Second Birthday Party!

For the twins’ first birthday, we had a few people over to our house. Our babies weren’t walking yet, so our living room was a fine place for them and a couple other littles to crawl around.

This year, we knew that our very small living room was NOT sufficient. We already spend lots of time in here…and we all like getting out. :) So I wanted to do an activity that would not only involve going somewhere else, but an activity that would let the boys run off plenty of energy.

We settled on renting a community center gym–many of the local centers have ‘indoor parks’ or ‘toddler gyms’. It turned out to be an empty gymnasium with lots of toys: riding toys like cozy coupes and tricycles, plus lots of balls, some hula hoops, that kind of thing.

Nine other families ended up joining us, and all the kids were between 18 months and just over 2. They all seemed to have a great time running around and using all the toys!


I ended up running around too much to get many photos, but I got a few basic ones to capture the spirit. :)

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And since it was during the toddler dinner hour, we had a nice spread of snacks: crockpot pulled pork, home-popped popcorn, two kinds of (toddler-approved) muffins, chips and salsa, fruit, pasta salad, applesauce pouches, and juice.


And COSTCO CAKE (my favorite part of any birthday!). Yummmmmmmm.


Yes, I let the babies have some. They loved it, of course. :)

Their other favorite part was the balloons.


Really, the whole party could have been a roomful of balloons and they would have been THRILLED. :)


Notice that the ‘decorations’ consisted of last year’s birthday banner, a new $10 decor pack from Party City, and $25 worth of balloons. As much as I love the look of all the perfect Pinterest parties–adorable upcycled cake platters, cute labels, striped paper straws, homemade tissue paper garlands, etc–it’s not something I want to spend time, energy or money on. Plus I don’t really have the talent (though sometimes I wish I did!). So we go the cheap, easy and fun route! :)


So overall, it was a great way to celebrate with brand-new two-year-olds. All the kids had fun playing and eating. It probably wasn’t the most exciting ‘party’ for the parents, but I’m pretty sure that we’re not the only ones who love an opportunity for the kids run around on a dark and chilly early evening. And hopefully the cake helped too. :)

Two Years Old!!

Dear sweet babies,


Ok ok, you are now officially, definitely, not babies anymore. You are TWO! I am trying not to refer to you as babies as much, at least not in public. I guess I have to just call you ‘boys’ or ‘kids’ now. Sniff.

Emmett, you are 34.5 inches tall and you weight 28 pounds. Malcolm, you are 35.5 inches tall and weight 29 1/2 pounds!

There isn’t much physical development or change this month; it’s all mental/verbal. You are picking up SO MANY WORDS! Almost every time we say something new, you repeat it back. Wow! (This means mama better start watching her potty mouth.)


So there are too many new words to count/keep track, but some of the memorable ones are: “laundry”, “sink”, “shoe bin”, “there it goes”, “almost”, “where did it go?” (complete with hand gestures) and “hug” (cue melting mama heart) and “underwater” (there’s a single page in a random magazine that you both became a little obsessed with).  Malcolm, you like to shriek and scream out loud for fun sometimes, and Emmett, you shake your finger and say, “Shh, no scream.” Malcolm, you also like to call after your brother by name (“No, Emmett!”), which is pretty cute. We’ve had pumpkin soup a few times and you guys love it, and the way you say it cracks us up too. :)


Your singing has increased and improved; you also hum too (especially Emmett, and you generally do some swaying back and forth while you hum and/or sing).

With all the new words you’re picking up, you’re really into repeating–meaning that when you say something, we repeat it back to you. Sometimes we can’t figure it out, and you shake your head and say, “no” and then say it again until we figure it out. [One that gave us a lot of trouble is Malcolm’s rendition of “dark outside.” It sounds like “daaahhk…..ah-lash.” Always with the pause in the middle.] Basically any time you say something, you want us to repeat it/confirm it for you.

Another fun example is when Malcolm tripped and Emmett, like, re-enacted it and told us about it. You pointed to the spot on the couch and then to your own head, and said something like, “ouch.” You did that whole little routine like three thimes.

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A huge thing this month has been helping. You bring things to the sink, put clothes in the hamper, hand us things. (One day you were coloring with the window crayons, and then Malcolm, you started cleaning it up!) You also love to say, “Help me” but what you actually mean is, that we let you help us. :) So you want to ‘assist’ with tasks like opening or closing the microwave, or retrieving snacks from the kitchen.

Your daycare teachers LOVE you–they always rave at how helpful you are, and that you always help tidy up and put toys away. They’re also noticing that you’re talking a lot more…I imagine that you may not talk as much there as at home, but it sounds like you’re getting more and more comfortable at daycare to keep opening up.


You’re also getting better at asking to share things between you, and actually sharing them! There is definitely still drama and tears and mini tantrums, but sometimes one of you asks and the other hands it over!

Speaking of sharing and/or tantrums, a lot of them have been stemming from us making you stop doing something, or handing something to us that you shouldn’t be playing with. And this month, we’ve figured out that if we come at it a different way, the result is totally different. (Well, a lot of times. Ok, sometimes. ) Like one time, Malcolm, you picked up a few coins that were on my desk. And I started to try to get it out of your hands and of course you got upset. So then I said, “Malcolm, put it on the desk please. Can you put it down?” And a moment later, you did. Totally calm and cool with it. Sometimes it’s hard for me to really think and not just react, but seeing what a huge difference it makes is a good reminder to do it the right way. I need to be a good example to you in patience and politeness. And it makes life so much nicer for all of us!

Something that does *not* make life so nice is the increased frequency of “no” and “mine” being said in various situations. Deep breath.


One thing that’s blown my mind a bit this month is that you’re demonstrating your memory–that you actually have and use it. (It’s like you’re actual people or something!) You can go pick out a book that we ask for by name! And awhile back, you dropped/threw a couple crayons into a living room floor vent, and every once in awhile you will suddenly go over there and drop down on your tummies to look into the vent, and start shouting, “UH OH! UH OH! UH OH!” over and over again.

In the ultimate twist of modern times, you sometimes have to tell us “NO PHONE” when we’re hanging out with you. :/ (But you do still try to grab at our phones when you see them, and you know how to ‘open’ the phone screen…)

Poor Emmett, you must be having some nightmares or bad dreams this month. Some nights you suddenly wake up crying loudly and inconsolably. None of the normal things help you feel better–you slap away your pacifier, you don’t even want hugs (but of course if we try to put you back into your crib you get more upset again). It’s so sad and pitiful! Usually Daddy is the only one who can finally help you calm down. You point at me to go away. Poor baby!


This month you’ve been playing pretend a lot, and it is fascinating! We didn’t really know that you knew how to do that. (You’ve probably done plenty at daycare, I guess.) We finally set up the play kitchen that your grandparents got you late last year, and you played with it ALL DAY the first day. Right away you started pouring water (from what I think is probably supposed to be a coffeepot) and refilling it from the little sink. You hand one of us a cup and pretend to refill it over and over again. {video} You like to “stir stir stir” the pan on the stove. You’ve heard us play pretend with our phones enough that you can play with the pretend phone too–you started saying, “Ring ring! Hello? Uh huh okay bye.” Super cute!


You’ve loved playing with the broom and mop for awhile, but now you’ve combined that with your love of helping, so now you try to sweep into the dustpan and then take it over to the trash can to throw away the trash! And sometimes you even work together, one of you manning the broom, the other with the dustpan. Again–super cute! (This kind of play can be very convenient–one day I let you help with scooping your breakfast oatmeal and some got spilled, so you spent the next fifteen minutes sweeping it up!)


A couple months ago we started bringing books in the car with us, in hopes that it would be some good entertainment for you. This month you finally started paying attention to that and now you frequently read while in the car (not to mention that you make specific requests for which books we should bring for you!). You love it so much that you demand the domelight to be on if we’re driving while it’s dark out. I don’t love keeping that light on, but I do love seeing you excited about reading no matter where you are!

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And how could I forget Halloween?! We found some very cute costumes at the resale and then Emmett suddenly came down with a fever on Halloween afternoon. (It later turned out to be hand foot mouth…and Malcolm got it a few days later…that was not my favorite week.) But I took you out, Malcolm. We went to a little neighborhood event and then I took you to a few houses to trick or treat. You were very timid and also confused (not surprising–it’s a pretty odd tradition!), but you seemed to like reaching into the bowls of candy, and you even sort of started saying Trick or Treat. It was really fun! Next year’s Halloween is going to be so crazy, I bet, but this one turned out to be nicely mellow and sweet.

Oh and awesomely, I’ve trained you to know that the pile of half-price candy in your Halloween bucket is a ‘mama snack.’ :) (I can’t imagine that will be the case next year….)

I’ve been a little (a lot) nervous about what two will bring…but the last few months have truly been so fun and interesting. I imagine that we will have some tough times ahead with two 2 year olds, but now I’m feeling better about it–I think we’ll have plenty of good times too. I’m excited to watch you keep learning! You’re really entertaining little dudes!

Just as long as I can still give you big hugs and call you my babies. :)

We love you!!

love, mama

Things I Love Thursday: Vintage Quiet Book

On some Thursdays, I’ll share something random that I’m really liking, enjoying, or appreciating. Just a little post to share a little snippet of life right now. I’d love to know if you also like these things, and what you’re randomly into these days!

In the last year or so, I’ve seen people online talking about quiet books. When they explained it, I was like, I totally had one of those! I loved it!

A quiet book is basically a hands-on-activity book (unlike a book you draw/write/color in), aimed at toddlers/preschoolers. There are tons of ideas and options out there; here are results from Etsy and Pinterest if you want to buy or make your own.

I asked my mom about it recently, and she just found it! Our guys have already played with some of it.

Here is what our vintage quiet book contains, if you want some ideas or inspiration. The pages are a bit stained, and some of the velcro bits need to be repaired or replaced, but in general, it’s in decent shape for being more than thirty years old!



(There are three mini ladybugs inside.)

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(This page is how I learned to braid!)

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Did you have a book like this when you were little? Do you have one now for your little one? Would you ever make one?

Things I Love Thursday: Vintage Peg Board Toy

On some Thursdays, I’ll share something random that I’m really liking, enjoying, or appreciating. Just a little post to share a little snippet of life right now. I’d love to know if you also like these things, and what you’re randomly into these days!

My mom bought me this little wooden peg board toy when I was 3 or 4. I remember it vaguely, sorting and organizing the pegs into rows. I don’t remember ever seeing any other toy like it.


Earlier this year, we were visiting my mom, and she had this out! I was excited to see it again, and excited to let my own babies play with it. It’s still in great shape!

This summer I brought it back to our house, and they were really into it. They liked taking all the pieces out and putting them back again. They also liked to throw them, and chew on them, and arrange them on the windowsill.


What I like is that it’s classic–solid wood construction, the paint is clearly high-quality and long-lasting (it’s over THIRTY YEARS OLD!), and that it’s open-minded play; there are so many things to do with it.

The only issue with this toy is that every single night, I had to go find all the pegs, which often get scattered all around the living room. And sometimes I just have to put them all in order, correctly. (That’s totally normal, right?)

Occasionally one or more will go missing, and then I try not to fret. Because it’s just a toy, but ack! If one is missing, there’s no way to replace it! So far–KNOCK ON WOOD[EN PEGS]–none have actually stayed lost.


It’s got a little stamp on the bottom that says TC Timber. I finally looked it up one day, and it’s a former brand that later became Haba–and here it is!  It still exists!!

And look, here’s a fun version, with shapes! Wooden Shape Sorter


Our boys are not even two, so hopefully there’s still a couple years of play with it. Maybe this toy could even last to be played with my grandchildren. :) As long as we don’t lose any pieces, of course…

23 Months Old!


Dear sweet babies,


Twenty-three months old! Ack! You’re getting so big, and capable, and interesting. Here’s what you did and learned as 22 month olds.


This month has been the last of the beautiful fall weather! We’ve been doing lots of outings and walks to let you burn off energy outdoors. We’re already a little worried about what we’ll do later in the winter when the days are super short.


You’re still picking up lots of words–even after hearing them just once or twice. You’re also saying three word sentences! Well, occasionally. Malcolm, you’re good at final consonant pronunciations, like “haT” (vs “haa”) and “upp” (vs “uhhh”). Emmett, you can say “Hi doggy” with all the consonant sounds (while Malcolm, you refer to dogs as “woof woof”). It seems like you’re starting to understand categorizing: “heavy rock” “heavy ball”, M identifies things that are there and are not there. Hat/no hat; Up/not up high

You still talk about snacks all the time, even right after meals. Emmett, you say, “sna? sna? sna?” and Malcolm, you say, “mo nak? mo nak?”


One day I had one of you on the changing table and said, “Pee-yew!” while waving my hand in front of my nose. You both started giggling and asking, “more?” So I kept repeating it and you kept giggling and imitating the sound (eee-yew!) and action. It is pretty funny. You also can sort of say “stinky!” Now whenever we put one of you on the changing table, one or both of you will usually say, “Pee-yew!”


We brought out a kids table and chairs, and of course you love it. So now you have all meals at the table now, and no more booster seats. We’re trying to get better at keeping you in your chairs instead of wandering around.


You still love identifying colors, and are getting much better at it. (Yellow is still the most consistently correct color, though.)

This month’s obsessions have been trucks, and rocks. You love seeing and pointing out trucks (of all kinds), and you love looking at rocks, picking them up, saving them, licking them. (Yuck!) (Here you are at a gravel patch–picking up handfuls and putting them on the ground or in the toy truck.)


Your animal sound repertoire has increased a lot. Hilariously, because you love reading The Grouchy Ladybug, if we ask you what a ladybug says, you say, “Hey you!”

Emmett, you love “counting”, which mostly means you point your finger and say, “two, two, two.” However, you also know how to recognize “two doggy!”

We got you some tricycles at the fall twins resale! You immediately loved them! You insist that we spot you, which hurts our backs. Sometimes you have trouble reaching the pedals, but generally you can definitely ride a bit–maybe soon you’ll be ready to try alone.


You love music and songs; you dance even more now! And you’re starting to sing a little too. Of course you like singing the alphabet song, especially when reading Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. You also really like listening to “No more monkeys jumping on the bed” — you have started picking up the hand actions that we do to accompany the words, and can sort of follow along. Same with “If you’re happy and you know it” — you clap, stomp your feet, and say HURRAY!

We went to the beach again, which of course we all loved.


We also went apple picking! You were very interested and excited to point out the apples and to try to pick some.


Outings are a little bit easier with one of us adults. You are more likely to play in one spot, sort of together–like looking at/picking up rocks, or kicking a found ball. You’re less likely to run off in different directions, and you *sometimes* will follow directions when we tell you it’s time to come home. (But there are still plenty of tantrums because you never want to stop playing.)


Your interest and skills in sports are noticeably developing! Both of you kick a soccer ball–Emmett, you can practically dribble, and Malcolm, you like to practice kicking while waiting for your turn to get the ball. Emmett, you’re kind of good at basketball! You can actually throw it and make some shots! We can’t wait to get you into some toddler sports classes.


Invisible legs: we try to set you down for any reason and you don’t want to be put down, so as you get are brought closer to the floor, you just fold up your legs and try to cling to us so we can’t set you down. Super frustrating! Though we love hugging you, we can’t do it as much as you always like.


You are little smart alecks too. When we ask you to do something, sometimes you just say, “No.” So then we’ve learned to phrase it not as a request. :) But sometimes you’ll try to fake us out–like when we say, “Okay, let’s leave your pacifier there.” You’ll grin and pretend to take it out, but then jam it back into your mouth. You’ve also figured how to drag your baby adirondack chairs around and use it as a stepstool to reach something you can’t.


You greet us with “hi” and “hello” when someone comes in or downstairs. You also now like to call out from your room–we hear a little voice saying “hi” or “all done” or “more wa-wer” at night or in the morning. It makes us laugh every time, because your little voices are so cute. You also know your own names, and each other’s too!

You’ve become much more social in general–you now look at strangers while we’re out and about, and you smile at them and say, “hi.” Many people smile and say hi back, and that makes you very happy!


We got you these potty chairs, but NOT because any of us are anywhere near ready for potty training. I just figure it’s good to make you comfortable seeing them around the house. You like sitting on them. :)


You’re getting ever more physical. You now love running and jumping on the couch, and climbing on/in things and people. Malcolm, I caught you crawling inside your kitchen cabinet (the one we leave for random bits that you guys can play with), and Emmett, you’ve started climbing on us to balance–you even throw up your hands and say, “I did it!”

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In general, you sweet tiny boys are really fun. Less than a month until you’re two years old…we can’t believe it! We love you!

love, mama

2014 Oregon Coast Daytrips!

Spending the day out in nature or on a little roadtrip is just the kind of thing that PNW’ers are supposed to do. Up to now we’ve only done it sparingly (because, you know, twins…also, we’re lazy sometimes), but after our second great coast overnight this summer, when the dudes had such a good time on the beach, we vowed to *actually* go to the coast more often. And we did! Woo!

We went on a Sunday in September, back to Seaside and Gearhart. The weather was glorious. The beach was beautiful. We played in the sand, and watched the surf. We had dinner at Pig N Pancake, and watched the sunset on Cannon Beach. It was a fantastic day adventure!


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And then we went again the first weekend of October! It was going to be yet another beautiful weekend, and we knew the weather-clock was ticking, so we took advantage. This time we went to Arcadia Beach, which is south of Cannon Beach. It was an incredible day, though beach was very windy. (Gearhart Beach was not at all windy that we recalled, interestingly.) There was a family playing with a football, which attracted the attention of our small, impressionable boys. The family generously let ours play with their soccer ball, and then the boys ended up practically worshipping the older boy, and following/copying every.single.thing he did.

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Then they did some splashing in the little beach stream, and then they noticed the rocks. Looking at/collecting/awe-ing over rocks is one of their current favorite activities. Needless to say, we had to pull them away.

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We had dinner at Pig N Pancake again, and watched the sun set over the Seaside beach.



It is SO fun to get away for even half a day–it feels like a world away! The littles have an awesome time, and the grownups do too. We relax, explore, eat treats–what’s not to like?

We are so very lucky to live where we do. So many interesting and beautiful places, less than two hours away! I can’t wait to go back to the coast in the spring (and summer, and fall…)!

22 Months

Dear sweet babies,

DSC_1871-001_WEB Happy 22 months! You seem to be having a lot of fun learning and doing so many things. Here’s what you did and learned as 21 month olds:


You are picking up a lot more words, including: aunty, uncle, hello (both with and without the pronounced L sound), peekaboo (which sounds like bee-boo), bath, doggy, milk, please, snack, and you’re trying to identify colors (though most things are yellow).


Most impressively to us, you’ve started putting together two-word sentences!  “Mama bike”, “Go, dada”, “More milk”, “Hi, mama/dada/nanny”.


This month you started “running.” It’s more like a fast shuffle walk, and it’s pretty damn cute. (Though it is less cute when we’re in the grocery store and you get out of the car cart when you’re not supposed to!)

You also get REALLY excited for things, and will often yell out YAY when running for something, like a bath, or an episode of Elmo’s World, or bubbles. When you sit and actually watch Elmo, you are mostly Very Serious. (Although you do start asking “Elmo? Elmo?” when he’s off screen for too long in some of the segments! You really love Elmo!)


So when I found this Elmo costume at a consignment store, of course I had to get it! You both tried it on but didn’t like the headpiece (though you liked seeing yourselves in it in the mirror). I did take this photo of you, Emmett, and it’s hilarious.


Water play has been a huge theme this month. You want to play at the kitchen sink, or in the bath, or at the water table outside. You love scooping and pouring water in and out between various places (sometimes those places are the floor…). You get very zen and can pour and pour for a long time. (Unless brother steals a cup or pours on the other one, then there’s crying, and then everyone zens out again.)


You’re getting better at coloring, and are able to do more of it. I figure that you’re getting lots of good practice at daycare. You really love the window crayons we got you!


We got you these new buckets. I think I put one on my head to make you laugh and want to play with it…and then you spent the rest of the afternoon wearing them on your own heads! And looking pretty hilariously adorable too. Silly babies!


You have become a little obsessed with hanging on things. The kitchen island, the changing table, even the baby gates….


Then you noticed lots of great places to hang at the playground!


You have gotten a lot more interested in climbing on things in gneral–you’re now big enough to get up onto the couch, and smart enough to drag over a baby chair or the baby couch to use as a stepstool! You like to sit on the armrests to listen/bounce to music.


Emmett, you in particular love laundry. You shake out the item, and tuck it under your chin, and ‘fold’ it (meaning, you sort of wrap it up into a ball or something). It is so cute! (Sadly, I don’t have any photos or videos yet.)


We went to the beach twice this month–once to the Sandy River in Oxbow Park, where you carefully waded into the rocky river….


…and we went to the coast again, for a daytrip! Hurray!


Lots more fun playing with the sand, and looking at the water. You could probably spend an entire day on the beach!


No more high chairs–you began requesting your booster seats for eating instead. We don’t know if the high chairs are done for good…they’re still in the kitchen just in case, but I guess we’ll need to move/sell them soon. It will be nice to have some extra space back, but I already miss how the high chairs kept you nicely contained.


You loved shoes before, but now you love trying to put them on yourselves! You’re not there yet, but I love watching you try (as long as we’re not trying to get out of the house Right Now).


This is such a huge time for learning for you, and for all of us really. You try our patience sometimes for sure: tantrums, protesting diaper changes, trying to climb up the car seat, not sharing, hitting.  So many things get one or both of you upset, and it’s hard to figure out what is wrong and how we can help. We try to stay as calm as we can, and tell you often that we love you. Very often, you want to be hugged and held while simultaneously wanting to be put down. That leaves us a little confused and exasperated! It can be tough to remember how much your little brains are taking in and doing…but it’s amazing to see how fast you pick up new words and put ideas together. We can almost have very short conversations with you! You can verbalize some of your opinions. You can even follow some directions, especially if it’s in the form of a game! “Mama says, Give brother a hug!”

IMG_7020_WEB And then how can we think you guys are anything but the best little dudes in the world?

We love you so much!

Love, mama