And then they were…FOUR?!

I blinked and my babies became toddlers who became small children. Weren’t they just born? Didn’t I just celebrate their first birthday? Didn’t I just write an open letter to them after their first year? WHAT IS HAPPENING.

Mommies and Daddies: Hold on to every single second. Cherish every moment. Document less. Just be. Soak in every moment. Hold their hands, kiss their boo-boos, snuggle with them every day. You blink and they’ve moved on to the next age.

Here are some fun facts about my boys:

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1. He Is such a dreamer and has such a powerful imagination.

I love to quietly observe him. My Micah gets completely lost in his world of superheroes and toys. He goes on wild adventures, his imagination is seriously astounding. You can give him a box and he’ll turn it into an imaginary castle for all of his toys. He will envision a world. The TV stand becomes a cliff for the Justice League to jump off to save the day. He inspires me to imagine and dream on a daily basis. He is such a kid in the best way.

2. He takes an eternity to like anyone.

Micah is the kind of kid who won’t hand out his love for free. If you want him to be in your corner you have to earn his affection. He doesn’t smile for strangers or talk to them. If you want an in when it comes to his heart you better get to know him and be entertaining. Otherwise, expect stares and scowls. The best part is that once he DOES like you, you’re in for good. He’ll give out his million dollar smirks like they’re free candy. It just might take you a year to earn it.

3. He lives for the tease and likes to prank people.

I know I probably shouldn’t love this, but it’s actually funny sometimes. He likes to play jokes on people and trick them. I see it as someone who’s creative and clever. He does it to Josiah the most and Josiah HATES it the majority of the time, but he gets a kick out of driving people nuts at times and mostly Josiah.

JOSIAH

1. HE’S OBSESSED WITH MUSIC LIKE HIS PARENTS. AND HE’S REALLY GOOD AT IT.

Josiah loves the drums and is actually quite good at playing them for a toddler. He has his own kid set upstairs and will play hours on end and when he doesn’t want to go upstairs, he will play on the couch. My favorite Josiah moments are when I hear him humming loudly the songs that we’ve sung in church. On Sundays, he says, “Mommy are you singing today? I like when you sing” and my heart pretty much melts right into the floor.

2. HE WAKES UP HAPPY.

I’m not a morning person at all. Early bird catches the worm? Forget the worm. I don’t care about it if it means I can sleep for a few extra hours. That being said, Josiah wakes up with a grin whether it’s in the morning or it’s after his nap. He’s one of those kids that wakes up with a bounce in his step. He’s ALWAYS been a happy little guy even when he was a baby! It’s funny how they say that you can see the personalities of kids as babies because for my boys it was mostly true!

3. HE IS A MOMMA’S BOY AND LIVES FOR THE SNUGGLE.

My Josiah is a shameless snuggler. He will snuggle with me all day long without any apologies or cares. If he’s watching a TV show, he loves it when I sit close to him and hold him. He’s a momma’s boy through and through and I love it so much! Whereas Micah needs his space, Josiah is usually good with me being in his space and welcomes it. He also has a harder time when I go anywhere: “Mommy, don’t go to work! Stay with me!”

Guys, I LOVE THIS AGE SO MUCH. I don’t care what anyone says, for me, each age gets better and better. This stage is probably my absolute favorite. 

Here’s a glimpse of three through the year!

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First day of preschool was approached with mixed feelings by the boys.

They started to find their place in Sunday School and grew to love it! They love going to church and learning about Jesus.

 

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My babies started off as little shorties with their pants rolled up. By the end of the year, the same pants were high waters.

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One of their favorite activities is to play at the park together!

 

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Micah the model. I like this picture because he’s starting to look like a little boy instead of a baby. God help me!

 

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Dress up for school!

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For a school assignment, they had to dress up like old men! Another day in the books for preschool.

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New tradition – tree cutting for Christmas!

 

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This year they became more cuddly with each other. They’re super protective of one another and yell at anyone who goes against a brother. They have each other’s backs.

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Just another hard day in the life of a toddler.

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Micah became quite the little photo lover this year. This is his favorite facial expressions for taking pictures.

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Oh boy – you can read more about Christmas pictures gone wrong [spot the jelly beans?] in one of my previous posts!

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Snuggle king Josiah doing what he does.

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Most kids like their cider in a cup…not my kid.

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Love this picture that captures the dynamic of their relationship so well!

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By the spring, they were preschool pros and came to love school SO MUCH!

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A mommy surrounded by her handsome sons! My babes!

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Birthday party fun for one of our faves!

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They like to unwind with a cup of “coffee” and night time chats.

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Their first pair of Jordans courtesy of our dear friend Sabrina! They felt so cool and love their ‘basketball shoes for basketball!’ they remind me.

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Zoo hangs are our favorite!

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Probably my favorite Easter outfit they’ve ever worn!

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Good Friday they had to look sharp too of course!

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Long park walks and explorations became a really fun way to hang out for us!

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Probably one of my favorite pictures ever – Micah’s face says it all when it comes down to how much he loves his brother.

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Pizza and glasses at our favorite pizza place.

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ZOO FUN!

 

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Favorite family spot and the home of our vacation – Ocean City, NJ. This was after school when we all decided we needed some time at the boardwalk!

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Most happy by the sea.

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You’ve got a friend in me.

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I love how tan my boys get every summer! They are my little cookies!

 

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Beach Vacation 2017.

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Riding through life together one mile at a time.

 

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The best I can get with toddlers. After all, they’re only…four!

 

Expectation vs. Reality – Christmas Pics 2016

Christmas pictures. When some people hear this phrase they feel excited as they anticipate taking family pictures and choosing from a variety of lovely photos. When I hear this phrase, I feel…slight dread. You see, I am a twin mom of two toddler boys. Getting two energetic little guys to stay still, smile, and pose for an indefinite amount of time is nothing short of mission impossible.

Still, I put my best foot forward and decided to do a portrait studio this year if only for time’s sake. My favorite picture takers are my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, who typically take our Christmas pics but I decided to give them a break since my SIL is preggers. So, off we went.

On the way up, JoJo was in a bit of a mood. “This was a bad idea, wasn’t it?” I asked my husband as we drove along, regret lacing my tone. He shrugged in resignation and sighed, “We’ll see.” When we got to the place, all was going well it seemed. Both boys were playing with some of the toys left out and having a good time. TOO good of a time, I started to notice.

“Um, do you think it’s going to be easy to get them out of this section to take pics?” I asked my husband nervously.

“I don’t know…” his voice trailed off unsure. Uh-oh.

So off I went in search of reinforcements. I.E. bribery tools, I.E. candy. After I purchased some favorites, it was our turn. Immediately, Josiah wasn’t having it. He started to cry and my hopes of an easy picture session were dashed. The more we tried to get him to smile, the worse it became. I went in for the reinforcements, grabbing the jelly beans and offering them up as a token of peace in exchange for pictures. Here’s the thing – Josiah didn’t want to let go of the jelly beans. So he didn’t. So they were in literally the majority of our pictures because we’ve learned early what battles to fight and knew this wasn’t one of them.

Josiah – One.

Parents – Zero.

Meanwhile, Micah was striking a pose like he was David Beckham, being a complete ham for the camera.

Nonetheless, the pictures appropriately captured what being a twin parent of three years old is like and overall, I’m happy.  We did get some pretty good ones! But I had to laugh because of expectations vs. reality. Here’s what I expected….

Here’s what actually happened:

Here were my expectations…

Here’s what reality delivered.

Thank goodness we can laugh about it! Here’s to another Christmas session checked off the list.

And here are some of the solid ones:

Until we meet again, photographers.

Tattling? Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That.

So I recently have had a love/hate relationship with this stage of the age of THREE. Oh, there are so many things I LOVE about this stage. But gosh, there are some things that I literally can’t even deal with. I think this may be super specific to raising twins.

THE.CONSTANT.BICKERING.AND.TATTLING.

#doesitEVERstop

#noSeriously

#helpmeJesus

The boys have been at a stage where they love each other so much than two seconds later are airing out each other’s dirty laundry to us. We are the lucky recipients of their complaints which are super logical and include statements such as:

“Mommy, Micah said chair. MOMMY, MICAH SAID CHAIR!”

“Mommy, Jojo said dinky. MOMMY, JOJO SAID DINKY!”

In which our responses have been super patient and along the lines of:

“Guys, no one likes a tattle.” [From Mom]

 

*Ignore and avoid eye contact in hopes that tattler will become distracted and not tattle.*

They have fought long and hard over toys, over what shows to watch, over what clothes to wear, down to the pajamas. Connor McGregor would be proud. These parents though? Not amused. This has felt especially long and drawn out now that we are forced inside due to the early darkness and colder weather we’ve gotten. Because they are together in a closed space known as home, they are in each other’s faces all the time. img_0846

Evidence as follows:

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The highlights of this age?

They apologize to each other and to us, kiss and makeup.

Their vocabulary has exploded out of the park.

They are easier to take places and when we take them out, it’s usually a blast.

I JUST NEED THE BICKERING TO END. AND THE CONSTANT TATTLING. NO ONE CARES THAT JOJO SAID “BLUE.” The end.

Okay bye.

POTTY TRAINING UPDATE. Progress! Finally!

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If you’ve been following my blog you’ve read this post and this post, where I bemoaned the difficulties of potty training and how I failed because I basically didn’t really try. Well, over the summer, my awesome neighbor offered to help me train them on her days off, which happened to be the week before they were going to start preschool. Since she works at a preschool and has experience, she had amazing tips and pointers and came over to help me train them. So we went to work.

The strategy was:

  1. Put their potties in a separate part of the house, away from the TV.
  2. Time them every five minutes and have them sit on the potty.
  3. While they are sitting on the potty, read them a book. Make the time that they’re sitting on it “fun” and something they can look forward to.
  4. Time them sitting on the potty for five minutes. Five minutes on, five minutes off. You can increase to ten minutes, fifteen minutes, half hour, etc. as you see they are getting the hang of it.
  5. Rewarded them with something they don’t typically get to eat – jelly beans.
  6. Let them run around the house naked in the meantime.
  7. Be consistent, don’t give up, be prepared for accidents.
  8. It’s okay if they don’t poop in the toilet right away, it takes time.

I give all credit to my neighbor and her encouragement and willingness to help! It really is awesome having another set of hands and just someone to encourage you when you feel like giving up. She was great.

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We are a long way from where we started in the best way. I would say one is pretty much totally potty trained and the other is 85% there!  THIS MAKES ME FEEL LIKE WE ARE GROWING IN LEAPS AND BOUNDS. And I’m so proud, thrilled, emotional because they’re just not babies anymore. One wears pull-ups but stays dry the majority of the time, going on the potty while the other is in his underwear now all of the time. Hooray!

The thing with having twins is that they encouraged each other! This helped and I think going to pre-school and watching all of the other kids do it pushed them forward in a big way.

This whole potty-training thing is a journey! It is imperfect, messy, crazy…but we are well on our way!

My encouragement to you:

  1. Don’t give up like I did right away.
  2. Don’t be discouraged.
  3. Be persistent, steady, consistent.
  4. Dedicate several days, or a week to this completely.
  5. Realize, they will go eventually. Don’t be hard on yourself.

These are the things I wish I told myself! But I’m really thankful that I had someone to tell me these things! But we have progressed, and for that I am proud!

 

 

Our trip to the Philadelphia Zoo!

Last week, my mom and I spontaneously decided to take the boys to the Cape May Zoo. We had a great time and amazing weather. It was in the eighties, but missing the nightmarish humidity that had been plaguing us for the majority of the summer.

When I came home and bragged  told my husband about what we did, he said he wanted to go to the Philadelphia Zoo on Saturday. He hadn’t been, and it was killing him that I was having such a blast with the boys while he toiled away at work. Sorry, not sorry. Just kidding. Kind of. When I looked into pricing, I saw it was a little pricey, BUT membership wasn’t bad at all. We decided to become members for a year! Membership benefits include free access to the zoo for a year, free parking, and 10% of all merchandise and food. Not bad at all!

We had such a good time. The weather was humid and muggy, but we got there as soon as it opened on Saturday (I’m a stickler for getting to places early and when it opens since I hate crowds!), so it was perfect. We brought the stroller, but took the boys out and let them walk around with us most of the time.  We made sure they didn’t fall into a gorilla pit (rest in peace Harambe) and needless to say, it was uneventful in that way! Hooray!

The Philadelphia Zoo is a gorgeous zoo with such a variety of animals and historical fact alert; it’s the nation’s FIRST zoo. One of the millions reasons to love Philly . So if you haven’t visited it or if you don’t live around here, take an East Coast vacation and add this place to the list of places to check out. We plan on going for a date day as well sometime soon, so we can actually read the signs and take a minute to slow down. If you have toddlers, you understand that spending more than five minutes at an exhibit is probably not a possibility. Still, a fab time was had by all.

It was also a first for my husband AND the boys, so it was cool to see them all experience the zoo in that way. We stayed for a few hours, and once it started getting super muggy, peaced out. All in all, a successful day.

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Then they were THREE! A prayer for my boys.

As my boys turn THREE today, this is my prayer for them. Originally wrote it in my prayer journal, but wanted to share!

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Dear Lord,

Thank You for the privilege of parenting not one, but TWO miracle babies. Thank You for the surprise and gift of raising two boys. Two boys that are so clearly filled with purpose and destiny. I know without a shadow of a doubt, that the plans that You have for their lives are special, unique, and beautiful. I pray that my babies would love and pursue You every single day. Let their lives speak of Your miraculous power. Let their hearts love You and love people purely. Let their hearts be filled with a desire to serve you and to serve others.

My Josiah. For Josiah, I pray that you would use His strong will and determined attitude for good things and for YOUR purposes. I pray that Josiah would stand strong against things that are wrong and that he would stand for JUSTICE and freedom for those that are oppressed. That he would be a voice for the voiceless. I pray that He would sing songs of hope and songs that bring joy. I pray that when he plays instruments, heavy hearts, and broken hearts are made whole.

For Micah, I pray that You would use his sensitive, gentle spirit to comfort others. I pray that he would uplift those that are broken. I pray that He would have compassion that burns for the forgotten. I pray that Micah would see those that are ignored by society and offer them that hope that He has within. I pray that Micah’s ability to listen and observe would translate to a person who hears others and leads in humility.

For both of my boys, I pray that they would have an unshakeable bond and brotherhood. I pray that they would be loyal to You and to each other. I pray that they would be men of courage, integrity, and valor. Let them pursue You relentlessly and love You wholeheartedly. May YOU always have first place in their lives. Give them favor with You and with men. I pray that they would dream HUGE God-sized dreams with no limitations, and run after them, accomplishing more than we ever have in our lifetime.

I thank You for the gift of Micah and Josiah. Thank You for choosing ME and entrusting me with the amazing opportunity to raise these boys. Continue to give me the grace I need to parent two world changers. My heart is overflowing. I love You.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

 

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I have truly loved this age. Here’s to onward, upward, and seeing what THREE holds in store for us!

Potty Training Struggles are Real. Part 1.

My husband and I have a goal of trying to get the boys potty trained over the summer. How is it going, you ask? Well, it’s not really going at all. I “tried” to potty train them once before and it didn’t get anywhere. I think our trying efforts need to be stepped up.

We have one who is willing to sit on the potty for a few minutes at most. Meanwhile, the other has literally ZERO interest. Zero as in refuses to sit on it at all. To get him to sit on it, would be to force him with tears and crying. I keep reading that that particular method isn’t effective and it’s the last thing a parent should do.

The hubs and I decided we would absolutely go for it full fledged on the fourth of July. He had off from work, and we could do it as a team effort. We were determined. Game faces? On. So we get up, and we are pumping each other up equivalent to football players pumping up their team players.

Me: “Are you ready to do this?”

Him: “YEAH!* [Insert fist in the air] We have this! We can do it!”

So we bring out the potties and attempt to try the naked method where you let them run around naked and have the potties on hand. This epically FAILS from the start. We have one crying because he doesn’t want to be naked. We have the other one loving the idea of being naked. Maybe TOO much? There are lots of tears involved. When Jose and I can finally stop crying (ha – just kidding, almost) I decide that I know what will do the trick. Buying two new Mickey Mouse potties. DUH, why didn’t I think about this before? This will CLEARLY solve the problem. So I shoot off to the store to buy one. After three stores, I locate them, bring them home joyfully and look at my husband knowingly. *Wink wink* Problem solved. Mickey Mouse potties will do the trick.

Um. It didn’t work. Not even a little bit. The boys were excited about these “toys.” Excited about taking them apart, standing on them, and flushing them but sitting on them? NO. One tried for a few minutes, then was completely over it. The other? Nope, not interested at all. After two hours of pleading, trying to convince, bribing, and coming up with nothing – we looked at each other.

Me: “Do you want to go to the beach?”

Husband: “Yeah.”

The end. And the potty training saga continues. Stay tuned for more updates.

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Pants DOWN, diapers on.

 

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God’s Grace in parenting.

 

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Some days I feel like  I need an extra dose of God’s grace when it comes to parenting.

Do you ever have moments where you are impatient with your little ones? Annoyed? Frustrated? Visualize me answering this question with my hands up, jumping up and down, all while shouting, “oooohhhh MEEEEE! YES! YES!” Am I alone in this?

Do you ever have days where sometimes your impatience or annoyance shines through? Or when you want to shout back, “NO, I DON’T WANT TO SHARE!” and throw an adult tantrum towards your toddler? Or maybe even a time where you have snapped, blown a fuse, or had a melt down? I have a feeling I’m not alone. Because after all, we are parents. And if you are a parent of multiples, you probably feel this even more so.

Right now the boys are at an age that I actually LOVE, but there are also some things that I don’t love. For example:

  • Tantrums – I get it. You don’t want it. Geeze.
  • The word no on speed dial and repeat – I’m convinced one of my boys has selected that word as his favorite in spite of his rich vocabulary of other words that are more magical and wonderful than the dreaded “no.” YES. How about that kid?!
  • Pickiness – grilled cheese, pizza, eggs. All of the ingredients for a well-rounded diet in the eyes of my toddlers. One of my guys will actually smell it, stick it in his mouth very briefly, and then say “No. I don’t want it.”

And in these moments where I want to scream, pull out my hair, or curl up in a corner and cry. I need His grace. Outside of these moments, I still need His grace. Parenting my boys is TOO PRECIOUS of a job to do without it. I need it daily.

Every day I reflect and think – “Wow. God chose ME to be the momma of these two precious guys. He knew that I would have what it takes. That I would have what these boys needed from a mom.”

I am overwhelmed by the privilege and honor it is to be a mother and to have a job that is so important: molding and shaping these guys into men of God who love Him relentlessly. And I am thankful for God’s grace to do it.

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. – Ephesians 4:7

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. – 1 Corinthians 12:9

Almost THREE is a fun place to be.

The boys are almost three years old. They’ll be three over the summer. I can’t even believe it myself! It feels like yesterday we were enduring sleepless nights, swaddling, rock-n playing, and such. My babes are toddlers. Can I be honest in saying, that I’m really loving this stage?! The almost three age is loads of fun in my opinion! Here’s why:

  1. These dudes are hilarious.

Because they’re at an age where they can have conversations with each other and know each other so much better (when they were babies, they were vaguely aware of each other), they do some funny things. Last night, they decided it would be a blast to howl for awhile. And by howl, I don’t mean cry – I mean, actually HOWL like wolves for the sake of it. They would laugh in between their howls. Hysterical.

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Chaos around me? No pants? This is the life.

2. They are little tricksters. And I can’t be mad about it.

These guys know how to play tricks on us and literally play us out. For example, during naptime they will fake me out and yell “POOPOO!” from their room, so that I go in their and change them. Here’s the catch – no one pooped. They just knew it would get me in there. They also like to jump up and down like maniacs, and as soon as they hear the door open they pretend they’re “sleeping.” Toddlers – ONE. Parents? ZERO.

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CAREFREE! The only way to be at two years old.

3. They’re all about that snuggle life. BUT they’d prefer to snuggle with daddy.

“Snuggle?” they’ll ask me. My heart is about to burst open with delight as they begin walking towards me, until they make a turn and head towards their dad. Josiah will snuggle with me much more than Micah will. These guys are obsessed with their daddy, which I’m okay with. Because in the summer my plan is pretty much to ensure they love me the most. TAKE THAT JOSE. Mwahahaha.

 

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My view when I’m on my way to work every morning.

4. It’s so much easier to take them out! Kind of.

Okay, so I have to have my purse and pockets loaded with bribery fruit snacks and other faves, but it’s still so much easier to take the boys out on my own. I put one in the front seat of the cart, and the other in the back and aha! I officially have half an hour or so of shop time at that particular store. If I’m with the hubs, you can add more time to that. These guys are my little buddies and when they see that they’re about to go out with me they’ll say, “Shopping?” You know it. They love all of Mommy’s faves – Target, Starbucks (where they get their chocolate milk), Chick-Fil-A, and Rita’s. Don’t judge me.

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Great attitudes and patience. Winning.

5. Their favorite phrases to say to me are – “I love you!” or “I miss you!” or “CALM DOWN!”

There’s nothing sweeter than hearing my boys say these things to me. When I come home from work, or my husband comes home from work, they run towards us shouting at the top of their lungs, “I MISS YOU!” There’s pretty much nothing that compares to that feeling. When Jose and I wanted to become parents, one of the things I remember my husband saying is that it would be amazing to come home to someone who would be excited to see his or her mommy or daddy. Now we have two! The last phrase is pretty appropriate for me as well, if you know me. #KeepcalmandMOMon

6. We can have conversations with them! Hoorah!

They may be odd conversations sometimes, but it’s a blast to be able to communicate with these guys better and better each day. Some of their favorite things to say, “Are you kidding me? That’s ridiculous!” If we dare leave the room, “Where are you going?” They’re also picking up on things a lot more quickly, which means we are careful what we say around them and watch around them. I love that they’re becoming these little communicators.

This age is pretty fun! Does this mean we never have tantrums or moments that make us want to pull our hair out? We are parents of toddlers. Twins at that. So the answer is…OF COURSE! But the good outweighs the bad and I feel like each age group brings a new set of joys and challenges. Either way, I’m cherishing each moment and each day and can’t wait to spend my summer with these two!

What do you love about this stage? What drives you insane? Feel free to share!

Potty Training Fail.

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*To the tune of ‘Fresh-Prince of Bel-Air’*

“And this is the story all about how

I tried to potty train my twins but failed, Oh Wow…*

Okay, so I’ll stick to not trying to rap. This week I was on my spring break from school. Can I even count the ways it was glorious? I go back to work tomorrow but so enjoyed hanging out with my babies! Summer, come please. Thanks.

That being said, I made a decision that I was going to potty train my boys during spring break. I had a week to do it and I kept telling myself and my friends. I was kind of determined. A few days passed into spring break and I forgot about it. Tuesday came around and I thought to myself, “Crap. I need to potty train these guys!” So I did what I do best. I went to Target with my husband and filled up the cart with loads of essentials.

Potty training pants? Check.

Cute “Cars” underwear? Check.

Other nonessential pointless items that make their way into my cart EVERY SINGLE TIME? Check.

Sheer determination to potty train no matter what? I think I left that at Starbucks when I was ordering my Frappucino.

This is how it went:

I woke up the next morning and “prepped” by looking up things on Pinterest and what not. Most moms research and read up on this for awhile. This mom talked to friends and other people, looked up a few articles, skimmed read them, and got ready. My husband was working so I was on my own. I was psyched about how much I was going to accomplish and how this was going to be the beginning of our potty training journey. So I woke up, took them from their cribs (you can read about my fear of toddler beds here) and sat them on the potty.

Me: Okay, now pee!

Them: Cars! Put on Cars Movie!

Me: Okay, but sit and pee while you watch (no pressure right?)

I then proceeded to stare at them and wait. They grew bored sitting on the toilet and tried to wander off. I grew bored watching and decided to use the bathroom. When I came back, one had grabbed their potty and was walking around with it. But wait, there was something inside! I excitedly texted my husband about the success we were reaching and bragging about my amazing potty training abilities. I tried to show my excitement by trying to engage the boys in high-fives but they weren’t too interested. Three hours later and several pee puddles on the floor later, I texted him a new message:

“This is hard. I quit. I think it would be easier with you here. I’ll try again in the summer.”

And THAT my friends, is how NOT to potty train. 🙂

We will revisit you soon potty. This won’t be the last of us.

I know I didn’t really give potty training a true try and I’m okay with that. We had a family emergency this week that took a toll on us in every way. We are still recovering from that even now. I also think one twin is ready and the other is not. So I may try to do one for now and wait a bit for my other little guy. Who knows?! Either way, it’ll happen before preschool in September. I hope! Ha!