Sunday, February 27, 2011

Swinging into Spring!

We're all so excited that the cold has gone away and we can enjoy the outdoors now! Lately, every afternoon, I spread out a beach towel in the backyard and dump a bunch of toys and just let the girls play around in the grass and have a great time. They love watching the birds fly overhead and hear all the outdoors noises - dogs barking, traffic rushing, birds singing, and the occasional airplane that we'll hear flying over the area.

Caroline loves throwing her toys in the grass and scooting around to get them. She just gets so excited about the little things - it makes ME so excited about showing her all the sights and sounds.

I can't have much more fun than this!

Claire loves reaching and grabbing for things - this time it's the cord hanging off the camera.

I love sitting outside!

Here Mom, this one's for you!

Now that the girls are scooting around more quickly, they inevitably end up right next to each other, which does not always end so happily. Caroline has been a "toy snatcher" from day one, but if Claire doesn't have a toy, she will just grab Claire's hand or clothes and make a determined face and hold on (this definitely does not make Claire's list of her favorite things). I'm having to watch them much more closely now so that they "play nicely."
See, that's a flower!

Even Daddy joined in the fun today and helped Mommy so that she could make dinner! Thank you, Daddy, for helping so much and knowing exactly when to give Mommy a little break!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Road Trip!

Armed with our two pack and plays (one hand-me-down, one bought off craigslist), two duffel bags of clothes and toys, the double stroller, and a whole lot more, we headed to San Antonio this weekend to visit a few friends and some family. We are hoping to take a few short trips this spring since the girls are a little older and can ride in the car for a bit longer now, so this was the first one this spring. We like driving to San Antonio to visit because it's not too far with little ones in tow, and there are many people to see there that we know and love!

Our first stop was to visit my best friend Jentry and her family. Her son, Jack, is three, and was also born in January, so he's exactly two years older than the twins. He brought the twins all kinds of toys to play with and talked to them all the time. They LOVED him and were just enthralled with him the whole time. Claire was just beside herself that she got to spend so much time with her new (boy)friend!

Claire is mesmerized by her "Superman" Jack!

Our new best friend! Watching a little Scooby Doo together.

The car ride went well overall - we did endure a bit of choral screaming before the girls nodded off, but they did a great job and loved riding in their new "big girl" car seats! Caroline is just chillin' in her seat...

At one point, she took her sock off and began sucking on it, and when I turned around to check on her, she was starting to nod off, with the sock in her mouth!

An hour later, sound asleep, still with the a new meaning to, "Stuff a sock in it!"

Claire loves riding in her seat and anytime we go in the car now, as soon as I open the door and show her the car seat, she grins and reaches for it. I think she would be happy sitting in it all day long!

She, too, discovered her sock and is examining it a little more closely here.

Not sure what it is, but those socks sure are tasty! (And yes, both of them still love flapping their arms wildly!)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

On The Go...

Lately, the girls seem to prefer "scooting" as their method of transportation, and love to get off the rug onto the tile so they can move more quickly. However, this does not make Mommy so excited because that tile is HARD and does not give if they happen to fall back or forward. So, it's a constant watching game, and they aren't even walking and bumping into things yet.

Caroline is just a very content baby; she is happy to stay in one place for a while as long as she has her toys.
She loves her blocks and "talks" to them and her favorite game is to throw them on the tile and then scoot on her rear to go get them.

I think she's content to let others move for her right now...we're working with her and encouraging her as much as we can to walk, but I guess she will get there at her own pace.

Just this week, Claire is getting much closer to crawling and can rock on her hands and knees now. She practices it all the time now and I have to watch her because she face plants constantly. This morning, she was face down in her crib, lying perpendicular with her face in the bumper - not a great position to be stuck in!

She loves standing and holding onto the coffee table, and has just begun to slowly make her way around the side of it, step by step.

For a few weeks now, Claire has been getting faster and stronger while she holds our hands and walks, so I thought I would try to get the walker out and see how she did with that. She was a little unsteady and fell a few times, but she was able to understand the concept of pushing and walking and she was able to push it all by herself for the first time!

Watch out everybody; here I come!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Dinner Time = Fun Time!

The girls are doing a great job of feeding themselves (finally!) all kinds of foods - last night we had a smorgasbord of fruit - blueberries, strawberries, and grapes. I'm so excited about the upcoming spring and summer fruit season - so many great choices to give the girls! During dinner, the girls have a really fun time, but they do a good job of still eating and behaving well, so a little fun never hurt anyone!

Claire's latest "thing" is that she makes fists with her hands and starts madly waving her arms up and down...basically she looks like a bird about to take off. If you mirror her and wave your arms too, she loves that and it makes her wave them faster. She also shuts her eyes when I take pictures now, so she looks like she is concentrating on something here in this picture:

Wait a minute! There's something in my bib!

Back to the flapping...
Taking a break from all the flying to eat a blueberry...

And back to's just too much fun!

Come on, everyone join in!

Caroline usually watches Claire in amusement, but as soon as Claire starts flapping, Caroline bobs her head up and down really quickly, but it was kind of hard to get a picture of that!

Dinnertime is just TOO much fun!

All this laughing has done me in!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Meeting our New Cousin

On little Emma Kate's three-week birthday, we got all the cousins together for a play date! Well, Emma Kate just slept in my arms, but the twins sure were excited to meet their new cousin! Actually, they seemed pretty oblivious to her, and only really looked at her when she made little grunting noises. Claire just stared at me like, "Wait, I'm the baby here!"

Caroline was just obsessed with Emma Kate's basket and that kept her busy the whole time...Claire showed off her walking skills with Aunt Cassie, while I held Emma Kate!

At the rate the twins are going, I guess they'll be walking by the time Emma Kate can interact, so that should be perfect timing! They can teach EKG all the ropes and she'll have two instant playmates and cousins! Only one year and ten days apart - can't beat that!

Looking forward to many more play dates in the coming months!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Little Scooters

Happy 13 months! The girls are doing really well and are finally moving around - mostly scooting around or pushing themselves around backwards, but it's at a slow pace. In our den, we have a rug that I usually start them out on, but I'll turn my back for just a few minutes and they have already moved to the tile. They love throwing their toys onto the tile and then going to get them.

Caroline especially loves her baby. She knows the word now and when I ask her to get it, she will. She also loves the game, "Give it to me." Both she and Claire will put whatever item they are holding into my palm when I say, "Give it to me," and they grin really big and think it's so much fun.
Caroline has also discovered how to open the TV stand door, a trick that is not so cute. Their play kitchen has an oven door that says, "Open" or "Close" depending on what you do, so she loves opening and closing doors of any type now. The play kitchen also has an "On" and "Off" water spout, so as soon as I sit her up on the counter to brush her teeth, she turns the water on.

She says, "Bop" or "Bob" a lot, as well as "Dada" or "Dap." She doesn't seem in any hurry to start walking yet, but she can stand well on her own while holding onto a surface. She does like to "crawl" on her stomach now, basically pushing herself around backwards on the floor, and she grins when I ask her if she wants to crawl.

Claire, on the other hand, loves walking around with help. She can bounce up and down while she is standing and holding onto something, and she's getting faster and more sturdy while she walks and I hold her hands. She is not interested in crawling at all and cries if I put her on her stomach. I think she will just skip that phase altogether and just start walking.
She's very expressive and gets really excited about little things. We have discovered, and other nursery workers have told us, that she loves when we (or others) sing to her. She gets a big grin on her face and sometimes tilts her head and looks "bashful," but she just lights up and thinks that is the best thing ever.

Claire loves to try to keep up with Jack, and she will scoot on the floor to try to reach him. I can tell she wants to move around so badly, but just hasn't quite figured out how to do that on her own yet.
Claire's favorite word is "Boots." She says it all the time and laughs when we say it back to her. I guess she is a Texas girl after all!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

New piano...$5000; Family piano - priceless

Growing up, I took years upon years of piano lessons - I stuck with it not only because my parents wanted me to, but I also have a hard time quitting something once I've started. Call it stubborness or perseverance, but either way, it can be a good trait in most situations, but can also land me in some trouble if I don't know when to say when. In any case, sticking with piano lessons was one decision I'm glad I made - through the years it's come in handy when I want to just relieve some stress, entertain family, or play songs on Christmas morning. In highschool, one time I even played at a neighbor's Christmas party and earned a little extra spending money!

Over the last few months, since Paul and I have moved into our house and actually have room for a piano, we had talked on and off about buying a used one to use in the house. I really want the girls to grow up around music, and even though I can't play by ear and am not a professional by any means, at least they can discover music in this way and see how much value there is in being able to play an instrument.

When I mentioned buying a piano to my Mom the other day, she actually offered our family's upright piano to us. This piano is very special to me for many reasons: it was actually my Grandma's piano that she passed on to my Mom, but most of all, it was the piano I learned to play on and spent probably thousands of hours practicing while growing up. So to inherit this piano is more than amazing to me - it probably ranks up there with getting an engagement ring or buying our first house. It also means that this is the first time since I was 17 years old (not really saying how long ago that was!) that I will have a piano under the same roof where I'm living, and can play any old time I want!

We placed the piano in our front room, so you can see it from the front door and it will always be directly across from where we put our Christmas tree, so there couldn't have been a better spot for the piano. It even matched our wood floors perfectly, so it was like it was meant to be!

On top of the piano, I have framed one of my all-time favorite's of my Dad at this very same piano, holding my sister Cassie on his lap, while I'm sitting next to him watching him play. I don't remember him playing at all, so maybe he was just playing chopsticks or something, but this picture is priceless and now it is in its proper place atop the very piano where we all sat over 30 years ago.

Hopefully, one day one of the girls will want this piano and I will be able to pass it along to them as my Mom did for me. These kinds of family heirlooms are priceless and could never be valued at a particular cost - just the treasure of so many memories and moments through the years.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Our First Photo Shoot!

Just a week ago, we took our first "real" family portraits with a photographer, and we were very pleased with the results! She suggested a little park in West University area called "Helen's Park," which I highly recommend. It's a small space, but it has a really pretty waterfall, bridge, overhead wooden roof structure with greenery, and my favorite, the wooden arch door with the ivy wall. It's a perfect spot for traditional pictures with options for some creativity as well. Apparently, in spring, the entire park is covered in flowers, so we'll be heading back there soon once the weather warms up.

The day of the photo shoot was picture-perfect weather, with the exception of one little detail: it was about 40 degrees outside and I had bought a little three-quarter sleeve shirt for the girls to wear, so we did the best we could and just wrapped them in blankets in between poses. Also, the shoot was scheduled right during their morning naptime (but when is it NOT naptime?), so they hung in there for a good 30 minutes before melting down. Overall, I was super pleased with the pictures and the backgrounds and hope to use her again next year!

I've included just a few of my favorite pictures from last Saturday:

LOVE these: the wooden door was my favorite!!

My favorite family picture:
Caroline waiting patiently while Mommy and Daddy got their pictures made:

Poor little Claire needed a nap right about now!

Paul and I haven't had professional pictures taken of us since our WEDDING, almost four years ago, so it was about time!

Overall, I was very pleased to have gotten several "framers" from the session, and look forward to next year's shoot in much warmer weather!