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Monday, February 13, 2017

Day in the Life

WARNING: VERY LENGTHY POST AHEAD!

It's been a while since I did a "day in the life" post, so I decided to remedy that. I opted to document a weekend day rather than a weekday since finding creative ways to document spending 10 waking hours at work gets old pretty quickly.

So below is a recap of what Saturday, February 11th, 2017 looked like for the Joiner family. We didn't have many plans for the day, but as you'll see, it ended up being a pretty full day. This happens often based on my general inability to relax and my incessant need to "make the most" of our weekends since we get so little time together during the week. Anyway, enjoy:

6:15 am - I start to stir and look at the clock, wishing I had made it closer to 7, but still thankful to get 8+ hours the night before with only one interruption when Colby fell out of the bed. I peruse Instagram and TimeHop and text Allison to see if she wants to meet up to walk; she does, so I scurry out of bed to get in a short run before meeting up with her.
6:30 am - I head out for a run while jamming to the "Pop and Hip Hop Power Workout" station on Pandora (am I the only person that still uses Pandora?). I make it 1.5 miles before meeting up with Allison (average pace of 9:07/mile for those that are curious about that sort of thing). We walk and talk for another 30 minutes before parting ways. On my way back home, I notice the vandalism commemorative initials Brian wrote in the fresh concrete down the block with the twins earlier in the week.


7:15 am - I arrive home to a mostly quiet house but I can tell the twins are starting to wake up, which Brian confirms from bed via the monitor. I go upstairs to get them up while Brian starts making breakfast. It's a sheet-changing day so I take the 8,000 stuffed animals and blankets off their beds, put on the new sheets, and get laundry started while they settle in with whatever cartoon is on PBS. We all sit down and eat breakfast together - waffles (love our new waffle maker we got for Christmas!), fruit, and scrambled eggs. 


8 am - Breakfast is finished, so Brian joins the twins in the playroom while I do a little vacuuming. Clara comes back to the TV room and realizes I turned off "Nature Cat" (since NO ONE was watching it) and has a brief meltdown. Colby and Daddy create a blanket tent while I do a small sewing repair job on the actual tent. Colby draws what is quite obviously a picture of me (bottom right) on the chalkboard.

9 am - We made an impromptu decision to go to the farmers market (because after only 1.5 hours hanging around the house, I was itching to get out... I have a problem). We quickly got dressed and made the 10-minute drive, during which Colby demanded we listen to "Gangnam Style," his current favorite jam. We spent about 45 minutes at the market and ended up purchasing ginormous cake pops for the twins (yes, at 9:30 am) and some festive Valentine's Day kettle corn. Colby had to make a trip to the port-a-potty at the end which somehow made Clara jealous. Trust me when I say a twin's need to keep things even knows no bounds. 


10 am - We head to Lowe's to pick up a ceiling fan for one of our guest rooms. Colby and Clara make the most of the trip by running down the aisles and screaming, despite our requests to the contrary.


10:15 am - There's a Toys R Us a few stores down from Lowe's and Brian says, "Hey, do you want to see what it looks like when two almost-4-year-olds have a seizure out of excitement?" We realize the twins have never actually been inside a Toys R Us and decide to let them take a look and each pick out one item. Clara picks a ($5!) Sheriff Callie costume and Colby picks out a Joker action figure. They request a ride on the mechanical horse on the way out and we oblige since I happen to have $.50 on me. They loved it, which tells me next time we should skip the toy perusing/purchasing and just let them ride the horse.


11 am - Brian gets to work installing the ceiling fan and the twins watch a couple of shows while I fold laundry and get their lunch ready. It's a nice day outside so Sheriff Callie and Hulk/Superman dine al fresco. They get distracted by every leaf that falls, bug that flies by, movement the dogs make, etc. Once they're finished, I make my own lunch and am interrupted 700 times to mediate twin fights, assist with potty needs, give them bites of my food, deny requests to push them in the swings, etc. 


12:15 pm - Colby has convinced us to let him wear his Batman costume and Clara has decided to take her costume off. Clara finally gets to swing and looks like she's about to fall asleep but would never admit as much. We bust out their power wheels and take a few trips around the backyard and then eventually to the end of the block and back. We come back inside for Brian to finish up the ceiling fan installation and spend a few minutes taunting Noah and Buster with the light on the laser leveler.


1:30 pm - It's destroy their room rest time for the twins! They do no resting, as usual. I peruse facebook, shower, and get dressed while jamming out to the Backstreet Boys station on Pandora, which is amazing.  

3:15 pm - We release the prisoners from rest time and, because they had an action-packed morning and did no resting, they are both emotionally fragile. Clara melts down about having to clean up the mess she made and Colby loses his marbles when we tell them they can't watch a movie. Somehow we talk them off the ledge and kill time playing and making Valentines while waiting for Granddaddy to come over and babysit (poor Mimi was under the weather!). 


4:15 pm - Granddaddy arrives with Valentine's Day treats and the twins are so excited that they hardly even notice when we leave. 


4:30 pm - We're free!!!!!!


5 pm - We make a stop at Boot Barn to use up a gift card I gave Brian for Christmas and pick out some new boots for him. Picking out shoes for guys is so much easier than picking them out for girls, for the record. Isn't he handsome, by the way? :) 


6 pm - We make it to our date night destination: iPic theater to see "La La Land." Brian's sister gave us a gift card there for Christmas and this place was amazing! We had our own little private nook with reclining seats and even pillows and blankets. Our tickets came with complimentary bags of popcorn and we ordered dinner as well (margherita pizza for me and beef sliders for Brian; chocolate cake push-up pops for dessert). I had low expectations for the movie but actually really enjoyed it as well... but really, how could you not enjoy a movie with Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling?

We also randomly ran into Brian's childhood best friend and his girlfriend, also on a date to see the same movie, so that was a fun treat. All in all, it was a great night out!


9:15 pm - We made it home to relieve Brian's dad, who bravely and successfully held down the fort with the twins solo for almost 5 hours! We picked up around the house and then went upstairs to tuck in the little bits, who understandably looked like they crashed hard after a long day.

9:45 - I took a bath, collaged the day's pictures for this post, caught up on facebook, and we hit the hay at 10:30 pm.

And with that, a semi-typical Saturday was complete!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Five on Wednesday

1. These two LIVE for birthday parties. We seem to have a lot of friends that also have Spring (yes, I realize it's technically still Winter, buuuuut the high today is supposed to be 86 degrees, so I'm going to call it Spring) birthdays, which means we've been spending much of our weekend time lately attending celebrations. And they aren't sad about it.

Getting Colby to look at the camera is basically a lost cause, but hey, at least Clara's smiling!

We still haven't seen "Moana" yet, but you better believe Clara was excited to see a real princess in person!

2. Allison, Brittany, and I escaped to Austin for a quick girls' getaway this past weekend to meet up with our friend, Maryanne. We were only gone for 24 hours, but in that time, we managed to squeeze in a Mexican food outing, more than one trip to Target, more than one trip to Starbucks, a visit with a sweet friend's FOURTH baby, and lunch at Blue Baker. It briefly felt like we were back in college, minus the FaceTiming our husbands/kids part ;)

We've known Maryanne for 20 years and Brittany for 16! 

3. We went to a Super Bowl party with our small group from church and this was our contribution:

(a) Yes, I should be a food photographer.
(b) They're M&M Peanut Butter Bars and they tasted amazing.
(c) There were only 5 ingredients involved, so you need to go make yourself a batch now.

4. Colby has been battling ear infections for the past couple of weeks. In case you've paid close attention to the blog, you might recall that he got his second set of ear tubes a mere 2.5 months ago, so this has been a really special development.

PSA for the day: kids can still get ear infections while they have ear tubes.
Second PSA for the day: the world's tiniest bottle of ear drops used to treat them costs $38. Lame.

This is actually a picture of him enjoying a bowl of noodles and vegetables at the daycare's Chinese New Year celebration, but because he came down with the ear infection that same night, we can pretend this picture is relevant.

5. And in the interest of keeping twin coverage even, here is a recent picture of Clara just being Clara:

It's just too bad she has no personality.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Sail away, sail away, sail away

I'm back! I figured I'd kick 2017 off with a bang by not blogging for 3 weeks. Actually it was completely unintentional, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy it a little bit. 

The primary excuse for my absence is that once January 1st rolled around, I knew it was time to get serious about planning our anniversary vacation this summer. We decided we wanted to go somewhere in the Caribbean because there are plenty of pretty beaches to choose from and we didn't want to go anywhere too far away so as to avoid having too much of our precious vacation time eaten up by traveling to/from the destination.

As I do with pretty much anything I'm planning, when I plan a trip, I like to do a lot of research. And by "do a lot of research," I mean gather any recommendations, obsess over every piece of information I can get my hands on, and generally allow it to consume my every thought. I am not kidding when I said that every free waking hour over the past couple of weeks was spent thinking about/talking about/reading about this trip. 

(As a side note, whenever I was researching a particular place, I would stalk facebook to see if any of my friends had been there before. I reached out to a lot of random people asking for their input and everyone was so gracious and detailed with what they provided!) 

I had to take this screenshot when I was looking up info on my phone the other day because it totally captures mom life: at the top is a travel article from Fodor's and the bottom is an ad for toddler underwear!


ANYWAY, we FINALLY landed on a destination this past weekend, praise the Lord. We're going to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic and staying at a resort that is hopefully as amazing as it looks!

Image result for iberostar grand bavaro

No agenda. No obligations. And no children (... though I will miss mine terribly as this will be the longest we've ever been away from them... sniff sniff).

Anyway, I'm going to try and take a break from thinking about it for a while, though it will be hard not to daydream when I'm stuck at work or attempting negotiations with two three-year-olds (dangerously close to becoming four-year-olds).

Other than vacation planning, we've gotten back in our usual routine of work/school during the week and birthday parties/church on the weekends. Though I miss the holidays, it has been nice to get back into our groove.

Though not for a happy occasion (my grandfather's funeral), it was fun to get the great grandkids together with my grandmother!

Partying like the princesses that they are

Bouncing with friends

Buying rain boots for the twins (which proved quite useful last week)

Enjoying the sporadic pretty weather

Hunkering down in the not-so-pretty weather

And with that, my friends, I semi-promise to return more regularly with frivolous details about my first world problems and life as a working mom, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Wrapping up 2016 and ringing in 2017

Victory #1 from 2017 has been accomplished: we all survived the return to reality yesterday relatively unscathed! Now we shall count down the days until Christmas "break" 2017.

Because I'm certain you've all been wondering, I'm going to fill in the post-Christmas details of our lives for you. We spent our time surrounding my parents' visit doing important things like...

... grocery-shopping in our jammies (good practice for when she's in college)...

... meeting friends for a park play date and visiting our other friends that moved out to "the country"...
Mom, where are all the squirrels, roaches, and other "wildlife" we normally see in the city??

... attending a super fun "Noon Year's Eve" party for the kids, complete with donuts, a milk and cookies toast...

... poppers (the firework variety)...

... and a balloon drop at noon!

... celebrating New Year's Eve with (surprise!) the Olivers, complete with setting up the bounce house inside...

.... popping poppers (the confetti variety) before dinner...

... letting all 4 kids have a slumber party together...

... and then foolishly staying up until midnight playing Guitar Hero and Cards Against Humanity like the party animals that we are...

... and making a semi-impromptu trip to the zoo, complete with snake-petting...

... animal-watching (duh), picture-posing...

... carousel-riding, and popsicle-consuming!

Some extended time off and more importantly, time together, was just what we needed and the perfect way to bid farewell to one year and say hello to another. And considering this time last year we were kicking off potty-training, I'd say this year is already off to an infinitely more enjoyable start.

Happy 2017, my friends- make it a great one!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Things you could find me googling in 2016

Well. I think we can all agree that 2016 was a doozy. In addition to the Big Problems going on with the election drama, all the famous people dying, oh, and let's not forget terrorism and worldwide human rights violations, 2016 proved to bring challenges for our little family as well.

None of it was anything major, really- just a culmination of transitions and challenges and general life happenings that I struggled to handle and accept in a sane manner, which humbled me and eventually sent me into counseling in the Fall (thank you, God, that there are people that choose to allow strangers to unload all of their baggage on them for a living!).

Through the frustrations, there were still plenty of happy moments and I'm thankful that by the grace of God, I will likely hold onto the good memories from the year longer than the bad ones. I figured that in this day in age, the best way to recap the year was to share a few of the phrases my Google search history from 2016 might contain:

- Tips for potty training boy/girl twins



- How long does the 3-day potty training method actually take?

- How long do children continue having accidents after being potty trained?

[Do you sense a theme here?]

- Tips for dealing with contractors on home remodeling

- How long do master bathroom remodels usually take?

- What's the difference between minispread, widespread, and centerset faucets?

- How to sustain your marriage during a remodel

- What do do when your contractor is taking a sweet eternity to finish a remodel



- Tips for transitioning room-sharing twins from cribs to beds


- How to stop twins from playing together after bedtime



- How to keep children from using potty training as a bedtime stall tactic

- How to discipline a threenager two threenagers

- Do children get easier at age 4?



- How to keep children at the dinner table once they're out of booster seats

- Can I duct tape my children to their chairs during mealtime?

- Why would an otherwise healthy adult catch Hand, Foot, & Mouth disease 3 times?

- When will the oil and gas industry pick up?

- PLEASE, GOD, HELP ME FIND A CHRISTIAN COUNSELOR IN THE SUGAR LAND AREA

- What to do when your child(ren) refuse(s) to participate in organized sports?


- What to expect with a tonsillectomy for a 3.5-year-old

2016: you put up a good fight, but you did not defeat us. 2017: bring it on... we're ready for you!