Monday, December 26, 2016

Microblog Monday: Family Pictures

In my last post I shared that we had some family pictures taken earlier in the month and the drama around where we had them taken at. What I failed to mention was that Tony also had a gout flare up that day. Actually, he spent about 5 weeks with a really bad gout problem. He gets it in his foot, which makes it super painful to walk. This time around even required him taking a couple days off work and using crutches. It was literally hurting him so much that he couldn't walk for a few days, and it took several weeks before he could even wear a shoe because his foot was so swollen. Well, the day of our family pictures, he was able to squeeze his foot into a shoe. He was determined to not let his gout get in the way of our pictures. He barely made it through the pictures, due to having to walk so much around the tree farm. He did it, but it did make him bed ridden for several days afterward. We did end up with some amazing photos though!

This one was in my last post, but you get to see it again because it's my favorite!

One of our favorites.

I know I'm biased, but I think they are so cute!!!

He was trying to give her a kiss. She was being silly.

Twin love

The next two pictures are my absolute favorites of Rylee and Ayden individually! How in the world did I ever get so blessed to have such adorable children?

Look at those blue eyes!

He's so handsome!

And then these were the pictures (as well as our family pic at the top) that were taken at the second tree farm.

Not my favorite picture, but ehhh.

*If you are interested in reading more #MicroblogMonday posts from other bloggers, click here.

Friday, December 23, 2016

A Month to Remember

December is a busy month for everyone. Throw in a December birthday on top of all the holiday stuff and it gets crazy busy. As always, I've had lots of things I wanted to sit down and write about, but never got the chance to (or made the time for). Soooo, here it all is in a nutshell of bullet points:

  • We had family pictures/3 year pics done on the 3rd. What a crazy day that turned out to be. The photographer had another client after us that wanted their pics taken at a local tree farm. I didn't really care where we got them done, so thought that could be good. We got our tree there last year and really liked them. They were warm, and friendly. They also have several activities, including pony rides and a hay ride which the kids would love. We did not get the same welcome this year. Part way into our photo shoot, one of the owners came up and kicked us out. Well, to be fair, we could have stayed if we were willing to pay $50 each (us, the photographer, and her next client) to park! Let's be clear here, they don't charge for parking. Even though we told them we were planning to get our tree there and participate in their activities, they did NOT want us having our pictures taken there unless we were willing to pay the astronomical price of $50 each for parking, in addition to buying our Christmas tree and paying for the rides. Soooo, we left and finished our photo shoot at a different tree farm. *Please note that the photographer DID call the day before to ask permission to take our pictures there. While they weren't pleased about it, they did say we could do it for $6 parking (yes, the price changed drastically). We didn't pay it when we arrived because nobody was there to take our money. Because they don't charge for parking!!! Oh well. We got phenomenal pictures anyway, despite the drama.

  • The following weekend, was a crazy busy weekend. First, we had a breakfast with Santa event that we attended. Then we went Christmas tree hunting for our perfect tree (not at the same above mentioned farm!). That night, we attended the annual light parade here in town.

Rylee couldn't take her eyes off Santa! She was so excited. Ayden was intrigued by his belt. lol

All the kids were given a stuffed puppy from Santa.

They definitely think Santa is a very cool dude.

  • That night, Tony and I got the tree set up in the living room. We got the lights and garland put on, and set the stage to look like Baby Elf brought the tree, along with a couple Santa hats for the kids, so it was ready for the them to finish decorating in the morning. They were so excited to see the tree in the house when they woke up! About 20 minutes into decorating it, the tree came crashing down! Thankfully, nobody got hurt and we only had a few broken ornaments, none of them glass. We had water everywhere (from having just watered the tree the night before), along with a lot of pine needles. We got the tree upright again and I got everything picked up, but we decided we were done decorating. Right as soon as I swept the last of the mess into the dust pan, the tree came crashing down again!!!! This time we weren't so lucky, and we lost a few of our glass ornaments. The good news was, we hadn't put very many on the tree yet, because well, toddlers and glass ornaments don't mix. I went in search of a new tree stand that afternoon.

Before catastrophe hit.

After the first fall.

  • Ayden and Rylee had their very first dentist appointments last week. Ayden bit the dental assistant several times while she was trying to get the x-rays done on his teeth. After the 6th time he bit her, she gave up and had someone else come do it. He wasn't doing it on purpose. He just didn't understand what he was supposed to do. Rylee did pretty great through everything. Ayden did too, until the gal brought out the little water sprayer and sucker-thingy to rinse out the fluoride. That scared him and he had a little meltdown. Overall, it was a successful appointment and neither one of them had any cavities. Both will eventually need braces, which we suspected. Rylee's teeth are very close together, so there's not a lot of room for the bigger adult teeth to come in, and Ayden has a major overbite.

  • We had a winter storm come through the valley. Just north of us had quite a bit of snow, but we were hit mostly with freezing rain. Many people went without power for quite awhile. We lost power last Wednesday for 9 hours. We were lucky it was during the day and it finally came back on just before putting the kids to bed. The temp inside our house got down to 59 degrees and the low that night was 26 degrees, so it would have been very cold.

Checking out the ice on the trees outside.
The neighbors behind us had a tree fall over our back fence. The kids thought it made a fantastic tunnel!

  • Last Saturday was Ayden and Rylee's big 3rd birthday party! We had a great turn out with a lot of friends and family, even though several people ended up not being able to come due to weather conditions.

It was a dinosaur-princess party!

  • And now tomorrow is there actual birthday! Or, I should say today, since we're now past midnight. Ugh. With that said, it's way past time for me to go to bed. Tony has the day off work and we have a full day of activities planned!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Elf on the Shelf

Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. I used to go all out decorating. I LOVE seeing all the Christmas decorations around town, in the stores, other people's houses, and in my own house. Over the years, I slowly stopped decorating as much though, and it pretty much got down to zero decorations in the years before Ayden and Rylee came along. When we first got married, Tony and I made it a tradition to always go out and find the perfect Christmas tree to cut down. Somewhere along the line, we stopped doing that and found a pre-cut tree from a lot instead. Eventually, we stopped putting up a Christmas tree altogether. It just got to be too much work. Getting out all the decorations and then having to put them allllllll away just a few short weeks later just wasn't worth it anymore. Let's be honest, I got lazy and lost some of the spirit of Christmas. I still enjoyed seeing all the decorations everywhere, but I didn't take the time to do anything myself.

Having kids has changed all that! The magic and spirit of Christmas is back. There is nothing like experiencing the joy of the holiday season through a toddler's eyes. They get so excited about seeing Santa, Christmas trees, all the lights, listening to Christmas music, and now for the second year, we have also introduced Elf on the Shelf.

We did Elf on the Shelf last year for the first time. They were only just turning two, so they really didn't quite understand it (they still don't), but they did enjoy trying to find him every morning. I should say that Rylee enjoyed looking for him. Ayden was rather impartial once he got over the fact that we wouldn't let him play with the Elf. We didn't do anything fancy, just sticking to moving him to a new place every day.

We still aren't doing anything too creative and mostly just keep it simple. I have stolen a few ideas from some friends and Pinterest, but mostly... who has time for that? lol

Elf came in swinging for the first day. Ayden and Rylee both commented on how he was swinging.

Elf brought a friend and some goodies for the kids.

Other than the above two times, we've just barely remembered to move the elf and we've kept it simple. No matter how creative or simple it is though, the kids are just as excited to find the elf each morning. As they get older, I'm sure we will get more extravagant in what we do, but for now, simple is good!

Who knew the elf would be heavy enough to make the picture sit crooked?
The picture on the right, he's sitting on top of our back door.
Bottom left, he's on the light fixtures in the bathroom.

Last year, Rylee named him, Baby Elf. We thought they might actually come up with a real name this year for him, but every time we've asked what the elf's name is, we get told his name is "Momma." Ugh. We'd rather stick with Baby Elf! I just can't get behind saying, "where's Momma this morning?" "Have you found Momma?" Nope. Not going to name him Momma. Soooo, Baby Elf it still is! Maybe next year he'll get an actual name. Or maybe he'll always be Baby Elf. I suppose that's okay too.

I know some people think the whole Elf on the Shelf thing is stupid and/or creepy. I've seen posts on Facebook saying how kids shouldn't need a silly little elf to motivate them to behave. I have to be honest, I don't understand how he's creepy. I guess if you look at it in the context of he's "watching" you, in a Chucky sort of way. But then again, some people are afraid of clowns, too. I don't really understand that fear, but I know it's real for some. As for using him to motivate kids to be on their best behavior, how is that any different than Santa Claus?

"He sees you when you're sleeping.
He knows when you're awake.
He knows when you've been bad or good, 
so be good for goodness sake."

I don't know that we'll ever use the elf to report back to Santa or not. We might. His story might evolve as the kids get older. I know I don't want him to really become a naughty elf and be a trouble maker. I just want it to be fun. I want our elf to be just another way to bring the magic of Christmas alive in our house, for our kids.

I still don't go all out in decorating. In fact, I've barely gotten any decorations out at all. I have pulled out a few things though, and the kids are in love.

This Santa has fiber optic lights that change color. They think he's pretty cool.
Rylee even had to give him a kiss this morning.

This singing/dancing reindeer (or Moose as they call him) is back for his third Christmas with the kids, and they think he's just as special as they did the first year! In fact, Moose has not really left Ayden's side.

I've always loved Christmas, but it is ten times better with kids. We can't help but feel extra blessed and in awe that we get to make our own traditions and memories with our very own kids.

What are some ways that YOU experience the magic of Christmas with your kids? Please share!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Microblog Monday: Thanksgiving Recap

Is it too late to talk about Thanksgiving? It feels so far in the past already as we are already a full week in to December, but I started this post last week and feel like I should still publish it, so here goes...

Thanksgiving turned out to be fairly calm and relaxed. It was just us, my sister's family, and my mom, so 5 adults and 6 kids. My brother and his kids weren't able to make it. I spent the Wednesday before cleaning house. I even put Ayden and Rylee to work. I hope they continue to like doing chores as much as they do right now! Could I be so lucky???

Washing windows.

One of my nephews spent the night before Thanksgiving at our house. Ayden and Rylee thought it was the Best. Thing. Ever having their cousin over. The next morning, I got the turkey in the oven roaster (the EASIEST way to cook a turkey!) by 9:15 and made the pumpkin pie. Then I had a few hours of down time, and tried to stay as relaxed as possible, but Tony made that a challenge because he was constantly hovering and asking what I wanted him to do. I'd already given him a (short) list of what I needed him to do. I finally had to tell him to just leave me alone! haha. He was making it stressful by hovering so much! I love that he tries to be so helpful, and I'm forever grateful that he always does the Thanksgiving clean up every year, but it's stressful trying to constantly come up with things for him to do when I have everything under control and there isn't anything that needs to be done in that moment! I kept the meal simple with Thanksgiving basics, and it was wonderful. Just as we were about to put all the food on the table, I realized I hadn't made the gravy! Sis helped me whip that up real quick and then dinner was served.

Overall, we really had a very lovely Thanksgiving. I love being able to spend quality time with family.

Ayden (almost 3), Adilyn (3), Steven (6), Eliana (11), Rylee (almost 3), Nathanial (5)

All of our Thanksgiving crew.

If you'd like to read more #MicroblogMonday posts from other bloggers, click here.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Kids and Moving Changes Things

Having kids and moving sure does change things, and not just my figure! I have hosted Thanksgiving dinner for my family for several years now. I'm not exactly sure for how long, but I'm thinking it has to be around 10 years or so, with an occasional one missed when Tony's entire extended family rented a house somewhere for the extended weekend. I used to go ALL out, using our wedding china, festive tablecloth and cloth napkins, extravagant menu options. The whole shebang.

This year, I'm really dialing it back. Our china is still in boxes and I have absolutely no idea where the cloth napkins are or several of the serving dishes. Instead of spending $300 on groceries for Thanksgiving, I spent $101. Whoa. We've always had way too many leftovers, and this year, I'm hoping that I got just enough for everyone to have generous portions. Of course, Thanksgiving leftovers are the best, but I'd much rather save the $200!

The kids keep me too busy (and tired) to even want to attempt going through the boxes in the garage to find everything. We are also trying to save money, but keep being derailed in that process. For example, I took my car in for a tire change and new battery last weekend, but left with four brand new tires, had to have an alignment done, and a new battery instead. We also have a trip to Disneyland coming up the end of January. And we are supposed to be putting money away for a down payment on a new house that we hope to buy early next summer. Oh, not to mention Ayden and Rylee's birthday (I need to get invitations made!!) and Christmas coming up. Gah!

I'd like to say we are just having a small Thanksgiving dinner this year, but we're going to have around 15 of us total, at least 6 of those will be kiddos, maybe 8 depending on if my brother brings his two littles. That doesn't make for a very small gathering anymore!

However, I still love it. My favorite thing is spending time with family. I actually do take pride in hosting dinner too, even though I won't be going all out for it this year. There'll be more time for that in the future. This year will be all about spending time with family and eating good food. Who cares if we are using store bought napkins and mismatched tableware?

Monday, November 21, 2016

Microblog Monday: I'm Here

I've been finding it hard to sit down and write a blog post lately. Actually, I've been struggling to catch up on reading blogs lately as well! I don't know why, other than when I actually get down time, I've been super lazy. But, here I am!

I've been staying busy watching the twin girls in the afternoons. Last week I even had a fifth kiddo over for a little while! Five toddlers all around the age of three. I am happy to say we all survived and they played pretty good together!

We are still attending our Community Playgroup twice a week in the mornings. On the other days, I try to get Ayden and Rylee out of the house for at least a little while every morning. We've had an adventure to the local Lake.

They are standing in what is actually a swimming spot during the summer, but the lake gets drained and is dry every Winter.

I took them grocery shopping last Friday. I've always made them sit in the cart, but I was only after a few items for dinner and decided to let them walk the store. They were very good and entertained all the other customers. Rylee had to tell every person she saw about her pretty dress and the bow in her hair. Ayden told them about his cowboy vest.

We celebrated Thanksgiving with Tony's family on Saturday. Ayden and Rylee had a blast playing with their cousins.

Today we went to the park for the fist time in a few months. It was a nice day, but everything was still very wet! These rain suits are the best ever! I'm so glad I thought to throw them in the car when we left, just in case.

So there's a little snippet of what we've been up to. I always have the best intentions of sitting down to write, but I usually end up busy doing something else during nap time (like cleaning. Ugh.) or sit down and pass out myself temporarily. Someday I'll get to all these blog posts I have stored up in my head...

If you'd like to learn more about #MicroblogMondays or read more posts from others, click here.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

World Prematurity Day

November 17th, World Prematurity Day. It's another one of those random holidays that doesn't mean a whole lot. Until it does...

I've always been aware that some babies are born way too early. I always knew that could be a little scary for the families involved. I just never truly understood. I don't think anyone can really understand what it's like to have a baby come earlier than expected, to have a baby in the NICU, until it happens to you (or someone close to you).

Today symbolizes a day of hope, fear, love, loss, and miracles for so many people. We waited 14+ years for our two little miracles.  There was a point in time that we thought we'd never get to be parents. We knew what it was like to get our hopes up, only to experience loss through miscarriage. Our story has a happy ending, but there are many who don't get that same happy ending. Did you know that 1 in 10 babies are born too soon? Preterm birth complications are the leading cause of death in children under 5 years old. Today is a day to bring awareness to prematurity and to honor all the babies born too soon.

Preterm is defined as babies born alive before 37 weeks gestation. Rylee and Ayden were born at 33w2d, almost 7 weeks early. They were amazing weights for being so early. Rylee weighed 4 lbs, 10 oz and was 16.5 inches long. Ayden weighed 5 lbs, 4 oz and was 18.75 inches long. They spent 19 days in the NICU learning how to keep their body temperatures up, and how to suck, swallow, breath so that they could eat on their own. As hard as those first few weeks were, I feel incredibly lucky and blessed. Our NICU stay was relatively short and uneventful compared to others.

I'm so proud of how far my babies have come. They are no longer our tiny little preemie babies. Now they are funny, adventurous, opinionated, busy little almost three year olds! As much as they sometimes make me want to pull my hair out, I can't help but feel extremely blessed.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

When a Teachable Moment Backfires

Ayden and Rylee wrestle around together a lot. It's been a nightly ritual for quite some time now, that immediately following giving each other hugs and kisses, that they tackle each other to the ground. Then they proceed to take turns on who gets to be on top pinning the other down. Lately, they have taken to rolling around on the floor and pinching each other's cheeks at various times throughout the day. Hair pulling has also started, which Rylee is not a big fan of (probably because he doesn't have enough hair for her to return the favor). Most of the time though, they are both laughing and having a great time during these shenanigans. 

Last week I had to intervene because Rylee was pinching Ayden and he was not liking it. He asked her several times to stop, but I ended up having to step in. I tried explaining to Rylee that it wasn't nice to pinch and she was hurting Ayden. When she pinched him again, I moved her away from him. I then pinched her arm and again tried to explain that it hurts.

Her response? She laughed hysterically and asked me to do it again! Sooooo, I pinched her arm again a little harder, trying to prove my point but feeling bad. I know it should have hurt at least a little, but the silly girl thought it was hysterical! There was no way I was going to pinch her again.  What I thought should have been a lesson learned, instead turned into a funny game.

Rylee 1, Mommy 0. 

Rylee won that round.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Eye Appointment

Rylee had her eye appointment up at OHSU yesterday. Tony took the day off work so he could go with us, since we planned to stop and trick-or-treat at a few family and friend's houses on the way home. It's a 2 hour drive from us and her appointment was at 10AM. Our plan was to leave our house by 7:20, allowing time for traffic, getting the kids in their costumes once we arrived, and a visit to the bathroom before we had to check in.

We didn't end up leaving our house until 7:30, which still gave us a little breathing room to get there, and thank goodness! Not far into our trip, we got stuck in traffic due to an accident. Then, with about 40 minutes left in our drive, Ayden announced that he had to go potty, so we stopped for a toddler potty break on the side of the road. Since we were already stopped, we figured we might as well make sure Rylee went too. Can I just say how super proud I am of the fact that he actually told us when he had to go? That was the first time that had happened. Not that he's had any accidents in the car yet, but that was the furthest car ride we've taken since he started potty training.

Once we finally arrived at OHSU and got parked, we quickly had the kids go potty in the potty seat we keep in the back of the car and got them into their costumes. We walked into the building at 9:58, and I made a quick dash into the bathroom. There was no way I could make it through her appointment without going potty myself! We got checked in right at 10:00. Phew!

The floor we were on was completely devoted to pediatrics, so there was lots to keep Ayden entertained in the lobby with Daddy, while I went with Rylee. Halloween was the perfect day for us to have this appointment! Everything was decorated and all the staff was dressed up in costumes and they encouraged all the patients to come dressed up as well. Rylee was super excited to see Snow White, who administered all the eye tests!

I was really impressed with how smooth the process was. In addition to Snow White, there was also a Panda Bear (a resident - it's a teaching hospital). They did such a good job making Rylee feel relaxed and excited while looking at pictures for the vision tests, and wearing patches on her eyes. It was almost like a game. They were quick and thorough, but also backed off and took their time when needed, like when Rylee didn't recognize a certain picture on the screen. When we had to wait in the room for the doctor to come back, they put on Mickey Mouse for her to watch.

In addition to being impressed with the staff, I was also very proud of Rylee for knowing her shapes! And let's be honest, I took an internal sigh of relief that we'd been working on shapes so that she could even answer those questions! Go Mommy! lol. She also did great when they put "raindrops" in her eyes. Rylee spent the rest of the day with dilated eyes and it didn't seem to bother her at all. She was such a trooper! Both kids did great actually. The appointment was just shy of two hours, so it was also impressive that Ayden did so well hanging out in the lobby.

The reason we had this appointment was because her primary pediatrician thought she saw Rylee's left eye not quite tracking correctly at her last well check in July and gave us a referral. Turns out that Rylee's eyes are just fine! She has great vision and no eye muscle issues at all. Yayyy! So happy for that report. While the appointment turned out not to be necessary, it's at least nice to now know for sure that Rylee's eyes are perfectly healthy. The doctor yesterday said it's very common for them to get referrals from pediatricians that turn out to be nothing, that there's something about kid's eyes (I can't remember exactly what she said) that can give an appearance of them not tracking together. Primary physicians tend to over-refer, simply because they don't want to miss something if there does turn out to be a need.

On our way home from the appointment, the kids took a short nap on our way to trick-or-treating at my mom's house. We visited there for a little bit and then made two other trick-or-treating stops on our way home, visiting a friend and then their other grandparents. We made it back home for dinner and had a little bit of time to play before bedtime.

It was a very long day, but overall a good day. I'm so glad that Tony took the day off work to go with us. I know that it definitely wouldn't have gone as smooth trying to wrangle both kids through that appointment by myself. It was also nice that we could split the driving time so I didn't have to drive the whole way by myself!

I adore this picture so much!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Bullet Point Update

It's been over a week since I've written a post, but things have been pretty busy around here. Really though, isn't that how it always is??? Here's what's been going on in our neck of the woods:

  • Potty training is actually going very well! Yayyyyy! I can happily say that all poop is now going in the toilet from BOTH kiddos. It was the best gift I possibly could have been given for my birthday, which marked day one of Ayden getting all poop in the toilet or potty seat. Rylee's been golden with poop for months now. We still have occasional pee accidents, but even that is much, much better right now. The biggest problem we are having is at nap time. Rylee won't keep a pull-up on at nap time to save her life. She takes it off and then proceeds to pee the bed. The last time I tried putting her down for nap with undies on instead, she intentionally peed in them before she ever even went to sleep. And she has a damn potty seat IN HER ROOM that she could use! I'm at a standstill with knowing what to do with her and am pretty much resigned to just having to change and wash her bedding every day. Ayden has been doing pretty good at nap time, with occasional accidents while sleeping. He also has a potty seat in his room, which he uses almost daily at nap time.

  • Last week I had a girls night away from home! It was only the second time I've spent the night away from the kids since they've been born, and the first time was two years ago! This girls night was with a group of ladies that I came to know online through an infertility Facebook group. Everyone from the group is from Oregon, but I still hadn't had a chance to meet any of them in person until last weekend. I've "known" these ladies for several years, but now I can actually say they are real life friends too.  It was glorious to spend a night away, not having to be responsible for everything at home and being able to sleep uninterrupted. I'd love to say I slept in, but my body betrayed me in that department. I woke up at 6AM!!!

  • My favorite Aunt D (who you always see comment on my posts) came to visit and spent two nights with us this week. She lives a few hours away from us, so we don't really get to see her very often. I love when we have a chance to visit. We always have LOTS to talk about and I can tell her anything. She helped me unpack and hang all my pictures on the wall. I debated just leaving them packed since we will hopefully be buying a house in about 9 months, but I'm so glad we got them hung. Our house actually feels more like a home now.

  • On Tuesday we had our Halloween party at the Community Playgroup we are a part of. The kids got to dress up in costumes, paint pumpkins, eat lots of goodies, and came home with little trick or treat bags filled with fun stuff.

Ayden enjoyed painting his pumpkin for about 4 seconds.
Rylee was a little Picasso and could have painted for hours.

  • Watching our twin friends in the afternoons has been going very well. Ayden sometimes struggles with sharing his toys and there have been a few tug-of-wars, but overall, the four of them play well together. They are all loud and full of energy, love to listen to music and dance, chase each other around the kitchen island endlessly, play dress up with the gazillion hats we have, and pretending they are puppy dogs.

Aren't they the cutest!??!?

  • Ayden and Rylee both have been sick with colds for a little over a week now. I've been busy wiping lots of snot, and reminding them to cover their mouths when they cough. I took Ayden to the doctor on Wednesday morning because his cough had gotten pretty bad and he wasn't sleeping very well at night. I suspected that it wasn't a necessary trip to the doctor, but I took him just in case I was wrong. Turns out I was right, and it's just a cold that needs to work it's course. His ears had a little fluid build up, but weren't infected.

  • Today we attended our first carnival. Ayden and Rylee got a little taste of trick or treating, and played a few games. We could have done a haunted house, but I opted out since I had the kids there by myself (Tony got invited at the last minute to go to the Beaver football game with a friend) and they're a little young yet for that I think. I let them have a sucker while we waited to see our friends there, but I ended up taking them after only a few minutes because Ayden turned into a slobbering, sticky mess. Fortunately, taking them into the bathroom to wash their hands distracted them enough that they weren't too mad about me throwing their sucker away. Why are bathrooms so fun for toddlers? It was a pretty tiny carnival, and we managed to do everything in about a half hour so we didn't stay too long. Ayden got bored quickly and was not happy that I made him wait to eat more candy till we got home. Even though we didn't stay long, it was still a fun adventure and the kids LOVED dressing up in their costumes (Chase and Marshall from Paw Patrol) again.
The few minutes they got to enjoy their suckers.

With our twin friends.

  • Our Halloween festivities will continue tomorrow with a local trunk or treat event. On Monday, Rylee has an eye appointment up at OHSU. Her pediatrician noticed at their 2.5 year check up that her left eye might not be tracking as well as it should, so we are getting that checked out. Tony got the day off work, so he'll be making the trip with us. It's about a 2 hour drive from our house. The staff there all dresses up and they encourage the patients to as well since Monday actually is Halloween. Afterward, we will be stopping by a few family and friend's houses on our way home to trick or treat and show off their costumes.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Montana Aftershock

Holy cannoli, he called. My exact thought at the time was actually HOLY SHIT! On Wednesday night as I was making dinner, my phone rang. I looked and saw that it was a call coming in from Columbia Falls, MT. I assumed that it was Baby Sis and got excited that I was getting an unexpected call from her. And then I answered...

In hindsight, I should have known it wasn't Baby Sis since I have her number saved in my phone, so her name would have actually shown up instead. I never in a million years would have guessed that my dad would be calling. Of course I could tell that he was completely wasted, but that part wasn't a surprise at all.

He called to wish me a happy birthday, something he hasn't done in, ummmm, ever! He said that he wanted to call the day before (on my actual birthday) but didn't know if I'd be busy. Then he went on to say he wouldn't ever call on the day of, always the day before or day after, because he doesn't celebrate birthdays, or any holidays really. (He's Jehovah witness) We talked about Sis and Baby Sis's birthdays, and he said he plans to call them around their birthdays too.

He talked about how we had shocked the hell out of him, showing up on his doorstep when we visited. He said he has thought of us often over the years, that it took him 20 years to finally stop thinking about us every day. He said he just hadn't known how to get in touch with Sis and I. I could have called him out on that, because he really could have found a way if he really wanted to. He knows where our grandparents lived, a house that is STILL in our family. A house that my grandmother actually grew up in herself, so it's been around a very long time. We also have cousins from his side of the family that he could have asked, never mind the fact that his sister (who he lives with) knows how to find us on Facebook. I let that slide over though.

He also talked about my mom quite a bit. He said he owed her an apology. I asked him what he would say to her if he had the chance, what was he sorry for, but he wasn't willing to give any details. He just said that he would apologize. I told him I would pass the message along, although I don't know if I actually will or not.

The phone call only lasted for 9 minutes, so it wasn't very long, but I wouldn't have really wanted it to be any longer either. I was making dinner and the kids were being very loud at the time. Besides, I didn't really know what else to say. Before we hung up the phone, he said he had one thing that he wanted to ask. He wanted to know if I was Catholic. It seemed genuinely important to him, like it was something he'd thought about and wondered often (my mom's side of the family is Catholic). I told him that no, I am not Catholic. I'm not sure why I didn't mention that I was raised Catholic. It might have been because it seemed important to him, but more likely it was because I just really didn't want to dig into the details of my religious upbringing and current beliefs.

When I had the chance, I later messaged both my sisters to let them know he called. They were as shocked as I was! We had a really nice and much needed conversation that night. We hadn't all "talked" in awhile. Even though it was only a (private) Facebook conversation, it was still a soothing balm for each of us. It's hard not being able to see each other.

I'm still mostly neutral in my feelings toward my father, but it was still nice, and completely shocking, that he actually thought about me and took the time (or got the guts) to pick up the phone on around my birthday.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

This Old Lady gets Older

Yep, this old lady just keeps getting older. Today is my birthday and I am now at the ripe old age of 42. Okay, I know that's not really old, but some days it does feel like it. Even the universe is trying to tell me I'm old. I got this email the other day...

Ummm, I'm not even single, let alone not over 50 years old yet!

If that email wasn't enough, I saw today that Luke Perry made the cover of AARP magazine just recently. Seriously though, if he's old enough for that to happen, it's a sure sign of me aging as well!  lol

Tony arranged for his parents to watch the kids this last Saturday so that we could have a little day date, which we haven't had in.... I honestly can't remember the last time. I don't think it's happened since we moved, so several months. First we had lunch at The Rock, which serves wood fire pizza. Then we went Christmas shopping, because we aren't sure we'll get another opportunity to do that together. That didn't take us very long because we already pretty much knew what we were getting and it isn't much. We're going with a few bigger items (tablets for their birthday and scooters for Christmas), and then mostly just stocking stuffers. We would rather sign them up for some classes (swim, dance, etc) than buy them more "stuff."

After shopping, we went and looked at new phones. We have both been due upgrades for awhile now, so we needed to figure out how much it was going to cost us. Tony is going to wait, since he doesn't actually need a new phone. I actually do need a new one soon though as mine has started petering out. Plus, the camera hasn't been working that great on it lately, and it's our only camera!

We finished our date by going to see The Accountant, which we both enjoyed. Seeing movies in the theater was something we did pretty often before babies, but it's not something we get to do very often now, so that was nice.

After that, we went back to his parents house and had a small birthday celebration. His mom made me a cake, they all sang happy birthday to me, and I opened a few presents.

Last night, Tony helped Ayden and Rylee make me a birthday cake. It was something he had planned on doing with them before he knew his mom had made me a cake. Ayden and Rylee are pretty much obsessed with cake and birthdays now. We had cupcakes at Community Playgroup last week for a little boys birthday, too, so now they are constantly asking for cake! Ayden keeps insisting that it is his turn to have a birthday. lol. I'm not sure if he'll be happy or upset when we go to his cousin's birthday party this coming weekend. Of course he'll be happy because, CAKE! But he might be disappointed that it's still not his birthday!

Making my birthday cake.

**10 points to anyone that knows what the baby is from on Tony's shirt!**

Then today I was blessed by a ton of texts, Facebook messages, and a few cards in the mail. I have been feeling pretty lonely, and sad not to have close friends, but I have to say that it was nice to feel special and loved at least for today! It was a pretty great day overall. Ayden even gifted me with getting all poop and pee in the potty today! Woo-Hoo! That was soooo not the case yesterday! We almost made it all day without any accidents from either toddler, but Rylee decided that just couldn't happen and peed in her undies and on the floor at the end of the day. Sigh. Oh well. I'm just very excited I didn't have to clean poo out of pants today! Happy dance!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Microblog Monday: Pumpkin Patch

Two weekends ago, we went to a Pumpkin Patch (or two). To kick the kids into gear getting ready, we told them we were going to see some pumpkins. Rylee has said a few times since then, "let's go see some pumpkins!" I guess that means she had fun! Actually, it was a pretty wonderful family day, despite spending WAY too much money at the first pumpkin patch and not really getting anything for our money. Tony reminded me that it didn't matter if it wasn't a great pumpkin patch we chose to go to, because the kids had fun and that's all that mattered!

Sitting on the tractor was fun!

The hay ride was pretty silly, because the guy kept stopping to try to sell us stuff from his farm: Christmas trees, turkeys, cows, pigs. The kids enjoyed seeing the animals, but didn't like that their ride got interrupted so many times. We didn't get a family picture of the day, but we got a few selfies!

They're cute even when they have dirty faces!

Picking out their pumpkins.

They also had pony rides at this place, which Rylee REALLY wanted to do, but it would have cost us another $10 with over an hour long wait, and they had all the kids wearing helmets. We weren't really keen on dishing over more money for such a short little pony ride and having our kids put on helmets that literally a hundred-plus kids before them had on their heads. Besides that, Ayden would have lost his marbles having to wait in that long line. We decided to try another pumpkin patch instead.

At this one, they had a story read to them, played in/on the hay maze, and picked apples.

Overall, it was a great day! If October wasn't such a busy month for us, we would probably try to find another new place for us to try out.

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