Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sunday Afternoon Stroll

We went on a walk with Bentley this afternoon. He loves to be outdoors. Sometimes he walks; sometimes he wants to be carried. When he walks we have to herd him away from the center of the street and try to keep him out of private yards.

Generally this isn't a hard task, but today when we passed a yard with a soccer ball and net in it, Bentley absolutely refused to stay out. I had to carry him off a half a block past the yard.

As soon as I put him back down on his own feet, he headed for the yard with the soccer ball. Again I steered him away.

Even the playground was not a stronger lure than that single soccer ball. Crazy boy!

Friday, September 28, 2007

New food avoidance tactics

Bentley is quite the clever little tyke with his tricks... this past week we installed a new light fixture in the dining room. I've been eyeing this particular chandelier at the store for a couple of years, and it finally made it to a clearance price and I took that as a sign to buy! I love shiny sparkly stuff so this chandelier is right up my ally... and it seems Bentley has taken a fancy to it as well. I put it all together while he was sleeping, and he noticed it right away when he came upstairs in the morning, pointing with an "ooooooh, ahhhh!!". He knows how to please his Mom!

To get to the point though... now when I offer him foods he doesn't want he points up to the shiny light and says "ooooooh!!!". He's trying to distract me and half the time it works. :-)

The light seems to be a hit with Jackson as well. I haven't caught Genevieve staring at it, but if I position the bouncy chair right sometimes Jackson will sit and stare with his huge eyes for at least a couple minutes before getting back to voicing his complaints about life. :-)

Playdate time again!

Patrick and Cassidy are getting so big - I bet they're going to catch up to Jackson and Genevieve in the next two weeks!

Either I'm really good (they're all looking!) or they're just really cooperative... I'm leaning towards the second option. Today all four babies were quiet and peaceful at the same time for at least an hour. It was an amazing experience!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Perfection of the toddler creed

Bentley has been practicing the most essential of toddler skills very hard (he's anticipating turning 2 apparently). The past few days have seen an explosion in the "no" department. Unfortunately for him he lacks conviction, he points his hand at the food he wants while the no is coming out of his mouth. It seems to be a knee jerk reaction and an enjoyment of the new word more than anything else! Fortunately for him I still find this behavior cute - I'm sure that will wear off, but for the time being I'm entertained by the cute way he draws out the word no, and by the fact my child has such a sense of independance!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

3 months old

Since it's a little past midnight, according to the date the twins are now officially 3 months old!!

I can't believe they have been a part of daily life with us for 1/4 of a year, it doesn't feel like it's been that long. They've changed so much in the last 3 months and I can't wait to see what the next 3 bring.

They both smile "on command" (ok, not really on command - but when coaxed they will normally produce toothless grins) now, and they are starting to do a great job of tracking with their eyes. They have excellent vocal cords, which get louder on a daily basis. They are full of self confidence and have no problems with expressing their demands. On occasion they will stand (with help, of course) and sometimes we can get 2 or 3 seconds of sitting out of them before they topple forward (Genevieve) or straight back (Jackson). Once in a while they practice their baby talk, it's more common to hear Genevieve doing this than it is to hear Jackson. Maybe he will be the strong silent type...

Bentley is an awesome older brother. He claps when they practice standing and sitting - he is really looking forward to getting them to a more mobile state - I think he's anticipating some lively games of ball? When they cry he comes running to provide a pacifier, or to check that I'm doing my job and feeding them. He loves to sit on the couch with Genevieve and rub her head (on occasion he pulls her toes and tries to sit on her, but I try to focus on the positive!). When we tell him to say good night to the babies he's always willing to give them both a kiss. He's also always willing to share his food with them... I hope this positive sibling interaction continues - only time will show!

Monday, September 24, 2007

All Dressed Up

The twingle and twinks dressed up this past weekend to attend their cousin Dan's wedding reception.

Genevieve was passed around and admired by a number of family members (and even some strangers), while Jackson preferred to hang out mostly with dad. Bentley ran wild with his Cuz Felicity.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

It is officially fall time!

Here are the kids, *celebrating* the official arrival of the autumn season. Well... at least 2 of them are celebrating. The other one wasn't too thrilled to be put down just to have his picture taken!

Competitive screaming

When one baby screams it very quickly turns into two babies screaming... I think they both have a sense that if they don't scream louder than their sibling than they're "losing"... I'm not sure what they're losing, but I know that I'm losing my hearing (and sanity). Friday started out with some healthy lung exercise... so I knew we needed something special to make it through the day. Out came Mom's favorite shirts... read closely. :-)

They both love mommy, the shirts remind me. Since they can't speak yet the shirts speak for them (I hope!). :-) Notice Genevieve is even smiling in the picture - I had a few with Jackson smiling, but Genevieve wasn't smiling at the same time. Of course not... since I've already posted a picture of his smile I figured it was her turn. We think she might have a dimple, we have to coax a few more big grins out of her before a final determination can be made though!
I was speaking with someone today about God's clever plan, in making babies so darn cute - they have to be awfully lovable and adorable to make it easy for us to block out all the screaming, the lack of sleep, and the hardwork... it's a good thing Jackson and Genevieve have cute down pat already.

Language "explosion"

All of my parenting magazines tell me that somewhere between 15 and 24 months children have a language explosion, at which point they will start adding dozens of words to their vocabulary every day. I can't wait - at least - that's what I keep telling myself! I am very eager to find out exactly what is going on behind those bright eyes of my child. :-) I didn't talk much until 24 months myself, at which point I talked in sentences. Bentley's approaching 20 months and I'm wondering if he's going to take the same approach... 4 months seems like an eternity right now!

I suspect that half of the reason I look forward to clear communication is because I think it will make it easier to get along. I'll offer a selection of breakfast foods, he'll tell me what he wants and he'll eat it. I'll explain we have to run errands but when we get home we can play outside, and he'll eagerly come along and behave at the store. I'll tell him I understand he's tired and if he could just be good natured we'll be home soon, and he'll happily comply... I have many visions of conversation with a rational being. The problem, however, is that I'm not sure toddlers qualify as rational humans. They have to grow into that...

I'm positive that communication with full sentences will be entertaining, but I think I'll have to reconcile myself to the fact that it won't solve all parenting problems. Exhibit A may be the new words heard this week:

1stly, the big "NO" has shown up. Prior to this it was simply vehement head shaking, but now we've progressed to an occasional no.

2ndly, we heard a "go away!" this week. It was directed at the ball, which he then threw, but still...

We'll see what words show up next!

More on Bentley's Music...

Here's a picture of Bentley working the CD player, ready for his 2 hrs of morning music time:

and here is Genevieve, doing a pretty good job of outwardly expressing my inward feelings at hearing the same song yet again...

Friday, September 21, 2007

Another Stargazer

It started out reasonably enough. We were driving to the playground at 8PM and the sun was setting. Whenever we traveled west, it nearly blinded us, so I pulled out the pair of sunglasses we keep for Bentley in our truck. He happily put them on.

Then he refused to take them off when we got to the playground even though it was rather overcast, starting to get dark, and the glasses had very dark lenses. I know better than to argue with a toddler over minor issues, so I let him wear them.

Jackson accompanied us on the playground trip--here's our proof of that.

(No he isn't really swinging or sliding, but it makes for a nice photo.)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Jackson looks to the stars

I took Jackson in to the Dr. yesterday to try and find out why his head is always at such a bizarre and uncomfortable angle. Jackson put on a good show demonstrating what a normal baby he is, smiling, giggling, and talking - and refusing to arch his head or back. After checking him over and ruling out neurological disorders, problems with muscle tone, and hernias the Dr. told me that Jackson just has lofty goals and likes to look towards the sky. Hmppph. Apparently he finds craning his head to the side to be a comfortable position... the diagnosis is still the same, tummy troubles that he should outgrow in the next couple months. I hope so. In the mean time we'll enjoy more of the straight line frowns he has perfected I guess...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

She might not roll, but she can sit!

It's a good thing camera shutters move quick...

What a clever baby! Now if only Jackson would hold his head at a normal human angle maybe he could give this a try...

Bentley the Music Maniac

Bentley has rediscovered the CD player this past week. Every morning after breakfast he climbs up onto the kitchen barstools and plays his baby music CDs for about 2 hours - 2 STRAIGHT HOURS! I can't sleep at night, I have the 1st tracks of many CDs stuck in my head. We normally listen to track 1, and then he pops the CD out and pops in another one. Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. He giggles, laughs, and dances - it's great fun for him, and he's awfully cute, but I'm going crazy! Too bad Jackson and Genevieve aren't talking - perhaps they would side with me and it would be 3 against 1?!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Playing together

The twins are getting more alert every day, and today there was a window of time where they were both awake and happy at the SAME time! Maybe I'm not giving them enough credit and this happens more often than I think but when they scream it tends to overshadow the calm memories in my mind...

I try to encourage interaction between the little tikes, as I have the idea stuck in my head that because they're twins they must love to spend time together (plus, it makes for cute pictures if they cooperate). Once they can talk I guess we'll find out if I'm right - I have a feeling they'll be asking me why I allowed permanent damage to their ear drums to occur due to occasional bouts of a screaming womb mate in close proximity.

Some moms of twins talk about how their twins love to cuddle together, and hold hands. The closest I could get was a picture of the two of them linking arms. The next shot after this one was where they straightened the arms to push each other away - not what I was going for! Please note this is my own attempt at an ugly art shot -- I think I enjoy the photo editing options in Picasa a little too much...

Saturday, September 15, 2007

An Ugly Art Photo

After you've taken 40,000+ photos of your grandchildren, you find yourself willing to take a few ugly photos. Just a few. Here's our latest Ugly Art Photo:

Can you identify the owner of each pair of eyes?

Or do you prefer this edition of the Ugly Art Photo? (Kara suggested her father do this, but he's not thrilled with the results. I like it.)

And, just to prove we haven't lost our touch with cute photos, I'll post this one, too:

Friday, September 14, 2007

Visits with The Cousin

Bentley (and, of course, Genevieve and Jackson) have a second cousin, Felicity, who lives nearby. She's two days older than Bentley. It's been months since he spent much time with her because Alaskan summers are very chaotic--and, how could I have forgotten?--the twins' birth had a negative impact on Bentley's play dates. However, now it's September and in the past eight days the cousins have gotten together three times!

Bentley has been a great host and shares all his toys with his cousin. He even shares his dad's computer:

He shares his food with her (better than having to eat it himself!):

And he got her help to try to destroy the baby gate at the top of the staircase. Fortunately the duo were not successful:

The only items that Bentley did not like sharing were his favorite blankets. (No photo available--the photographers were refereeing the blanket tug-of-war contests.) He won't share them with the twins and he sure isn't sharing them with a cousin. However, she was quite welcome to any of the twins' blankets.

The Idyllic Life

The other day I arrived at Kara's home to find her camped out on the couch:

I told her it sure seemed that she had the idyllic life. What could be finer than lounging on a couch in the middle of the afternoon snuggling with an infant? Why snuggling with two infants, of course! (Bentley was also napping, but in his crib. He's too active to join a group nap.)

Of course, such moments are rare and they are balanced out by other moments like this:

Recently while I was in solo charge of the grandchildren, all three were crying at the same time. It was a group hysteria thing. Once the twins got going, Bentley joined in because he wanted my attention and I didn't respond in my usual quick manner as I was trying to comfort the twins who were not responding at all to my efforts. So there I was sitting on the living room floor with three howling little ones. Not pleasant at all. I felt quite inept and I seriously considered joining them in their cry fest.

There's a recent radio ad campaign that warns that parents of infants transfer their stress to their babies and it's not good for the baby's brain development. Well, what about infants who transfer their stress to their parents and grandparents?! It sure rattles my brain to hear that much crying, shrieking, and howling. Do you think dementia could be brought on by overexposure to infants?

Oops, I think I've slipped off topic.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Photo Critic

Bentley is already a pro on the computer. I'm not sure why but all of us (except his mom!?) allow him to use our computers--often unsupervised. I'm sure he has a great future ahead of him as a hacker.

The above photo is of him checking out opa's photo site where thousands of photos of him and his siblings are posted. He knows how to push the arrow buttons to scroll through the photos. Notice that while he's looking at the photos he's taking notes--maybe to suggest improvements in photo composition or maybe just new photo pose ideas?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

They're both looking!

Amazing - a picture where both twins are awake and looking at the camera!

Battle of the Bottle Part 2

Earlier this year we decided to wean Bentley from his 2 bottles, and we quickly gave up. I'm not sure if I'm getting more lax in my determination to get calories into his scrawny body, or if he's getting more agreeable - but - take 2 with bottle weaning is going better. Bentley gets a bottle of milk before his nap, and then another one before bed time. I've decided to work in stages, so first we're cutting out the nap time bottle. Instead he gets a big sippy cup full of milk... so far no objections, and he's actually drinking a fair amount of milk from the sippy cup on his own during the day. I think we'll give it a couple more months before attacking the night time bottle...

Bentley: Master Baby Feeder

Since we brought the twins home Bentley has been working on his baby bottle feeding skills. It's a little trickier than it looks to get the bottle into the mouth of a squirming infant though, and up until this week he had limited success. He has, however, mastered the art of inserting the baby plug (aka the pacifier). He used to try and put them in backwards, and just shove them anywhere at the face. He now is adept at getting them into the mouth - the right direction too!

Since mastering this skill he's decided to move onto the bigger project of baby feeding. Since we spend hours (literally... hours and hours... and hours) feeding babies at our house I have no objections to any help offered! On Tuesday Bentley was tired of Genevieve screaming for her bottle (I was busy changing Jackson's diaper) so he took matters into his own hands. He sat down next to her head, inserted the bottle... and away they went. 45 minutes later she gave up on him after 2 1/2 ounces, but it wasn't bad for a first joint effort! He's going to train them to be VERY neat eaters. Every time Genevieve started to drip, Bentley removed the bottle and wiped her face down with the burp cloth. This frustrated the poor girl, who just wanted the freedom to eat with abandon and happily squirt formula down her cheeks. To add to her frustration, sometimes Bentley dripped on her face while getting the bottle back in place. This meant they would start back over at square 1, with the bottle being removed, the baby being wiped down, ... my offers to assist were vehemently rejected.

The bottom line is it's help freely given, and I'll take it!

Watch out, Bentley!!

Bentley is officially in trouble -- well, he is once the twins develop some control over their limbs! I did an unofficial weigh in on the babes yesterday:

Genevieve weighs in at 11.4 lbs
Jackson weights in at 12.0 lbs
Bentley weights in at 22.1 lbs

The twins outweigh him, so when they team up... he's going to have to watch it! Luckily for him he's a lot faster...

Monday, September 10, 2007

The New Swing Set

Thanks to a lot of help from family (thank you thank you!!), we now have a new (well, slightly used!) swing set/play yard set up in the back yard for the kids. It might be a little while before Jackson and Genevieve start using it, but Bentley is already excited! We have to reattach the rock wall and set up the picnic table still, but after a couple days of work it's looking functional for use by Bentley tomorrow - we're excited!!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

3 of my favorite people

2 of my guys and my favorite daughter were hanging out on the floor together Saturday, so of course the camera came out!

Jackson the flirt

The last week we have started seeing a few smiles from the twins. It's very exciting to have them finally acknowledge our existence in a positive way! When we try hard we can coax a smile out of Jackson, and once in a while Geneieve flashes a quick one. Today at church, however, Jackson smiled for about 20 minutes straight - he found himself a lovely young lady to hold him, and he wanted to make sure she didn't let him go. :-)

He's been sleeping soundly since we made it home from church, since he chose to stay awake for about an hour and a half to entertain his new friend at church. He's already a flirt!

I didn't have my camera at church (what was I thinking?!) but here's a shot of the toothless grin from Friday - he smiled because his Dad discussed space ships and lasers and rockets with him...

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The original cubby shot

I just wanted to note that babies on the toy shelf was originally the inspiration of our family's photographer & his assistant. Please note how much easier it is to get an attentive looking baby when there is only one to work with at a time.... :-)

Twinks x 2 playdate, 2nd photo shoot

We had our weekly play date with Patrick and Cassidy today, I managed to catch pictures of 3 of the babes doing what they do best:

I'm sure they were bonding although napping, right?! We actually managed to get 2 different shots with all 4 kids, I was impressed.

I bet you didn't know you can put babies into cubbie holes!

Lastly, a shot of the two guys bonding while Genevieve provides some background music for them.

The play date was a success, we can't wait until next week!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Carrots & grapes & pineapple - oh my!

Bentley may be turning over a new leaf in the food department. He is branching out from his staples of pasta, waffles, and crackers. He has decided perhaps some other groups besides carbs from the food pyramid should be represented in his diet. Bentley started with grapes, probably because he knows it makes me nervous when he eats them. He quickly followed the grapes up with carrot sticks, because it also makes me nervous when he tries to eat those! I'm worried he's going to choke! Yesterday we managed to convince him to nibble on a piece of pineapple, and the night before that I caught him actually eating the hamburger meat in a pasta dish. Who knows what we might get into him next... ?! I can't wait to find out!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Still waiting...

The Dr. said it can take up to a week for the reflux medication to completely kick in, we're on day 6 and I'm not completely convinced that it's helping. Poor Jackson still seems to be in constant pain some times of the day, he just screams and screams, pours out the tears, and arches his neck and back as hard as he can. I'm hoping day 7 will bring the magic with it and he'll get some relief.

The wrath of Genevieve

Genevieve has 2 current issues that we're hoping she'll outgrow. One of them she will, one of them... well, we'll have to wait and see. Her 1st issue is with food - she loves to eat but has trouble keeping the food down. She's a proficient puker - there's no nice way to say it! Her 2nd issue is anger management - she has 3 stages but the first 2 are passed very quickly. Starting to feel annoyed, irritated, and full out irate. There's no middle ground if her needs/wishes aren't met RIGHT away! I think she's cute when she screams, so here's a random picture:

For some reason we have many pictures of angry Genevieve while she's wearing dresses?! I hope this doesn't bode poorly for the future of her dozens and dozens of dresses just waiting for her to grow into them!

To go along with the random picture, I have a random story for the "baby book" about not messing with Genevieve. Last night her father had the nerve to tell her that feeding her was a waste of his time, due to the fact she was happily leaking half the bottle out of her mouth, and not really swallowing. Genevieve took immediate exception to that statement - she is a clever girl, after all - and puked up the whole bottle all over her father. He had to spend 20 minutes cleaning up... I'm guessing he'll think twice before calling ANY time spent with her a waste again? :-)