Snow Day!

We had our first snow day today. In fact, it actually rained, but I’m not complaining. I had a relaxing day off from work, at home with the twins. It seemed like the perfect day to try out various indoor cheap activities I’ve been so interested in. When the natives started getting restless at about 8:00 in the morning, we got right to it:

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First, I cut out a few hearts and placed them in two ziplock bags with some paint. After sealing it shut and getting all the air out, I let the twins go to town squishing the paint around inside the bags. B even did a bit of driving on his bag with his cars.

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Unfortunately, this activity didn’t last long. For one thing, I didn’t have any thicker paper or cardstock, so I had to use computer paper, which was too flimsy and therefore ripped.

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More than that though, the twins were obsessed with the paint and C was upset that she couldn’t open the bag and get her hands on some bright colors. So I dug through our “busy bag” bin (more on that in another post) and found the markers. This hit the spot: the twins loved coloring on paper plates.

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I couldn’t uncap the markers fast enough. C really enjoyed dotting her plate as she does with her spoon when she eats yogurt. B though figured out what I was doing with the caps and desperately wanted to try it himself. This involved lots of marker all over him as he grabbed both ends of the marker. So this activity lasted a bit longer than the last one, but no more than 10 minutes. Two activities already and it was only 8:30!

While I cleaned up the kitchen from the first two activities, I gave B and C two brooms and encouraged them to push and “sweep” a few more paper plates around the floor. After switching their brooms a few times, they had a good time with this one as well.

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Then we found a spider. Now, I don’t do spiders. But I’m attempting to be a good role model and not stamp my feet and throw a fit when I see a bug. So I allowed it to crawl around the floor as we sang “The itsy bitsy spider”.

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The babies loved the spider and waved to it many times. We continued with our day, taking a break so I could browse Pinterest for some quick ideas for what to do next. I found a lot that involved some pre-activity work from me, which was time I didn’t have.

So instead, I used a free resource that we had on hand – snow. Being that it was cold, raining, and the babies are recovering from bronchitis (B) and a double ear infection (C), we weren’t going outside. So I brought the snow to them. After laying down a few towels and gathering up lots of measuring spoons, cups, and other items, we explored a snow sensory bucket right on the kitchen floor (also the home to our spaghetti bin party).

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This was the hit of the morning. C enjoyed many tastes, and B intently sat there for a good twenty minutes, maybe even a half hour, just digging and stirring and transferring snow from bin to cup. He really enjoyed this. The dogs got a little crazy, but in my house that’s nothing out of the ordinary.

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When C got bored, she wandered the kitchen and played a bit with another super easy and cheap activity for toddlers: a paper towel tube and pom-poms. She plays with this one often actually.

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Speaking of pom-poms, I can’t say enough about all the things you can do with them! They come in all sizes, which is nice. For the most part, I limit my twins to the medium and large sized pom-poms as they still put a lot in their mouths. But really, the possibilities are endless.

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The morning was really nice. Not relaxing, but then I doubt I’ll have another relaxing day for quite a while. After the nap (which was only an hour), I felt myself running out of steam. We played a lot with our toys and then the bickering started. Time to venture out of the house! The day capped off with two meltdowns at dinner (one from each, and not at the same time), and a giant poop in the tub. There’s nothing like evacuating a tub full of poop with two toddlers in it. All in all though, a successful snow day! Back to work tomorrow…

Rewarding and exhausting.

Well, the twins are a week or so away from being a year and a half old. And they are certainly acting like it! So many amazing things are happening with this age group, and yet the challenges are just as numerous. I was under the impression initially that having twins gets easier. The management of having two babies does get easier, in a sense. I strap them both in at the table and put food on both their plates and they (sometimes) eat. I scoop them both up and bring them up or down the stairs together, or if I’m feeling extra patient, will let them take a few stairs (which takes about 17 hours). They bathe together, they play fight together. And they understand so much more – in fact, I’d say they understand almost everything we say to them. Even if they don’t have all the words to express what they want to say, I can say, “Go find Daddy in the bathroom; it’s time for your bath.” A few steps will be taken until they realize what they’re going in the bathroom for, and then the chorus of “no, no, no, NO” will begin. Or I’ll say, “Please pick up the dog bone. It’s over there, behind you. It goes in the basket. Put it in the basket please!” One toddler, in my opinion, would be challenging. Especially a toddler like B. Therefore, two toddlers is doubly as challenging.

I’m admitting here that I’ve recently googled “18 month old temper tantrums”. C does not throw them. B throws them. Granted, being hungry, tired, or sick has only made it worse, but that boy really knows how to be upset. And that for me is sometimes a challenge. Meals right now are a shot in the dark – it’s anyone’s guess whether either baby will eat what I make for them. Tonight they had a simple turkey “quesadilla” and a sweet potato for dinner. Surprisingly, C refused the sweet potato but ate almost the whole quesadilla, and B refused the quesadilla and yes, ate the whole sweet potato. I really just never know. They’re stuck in a food rut of rotating between rice, pasta and quinoa and whatever I put on them – their favorites are tacos, minestrone soup, or “fried” rice flavors (soy and sesame sauce, etc). But heaven forbid they eat a piece of meatloaf or chicken! The constants that I can count on them always eating however are their veggies (peas and green beans…so hot right now) and their afternoon smoothie (with fruit and spinach). So if they drink their milk, drink the smoothie, and eat their veggies, I at least feel good about them getting a little nutrition. But it’s frustrating sometimes. And now, at this age, if the food isn’t what they want, they cry and pull at their straps and say “NO”, and “DOWN”, and “ALL DONE” and the meal is over. They’re very headstrong to say the least.

B has seemed to enter another Wonder Week – which I never would’ve bought into if it weren’t true EVERY TIME. He seems to be more sensitive to his growing brain than C is. He continues to want everything he can’t have. He is passionate about everything, so a million times a day, he’s either super excited and happy or super devastated that he can’t have/do what he wants. His meltdowns have been a daily event. His sleep hasn’t been good either – he is taking one nap, but it’s only 30-60 minutes long. All day. That just won’t do – he’s not rested and he’s crying and fussy. So I’m chalking it up to a Wonder “Week” plus a bout with roseola that lasted a week and now a nasty cold.

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C doesn’t have meltdowns and she doesn’t bite or hit, thankfully. But she’s no shy, gentle little thing. She’s got sass, she’s feisty, she’s super opinionated. “No” is definitely her favorite word and at this point, it’s still cute to watch her little lips form the word. I know it won’t always be cute when she’s screaming it at me.

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Independence is something the twins are craving and my husband and I are very supportive of. It’s hard, with twins, to give them more independence because it’s hard to keep an eye on both of them at the same time. It’s easier for ME to have them do and play with what I want them to, because I can keep them in one space together. But when we are able to give them more independence, we do. C is starting to tell me she’s wet in her cloth diapers, which seems like a step in the right direction. B wants to have his diaper put on while he’s standing up. They want to feed the dogs, which is challenging with two toddlers. They want to turn the TV on, climb the stairs, turn on the lights, pick out their clothes empty out their drawers, etc. And that’s great and wonderful because that’s what toddlers are SUPPOSED to do – it’s just SO extremely exhausting for me. But oh well, that’s just how it’s going to be. I’ve got future blog posts in the works regarding a few “crafts” to help with independence, including buckle pillows, zipper boards, and my amazing husband is in the process of building two “learning towers”. Big things are happening in this house!

And with all the challenges and the absolutely knock-you-down exhaustion comes so many rewarding things. Their language is absolutely taking off. What was a “mo-mo” (monkey), is now “muckey”. C put two words together for the first time the other day – “Hat OFF”. They know almost the whole alphabet and can count to 10. They do “ring around the rosie”, “If you’re happy and you know it” and they know all the body parts that get washed in a tub. I know these are things all children do and so in one sense, it’s just the next step. But it’s just so cool to watch the change happen, because it happens REALLY quickly. Much faster than I would’ve thought.

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12 Days of Christmas

One month later and I’m here again. Blogging comes in waves for me. I’m always ready to talk and share about things that are happening in my house and life, but sometimes I don’t feel like I know exactly how to say it in this format. Then, I go through my emails and read all of your blogs and am inspired to play catch up, again. Many of you have children the same age as mine, and many of you also have twins. So it’s nice to see that my house isn’t the only one full of sometimes-controlled chaos.

Last year, the twins were just 5.5 months on Christmas, so they gummed their way around their very few gifts and we called it a day.

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This year was vastly different, and in a very good way. For the first time, I really became aware of how fun it is to watch children experience Christmas. The kids loved opening their presents and ripping the paper. They loved “ooh”ing and “ahh”ing over whatever they found when they got the paper off, and then shrieking until Daddy cut open the box and assembled whatever it was. They liked our tree, our ornaments, their stockings. It was a lot of fun. They started to learn about Santa, and learned that he says “Ho, ho, ho”, but they treated it just like another animal who makes a sound. That’s about the extent of their Christmas knowledge for this year, and I’m okay with that. This year, at 17 months, their Christmas pictures looked more like this:

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On Christmas Day, they crept over to the tree and checked out the packages (the first picture). But then they had breakfast and we hustled over to my mother’s house (the other pictures) for presents to be home before naptime. After nap, they ate lunch and we shuttled over to my in-laws for Christmas dinner. When we got home, it was baths and bed. So on that day, the babies never opened the presents under our tree (my husband and I exchanged our gifts at naptime haha). But that night, as I began the tedious process of sorting old toys with new toys, toys to keep, toys to hide, toys to sell, etc. I realized that the amount of presents and new toys they got that day were certainly enough to last them a while. Why rush the opening process? They wanted to play with each toy they got. Why make them leave a good thing? On the second day of Christmas, B got curious and they opened their stockings and enjoyed some downtime with their gifts.

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And today, the third day after Christmas, they opened the last few from us.

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In fact, there’s still one more; a toddler-sized acoustic guitar to match the one that Grandpa has. And that will be saved for some day sometime soon when it would be fun to open just one more thing. Babies don’t need much – family was more than generous in what they gave to the twins. They can take their time getting around to playing with them.

As I mentioned earlier, my new task is TOY STORAGE. I want to rotate toys but we have no space. So for now I’ve basically taken out most of the toys they were playing with before Christmas and stuffed them in a closet. I’ve filled the space back up with most of their new toys, and even took a few more new toys and hid them as well. What was once squishy blocks and soft mobile animals is now trucks, cars, puzzles, letter and numbers. It was a very nice holiday for all of us!