Thursday, December 30, 2010

..and it snowed..

Grammy and Grampapa were particularly excited because this was their very first experience with this much snow. Such a treat.

Nana and Papa even braved the snowy roads to come have lunch and play with everyone.

Daddy made one of his famous igloos.

Grammy made her first snow man.

Then Daddy helped our neighbor make an even bigger igloo.

Yeah, those are socks on her hands.

..good times.

It was Christmas

Mary, Larry and David all joined us for Christmas again this year - which was awesome as usual.

There were lots of hugs and overwhelmed two year olds on Christmas morning.

One of the favorite gifts - lacing beads. Ada and Margot mastered them right away.. they sure have a lot of Shingler blood in their veins.

Another super awesome favorite SURPRISE GIFT came all the way from Seattle. THE most amazing box of art supplies EVER. We can not WAIT to dig into it!!!

Grammy made us the cutest aprons on the planet.

Another mega favorite gift was a giant Strawberry Lip Smackers chapstick.

Ada made sure to moisturize her chin as well with each application.

Yet ANOTHER favorite gift was a stamp set of baby animals.

Anything hands on and creative is a big hit in this house. Or physical.. they got jump ropes too and have been hopping around the house ever since... they hopped as frogs and bunnies before.. now they have a clear purpose.

Christmas was a wonderful day. We enjoyed lots of good food the whole time we were together.. Grammy made her traditional cinnamon rolls and the most perfect sugar cookies (from great grandmother Shingler's family recipe). I wish I could just go on and on about what an amazing time we all had.. I mean I could.. but there was another side to this lovely holiday. It came in the form of the stomach flu. Holy Lord. Why the heck did we have to get the stomach flu at Christmas?! It struck Margot in the middle of the night Thursday.. then Stephen fell on Christmas Eve.. Christmas day was all good.. then Sunday afternoon it took David .. and I fell victim Sunday night while listening to David attempt to dislodge his liver on the other side of the wall.. mine came with a migraine and took me out for two days.. I didn't even get to hug everyone goodbye Tuesday morning. Sigh. SO.. while Christmas had it's magical moments.. even full days (Stephen and I even got to go on a date one day to lunch and a movie... Black Swan in case you are interested).. it was also filled with a lot of.. well.. sick.. lots of sick and lots of cleaning. Mary is my hero. She cleaned and cleaned and cleaned bathrooms, sinks... did laundry.. did everything really.. she and Stephen and Larry.. and I am sure David helped too.. and so did I for that matter when I was able.. sheesh. I sort of hate to admit it but I am really glad to see Christmas go this year. Ready to put it all behind us and start fresh with the New Year. The biggest thing I am thankful for is that we have the sort of family that can stay in the same (tiny) house for over a week and listen to each other get sick and clean up after each other and keep our sense of humor and still be looking forward to the next visit. Pretty stinkin' amazing.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A whole new world

Before I get into how potty training went today, here is a glimpse of genes in action. My genes to be exact. Margot has inherited several of my little quirks, most having to do with being a little on the OCD side. This more recent development is a little more unique.. but originated with me all the same. We have to literally force her to bite down and eat anything that is sweet (this includes her daily Flintstones vitamin). She wants to save it and make it last. When I was a kid, I would hold candy in my mouth until it melted to nothing (gross, yes.. I no longer do this). Margot prefers to "leek it".

So today was day two of potty training the girls and man, what a difference a day makes. We were going to wake them up an hour early to go potty (as my books suggests for kids who aren't staying dry though the night when they start potty training) but we were a couple of minutes late and we missed Ada. She was at the door tearfully asking to go potty. Margot was still sleeping but when we woke her up she had wet the bed, presumably in her sleep. They both sat on the potty right away and went pee. We loaded them up with liquids again this morning and had one.. yes ONE accident all day! Both of the girls have also gone poo in the potty (for your records Ada went last night before bed and Margot went this morning). We are so proud of them we could burst. Tonight, Ada even interrupted our story reading to let us know she needed to go potty. We have made a small alteration in our game plan though. Since we spent so much time fighting the girls to go down for nap and bedtime yesterday, today we broke out the Pull-Ups for nap. We did the same thing we did yesterday (cut them off from their barrage of liquids at 11am and had them go potty twice before putting them down at nap time) but this time when we closed the door, for some reason I felt a little better about being stern and limiting how many times they trot to the potty to pretend to go. I went back and checked on them 15 minutes later and they were fast asleep.. and they were completely dry when they woke up and went pee straight away again. We are doing this again tonight and plan to use these as insurance for at least the next few days until they quit fighting us on going down. Once again, doing everything we would still do with panties to make sure they keep them dry (Stephen just ran upstairs after hearing someone up asking to go). I will wake them up about an hour after they fall asleep to take them to the potty too. I taught them both to open their bedroom door but they don't have much interest in getting out of their room on their own yet. We will keep working on that. Right now we are focused on the potty stuff and learning to pull our undies up on our own. There is so much parent training involved in potty training when you really get down to it. It is a whole new level of awareness. Planning to just give them their normal liquids tomorrow and put on Pull-Ups for church. It has been a trying two days but not nearly as trying as it could have been and we are learning to adjust to this new stage of development. Every stage comes with its share of challenges and rewards right? They are pretty dang cute running around cheering about going potty. Don't worry all you friends out there, I will put a Pull-Up on them if we come over to play :)

Friday, December 17, 2010

The end of an era

We started potty training boot camp today. As I lay in bed this morning, my thoughts drifted fondly to those little diaper bottoms and how much I would miss them. The way that diaper comes up so far on their back.. the way those diapers waggle when they are running away from me down the hall to hide in their room. Diapers are pretty dang cute.. even on two year olds.

But this is now. Now I am sitting here after a day of running dripping babies to the potty and I am F*&^ing exhausted. Funny thing is I gave Stephen this huge lecture last night about how he needed to be more patient because tomorrow (today) was going to be so tough and I was worried he might lose his temper. Ha. I am pretty sure that I almost punched Margot after she headed butted me in the chin tonight. Holy God in Heaven. What the cuss man?!

I have been talking up this whole experience for the last week. Getting the girls all excited about "not wearing diapers anymore!". They have been telling anyone who would listen that when Daddy comes home from school there will be "no diapers anymore!". They have been into going potty so I have indulged them and helped them out of their diapers whenever they said they needed to go.. and then put it all back on after they did/or didn't have some success. I got all the liquids I could think of that they would want to drink in large quantities. I read my little potty training e-book cover to cover several times. I have somewhere between 50-60 pairs of the cutest little panties you have ever seen. And of course.. M&Ms. Lots and lots of M&Ms. We were well prepared when we woke up this morning, ready to fight the good fight.

For the most part it has gone so much better than I ever expected. We got them up and put them in their big girls panties and t-shirts, turned up the heat in the house and girded our loins for the day ahead. They had about 7 accidents between them before lunch time and at least 10 successful pees on the potty. Pretty dang good I think! There were several giant waterfalls of Gatorade and apple juice pee and Stephen and I dutifully scooped up the offending party and raced them to the toilet in the hopes that they could finish there. Then we either cleaned up the pee trail that they left in our wake.. or doled out massive praise and an M&M when they were able to stem the tide long enough to get to the potty to finish. All in all we were really, really proud of them. And then we headed upstairs for nap time. AN HOUR AND A HALF LATER.....we finally closed the door on two exhausted girls who seemed too tired to fight anymore and were settled into their beds. I say "fight" because this was the time that our resident little manipulator (aka Margot Dagny) reared her little attitude. She didn't want to lay down for nap.. and what better way to stay up than to keep telling us that she had to go potty. Here is where the competitive nature of twins makes things infinitely more difficult as Ada screams that she has to go too. Both girls run happily to the potty.. where they may or may not actually go. If they went they were happy to jump down and run back to bed.. if they didn't go... they kept insisting (MARGOT) that they had to go and would scream and fight like the dickens if one of us tried to remove said child and take them back to bed. If we were successful in getting them back to bed.. it was only to renewed screaming about how badly they had to go potty. Back to the potty.. where nothing happened.. you can see where this is going. Who want to ignore a newly training toddler when they say they have go potty?! Better yet, who wants to clean up the mess if they happen to be right??

Ok. I know we could just put them in diapers or pull-ups at naps and at night time but given how well they have done during the day, it seems stupid and lazy to just put them in something disposable with the basic understanding that it will be ok if they have an accident. As it was, despite all the craziness.. they did NOT have any accident during nap time. True, they might have slept only 20 minutes.. but still.. mission accomplished. Since we just finished going through another 1 and 20 minute bedtime struggle.. my resolve is slipping slightly. It would be so much easier to just put them in the stinkin' pull ups that are sitting in their closet and shut the door and let whatever happens in there.. happen.

And then, just as I was writing this, our little wolf calling girl called out for me. I went upstairs and she tearful announced that she needed to go potty (really?!). I sceptically herded her down the hall to the potty.. and sure enough she went pee straight away. Then she fought me to stay on the potty to keep trying.. and I let her try for a few more moments and then finally talked her into heading back into the bedroom for night night. See? She knew she had to go and she called for help and then went. Would she have done that if she had a diaper on? Or would she have just gone in the diaper. It seems worth the craziness if the outcome is for the girls to be fully day/night potty trained by the end of it all. Who knows if that will happen. From where my tired body sits I still feel pretty hopeful. Ask me again same time tomorrow.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Dear Aunt Tracy...

...we went on an owl hunt this morning and guess what we found ?! Two baby owls living in our Christmas tree!!! Mommy and daddy brought us a special book this morning called "Owl Moon" and after Daddy read it too us.. we started hunting for owls... we thought they might be in the Christmas tree. Daddy said we might be right and then he went upstairs for a second and when he came back.. WE FOUND THEM!!! Ada's owl was in the very top of the tree and Margot's was hiding on the side near the window!! We called and called ("Hey Oooooowwwll! Hooo hooooooooooo???") and they just sort of appeared out of nowhere!!! Ada named hers "Owl Baby" and Margot is calling her owl "Baby Owl".

Margot tucked Baby Owl under her arm right away and started reading Owl Moon to him.

Ada made sure to show Owl Baby how we only touch the ornaments on the tree with "One finger!"... or in his case.. "One wing".

Mommy says she knows it would have been fun to find the owls while they were hiding under the kitchen sink.. maybe even on Christmas morning.. but if you had seen how excited we were about going on an owl hunt..and you were a beautiful soft snuggly baby owl.. you would have come out of hiding too.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas and Snow..very belated

We got our Christmas tree at the Farmer's Market this year (and last year too apparently.. Stephen and the girls went alone while I was migraining last year). We went nice and early and completely forgot our camera. After we chose the perfect tree with the perfect little round "tree belly" we wandered the rest of the market. The girls got candy canes and every turn. "Can they have a candy cane? Are they twins?!" They have never had one before and I think they ate at least 3 a piece. Once we got home the girls caught my excitement and started squealing almost as loud as I was exclaiming about how much they LOVED our tree. The tree got quite a few hugs in the process.

Decorating with two 2 year olds is no easy feat.. but it sure is fun :) Most of our ornaments are not fragile so they were able to do lots of helping. Nonetheless.. most of the ornaments have migrated to the upper half of the tree by now. They enjoy moving them around or adding them to their doll house.. Mommy doesn't enjoy having to find them and rescue them back to the tree.

We have been doing Advent too this year. I got some nice kitschy 99 cent advent calendars from Trader Joe's. We do it right after breakfast each morning. Yes, I know ... how could I let my kids eat cheap chocolate first thing in the morning. Well for one simple reason - it is super duper fun. They not only get excited about opening their "door" for the day and munching their little treat, but they have been (surprisingly) excited about reading the verse for the day too. They listen very carefully (while licking/chewing their candy) and then shout out things like "I wuv baby Jesus Mommy!" or "Baby Jesus had a mommy!!!" or "Mary is Baby Jesus' mommy!!" or "My God is Mighty God!! BIIIIIIIIGGGG GOOOOOOODDDD!!" (We have been doing Isaiah 9:6 at V21 the last few weeks so they have been repeating the names for God listed there "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace"). I was afraid that it would just be a fight every morning since they are only allowed to open one door each morning but I have been pleasantly surprised at their self control. I explained very carefully the first morning before we even opened the door that would get to open one and only one each morning, and they haven't put up a fight about it at all. That seems to be the key with my girls - preparation. As long as explain what is about to happen or what is expected of them in details that they can understand before it all goes down, they seem to have very little problem following directions. The advent calendar has been a great learning tool for us in more ways than one.

Last but not least, as if our day of Christmas tree shopping and decorating could have been any more sweet... we had our first snow of the season while the girls were down for nap. They were really only interested in licking it off the leaves but still.. it was a nice way to end the day.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Good Lovin'

I just caught Ada sitting in her favorite chair having a conversation with Grammy and Grampapa.. complete with lots and lots of kisses.

Margot was quick to join in the love fest.

We're comin' to see you Grammy and Grampapa... day after tomorrow.. and we can't wait to give you some lovin' in person :)

Water Colors

The only thing that can keep them busy longer than blocks (other than Play-Doh) is painting with their water colors.

Look at that focus. No words.. just expression.

They are certainly their daddy's girls. Uncle David.. we can't wait for you get here and give us some tips.


Stephen made these blocks for the girls first birthday. They were a little young for the sharp edges and after Ada's double stitches we decided to put them away until later.

Not only are they more than ready now.. they absolutely love building towers of all shapes and sizes.

Particularly love to top said towers with one of the NYC block set that Uncle Jeremy and Aunt Michelle gave me for Christmas ... last year? Two years ago? Can't remember.

These building sessions can last for 20 -30 minutes and the level of concentration is a thing to behold.