Thursday, June 28, 2012

Home Is Where the Kids Are

Hola friends and family,

Summer time in Sacramento includes long sleeve shirts and leggings.  This is a welcomed reprieve from the sweltering heat this time of year in Phoenix.  I fully understand why rich people have a summer and winter home.  This annual regimen is working out so well to give Easton and Layla year-around play time.  How about these smiling faces who are are obviously enjoying the cool mornings?

I'm not entirely sure of the back story of these pictures because I was not here this past weekend.  However, from the looks of things it is clear Ouma and Oupa and Kendra took great care of them.

And the twins took care of Oupa's truck as well.  No wonder he wants to be a fireman...  Kendra took some cues from the "Spoonful of Sugar" song.  Every task they undertake becomes a piece of cake.

With twins there are always two pair of hands ready to help.  They usually get different jobs in order to teach team work, but occasionally we have two rags or two hoses or two drying towels to get the job done quicker.

In the real world the reward for work is...  more work.  Not so much for Easton and Layla.  Their reward is playtime with the slip 'n slide.

Ouma and Oupa's front yard is grassy enough to get a running start and whoosh down the lanes.

We don't encourage or discourage competition between the twins.  If they want to race, then go for it.  If one or both of them don't care then so be it.  Doesn't matter who wins as long as they are having fun and remain loving through it.

Oupa gave Easton his first real-deal putter.  That's a great gift, but what really makes this special is the time invested by Oupa to teach and coach and train Easton.  Oupa said Easton was an excellent student and grasped the concepts well.  Easton practiced putting for three hours and wanted to stay longer when it was time to go.  I hope he continues to improve his golf game because it's truly a lifetime sport.

He is loving the big-boy treatment and special privileges like riding in the front seat of Oupa's truck and wearing his hat.  I keep telling Easton some day he will be taller than me and his hands will be bigger than mine.  May as well give him some extra motivation to eat his green beans.  

I wasn't around to witness the events of the past few days because I spent 4 days in Phoenix with my brother, Casey.  He and a friend came to Phoenix for a visit.  I went there to take care of things at home and work.  The timing matched up great because we were able to hang out in a kid-less environment, which hasn't happened much in the past few years.  Casey realized why people don't normally visit Phoenix in the summer time...  it was blazing hot and our 92 degree pool temperature didn't provide much relief.  One of the few benefits of Phoenix summer time is the chance to experience haboobs.  Thunder storms collapse south of town and blow a wall of dust over the entire city along with 5 drops of water.  Welcome to desert living, bro!

Even though I was technically home during the short 4 day trip to Phoenix, I really missed Kendra and the twins who were living it up in Sacramento.  

So meanwhile back at the ranch Layla is getting copious amounts of play time with her bestie Isabella.  What do two princess ballerinas do together?  Why, dance of course!

Layla attended Isabella's dance recital where some other kids performed some Wizard of Oz numbers.  I asked if she heard the Lollipop Kids song and she started singing it back to me even though she has yet to see the Wizard of Oz movie.  What 4 year old could possibly survive the flying monkey scenes without nightmares?  Anyway, we walked into Best Buy and she said at the top of her lungs with all the patrons passing by, "We represent the lollipop kids, the lollipop kids..."

Having twins means I'm used to the looks people give as the twins wander through stores.  Almost nothing phases me because the twins are smile generators.  They smile at people walking by and  those people smile back.  It is clearly contagious and a wonderful thing to watch happen over and over every day.

The late, great Johnny Carson once said, "Talent alone won't make you a success. Neither will being in the right place at the right time, unless you are ready. The most important question is: 'Are your ready?'"

Part of my strategy is to get Easton and Layla ready for the real world.  I can't tell you how awesome it is to see them take care of getting in the car.  They open the door, climb in, close the door and buckle up.  Once they are buckled up I have them say (loudly), "I'm READY!"  This daily routine of consistently setting expectations and allowing them succeed is a microcosmic example of what we do and how we do it.  The day they were old enough to climb in the car was the last day I ever picked them up and loaded them in the car.  The day they clipped their own seat belt was the last time I did it for them.  Does it get tangled occasionally?  Yes, and I'm always happy to lend a hand to help them figure it out.

Doing for a child what they can do for themselves is the most growth-inhibiting thing a parent can do.  I will prove this truth to the fullest extent and encourage others to approach parenting in the same way.

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