Mothers Day The Third

Well, some how some way, the kids have survived another year of living and we have survived another year of parenting. Three years of Parenthood. And today on this Mothers Day, I would like to take a little bit of time to recognize the mothers of the world. Especially the mothers in my life.

My mother-in-law, Nance, has been a true blessing in this parenting journey. I will admit I was not jumping up and down when I heard Nance was going to be moving closer to us. TV sitcoms had clouded my vision and gave me nightmares of the over-bearing mother-in-law that would be over at our house everyday and meddling in every aspect of our lives. But the truth is, Nance has been nothing like that. She has been supportive, loving and caring. She has bailed us out and made our lives better in so many ways and times. She raised an amazing daughter and has continues to help raise our kids. Riley may be a little angry with her right now, but he still loves going over to Grammies house. I am glad that she around the corner and that the kids get to have that experience. In the simplest of words, thank you Nance for all the wonderful things you bring into our lives.

With my mom, words are hard to put down to explain what my mom means to me. As a teenager, I never really knew. Even in college I was only started to realize what an amazing person and parent my mom was. I don’t remember how old I was, but it was a long time before I ever remember telling my mom I loved her. And it was from that time on, that if anyone asked I would say, my hero was my mom. What is funny, is that in today’s internet age, parenting advice is a dime a dozen. There are pages and pages of information on how to raise your kids. What you should do if your kid does this or if your kid does that. My mom did not have that and yet looking back my mom did everything perfect and exactly the way it needed to be done to raise me and to “handle” me. I cannot image being raised any other way. I know I am not some super successful, wealthy person, but the success I have had in life is 99 percent her. And every time I sit down and think about how great my life is, I thank her in my head and my heart. One of these days, I will get over my macho self and tell her in person. But even before I wrote this, I always that in some small ways she has always known. Because she always knows…

They say you save the best for last. And when it comes to me and food, that is true. Whatever the best tasting dish on my plate is, I always make sure to leave that bite of food to be the last one. With Meggi, it is also hard to put into words what she means to me and to the kids. I hope that our kids will be more expressive with their feelings. Though, I can tell already that Riley is a little too much like me in that regard. I would say its a boy thing but its probably my bad influence. Meggi has been the right mother at the right time for these kids, just like my mom. She give them the love and the understanding they need at the time they need it. She gives them the tough love and non-understanding at the right times also. She gives in when it appropriate and says no when, a NO is needed. She has learned or maybe she just develop the skills and tools needed to keep this little family chugging along. She handles the bad time with grace and celebrates the good times with much joy and excitement. She is definitely a stabilizing force and the ying to my yang when it comes to raising the kids.

So on this, her third year as Mother, I simply want to say thank you for being who you are, the perfect mother for the kids and the perfect wife for me. Happy Mothers Day to all the mothers who read this.

Now, what you all have been waiting for… Pictures!

The Language Explosion

Well, its been over 5 months since our last post. By golly, something must have happened!? Yes and No. It has been a world filled with adventure and excitement as they have become full fledged toddlers. They are learning new words all the time and they are so smart. They do cute things. They do annoying things. They do things that frustrate the crap out of you. Since my last post, we had Thanksgiving, Christmas and birthday number 2. Even though I have not been posted my monthly posts, I have still been taking the monthly photo of them.

So as you can see from the pictures below, back in September we rented a stand up paddle board and went out to the lake with them. They loved it. We were lame again this year for Halloween. We did not dress the kids up or take them out. I mean, come on, does an almost 2 year old really know what its doing. I am guessing next year they will be in love with dressing up like something. They already like to pick out their favorite clothes. They have developed a love of Elmo and Mickey Mouse and more recently Frozen. Luckily, its not maddening to this point. They just know they like the characters but they won’t sit there mesmerized. But they will throw a full on tantrum if you do not put it on when they ask. We are currently working on trying to limit their viewing. For me, it is mostly in order to teach them No and that they cannot always get what they want, right when they want it. But I mean it is winter and they are still only 2. So it is hard to find things outside to do with them when you are by yourself. And as I am sure is the case with most toddlers, their toys can only entertain them for so long.

Which brings us to Christmas and their birthday. It was a good one for the kids. They got Legos and miniature hockey equipment, a tea set, a kitchen, lots of cars, Elmos, vacuums and power drills. My mom definitely learned her lesson with the vacuum. She bought one for Hattie for her birthday…. Well guess who wanted to play with one also! So we had to hide the vacuum until we could get another one. And now that we have two… it is non stop noise. I think I mentioned this in a previous post but if a person buys your kid a toy that makes noise, they should be required to have to be around every time that kids plays with the toy. I would consider that suitable punishment. Sadly, though that means that your kids would probably never get toys that make noise. Their birthday was fun. We again did not have a big party, just family, again, they really don’t have friends at this point. So its all about the parents and well, we were busy.

And that leads into what I am considering a good excuse for why I did not update this blog for so long. I was busy converting our garage into two bedrooms for the kids. I completed just in time for my mom to come visit for Christmas. So my mom had a place to stay, even if she had to sleep in a toddler bed. At least we splurged and got the fancy twin mattress. And once my mom went home, we put the kids into their new toddler beds. And in case you were wondering and I cannot remember if this was part of the last post but about the time of the previous post, Riley had figured out how to climb out of his crib. It was only about a month later that Hattie was doing the same thing. So for safety sake, we decided it was time to move them into toddler beds.

As the title of the post suggest, the kids talking has really taken off. It started around Christmas or shortly there after. They had a few words and were putting words together but around that time, it really started to grow. And let me tell you, Hattie, LOVES to tell you stories. She may not know all the words and in what order to put them but she tries… Repeatedly, to tell you what happened. It has made life much easier in my opinion. Instead of pointing and grunting. They can say, juice. Though they are still toddlers and well one second they want juice, the next they don’t and then after you drink the juice that you poured out for them, they want the juice again.

Other things… I am sure their are a ton of little things and nuances that they do that I should have been writing about each month and now am forgetting. Like Meggi bought some clippers and gave Riley a hair cut. Lets face it, if an adult had that cut it would have been horrible. But given its a two year old. It looked just fine. While doing the home improvement project, I would leave the kids unattended for periods of time. Those periods of time resulting in boxes of cereal, oatmeal, coffee beans, hot chocolate mix and all of our spices being dumped out at some point in time. Also, they kids loved to help. Riley is an amazing little sponge, if he sees you do it, he wants to do it also. the kids love the big Lego duplex over the big blocks. We only found this out after spending a bunch of money on big blocks. They LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to clean. Sadly as we all know that will soon fade away. They can lite the big strike anywhere matches. And they like doing it… scary! Luckily again, they also like to blow out said match also. I would like to say that I will keep up with this more but lets face it, I may or I may not the  good news is that I never stop taking at least a few pictures here or there. And who knows, now that I am not stressing over building new rooms, I will feel more comfortable stressing over this.

I never really took that many pictures or videos. For that I am sorry. I took a few recently and of course you have some 66 photos to look through below. A couple of videos.

Video 1 Link

Video 2 Link

Sweet Sixteen

So I guess, we had 16 days, 16 weeks but now we have 16 months. All that is left is 16 years. Good thing that will not be happening for 15 years. Honestly, I should have had a couple of posts between this and the last one, but April kinda flew by on us. As most of you are well aware of, we had our first road trip. We traveled back to North Dakota for Easter. The trip was actually really good. We did the trip a couple of different ways. On the way there, we did 8 hours one day and then 11 hours the next day. We did this mostly because Meggi’s dad’s mother (aka Great Grandma) wanted to see the kids. So we made a little side trip to Fort Peck, Montana to meet up with Meggi’s dad and her. The first day of 8 hours to Billings went super smooth. We stayed in a hotel that had an attached indoor water park and the kids loved it! Sadly, we did not get any pictures. Waters and cameras are not good friends. And really, after 8 hours of driving, taking pictures was the last thing on my mind.

Now before this trip, we have ventured out and had meals at some local restaurants , and the kids had done great for the most part.  But after the day of driving and after the water park, I am not sure if it was just because they were tired, or just because they have figured out something new about their ability to walk around, but they wanted nothing to do with sitting in their high chair. They would not sit in our laps. They just wanted to run around this semi-nice and crowded restaurant. It was painful. But so be it, we went back to the hotel room and the kids went right to sleep! Which was good. Nothing like having screaming kids in a hotel room. The next day we went up to Fort Peck and then on to Jamestown. It was a little rough that day. I think 8-9 hours is the kids max for being patient in the car.

Easter weekend at my moms was good. We had a great time. We relaxed and the weather was super nice. The kids warmed up to my mom and Sheila a lot more quickly than they did over Christmas. Again, we tried going to restaurants, this time when the kids were rested and it was not any better. So I personally have sworn off taking the kids out for  the next year or two. We had a great Easter. We went to the Easter breakfast at church and then to my sisters for an Easter Lunch and to see what the Easter Bunny brought the kids. They got all kinds of good stuff. We did the babies on parade at my mom’s work place. Which all the people loved. And then we went home by driving overnight. It was 14 hours, and other than the buffalo on the road in white out conditions, it was good. I was a little tired by the time we landed in Hailey. So in the end, I am not 100% sure which way is the best way to go. I guess as long as we have the time and money to do the trip in two days. I think the kids should be able to handle it. We will be able to test that this summer likely, as the hope is to head back for family reunion and class reunion.

Now as far as the kids go, I really need to get you some video of what has become the craziness of a day in the house. The kids are super mobile. They are wicked smart, for people who cannot even talk yet, and they get into everything. Yes, they have been getting into everything for a while now, but now they are much faster at it. So the house is wreck by 9 am. Then, they want to go outside and run in opposite directions. And they really know what they want to do. That independence that everyone talked about is started to show. Though it is more of s stubbornness. Riley is a little shadow and will follow you any where and want to do what you are doing. He “helped” me pull weeds and move rocks from the front garden. When you are in the kitchen, he will get his bowl and his spoon and be ready to help. So they are still very clingy when YOU move and go to do something. But if you are just hanging out, they will run out the back door, which they have figured out how to open and try to jump off the deck. Sure its only three feet off the ground, but that is far for a two foot tall person.

They are wanting to use their spoon and forks. They want to eat your food that you are eating, not the exact same food that is on their tray. Of course, it is a 50/50 shot they want to actually eat in their high chair. We are trying new food and new flavors. Ya know, things that are not pureed or chopped up into tiny pieces. They love it. So that is good.

Lastly, words are starting to form. Now, for the record, Hattie’s first word was Dog, and likely so was Riley’s but I think their second word was technically NO. And not just No, but No, No, No, No. Riley can say shoes if he wants to. They can say Mama or Da Da but not always when they are looking at us. So they know but not functional, like Dog or No No No No.

As for the parenting, well at this stage, it is what it is really. This is that part where previous twins parents told you that things don’t get easier, they get different. Like I have mentioned before, once you start sleeping through the night, it is easier to deal with. But now, the work you have to do when you are awake, it MUCH harder. Keeping them from eating who knows what, stopping them from fighting, stopping them from running into the middle of the road (luckily we live on a very quite street). But you get more laughs, you get more interaction. You get hugs and kisses and snuggles (still rare as this point). The fun times are more fun and the work times are more work. It is just the way it is.

Well, I know most of you could care less about my ramblings and just want to see cute pictures. SO…. here ya go. Enjoy. (Sorry no videos this time.)

First Christmas and Birthday

So it is about a month and a half since those things occurred, but I thought I would break up the blog posts for the past month and a half.  One of the reasons for the delay in doing this blog post is that not more than a few days after their first birthday, I let Riley play around the computer and he knocked off the hard drive that stored all the pictures on them. I of course did not back them up. So… I had to send the drive off to some really expensive person to fix the drive and recover as much as he could. They got about 90% back. I have a feeling a will barely miss the photos that were not recovered. But that is not what this blog post is about…

Well for the kids first Christmas and birthday, my mom and my sister made the trip to Hailey. It was good to have them here for all the fun and the length of time they were here was needed to let Hattie and Riley warm up to them. It definitely takes a special touch for these two to warm up to you. I recommend food. It seems to work well. Christmas was fun and of course what 12 month old does not love Christmas. Yeah, so they could care less about opening packages. They were interested in the items once they were opened and would make noise but that is about it. They did not even really want to rip open the paper. Though the paper was fun to play with once it was ripped off the item. The kids scored lots of toys and clothes. It was nice. We got a few pictures but as I mentioned before, pictures are getting hard to get. Mostly because they are so in love with whatever it is that is in your hands, that they want it. So once you put the camera to your face, they immediately reach for it. Thus we have lots of pictures with the kids reaching for the camera. The only way to make it so they do not reach of the camera, is to give them your phone. It is amazing to me that at 1-year old. They will take your phone and hold it up to their ear like they are talking on it. For Christmas, they got a fake phone and what was the first thing they did when get opened it, held it to their ear. It was crazy.

As far as Christmas goes, we wen to The Nutcracker on Ice at the Sun Valley Resort. We walked around and looked at the lights. We had pizza. We watched the torch light parade and the fireworks afterwards. We made it to Meggi’s boss’ house for a Nepalese dinner. Christmas day we were up early and the kids had to nap early, so opening presents was a little late. Probably the last time that will ever happen. Of course, the kids were teething, so they were not very happy campers. But we got through it.

With the Birthday party a week later… Well.. Meggi had grand ideas of a great big to do. But with the business of the Holidays and work, it ended up just being the family. Which was more than fine with me. We made some cupcakes, well my sister made some cupcakes, along with some cake pops… and we had the kids smash the cupcakes. Well, as you will see below, not much smashing was going on. They were quite content to just eat the cupcakes. They got more toys, a stryder bike, some musical instruments, books and chairs. It was a good time.

For our first Holiday Season and birthdays were a success. It was nice to have ALL the family around and be able to share that time with them. (one came a couple weeks early) And yes, it was nice to get back to the same ol’ routine afterwards.

So, here are a bunch of photos from that week and such. Again, I will (hopefully) get another post done within the next week or so… I have a few other pictures and updates.

Cold, Cold and Colds

Well since I update you all on the fun of two babies having colds, it turns out that they decided to repeat the feat. Again, it has been nothing too major. Not sure we are completely over it, as Riley still has a bit of a cough (as do I), but I think overall we survived our second cold already. Not only that, it has gotten COLD, very cold. I think this morning it was a blistering -12 degrees. Which just means more of the chilling out in the house and keeping the wood stove burning. The wood pile is going down fast but I think we should be fine. There is still a lot of wood out there.

So it is nine days after the 11 month mark, the photos are about a week after the 11 month mark. Close enough. The babies first Thanksgiving was good. They loved cranberries. Thought turkey was OK. Riley like the mash potatoes and has some stuffing. So it went well. We have yet to get them out in the snow. We did get some snow suits. But the snow here is pretty weak so far. We have about two inches of snow. I guess we could take them up to Galena Lodge. We have the Christmas tree up. Meggi is working on making them their own stockings. So over all the babies are doing good. They are both good a “cruising”. Which is walking around as long as they are holding on to something. We have some push toys that they love to walk around with. So I am guessing we will have little toddlers in the next month or so. But then again, who am I to guess, we thought they would not crawl and we have thought more teeth were coming in for the past two months and no sign of them.

The kids are definitely forming their little personalities. Both are in the shy/scared stage when it comes to new people. Riley gets over it fairly quickly. Well, he is willing to let you be near him. Hattie on the other hand will scream bloody murder if you are not 1 of 4 people. Heck, even if you are the wrong one of the four, for that moment and time, she will scream bloody murder. She is more temperamental and Riley is more laid back unless you have a toy he wants. Then he is biter. I have a feeling that some day in my future, I will get a call about how my kids bit another kid. Of course, I won’t know who started it, because Riley is the one that like the steal toys also. If you are playing with something, he wants to play with it. We have already had little mini fights with head butts and biting and screaming. The next many years will probably be interesting in that regard. Both of them are little explorers though. They love to open up cabinets and pull everything out and see what is in there. As you might guess, Riley is a little more bold when it comes to this. He is a master of opening cabinets doors. They both still love to play peek a boo with each other. Its fun to watch because now they know how to use the door, so they will just open and close the bedroom door and play that way. Both of them love to be up in your arms, mostly because they love to look around and see all the fun stuff that they cannot reach from the floor.

As far as parenting goes, well. Its the same but different, right. I mean things you use to worry about, you no longer worry about but now you have new worries. You use to be tired because they were up three or four times a night. Now you are tired from chasing them around and playing with them, keeping them out of all the rocks on the floor that you drag into the house. Oh that is right, you should clean those up, and they will be sure to “help” you. Or sit at your feet and scream to be picked up. Or fight over a toy. The hours from 7:30 till whenever you want to go to bed is when you clean, but you have to do it quietly. Heck, we use a white noise machine just so we can watch closed captioned TV. The joys of a small house that is for sure. I can see why people want, McMansions. It is so you can lock the kids away in the sound proof part of the house and still have a house to move around in. The funny part is, I have gotten so use to having the TV volume down so low, that when it gets turned up, I turned into an 80 year old! TURN DOWN THAT NOISE!

Yes there are new challenges but there is also lots of new joys. Having a moment where you and one or both of them have a laughing fit for no other reason then because you stare up at the ceiling. How they laugh when you throw them (playfully) on the bed. Tickles. The catch me if you can while you try to put my PJs on game. Riley LOVES that one. The snuggles. Using you as a jungle gym. Watching them figure out to put the round peg in the round hole.

I will not lie, it is a roller coaster. But honestly, I love roller coasters. They can be hard but in the end the entire journey is what has been so much fun. It is like mountain biking in the mountains. It is very hard work to get up the hill and you usually have to stop and take a good 10 minute breather. But man, when you are rocking down that single track with the wind in your face, it feels so good. Then when you are done, you feel even better because you know that you climbed that hill and you survived coming down. It is good stuff!

So yeah, here are your 11 month photos and a few sneak peeks at our attempt at a Christmas photo shoot. We got two good photos, but you have to wait for them in the mail.

How do you like your oatmeal?

With a little breast milk please! Well, I am guessing that is what Riley is saying each time we feed him oatmeal. Riley was drinking over 40 ounces of milk a day. Since Meggi only pumps about 56 ounces a day, we needed to do something. So we bought some oatmeal, mixed it with breast milk and we have now started Riley on oatmeal. It was a little bit earlier than we would have liked. Since they recommend that you wait until 6 months to start solids. But they do say it is okay after 4 months. SO, we went with it. And so far he seems to love it. We have not introduced anything other than the oatmeal to this point and probably won’t until 6 months. And Hattie is still doing good one breast milk. As a matter of fact, she sleeps through the night most nights. Riley, even with the solids still wakes up once or twice a night but not too bad. The good news is he goes straight back to sleep after eating.

In other news, my mom and sister got the twins some Thing 1 and Thing 2 outfits. They are sized for 9 months. Well, Riley pretty much fits in his now (mostly because of the cloth diapers). We got them out and dressed them up and took some photos. We now have a new banner photo. Along with some other photos.

And lastly, today we decided to get out with the twins and visit the camas prairie. Camas is a native lily that blooms in the spring in fields that turn into a sea of blue. The Nez Perce Indians would harvest the roots, dry it out and make a flour from it and then make camas cakes. After loading everyone up, we got out there and it was a beautiful day. The camas was a little bloomed out already. It has been a dry spring and the snow melted pretty early. But either way, we got some great new photos of the babies and we got out and enjoyed the outdoors with them for the first time. All we needed was a picnic basket and we would have been set. Next spring, we will head back. It will make for some great photos as the kids will hopefully walking and be as tall as the camas.

Mother’s Day the First

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out in the world. To be perfectly honest, Mother’s Day to me is just another Hallmark holiday, like Valentine’s Day. I mean lets face it, everyday you should show your appreciation for all the great things special people do for you. When you think about all the great things mothers do each and everyday, at the end of each day you should say Thank YOU for all You do!

Pretty much my whole life, at least all of it that I have memories from, I have been surrounded by mostly women. My dad was gone pretty early in my life. One of my grandfathers past away pretty early. I did have my mom’s dad and all her brothers. But it was not a daily occurrence to see them. Either way, the important thing to know is that my mom was my hero all my life. No, I was a typical boy and once I got old enough to be embarrassed by her, I never told her that. I think it was not until after college that I actually said I love you to my mom. But deep down, I knew that she was going above and beyond in life to give me the tools and the resources to help me become a successful person. She got me involved in the Boy Scouts. Which was a big part of me growing up. She worked hard everyday to put food on the table and to buy those things that I never really needed but wanted oh, so bad! I don’t know if it was because of her experience with raising my sister, but she always seemed to know how to handle the situation when it came to me. Whether is be my under performance with my grades or it be my staying out all hours of the night. For some reason, she trusted me. And that meant the world to me. Don’t get me wrong, we had our fights and our arguments. Our snide remarks to one another. But when I look back, it was what I needed. I could have gone so many different ways in my life but the way she raised me, the things she did made me the person I am, and it is not a person I am ashamed to be. Sure, I do not clean up and keep as tidy of a house and some people would like, but I think it does the job. I have my flaws, but I do not blame her. She did it her way and to me it was nothing but the right or the perfect way. I would not want to have it any other way. So on this Mother’s Day, I just want my mom and of course the world to know that you are the best there is, was and maybe ever will be (gotta give Meggi a chance, heh). I am sure there were times you wished you could have done more for me, but those times thought me that so much more then anything else in life. They made me stronger, smarter and in the end, happier. Thank you for being as awesome as you are!

This blog is for the twins, but of course I do the typing, and while I do not have 28 years of knowing her, Meggi’s mom, the twins grammy is an amazing mother. I mean, how could she not be one. She did raise Meggi and I did marry her. So she must have done a few things right. What I can speak to, is that in the 3+ years I have known here and especially during the past 4+ months, she has been truly amazing and supportive. She has been selfless many times and she has helped us out in many different ways. She is also the definition of Mother. You have raised a beautiful women in your daughter. You have been a wonderful grandmother to the twins and I have no doubt that, it will continue for many, many years. Thank you for all you do and for being as awesome as you are!

Then there is the best for last… The new mom that is Meggi. The truth is, if I am writing this, is it more of a Wife’s Day but while she is my wife, for the past 4+ months she has been then the spectacular mother to my children. As anyone who has followed this blog knows, the past 4 months has not been easy but it has not been that hard either. While I know there are many times we do not agree with the current method of parenting, or questioning of what the other person is doing, in the end, I know she is doing something right. Yeah, I get right now and then also. But lets face it, when it comes to the kids, she gets it right many more times than I do. One of the things that show how amazing a mother Meggi is, is her commitment to giving our babies breast milk. I have not talked about this in this blog before, or at least not to length but for the past 4+ months Meggi has pumped breast milk for the twins. Riley was never a good latch-er, and when he was, he had jaws of steel. Hattie was decent but she also was easily distracted and well, she liked the take Meggi’s nipple with her when she wanted to see what else was going on. So, it could have been so easy for her to say, formula it is. Instead, 5-8 times a day, she hooked her breasts up to a milking machine and sits there for 20-30 minutes and expresses milk for the twins. To me, it is the hardest way to feed your kids. If you nurse your kids, they suck for 20 mins and you are done. With this, not only do you have to pump, but then you have to still feed the babies with a bottle. Plus, lets face it, it is much more romantic and warm and emotional to nurse. To be hooked up to a machine is not any of those things. Quite the opposite. But Meggi loves our children so much she does it, everyday for the past 4+ months. It is amazing. Did you know that by 3 months, only 36% of mothers are still breast feeding their children? The fact that Meggi is still pumping to this day shows how much of an amazing mother she will continue to be. So on this, your first Mother’s Day, my love… I thank you for being such an amazing mother to Riley and Hattie. I know there are days when it feels like they hate you, me or both of us. You can see it, in the eyes of their smiles. They love you and to be honest, we all three need you. Thank you for putting up with my crankiness, the babies crankiness and the dogs annoying-ness. While I cannot promise you a daily paradise, I can tell you that every night I go to bed, I feel blessed that you are in our lives and that I appreciate all that you do every day, AND that I will do what I can, when I can to make it feel like paradise now and then. I hope that is good enough. Happy First Mother’s Day Meggi. Hopefully next year will not be filled with a morning of fussy babies. Then again, next Mother’s Day, I won’t try to file down Riley’s fingernails first thing in the morning.