Friday, September 30, 2011

comment responses

Hey hey friends and family,

Here's your parenting tip of the week:  Put enough ketchup on it and kids will eat anything.  I have no idea where this came from, but trust me... it works.

I owe a few responses to recent comments so allow me to stir up the conversations and catch up.

Ma, the twins are growing well and almost hit the 40 lbs. mark requiring a step up to the next size of car seats. Easton is still one inch taller than Layla and has been since birth. The genetic features are starting to show through more clearly every day. For example, Kendra tells Layla, "you have Daddy's buns" because of her shapely butt. Easton has the "Swingle butt" as an inherited flat-as-a-board trait from Kendra's family. At church a few weeks ago a woman complimented Layla on her dress. Layla said, "Thank you! I have Daddy's buns." The woman looked at me to interpret whether she just heard Layla correctly. All I could do was agree and apologize.

I'd like to add more pictures of Kendra, but she doesn't go to a job every day requiring makeup, dresses, and getting ready. I don't mind a bit because her natural beauty is one of the reasons I married her. However, she doesn't see it that way so I must choose my post-able pictures wisely. Another reason she doesn't show up much is because when I'm with the twins and able to take pictures it is most likely because Kendra is taking a much needed mommy break doing something else besides whatever I'm doing with Easton and Layla. That being said, here's a picture of the 4 Webbs (including Kendra) from our trip to the park.

Easton and Layla woke us up in their usual manner with the common theme of, "I'm hungry".  After a quick breakfast we dashed out the door (note the hats covering the hat-head look) and headed to the park.  The twins unanimously voted for the Weeee-bump park so deciding where to go was a snap.

I dropped them off with Kendra and took care of the oil change for the Pilot.  When I returned they were already red-cheeked from the heat, but having a blast.  The requested I join them for a slide and since there are three next to each other I gladly agreed.  The only way to lead is by example...

I hoped to take Aunt Susie to the Dinosaur museum, but after the park and running around furniture stores I was too tired to brave the museum.  Maybe next week?  

Best friend, Ryan.  Dude!  You're never on Skype?  what's the deal-i-o?  I'm dying to catch up but a phone call would cost $25 per minute and I don't even know your phone number.  send me an email with you're available times and we'll schedule it in, ok.  The fixie is still sitting untouched in my living room.  It's still 105 degrees outside and that ain't ridin' weather for my work clothes.  send me pics of yours.  I didn't know you were so advanced to ride a fixie without brakes!  My bike came with them already and since i'm riding through traffic I'd rather have the safety nets for the first few rides until i get the hang of it.

Joanie, I'm sure you and John found after getting married and moving (like we did) it's always good to have each other and there are times when no other friends are really a part of your lives.  The difficult part lately is reverting back to the "you and me, babe" state after enjoying the benefits of couple friends for so long.  I know...  it's just a cycle and the only thing I can count on is change.  :)

As for planning for the new house Kendra is happily spending hours per day researching, shopping, and thinking about all the decorating.  We have our budget set and she's working through the difficult task of prioritizing all of the things she wants and narrowing them down to what we really need.  We have a lifetime to fill up the house with stuff, but there are some big purchases she's been putting off for years so it's time to pull the trigger once we close on the house.

See you soon!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Hello friends and family,

I'm taking a break from the normal focus on Easton and Layla to share some "Jack Handy" style deep thoughts.  I'd like to shine the light on the only person more important than Easton and Layla:  Kendra.  More specifically to share the truth I know regarding What Really Keeps a Marriage Together?

The story connected to the link above summarizes what took me more than 6 years of marriage to figure out.  I consider myself to be lucky because some couples never figure it out and it shows.

Let me start by saying I am NOT committed to my marriage.  That sounds bizarre, but please read on before adding a mean comment or passing judgement.  I am committed to Kendra.  Yes, we are married, but my commitment and covenant are with her not our marriage.

When I hear someone say, "I'm committed to my marriage..." it's usually followed by some struggling, barely surviving, desperate, sham of a relationship where two people are attempting to stay together for the marriage or for the kids or for the whatever (fill in the blank).

I don't claim to have all the answers or be an expert in any field, but I know truth when I experience it.  The vows I said to Kendra on the day of our wedding formed a covenant between her and I.  Not a vow that I will simply live in the same house as her or happen to sleep in the same room as she does.  Those things are not what keeps a marriage together, but love does.

The English language is woefully insufficient to describe certain concepts and one of those is "love".  For example:

I love this chicken sandwich.
I love your new hair do.
I love the way she sings.

How can the same word be used to describe the bond between a man and women which stands the test of time across multiple decades?

Here's the lesson of the day:

Eros, agape, and philia are the three types of love according to the Greek words.  There is a fourth called storge, but that is simply "affection", which I consider to be eros love without the sexual motive.

Kendra and I had virtually zero philia love for the first few years of marriage.  Once we recognized our lack in this area and made steps to develop the philia love, being married shifted from a struggle to a joy.  Kendra is my best friend.  The other two types of love follow closely behind, but the order of importance is... well... important.   I've learned the real meaning of many words over the past few years.  Trust, intimacy, and cherish are three that come to mind quickly.  I haven't completely figured them out, but I moved from "I don't know squat" to "I'm actively working on those".

On Sunday our church wrapped up a great 4-week series on marriage with a renewal of vows.  I cried.  I admit it...  I shuddered a couple of times while saying the words as I tried to hold in my emotions.  Old habits die hard.

This time I made a special effort to look Kendra in the eyes as we said our vows.  Almost 10 years ago when we were married my main goal was to repeat the words exactly as my Dad said them.  That kind of thinking was "under the law", meaning my focus was on SAYING (doing) exactly the right words instead of BEING the man I was talking about by focusing on Kendra.  I had no concept of the vows or what they really meant at the time, but neither does any other single person saying vows at their wedding.  All of those things I promised sounded easy at the time, but it took the first five or six years to really comprehend how to walk out those promises through our journey of life together.

We have a certificate of the vow renewal I plan to frame, but the real jewel of the day is the picture showing two imperfect people who are living as "one" and having the best time of our lives figuring it out.  Kendra and I were remarried on Sunday along with a few hundred other couples.  The significance is in the heart behind the ceremony, not the ceremony itself.

Our new-found friends, Rachel and Jacob, are a timely, valuable blessing for both of us.  Getting to know them and sharing life together is proving to be an adventure of its own.  He has a motorcycle and like flying airplanes.   With those interests he has as much in common with Easton as me.

Aunt Susie is joining in our normal daily life, but we haven't had many adventures with her yet.  We are having great conversations (after Uno and Dos go to bed) and hopefully a chance for her to relax as needed.  Easton asked to take Aunt Susie to the Dinosaur museum so we may take an afternoon to surprise him.

See you soon!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Inexpensive Toys

Hello friends and family,

Only two days into our time with Aunt Susie and we're already functioning like a well oiled machine with an extra set of arms with which to love on the twins.  The real purpose of her trip is to attend the Open My Eyes classes with Kendra and I.  The focus is on emotional and spiritual growth through study, mentoring, and classes.  I didn't know this until recently, but Kendra and I are slated to teach the class next session in the spring.  The thought of me mentoring a large group of guys is a bit of a surprise because no one is really "ready" for the next step in expanding one's sphere of influence, but apparently  my time is now.

Anyway, Easton and Layla are right on the verge of some major changes in our daily routines.  The joint bath time is all but finished.  Both of them love bath time because they play with all kinds of toys and have a laughing good time.  We still have the foam letters and numbers in regular rotation of tub toys.  They are showing interest in spelling words now that they have all the letters well understood.

I'm not certain of the exact age when boy/girl twins should start taking separate baths, but my observations tell me know, three and a half, is probably a good time.  The extra effort of double bath times is not appealing, but I expect it will be good to have individual time with each one.

Aunt Joanie sent Daphne's binoculars to us many moons ago.  The twins still have trouble sharing them with each other because it's still a hot commodity around the Webb house.  Easton and I ran some errands and wound up at the Good Will store.  He targeted a ratty, old stuffed animal dog as his toy to beg for.  I know for a fact that Kendra would disapprove completely if I brought home a dirty stuffed animal from the Good Will store no matter how cheap it was.

Then I saw a pair of binoculars up on a shelf.  I showed them to Easton and he dropped the stuffed animal on the spot so he could use both hands on the new-found delight.  Bingo!  the plan worked.  $1.99 later and Easton was looking at the moon with more detail than ever before.  He even took them down to the mailbox to look at the ants.  As you can see he is looking through them backwards, but he'll figure it out eventually.

The heat this summer is just droning on and on forever it seems.  Easton and Layla were so desperate to ride their bikes that we braved the hot afternoon just to get some outdoor, sweaty fun time.

Back at home Layla finds other ways to pass the time by fixing Kendra's hair.  She's so proud of her bow creations and makeup artistry.

Then it was Kendra's turn to do Layla's hair.  Turned out great, but unfortunately bed time followed so all the hard work had to be undone.

The "girl time" is exactly the kind of thing Easton avoids more and more.  He regularly requests "boy time" where he describes an activity and follows it up with, "and NOT with Layla, just Daddy and me for boy time."  Who could say no to that?

I went shopping for a $25 remote control car for Easton, but in my research I discovered a sweet deal on a brand new helicopter so I bought that instead.  At the same time as I peeled open the helicopter box Layla found a measuring tape.  Guess which one provided more enjoyment?

The measuring tape, of course.  They take turns chasing it in.  Layla extended the tape out towards Easton.  Then, as she pushes the button to recoil it, he will chase it like a pit bull chasing a laser light.  I had as much fun watching as they did participating.

On another occasion the twins discovered bubble wrap.  With all of our moving supplies around the house they are finding more ways to entertain themselves with things that were never meant to be toys.  They had difficulty sharing so I gave them each a 5 foot roll of it.  Once they figured out how to pop their first bubble it was off to the races.

Speaking of races...  For some reason the preschool did a craft activity where they color pretend holes on a pair of construction paper pants.  Then they patched them up with pink pieces of paper and glue.  That's not interesting enough for Easton and Layla so they turned them into the flying pants.  Both of them run around waving the pants in the air like an airplane.

Easton adds his own wings and sound effects. I don't have ANY idea where they get these ideas...

By the way, Easton and Layla's new favorite YouTube clip is the coolest thing I've ever seen.  Easton saw this clip and said, "Daddy, some day you and I can do this together!"  Layla interjected to clarify her position by saying, "I don't want to do that...  I just want to be a ballerina."  Can't say that I blame her either

Summer is winding down, but Bahama Bucks snow cones are always in season.  I took the twins there for a special treat this afternoon while Kendra and Aunt Susie did some window shopping for house stuff.  The twins want to stay at home more and more as the days go by.  If I offer to take them on errands I need to run both of them decline because playing at home is only second to going out for ice cream or a snow cone.

Note to self:  Don't let Easton wear a white T-shirt while shoveling a blueberry snow cone in his mouth.  They chose their own flavor and color.  Easton chose blueberry and Layla chose pink bubble gum.  Imagine that.

And along the same lines of thinking, they each have their own beach towel hanging up outside because the pool is still open for business with a mild 84 degree water temperature.  I can tell summer is winding down though because they both shiver after getting out of the pool.  Then they sit wrapped up in their towel on the living room rug for several minutes to warm up.

This was a great weekend for the 4 Webbs, but I'm saving the best for tomorrow's post:  Renewing our vows.

See you soon!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Good-bye and Hello

Groete vriende en familie, That's Afrikaans for my standard salutation in honor of Neill and Jenny, the South African's who graced our presence for 10 days.

I've been contemplating how to write about the past few days because they've meant so much more than words can express.  There are many people around the world who would give anything to spend a few minutes with Neill and Jenny.  We were blessed to have them personally involved in our daily lives for days at a time.  They are more than friends and more than missionaries passing through.  When someone (or two) pours wisdom into your life and invests in you as a person it is priceless.  I learned so much about helping others, discernment, reaching out to those in need, true faith, and trust, and many other aspects of life.  The best way I can describe it is "maturity and character building boot camp".    Simply amazing.

They spoke for two meetings at our church and they were on stage for a few minutes in the main service to promote the meetings.

Neill and Jenny spent a few hours enjoying the peace and quiet at our house Sunday afternoon.  Meanwhile, the 4 Webbs celebrated with Scott and Marisue.  Their twin boys turned one.  The official purpose of gathering was for the birthday party, but as parents of twins we know the real purpose...  It was a "Thank God I survived the first year" celebration party for the parents. 

I only remember parts of Easton and Layla's first year because it was all a zombie-like, insomnia-induced fog.  I was in survival mode and our marriage was in survival mode.  Talk about a feeling of victory!

Little did I know back then the second year would be more difficult than the first. Don't worry I didn't spoil the party with any warning shots of what's to come for our friends. The real sun rays of parental relief don't poke through the clouds until around 2 and a half. 

Anyway, the cake was amazingly cool.  Each train car was a mini-cake all by itself with candy as the cargo.  Cool idea and it turned out to be as tasty as it was creative. 

I don't remember what Layla was expressing or why.  She has such an incredible way of showing emotion and a vocabulary of epic proportions. 

Easton was given a big piece of cake, which I deemed to be too much of a good thing.  I cut it in half and put half on Layla's plate.  Easton is so easy going that all he cared about was ensuring he could still eat the gummy bears on his half.  He is the very definition of contentment and I appreciate that more every day. 

Our current house has 1800 square feet of space, but for some reason Easton and Layla stay within one inch from each other most of the day.  They shared some chips while lying on the living room rug and for some reason it seemed like the sweetest moment ever to me.  I'm certain there is another picture similar to this one from a few years ago, but I'm too tired to dig through 27,684 pictures to find it.   

The good-bye for Neill and Jenny was difficult.  Many tears and hugs preceded their departure even though we know we'll see them in a few months.  In the mean time now we have three days to get our house back in order and welcome Kendra's aunt Suzie into our home for a 2-week visit.  Here's the latest picture I have of Susie, which is from our last visit to Sacramento over the summer. She is Ouma's sister, the one in the sun dress.

Kendra and I are very happy to have her around for a couple of weeks. She hasn't spent much time at our house before since we visit Sacramento so often, but Easton and Layla know her by name. We're always open for family to spend time at the Casa de Webb. I'm looking forward to having Aunt Suzie here and sharing our adventures with her. See you soon!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Circus and City Lights

Ladies Aaaaaaand Gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages. Welcome to the big top!

The 4 Webbs pulled Neill and Jenny willingly into our latest adventures including Easton and Layla's first trip to the circus. I can't remember the last time I saw the circus, but it's been many, many years.

I went to Circle K for the most delicious slurpees on the face of the planet. As I fished around in my pocket for 79 cents I noticed a display of tickets on the counter. The tickets were a free admission for a child to the circus. I grabbed 2 and pitched the idea to Kendra. The timing happened to coincide with Neill and Jenny staying with us and the day was open for activities.

All of us had an extraordinary time watching the acts and observing the twins as they experienced the magic of a circus. Neill and Jenny are such great sports. Easton and Layla are quickly growing attached to their Great Ouma and Great Oupa. Sharing meals and play time together is becoming an expectation so we are not looking forward to their departure on Tuesday. That'll be a sad day around the Casa de Webb. Anyway, here the four of them with the three ring circus in the background.

Easton and Layla both jumped out of their seats when the announcer said pony rides were available during intermission and after the performance.  Neill and I stood in line with the twins during intermission, but were cut off at the last moment as the second half of the show kicked off.  Afterwards we made a mad dash for the floor of the arena where we able to pop the kids right on the horses for a ride around in circles.  Easton was brave and beamed with smiles the entire ride.

Layla waved to the bystanders including Kendra and Jenny.  She acted like a princess in a parade. When asked what she liked most about the circus she said (with her yucky face), "I liked the pony ride, but that one horse pooped on the ground."

I love my Canon EOS T3.  We were quite far up in the stands.  The misters created a fog between us and circus acts.  The bright sun outside made lighting difficult.  However, all of those factors were no match for the awesomeness of the T3.  The pictures turned out incredible given the circumstances.  One elephant laid down while the other stepped over him.  Never saw that trick before...

I can't juggle.  I can't balance on a tube.  I certainly can't do both at the same time.  This circus crew made me realize my dreams of participating in a carnival are obsolete due to my lack of balance.  Almost every act included some component of balance that I could never master in 100 years. 

The flying trapeze act was outstanding.  It's hard to see here but the dude in the air just jumped over the girl grabbing the bar as they switched in mid-flight. 

These next two performers had no net under them!  The one doing a hand stand spread his legs and the other jumped over him to the wire on the other side.  talk about scary and fun... My feet were sweating and my heart raced while watching the daring duo. 

Yeah, I caught the tiger jumping through the ring of fire...  it was even more impressive in person.

We sat on the top, back row in the middle of the arena.  Frequent potty breaks made the up and down efforts difficult on the stairs, but it was worth it for the great views and back support. 

Layla decided to give Jenny's slippers a test run through the house.  Her skills are matchless when it comes to walking in adult footwear.  I'm convinced she could walk while wearing cement blocks in the shape of ocean diving fins. 

The moderate temperatures continue to cooperate so I took the twins to the Dog Park for some sand castle fun.  Sun glasses and sun screen are still required, but at least it's cool enough to play in the shade without shriveling up like a raisin in the sun. 

We took a break under the ramada for snack time.  The usual snacks include cheez-its, Welchs fruit chews, and capri-sun drinks. 

No, this isn't a fire, it's a standard, gorgeous Arizona sunset from the top of South Mountain. 

The twins and I took Neill and Jenny on the scenic drive to the top of South Mountain.  Our timing was perfect.  We caught the sunset and watched the city's night lights come to life. 

The T3 camera proved its genius once again by capturing the moments with great clarity.  Easton and Layla were amazed by the entire experience.  I was impressed with their patience and ability to comprehend what we saw.  They especially enjoyed the hiking up and down the lookout terrain. 

Neill and Jenny have seen a lot of sunsets in their lifetimes.  That's an understatement for two people who've travelled around the world 10 times.  Even so they were still impressed by the view and colors in the sunset. 

One last picture, which is my favorite of the whole day.  Just moments after I fired off this shot the sun dropped below the horizon. I'm amazed at how quickly time goes by.  There are noticeable changes almost daily in the twins as the learn and grow.  At the same time the sun set behind the mountain in the blink of an eye.  I'm ahead of the curve on several aspects of parenting.  However, I'm always playing catch up with regards to how I should refer to the twins.  First they were lint balls in Kendra's tummy.  Then they graduated to potatoes, then newborns, then babies, then toddlers.  Some time in the recent past they moved from toddlers to kids.  For the next several years I'll refer to them as "the best kids in the world".   That'll take some getting used to, but I love them just the same.

Only one day left to enjoy Neill and Jenny before we send them away with blessings to minister in Switzerland, France, India, etc. Sometimes visitors pass through our house and the trip ends with a feeling of not making the most of our time together. This is not one of those situations. We've done a great job of balancing making the most of their time with the desire to give them a chance to re-charge their batteries. No regrets and the great memories will be cherished forever. See you soon!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Weird is Relative

Greetings friends and family,

An overriding philosophy of my company is "diversity".  Sometimes it can be overbearing because there is an opposing school of thought which says, "Just because something is unique doesn't make it useful".  I think a picture of a bent fork accompanies that motivational poster...  The idea of diversification in life is equally important even as it applies to parenting.   Kendra and I continually keep that in the back of our minds when it comes to the adventures of the 4 Webbs.

One example is the cultural aspect.  We went to the park because the day time high dipped below 100 degrees.  I mean that literally.  We showed up with our bag of sand toys and for the life of me I can't figure out what other parents are thinking when they bring a car load of kids to a park without sand toys.  really?  come on.  Anyway, the good outcome is Easton and Layla learn to share and we get a chance to interact with all the other kids.

In the picture are two Chinese speaking kids.  They said Ni Hao (hello) and Layla said Ni Hao right back. She knows this from watching "Ni hao, kai-lan".  then she said the chinese word for slippers, which is a random thing to do in the normal course of conversation.  The Chinese boys' father said, "Do she watch Kai-lan?" and I smiled and nodded.

Also, there is an East Indian lady in the background and Layla played with her daughter on the playground equipment.  Even though I mis-understand and sometimes dislike other cultures I am stretched socially to interact and be civil to a variety of people.  Kids don't care though and I'm glad Easton and Layla know it's normal to be around so many different colored kids, languages, and backgrounds.

Easton and Layla are just as friendly and sharing and interactive with these kids as they are with their cousins.  I'm proud of them for it.  To me this environment is weird because we didn't have much diversity in my childhood.  Not because my parents shielded me, but because it didn't exist in our towns.

Easton was happy to keep his tractor though.  He's much more at ease with sharing when he is able to keep his most prize digger to himself.

Another area of diversity is the food.  Some kids are content to eat Mac N' Cheese 7 days a week.  Whatever works for them is cool.  However Kendra does a great job of spicing things up with a wide variety of meals.  For example, we ate chicken gyros with grilled mushrooms, peppers, and tzatziki sauce.  I bet there are few 3 year olds who would willingly eat tzatziki sauce like Easton and Layla.  

We also give them sashimi at the sushi restaurant (raw fish), which they beg us for.  I have to fight for my delicious slices of salmon and yellowtail tuna.  Dinner gets expensive quick when 4 people are eating sashimi.  Most people would say that sounds weird, but for Easton and Layla sashimi is a standard part of our adventures.  They eat hummus, cucumbers, squash, shrimp, alligator, you name it and they've either tried it or tried it and liked it.

Neill and Jenny are winding up their 10 day stay with us.  The twins are already taking their presence for granted by expecting them to be around and play with them.  Dual back rubs is a sure fire way to calm the twins down and make their day.  

Some people may think it's weird to have anyone in their house for 10 days, but not us.  Our families (we consider Neill and Jenny as family) are so great that we love the time together no matter when or where or for how long.

We are taking full advantage of them being here with nightly, deep discussions about a range of topics.  Many people are excited to get 15 minutes of their time to share and listen to their wisdom.  We get days at a time where we can really dig down into their wisdom and knowledge.  Such a blessing for us to have them around...

Our plans for the upcoming weekend include a trip to the circus!  The twins have never been so this will definitely be entertaining to watch them experience the circus for the first time.  I'm just excited to do something besides work over the weekend.  :)

See you soon!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

BPS in Mesa

Greetings friends and family,
The monsoon / dust storm / haboob season is overstaying its welcome this year. The clouds darken, the wind kicks up, lightning flashes and thunder claps. Then... the wall of dust sand blasts our town with just enough sprinkles of rain to turn a freshly washed car into a muddy mess. Layla thinks the term rain means a few drops of water falling, but drying up as soon as they hit the pavement. She has no idea what is a gully washer. Even so, she still looks for opportunities to fashionize every event. She showcased Easton's rain boots as she prepared to go outside and brave the droplets. As you can see in the picture Easton's boots still have the tags attached! That was money well spent (sigh).

Speaking of throwing money out the window... The 4 Webbs were riding in the car to dinner. Daddy's driving, Easton's playing with his toy air plane while Kendra and Layla recite memory verses. Out of nowhere Easton's air plane comes flying over Kendra's seat and scratches her arm on the way by. Without taking my eyes off the road rolled down the window and said, "Easton, say bye-bye to the airplane." Then I winged it out of the window onto the sidewalk. As I rolled up the window and started explaining how it's not appropriate to throw toys Easton started bawling.
What Daddy DIDN'T do was find out the facts before doling out the discipline. Come to find out, Layla took Easton's airplane and threw it. Why? I have no idea. We never got an answer. All I know is that Daddy made a big mistake and Easton lost his favorite travel toy because of it. We arrived at the restaurant and I took Easton out his car seat. I got down on his level in the parking lot and said, "I am sorry for throwing away your toy. I didn't know Layla threw it at us. I should have talked about what happened before disciplining. Will you forgive me?" He only thought for a couple of seconds, but then gave a heart-felt, "Yes, I forgive you". After dinner we went straight to Toys' R Us and he picked out a suitable replacement. All better!

The preschool teacher rubs the kid's backs during quiet time. Easton discovered the wonders of back rubs and now he wants anyone and everyone to be his back rub slave... including Layla. He's not picky either. I rub his back while we read books and if I stop he grabs my arm and puts it back in place for more rubs. He's more like me every day and now it's starting to get real because we are competing for Kendra's back rub time. grrrrrr

The twins are becoming closer friends every day. They play more together and share more often, which is exactly what we've been waiting for. Lately they started pretending to read books to each other. Easton grabbed his 100 Years of Flight book (all time favorite) and Layla pretended to be interested as he described the planes on each page.

I took the twins out on a daddy date so Kendra could have some alone time. I already had planned out a trip to Bass Pro Shops because it is indoors (air conditioned), loud (screaming kids don't stick out), and interesting (petting a stuffed skunk is COOL for a 3 year old). Easton headed straight for the aquarium to check out the enormous bass and catfish.

We eventually found the toy section where he grabbed a rifle and pretended to shoot the turkey hanging from the wall.

Layla was most interested in playing cowgirl as she pony-hopped down the isles. She knew enough from Toy Story 2 to yell out a big, "Yeeee haw!" as she trotted around.

Snack time came around and I led them into the Islamorada Fish Company restaurant inside Bass Pro Shops for the pièce de résistance. They questioned me with anticipation, "what are we going to eat for our snack?" Alligator! I'm serious. This place has deep fried alligator as an appetizer for 7 bucks.

I told them we were going to eat alligator and they were both excitedly ready to try it out. Easton said, "I'll eat the alligator, but I don't want to eat the teeth." Fair enough, Big Time... The batter was a bit spicy, but the three of us gobbled it up like cavemen carnivores.

On the way out the door I captured the moment next to the cacti and rock formations. It turned out to be a great representation of Easton and Layla's personalities. I love them both so much. These great adventures really stand out in their minds for weeks and months after we share them.

Tomorrow is another school day for the twins and work day for me and packing day for Kendra. Two months from today we should be in the new house. I thought this time of transition would be stressful for us, but it's not at all. We have such a long lead time and are looking forward to the move so much that we are actually having fun right now. Kendra is more interested than ever in the DIY shows and blogs. I'm able to (dream) shop for all the cool stuff I want. The two of us don't have many hobbies in common, but figuring out how to put our touch on the interior of the house is turning out to be a happy, joint effort.
See you soon!