Sunday, August 29, 2010

Double Rainbow

Hi friends and family,

The interesting part about my taking a 2 hour nap is how I go to bed 4 hours later than normal that night. Counter-productive, don't you think? I'm just thankful Easton and Layla took their nap so I could join them.

The 4 Webbs are almost back to healthy, but Kendra and Layla are still suffering with a runny nose while Easton has a slight fever and a froggy voice. Thankfully, I'm still healthy and able to help out. Tomorrow morning I will head out for work and wish Kendra the best of luck with taking care of twins all day.

The weekend was difficult mostly due to dealing with the viral bug manifesting itself in shorter-than-normal tempers and crankiness. Other than that I consider it a success. Kendra and I had a list of 20 things to get done. Now that the weekend is over we have the same 20 things on our list plus a few more. My goal is always to shorten the list on the weekend, but as you know sometimes plans don't work the way we expect.

Double rainbow means double blessing
On the happy side of things we experienced a double rainbow after a huge thunderstorm rolled through the valley. When the twins awoke from their nap I rushed them through snack time and out the door to potentially play in the rain. We missed the rain, but made it in time for the great show in the sky (rainbows) and puddles.

You can barely see the second, outer rainbow in this picture, but it was much more profound in real-life.

The house in the picture is our "old" house where Kendra got pregnant and we just found out the new owners are expecting twin girls! Must be something in the water? We will give them some toys and gifts because we know better than anyone what they are going through right now.

I only captured one rainbow in this next picture, but both Easton and Layla so the most important elements exist.

The event was so unique and interesting that all of our neighbors came out to see and hear it. I mean every single neighbor in our court, too... As we were busy talking to everyone Easton and Layla were literally running through the streets. Kendra was a little unhappy when they started splashing in the puddles, but I convinced her to let them continue. We are a great parenting team because we provide balance for each other.

As a consequence of my allowance for Easton and Layla to run wild for a few minutes, Easton fell flat on the pavement a few times because he was running faster than his feet would carry him. The black smudges on his nose and knees are pavement!

He never cried or even stopped his play time to acknowledge the scratches. Besides, one bath later and he was as good as new! On a side note... I think Easton looks so much like his cousin Silas it's scary. My camera will be on full alert while we are in Missouri next month so I can get some pictures with the two of them together.

Ice Cream Cones
Kendra bought a box of ice cream cones and placed them at eye-level for Easton and Layla in the pantry. The twins have ice cream cone memories from last month at their cousin's birthday party so they knew exactly what the cones were for. Then Kendra bought ice cream and we were entertained by watching them attempt to eat it. Layla thought she was super messy with her white moustache

But Easton took home the trophy that day for messiest eater.

What I'm working on
My next project related to the blog is for Easton. I'm cataloging (sifting through) 15,000+ pictures from the past 30 months to find every one with Easton's face. Then I'll crop each one down to just his face and do a time-lapse morph to see the changes and progress.

I have no idea if it will even work, but it seems really cool when I imagine how it will look. I'm still missing the right song to match with it, but have a few ideas. I've already started working on the project, but this will probably take about 3 months to do it right. Nothing wrong with trying though so we'll see how it goes!

As a final bit of humor, here is a video clip showing a typical dinner at Oma and Opa's house. They are so involved with Eastona and Layla when we get together. We had as much fun watching the twins as they did participating.

Happy Monday to you all and I'll see you soon.

Friday, August 27, 2010

flowers for Layla

Howdy friends and family,

Out of 4 Webbs, I am the only one without a snotty nose and fever. Well, that's not entirely true... I still blow my nose, but the cause is from allergies as opposed to the other three Webb's who are working their way through a cold. It seemed to be an inevitability after I saw Kendra share lunch with Layla and Easton drink from her cup. Still, I had some hope they would dodge the bullet. No such luck.

The clouds kept the temperatures down below the "insane" level yesterday. To celebrate the relative coolness I took the twins to the mailbox for our repetitious trip through the green belt. We did all of the usual stunts such as avoiding ants and peeking over the neighborhood wall to see the train tracks. We also picked flowers (Layla) and shoveled rocks (Easton).

I stayed home from work today and spent hours of quality time with the twins. I was faced with two options. Stay at home and try to keep them busy with puzzles and books or get outside and enjoy the overcast less-than-scorching heat. I decided to do both. Even though they are not feeling well I could tell they would benefit from getting out of the house.

Last week Layla saw I bought a tiny rose bush for Kendra. Knowing Layla wasn't feeling well I stopped by the same grocery store last night and bought a potted flower for Layla.

This morning when we gathered around the kitchen island for breakfast I made a big deal out of it for two reasons:

1. I want Layla to know she is lovely and worthy to feel special. Mommy is first, but Layla is second and I hope she learns how to be treated by my example.

2. Easton. Do you see his inquisitive facial expression? That's the face of a boy who is learning how to treat girls. The scary part is that he is learning from ME and he's learning every second of the day when I interact with Kendra and Layla. If all goes well he will replace his propensity to bite with a desire to give flowers.

We started off the day at the duck park with a few pieces of bread. A duck became a little over-zealous with Layla's generosity and accidently bit her finger. Even though it was a minor incident with nothing more to show for it than a little scare and a few tears (My finger was bit once also) Easton brought it up throughout the day because he felt so bad for her.

Then we went to Best Buy because I have some gift certificates from work. Occasionally I get awards from people at work when I spend several hours fixing other people's problems. I save those up and when something at Best Buy catches my eye then I redeem my gift cards. Easton and Layla outgrew their puppy leashes a long time ago, but they still have not figured out how to obey and stay close by my side. Instead they wander off down the aisle touching every box and shelf along the way. I hope that changes soon...

As we stopped by my doctor's office it was pouring rain outside. Easton and Layla were amazed by the rain and it took some convincing to get them out of the rain and into the car because they were having so much fun.

After that we came home for lunch and then all 4 Webbs were down for a nap (cheers and clapping).

Once they were finished playing ring-around-the-rosy for the 25th time it was my turn to cook dinner since Kendra was gone most of the day. By "cook" dinner, I mean we went to In-N-Out burger, of course.

I caught Easton with a mouth full of fries. It's not his best glamorous picture, but at least he's looking at the camera!

We ended up at Bahama Bucks for a snow cone. I could lie and say we went there because the coldness would feel good for their feverish temperatures. Instead I'll be truthful and say we went there because it burned an hour and I really wanted a treat. It worked out very well and we had an excellent day together.

Tomorrow Kendra has a full day planned with girls and mentoring so I'll have another chance to spend serious quality time playing with and caring for Easton and Layla. I sure hope their fever breaks so they don't have to suffer through that pain any more.

Say a prayer for my babies (including Kendra).

See you soon!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

on your mark

Hi Friends and family,

Easton and Layla are blessed with health more than any other toddlers I've ever heard of. At the risk of jinxing the 4 Webbs... Easton and Layla have been sick so few times that I can count them on one hand. We've never been to the emergency room (other than the one time Easton's fever was high and I was paranoid). Yes, I know there will be sickness occasionally and eventually we may have to take an unplanned trip to the hospital. However, I count it as an extreme success for us to have twin two-and-a-half year olds and very few snotty noses or incidents.

I am reiterating the sickness frequency details because many of my friend's children are sick every other day and sometimes for weeks at a time. I know there are many other variables in play such as day care vs. stay at home and individual differences in heredity, etc. That being said, Layla has a fever and a runny nose including frequent snot bubbles, infrequent outbursts of crankiness, and trouble breathing while she sleeps.

I feel so bad for my beautiful princess... My heart also goes out to Kendra who spent the entire 12-hour awake time today keeping up with the overly needy Layla.

When I was home for a couple of hours in the afternoon I did my best to keep them occupied and wear down their batteries. One of my strategies was to let them race back and forth across the length of our house pushing the dump trucks. From the front door...

to the back door.

and repeat about 18 times. They finally understand the timing of, "On your mark, get set, GO!", which makes it much more exciting for me as well. They race across the house giggling and barely make it to the other end without falling over sideways from laughing so much. As you can see Easton is all smiles, but Layla is a little off her game.

We have a huge weekend planned so it should be extra interesting if we need to care for Layla's fever by shuffling around our schedules.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Weeee, bump, splash

Hey friends and family,

The summer doldrums continue here in AZ with night time lows around 86. Our pool turns into the largest bath tub you've ever seen. Even with no ability to play outside we still closely monitor the TV for Easton and Layla through the summer months both in quantity and content. We recently introduced "The Incredibles" to them with great success. Maybe too much success because Easton has taken on the identity of Dash. We visited the Cole's for an afternoon of poolside play time and Easton ran around the house pretending to be Dash. He finally got the concept of "fast".

Especially the part of the movie where Dash runs across the water. The twins laugh hysterically at that section titled, "100 mile Dash".

The momentum carried over into other areas of life for Easton. He flipped a switch somewhere and became more of a risk taker. I drove alone with the twins to the public pool last night to enjoy an evening swim in a more social environment. Unfortunately it was closed to the public. We saved $3.25 by swimming in our own backyard and I improvised to add some new excitement by moving the slide from the living room to pool-side.

Easton amazed me by going first on the slide because I thought Layla would be the trail blazer. And as another shocking moment he eventually asked me to move out of the way and go sit on the steps so he could go down the slide all by himself.

Layla practically jumped off the top of the slide into the pool and after a few times down she turned over on her stomach and went face-first into the pool.

Kendra took them out again today and said their level of daredevil activity is increasing. I'm all for risk-taking as long as it is safe... As an example, here's how we exemplify safety. oversized car seat, 5-point harness seat belt, sun glasses, and doused in sun screen.

Each night the twins request a story from me and they provide the major elements as we get closer to bed time. Each day the expected list of content gets bigger and bigger. Here is what my story last night had to include:

Ariel the mermaid
a BIIIIG dragon
a dinosaur
a castle
a basement
a flashlight
a sword fight
and a pond

By the end of this year my story will be long enough to make a feature length movie at this rate.

Yesterday evening I came home from work to find the usual controlled chaos. Easton and Layla were both talking 100mph telling me about their day. Layla said she wanted to show me her Halloween costume and Kendra agreed to give me a preview. Layla put on her official Cinderella dress and came into the room beaming. I matched my response with her level of enthusiasm.

Then she said, "Daddy, would you like to dance with me?" Her sweet request caught me so off guard I had to quickly recover and say, "yes, I would LOVE to dance with you!" She requested ballerina music (the symphonic radio station on Satellite TV) and we danced in the living room. Even Easton jumped in on the moment and voluntarily told Layla she was beautiful while giving her a hug.

The scene I just described is the polar opposite of the double technical foul for biting just two days earlier. Such is life with twins and the ups and downs of parenting!

See you soon.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

back in action

Hey friends and family,

I want to send out a big thank you to Oma for mailing my camera battery and charger. For someone who is used to taking pictures every day and blogging almost every other day I was going through withdraws. Luckily Layla's camera battery held out log enough to capture a few moments.

Our weekend is swell so far with only a minor mishap resulting in a double technical foul on Easton and Layla for biting each other. I just can't figure out what it will take to stop them from biting... All of the discipline we've dealt out in copious amounts is obviously failing. Maybe we just need time. I hope.

The rest of the days are spent as best friends even in close quarters stuffed into a box full of balls.

Kendra and I went on spring cleaning rampage so the box in the picture above is going bye-bye. I finally unpacked my suitcase (mostly). Kendra gave me a direct order on the day we arrived home. She said I must have it unpacked within a week. Call me Mr. Procrastinator, huh.

My only excuse for belaboring the suitcase issue is that I spent my free time hanging out with the twins. They are in transition between the high chairs and their kid-sized table.

They are still relegated to the high chair for meals though. Especially really messy ones like spaghetti. Kendra is getting the itch to have family meals together at a real table instead of our kitchen island. She's also planning big changes in the kids sleeping situation. We may buy the conversion kits for their cribs to turn them into toddler beds or we may get a trundle bed. I'm not sure what prompted Kendra's recent desire to get the kids into bigger beds, but I trust her judgment on timing. If it were up to me I would not transition them until their feet were sticking out of the end of the crib.

Part of my (incorrect) reasoning is that Easton has always slept with his head smashed up against the bumper of his crib even though he has plenty of unused bed space at the other end.

Nap times at the Casa de Webb haven't been smooth at all. They either take no nap or a very late nap after bouncing around in their crib for an hour. Here is what I walked into today:

We're rethinking our strategy because waking them up for dinner after a short, late nap is not fun. Although I took a nap at the same time as them today so there is one advantage. Easton and I woke up slowly together as we were sitting dazed on the couch.

By the way, Layla took that picture of us. She finally figured out how to point the camera at people and hold the button down. I expect we will get more pictures of people now and less pictures of the carpet from her camera.

She also had a laugh-out-loud time taking pictures of Kendra cooking in the kitchen. Of course, Kendra is fun enough to play along and make silly faces.

The only blog-worthy picture Layla took of me is this one.

The rest of mine look ridiculous and I don't want pictures of me with my finger up my nose appearing on facebook.

Here's the fort, I mean castle, I built for the twins. I gave them flashlights and you would think we transported them to another planet based on their imaginative scenarios and stories.

Kendra cut Layla's hair a few days ago. There were no pictures of the event, only a side story the day after it happened. That was the first official hair cut for Layla... ever. It took her 30 months to grow hair long enough to warrant a hair cut! We'll have to put that in a personal journal somewhere for Layla so her expectations of her own daughter are set correctly.

Playing hide-and-seek is becoming part of the daily routine. The funniest part of this video clip is when I pretend to be stuck as I'm counting to 10. They pipe up to tell me 7 comes after 6 and completely blow their covert hiding place under the blanket.

See you soon!

Friday, August 20, 2010

spending fast

Hi friends and family,

The 4 Webbs are 1 week into our month-long spending fast. We haven't spent a single dollar on unnecessary basics like groceries and gas and bills. Guess what? We're still alive and doing fine! You never really know what you're capable of until some changes are made and a little pressure is applied.

We don't have a desperate need for money so no need to get your Paypal account ready for a donation. Quite the opposite, in fact. This is just a type of shocking the system so we can see how efficiently the 4 Webbs can live. We are finding ways to spend less for two reasons:

1. So we can give more. There are a lot of needs in the world and We're not going to let the government give our money away to whomever they want. It's a sad day when the government has to step in and force us as a nation to be generous in our giving.

2. So we can prepare for buying a house sometime in the far, far distant future. Eventually we will get another house and we want our expenses and lifestyle to be in line with our priorities.

Sounds fairly simple as a concept, but I'm interested to hear about others who have voluntarily chosen to spend zero discretionary money for some length of time.

I'm finding that personally I have become more creative. Instead of buying new toys for Easton and Layla I put a blanket over some chairs in the living room to build a fort. We had a blast playing hide and seek, chasing dinosaurs, and imagining it as a castle we live in. It's been years, if not decades, since I've had to be imaginative in a child-like setting.

As a side note, Easton is getting so big I'm starting to have difficulty lifting him out of his deep crib. My sore back is not only attributed to getting old, but he is noticeably heavier and taller every single week.

I weighed them for fun on the scale because Layla stepped on it for fun. Easton is 27 lbs. and Layla is 26 lbs. I have no idea what that means for the average or percentile so don't ask. It seems weird now not to have all those details because Kendra was being measured and tested every single week during the last few weeks of her pregnancy. I knew that would not continue for the rest of Easton and Layla's lives after birth, but I also didn't expect only an annual checkup and that's it. I'm not complaining though because both of them are extremely healthy and that is a such a huge blessing.

Tonight before bed time I did my normal routine. Part of that routine is to get on my knees, open my arms and say to each of the twins, "I need a hug and a kiss". Almost every time they will run up to me and give me a big squeeze and pursed-lips kiss. When Layla gave me my hug and kiss she put her hand on my face and said, "your beard is rough. you need to shave." and then without missing a beat she put her other hand in my curly, matted hair and said, "and you need a haircut also." She is right on both accounts, but I was blown away by her forthright honesty.

When Easton gave me a hug he said, "Can I touch your belly button?" Thanks, uncle Casey... :) When we were visiting NorCal he would let Easton and Layla touch his belly button and push it like the Pillsbury Dough Boy. He would make a Homer Simpson-like noise, "Doh!" and the twins would laugh and laugh. He obviously missed uncle Casey and wanted to relive the hilarious moments from when we spent time with him earlier this month.

I'm looking forward to seeing my camera battery in the mail tomorrow. Hooray for pictures!

See you soon!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The big question

Hi friends and family,

I'm just an average guy who started with no clue about parenting. Kendra's learning curve was much shorter than mine because she baby sat on and off for 15 years, was a live-in nanny, worked at a daycare, and was a nanny for a set of new-born twins. If you ever wonder why I don't worry about situations it's because I have an expert sleeping next to me every night.

I can count on one hand the number of times I held a baby before Kendra brought Easton and Layla into my world. Even though I was a complete rookie, there were a few key milestones I anticipated from the day they were born.

For example, the day the twins quit spitting up on my shoulder after every meal. I knew that day would come and let me tell how gloriously relieved I felt when it arrived. Of course there was also the magical days they crawled, walked, talked, etc.

Several weeks ago Easton and Layla finally responded correctly when I asked them, "why?" for various situations. Their response started with the word "because" and from that point on they have become more proficient at responding to my why questions.

Today was another milestone which I've been anticipating since the day they were born. I know of this milestone because many other parents have made comments about their own children during the course of my life.

Layla asked me, "why?"

That may not sound like a big deal, but looking towards the future I know full-well exactly how profound this is. The first day of the rest of my life. Easton and Layla will ask me, "why?" thousands of times over the next few years. I've been practicing my response of, "because I said so". Just kidding about that last part. The truth is I can't wait to teach them and I'm extremely hyped to begin answering their why questions. They may not fully understand my answers and they may not like my response. Even so, Layla asking me why is an invitation for Kendra and I to become teachers and step into that role.

They learned to follow directions several months ago, but blindly following orders is no more spectacular than a dog responding to commands. The real human side of their development is the self-awareness and asking the why question.

Our parent-child relationship just got a whole lot more interesting.

See you soon!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

From the phone

Hi friends and family,

The battery in Layla's camera died so I'm down to using the camera on my iphone as my primary way of capturing moments. I despise the camera on the iphone because there is no flash and quality is terrible. Even so, I'm working with what I have and doing so with a happy heart!

I dumped the pictures from my iphone and realized there are some real jewels on here from the past couple of months. These pictures and stories will be in reverse chronological order so if your a stickler for chronology then start at the bottom and work your way up.

The only picture I took during the grueling 13 hour drive home through the night was this single picture after dinner.

We stopped at the In-N-Out burger for some quality food we can trust and because they have outside tables to enjoy the cool California evening. Fortunately for Easton there was a massive parking lot construction going on. In the middle of the lot was a huge dirt mound with a tractor parked right on top. We got in a little exercise by walking the perimeter of the parking lot to wear them out.

They didn't go to sleep until around 9:45 PM. I had to hold my tongue after showing the twins, "Kung Fu Panda" because I really wanted to teach Easton to say, "I love kung FUUUUUUUUU!" with the same level of excitement as the movie. Also, "there is no charge for awesomeness or attractiveness". If I could get him to rattle that line off at the appropriate time he could be a super star socialite. It doesn't take much at age 2.

Close to the end of our trip to NorCal Kendra brought the twins to my work for lunch. It really made my day to see them mid-day and take them on a tour of the building (including the elevator).

Layla's pig tails were a big hit as she bobbed her way through the cafeteria. Both of them did really well considering very few kids ever hang out on site during the course of a normal work day.

Their cousin's birthday party included a huge pool for swimming and an entire table of cakes and ice cream. Easton had chocolate from head to toe by the time his cone was finished.

They both must have experienced the biggest sugar rush of their short lives thus far because of the amount of candy and cake and ice cream consumed over the course of such a short few hours.

Almost every evening included walking the bike path and I took a few shots of the twins wondering along the pavement up and down the hills.

For some reason Easton decided to walk backwards. Not for a few steps, but probably 100 yards or so. It took him forever to cross the bridge, but I was proud of him for being that brave and coordinated.

On one particularly hot day they asked to take a rest on the lone park bench in the middle of nowhere. lucky for them!

There are occasions where we show up early to events or get togethers and we have to figure out how to kill some time. One such occasion was the trip out for sushi with the Del Rio's. We pulled up in the parking lot and looked around for some place to hang out. Play it Again Sports? Sure! why not... So we did a lap inside the store repeating the phrase, "Don't touch that". Kendra said it so much Easton must have thought we changed his nickname to, Don't touch that Webb. They stopped long enough to be silly with construction cones on their head.

Unfortunately the speed of the iphone camera is about 10 seconds too slow to capture both of them looking at the lens.

Kendra and I had an extra special evening out with Neill and Jenny for dinner and a tour of old town. They are such great people and we can't wait for them to spend a week with us next month! Here is Kendra with them down by the river where the ancient indians literally wore holes in the granite rock where they ground their meals each day.

Can you believe the size of the BEETLES in NorCal? That honking huge key as a comparison is the monstrous key to my Pilot. Luckily the beetle was upside down kicking its legs otherwise it might have carried Easton away on its back.

This disturbing picture if from our trip to San Luis Obispo when we visiting down town and Logan showed us Bubble Gum Alley. Look closely on the wall behind and you'll see there are hundreds of thousands of pieces of bubble gum stuck to the wall.

Bubble Gum Alley has it's own Facebook page and also is listed as a destination point on You can see it even more clearly in this picture of Kendra and Logan. I wouldn't say it was a highlight of the trip, but walking down through the corridor of gum was certainly a cool experience.

And here is one last picture of Layla, the most beautiful toddler on the planet. When I get stressed or need a break from work, this is picture I pull up on my phone in full screen so I can have a happy moment and a smile.

Seeing her big hazel eyes and innocence helps me refocus on what's really important in life no matter what's going on around me.

That's it for the tour of my iphone. Hopefully Oma sent the care package of stuff we forgot via overnight mail otherwise I might have to resort to pictureless blog posts. Yikes! How would I ever describe our adventures with just words... Hopefully you won't have to find out.

I told Oma we should have left a self-addressed box with postage already paid because I KNEW we would leave multiple items at their house. Maybe that will become a standard operating procedure for our future trips including the upcoming adventures to Missouri.

See you soon!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

old, old camera

Hi friends and family,

The 4 Webbs are safe and sound back in AZ. Here is the proof. Buzz Lightyear and the Ballerina made it home with their wardrobe intact.

Although we made it home with most everything, the one thing I forgot was the battery and charger for my camera. Gah! Out of the 10,000 items we needed to bring back with us, that was at the top of the list for must-have items. I wanted the battery to be fully charged for the adventure night ride home. That didn't work out so well. Oma, if you find it, please FedEx it to me. I don't trust the US Postal Service with something so important.

You may be thinking, "well, if he left the battery in NorCal, how did he get a picture of Buzz Lightyear and the Ballerina? Was he smart enough to purchase a backup battery?" The answer is, no, i don't have a back up battery. But I DO have Layla's camera, which used to personal one a few years ago.

As I downloaded the pics to my computer I found a few keepers in the lot. I sifted through several dozen pictures of my feet, the ceiling, and Layla's fingers (covering the lens). Here is uncle Logan on Skype from a couple of months ago.

We wanted the twins to have some video time with him and Bree before meeting up with them in San Luis Obispo. I also found this gem of Kendra. Not sure if Layla took this or if I was showing her how to use the camera. Either way, i like how it shows her pretty smile and dimples.

and it doesn't take a genius to see where Layla gets her good looks from with this kind of comparison shot.

I'm not sure who this old guy is, but he spends a lot of time on the floor playing with Easton and Layla. OK, that's really just me trying to position my head into the picture as Layla fired off a random shot.

The other day I heard about a concerned grandma who spent time at her daughter's house observing her son and daughter-in-law as they ignored their three kids for the entire night. I don't know the details of the situation, but based on knowing those parents I can easily imagine how a typical evening at home would involve almost zero interactions between the parents and kids.

While there is something to be said for teaching independence, it breaks my heart to hear about kids growing up feeling like a nuisance or annoyance to the parents who ignore them continually. There are times when Kendra and I tell Easton and Layla to go play by themselves so we can cook or clean or take care of something. That part is healthy. However, I can’t understand how any parent or parents use all of their discretionary time for "me time", personal, isolated purposes while neglecting time with the kids.

Nobody says, “I want to be a bad parent” any more than a morbidly obese person says, “I want to be fat”. It just happens slowly over time due to inaction and denial. For the obese person they wake up one morning and can’t tie their shoes or fit in clothes or whatever indicator leads them to a realization of their situation. Parenting is different because there is no indicator or measurement to show how good or bad one is doing. That being said, the worst thing to do is compare to someone else because if my only goal is to do better than so-and-so then shame on me for having such low expectations.

There's a lot of rambling going on here, but I came to this conclusion: If you're a parent, you SHOULD be tired.

I don't mean tired from selfish indulgence or personal goals or chasing things with no long term value. I mean, tired from doing your best to provide, teach, and grow the kids. Giving my best to Kendra and the twins should be first and this priority is in the front of my mind every single day. I hope I never say I'm too tired to spend time with Easton and Layla because I wore myself out on selfish pursuits.

Kendra and I are firm believers in taking breaks and enjoying life (as can be witnessed by the soccer, martial arts, mountain biking, etc.), but not to the detriment of the kids. Hobbies are good, but I don't want to be "the best" at any hobby because doing so means I sacrifice time with Easton and Layla.

Sometimes they can seem like little birdies in a nest chirping away. For Kendra that looks something like this:

But even so, their needs are never more than we can provide if we do our best to focus on what is important.

On a completely new topic, we gave up on the turtle pool of balls some time ago. The turtle pool was destroyed by a monsoon, but the balls were kept safely in a big moving box. The twins are tall enough and strong enough their curiosity sometimes leads to great discoveries such as figuring out what is inside the big box.

I sat them in their together and they asked me to close the lid. After closing the lid I realized their plan all along was for more hide and seek.

We bought our plane tickets to visit Missouri in a few weeks. As a tribute to the anticipation already building in our house, here is a video clip of Layla from a couple of months ago calling my sister and her cousins on her fake phone during our tea party.

We're already back in the groove of things here is AZ after only 2 days, but we are gearing up for a "spending fast" for the next 4 weeks. More on that later...

See you soon!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Auf Wiedersehen NorCal

Greetings friends and family,

Layla went around the dinner table telling each of us, "You are the best (whatever) ever". She said, "You are the best GG ever. You are the best Oma ever." etc. Then Oma asked Layla, "what about Uncle Logan?" Layla thought for a minute and said, "hmmm. He's a sweet boy." so there you have it. from the mouths of babes...

Like WhiteSnake, here we go again on our own. No matter how often we are here in NorCal or how long we stay, it's never enough. You'd think living out of a suitcase for 5 weeks would wear on a family, but that is not the case for the 4 Webbs. Here are the top 10 reasons I like being here:

10. No mosquito infestation
9. Queen size bed means Kendra has to cuddle with me... no room to escape me!
8. Cake on the carpet? No worries... the carpet cleaner will be here AFTER we leave.
7. Chasing the twins requires a tag-team partner like Opa to keep up with their energy level
6. Four adults available to change poopy diapers means I have a 25% chance of being the unlucky winner (way better than the normal 50% chance)
5. Interacting with cousins means Layla has more people besides Easton to boss around
4. Easton can ride the mini-train instead of just see the real one pass by
3. When Kendra is sad because I don't understand her, she doesn't have to call Oma and explain because she just heard the conversation live!
2. Spontaneous date night
1. Oma laughs at my jokes

Easton and Layla are very aware of our pending departure and arrival back in AZ. He alternates between asking to go home to play with his train set and asking to stay with Oma and Opa. He took one last look out the window at the peaceful pond and golf course.

One last night in the Pack-n-play! Neither of the twins has said a single word about the sleeping accommodations. They are portable, for sure.

with one caveat... As long as Layla has her pacifier (for sleepy time only) and Easton has his Nunu. We gotta work on getting rid of the pacifier ASAP when we return home.

Oma's book reading, story telling, and good-night songs are now legendary. Will be sorely missed when all of the night time duties fall back on Kendra and I full-time.

I took the twins along with Opa and Uncle Casey for one last walk along the trail tonight. Easton got into such a routine that as we passed by the short brick wall he sat down and said, "break time?" because we always stop there to play in the dirt.

Easton and Layla walk backwards across the bridge every time we go for a walk. We were able to stop long enough to capture the moment with Opa and Uncle Casey. I really like watching the twins with those two guys because they all interact with so much fun. Also, seeing little Layla give generous amounts fo kisses and hugs to two of the biggest guys I know is extra special.

I know it was a sacrifice on everyone's part to accommodate us including GG who hung out with us regularly in spite of her broken wrist and cast. Seeing four generations of girls spending time together is very rare and something for which Kendra has a deep appreciation.

This trip is without a doubt the longest and most enjoyable adventure of the 4 Webbs, ever. The only thing that rivals this kind of fun is our trips to see Ma and Pa and my family back in Missouri. Speaking of... We're heading back there again in just a few weeks! No need to let moss grow under our feet, right?

See you soon!

Monday, August 9, 2010

new songs, new friends

Hey friends and family,

Welcome to the short version of the blog today since I just finished work at 12:30 AM and have a 7:00 AM meeting.

One of the side benefits of being around Oma is that she has a lifetime of songs in her head. Out of nowhere she starts singing, "When Sammy Put the Paper on the Wall". My mom is the same way and I have great memories of her singing little tunes all day. I thought Oma was making it up so I Googled the lyrics. Sure enough, it really is a kids song! After the second round of singing it, Layla and Easton jumped in with their own rendition of the new song. Easton is still finding his confidence in singing, but he's got great tone and memory. Layla belted it out like the star spangled banner at a baseball game making up her own lyrics after a while. Good times...

Layla and Easton's local best friend is Isabella and I'm really happy they were able to hang out with her more this trip. Here's Isa sharing her cool tricycle with Layla.

And here they are sharing a cool pop-up chair complete with overhead cabana.

You might be thinking, "where's Easton?" Well, he is usually off doing his own thing in the dirt or playing with other toys. He welcomes the alone time and for someone else to keep Layla occupied for a while. Easton values his personal space and occasionally gets to operate with no one (Layla) crowding it. This is a true win-win situation. Easton doesn't even need to do anything outstanding or outrageous. He just likes to explore on his own sometimes and we're all OK with that.

The big event of the weekend was the cousin's birthday party. unfortunately I didn't bring the camera so I'm hoping Coleen will send me a few pics (pretty please)? The twins loved singing happy birthday, eating cake and ice cream, and even swimming in the oversized pool. Kendra and I had fun watching the twins interact with their cousins and they were excited to be a part of the family. It's great to see some older kids genuinely interested in Easton and Layla and treating them like family.

We're looking forward to getting back in contact with our AZ family and friends! Jason and April are finished moving so it's all clear for us to return home. I'm just kidding... Their move just happened to coincide with our trip out of town and I'm sure there is plenty of work to be done and ways we can help them when we return.

Scott and Marisue are expecting the twin boys in about a month. We are almost as excited for the birth as they are. I can't describe how odd it is to see them at this stage of forming the family with twins. Now that Kendra and I are 2.5 years ahead of them, we are having fun reliving our moments through watching their journey.

See you soon!