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Carter Reading Sam I Am

Carter has been “reading” to himself lately. Neither of the other boys have done this quite like he does. So cute.

My favorite line: “Not in the bath!”

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Two Year Old Twins

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I’m usually not the kind of momma to get all emotional when my babies crawl or say their first word or have birthdays.  I don’t wish I could snap my fingers and have them be oh-so-tiny again.  I loved those stages but I love new milestones and change and progress.  I typically move my boys into the next size clothes as soon as ONE pair of their pants are starting to be a little bit flood-like before they are quite ready.  I chomp at the bit anticipating the day when I can upgrade them from rear-facing to forward-facing car seats (don’t worry, though, I’m a law-abiding and responsible momma).  I love and embrace the changes they make.  But this week I have to admit, I have been feeling a lot a bit nostalgic.

(I think it’s because I have a three year old. Three years old {and up through about 13} scares me but that’s a post for another day.)

The twins were a huge surprise (understatement of the century) but they have been perfect for our little family.  I LOVE having three boys so close together.

From the beginning, Carter and Cooper have been so very different from each other (which is why I was so adamant that they were fraternal).  Carter is Mr. Happy-Go-Lucky.  He is just a big goofball.  He loves attention and always tries to get us to laugh and be silly with him.

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He also has been so AWARE from the get-go.  It’s not something I can explain super well but there have been many moments when I’d look at him and could tell he just “got” it.  One specific example was when he was learning to walk.  At first, he thought it was just a big game.  He’d let us stand him up and then he’d just free fall into our outstretched arms.  I remember looking at him and telling him that he needed to move his legs.  I showed him how.  The next time I stood him up, he looked at me with his knowing look and just walked to me!  Now that his language is developing, he has started to be able to vocalize some of that awareness.  He amazes me all of the time with what he picks up from nursery, a movie, a book or just interacting with us.

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Carter loves people.  He talks to everyone who will listen.  He loves to go to nursery to play with the kids and be with his teachers.  He always sings the songs and is unafraid to participate.  He likes to dance too.  I think we’ve got a little performer on our hands.  This week we took the boys to the musical Damn Yankees at Timpview High School to watch some of my former students.  About ten minutes in Carter kept asking me to “go up there.”  After the show was over I asked Isaac (who had stayed riveted to the entire show) if he was going to be in a play like that.  His answer was an emphatic “NO!”  Carter, on the other hand, said “I do it!”  We’ll see….

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Cooper… I don’t feel like I’ve got Cooper figured out yet.  He’s not very consistent.  He came out kicking and screaming.  He is an aggressive little fighter (and a biter!).  On the other hand, he is such a tender little cuddle-bug.  He’s quick to say “Wuv you!” and “Sorry.”  He has even started to ask me to put him in time-out when he makes his brothers cry.  And he always insists on giving them a kiss better (even when they want nothing to do with him…)

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Cooper has always done well on little sleep.  He is my early riser and is happy in the mornings.  He also is a really good eater.  I remember when I went down to the NICU to see the boys for the first time, Cooper was looking for me.  That was one of the hardest momma moments for me.  I had to watch him lying there on the bed wriggling and screaming and rooting around without being able to do anything about it.  (I won’t rag on the NICU in this post.  Just never go there if you can help it… ;)) Luckily, he didn’t lose his good-eater instinct.  He is a champ.  I can usually count on him to at least try everything on his plate.  He knows how to make me feel good about my cooking! Thanks little buddy!

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Cooper and Carter are both obsessed with their daddy right now.  I’m having a bit of trouble keeping them out of his office.  Whenever they get mad at me, that’s right where they head.  Good thing he has a lock on his door.

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They also have their momma moments though.  Derek sent me a text last week while I was at choir practice and he was home trying to get the boys in bed.  “Carter: I want to see Mommy!”   That made my whole week.  Isaac has always been a daddy’s boy through and through so I’m glad they are all starting to share their love with me.  After all, I did give birth to them and stuff.

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The twins are into all kinds of “boy” stuff right now: dinosaurs (they chase each other and roar while the other runs away screaming like a girl), planes, helicopters, motorcycles, semis, trains, soccer balls.  Two is so fun!  I’m looking forward to another great year with these crazies.

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Happy birthday my loves!

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Three Year Old Isaac

Three years ago today I became a momma.

That whole first day of motherhood, I was kind of in shock.  Isaac didn’t come when I planned on him coming.  I still had sub plans to write and a classroom to organize and a semester’s worth of play production to clean up.  But ready or not, he came.

It’s strange how quickly my world went from this:

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to this:

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and this:

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and this:

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It’s even stranger to remember how drastic, yet natural and complete the transition was for me.  I had to go back to school to conduct one final choir concert so my poor substitute wouldn’t have to do it alone.  I remember before Isaac came, imagining how emotional that last concert would surely be.  Two weeks after Isaac was born (and while he was still in the NICU) when I actually went to lead my choirs for the last time, my heart just wasn’t in it.  It had already been stolen away by this sweet new face in my life.  I wasn’t as sad as I thought I would be to walk away from one life and begin another.

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Isaac has always been a very mellow kid.  (He takes after his daddy!)  That’s probably why he was in no hurry to leave the NICU, or learn to crawl, or walk, or eat.  He wasn’t SLOW at any of those things, just not in a hurry either.  He’s never been one to get really emotional about anything…until the last few months.  He’s getting into the “terrible threes,” which, let’s be honest, are way harder than the terrible twos.  Even so, his tantrums are pretty short-lived and he’s still a good-natured little guy.

Isaac is a great big brother.  He *mostly* includes “the brothers,” as he calls them, in his play.  He is taking on the bossy oldest child role really well.  He usually likes to control what everyone else is doing these days.  And when he can’t, one of his aforementioned-three-year-old tantrums occur.

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He loves to play soccer.  All of the time.  He likes to be the goal keeper so that he can pick up the ball and play keep away from “the brothers.”   He is obsessed with REAL Salt Lake.  He recognizes the logo.  He sings the song.  He watches the games.  (Did I mention who he takes after??)

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Isaac is an observer when he’s in a group of people.  He picks up on a lot even though he doesn’t say much.

He’s learning a lot of his alphabet in English and Spanish and can pretty much understand anything we say to him in Spanish.  He usually responds in English unless we ask him to repeat what he says in Spanish.  It’s been good to have neighbors that go to Spanish story time at the library and that can do a little Spanish preschool with us.

Isaac didn’t get to be in the spotlight for very long before “the brothers” came along.  He has never seemed to be resentful or jealous.  He is a good kid.  We are so glad to have him around.

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We love you Isaac! Happy Birthday!

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R is for Rabbit and Rana

We colored some R letter pages and jumped like rabbits and ranas.  The boys LOVE jumping right now.  Every time they see a picture of a frog in any book, they immediately get down on all fours and leapfrog around and yell ribbit.  It’s pretty adorable.  Not so adorable is that they prefer to do this on my furniture.  I know jumping is good for toddlers (are these called gross motor skills, I think??) but I was going a little crazy with them always trying to jump on my great-grandma’s old couch that I love that already has springs falling off the bottom and *ahem* potentially lethal wooden corners.  So our compromise was to allow them pull off all the cushions and use them as mini trampolines on the living room floor.  They like to jump from one cushion to the other like ranitas on their lily pads.  The boys are happy, mama is moderately happy. Their leg muscles are being developed and the wiggles are all getting jumped out.  Win for everyone!

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P is for Pirates, Pizza, Pancakes and Penguins!

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P week was way fun.  Seriously.  There are way too many P words to choose from.  Here is a list of words that we encountered and at least talked about this week: prophet, potty (um both kinds… TMI?), pancakes, pizza, penguin, pig, pirate, Peter Pan, pup, perro, pulpo, Pearl, purple (still Isaac’s favorite color), pelota, princess, pea, pajamas, planes, película and pumpkins.

We started off the Thursday before General Conference coloring pictures of the prophet, President Monson, and getting excited about listening to him speak over the weekend.  I printed out activity packets from here.

A note about conference:

I was a little anxious about General Conference with three toddlers because I really wanted to be able to listen to some of it but I was fully aware that 8 hours of sitting in front of a tv screen was unrealistic for those guys.  Luckily, two of the four sessions coincided at least partially with nap-time so I focused on the two morning sessions.  We put away all their noisy toys and pulled out books, puzzles and coloring packets for them to play with during conference.  I also tried the whole listen-for-a-word-and-get-a-snack-when-you-hear-it game.  Isaac got pretty good at it.  The twins just got a treat whenever Isaac did.  They were still pretty clueless.  I really didn’t spend a whole lot of time preparing anything (and definitely didn’t make it cutesy….well okay the packet was kinda cutesy but all I did was print it!) but mission accomplished!  I got to listen to a good chunk of the talks AND the boys were able to enjoy it as well.  I feel like they came away knowing who the prophet is and that it’s important to take time to listen to him.

If you didn’t get a chance to hear it, all of the talks are available already on lds.org.  My favorites were The Moral Force of Women by Elder Christofferson, To My Grandchildren by President Eyring and No Other Gods by Elder Oaks.  Although Power in the Priesthood by Elder Anderson and We Never Walk Alone by President Monson were awesome too.  There’s too many to pick.  Just go read them all!

P week also just happened to coincide with Isaac finishing his potty chart.  So Monday night we left the twins with cousins and we took Isaac to dinner and the Planes movie.  He. Was. In. Heaven. (And one third of my children are *mostly* out of diapers…er Pañales!! Yay!)

We also read books about penguins, pirates, pizza and pancakes.  Isaac’s favorite (in English and Spanish) was If You Give a Pig a Pancake.  I thought the Princess and the Pizza was cute and El Pingüino Taky.  Cooper loved Splash! A Penguin Counting Book.  (The twins’ “counting” is so stinking cute).  Carter liked Penguin Pete (although I thought it was just meh).  The overall favorite was All by Myself!  They all fought over it.  Who knew the one potty book I brought home would be such a hit??

We made our own little pizzas out of Rhodes roll dough.  Should have made more.  The boys were sad when they were gone.

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We ate pancakes more than once.

We picked out pumpkins at Grandpa Curtis’s house.

Our last P activity for the week was while Daddy was gone playing soccer.  The boys and I popped popcorn and watched Peter Pan in our pajamas.  So many P words in one sitting!  It was really fun.

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On to letter Q. Just guessing but I’m thinking that one will be a short week…. 😉

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Planes

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Isaac has been potty training like, forever since just after his second birthday (he turns 3 in one month).  I guess I should admit that he has been “casually” training since then.  He’s kind of a two-steps-forward-and-one-step-back kind of learner.  He’s never been one to just learn how to do something over night.  So we started potty training kind of early knowing it would take some time.

A couple of months ago, he kind of hit a plateau.  He just wasn’t super interested or motivated anymore so we decided to up the ante.  I made him a giant potty poster and we decided to go with a planes theme.  The idea was to take him to the new Planes movie when he finally stopped having accidents.  Honestly, I had no idea if it would work or even how long it would take for him to reach that goal.  I just drew a random number of boxes on the poster and hoped it would be enough.

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The first couple of weeks we gave him some incentives (ok bribes) to go in the potty for a week straight.  He got El Chupacabra (from the movie) and a mini soccer ball.  And we took a trip to Hill Air Force Museum.  After that, “the big movie,” as he called it was his only incentive.  I was afraid he wouldn’t keep working towards it but miraculously, it worked!  The last sticker he put on his chart was for waking us up in the morning and choosing to NOT go in his diaper…. big step!

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This past Monday evening Derek and I took him to dinner and the movie to celebrate.  I was worried about the PG rating because, frankly, Isaac gets scared at every single movie.  Even when it’s not remotely scary. He even has to sit on my lap during the Disney castle fireworks BEFORE the movies start.  So.  I was a little nervous.  Plus he had never been to a “big movie” so I didn’t know how he’d react to the BIGness.

I looked up the rating description and saw that there was only one pretty intense scene, so, we went for it and just told him to close his eyes if he got nervous.  He was a champ.  Have you ever had more fun watching a kid watch a movie than actually watching the show yourself??  So. Fun.  He yelled “Chupacabra!!” when you see his character for the first time in the show.  Only in Isaac speak it’s like “Chupa-ba-ba!”  He LOVED when the planes were racing.  He cheered when Dusty crossed the finish line.  Anyway, it was cool.

Oh yeah, and now he’s (mostly) potty trained.  Hooray!  The twins turn two in one month.  Pretty sure I’m not ready to start all over with them just yet.  I’m taking a little potty training time off, thank you.