Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The soap man cometh

Hello everyone,

Today I came home from work and had my usual excited salutation towards the babies and Kendra. The welcome party greeted me with kisses and hugs. I also heard line after line of gibberish, which was probably their way of telling me about the day. I'd like to record those moments so in a few years Easton and Layla can explain what in the world they were talking about. OK, maybe it doesn't work that way, but what if it did!

Anyway, my adorable baby boy was preparing for bed acting sweet and precious.


However, I then looked at my lovely Layla and noticed not one, but TWO sets of bite marks on her arm from Easton expressing his displeasure. We've tried everything recommended to no avail. everything except (queue the frightening music...) soap.

I refuse to directly admit to resorting to soap in the mouth as the only trick left in our bag. I don't want the child protection services knocking on my door... However, I will say, "The soap man cometh!" The time for action has arrived and tomorrow marks a new Dawn in the Webb house (pun intended). I will stock each room and bag and stroller and pocket with a bar of soap. I'm even thinking about wearing an old western gun holster and putting soap in there just so I can be ready-on-the-draw at a moments notice. It's no longer a matter of IF the biter boy will strike... It's a matter of WHEN. And when he does, rest assured we know how to discipline with love. One of Easton's favorite words is, "bubbles". I hope this doesn't deter his infatuation with bubbles as a form of entertainment.

There are certainly more important things going on in the world and more difficult situations families are working through. However, we are doing our very best to bring up well-mannered, considerate, polite children... and that means no biting.

We haven't had many opportunities to take pictures of the last few days. Kendra was thoughtful enough to take the kids all day while I worked and then all evening while I trained at the martial arts school. BUT, tomorrow night is daddy's night to take care of the twins and give mommy a break. Maybe she'll go see the new Transformers movie for fun...

Bye bye.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

chair help?

Hi friends and family,

The 4 Webbs had a loaded weekend... and I'm not referring only to diapers. I'll start with the ironic moment of the weekend first. Friday night we had the best time hanging out with three other couples. We played a game called "Spouse-Ology: Because You're My Favorite Subject!" We were crying from laughing so much and learned so much about the other couples. The ironic part is Kendra humorously reenacted our now infamous argument years ago over 2% milk. I should have bought 1% and Kendra thought I brought home 2% just to spite her. The truth is, I grabbed the wrong kind by accident. Anyway, just this evening we argued over wheat bread. It's so silly that I'm already laughing about it (Kendra, not much laughing yet). Apparently there is a difference between the honey wheat bread I brought home and the REAL wheat bread she buys. The moral of the story is: Don't go shopping for groceries without her! Duh.

Aunt Mary let us borrow the arm band floaters so we can get the twins used to being more self-sufficient in the water. We found that arm bands alone (no matter how huge they are) don't provide enough buoyancy to keep them from taking on water like the Titanic. I took the twins to Walmart to look for a chair (more on that later) and I bought a floatation training suit for Layla. It is a one piece bathing suit with a bunch of Styrofoam or some material in the middle to help her float. Since it was too large for Layla I decided to augment the oversized floatation suit with oversized arm band floaters. Ta-da! I'm a genius... Never mind that she looks like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and can't move her arms. She ain't sinking! After the successfully pool experiment I caught a picture of the monumental milestone.


Easton hid out in the Dora-the-explorer hut while playing peek-a-boo with Layla on the other side of the cloth doorway.


Kendra grew tired from cooking all week so we went out to Pei Wei's Asian Diner. I couldn't believe Layla and Easton actually liked the taste of the fortune cookies. I don't care for them much so I didn't mind giving mine up.


Layla's fortune said, "My mother's menu consists of two choices: Take it or leave it", which is absolutely true. Just kidding, her fortune said something about business dealings? As if that is relevant for her... After dinner we let the twins terrorize CostPlus as they ran up and down the isles squishing the bags of chips and touching every piece of wicker furniture in the whole store. However, they did stop long enough to play with the animal head-bands.


Easton is a bee, Kendra is an elephant, and Layla was a frog, but didn't like the way it fit on her head so she tore it off right before the picture.

We played round after round of peek-a-boo this weekend. Layla pretends to hide behind everything imaginable including her blanket, the bottom of the slide, or even nothing at all!


Sometimes she'll just stand in the middle of the room and cover her eyes with her hands and then say, "boo!" as she moves her hands away. We also braved the mall traffic and let the twins mingle with the other snot-nosed kiddos running around.


Easton and Layla did a good job of dodging the obviously-too-old monster sized children running around. I could swear there were teenagers running around in the play area...

P90X update: 2 weeks into the 13 week program and we're still cranking through it. The videos are awesome and the meal plans are extremely detailed. I highly recommend it, but only if you have a strong will. "Failure is not an option. It's just a nagging possibility that helps me stay focused." If you don't feel that way before starting P90X, don't even bother. This is not for the half-hearted folks out there. The most difficult part has been reprioritizing my life to work out 6 out of 7 days each week while maintaining all my other responsibilities and hobbies. Every single day at least one muscle group in my body is sore. You don't have to be a fitness freak to succeed, but you do have to be committed to eat and exercise exactly as they say. I haven't noticed much difference so far. Kendra lost a few pounds already and is happy with her improvements in strength and muscle tone.

Can you help us find the right chair? Easton and Layla are relegated to climb up and down the big leather couch in our living room, which I don't care for at all. Their balance is good, but I want them to have their own chair since they spend so much time at home. We are looking for a soft, plush, chair couch sofa thingy. I found these two "Anywhere Chairs" at the Pottery Barn Kids website, but they are way more expensive than what I'm willing to pay. I believe we need two small chairs they can grow into instead of the two-person sofa because I don't want any arguing about who is touching whom. I went to Walmart and found NONE. Not a single toddler chair. The only success I found was at Babies R' Us. They have a few options, which is probably where I'll end up buying the chairs if I don't hear better options...

My question and request for help from you is: Where do I find such chairs? What department are they located? (infant section, general furniture, toys?) and what works best for you or someone you know?

Give Kendra or I a call or post a comment if you have some wisdom to share. Have a wonderful Monday!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

strummin' and truckin'

Welcome to the weekend, people.

That greeting excludes those of you who are on retired and living every day as Saturday! Only another 34 years and I'll be retired too!

Back to modern day life with twins... The 4 Webbs are happy and healthy for the most part. Layla entered the infamous "no" stage where she says, "no, No, NO!" even when she really means, "yes, I want a cracker". I have no idea what that is about, but she sure makes it hard for daddy to keep a straight face. I want to laugh when she reacts like that, but hate to encourage her. Layla figured out how to put a hat on her own head. Everything she can conceivably put on her head now becomes a hat.

The plastic turtle dome? Why not.


Easton's spiderman ball cap? You bet.


Yesterday when I needed to kill some time while watching the twins I decided to pull out my guitar and give it a try. They took turns sharing the pick and would strum away while I held the chord.


We've been playing music for them ever since they were tadpoles in Kendra's belly so I thought maybe they would really be interested. Unfortunately it held their attention less than a lid from a Gatorade bottle. Oh well, i'll keep trying. I also learned they are about as good at playing the guitar as I am. We all have a long ways to go before getting on stage.

Here are two great pictures of Easton. These are among the top 10 of this year for me because it shows him having fun doing what he enjoys most (sliding down into a pile of plastic balls). Also he's looking right at the camera, which doesn't happen nearly as often as it does with Layla the photo ham.


Do you see how these two pictures are similar?


Yes, they are both of him sliding down the slide, but you might also notice he is hanging on to his cup! Easton gets very frustrated when Layla takes his cup so he hangs on for dear life... He also found the joy of hauling things in a truck. He's on his way to being a man's man even though the "cargo" is his NuNu. He pushes it around the house and makes the "vroom, vroom" noise so I'm excited he's able to put those concepts together.


Keep on truckin! See you soon.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Shameless WFMW

Howdy folks,

Our twins amaze me every day with new tricks and skills. Tonight we were in the living room and Kendra told Layla to go get a diaper from their bedroom. I thought she was just kidding, but a few seconds later Layla came back with a diaper! While Easton was getting changed, Layla went back into the bedroom and brought out a diaper for everyone in the room including Great Aunt Mary, Kendra, and I. That was a pretty cool new trick and I am blown away at the thought of our 16 month old hearing a command, understanding it, and then doing it. I may never have to get off the couch to get the remote control again! Then to top it off, Kendra told her to take the spare diapers back to the bedroom and put them away. She did it... Heck, I don’t even follow directions that well.


Unfortunately, my camera ran out of space when I attempted to catch video of her following instructions so well, but you get the idea.

For their next trick I'll teach them the second bo staff form in Kenpo.


Just kidding... That bo staff is WAY to long for her to complete the form. However, it is just the right length to tag Easton in the shin as she was swung it around. Oops! guess we'll have to wait a few years before giving them any weapons. Although Easton uses his teeth as a weapon pretty well. Not much we can do to take that away from him and since our methods of deterring him from biting aren't working... Soap is next and we're serious about using it now!

Here are a couple of pictures where the twins have post-it notes stuck to their forehead.


I'm not certain what is so funny about having a post-it note stuck to your forehead, but they sure had a good time laughing about it.


WFMW (Works For Me Wednesday) - This edition of WFMW is rated PG-13 so cover your kid's ears or skip ahead if you read aloud. You'll either think I'm a caring husband or a complete wacko. However, this IS a blog about real life so bear with me if you dare as I go out on a limb here.

The story starts with me sitting at my desk this morning. I perused the daily news detailing the economic destruction of our country, then I leaned back in my chair, closed my eyes and this quote from who-knows-where hit me:

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.

I started thinking about Kendra and our marriage and the Weekend to Remember conference from a few weeks ago. My mind wondered onto the question, "how can I change and do something for Kendra to make her feel special?" I formulated my plan and this is what happened tonight:

After the twins were asleep I sweated my way through the extraordinary Plyometrics P90X workout. Kendra was reading in the bedroom and as I went to get into our tiny, square shower I invited Kendra to join me (Yes, we shower together as often as I can convince her to do so). Anyway, she said yes and we both stepped into the steaming, warm water. I said, "I'm going to wash you in the way you normally would. Just tell me what to do and I'll do it". She looked at me as if I lost my mind. I told her, "if Jesus can wash the stinky feet of his disciples in an act of servitude, then I should be able to wash my wife and get the same point across, right?

She hesitantly smiled, but agreed to go along with me. She told me how much of the frilly, smelly soap to use and then began to describe how to wash her face. As I gently caressed her cheeks, nose, and chin we both fell into the exact moment I envisioned earlier this morning at my desk. We looked into each other's eyes and she heard what I was trying to say even though I didn't speak a single word. What I said (without speaking) was this: You are more important than me or my ego and I will do my best to love you the way you need to be loved regardless of how I "feel" or think or want.

In order for me to love her through HER love language she has to TELL me what it is. Sorry, I'm a blockhead caveman who doesn't do well with hints or subtleties. Next (this is the part where I failed in the past), I have to listen, and then act on what I discover about her. Washing her in the shower was a simple step towards the goal of knowing her more intimately. I felt the smoothness of her neck, the curve of her back, and the length of her hair. Those sensory memories are smashed in the front of my brain like a bug on a windshield and now I know more about her than I did this morning when we woke up. Mission accomplished.

and that's what Worked For Me on Wednesday.

I'm just a lowly engineer so luckily guys like me have Garth Brooks and his song, "Shameless" to express how I feel in ways I can't come up with on my own:

I'm shameless when it comes to loving you
I'd do anything you want me to
I'd do anything at all
And I'm standing here for all the world to see


If you read this far into the post, then please add a comment to let me know if I'm on the right track or if I should stick with blogging about diapers and post-it notes. :)

Au revoir

Monday, June 22, 2009

bloggers unite?

I hope this article outlining how the government will patrol blogs for "false claims" is a late April Fool's joke or blown out of proportion, but I fear it is truly possible.

The proposed guidelines (PDF) state that “deceptive speech is not protected by the First Amendment,” and that “The Supreme Court has repeatedly stated that the government can restrict, or even ban, such speech.” Of course, the issue of whether such speech is deceptive will be decided by the government itself.

The article says, "Any type of blog could be scrutinized, not just ones that specialize in reviews." Does this mean my Works For Me Wednesday (WFMW) section is in jeopardy?

Luckily my blog is about raising twins, giggles, and fatherhood, but I feel bad for those who are using blogs to share views that don't align with the government.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

If you're happy

Hi folks,

Everyone has heard the old childhood song, "If you're happy and you know it", right? The song is gaining in popularity around the 4 Webb's house since Easton and Layla are interactive. It wasn't nearly this fun when they were just 6 month old, motionless bundles of love. Layla has the most energetic, “Hooray!” I’ve heard in a long time.

video

After church we went to the Pecos Park Splash Pad, which is a public park with shades over the jungle gym and a place for the twins to cool off in the spray. Here’s a picture I found from the internet of the exact area I’m talking about.


Easton smiled and snorted as he ran around on the splash pad. He chased the water as it randomly appeared and disappeared from the various spouts. I, in turn, chased him around and did my best to avoid getting soaked. He eventually got really tired because his water-logged diaper must have weighed 5 pounds by itself. Layla was only interested in going up the steps and down the slide over and over again. I couldn’t believe how she went down all by herself with no one at the bottom to catch her. She plopped her feet right on the ground in front of the slide and kept on running without any pause in her forward motion.

The title of this next picture is: “Can I have your cookie also?”


I’m certain Easton was thinking that as he pointed at my cookie. He really digs Mommy’s homemade chocolate chip cookies (as if you couldn’t tell by this picture).

One other funny fact about Easton is this: For unknown reason's he asks us to cram the stuffed animal cow or horse up his shirt. He wanders around the house all day some times with the stuffed animal there. Occasionally he'll squeeze the noise maker inside the stuffed animal and we hear a random, "moooOOOOO, moooOOOO!" Here you can see the horse sticking out of the bottom of his shirt.


Maybe some day he'll be able to verbalize the obsession with stuffed animals in his shirt, but until then we gladly go along with his requests. He's just being himself and figuring out what that really means. Ditto for the pom-pom he's shaking.

Have a great workweek and stop by again soon!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Father's day 2 times 2

Hi everyone,

Tomorrow will be my second father's day and since I have twins, everything is "times 2". Easton and Layla are 16 months old. That means by next year they can give me a personal father's day gift like macaroni glued on a piece of paper. There is no sarcasm in that statement either. I serious would love to get something made by their own hands. However, this year I received two wonderful gifts for Father's day:

First, Kendra set up a mountain bike trip with my friend so we took the entire day to drive North into the cool desert mountains and tackle some single track trail. We made it to Sedona around 8:00 AM and stopped by the Bike and Bean shop as we always do. They have a cool movie clip of the kind of riding we did today. It's like riding on another planet. The temperature was a cool 72 degrees with a slight breeze and even a few rain drops just like Judson requested. We stopped for a few photo opportunities along the way.


And we did have to walk a few places because crossing the creek on the bike just isn't an option sometimes. The view in Sedona is spectacular no matter what elevation or location because the rock formations are amazing.


We even stopped at Buddha Beach for a little monkey business since someone tied a rope to a tree. It was just too irresistible.


We slammed on our brakes to get a picture with this Cairn out in the middle of nowhere because the balancing of these rocks was almost a work of art.


After a full 4 hour ride (21 miles worth) we are both exhausted and sore. I have sore muscles in my legs I didn't even know existed! Overall the trip was a 5-star success. No one was injured seriously, we had some excellent conversation, and riding along a cliff in the middle of the desert definitely makes me feel alive!

Note to self: Do NOT complete the P90X legs exercise routine on the night before a mountain bike ride. I think that may be part of my soreness problem?

Also for Father's day Layla gave me snotty kisses. She tippy-toed over where I was laying on the floor (like I said, biking wiped me out), and bent down to give me a big kiss right on the cheek.


Her kiss also included snot because she has a runny nose, but I didn't mind at all. Her attempt to love on daddy was the sweetest thing she's ever done for me. Easton still isn't much into slobbery kisses, but he does "blow a kiss" very well. He also figured out how to High-5, which is an important social skill. The older they get, the more people want to high-5 the twins as a way of greeting them. Easton also figured out how much fun our big comforter can be. When he walks into our room he flops over on the comforter and giggles.


Yesterday we found out the twins like ice cream as much as Kendra. They plowed through bite after bite of the vanilla Dairy Queen goodness saying "more! more!" It's amazing how still they sat on the chair all by themselves as long as the ice cream kept shoveling.


Tomorrow will be filled with church in the morning and family time all day, then back to the P90X workout at night.

Happy Father's day to all you dads!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Hopper

Hi folks,

Welcome back to the 4 Webb's web log (the word "blog" originated from shortening "web log" in case you didn't know).

Monday night we invited our new friends Nick and Marianne over for dinner. They just arrived in town a couple of weeks ago and we had a great time getting to know them. Nick is studying to pass the Arizona BAR exam and Marianne is taking care of their baby boy, Aaron. They have a blog also! I'll add their link in our list of related blogs.

http://nickandmarianne.blogspot.com/

Easton and Layla discovered how comfortable the couch is compared to the hard tile floor.


They get up and down at will, but we are not sure how to keep them from jumping up and down or getting too close to the edge. The whole area of discipline is really tough to navigate this early. Babies don't DO anything wrong because they can't move or talk. Older kids understand right and wrong, yes and no, commands etc. However, toddlers are old enough to get in trouble, but not old enough to understand the concept of discipline, punishment, or correction. For example, throwing a plastic ball is ok, but throwing spaghetti is NOT ok. How do you explain that to a 16 month old?

Layla came up with a new trick out of nowhere yesterday. She always walks and runs on her tippy toes and has good balance so I suppose it was only a matter of time before she figured out how to “hop”. The humorous part is she says “hop” every time she does it.

video

WFMW (Works For Me Wednesday)
Since this is Wednesday I’ll throw out my usual hint or tip for those who are new to parenthood. Somewhere along the way Kendra heard or read how to get your babies used to being under water. Supposedly, when you’re rinsing the baby’s hair in the bathtub, you should say, “Eyes wet!” This does NOT work. We took the twins in the pool and hypothetically we should be able to say, “Eyes wet!” and dunk them under the water to get used to swimming.

What we discovered is every time we say, “eyes wet” in the bathtub (and now in the pool) they open their mouth really wide and gasp in a deep breath of air. This isn’t conducive to dunking them in the pool because saying the magic words has the opposite response of what we need. Teaching babies in the pool is a complicated thing, I know. I don’t expect a one liner comment to the post will suffice, but I’m open to hear your thoughts! Maybe this section should be labeled, “Doesn’t Work For Me Wednesday”. You get the idea though.

Here's a picture from way back when.


This is one of my all time favorites for several reasons. Here are a few:

- Kendra looks refreshed and happy and beautiful. She doesn't look completely exhausted like the other 500 pictures from when they were keeping her up all night every night for months.
- Layla and Easton are sooooo tiny! I just can't believe they were ever that small when I see them now.
- Layla and Easton are peacefully sleeping. I rarely get to see this now because they go 100mph until we put them in the crib and close the door as we say goodnight. The next time I see them they are bouncing up and down in their crib the next morning waiting to get a cracker.

See you soon!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Early morning

Happy Monday everyone,

Why in the world am I awake at 4:00 AM? I thought maybe it was the excitement from the Lakers winning the NBA championship, but that was fairly anti-climactic. Even though I'm excited for Kendra and I to start the P90X home fitness program that probably wouldn't wake me from a deep sleep. It could be because I started reading Wild at Heart again. That really stirs me up and my dreams were really crankin'. More than likely what has me awake is the recurring theme over the past week ringing in my head. A simpler life. Do I really want to spend the rest of my life trying to keep up with the Jones'? There must be something between living in a mountain shack with nothing but running water and caring about the brand of jeans I wear while sitting in an office all day, every day.

So here I sit, just me and the incredible Phil Wickham. By the way, he has an awesome new album on his website you can download for FREE. It's a live concert from last month and my ipod is forcefully stuck on repeat mode to play it over and over again. Give them an email address and he sends a direct link to the zip file of MP3s.

Today I'll have to work on Easton's response when we ask him to show us his teeth. I don't think he gets it yet, but is sure makes for a funny picture.


Kendra made an interesting observation Saturday when I tried to get Layla to give me kisses. Layla resists me often when I try to steal a kiss from her and Kendra said, "your goatee is rough and she doesn't like it". That night I shaved it off! Sunday was full of open mouth, slobbery kisses from my lovely Layla, which made the day very special. She already knows how to tug at my heart strings.


I can see the sun light as the sky changes from black to blue. That means only two more hours before Kendra and the twins wake up! Time to go for a run.

Bye bye.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Simulated Tranquilizers

Howdy friends and family,

Part of the fun in parenting is figuring it out as you go. The same thing happens when single people get married. Those who are changing from single to married or from married to married-with-children go through the same experience. Hearing others talk about what life will be like, but in no way comprehending the realities (both positive and negative) of the next stage in life. I feel very fortunate to have Kendra who spent much of her younger years as an older sister, babysitter, nanny, and day care worker. The experience carries over well to being a parent. However, I can count on one hand the number of times I held a baby before having my own.

That being said, I'll throw out a tip based on what I learned last night. Once Easton and Layla became active I found it difficult to know when they should go to bed. Kendra made it easy on me (and the babies) by mandating 7:00 PM as the magical bed time. For almost a year we've put the babies in their crib at exactly 7:00. I do well with absolutes so it was easy for me to lock that time in my brain and build our evening around bed time.

Earlier this week Kendra said we need to let the twins stay up a little later so they will keep 7:00 AM as their wake up time instead of gradually moving towards a 6:30 AM wake up. Last night we did the normal routine and then let them continue to play with toys while running around like a couple of Indians on a war path. Then it happened. At about 7:15 they just ran out of gas. They both slowed down to walking and then crawling and then sitting like this:


Then struggling mightily to stay vertical


Then to laying down without any chatter between them


And finally flat-out stillness on their backs against the cold travertine tile floor.


The whole sequence took only a couple of minutes. That's when I figured it out! There is a moment during the evening when you could swear someone shot them with a tranquilizer dart. It happens JUST like what you see on Animal Planet where out of control monkeys get tagged with a dart and slowly lay motionless on the ground. From now on I'll just wait until they get past the play stage to the sitting stage and then shuffle them off to bed just in time to wind down into a deep sleep.

That's my plan and I'm sticking to it! Yes I know kids don't adhere to plans and "every child is different". That saying should be "every child is different every single day". We'll see well this strategy works for me tomorrow night...

One other topic I'll cover is how Daddy feels about the U.S.A. I never want my twins to wonder where I stand on the issue of patriotism. I read in the news last week about a woman in Texas who was told to take down an American flag at work because it "offended some people". The next day I purchased the biggest flag I could fit against my office cube wall and now it looks like this:


I am overtly and unabashedly patriotic. Some things in life are worth fighting for and the right to be patriotic is one of them. Several coworkers and people who sit close by have commented positively about my oversized flag. I told them, "If I had a bigger wall, I would have purchased a bigger flag!" God bless America. I hope that clarifies what Daddy believes as far as patriotism is concerned.

Happy weekend to you all!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

bye bye Oma and Opa

Greetings!

Even after my best effort to convince Kendra's parents to stay, they boarded the plane and went home anyway. Poor Easton and Layla wondered around this afternoon inquisitively saying, "Oma? Opa?" As tragic as that sounds, it's well worth it to have the week of quality time while they stay with us. They wrapped up the week by adventuring out to the Hanger cafe (on the local airport premise). Easton is enthralled by airplanes of any size so being able to touch one and stand next to it was certainly the highlight of his day.


Then they went to the water park because this IS Arizona and it is summertime so the normal daily activity involves water. Layla is hard to keep track of as she runs in and out of the water over and over. The only reason she stopped the cycle was when they packed up and went home!



I have no idea how Easton managed to get the pea stuck there, but it sure makes for a humorous picture (hint: look at his naval).


The pink blur in the Chuck Taylor Converse shoes is Layla running up and down the isles at Costco.


She calls it "coco"... apparently the ST isn't important enough, but we still know what she means and that's progress! Of course Easton has to match (makes daddy happy).


My closing thought for Oma and Opa is this: Usually in-laws leaving is a bitter-sweet time based on what others have said. For me it is just bitter. I wish they lived across the street from us and my parents and family lived next door. If anyone has a spare $10 million I could probably make it happen, but barring some lottery miracle it probably won't. Some of my friends describe how every Thursday night is their "date night", which is only made possible through grandparents who live in town watching the kids. I live vicariously through their stories. :) Life is going well for us and our families so there is nothing to complain about. However, being close to the twins' grandparents and family would be icing on the cake.

Speaking of cake... Kendra and I picked up a copy of the P90X DVDs. You may have seen the infomercials on TV? We start "day one" this coming Monday! Supposedly this is “Extreme home fitness” and Kendra wants to do it. She is excited and I'm supporting her as a good husband. It’s only 90 days and good things are bound to come from improving our diet and exercising according to the program. As my brother-in-law John said as worked his way through med school, “you can do anything for a few months!” For me, it'll just be an addition to the active hobbies I have. In a normal week I run a few miles , spend 6 hours training martial arts, and mountain bike 11 miles up and down desert mountains such as National trail. I feel fairly well prepared for whatever the videos require of me.

I'll certainly capture the journey here on the blog. You might be wondering what P90X has to do with adventures with twins? Well, I'm a firm believer that raising twins should be physically demanding on both parents if done properly. When I had cats I sat on the couch and used a laser pointer to run them around the room chasing the red dot for their exercise. Raising two 16 month old babies is much more interactive.

Time for bed. happy Friday to everyone.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

zoo trip,

Hey friends and family,

Hope your week is excellent so far. May as well start off with the weekly version of:

WFMW (Works For Me Wednesday)

Yes, I know it is technically still Tuesday (10 PM my time), but by the time YOU read this Wednesday will have arrived. Kendra waited in line last week at the local library for 30 minutes in hopes of getting 4 adult free "culture passes" to visit the zoo. Her "mommy and me" group turned her on to the idea. Basically, the library has free passes to museums and the zoo and some other places. They give them out on a first come, first serve basis. The passes are valid for one week and then automatically expire. Cool, huh?

The 4 Webbs spent a wonderful few hours at the Phoenix zoo with Oma and Opa. I'll throw out some pictures from our adventures with as short of a description as possible:

What exactly are you planning to DO with the goat once you bite it, Layla?


Layla was probably puzzled by the goats ability to climb even though his legs are shorter than her own. Neither one of them appreciated the course hair on the goats. yuk.


Emergency Nilla Wafer snack break. Glad Mommy packed some goodies! Yes, they are covered in sun screen.


Chasing Easton and Layla around the splash pad was like Wesley and Buttercup wondering through the fire swamp. Instead of fire we dealt with water spouts and instead of Rodents of Unusual Size we dealt with Children of Unusual Size.


Easton did a great job of spotting the animals as they lay motionless in the back of their massive enclosures. Although it was hard to keep their attention when 95% of the animals were napping. Next time we'll have to go early in the morning or late in the evening. Here is Easton looking at us as if to say, "What turtle?


The twins love the slide. The twins love the miniature pool full of plastic balls. Oma and Opa decided to merge the two and took it to the next level: a slide with a safe landing.


Both of them practically dive off the top of the slide down into the balls. What a great idea!


Behind the pacifier is Layla's extra cute grin and as you can see it is contagious. She is so much fun and getting more clever every day.


Today I found out she knows how to open doors. There is a trip to Babies R Us in my future for door knob protectors.

See you soon!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

First night without babies

Howdy folks,

Easton and Layla are 16 months old today! Last night was the first time Kendra and I spent away from the twins since before they were born. We experienced an excellent weekend at the conference and resort. I can't believe she lasted this many months without ever spending a night away, but somehow she managed (applause and cheers). I'm getting way ahead of myself chronologically so let's back up a few days and do this right, ok?

Opa arrived in town on Friday afternoon and found very quickly how much the twins have grown up since he saw them last. They said, "Opa" over and over for an hour and continue to ask for him and Oma by name. Some parents may get jealous about that, but we are more than happy for them to be excited about their grandparents. Welcome to the party, Opa!


We said, "Hello" then "Goodbye" in the same breath as Kendra and I headed out the door for the weekend to remember conference at the Wigwam resort across town.


I like the lace-up shoes on her! Here we are in front of our somewhat secluded room. No ice machine, no elevator, no people above or below... Just quiet, romantic isolation. Ahhhhh, it's been too long. The conference was amazing and I'd gladly pay double the cost of the weekend if I did it all over again.

Here are a few key points I took from the conference:
* Sheath my sword and roll out the welcome mat. Kendra is NOT my enemy.
* Become a student of Kendra (learn about her daily).
* When I think or write compliments of Kendra, say it verbally also because that is her love language (duh, ya bonehead).
* Ask Kendra what is her dream in life and help her achieve it.
* Fail Forward. There is nothing to be learned from the second kick of a mule. I.E. learn from mistakes, don't do it again, and keep moving forward.

I admit nothing in there is profound or so complex it should take an entire weekend to figure out. However, even if I know the right things to do, when I don't do those things then they become "back burner" passing thoughts instead of automatic reflexes.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Oma and Opa did an excellent job of safely entertaining and caring for the twins. "Mommy and Daddy are gone... High-5 babies!"


After watching my friend's kids high-5 people, I've been looking forward to our twins doing this when they meet people since they are so friendly.


Easton and Layla giggled and splashed their way through the afternoon without even a thought of missing us.


Looks to me as though they were having the time of their life without us! Kendra and I are very thankful her parents are willing to spend the week here.


And we did the same, just in a different way. :)


Yes, that is my wife having more of a blast on the slide than any other kid at the resort. Thank goodness she still knows how to have fun or else I'd be a boring guy. At the end of the conference all 1500 people stood and held their spouse while repeating wedding vows. Those of you who attended our wedding know how badly I screwed up that part. I'll never live that down. However, today was a good start because I looked right into her eyes the entire time.

A few other key concepts I took from the weekend:
* bitterness is unfulfilled vengeance (not a good place to be)
* sex is a thermometer, not a thermostat (it is not possible to control a relationship with sex, but the frequency and quality is merely a measure of the relationship). That'll sink in and maybe hit you sometime tomorrow.
* failure is a verb, not a noun. Everyone fails, but no one is a failure.
* Thoughts become words, words become actions, then actions become character (be careful where you focus your thoughts).

We wrapped up the weekend with pizza, salad, and great conversation poolside with our friends Brendon and Danielle.


The only sad part of the trip was packing up and leaving. We would have loved another few days of doing exactly what we did all weekend.

We arrived home in time for one more dip in the pool in lieu of bath time. Easton loves to stand on the side of the pool and be splashed so we are more than happy to oblige. He'll stand there and get soaked with a big smile on his face.


When we stop he says (verbally and through sign language), "more please! more please!". so we drench him some more. I'm not sure who gets worn out more; him or us? Tomorrow is back to work for me, but the rest of the 4 Webbs are going to the zoo with Oma and Opa. Work will get in the way of fun again for me, but I'm grateful to have my job. They pay me to pretend to make a difference in the corporation (think Dilbert in real life). It's a dance in futility, but they keep paying me so i'll keep dancing.

Have a great week and we'll see you again soon.