Friday, February 27, 2015

disney take 2

We just returned from our second family trip to Disney World, and it was just as fabulous as our first go around. I try to keep our memories here real, so I won't pretend that every second was perfect. When traveling with three kids under four, that's just not reality. The first day was cold, the last day our littles were a bit worn out, but overall the trip was incredibly amazing. The kids loved it...they loved the rides, the shows, and (of course) the characters. The character meals were huge hits this year, with Chef Mickey's potentially being the highlight of my littles' whole lives.

I love seeing Disney World through their eyes--all the magic is so real. It's literally like being in a fairy tale for a few days. And on top of the park, the hotel. We all remember how much we loved staying in hotels as kids, and our littles were no different this year. They jumped on the bed, did the robot walk through the hall, dipped their feet in the hot tub.

Shepherd was hilarious. He actually really loved rides, so long as he was properly attached to his dad. He never left Andrew's side. He also loved the parades--Shep & dad even danced with Baloo at the street party. He did not, however, enjoy the shows. He got kicked out of the Frozen sing-along and proceeded to lie on the ground in Hollywood Studios and scream, we think because he wanted his own seat. To make up for his street fit (which he repeated once in front of the castle), he was the cutest little guy ever with the characters. We were afraid he would be scared, but he loved them! He wanted to hug and high five and touch them all. His favorites were Mickey, Donald, Doc McStuffins (we thought we were going to have to forcibly remove him) and Handy Manny (but only because he thought it was Bob the Builder). And he developed a new skill of being able to fall asleep basically anywhere, including in the Disney Junior show and on the extremely bumpy safari.

Barnes loved the characters this year, though in the pictures it is hard to tell. He would get so excited to meet them, then once he got their autograph he would refuse to do pictures. But the anticipation was adorable to watch. Anytime we were about to meet someone he loved, he would start jumping and saying he was "so excited!" At the end of our visit with the Mickey who talks, he slowly jumped right up to him like he was going to give him the biggest hug ever, then just ran away. He was very adamant that the characters use HIS pen to sign HIS book, which did cause a slight problem once with Minnie. He took Monkey and Dinosaur (two lovies) all over all three parks and especially loved the playgrounds this year.

Frances was our rider this year. She wanted to do more and more and more rides. She loved Dumbo and the Dinosaurs at Animal Kingdom. She even wanted to ride a roller coaster but was too short! She sang along and danced through the entire Frozen sing-along, and she really hasn't stopped singing and dancing since we got home. She loved the characters, but really was only worried about Minnie Mouse. She asked each morning whether we would see Minnie that day, and though she posed and smiled with each new friend, Minnie remained her best girl. Frances was in the best mood the entire trip...she was such a trooper and full of joy almost the whole time. And she made sure that baby doll didn't miss a thing.

Since we've been home, they have loved looking through their autograph books, seeing the pictures we took, and most of all putting on their own shows. I was treated to quite the Doc McStuffins show today, which is super fun since it mainly included the same two lines of the song being sung over and over for about 7 minutes. But really, watching them process and remember and enjoy their memories is such a treat. Can't wait until next February!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

ice time

The good news is that we are in Orlando. The bad news is we barely left the house in the three days preceding our vacation. Vacation is supposed to be a time to reconnect, to spend some much-needed family time together. When you've been iced in for three entire days, though, you are already a bit overloaded on family time. Even though I'm a stay-at-home mom and spend most every day with my kids, it feels different when you know there is no escape. And you're all there. We love when dad gets to stay home from work, but sometimes we just miss our routine.

In reality, it was a super fun week. Yes, we had a bit of cabin fever, but we had a wonderful time watching the snow/ice and playing with every toy we own. We even escaped once to brave the ice for our favorite cheese dip. And while the adults were very ready for the roads to thaw, our days inside were a great reminder of the simplicity of being a child...of how little it takes to entertain them and how much joy they can find in the seemingly mundane. But no more mundane for now-- today we broke out of frigid Nashville and headed south. So excited for some family time, Mickey & Minnie, and warmer weather (starting Saturday)!

this little guy was not a huge fan of the plane ride

these two did great, but wanted to switch art times every 7 minutes

and for the last 30 minutes, mommy heaven

Monday, February 9, 2015

where we are

I used to do such a great job of updating our "stats" every once in a while. I am terrible at baby books, but since I print this blog once a year I felt that I was still keeping up. But now it's been over five months since my last post regarding what any child is currently into. Yikes!

Barnes and Frances will be 3.5 at the end of the is that possible?!?! They are such "big kids" now. They are truly such a joy to be around (most of the time, at least). They are both great helpers with Shep and with themselves...they dress themselves fully, can help retrieve anything that they can reach, and are usually ready and willing to lend a hand. They are so imaginative and fun--playtime never stops at our house. Some of our favorite games right now are restaurant, baby doll, legos, grocery store, school and doctor.

They are each other's best friend...they say that their favorite friend at school is their twin. Honestly, they would be lost without each other. They still love art time, wanting a project every day. It's amazing, though, as I have seen these daily art times pay off in incredible ways. They can both cut straight lines and are so much more attentive to the projects we do now. They both love iPads and phones, especially taking or looking at pictures or watching you tube. And speaking of pictures, they adore looking through old photos of themselves. I read recently that seeing pictures of themselves makes kids feel loved and secure, and I think that at least for our twins that is true.

They both tell me they have a baby in their belly right now and that they have to go to appointments at the doctor to get their baby checked. They like to write their appointments down on their calendars from dad's work. It's basically adorable.

Barnes is so strong and so smart. He can reason so's really hard to trick him these days. He can be so very rough and tumble, but then gives the very best hugs. He loves for you to pick him up so that he can wrap his arms and legs all the way around you. It's one of my favorite feelings. Barnes is a wonderful helper...he especially enjoys helping let the dogs in and out, which is so very sweet. He loves playing with Shep but gets irritated with him quite quickly too. But he never wants Shep left out. Barnes is constantly surprising me with his vocabulary and he tells the funniest stories. He still loves his stuffed animals (his friends), rotating between a few favorite flavors of the day. He is very picky about his clothing, still wearing pretty much only graphic tees. He is a complete character and adds so much fun to our family.

Frances is so intelligent and has such a nurturing side. No matter what we are playing, she is also playing baby doll at the same time. Either her baby or her Minnie Mouse are constantly with her...she feeds them, changes them, drives them around on her car, takes them to school. She is quite the little mama! And she will come in and say they need their daddy, meaning Barnes...too precious. Frances is tough--with B and Shep around she has to be--but she is also so very tender. She gets her feelings hurt so easily...if she thinks you might possibly get onto her, she starts crying. And it's not manipulation...she truly gets sad. Frances is a giver. She would rather give another kid a turn or a toy or whatever than cause someone to be sad (usually). I love this about her, but it's interesting to watch this develop while also teaching her that it's okay to stick up for herself. She loves to dance and be wild and silly, and loves to be naked. She is such an amazing big sister.

Shepherd is almost 17 months old and is a complete crazy man. We call him Godzilla because he has a tendency to destroy things. Really, he wants to play whatever the big kids are playing, but ends up just kind of tearing things apart. Shep wants so badly to keep up with B&F. He copies them and tries to be just like them, which is often quite dangerous. He was getting to be quite independent, but lately has been more of a mommy/daddy's boy. He loves to give hugs and has started giving wet, sloppy kisses as well, which we adore. Shep is so very strong. He has few physical limitations anymore....which makes containing him and keeping him safe hard. He is also brave. He tries to jump off things all the time, which usually ends with a bump.

Shep has the most contagious smile. He smiles with his whole round face, and you can't help but smile back, no matter how crazy he is being. He is communicating so well. He has so many words (probably over 30), and will try to say absolutely anything. We don't always understand him, but he definitely gets his point across. And he loves to nod right now. He can nod yes or no, and he does them so emphatically. Y'all, it's the cutest thing. He loves it when we all sing, and his favorite songs are Itsy Bitsy Spider and Pat-a-cake. He does the motions for the spider song as soon as anyone mentions music. He can't get enough. He also can't get enough snacks. This kid could eat all day long. His favorites are applesauce squeeze packs and raisins. I have never seen a person devour raisins like Shep. He is a tiny delight, trying at times but full of fun.