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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Baby, it's cold (and wet) outside

In other news that's considered redundant if you read Allison's blog, we've had some Christmas-y happenings going on, which helped make the recent 4-day stretch of cold and rainy days much more bearable! 

For the second year in a row, we headed out to Sugar Land Town Square to watch the Christmas tree lighting. We didn't bother fighting the crowds to participate in any of the actual activities, but instead opted to spend our pre-lighting time eating dinner at Chipotle. This turned out to be a wise decision, because Mexican food is always a win with our children, whereas lines and anything requiring patience are not.

Right after the tree lighting, a snow machine started blowing out fake snow and I love the twins' expressions while they're watching it (bottom pic)! One of these days we need to introduce them to the real thing.

I unfortunately have NO pictures to document the occasion, but Brian and I went to a Christmas party for my department at work on Friday night sans children. We had a great time chatting, eating, and playing Taboo, aka: one of my favorite games ever. I was a tad over-competitive about the game, but considering these people spend 40+hours/week with me on a regular basis, I don't think any of them were surprised about that.

Most of the rest of the weekend was spent holed up in our house due to the weather. I don't typically do well with being stuck at home for extended periods of time (maternity leave was a blast for me, as you might imagine), but we tried to make the most of it.

Top left: Attempting to capture Clara's pouting face (she cracked)
Top right: Watching "Frosty the Snowman" in their "tent"
Bottom left: Brought the bounce house inside, which was a hit with Colby but for some reason terrified Clara
Bottom right: Capturing one of Colby's current favorite expressions during a pre-church kolache outing

We had a white elephant gift exchange with (some of) our church small group on Sunday morning and put the newly gifted selfie stick to good use:

I would tell you that we're all actually very normal, but, well... we aren't.

We got really ambitious on Sunday afternoon and spent it baking/decorating gingerbread cookies, decorating gingerbread houses, and going to look at Christmas lights. Take that, terrible weather!


Clara did most of the decorating while Colby did most of the candy-eating, which was fairly predictable given their interests.

Not the quietest or most peaceful Christmas light outing, but hey, such is life right now.

Looking forward to some sunshine this week and more Christmasy activities this weekend! 'Tis the season!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

Another Thanksgiving is behind us, and as usual, we had much to be thankful for! We joined my family in Dallas to celebrate turkey day and as usual, chaos ensued and lots of food was consumed. Before diving into a recap, I have to give the twins props because they did a great job on both the drive there and back. 4+ hours with minimal whining and, miraculously, no stops for potty breaks? Children after my own always-in-a-hurry heart.

This is my only picture from Wednesday, but Allison and I took a kid-free trip to Target with our dad and we educated him about the idea that not taking a picture of an activity basically means it didn't happen.

Thanksgiving day was spent playing at the park...


... jumping in the leaves...

... lounging around the house...

... posing for pictures...




... hanging out by the chiminea... 

... and although not pictured, eating a lot of food with 20+ family members, followed by watching the Aggies pitifully play a football game. 

We spent Saturday eating leftovers and generally taking it easy ("easy" being a very relative term when 4 children between the ages of 3-5 are involved). It's important to note that I did convince my mom to buy 3 bags of Boom Chicka Pop holiday flavors, and I need you all to stop what you're doing right now and go buy them for yourself.
(1) dark chocolaty sea salt (yes)
(2) white chocolate & peppermint (yes)
(3) frosted sugar cookie (yes)

Before hitting the road on Saturday, we joined the same family members from Thanksgiving (plus some more) for a 90th birthday lunch for my grandmother. Hard to believe what started out as her and my late grandfather has now turned into a family of 30+ people... also hard to believe someone is 90 years old and looks this good, am I right?!

Mom Brown + grandkids (minus my brother in Utah!)

Mom Brown + great grandkids (love those 3 scheming behind her)

Time for another family pic

And just like that, we were on the road again. One of the little ones slept...


... and one not so much:


And now that I've had a couple of days to recover from Thanksgiving, I'm officially looking forward to the fun ahead with another Christmas season with the twins!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Santa Visit 2016

Soooo we definitely paid Santa a visit early this year (2 weeks before Thanksgiving), but just like last year, I stand by our decision because:

1. No line
2. Happy Santa that was not yet tired of children
3. No line

We actually went two days after Colby got his tonsils out, so we were relying heavily on his pain meds to make him cooperate (parents of the year, I know!). It was touch and go with him, but in the end he pulled through with a smile. 

Clara surprised us all by running up to give Santa a hug as soon as she saw him, and then later declaring, "him is my best friend!" Funny, Clara, because your pictures with him from 2014 and 2015 would not suggest as much.

Practice pic before meeting the Big Guy

This was a great contender, but in the end, this one was the winner:

1. Smiles!!
2. Who are these giant children and what did they do with my babies?!

I was admittedly a little disappointed that we didn't get another classic crying picture, but it was nice to get a picture that didn't make me feel like we were torturing our children.

After they were finished, Clara told Santa she wanted a house for Christmas. Lest he call child welfare services or nominate us for one of those home makeover shows, I quickly clarified that she was talking about a doll house. Then Colby followed it up by saying he wanted two houses, which is not even remotely true, so once again I had to make something up so Santa wouldn't be confused.

Here's a collage to show the twins' progressive relationship with Santa:
Top left: 2013; Top right: 2014; Bottom left: 2015; Bottom right: 2016

Sweet babies, please don't grow up any faster! Also, please continue humoring me with Santa pictures until you leave for college.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The latest Colby & Clara-isms

Me: Are you going to move out on your own some day?
Clara: Yes.
Me: Who are you going to live with?
Clara: Strangers! [glad she's so discerning]
Me: Oh, so you don't want to live with us forever?
Clara: No. I want to live outside... by myself. [sometimes I feel the same way, minus the outside part] 

We recently told Clara that Brian is going to take her to see "The Nutcracker" in a few weeks and asked her if she was excited about it. She responded enthusiastically with a 'yes,' and then Colby jumped in with equal enthusiasm and said, "And I get to stay home and play quietly by myself!" An introvert's dream come true...

Clara: Mommy?
Me: Yes, sweetheart?
Clara: Sometimes I like you... and sometimes I don't.

Colby has this habit of adding "y" to the end of words as a sign of affection, which makes sense when you think about it because of words like Mommy/Daddy/Mimi/Franny/etc. He has been occasionally referring to Clara as "Clary" for a while now and even sometimes calls his aunt Shannon "Shanny," but my most favorite recent usage was when he referred to his action figure as "Darth Vadie" :)

Things that are equal parts endearing and terrifying: suddenly hearing Clara loudly and very clearly say, "Colby, you wanna build a house with me?" over the video monitor at 4 am. (She was talking in her sleep rather than waking up for a late night play session, thankfully.)

The twins have both been in a "I want Mommy to do it!" phase lately, which is neat. Colby had been particularly difficult at bedtime and was refusing to let Brian do anything. Brian was clearly frustrated, so Colby walked over to him and said, "Daddy, you're still my best friend. You can put my clothes on in the morning." It was sweet of him to try to make Brian feel better, but also amusing that he acted like getting to put his clothes on was some major honor that he was graciously bestowing upon Brian!

Clara has this habit of separating herself from any wrongdoing by vaguely suggesting she wasn't responsible for it. For example:
Upon realizing she had had an accident recently, I hadn't even opened my mouth to address it when she said, "Mommy, sometimes people pee pee in their pants and it's ok." 
I also recently woke her up and realized the Curious George book she had gone to bed with had a page torn out of it. Before I could ask about it, she muttered sleepily, "Mommy, someone broke the George book."

Oh, this age!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Bouncing back

We're now 11 days into Colby's tonsillectomy recovery and while he hasn't been physically uncomfortable in several days (that we're aware of), I would say he is still not 100% back to normal. He has been fairly irritable and has spent a decent amount of time whining, losing his temper over the tiniest things, being rude, and generally testing our patience. I know what you're thinking- isn't that standard 3-year-old behavior? Why yes, yes it is; but it seems to be at an exaggerated level for him at the moment so we're hoping this is not his new normal.

All that to say, his continued recovery hasn't slowed him down one bit, so thankfully we've been able to squeeze in some fun amidst work, daycare, and managing temper tantrums. 

Colby and Avery got to go on a lunch date with Allison and my mom when she was staying with him last Monday- we haven't informed Clara of this because I'm fairly certain she would die of jealousy.

On Wednesday night, we headed out to the opening night of Zoo Lights with some friends. This was our first visit and although it's admittedly harder to keep up with two 3-year-olds at the zoo in the dark than in daylight, we had a great time! We were warned in advance that we wouldn't see many actual animals and that the lights were the focus. We tried to prepare the twins for that, but it didn't stop them from asking 700 times where the animals were and when we were going to see them. Fun times.


I'm sure it will shock none of you to learn that Colby wasn't interested in stopping to take pictures, but at least my little shadow was up for a few! (Also, on a more shallow note: why is my face always so shiny no matter what changes I make in my skincare/makeup routine?!)

3/4 ain't bad

It was fun having one of the few open exhibits mostly all to ourselves!

On Friday, the twins had their annual Thanksgiving program/dinner at daycare. As I shared on facebook, they opted only to participate in the dinner portion and not so much the performance portion:

Clara, hiding like a turtle in her turkey costume

Colby, looking as disinterested as possible and making as unphotogenic an expression as possible

But hey, at least the food was good!

On Saturday, Brian joined Wade and Davis for a trip to College Station to watch the Aggies play. The twins and I held down the fort at home and thankfully had perfect (albeit a little chilly, but you will definitely not hear me complaining about that!) weather at our disposal.

Making leaf turkeys with Avery

Agreeing to take a picture with a candy bribe (story of our lives)

Joining me on a stroll

Our sweet neighbor invited the kids over to pick oranges and lemons off their trees- I was so impressed with everything they were growing in their backyard. Pretty much all we have in our backyard is dog poop.

Though not pictured, we spent Saturday evening enjoying our first fire in the fireplace, making s'mores, and putting up the Christmas tree. We gave the twins each a new ornament to put on the tree and in less than 24 hours, they had already broken one of them. Can't wait to see what the fate is of the rest of the ornaments once we put them up!

I also didn't photograph much of Sunday, but it involved a morning full of church and an afternoon full of birthday parties. I did manage to capture this cute girl's outfit, of which I was totally jealous:


We're all looking forward to a short work week and celebrating Thanksgiving with family. In the meantime, can everyone please pray for my patience with both of my little turkeys, lest I offer them up to the highest bidder on Black Friday? I promise to do the same for the rest of you :)