Friday, February 29, 2008

The Renamed Room

This past week a very exciting transition occured in our home. Whether or not it is viewed in a positive or negative light just might depend on who you're asking though...

Bentley's room is now "the nursery". It's no longer his room alone, the twins have moved in. Yeah!! Up until this point they've been sharing a crib in our room but it was time for them to move on. Firstly, they're sleeping through the night (on most occasions!) so they won't disturb Bentley if they're sharing a room now. Secondly, they're getting to the point of wanting their own cribs - they have been sharing one up until this point. There's not room in our bedroom for 2 cribs, so I figured might as well move on to their new sleeping location!

I'd spent about a month going back and forth on the thought of buying a 3rd crib (I can't believe I own 3 cribs!), and finally caved in and went for it. Although, as you can see from the picture, the kids look ok with just 1 crib for all 3 of them! I was hoping Bentley would transition to his toddler bed and kindly pass on his crib but he's still rather attached to it. I've had the toddler bed ready and waiting for... almost a year? Yep, it just might be that long! The most interest Bentley has shown in it occured last week when I took the mattress off to move it to the new crib - the toddler bed suddenly became an attractive looking jungle gym. Not quite what I was going for! I've decided to console myself with the thought that I don't want him in the cute toddler bed anyway - the ability of my toddler to get up and roam the house at whim during the night is not something that would enhance my beauty sleep.

When I asked Bentley if he wanted the twins to sleep in his room he gave me a "YEAH!", and then a "NO WAY!" when he further processed the question. I rephrased it as "Won't it be nice to have someone to talk to, so you don't have to be alone?!", and then he was cool with the idea. I'm a bit ambivalent about the room sharing - I'm an only child and never had to share, why should my kids? On the other hand, it's not like I completely enjoyed having my own room when I was young. My parents tell me it took them a good 7 years to get me completely out of their bed at night - I was a clever child and they could never come up with a good answer to the question of why I had to sleep alone in a room when they had eachother. :-)

After the 1st night (with some crying involved from the twins) we noticed Bentley moved his pillow from its customary side of the crib to the opposite corner, farther from the twins, giving himself a few more inches of space from the noise. He put a blanket over his head and went to sleep. Poor guy!

I keep assuring myself that research shows room sharing strengthens sibling relationships, and it's good experience for the rest of life - college, missions, marriage, etc. We'll see!

Monday, February 25, 2008

67% of the way to 1 yr!

In other words: happy 8 months, Jackson & Genevieve!

It's been a fun month! What's new?

The twins are both now excellent crawlers. Genevieve prefers a classic crawl technique, while Jackson uses something that reminds me of the butterfly stroke from swimming. It looks like more work than a traditional crawl to me, but he seems happy enough with it! The babes are all over the place, all the time, busy exploring the world around them. It's fun to watch.

Genevieve speaks! Granted, her vocabulary is somewhat limited... she started out with dada, which I have refused to acknowledge until she moved on to mama as well. :-) Dada has been around for about 3 weeks and this past week she picked up mama. It's adorable! Jackson is letting Genevieve do all the talking, apparently he doesn't wish to label his parents with names yet?

The babies eat! Banana and yogurt is about all we've put on the menu so far, but they have become much better at swallowing in the last two weeks. Jackson gets very excited and does a combination of crying and growling if he feels the interval between offered bites is too long. Apparently meal time with his sister is NOT on his list of things that should be shared. Genevieve isn't quite as excited about food as her brother, but that may just mean I haven't found the right food yet. We'll see...

In other news on the eating front, the babies consistently hold their own bottles. This is BIG to me as Bentley didn't achieve this milestone until... hmmm... 20 months?! It's a lovely experience to be able to put them down with bottles and walk away, even if just for a minute. After the minute is up they roll over, in an effort to watch Bentley while eating, and then need help getting set back up with the bottle. It's still forward progress, however, so I'll take it!

We finally have a bit of a consistent schedule! 4-5 8 oz bottles a day, and 2 naps. Bedtime at 11, and although we might have to get up for bottles between 6 and 7, the babies will generally sleep until 8 or 9. This might not seem like an exact schedule (and it's not!), but we have a nice rhythm we've been able to settle into. The chaos has receded - or at least pulled back to lurk in a dark corner for now!

Lastly (and this is a big one!) - Jackson and Genevieve are now better at self entertainment. Because the twins crawl they can seek out whatever interests them. They spend more time playing with toys, and more time playing with each other and Bentley. They bop to music when Bentley plays it. They paw at the board books they find on the floor. They spend hours gazing at my plants...

We're also finally starting to see some of what people mean when they say "twins are easier than one baby - they entertain each other". Although, for the record, I 100% disagree with that statement on a general level. Although the babies are now starting to entertain each other (on the occasions they aren't making each other cry instead!) there are still 2x the diapers, 2x the feedings, 2x the trouble... please don't insult moms of multiples and say twins are easier than 1 baby at a time! :-) They are definitely double the blessing, but it comes with double the work.

It's been fun to see all the big changes this past month has brought, and the next couple months will bring more words, more fun interaction between us and between them, and maybe even some walking. We can't wait!

P.S. Handy reference of Six Months and Four/Two Month Pictures (posted by Opa)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Help! Help!

I can't let go! We have gotten some interesting photos lately by taking advantage of the twins' super grip. If you give them something to wrap their little fingers around, they grab it tightly and do not let go.

The same phenomenon is going on in this photo, but Jackson's head is turned away and so you can't tell he's asking to be rescued from what he perceives is a precarious position.

I don't think Genevieve is going to take off and drag him anywhere. Her feet don't even touch the ground. The twins are about the same weight, so Jackson ought to be able to dig his heels in and keep her stationary. The next few months should be entertaining.

Cats & Trains

While the twins were at home perfecting their conspiracy theories, Bentley was hanging out with us. He spent the night with us on Friday. On Saturday we took him out to a couple of Fur Rondy events. We should have taken him to see the sled dog races (the big Rondy event), but we didn't leave the house early enough. Instead we went to the cat show and then the model train show.

We think he enjoyed the cat show, but he insisted on being carried the entire time. He would not cooperate when we tried to take his photo at the cat show, so we haven't a decent photo of him next to a cat (to prove he was there), but we did get a great artsy shot.

There were some beautiful cats at the show. Ever seen a toyger or a Norwegian forest cat?

Mark requested a business card from the Egyptian mau owner. Bentley immediately confiscated the card from Mark. (It was a very nice business card in color with a photo of an Egyptian mau on it.) His mom said he took the card to bed with him last night and sure enough I saw it in the crib when I put him down for his nap this afternoon. (No, I did not try to reclaim it. I know not to mess with a cranky toddler.)

The model train show was definitely a hit with him. He was riveted by the larger model trains and wanted to touch them, but that was not allowed.

Did you notice all the little boy heads in the photo above? There are five small male heads--and this was just a random shot. Unfortunately the train wasn't going by Bentley when Mark took the shot. I had to move Bentley along since he was standing on a small stool that he outraced a younger boy to claim. (I think maybe the younger boy was waiting his turn to use the stool, but I didn't notice him until after Bentley had climbed on the stool. What is the etiquette in a situation like this?)

When it was time to leave the train show Bentley had a short screaming fit. Hmm, that seems to be happening more often lately. Is it our lax grandparenting or just the trials of being two? After all, why are the adults always in charge of arrival and departure times?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Conspiracy Theories

With mobility has come babies who are a bit more in control of their own worlds. Will they use their power wisely? That remains to be seen. I have proof they're plotting together though. Check out the pics from their top secret meeting in the teepee recently:

Queen of The Falls

In order to be a master climber you first, unfortunately, have to put in your time and conquer the pesky business of falling! Genevieve is working hard to get her hours in and probably chalked up a dozen tumbles today.

Now that she's an expert crawler she's moved on to getting herself in a stand position by pulling up on anything that's higher off the ground than she is. The current favorite is my armoire - I caught Genevieve pulling up on the bottom drawer so she could grin, with great delight, at herself in the mirror. It doesn't seem to phase the child that she keeps toppling over while trying to get fully upright! After voicing her indignation (quite loudly) she gets right back to climbing practice.

Although she may sport a few more bruises and bumps in the next couple of weeks, I'm predicting I just might have a super climber and an early walker on my hands. Look out, world!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Super Duper Jackson Babe!

I was going to title this post "Mommy's Favorite" but I wasn't sure if that was appropriate, even if it is in jest. I, of course, do not have a favorite child! They're all too awesome. :-)

A few days ago Jackson made me very happy. Here are pictures of the event:

Do you see the tears? He was quite ripped! You may be wondering why this had me so happy, perhaps thinking there's something wrong with a Mother who gets out the camera to take pictures of her hysterical infant?

Jackson was distraught because he'd finished his baby food and it was time to get out of the highchair. I rushed to oblige him (after taking the pictures!) and get more food, of course. Could it be I have a child who loves to eat? I'm hoping so! It would be a lovely change of pace around here.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Model Babes

We sent Genevieve to play with her grandparents on Saturday afternoon, so they snuck in a fun photo session - the kind were they drag out the backdrops and the umbrella lighting. Lucky girl!

Isn't she adorable?

Jackson was jealous, of course, so he demanded his own photo shoot:

Too cute!

Lastly, for the fun of it, here's a shot of a young model Bentley babe from back b.b. (before blog) days:

What a beautiful little guy!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Bentley & His Buddy Mac

Bentley's relationships with the different computers in his life varies based on the computer's owner. He mostly stays off of Opa's computer, feels free to wreak havoc on Grandma's computer, has been trained never to touch Mom's computer, and spends daily time trying to hack into his Dad's computers.

I don't know that his Dad cares for this behavior but he always leaves his machines locked in password protect mode so he's pretty safe. That is - until Bentley figures out how to type in Daddy's password. Could be a while as Matt is a bit secretive about his passwords doesn't even share them with me! :-)

In any case, Bentley puts in a solid 15 minutes every day trying to get past the logon screens at Matt's desk. I don't normally pay much attention as it's harmless entertainment.

However... Matt has been complaining lately that his Apple laptop is having problems. It seems it keeps restarting, on it's own (go figure!) and then when he shows up in the evening to use it he sees messages about improper shutdowns. I finally put two and two together, and then caught Bentley in the act. After pounding on the keys doesn't get him into the system he resorts to the power button for entertainment. I figure he reasons that at least he gets to see some different action on the screen for a little while as it restarts. :-o

Matt was a little disturbed about this so I suggested that perhaps he shut the lid of his laptop so it doesn't sit there looking quite so inviting. Problem solved. Or not? Turns out the 2 year old knows how to work the clasp and open the Macbook back up. What a clever little guy!

At least - Mommy thinks so!

"Go Away!"

Bentley uses this phrase a lot. He usually means "Come here!" (I.e. "You go away with me!") When he wants your help with something (opening the fridge, reaching into a high cupboard, taking the lid off the chocolate chip jar, etc.) and when you don't respond quickly enough to his request/demand, he will grab your hand or your clothing and drag you along.

He's pretty strong, so it's best to get moving quickly. If I'm holding Jackson or Genevieve, I ask him to give me a minute to put the baby down first. He's usually pretty accommodating since it means I'm abandoning his sibling and he'll get my full attention. :-)

He is starting to talk more every day, but since the adults in his life are quite lame at interpreting some of his longer sentences, he is forced to action more often than not. Surely by the time the twins start talking we will be experts at interpreting toddler yak? Unless, of course, they create their own twin language. (As a twin myself, I should have an edge in understanding them?)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Pearly Whites

Genevieve has won the "race" for first tooth. In fact - she wanted to be sure she had the trophy firmly in hand - and she popped out two teeth at the same time.

Competitive little girl, isn't she?!

We noticed the teeth last night during story time. She hasn't been in a bad mood lately, or displaying any odd behavior, so we were quite surprised. In fact - we keep thinking Jackson must be teething as he has been extra restless and irritable and full of drool lately. Jackson put in all the effort, and Genevieve got the teeth. It hardly seems fair! Maybe she channeled her teething pain to her brother? A twin trick? Hmm...

Here's an up close shot of her new weapon against Bentley abuse. The little daggers are a bit hard to see, but they're definitely here to stay!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day fun with the Cherubs

We had a fun day celebrating Feb. 14th here at our home!

Bentley started out the day with a giant (12 inch?!) heart shaped cookie for breakfast (I stayed up late last night to prepare the treat for my little valentine!). For the health conscious among you, don't worry - he didn't eat it all. :-) We then read some books on love that just arrived in the mail from Grandma Vicki.

In the afternoon the twins and I went out for a playdate with Amrita & twins, and Bentley went out for a playdate with Grandma. In the evening we all gathered for, of course, a photo session with the little ones. They were all appropriately decked out in red so I, of course, wanted a few pictures.

Aren't they cute?!! We hope everyone out in blog land had an awesome Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

7 1/2 months: comparison shots

One of the fun things about having 365 days a year of pictures is that it's easy to find pictures from a particular time frame (even in desired poses!) whenever you want to.

Today I pulled out Bentley at 7 1/2 months:

and here are the twins, at 7 1/2 months:

Sneaky Mom Trick

I'm getting better and better at this Mom business, I think!

If you've been reading the blog you may know that Bentley is quite enamored with peanut butter cookie dough. I approve of this as the stuff is chock full of calories. I do, however, have to limit his consumption of it as all parents are required to try and control sugar intake in their offspring - right?!

A couple days ago Bentley was sitting at the dining room table and munching away on his current diet food favorite - 2 calorie pretzel sticks. He's certainly not going to get pudgy eating those! I asked him if he'd like some peanut butter to dip his pretzel sticks in. Of course, as expected, he answered with a big "NO WAY!" I keep trying to introduce the phrase "No thank you, but thanks for asking Mom!" but we're not quite there yet.

I was inspired to prevaricate on the truth, just a little, and suggest to him that perhaps he'd like cookie dough on his pretzel sticks. He was quite enthusiastic - and every day since has been happily dipping his pretzel sticks in peanut butter. He doesn't seem to notice he's been duped and it's not really cookie dough, and at 190 calories for 2 Tablespoons I'm certainly not going to be the one to tell him. :-)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A New Reign of Terror

When Bentley was the twins' age, he was friends with our cat Pharaoh. He and Pharaoh liked each other quite a bit--or so I like to think. We have some lovely photos of Bentley and Pharaoh playing together. When Pharaoh died last April I had enough photos to make a nice memorial photo book filled with Bentley and Pharaoh photos.

Bentley and Nefertiti have never been very close. Nefer tries to keep it that way. For the most part Bentley respects her wishes. Usually she makes herself scarce when the little ones come to visit. I'm predicting that we will be seeing even less of her in the coming months.

And it's not just the cat that is in for a hard few months. Kara tells me that Jackson was after the plants this afternoon. He was determined to become better acquainted with the umbrella plant in their living room. The poor plant hasn't the ability to flee like my cat does. It's inevitable that both Kara and I will be doing some serious rearranging in our homes in the very near future. Bentley was quite active, but he left plants alone. The odds are against both Jackson and Genevieve being so accommodating.

Train Up a Child

in the way he should go, and even when he is old he will not depart from it. I can't honestly say that Bentley qualifies as old, but he is more than three times as old as his siblings! In any case, the aforementioned proverb came to mind when I saw this photo that Mark took.

Isn't it grand? The hours of reading with Bentley that his mom, his dad, his grandma, and his opa have put in are showing good results.

And, of course, he likes to read on his own, too.

His grandma Vicki and his grandma Julia (that's me!) love to give him and the twins books and his mom and dad buy him lots of books, too. His mom recently purchased two new book cases because they own so many children's books. She has created a little reading corner. A child can not have too many books. No way!

And here's our other little reader.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Sibling Love

Bentley is a wonderful big brother. Most of the time. He really likes his brother and sister. He has been interested in them since they first arrived home from the hospital. It's true that the first four months or so he showed a marked preference for Genevieve, but now he gives Jackson equal attention. Usually it's fun to be the object of his attention. He plays with them.

He bonds with them in zen moments.

He gives them massages (whether or not they want one).

He makes them laugh.

He loves to hold them and lay on top of them.

The last activity--laying on top of them--is not so popular with the twins. They usually protest. He regularly gets in trouble for doing it, but he continues the practice nonetheless.

We took a great video of Bentley hugging (wrestling?) with the twins one evening, but Kara says we can't post it here on the blog because our seeming lack of adult intervention could be mistaken for child abuse. Nonsense, although the video gives the impression of unsupervised mayhem, I was positioned close by prepared to step in when the situation warranted it. I rescued the babies when Bentley became overzealous. (I told Mark he should have shown me intervening when necessary instead of editing out every one of those moments.)

Disclaimer: Babies are seldom damaged--and never permanently--in the taking of our photos.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Cool Shades

Most people associate sunglasses with hot weather. Outdoor winter athletes, of course, can tell you that sunglasses are very necessary in winter climates when even a little sun can become glaring when angling off the snow. My grandson isn't a winter athlete (yet), but he demands his sunglasses whenever he travels in the truck with me and the sun blasts him straight in the eyes and he can't escape it because he's locked into his car seat with a five-point harness. He has very limited maneuverability. We have a pair of very dark Power Ranger sunglasses that he wears on such occasions. Here he is all decked out for winter weather.

Often he insists on wearing the glasses even after we leave the car. I've yet to win an argument with him on that topic and it's unlikely my record will change now that's he's entered the terrible, I meant terrific twos.

Vintage Baby Clothing

My daughter is a very good daughter. She gave me three wonderful grandchildren. I have no serious complaints about her. I do, however, have a minor complaint. For 24 years I stored away a few items of her baby clothing so that I could have the pleasure of seeing my grandchildren wear them someday. I gave the clothes to my daughter last summer. (Well, one item, a pair of blue striped OshKosh overalls I gave her when Bentley was little, but the rest I saved for when she had a girl child.)

She...lost? misplaced? forgot? them. Finally one day I asked her, where are those sleepers that I gave you that you wore when you were a baby? Which sleepers she asked me? The matching pink and blue ones! (Her great-grandmother from Germany sent them to her and she probably purchased them before Kara was born, so not knowing Kara's sex she bought a blue one and pink one--how perfect for boy-girl twins! How often can a son wear his mom's old clothing?!)

At first Kara denied having received the matching pink and blue sleepers, but she eventually believed me that I had given them to her. She looked for them in her piles and piles and boxes and boxes of baby clothing (she's a garage sale and thrift store addict), and she found them. Crisis averted.

So we stuffed Jackson and Genevieve in the sleepers. They fit, but barely.

Aren't they cute? adorable? twinsome? Both Genevieve and Jackson look astonishingly like their mother did when she wore the outfits! Perhaps they ARE identical twins?!?

Friday, February 08, 2008

We Stand!

Now that the twins have mastered *grin* crawling, they are moving on to walking. In order to be able to walk, one must be able to stand.

Okay, they can only stand unaided for a second or two, but with quick clicking we captured that moment.

Mr. Finicky

Bentley can be quite finicky at times. He doesn't like the labels in shirts when they stick out at odd angles and tickle his back. I told his mother we should cut the labels out (and I did on one of his shirts), but she said he should learn to live with it. (There you have the basic difference between a mother and a grandmother. The mother tries to teach her child to adapt to their environment. The grandmother tries to make the environment adapt to her grandchild.)

This evening he was again being finicky (fastidious?). He loves peanut butter cookie dough. I held out the cookie bowl thinking he'd take a piece of dough using his fingers. He has before. Instead he leaned down trying to angle his entire head into the bowl. He stopped short of accomplishing his goal.

He opted to eat dough off the counter top rather than touch it. He was in a most odd mood!

Of course, he'd eat any dough I'd offer to him on my fingers. Who can fathom the mind of a two year old?

Thursday, February 07, 2008

A Very Brilliant New Constellation

Kara has told me that she sometimes feels conflicted about taking away Bentley's only child status. He was so enjoying it. His parents and grandparents thought he was the coolest little person ever and they unabashedly proclaimed it. Since he had no siblings, no one could accuse them of favoritism. (Kara noted that she had been dethroned as the coolest child ever, but since her childhood was over and past, it wasn't that big of a deal to her. Besides, she was as enamored of her replacement as we were.)

Oddly enough I don't recall Kara lamenting the twins' lack of only child status. Bentley reigned supreme for 17 months--well, more like 13 months since the last four months of pregnancy the twins made a significant impact on Bentley's way of life even though they were still in the womb. 13 months was still a good long reign when you consider that the twins did not enjoy even a second as only children. Heck, even if they had no older sibling, they still wouldn't have had a second of only childhood.

If only child status is so cool (and Kara can testify that it is), then why regret its loss in Bentley's life, but ignore its total absence in the twins' lives? Is it because being a twin is just as special (in its own way) as being an only child? Is it the loss of Bentley's special status that she worries about? Did Bentley not only lose his only child status, but was he then eclipsed by the birth of twin siblings?

Nah, he hasn't been eclipsed. It could have gone that way, but he is still shining just as brightly in the lives of his parents and grandparents. He is more than able to hold his own against the stellar radiance of The Twins. Now there is a brilliant new constellation of little ones--The Twingle and Twinks.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

"Real" crawling is almost here!

If you've seen the "great train race" video you know that the twins are in the process of mastering forward motion. Jackson has a lunge and stretch technique, while Genevieve uses a bit of a leap frog combined with traditional crawling approach.

They are getting faster by the hour. Jackson has yet to demonstrate what I consider a "normal" crawl, but Genevieve is getting there. Today she kept going all the way across the living room to get at the non toy items she wanted to play with - she's persistant! I also saw her move in a fast blur (just kidding, not quite THAT quick!) when she noticed her brother had a bottle and she didn't. She came right on over to try and yank it out of his mouth. I like it - she is willing to fight for what she wants!

Jackson isn't willing to pour quite as much effort as his sister into crawling yet, but tonight he did move a few feet for the sole purpose of playing with the door stopper in Bentley's room. He was quite entertained. :-)

Bentley isn't sure what to do about these newly mobile babies. I'm starting to see new forms of interaction between the siblings develop - the babies are now able to be more proactive with their world - and they certainly seem ready to actively participate! They steal Bentley's sippy cups, reach out to grab at his feet, try to yank on his book while he's reading it... Bentley is still processing all of this and trying to decide what to do about it. It will be different, that's for sure!

Family picture!

One more picture from Florida, of the 5 of us! Matt and I aren't always (or usually!) the best of photo subjects so we don't often get a good shot of the entire family together. This one turned out nicely, thanks to our persistant family photographer and his advisor!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


It was -16 degrees when we pulled into our garage coming home this evening. Genevieve says: take me back to Florida, please!!