Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Uncharted Territory

Well, the twins are now officially older than Seamus ever was. It's a bittersweet milestone, equal parts scary and exhilarating.  So much of parenting these two has felt like falling back into a familiar groove, which has been wonderful in that we have felt reasonably competent and confident as parents, and there have been many healing moments where something the twins do triggers a memory of Seamus. The down side is that our familiar groove comes to an abrupt end right about now. As soon as the twins hit 18 months I felt this horrible dread set in. It has been a constant challenge to relax and remind myself that death isn't something that inevitably happens at 22 months, 15 days.

At the same time, I'm exhausted. Six years of parenting children under 2 has taken its toll - babies and toddlers are so hard! I am ready to experience the next stage. We are already noticing the twins surpassing Seamus in some areas.

Gus is pretty much on the Seamus track - he's extremely physical and interested in running, jumping, climbing, conquering. Maybe it's having a sibling, but he's also a lot more social than Seamus ever was. He talks to and waves at strangers all the time. He approaches other kids and starts "conversations" with them. He loves making people laugh and will frequently hurt himself trying to entertain us or get our attention.  He's talking a lot but so far we haven't heard any spontaneous sentences from him. All in all, I'd say that Gus is still pretty much in our comfort zone developmentally.

Greta, on the other hand is already so far beyond where Seamus was verbally that she blows our minds on a daily basis. A perfect example is from yesterday morning. We had gone to the pumpkin patch on Saturday (pictures below), which laid the groundwork for our conversation on Monday morning:

Me: "Do you remember when we saw a tractor at the farm?"
Gus: (jumping up and down) "Tractor! Tractor! Tractor! Tractor!"
Greta: (brow furrowed, concentrating very hard) "Tractor ride. Tractor bumpy ride. A green tractor. And another yellow tractor."
Me: (dumbstruck)

a few minutes later:

Me: "Do you remember when we saw animals in the barn?"
Gus: (jumping up and down) "Animal! Animal! Animal! Animal!"
Greta: "Bunny eating. Bunny all done. A cow. A goat. Llama go night night."
Me: (dumbstruck)

I just can't wait to have conversations with these 2. I know they have so much to tell us! Here are some pictures from the Pumpkin Patch. Happy Fall!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Grand Tetons

I'm finally getting around to posting some vacation photos. In August, we took a road trip to Victor, Idaho, which is in the Teton Valley about 20 miles from Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National park. We rented a big beautiful house with our friends from Seattle, and spent a week enjoying some truly spectacular scenery, from the porch to the hikes to the mountain lakes - it was absolute heaven and more than worth the 14 hour drive each way. (Though that drive did suck!)

We tried to break up the drive as much as we could, including a pit stop at Craters of the Moon National Monument. It's a pretty cool place.

After hours and hours of sitting, we were all ready to run!

The house was on 2 acres with tons of outdoor space for the kids to run around. They are in some weird phase where they actually like wearing hats, so expect to see lots of "toddlers in hats" pictures. Gotta get them before they are back to "hats disgust me why would you ever put a hat on me now I will scream and cry."

My mom (Grandma O) was able to join us for a few nights. She taught Gus and Greta this neat trick where we give them a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, they pull the sandwich apart and lick off the jelly, then ask for a refill. Being Grandma, she obliged. But now we can't get the twins to eat a sandwich because they think of the bread as merely the delivery system for the meal. 

 I think the original Grandma O would be proud of this trio.

Gus loves being a cowboy.

 Channeling Seamus in the driveway puddles.

The house was equally cozy on the inside.
Cards Against Humanity faces.

I call this "Peekaboo Tetons" - the view from the porch at sunrise.

Our traveling companions - we love them. They share our appreciation for good food and beer/wine; they are always up for an adventure, they babysit, they play Cards Against Humanity and they did not seem to be phased by the grimy toddlers who woke up at 6am each day to commence yelling.

Our twins (21 months) and the Gilbert twins (14 years).

Eric and I hiked Cascade Canyon while my mom watched the twins for a day. It was jaw-dropping scenery every step of the way. Definitely one of the most spectacular hikes of our lives.

I seriously can't get enough of those mountains. 

I had never been to Antelope Flats (aka Mormon Row) before - it's a very popular spot for photographers and you can see why.  There are a bunch of historic buildings from Mormon homesteaders who settled in the area in the 1890s. It's crazy to imagine living in that place without modern conveniences - equal parts brutal and glorious.

 Family portrait

We went for a "hike" with the twins and Aunt Linda, who joined us for a few days toward the end of our week. To toddlers, there is nothing better than a rocky shore. We "hiked" about 1/2 mile to this place and spent a good couple of hours throwing rocks in the lake and exploring.

 Chillin with Linda

Another family portrait.
Our last night in town, the big kids watched the little kids so the adults could go out to dinner in town.

Kids posing on our last day. So so sad for our vacation to end!