Thursday, December 25, 2008

I got Christmas for Christmas!

So finances are a little light this year, so I had pretty much come to terms with not springing for a Christmas tree or many presents. That's fine - we'd make Christmas about love and fun artsy activities instead. The kids don't know the difference, right?

Well yesterday I got home and what did I see?
A bunch of presents, under a lit Christmas tree!
I was astounded; the kids' eyes were alight;
Kyle had worked all day to get the mood right.

The stockings were hung on the DVD shelf,
And the decorations were up, complete with an elf!
(Technically, it was not one elf, but two,
and a few stuffed reindeer completed the crew.)

I shrieked and I jumped, and hugged my dear man,
For I hadn't even predicted that this was his plan.
He'd been saving up dollars and coins for ages,
Just to see this look on all of our faces.

LOL, ok, enough sillyness. ;)

Kyle had set up the Christmas tree during the kids' nap yesterday, and when they got up, Roman came around the corner and said "WHOOOAAAA!" and what Kyle said sounded a lot like "What the hell?" Since then, Roman has been obsessed with the tree, pointing out all of the ornaments "Bear? Ball? Light? Handle?" (candy canes apparently look like handles to him, lol). Giovanna was more interested in the multitude of stuffed animals and Santa-ish elves Kyle had set up all around.

They went to bed late Christmas eve (we joked that they were trying to wait up for Santa, but really, they had just had a late nap), but that didn't keep them from waking up at their usual BCOD (butt crack of dawn, as Kyle delicately puts it). We were all up by 8, and after a brief banana and crackers snack, we got down to opening presents. The big ones for the kids were a temporary tattoo kit and a firetruck that beeps, talks, and plays a little music. Giovanna opened the kit, and was very excited, but nothing could compare to Roman's reaction opening the truck. Squealing like a little girl:

We also did some cookie decorating (we made them a few days earlier), drawing, and a lot of temporary tattooing.

Of course, we're not nearly ready to go to underpants yet, but Giovanna asked to go the potty once on Xmas eve, and three times (actually more, but three times she was willing to take off her diaper, lol) and peed in the potty every time! And once she got her sticker, Roman peed pretty quickly after that, so I know they both have the ability to control it. The last time, he even stood up to pee (he could use a little practice with his aim, but that's what cleaners are for, right?). I think he was really excited to be able to pee like Daddy. :)

Anyway, I'm still in shock about it. Granted, we did spend a LONG TIME in the bathroom over the last 27 hours. About an hour or longer each time they wanted to go potty. But they WANTED to be there. I couldn't drag them off to put their diapers back on until they had stickers to show Daddy!

Well, the kids are in bed and we will be shortly (watching our traditional Xmas movie: Die Hard!).

Here are pictures and video of the kids' third Christmas:

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Holy snow, Batman!

This is what our porch looks like right now:

Yeah. So, we're pretty much snowed in. I even get a snow day from work tomorrow!

It snowed last weekend, too, but it was just enough that we could take the kids out to play (link to pics below). Now, it's too much! Kyle walked to the store this morning for a few needed items, while I stayed home with the kids. No way am I going outside unless absolutely necessary!

Another fun stay-home activity today was painting ornaments! I made some out of salt dough last night, and since we don't have cookie cutters they came out a little uneven and lumpy, but luckily you can't really tell from the pics. :)

Note the kids' vastly different styles. For the first 5 minutes, Roman had nothing but one red dot in the middle of each of his 5 ornaments, and by then Giovanna's were already smeared with 3 colors, lol!!

Photos of playing in the snow:

Photos and video of ornament-decorating:

Monday, December 8, 2008

First trip to the ZOO!

We made a trip to the Oregon Zoo here in Portland on Sunday. Of course, it rained a lot, but we still had a great time.

Kyle and I talked awhile back about giving the kids time apart. He would take one and I would take the other, and we'd go do separate activities. We partly wanted to do this to give them each an opportunity to bond with each parent without competition, but mostly to give them a sense of self that isn't linked with their twin. I've heard from other twin parents that their children had a hard time carving out their own identities - they are always labeled as a "twin." I can't imagine how that must be!

Still, even though I fully understand the benefits of separating the kids from time to time, I also had a very hard time making it happen. I'm not sure why, except that it was out of the norm for us (we always do everything as a family when I'm home!), and while I looked forward to the opportunity to spend time alone with each kid, part of me still felt like I was taking mommy-time from the other one. Kyle and I talked about it for awhile until we decided on a compromise. We would all four go to the zoo, but each parent/child pair would take a different path, then loop around and meet at the primates. This first time, I took Roman and Kyle took Giovanna.

Once at the spot where the path split, my anxiety raised again. I braced myself for Giovanna crying for me as Roman and I walked away, or Roman wanting his daddy. But we all said "bye bye" and the kids were off in their separate directions - no problems at all! Roman and I went to look at the penguins, sea lions, polar bears, seals, fish, turtles, ocelots, and tigers. Kyle and Giovanna went up to the mountain animals. Ro was extremely excited to see the seals and sea lions. A little girl, about four or so, was there also, and was all excited with him. All of the exhibits were very fun, but the best was the orangutans. They were right by the glass, and one woke up and turned his head toward Roman a few times. He giggled and gasped and grabbed my leg, his dimples getting quite a workout. Giovanna had a great time, too, of course!

We all met back up as the kids were falling asleep on their feet (we made them walk the whole way!). We fed them a snack and headed home for a nice long nap. Kyle and I watched "The Other Boleyn Girl" which was actually pretty good.

It was a very successful outing, and easier than I had anticipated. Next time, I'll take Boogie and Kyle will take Ro. We may go to the aquarium, or one of us will go to the Children's Museum and the other may stay home. Then we'll switch again!

Daddy trying to show the kids the bear was ok:

Finally got the kids to go near the bear:

I guess the smaller bear was less scary!

Riding the wood goat:

Oooooo - otters!

With the faux penguins:

For more pics: