Thursday, October 24, 2013

Turning 4, times 2!

I tried to stop it, but I couldn't.  My favorite twins turned 4 this month.  FOUR. 

The birthday festivities started early when the girls celebrated at preschool.  They got to wear birthday crowns made by their teacher and they got to bring in treats.  Being just 2.5 weeks after Olivia was born, I was not super on top of it to have the time, or really the desire, to make anything.  Luckily, the girls had no issues picking out treats from the store.

When I arrived at school with the treats, the class was out at recess.  Leah was running around in the yard.

I found Lexi on the trampoline.  Right after her accident, she asked if she could jump on the trampoline at school. I told her it wasn't a good idea with her sore ankle that she was limping on.  I guess she decided for her birthday that it was safe to jump.

It was Leah's turn that day to ring the bell to call everyone in from recess.  Their teacher has the cutest ideas and things for the kids to do to make them feel special.

With their treats- frosted sugar cookies!  Lexi picked out her favorite color- pink, and Leah her favorite color- orange.

They each got to pass out one cookie of each color to their classmates.

They were so excited to do it that they accidentally skipped over people.

What a cute class!

Oh, they loved these birthday crowns.  They wore them for some part of everyday for at least a week.

The Saturday before their birthday, their sweet primary teacher stopped by with a gift for them.  It was the perfect gift for a couple of 4 year olds- mini balloons, an adorable church/gospel ABC book and a bag of M&M's.  They loved everything and toted around their bag full of treasures for many days.  (Yes, they had on their birthday crowns again that day).

Their actual birthday fell on General Conference Sunday this year (October 6th).  We tortured them and made them wait until both sessions were over to begin the festivities.

Posing with their gifts- Leah's pile on her side, Lexi's identical gifts on her side, and shared gifts in the middle.

Someday, their gifts probably won't be the same.  And someday, these sweet little girls won't be dressing alike.  They already have their own personalities and identities.  I'm just still having fun playing dress up with them, and they are at an age where having the same things is basically a must- at their request.  I know both of these things are coming to an end fairly soon, but I'm enjoying every last minute of both.

They have been so excited to turn 4!  It's all they've been able to talk about for months.  Their birthday was part of the sequence of events of "when does baby come?"  I always told them Olivia would come right before their birthday (just shy of 3 weeks before).  They are convinced that turning four makes them BIG girls.  I think they are probably right.  And even though I have a brand new baby to snuggle, these two will always hold very special baby memories for me- for all of us.  They were the family "babies" for almost 4 years.

They can open presents all on their own now.  Had to make sure they each opened the same gift!  Come to find out, Leah is a much faster present opener than Lexi, so Lexi found out what the gift was way before she had hers opened.  She didn't mind.

Cute dresses!

The girls have been wanting wallets forever.  Both of them love coins and any dollar bills they receive from grandparents.  Leah is especially money obsessed and loves to carry around any type of currency or coin in a ziplock baggie.  Lexi inherited an old wallet from Chloe, which Leah was very jealous of.  It was time to give these money guru's their very own (and new) wallets.  They were super excited.

Grandma and Papa got them new shoes.  For the first time ever, they will have different sizes of shoes.  I knew this day was coming as well- Lexi has smaller feet than Leah by at least a 1/2 size, if not more (depending on the shoe).  So far, all the shoes they own have been easily accommodating for them to wear the same size.  But my mom and I tried these shoes on the girls prior to buying them and different sizes just fit both of them better.  To help the girls know who's is who, I wrote an "L" on the inside of Leah's and an "A" on Lexi's.  They have never gotten them mixed up yet.

Cynde got the girls some adorable matching thermals.  Lucky for us, she's a buyer for REI and is up on all the new, fashionable outdoor wear.

She also gave the girls a box of candy.  No surprise that it was their favorite gift of the day!

Ben and I to them a Princess cupcake game that looked really fun.  We love that all of our kids like to play games.

Chloe made the girls sock puppets out of some old socks of hers.  They were adorable.  The past few years, she has been very into getting gifts for her siblings for their birthdays and Christmas.  I like that she has gotten resourceful and made gifts lately.  I did similar things when I was her age- I made or gave things that I owned to my siblings and parents.  She also made them very cute cards, with a little piece of paper inside labeled "iPod chart"so the twins could each use her iPod so many times to watch a movie.

Posing with all their loot!

Thank you Cynde!

Cynde was our designated baby holder during all of the gift opening festivities.  

We were all very excited to eat this cake- a Dairy Queen ice cream cake!  Our family is ice cream obsessed!  Leah can literally eat her body weight in ice cream, so she was very excited to have an entire cake made out of ice cream.

We devoured the entire cake in one sitting.  And we are not ashamed to admit that.  (Ben might be a little ashamed- he's the only one of us that is not obsessed with ice cream.  He doesn't hate it, but he doesn't crave it and dream about it like the rest of us).

Happy 4 years to two beautiful girls!

Sharing a candle!

After cake (I mean ice cream), the girls wanted to play with some of their new toys.  Cynde and Chloe helped them play their new cupcake came.  It was a very cute game.

Cynde was also a sport to play catch for quite some time with both girls with their new balls.

Miss O slept very peacefully during cake and playing.  She is so sweet.

The birthday girls with everyone!

Saying goodbye to Cynde.  We hate to see her go!

Lexi especially hates to see Cynde go.  She wouldn't stop hugging her this night.  I had to pry her off of Cynde so she could leave.

Just a sweet picture of Olivia with her dad.  We did some tummy time after the kids were in bed and she fell asleep, with her little legs curled up under her tummy.  We sure love her.

Some things about the twins at 4 years old:

Loves to sing.  She can be found walking around the house singing made up songs or real songs.  She knows lots of pop and country songs that Ben and I listen to.  She has a beautiful little voice.

Has been extremely helpful lately.  Most of the time, if asked to do something, she will immediately jump up and say "ok!"  In the past, she was my one to complain or make up an excuse, mostly saying, "I'm too tired!"  I love the new, helpful Leah. 

Loves to play with Mitchell and do all things "boyish."  She has kind of taken on the role of being the brother Mitch doesn't have.  She loves to play rough with him (too rough sometimes).  They love to wrestle together and literally roll around on the ground being wild. 

Has the best laugh.  She loves to be silly and giggle and giggle.  She loves to make her siblings laugh by saying funny things, and then is the first one to laugh at her own joke.

Of the twins, she is the sleeper lately.  In the past year or so, she has requested many, many times to go to bed if we have stayed up to do something as a family.  I love hearing a child ask if they can go to bed!  When put to bed, she pulls her blanket on and turns over and usually falls asleep very quickly.

Is a very light eater.  Sometimes we wonder how she can even be surviving on such little food.  We have come to find out her system- most meals she eats very little.  Once a week or so, she'll eat a huge amount at a meal- sometimes just as much as Mitch or Chloe or more, then back to eating like a bird.  But she can ALWAYS eat a truck load of ice cream whenever it is offered.

Is very athletic.  She can kick a ball very well and can throw extremely well (and has for years).  She runs well and is fast.  During soccer season right now, she loves playing kick back and forth with someone during the big kids' practices and games.  We can't wait to see what sports she excels at and enjoys.

Loves writing.  Over the summer and now that she is in preschool, she has become interested in learning to write her name.  She knows the 4 letters to her name but doesn't quite know the order yet (except that the L comes first).  She has been found carrying a pen and paper all over the house with her name and random scribbles written all over it.  My mom left wrapped birthday gifts for the twins and Mitch when she left at the beginning of the month and a few days later I found her name written on all 3 presents.  She has also broken the cardinal rule in our home and scribbled all over the wainscoting in our dining room recently, and on several doors and windowsills.  I thought we were over this stage, but our little Van Gogh has started up again with her newfound love of writing.

Loves to play pretend.  Her current favorite thing to be is a tiger.  She will crawl and run all over the house growling like a tiger and jumping here and there.  I will also find her in a corner with pillows and toys, talking to herself and playing make believe.

Has recently learned/started to tell fibs.  When I asked her who wrote all over the walls and doors (already knowing it was her), she thought really hard and said, "Hmmm.... It wasn't me but I think I know who it was!"  After finally admitting that it was her, I asked her why she did it.  Her response, "I thought the wall was a piece of paper." 

Favorite outfit is a pair of jeans (she especially loves skinny jeans) and a t-shirt.  She's fine with wearing skirts and cutesy matching outfits if I lay them out for the girls, but if she had a choice everyday, she'd choose a t-shirt and jeans.

Is so eager to please lately and can say the cutest things when she's in a super good mood.  My favorites are "I want to keep you forever!"  "I want to help you forever!"  

My little "treasure hunter."  She loves to collect little gadgets from around the house and outside and put her "treasures" in ziplock baggies or tupperwears with lids, or any kind of container or purse.  I will find the most random assortment of items in containers all over the house.  Treasures to her are new, tiny random things- a seashell, gold doubloons (golden tokens from a car wash), rocks from outside, candy pieces, etc.  Anything unique and special.  She also loves to put random toys from all over the house in backpacks and purses and carry it around.


As mentioned in a previous post, has been kind of fiesty lately.  She used to be my eager to please child and always so helpful.  Lately, she flat out refuses to help with even a simple request.  Other times, she is her sweet self and willingly helps in her super sweet way.  But if you catch her in a bad mood, watch out!  She will yell at anyone who crosses her wrong and has pitched some major tantrums that I never knew she had in her.

She is my more girly-girl of the twins.  She loves wearing skirts and dresses during the day.  She's more willing to wear a matching outfit that Leah has on if I ask them to match.  She usually enjoys having her hair curled or styled "fancy" and always asks to look at herself in the mirror when she's done.

Has morphed into our "shy" child.  If too much attention is put on her, especially by a stranger or someone she isn't super comfortable with, she refuses to talk and bows her head and won't make eye contact.

Loves to give hugs and kisses.  When people leave or asks for hugs, she'll sometimes give 10 or 15 hugs and can smother people in kisses.  She has a very tender heart and when her inner dragon isn't raging, she's a sweetie.

Since school started, she is very aware of the letter "A", as she knows it's the first letter of her name.  She points it out any place she sees it and instead of calling it an "A", she refers to it as the "Up down across" letter.

She loves learning and loves to come home and tell us all about her day at school and what she has learned.  She is picking up letter sounds pretty well and is excited to tell us about her new found knowledge.

Is especially obsessed with her new baby sister.  She constantly wants to be by her and help take care of her.  If Olivia is just laying somewhere, Lexi will come over and stroke her fingers or head and of course, smother her with soft hugs and kisses.  She loves being near her and touching her.

Still is such a sweet helper and loves to serve Leah whenever she can.  One of the sweetest things she does for Leah is help her get unbuckled in the car.  Both girls can get themselves buckled, but Lexi learned this Spring/Summer how to unbuckle herself when it's time to get out of the car.  Leah's buckle is harder to get undone and she can't undo it herself, but Lexi can undo it and is always willing to unbuckle it for Leah.  I love hearing her say "I'll undo Leah's buckle for her mom" or directly telling Leah, "I'll help you Leah.  I'll do your buckle."  She still is really great about switching or trading Leah things if it will make her happy (switching cups at meal time if Leah wants a certain color).  If Leah wants a certain pull up at bed, Lexi will give it up.  She loves her sister and it shows.

Is our Miracle and we still can't help but look at her everyday and be thankful she is still with us!  She still doesn't like to talk about the accident much (and even told me that one day- "Mom, I don't like talking about it!"), but will randomly say things like "Remember when I fell out of the window and I had to go to the hospital and I got a needle in my arm like the needle you had when you had Olivia?"  We are so grateful for miracles!

Most of the time is a great eater.  She is more apt to try new things than her sister and will almost always finish her meal when asked.  She loves to be fed if she is "too tired" to eat it herself. 

Has the cutest freckles on her nose and upper cheeks.  (Leah is very sad that she doesn't have any).

Is a fast learner for a lot of things.  As athletic as Leah is, Lexi excelled faster at learning to ride a bike with no training wheels.  She was very brave about the whole thing and even learned quickly how to ride up our sloped driveway.

All of our kids love bugs and creepy crawly things that belong outdoors, but Lexi is perhaps the most interested in them.  Even as a baby, I found her on more than one occasion with a slug in her mouth (totally gross, I know).  At the end of the summer, we found little tiny dragon lizards INSIDE our house on 3 different occasions.  Both the twins were not afraid to go and capture it for me and take it outside.  Once outside, Alexis kept picking it up and playing with it.  She played with it so much that one time it's tail fell off and she brought me just the tail, still twitching in her hands.  She thought it was hilarious. 

These two girls are a joy to have in our family.  They definitely keep things spicy and alive in our house.  There is never a dull moment with them and we wouldn't have it any other way.  Whenever someone tells me they could "never do twins," I want to tell them all the things they are missing out on. We feel so blessed to have the opportunity to raise twins and enjoy all of the fun and unique things about twins.  Happy Birthday to my sweet girls!

One of the girls asks me almost daily "When are we going to be 5?  When we wake up tomorrow, is it going to be our birthday?  How old will Olivia be when I'm 7?  When I'm 8? (and on and on).  When is it going to be our birthday again?"  They are very anxious to get older.  I love seeing them grow and learn, but am not anxious for it to go too quickly.  I will enjoy this year and each day as it comes.  

*On a funny side note, I was talking to the girls about being twins the other day and Leah said "I'm not a twin anymore!  I'm 4 and that's big!"  I guess her interpretation of being a twin was that it meant she was little.  Now that she's grown up and "big", she thought she wasn't a twin anymore.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

First 3.5 weeks

My oh my, have we been enjoying this sweet baby of ours.  After nearly 4 years without a baby, it was definitely time again!  Our only problem is there isn't enough of this gorgeous girl to go around.  Someone is always in line to hold her and more than one of the kids have said on different occasions, "I wish we had 2 babies again!" 

Before Olivia was born, Ben and I wondered what it would be like this go around, with baby #5.  We were mostly wondering because of the big gap between her and the twins.  4 years is a lot and it would kind of like be starting over.  The twins are potty trained (have been for over a year), can buckle and unbuckle themselves in the car, can get themselves dressed, clean up after themselves and even get themselves some food/snacks.  We had kind of started into a different phase of life with our family- no babies or toddlers in the house.  We didn't know if starting over would be super hard to get used to again.

In some ways its been an adjustment (we've all been sleeping through the night now for 3.5 years!), but it's mostly just been a sweet, wonderful experience.  Having a baby fresh from heaven is such a blessing.  And getting to share her with 4 other beautiful children is so much fun.  We are loving every second with Olivia.

Our first full day home from the hospital was a busy one- Olivia had her newborn pediatric check, and I had a doctor's appointment as well.

The doctor told us what we already knew- that she was perfect!

The kids very were anxious to all help Grandma change her diaper one morning before school.  Upon finding out it was a poopy diaper, the enthusiasm diminished a bit.  But overall, everyone has been so, so helpful with her.  It's so nice having such big kids that can all help me with her.

Ben's parents came up to meet Olivia the weekend after she was born.

The came bearing gifts for the 3 October birthdays in the family.

Bey blades for Mitch- he was in heaven!

Princess dress up outfits for the girls!

The girls looked so sweet in their dressup gear.  Poor Lexi had to hobble around on her bum ankle in high heels.  

This little man wanted a brother, but doesn't he look so sweet holding a baby sister?

Everyone enjoyed Mitch's Bey Blades gift.  They enlisted Nana to play a few times that weekend.

Grandma Cynde had to come over and meet the newest Andros!

Like I said, there is always someone in line to hold Olivia, especially the first few weeks.  Twins really would have come in handy.

Olivia with the gorgeous quilt Ben's grandma made for her.  I helped her pick out the material this summer.  I love, love, love it.

Nana loves babies!  She is the best baby holder and baby soother.  She can get almost any fussy baby to stop crying and go to sleep.

Papa and Olivia

The first Sunday home, Olivia and I stayed home from church.  My mom texted me this picture of what Mitchell was doing during Sacrament meeting.  He has recently been really into sounding out words.  As you can see on the second line, he wanted to sound out the word "Gorilla."  The scribbled out part at the first of the line was his attempt to sound it out- "GWL" was the start of it.  He says his R's like W's, so GWL was exactly what he heard in his head as he sounded it out.  (It would have ended up GWLA, I'm guessing).  Too funny.  Grandma helped him spell it right.  Also funny that his next top words for the day were Hawaii and Vampire. What goes on in that boys head?

Livy loves her vibrating bouncy chair.  She takes many a naps in there.

How she sleeps at night- tightly swaddled in her Aden and Anais swaddling blanket.  I got one from my sister and my sis-in-law.  We use them every night and LOVE them.

It was so great having Ben home for 2 weeks with us.  He had to do a little work one day and connect with the office, but it didn't stop him from snuggling his girl.

This baby LOVES to eat.  This bib from my parents was very fitting for this little milk lover.  She chugs and chugs.

We had some helpers for Miss O's first bath at home.

Doesn't she look so tiny in that big ol' tub??

She was quite startled by the water but didn't totally hate it.

Until we got her out and she was cold... But it is good to be fresh!

The twins' first day of show and tell was on Liv's one week birthday.  Leah took a picture of Olivia (yes, it's life size pretty much!) to share with her class, and Lex took her hospital bear Spike.  She is very, very attached to that bear and carries it around with her almost all day and won't go to bed at night without it. 

Grandma had some small sewing projects to do while she was here.  Her two little side kicks were right by her side.

This girl is amazing.  I can't say enough good about our BIG helper Chloe.  She was a life saver when the twins were born and she has not disappointed this time either (and bonus- she's 4 years older this time!)  Chloe can change any kind of diaper by herself (maybe not a full blow out) and even asks to change diapers, can get little Livy dressed and is great at calming her by holding or rocking her and successfully gets her to go to sleep often.  She's gone most of the day at school, but is great to help whenever she is home.  She's not even 9 and is phenomenal.  We will keep her!

Grandma was a busy women while she was here- cooking, cleaning, entertaining kids, walking the kids to the bus stop and on and on, but always loved any time she could to cuddle with Olivia.

We know our babies are good and asleep when they do the "touchdown" signal.

I know they say babies can't "smile" before 5 or 6 weeks, but I don't believe it.

3 cute girls!

Ben caught Olivia and I taking a nap together one day.  She is a great snuggle buddy and we had a great nap.

She loves to have her hands up by her face while she sleeps- just like her mama!

Mitch was honored at an awards assembly at school while Ben was still home from work.  It was fun to go and support him for his hard work at school.  (He is the only kid standing up at the front with his paper held up to his eyes).  

Ben got our new stroller set up one evening.  Leah fit perfectly in it and Chloe loved pushing her around the hardwood.  Leah is also 20 pounds under the weight limit, too.

The beautiful rag quilt my mom made for Miss O.  She makes a quilt for every grandbaby.  This is one of my favorites!  (It has the cutest little owls on it!)

It's a great quilt to do tummy time on.

Even 3 year olds need tummy time!

She got so comfortable that she fell asleep and took a nice little nap on the floor.  It was so sweet.

Thank goodness for my wonderful husband!  We are in the thick of soccer season and our first year with 2 in soccer.  The weather at the end of Septemeber was so crummy- most of the days were rainy and many of them were down pours.  Ben has taken the kids to 98% of their soccer practices (3  nights a week) and 95% of their games by himself.  I had no desire to take a tiny newborn to a down pour game where it would be impossible to keep her dry or warm.  Hooray for Soccer Dads!

One of Mitch's wettest games.  He's the one in the yellow socks.

Ben took the twins with him this time.

A soaked little soccer player

And 2 soaked fans!  All of them were completely drenched when they got home.  Everyone had to completely change outfits and we had to run a load of wash.

Olivia's first day of church, posing with Grandma!

Ben set up her swing around 2.5 weeks old.  She loves the swing and takes lots of great naps in it.

My mom is truly Chloe's best friend.  She loves when Grandma comes to town and my mom is so good to entertain and play with Chloe (all the kids, really) all day long.  Chloe especially loves one-on-one time with her.  They have such a great bond and I was so glad they had so much time together.

Grandma with all the kids on her last day here.  She flew out to go home on October 2nd, after 2.5 weeks of being here.

One last one with Olivia!

I can't say enough good about my mom and how much she did for us (and has done for us with every baby).  She cooked every meal, did 99% of the dishes, emptied the dishwasher almost every day (which is the kids' job every day- they were spoiled!) and took care of the kids.  She got up with them every morning and cooked them breakfast EVERY SINGLE DAY.  My kids love home cooked breakfasts (we do cold cereal 98% of the time) and always love when Grandma comes because they know they will get great breakfasts.  She helped them pack their lunches and get everything ready for school.  This allowed me (and Ben) to sleep in every morning.  Everyone was well entertained and taken care of, thanks to my Mom.  She has the patience of a saint and is so wonderful to truly play with her grandkids.  She plays endless board games, does crafts, takes the kids on walks and pretty much does anything they request (within reason).  She is the best grandma and a wonderful mother.  I feel bad that not everyone has the wonderful help after having babies that I do.  Is she the best?  Yes, she really is. 

Another smile from Olivia. 

Olivia with the two fabulous blankets from Great Grandma Dewsnup.  I LOVE her blankets.  They are so big and great for keeping warm during the day.

I love snuggling with my baby any time I can, but it's the best once the kids are in bed and all of my attention and time can go to her.

On General Conference weekend, Ben got up on Saturday morning and took all 5 kids with him to the store to grab some donuts for breakfast.  Chloe pushed the stroller and Mitch pushed the cart.  The twins held Ben's hands.  I got to stay home and sleep for a few more minutes and get showered with no interruptions.  Super Dad lives with me!

And the donuts were delicious!  (And Conference was wonderful!)

The twins sure wish they could really share a bed with Olivia...

Little do they know how often babies wake up in the night!

Time is going way too fast, but I can't wait to see this little Miss grow.  We are head over heals in love with her and look forward to loving on her for years to come.