Sunday, April 29, 2012

Fifteen years ago today...

Fifteen years ago  Rustin and I settled into our little student apartment with a newly doubled-in-size family.  It seems like a lifetime ago and just yesterday at the same time.  When we brought those little twins home we had no idea what we were in for.

Those first few weeks with two little babies are a blur.  My body was so wracked with adrenaline and nervousness that I could only sleep in short nap-like bursts for months.  I was seriously sleep deprived.

I did eventually learn to sleep again.  
I think the most important lesson I learned from mothering twins is to be patient because everything unpleasant  is a phase that kids will outgrow if you just leave them alone.  And everything pleasant is a phase too so enjoy it while it lasts!

If I could go back and give myself advice here are a few things I would tell myself:
Biting--don't worry, they grow out of it.
Potty training--they aren't going to go to kindergarten in diapers--just relax.
Injuries--if they aren't in danger of bleeding to death or suffocating then don't panic--everything is fixable (believe me it's a good thing I am a nurse because I have never seen more accident prone children...).
Binkis/bottles--they will almost always give those comfort items up on their own if you don't make it a big deal.
Dirt--seriously.  That's what bathtubs and washing machines are for.  It doesn't hurt them to eat a little dirt. Or grass.  Or an occasional bug... (gag)  But if they eat a bottle of claritin you will have to take them to the hospital to get their stomachs pumped--put the claritin up really high. And put the lid on really tight.

I would also tell myself:  

Be positive as much as possible--"let's build a really big awesome tower" instead of "stop knocking the blocks over."  "Let's take little tiny polite bites" instead of "don't shove food in your mouth."  Almost every single statement can be rephrased in the positive by stating what you would like instead of what you don't want.  

Kids will be kids. I have a philosophy that if something is an age specific irritating behavior (e.g. throwing things out of high chairs, being scared of sleeping alone, wetting the bed...) then I can just ignore it and it will go away on its own. I don't waste my energy worrying about those kinds of things.

And you know what?  Almost everything fits in the age specific self-limiting behavior category.  Seriously.  Everything.

A few other twins lessons we've learned through experience:

We are really careful to never label our kids and especially the boys' personalities {as in 'Dallin is the stubborn one' or Landon is the patient one'} because we know they will likely trade around.  They really do go through personality changes and differences and they are almost never uncooperative at the same time. It's almost like they know I can't handle both of them being moody or grumpy.  

I actually think that is part of the twin dynamic--they compensate for each other's personalities. 

They have always traded around in size too. Landon was the bigger baby for the first couple of years and then Dallin was bigger through the toddler/early school years and then back to Landon... Currently Landon is 6'1 1/2" and Dallin is just under 6'1".

When the boys were toddlers they started to develop differences on purpose.  One would only like peanut butter with jelly (Dallin) and Landon would only eat it with honey.  We let them have those different food preferences where we wouldn't let the other kids get away with such pickiness.

The best advice we got was from my {identical twin} mother:

"Only singletons think it's a problem for twins to be really close to each other.  
Twins just know it's a blessing."

We definitely think these two are a blessing! 

Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Today we went to a track meet for Dallin and Landon. 
It's Dallin and Landon's fifteenth birthday today!  

Jenna and Jackson and I mostly hung out on the grass... 

...where we held our own version of a track meet:




 Do you suppose we will ever stop thinking this baby is the cutest thing since apple pie?

I doubt it.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Cookie Dough and Kitchen make-overs

I think most people think of Sunday as a day of rest but around here it's more of a day of hurry-up-and-get-ready and then hurry-and-set-the-table-because-we're-starving and then leave-mom-alone-for-an-hour-so-she-can-take-a-nap-or-she-will-be-super-grumpy day.

Only the kids generally don't listen to the let-mom-nap part.

 I think the most important Sunday evening occurance is what the kids call cookie-dough time.  I would say it's cookie time but really it's more about the cookie dough than anything.  Even Jackson has figured out the importance of Sunday afternoon treats.  He stands by the counter and stomps his little feet to get my attention if I ignore him long enough.

Aren't I an awesome mom? I let my baby consume raw egg products.  And cookies.  Double Awesome.

Our cookie dough addiction dates back the the time when our double ovens in our old house broke leaving us oven-less for almost eight months.  I still can't believe we managed that...we were waiting to get a new bigger under the cabinet oven and expand the kitchen into the garage a bit to make things more user friendly.

Kitchen before.  Please look past the toddler
eating fresh strawberry  jam with his hands.
And after.  please ignore the (same--years later) child pulling
faces while getting into things in the drawers...
Did you know you can cook brownies in a grill?  I would just put a pizza stone on top of the grill under the pan and adjust the propane flow until the grill thermometer showed the right temperature.  Actually you can cook almost anything on a grill so I  suppose we could have theoretically cooked cookie dough on the grill but why would we want to do that?

So here we are years later still eating cookie dough on Sunday afternoons.  Is that how family traditions start?  Considering the fact that Landon actually has the cookie recipe memorized I would be willing to guess that my kids will probably give their kids cookie dough on Sunday afternoons also.

These really truly are the best cookies I've eaten.  I got the recipe from Nicole Martin in Page, Arizona {Thank You!}.  I miss Page.

I never, ever buy cookies at the store any more because these are better. They have the perfect ratio of butter/shortening and brown/white sugar giving these a cookies perfect crispy-chewy caramelized salty sweet deliciousness.  When we actually cook them.

Here's the favorite recipe:

1 cup butter softened
1/3 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
Cream  together then add:

2 eggs
1 TBS vanilla
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
Mix these all together then add:

3 1/2 cups flour and 1 cup chocolate chips.

Bake at 350 for 12 minutes or 325 in convection oven for 10 minutes.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter dresses

My sisters {all five or us!} always matched at Easter.  Are all families of girls like that? I am sad every year when Easter rolls around and Jenna doesn't have a sister to match with.  I remedy that by coaxing cousins to join us! This year we made skirts to go with some cute ruffly shirts.  I use the term 'we' lightly. I was mostly there for moral support.  Thanks Jamie. 

Aren't they sweet! The fabric is pretty and patterny...

It totally made my weekend.

I love sewing with sisters.  Some of my fondest memories are of making things with my sisters (that includes you Jamie!).  Juli and I made matching dresses one Easter for all the girls.  I'm pretty sure I just did the cutting and pinning and left Juli to most of the sewing then also!  I love to make Halloween costumes because I don't have to worry about following rules.  Real patterns are far more intimidating.
Easter April 2007

Other favorites from this Easter:

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Birthday fever

When I say fever I don't mean the John Travolta kind of fever...
I mean the 104 degrees, crying and coughing-all-night kind of fever.

Poor Jackson spent his birthday feeling rotten.
We did our best to cheer him up but even zebra striped cake with chocolate butter-cream frosting didn't do the trick. Poor baby.
I love birthdays because they remind me to remember some of the best moments of my life. Jackson's birth was almost magical. I just re-read all about it. Jackson didn't cry until he was five days old and he has continued to be easy going and super snugly. We love him to death.  Now if we can just keep ourselves from spoiling him rotten!

Monday, April 2, 2012

What every teenager needs.

Every kid needs to take a nap with a baby once in a while.  I think if everyone took a nap with a sleepy baby everyday we would have complete world peace.

Of course when this baby woke up his brothers "played" with him by spinning him around and around so they could watch him try to walk...poor thing.  Jackson laughed and laughed though so I guess it wasn't so bad.

We had a great weekend watching general conference.  I love conference.  Of course we ate cinnamon rolls with our favorite brown sugar caramel frosting. Yum.

I loved President Holland's talk about envy and coveting (among other things...).

Last night Rustin and I called all the kids in on our bed and talked about conference and about how much we love our kids.  We talked about President Uchtdorf's talk about forgiveness that began with a story about a mother who wrote about her children who weren't speaking to each other. I think I would curl up and cry if I had adult kids who wouldn't get along or who wouldn't come home.  The thought of not having my kids all together is terrifying.

Know what I am excited for this weekend?  Easter.  Jotham and Jamie are coming over and Jamie and I are going to make matching dresses for our girls.  Jenna never has a girl to match with on Easter. I'm so excited! Pictures to come...