September 28, 2012

Toddler Toys

As I'm purging through the girls toys (after bedtime, shhhhh!), I am constantly thinking about what toys make the cut. What toys do they actually play with regularly? What toys drive me crazy? I love it when my friends give me recommendations on toys so hopefully this will be helpful to others buying toys for young toddlers. A&Z are 27 months now, but started playing with most of these toys several months ago so these would be good for kiddos 18 months and on. If you have babies, check out our baby toy faves.

1. Play Kitchen

2. Kitchen pans and play food

3. Ladybug Tent (big enough for two toddlers!)

4. Wood puzzles (knob puzzles for under 2 and 24 piece for over 2 (especially the ones that show the picture underneath on the front side)

5. Shopping carts

6. Cozy coupes

7. Water table

8. Dr. Kit (the girls LOVE to play doctor! The stethoscope is the hottest item)

9. Consumable art supplies (crayons, paint, coloring books, construction paper, foam stickers)

10. Books, books, books (gifted, bought at library used books sales and kids resales)

A few favorite stuffed animals are played with in conjunction with everything above. The animals are served play food from the play kitchen, read books in the tent, pushed around in the shopping carts and cozy coupes and receive very regular doctor checkups!

We have LOTS of toys, much more than what I have listed above. The ones I listed above are the "keepers". Toys that have been played with for a year or more in some cases and are played with daily. I purge the toys and books regularly and donate or sell. Otherwise, it gets waayyy out of control!

September 27, 2012


Its so true that your kids teach you more than you teach them.

This little girl is so brave. I'm not sure where she learned it. Maybe its because her sister is a little more of a drama queen and she is the yin to her yang in pretty much everything.

Last week was kinda tough for Zara, but you would never know it. She had a mysterious rash on her arm and belly. After the hydro cortisone cream didn't seem to be working, Marcus took her into the pediatrician for something stronger and now it is almost gone. This girly has super sensitive skin.

The girls and Witney ran into a storm of bees leaving the library after story time and Zara was stung twice on the back. She just whimpered. She told me later in her matter-of-fact voice, "The bees stung me and Witney put ice and medicine on my back."

As she was finally getting over a head cold this weekend, the tell-tale sign of an ear infection showed up. Thanks to the tubes in her ear, the infected fluid gets pushed right out so she woke up with ear gunk stuck in her hair.

She didn't let any of this bother her. She happily went to the doctor with Mu and gave us a full report when they came home. She knows the drill and lifts up her arm for the cream and lays on her side so we can put the drops in her ears.

Every night as we walk out of their room at bedtime she yells, "I love you Mommy, I love you Daddy"

Love her so much I can't even stand it.

September 25, 2012

Rock A Bye Girls

Never a dull moment around our house. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Rock A Bye Twins from Natalie on Vimeo.

September 24, 2012

New Blue

It was a little claustrophobic being taped inside the house with plastic covering all the windows and doors for a couple days, but it was so worth it. With the hardwork of a large crew of painters, our house went from this tired pale grey:

To this. Notice the new roof from July and the red door. We have always wanted a red door. It says, "welcome, come on in." Of course, the red door is only speaking to friends and family. NOT the solicitors ringing the doorbell during nap time.

It took us a few, er nine, different test samples of grey-blue to find the perfect shade. Seeing it all come together makes the trips to the paint store worth it. Even the one where I stood in line for 15 minutes with one kid flailing on the ground and the other running around the store grabbing paint roller packs and paint samples. Oy vey.

September 22, 2012

Last Days of Summer

Today is the first day of fall so I think its a good time to wrap up the end of summer. We had a fantastic visit with my mom (the girls' Yiayia) full of yummy Greek food and free babysitting in August. Lydia and I ran the OR wine country half marathon Labor Day weekend. Can you tell these girls are obsessed with reading?

Z + A with Yiayia

Reading in mommy and daddy's bed while I take a shower - yes!!!

September 16, 2012

Let's Eat

After a few months in our new house, one room is finally done. Too many to count left, but we are still slowly plugging along. After spending all summer doing the necessary, but not really "fun" parts of remodel, we are finally onto the painting and decorating. Dining room before and after:

New wood floors put in by the pros (see this post), wallpaper removal and paint by me, new light fixture on clearance from Lowe's (installed by Mu), Pottery Barn table via CL, World Market chairs. We are looking forward to the first big dinner at the table .We have a small round kitchen table that we use everyday. 

September 5, 2012

Two and a Quarter

2.25 years or 27 months. Then I look at a picture like this and feel sad that they are growing up so fast.

I get into the that Type A, taskmaster personality and often forget to live in the moment. I don't remember a lot about that time, but I do remember washing a lot of bottles and pump parts and working to get them to sleep!

Now my little girls are talking, running and negotiating. It is lots of fun to listen and watch them as they repeat new things they learn and become even closer in their relationship together.

Zara has emerged as miss bossypants telling Lexi (and random kids at the playground, etc) to "wait your turn" while shaking her finger at them. A few weeks ago she started putting Lexi in timeout. Lexi wasn't doing anything wrong, but played along in this game. I put a stop to that one. Sheesh. We are working with her on this, talking a lot about being in charge of yourself and not others. She seems to be getting it.

We signed the girls up to take Music Together classes this summer and both LOVED it. They insist on listening to "music class cd" everytime we are in the car and have several of the songs memorized. Zara has a couple of the songs completely memorized and sings them around the house. Her favorite is Two Little Kitty Cats and they both love the Hello and Goodbye songs. They are signed up to start the fall session later this month.

Lexi continues to cement her role as "mama's girl" lately with lots of whining thrown in for good measure. She has a sing-song voice that gets so whiny at the first hint of tired or crabbiness. Yellow is her favorite color - she always requests the yellow barrette, the yellow plate, the yellow cup, the yellow paint and so on. I let her have the requested item within reason. The girl will demand the shirt off my own back if I start sliding down the slope of Lexi demands.

In their sister/twin relationship they continue to play together and function as two little peas in a pod. When they wake up in the morning and from nap, they stand and talk to each other and sing songs together until someone comes into the room. Typical morning conversation:
Zara: "I want to get out"
Lexi: "Daddy is at work"
Zara: "Mommy is at work"
Lexi: "No, mommy is at home"
Zara: "Mommy is home today"
Lexi: "We go to playground today"
Zara: "We go on see saw"

A new dynamic is answering each other's questions and responding more to each other. I'm enjoying this because it alleviates the need for me to respond to every question/comment/demand. Love it!

Here is a smattering of other facts/happenings at 27 months:
  • Favorite foods are all fruit ( especially "plumps", peaches, frozen blueberries), waffles, rice and beans, hot dogs, cheesy pasta, Annie's cheese bunnies, peas and quesadillas. We eat a large variety of food and work to get them to try new foods, but these are the ones they really love. If we have a meal they don't each much of, they tend to fill up on fruit afterwards. We went thru a 25 pound box of peaches just in the last week. They each drink about 12 oz of milk each day too.
  • They go to bed around 7:30pm and generally wake up between 7 and 7:30am. The standard bedtime routine is pajamas, brush teeth, read 4 books with daddy, hugs/kisses and into cribs. They usually nap around 1:30 in the afternoon. The nap can be anything from playing/talking for an hour or more and never taking a nap to sleeping for three hours. I never know what I'm going to get :)
  • We tried potty training in July, but I gave up after a couple days. I tried the cold turkey, no diapers, sit on the potty every 30 minutes routine and Lexi hated me telling her what to do all day, Zara got bored with it and I hated having to watch them constantly and decided to wait and try again later. They were really ready before (showing lots of interest, telling us when they needed to go, etc) but regressed after that and are just now starting to show interest again after a solid month of being anti-potty. They have come to some sort of agreement about who gets which Huggies diapers design on the front of the diaper (they come in 2 different designs in each box) - Lexi demands only Mickey solo and Zara demands only Mickey and Minnie together.
  • The play kitchen continues to be a hit. The girls are into prepping pretend meals of soup, eggs or sandwiches and bringing them to us to sample.
  • The obsession with books continues and they spend more time reading books in the playroom than playing with all of the toys. We acquired another 50+ books this month from garage sales and friends and probably have 200+ total around the house and in the car. A friend commented on the book vomit (an overflowing basket) in the backseat of our car recently and made me realize maybe this is not typical. A&Z have every book memorized and say "we lost a page" if we skip a page. Its a great obsession, except for all the freakouts that their giant stack of books fell over, yelling "the books are falling over" in the car and fighting over books with each other.
  • Lexi decided she didn't want any stuffed animals in her bed recently. Zara still sleeps with "bear" and "puppy". I've offered them both little pillows a few times and they don't want those either so now Lexi sleeps in an empty crib.
  • Playing at the playground, the water spray park, the children's museum, story time at the library, music class and playing with best friend Keira are the fave activities.
  • Whenever I tell them not to touch something, Zara tells me "I just see it!"
  • They both can count from 1 to 10 (sometimes skip from 3 to 6), know all the basic colors and shapes and recognize some of the letters of the alphabet. Their favorites are "Z for Zara", "L for Lexi" and "A for Alexandra". They both recently figured out Lexi's real name, but it sounds like "Asandra" right now.
Ok, I could go on and on, but I'll wrap it up for now. If you made it this far, here are a few smiles for you as reward :)