Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Twins 3rd Birthday

I always plan on getting nice pictures of the kids on or near their birthday, but it never seems to work out.  Determined not to let it happen again, I headed off to a park right after I dropped Addison off at school to attempt a photo shoot with the twins.

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Of course, we were at a park, so that didn't last long.

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After lunch I put the kids down for a nap and baked cupcakes and wrapped presents.  Then set it out all nice.

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In retrospect this was probably a bit like torture for them.  The twins woke up and saw this table just in time to hurry out the door and get Lilly's cast removed.

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She wasn't too excited about the splint she has to wear for the next 10 days.  Her skin was super sensative and dry form the cast and I think the splint irritated it.  But she was a good sport and when we got home, after waiting all day, they finally got to eat their cupcakes.

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And open their presents (I'm not sure who was more excited for that, the twins or the older girls).
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And once they had opened up their bounty, they had a little while before bed to play with said bounty.

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I don't care how old you guys get.  You'll always be my babies.  Happy Birthday Maya and Lilly!  We Love you!

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Halloween 2013

Halloween 2013.  That kind of has a ring to it doesn't it?  It feels like all Halloweens should be "Halloween 2013."  Well, even though they can't be, we did had a great Halloween 2013. 

Last year my mom found some AWESOME pig costumes in an after-Halloween sale.  Wanting to go with a theme, I started looking for a matching pig costume for Hannah, and tried to explain to Addison why being the big bad wolf would be SUPER COOL.  Addison wasn't going for it.  We settled on Little Red Riding Hood instead. So I began trying to explain to Bart why being the big bad wolf would be SUPER COOL.

Apparently I'm not a very convincing person because, not only were my efforts to convince Bart to dress up fruitless, Hannah suddenly wanted to be Snow White instead. It also didn't help that the only other matching pig costume I could find was for an 18 month old. I finally just scrapped the whole story book theme.  We were able to talk Hannah into being a bride though.  (My mom already had that costume too).  My sister got married this month, so she was pretty excited to be aunt Amy for Halloween.

The Characters

It took me a while to convince Maya that she didn't have to stop and look at me every time I took a picture.

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Realizing that the people behind every door she knocked on gave her candy did help though.  She and Lilly pretty much thought that was the best thing ever.  They keep asking me if they can put their costumes back on and go trick-or-treating again.  As if they don't have enough candy to last a lifetime!

The Candy Lovers

"Where are you going little girl?"
"To my Grandma's house"
See?  It could have been so cool!
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Oh well, we all had a good time anyway.
 The Trick or Treating

The twins weren't too sure about this house.  I can't blame them though, the glowing eyes on that gargoyle kind of freaked me out too. 

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Even though I didn't get my dream theme this year, it was still a great Halloween.  :)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Saddest Thing You'll Ever See

Lilly's Splint

So it happened.  One of our kids broke their arm.  Poor little thing.

But let me tell you, Lilly is like super woman.  She was throwing a HUGE fit when she fell and, at first, we didn't even realize she was hurt. She had already been crying and the crying didn't change when she fell.  So we helped her up and took her to her room for a time out.  (I know, parent of the year award goes to us right?).  A little later, when she had calmed down, she came to the bottom of the stairs and was just sitting there whining and holding her arm to her chest.  It was seriously so sad.

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This was just before dinner, so we decided to watch to see if she used it at all during dinner.  When she didn't we called the doctor.  By then it was after office hours, and they couldn't get us in until 8:00.

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The after hours doctor was prodding and pushing on her wrist to see if anything was broken and she seriously didn't even flinch!!!  He sent us to the hospital for X-rays, and let me tell you, it was REALLY broken!  I am no doctor, but even I could tell it was broken!  I don't know how she wasn't screaming while he was poking at her arm.  Poor little thing!

Isn't her in that little splint the saddest thing you've ever seen!  Maybe it's just because I'm her mom, but every time I saw her in it I just wanted to cry!!!  (Not to mention how stressful it was to have my VERY active two-year-old running around seemingly oblivious to her injury).  Every time she ran into the corner of our couch or slipped on the kitchen tiles, I nearly had a heart attack! 

Much to my relief,  this flimsy little splint has been replaced by a very sturdy, strong, protective, and (hopefully) two-year-old proof cast.  I do realize that casts aren't completely indestructible, but I think it can probably deal with anything Lilly can dish out.  :)  And now my heart only skips one beat as she runs down the hall and falls or when she wrestles around with her sisters on the floor.  I feel like my little Lil is back to her happy, smiley, active self.  And if all goes well, she'll get her bright purple cast off on her Birthday. 

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Addison Turns Seven!

Okay, I am so far behind on blogging.  I feel like I have a million half done posts just waiting for me to get my act together and finish them.  Well, here goes nothing.

I'm over a month late, but Addison is SEVEN now!   This year, her class is doing a "mystery person of the week" each week.  Basically they give the class clues all week about the mystery person, then on Friday they announce who the mystery person is and then his or her mom or dad comes and and spotlights the person.  Addison's teacher is awesome, so she coordinated Addison being the mystery person with her birthday.  So on her birthday I went into Addison's class and shared a little bit about her and read some of her favorite stories. Let me tell you, that class is so well behaved I seriously couldn't believe it.  I sat down to start reading the story and some twenty odd students were quietly sitting with their legs crossed and arms folded, watching me ready to listen to the story.  It was AMAZING!

We just had a little family celebration this year for Addison's birthday.  Some of the highlights were piano lessons from Grandma and a Cosmo Kid's Club membership from Grandpa.

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We told Addison she could have whatever she wanted for dinner, and she opted out of a home cooked meal and asked to go to California Pizza Kitchen instead.  What can I say, the girl has good taste.  :)
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She also wanted a pumpkin pie instead of a  cake this year, but I forgot to take a picture of it.  Happy Birthday Addison, I hope this next year is as great as the last!  Love You!

Humanizing a Non-Human

You may or may not have noticed, I didn't participate in the blog circle last month.  I confess, potty training the twins got the better of me.  That was an adventure.  I promise a post about it sometime soon.

In the mean time, this month's blog circle theme is Humanizing a Non-Human.  (And before I forget, go check out Davina's blog.  She's incredible!!!)

Maybe I should have bowed out another month.  This one was hard for me.  When I heard the theme, the only thing I could think about was the Ikea lamp commercial.  And let me tell you, y'all came very close to seeing a bunch of mopey-lamp pictures.

I ended up going another route though, and came up with this:


I was going for a kind of creepy, monster under the bed/fear theme.  Then I realized that's not really humanizing a non-human.  It's kind of monsterising a non-human.  But fear is a human emotion right?  Does that count?  And it kind of elicits fear...maybe...  Bart says it just looks like Elmo standing in light.  He says it's scarier in black and white.

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What do you think?

I took this one next:
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I don't know, I think it may be more of a social-commentary-on-children's-consumption-of-digital-media picture than a humanizing a non-human picture.

And then I took this one:
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Nailed it.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

First Day of School

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I have to say, the first day of first grade was actually pretty rough for us.  I had warned Addison that this year she would have to get up earlier because school started at 8:00 instead of 9:15.  Always the dutiful daughter, she got up without complaining, put on the outfit she had carefully laid out the night before, made her bed, did her chores, ate, did her hair, brushed her teeth, and was completely ready to go by 7:30.

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The only problem was that the school decided to have a P.M. common day for the first day of school, which meant school started at 9:15.
The next hour was filled with so many “Is it time to go yet?”s that I thought we’d try walking to school: an idea everyone was excited about...except Addison. At one point she was so opposed to it she broke down in tears.  I finally caved in and we just waited around until it was time to go.  She was still recovering from her breakdown when we piled into the car, so I was worried that it might taint the rest of her day.

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Fortunately, as soon as she saw her friends at school, she got so excited I almost completely forgot it was a rough morning.  The school’s theme this year is, “Be our guest” and teachers were lined up along a red carpet welcoming the students back to school as “Be Our Guest” from Beauty and the Beast played over the sound system.

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Her teacher, Mrs. Boles was excited to meet her and while Addison was a little shy at first, she really warmed up once she was sitting at her desk.

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P.M. common days end at 3:30 and I think it might have been the longest day of my life.  I kept looking at the clock to see if it was time to get her.  I didn’t realize what an adjustment having Addison gone all day was going to be fore me.  I definitely missed her.  Fortunately, on normal days she’ll get home at 2:15, so I won’t have to wait quite as long.  :)

When Addison got home, she was so excited to tell me all about everything she did (including how she wanted to buy lunch instead of bringing it the next day).  It made all my waiting worth it. 
Addison, I’m so happy you’re so excited about school.  It’s going to be a great year!

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Mobile Phone - A Day in Our Life

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So this month's blog circle theme is "Mobile Phone."  My FAVORITE thing about the camera in my phone is the fact that it is ALWAYS on hand. I love that when I see my kids doing something funny or want to take a picture of something pretty in our yard or garden, I can just pull my phone out of my pocket and click.  I'm pretty sure Instagram is my favorite app. 

So, for today's post I decided to embrace the accessibility of my camera phone and do a day in the life series.  It's going to be a long one, so if you'd rather just move on and see what Jennifer has posted, feel free.  But if not, you're in for a ride.  Here is a pretty typical day at the Francis household.  (Grandma, you're going to love this). :)

Every morning I wake up hearing the twins singing "The Itsy Bitsy spider" over our baby monitor. I don't know why, but they LOVE that song and ALWAYS sing it when they wake up in the morning.  (Which this summer has been around 7:30...much better than 6:30 which is when they were waking up during the school year.) 
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 Their little exchanges before we finally wake up and get them always make us laugh.  This was today's:

Lilly: "Down came the rain and washed the spider out!"
Maya: "Down came the rain and washed the spider out!"
Lilly: "Shhhh Maya, I'm sleeping"

On this particular day, Addison decided she wanted to make the twin's beds...and honestly, who am I to put a halt to her ambitions?
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When all the beds were made, we headed upstairs.  Before breakfast the girls always clear out the dishwasher.
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Then we read scriptures as a family.  I have to confess, during the summer we are TERRIBLE at family scripture study.  We're great during the school year (I tell you, there is POWER in routine) but not so much during the summer.  The only reason we read this day was because Addison and Hannah noticed their scriptures as I was tidying up and begged me to let them read.

Normally Bart reads while I feed the kids, but since he had already left for a meeting, Addison read for us.  She is seriously becoming quite the good little reader.  I only had to help her with one word.  Hannah also insisted on me helping her "read" too (aka, telling her what every word was and then letting her repeat it). 

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Most of the time we have smoothies for breakfast, but we were out of Bananas, so we had some peach instant oatmeal (it's known as "Peaches and Creamie" around here) that grandma brought us when she came to visit last week.  (Thanks mom!)  :)  Hannah was upset that I wouldn't let her have three bowls. Also, little tip: do your girl's hair while they're eating breakfast. It's SOOOO much easier than chasing them down and trying to get them to sit still after breakfast.
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After breakfast I let the kids play and I went to check on the garden and see what veggies we were going to have for lunch.

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There is something seriously therapeutic about having a garden.  Whenever I'm stressed, if I just take a few minutes to be alone and go work on the garden I ALWAYS feel better.  I love it!  Not to mention we get to eat fresh fruit and vegetables all the time.  Summer is the best!

When I came back inside, Addison was upset that none of her sisters  would let her practice doing their hair, so I told her she could do mine after I took a shower and did my makeup.
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Since I was taking the picture so close and it was a relatively wide angle, it made my nose look WAY bigger than it is.   At least that's what I'm going to tell myself.  If my nose actually is that big, please don't tell me.  I'd rather go on living my life in state of naivety on the subject.

When her hair-doing craving was satisfied, Addison joined the twins playing puzzles on the ground.

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I wondered where Hannah was, and as I was going into the other room to look for her, I noticed the trash was full, so I took it out and asked Lilly to put new trash bags in the bins.  Putting new trash bags in the trashcans is seriously Lilly's favorite chore. SERIOUSLY.  I'll call out and tell her I need it done and no matter what she is doing, she comes running.  She LOVES it.

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And that little fact makes it more tolerable that most of the time the rest of my house looks like this:

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I did eventually find Hannah.  She was drawing me a picture.

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At the time of this drawing, the two words she knew how to write were "Mom" and "Hannah."  She kept giving Bart pictures with "Mom" scrawled across the top saying, "It says dad!"  I finally taught her how to write Dad the other day.  She wrote it once, so hopefully it will stick.

When the other girls saw us in the front room, they begged me to let them dance.  We have a recorder that plays a number of loud and obnoxious songs that the kids LOVE dancing to.  I finally caved in to their puppy dog pleas.  (I think Lilly had more fun contributing to the loud obnoxious music than dancing).

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After dancing we had a quick game of Hide and Seek. 

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At that point Lilly wasn't playing very nicely so she had to do some bedroom time (a time out).  

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I always have such a hard time getting them upstairs when I need them to go upstairs, but whenever I get them out of bedroom time, they're happy to head up there leaving me in the dust. (I think they're worried I might change my mind).

After that it was lunch time.

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And then nap time.

Our nap time routine always consists of changing diapers, putting them in their cribs, and reading a story.  However, when I did it in that order, I had to deal with two squirming toddlers who were trying to make it as difficult as possible for me to change their diapers because they knew they were going in their beds once I was done.  I've found it's way easier if I change their diapers upstairs and then read to them on the couch.  They don't squirm because I tell them we won't get to read stories on the couch if they squirm.  Then all I have to do is put them into bed after story time.  SOOO much easier!

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When I walked into the twins' room downstairs, I found Addison like this.  She thought she was pretty funny.  The twins thought she was pretty funny too.

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Once Maya and Lilly are in their cribs, I tuck them in and sing, "Love one Another," and leave.  They usually fall asleep pretty quickly, but lately they've been staying up for a long time talking to each other and I have to go in there a few times to tell them to be quiet and go to bed.   
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After I put the twins to bed I read Hannah a story in her room and put her to bed.  Addison doesn't usually take naps, but Hannah doesn't like being in the room without her, so I've made Addison a deal:  As long as she stays in the room until Hannah falls asleep, she doesn't have to take a nap and can come upstairs.  She usually reads while she's waiting.

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After singing to, and tucking in Hannah, I went upstairs and finally got to eat my lunch.  A Yummy Caprese Salad with tomatoes from our garden and balsamic vinegar from Olive Oil and Beyond.  If you live by Balboa, don't walk, RUN to that store.  They have the most incredible balsamic vinegar I have ever tasted. Seriously, get it.  It will change your life. 

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At our house, Mondays are family night, and I knew we had to run to the grocery store too, so I decided to start a crock pot dinner.  I knew the temptation to just drive through somewhere on the way home from the store would be too great if we didn't have something already cooking at home.

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And by the way, that is the crock pot I got when I went to college some 10+ years ago.  I've had others, but she's still my favorite.  I call her old faithful.  I hope she never breaks down on me.

Hannah had fallen asleep, so Addison came upstairs.  I took this picture of her on my bed thinking she was reading, but it turns out she was just playing games on my iPod.
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When Bart got home from his meeting, he reminded me we had to re-register our Prius.
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Then it was off to the grocery store.
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And let me tell you, that was one tough grocery store trip.  Lilly had a break down so Bart ended up taking her back out to wait in the car for us.  As the cashier was ringing me up, I realized I forgot to get bread (which we REALLY needed) so I ran to the aisle to get some.  And then I realized I got not one, but TWO of the wrong type of item, so a store manager was kind enough to run to get the correct item for me TWICE.  Seriously, it was a nightmare.  It's a good thing I had that crock pot going or we would have been eating fast food for sure.

Instead we went home and had Taco Chili and watermelon.

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We were originally going to go on a hike for family night, but Hannah had worn shoes that were too small for her to the grocery store and gotten HUGE blisters that popped on the back of her heels. (Seriously, it was a bad trip).  So we opted for a nice game of Qwirkle instead. 

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Then it was bedtime.  The incentive for putting pajamas on tonight was that they got to wrestle with dad for a little bit.

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Finally we tucked them all in and said goodnight.

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And if you're still reading, You're awesome!  I'll add another link so you don't have to scroll all the way up just to move on to Jennifer's blog.

Thanks for reading!

P.S. If you want to follow me on Instagram, you can find me here.  :)