Friday, April 30, 2010

WWF rough housing

Hey friends and family,

Any time Easton sees or feels his blankie, it's an automatic reflex to suck his thumb and lay down as he asks me to "cover up". He has a unique quirk where he holds the corner (any corner) of the soft silk-like edging between his first two fingers as he rubs it with his thumb. very endearing...

Anyway, Layla thought it would be fun to turn it into a WWF smack down so she jumped on top of Easton from behind and giggled.

He had enough after only a few seconds and said, "Stop that, Layla! I don't like it." I'm really proud of him for expressing himself verbally instead of holding it in or hitting/biting as he did in the past. The twins are finally to the stage where they engage each other appropriately in the physical ways. They play and have fun bouncing off each other, wrestling around, and double-teaming me. They also give each other hugs and are gentle with each other moments later when the bell rings at the end of the round. Knowing when and how to interact together has taken months for the two of them to understand the other person's comfort level and style of play time.

Kendra discovered a park close to my work has new covering over the jungle gym section. It's already starting to get too hot in the mid-day sun for playing out in the open. Luckily the woodchips are big enough they don't get stuck in their shoes. However, they are small enough to get stuck in their diaper though. Talk about uncomfortable. Easton is still very fond of all things construction related so this new ride-on toy is right up his alley!

Kendra found the magic moment when both of the twins looked out of the tunnel holes at the same time. I can really see the differences and similarities when their face is the only thing visible.

Tomorrow morning is Kendra's last Saturday morning commitment for her women's meeting. That means i'll be on full-time daddy day care until the afternoon. After the long week of work I experienced away from Easton and Layla I can't wait to have some quality time of fun.

See you soon!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

single mom respect

Hi friends and family,

Did you think I forgot about the 4Webbs blog? Not hardly! I was in LA for work and Kendra was home alone with the twins for the longest stretch of days since they were born. I travel rarely, but chose to attend the work conference because of the relevance for my job.

Even though I barely had time to sleep a few hours each night because the schedule was so packed, I did manage to attend the Lakers playoff game against the OKC Thunder. The experience was amazing and I'm really happy they won the game. I've been talking about attending a Lakers game in LA for more than 10 years! Once I discovered my hotel was walking distance from the Lakers arena I knew this was my once in a lifetime opportunity to do it.

I also visited Hollywood and did the Walk of Fame. Sure was different than I expected. What a bunch of fruits and nuts walking around that place. It made for an interesting people watching experience though. The walk seemed like a mile long and lined both sides of the street. Some were familiar stars such as Chuck Norris:

I'm not an extraordinary fan of his, but you must admit he is a fist-full of awesomeness. However, many were people I either didn't recognize or couldn't believe they deserve a star. Big Bird? Come on... seriously?

While I was livin' la vida loca Kendra was home alone with the twins for days on end. Luckily our friends are awesome and made extra efforts to keep her sane with meals, friendship, and twin-sitting. Kendra said she has a new-found respect for single moms and the difficulties they face day to day. That must be very difficult and I'm sad some women have to take on that level of responsibility and stress. She and the twins did fine so it was a successful (although stressful) week for both of us.

Easton and Layla put their artistic talents in action to create a surprise for me. What skill and use of color!

and the final product (with some assistance from mommy):

Isn't that sweet and considerate? I felt special knowing they took time to create the sign for me and did it with their own loving hands.

The only tragedy while I was away is related to their pajamas. Kendra said, "since it is getting hot and I didn't want to pay $20 for new pajamas I just used scissors and cut up the old ones!"

Not exactly what I was expecting to see, but I can't fault her for saving a few bucks. I missed out on the Tuesday swim lesson. Kendra said it went very well and the twins are getting more comfortable already even though it has only been 2 lessons.

I'm relieved to be home more than anyone knows. Seeing their smiling faces at the airport was the highlight of my day. I'm back on the blogging bandwagon so come back soon!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Dear Mr. Sock Monster

Dear Mr. Sock Monster,

I don't know what you did with exactly HALF of Easton and Layla's socks, but please return them ASAP so we have the matching mate for our drawer-full of single socks.

Are you holding them for ransom? Is this some evil plot to rule the world one sock at a time? are you in cahoots with the clothes washing machine? Come on, there must be some way we can reach a compromise. I'll do almost anything to get a matching pair of socks...

Yucky Berry

Two things to point out in this picture on our way to the mailbox:

1. Easton is clutching what he calls "little Snow White". We have TWO Snow White dolls because having two of everything makes the world go 'round. Unfortunately, the two dolls are not the same in size, optional clothing, or consistency of the plastic. Also, the little one fits in his pocket... Today we had to declare a Snow White prohibition in the Webb house because he took such a liking to the little plastic doll. He simply refuses to share or depart from it under any circumstances. You'd think he found THE ring from the Lord of the Rings movie based on the way he guards it from Layla. We had to intervene... you know how it goes.

2. Layla figured out how to carry a purse. A couple of weeks ago she figured out it will stay on her shoulder if she holds her arm straight up above her head. However, this position limited her abilities and I'm sure she grew tired of holding it up in the air. She figured out how it fits neatly in the crook of her arm if she holds her forearm parallel to the ground. Way to go Layla!

I'm already preparing my response when she asks if she can have a tiny, real dog to hold in her purse.

Anyway,on our daily walk to the mailbox we pass the Yucky Berry tree. It has a name, but I don't know the formal name or the Latin derivation. Here is a close up of a marble-sized Yucky Berry.

Each time we pass I lift them up one at a time and let them pick one from the tree. Hence, the Yucky Berry tree is almost bare. I call them Yucky Berries because I want them to distinguish between the many edible berries we feed them such as strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, and blackberry. They know what the word "yucky" means from their appropriately titled book, "Yummy Yucky".

Easton's longest sentence to date comes from the daily habit. He says, "I want to pick you up for a Yucky Berry, Daddy?" That is his way of asking me to pick him up so he can pick one from the tree.

I just read there is a new Imax movie about space and I'd consider taking Easton. It is called, Imax Hubble. Unfortunately, Imax doesn't plan to show it at any theater in AZ.

Amazon diapers?

I smacked my forehead in the same way those "could have had a V-8" commercials used to show. I'm the first to suggest looking to the internet for all the answers in life and consumer purchases. However, somehow I missed the most important, costly purchase of the past two years: Diapers! My school friend on Facebook and Marisue have both recommended Amazon in the past week so there must be something to it. Even though Easton and Layla are both on the virge of potty training success, I still think it will be worthwhile to keep an eye out for coupons and specials online. There is also the added benefit the diapers are shipped directly to our house.

Babies R' Us = .24
Amazon = .24 = .26

Not too much difference, but if coupons are involved it could make it more cost efficient to buy online. Anyone else have different experiences?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

stay away

Hey friends and family,

The independence bug Layla caught many months finally passed on to Easton. Today at the park as the twins climbed up the two-rung ladder I stood close by. Layla did fine on her own and I had no intention of intervening or assisting. Then it was Easton's turn and as he started his ascent he let go of one hand and waved me off saying, "Stay away, daddy. I do it." He wasn't disrespectful about it, but rather matter of fact. He made it clear my services of assistance were no longer needed and he's got it. Other than asking him to say, "please" when making requests I was proud of him for the display of self-confidence. Hooray for Easton!

Kendra's play dates for the past couple of days went well from what Kendra says. I wouldn't know because I have this thing called "work" which keeps getting in the way of play time. :) Thank God for a job... I'm not complaining.

Who is the toddler with his face in the stream of water from the hose??? Easton, of course.

And this is what life would be like if we had sextuplets (I can't even imagine):

Easton and Layla started a 6 week program of swim lessons. They had an excellent first day. The teachers pointed out their good motor and listening skills. Kendra says the facility is great. You can also see in this picture Easton is already making friends with the other child participating with the twins. 3 kids for 2 teachers. that's a good ratio for the cost from what i've heard.

Easton was as fearless as Layla. Our main concern was making sure Easton would agree to the terms, which are: mommy stays in an adjacent room with a one-way mirror and the teachers are the ones interacting with Easton and Layla. As you can tell by his smile, he had a blast learning the basics.

Back at home we are in the midst of intense potty training. The temperature in the house and outside is warm enough they can run around without pants for the quick trip to sit on the potty. Looks like we're getting about one successful try per day for each of them.

The sticker boards are getting filled with princess and Thomas the Train stickers!

Layla is misusing the slide now. she climbs up the steps and LEAPS off the front without ever touching the slide part.

She lands on her feet and does a great job of balancing. We are cautious because we want to make sure she doesn't get hurt and also because Easton is starting to do his best to keep up with sister at any cost!

Kendra fell down a flight of stairs today, but says she didn't sustain any injuries at all. Apparently she just slipped and tumbled down the steps as Easton and Layla watched her roll. She didn't freak out or get hurt so the twins took her response as their own, luckily. I was relieved to hear she is OK and she's heading to the doctor tomorrow just to make sure everything is still in place. Keep her in your prayers for safe keeping and a good report!

We are both wiped out physically and mentally so we are planning to set a new record in the Casa de Webb for the earliest sleep time in history.

Good night and I'll see you soon!

Monday, April 19, 2010

sleepy ducks and fireman

Good morning friends and family,

We're always open to new methods of teaching and learning here at the Webb house. Just for fun we borrowed the Baby Signing Time video series. It is definitely NOT worth $100, but the videos hold their attention. It is probably better for the twins than watching Toy Story 2 for 15th time, but Kendra questions the value of learning sign language because of their advanced vocabulary in speaking. I think it's good to learn sign language as a 3rd language behind Spanish as their 2nd, but maybe my hopes for them are too high? The lady who sings on the videos is blatantly cheery, but has a pleasant enough voice so as not to annoy the parents. Although I will admit the repetition is so... repetitive... I end up humming the lame tunes as I walk down the hall at work.

Anyhow, I have a lot to cover so let's get right to the adventures! When I have more than an hour block of time with the twins my first reaction is to take them to a park. There are several of them within 10 minutes of our house and the weather is still perfect and sunny for another 2-3 weeks. It's the last hoorah before summer hibernation so we're wearing a path between our house and the parks. I've learned my lesson enough times to know how to pack for our outings. snacks, drinks, sneakers, and Layla's purse. She dramatically asks to take her purse with her every time we leave the house. Even when we are going to the mailbox! We went to the park and took a break from the slides for snack time.

Then we fed the bread to the ducks. I found out the hard way it is best to do the snacks THEN the duck feeding otherwise the twins eat the stale duck bread. That little tip is free. You're welcome. Once the ducks were fed they decided to take a nap next to our picnic table. I asked Layla and Easton to sing them a song. Layla quickly jumped into singing Oma and Opa’s goodnight song:

Go to sleep
close your eyes
little baby ducks

then her goldfish cracker fell to the ground and she lost focus. It happens... She has such a sweet voice though. I'm excited because she finally has enough confidence to sing harmony as I sing melody. Nursery rhyme duets with Layla is a little piece of heaven on Earth for me.

For some unknown reason Easton and Layla pretend they are babies. Sometimes they will just crawl around laughing, but occasionally they will want to be cuddled like babies. They bring me a blanket and I wrap them up tight. We rock back and forth as they pretend to cry like a baby. Layla asks for a bottle so I hold the sippy cup like I’m feeding. I don’t get why that is funny for them, but I play along to indulge in their imagination.

Easton still sucks his thumb like this so he knows it is what babies do... maybe he'll figure out he isn't a baby anymore and will stop sucking his thumb. I can wish, can't I?

I dug back into the archive to find a similar picture from when the twins were a few weeks old. It is hard to imagine Easton was such a tiny bundle of joy just 2 years ago.

OK, enough reminiscing. On to the other adventures. Play time in our front yard turned into a water hose free for all. Life is simple for a 2 year old. Just give him a water hose and watch as he expresses pure joy.

If he actually does become a fireman, i'll keep this next picture handy because Easton looks like a natural when it comes to spraying water from the hose.

This next picture shows what happens when Layla asked to have a bite of my snow cone and I nonchalantly said, "yes"! She came across the table and buried her face in it like a shark attack.

And this is what happens when Easton is given a cracker with cream cheese. It produces the cutest dimples in the world.

At some point he'll grow out of the overall stage, but for now it is cute and endearing.

I'll save the Mommy and me pictures for the next post because it's late. Besides, I need some time to hear the stories from Kendra to go along with the great pictures Shannon took.

See you soon!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

zoo and parks

Hey friends and family,

The 4 Webbs took a trip to the zoo and the animals were out in full force. We even ventured into the monkey cage with the twins where the zoo allows people to walk along a path infested with small, disgruntled monkeys climbing around. That was my favorite part.

Easton's favorite part was the orangutan construction site where huge tractors and dump trucks rolled by. However, the twins were a little frightened by the jack hammering noises.

It's rare to see their "concerned" face, but we did our best to comfort them. I think Kendra's favorite animals are the rhinoceroses. We were lucky enough to catch them out milling around instead of their usual hidden watering hole in the back.

Layla tried on my cowboy hat on the way home and although the side-ways look isn't the intended position to wear a hat like that, it still turned out to be very cute of Layla.

This next picture is humorous to me because Easton looks so sweet and bashful, but Layla looks like a mafia gangster trying to intimidate a foe. In reality the camera just caught her unappealing facial expression as she munched away at Nilla wafers. Terrible picture of Layla, but an awesome picture of Easton... Oh well, we take the good with the bad.

Thanks, Tam, for the Jamba Juice coupon email! I took them straight away to gulp down the citrus passion with immunity boost. Now, if I can just figure out how to keep them from poking a hole in the bottom of the cup with their straw? (messy, messy)

I asked Easton and Layla which park they wanted to see and I heard an overwhelming, "dog park!" from the back seat. They like playing there for many reasons. The sand is fine enough they can walk in it without shoes.

Surprisingly, both of the twins like the feeling of sand, but aren't much for grass between their toes.

Layla climbed the 8 foot tall rock wall all by herself. She's a natural born rock climber! I know my comments are sarcastic or exaggerations sometimes, but i'm serious on this one. Layla scaled the rock wall with zero assistance from me. Even the other neighborhood mom with a 2 year old of her own was impressed enough to comment on her accomplishment.

The jungle gym equipment here is much higher than other parks, but that makes for long, fast slides. The only thing that could take Easton's attention away from the super long twisty slide is a low-flying helicopter. They both stopped at the top of the steps and sat down to watch it fly over.

It's Saturday night and since Kendra went out dancing with her girlfriends we decided to do some dancing of our own at home.

Eat your heart out, John Travolta! Easton has the REAL Saturday night fever moves.

And of course, Ballerina Layla had her time to twirl with the symphony music.

We know how to do Saturday nights at the Webb house...

See you soon!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

summer shift

Hi friends and family,

The Arizona sun is heating us up to the point where outdoor activities with the twins are scheduled before 10 AM or after 4 PM. Well, the water table is still a viable option during the heat of the day, but we lather up the twins with SPF 250 sunscreen. Did you know they have sunscreen in the form of a small stick of deodorant? I never cease to be amazed by the ingenuity when it comes to parenting gear.

Easton and Layla start swim lessons in 2 weeks, but until then the only way they keep cool is throwing cups of water on each other. You might notice he has RED crocs now instead of borrowing Layla's pink extras. (ahem, Marisue) I'm proud to take on the title of "Inspector Craigslist". Go Go Craigslist shopper! We drove to the adjacent neighborhood, I rang the doorbell, handed the guy a $5 bill and he handed me the Crocs. Wow, that was easy and I guarantee Easton didn't care where they came from.

Arrrrrrgh! Not on Mommy and Daddy. Layla was one step away from dousing us with a cup for each parent. She's modeling the new line of Minnie Mouse swimwear.

Special thanks to Coleen for referring me to where they stole my idea of backwards pajamas. OK, maybe they didn't steal my idea, but they beat me to patent and market it. The homepage says, "Sleepwear that stays put!"

I knew I wasn't the first parent to wrestle with the issue of a crafty toddler who removes pajamas, but I wasn't sure if the idea had already been marketed. I notice they have a Trade Mark next to their slogan so I imagine it's an idea not worth pursuing. So instead of going on Oprah with my million dollar idea and making... a million dollars... I'll pursue buying a set of PJs for Layla (when they are back in stock) and concede the business idea. Their website is super slow and the design is hokey, but don't pay attention to my disparaging comment because it is rooted in jealously.

I'm excited for tomorrow because it is the start of the weekend and we are heading to the zoo for some family time.

See you soon!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

another dimension

Right now sitting behind me are two toddlers playing separately and quietly. The odd experience is causing me to question if I woke up this morning and entered the twilight zone. If this really is happening and I'm not dreaming or in another dimension then it means the 4 Webbs are moving into a whole new era of parent-child interaction. Or maybe I should say, "self-sufficiency"? Whatever words are used to describe the moment it is sensational.

For the past 26 months one or both of us have been physically, actively involved with Easton and Layla every second of their waking day. Over the past few months I've lightened up and let them wonder into other rooms in the house for a few minutes alone to explore, but ALL parents know the "It's TOO quiet" sinking feeling. It prompts me to go see what mischief they are into, which usually results in maneuvering them back into the play room.


After writing the two paragraphs above Easton attempted to take Layla's Snow White doll. She screamed, Easton cried, and both ended up in time-out. Oh well... it was blissful while it lasted.

(a day goes by)

Lesson learned: Get TWO of EVERYTHING when you're dealing with twins! The short story is: Now we have TWO Snow White dolls in the house and peace has spread throughout the kingdom. The birds are chirping, Layla is singing, "I'm wishing, I'm wishing, for the one I love" and Easton is pretending to sleep on the 7 dwarf's bed.

With that story in mind, I believe we are now at DefCon 4 on the "mine" stage and sharing opportunities. As with most battles, you win some and you lose some. The main goal is to keep on trying! We strive to be consistent and unified in our boundaries and discipline. We can tell their little brains are soaking it in.

Firstly, Easton and Layla DO share, especially when they have multiple items and it's not the last one. Exhibit A:

Notice he has one Buzz Lightyear (who he is unwilling to give away), but gladly feeds Layla some craisins because there are plenty of them.

As he was doing this he said something about "just like at the zoo", which I can interpret as he was comparing feeding Layla to feeding the giraffe at the zoo. He is comprehends the compare and contrast concept well!

We have TWO buses, but Layla thought it would be fun to chase Easton as he ran around the cul de sac. These are some older pictures from Oma and Opa's visit.

Last week I took the twins to the store and bought roses for Mommy. We surprised her with them and she loved it. Ever since then when we go to the green belt and play, Easton and Layla pick flowers and give them to me.

Isn't that sweet? It is moments like these when I realize our efforts to role model sharing and giving are working!

Layla's not afraid to get filthy dirty especially when it comes to sidewalk art and drawing. Certainly makes for value-added bath time though. They are really getting their money's worth!

I'm not sure what it is about this picture that warms my heart, but I do like it. Maybe it's Opa "coach" posture even when he's sitting on the bench and how he's keeping a watchful eye on Easton without being overbearing.

Layla is absolutely a daddy's girl. I don't think i'll ever outgrow the special feeling of her voluntarily giving me hugs.

We took advantage of Oma and Opa being in town. The first evening here we made plans with our friends for a date night and said, "bye bye"!

Knowing the twins are in Oma and Opa's capable hands means our nights out are 10 times more relaxing and enjoyable.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The twins club

Hey friends and family,

We are good friends with the Douglas' who also have twins. Their support and relationship has meant so much to the 4 Webbs because they can truly understand the unique situations encountered while parenting twins. And we also are friends with Scott and Marisue who don't have kids of their own, but treat Easton and Layla as if they were. I'm happy to announce Scott and Marisue are expecting! That news itself is wonderful, but the bigger more exciting blessing is: They are expecting TWINS!

Kendra and I believe they have been a part of our lives as close friends, but apparently God also allowed our paths to cross so they could get a front row seat to what life is like with twins as a preparation for their own path.

This is a repost of Kendra and the twins with Scott and Marisue from November 2008.

How about that for an odd bit of foreshadowing? Congratulations to Scott and Marisue. I think the due date is October/September timeframe. Welcome to the club!

While I'm taking a trip down memory lane allow me to share a picture from just 7 months ago

Easton has grown up since then, but Layla looks dramatically older partly due to her hair finally growing in. Same coffee table, same kids, just add 9 months and presto! They are happy toddlers instead of little babies.

Yes, Layla still has her pacifier at night and her pajamas are on backwards. The time has come to say good bye to the pacifier so starting this coming week we will begin (slowly) whittling away the pacifier one snip at a time. Today for nap time she wore normal top and bottom pajamas with great results. She still had her clothes on after nap time, so that is a resounding success.

Easton still sucks his thumb... Not much we can do about that, but there may come a day when we have to intervene and stop the thumb sucking.

We gave him a Spiderman hat:

and he started climbing the walls.

We gave him the Buzz Lightyear hat:

and started going wheelies around the house on his bus.

I wonder if we give him the tiger hat from the zoo if he will become a world famous pro golfer? That may be stretching it... Either way, Layla is rubbing off on him as he becomes more daring and brave. He used to have not interest in keeping up with Layla, but lately he's following her more often. That's also because she bosses him around and says, "Easton, follow me!" with the appropriate hand gestures.

Speaking of following, Layla is quite the athlete just like Kendra. I took the twins to spectate during Mommy's pre-game warm up and the twins ended up kicking the ball around like semi-pros as the audience of Kendra's teammates cheered them.

and to wrap up the story, here's a picture from earlier that day where Layla put on Kendra's hat. Layla just uses hats as "accessories" instead of superhero powers like Easton.

My lovely Layla is the very definition of adorable.

After church this morning we went to yet another new park. It is just on the verge of being too hot to be in the mid-day sun so we are soaking up the last bits of spring before going into our summer hibernation. We rarely encounter water fountains and even when they are within sight Kendra is prepared enough with our sippy cups the water fountains are unnecessary.

Just for fun I wanted to let the twins sip from it because right now in their lives it is all about having experiences and broadening their horizons. Easton giggled and slurped and choked as the water went all over his face.

Layla was so overheated from running around the park at full speed she was refreshed by the water pouring over her face.

The coolest thing about the new park was the real-life excavator equipment. The two-handed boom and bucket were operational and Easton had a blast scooping up the sand and dumping it out by the bucket loads.

We can always tell he is excited when he tucks his bottom lip under his teeth. Things only a parent would notice. :)

This coming week includes two more soccer games for Kendra and a whole new set of adventures with Easton and Layla.

See you soon!