Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Is it REALLY Almost Christmas?

Again, slacking on the blogging about the life and times with Gus & Rals, so sorry!!! I hope some of you are still out there...I've been busy, the boys have been in school, basically, big boy and big girl life has caught up with us all.  My business has taken off to put it mildly, which is so awesome and I am beyond words on how lucky and blessed I feel about that.  If you have not seen my new fancier website, I ask you to check it out sometime  I am also on Facebook at  Any who, yes, the holidays are upon us and I feel like I have been living, breathing and snapping photos of families in their Christmas best since October, well, that is probably because I have been.  And, LOVING every second of it.

 The boys started school and are doing awesomely well.  Their first real report cards demonstrated what we all know, they are socially amazing, gifted, and Augustus was called the school's "knight in shining armor" for all his chivalry, and Raleigh is known for being so polite and quite the story teller.  They are delighted to have them in their school and we are looking forward to their pre-K start in the fall of next year, and I honestly cannot believe half of their school year is actually over already.  The boys are still imaginative little men with a love for the magical, mystical, all things a little spooky, but not too spooky, and superheros are still awesome to them, including the superheroes around town like firefighters, some police, and they know what the army and soldiers are a now, too and they think they are pretty awesome as well. While Mommy is still not keen on guns and gun playing, they still tend to be the sweetest boys who really are not too into it either.  I take the balance of these boys any day.  They love to cook and clean still and are not afraid to pick pink first and play with baby dolls, even if it is just to strip them down first and foremost. 

We have had a few holidays since my last post in September.  Firstly, Halloween was a big one for this family of course.  The boys still manage to dress up on a regular basis, and this year enjoyed three costumes each. For their multiples party Augustus was too sick to come, but he would have made the cutest Captain prove that, and Raleigh was the most swashbuckling of pirates in his home-made Captain Hook outfit.  Next year we may re-purpose it as a Prince costume ;)  Then they were police and fire men for their school party. Finally, on the big day they were "storm troopers" or really Boba Fett and Jango Fett from Star Wars.  They did not know what Star Wars was when they picked these, but they loved the outfits and the sword "thingy" - which we did not buy, but they still  loved the outfits.  Now, they have seen a few scenes of Star Wars and Augustus is asking for the movie when he gets to talk to Santa...we'll see about that buddy, we'll see.  They do have a really cool Star Wars ship coming, so hopefully that will suffice.  Here are a few pictures of the boys during the Halloween extravaganza that was October.  They enjoyed trick-or-treating, but little Kaine, the boys cousin, may have had them all beat this year for cutest, most excited kid on the block.

Raleigh above, smells like CHOCOLATE - his fave!!!!

Thanksgiving was a tough one this year.  The day after Thanksgiving would have been my Dad's 68th birthday.  My mom has moved out of our house and was in her new place in November so she has gotten her new space and hopefully will continue to have more good days than bad.  We tried to keep her and all of us busy that day and even ventured down to the tree lighting in Hyde Park and had a "muff-cake" or cupcake for those of you who don't speak Augustus & Raleigh, in honor of Grandpa Pickles.  The boys had a ball, and I got there early in an attempt at taking the boys' Christmas photos, and while I got some magical shots of the boys being themselves, I just did not get that one shot, so we had a few more attempts this year. Always fun for me to try new locations and try to capture the boys, so I am not complaining!  The saddest part of the day was when we waited for what seemed like for forever for Santa to show up and then when he did it was in a drive-by in a truck, no not a decked out Christmas truck, just a truck with the jolly guy riding shot gun waiving to the littles

Next up is Christmas, and I will have more about that after the fact, but I can say 3 is more exciting for the boys than 2, but they are also so excited that they are also more out of sorts with their excitement than last year.  We finally settled down a bit with sleeping better and not all crazy behavior we had when we first started the season, but the old Elf on the Shelf, Hugh Caillou is not quite as effective as last year for our little family...sniff, sniff. One of my friend with an older son put it best though, enjoy the crazy, in 10 years they won't have time to be cute and magical about Christmas. So right, Jennifer, so right! 

Favorite Things Right Now:

Augustus was at the park and a little girl who spoke no English kept talking to him and he just kept playing and talking to her in English like it was no biggie, and then yells to me from across the park "Mommy, this girl is speaking Magic words to me!!!"  He was so excited and I almost melted from the cuteness on that one!

Raleigh starts EVERY sentence with "You know Mommy..." and that usually starts with "you know, you know, you know, you know Mommy blah, blah, blah" because he is so excited to tell me something.

They have moved from fighting each other for things and fighting for our attention to working together to fight us!  It is funny, they have become more buddies now and it is great, although it is really more for the evil mastermind to see how much we can get away with together instead of fighting each other.  It is just another milestone, and I take the good with the bad knowing that each day they are moving forward toward more and more independence.

They are still the best lovey, snugly, happy boys.  We are truly blessed.  The eat well for the most part, they sleep amazingly well, and nothing slows them down.  They love life and everyone that meets them adores them too.  We are blessed, and yes, I have to remind myself of that when we are having those moments, and yes, sometimes those moments turn into days or weeks, but they are just so amazing.  I try to remember to tell them that all the time and am trying to loosen up on my hovering of making sure they are being behaved all the time.  I think we are at a good balance for now.

They have some great friends and get so happy to see friends they don't see as often now that they are in school two days a week.  Raleigh has a new love affair with a little friend E who is about a year younger and he just talks about her all the time.  If we see her at a play date it is E, E, E, E the entire time.  She is just as infatuated with Rals, so it is great.  He also love his neighbor friend, H, but is more of a buddy than a love, love, love friendship. Augustus pretty much loves everyone and tends to play with the big boys, although his chivalrous side at school leads me to believe he still has a soft spot for his girlfriends, too.  They still have completely different friends at school despite being in the same classroom. It is amazing their self-reliance and ability to be so sure of themselves.  I love it! Not all twins or siblings are like that and these boys are just so self-assured. 

There are no secrets at this age with these guys!  NONE!!!  So let that be fair warning when we see a certain set of Grandies in a few months...ha!  They also have more awareness of different stores we drive by now as well, so let's say, you are the grandma, and you decide to take them to Dunkin Donuts, say, one time, well, then from that point on, you love Dunkin Donuts.  Every DD you drive by, they will tell everyone who will listen how Nonnie LOVES Dunkin Donuts, and that she takes them there all the time, and yeah, Mom, don't you want to go there now too?  If you let them watch something Mommy doesn't approve of, I'll hear about it!  If you ever say "dude, that guy cut me off" the next time you are driving with someone, they will point out every person who cuts you off, or merely changes lanes in front of you!!!  They will say things in the same tone as you, and man, it is hilarious to have all your idiosyncrasies come back at you double time!

Wishing you and yours a Merry, Merry Christmas!!!!  Here are some shots of the boys as we get ready for the big day!

For the real behind the scenes out takes from trying to photograph your own kids...

How cool is this train IN THE TREE  - $30 from Home Depot, highly recommend it!

Boys outside the Magic Kingdom on a special trip with Daddy!  Looking VERY IDENTICAL HERE! sorry for the grainy picture, but have to resize for web publishing!

The Polar Express ride again this year was FABULOUS!!!!  The boys are already pumped for next year's trip.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Where Have We Been?

This song is in one of the boys’ favorite books, and the start of it is quite fitting after our summer!

Words and Music by By B. Brown/W. Johnson
I've been around the world
A couple of times or maybe more
I've seen the sights, I've had delights
On every foreign shore
But when my mates all ask me
The place that I adore
I tell them right away

Give me a home among the gumtrees
With lots of plum trees
A sheep or two, a k-kangaroo
A clothesline out the back
Veranda out the front
And an old rocking chair

You can see me in the kitchen
Cooking up a roast
Or Vegemite on toast
Just you and me, a cup of tea
And later on, we'll settle down
And go out on the porch
And watch the possums play

We have had a whirlwind of a summer. I cannot believe how much we’ve done and how much the boys have changed. I still am slacking at blogging, but am trying to get back into it.  Starting a business will slow down everything else.  The boys are amazing, and I really do want them to be able to read this someday and think, Mom, you were crazy to write all that down, but we love it nonetheless! 

We made it to Australia and back in one piece.  The flight was so much better from TX to Brisbane than our last time around.  Click here for a flashback – HERE. The boys were so good, it was shocking really.  The worst part of the travel was coming home.  It was the first time ever that the boys would wake up and get out of their beds and come to our room.   Yikes, scared the living you know what out of me the first time I heard Gus say “Mommy, I never sleep” at 3am.  It took about 3 days for them to get back into a rhythm, and me, well, it took almost a full week to get back in tune with my body clock in the USA.  The boys eventually were fine, but definitely need a nightlight since traveling.  Raleigh was soooooooo in the “why” stage when we were there.  It was insane. He would ask why at least 5,000 times in one day. Nanny, Poppy and Auntie Peta can all attest to this!  I would laugh as we headed to a train station, endured the 20 questions as to why a number of things were the way they were, and then the ENTIRE time we were on the train Rals would ask “why this” or “why that.”  Seriously, I have no freaking idea why the guy is getting off on this stop or wearing a jacket or has curly hair, no – freaking – idea!  Thankfully it has finally stopped.  However, seriously within a week of returning to the US, Augustus had his “why” phase.    The boys got to meet just about everyone in the Aussie family.  We had a ball traveling and the boys thankfully still ask about the family every now and again.  They often ask, “where does Nanny Nelle live again?”  They got to go to the Gold Coast, Perth, Tasmania and Sydney this time around.  I think the boys would move to Tassie if they could.  They adored the time with their little boy cousins to say the least.  They also loved the room to move and explore and all the “sheepS.” I was just thankful we were visiting in winter and not during the active snake season, but I digress.  The only downer of the trip, besides having to say goodbye to our Aussie family, was the weather in Sydney.  We had a few hours of clear skies, but almost the entire time it rained. Our beautiful penthouse hotel ended up flooding through the windows and a crack in the wall, so that was a downer, too.  Of course, pictures were taken, lots and lots of pictures.  About 5000 or so, and I am still working my way through them...but here are a few of my faves in a little slide show.

In other big news, the boys started preschool and are thriving there. They only go twice a week for the mornings, and will likely stay that way while they are in a good nap routine.  I hate to mess with a good thing there.  They love school and today they told me that it was Raleigh’s turn to wave the American flag, and Augustus just broke out singing “Yellow Submarine” at lunch. I had tears I was so proud.  They have learned many lessons already and the first week’s lesson was on grace and courtesy, and they display it all the time now by asking how are day was, and are even better at using their pleases and thank you’s than before.  Augustus was having a slip back into some pronunciation issues this past week, but we think it was likely due to a little runny nose and maybe some clogged ears.  Although, we have read that when kids go through a physical growth spurt sometimes the mental spurt lags a bit before it catches up. Who knows, this week it is a bit better again.  Our biggest concern is that he become self-conscious with his language and fall behind.  He tends to get silly when he recognizes we don’t understand what he means right off the bat.  We love him and all his little language quirks that make him Gus, but man, isn’t it hard to watch your kid be self-conscious?

Here are a few pictures of the boys. They are getting so big.  Truly big boys now.  Hopefully I will catch up soon with all the little things that are so special about them.  In the meantime, a short list of things I love about these boys.

They are still full of energy and love to read.  They love everything from my little pony, Barbie, Tangled, The Karate Kid, Buzz & Woody, pirates, and everything in between.  They are starting to understand gender a little more, but I hope they still are so sweet and accepting of for a long time.  Raleigh is fascinated by space.  Augustus loves Batman, but he is tending to Spiderman and Captain America, too. He wants to be a super hero for sure! He loves to save the day! Raleigh tends toward Superman…not so much Spidey any more, but he will still wear his Spidey suit every now and again.  Dress up is still in full swing, although, usually not first thing in the morning any more…which is  a good thing because Mama needs her coffee before dressing up a like a pirateWinking smile  They found the TV show “Little Einstein's” and all else pales in comparison.   I have to laugh because the character Annie is SOOOOOOOOOOOOO my Best Friend Kristy! 

They are amazing bike riders and fearless at it, too.  They light up when we see a Starbucks…yes, Mommy is proud of that one, too.  They adore getting to go to Home Depot with Daddy.  They are awesome helpers and fight over vacuuming up after breakfast, lunch and dinner.  They talk about Grandpa Pickles all the time. We just had the kick-off to football here and when we brought out all the Packer shirts they remembered Grandpa Pickles and it makes me so sad, but so happy that he leave behind great football fans who appreciate his team, too.  They still squeal when they find a feather that “Grandpa Pickles is thinking of them.”  They love their best friends. Right now it is Hannah, or me if you ask Raleigh.  Augustus is basically anyone he is with at the time, particularly my mom friends who are let's just say, well endowed.  They say things like "I'm going to be a love bug for Happy Halloween" (Raleigh)

They know their alphabet and can count to 20 on most days.  Strangely, as their little heads fill up with with more and more information daily, they started singing the abc’s like this “ABCDQRS…”  Weird. I remember when I was little that I though MENO was a letter, not L, M, N, O, so it’s all goodWinking smile

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

You Never Know What Will Come Out of Their Mouths Next

So, here's the scoop.  The boys are funny.  Yup, really funny. Sometimes without even trying, but in most cases, they are trying.  Raleigh will likely be voted "Class Clown" some day, and Gus will likely be the one to streak across Wimbledon or something...but I digress.  They still think penis jokes are funny.  They have moved on to poopy being even funnier, but I am holding strong that they cannot talk about it unless they need to go to the bathroom; which in turn results in them running to the toilet saying they have to poop just about any time they say "poopy" to be funny.  I wish I had a recorder with me at all times for the really funny things they come up with, but alas, the camera is about as good as it gets, coupled with sporadic blogging these days.  Here is a run down of the best things to come out of the cutest two three year olds lately.

Raleigh at bedtime, rubs Nonnie's cheeks and asks "why your cheeks old?" and then, not quite ready to give up a last cuddle and fall asleep, says "why your lips move when you talk" as he grabs her lips.  Master of distraction, that one, watch out, he's crafty!

Gus just makes the silliest faces all the time.  He knows he should not be doing something and just cannot help himself, and does whatever he shouldn't be doing with the funniest smirk on his face it is so hard not to crack up.

Raleigh while working on our art project for the Fourth of July, starts markering up and down his arms, declaring, "I have tattoos just like Mr. Isaac." Our friendly neighbor friend who has lots of tats up and down his arms. Not one to fully squash artistic freedom, I let it go on for a while, I mean, it is washable marker after all!

Raleigh to Nonnie "Your bum is big."  Nonnie, "no it is not."  Raleigh, "Yeah it is, I just saw it."  Nice.

My favorite thing Gus is saying right now, isn't really a funny one, but so sweet nonetheless - is he calls Willow, our cat, Willows.  Our other cat is Checkers and I just think he thinks all cats should be pluralized.

In other non-funny talk, Gus still says "me" instead of "I" for all instances of the word. We have been reading lots of Aussie books recently preparing for our trip, and the book Koala Lou has a line, "Koala Lou, I do love you."  And when Matthew tried to correct Gus to say "I do love you" instead of "me do love you" he started crying big crocodile tears saying he couldn't do it.  Ah, buddy, it is okay, no worries!  We don't correct it much, but it must have been something he realized he isn't saying right, and he was so sad. Heartbreaking stuff I tell you, for them and us!  In other heartbreaking news, we were at an indoor jump area recently with a lot of twin friends, but Raleigh suddenly made friends with an older little girl who wanted Raleigh to chase her and find her all over this massive play space. Well, she decided she had enough and told him to leave her alone.  I honestly don't know who had their heart broken more, Raleigh or me.  He was in tears and wanted to be hugged and to leave, and I just ached watching him hurt.  Unfortunately, it won't be his last heartbreak, but it is so hard to understand it at three, right?

Other things we have been up to:

Father's Day. That was rough, but after a rough week preparing for the worst feeling and dealing with the sadness of missing my own Dad, I think I was able to concentrate on Matthew's day as a Dad and the boys had a great time with him.  We went out to brunch at Cheesecake Factory, and Raleigh impressed us again with his freakish memory when he looked at our waiter from the last trip as he walked by and said, "There's my friend Tim."  Yes, he remembered that was our waiter from last time and he remembered his name.  We do NOT go there that often, so that was crazy! The boys made some coffee mugs for Matthew inspired by spider webs, and had a great day overall.  We also had an impromptu photo shoot when my morning client cancelled.  I was happy to get some shots of my boys, so it all worked out nicely!

We had a trip to visit Grandpa Pickle's head stone with my brother and his family this week. It was sad, but I know my Dad was looking down so happy that all his grandsons were together.  Raleigh found a feather at the headstone, and we have been telling them every time they find a feather it is from Grandpa Pickles and he is watching them and thinking of them.

The boys are now in really big boy beds.  We opted for full sized beds that can be put up as bunk beds eventually.  They are doing great in them and are so happy to have more room to stretch out!  Seriously, they were almost squished into the toddler beds.  Now, I still need to find the perfect comforters, but for now, they are happy to have new sheets and space to move.  The rest will come!

We've been packing for our trip to see the Grandies in Oz soon.  The boys are so excited for the big plane ride and seeing the Grandies and Auntie Peta.  They can hardly stand it.  I think the Grandies may be more excited though! I am super excited because it means lots of time with Matthew, too!  We are headed to winter weather, so that will be a welcome break as well.  See you all real soon :)

We have been laying low from play dates and such to hopefully keep the germies away before our trip.  Fingers crossed.  We have been around our buddy Little C, but so far so good on the plan to stay healthy!  It has been a great time to just hang with the boys and do some new things around the house while staying relatively cool.  I don't know what we are going to do without our trusty treasure chest of dress up clothes during our vacation.  A few outfits will be tucked away last minute so they have something as a surprise!  Their creativity astounds me daily, and I know Nanny & Poppy will be blown away, too.  This morning we were playing with magnets and I only have one little magnetic board so I grabbed a few larger pans that the magnets would stick to, and then the magnets were cookies, and they needed hot pads so they were not burned, and they were finding things to be the oven and had the most fun taking things in and out of the oven, cooling them down, etc.  After that we did some play doh inside with edible peanut butter play doh, and had even more fun.  They used their train cookie cutters and only ate about half of the dough!  We broke out the sprinkles and that was when it got really messy, but still so much fun. I was really happy I waited until today to mop the floors!  Then we walked over to see a local high school band practicing their drum line in our neighborhood.  Afterward, we played some more outside, including play doh, and more body art in the form of whiskers - both cat type and pirate type stubble!  At lunch time they even sat right next to each other and were so happy together.  It was refreshing, even though they don't fight that much and share really well for three year olds, it is always so nice to see them be lovey to each other.  Ah!  So much fun in so little time.  Seriously, these boys do more before noon than some kids all week, but we wouldn't have it any other way!

The Boys' First Month!