Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Spooky Night in Arkansas...

****So, sorry this entry has taken so long to post, but something was wrong with the camera, or the computer (I am not sure which, Josh fixed it) and I couldn't get picutres to download. So, a month later, here is Halloween and some other fun stuff:

In order to not freak Parker out too much, Halloween is SPOOKY, but not SCARY at our house. Parker loved seeing anything having to do with Halloween and, with his eyes really big, saying, "Ooooo! Spooooooky!" Sam's Club has now become "The Spooky Store" because of all their big blowup Halloween decorations. We went to Sam's frequently throughout the month of October, just to walk around and look at the "spooky stuff." (Also for a little mommy sanity, we just needed to get out of the house! I love Sam's because their carts hold all three of my kids!) Hopefully the Christmas decorations will do the same for us in the coming months! :)
So, I decided early in October that Wyatt and Brynley were going to be The Frog Prince (Wyatt) and Princess (Bryn). I found super cute costumes on e-bay (my favorite place to shop these days) for $.99 each. Done and done. Now for Parker. Well, as soon as I got Wyatt and Brynley's costumes in the mail, Parker started asking when HIS costume was going to come in the mail. What did he want to be? A frog, just like Wyatt. Okay, so the search was on for another frog costume. Easy enough, Wyatt's was an Old Navy costume, and there were more on e-bay in Parker's size. But day by day, I got outbid on all of them. Sidenote: I refuse to pay more than the full retail price for anything on ebay, especially if it not new! The same costume that I got for Wyatt for 99 cents was selling for $25.00 in size 3T. Ridiculous! THey only cost $16.50 NEW in the store! (Is my frugal side showing too much?!) SOrry, but I don't shop on e-bay for a second-hand costume to pay more than I would for it new. (And by th e way, there were no frog costumes at Old Navy this year, I checked.) So, long story short, Parker was going to be Spiderman instead, although he still said frog when I asked him. October 30th. I was driving by a consignment shop here in town, and had a sign that said 50% off Halloween costumes. Oh, yes, guess what I found? The EXACT same frog costume I had been looking for! (And for only $5.00!) Granted, it was one size too big, but all we had to do was tuck the legs in a little, and PERFECT! I had my TWO frog princes and my little princess.

Wyatt did not like his costume at first, but once we got outside, he was very happy....

Wyatt a nd Brynley love the stroller, and as you can see by the smile on Parker's face, he LOVED the trick-or-treating!

We had quite a crowd at our house that night (yes, we DO have friends!). Lots of friends from the ward brought their kids to our neigborhood to trick or treat and ended up staying and hanging out. It was a great little party! The weather was nice enough that we just left the front door open so we could hear/see when trick or treaters came, and one kid looked in our house and goes, "Wow! Some party here!" Coming from a third grader, I still take is as a compliment! :)

So, I am losing out on my "Mommy Time" since Parker has decided he doesn't want to take naps anymore. I am still able to trick him into it most days by letting him watch a movie on the couch and fall asleep out there. I don't know how long it will last, so here are some picutres of my house at my favorite time of day, say, around 3 in the afternoon:

Okay, aren't they so serene and peaceful and adorable? :) Here are some more fun times we've had lately:

Parker wanted to make brownies! It was fun, and this was his favorite part! Here is how Wyatt and Brynley helped:

Brynley reorganized all my lower level drawers. Great idea!

Wyatt found all the outlets in the room and made sure they were secure by pulling on the cords as hard as he could! Thanks, buddy!

Yes, this is why I look forward to that 3 o'clock hour, but it's not to say I don't enjoy every minute of it (almost)! I'll post more pics after THanksgiving!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Some time off in Utah

I can't believe it is almost November already!! Time really flies. Maybe that is my excuse of not blogging for the whole month.... But speaking of flying, we took the whole family on a trip to Utah this month. I was pretty nervous about flying with all three kids, but it actually went pretty smoothly. The twins didn't scream or bother too many people (According to us. Other people on the flights mayhave had differing opinions.), Parker was good about staying in his seat, and I didn't get airsick (thank you, Dramamine!). It was so fun to see Josh's family and my brother Chris and his family! Most of the Hall family had not met Wyatt and Brynley, and they made a GREAT impression by getting everyone who get near them sick with a stomach bug that we thought they were over before we came, but obviously were not. I still claim it was something people ate and NOT my kids who got them sick, but we seemed to have passed it to both Hall and Karpowitz family, leaving our family as the only probable carrier of the bug. So sorry to all who got sick!

We did enjoy the time we got to spend with our family in Utah. Here are some fun pictures of the trip...thank you Lindsey for taking all the pics, we stole them from your blog!!

Wyatt and Brynley playing outside.

Parker's new hobby: skateboarding!

Parker's "best" day! He looked forward to the BYU football game for weeks, and when we got to Utah he had to wait until the very end of the week to go. He was SO excited!

What can I say? These are the cutest babies ever! I can't believe they are already 10 months old!

Josh and I had the rare opportunity to go on a date while we were in Utah(thanks to some great babysitters! Thank you Lindsey and Linda! I think the last time we went on one was in January for our anniversary! YIKES!!) Here we are riding the lift. It was SO pretty up there! The trees were starting to change colors, and it was starting to cool off, too.

I know that everyobody likes pictures more than my blabbing on the blog, so here are a few more cute ones from the past month:

Juice anyone? The babies are learning to drink from sippies. Parker is showing them how it's done.

I wish this video were longer, my camera kept shutting off because the batteries were low. Wyatt and Brynley like to bounce, and have recently figured out how to bounce together!

The train table in Parker's room is a favorite place for everyone to play. It is the perfect height for the babies to stand up. Unfortunately, sometimes playtime is disrupted by differences in opinion on how to play. Parker likes to BUILD train tracks and play trains, and the babies are basically in the "seek and destroy anything they can find" play mode. Still cute.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

My Baby Is Three!

Today is Parker's birthday, and I can hardly believe he is three years old. I feel like it was just yesterday that I was wondering when I would EVER have any kids, and look at me now! THis past year has been such a whirlwind of change in our house, and mostly all for the good. Parker has gone from my baby boy to such a big boy (but still always my baby!). He is so good and loving and full of positive energy, but as he has gotten closer to three, he has also definitely learned a thing or two about having his own opinion, flexing his own muscles, and in a nutshell, having a will of steel!
For his birthday, Parker had his favorite breakfast (waffles) and since he went to Mom's Day Out, got to have a little party at "school." I brought in cupcakes, and let me tell you, feeding seven three year olds chocolate cupcakes is a messy job! Later in the day, our friends the Kubals came over, who have three kids that are Parker's best friends, and we opened gifts and had cupcakes and ice cream. To top it off, we went to a High School Football game. Parker has been begging to go for weeks, ever since football season started, so we thought it would be a great birthday activity. Here is another photo of Parker playing with one of his birthday presents:

Here are some things to know about Parker on the day he turns three:

1. He still loves to hug and cuddle. Sometimes int he middle of the day he will just run to me with his arms outstretched and say, "Hug! Hug! Hug! Hug!" I love that.

2. He says the CUTEST and FUNNIEST things! One of his newest sayings is, when we tell him thank you for doing something, he says, "Well, it was MY PLEASURE!" Or, he will walk up to me and say, "Hey, Mom, how've you been?" He is also very observant of things. The first time he pooped in the potty by himself he said to me, "Look, Mom! I did it! And it looks just like a big potato!" (Sorry, for the visual, but it was hilarious!)
3. He loves all sports. Parker will play just about any sport possible and available to him. We play basketball, football, soccer, baseball, bowling, and golf on a daily basis at our house. We have trained him well too, and when there are sports on TV he always looks for the cougar or the jayhawk. And no matter who is playing, that is also who he cheers for. "Go Cougs!" "Go Jayhawks!"

4. Parker will not eat fruits or vegetables. It has been about 9 months now, and Parker refuses to eat them. Occasionally, he will eat corn, and once in a blue moon, he will take a miniscule bite of jello with fruit in it (one of my "great" but failed ideas for sneaking fruit into his diet). We have tried many different tactics to get him to take just ONE bite at dinnertime. None have worked yet. He will happily go throughout the evening with nothing more to eat or drink (except water). He will happily give up toys, movies, books, and privileges to avoid the one bite of fruit or veggies. We have tried everything short of forcing them down his throat, which sometimes I feel like doing when he flatout yells at me, "NO FRUIT!". Sometimes I sneak baby food veggies in with his mac and cheese, or mix some applesauce into his jelly. I think my mom has one word for me in this area: payback. :)
5. Parker is into trucks and cars in a very big way. When we drive in the car, we are constantly identifying the different kinds of trucks and diggers and tractors that we see. Parker knows the difference between a cement truck, a fuel tanker truck, a transporter truck and a dump truck. If I say, "look at that big truck!" He says, "No, Mom, that is a CEMENT truck." He loves to play with his Hot Wheels cars, too. Josh intorduced him to YouTube, and if you type in "rally car crashes" you get compilations of stunt drivers crashing their race cars, which Parker loves to watch while crashing HIS cars off the computer desk. He asks to watch "crashing cars" many times thorughout the day.

6. Parker is on Prayer Patrol at our house. He is the best reminder that we cannot take a bite to eat without saying a prayer first, and he won't go to bed without one either. Recently he has started saying the prayer again, too. (He had stopped for a while.) He is a great example in that way! Also, recently the twins were sick, and not eating, and Parker could tell I was concerned about it. He said to me, "Maybe we should say a prayer, Mom, so Wyatt and Brynley can eat." It was so sweet, so cool to see that he was actually understanding a little bit about how prayer works! He also lets Josh and I know that Wyatt and Brynley are not good at folding their arms and closing their eyes during the prayer. We're working on that....

7. Parker is a great big brother! Besides the occasional "push the babies over and see what happens" Parker is fabulous with the twins. He is so excited that they are actually starting to play and interact. He is usually good about sharing his toys, and he loves to tickle them and get in their cribs with them. He also talks to them in a "baby" voice the way he hears us do it. Since Brynley is our little princess, Parker refers to her as "princess" on a regular basis. "Mom, Princess is crawling on my cars!" Or, "Mom, Pretty Princess has a big booger on her nose!" Wyatt is known mostly as just "Wy" or "Wy-Wy" and Parker thinks it is funny when we get tot he letter "Y" in the ABC song, and he will sing "W, X, Wy-Wy and Z!" I know that it is inevitable that my kids will argue and fight sometimes, but I am also so thankful that I know that they love each other from the beginning.
Of course, ther is always more I could add, but for now, I will post a couple of Parker's more recent and cutest smiles....

First day of "school"....

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Potty Training and more...

So, last week I decided it was time to try potty training Parker. Actually, HE decided he was ready to try sitting ont he potty. He has been showing signs all summer that he was ready, but when asked to sit on the potty, he would run screaming into the other room. Last week I spent Monday just talking about how "tomorrow we are going to try sitting ont he potty." He seemed a little bit interested, and at least didn't scream when I brought it up. Tuesday morning off came the diaper and on came the pull up. First I tried having him sit on the potty every 30 minutes. No luck. He would go in his pull up right after he got up from the potty. So off came the pull up and onto "big boy underwear." This was actually a good thing, because Parker was thrilled to be wearing "THomas" and "Diego" underwear. But, after 3 pairs of wet underwear and no success in the potty, back to the pull up and down for a nap. So far no success. I debated on whether or not to continue after he woke up, but decided I better at least be consistent for the day. When he got up, off came the pull up and back to big boy underwear. Then, to my surprise, about 1/2 an hour later, I walk into the front room (where his potty was, we put it there so he could watch a show and "relax" while trying) and he is sitting there going! All by himself! Wow! Could it really be this easy? He has been going ever since! Granted, we haven't left the house in underwear yet, because right now he will only go in "his" potty, not a regular toilet. We also have not tackled "number 2" yet, but I'll save those details from this blog so that you will continue reading...

Here is Parker showing you that he can sit on the potty. He really is smiling, even though he looks to be in pain!

Another "fun" part of the day here at the Hall home is dinner time for the twins. As anyone out there with multiples can attest, the only thing worse than a hungry crying baby is two hungry crying babies. I have found that the easiest way to feed them is at the same time, alternating bites from one mouth to the other. This way one is taking a bite while the other is swallowing, and, if I am fast enough and create a speedy rhythm, I can keep the food coming at a fast enough pace to keep them from crying. It is not that I don't feed them enough or that they are so starving, but they really get jealous when they see the other one getting a bite when they are not getting one. (This is not a good sign for the future I have decided.) When we started feeding them baby food, we also learned very quickly that it was easier to feed them with no clothes on. Carrots and sweet potatoes are hard stains to get out, and bibs definitely do not provide the needed coverage to keep the food off. Maybe wrapping them in saran wrap would work, but that is also a choking and suffocation hazzard, so we opted for nudity. Okay, not full nudity, we keep the diaper on, otherwise there would REALLY be a mess to clean up!

Can you SEE the amount of food on their little bodies?! It is amazing they get anything in their mouths!

After they eat they go straight into the kitchen sink for a bath. Josh and I have set up a sort of assembly line clean up routine that works out well. He bathes the first one while I start cleaning the kitchen area (baby food usually covers most surfaces within a 5 foot radius of the babies). Then I take baby #1 (usually Wyatt because he cries when he is not first. Hmmm, is this a complex he is forming due to the fact that he was the second to be born? Dad? What do you think?) and dry and dress them. Josh gets baby #2 (Brynley doesn't mind being second, becaeu she can hang around and lick up any stray or extra food she may have missed durring the feeding. She will eat whatever whenever!) and bathes her, and I come get her and get her dressed while Josh cleans up around the kitchen sink that is now SOAKING WET within a 5 foot radius of the sink due to excessive splashing and kicking during the bath. The rest of the kitchen gets cleaned sometime before bed. Mission accomplished!

Here are a few more photos of play time around the house...

Here is Parker teaching Wyatt and Brynley to play "tackle." Basically, the game is that Parker runs at you and tackles you. It started out as a form of football, but soon he gave up on the football part of the game, because the tackling was the part he likes best. Wyatt and Brynley are tough, too, they pretty much just roll with the punches when they get tackled. It is a gentler form of the game when he plays with the babies, too, like a slow motion tackle that doesn't hurt them. It is pretty funny to watch! Notice Wyatt is this picture, he still fits under the coffee table quite easily. I have had to look for him a couple of times when rolls under there and doesn't come out!

Wyatt and Brynley in their exersaucers! Wyatt looks a little freaked out, I know. Check out those thighs on my little Brynley!

Here is what happens when Josh lays down on the floor to play with the kids on a Sunday afternoon. I'm not sure where the kids went, but at least he has found a good use for that boppy pillow!

Monday, August 25, 2008

"Running Errands"

So, I feel I have gotten to the point that running errands with the kids is a do-able activity, if I am up for the time and effort involved. True, there are still places I cannot take all three, and this never involves shopping for pleasure or fun, just the essential stuff. I have already mastered Sam's Club, mostly because the carts are big enough that I can leave the babies in their car seats and squeeze all three kids into one, and Wal-Mart, as long as Parker is wearing his "monkey backpack" (a.k.a. child leash). Obviously, I try to make the trip as short as possible, which is easy in that I really have barely any room in the cart for any items because it is already full of kids.
Today I tackled the post office. Parker has been with me many times, so as long as I psych him up that it is a FUN place to go ("Parker, guess where we get to go? THE POST OFFICE! Isn't that fun?! Aren't you excited?! What are you going to see at the post office?!") he survives it pretty well. With the babies in tow, I was not sure what to expect, we had just been at the gym, and it was almost naptime, so a breakdown would not be unusual. Fortuantely, there were no meltdowns! My biggest complaint was only that in the 20 minutes I spent there, 15 of those minutes were spent in the parking lot loading and unloading the kids from car to stroller and keeping Parker out of the path of moving vehicles. My "favorite" part about it all was the looks and comments I got from other people. Some smile, some stare, one lady shook her head and goes, "Whoa!" I am getting pretty used to this kind of stuff. Lots of people ask if they are twins, how old are they, and-my personal favorite-if they are identical.
But today at the post office was my personal favorite so far. The guy behind me in line started chatting, with something like, "Looks like you've got your hands full today!" (Parker was doing "sweet moves" on the slippery tile floor of the post office.) I said something like, "Yes, I have my hands full every day, but they are great kids!" Then he asked how old the twins and Parker were, and when I told him he goes, "Wow, were you TRYING to have more, or was it an accident?" Uh....well, "yes, we did want to have more..." I got a little worried at the direction this was going. Then he goes, " Are they fraternal or MATERNAL?" What?! I was not sure how to respond. Maternal? Does Brynley count as being maternal? I could give him half credit for trying, but Wyatt was definitely NOT maternal. So, I said, "Do you mean fraternal or identical? They are fraternal." Then, to top off the converstation, he goes, "Yeah, that's what I meant. They must be fraternal because they look different. My cousin has identical twins that I wouldn't be able to tell apart if they weren't a boy and a girl!" this point I thought it best to not correct him again. Thank goodness it was my turn in line!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Hall Family Blog, Take two.....

Okay, so at this point, I think it would be too hard for me to go back and try to cover what has been going on since my last blog post. From the threatening e-mails I have gotten from irritated family and friends that I haven't posted anything since March - especially pictures of the kids - I figured our family was safer if I just jumped back into it and tried blogging again. It is harder than you might think to find time to sit down at the computer uninterrupted, but I figured if I have time to sell things on e-bay, I have time to blog. Just as a warning, posts may be short, especially since when I sit down at the computer, Parker automatically starts yelling, "Mommy, I need your help...out HERE! "(meaning not in our room where the computer is, but out in the front room where his toys are.) His other favorite thing to do is drive his hot wheels over the keyboard while I am typing, so that may account for lots of typos in my blog posts. BUt I guess something is better than nothing. Here goes:

Here is a pretty recent pictures of the kids playing in bed. Yes, Wyatt is a little squshed, but he is uesd to that with the size of his sister. SHe outweighs him but at leats 3-4 pounds. Parker likes to get in their cribs with them and jump. Safe? probably not. Fun? Of course!

Another cute one of the babies.

This is a picture of Wyatt in the hospital over the summer. He has been back to Children's Mercy twice for laser surgery on his throat. When he had RSV back in February, he was on a high-frequency ventilator for 3 weeks, which did a number on his thoat. He has accumulated scar tissue that gets in the way of his eating and breathing. It is not permanent, but may take a while to heal properly. The laser surgery "cleans out" the scar tissue and hopefully helps the healing process. He is a trooper, and has done well with it all. As you can tell from the picture, he also likes to flirt with the nurses!

Below is a cute video of Parker singing "Popcorn Popping". This is his favorite song to sing before saying a prayer at bed time. Josh and I watch this over and over and laugh every time. The quality isn't great (doesn't really look like Parker), but we recorded it with Josh's phone, and not the video camera. Here it is below for your viewing enjoyment. Listen for the key change....

Here is one more bonus video for you. Sorry, low quality again (these are all video's from Josh's phone). Parker loves to play in the back yard and he's loved watching the Olympics. He say's, "I want to watch Michael! I want to watch Michael"! Meaning Michael Phelps. He also loves watching re-run's of the X games. Anything that involves bikes, skateboards, rally cars (especially the rally cars), and lots of flips, twists, and crashes. Gone are the days of Dora and Diego, Wonder pets and the Backyardagains. Now it's only the Olympics and the X games. Here is the video, doing his own "sweet moves" and going for the "gold medal"...

As a side note, Josh took this video while I was out, and I had Wyatt with me, he was not drowning somewhere in the pool. Hopefully you noticed that Josh was holding onto Brynley while she was in the pool (with one hand on her, one on his phone taking video?!! I did not approve this). Josh says I should try taking all three kids to the pool by myself during the day when we need something to do, and that "it wouldn't be THAT hard." I respond by pretending he didn't just say that. Does he mean that, like him, I could hold onto each baby with one hand and cheer Parker for jumping into the pool alone?! I think not. :)

More to come, this time I promise...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

To Make a LONG Story Short...

Okay, so I realize it has been almost two months since I have posted anything on our blog. Most of you probably know the reasons why, but if you don't, here is a quick overview of the past two months....

Early in February Josh had to go out of town for a week on business. With the twins being just a month old, I decided to not take my chances doing it alone all week, and drove the myself and the kiddos up to Lawrence to stay with my parents. We got there on Monday evening, and by Wednesday it was obvious that something was not right with Wyatt. He started out with a little cold, but it soon escalated into him not eating, beigng very lethargic, and having some breathing troubles. We took him into the ER, and was soon sent to Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City. By the following day, he was diagnosed with RSV. Because of his small size, he did not do very well fighting the virus on his own, and by the following day, he was transferred to the PICU (pediatric intensive care unit) and put on a ventilator to help him breathe. Needless to say, Josh got on the first plane to Kansas and joined up with us before the week ended.

A few days after this, Brynley started to show symptoms, and actually stopped breathing while Josh was home alone with her. He called 911, and within 5 minutes an ambulance came and had her stabilized. She headed over to the hospital and became Wyatt's roommate in the PICU. Brynley's case of RSV proved to be much milder than Wyatt's. She came home from the hospital after four days. Wyatt, on the other hand, had a pretty rough time. He stayed on the ventilator in the PICU for two weeks, and then, once he stared improving, moved to the regular floor for a few more days. His hospital stay lasted three weeks.

It was a very stressful time to say the least, but we also are so thankful for all of the support and prayers we had from so many people, especially my parents. We returned home to Arkansas at the end of February; our little 5-day trip ended up lasting almost a month.
Now that we are home, we are trying to get things back to normal (whatever that is!). Wyatt is still having some issues with his breathing and throat as a result of the ventilator. None of the problems are permanent, but it has been taking him a little while to really heal from the trauma. Besides a swollen throat, Wyatt is doing great! He has the biggest, cutest brown eyes and is still very inquisitive and alert. He loves to flirt and is full of smiles. Brynley, who I loving call "Chubbers," is thriving. She outweighs Wyatt by a couple of pounds, and is a cute little rolly-poly. She also smiles and laughs and coos the cutest little sounds. She loves to watch the mobile in her crib and to be held close as she falls asleep. We are so blessed to have these two little miracles in our family.
Once again, thank you for your support and prayers! We are happy to be through the rough stuff and get on with life. Hopefully I will be a little better at posting blog updates now, although it is still hard to find 5 minutes to myself at the computer! :)