problem solved.  Except that this TV stand is pretty much in the way.  

Then Jeremy decided that since he couldn't get to the books to throw them down the stairs, he would just throw toys down the stairs.  I started getting really tired of piles of toys that belong upstairs ending up at the bottom of the stairs.  But, I also started worrying that some of the toys are going to end up broken.  And Joel decided that Jeremy's game of "throw all the toys down the stairs" was a great game so he started doing it too.  It got to where they never play with toys up there, they just throw them down the stairs.  So now they are not allowed to play up there.  I hope that this is short-lived and that soon I can allow them to play up there again.

Sadly, the twins haven't had their 18 month check-up yet so I have no stats.  I guess I should get that scheduled.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Cupcakes anyone?

Anyone who knows me knows that I enjoy baking.  (Sadly I also enjoying eating baked goods).  I really like to make cupcakes because they are easy to give away - a few here, a few there and a few for us.  I think it works really well that way.  I watched a video online on how easy it is to decorate cupcakes and I even placed a bulk order for cupcakes boxes to make it easier to gift them to people.

I've tried out a lot of recipes that I really like and a few that I'm not such a big fan of.  But here are a handful of the ones I've made.

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Frosting
 I gave these to all Jacob's teachers for Teacher Appreciation:
Applesauce cupcakes with brown sugar cream cheese frosting
 Made these for all Jacob's teachers for Meet the Teacher:
Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting (blackboard cupcakes)
I think my favorites so far were double chocolate pumpkin cupcakes with pumpkin spice buttercream frosting (so, so good).  Thanks to Pinterest for being able to find all these yummy new recipes (although the scale doesn't thank you).

Sunday, August 19, 2012

So ready!!

Jacob really liked smiling for the camera here

School starts back up again for Jacob a week from tomorrow.  I think this is going to be the longest week ever!!!

Luckily, we have survived the summer.  Meaning both Jacob and I (and the twins).  I admit - there were times I wasn't sure we would make it.

Does that sound terrible?  Curious to know why?

Jacob does not follow rules or obey in almost anyway whatsoever.  He is quite stubborn and when he gets in his mind that he wants to do something he is quite determined.  If it is something I have told him not to do (like play in the sink, try to go outside in the pouring rain, etc.) I end up having to physically restrain him to make him stop whatever it is.  Many of these times he fights me by hitting me or worse - banging his head into my head or face.  Ouch!

Jacob has more words and can repeat a lot of words that we say.  This is awesome.  But the bad part is that he doesn't say most things correctly so many times it is super hard to understand what he is saying.  His speech is still approximately a year and a half behind.  He is also at a stage where he identifies things that he sees and quotes books or movies, but he doesn't really tell us anything.  He'll tell me if he wants milk to drink but he can't seem to answer the questions "What do you want to eat?", "What do you want to wear?".  And since he is approaching 4 years old, he definitely has opinions so he gets upset with us frequently when we don't know what he wants.

When he doesn't like something, we usually can't get him to use words at all.  Instead he reverts back to grunting, whining, moaning.  It is super frustrating.  I frequently have to tell him, "You have to use words.  I don't know what you want when you do that."  It doesn't seem to help, but I hope that one day it does.

Jacob doesn't seem to understand consequences.  He doesn't seem to understand sequencing - this has to happen and then this can happen.  The speech therapist we just started working with says this is easy to teach.  Hopefully that means that she's going to show me how we can teach this to Jacob.

It is super difficult for me to deal with the "special" problems we encounter with Jacob.  I know that being a mom is hard.  But being a mom of a special needs child sometimes seems like more than I can handle.  I'm not a very patient person so I feel like I spend a lot of time trying to not completely lose it.  I think that other moms who I personally know that have children with similar issues to Jacob handle their children and the struggles way better than I do.  And sometimes I need an outlet and I cave and put something on facebook about the struggles I'm having.  I know I shouldn't because I get a lot of comments back from people that aren't helpful.  I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings - I know people are trying to be helpful, but if you haven't had a child with problems like Jacob's then you really have no idea.

Again - I know all moms struggle at times.  

But I want to get to a point where struggling isn't the way of life.  I want to get to the point where we have as many good days as we have bad.  Currently we have numerous bad days and every now and then we have a good day.

I'm excited for school to start back up again because I know that they are doing things for Jacob that I can't do for him.  I'm excited for school to start back up again because it gives us a much needed break from each other for a few hours a day.

I don't want people to get the wrong idea.  I love my son.  And he is super smart.  I wish he didn't have the struggles that he has.

Last year at this time Jacob was just starting to say a few words.  I hope that in a year from now I'm able to say that Jacob is speaking in sentences and that we can understand him a lot better.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Birthday/Mother's Day

If you didn't know - I turned 30 on Mother's Day.  Back in 2007.

Worst.  Birthday.  Ever.

Nothing like turning 30 when you want children, can't have them and yet everyone around you is celebrating that they do.  And everyone is so busy thinking about themselves that not a single one of your friends calls you to wish you a happy birthday.  And the people you spend the day with don't realize that it is your birthday that day.  Not that I want to make people feel bad about all that - just telling it like it was back then.

This year I turned 35 on Mother's Day.  I am happy to say that I've already consulted a calendar and I am not turning 40 on Mother's Day.

Even when my birthday doesn't fall on Mother's Day they are usually only days apart so I typically end up celebrating myself for multiple days.  Just as it should be.  This year was no exception.

On Friday night we had friends over to enjoy this enormous cake that I made which I found on Pinterest.  I also made cupcakes for everyone's kids to eat, but they all wanted the cake.  You can't really blame them though.  I'm not certain, but I think in the end we got about 25 slices of cake.
The cake.  SO GOOD!

Orange cupcakes I made for kids to eat, but they all wanted the cake

What was left of the cake after we all ate and I sent some home with friends too.
Saturday night we got a sitter and Justin took me out to my favorite restaurant, The Melting Pot.  It had been a couple years since we had been there and it is impossible to leave there without being completely stuffed.

Sunday I made some healthy soup chock-full of vegetables for dinner to make up for all the gluttony over the weekend.

One day when my kids start talking and being able to do something I will make them wait hand and foot on me for my birthday/ Mother's Day.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Scariest moment as a mom

Just before Easter, I experienced the scariest moment I have had to date as a mom.

The twins were napping and Jacob was "helping" me make dinner.  It was an easy dinner - taco soup.  All I had to do was brown some hamburger meat and then add it to the crockpot with the other ingredients I already had in there.  Jacob (like so many other times he's in the kitchen with me) wanted to be on his little step-ladder so he could see what was going on.  As I cooked the meat, I kept telling him it was hot and not to touch.

Once the meat was done, I turned off the burner and I picked up the pan I told Jacob again in a firm voice, "This is HOT.  DO NOT TOUCH."  As I started to dump the meat into the crockpot I saw Jacob lean onto the burner I had just used.

I screamed.

I think when Jacob first jerked back it was because I screamed.  Then he started to feel the pain.  I grabbed him and started running his hands under cool water and he kept screaming.  To him, something was hurting his hands so he kept trying to rub them onto his shorts to get whatever was causing the pain off his hands.  His hands blistered and peeled almost immediately.

I called Justin at work to ask what I should do and tell him to leave work (but with over an hour commute I couldn't just sit around waiting for him to get home).  A few minutes later someone from church called, but I didn't answer because I wouldn't have been able to hear her anyway.  A few minutes after that another lady from church showed up at my house and minutes after the lady who had tried to call showed up as well.  One of them stayed with the twins while the other drove Jacob and me to urgent care.

Jacob screamed for probably a total of an hour and a half until the painkiller he was given at urgent care kicked in and he fell asleep.

I was so grateful that help showed up so soon and that Jacob's burns weren't too severe.  Have you ever had a bad burn though?  Those are the worst - I understand why he wouldn't stop screaming.

We had to keep his hand bandaged for a while until it finally healed (his left hand was burned far worse than his right hand).  At first he didn't like having the bandage on his hand because it was different, but it didn't take long before he always wanted it covered.
This is the best picture I have of Jacob 's bandaged hand
And if we are going to look for positives - I'm pretty sure that Jacob understands now when we tell him something is hot.