Sunday, January 30, 2011

Light rails and Glow Sticks

Hello friends and family,

I found it, I found it! My search for the elusive father/son song has kept me awake at nights for literally months. I want to put together a picture show with music similar to the one I made with Layla, but haven't been motivated to dig in because there wasn't a good song to use. I was sitting at my desk typing away and decided to listen to George Strait. Before you roll your eyes at the very thought of country music, here is line in "Love without End, Amen" that caught my attention:

Daddies don't just love their children every now and then. It's a love without end, amen.

Full lyrics are:

I got sent home from school one day with a shiner on my eye.
Fightin' was against the rules and it didn't matter why.
When dad got home I told that story just like I'd rehearsed.
And then stood there on those tremblin' knees and waited for the worst.

And he said, "Let me tell you a secret about a father's love,
A secret that my daddy said was just between us."
He said, "Daddies don't just love their children every now and then.
It's a love without end, amen, it's a love without end, amen."

When I became a father in the spring of '81
There was no doubt that stubborn boy was just like my father's son.
And when I thought my patience had been tested to the end,
I took my daddy's secret and I passed it on to him.

And I said, "Let me tell you a secret about a father's love,
A secret that my daddy said was just between us."
I said, "Daddies don't just love their children every now and then.
It's a love without end, amen, it's a love without end, amen."

Last night I dreamed I died and stood outside those pearly gates.
When suddenly I realized there must be some mistake.
If they know half the things I've done, they'll never let me in.
And then somewhere from the other side I heard these words again.

And They said, "Let me tell you a secret about a father's love,
A secret that my daddy said was just between us.
You see Daddies don't just love their children every now and then.
It's a love without end, amen, it's a love without end, amen."

I have the motivation to get that project underway. Now I just need to find the time...

The weekend was adventurous, as you might expect from the 4 Webbs. I can tell Layla is ready for the hot summer and indoor activities because when I say, "Let's go outside!" she hesitates and thinks up some indoor game to play. However, after we get out and about she has so much fun that it's hard to get her back inside. Plenty of silly faces to go around.

Can you see the amount of dirt on their faces and clothes? Not sure if the picture quality is good enough. If not, trust me on this one. There isn't a single clean square inch to be found. We had THAT good of a time playing.

Easton's dirty paw is on one of Kendra's freshly painted drawers, which is a real no-no. There is a thick layer of dust on the whole inside of the garage, but Kendra does a great job of keeping the newly-painted pieces of furniture clean.

Our dining room table is disassembled and stored in the garage because of our square-foot-challenged house. That's a nice way of saying our house is too small. Anyway, we may reclaim the "formal dining room" to be used for its intended purpose some day. However, that day will not come any time soon. Since we have no dining room area we typically have the twins eat at their own little white table while Kendra and I eat on the bar stools of the kitchen island.

Occasionally when Kendra is doing her own thing for a meal I'll join the twins at their table. My knees are cramped from using the aerobics stepper as a chair, but there's nothing like getting right in their with them to be involved.

One of the items on my honey-do list for the weekend was to build the Ikea book case for Layla. Ikea's great instructions and ease of assembly almost made me feel like it wasn't an accomplishment. So easy a two-year-old can do it. Go Easton! He really did help twisting in the screws for me. Layla sang the Handy Manny song as her contribution to the building effort.

Kendra took a much needed mini-vacation to the masseuse for a 90-minute massage. I chose to fill my afternoon alone with the twins by sharing an adventure. The trip I took with Easton to the "Hall of Flames Fireman Museum" ended with a ride on the Light rail. He hyped it up so much to Layla that she's been excited about going for a long time. I decided to start with the Light railride and see where the day would take us.

Yes, I know it is crazy to take TWO toddlers alone, but I figure if my sister can take 4 kids around Springfield then I should be able to handle two. Her success is an inspiration for me. Anyway, they were very well behaved and both of them were live-wires the whole time.

Both of them made friends with:

- The guy who gave up his seat for the twins to sit
- The guy behind us whose frown turned into snickering as the twins spread their sunshine through the car
- The family across from us who laughed when Layla yelled, "Dora!" at their littlest girl who spoke Spanish.

That was mildly embarrassing, but they laughed and I was proud of Layla for recognizing she was speaking Spanish. We disembarked in Tempe and wondered through the Tempe Beach Park. There was no beach or playground equipment so I can't figure out why they named it that way.

We searched near and far for something interesting to do with relatively little success. In the end we walked a really, really long way just to sit at a park bench and eat a banana.

They wore the puppies, but only as a precaution. To their credit, the leashes never came out because they were so obedient. Easton was out for a fun afternoon stroll, but Layla took off running after seeing some local marathon runners pass by.

I wanted to add on the Hall of Flames tour at the end, but after that much excitement and walking it was clear we needed to go home for some quiet time and end the day while we were ahead.

Later that night I made good on my promise to play dress up with the twins. Layla donned the standard fairy-ballerina-princess gear and Easton opted for the astronaut outfit. I brought out the Buzz Lightyear costume and we had a rockin' good time.

Things really got cooking when I broke out the glow sticks. I've been saving these for a rainy day (so to speak) and they were A-m-a-z-e-d. Especially when we turned off the lights and closed the doors and windows to our bedroom.

It was all I could do to keep them from putting it in their mouth though... Never thought I'd have to utter the phrase, "Please don't eat the glow stick". However, as all parents realize, there are many such phrases that must be spoken as kids figure out life.

We are about 75% done with the furniture so I expect Easton and Layla will be sleeping in big boy and big girl beds within the next two weeks. War stories from my friends about that transition worry me a little, but there's no chance of keeping the twins in a crib until they are 18 years old so there's no better time than now to welcome them to three-year-old status.

See you soon!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Yes, they are twins.

Howdy friends and family,

The most common question I still get from strangers is, "Are they twins?" Easton and Layla are so close in height and weight that to the average Joe on the street they are obviously twins. I discovered people who ask either are a twin, have twins, or know someone who has twins. I feel an obligation to ask and it's the only thing I can think of to say after I answer the burning question of whether or not they are twins. At least no one asks if they are identical anymore...

I'm not sure how much longer the twins question will last, but I never thought I would still be approached by strangers to answer the question after three years. Part of the reason may be Easton and Layla's energetic, magnetic personalities.

As I walk behind them I get a first-hand look at people's faces as they pass by and their flat mouth turns into a smile. It's almost as predictable as watching the sun come up. I see a man or woman or family look down to notice the twins and just like magic they smile. I get such a kick out of watching it happen and never get tired of seeing how contagious Easton and Layla's attitudes can be. I wonder if it would be invasion of privacy for me to video tape some occurrences and post them?

Anyway, we enrolled the twins in gymnastics for instructor-led motor skill development. A side benefit will be better discipline in social situations, but that may or may not materialize. I asked them, "what did you do at the gym?" They both said, "We jumped in the foam pit and played", which is exactly what the instructor told everyone NOT to do. Oh well, I'm sure they'll get the hang of listening to directions and obeying. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

Easton is swinging on the rings and Layla is waiting in line with her extra-cute pigtails.

Easton is probably saying, "You want me to do what?" as the teacher points to the monkey on the wall spreading its legs out.

With the cost of sports for kids these days I figure we should get used to shelling out a few hundred a year for extra circular activities.

One thing I can't figure out is the uncontrollable urge for Easton and Layla to wear my shoes. I don't get it... Not that I mind, though. They do a better job of walking in my size nines than I do at times because of my clumsiness.

You might notice in the picture how we decided against the million-dollar Andy Warhol painting and instead went for the three-year-old finger paint without the frame. It's just as aesthetically pleasing, but for a fraction of the price.

In case you're wondering... bodily functions are now officially approved as humor at the Webb house. I don't know who flipped the switch for Easton and Layla, but now they think burping is so funny they pretend burp and laugh out loud for several minutes. Now there are a few more things to add to my list of "cautions" when the twins are around. Or rather, I just have to say "excuse me" and all is forgiven.

See you soon!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Daddy cries too sometimes

Tonight while Kendra was gone I had quite an experience with the twins. We took a bike trip with the Chariot to the neighborhood park which yielded sand and wood chips pouring from their shoes when we arrived home.

Layla dressed in her princess gear told me her plastic heart ring was a wedding ring! I asked who she married and she said, "I will marry YOU, daddy". I showed her my ring and our wedding picture on the wall. Then I described the wedding and party and how we danced. I told her she will need to find a special boy who will treat her like a Lovely Queen.

She thought for a few seconds and then she said, "will you dance with me at MY wedding?". My eyes swelled with tears at the thought of the cleaving process which will occur on that special day and our special dance.

I don't know how I'm supposed to deal with these intense feelings for another 20 years. Fortunately I don't really have to worry about that. All I need to focus on is moments like this and the fun of being everything my sweet princess needs... For now.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, January 24, 2011

Outdoor Activities

Greetings friends and family,

Where, oh where, have the 4 Webbs been? I have no excuse for the lack of blog posts, but chose to spend the past week focused on a few high priority items. Most of my free time was focused on reading The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancy in preparation for my mentoring meeting. Maybe I'll post my net-out summary as a blog entry?

The pace of life around the Webb household is holding steady at around 100mph. Just when I think things are going to get easier I look back on the week and think, "I'm glad we accomplished so much, but where'd the rest of the time go?" Kendra and I were reminiscing about the first 2 years with the twins and since hind sight is always 20/20 I have a few observations.

The first 2 and half years really are the toughest. It gets steadily more difficult on a monthly basis because just when I thought I had all the answers, the questions changed. There is no truer situation where that situation applies than parenting. The whole routine and process changes: The twin's sleeping schedule, mobility, needs, and uniqueness throw continual curve balls into whatever "plan" is established. Also the equipment, clothes, toys, and food all go through complete turn over. Out with the old and in with the new. Then around the 2 and half year mark things level out. Certainly not what I would consider "easy", but stable.

Even though I mentioned toy turn-over is high we still have a few old toys Easton and Layla find interesting. We unpacked a few toys from storage to give away and the twins thought it was Christmas all over again.

Easton meticulously lined up the blocks and made a "toll bridge" where Layla and I had to give him a penny to cross. You know things are getting rough around the Webb house when it costs money to use the restroom.

If only we can get Easton interested in using the potty!? After he grew tired of the toll bridge idea he stacked the squeaky blocks all together and then jumped on them like a mini-trampoline. I never would have thought of that...

Layla found the stackable cups to be extremely entertaining. She stacked them up to make the largest birthday cake possible. She put the star toy on top as a candle and then pretended to light it with her finger. Of course, Easton and a I gladly sang the Birthday song for Layla. She gave each of us a layer and we pretended to eat our own piece.

The 4 of us braved the crowds at Target yesterday after church to get a new lamp shade. Kendra is refinishing and painting Uncle Dave's old lamp for Layla's room. That brings me to another revelation I figured out recently: For parents, accomplishments are only "team" accomplishments when kids are involved. Before the twins were born I earned my MBA degree. I never thought of it as a joint-accomplishment for Kendra and I. Yes, she was essentially widowed during those two years as I worked full time and went to school. However, there was not much sacrifice on her part besides dealing with me being unavailable.

However, now that kids are involved there IS sacrifice for each and every accomplishment either of us achieve. For Kendra to refinish 7 pieces of furniture and revamp the twin's rooms that means I am very much involved to ensure she has time alone to focus on the task at hand. When I am gone to martial arts training twice a week she runs the house during those hours without my help. That means taking care of the twins alone, longer than her normal day while I'm at work.

When the twins were babies it wasn't a huge effort because the level of involvement with keeping the house running was relatively light compared to now. The concept of their new-found independence is in a weird stage. They eat by themselves, but spill 50% of the food and drink. They play by themselves, but make 10 times the mess as when they were babies. They put on their own shoes, but usually on the wrong feet. They take off their own diapers, but don't put them on. That creates a whole new list of problems when naked toddlers are running around the house.

For these reasons when I see a father or mother "accomplish" something I fully recognize and understand the sacrifices that went into reaching the goal. When a single person or person married without children talks about how busy they are or declares the sacrifices and hardships of accomplishments I roll my eyes and think, "If they only knew what real sacrifice and busy mean".

Last week the twins joined Daniel for another play date in the park. Daniel's name comes up fairly often in conversations and it's obvious the twins think of him as a close friend. The swing is meant for handicapped children but the width also allows Daniel and Layla to share the adrenaline rush.

On a different day the twins joined Layla Ruth at the zoo for a wildlife adventure. I didn't join the adventures due to work, but Kendra said they took a chance by watching the zoo puppet show. Two anciently old and sweet ladies led the event and gave extra attention to the twins since they arrived early. I was glad to see both of them were brave enough to stand on stage and act out the children's songs in front of everyone.

After the show they took a long walk through the monkey-business-as-usual part of the zoo. Finally, after dozens of my attempts to catch all three of them looking at the camera, Kendra captured a great shot of Easton, Layla, and Layla.

Although Kendra would prefer to ride Space Mountain at Disneyland, the carousel provides plenty of thrill for toddlers. Kendra's knee is still bothersome so she rode just to have a sit-down break from walking miles through the zoo.

My Saturday was voluntarily consumed by playtime with the twins. I spent all week at work waiting for the full day of fun with the twins. As a side benefit, Kendra reached serious milestones in the furniture refresh effort. During our outing I offered to take our friend's kids out. Ben and Trinity also happen to be boy/girl twins who are 10 years old. As an additional x-factor, their friend Katie came along as well. So I took the 5 kids out for an afternoon of fun. This was by far the largest number of kids I've been responsible for at one time. I have a new appreciation for those who have more than 2 kids. Luckily my additional kid load were older because if they were 5 toddlers I would have gone insane.

We went for lunch at Whataburger, which went surprisingly smooth. Then off to the duck park to burn off the french fries and chocolate malts. After pooling our unusable scraps we came up with a boat-load of duck food. Focaccia bread, crackers, and french fries were on the menu for the ducks.

I was pleasantly surprised because I expected one of the five would fall into the water given the energy exerted towards the water as they threw the food.

The daily focus continues to be on enjoying the great outdoors because it's gonna get hot in a couple of months. Layla gets her fill of outside after a couple of hours and requests to stay inside so she can play dress-up. As a compromise I allowed her to take her Snow White doll for a stroller ride while wearing her Cinderella dress. I shall henceforth be known as Daddy the Gracious due to my act of compromise. Let it never be said that I kept Rapunzel locked away inside the castle whilst Prince Easton enjoyed outdoor dump truck races.

The royal family is pleased. I'll have to locate a knight outfit for Easton so he can get more into character... We did buy him a foam sword at Target as a first step!

See you soon.

Monday, January 17, 2011

3 Weeks to 3

Hi friends and family,

I walked in to get the twins out of bed and as I unzipped Easton's tent he said, "I can do THREE, daddy!" as he held up three fingers.

We've been working on this for a few weeks now to prepare for the big birthday coming up. Apparently he perfected it during the 15 minute window between the time the dual alarm clocks go off and one of us goes to fetch them. He is very proud of himself for the newly acquired skill. We love celebrating the little things around here though. My morning-fog cheers and dancing probably looked more like a lunatic spasm, but Easton welcomed the gesture just the same.

Not to be outdone, Layla jumped in with her rendition of how to do three.

We rode our bikes to the mailbox together and I noticed some new developments for the twins. A small contributor to Easton's hair color is due to the sunset, but his reddish light hair is clearly much, much different than mine. I'll have to look at old pictures of me to see if my hair was the same at his age.

My Mom and Dad just scheduled their spring trip to see us in a month (hooray) so I can just add that question to my list for when she's here. Another question already on the list is, "Was I this much of a climbing monkey at age 2?"

I normally hold their hands and assist them walking a few steps up, up, up the tree and then down. Yesterday, however, after Layla's turn she said, "You do it, daddy." I quickly agreed and bounded up the tree several steps higher than they've ever been on this tree. I looked down to see Easton and Layla speechless with wide eyes and open mouths. A simple climb up the tree to show them resulted in the light switch turning on in their heads as they realized what is possible.

As soon as I dropped to the ground Layla climbed with Easton right on her heels. I had to hustle over and help them down because like cows, they go up very easy, but not down... yet. That day will come, but for now I do my best to avoid bumps and bruises.

One of the signs of winter in Arizona is the lack of color or flowers. We almost always pick some kind of flower for Mommy, but since none were around Layla picked up two fallen twigs with green leaves. She said, "I will bring these home for Mommy because there are no flowers." I'm extremely happy to see them learning how to be kind and thoughtful already.

They don't always respond in the kind and thoughtful way, but we're applying consistent, continual correction and that's as much as I'm responsible for.

Easton wanted to pretend to be the tiger and bear so we crawled around the floor on all fours growling at everything in sight.

Then Easton noticed the electric keyboard in the closet. He switched mid-growl and said, "Grrrrrrr ohhhhhh LOOK... the piano!" and started playing like a rock star.

Then after a few short minutes Easton decided we need to play "protect princess Layla" from the dragon. He volunteered me as dragon where the costume consisted of a bear hat and blanket wrapped around me like a cape. I chased them into the front room and they hid underneath the train table until Easton worked up the courage to come out and fight the dragon.

He successfully protected the princess and I'm happy to be a part of raising my modern day knight. Chivalry is not dead!

Even though Kendra and I don't mention princess dresses or dressing up, Layla asks me every chance she gets if she can wear one. Now the request includes which accessories she wants to wear as well, such as the all-important fairy wings.

The furniture make-over is still in full effect including a garage filled with paint and a house turned upside down as we shift 3 years worth of kids stuff between the rooms. If you wonder where Kendra gets her inspiration for home improvement look no further than Young House Love. I've only seen whatever pictures Kendra wanted to show me occasionally, but she's a big fan of how they cheaply transformed a house into a showcase model of a home.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Happy spring friends and family,

Winter lasts for two weeks in Arizona and that is defined as any temperature below freezing. Brrrrrrr. Luckily the only collateral damage this winter was the top half of our Ficus trees dying a slow death. Now we are neck-deep in spring weather where the day time highs are around 70 with sun, sun, and more sun.

Easton squished his face against the back sliding glass door and called me over. He said, "Can you pick me up?" I asked why and he said, "So I can see the sun set over the mountains." Now that's an Arizona boy if I ever heard of one. We walked outside and stood close to the pool to get a better view of the sunset. He looked down and said with a surprised tone in his voice, "My pool!" as if he made a big discovery. I told him swimming is a few months away so he wouldn't get his hopes up.

During Oma and Opa's Thanksgiving break visit they were able to witness Marisue and Scott dedicating their twins in church. Marisue let me take a few pictures (of them)and I had to throw in a self-portrait with Easton and Layla just for fun.

The rolled up blanket in Oma and Marisue's lap was a gift from Oma to their twin boys. She made them each a hand-crafted quilt, which Scott and Marisue appreciated very much. We are lucky to have them as our friends! Conversations are even more fun since they joined the "twins club".

We had a "bad experience" in the bathtub where the solution was to rush the twins into the shower. Easton strongly requested he take his Parasaurolophus with him and Layla just made blow-fish faces on the shower door. They had a blast jumping around splashing as though they were ankle deep in rain puddles.

You may be wondering how I know the name of his dinosaur. Technology is amazing and I use it for teaching the twins as often as possible. While we were playing Easton asked, "What does the dinosaur sound like?" I had no idea what noises it made or even what is the name of it.

The two of us sat down at the computer and did a little research. I discovered the dinosaur is a Parasaurolophus, which is pronounced par-ah-SAWR-OL-uh-fus
We looked through a few of the roughly 33,200 pictures of said dinosaur and I was even able to find an answer to Easton's original question of what sound it made.

How's that for awesome?! When I was his age all we had was an encyclopedia book with one page on dinosaurs as an entire species.

Layla discovered the joy of banging pots with a wooden spoon. I'm already regretting my decision to show the twins how much fun it is. My ears are still ringing thanks to Easton figuring out the pot lid sounds like a cymbal when hit with a metal spoon.

Easton's imagination also led to the discovery of a garbage truck shaped space shuttle. Anything can fly with enough child-like imagination.

The twins are both proficient at riding the tricycles, but not without a few spills and bruises. Layla figured out very quickly there is a need to stick her foot out when she's about to tip over. Of course we continue to require the brain bucket at all times. Especially after hearing about Daphne, my sweet niece, and the ordeal she went through last year.

The 4 Webbs welcomed a special guest appearance from Layla Ruth today. She added the "X factor" into our otherwise routine playtime. During snack time she sat at the kid's table in Easton's seat so Easton sat next to me at the "Big Boy" table (the kitchen island) and Kendra stood the entire time. I never realized how long snack time and meal time took until I watched the clock over the past few weeks. 30 minutes to eat 7 Teddy Grahams and a handful of craisins? Yes...

I learned a very valuable lesson during the first few weeks of the twin's lives: Patience. Plan what I can, but there's no benefit to being in a hurry for anything. Life just doesn't work that way anymore and I'm so glad because if it did I would miss these special years in the blink of an eye.

See you soon!

Friday, January 14, 2011

iPhone cache

Hey friends and family,

The camera on my iPhone 3Gs is THE biggest disappointment of my iPhone experience. There are many wonderful aspects of the ingenious device, but the camera is so bad it's actually better to not have one at all. However, I still take a picture with my iPhone once in a while because I forget my Canon camera and forget how poor the quality is.

Anyway, there are a few diamonds in the rough. Kendra and I attended parent night at the pre-school where the twins will attend starting late summer. My impression was overall very favorable and the staff seemed very professional. I asked question after question and then more questions. I did my best to allow other parents to jump in with their own, but I had a list to get through with limited time. I asked:

What is the average number of students who stay home due to sickness in a given week?
How much time per day is spent outside?
Who is the teacher when you take a day off?
What is the minimum level of qualification or education required for teachers across the school?
What is your method of discipline and how often is that required per day?

She provided valid answers for all of my concerns. Her patience with my annoying barrage of questions provided another data point by itself: If she can stay come in the midst of my inquiries then she can handle Easton and Layla. For $5,200 per year I expect excellence!

As we geared up in Tahoe for the day of sledding Kendra expressed concern about one of her boots not fitting well. She sat down to see what was in her boot and...

There's a SNAKE in my BOOT! (quoting Woody from Toy Story)

Apparently Easton found a new hiding place for his rubber snake and we had a good round of laughs about it.

I'll admit there is ONE good thing about the iPhone camera: The ability to manipulate images. I took a picture of Easton and then used a free app to paste Mr. Pteranodon from Dinosaur Train onto Easton's shoulder.

I took Easton's picture, added Mr. Pteranodon, then showed Easton and he reacted the same way an audience does for David Copperfield. "Whoa! How did you do that?" He occasionally asks to see "My dinosaur picture" and I know he's talking about that one.

The sun was shining, Easton was in the correct position relative to the sun and holding very still, and the stars aligned for one non-blurry picture. Score 1 for the iPhone.

Easton and Layla really are best friends and they look for opportunities to be next to each other even in huge play structures and open areas. I wouldn't call them inseparable, but instead see them as best friends.

On one of Layla's daddy dates the two of us walked to the local coffee shop by Oma and Opa's house. As we were leaving she posed against the pillar and I asked if she could look surprised. She did an excellent job and she is well on her way to an acting career if she chooses to pursue it.

Talk about friendly... During our stop at In-N-Out burger she initiated a conversation with the little girls family behind us. When she discovered the family was driving home from a day trip to Disneyland she became even more interested in talking to the little girl. I'm already looking forward to our trip to Disneyland next year.

That's the end my usable iPhone pictures, but here are a few short stories about the past few days and some pictures from a "real" camera.

The twins have an insatiable appetite for books and reading. More than I ever expected at this age. I walk into their bedroom each morning with my typical greeting. Easton quickly gathers the books in his bed and holds onto them for dear life. I unzip his tent and as I pick him up he holds tight to the books instead of wrapping his arms around me. Then he says, "Will you read me these books?"

I hauled the twins to the neighborhood park yesterday for a sunset playtime. One neighbor girl was playing, but no boys for Easton to befriend. Both of them approached the little girl, introduced themselves, and said, "Do you want to play?" She was friendly enough to join in and within 20 seconds they were running around playing tag and chase.

One final picture to show the different laughs of Easton and Layla. Layla outwardly expresses her laugh with a burst of giggling and silliness. Easton holds his inside like a shaken can of soda and it comes out audibly in spurts. I get a big kick out of watching their excitement and fun bubble over.

Kendra is making serious progress on the furniture rehabilitation effort. The bed and trundle are ready for use! The dresser is on the operating table now as Kendra and the twins sand it down. Now we just need to sell the 2 cribs, dresser, and changing table to someone who has twins.

See you soon!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Boy Time?

Howdy friends and family,

A few people have asked why I call the blog "Adventures with Twins". The simple answer is: Because who would read "Struggling with Twins"? Nobody wants to read about how terrible another person's life is. That being said I'm a realist and want to share the truth about day to day life with twins. Some blogs may view the glass as half empty. Some blogs may view the glass as half full. I say, "wrong size glass and let's figure out how to resolve it."

If I could hang a banner over the blog to reflect my view of parenting it would be, "Excellence in the ordinary is what changes the big picture." More than anything in the world my desire is to be excellent in the day to day parenting so Easton and Layla's Big Picture provides them with the best possible start in life. I discovered parenting (like marriage) is enjoying the mundane together and making the most out of what you have available. With the right frame of mind every day IS an adventure. Knowing I have only 15 years left with the twins in my care really sets the pace for how fast I need to be pouring into their lives.

Some blogs focus on one particular area so much it feels like the person writing is trying to convince themselves (or others) about something. Reminds me of Shakespeare, "Thou doth protest too much" in some cases.

Enough deep thoughts about blogging. Back to the adventures. Kendra's two best friends are Megan in Sacramento and April in Phoenix. Both of them have a girl close to Layla's age, but neither have a boy close to Easton's age. Easton plays well with the girls, but can't participate much in the princess dress ups, make overs, and tea parties. I pointed out to Kendra how Easton really needs some "boy time" (Time spent playing with another boy his age).

Little did I know she already made plans to hang out with Danielle and Daniel. Even though he's 6 months older than Easton and double his size they get along very well at church.

I have my own microcosmic experiment to compare boys and girls. What I see is that girls play together and engage each other throughout the play time. Boys play alone and just happen to be in the same sand box with another person who happens to be a boy. Exhibit A:

Apparently Easton told Kendra he had the best day EVER playing with Daniel. Go figure...

Layla spent time chatting with Kendra and Danielle while the boys played. I wouldn't be surprised if she was as much involved in the conversation as Kendra.

Oh come on with the tongue thing already! We covered this little issue in the last blog post. As long as they are having fun I suppose it's no big deal.

"Hey Daniel! Let me eat your snack. I mean... let me help you off the slide."

The differences between Easton and Layla as the boy and girl are becoming wider each day. After work I rode my bike with Easton on his tricycle to the mailbox. We loaded rocks in his tricycle basket and climbed the tree in the green belt.

Then I walked into the door to find Layla dressed up in full Princess gear including the princess watch. I asked her, "What time is it?" She replied, "It's 24! Oh no, I need to drop my glass slipper on the stairs!"

She bat her eyelashes at me, said "you are Prince Charming", and allowed me to give her a kiss. I would never refuse such a precious offer from my beautiful Princess Layla.

Having a boy and a girl requires instantly switching between tree climbing and fairytales and back to fire-breathing dragons and then to a tea party. When I'm able to be involved with the twins like that from 5-8 PM I know I'm running on all cylinders. Some days are better than others!

See you soon.