Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Twins Turn Two!

Matthew and Claire are 2!  Time flies!  They seem more and more grown up all the time and it amazes us how much they have learned over the last two years. 

Matthew is very observant and very sweet.  He talks quite a bit and is pretty good at putting sentences together.  He loves cars, trucks, tractors, airplanes, light switches and anything else mechanical.  His very favorite things right now are trains.  He has a couple toy trains that he likes to push around and make choo-choo noises with.  He's very sweet to his sisters and will hand them a toy or blankie if he thinks they need it. 

Claire is very determined and very charming.  She loves to "be cozy" with her blankies.  She likes to play cars with Matthew but also enjoys playing with her play kitchen and her dolls.  She loves to give hugs and will ask for them.  Her favorite toy right now is her stuffed reindeer, which she sleeps with every night.  She likes to play ring around the rosie and can sing most of "Frosty the Snowman".  Claire is very good at getting her point across and can put together all kinds of sentences.

I took the kids to their 2 year well-baby check-up and Jeremy stayed home with Cate.  They did very well and the Dr said they're right on schedule.  Matthew weighed 27 lbs and was 35" tall.  Claire weight 23 lbs 15oz and was 34" tall.  They only had one shot this time and it wasn't too traumatic for anyone.  Matthew cried a little bit, Claire didn't cry at all. 

We had a small birthday party at the house for them.  We were glad to have some of our friends and family come over for pizza and an ice cream cake.  The kids had a great time and received some new toys that they were very excited about. 

And for comparison....
 Matthew on 12/16/2008
 Matthew on 12/16/2009
Matthew on 12/16/2010
 Claire on 12/16/2008
 Claire on 12/16/2009
Claire on 12/16/2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Have it! Want it! Reach it! By: Claire

I’ve been telling Jeremy I need to write a blog post with that title because we’ve been having so much fun with the kids’ expanding vocabularies.  They are both very good at using word to get their point across (to us and each other).  I think our favorite lately is Claire’s method of asking for something:
Claire (pointing to my hair brush): “Have it?"                            
Me: “You can have it after I finish doing my hair”
Claire (now trying to grab the brush): “Have it. Brush. Have it” (pause)“Reeeeeeeeeaaaaaaach it” (like she’s stretching for the brush)                                                                                                                                                                             
Me: “Here you go, I’m done” 
Claire: “Mama all done.  Have it”
I can’t do it justice just writing it out so I’ll have to try and get a video but she’s a riot!
As I was leaving for work the other morning Claire says to me: “Reach it, Mama, Hug, Reach it!”  She wanted to give me a hug before I left, makes it hard to leave them all day!
My favorite Matthew line is “Thank you”.  He really understands 'Thank you' and 'You’re welcome' and uses them in the right context. 
Matthew (holding up his foot): “Boo boo” 
Me: “Do you have a boo boo? Let me kiss it” 
I lean down and kiss his toe.  
Matthew: “Thanks, Mama!”

He also will stand on a lid to a box or a book like it’s a stage and say “Thank you, Thank you” while turning from side to side and bowing.  Where did he learn that???
They are both also learning to sing some songs.  You can tell which ones are their favorite because we hear those most often. 
Matthew’s favorite (by far) is ‘Wheels on the Bus’.  He will sing along if you sing it to him and do all the arm motions (wipers, wheels, etc).  If you forget a verse he reminds you and when he’s finally satisfied that you’ve gone through the whole song he’ll clap and yell “yeah!!!”  A close second for Matthew is ‘Itsy Bitsy Spider’
Claire’s really into the Christmas songs.  She loves Frosty the Snowman.  She looks for Frosty on peoples’ lawns when we’re driving, she sings the Frosty song, she points to the snowman ornaments on the tree and she now even owns her very own Frosty doll.  She can sing at least 2 lines of ‘Frosty the Snowman’.  She also likes Jingle Bells.  Sometimes she mushes more than one song together!
I know they’ve both said a few other cute things but I’m drawing a blank right now, more vocab updates to follow….

The Twins versus The Christmas Tree

So we put up the Christmas Tree!!!  Jeremy was nervous.  “What are we going to do if they touch it?”  “Will they leave it alone?”  And, for once, I wasn’t worried.  “I’ll just only put out ornaments I’m not really attached to and we’ll put the unbreakable ones down low, it will be fine”.  Famous last words! Usually I’m the ones planning out the logistics and worrying about details, not Jeremy.  So we commenced putting up the tree.  We decided to stick with the fake tree for another year since, at 2, the twins really don’t “get” the whole Christmas thing just yet.  So we assembled the tree, strung up the lights and got started on the ornaments.  Here’s a few photos of the tree assembly:
Yes, the flashlight is necessary when putting up a tree.

 They were very serious about handing me the pieces.

 Claire decided Cate needed to be decorated as well.
 Matthew was helping Jeremy with the lights.

Cate checking out one of the bulbs.  Hey, where's the dog going?

Once the tree was up, it was naptime.  Normally the kids are great about going up stairs for a nap, not once that tree was up!  They just wanted to skip naps and stare at it ;)
So they napped for about 2 hours and then they were back up.  That’s when the trouble started.  They were stalking the tree.  Going from side to side pointing out all the ornaments, touching, pulling, you get the idea.  We kept telling him it was just to look at but who are we kidding?  They’re two!  So we were in the other room when we heard it.  The huge “crash” and then nothing.  I went running in the living room to find Claire scampering away from the tree and Matthew trapped underneath it.  Matthew started to cry but he was fine.  Once Jeremy got the tree straightened back up and Matthew saw us laughing he started laughing, too, I held him for a minute and he was back to playing.  I’m pretty sure Matthew’s clothes got caught on a branch or an ornament and when he tried to walk away so did the tree ;)  So, I lost one ornament during the incident (to which I wasn’t super-attached) and the tree now leans to one side but it’s not a big deal.  So the tree was up for 3 hours (2 of which the twins were napping) before it went tumbling down….the first time.
Fast-forward a day to Sunday night, the kids are again “playing” near the tree.  Not sure how it happened (I was standing right there) but somehow Claire pulled the tree over this time and got caught underneath.  She was pretty upset by it and took some consoling but she was unhurt.  This time I lost 2 ornaments (one of which I was attached to), but at least no one got hurt.
Soooooooooo, now, the tree has been up-righted and mostly put back together (the angel won’t stay on the top).  But, this time, I’ve added a safety feature: a gate around the bottom.  The kids can reach over the gate and “see” (which in two-year-old language means touch, feel, pull, you get the idea) all the ornaments but if it happens to topple again the gate should catch it. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Why Going to Kroger Can Be A Challenge....

Well, if you know me, you know I put up with a lot from strangers (or anyone really) before I'll say something. So given that, here's my latest adventure at Kroger:

Last Monday night I took Matthew, Claire and Cate to Kroger.  We needed groceries in a bad way and Jeremy was working, so I couldn't avoid the trip.  So I ran through my prep list: Cate fed and content? check; M&C had dinner and are not hungry? check; list for making the trip more speedy? check; hats on, coats on, shoes on? check; Kroger cart with the car and steering wheels on the front for maximum twin entertainment? check.  The twins were buckled into the front car on the cart, Cate was in her infant carrier on the top of the cart and we were ready to take on the Kroger along with all the strange and maybe even sympathetic? looks and comments we were about to get.

My usual M.O. in the grocery store is: walk fast, keep talking to the kids, grab things while keeping the cart moving and DON'T make eye-contact with anyone!  Well, we made it through the entire shopping part of the store with minimal incidents.  (There was one little squabble somewhere around the soap aisle, but it was cleared up quickly).  As I approached the checkout lanes I did my usual quick scan of the "car" where the twins were sitting, checking for any items that they may have picked up while we were shopping.  (As a sidenote, I have learned to do this quick check of the car because in the past we have "stolen" items from Kroger this way.  I have had to return batteries, cookies and a box of instant potatoes because they had grabbed the items and put them in the car and I didn't notice until we got to the van.  But, I digress).

So back to this particular trip.  We were now up to the checkstands which all had lines that stretched down the aisles of the store so I chose to do the self-scan.  What would make a Mother of 3 kids under the age of 2 ever, ever, ever choose the self-scan you ask?  Well, I thought it would be quicker and they were behaving.  So I begin to scan my items, we didn't have a full cart just some necessities.  As soon as I start scanning, Cate starts crying (and for those of you that know Cate she never cries but when she does, LOOK OUT!) and Claire starts trying to take the grocery bags off the bag carousel.  So, picture this: I'm frantically scanning with one hand, putting Cate's pacifier back in with the other hand and pushing the front of the cart away from the bag carousel with my foot.  Whew.  I can feel people watching me, but this is nothing new.  After all, I have 3 kids under 2 in the grocery store by myself.

So most people that witnessing pandemonium such as this would just leave this clearly crazy nice lady with 3 kids alone.    But, there's always that one totally oblivious, curious moron person that has to ask questions and make stupid comments while I'm clearly frazzled.  So this lady (I'm pretty sure she was the Kroger front-end manager but I didn't have time to ask - note: sarcasm) approaches me and my circus and starts cooing at Cate, who stops crying for a minute and looks at her and then bursts into tears and cries even louder.  Then, she moves onto the twins.  (Does she really want to get all 3 of them crying???)  She's talking to them and she gives them a sticker (without my permission mind you) which they both immediately put in their mouths.  So now, I have to stop what I'm doing and remove the gooey, sticky messes out of their mouths that they've both managed to create within a matter of 25 seconds.  Thanks lady, you're a big help.  Now, she begins with the standard questions.  (Mind you I didn't stop scanning through this entire line of questioning)

Lady: You have twins? Me: Yes.
Lady: And another one? Me: Yes.
Lady: How old? Me: Twins are 2, baby's 4 months. 
Lady: Wow, what a handful!  Me: Yes, it can be but I'm lucky to have all of them. 
Now, she stops and looks at me and here comes the best part:
Lady: I have 2 daughters that are now in their twenties, I had them 15 months apart.  That's harder than twins!  At this point I stop frantically scanning and just stare at her.  Now, normally I wouldn't say anything but I couldn't help it. 
Me: "Really, you think that having 2 kids 15 months apart is harder than having 2 kids the exact same age and 1 kid 18 months younger than them?"  She just laughs and walks away like she didn't hear me.  (She was probably thinking: What a snot!  but I didn't care!!!)  Meanwhile, people at the other self scans are rolling on the floor.  Laugh it up, people!!!  Soooooooo, I finish my scanning, pay for things and load everyone and the groceries into the van and head home.  And that is why grocery shopping is one of my hardest tasks!!!!

As another sidenote, Jeremy also ventures to the Kroger on occasion solo with all 3 during the day while I'm at work.  People ask him where his wife is!!! Ha! Hey, it gives us funny stories to compare!