Friday, November 27, 2009

Same, But Different

Hello friends and family,

Tomorrow will be a sad and happy day at the casa de Webb. We are sad that Oma and Opa leave and will head back to California. We are happy about driving to go spend the holidays in Sacramento with them in just a few short weeks! We've loved every minute of them being around and made great memories. Yes, they are my in-laws, but I think just as highly of them as I do my own parents simply because they love the 4 Webbs so much. Easton and Layla are happy toddlers in general, but here you can see the excitement and satisfaction on their faces of being with Oma and Opa.

And during that same trip to the park I assembled the 4 Webbs for quick picture as well because there aren't many opportunities to have all four of us in the same photo.

Layla is teething so that is why her fingers are in her mouth. As if there is a time during the first two years where a child is NOT teething (sigh).

Oma and Opa bought a parting gift for Easton and Layla: Try-cycles. I call them "try" cycles because neither of the twins have figured out how to pedal it or accepted the fact that it needs to be ridden, not pushed. Layla gave it a shot and did fairly well with keeping her feet on the pedals.

Easton was highly frustrated because he couldn't push and muscle it around like he does the light-weight plastic bus.

My dad recommended we get the super-duty tricycles from Harbor Freight but those are still much too big for our twins. Not bad though for their first day of trying. I'm sure they will figure it out and be whizzing around in no time. We will have to work up to the big-kid version once they get the hang of these.

There are many ways Easton and Layla are alike. For example, they both love jungle gyms and slides.

and they have some of the same postures and mannerisms (note their hands on their face in the same position and legs stretched out similarly).

Also, they both enjoy the evening ritual of bath, books, snack, and bed. We used to call that "4 B's" (bath, books, boob, bed), but obviously they aren't breast-feeding any more so we had to substitute an "s" in there for snack time. I've looked at this picture several times in the past 3 days because I am amazed by it. Amazed at how mature and kid-like they look. From this picture I can start to see how they will look in high school if I extrapolate and let my mind wander.

And at the same time they are also very different. Easton loves to be scared by Oma as she lifts the diaper box off her head and says, "boo!".

Layla loves to be the one in the diaper box saying "boo" to everyone.

and in a strange twist of norm, you can see in the next picture how Layla is unsure and a little reserved while Easton is thrilled with excitement.

What could possibly flip-flop the norm? After thanksgiving dinner we walked to the local park and one of the neighbor kids ran a nitro powered remote control car up and down the street adjacent to the park. He was so thrilled to watch it speed around the pavement. Layla on the other hand was very unsure of that mechanical, noisy thing.

The most common response I get from adults who say they are a twin is that it is important to develop and maintain their individuality. So we have made intentional efforts to treat them as equals, but help them develop at their own pace and in their own direction, no matter how different the directions may be...

The best thing about black Friday is that I have two more days of vacation from work (yea). Time for me to take advantage of leftover turkey. MMMMmmmmm!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

happy thanksgiving

Happy turkey day,

According to the most recent data I'm the 43,497,897 richest person in the world. That puts me in the TOP 0.72% richest people in the world! On the most superficial level I'm thankful for my income, food and shelter. Hard to believe 99.28% of the people on Earth are less affluent than me. No complaints from me.

The 4 Webbs are blessed in so many ways it is impossible to even begin to list. The importance of family and cherishing time (in person, on skype, through email, or by phone) is increasing every year. I'm certain it has to do with maturing and having kids of my own, but hind site is always 20/20 so I'll let you know when I figure it out for sure.

The last few days with Megan and her daughter Isabella were jam-packed with adventures and excitement. The 4 Webbs and Kendra's parents wore them out having fun together. As I promised in the last blog post, I did get a picture of Megan and Isa from her camera, but then I experienced severe technical difficulty so now I have no picture of them. My backup external hard drive crashed a week ago. Then my main data drive crashed 2 days ago. How about that for timing? 10 years of categorized, personalized music, movies, documents, and pictures went POOF!

Luckily I copied my full collection of 14,000+ pictures to my backup backup drive. How's that for showing the importance I place on pictures. Not that my pictures are artistic or well designed, but they are the best I can do to capture the moments as they fly by. I can reform my music collection, but the digital pictures and videos are irreplaceable.

Anyway, we know Layla is growing because the princess outfit in her closet finally fits! What a pretty girl! It's almost as if she is posing for a professional photo shoot: "ok, tilt your head just a liiiittle bit more to the right... perfect!"

I can tell by the happy expression on her face that she is perfectly content to fill the princess role in the 4 Webb's house.

Easton had another gravitational discovery at the zoo the other day. The discovery of the sidewalk against his nose left a few reminders in the form of scrapes. He tripped as he walked and that kind of thing happens occasionally when one is learning to walk. He has a plastic phone in his hand and he pretends to talk to Oma on the phone even though she is in the living room!

Each morning when I get him from his crib, the first words out his mouth are in the form of a question: "Oma coming?" I respond with, "Yes! Oma IS coming to get you." It feels good to grant him the desire to be with Oma instead of apologizing when she is in California and unable to greet him in the morning.

Easton is enamored by anything with wheels. I searched Craigslist and found a battery powered Thomas the Train set last week. Opa helped put it together and Easton loves to turn it on and watch the train go around the track. Today he finally learned to control his desire to pull the train off the track every time it goes around.

I have a boatload of other adventures to share, but after the long day and excellent smorgasbord we experienced, I'm too tired to even stay up tonight and blog about them. The great part is that there are 3 more days left in this weekend.

Hooray for holidays!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Learning to lie

Greetings friends and family,

I was lied to! I knew someday it would happen, but never thought it would be so soon. This short story is "uniquely twins" although I'm sure every parent goes through something similar with the singleton at some point in the toddler years.

As Easton and Layla played with the newly assembled Thomas the Train set, I hovered over them to ensure the track didn't magically disassemble in a heap of parts on the floor.

Then a certain odor wafted my way. It was plainly evident someone pooped. Rather than the usual butt sniff test I stepped away from them and used my most serious tone of voice to get their attention. I asked a very simple question, "Raise your hand if you pooped!" I even led by example by raising my arm high in the air. They both reacted immediately and very differently with no hesitation or drawn out conspiracy. Easton's hand shot up in the air and he looked at me as if to say, "look at me, daddy! I am doing what you asked." Layla shook her head and emphatically said, "no".

It would appear to be a case-closed kind of situation so I gently picked Easton up. However, I did the butt sniff test to verify and it became obviously clear I had been double crossed. Lied to by BOTH of my toddlers at the same time. The one who confidently raised his hand was not the perpetrator and the one who denied the allegation with confidence was indeed guilty as charged.

Why would they lie? How did they learn this divisive trick? and most importantly, who taught them? Of course these questions of how babies learn this type of behavior has probably confounded Plato, Socrates, and Einstein as well as every parent since the beginning of time. This topic probably wouldn't fit comfortably amongst the other deep philosophical and scientific concerns of those brilliant minds so I imagine that is why they never wrote about it.

I wonder where is the spirit of Abraham Lincoln and the cherry tree? He said, "For I cannot tell a lie, it was I who chopped down the cherry tree." Admittedly he was significantly older when he bravely told the truth, but still the questions remain. The most difficult part of the situation was trying not to laugh in front of the twins.

Kendra's parents arrived on Saturday and Kendra's friend, Megan, arrived on Sunday. As you can imagine we are extremely busy having fun. Ever since Oma and Opa walked in the door, the twins are either WITH Oma and Opa or asking about them. I walked in to get Easton and Layla from their cribs after nap time and the first words out of their mouth are, "Oma? Opa?" That's it. Like a broken record until they come in the room or until the twins are able to run around the house and find them. I'm not complaining at all! In fact, I'm extremely grateful for the bonds between our twins and their grandparents (on both sides of our family).

Church on Sunday was excellent as usual. Having Oma and Opa join us was extra special.

They shared ice cream with Easton and Layla. What a way to make friends and influence people!

It is a rare treat for the twins to eat sweets or candy, but then again this is a rare occasion to share with grandparents. Ice cream in the sun during Thanksgiving week is a uniquely Arizona experience. Maybe a couple of other sun belt states can brag like that, but you get the point...

Opa shares coaching secrets of football as the Cardinals wrapped up their victory on Sunday.

His efforts weren't in vein. Easton made a great tackle in the crib as they bounced around later that night.

It's all about "doing life together" here at the Webb house. Even walking to the mailbox takes on a whole new enjoyment when Oma and Opa are around.

Skype is a modern miracle of technology because it allowed the twins to recognize and interact with Oma and Opa in the 2-demensional world in such a real way that when they visit, it's as if they've been at our house for the past few months.

Kendra's friend Megan arrived in town on Sunday and brought her precious daughter, Isabella, with her. Megan says Isa is 5 months younger than our twins, but when they play together there is virtually no difference physically or developmentally. Here's Isa driving her pretend car and even shifting the gears as she motors along.

I expect to have at least one good picture of Megan and Isa together during their visit. Everyone is going to the zoo tomorrow morning so I'm expecting to have some monkey-licious pictures of everyone. Also I anticipate the adults and children will be equally worn out in the same way they were from running around the bounce house today.

Is there anything more fun in life than lights, noises, and buttons?

The answer is, "no". Easton and Layla could have sat in this pretend car all day long if we had enough quarters to keep it humming along.

The adventures never stop so come back again soon! Bye bye

Thursday, November 19, 2009

keem cheesh

Howdy folks,

The twins and I spent the evening together so Kendra could have an evening out with her friends for dinner and a movie. Over the past few days I spent every spare second of my time outside of work doing a favor for my friend. He's a music producer who's studio depends 100% on his computer functioning. Well, the computer failed and he asked me to build him a new one. I love building systems so I was more than happy to fill a shopping cart full of computer parts and then work my magic to turn it into a monster computer.

Anyway, because of my willingness to help my friend Kendra didn't get me as the relief pitcher to close out the game each evening. We had a great time together this evening and I never knew cream cheese could be so much fun! Easton and Layla giggled at each other saying, "keem cheesh!"

I don't consider this as a successful snack time because all they did was lick the cream cheese off the crackers and then smash the crackers on the table.

Somehow I doubt Kendra would ever let this kind of situation occur, but when daddy's around I can only do my best and learn as I go. The only saving grace was bath time immediately followed the cream cheese incident.

The carpet in our house was cleaned today so half of the square footage was off limits for the twins as it dries. I loaded them up in the Chariot and walked to our neighborhood park just to have some interactive fun with them and work their wiggles out.

I occasionally put on their puppy leashes and the three of us walk to the mailbox. Based on the time required for that short stroll, I extrapolated that allowing them to walk with their puppy leashes to the park would take around 18 hours. Layla runs a zig-zag pattern like a large-mouthed bass on the end of a fishing pole. Easton stops to pick up every single pebble and leaf on the sidewalk. You can see how their different personalities make it nearly impossible to maintain a reasonable cadence.

The highlight of the park for Layla was swinging and doing pull-ups on the rail above the slide. She can do three full pull-ups with just a little assistance from me.

She is literally swinging back and forth out over the edge of the slide. And the whole time she's doing the pull-ups she repeatedly says, "Layla exercising, Layla exercising!" I wonder where she gets this stuff (duh).

Easton's highlight was grabbing big handfuls of the woodchips which cover the playground and throwing them down. I think he is imaging the bulldozer / excavator equipment we read about in his books.

The 4 Webbs are feverishly cleaning and preparing for the arrival of Kendra's parents and her friend Megan this weekend. We are expecting a fun-filled week of feeding giraffes at the zoo, eating turkey, and running around like monkeys. Hooray for vacation days and visitors!

See you soon.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ed Grimley?

Hello friends and family,

Life is going fairly smooth for the 4 Webbs. We are preparing for Kendra's parents to visit starting this Saturday! Easton's boo-boo is healing nicely thanks to copious amounts and frequent application of Neosporin. I'm considering buying stock in that company knowing what is in store for our usage of the product between now and the time Easton and Layla fine tune their coordination skills.

Our daily routines have shifted dramatically with the excellent outdoor conditions. I come home from work and take the twins outside to give Kendra time to cook dinner and unwind from the day's worth of baby-ness. We went to the backyard today for a chance and I brought out Easton's pretend lawnmower. Ever since I put batteries in it, they have taken a whole new enjoyment from pushing the chatty, noisy lawnmower around.

That is some high quality grass, eh? Thanks to our yard guy, Juan. That's not a derogatory term... Hi name really is Juan. Anyway, the mouth on the front of the mower opens and closes as the wheels go around. Easton thought he would be helpful by force-feeding grass into the lawn mower's mouth.

Easton looks suspiciously like Martin Short playing Edward Mayhoff 'Ed' Grimley in this next picture.

You decide:

Whether he looks like Ed Grimley or not, he is certainly making huge leaps in his speech and balance. He hasn't yet moved fully into using sentences consistently, but he is getting his past, present, and future tenses down fairly well. "I hear choo choo coming" is his most common phrase. At least that's the one I hear most often because I'm around in the mornings as they go by.

Layla is singing frequently on her own random desires. We don't even have to ask her to sing much anymore like we used to. She just breaks out into song occasionally. Today she sang Nana's home-grown song about herself, "I love my sweetie Layla, I do I do I do..." and she sings right on key!

I did get one good picture of her in the past couple of days as we were playing super hero with Easton.

Simply drape a blanket over their shoulders and start shouting superhero slogans. Viola! playtime gets very exciting and daring.

Time to help clean the house! See you soon.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Home cooking

With the cold temps outside (awesome 72 degrees), Kendra cooked up home chili. Throw in some cheese and fritos and there you have one of my favorite meals: frito pie. Easton and Layla love it as much as I do! Welcome winter.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

The Big Fall

Greetings and welcome back!

We discovered that refrigerator magnets and children's artwork falling on the tile floor at 2:00 AM sounds suspiciously similar to an intruder. Kendra and I jolted up in bed and she started flashing Navy Seal style hand signals telling me to go find out what it was. Luckily the mess on the kitchen floor relieved my anxiety and we were back to sleep in no time. The moral of the story is: Secure the items on your refrigerator prior to bedtime or get better magnets.

Christmas is coming and I plan to ask (on behalf of the twins) for some new bath toys! Got any ideas? I'd like to hear some feedback about your child's favorite bath toy so I can have some ideas of what to ask for. Here's what we have right now:

The orange bee-hive is a button and if you pour soap with water into the chimney and push it 500 times per second, then a few bubble come out of the top. Other than that we just have Elmo and other Sesame Street characters along with a few cups.

The Big Fall

There are books written about how the human body develops through childhood and all that scientific stuff is certainly true. However, today it became crystal clear why God designed children to be soft and flexible. The reason is to account for parental neglect and stupidity. Today Easton met the sand on the playground floor in a very personal way due to gravitational forces... He fell. No need to worry though because he is just fine.

The 4 Webbs decided to take advantage of the perfect partly-cloudy day by taking a picnic lunch at the park in Aunt Mary's neighborhood. The park is laid out very well with a giant wall separating the street from the park, sand and rubberized walkways in all the right places, and jungle gym equipment that is perfect for toddlers.

Easton isn't afraid to get dirty. In addition to dumping cups of sand back into the playground repeatedly he toddled down the nearby hill and dump several cup fulls of sand on a tree. I'm not sure why he did that, but we cheered him on and congratulated him none the less.

Layla is appropriately girly. By that I mean she is a little princess when she needs to be and she's also more than happy to play in the dirt when given the chance. Although in this picture it looks like she is panning for gold.

Kendra brought an assortment of household utensils and cooking ware instead of spending $100 on special sand equipment.

As we prepared to leave, Kendra gathered up the toys and bags while I watched over Easton and Layla climbing on the playground. The twins separated and started moving towards different parts of the jungle gym as they wound their way through tunnels and up steps. I tried to monitor both, but there is nothing I could say to force them to "come" and obey like a golden retriever. They still aren't mature enough to follow a command with such specific information as, "turn around and climb back through the tunnel towards daddy".

Anyway, I stood close to Layla and thought Easton was crawling through the tunnel safely. He wasn't... He walked towards an opening in the upper section of the jungle gym and the next thing I know he's face down in the sand below crying. He took a big fall, but appears to be ok. He has scratches on his forehead and cheek, but luckily there are no other signs of trauma. Here's the visual damage report:

He is such a trooper. I felt like a complete failure having this kind of accident occur on my watch. Blame isn't a part of the equation when I look inward to understand how I feel about what happened. Maybe a little bit of shame mixed with feelings of pride, but mostly I was relieved to see he was OK. I know it is impossible to keep children in an accident-free bubble for their entire life, but I want to avoid them experiencing harm or pain due to my lack of oversight and carelessness.

Back to the fun stuff: Kendra took a few other good pics recently including this close up of Easton.

Ever since we visited my parents in Missouri where Easton and Layla were able to hide in their kitchen island cabinets, Easton loves to close himself into small spaces and play peek-a-boo. He's using the diaper box standing up long ways as a hide out.

As long as he has his stuffed animal cow making "mooooo" noises, he will be detectable to us. Sneaky little guy...

Layla uses her toy phone to call only 3 people. GG, Oma, and Opa. It's always one of those three and she doesn't get much deeper into the conversation than saying, "Hello Oma!" It

I'm looking forward to next week when Oma and Opa arrive in town for a visit. Should be interesting to see what Layla has to say after saying "hello" for the 100th time. It'll much more interactive with 3-D Oma and Opa, I'm sure. Until then we have to use what's available: Skype. When Oma and Opa sing their good-night song each night, part of the lyrics are "close your eyes, go to sleep". You can see here how Easton follows simple commands very well when they are part of a song.

Layla experienced her second round of disciplinary action today due a meltdown in public. I've heard it gets easier as time goes by, but given my limited set of data points (2), I have to disagree. She is an extraordinarily intelligent girl. When she disobeys willingly and defiantly we have to start establishing boundaries already because of how advanced she is. Some days I wish we were grandparents and didn't have to worry about the discipline part...

See you soon!

Friday, November 13, 2009

date night


Our sweet neighbor, Marsha, offered to watch the twins tonight and send us out on a date. Marsha said they did lots of playing and read 7 books before bedtime. She did a great job of taking care of our babies, i mean toddlers...

Kendra put on her goin' out clothes and looked gorgeous as always. I felt so special because she dressed up just for me on our night out as opposed to the times when she dresses up to meet out other friends. Doesn't she look amazing?

We started the evening enjoying our favorite meal: sushi.

The oddest part of the night was how spontaneous we were. As we sat eating a snow cone she received a text from her friend inviting us to meet them for coffee. We walked out the door, jumped in the car and vrooooom! off we went. With babies, that takes 10 minutes to deliberate, 10 minutes to leave the establishment, and 10 minutes to load the car. What a difference it is to only be responsible for the two of us...

On our way through the parking lot of the local mall I emphatically said to Kendra, "Hay!" and she stops in her tracks and turns to me saying, "what's wrong?" and I point to the bale of hay in some random guy's pickup.

She laughed. I'm glad she still thinks my humor is funny.

Good night.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Howdy folks,

I'm in the middle of simplifying my life so my apologies for the shorter-than-usual post. I say "simplifying" while rolling my eyes because it is borderline absurd how dependent we are on technology these days. The short answer is that I'm replacing our Blu-Ray player with a Sony PS3.

I have no interesting in gaming, but the idea of streaming video, music, and pictures from my PC to my TV is just too inviting. I'm tired of burning these forms of media onto discs and managing burned DVDs laying around everywhere. The only way to fully control (on demand) what we watch and listen to, including the ability to avoid commercials, is to stream the data wirelessly to our living room from my PC. Now we get Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Phil Wickham whenever we choose. Also, we can sit in the living room to "look... at... pictures?" to accommodate little miss Layla's desires.

The most interesting part of this picture is seeing the twins sitting like grown ups at a table. It doesn't seem possible they are big enough or old enough to do those kinds of things. Easton has the Elmo band-aid on his arm covering his pretend boo-boo. Nothing wrong with arm, he just wanted to be like Layla who has band-aids of her own. Marisue was kind enough to help herd the twins at the park Sunday as Scott and I played bocce ball.

Layla has blisters on her heels and the band-aids only stayed on for a short time. We're not sure if she simply ran so fast her shoes melted to her feet or if they are just new and need to be worn in. Either way, she milked the boo-boo for all it's worth by telling everyone she could about the pains.

Her attitude is doing much better lately. From the looks of her puffy gums and smile she appears to be teething, but that statement is never anything more than an educated guess. Look at that sweet smile!

She's transforming into a beautiful little girl right before my eyes. I see more changes in the twins each day than in my freshly fertilized yard blossoming with winter grass.

and to respond to Marisue's comment on an earlier post about photoshopping... That picture of Layla where it looks like she has no left leg is not photoshopped at all. The reason it looks like that is because she is running and her leg is just behind her. What I found is that if I want a decent picture of Layla I must pan the camera with Layla as an "action" shot otherwise she is just a blur. Kind of like those guys who capture race cars as they go by. vroooom! Go Layla.

Bye bye.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Hats and Lullabies

Oh, what a difference a year and half makes! Here's a Way Back Whensday picture for your Monday morning. Easton and Layla were only 4 months old in this picture of them swimming in the pool while wearing their sunscreen hats.

Just add 17 months and lots of yogurt and BAM! Instant toddler. Layla wouldn't give up on forcing that hat to fit. She must have been thinking, "I just KNOW this hat fit me only a short time ago... why doesn't it fit?"

Easton tried his hat on inside out. Possibly an attempt to see if wearing it that way would fit better? We have to toss those hats in the garbage soon.

We walked through the cafeteria-style line of the local Chipotle and the girls behind the counter were enthralled with Easton. One of them said, "He's so handsome, I bet he'll break a lot of girls' hearts, huh." While I appreciate the compliment, there wasn't enough time for me to explain my thoughts on Easton's future. I'm hoping to raise him as a gentleman and hopefully avoid breaking hearts of girls. However, you can't choose who (or how many) girls fall in love with you and I hope to raise an upstanding young man who girls will want to fall in love with.

Wow, that's thinking waaaayyyy down the road. Anyway, Layla is on her way to becoming an ultra-stylish doctor.

Ultra-stylish (notice the leopard print heels):

Doctor (notice the stethoscope and reaching out to hear daddy's heart):

Daddy's heart is saying, "please don't grow up, my sweet princess!" Easton, on the other hand, could very well become a race car driver. He's already got the outfit and loves cars! Now, if he can just figure out how to drive one handed so he doesn't have to remove his thumb?

My Lullabies:

I created a special song for each of the twins and I sing it for them at least once per day, usually at night when we put them to bed. I've threatened to create a video clip of me singing the songs, but just can't bring myself to put something like that on digital media.

For Layla I made up words that follow the tune of Frere Jacques:

Lovely Layla, Lovely Layla
Yes you are, you're my star
Sweetie, sweetie peanut
Daddy's little princess
Layla Rae is sweet all day

Over the past few weeks she started singing it with me and requesting it at night saying, "Layla's song? Layla's song?" The best part of the song is that no matter how wound up or playful she is, after the last line of the song she always gives a huge sigh of relaxation. As if to say, "ahhhh, I feel much better now".

Easton's song is to a tune I have no idea where it came from and goes like this:

Easton Troy
is such a good boy
Happy and healthy, smart and strong
Daddy's little helper
Mommy's little belcher
Smile, smile all day long

That second line is part of the blessing I pray over him every day. From the time before the twins were even born I declared by faith they would be happy, healthy, smart, and strong. That's not too much to ask. :) As for the "mommy's little belcher" line, that comes from when he was just a baby still spitting up after every meal. He had a knack for doing that at inopportune moments, which caused several wardrobe changes for Kendra and I over the course of those first few months of their life.

Our weekend was filled with trips to the park and shopping for necessities. We ate for free while wandering around Costco!

Of course we spent over $100 on bulk quantities of Pirates Booty and SuperFood, etc. I wouldn't exactly call that a "free" lunch...

Happy Monday to you and stop by again soon!