Four! Fall & Winter 2016

We have four year olds!

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Big, giant, articulate four year olds. Who give spontaneous hugs and kisses, who fall to the floor yelling about not enough cheerios in their snacky cup, who scale couches and counters, who can entertain themselves and each other, who sometimes share nicely and who sometimes fight like dogs over jammies or toys, who can recite entire books, and so much more.

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Physical changes: they are definitely taller, and they’re wearing size 9 shoes right now. Their enunciation has improved dramatically–they don’t sound like toddlers anymore; they’re articulate like little kids now. Fully in the “actually” stage.

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No more naps, not even car naps. We found that bedtime was easier without them, and though they definitely get noticeably cranky sometimes in the afternoon, it’s usually fairly smooth to just make it through.

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This summer we did nighttime potty training, which involved us waking them up overnight to go potty while they were still half asleep. We started this process in June, I think, and we gradually changed the times, and in October we stopped waking them up, and they made it through the night! There have been just a few accidents since. Overall a massive improvement in all our lives to have that taken care of!

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Also, the whining. So much whining. Can you hear the whining that was happening in this picture? I’m probably a terrible person for taking a photo, but this child whined nonstop for at least twenty minutes the first day we went up to Salmon Days (a local festival near Seattle). There is also near-daily whining about food, either because someone wants food or wants more food or wants different food. I think one of the theme phrases for right now is “I’m hungry still” in a whine.

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Related to the whining, they get mad at us for things like making them eat their dinner, or telling them not to stand on their chair, or other unreasonable things. They constantly say things like, “You’re being mean! That’s rude! You can’t come to my birthday party!”

However, they also run up and give me spontaneous hugs and kisses. They love playing chase games and tickling games. They say, “You’re my best friend!” M tells me that he’ll always be my baby even when he’s a grownup, because that’s what I tell him, which is too adorable. They are really sweet and wonderful boys like 85% of the time. It’s just that that 15% is SO very annoying.

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Since the last post, we had some good summer adventures, like a million fruit-picking days (fresh raspberries are the best!!!), and two trips to the coast. Our annual 4th of July trip to the Hood River Valley to pick cherries and visit Mt Hood was a success. The boys were a little confused with the snow.Ā  dsc_1091-3_web dsc_1129-9_web

We all went bowling together! They wanted to roll their bowling balls just like us, and they actually did really well. E won the first game! With the bumpers, obviously.

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After admiring the roller coasters at the Clark County Fair and at Oaks Park last year, this year they actually went on those kid roller coasters! M especially loved the Oaks Park one; he went like five times on the last trip there this fall. Here he is with A on the Clark County one. At first, E didn’t want to do the roller coaster, but after he saw M do it, then E wanted to. And he was so excited about it!

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We got in a few trips to Oaks Park too, and they were tall enough for just about all the kiddie rides. The Froghopper was a favorite for all of us.

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Birthday party time!! This year they asked to have their party at JJ Jump.We had a few friends come, and everyone had a good time bouncing and jumping all over the place.

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Thanksgiving headbands required some serious persuading this year. We had our now traditional dinner at the Edgefield buffet, and like always, the boys mainly ate bread and fruit and dessert. M did have some turkey, and I helped E have a couple bites too.

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So much energy these two have!! I’m glad we got that trampoline last Christmas; it’s a great way to bounce out some energy on the dark evenings after daycare.

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I had them help me make Christmas cookies in December. It was super adorable how excited they were to help cut out the shapes, and then decorate them. img_8205_web

This fall we *finally* moved up bedtime to 730, and that’s made a huge difference. (We’dĀ  been getting them up to their room between 815/830, and it was always a giant headache, and it would take them for-e-ver to fall asleep.) Now we are usually done with the bedtime stuff around 8/815. So nice to have more quiet evening time! The boys often stay up a little longer reading in their beds with little LED lights, which is really sweet.

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We paint sometimes, and sometimes they get paint not on the paper. šŸ™‚ dsc_3361_web dsc_3371_web

They love drawing and coloring. They still mainly do scribbles and coloring in patches, not really trying to draw people or objects. They can sort of color within lines. Just recently they started drawing shapes, like all kinds of circles or triangles. Sometimes they include letters, but usually not on their own. M wrote his whole name last month, sort of!

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They love cutting “tickets” with their scissors. Just very recently M got a little obsessed with paper snowflakes, so I’ve helped him make at least a dozen or more. There are tiny pieces of paper littering their table area more days than not.

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Both boys still come into our bed for snuggles in the morning. The catch is that M now comes in overnight too, and burrows into A and falls asleep. Half the time A doesn’t even realize it, but wakes up and finds M there, and then takes M back to his bed. Then M comes back between 6 and 7am, and goes back to sleep. E comes in around 7, and gets mad because he wants to be next to Daddy. M doesn’t want to move even though he’s been there for an hour or more. So there’s an argument, nearly every day. (And it’s always an argument about who gets to be next to Daddy because no one cares about snuggling with Mama.)

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M is totally and completely in love with potty talk. Poo and pee are now some of his favorite vocabulary words. One memorable example was his version of Jingle Bells where he replaced ALL the words with either ‘poo’ or ‘pee.’ Oh, four-year-olds.

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This fall we signed them up for a gymnastics class at the community center. I was worried that they’d just stare the whole time, since that’s what they did in their dance class a couple years ago, but they LOVED gymnastics! They fully participated, did a great job following directions, and really did well on the skills. (I got to visit one class; their nanny was with them for the others and had wonderful reports.)

Speaking of our nanny, she decided to pursue her other job full-time, so we switched to full-time daycare in November. It’s been a transition, for sure, but overall the boys have done pretty well. There’s been whining and crying when we drop them off, but they’re always playing happily when we pick them up. And for the first time, I started hearing them say, “I love school!” and “I want to stay here forever!”

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They’re into books, as always–especially Curious George (that’s them listening to the audio versions!) and Berenstain Bears. Daniel Tiger has waned a bit. For TV, they love Little Einsteins, and sometimes still Super Why and Curious George.

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Seriously. Look at these sweet faces! We love them so much!

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Life at 3.5: Spring 2016

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The boys are 3 1/2! And man, we are definitely living with three-year-olds. (Though M says, “I’m thirty-five,” because that’s how much he weighs.) There are a lot of tantrums–most of them are about food, and most of them are when the boys are tired and/or hungry. Sometimes they’re both having a tantrum at the same time. Fun!

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Some very common phrases in our house right now include, a whining “I don’t have that much!” which can refer to anything from a pile of magnatiles or a bowl of blueberries. And “You won’t be my best friend anymore!” which is so hilariously threenager that I can’t even take it. Emmett’s also in a phase of responding to any question with “no” and a cheeky grin. Like, “You guys went to the park today?” “No.” “Did you have fun at the play cafe?” “No.” Silly goose. Oh, and if one of them is mad at us, they yell, “Don’t Talk To Me!” Drama galore!

Potty training is going great. They’re both in undies all day with no problem (they FINALLY are doing well with potty at daycare) and are in pullups overnight. We’re dreading the ordeal of night training, so we’re still procrastinating on that.

We made progress on another big-kid update: On Easter Sunday, we randomly changed the cribs to toddler ‘beds.’ It was a rough transition. The first night was actually full of screaming. (Our fault for not preparing them and doing this so randomly.) In the first week, there was some accidental rolling out of bed, there was some purposeful getting out of bed, there were screams, and giggles, and taking forever to get to sleep. Oy, it was so frustrating! However, now that it’s been a couple months, the misbehavior has subsided. There was a fun few days when they were running out of their room giggling after we’d put them to bed. After we shooed them back, we could hear them plotting: M: “Let’s wait till they go away, then we’ll out of bed!” E: “Okay!” (ARGH, twins!) Thankfully, it was only a few nights.

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Relatedly, the boys are no longer napping at home. (They are still napping at daycare, though.) This shouldn’t be a surprise, with the bed change and their age, but it is not a welcome update. We really needed that daytime break on weekends–for work, for our own naps, for trips to the gym or grocery store. And, you know, for sanity and some freaking silence.

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There is good news though: we’ve started doing a 30-40 minute car nap, which makes the evenings much less cranky. Plus they go to bed a little earlier, and sleep more soundly, and sleep in a bit later.Ā  Fewer bedtime shenanigans too. And of course not having to be home for several early afternoon hours really opens up our schedule for events and outings! I really like not having to live according to a nap schedule.

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Mornings have changed a bit too. Once they could get up easily by themselves, they’d just start playing magnatiles together, or reading. But often they’d start arguing, and pitter patter into our room, saying, “He won’t share!” or “I don’t have that much!” For the last couple months now, the routine is that they get out of bed and come in to our room, crawling up on our bed to snuggle. It’s pretty stinking adorable to open my eyes to Emmett’s or Malcolm’s sweet face with a big huge grin. Plus it means we can be lazy and stay in bed longer.

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I’ve been taking the boys to the local library branch every couple weeks. They love picking up piles of random books and piling onto my lap to read them, and then checking them out. And of course they like returning them into the book drop! I’ve been taking snapshots of the haul each time to keep a record. It’s funny how they’ve gotten really attached to some of the books. And some of the books are really odd, like one they loved was Pat-a-Cake Baby…which I swear was written on some kind of drug trip.

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We have a growing (alternately very hip and very unhip) playlist of mostly ‘grown-up’ music that the boys are into right now. Which is great, because it’s all from our own music libraries, so I like the songs. (As opposed to, say, There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Spider, or god forbid, There’s a Hole in My Bucket. WORST SONG EVER.) However, when I inevitably find myself singing along to Chandelier or Blank Space, the boys say, No singing, Mama!

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After their mind was blown by Under Pressure (this was a few months ago now), they made “microphones” out of chalk holders and they like to “sing” into them. Emmett is always “Fred Mercury” and Malcolm is “David Bowie” or just “David.” Nowadays they sing whatever–sometimes gibberish, sometimes one of these songs (this past week it’s been Shake It Off), sometimes a Red Yarn song (he’s a local kid’s musician). Oh, and now they get to play with the real-looking Rock Band microphone too, which they think is amazing. They plug it in to the heating vent in the living room and carry it around the room to sing.

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For a few months, they forgot about their magnatiles, but they are firmly obsessed again. (Which means lots of issues about who has more/not enough.) And they’re really into puzzles right now. We have a few sets (thanks Grandparents!), and they’re able to do them all by themselves now. It’s really cute to hear them parroting things we’ve said about helping them match pieces.

I want to be sure to acknowledge that the annoying stuff is not the whole picture. Yes, the typical 3-year-old behavior sometimes makes me want to scream with frustration and impatience (like getting ready for bedtime, UGH the worst)…but there are a lot of wonderful things about this age too.

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We’ve been doing some baking together occasionally. On Valentine’s Day we all made pink chocolate chip cookies. They did such a great job at pouring and stirring and scooping…and eating the batter. šŸ™‚ They ADORE ‘smoolies’ [smoothies] and helping me make them–putting things in the blender, pushing the button. The other day we made apple carrot muffins, and they poured all the ingredients in for me and helped stir. DSC_7410_WEB

It surprises me how much they can do. I keep thinking they’re so little and not yet ready for fine-motor manual tasks…but they’re quite agile and capable. We need to remember to allow them to push and explore their physical boundaries.

They still love helping and want to help with everything. (This was true a year ago too–but now they can actually do stuff!). About half the time, of course, that helping comes in the form of a tantrum, like the time I got a spoon out of the drawer to make the oatmeal, and then Emmett started hopping and whiny crying, “I wanted to do it!” Being psychic would be helpful for living with three-year-olds.

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Other cute mis-pronounciations include decker-bocker bus (double-decker bus), hot tog (hot dog), wallermelon (watermelon), and Burger Bill (Burgerville). Oh, and the other day I was talking to them about what they can be when they grow up. Emmett wants to be a cooker (a cook) and Malcolm wants to be a fireman.

We started a sticker chart this spring! Originally it was to help with naptime and bedtime, to convince them to stay in their beds. That basically didn’t happen at all. Oh well. We also gave stickers for things like going potty on their own, bussing their table, brushing their teeth on their own. When they filled a whole row of stickers, they got a reward–an extra episode of tv, or time to play iPad games. It’s pretty much the cutest thing watching them get a sticker and put it on their chart. Sadly, the novelty has since worn off…which I don’t mind too much, actually. If they don’t really care about the stickers but they’re still somewhat motivated or working on those items, then that’s still a win.

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The best part of three-year-olds is that there is lots of laughter and silliness. They still play together all the time, and it’s happy and peaceful at least 85% of the time. (They do fight over toys or how much each of them have.) (And sometimes the silliness isn’t appropriate, like when it’s bedtime.) But they LOVE playing chase with us, just running in circles in the house or in the garage. They love being tickled, and pretending that I’m a monster trying to get them, or any other random silly game I make up. They like directing things too: “I’m the teacher, you’re the kid.” “Say, ‘I’m going to get you!'” “You chase me!”

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And there is so much love and affection. I already mentioned the morning cuddles. When I pick them up from daycare, they literally run over to me ready to tackle me with hugs. It is the best. AND when someone comes back from being gone or away, they will say, “I missed you!” with big happy grins and hugs. Again, the best. They also are still fairly polite, and ask each other to do things, or one will go get/give something to his brother as a favor. They still like to hold hands with us, and they still want to be carried or get a shoulder ride (which is easier than carrying with arms…but hauling a 35-pound preschooler is rough on the shoulders). They still want plenty of hugs and snuggles at bedtime. They’re really so very sweet.

So yeah, overall, this is a really neat age. They understand so much, they can really communicate, they can do lots of things by themselves, and they get excited about so many things. Like seeing an airplane or a MAX train, or eating fresh berries in their morning oatmeal, or coloring pictures for family members. We’re really enjoying these sweet boys right now! ā¤ ā¤

Three!!

Dear sweet babies who are now most definitely not babies,

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You are THREE!! Three years old! I can’t believe it. You are self-described “big kids” now.

The six months between 2.5 and 3 were the most fun yet, I think. You love learning and doing things, and it’s making life a lot more interesting and fun. (There have definitely been frustrating and difficult things, too, don’t worry.) {Since this post is so late, I’m including the rest of 2015, so a month or so after you actually turned three.}

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You basically talk like big kids now. You know tons of words and you put together very long and fairly complex sentences, but you thankfully still have your toddler dialect. It’s so cute listening to you talk. Like, lately when going potty, sometimes you say you want some privacy, but you pronounce it “probacy.” You are still good about saying Excuse Me and Thank You. When you’re mad at us, you shout and stomp, “No Thank You!!” and, “Dat’s not nice!” and sometimes, “You need to go to timeout!” and often, “Don’t talk to me!” (I swear we don’t say that to them.)

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You have grown so much! Each of you grew an inch and a half between June and December, and are both right around 36 inches tall (Malcolm, you’re still between 1/2 and 1 inch taller). Malcolm, you also feel a lot heavier, but according to our scale, you weigh 32 pounds and Emmett, you’ve been 30-31 pounds.

Your manual dexterity has dramatically increased and improved. You want to do pretty much everything we do. I love seeing you concentrate doing these kind of fine-motor skills activities. You practice writing, you use stamps and paints.

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Potty training!! This is a big one. We’d been dreading dealing with this, and we knew at least that we wanted to wait after our big trip in September. So we both read a potty training book and scheduled our first no-diapers weekend for the long Columbus Day weekend in October. It definitely took more three days for things to ‘click’, and we felt like we would never be able to leave our kitchen, let alone our house, ever again. Thankfully that wasn’t the case–by the following week you were making clear progress. And a month later you were doing well enough to get you in big-boy undies. One of you can make it through nap with no pullup, and one of you can sometimes. We haven’t tackled night-time potty training at all yet, partly because it sounds like a ton of work and energy, and partly because you’re still sleeping in your cribs.

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Speaking of cribs, you finally learned to climb out of them. Gulp! However, because you are awesome and we are so lucky, you don’t climb out very often. So we haven’t pulled the trigger about going to big-kid beds yet. We’re crossing our fingers that the transition will go smoothly whenever we do that this year. You’re also still using pacifiers for nap and bedtime. We will definitely transition away from those soon!

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You’ll not only willingly hold hands when we ask, but you also sometimes want all of us to hold hands, and ask for it. ā¤ ā¤ You’re getting even better at hugs too (when you deign to give them, that is; sometimes you say, “I already gave you one before” or “Not right now, I’m too busy.”)–Malcolm, you like to actually put your arms around us, and you do a little hand pat. It feels magical and I swear it cures all ills. šŸ™‚ You will also say things like, “I missed you,” and “I’m so happy to see you.” (That’s what I always say when I pick you up at daycare or come back after being gone for awhile.)

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Your third birthday party was fantastic! We rented the toddler gym at a community center, and a bunch of friends enjoyed playing, doing crafts, and eating snacks and cake!

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Now that you aren’t babies, we gave ourselves the gift of de-babying the house (or starting to, at least). We gave away the changing table!!! Here’s what our living room (which is also the playroom and your ‘dressing room’) now looks like. IMG_6587_WEB

We also stopped using sippy cups and baby dishes. Instead, we use baby utensils and Corelle bowls and small plates (they are shatterproof). The dishwasher has to run every day now, but it’s such a relief to not deal with the soak bin that had lived in the sink for three whole years. You still drink a bit of milk in the evenings, and we use either plastic cups or mugs. šŸ™‚

Things you eat: as many snacks as we will allow you. You would probably eat crackers all day every day if we let you. And you’d probably want ‘cheesy pasta’ (mac & cheese) every night for dinner. But we rotate things and limit the snacks…which of course you protest. You love frozen peas and corn and blueberries, you adore “smoolies” (smoothies). Malcolm, you’re still more open-minded to trying new things, and Emmett, you’re still a bit picky about new things or certain elements (like if you see “green things” or tomato bits in something, you want us to take it out or you won’t eat it). IMG_6599_WEB

Your creativity has blossomed even more. You create toys and ideas and play situations. You pretend to be teachers and if we try to do something or say something, they say, “No! We the teachers!”Ā  Awhile ago, you watched an episode of Daniel Tiger that featured ballet, ice skating, and the Nutcracker, and once it was over, you both popped up and created ‘ice skates’ out of empty oatmeal canisters.

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You still love music, and playing your baby guitar and ukelele, and now sometimes you make up your own songs to the tunes of existing ones. Here’s a moment captured from October:

“There was only time to watch half an episode of Daniel Tiger before bedtime. Not surprisingly, M and E got pretty upset when we turned off the TV in the middle of the show. M eventually picked up the ukulele, took it over to baby couch, sat down and improvised the following song (roughly to the tune of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”):

I was trying to play with Mama and Daddy /
But they wasn’t listening /
I wanted to watch the whole thing /
With Katerina and O the Owl and Daniel Tiger on the playground /
I wanted to watch it all day”

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You are learning letters and spelling! Some must be from school, and some is from playing with the foam letters during bathtime, and some is definitely from SuperWhy (which is your newest favorite show). You know the upper-case letters, and you can spell out words! Malcolm, you pronounce the letter “L” as “ello”, which is freaking adorable.

“Why?” About two weeks before you turned three, your “why” buttons got switched on. Everything is “why? why? why?”

“Mama, are we at the gas station?” “Yes.” “Why?” “Well, because we need gas.” “Mama, are we going home now?” “Yes.” “Why?”

“Mama, what’s dat?” “That’s a {insert random object.}” “Why?” “Um….because that’s what it’s called.”

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You still do the, “Talk about it.. still talk about it.” You love learning about things and then hearing about them over and over again. And over and over again. Then you remember things from previous conversations and command us to talk about that too. (Fire engines were a big one recently. Any time we see or hear one, you say, “Talk about fire engines.” and I go through the spiel.)

Putting those two together–the reading-aloud process now often takes twice (or thrice!) as long, because there are endless questions and statements and retellings and requests for repetitions as we proceed through the book.

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You’ve finally gotten into artwork! You are interested in using stamps and inkpads, and finally paint. You were psyched to paint pumpkins for Halloween, and recently you asked to paint on paper…which morphed into painting hands. šŸ™‚ You’re getting better at coloring and seem to really enjoy that too.

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You have a sense of the past, but it’s all “yesterday”. “Yesterday we got our Christmas tree!” as in several weeks ago. “Yesterday we went swimming,” as in several months ago. You have really good memories, and we are often surprised at the connections you make between happenings of the past and the present. There was one random evening this summer that we were walking outside and there was a skywriter. We sat on the side of the road and watched it write for awhile (it said Cool Moon? šŸ™‚ ) and then like a week later, on another walk, one of you said something about the writing in the sky. Because we passed the same spot that we had watched it.

The holidays this year have been SO much fun, and filled with wonder and cuteness. Halloween was fantastic and so was Christmas.

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You’ve gotten even sweeter about helping each other. If one of you is upset, sometimes your brother will offer a special toy, or a hug. Often, you don’t want it, but it’s still so amazing to see the empathy that you have for one another. Both of you do the same if one of us gets an ouchie–you’ll say, Are you okay, Mama? or you’ll come over and give us a hug.

You are now officially travelers!! Your first plane ride and longest trip to date went really well in September. We are really excited for another family plane trip in 2016.

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Oh–this summer toothbrushing finally stopped being such a battle. Hallelujah. Sometimes we still have to chase you down, but you willingly open up and let us brush. Occasionally you’ll try to brush, but generally you’re playing with something and we’re contorting to reach the toothbrush to all those little teeth.

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Like all toddlers, you are obsessed with construction equipment. In Washington DC, your favorite part was probably finding and watching any and all tractors, diggers, cranes, excavators, bulldozers, etc.

Overall, you’re way more independent. You can bike or scooter the whole way without help, and at the playground you can climb on things without us worrying or fretting. You can open doors and cabinets, and fetch clothes, and even open one of the baby gates (ack!).

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As always, you go in waves of book obsessions. Here are some that you’ve liked a lot this year: Little Blue Truck, AlphaBlock/CountaBlock, Good Night New York/Oregon, This Book Just Ate My Dog, Chick N’ Pug/Chick N Pug Meet the Dude, What a Wonderful World, Daniel Tiger books, Don’t Let Pigeon Drive the Bus/Stay Up Late, Little Red Truck, The Little Dump Truck.

I’ve heard lots of tough things about three-year-olds…and we’re certainly seeing plenty of tantrums and power struggles and enhanced whining. But the increased personality and physical abilities and sense of humor that we’re already seeing is definitely worth the hard times. We love you so much!

love, mama

Two Years Old!!

Dear sweet babies,

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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.)

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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).Ā  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. šŸ™‚

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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. šŸ™‚ 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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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!

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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!)

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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.’ šŸ™‚ (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. šŸ™‚

We love you!!

love, mama

23 Months Old!

Dear sweet babies,

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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.

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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.

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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?”

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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!”

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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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. šŸ™‚ 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.

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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!

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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. šŸ™‚

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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

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:

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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).

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

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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!)

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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.

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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.)

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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!

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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!

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

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

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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.

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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.)

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

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

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

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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.

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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).

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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.Ā  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

21 Months Old

Dear sweet babies,

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You are 21 months old! You are getting more independent and opinionated–learning and growing and figuring out.Ā  Ā Ā Ā Ā Ā  DSC_1611_WEB

There are definitely more tantrums lately…mornings can be tough sometimes. Actually so can evenings. You have so many things you want to do and when you can’t do them, you get very upset.

DSC_1617_WEBBut there are other times when you are just peachy. You give hugs to each other, and this month you started really giving kisses {VIDEO}. Mainly it consists of you moving your face up and closer and making a sound–but you do it on purpose, sometimes on demand and sometimes spontaneously. It’s pretty awesome!

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Huge milestone this month–you moved to using sippy cups only! No more bottles!!!!! You probably could have done this sooner, but we have been lazy. It wasn’t a hard transition at all–other than finding the right kind of cup that won’t leak. This was our third kind and thank goodness, it works, it doesn’t frustrate you, and doesn’t leak.

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Another milestone this month was moving up to the toddler 2’s room! Once again, the teachers were surprised at how easily you transitioned. Though for awhile they were saying that Emmett, you were so quiet and serious. We thought that was pretty funny because you’re actually so funny and playful.

We think you’ve picked up a few things there, namely saying “mine” but also sitting criss-cross applesauce. (Which is SO cute!)

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This month you both have developed an Elmo obsession. You say, “Elmo? Elmo?” whenever you see the television (whether it’s on or off, whatever is playing–normally we play Pandora through the TV, but that doesn’t stop you from asking about Elmo). We let you watch it on the weekend–and you love it so much.

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Speaking of obsession: TRASH. You both are still super obsessed with it. Both of you (but especially Emmett) will point out LITERALLY every trash can that you see. You like pointing out when you see trash on the ground, and putting things in our trash can, though sometimes you find non-trash items. (Like the time that Malcolm, you put a pot and two lids in there!)

This month you started singing. Oh my goodness, it’s so freaking adorable. Your little baby voices! This month you’ve been singing the Elmo song of course {VIDEO}, plus a garbled version of the beginning of the ABCs, and a popcorn song our nanny sings to you, row-row-your-boat, and you request to hear the Rainbow Connection.

Other new words this month include baby, bowl, rock, shoe, water, beach, teeth (as brush teeth, and there’s a brushing-type motion that goes with it!).

Cup stacking was a huge deal this month. You both, but especially Emmett, really got the concept of the stacking and nesting. Emmett, you will sit for 10-20 minutes meditatively stacking and unstacking the cups. Sometimes you request to sit in your booster seat so you can use the tray as a stacking table.

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You randomly started this game where you say “Boo” to us. We act scared and you laugh and do it again. It evolved to where you throw one or both arms when you say it, like you’re throwing a curse. It makes us laugh every time. {VIDEO}

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Other things you’ve learned: A fake cry! When one of you is crying for real, sometimes the other one will go WAAAAH loudly too. We are not fooled. šŸ™‚

And–you’re now tall enough to climb up on the couch! And smart enough to use a baby chair or couch as a stepstool! Oh dear. So far no one’s taken a header off the couch…but I figure it’s just a matter of time. :/

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We finally let you start going on the big slide at one of the nearby playgrounds. It’s like fifteen feet tall, and the steps are really steep, so even though you want to go by yourselves, we won’t let you. You are always so happy to slide down, which means there’s often a tantrum when we have to leave to go home.

You learned to jump! Whee!

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You’ve liked looking at pictures of yourselves for awhile now, but now you’ve figured out that my computer is full of them! So you come up to my desk and say, “Baby? Baby?”, wanting to get up on my lap to look through them.

You definitely like the pictures from our short trip to Seattle this month:

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We also went back for our second summer trip to the Oregon coast! Once again you loved the beach. IMG_6401_WEB (2)

I mentioned that you have lots of opinions, right? This month you started telling us where to go. Sometimes you’ll grab our hand and pull, to move us somewhere you want to go, and sometimes you walk over to a particular spot, and touch the ground emphatically, as if to say, “SIT HERE NOW.” Haha, like we’re your pets. šŸ™‚

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Though you play with lots of toys around the house, books are always still welcome. Even better that now we bring them in the car and put them in your crib, so that a book is always nearby. ā¤

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We are still having so much fun keeping up with you and helping you learn about everything around you. It is so amazing to get hugs and kisses from you, after so many months of millions of hugs and kisses we’ve gotten to give you. We love you so much!

love, mama