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Three Year Old Twins

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The twins officially survived their Not-So-Terrible Twos in November and dove head first into the Oh-So-Terrible Threes.¬†There is at least one good thing about this stage: no more diapers. I’ll take it.

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Carter enjoys playing cars and trains, pretending and being with people. He has a pretty good imagination and likes to talk to us about all sorts of things. He is sensitive and emotionally expressive…at both ends of the spectrum. ūüėČ

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Big brother’s photography skills at work

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Cooper enjoys playing with cars, balls and puzzles. He is a pretty feisty little guy and can go from giving sweet hugs and kisses to swinging fists in a matter of seconds. He loves music and can recognize a tune from the first few notes.

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The twins are mostly really good at playing with each other. They come up with all kinds of games. A recent favorite is Tractor Tipping. They take Mater, McQueen and all of the tractors they can find into the dark den (because obviously tractor tipping happens at night). Then they get Mater and McQueen to make noise and all of the tractors tip over. They can play this for hours. They also play house, Toy Story and Mario Brothers Soccer regularly. Sometimes they let their big brother join.

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They got big boy beds for Christmas and all three kids are now in a new bedroom in the basement. Isaac is very good at reading a few books to himself and then going to sleep. Carter and Cooper are very good at laughing and playing and jumping on their beds. Usually Mom and Dad have to intervene so that some actual sleeping occurs. I am glad that they are such good friends.

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These boys are looking forward to being big brothers soon. They think it’s funny to invent names for their little baby. Sho-sha is their most consistent creation. They like to give my belly hugs and kisses and often tell me that they are going to help the baby drink his milk and play with his toys. They are¬†also¬†excited to read him stories and make him laugh. I hope they are not too disappointed by the newborn non-laughing stage. I’m actually really looking forward to all the “help” I’ll have. My last experience with new babies was very much lacking in the helpful sibling department.

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Waiting “in line” for a turn on the bike.

The twins graduated from Nursery to Sunbeams at church in January. They love it. They are actually getting better and better at sitting through sacrament meeting too. The amount of times Derek takes them out (roughly 1-5 instances a week) hasn’t changed, but the reasons have changed: fewer tantrums and lots more potty breaks.

They are growing up both too fast and not fast enough.

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Happy Birthday Cheesers

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November Holidays and Happenings

For the first few years of our marriage, Novembers were pretty momentous: a marriage, our first home and all three of our babies came in November. Now we celebrate all month long. This year we celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary, the fifth year in our home, Isaac’s fourth birthday and the twins’ third birthday–not to mention birthdays of a grandma, a¬†great-grandpa and an uncle. Oh yeah, and then there’s Turkey Day.¬†This year we also welcomed a new little cousin to the month of festivities. We were sad we could only make his acquaintance via pictures and Google hangout.

The top accomplishment of November 2014 was potty-trained twins!

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This was the third attempt and it finally took.¬†Disney on Ice was coming to Salt Lake on Isaac’s birthday. We decided that would be a good birthday gift for him so about 6 weeks before the event we told the twins we’d take them to see Buzz and Woody too if they learned to go potty. It was a good incentive and the boys caught on much quicker than I expected them to. I was so happy and grateful!

Disney on Ice was SO FUN. The boys helped me decide on having a Toy Story birthday this year so it was very appropriate. We rode the train up from Thanksgiving Point and they were super impressed.

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During the show we got to see Mater and McQueen first—which was awesome (Ariel and Tinkerbell in the middle—which was just ok) and the whole second act was basically Toy Story 3. The boys were in heaven. And of course for dinner there was pizza. ¬†After all that we still got to take the train back home. It was a fun birthday celebration.

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We had a couple of family parties later in the month complete with Toy Story cake, decorations (Isaac insisted), gifts and photo ops.2014-11-16 19.40.32

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After all of the birthdays were over, Derek and I took off for a lovely anniversary weekend in Salt Lake. Every year we pretty much do the same thing: see the newest Hunger Games (it always coincides with our anniversary), eat at Settebellos (the restaurant from our first date), get a massage and do a little shopping. This year I got our movie tickets in the VIP theatre at the Megaplex in Sandy. I had heard about it a few times and thought we’d splurge. I’d probably make sure we got the recliners next time. The seats we got weren’t all that great. The experience was fun though.

We spent Thanksgiving with my family at Grandpa Hitchcock’s new house. It was just a few of us and it was really nice. Plus turkey and mashed potatoes are my favorite. We have a lot to be thankful for. I am grateful for a good husband, a warm home and three beautiful children. I love¬†that we get to celebrate these blessings right before Thanksgiving every year.

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October and Halloween

I love Halloween. I was feeling ambitious this year and the boys were pretty excited about bats and spiders and things so we spent all month making decorations and costumes.

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I should have taken this picture when it was really dark out. Oh well. The witch silhouette was pretty awesome.

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For Fall Break my mom invited us down to Palisades State Park for an overnight trip. We had a fun time playing with cousins and the boys loved the cabins complete with bunk beds. Here’s a picture of the littlest boys playing on the big rock.

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I love coordinating our family’s costumes every year. My kids are still fairly easy to convince¬†young so we’ll see how many years I can indulge in matching attire. The boys are old enough to have somewhat of an opinion so I gave them a few matchy options and let them vote. I thought Toy Story would be fun or Monsters Inc. I was also keeping twinner costumes in mind like Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum and, of course, Things 1 and 2 were options. The boys unanimously voted for Mario Brothers. I don’t know why that was the top of the list (we don’t play it all that much) but I have to admit I was super excited to make a Princess Peach dress. ¬†I was also really lucky to find some awesome tutorials for Mario and Luigi hats and even a Hammer Brothers outfit (adapted from this Bowser costume). Isaac was super insistent on his choice of character.

I was working on costumes until the minute we walked out the door for the ward trunk or treat. I still had finishing touches before Halloween night but I think they turned out pretty cute. At least they were a fun challenge for me to make. (Derek is a good sport to put up with me.)

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We went down to Jaker’s in Springville for a pre-school field trip. I should have gotten a picture with all of the boys but here’s me and my boys at least.

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My friend Anna from high school invited us to go to Cornbelly’s for a family date night one Saturday night. I forgot jackets but it was a beautiful night and we had lots of fun.

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Our friends hosted a Halloween party the week before Halloween. Look at all those boys! We forgot to get a picture of the kids before all of the families with girls left.

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On Halloween night Derek took the boys around the neighborhood trick-or-treating while I stayed home to hand out candy. I should have just gone with them. We only had two groups¬†of kids¬†knock on our door. That happens every year. You’d think I would learn… After trick-or-treating we went down to Springville to show off our costumes to Grandma and Grandpa and the cousins.

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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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Identical Twins

 

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It’s official. ¬†

My twinners are identical.  

And I have to admit I was wrong. 

It’s nice to finally know FOR SURE the answer to the question that every person asks when they find out we have twins.¬†

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Although Carter and Cooper had their own sacs and placentas during pregnancy, when my placentas were delivered, they were conjoined.  The doc suggested that could be an indication that the boys were identical.  Turns out he was right!  

On my local Mother of Multiples facebook page, a mom mentioned using¬†Proactive Genetics¬†to find out if her boys were identical or fraternal. ¬†I looked into it and decided to do it too. ¬†Since I got the results by email this morning, I’ve been rereading all I can find about identical twins.¬†

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Identical (monozygotic) twins are pretty much exactly the same genetically speaking. ¬†The differences we can see between identical twins are due to a) environmental differences (even in the womb they experience different spaces/environments) and b) small mutations in the DNA during fetal development. ¬†I have to add that I think a lot of the individuality I see in my boys comes from personality. ¬†Their personalities make them LOOK different. ¬†I suppose it’s really not possible to SEE personality. ¬†Maybe I’m just crazy. ¬†

Another interesting fact about identical twins is that there is “no known scientific” link to heredity. ¬†I have a feeling that even though there is no “known” link, there HAS to be something hereditary about identical twins. ¬†My dad’s side of the family has many multiples. ¬†His maternal grandmother is a twin who also has a set of twin sisters. ¬†His paternal grandmother has a set of (fraternal) twin sisters and one of them had (identical) twins. ¬†Not to mention the fact that Derek’s mother is an identical triplet–with other cases of multiples in their not-so-far distant family history. ¬†And our story is not the only example! ¬†I’ve heard of/known many other families with multiple multiples–identicals included.

 

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This is a cool picture of my great-great grandparents and all but one set of their twin grandchildren. ¬†(Barbara and Agnes were not twins. ¬†Just included on this picture for some reason). ¬†My dad’s grandmother is Fern–back left.

Grandma Joanne is also a mirror image of her triplet sisters. ¬†Mirror image twins “exhibit characteristics with reversed asymmetry, such as opposite dominant handedness, dental structure, even personality traits connected to right-brain or left-brain dominant individuals.” (Wikipedia) ¬†Joanne is a lefty. ¬†I have thought on occasion that Carter and Cooper may be mirror image twins. ¬†When they first were getting comfortable feeding themselves, Cooper always used his left hand and Carter his right. ¬†Now, though, they both use their right hands pretty dominantly. ¬†I have also thought their hair parted on different sides but I think Carter’s hair really goes both ways (plus I’m kinda clueless in the hair department). ¬†I read somewhere that’s another indication of mirror image. ¬†Apparently, there is no test (that I know of) to determine mirror image twins so I guess we’ll figure it out as they grow. ¬†

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I’m so glad that we did this test! ¬†It doesn’t change a whole lot about the way we raise the boys or anything but it’s fun to know. ¬†It’s a piece of their identity that we’ve been able to discover. ¬†Maybe it means more to me than it will for them… but it was worth it to me!

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L is for Lion

Two weeks of the letter L:

Annual Lagoon day with Great-Grandpa Hitchcock and the WHOLE family!

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Lasagna at grandma’s for Sunday dinner.

Lots of books about lions and lizards and lunas: Eli, Randy’s Dandy Lions, Latki and the Lightning Lizard (lots of L’s in the title but it’s kinda weird), The Lizard and the Sun/La lagartija y el sol, La primera luna llena de gatita (my favorite of the week and Isaac’s too), Ay, Luna, luna, lunita.

Letter L and Luna shaped sugar cookies.

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Letter L week also coincided with the “super moon” so it would have been super duper to have the kids go look at la luna. ¬†I considered it for about 15 seconds until I realized how far past their bedtime I’d have to keep them up.

Other non-L related summer activities: squishy bike rides in the trailer only meant for two, family bbqs and backyard swimming parties.

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Letter M is for Makeover…as in living room makeover! ¬†I spent nap time tearing the wallpaper down in the entryway. ¬†Hopefully by the end of the month we’ll have everything put back together again.

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What I Didn’t Learn From Pinterest

In the few weeks before our trip to Chicago, I scoured Pinterest (where else??) for ideas for traveling with kids/toddlers.  I found a lot of good ideas for entertaining three little guys while flying, driving and sight seeing.  I found advice on when to travel and where to travel and what to pack and what not to pack.  I found all kinds of tips and tricks, some of which worked and some, not so much.  Here are the top 5 things I learned, though, from the actual trip.

1.  Kids do better than you expect!  At least mine did.  I think we all imagine the worst case scenario and spend so much time worrying about what could go wrong that we forget what could go right.

2. ¬†You know your kids better than you think. ¬†Trust your feelings about when (meaning kids’ ages and/or time of day) and where to travel. ¬†Chances are, most of the time you will be able to predict how they will react to each activity in your travels. ¬†I read several blogs that mentioned to avoid flying during nap time because then you end up with over-tired tots who don’t sleep and make life basically miserable. ¬†Makes sense. ¬†But I just felt like our guys would be ok. ¬†They’ve always been pretty good sleepers. ¬†So, our flight home landed right during their nap time. ¬†And they slept almost the whole way! ¬†So plan according to your instincts.

3. ¬†It takes longer to recover from a trip with toddlers than it does preparing for one! ¬†And I’m not talking kiddo recovery! ¬†Momma has had about zero motivation to do anything. ¬†(My bags may or may not still be on the floor in the bedroom…)

4. ¬†There are nice people wherever you go. ¬†I mean it. ¬†They really exist! ¬†One of the things I was most nervous about was inconveniencing people around us. ¬†We were, after all, going to be THAT family wherever we went. ¬†The noisy, insane, out-of-control family that everyone else is watching. ¬†I was so surprised and delighted when everywhere we went, people were just KIND. ¬†I don’t think there was a bus, plane or train that we boarded that someone didn’t offer us a seat or to hold a child or carry a bag. ¬†HUGE relief.

5. ¬†Your experience will be what you determine it to be. ¬†Just as we were pulling into the airport parking lot ready to embark on this adventure, I promised myself that no matter what happened, I was going to be HAPPY and HAVE FUN! ¬†I knew that people were going to stare at us wherever we went and that the kids were bound get tired/hungry/cranky at the most inconvenient times but I was determined to have a good time. ¬†Also, I wanted to send the message to all of those staring strangers (and more importantly, to my boys!) that my family is important to me and that I enjoy being with them (even during melt downs in the airport). ¬†I am so glad I took that moment to prepare myself to be happy. ¬†I wasn’t perfect but I thought of that moment on more than one occasion and it helped me get through some of the ugly moments with a deep breath and a smile.

As I read back over this list, I realized that I should probably apply these mantras to life in general. ¬†Maybe then I wouldn’t have to spend endless hours on Pinterest looking for the answers to my problems. ūüėČ