29 June 2008

Vegas Trip

A night out.

A couple of backside bathing beauties.

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Video- Girls playing with shower.

Not sure what to make of the beach bottom pool.

Playing with sand.

A live statue at the Venetian Hotel.

The girls get a bird's eye view of St. Mark's Square.

Celebrating mom at dinner.

The girls loved watching the gondolas go by.

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Video- Waving to gondolas.

Venice in Vegas.

Grace enjoys her strawberry gelato.

Giving daddy bites.

Grace tries to get a front row seat for the Opera show.

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Video- the show's finale.

We're back! We had a great time and the girls did wonderfully.

Here are some highlights of our trip...

* We stayed at the Rio Hotel where all the rooms are suites. We had plenty of space and an adjoining room with my parents. It worked out great because the girls could go back and forth anytime they wanted. Built-in babysitters, yeah!

* Morgan and I were able to go out alone one night. We had some incredible sushi at Mandalay Bay and then went dancing afterwards. We haven't done that in so long. Had a blast!

* The girls were able to show my parents their new swimming skills in the pool.

* We celebrated my mom's birthday at the Venetian hotel where we enjoyed dinner, walking around and some free entertainment.

Happy Birthday, Grandma! Thanks for inviting us to Vegas!

25 June 2008

Vegas, baby!

I've spent much of today packing for our first trip of the summer. We'll be staying in a hotel room that has a fridge and microwave so I've also packed lots of drinks and some breakfast and lunch items for the girls. You wouldn't believe how much we stuff we have for our 3 day trip! Between food, clothes, diapers, potty seats, blankets, and some books, it looks as if we'll be gone all week!
Good thing the minivan has plenty of storage room. We leave tomorrow morning after breakfast and hope to get there by lunch time. Although we're going from one desert to another, it's actually supposed to be a few degrees cooler there. We will happily welcome any slight break in temperature. The girls have been singing Happy Birthday to hamoni all week long and finally, she will get to hear it in person. We're looking forward to a fun trip, celebrating my mom's birthday and creating new memories along the way.
Here we come, Vegas!

23 June 2008

Mitchell

Morgan's 8 year-old nephew, Mitchell came over for dinner this afternoon. He is visiting from San Diego and spending a couple of days with Grandma and Grandpa while his big brother, Kyle is off to Christian camp this week. My sister-in-law and her husband get to enjoy some quiet time at home, without the kids. I'd say that's practically a vacation! Mitchell is a sweet boy and so wonderful with the girls. He plays with them and makes them laugh. The girls like to copy everything he does and it's hilarious. He also brought his camera so that he could document his trip and make a photo album. We all enjoyed a taco dinner and the girls had a blast playing with their cousin. Here they are, screaming their heads off.

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22 June 2008

New friends

Maddy, Rhonda, Cobi, & Ryan.

Faith was not happy about having to get out of the pool.

Our new friends and neighbors came over for a swim and bbq this afternoon. We are so happy to know Ryan, Rhonda, and their twin girls, Maddox and Jacobi. We have lots in common and look forward to building lasting friendships, all the way 'round. It's amazing in this last week how much Faith and Grace have taken to the pool. They were always little fishes and loved the water but seeing them just dive into the pool and splash around is both fun and a little frightening at the same time. We seriously have to watch their every move because they have become quite fearless. We have 6 more swim lessons to go before we break for the summer. It's been an average of 110-115 here all week so that means the pool has been pretty warm, too. We actually like it warm so it's been perfect for us- a refreshing 92 degrees. We usually wait 'til the afternoon to go swimming since by 4:00, our pool is pretty much covered in shade. After all that playing and swimming yesterday, Faith wasn't happy about having to get out of the pool. There were no actual tears but she kept pointing and saying, "poooool."

A funny thing...
Towards the end of the night, Morgan took the girls into the bathroom to go potty while me, Rhonda, and Ryan got caught up in a conversation in the living room. After a while, Morgan came out of the girls' room and said, "Um, do you think you guys can help me? I've got two girls that are naked on the potty and another two, watching them in the bathroom." Oops! Sorry, daddy! Sure enough, there they were- all 4 of them in the bathroom. What a sight that was. A good time was had by all!

21 June 2008

"Special time"

Faith is excited to have mommy to herself.

Our self-taken photo.

A customer kindly takes our picture for us.

Finger-lickin' good.

Faith is proud of herself for stacking blocks.

She's our little engineer.

Grace, the Veterinarian.

The doctor is in.

She's also a pet groomer (notice the blow dryer).

Faith gets creative.

Grace paints.

Child vandalism or a work of art?

Daddy comes to check out their work.

Grace shops in the grocery store, just for kids.

She makes a pizza in the pizzeria.

Then she put it in the oven.

We had our "special time" with each of the girls this morning. We've been meaning to do this for many months now and it seems the older they get, the more necessary and beneficial it truly becomes. Since Faith and Grace do everything together, there are often times when we feel that they naturally fight for our attention. More importantly, being constantly together doesn't allow them that special, one-on-on time that every child craves, needs and deserves. There are many benefits to being twins but having that special and meaningful bond with a parent is not always a given, unless specifically planned. We decided to take the girls out to breakfast for our first special day. I took Faith to a local restaurant/diner and Morgan took Grace to McDonald's. Faith and I had the best time. We were able to talk, relax, and just be together. Other than the initial questioning of where sissy and daddy were, she was quite content after I explained that this was mommy and Faith's special time together and that sissy was going to stay with daddy. Because we wanted to make them feel special, we didn't necessarily tell them that the other one was spending their special time with the other parent. I'm sure that they will figure that out, if they haven't already anyway. Faith and I enjoyed a pancake breakfast with eggs and sausage. She ate her whole plate and even got to try maple syrup for the first time. Yum-O! It was so nice to be able to just talk and share some quiet time with Faith. She is smart, bright, and loves to learn new things. I can honestly say that she thoroughly enjoyed our time, too. In fact, when I asked her what she thought of her special morning with mommy, she replied with a big smile, "I like it." After breakfast, we had a few minutes before we were scheduled to meet up with Morgan and Grace. We went next door to the party supply store just to browse.
I happen to know the owner, who has never met our girls so when he saw Faith, he kindly gave her a balloon. To that she replied, "Sissy, boon?" That meant that of course, she wanted to have a balloon for sissy, too. My sweet child. :)

From there, we met Morgan and Grace and headed to the Children's Discovery Museum for the rest of the morning where the girls got to experience lots of fun and interesting things. Unfortunately, since I had the camera, we don't have any pictures of Grace and daddy on their special day but Morgan's experience with Grace was much in the same, other than the fact that Grace can be a little picky about her food sometimes. He said it took him a while to get her to eat anything but finally, she ate some yogurt, apples, walnuts and bites of his English muffin and egg. In the summer months, we are a little limited on the outdoor activities we can do with the kids but we plan to do this every other weekend from now on.

Regardless of having twins, close siblings, or just one child, I think that having this intentional, special time only helps to strengthen the parent-child bond and creates a confidence and trust within that relationship. It also helps the child to flourish and gives them the freedom to grow and become who they are. I also think that each parent brings out and nurtures different qualities within the child.
I not only loved my time with Faith, I got to experience what it was like to have only one child in my care. Although I've done this a couple of times before, it is on a very rare occasion. What a nice break it was- practically a walk in the park!

Bubbles

We ended our day with swimming in the afternoon and blowing bubbles in the backyard before bath time. Here's a peek.

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18 June 2008

Progress

I hope I don't get too carried away posting videos now that I know how it's done. I must say, it wasn't that difficult- I'm just a little electronically challenged. We are making great progress in potty training. The girls ask to go potty about 5 times a day and every time, they do! I'm quite certain that the rewards of M&M's and stickers have a great deal to do with their enthusiasm. We still have a way to go but we are happy with the results so far. Believe it or not, I still haven't tried using the method in the book that I recently read. It suggests that I feed them liquids and salty snacks for 4 hours straight, giving them the constant urge to go pee. The idea being... the more they need to go, the more practice they get. I have yet to devote a 4 hour block of time to this cause. Partly because it doesn't seem like we've had 4 hours of consistent free time where nothing else was going on and also, partly because of my own laziness. I have a feeling that my 4 hours will be more like 8 hours! I do plan on trying this method soon- maybe minus the salty snacks. Grace and Faith do not usually get any candy or chocolate so receiving 1 M&M for pee and 2 for poo is a real treat! As you can tell, they are great supporters of one another. They usually clap, say "Good job!" and give high-5's. I hope that one day, they can look back on this video with less embarrassment and more laughs.

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15 June 2008

Happy Father's Day!

Kisses for the best daddy in the world.

More than a girl could ask for.
Open heart.
Reliable and responsible.
Gift to his family.
Amazing partner.
Never taken for granted.

For Father's Day weekend, we simply spent time as a family. Yesterday, we swam in the pool and went out to dinner. We also stopped by to visit Rich and Emily. Every year, Rich has a basketball tournament in town with his team. He and Emily were staying in a nearby resort so we got to see them for a little while. As I write this, Morgan is out enjoying a massage that the girls and I gave him as a Father's Day gift. He plans to come home, relax, watch the U.S. Open and hang out with us girls.

Morgan,
We are incredibly blessed to have you lead our family. Thank you for being the man that God calls you to be. Although it's not always easy being the only man in the house, we hope that you feel loved, cherished, and appreciated. Most of all, we hope that we love you well- the way you deserve to be loved. May God continue to bless you with His wisdom, guidance, strength, and humility . Thank you for being everything that I'm not and for the beautiful example of what an earthly father should be. Enjoy your special day!

All our love,
Your Girls

*Also, Happy Father's Day to both of our dads! Thank you for not only being great dads but grandpa's, too!

We have video!

I know, I can't believe it's taken me this long to post any video. Oh well, better late than never, I guess. Here are a couple of clips of the girls in the pool yesterday. Our swim lessons have been well worth it. We continue once a week, through the end of July. The first clip is of Grace getting her rings. The second clip is of Faith diving in the pool. Enjoy!


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14 June 2008

The rest of our week...

Grace makes her craft.

The craft table.

The girls get to share an Elmo punch. A special treat!

Grace, Faith and Emily are enamored with baby David.

Grace kept giving him kisses.

Faith wanted to hug him and give him high-5's.

Taytum's Elmo Cupcake Cake.

The birthday girl.

Since Faith wanted nothing to do with the red frosting, Grace happily eats her sister's half too.

Tambourines are fun!

Grace shows daddy how it's done.

Getting their summer haircuts.

All trimmed up.

Grace combs her hair.

Faith shows off her sticker and her smile.

Double vision??
Jacobi and Maddox play in the girls' room.

We attended Taytum's 2 year birthday craft party on Thursday.
The girls made their first musical instrument, a tambourine. It was too cute and everyone had a great time. On Friday, I took the girls to the beauty salon to get their summer haircut. I still wanted to be able to put their hair in pig tails so they just got a little trim. It was the first time that they sat in the big chair, all by themselves. They both did great and liked the new experience. I loved the fact that I didn't get hair all over me this time. They proudly received their new combs and stickers for being so good. In the afternoon, my neighbor, Rhonda came over with her twin girls for a short visit. Rhonda and her husband are also in the twins club, they go to our same church, and just recently, we learned that they live down the street from us in our same community! How nice is that?! We now have someone new to pass along the girls' clothes and toys.

We are looking forward to spending a relaxing weekend, celebrating the best daddy in the world!

11 June 2008

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Princess Faith does a little curtsey.

Running around the house.

Grace has on her pretty earrings.

Faith the Enchanted Fairy spreads her wings to fly.

Only one pair of glass slippers to share.

Even fairies have to go shopping.

Grace helps Faith adjust her wings.

The glass slipper is still a bit big.

Having fun with Emily.

Watch out, Food Network! It's the Three Hot Tamales!

Queen Vivien.

Ring around the rosey.

Vivien and the girls play drums on the kitchen table.

So far this week, we've had two play dates in our home. Since summer is in full swing with temperatures over 100 all week,
we have to be a bit more inventive when it comes to playing indoors. On Monday, Samantha came over with her daughter, Emily and on Tuesday, we had Hailey and Vivien over. The girls enjoyed playing dress up, ring around the rosey, and cooking in their new kitchen.
I got to enjoy spending some time with my girlfriends. Today we had swim lessons and tomorrow, we're headed to a birthday party where there will be dancing and a fun craft for the girls. There's sure to be some more fun pictures this week!

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