Valentines 2015

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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Our beautiful differences =)

When we are out and about with the girls, at least once a day (usually multiple times a day!) we are asked "oh, are they twins?!". When we answer yes, at least 60% of the time the follow up question is "are they identical or fraternal?". I like to say that our girls are "very fraternal". Apart from the (I think) obvious differences in their appearances, they are also very different in terms of their personalities and individual development.

And I LOVE those differences.

Miss Olivia can single-handedly light up a room - instantly offering a huge smile and making friends with everyone around her.

Miss Brianna is more shy and reserved, will cower behind mom and dad, or refuse to be put down around strangers. Well - until she gets to know you - then she is a fireball! Always wanting to be the star of the show.

Miss Olivia does an excellent job of listening to what is said, and following instructions.

Miss Brianna listens about 50% of the time, and follows instructions less than 10% of the time. She likes the additional attention she receives when she has to be asked or shown something repeatedly (sneaky little lady).

Miss Olivia knows what she wants, and she wants it NOW. Patience is not a skill she posesses at this point. She becomes frustrated quickly, and will act out by hitting or screaming, when she doesn't get what she wants.

Miss Brianna is pretty patient with her sister and other kiddos. She doesn't love to share, but she will usually do it to keep the peace. Like Olivia, Brianna also knows what she wants, but she is more likely to incessantly sign the word "please" over and over again while whining until she gets what she wants then she is to hit or scream.

Miss Olivia dislikes getting in trouble. Time out is her arch enemy. She cries and cries the whole time she is in time out.

Miss Brianna lives on the wild side, and will push her limits right until the very end (right before she would get in trouble or get time out) then would stop. Time out does not seem to be an effective deterent for Brianna. When put in time out she plays by herself or talks. She rarely cries or becomes upset. This could be a challenge later on!

Miss Olivia gets SO excited about things - for instance - we adopted a new kitty (Dora) last week. Olivia LOVES this kitty. Every time she sees Dora, she does this high pitched scream and barrels toward the poor cat. Luckily Dora came from a home with children, so she is relatively familiar with this procedure and doesn't freak out as much as she would otherwise.

Miss Brianna is pretty even keel. You can tell she is excited, but it isn't quite as obvious. She gets a great big smile and becomes very affectionate (hugs and kisses). The kitty and the pugs both really like Brianna.

Miss Olivia is a very independent little toddler. She is happy to play on her own, without much direction from others. If she wants you to read a book to her, she will bring it to you and ask. She expects your full attention while reading. After you are done reading, she is content to go back and play by herself. Affection from Olivia is rare.

Miss Brianna is has more of a dependent personality. She is okay playing by herself for a short period of time, but she prefers to be involved in activities suggested/regulated/directed by others. She is happy to sit in your lap and read books for hours, and doesn't mind if her sister wants to sit in your lap too. She is content to share her space. She also LOVES to cuddle and give kisses.

Miss Olivia is very particular when she eats. She loves food, but only certain kinds of food (currently crackers, cheese, and macaroni and cheese) She prefers to remain relatively clean, and hates to be cleaned up after meals.
(Picture caption - I'm done!! I'm dirty! Ewww! Get me out of this chair!!!)

Note how clean Miss Olivia is - her hands, her face, and her tray...items are still relatively organized....

Miss Brianna LOVES food! She loves how it feels between her fingers, how it tastes when mixed together, how it sticks to the walls or feels in her hair. She too has become a bit more particular with what foods she likes (macaroni and cheese has been a massive hit over the past week) but she spends more time playing with it and flinging it than she does eating it. Not that she is starving in any way...we have big healthy girls =).
(Picture caption - I'm happy just being messy!!!)

Note how very dirty Miss Bri all over her hands, arms, face, in her hair, all over her tray, and whether you can tell or not, there is actually rice on the wall!

It's these differences, along with many others, that really make me cherish each girl as an individual. I love their beautiful differneces...every one of them...even if sometimes they frustrate me or drive me absolutely batty =)

I really feel like instead of having "twins" in the traditional sense/belief (alarmingly many people think that twins are simply two of the exact same child) we have two siblings who just happened to be born on the same day. They will have a very special bond because of these circumstances, naturally, but my expectation will never be that they will be "the same" person. They are so very very different.

Do you love the differences is your kiddos? Are they incredibly apparent like ours, or are they more subtle?

Until next time -

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Using Anatomical Terms

Si and I had previously discussed how we wanted to proceed when the girls started asking questions about specific body parts. We had decided that we were going to use the correct anatomical terms from the get go, in an attempt to avoid any unnecessary confusion later. We figured that the girls would probably be 2 years old or so before any of these "anatomical" terms would need to go into effect.

Or so we thought....

We have been working on naming major body parts with the girls for a while now. We sing "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes" on a pretty regular basis, and we have several books that go over body parts - mainly eyes, ears, nose, teeth, tongue, and belly button. The girls are absolutely obsessed with my growing belly and belly button (and breasts), along with eyes, nose, ears, tongue, and teeth, so I thought the girls had a pretty decent understanding of each of these body parts we had been working on.

Apparently this is not the case.

Last night the girls were enjoying their nightly bath and were busy touching each others noses and ears. I jumped in asked them to point to their belly buttons (as belly buttons have been a recent fascination to them and I was 99% sure they could easily identify their belly buttons).

Livvy pointed to her belly button right away, but Bri, instead of pointing to her belly button pointed to her, ahem, lady parts. Si and I looked at each other in an absolute panic!

Oh no, I thought, what was our plan again?
Correct anatomical terms, right??? That's what we'd decided when we talked about this months ago, right? Right???
Well, technically that isn't her "vagina" is it? No, that's probably her "clitoris"...but were we going to be that specific? Oh, but I don't like this naming "real" parts at all!
Crap! So what do I do?!
Si is impatiently looking to me for a response....

"No," I replied "that is your vagina. Show me where your belly button is."

Bri, again, points to her lady parts.

"No, that is not your belly button sweetie, THIS is your belly button" (pointing to her belly button).

"Now show me again where your belly button is."

Bri again points to her lady parts....

"No sweetie, that is NOT your belly button, that is your vagina. THIS is your belly button."
(You are supposed to reinforce what you have taught them, right??? You should make sure they really understand, right??? Wrong??? I just don't know! Should I have just dropped it???)

By this time Livvy is getting confused, so I decided to move on.
"Livvy, where is your nose?"

Livvy points to her ear....

Oye...I guess we have a ways to go on naming body parts after all...


So, what do you guys do? What terminology do you use with your kids? Is it pee-pee's and wee-wee's? Private parts? Lady parts? What do you call the girl (or boy) parts, and why??? I'm kind of thinking there should be some standard so everyone does the same thing, otherwise this gets incredibly confusing and difficult for both the parents and the kiddos! Besides, while it may be the correct anatomical term, I don't really want to be in the middle of church service and have one of the girls blurt out something about their vagina - eek! Not that there is anything I can really do to prevent DO say the darndest things at the absolute worst possible times, don't they?

I understand this is a bit of a touchy topic, so thanks for sharing your input and advice!

Until next time -

A "sweet" bloggy award!!

I've been given "The Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award" from Melissa over at MaMe Musings! Thank you Melissa!!!

Any of you that know me "in real life" know just how perfect a "sweet" award is for me! It makes me hungry just looking at it....I'm sure being pregnant has absolutely nothing to do with it...this just looks amazingly tasty doesn't it???

Part of accepting the award requires that I tell seven things about myself that my readers may not know before passing along the award to (10) other blogs I love, so here goes.

1) I always thought I would be a pediatrician, even as I went through college. I took all of the pre-med classes but when the time came to apply to med school I kind of chickened out. I decided that I would rather have a family than an MD after my name. Looking back now, I'm so glad I did.

2) My undergraduate degree is in Psychology. I also have about a year in on a Master's in Counseling. I feel the most comfortable working with people/patients with mental health issues. I know I am supposed to be helping people...not really sure how my career in research is directly affecting this mission, but I have faith that it is (or I wouldn't be doing it!).

3) My first real job (at age 14 where I got paid $4.15/hr) was working at the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo. I worked in concessions and worked on the train doing the "train speech" about all of the different animals at the zoo. I'm telling you, I think it was prepping me for my own personal zoo later in life! LOL!

4) I have a new fascination with working for the idea why...but, I am a federal employee, so I suppose maybe that would make it easier to jump organizations, right? I have no idea what I would do working for the just sounds like something I could/should/would do. Weird, right?

5) I am TERRIFIED of spiders. Like jump up and down and scream bloody murder until someone comes and kills the thing terrified. I have no idea when this developed...I wasn't scared of spiders when I was little!

6) I have absolutely no idea how the game of basketball works, yet I've attended at least 10+ college games! I get SO annoyed with the squeaky shoes on the basketball court that I have to tune it out and focus on something eating mini donuts =).

7) I am ADDICTED to sweets. Addicted. I am having the HARDEST time not eating piles of cake and cupcakes and cookies and frosting and candy right now....but I ended up with GD with my last pregnancy, so I am trying to limit my intake. It takes all of my will power. I couldn't ever give up sweets for Lent...I think I'd die...well not literally, but I think you get what I mean. It's HARD not to give in to pregnancy cravings!!

So there's 7 random facts about me!

Now on to nominating 10 blogs!!! I read and follow A TON of blogs, so I'm going to try and pick some of the smaller blogs I love (and of course ones that haven't already been nominated). Some of these are blogs that I have been following for years, and others I've only been following for a short time, but already love (these are denoted by a **). Definitely feel free to check them out if you need some new reading material =). Here they are in no particular order =):
The Baker Twins
Cherry Pie Twins
**It's Time for More Coffee
Just Another Mom of Twins
Pontifications of A Twin Mom
Three Little Men and a Mommy
Three Little Chicklets
Life with the Dokulils
The Hutton House
**TwinSane Asylum

Thanks again Melissa for nominating me!!! =)

Until next time-
PS - I hope to have another post either tonight or tomorrow...I need momma advice once again... imagine that...this time regarding body parts....can't wait, can you? LOL!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Paint with Water Books & 16 month olds...

I remember paint with water books very distinctly from my childhood. I LOVED them! I made it my mission to find them so my girls would have the opportunity to make the pre-colored sheets of paper come to life by simply running a wet paintbrush over the colors, just as I had done so many years ago.

I think I hyped myself up too much.

First off, I couldn't find the "Paint with Water" books in any of the stores in town, so I had to resort to Amazon. I love Amazon, I do, but next time, tell me that there are only 20 pages in a book that I am about to pay $6.50 for, will ya? I was expecting these HUGE paint with water coloring books, and instead got these two measly 20 page a piece coloring a combined cost of about $13.

It's okay, I thought to myself....I am sure they have improved these since I was little and I bet the pages are awesome! The girls are going to love it! And I will have some art for my fridge! YAY!

There was psych up #2.

The pages did appear cooler (brighter, more vivid colors, fun designs, etc.), but I let the girls "paint" pictures out of the little people book today and I was not impressed. Honestly, neither were the girls. The paper is thin, so when it gets wet, it tears easily. Livvy ripped her paper within a couple minutes of starting the activity, then was handing me pieces of dripping wet colored paper for the next several minutes. Ugh.

We haven't tried the Lisa Frank book yet (in all fairness, it got awesome reviews by comparison), but the girls just weren't digging this painting activity. I think they will do well with this eventually, they just aren't there yet. And I thought I would get more for the cost of the coloring that was kind of a bummer too.

Here's an overview of the activity so you can give it a try with your little ones though! We are definitely going to try it again...maybe in a month or two...

Total prep time for activity: 30 seconds (tape picture to tray and get water and paintbrush)

Total time spent doing activity: 5 minutes...bummer...

Clean up time: 30 seconds (Good! I'm glad there wasn't much clean up since it wasn't an activity that they loved!).

One of the reasons I chose to hunt down the paint by water books was because of the "no mess" feature. The other was the ease of use...I figured that the girls would be able to complete the activity with little effort. I didn't count on the pages getting wet and ripping. In brainstorming after the fact, perhaps it would behoove us to tape the paint with water sheets to a piece of construction paper, then tape the construction paper to the trays. Perhaps that would work!

Have you done this activity with your kids? Do they like it? Love it? Hate it?
Can you think of any other ways to improve this activity? I really think the girls will enjoy it, I think that maybe I just jumped the gun a bit and they may be a bit too young yet =).

As always, your thoughts and suggestions are welcome!

Until next time-

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A wedding!

Did you know that the girls and I are going to be in a wedding just 8 short weeks from now? Si and I's good friends Jessica and Matt who we co-founded Pug Partners of Nebraska (the pug rescue) with are tying the knot on April 14, 2012. We are so stinking excited for them!

The girls are going to be super adorable flower girls (hopefully we can get them joyfully down the aisle or at the very least to smile in the pictures), and I will be one of four bridesmaids. It should be a crazy fun-filled day!

I ordered the girls flower girl dresses on-line last night, but I was nervous about which size I should order for each girl, so the girls and I had a little dress up party with some super cute dressy dresses we had in the girls closet (my mom's awesome purchases, naturally!).

Livvy is wearing an 18 month size dress, and Brianna is wearing a 24 month size dress (both dresses are exactly the same other than the size)...
I ordered both girls 24 month size flower girl dresses...does that look like the right call to you? I thought the bodice on Livvy's 18 month dress was just perfect right now (although now in looking at the pictures I'm not so sure!) so I was a bit hesitant to go up a size, but who knows how much she will grow in 8 weeks! It would be awful to have a dress that was too small, right? Bri I think will be just perfect in a 24 month, so no worries there =).

Here are the girls prancing around in their dresses last night - LOVE it!

Here's a picture of the flower girl dresses we are ordering for the girls. Cute, right? I love the purple flower petals in the dress =)

The girls LOVE being princesses and playing dress up, especially Miss Olivia. She will grab whatever clothes of mine or Si's that she can find (on the floor, the stairs, in the laundry basket, etc.), and will proceed to put it on, drape it around her shoulders, or put it around her neck and parade around the house. It's super cute. I think sooner rather than later we may have to invest in some dress up play kits! How exciting! Do any of you have any dress up outfits? Which ones? Do you love them? Recommendations?

Okay, that's all for now! Hope you all are having a great hump day!

Until next time -

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sensory play!

As the girls have gotten older I have made a conscious effort to create activities that are age appropriate, educational, and fun for them to do. It's definitely harder than I thought it would be! Although, I have to admit, I have gotten some pretty stellar ideas from Julia over at Pontifications of a Twin Mom. This is one of her brilliant creations =). The girls LOVED the sensory play!

Here's what we did:

We took these ingredients (White and wild rice, lentils, marshmallows, and penne pasta)
**Note - ALL edible and in no way harmful, because toddlers WILL try to eat them!**

And combined them in the girls (old) plastic baby bathtub with a couple of spoons, bowls, and small containers.

I contained the girls and pugs into the kitchen (with hard floors, NOT CARPET, lol) by closing all the doors I could, then using a baby gate to close off the remaining exit. Then I put the sensory concoction down on the floor.

The result???
Happy toddlers for sure! 45 minutes of continuous play! That is seriously AMAZING in the toddler world!

I will have to work with Livvy on the concept of not throwing rice at me, her sister, or across the kitchen, but otherwise, this activity went off without a hitch. I was concerned about clean up and clean up time considering the mess that was remaining when the girls were done playing...

But honestly, it took me approximately 7 minutes to clean up. I simply swept up the floor (putting the swept up rice/lentil/pasta concoction back into the bathtub), then came through with the vacuum to get under the cupboards, fridge, oven, etc..

You'd never know we just had a super messy sensory party in here would you?! LOL. I would highly recommend either doing this activity outside, or inside on a hard tile/laminate/wood floor for ease in clean up. I considered putting the baby bathtub inside the baby swimming pool that we have in the basement, but really, keeping the girls in the kitchen allowed for really easy clean up. I don't think I would do anything differently next time.

I'm really glad we did this activity. I put the marshmallows in a ziploc bag to keep them fresh until our next sensory play date, but I just left the rice, lentils, and pasta in the baby bathtub and moved it down to the basement for retrieval on a boring rainy day =).

So that was our fun sensory play activity! Have you done any cool, creative, or fun activities with your toddlers lately? If so, please do share! I'm always looking for new ideas for the girls!

Until next time -

Monday, February 13, 2012

16 months old! (And other updates)

The girls are 16 months old today. 16 months!

Look how grown up they look! Definitely not little babies any more. More like little girls each day!

Here's Miss Olivia....

And Miss Brianna....

Every single day I am amazed at how much they learn and change. They have started to really understand cause and effect (i.e. - if I throw my favorite blanket down the laundry chute, no matter how much I cry, it's not going to magically come back to me), and they are getting better every day at following instructions (pick up your blocks please, go get your shoes and coats so we can go outside to play, etc.). What little sponges they are!

So what else is new with the girls?

Both girls have been doing relatively well with eating, but I can definitely tell they are eating less than they used to. If we are lucky they will eat really well at one meal a day. The rest of the time they play with and pick at their food and have fun throwing it down to the pugs patiently waiting below for any spare scraps.

For our meals we make one main course (baked chicken, spaghetti, pot roast, etc.) and then we let the girls choose their own sides from what we have available. So, they may get to choose between sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes, and they get to choose which fruit they would like (cantelope, grapes, strawberries, or pineapple). They absolutely LOVE getting to choose.

They don't normally eat all that much of what is served to them, but they are still growing like crazy, so I'm not concerned. They refuse ALL veggies now, which is sad, but I have heard from lots of mommas that this happens, so oh well. Hopefully they come back to loving their veggies again in a year or two. We can hope!

The girls favorite foods, hands down, are:
Olivia - Spaghetti, goldfish crackers, yogurt, grapes
Brianna - Spaghetti, goldfish crackers, yogurt, cantelope, ice cream

Both girls are making leaps and bounds in the talking/vocabulary department. We are still doing several relatively basic signs with them, but for the most part, the girls are able to verbally articulate what they want (which translates into them signing and saying the word at the same time).
Our newest words that we have mastered (both in speak and sign) are "please" and "thank you". Bri is obsessed with (speaking) the words "this", "that", "those", "tickle tickle tickle" and "more", and Livvy is pretty obsessed with "Bailey", "Baby", and "up". So interesting the differences between the girls!

Brianna has been pretty hilarious lately with her speaking. In the bathtub at night she has been giving us full dissertations about heaven only knows what! She stands up with absolute authority and just goes off in (mostly) baby babble about something. This often goes on for several minutes. I really need to try and get it on video. Livvy will randomly jump into the conversation and give her two cents worth (again, usually mostly baby babble), and Bri will acknowledge her point then keep right on going. It is really stinking hilarious! Did you all see the youtube video of the twins chatting it up with each other last year? That's very similar to what goes on in our bathtub at night. Too funny!

Nap time
Nap time has been a little rough the last two weeks or so. It used to be that every day you would have the exact same routine for nap lunch, change diaper, get laid in cribs. Sleep 3 hours. Wake up. Have a snack.

Yeah, not so much now. The time that they go down for naps differs, and 3 hours is definitely a good day, not so much a standard. I would say on average we are getting somewhere between 1.5 and 2 hours. Sometimes less, sometimes more. One girl usually sleeps longer than the other.

On Saturday Brianna fell asleep in the car on the way home from Target (10-15 minutes MAX), and she didn't take a nap at all after that. Sure, we still laid her down in her crib after lunch, but she just played in there. She never did go back to sleep. Oye! Note to careful about letting the girls fall asleep in the can lose a whole nap out of the deal! Eek!

Potty Training
I am making our first real attempt at potty training on Saturday. I feel relatively prepared with two potty chairs (naturally), long sleeved tshirts and leg warmers (so no need for pants), pull on diapers (just in case I decide to go this route vs. letting them run around naked), and lots of tasty treats (for bribery - lol).

They are very interested in the potty chairs, but they have no understanding whatsoever of their intended purpose. At this point they want to stand in them and on them. I actually took them away last week and hid them underneath a desk in the spare bedroom so they weren't tempted to play with them. I don't know if that was the right thing to do, but I didn't want them to get into the habit of thinking that it was okay to play with them instead of use them for potty!

So...wish us luck! We are prepared for a total fail, but it would be cool if that isn't what happened. I have no desire to have three kiddos in diapers at the same time, so we shall see! =)

"Baby C"
I haven't given an update on Baby C, aka Little Man, recently so here goes! I am 23 weeks along this week (I know, I know, you want pictures! Patience! They are coming!), and little man is growing nicely. When I was into the OB on February 2nd, he was weighing in at about 1 lb. Right on track for where he should be. I have to say that I find this just a smidge funny...the girls were always measuring ahead, ALWAYS, and now I have this "average" sized little boy inside! HA! So I am going to have massive little girls, and an average sized little boy...go figure!

I think for the first 20 weeks or so of pregnancy, I didn't feel or appear all that much different than I did with the girls. Sure, with the girls I was sicker, and for longer, but really, up until 20 weeks that was the only difference. Then, after 20 weeks with the girls my tummy really started to blossom and I really looked pregnant. With this little guy, I look pregnant, but I feel like I have been just about the same size for the last couple of weeks. No growing by leaps and bounds here. I think from this point forward, this may be the biggest difference between my twin and singelton pregnancies.

Here is a current picture of me - 23 weeks with Baby C -

And here is me at 23 weeks pregnant with the girls...I think I looked bigger with the girls, right?

Strangely enough, I am having some high blood pressure issues already with this little man (concerning to me since I had Pre-E with the girls and I know what to watch for, and this is happening WAY earlier than it did with my twin pregnancy), but the OB's PA doesn't seem too incredibly concerned at this point. I am anxious to see what the OB thinks. They did some blood work Thursday last week and I had to do the icky 24 hour urine on Friday "to get a baseline" and to make sure that everything looks okay that way at this point...I should find the results from those tests out tomorrow when I see my OB. Little man looks great of it's just me and my defective body that's throwing a fit already! HA!

Okay, so that's all I know peeps. Happy Monday! I hope you are having a great start to your week!

Until next time-

Monday, February 6, 2012

"Clean Painting"

Clean painting was a Pintrest idea, discovered by our wonderful Nanny Extraordinaire,in which the girls were 100% able to do at their current age and developmental state.

I have tried to work with the girls on coloring. Really I have. But they are much more interested in trying to eat the crayons than color with them. What am I doing wrong?! We were looking for other crafty or creative ideas that we could do that would be non-hazardous to the girls (or not change their poop colors - lol), should they choose to eat it.

Welcome to "Clean Painting"
Easiest. Concept. Ever.

What you need:
One clean paint brush per child
Colored construction paper
One small container of water per child

We stuck the girls in their highchairs, taped a piece of construction paper to the highchair tray, put a little bit of water in each of the drink holders on the highchair trays, and handed each girl a paintbrush.

When the construction paper gets wet, it changes a different shade of the same color (darker). The girls thought this was very cool.

If they try to eat the paintbrush, well, it's a clean paintbrush with water on it. Won't hurt a fly!

Clean up? 5 seconds. SCORE!

The only negative to this activity?
If you are into saving the crafty creations that your children make, you are out of luck here. When the paper dries it looks like a normal piece of construction paper that maybe got a little wet...probably not refrigerator material. But the kids enjoy it, and to me, that's all that matters right now!

We have lots of other ideas from Pintrest and Julia from Pontifications of a Twin Mom to try too! We will post as we go! Hopefully the girls love some of these ideas!

Until next time -

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The snow, the snow!

We are currently experiencing our second real snow fall of the season. The girls have been mesmerized watching out the living room window as the snow has fallen and blanketed the cars, the grass, and the trees.

Naturally, we decided to bundle everyone up (pugs included!) to go outside to play in the snow. It's wet, heavy snow, perfect for snowmen and snowball fights.

We lasted all of about 10 minutes...

Livvy loved it...

Bri was obsessed with trying to catch snowflakes in her mouth...

The pugs decided that they were freezing and would much rather be

Glad we are getting good use out of our snowsuits...finally! =)

Until next time -