Friday, January 30, 2009

traffic jams are good

Happy Super bowl weekend,

Us Arizonans are just as stunned as the rest of the country about actually participating in the Super bowl. What an opportunity to celebrate! The 4 Webbs are doing exactly what we would have done if the Cardinals weren't in the game... watch it at home while playing patty cake with the twins in between commercials. :)

Kendra's feeling a bit under the weather today so I hope she's sleeping well as I literally burn the midnight oil writing the blog tonight. She was teaching Easton and Layla the concept of on and off. As props she used some of my Richard Simmons style headbands and it looks like they were having a fun time.

They both have the sweetest smiles and funny facial expressions.

On a sad note... Kendra trimmed Easton's hair this morning and now I can't cheer on his mullet anymore. I know it was getting really long in the back, but I joked with Kendra he was like Sampson from the Bible and cutting his hair was forbidden.

Sometimes in the morning we let the twins watch a few minutes of some cheesy TV show with a duck, a turtle, and a rabbit who go on the same "mission" every single episode. Anyway, you can see them here with their zoned out look as they focus on the TV behind Kendra. The reason I wanted to get this picture was because all three of us were wearing brown shirts. That coincidence seemed much more humorous at the time, but here it is anyway.

The twins can spend 15 minutes sometimes walking around the living room with their walkers. I'm so blessed to live less than 5 minutes from work. I listened to the traffic report during my short commute and felt bad for all the people backed up on one of the highways due to an accident. The irony was that after walking in the door after hearing about traffic jams, I gladly dealt with this minor fender bender.

I transformed Easton's walker into a rider and Layla pushed him around as he proudly sat on top. You know the guy in the back of the bobsled team who does that running-push thing before hopping in for long ride down the ice? She was doing that to Easton all over the kitchen.

Seeing her push him around made us laugh so much that taking the picture was difficult to keep the camera steady.

Once things calmed down Easton was still proudly sitting on top of his rider and didn't mind Layla checking under the hood to see what was in the front compartment. Incidentally, there's nothing in there but a few bits of cracker, but they still enjoyed opening and closing the lid dozens of times.

Anyway, time for bed so I can have a good Friday work day. At least I know the twins will be up bright and early to wake me up for work!

Good night.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

signs of age

Hello all,

My attempt to capture our two cutest babies in the world sitting next to each other turned out to be just another picture of Layla charging the camera like a rhino.

She gets so excited when the pre-flash lamp shines she can hardly contain herself. At least I get a chuckle when seeing these kinds of pictures and an "E" for effort...

And now for my latest father tip based on my ever-evolving learning from this thing called parenthood:

Fact: Babies will be "teething" for the first two years of life. It's not a one-day or one-week or even one-month event, so get used to it.

Kendra interprets mass amounts of slobber, occasional fussiness, and puffy gums as teething. I call it childhood now that I've been through a year's worth of it. I say that because slobber and fussiness and puffy gums are a part of every. single. day. without fail. Maybe it just makes her feel better about the situation if she can put a label on it. The first four teeth forged their way out of the gums fairly quickly and now I have two rabbits. Apparently the next stage is when the rest of them start popping though one at a time. with daily checks of their gums and still nursing (ouch) I'm certain Kendra is more in tune with which teeth are starting to show through.

I'm a little short on pictures from the past few days, but i'll drum up some more shortly. Until then, i'll fill in the space with my continued thoughts on the One Month to Live challenge I'm involved with right now. As a true example of how I'm truly changing as a result of the new perspective on life I offer the short conversation about Kendra's hair from today. Keep in mind this is what Kendra's hair looked like when we met:

Obviously I like her long hair, but I've never defined my attraction to Kendra based on the length of her hair. Anyways, here's what living as if you have one month to live looks like:

Kendra (out of nowhere): I scheduled an appointment to get my hair cut
Bronson: OK
Kendra: I mean REALLY get it cut... like... really short. all one length at my shoulders.
Bronson (realizing she wants my opinion): Alright, that sounds great. I'm perfectly fine with you cutting your hair short. I mean, if I actually only had one month to live, would I care how long your hair is?
Kendra (after a short pause and contemplation): OK, then I'll do it !

I honestly don't mind her plans for short hair and in a small, insignificant way I was able to understand the "freedom" they talk about when you consider living as though you only have one month to live. I'm a lot less concerned with the little things in life.

On a similar, but less serious note... I'm getting old. Please excuse the short pity party, ok? Here are some ways I know I'm getting old.

Using nose hair trimmers is now a daily ritual. Not so long ago I could get away with every few days, but lately if I skip a day I end up with. well... you get the idea.

A horrible student driver cut me off today and I realized the kid behind the wheel was BORN after I graduated high school! Wow. that's scary.

I've had a few grey hairs in my temple since I was 16 years old, but now the whole side of my head is starting to become overrun with grey hair. And when I let my beard grow out for a week I discovered my chin is more than half grey.

Talk radio. I just love talk radio and can't get enough of it. Even if I disagree with the bonehead talking or verbally correct their uneducated stabs at a coherent statement about the economy, I still listen. Just a few years ago when I climbed in my friend's truck to go adventuring he had talk radio blaring and I chastised him until he turned the station to some good music. Now I find myself frustrated that we only have two decent talk radio stations and they have commercials at the exact same time.

To close out the getting old pity party with a happy note, I try to consider these two things:

"I'm not going to waste my days trying to prolong them." (to me this means I shouldn't exercise my life away trying to tack on another two years to the end of it)

For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? (to me this means I should focus less on attaining stuff while taking over the world and more on becoming the man God wants me to be.)

Speaking of attaining stuff... We went window shopping for houses this evening. I call it window shopping because we had no intention of actually buying anything, but we're close to figuring out what we want in a house so we'll know it when we see it. We both agree on the most important criteria so that's a good first step. If we see the right house at the right price we may be tempted to jump in sometime. Don't worry... Obama will make my mortgage payments if I get in over my head (cough, cough).

With that in mind, I'll close with these two thoughts:

1. If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.
2. Life is what happens while you're making plans.

Bye bye!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Walk in the Park

Hello friends and family,

The 4 Webbs had an exciting weekend filled with more seemingly mundane achievements that had us clapping and cheering for the accomplishments. Layla stands up, walks several steps, and sits down without any assistance at all. She was hanging on to daddy's robe and occasionally pulling my chest hair as we lounged around the house on Saturday morning.

I can't even begin to describe how excited I was on Friday night when I looked at my calendar for work (as I do every evening) and realized the next day was not a work day! Not because I could sleep in on Saturday... Those days are over and I already mourned the loss of sleeping in. However, I was excited for the chance to spend time as the 4 Webbs. Here we are at the park taking a break from roller blading with the babies.

Our friends Brendon and Danielle rolled their baby, Daniel, along side us and we spent the afternoon soaking in the outdoors and enjoying their company. At one point both moms were changing a baby on top of the picnic table at the same time and we noted how "normal" it was and how glad we all were to be around each other to feel comfortable with moments like those. younger people or those without kids would have been really creeped out by the awkwardness, but we just continued our conversation as if no babies were even present.

Daniel is 6 months older than our twins so watching him is always insightful to see what I can expect 6 months from now. He was walking around as we ate our picnic lunch and climbing on park benches with all the balance and coordination of a normal person. Also, Daniel would inquisitively say, "Da Da?" once in a while when he wanted to make sure Brendon was close by. I can't wait to hear Easton and Layla calling for me by name. They occasionally say Da da da da, but I'm certain they aren't calling for me, but rather making random noises.

Speaking of noises... Easton is really stepping up his frequency and volume and breadth of babbling. You can even see it on his face as he was proudly showing how he can put one block on top of another.

Here's a video of Easton showing his new trick of maneuvering the walker. He's really improved his core strength and now he walks all over the house with the assistance of his walker.

Layla on the other hand continues to go full speed ahead into whatever wall is directly in front of her. She doesn't get the concept of repositioning the walker to go in a different direction so she usually just gives up and crawls away.

There was one other picture that accurately describes the twins. They were both sitting side-by-side and as I steadied the camera to take the picture, Layla lunged forward (like she always does) and attempted to tackle me and the camera.

Aunt Mary was kind enough to spend the evening with me and the twins because Kendra went to play soccer during our nightly happy hour between 6-7 PM. We had a big time giving the twins their bath and reading books. By the time Kendra arrived home it was obvious we wore the babies out because they went straight to bed without a peep.

That's exactly what I'm going to do now... straight to bed. Good night!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

thinking beyond

Howdy folks,

Hope your week is going well! The 4 Webbs are all feeling better. Not quite 100% over the sniffles, but at least mommy is better. Easton and Layla require the occasional nose wipe and Easton still has a scratchy voice, but other than that we're doing great. Last night we exerienced a rare multi-hour sprinkle of rain and that made for good sleeping weather. Easton woke us up at some point and nursed. Since we don't have a single clock in our bedroom all I remeber was the darkness of night and being grateful mommy is the milk provider. At least for the next two weeks anyways...

That brings me to my next round of coherent thoughts, which is: thinking beyond one year. As the first birthday approaches for the twins Kendra and I are starting to think and talk about what the next year will bring. For the previous 11 months + 9 months of pregnancy all we could focus on was getting through the day and maybe thinking one day ahead. We were essentially running a marathon and staring down at our shoes to see what the next step would be. There wasn't time or desire to look ahead to see what twists and turns or ups and downs the course will bring.

We continue to think about and plan for the future of the twins, but lately we throw in an idea for ourselves or us as a couple also. We're finally starting to think about two day getaways together, annual trips with friends, and family vacations. You know those bumper stickers that say, "I'd rather be ____" (fill in the blank). Well, my bumper sticker would say, "I'd rather be mountain biking in Moab!" I hope to go there again in 2009. Here's a picture I look at often and day dream about riding the slick rock single track.

Back to reality... This morning I took a short video clip of what I wake up to every morning: Easton and Layla standing in their cribs babbling and laughing at each other as they wait patiently for us to get them out and fix breakfast.

I find the twins' opinion of me is greatly influenced by whether I have a banana or not. For example, here is Kendra sharing her banana bits with the babies. During these few moments I could be wearing a clown outfit and honking my nose, but the babies wouldn't even glance my direction.

And in closing I send a special blessing to all those who read the blog: “May you have the hindsight to know where you've been, The foresight to know where you are going, And the insight to know when you have gone too far”

Have a great weekend!

Monday, January 19, 2009

movie of influence

Hello friends and family,

The 4 Webbs aren't letting a little runny nose keep us from enjoying the incredible weather. Yesterday we loaded up the Chariot jogger and took a long walk around the neighborhood. Kendra was getting cabin fever from being inside so much. We soaked up the sun: No wind, 77 degrees, sun on our faces just before it disappeared behind the hills. These are the days in AZ we have to take advantage of. Carpe Diem!

Easton and Layla have both been a little less energetic than usual as they recover from being sick, but every night at 6:00 PM they come alive and play their hearts out in the bath tub.

They are starting to join in and clap as we do the "patty cake, patty cake" song. Their participation (at least clapping offbeat) is much more fun than the previous year of them just staring at us as we act silly. I'm looking forward to all 4 Webbs being silly together.

Yesterday while driving to work I was trying to figure out why I think the way I do. Where did my engineering mindset of figuring things out and considering cause and effect of the future come from? It hit me like a ton of bricks! It all started during my senior year of high school with the movie Sneakers Robert Redford is in that along with several top notch actors. Anyway, here is one of the most impactful conversations from the movie:

Cosmo: Money's most powerful ability is to allow bad people to do bad things at the expense of those who don't have it. I learned everything in this world, including money, operates not on reality, but the perception of reality.

Cosmo: Posit: People think a bank might be financially shaky.
Martin: Consequence: People start to withdraw their money.
Cosmo: Result: Pretty soon it is financially shaky.
Martin: Conclusion: You can make banks fail.

I'm not necessarily that pessimistic about money, but the process of thinking through to a conclusion is exactly like that for me. Kendra feels sorry for me because she says I'm always calculating and thinking too far in the future. Then I tell her she's a tree-hugging California hippie who only lives for today. :) As you can tell we are the perfect match to balance each other out.

Anyway, back to the babies and what their up to... Easton is a manly man. His mullet is righteous. However, he's not afraid to push a dolly in a stroller. Hey, it helps him keep his balance! Check out his one-handed step:

It's breakfast time once again and I can hear Layla banging on the high chair chanting something like, "we want some food! we want some food!"

Have a great Tuesday. :)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

get well soon

Hello world,

Since Daddy is the only one of the 4 Webbs without a snotty nose, guess who had ample baby time this weekend?

When I say, "my hands were full" I don't mean that metaphorically. Actually, Kendra and I both had lots of baby time, but I did my best to take as much responsibility as I could over the past couple of days so she can recover.

I had BIG plans for this weekend. When I say plans I mean a prioritized "To Do" list. It included installing a baby gate, child proofing the kitchen cabinets, posting a bunch of stuff on Craigslist, and about 10 other things. Come to find out, I did not choose the correct order of tasks. First on my list was taking pictures for Craigslist stuff and posting ads. However, because I chose to do this BEFORE installing the baby gate, my pictures were unusable:

It's hard to sell a monitor showing babies banging and drooling on it. The only positive aspect is how enormous the monitor looks next to the twins. I gave up on posting ads after that incident and we went back to playing in their new tunnel / play house thing. Easton spent a few minutes at the entrance to the tunnel before fully committing to going in, but now he crawls through it back and forth all day.

Ignore the scratches on his face... Those are just battle wounds from his own fingernails, which Kendra clipped since that incident. Poor kid needs to figure out how to avoid scratching himself so much or he'll look like Edward Scissorhands. Layla dove right into the tunnel and laughed her way through several rounds of peek-a-boo with whoever would poke their head in the other end.

Today I took Layla out alone to do some shopping at the grocery store and of course the obligatory stop by Babies 'R Us for a crate of diapers. Focusing on one baby alone for a few hours was a lot of fun and a whole new experience than normal daily life with twins.

Do you remember me talking about the hand-made jackets from Kendra's mother? For some unknown reason Layla decided to remove them from the Chariot Stroller and swing them around. I decided to take the opportunity to say thanks again to her. Even in warm-weathered Phoenix it still gets chilly at nights so we are definitely putting them to good use.

I'm still getting involved with the One Month to Live challenge and was asked to facilitate a community group from church focused on the challenge. Accepting this responsibility is a really big deal and I'm honored they were confident enough in me to handle it. I'm reading the book that accompanies the study. As I try to put into practice the things I comprehend, it's harder than expected. Just like with many things in life: If it were easy everyone would do it.

For those of us in Arizona who are rooting for our home town Cardinals, we are thrilled to be in the Superbowl! All of us feel like Layla looks:

Yeah, we're really THAT happy!

Have an awesome start to your week and stop by again soon. Go Cardinals!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Great Ideas for Birthday

Howdy folks,

Thanks for the comments to the blog and phone calls with ideas for our twins' birthday celebration! We're still open to hear more thoughts on ways to make it great. I agree the party is for the adults since Easton and Layla won't remember a thing and can't even walk yet. We're considering an invite to local friends and family on a weekend afternoon at a park down the street from our house? I do enjoy seeing comments from all of you wonderful people who visit. :)

Before I went to work yesterday Kendra captured Easton and I engaging in one last minute play time before walking out the door. We almost have the same outfit on: Collar shirt, blue pants, big smile. He's missing shoes though because he doesn't have any that fit. We're heading to the baby store this weekend to pick him up some real shoes since he's starting to spend more time on his feet than his knees.

Kendra is continuing to pressure me into changing the theme of the 4Webbs blog. She sees other cool blogs with frilly sidebars, professional pictures, and better color schemes. I know she's right. Maybe I'll get around to spicing up the flash and pizzaz factor, but no promises. My blog represents me... functional, but somewhat plain with a lack of creativity. yeah, that about sums me up. :)

Anyway, during one of kendra's play times with the twins she was teaching hats and on / off. She brought out a few of my ball caps and they all had a good time placing hats on each other.

Lastly for today's blog post I'll throw out the new challenge I'm undertaking starting today. We're going through the "One Month to Live" which takes the idea of reviewing your life to live today as if you were given one month to live. That's a radical thing to really think through. Try it sometime... Write down the top 5 things you'd change. it's amazing to see what is really important and how daily life would change.

See you soon!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Mugshots and HELP Wanted

Happy Wednesday to you,

Time for another round of musing from a father of twins. The highlight of my day was shopping at CVS! I originally went there to get some, uh, specific things for Kendra (can't think of a politically correct way to explain without embarrassing Kendra).

Anyway, since I went after the babies were fast asleep I took my sweet time walking up and down every isle. It's amazing how much stuff I need, but forget to buy when I'm in a hurry. AAA batteries? Check. crazy glue? Check. melon scented candle? Check. Laugh if you want, but I love candles. Only the ones that smell good though because this is the 21st century and one that just provides light doesn't do much for a guy like me who has ten 75-watt bulbs glaring all night in the kitchen/living room area. Wow, that was random... Where was I? Oh yes, back to CVS. I also couldn't pass up the 90% off Christmas stuff sale. Yep, NINETY percent off! I got a chocolate Santa the size of Easton for 65 cents! Kendra scolded me for buying wrapping paper (32 cents for a big roll), but I just looked at her and said, "What are the odds Christmas will be here again next year?" Yeah, that's what I thought! Of COURSE we'll use it. I just have to stick it in the closet for the next 345 days. Details...

So on to the twins and what's new with them. Every morning before I leave for work I plead with Kendra to take some pictures and today she made my day. She took two very good, close up pictures of the babies so here they are in all their beauty and handsomeness:

Ignore the copious amounts of slobber, snot, and food particles and you'll see the best looking 11-month-old boy in the world. The long eyelashes and good looking smile are dashing to say the least.

Pretend for a moment Layla DOESN'T look like the mug shot of Nick Nolte without his wild hair.

She isn't unhappy, just very thoughtful and serious sometimes. Then again, later this evening as Kendra played "I'm gonna get you!" Layla was laughing and giggling for 15 minutes straight.

HELP WANTED! The big question I have for you is: What should we do for their 1st birthday???

So far we have:

1. gather friends and family
2. Sit the twins in their high chairs with a big piece of cake
3. Let them have fun eating and smashing it in their hair

That's all we have so far, but I want to know what makes a 1st birthday party fun for everyone? I KNOW many of you out there have attended 1st birthday parties of all of your children, their friends, your grand children, relatives, etc. and I'd like to ask for your help to generate ideas. You see, I've only been to one 1st birthday party so I have very little experience to draw from. Add a comment to this blog post and tell me what was the coolest 1st birthday you've ever experienced and why. We may go to a park (remember we are in Arizona so it'll be 70 and sunny), or we may go somewhere else if it makes sense.

Besides, this will give those of you who've been lurking a chance to say, "HI" and come out from the shadows... I'm a big fan of Brandi's blog called, "Ramblings of a tired mama of 3" and according to her blog post this is DELURKING DAY 2009, which means if you've been following along with the 4 Webbs, but haven't made yourself known, now is a good time to do it!

See you soon!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

What's So Different, Dad?

Greetings once again,

One picture is all you get for this post, but it's a great one! A lone shot of the twins riding happily in our Chariot jogger as we took a walk in our neighborhood today. I was ecstatic to get a picture of both of them looking at the camera with NO red eye (that darn Canon Elph). Both of them smiling and you can see their wonderful hazel eyes and 4 teeth each.

This past weekend we had the opportunity to play "only child". Easton and Layla took naps at different times because Easton has a runny nose and didn't feel well. 99% of the time we keep the twins on the exact same schedule for everything including sleep. However, we let the timing slide a bit so Easton could sleep as long as he wanted, whenever he wanted. While he was sleeping we enjoyed Layla's awake time and that's what we call playing "only child". It was a surreal experience to have TWO of us and ONE baby. I believe Kendra called it a piece of cake, but I called it weird.

We don't know any different since these twins are our first babies so having Layla alone to play with was an interesting glimpse into what normal people experience with one kid at a time. I'll be honest, it was kind of fun to focus on one kid at a time and play all the fun peek-a-boo games without having to keep track of the other baby who invariably wanders off. With that being said, here are some things about having twins that make the experience unique compared to having one baby at a time.

I am never bored. Never. I remember BC (Before Children) days where I would have entire evenings after work to go play basketball with my friend, watch weekly TV shows, call friends on the phone, and keep up with the latest mountain bike magazines. The only thing that is different today than the previous 5 years of marriage is the twins so I have a long history to compare BC days to AD (After Diaper) days. I realize having even ONE child means your life changes in a way that leads to less free time, but having twins eliminates it completely. Ok, ok... I have time to blog. That's my "free time", which really boils down to me choosing to blog over sleep. We all have our priorities, right?

The spoon must not stop. When feeding twins there is no pause with the spoon to wait for a baby to chew or swallow. The spoon goes from the food to mouth #1 then straight to food to mouth #2, then repeat until both bellies are full. Any pause will result in crying or tantrums from the seemingly neglected child.

There is no benchmark advantage. What I mean is a new dad like me has NO preconceived idea about the timing of milestones. You'd think by having two babies you can measure between the two and figure out what skills to work on. That's not the case at all. One baby might be far ahead of the curve on one skill while the second is far behind the curve. That usually results in a call to the Pediatrician from me where THEY tell me to relax and give the biggest, most overused copout ever, "All babies are different!" If I had one baby, then I wouldn't be comparing all the time. Don't take that the wrong way though, I don't try to make both of them hit milestones at the same time or add any competition. That's just wrong.

The guessing game. We continually get to guess which baby needs attention. Let the butt-sniffing commence! I never thought I'd put my nose up to a babies bottom and intentionally try to smell what's behind door number 1 to see which one made a "number 2". But here we are, daily, guessing which baby pooped. With the odds being 50/50 you would be surprised how bad my track record is for finding the stinky baby. The humorous part is that sometimes there is nothing tangible behind the smell so I end up sniffing two butts with no need to change a diaper. The guessing game also refers to crying where we look at each other and try to see which parent correctly guesses which baby is making noises in bed.

Spatial concerns. Not only do I have to keep the twins close enough to me so nobody wanders off to another part of the house, but I also have to keep them far enough apart so nobody gets a finger bitten from putting in the other baby's mouth. There is a fine line to walk...

The "I'm more tired than you" game. We playfully engage in this game about once every couple of nights. At some point in almost every evening Kendra will start to describe why she is so tired. I jump in with MY reasons why I'm more tired than her and we have a good laugh trying to out-do each other with stories of what we went through during the day and previous night. Maybe that's not unique to parents of twins, but I bet it happens more often than those with one baby.

Nothing I've mentioned above overshadows any couple with 3 or more children no matter what age. My hat is off to you. Once the one-to-one ratio of parents to children is gone I have no tricks up my sleeve for how to manage a household.

Friday, January 9, 2009

sooie sooie

Howdy friends,

welcome back to the 4 Webb's adventures. After being around Kendra's family for almost a full 6 weeks we are settling back into normal life. Marriage is described as, "enjoying the mundane together" and I think the same can be said for married with children. Not every day can be an episode of John and Kate Plus 8 so we just take each new interesting part of the day as it comes.

Every night at 6:00 PM we have bath time and all we have to do is stand in the hallway and say, "bath time!" Easton and Layla come crawling down the hallway at a lightening fast pace. Here's a simple video clip of them heading towards the tub like pigs to a slop trough with a "Sooie, Sooie" call. Nothing brings the babies in like turning on the bath water. I wonder if most babies love bath time this much? The video isn't all that exciting, but does show how eager the twins are to splash around.

On another night I caught a picture of Layla waiting anxiously peering over into the tub while the water runs. She looks like a doll, but is growing into a little girl more every day.

I placed Easton in his crib while Kendra put pajamas on Layla. His hoodie towel fell down over his eyes and he thought it was funny to play peek-a-boo with us over the top of the crib. He's laughing so hard his eyes are squinting closed, which is rare for Easton.

The twins are finally starting respond and act like we do. Easton tries to feed me some of his food. Layla puts toys in our hands and we play the "give and take" game. The scary part is some day soon they will be imitating every gesture we make and every word we say. The idea that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery may be true, but I guess we'll see soon enough.

See you soon.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

18 step program

greetings once again!

When signing the date on checks or legal documents, I've done really well so far to remember to write 2009 not 2008. I remember when the movie "2001 A Space Odyssey" seemed like a far enough time in the distance that the movie premise was actually possible. The movie "2010: the year we make contact" seemed like centuries away, but now is only 1 year away!

Great Aunt Mary (we refer to her as GAM for Easton and Layla's sake) came by for a steak dinner and catching up since she was out of town for many weeks. Along with the great conversation she happily experienced the normal 4 "B's" routine (bath, books, boob, bed) because she was here during the magic hour from 6-7. Oh, how I love to see 7:00 PM. That's quittin' time around the Webb house... when the twins go to bed. Anyway, here's GAM who bravely took the challenge of holding both babies AND reading their nightly books. Please do not attempt this at home. She is a trained professional.

You can see Easton's teeth growing out more every day. GAM must have known we would take picture because she did her hair and got all ready. We, on the other hand, were slobbing around in our pajamas.

While we were in California we had the privilege of spending an Evening with Kendra's long-time friends Jennifer, Mark, Jesse, Brandon, and Grandpa. Her meal was Betty-Crocker-perfect and we had a grand time. Kendra used to babysit Jesse and Brandon. They are in a band (here's the YouTube clip). Hearing this makes me feel so old because Jesse was the happy ring bearer boy in our wedding and they already turned into young men! My how time flies... Jesse gave us two of his own stuffed animals last time we were in town and Layla LOVES Curious George. She drags him around everywhere when we let her take George out of her bed from time to time.

She took 18 unassisted steps in a row today from what Kendra said. I'm not sure I have the patience to count 18 wobbly steps because of my short attention span, but I'm glad Kendra does so we can measure her progress! There is one other picture from the last egg shaker pictures I can't resist posting. When Easton makes noises he usually has one consistent sound and tone where he repeats it over and over with varying volumes. He'll say, "HUH huh Huh HUH HUH huh". Layla runs the scales all the way up to screeching lead soprano. Anyway, Easton also likes to bang things together, such as two plastic balls. It's a talent. Really.

The rarity of this picture is Easton looking directly at the camera. He's usually more interested in anything other than the camera so I was happy to catch this one where he's looking right into the camera with his handsome eyes.

There was a really good picture of Kendra with her friend Dee on Christmas Eve I want to post, but I need to get it from Dee's camera... Can you send it to our email, Dee? I know you're reading this and drinking your morning coffee. :)

Tomorrow is a big day for me with work Tae Kwon Do, poker night, and of course the 5-7 PM mayhem of family time with the 4 Webbs.

Good night all!

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Egg Shaker

Hello folks,

Hope your new year is starting off right! I'm still on vacation so every day is filled with family time and once in a while a chance to relax. The 4 Webb's aren't independently wealthy yet especially with the sacrifices we make having a stay at home mom. With that in mind, we are always looking for ways to have fun without spending money. Here's a new trick you can try:

1. Visit your local SubWay sandwich shop
2. Ask nicely if they have any stale bread and if so, would they give it to you
3. Take the free bread to a local pond where ducks hang out
4. Throw the bread to the ducks like Ben Bernanke throws cash at a crisis (lavishly copious)

You'll have happy ducks, feel good about feeding the homeless, and entertain your family!

We go through this routine about once every couple of weeks and add in some time in the swing at the end to really wear them out giggling. You'd think after hearing mom and dad say, "ducks! quack, quack... ducks! quack quack" while watching and hearing the real deal animals in action that the twins would try to say that word or make the noise. Oddly enough, they just sit there amazed with a few kicks of the legs indicating excitement. Oh well, we keep trying!

In other news, our crate of books is bursting at the seams and we had to take over some of my REAL book case to house the plethora of reading material we've amassed over the past year. Easton and Layla LOVE to read books and are still turning the pages all by themselves. The reason I say "still turning" is because I've noticed some new tricks stick permanently and some come and go. Easton says light every single day since he first uttered the amazing word. Here's a picture of him looking up and doing exactly that.

Other tricks like walking, growling like a tiger, clapping, etc. are hit and miss on any given day. One day Layla will clap on command then the next day she'll stare at me blankly as if I were speaking Russian. That's why every day is interesting and unique.

Speaking of unique... Easton and Layla are opposite in many ways. Take for instance the Egg Shaker: We have a plastic egg with what sounds like metal BBs inside. When I give it to Easton and say, "Shake it!" He flashes that handsome smile and gently moves his arm back and forth to shake the egg.

Layla, however, snatches the egg from my hand and promptly crams it into her mouth, waves her arms around, and makes a muffled screaming noise.

I have no idea how she fit it in there, but she spat it out and put it BACK in several times. Seeing their uniqueness with a side by side comparison every day is very interesting to say the least.

My Mom and Dad sent Christmas gifts, but since we were out of state they were waiting for us when we came home. One of the gifts was a stroller / walker and now Easton and Layla have their own individual walkers. Our kitchen looks like a crowded Wal-mart isle with these two roaming around bumping into stuff. Makes me want to pinch my nose (to imitate the poor sound quality of the irritating ladies voice) and say, "Clean up on isle 9!"

Here's a better picture of the stroller thingy where both of them are playing around with it.

I better get to bed now because the dual alarm clocks known as Easton and Layla will be right on time tomorrow morning as usual with my wake up call so we can do it all over again!

See you soon.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Walking in the New Year

Hello friends and family,

I hope everyone had a happy new year and chance to relax with vacation time. The 4 Webbs are safe and sound back in Arizona. We all miss spending time with Oma and Opa already. Easton and Layla are back to tugging on Mommy's pants at the same time since they are not around to hold them and play.

The over-night drive was pleasantly uneventful and we rolled into town at 4 AM. Driving through the night worked well for the twins since they slept the whole time. However, since the twins are transitioning into the forward-facing car seats next month, we will have a dilemma. How can the babies sleep? The seats in our vehicle don't recline so there is no way to use the reclining feature of the next level of car seats. There are about 40 different varieties at Babies R Us and it's a little overwhelming. Oh well... just another thing for me to research and purchase.

As far as progress in walking goes, Easton is still happily motoring along behind the walker. Here's a short clip of him giggling and stumbling along behind the walker.

Layla is on to the next level. Previously we had to have one person hold Layla up, one person calling her over, and one person manning the camera to get a video. The odds of all those pieces being in place at the right time didn't work out for us. This morning as we all played in the living room and listened to the radio Layla decided to give walking a try all by herself! These are literally her first self-directed steps ever. Kendra screaming at the end is just sounds of excitement so don't be worried by her reaction. :)

Even though Christmas is over, we had a package from my brother waiting for us when we arrived home from our trip. One of the bows ended up on Layla's head.

It seems most people are glad to see 2008 gone and closed. The financial crisis, investments, job losses, terrorism, and all of the negative things left a bitter taste in many mouths. Kendra and I were talking about the year and have a very different perspective. We had an awesome 2008. Not that we were unscathed by the economy or the forces of the world we live in, but we are sad to see it go. Easton and Layla were born this past year and we feel extraordinarily blessed to have them. We both love the current stage of their wish we could enjoy it longer. Of course we are excited to see them grow and mature, but these waning days of pre-toddler are precious enough we would be just as happy to have time stand still at the end of 2008. Here we are though at the beginning of 2009 and what the year has in store for us is a complete mystery. No one knows what the global economy will bring. We don't have a clue what it will be like with two one-year-olds in the house! There are many adventures to experience though and I'm planning to keep the blog going.

I copied this blog for ALL of 2008 into a Microsoft Word document and it covers 650 pages! Wow, I was surprised to see how it all adds up over time.

Best wishes to you and your family for the new year.