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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Baby/Toddler Book Review

The babies received practically a whole library of books for their birthday, and it has taken us this long to read most of them through and over again a couple of times.  Of course we have enjoyed reading them all, but there are a few books that standout as favorites of the babies and of ours for various reasons.  I thought I would do a mini review of a few of our new (to us) favorites.

Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown.  This book is by the author of the classic Goodnight Moon.  It is very popular with the babies because they love all the pictures of the animals, they love for me to point to and name the animals as we go along and make the animal sounds.  The story goes through the animals' day on the farm and incorporates the various animal names, their sounds, their colors, as well as the concept of little and big (i.e. very big horse and very little horse).  The text itself has a soothing, lulling rhythm to it and is perfect for a quiet read before bedtime.  The illustrations are beautifully done as well.  All around a great book.

Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle.  The babies love the singsongy-ness of this book and all of the sounds both animal and mechanical (Moo!  Beep! etc.).  It is both fun to read aloud and fun to listen to.  The illustrations are gorgeous.  This is such an endearing little story about a friendly blue truck who greets all the animals as he drives by and his willingness to help out another truck in a bind.  It has a message about the importance of being caring, friendly, and kind.  Obviously this goes over my babies' heads at this particular moment, but I have a feeling this will be a favorite for years to come.  In terms of educational value it features lots of animals and their sounds throughout the book.

What's Wrong, Little Pookie? by Sandra Boynton.  We are huge Boynton fans in our household, so it is no surprise that she would make our list of favorite books.  A lot of her books don't necessarily have a traditional plot structure, so this book was a fun surprise for me.  For mothers, this story will be familiar and heartwarming to read.  It features a mother and her child who is upset for some unknown reason.  As the mother attempts to figure out what's wrong she goes through a list of all the typical suspects (hungry, tired, etc.) to no avail.  Finally she starts making up outlandish and funny possible problems to get little Pookie to see how silly they seem.  By the end Pookie has been distracted and doesn't even remember what was wrong.  As a stay at home mom of two toddlers, I often read this book when we ourselves are having a "moment".  The bright colors and words usually distract my own little Pookie and it is a reminder to me that sometimes there is no "reason", and that's OK.

Where is Baby's Belly Button? by Karen Katz.  This is a Lift-the-Flap book and it is a bright, cute, easy, and quick read.  It is a lot of fun for the babies because they love figuring out how to lift the flap and discovering the body part they are looking for (i.e. baby's eyes, feet, hands, etc.).  It is helpful for familiarizing your baby with the names and locations of different body parts, and with developing their fine motor skills in manipulating the flaps.  Great for independent play since lifting the flaps and discovering the picture underneath keeps them entertained for a while.  Chloe is particularly good at lifting the flaps and you can tell she is always delighted when she finds a picture under the flap and proud that she was able to do it herself.  This is a great bedtime book for nights when you are exhausted because it has high entertainment value for baby and is quick and easy for Mom and Dad.

Little Quack's ABC's by Lauren Thompson.  This book is part of a series featuring the same duck characters.  Other books in this series include Little Quack CountsLittle Quack Loves Colors, and more.  The babies are obsessed with the little ducks in this book, and this is the book that is responsible for one of their first words being "duck".  The colors are vibrant and the illustrations in these books are great.  The stories are simple and cute and incorporate something educational (i.e. counting, colors, opposites, ABCs).   I think my favorite so far is this ABC's book because it names a different object or animal for each letter of the alphabet.  You would think this takes a long time but they manage to use two or three letters per page so it goes pretty quick.  It is nice because you can point and name the object, the letter, and talk about the sound it starts with.  By the end of the book the little ducklings are Yawning and drifting off to sleep Zzzzzzz.  Too cute!

Well, those are a few of our favorite books.  Of course there are many more but these are a few that we read more frequently than most.  Have a great Tuesday and happy reading!

 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Moving Prep Goof Offs

The movers are coming this Friday to pack our house up, and we are actually moving this upcoming weekend.  To prepare for the impending move, we spent this past weekend sorting through our cabinets and junk drawers (yes, we had more than one junk drawer).   We also sorted through our important filing/documents.  We tried to pare down things we don't want to take with us and to preserve the important things in a safe place so that the movers don't put them in a random box.

While we were busy doing all this, we ended up having a lot of fun.  I think that's the only way you can do this is just to have fun with it.  We were having a blast rediscovering things we forgot we even had.  If you've ever seen the show Storage Wars, you can just imagine the scene we had in our kitchen.  We even found $5!  We are in the money now!  I took some fun pictures to share with you.

Chad, doing his best Darrell impression (guy from Storage Wars) "That's a $5 bill right there!"


This is a funny story I will tell on myself.  I am always complaining we don't have any Scotch tape.  I always seem to need it for some reason and I never can find any.  So I always buy more, and it always disappears.  Well, this weekend we found it!  I think we are OK in the Scotch tape department for a while.


Even the kids were enjoying themselves.  They thought it was extra fun to play with all of the miscellaneous items on the floor while we were organizing.


And even though Brady will kill me when he is older, I have to post this cute pic of him wearing one of Chloe's headbands.  Maybe I can blame it on the fact that we were delirious from all of the sorting.


Even Sabrina was happy, since she found a new favorite thing to rest on!  We had a half-filled trash bag that had old Christmas stockings in it, and she found it and made it her new favorite nap place!  She stayed there for hours.  We finally had to go poke her to make sure she was OK.


In addition to all of our goofing off moving preparations, we managed to also spend some time with friends over the weekend as well.  Friday evening I got to attend a local Mom of Multiples consignment sale with my friend Jessie (yes she spells her name exactly like I do, and she also has twins!) and I had a lot of fun and picked up some great things for the new playroom.  I also scored a Radio Flyer wagon for the kids that I am really excited about!  Sunday around lunchtime we got to go visit some other friends with twins, the Dermody family.  Our kids got to play together and my friend Natalie and I got to go enjoy lunch out and a pedicure while our husbands and Natalie's Grandmother watched all of our kids.  I think everybody had a great time!

Here is a picture of Chloe before we went to the play date, I just thought her outfit was so cute!


Then here she is all tuckered out from non-stop playing:


I am pretty sure by the end of the weekend this is how we all felt!  Hope everyone had a fun and busy weekend too!

 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Chloe's Nursery Sneak Peek!

Since we are moving next week(!!!!) I have been busy getting things together for the babies' separate rooms.  I've had a lot of fun coming up with ideas and I wanted to share a few with the blog.  I am going to preview Chloe's nursery first, since most of her stuff is already here.  

The inspiration behind her new room came from her name canvas that I painted for her when I was pregnant.  As you can see, it has a little ladybug on it.  I thought it would be a cute idea to do a ladybug room for her!


There are some things from their current room that I will be reusing and moving to her room including her crib (these pictures are from when we were first setting up the nursery) and their white hutch:



As well as the curtains that currently serve as the "doors" to their closet (I lucked out since the green polka dots match the green in the new bedding!):



Now for the new stuff!  I found this cute floral/ladybug bedding and matching room accessories online at Walmart!


The bedding says "L is for Ladybug!"  Please excuse the wrinkles, this picture was taken when it was fresh from the bag!  Here is the bean bag and rug:


Chloe checking out the new bean bag:



I also picked up a few pieces to decorate the wall (there are more of these, this is just an example):



And probably my favorite thing is this ladybug nightlight/lamp I found on Etsy:


I know it will be a lot easier to visualize the whole room when all of the stuff is arranged in it, so I will have to post a final nursery reveal once we move in!  I am getting excited, I think Chloe will like her new ladybug room!

Happy Friday everyone!

 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Same Place, Same Time

I realized that I don't have very many recent pictures of the kids together.  Today I thought I would try to get a few pictures of the children sitting next to each other.  Then I realized why I don't have any pictures of them sitting still, next to one another.  Because they don't stop moving.  Unless they are asleep.  Here were some of my attempts today:

This is how most of the pictures looked:


Or like this:


I thought I would distract them with a book, which worked, except they wouldn't look at the camera:


A rare moment where they are both not moving and looking at the camera (but also not smiling):


This would have been an awesome one if it hadn't turned out so blurry:


Ah, well.  I gave it a good try anyhow!  Have a great day everyone!

 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Our Exciting News!


If you follow our blog, you know that our family has struggled for quite a while to manage life with two adults, two toddlers, a dog, and a cat in a 3 story townhouse in the city.  I remember one of the first things Chad said when I was just 6 weeks pregnant and the doctor told us we were expecting twins was, "We need a bigger house!".  It reminded me a lot of that part in the movie Jaws when the men are battling the giant shark in this tiny, rickety old boat and the guy looks around and says, "We're gonna need a bigger boat!".

With the real estate market being what it is, we have had to make do in our home as long as possible.  Now that the babies are older, larger/heavier, and extremely mobile, the logistics of managing a home with so many stairs is becoming very difficult not only from a convenience standpoint, but it is also a safety issue.  Also, since I stay at home with the babies during the day, we've had to find creative ways to make a play space for them.  This meant giving up our "dining area" and using that for toy storage.  When guests come over to eat they basically have to stand over our kitchen counter with their food.  Our living room is essentially a playroom.  We have no outdoor space for the kids to play in.  This wasn't an issue when they were newborns, but now that they can enjoy the outdoors it would be great to have a backyard.  Add to all this the fact that our neighborhood is not geared toward families at all, it just isn't ideal.  

We had our house on the market for sale last July through October.  After we pulled it from the market, we decided to revisit our situation again this Spring and make a new plan of action.  Before we knew it, here it is Spring already!  After some thought, we have a new plan.  We have been very fortunate to find a beautiful one story home in a gorgeous family community in the suburbs to lease.  We plan to move there in a few weeks.  In the meantime, we are going to lease out our home in the city until the housing market recovers.  While selling a home in our area is very difficult right now, the leasing market is very hot!  In fact, there were 2 homes we were really interested in but they leased before we could even make an appointment to see them!  We also had to compete with another offer on the home we ended up leasing (but we won, yay!).  While this made it a little more difficult to find a new home to lease that met all of our needs, it also means that our own home should lease pretty quickly.  Our realtors feel confident that it will.

We are very excited about our new home, it means a lot for our family, particularly the kids.  They will each have their own rooms now!  They will also have a playroom that is just for their toys and for them to enjoy!  This spring and summer they will be able to go outside and play in a big backyard.  As a family we will also be able to enjoy the lakes around the community as well as the playground and swimming pool!  One of the most exciting things for me personally is that we will have a formal dining room for the first time ever, so our guests will actually be able to sit and eat!  Also, no more carrying 40 lbs worth of babies up and down the stairs for nap times!  When we go grocery shopping we won't have to carry our groceries up a flight of stairs to the kitchen to put away!  

Chad is making the biggest sacrifice in that he will now have to commute a significant ways to and from work each day, and we appreciate him so much for doing this for our family.  It will be an adjustment for him and I am going to try my hardest to help ease the transition for us all.  I think we both feel the benefits of being out in the 'burbs definitely outweigh the commute.

I hope to get some pictures in the next couple of weeks.  Our lease starts April 1st so I should be able to get some pictures then even if we don't move in right away!  

 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Friday Randoms

I don't necessarily have a specific topic I wanted to post about today, but it occurred to me that the last few posts have been about bookcases and flash cards, etc.  These things are related to the babies, but not specifically about them.  So I wanted to post a few pictures of my babies and catch you up on a little of what's going on in their world.

One of their recent obsessions is the refrigerator.  If anyone opens the door, they better close it fast or they will have the worst time trying to get the babies out of there!


"Mustard is in a bottle, so I must be able to drink it!"


Another thing Chloe is really into right now is "dressing herself".  If she finds any clothes on the floor (yes there are occasionally clothes on the floor in my house) she will grab them and put them on her head.  Then she will crawl around or go about her business after she's "dressed herself".



Brady's newest obsession is the bookcase in the nursery, and getting all of the books out of it as quickly as possible!



And to prove they aren't getting into stuff 100% of the time, here they are all dressed and ready to go out to lunch and shopping last Saturday:



Happy Friday to all, hope you have a great day!

 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Semi Wordless Wednesday: The Apple Doesn't Fall Too Far From the Tree

This little girl is just like her Daddy...

video

 

Another Idea: Our Very Own Family Face Book

Sadly, Nana and Doodah left town last Saturday.  The month they were here with us flew by!  We miss them a lot, and especially miss the awesome ability to just say, "want to come over for dinner?" or "want to come watch the kids at Birdies class?".  I cherished the opportunity to have family close by to us, even for a brief time.  I believe they may rent out the same house for a month again next February, and I am already looking forward to it!

Since everybody's left town, I was thinking that it would be nice if the kids could start to become more familiar with our family member's faces who live out of town, and to try and put a word or sound to those faces.  We Skype pretty frequently with out of town family members, but the babies are moving around so much it doesn't always captivate their attention just yet.  At this age, we are doing a LOT of reading and I am doing a lot of pointing and naming objects to them.  This gave me the idea to do a family flip book, with a picture of each family member and their name.

My hope is that after going over this flip book a bunch of times over the next several months, they might associate the person's name/sound with their face when we go home to visit sometime in the summer.  At the very least, they will be used to seeing the person's face.

For those interested, I ordered my flash cards from this website.  You can order flash cards of any pictures you like.  They also have customizable board books.

Here are some pictures of our flash cards.  Family members, if you don't see your card, that doesn't mean you aren't in our book.  I tried to include as many people as possible (there was a page limit), it just means I didn't use it as an example on the blog.  Love you all!






The babies enjoy going through our cards, and will often pick it up and go through it themselves if it is on the floor.

Have a great day everyone!

 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Book Organization: Super Cute Revolving Children's Bookcase

A couple of posts ago I mentioned I had a few ideas I wanted to share on the blog, and this is one of those ideas.  After our babies received so many books from our very generous friends and family for their birthday, the space we had dedicated to book storage quickly became inadequate.  I started looking around the internet for a children's bookcase.  Did you know according to Overstock.com there are 4 different kinds of children's bookcases???  That was news to me.  In fact, I didn't even know revolving bookcases existed until I read that article.  I was like, "Wait...a bookcase that spins, so you can put more books on all sides?!?  Awesome!".

The only not great part about most revolving bookcases is that they aren't cheap.  After some research, I found this one that would store a lot of books, had a cute gender neutral look for children, and was more affordable compared to other options.  After putting it together (thanks Nana for your help!) and placing all the books in it, I am really pleased with it.  It is a very sturdy bookcase, looks really cute in the nursery, and holds lots of books!  Mission accomplished.

I would like to thank our family members (Nana and Doodah, Mamaw, Great Grams and Great Grandfoder, and Grandma Lisa) who sent us birthday checks as well, since part of the money they sent went to purchasing this lovely new bookcase!  I have some Before and After pictures to share.

DOWNSTAIRS PLAY AREA BOOKS BEFORE:


DOWNSTAIRS PLAY AREA BOOKS AFTER:  


NURSERY BOOK STORAGE BEFORE:


NURSERY BOOK STORAGE AFTER:



We are thrilled with our new bookcase, and have enjoyed reading all of our new books!

 
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