Thursday, March 31, 2011

Camping (In March)

This post could also be named "Father of the Year." Ben took our two big kids camping last weekend (yes, it's March, we all were aware of that)- just a quick, after work, over night campout. He didn't tell the kids until he got home from work and when he told them the good news, you would have thought he told them he was taking them to Disney Land.

I am a fair weather camper (literally) and was not sad at all to stay home (warm) with my two babies (dry) and enjoy them all to myself (comfortable) while the tough ones camped. And they saw all kinds of weather in one short evening and night- rain, snow, sun and COLD!

Oh, but they had a blast. And they really have the best (and coolest) dad ever.

Friday night, with the tent set up!

After they ate, the sun went down and when it was pitch dark at 7:30 (and cold), there was nothing else to do but go to bed. But they were well stocked with treats, mind you...

In the morning, the kids wanted to "hike" so they walked over to a river.

They got to throw rocks, buried in snow, into the river. They loved that.

After breakfast and cleaning up camp, it was time to head home.

A quick recap of their weekend on video. Notice they admitted to being very cold at night but they could have cared less- they were camping and LOVED it! Thanks Ben. You really are the best dad!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Fun and Games

As dreary and long as winter can get, we sure have been having a lot of fun nestled up in the house. We aren't a very fancy or exciting bunch, but we sure have fun together. Here are some of our recent fun events and games we like:

Leah almost always wakes up at least an hour before Lexi from naptime and she loves to come up with me when Lexi wakes up. Here she is, waiting outside their door to go in and get her.

I open the door and she quickly throws it open. Lexi is anxiously waiting in the background.

Leah always runs over to Lexi's crib, so excited to see her.

She then almost always requests "up"- to get up into bed with Lexi.

These two crack me up lately- they are definitely going through a true "love-hate relationship." One minute they are hugging and kissing and sharing, the next they are hitting, pushing and stealing toys from each other, just because they know it will aggravate the other. But they are so pleased with themselves when they are kind to each other. It is so fun to watch.

This day I was making a cheesecake and I let Lexi lick the batter from the spatula. Leah came over to investigate. "A bite for me."

"And a bite for you." I did not ask Lexi to share- she was so excited to take a bite, then quickly share a lick with Leah.

Whenever there is a break in the rain, we try to go outside for a few minutes. The babies love their wagon.

They also LOVE the park. And by love I mean obsessed. The first time I took them there, it only took them a few minutes to catch on to what to do and by the end of the trip they could do everything by themselves. They start at the bottom.

Crawl to the top

Turn around

And slide down to the bottom, then repeat. They never tire of it.

Lexi got tired of the belly sliding and tried going down the big girl way.

She still needs a little help.

One game Mitch does not think is so fun is getting his hair cut. We just recently got our own clippers and had previously been having a good friend cut his hair. Mitch would sit still and be quiet for our friend, but he whines loud and long when Ben does it.

Poor guy- he always tells us his back itches and I'm sure it does!

The babies love to play in my kitchen drawers. Leah loves to be just like mommy and put on the oven mitt.

My kids all love "Ring Around the Rosie" and the babies are finally old enough to play it. Chloe and Mitchell are always up for playing it with them and it is so cute. I love that my kids love to play together. My big kids are so good to their little sisters.

Falling down is the best part!

We got little snow this winter (I'm a Seattle-ite now and I am loving mild winters!), but one day in February we got a few skiffs and the kids just had play in it.
(Yes, rain boots double as snow boots in Seattle. And jeans also work over your pajama pants if you don't have snow pants).

Everyone is still having lots of fun with the puppies. These little ladies can't get enough of them. They do not like to share them- they each have to have their own. Good thing there are plenty to go around.

Kisses for the puppies!

Chloe does great with 2 baby sisters at once, why not with 2 puppies??
She is the puppy whisperer- she can get any puppy to stop yipping and go to sleep on her lap in seconds.

We all had fun when Uncle Marcus came to visit a few weeks ago. He just recently got home from his 2 year mission to New Zealand and we were so glad to see him. All the kids warmed right up to him, even the babies who had never met him. Mitch loved taking a nap on the couch with him.

We brought a yelping puppy in one night and he fell asleep on Marcus.

The puppy is so dead asleep that his mouth is open and little tongue is hanging out. (And yes, that yellow stain is just what you think it is. We think that's why the puppy was so unhappy. After unloading, he was much more content!)

It's not super fun, but my new (and same old game) is trying to get into shape. Boy, it gets harder and harder to do with more and more kids. I bought a treadmill this month and quit my gym membership. The gym just wasn't working out with our schedule and with Leah's resistance to being left with strangers in public places. Now I just have to go out to my garage instead of loading up 4 kids every time I want a good work out. It's been so nice.

The babies love the game of finding everyone else's shoes around the house and trying to walk in them. Leah's shoes in the background look like doll shoes compared to Chloe's shoes she has on!

Chloe finally lost another tooth- it has been quite the struggle for her to lose teeth and she is very resistant to us helping her loosen them or pull them out (hysterical, really). A few weekends ago, after hours of negotiating and bribes, including a $2 bribe from Nana, Chloe let Ben pull her front top tooth out which was literally hanging by a thread. It was so loose that it shot out of her mouth when he pulled and we lost it for a minute. In bed, she wrote this note to the tooth fairy all by herself:

"For the tooth Fairy, For Chloe Andros. Love Chloe"

Inside it read:
"As of Mar. 14 I have lost 4 teeth. The incisors. I'm so happy."

They have been learning about teeth at school and for her to remember the name of the front teeth is amazing. I didn't even know that.

Last Saturday was a beautiful, sunny day here. We spent most of the afternoon outside. Chloe is awesome- I sat outside and supervised, but she walked the dog and entertained Leah and Alexis. She took them all on walks inside the cul-da-sac. The babies were in heaven.

Lexi found the big kid toys and wanted to try them out.

My favorite! If you tell the babies to hold hands, they usually will, or will try.

I may not be stopping world hunger or curing diseases, but I did conquer Super Mario Brothers 3 for the first time ever last weekend. I have always wanted to do that. I am not a video game person, but I have always loved Super Mario brothers.

I had some help from this guy. It's always fun and games with him!

Leah's most recent trick just this week is to morph into a little monkey and want to climb up on the kitchen chairs just like the big kids.

She also loves to climb on the table when she thinks I'm not looking. She was singing a little song here, just having a grand old time.

When she looked up and saw me with the camera, she said "Cheese" and immediately started to get down. Little rascal.

Can't wait to have more fun in the sun this Spring!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Special Delivery!

Daisy, our faithful chocolate lab dog, had pups this past weekend and what an excited bunch of kids we have in our house! After a very long day on Friday, she had 11 very cute chocolate pups.

Thursday night, Ben let Daisy inside and was trying to feel her tummy too see how big the pups were and if he could feel any of them moving. All four kids were fascinated with this.

Friday morning, Daisy went into labor. Chloe discovered the first pup around 10:30 a.m. and came inside screaming with excitement to tell me the news.

We had her in the garage in her whelping box where she labored ALL DAY LONG (12+ hours). Leah loved to keep a close watch.

It was fascinating to see Leah's reaction to the pups. If anyone knows my twins well, they know that Leah is very sensitive, high strung and anxious, and Lexi is laid back and mellow and tolerates almost anything. Months ago, Leah would scream and start to cry when Daisy would come up to the back door and she'd see her through the sliding glass door. Within the last few weeks, she has done a complete 360 and loves looking for Daisy outside and will go to the back door and call for her. When Ben would bring her inside to check her tummy, Leah would be the first one to run over and pet her. I love the look of excitement on her face in the above picture.

Leah was absolutely fascinated with the pups and had no anxiety with them whatsoever. She even climbed in the box once when we weren't looking. She could not get enough of the brown balls of fur.

Daisy with 6 of the pups- halfway done with delivery.

I finally brought Lexi out and she was very hesitant and apprehensive about the pups, much to my surprise. While Leah was practically living in the box, Lexi always stayed behind her, tentatively peeking in the box at a distance.

All the pup watching wore her out, and she had to relax on a chair (she was still watching, though). Hard work to birth pups, isn't it Leah?

Leah's favorite thing was to go over to the front of the box, lean over and say in a sweet voice, "Hi!"

Her other favorite thing was to reach in and pet the pups. She was in heaven all day long.

As Leah tries to sneak into the box again, notice Lexi in the background, watching from the safe distance of her chair.

Brave enough to lean forward and take a closer peek.

If Leah thought it was great to look at the pups in the box, she was in for a real treat the first time she got to hold one.

She's only 17 months, but she knew just what to do. And LOVED it.

She picked the puppy up and kissed him, all on her own. It was so sweet.

Daisy with 9 of the pups.

Leah had to get another quick holding session in before bed.

Earlier in the day I tried to get Lexi to hold a pup and she starting panicking and crying immediately, but Ben slowly eased her into it later that evening and showed her there was nothing to be afraid of.

She quickly found out how fun it was.

Mitchell and Chloe begged about every hour, all weekend long, to hold a pup.

Chloe is our puppy pro- she has been alive for all 5 of Daisy's litters.

Here is Chloe at 2 1/2 with our first litter of pups. I love this picture of her. She adored those pups and named all of them "Choco" (short for Chocolate). She loved on those pups all summer long until the last one was sold.

She would sit outside for hours and hold them and play with them.

She especially loved when they were old enough to run and really play with.

Even with 4 kids now, 11 pups is more than enough to keep everyone in the family happy. These pups will get lots of love until they go to their new homes in a few months.