Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas 2009, Andros Style

Well, this was our first Christmas to stay home since we've been married and we loved it! We had such a great time with our little family (well, not super little- there was 6 of us!) We were excited to start our own traditions.

Christmas Eve was spent doing a little shopping. Yes, shopping. As Ben pointed out, he can understand why some people shop on Christmas Eve- it was his first day off from work, like many people, and he still needed to get a few things!

We made treats, watched movies, and ate cheese, crackers and sausage. If any of you know Ben, his the "cheese, crackers and sausage guy" for the holidays. It wouldn't be Christmas without them. Good thing my kids are cheese lovers like their daddy.

Christmas Eve in their jammies

After the babies were in bed, we made sugar cookies.

Chloe and Mitchell got to frost and decorate the ones for Santa.

With their plate of cookies, glass of milk and note for Santa

Chloe dictated the note for Santa...

Up to bed to read "The Night Before Christmas."

Here are all of the stocking hung from the bookshelf with care (too many small kids to put the stockings over the fireplace where they can be pulled down....) I love seeing this many stockings and this many names at our house!

Christmas morning was so much fun. As a kid, I never thought that I would have more fun watching my own kids open their gifts than opening tons of my own, but it has happened. I really would not have cared if there was nothing for me under the tree. We had such a great time watching the kids get so excited about everything.



I got one of both of them smiling together!
These little Christmas angels made the day so fun. And they were angels every single minute. That was their Christmas gift to us. They didn't make a peep all day.

If they weren't doing this...

or this...

They were just sitting peacefully and quietly being happy. It was wonderful. They were so much fun.

Mitch loved his bike. He had to watch all summer long as Chloe rode her bike around. He now has one and he was so excited. He kept saying, "My bike! My bike!"

On his first ride outside, he kept saying "Vroom! Vroom!" Even though his little 2 year old legs can't quite reach the pedals yet, he didn't even care. He sat and walked that little bike all over our cul-da-sac. Maybe this summer his feet will reach!!

Chloe loved the tea set Santa brought. She and Mitchell had a very nice tea party, complete with all the play food they got from Mom and Dad.

The babies got a very cool wagon, and of course Chloe and Mitchell LOVED it. Ben took them all for a stroll in the house and everyone loved it. It calmed fussy Leah right down. We can't wait to get lots of use out of this wagon- it holds 200 pounds, so all of the kids can pile in there easily.

Ben and I got the kids some underoos for Christmas, reminiscent for Ben of his childhood underoos. He was almost more excited than the kids. Chloe refused to even put them on for quite some time, thinking they were "dumb." But we somehow talked her into trying them on and she was hooked. They ran around in them all day. Super Girl and Spiderman to the rescue!

The gang on Christmas Day!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Look Who's Smiling!

We've been waiting to see these beautiful smiles for awhile! Thank goodness for SLR cameras to catch these sweet smiles quickly!

Now if I can get one of them smiling together!

Now that the girls are getting older and can focus their eyes on objects and people, they are becoming a lot more smiley and responsive. One day last week I held Leah over Alexis and they both instantly fixed their eyes on each other in a dead stare. Leah, the cooer, starting "talking" to Alexis, and Lexi listened intently. They shared a sweet twin moment. (I wonder if this may be how it is in the future- Leah being the talker, like she is now, and Lexi doing all the listening.... it will be interesting to see!)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas Happenings

Last Saturday we had a Christmas filled day. We started off the morning by going to our community "Santa and Donuts" event. The building it was held in was not huge, so when we arrived with all 6 of us, (2 of which were babies in big carseats), we had to get creative about standing in the long line. Ben took the babies over on the side to get them out of the carseats and I took the 2 big kids and stood in line with them.

Ben then found a comfy chair and sat with our two immobile sweeties. This is a great shot to show how we typically hold both babies at the same time- one stacked on top of the other. Ben was almost more popular than Santa Claus- everyone who passed by him stopped and commented on the babies, but also on how they were positioned. People have wondered aloud to us if this hurts the babies- obviously from this picture, it does not bother them at all. This is how they spent 9 months in the womb! Someone even asked me once if I had learned this holding trick from another mom with twins. I told her no, that we just really did it out of necessity and ease- it's much easier to hold them stacked like this to transport them upstairs or downstairs when there is only one adult available.

The two Sleeping Beauties

The funniest story of the morning involving the babies was when a mom and her little girl walked past Ben and saw the twins. In the picture above, both babies are in matching outfits and both have their headbands on, but when this story took place, Leah's headband had fallen off and Ben had left it off. The mom turned to the girl (Ben said she was probably 5 or 6) and said, "Look! 2 babies! Do you know what that is called?" The girl replied, "Twins." Then the mom asked the little girl, "Is one a girl?" The child replied, "Yes." Mom asked: "Is one a boy?" The child said, "Yes." And the mom replied, "That's right, one girl and one boy!" I thought this was hilarious, as she assumed one was a boy because she didn't have a headband on, even though both were in identical PINK and brown outfits... (How many boy and girl outfits can you find that are identical?? And pink??) And Ben did not correct them because the mom wasn't even talking to Ben. She was simply giving her child a crash course in Twins 101.

I had high hopes for getting the kids to sit on Santa's lap individually this year. Chloe had been looking forward to this day all week and even told me, "Mom, I think I'm going to be brave enough to sit on Santa's lap this year." Well, as the line got shorter and as we got closer and closer to our turn, Chloe got more and more scared and threw a small fit when it was her turn to get on his lap. I think Mitchell would have sat on his lap, but when he saw Chloe freaking out, he started freaking out too, even though he had no idea what she was freaking out about. But the picture above shows our outcome- neither Chloe nor Mitch would sit on his lap. They wouldn't even get near him unless Ben and I got in the picture too. Oh well- it wouldn't be Christmas without kids throwing fits about sitting on Santa's lap.

Lexi and Leah had no problem with it though. And this was one of the nicest Santa's I've ever met. He was so tickled to get to hold the twins and told us, "Getting to hold twins is what makes this job all worth it."

Even after seeing my kids throw fits about sitting on his lap, Santa was still kind enough to give them candy canes and talk to them. The kids had no problem talking to him- Chloe told him what she wanted: "A tea set" and Mitch jabbered away to him as well.

And the babies waited patiently in their carseats, in their fabulous "Bundle Me's." We LOVE them. The babies stay so warm and cozy in them and don't even know when they are outside. Thanks Aunt Amanda!!

Later that night, Ben and I got a babysitter for the older kids, then headed off to a nearby stake center here (Maple Valley Stake), as we had been asked to participate in a live Nativity scene. We didn't really know what to expect, but we ended up absolutely loving it. What a wonderful and neat way to start off the Christmas season. Ben and I were Joseph and Mary and the twins were baby Jesus. No, Jesus was not a twin... the girls took turns portraying him in the manger.

"Joseph" with our first baby Jesus, Leah

"Mary" with our second baby Jesus, Alexis

We sat in a beautifully decorated stable. We laid Leah down in the manger, made out of real wood, and Ben and I sat on bales of hay. We didn't know how she would react and were prepared for tears and thought we'd have to hold her, but she laid in that manger the entire length of her shift. The bright lights above kept her attention and she made such a beautiful little baby Jesus. She stayed awake the entire time and was bright eyed the whole time. I was talking to my mom before we went and was telling her I wasn't sure how Leah would do. She reminded me that "the little Lord Jesus, no crying he made..." ("Away in a Manger.") Leah played the part perfectly and did not cry! We were so proud.

No one brought us gold, frankincense or myrrh, it but we must have made one young mother's night- she must have come back and visited us 5 or 6 times during our shift and learned the twins' names and called them each by name and even took out her camera at the end and took our picture multiple times.

Half way through our shift, we switched babies. Leah was doing fabulous and Alexis was dead asleep on the side in her carseat, but I wanted both of them to be able to participate so that we can tell them that they both got to be baby Jesus.

Mary and Joseph with baby Jesus Alexis.

Alexis was, of course, the perfect angel as well. We laid her down in the manger and within seconds, she was drifting off to sleep.

It was such a fun evening. The stable was set up in the middle of the gym and tables were set up on the perimeter of the gym all with craft nativities displayed. People could walk around and view the nativities on the table and then could walk by and see the live Nativity. People were so excited to see a real baby in the manger and would come up and view our baby Jesus and visit with us. We even had someone thank us for doing it because, as she said, "Having a live Nativity just really adds to the spirit of this." I was really touched by that and was so glad that we did this. It was Ben and I who were touched, really. As people came up to see the little babe in the manger and to see the excitement and joy on their face to get to look at "him", it made me think of the joy and excitement that must have been present when the shepherds and wisemen and others came to visit the real baby Jesus. I was a very proud mom that night, as I'm sure Mary must have been as well. What a privilege it is to share your baby with others and Mary was "sharing" her son, the Savior with the world. I was filled with Christmas spirit that night and we got a small taste of what it must have been like that first Christmas night so long ago. What a beautiful and wonderful experience we had and we are so grateful for the opportunity.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

2 Months!

My little ladies turned 2 months old on Sunday the 6th. Boy, does time fly by. We took them to the doctor for their 2 month check up and they are both healthy as can be! Here are their stats:
Weight: 9 lbs. 3 0z (>10 %)
Length: 21 inches (3-5%)
Head: 36 1/2 cm (3-5%)

Weight: 10 pounds, 5 oz (25-50%)
Length: 21 inches (3-5%)
Head: 38 1/2 cm (50%)

Some interesting notes:
Alexis weighs the exact same at 2 months of age as Chloe did at birth. Wow! And by 2 months of age, my older kids were CHUNKY! Chloe was 14 lbs 6 oz and 23 1/2 inches long and Mitch was 14 lbs 8 oz and 23 1/2 inches long (they were almost identical in size).

For a quick comparison, here is Chloe just 3 weeks old, roughly at her birth weight, which Alexis weighs right now. Although Alexis is Chloe's size at birth, I think she looks a lot like Leah. What do you think? Chloe thinks so too- when she saw this picture of herself she asked, "Is that Leah.... or me??"

Here are some recent shots of our beautiful and growing 2 month old sweeties.

We need these little hats to stay warm these days..... it is FREEZING here!

They did great at their checkup yesterday- both waited very patiently for the doctor. Leah even surprised the nurse with a blown out poopy diaper, which she must have worked hard on in the car ride over. Alexis saved her show while waiting for the doctor to come in.... I was so glad Ben was there to help me change these blowouts quickly....

The girls are still just over a pound apart in weight, which is what they were at birth as well. And Alexis' head is 2 cm bigger than Leah's, which is easily noticeable. Ben was asking me the other day what the first feature is that I look at to identify which girl is who. I said their heads, he said their eyes. Sometimes I can't see their eyes or their eyes are closed, but I can always see their heads and can tell right away by the size difference, different color of skin, and amount of hair.

I do have to say that for me, it is no problem to tell them apart, at all. I can even distinguish who is crying from rooms away. Ben can most of the time, but he did pick up Leah yesterday at the doctor's and put her on the table. The nurse asked, "Which one is that?" Ben replied automatically, "This is Alexis." I was busy doing paperwork and didn't notice until I looked up that he had Leah and that the nurse had been getting stats for the wrong baby!

Each girl also has her "color." I decided this before they were born that if they ever had outfits or toys or blankets that were not identical that Alexis would get anything with pink in it and Leah anything with purple in it. (I decided this based on purple also being called Lavender and Leah starting with "L" like Lavender...) This has been an easy way to hand out blankets and toys and outfits without having to think of who should get what color every time and mixing things up. They share lots of things, like binkies (which ever binky is handy is what they get) and onesies are the same, but when we received gifts and things that we have bought them, it's just easier to give Leah the item that has a trace of purple in it and Alexis the item all covered in pink. It's also another way to easily identify them, especially if they are covered by a blanket and you can't see their face or any part of their body. If they receive items that come in one girl's color and the other item is not the other one's color (for example: we get a purple (Leah's color) and a green (no one's specific color), Leah would get the purple item, Alexis would get the green one. It all works out fair because Leah gets to wear lots of pink stuff because 90% of their stuff is matching at this point.

At just 2 months old, these little gals have quite distinct and separate personalities. Leah is the more dominant personality and our little high maintenance princess. She wants to be held long and often and needs more help falling asleep. Her first reaction to anything new or even slightly unpleasant is to cry and/or scream. She has a harder time pacifying and soothing herself. Her little cry is a sad cry and breaks our hearts to hear it. She demands more attention and will cry the second she wants anything. But we love "maintaining" this little drama queen.

She sleeps pretty well, especially if she is being held, but is famous for little cat naps rather than a few big naps. She has the biggest, most beautiful eyes and can really focus on our faces now. She is more smiley than Lexi and loves to "talk" to us and coo, especially with her Daddy. When she smiles, they are wide open mouth smiles and she sticks out her tongue in the process. With her big beautiful eyes, she loves to look around at everything surrounding her and is fascinated by lights and bright objects. She is a great eater and would nurse all day if Mommy would let her. She takes a binky, but has a hard time keeping it in very well on her own. She has the most beautiful porcelain skin and long, skinny fingers and toes.

She has a special love for her Daddy and he is the one who can get her calmed down the quickest and easiest. She fits just perfectly into the crook of his elbow and buries her little face into his arm and will fall asleep.

Alexis is our little sweetheart. We really should have named her "Patience" because I have never seen a more patient baby. She rarely cries and when she does cry, it is a loud and angry cry, most likely to tell us, "I have been waiting and waiting so patiently, please help me now." She is a fantastic sleeper and will take marathon naps everyday. She is a great eater and very efficient- she gets what she needs and is done. If nursing doesn't put her to sleep, she is content to be laid down and when she gets bored, she will quietly put herself to sleep without making a peep.

She sleeps a good portion of everyday, but the time that she is awake, she is very quiet and mellow. She has only smiled once or twice and is not a cooer (yet), but she is so pleasant and sweet and so fun to snuggle with. She rarely gets annoyed with any rough behavior inflicted upon her by her older siblings and is very patient with them as well. What would make Leah scream and cry does not even phase Alexis. If she does get fussy and needs to cry and no one can hold her or help her, 90% of the time she will "give up" after a minute or two and either sit quietly and wait, or just fall asleep. She is a joy to put to bed at night- we can lay her down awake and she will fall asleep with ease when she wants to, usually with little to no fussing.

Poor Lexi has terrible cradle cap and extremely dry and irritated skin right now, but it doesn't diminish her beauty at all. She has chubby little fingers and a cute double chin. She loves to be held by all and even when big brother is holding her in an awkward position, she will peacefully fall asleep without any protest. She is a wonderful binky taker- when she starts to fuss, most of the time she just needs someone to put her binky in for her and she will calm down immediately and be just fine. She has a powerful suck and sometime we have to yank the binky out with force when it's time to eat.

She never fights Leah for attention and sweetly allows Leah to take as much of the attention as she needs, but Lexi loves to be snuggled with and held whenever she can. Her little disposition seems to be that of the peacemaker and she emits a spirit of love that seems to say, "I'm ok. Take care of my sister first. Make her happy, I'll be just fine while I wait."

We can't imagine our family without either one of these little angels. They are so perfect- separate and together. They make a beautiful pair and and we have loved every minute of the last 2 months.