Sunday, October 19, 2014

Playing in the Park

This weekend was gorgeous- the weather was wonderful, the company was great, and the kids were so funny and sweet and I got to snuggle and cuddle and play with them- weekends like this are what makes fall my favorite time of the year.

Friday afternoon Tony and I decided to load the kids up and take them to a park in town; this park has a special area for toddlers and, man, did our toddlers take to this park. We've been to this particular park before, but last time we went, all Harper wanted to do was climb up and down the stairs- this time, things were different. Both Jack and Harper had a great time playing with the sensory board and musical instruments they have built into the park- Jack's favorite were the bongo drums; they also tried out and liked the swings, the tunnel, and the horses they could ride, but their most favorite activity was the slide. Tony was the catcher and I made sure the kids got up the stairs in and orderly fashion- I think they slid about 15 times each! The staircase to get to the slide also has animals painted on it, and Jack and Harper would randomly announce "pig!" or "duck!" as they were walking up to the slide.  They both had such a good time that they didn't want to leave.

After the park, we went to dinner at a Mexican food place. The kids chowed down on tortillas and chicken and rice and beans. We took a couple of cute pictures of them eating- Jack really liked when the waiters sang "Happy Birthday" to some people a few tables over- he clapped for them when they were done.

Saturday morning Tony left to go to a bachelor party and the kids and I got to spend the day together. We were quite productive: we aired up the tires in the stroller and took a walk, we played and read books, Harper helped me clean the bathroom, ate a good lunch (Harper even fed herself a whole carton of yogurt), took a bath (notice the previous comment about yogurt) the kids took a good nap, and we went to Costco- it was a very busy day.  The kids also helped me clean out my gym bag.

Sunday morning we went to breakfast with some of our closest friends who also have two kids- I never thought I'd be asking for a table with 4 adults, two high chairs, a booster seat, and a baby sling- we were a sight, I'm sure. But the kids did a great job and ate their breakfast and fussed very little. Harper discovered that she likes hash browns, and Jack kept himself busy by stealing bacon off of Tony's plate, and helping himself to some butter when we weren't looking- what a mess!

We came home in time round our weekend with some chores around the house, Skype time with Mimi and Papa, and a family walk before watching some Cowboys football. When Tony turned on the game, Jack yelled "Cowboys!" and went to find his football- too cute! It was a great weekend, and I hope we have many more like that in our future.

On a side note, check out these two kiddos who look so big now! When did they get so old? Harper even has long enough hair for a real ponytail now. They are definitely not babies anymore...

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Chatter Boxes

My last few posts have not contained as many pictures as you might have previously grown accustomed to. The kids are harder and harder to capture via camera because they don't sit still very often. I wish, instead, that I could upload voice recordings of Jack and Harper so you could hear their new words- which seem to happen daily- and their little comedic timing that they're forming.

Jack loves to say names, especially names of people who "go together". For instance, his favorite names to say are:
"Momma" "Dada"
"Nana" "Pop"
"Mimi" "Papa"
"Jack" "Harper"
But recently we have started running down all the aunts and uncles, and he's enjoying saying those names. His favorite so far is "Uncle Bubba" referring to Tony's brother, Ryan, but he's also been saying "Uncle Steve", "Uncle E" (he holds out the E-E-E) and I did get a voice snip-it of Jack saying "Uncle Tanner" that I sent to my brother. We're going to spend some more more time working on the aunts and cousins next week- although he does have "Emmy" pretty down pat.

As far as the comedic timing goes, Harper cracked me up today when we were reading the kids' Highlights magazine. There was a short story that showed a cartoon of a little girl learning to walk. She walked past the couch and was walking past the coffee table to her mommy; in the background there was a drawing of the cat sitting on the coffee table. Harper saw the cat and immediately said "no, no" and wagged her finger. I asked her why she said "no, no" and she pointed to the cat. I cracked up- Harper was admonishing the cat for being on the table- how in the world would she know that the cat shouldn't be up on the coffee table?

The next page showed the cat now sitting on the top of the bookcase overlooking the girl hugging her mommy after a successful trip navigating the living room. Jack, upon hearing Harper say "no, no", got up from his toy and came over to see what we were doing. When Jack walked up I had just turned the page and he saw the cat on top of the bookcase and he said "no, no cat!" I started laughing all over again. While Harper got onto the cat with a firm voice, Jack was even more harsh and direct with his criticism of that feline on the furniture. Tony says that's proof that we never need to own a cat.

Aside from our two little chatter boxes, we haven't done much this week.We did take a walk on Monday- I normally run Abby in the morning, but it was pouring down rain, so the kids got to ride while Abby and I ran in the afternoon. The weather was also very blustery, so the kids got to wear their jackets for the first time this fall.

We also had a dance party before bed Tuesday night. Harper was a reluctant participant in Jack's break dancing demonstration. He scooted all over the place and spun around and around- Jack was cracking Tony up!

I was also lucky enough to snag some snuggle time with this little girl- I love that she came over and insisted on sitting in my lap this afternoon. I know that these days are fleeting and soon I'll blink and they'll be in school- I pray I never take these little moments for granted.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Are You Ready for Some Football?

This weekend we have enjoyed a little glimpse of fall weather, and the kids are getting a taste of all the things October has in store.

We went to the store on Friday night and searched around until we found some Halloween costume that the kids didn't hate and that fit them. We wound up with a cute lion for Jack- he was not happy that I made him try on the hat part of the costume, but his curls looks so darn cute with the lion mane. Harper settled on a zebra, but not just any zebra, her costume has a pink bow on the ear and on the collar, so she looks like a little girl zebra. Harper and Jack like to watch a cartoon about a zebra family, so they were both excited to see the zebra costume. We'll see what the final product looks like come Halloween.

Saturday morning started with a trip to the doctor for the kiddos to get their flu shot. Jack and Harper have been in and out of doctors' offices quite a bit, but Jack was smart enough to remember that this was the "shot doctor".  We were sitting in the waiting room close to the door the nurse would come out of to call children back to the exam rooms. Every time the door opened and the nurse called someone, Jack would wave to her and grin, and when she would close the door, he would say "by-eeee!" I thought, "wow, this is going really well," and "isn't he so cute!" That is, until the nurse called "John and Harper Collett"- upon hearing this and seeing Tony and I rise from our seats, Jack fell onto his knees on the floor and began saying "no, no, no!"  He continued this chant all the way to the exam room, while I got him ready for his shot and yelled "No, No, NO!!" while he was getting his shot, then he started crying. I swept him up in my arms as soon as the shot was done and whisked him over to the basket of suckers and asked him if he wanted a sucker- he immediately stopped crying and nodded "yes". I don't think Harper or Jack have ever had suckers before, but they sure liked them on Saturday morning and had the sticky fingers, shirts, pants, and faces to show for it.

Saturday afternoon and Sunday afternoon we spent our time watching football. Tony is a big Notre Dame fan, so he was very happy with the outcome of the game on Saturday. Jack likes to watch football, and was excited that the game was on when he got up from his nap- he started saying "Go Irish!"- Durinda would be proud!
Sunday we went our for breakfast and I dressed the kiddos in their Cowboys gear. Harper rocked her pigtails and Jack sported some shades while we picked up a few things at Target before heading home. We got to watch a little football before nap time, but nap time is where our day came to a halt. Neither Harper nor Jack slept a wink from 1-3. They both had dirty diapers, they danced around in their cribs, they threw their blankets and lovies on the floor, they screamed, they laughed, they cried, they pulled the monitor off the wall- it was not the best of times. So, needless to say, we had two very tired kids this evening, and a new location for the monitor (thanks, Tone).

In order to keep fussiness at bay, Tony and I took the kids and Abby for a walk this afternoon. The weather was beautiful, the breeze was pleasant, and the kids got to see a butterfly and some birds. We also had a fun time looking at Halloween decorations and imitating dogs  barking.

We did get to watch the Cowboys play though before the kids fell asleep and I snapped a few pictures of our kids watching the 4th quarter. We try not to let them watch too much TV in extended periods (I know, I know, any TV for 2 years olds is bad), so they were only allowed to watch about 30 minutes of the actual game. Jack was very aware of football being on and he spent most of the time throwing his toy football around the room and chasing it.

Harper also got in on the football throwing, but enjoyed gathering her baby dolls to watch the game with her the most.  I think both kiddos had a good time- Jack and Harper both said "Cowboys!" after the unlikely victory and me saying "Go Cowboys!!" over and over again. It's fun to watch the kids celebrate when Tony and I are excited; Jack loves to give high-fives and Harper squeals with the best of them. Football season is shaping up to be something fun at our house (at least for now). Here's hoping that we all have a week as good as the Cowboy game was today!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Tub Time

No long post today, just one sweet picture of the babies in the bathtub. I took this picture earlier this week while they played and splashed. Jack's favorite thing to do in the tub is to take two plastic cups and pour water back and forth from cup to cup. Harper usually likes to splash around, but in the past few weeks she has been playing with her animals more and more. On this particular night, while Jack was pretending to "cook", Harper took all her floating animal toys and created a parade on the edge of the tub. It was cute to watch her place each animal, then she laughed and we admired her handiwork before knocking all the animals back in the water with a big splash! So happy we get to live out these "lather, rinse, repeat" days with these adorable little ones.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

A Good Weekend

It's 4 minutes until I normally go to bed and I'm just sitting down to write the blog- it hasn't been a super hectic day. We've spent most of our time running errands and playing with two very active almost two year olds. We haven't had too much on our plate this weekend; I haven't been grading, and Tony hasn't been knee deep in work or home improvements.

I'm sitting down late to do the blog because we've just been enjoying our time together this weekend. We've taken the kids out for ice cream, we stayed up late, we went to a friend's house to play, we Skyped with Mimi and Papa, and we laughed more this weekend than we have in a long time, we didn't feel stress or pressure or get caught up in all the things we should be doing- I even had a flat tire on Saturday in Fort Worth and that didn't put a damper on the weekend. It was just a good time- a good time with our little family.

This weekend has given me many different moments to pause and reflect and to be grateful for what we have. I've been keeping up with two mothers who have NICU stories that started similarly to ours, but have had different outcomes involving long term illness and fatal diseases for their children. This was a weekend where I sat in awe of the miracles that are sleeping in the room down the hall. I sat down and realized that it is only by God's grace that we have those two little ones and only by God's grace that they walked away from the NICU and grew and are healthy today.

Why does it take seeing someone else's struggle before we see how lucky we truly are?

This weekend I'm thankful that I got to witness Harper playing with her Little People and making noises as she drove the car back and forth. I'm thankful that I walked in on Jack sitting on his floor "reading" his books- not just flipping through and looking at the pictures, but actually talking and turning pages. I am thankful that my children giggled and squealed and ran to their dad for hugs and kisses and snuggled with me when I picked them up for bed. I am thankful that Jack has been yelling "Go Irish" all weekend and I get to see my husband laugh every time.

I am thankful Harper is expressing her free will and saying "no" to things- I know that when she's three I'll feel like this is nothing to be thankful for, but I know that it is- she understands things and that brain works faster than I can imagine. I am thankful Jack picks up on so many connections and will run and get his football when he sees football on TV or yell "Elmo!" when he spies Elmo on a box of cereal at the grocery store.

What would our lives be like without these two little ones?

I am so thankful that I don't know the answer to that question. People say that children make lives more complicated, but they would never trade it. I know that our lives are certainly more hectic, but it's God's grace that has given us this gift, and I pray that we will never forget all that we have. Even if it all comes crashing down tomorrow, I will know that we are the lucky ones because of weekends like this one and days like today. Even if tragedy strikes tomorrow, I will still say we are lucky because we had the opportunity to make memories, to show our love for each other, to watch Harper's eyes light up when she smiles, and to hear Jack belly laugh. Thank you, Lord, for all of our gifts that come from you- especially for our silly little family.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

22 Months Old

Tuesday Harper and Jack were officially twenty-two months old....just two months shy of two years old. I still can't wrap my mind around these little ones getting so big!

-still loves to read and will sit by himself in his room and look through books
-is trying a variety of new words and will try and repeat words he hears
-is identifying things in "real life" that he sees in books- like today when it was raining, we were talking about the rain out the window, and he went and got a book and found a picture of an umbrella and pointed to it. What a smarty pants!
-loves to play chase with his daddy and loves to laugh at silly things I do (like hula hooping in the kitchen)
-is working on eating new foods, but still loves macaroni and cheese the best and his smoothies.
Here's a shot of Jack eating an apple (something he requests by name)

-also loves to read and if you ask her for a specific book, she will go to her bookshelf and find the book you asked for based on the spine of the book (I still don't know how she does it)
-has had an explosion of language and new words in the past month, for instance, today she randomly said "turtle" when we were reading a book- something she would've just pointed at a month ago
-is now saying "no no no" and wagging her finger when Jack does something that she knows he's not supposed to
-is currently very interested in Abby and asks for "Abba" frequently. Harper also picked up the dog from her Little People house (a Dalmatian) and said "Abba!" and then went to show Abby the little Abby dog.
-loves to run to the backdoor when her daddy gets home and dance and play on Momma and Daddy's bed
-is also trying new foods and constantly makes me smile when she chows down on something- gone is that little girl who was "failure to thrive"
Here's a picture of architect Harper building a tower with some support from Durinda.

Here are some pictures of things we did this week including a visit from Nana and Pop (who brought Abby back home), playing with our diaper box tunnel, and trying ketchup as a "dip" for the very first time- yum!