Friday, March 28, 2014

March Miscellaneous

Here are some of our latest happenings this month:

Reading with Daddy
Cody and Jaden absolutely LOVE spending time with their Daddy. The boys eagerly watch for him out our front window at the end of every workday. When Daddy comes in the door, they excitedly wave and give him hugs. Being with their Daddy is definitely a highlight of the boys' day. Here they are reading stories together.

Daddy even constructed a creative reading tent, which Jaden and Cody enjoy running through as much as they do reading in it! The book Daddy is reading happens to be one of the boys' favorites (The Belly Button Book, a gift from Uncle Andrew & Aunt Sarah). Notice Jaden enthusiastically pointing out his own belly button as they read together.

Indoor Play
Mommy finally purchased pom-poms for the boys to play sorting games with. These little fuzzballs are definitely a big hit! Sometimes, Mommy can encourage a color sorting activity or a gross-motor skill practice of placing the pom-poms in the ice cube trays.

Most of the time, however, the boys simply prefer to scatter the balls all around the room. Lately, we seem to be uncovering pom-poms everywhere. :) 

One of our most recent sale purchases for our boys was this plastic picnic table. We look forward to using it for many outdoor snacks, picnics, and crafts this summer! For now, though, Jaden and Cody are doing just fine breaking the table in by climbing on it, sliding off the benches, hiding underneath it, and occasionally doing normal things like coloring or eating snacks on it.

Unfortunately, we also found out that the table can be quite dangerous. When you slide off the bench head-first into the fireplace, the result is a sad, scary experience! Cody's cut was quite deep and, though not too terrible or stitches-worthy, was probably our bloodiest accident yet. (I know, I know, we are sure to have many more accidents to come with these active boys...) The funny thing was, Jaden probably cried just as much as Cody throughout this entire experience! We were just thankful the injury wasn't any higher on this poor little guy's head.

Outdoor Play
Hooray for nicer weather again! Finally, we are starting to get more consistent warm(er) temperatures and few snowfalls. (After just less than 100 inches this winter, we're ready to be DONE with snow!) Thankfully, this good weather means that we've been able to spend time outside almost daily again. We go on regular walks and often play with balls in the driveway.

By far, Jaden & Cody's favorite outdoor activity is pushing their mowers-- sometimes in the grass..

sometimes along the sidewalk...

...and down the long walkway next to our home.

Other times, our boys even go on a walk with Mommy and their mowers all the way along the sidewalk to our neighboring cul-de-sac. They particularly love when we fill the mowers with their bubble mixture. We definitely get a LOT of use out of these mowers!

A Visit with Ms. Doris
Just last week, we enjoyed a morning visit with our dear church friend, Ms. Doris. She has a perfect meeting room in her apartment complex that was ideal for toddler play (no knick-knacks!). Ms. Doris was well prepared for our arrival-- removing all the low planters on the tables, scouring her place for creative toys to entertain the boys, and setting out some yummy snacks both for the boys and for Mommy! What a thoughtful lady!

Ms. Doris also arranged for her neighbor to stop by with her pet dog, Sophie. Our little dog-loving boys were in heaven! I'm not sure they had ever spent time with such a small dog before. Little Sophie was quite jumpy and loved to lick our boys faces, eliciting LOTS of giggles from Jaden and Cody.

We had also brought along a bagful of toys and books, so Ms. Doris read the boys a favorite story towards the end of our time together.

Jaden & Cody sat still and listened to her read for an impressively long time. Ms. Doris definitely has the great-grandma touch!

Jaden also showed Ms. Doris one of his favorite flap books. (Uncle Matt & Aunt Kim sure know what books little boys like. Thanks for both of these book favorites we read with Ms. Doris!) Be sure to notice Ms. Doris' arms wrapped around both boys in this next picture. We always enjoy our time with this loving lady!

Fun Videos
Lately, for some reason the boys have enjoyed "talking" with the stairs as they climb upstairs. Often, they stop at each step and bend down to touch their head on each one. Mommy started the camera a bit late to catch the whole thing, but this video gives you an idea of the boys' silly antics.

And while we're on the topic of silly antics, please enjoy some twin head-banging. :)

Lately, we've posted quite a few pictures showing the boys' love for books. One thing we haven't mentioned, however, is that they've recently started "reading" the books, too (or at least making sounds with quite a bit of inflection). Mommy was having some focusing trouble with the video, but the sound should come through fairly clearly.

Of course, we love it when the boys "read" to us like this... at least at home. Not too long ago, Jaden pulled out one of the hymnals during the middle of a church service and started "reading" in this same excited manner. I guess if we're going to be a distraction during church, it might as well be in a positive way! These boys certainly give us a lot to smile about each day!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Boys' Busted Bracket (by Daddy)

Next year, I'll do it differently.  I don't think my system for having the boys pick March Madness winners highlights their prediction skills very well.  How do I know?  Here it is, Sunday afternoon, nearing the end of the first weekend of this year's tournament, and the boys' bracket is busted.  I know, I know...LOTS of people's brackets are busted after the first weekend.  This year, busted bracket predictors can blame traditional powerhouse teams like Duke, Syracuse, and Kansas for not surviving the first weekend.  The difference is, our boys' bracket was busted before the first game was even played.  Let me show you why... 

The boys first predicted the South portion of the bracket (upper left).  I placed the matchups from the first round side by side in random spots downstairs.

Cody chose #16 seed Albany over #1 seed Florida... (keep in mind that no #16 seed has EVER beaten a #1 seed)

Jaden followed that pick by choosing Colorado over Pittsburgh.

Jaden continued his poor picking by taking Tulsa over UCLA.

Hey!  Cody chose a winner by taking #12 Stephen F. Austin over #5 VCU.

Our future scholar athletes show that they're serious about the "scholar" part.  Sometimes reading is more important than Daddy's ideas for our fun.

March Madness is never sad when Ohio St. loses, even if Cody chose them to get to the Sweet 16.

The boys narrowed the South side of the bracket down to two teams--#16 seed Albany and #2 seed Kansas.

Who would be their first Final Four pick?  Daddy was too slow with the camera, but Jaden chose their first of two #16 seeds to make it to the Final Four...Albany!

Even if I thought my system wasn't flawed after that first set of predictions, I was quickly humbled and disappointed again as the boys methodically chose #16 Weber State and #15 Wofford to come out of the West and Midwest parts of the bracket to make the Final Four.  Only the East part of the bracket to go...

Jaden and Cody narrowed the East field down to four teams in the Sweet 16 round...#4 Michigan State, #1 Virginia, #7 UConn, and #14 North Carolina Central.   

Jaden predicted North Carolina Central would be yet another tournament "Cinderella" and make it to the Elite 8.

He then chose Virginia to face them.

Again, the boys' three Final Four teams to this point were #16 seed Albany, #16 seed Weber State, and #15 seed Wofford.  It seemed like #14 seed North Carolina Central was destined to be their final choice.

Cody surprisingly chose #1 seed Virginia!

This picture represents the boys' busted bracket's Final Four...sad.

Jaden looks a bit unsure, but he chose Wofford and Virginia to make it to the National Championship game.

So, who's your champion, Cody?!  Let's hear it for...WOFFORD!

Oh, boys, if only you understood that your predicted champion had to face our beloved Michigan in the first round.  I am happy to report the boys clapped and cheered along all weekend as Michigan advanced to the Sweet 16.  Thank you, boys.  Thank you for not understanding enough about March Madness to cheer for the team, OUR team, that knocked your champion out in the first round.  Next year, I'll do it differently.  Next year, I'll let them pick mascots.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Family Game Night

Early in the new year, Jason and I established a new tradition for our little family-- Family Game Nights! We've always been huge game-lovers, and being a part of the Schleicher/Walquist clans, we're sure that Jaden and Cody will grow to love games as well.

Each Sunday evening just before bedtime, we play a couple of games together. Of course, considering that our boys are not even 2 yet, the games thus far have been quite simple. Here is Ring Around the Rosie.

During our January fitness class at the Y, we learned a "middle verse" for the popular rhyme: "The cows are in the meadow, eating buttercups. Ashes, ashes, we all stand UP!" While singing this tune, we hit our heels against the ground. Cody and Jaden LOVE this portion of the game!

It's a smooth transition back up for another go-round. :)

The boys' all-time favorite game (one that we have to repeat nearly every week) is "Hide the Reindeer (or frog or lion or whatever the chosen stuffed animal of the night is)." The rules are fairly basic -- one parent and one boy will hide the stuffed animal somewhere in the house. Then, the other parent and child will search for the hidden animal.

The biggest challenge is always holding back the first twin (the one who helped to hide the animal) from finding the animal for his brother!

 Jaden & Cody get SO excited to run out and look for the stuffed animal. Often, the first twin is clapping or giggling, too, as he watches his brother search.

Both boys are getting quite good at finding the animal, even in the trickiest of hiding spots.

Most recently, one of our games included the boys' popular animal sound game (a wonderful Christmas gift from the McCoy family). The game names an animal or makes the sound of an animal for players to identify on a corresponding card. (Funny side note: You can tell this picture was taken AFTER the boys' bathtime, as Mommy's sweatshirt is covered in wet spots. Gotta love our love-to-splash little fellas! Bathtime with twin toddlers is always an adventure!)

We play this game often during the daytime, too, and despite what this picture shows, the boys are actually quite good at identifying the correct animal. This particular animal must've been a ribbiting, barking dog-frog. :)

Finally, in honor of the NCAA basketball tournament, Daddy designed a shooting challenge for his budding young athletes. The object was to shoot the ball onto the couch in such a way that the ball remains on the couch.

Neither boy was all that successful with the challenge, but they seemed to enjoy tossing the ball and demonstrated some fairly decent form, too. :)

Our games are sure to advance in difficulty level as the months and years pass, but most of all, we just love the excuse to spend time together as a family on these Sunday nights.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

St. Patty's Parade

This weekend, our family walked in the St. Patrick's Day Parade with our Mothers of Multiples group. We were excited to upgrade to a wagon this year, rather than our jogging stroller from last year. With the new mode of transportation, our boys would be able to see better and would be better seen by the crowd. Decorations from the Dollar Store were perfect to spruce up our wagon.

We put Cody and Jaden BOTH in green. (I think it's the first time Cody's ever worn green! Mommy was thrown off a bit all morning in calling out to her boys.)

Our Dollar Store flags were a big hit. We had flag-waving practice for the boys the morning of the parade as well as the day before. Cody was particularly into it.

The leprechaun hats, on the other hand, were not such a big hit. Perhaps Jaden felt that the headbands looked a bit too girly. Not surprisingly, we decided to leave the hats at home.

 The morning of the parade was a bit cool-- temps in the upper 30's with a chilly breeze. After bundling up with coats, hats, and blankets, though, we were just fine. Our boys were ready to go!

Gotta love the sign in the background. :)

Our Mothers of Multiples group had a much smaller showing compared with last year. There were five sets of twins (including our boys) and a few singleton (I think only twin-moms ever use this word!) siblings.

Despite our practice in advance, neither boy was very excited about waving his flag in the parade. Both Jaden and Cody seemed to be enthralled with all the noises and activity around them.

Husband-of-the-year Jason walked along with us, often holding the sign that advertised the spring Mothers of Multiples garage sale. Only one parade onlooker good-naturedly yelled out to Jason, "Hey, you're not a mother of multiples!" :) Other dads were walking along with our group as well, so I don't think he felt too out of place. We were very glad Daddy was with us!

For the first half of the parade, my primary job was handing out fliers advertising our garage sale to the crowds along the street. During the second half, though, we ran out of fliers, so I could just hold the mom sign while Jason pulled the boys.

We were pleased that Jaden and Cody stayed content all morning. They seemed a bit tired by the end but remained awake the whole time, too. Plus, despite a weather forecast of rain in the morning, the weather stayed dry. Hooray! We've also been blessed with much warmer temps (even in the 50s) during the past week, so our piles of snow along the streets have all melted. It all made for a great Montana day for a parade!