The girls got their first taste of Westport (on the Washington coast) this weekend. The in-laws have a condo there and we usually go once a year or so but haven't been since November '07 when I was pregnant with them. It was interesting because they had bad colds and grandpa was sick, too, with what we later learned was PINK EYE! Hello. I sure hope the girls don't get it! That stuff is super contagious, but so far so good. He must have had a cold too, though, because he had bad congestion and body aches which the PA at Group Health said was related, but I've never heard of anyone with pink eye also having cold- of flu-like symptoms. Anyway, he and the girls were all sick, but we still had a good time. We played on the beach for a short time one day but it was of course chilly and windy so we didn't last long. We mostly swam, which the girls loved. Kayley picked right up where we left off last summer but Olivia was scared at first, apparently not remembering the fun she had jumping in the pool (us catching her) on our trip to the Oregon coast last year. But after watching Kayley having a blast jumping in over and over she finally, reluctantly eased into the water via the steps and then started jumping in herself. They were so cute.
I did it! And a week and a half early! I've lost 5.2 pounds since May 1st. So it seems I have reached my mini goal of 5 pounds by June 1st, however, knowing me, I will gain some back between now and then. Especially since we are leaving today for Westport where we will be staying with the in-laws until Tuesday. In-laws = plenty of chips, brownies, huge meals, etc. Everytime we hang with them either at their place, the Ocean (Westport) or Crescent Bar I gain like 3 pounds. But I'm really gonna try to keep it in check this time. I'm 7 pounds over my wedding weight (and 5 pounds under my pre-baby weight, yay) so my next goal, other than not gaining any between now and the 1st, is to lose 7 in 7 weeks, so by July 10th-ish.
This week's Show Us Your Life topic at Kelly's Korner is hometowns. I consider my hometown to be Mount Vernon, Washington, where I was born and lived the first half of my life. But the second half of my life has been lived in various places within the greater Seattle Metropolitan area, so I will talk about both.
Mount Vernon is a great town and was a wonderful place to grow up. Famous for it's tulips and with Mt. Baker in the background (not shown in this photo), it's a goregous town.
It's a smallish, but not too small, town of 26,000+ about 60 miles north of Seattle. Everytime I go back (most of my family is there) I barely recognize it as it has grown leaps and bounds. Actually, most of the growth is in the neighboring Burlington but everyone kind of groups the two towns together and just calls the whole area "Mount Vernon". Oh, and the actor Jim Caviezel who played Jesus in "Passion of the Christ" hails from good ol' MV! I went to high school with him. He signed my yearbook. But I digress.
So enough about MV, and on to Seattle. The thing I like most about Seattle is that you can be on the waterfront one minute and an hour later be in the mountains (the goregous Cascades that divide the state into the cold, wet West and the dry, hot East). Everywhere you look, 360 degrees, goregous mountains can be seen. Yet, at the same time there are goregous water views of Elliott Bay, Lake Union and Lake Washington.
I love driving across the bridges. This is the I-90 bridge connecting Seattle and Bellevue.
It doesn't rain as much as everyone thinks, in fact most of the last several summers have been absolutely goregous. There are outdoor festivals, concerts, tons of culture, the awesome Pike Place Market, the Space Needle, and let's not forget, the birthplace of Starbucks!
Gas Works Park on Lake Union
The historic Pike Place Market
The Seattle Skyline at night. Awesome.
And while the midwest has tornados, the east coast has hurricanes, California has smog and even more horrible traffic and the southwest has extreme heat, all Seattle has to worry about is the occassional earthquake, none of which have been devastating, although the "Big One" is much anticipated. That, and horrible sports teams (although they have had their shining moments).
Multiples and More Question of the Week: How do you encourage your multiples to develop and maintain their own individual identities?
Do you plan to, or already separate them in school?I think a lot of schools have policies about not having twins in the same class, so I'm guessing the girls will be separated. I don't really have a preference yet, as they are only 2. I don't think being in the same class would necessarily hinder their individuality but I do think being separated would encourage them to interact with more/other people and develop other friendships that they maybe wouldn't otherwise.
Do you encourage your kids to pursue separate interests, or try to keep them in the same activities? I do now and will always encourage them to pursue their own interests. I would never force one to participate in an activity just because her sister is into it. I will, however, encourage them to try new things, but ultimately they will be encouraged to pursue whatever it is they enjoy, be it tennis or math club, track or marching band.
What are your feelings on dressing multiples alike? Coordinating names? No, and no! I've always said that if I ever had twins (and I never in a million years thought I would) I would never, ever, ever, EVER dress them alike. I LOATHE the idea for 3 reasons. One, it's just way too cutesy-cutesy for me. Two, they ARE individuals! To me, dressing them alike is treating them like they're the same person. Three, they each have double the wardrobe by me buying, say, 4 different outfits instead of 2 each of the same 2 outfits. That being said, I have made an occasional exception: matching Seahawk outfits, the occasional matching jammies because we just happen to have 2 of the same and that's what's clean, and last Christmas, gasp, matching dresses because I couldn't find 2 different ones that I liked that looked decent together.
If your kids are older, do they still like to, or choose to dress alike?N/A. I am going to assume and hope that they will chose to keep dressing differently, but if they chose to dress alike when they're older (and old enough to buy at least some of their own clothes) that's their choice.
What specific things do you do to help encourage your children's individuality? Basically, I just try to provide them with the opportunity and supplies to do the things I know they like to do. Kayley likes to color and build things, so I'll color with her, buy new coloring books, play with legos, etc. Olivia likes to help with housework, so I'll let her sweep and dust and put clothes in the dryer, etc. Whenver they show an interest in something new, I try to teach them what I can or just encourage them to participate in that particular thing.
Now that summer is fast approaching and the girls are a little older I have a whole list of things I want to do with them. I was thinking the other day about how I used to love all the different festivals at the Seattle Center (Folk Life (arts/music), Bite of Seattle (food), Bumbershoot (music) and it made me think of the fountain and how fun it would be to let the girls play in it.
There is a park in Olympia (near where Paul's parents live) that has these things that shoot water that would also be fun for them.
We still haven't been to the Children's Museum. We were going to go one day last November but they woke up with colds that day.
Lake Sammamish State Park
Pet store. Got this idea from someone on a message board. Good rainy day activity to go to a pet store and just let them look at all the cute animals and fish.
Mariner's Game. Yeah, they suck, but the games are still fun and Olivia is kind of into baseball now after seeing kids playing at our neighborhood ballpark and seeing a Dora episode about it.
Fox Hollow Equestrian Center - site of the infamous missed playdate due to lack of parking. Now I'm determined to take them there and actually get to go in.
Kidz Bounce. A place with bouncy houses and/or ball pits, etc.
The trains (real steam engines, etc. circa late 1890s/early 1900s) that are on display in our town. You can just walk along a path and look at 'em and I think there's a museum, too, but I'd be more inclined to just walk on a nice day.
So there you have it. Those are things that we've never done before, but we'll also be going to the zoo several times as they got zoo passes for their birthday. I think we're definitely in for a busy summer!
First of all, today is our 4th Anniversary! Our main celebration will be Saturday at Purple Cafe and Wine Bar but tonight we're going to take the girls to the local mexican place. I never know what to get Paul, so last year it finally occurred to me to just follow the "traditional anniversary gift" themes. Since the traditional gift for 4 years is fruit and flowers, I got him some raspberry truffles and other chocolates, and a strawberry pot for our back porch (a planter with scattered openings that you grow strawberries in). We're also talking about getting a new cell phone (or phones), like an iPhone or something similar (we still have old school phones with the old-style touch pad--very hard to text, not that we text much), except we have Verizon so we can't get an iPhone (I guess) so I thought maybe a Blackberry would be cool since it fits in with the 4-year theme but we need to shop around and do more research so I don't know. I just want a new, current-style phone with all the apps and a regular keyboard and what-not.
Anyway, this morning the girls and I had to take a friend to the airport. It's a little ways, about 45 minutes, so I was a little worried about them being in the car for almost 2 hours or so, by the time we picked her up, drove there, dropped her off, etc., but they did really good. We broke it up by stopping at Gene Coulon Park in Renton since it was on the way home. They have an Ivar's and a Kidd Valley so you can get lunch and eat by the lake. It's really pretty. The girls saw some ducks and had a great time running around, until it was time to leave and they both threw a tantrum. It's hard enough to deal with one toddler tantrum, but two is insane. And of course it happend right in front of the restaurants with tons of people enjoying their lunch on a goregous day. Or at least they had been up to that point! Ugh. I was so embarrassed. Then I was worried that they would fall asleep on the drive home, meaning Kayley wouldn't take a nap but luckily that didn't happen and they are both sound asleep right now. When I'm finished with this post I'm headed outside to read in the sunshine! Ah, the life of a SAHM!
This post was supposed to be about all the fun we had at our first mom's group play date to Fox Hollow Equestrian Center. But, when we got there, there was nowhere to park! I was so bummed! Actually, there was one spot left but someone snuck in the wrong direction and took it out from under me. Grrr. So, we went to Target instead--yay. When we parked at Target and I was getting ready to get out of the car the girls kept saying, "no Target!", "Mommy drive" and something about barns and horsies (which they thought they were going to see today). It broke my heart. They had to settle for a My Little Pony from Target. Sigh. I had been looking forward to this for weeks and the girls were so excited this morning to go see ponies. And there was supposed to be bouncy castles (although someone said on the message board that they didn't see any) and it just sounded so fun. Now we have to wait until June 2nd to try again (they only open to the public one Wednesday and one Saturday a month).
Paul and I wanted to take my mom out for Mother's Day brunch at Max Dale's (great) which required another overnight visit (bad). The girls usually don't sleep well at mom's and this time was no different. We went to church and put them in the nursery. I was worried that the lack of sleep plus new environment would cause one or both of them to have a meltdown and sure enough, the pager went off shortly after the service started. Kayley and I spent the next hour or so in the cry room rocking and then walking all around. We explored every nook and cranny of that church, which was actually fun for me, as having grown up there it was like a trip down memory lane. Olivia, on the other hand, was totally fine in the new nursery. I peeked in the window and she was playing happily with a little boy, who looked like he was trying to get away but she kept wanting to play with him and kept touching him and stuff. 2 years old and already boy crazy. Uh-oh. Anyway, after church we headed to the restaurant and enjoyed a wonderful brunch, after which I simply attempted to wipe Olivia's face and then she had a meltdown. It was clearly evident at that point that shear exhaustion had set in. Shortly after hitting the freeway, they were out and slept the whole way home.
Hey! I finally got a shot of the girls where they're both not only looking at the camera but smiling, too! It's a miracle! They have started to eat dry cereal (Honey Nut Cheerios) with milk. It's a little messy but they love it. The highchairs in the backround (behind Olivia's head) have officially been retired and we're just waiting for the neighborhood garage sale in a few weeks to get rid of them. They usually sit in the space saver kind at the table (seen in this photo) but they're starting to want to just at the table in regular chairs.
And since we are finally having a nice day we went to the park.
Today at Kelly's Korner they're talking about kids' names and how/why you chose them. We were all about choosing names that we really like and not worrying about incorporating a family member's name. Although, had we had a boy, we would most likely have used my dad's name (Donald) as the middle name and subsequently spent his grade school years apologizing endlessly for all the Donald Duck references he would have incurred.
One name I picked out in high school that even all these years later I still really wanted to use for a girl was Alyssa (from watching Alyssa Milano on "Who's the Boss". Yes, I'm old!). When I finally got pregnant 20+ years after choosing that name it was at the top of my list. But Paul and I decided that it didn't go very well with Nelson, so I saddly laid it to rest, and instead we have Olivia Brooke and Kayley Renee.
Both of the girls names are just names we happened to like and don't have any special significance. Kayley's middle name, Renee, happens to be Paul's sister's middle name but I'm pretty sure we would have chosen it anyway.
Now, if we were to ever have another (doubtful, but we're very torn as we have 6 frozen embryos. But that a whole other blog post!) we would definitely have a naming dilema on our hands. If we had a boy, my first choice would be Aidan excpet for:
a) there's already a neighbor Aidan behind us
b) it doesn't go very well with Nelson, although it's not horrible
c) it's becoming a bit common
d) Paul already vetoed it when I was pregnant w/the girls (before we knew they were girls) although he has since said that it's an ok name.
Another boy name I really like is Blake, but there are twin boys across the street and one of them is Blake. The name I picked out for a boy years ago was Ryan, but then my niece married one. Probably not a big deal, but it'd be a teeny bit weird. Other boy names I like all end in "son" or "in" or similar (Carson, Gavin, Nathan) which again doesn't go well with Nelson. I guess it's good we most likely won't have to worry about it.
Paul and I canceled our gym membership when we moved here a little over 2 years ago because there wasn't one close enough and with me becoming a SAHM we really couldn't afford it. Since then, a brand new, fancy-schmancy 24-Hour Fitness has opened in Issaquah and Costco just happened to have a $25/month deal. Super cheap, especially for such a nice facility! We couldn't pass it up, so we are now once again gym members! Yay! I really missed it. I'm hoping this will be the nudge I need to get my act together and lose more than just 3 or 4 pounds. I seriously have been losing and re-gaining the same 4 to 6 pounds over and over and over the last few months. It's so frustrating.
Anyway, my current goal is to lose 5 pounds this month (so by the 1st of June). I'm particularly excited to try a Zumba class. There is one tomorrow night so we'll see how it goes!