Thursday, August 4, 2016

Back? Kind of?

I've resuscitated the blog - can you believe it??! Me neither. I don't plan on making this a regular priority like I used to, since I post many, many photos on Instagram and Facebook, and I know that's mostly what people want to see. But part of why I liked blogging is that it provided a sort of diary of the memories with our kiddos, and I'd like to continue that!

So we're 14 weeks in with the twinners. They've both moved past the newborn-looking age, and are now into the full-on baby stage!

In general, they like to keep a nice schedule. Or, more accurately, I've spent weeks putting effort into getting them ON a good schedule. I feed them at 5 before I leave for work, and then they eat about every three hours all day, with their last meal around 10 p.m. They mostly sleep through the night, sometimes needing a paci if they stir a little bit.

Charlie has long been known as "the fussy one," but really, it's just because he's very loud when he cries. He's a tummy sleeper, so as long as he burps and can sleep on his belly, he's not terribly fussy at all. But when he does cry, he goes for volume. He could probably compete, if there were baby crying Olympics! Charlie is very smiley and chatty when he's not sleeping or fussing, particularly after he eats. He has very light red hair, and my light skin, which makes him look a little bald sometimes :) His favorite ways to be held are on his belly and up high on your shoulder so he can see all the things. Sometimes he also likes to just "sit" up so he can watch everything going on around him. He has really strong legs that he constantly stretches and pushes with, so I use sit loosely. He already scootches on his belly because of his legs!

Lydia just started cooing regularly, which is so cute. Sometimes we sit them facing each other so they can talk to each other :) The boys are fascinated by a little girl, with Levi trying to hold her hand all the time and Theo trying to hug her (which we have to watch to make sure he doesn't smother her). Her arms are constantly in motion, so much so that she needs the extreme velcro swaddle for sleeping, and she still manages to get both her arms out. Last night around 2 a.m. she woke herself up flailing all around. Lyddie likes to be held, but she still wants to look around, so she'll angle her head back or around to see as much as she can. She's generally very calm, but she gets pretty angry when she's hungry or when she can't put herself to sleep, and occasionally in the evenings for no reason, of course.

Theo just turned three on Wednesday! He may already have strains of a #threenager. Last week Tim and I had this conversation:

Me: I don't know if I'm going to let Theo live to his third birthday.
Let's just go ahead and cancel his college fund.
Tim: That's the beauty of his college fund - it's just a plain old investment account we have 100% ownership of. No obligation to him whatsoever.
Me: I'm going to buy a timeshare at a spa. or a beach house.
Tim: All I have to do is change the title of the account.
(Let's hear it for a husband who gets on board with the plan instead of trying to talk me down!)

I blocked out Levi's behavior and attitude when he was three, I think, so now that Theo has reached the stage in which he is sure he is in charge, and will make every poor choice he can make, and will not be ruled by anyone else, gah. It's at such odds with his caring, sweet personality too. He spends a lot of time headed up to his room for not listening. He is still so fun to spend time with, though. He loves everything trucks and cars, and can play with them for hours and hours every day. Somewhere along the line he dialed up the volume on his regular speaking voice, and we spend a lot of time trying to get him to not shout everything he says! We are also nearing a good point in potty training, which, thank goodness. He was showing signs of being ready in late June, you know, when the babies were 8 weeks old and I was headed back to work part time. But I didn't want to miss the window! It took about two weeks, but after that, he went 10 days without any accidents and wearing undies all the time (as opposed to naked-style training, which we had to tackle for the first few days). He's now graduated to the "I'm only sitting on the potty when I decree I WANT to #threenager, meaning that from either resisting us or just being busy playing, he's not been quite as successful. He's also easy to bribe: a lollipop will get you just about anything. Theo loves his babies, and constantly wants to hug/kiss/hold them. He's great at making sure Lydia has a paci or Charlie has some pats on his back when either one is upset. And his latest thing to do is counting everything, which is lots of fun.

Levi is fast approaching five-and-a-half, and is somehow stuck between being a little boy and a for-real responsible kid. With the twins (actually, more so with my third trimester of pregnancy), he was somewhat forced into being someone to help safeguard Theo, help with many, many more chores, and be able to entertain himself and his brother even more than usual. And after the twins were born, he had to take on even more self-regulation, getting them breakfast most days, having to fetch a lot of things for me, and helping to keep the wheels going on our crazy bus. He's proven very resilient, very willing to help most of the time. Like any little boy though, it was a lot to expect, and he's had some rocky moments lately. After a summer of his caregivers transitioning about every two weeks, it was to be expected at some point. In a world which was very focused on him before and has now fragmented into a lot of moving parts, he has trouble when the house gets too loud or chaotic, and trouble processing his big emotions. Totally understandable, and we're actually enrolled in a dual-learning program with a local children and parenting center to help us learn how to better manage our parenting style (we lean heavily on the consequences and sternness side of the scale), and help him to identify his emotions and process them appropriately. He loves to learn and read, and is right now in a stage where he constantly asks what words mean to expand his vocabulary. He sings songs and makes up stories to himself all the time, and is also a bit of a perfectionist - he needs to make sure things are accurate as a rule. Which sometimes means argumentative. That's what you get when a control freak (me) marries a perfectionist (not me), ha! Yesterday we researched whether or not a commercial airline plane can fly upside down or not.

Life for Tim and I is pretty intense, not gonna lie. There's not much margin outside of keeping children fed and civil, work, and sleep. We're both coping in the ways we do: I'm reading in every free moment I can, and trying to spend time with friends to get out of the house and break up the weight of daily to-dos. Tim has tackled really turning our yard into something beautiful, and goes for a short run every night. We both are trying hard to avoid the ships passing in the night situation, even if it's just talking for a minute before bed. We're not great at that part yet, but we'll get there :)

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

100 Days of Summer

.....and we're back!

Even though summer is my least favorite season, with two warm-weather babies, I do pack it full of beach days, family picnics, baseball games, and the like. And sunscreen. Lots and lots of sunscreen.

Levi is rapidly approaching four and a half, and four months after his fourth birthday (which is in the
fourth month of the year ;)), he still greets people he's meeting for the first time with "I'm four." Because that is the quintessential fact about his personhood right now: he's four. 

And four means so! many! things! It means potty training regression, because he's just too busy. He thinks his toys/food/story he's telling might not be there when he get's back to it (in truth, with Theo might not...) Because when one is playing outside, the steps to take to get INside to the restroom are...just too many steps when there's mud to make and trucks to park. And because 4. Less helpless than three, less stubborn intense than three, but still no picnic :) The consequences of his actions are at least starting to sink in, after a solid year of some pretty lonely hours in his bedroom or privileges taken away/entire evenings of big boy chores added to his generally open free time. We had some intense behavioral issues starting shortly after he turned 4 at school and occasionally at home, when his frustrations would boil over into throwing chairs, biting teachers, hitting or kicking friends...and this from a child who is most known for his smile, rather
than his temper. We tried every last thing - no more toys and books in his room, race car-track sticker progression charts at school; prizes for good days and time-outs on bad, etc. The solution? More designated attention one-on-one from us. Turns out that even though he'd always been very chill with having a little brother, always wanting to play and touch Theo, two years of mommy and daddy's split attention later took a toll. We now have Mommy + Levi time and Daddy + Levi time most days, giving him just 5- 15 minutes, with an activity of his choice, to play and interact without Theo getting in the way/needing attention/climbing on everything/wrecking everything. We also try to have some separate play time some days, where one of them plays by themselves in their room, giving the other a break from the loud/touchy/messy/in the way presence of the other. One day, they'll be able to play together without ONLY wanting what he other one has, right? Right??

Levi is a delightful little boy, really. He loves to tell long-winded stories, weaving in storylines he recognizes (from a movie, book or Bible story) with moments from his day or made-up scenarios. He loves to learn how things work, and then re-explain it to you later - the kid's got an intense memory for that. He can't count to 20 without skipping half
the teen letters, but he can tell you that thing you told him about why the sky is blue two weeks ago. He loves elaborate pretend scenarios, and narrates the tales of his race cars, sometimes singing songs as he plays ("no, mommy, I not talking to you..."). He likes to give us presents or surprises - often a toy wrapped in a blanket. He knows how to clean up his toys, collect the trash on Sundays, put away the dishes, fold his tiny clothes, and mow the lawn (OK, the last one we help with steering a bit. But he's strong enough). 

Theo, on the other hand. Oh, Theo. He's officially two. If you tell him not to, he'll immediately do the
opposite indefinitely. If you ask him to do something, or stop doing something, his immediate response is "no!" He loves to bug
his older brother in a Homestar-esque voice "Hey Leviiiiiiii." (To which Levi says "Leave me alone." Theo pauses for a beat, then continues with a renewed "Hey Leviiiiii.")

He love love loves cars and trucks of all shapes and sizes. He loves to give kisses and hugs and dance and climb on everything - you, a railing, furniture, the fridge, etc. His most favorite love, however, is books. He will sit and read books for, well, minutes at a time. Which is a lot in his tiny world :) He also has reached the "I do it myself" stage, which we try to accommodate as much as possible. Because in my house, yeah you do. Put your shoes on by yourself? yes please. Put away dishes by yourself? You betcha. Turn the dishwasher on? sure. Put away your clothes? OK. 

Theo is also still so adorable. And pretty easygoing, two-year-old-ness aside. He'll go pretty much wherever any of us are, likes to look at so many things outside, and just kind of chills wherever he is. 

Now, get yo'self ready, because 100 days of summer is an avalanche of photos!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Birthday and More

Auntie Sammie while watching a mud and monster truck
show at The Buck in Southern Lancaster County. The first
of many birthday celebrations :)

Birthday balloons for the birthday boy!

Picnic in the park with the ducks and some turtles. 

Nascar cake!

Nascar cake four seconds after Theo managed to grab some
frosting and stuff it in his mouth...

He's 4, btdubbs. He tells every single person he meets that.
As a greeting. 

Distraction present for non-birthday boy!

Corduroy. Awwwwww. 

Red sox shiiiiiiiirt!!

Mommy did a mud run!

Levi managed to run most of the mud run as well, and minus
the obstacles, came out a lot cleaner. 

Mother's Day photo op. Or...attempt. 

Riding the bus for Touch a Truck day!

Just driving this 'ol excavator

Pretending to drive!

Dump Truck

Mommy, Dandelions are the prettiest flowers

Theo driving hard. 

Levi operating his own excavator! Took the soccer ball
off of the cone, and then dumped it into the tire!