Thursday, December 31, 2009

one of those moments

So, today has been a weird nap day. I put the babies down for an extra late nap, from which Noah arose refreshed and energetic, but Lily got up craaaanky.

So I was sitting here holding Lily as she fussed and yelled, with Noah lying next to me on the couch. After several seconds of extreme fussiness from Lily, I looked over at Noah. He had KICKED off his PANTS! He would have been thrilled about it, but he wasn't aware he was half naked--just kept kicking. I had to set Lily down (sparking horrific screams of injustice) to re-clothe my male child. He just kept on kicking, with a frantic look on his face as if he was sprinting to the finish in a 100-yard dash. That didn't make it easy to put his pants on, in case you were wondering. Neither did my other screaming child, or the fact that by this point I was laughing so hard I was crying.

It was one of those moments of pure chaos that I knew I could never fully convey to any other person. And yet... here I am.

Christmas review: episode 2

Okay, I'm finally getting to the rest of the pictures from our Christmas festivities in Bastrop.

Lily with Gemma:

Noah "playing" with cousin (second cousin?) Jackson:

We tried "real" swings for the first time at a park in Bastrop. It was pretty cold (and it was hard to photograph moving swings at twilight), but the babies had a BLAST. I need to start looking for good playgrounds around here--that phase of our lives isn't far off now!

One beautiful day, we went for a hike at Bastrop State Park. Since I neglected to pack our baby carriers or COATS for the kiddos, we carried them with us wrapped in blankets. It got a little wearying for the adults by the end, but I don't think the babies minded--they both took the opportunity to nap.

Not sure I was supposed to see this one. (At least it's a BB gun.)

The kiddos try their hand at opening presents. They were terrible at it.

Noah's allllmost tall enough to see over Daddy's head!

Noah and Granddad:

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas review: episode 1

Why is it that we make such a big deal out of a baby's first Christmas? It's not like they care. At ALL. (Though I have to admit, Lily was pretty enraptured by a couple of the pretty bows.) Maybe it's just that, by the time we have children, we miss the childlike joy of Christmas so much that we're going to project it onto any child-like person that comes into our lives. The same reason that dogs get stockings.

Anyway, how was that for a non-festive way to start a Christmas entry? On to funner things!

First of all, it's been way too long since I've posted. Since it usually takes me all day, off and on, to make even one normal post, I'm breaking this into two entries. (It will also give me time to find a bunch of pictures I'm missing...)
Noah and Lily accompanied me on my pre-Christmas shopping trip to Kroger. Usually if I take them both, I use their carseats and put one baby in the seat part, and one baby in the basket. This means that my shopping cart maxes out with about 3 cans of vegetables, 4 bananas, and a 2-liter. Any more than that, and the baby in the basket of the cart runs the risk of suffocation or avalanche from the groceries. As someone who perpetually buys tons of groceries, this was majorly cramping my style. So since Lily and Noah have been sitting up better and better, I was thrilled that they might be ready to ride together in the front part of the basket. The result was extreme and unexpected cuteness:
In the split second that it took me to re-focus the camera for another shot, this happened:
Needless to say we hit up the Clorox wipes as soon as we got to the entrance. I'm not too germophobic about most things, but Lily's determination to lick every inch of the shopping cart within her reach was a little scary. All in all the trip went pretty well, although the "twin factor" was pretty high with them sitting side-by-side. Meaning that we couldn't get more than about 10 feet without somebody wanting to chat with me about them. And they got a little bored by the end, but I was impressed at how well they did overall.
Our little fam trekked to Bastrop the weekend before Christmas to visit Scott's parents. It was a very fun trip and great to see them. Why a random town in the middle of Texas, you might say? Scott's extended family has a cabin there, in the midst of pine trees on top of a hill. His grandparents bought it nearly 40 years ago. It's not a cabin in the strictest sense of the word--more like a small, rough house, with ancient furniture, several beds, and a decent smattering of sheets, towels, cooking utensils, and other items that have been collected over the years. I always get a kick out of finding old stuff there. Here were my favorites from this trip:
I'm open to ideas as to how old anybody thinks these things are. The cabin was purchased in 1973... I'm wondering if these were among its first occupants. The wax paper has a coupon on the back that you can send in and get a wall-mounted wax paper dispenser for a dollar. I wonder what they'd do if I sent it in? I also wonder who in the world wants a wall-mounted wax paper dispenser...?
Most of the pictures from the trip were taken with Gemma's camera and they're not within arm's reach... so that will be the focus of the next entry. I do have a picture I took the other day of the babies with their new "laptops" that they opened on the trip...
They strongly approve of technology.
In other news, our Christmas was white! Scott heard somewhere that this was the first white Christmas in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in about 80 years. That may not be true, but it sounds cool! It was not just a little snow, either--enough to cover the grass and stick on driveways.
So from our house to yours, we hope you've had a wonderful Christmas!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

a little Christmas reflection

It's amazing how much that we, even with the best of intentions, can mangle even the most precious things. You know? Like Christmas. And I'm not even talking about the secular celebration of Christmas, or all the political correctness that makes it hard to even utter "merry Christmas" to a stranger without having second thoughts, in case they might be Muslim or something. I'm talking about ...well, myself, mostly. How even as a lifelong believer, I can let the holiday periphery interfere so markedly with my observance of the true celebration.

Mostly, I think, I get caught up in the fun of Christmas--the traditions, the funny movies, the joy of picking out presents (and opening them). But the true first Christmas wasn't what I'd call "fun", exactly. Joyful, yes--in a way. Joy with a heavy peppering of forthcoming sacrifice and disquiet before it was all over. But there was a lot of hardship and worry, too. A lot of people had to practice a lot of true, steadfast faith in God to make that first Christmas happen. The first Christmas was hard. Hard, gritty, and overwhelmingly sacred.

It strikes me every year, but my re-realization this year has been more profound than usual. Perhaps because taking care of babies makes you realize the indignity and fragility of the human condition. It's hard to imagine anyone in their right mind choosing to be so helpless that they don't even recognize their own limbs, let alone know how to use them. Or volunteering to poop in a diaper for a couple of years and have somebody else clean it up. How much greater a sacrifice would it be for God Himself to make that decision? Every year I try to wrap my mind around it, and every year I fail.

So today I just wanted to post and meditate on Christmas a little bit. I have lots of pictures of babies opening presents, but those can wait. For now, I just want to celebrate Christmas, all by itself. And post a quote from Frederick Buechner that I have loved for many years:

"The Word become flesh. Ultimate Mystery born with a skull you could crush one-handed. Incarnation. It is not tame. It is not touching. It is not beautiful. It is uninhabitable terror. It is unthinkable darkness riven with unbearable light. Agonized laboring led to it, vast upheavals of intergalactic space, time split apart, a wrenching and tearing of the very sinews of reality itself. You can only cover your eyes and shudder before it, before this: 'God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God... who for us and for our salvation,' as the Nicene Creed puts it, 'came down from heaven.'

Came down. Only then do we dare uncover our eyes and see what we can see. It is the Resurrection and the Life she holds in her arms. It is the bitterness of death he takes at her breast."

Monday, December 7, 2009

mean mommy

As the babies get older, our adventures in solid food continue. The kiddos have definite opinions about what makes good eats and what doesn't. Fruit, as a rule, is a good idea (not surprisingly). Cereal is also fine, especially when mixed with fruit. Veggies are on another page, and meat is a completely different story. But, armed with my research (from the internet and parenting magazines), I am determined to provide the kiddos with the 6-10 exposures to a new food that it often takes before they learn to like it. And, let's be honest--I'm not going to count to 10 for each food, for each baby. I'm pretty much just going to keep feeding them what I think they need to eat, regardless of how they like it.

And why wouldn't I keep shoving foods in their faces that they don't like, when my reward is faces like this?

...and this?

And when I continue, the faces get exponentially better...

A few other cute things:
  • Noah is somewhat mobile these days, having learned to roll over so well that it gets him places. Not that he's aiming. I keep coming back into the room to find him wedged against the wall, Lily, or the base of the Christmas tree. The playpen is getting set up semi-permanently this evening.
  • Lily has begun blowing raspberries regularly when she is angry. Just as a tip, I wouldn't recommend raspberry-blowing as a way to communicate anger to others. I just sit and laugh at her as she makes pitiful spitting noises between whines.
  • The babies are sitting better and better these days, even able to play with a toy for several seconds before their jerky movements catapult them headfirst into the ground. It's absolutely delightful (to me) that babies' ability to fall over far precedes their ability to catch themselves. As long as they're just landing unhurt on a soft blanket, of course.

Most of my family made it down to our place for Thanksgiving...

Grandma with Noah and his Ridiculous Hat.