December 29, 2012

Christmas Eve Dinner

My mom and Lydia and Peter and their kids all came and stayed with us for a few days leading up to Christmas. We had a great time visiting, getting out for a nice adult dinner, cousins play time and went to Old Spaghetti Factory for a collective birthday dinner. Christmas Eve we had dinner at our house with the family that was here, plus some good friends.

After dinner, the kids decorated "Christmas trees" made out of waffle cones. I think it was a hit!

Later that night after all the kiddos were in bed, the guys put together the girls' big presents!

December 27, 2012

First Time Ice Skating

Figure skating was a huge part of my life growing up and continued as I coached kids thru my college years. As soon as I found out that I was pregnant with girls, I started dreaming about taking them ice skating. We finally decided they were old enough to try it out last week on my birthday. It was so much fun!!! I was so happy that they were both super excited to skate and stuck with learning the toddler basics for a good half hour. They both really want to go again so I consider that a big win!!! Lexi told me several times "let go of me, go away" because she wanted to be like the bigger kids and skate by herself. I still stuck close by.

Hopefully they continue to like skating  when we go again. It was such a fun family moment for the four of us to skate together. Here is Lexi showing her skills after about half an hour on the ice. 

MVI 2161 from Natalie on Vimeo.

December 20, 2012

Snowy Day

The girls were lucky to get to spend a few days in Yakima with their Bebe Jan and Papa this week. We were lucky enough to get some kid-free time to go out to dinner with friends, work on house projects and prepare for hosting Christmas. While they were there, it snowed a lot! Apparently they had so much fun playing in the snow that they didn't want to come inside.

December 18, 2012

A Day in Our Life at 2.5

For at least the first year of the girls' life, I was a die hard schedule fan. I have a spreadsheet of their schedule at 3/6/9/12 months and have shared it with other mamas many times. I should probably post it here too. It changed often going from 3/2/1 naps and adding/changing feedings and meals. Now we have had the same schedule for about a year. Its the afternoon nap version and its much more variable.

I love when other moms share what their daily life looks like so I'm joining in to and share ours. Because I work part-time, our schedule has some variety, but it works well for us. Here is a typical day for me when I am off work and home with the girls. Obviously, every day is a bit different and if we are out of town or have special plans, its a lot different.

6:30 or 7 - Marcus leaves for work and I drag myself into the shower.

7:00/7:30 - Usually the girls are still sleeping so I head downstairs for some quiet time (chai tea, check email, fb, start a load of laundry or dishwasher)

8:00 - Girls are talking in their cribs so I walk in and they yell "Good Morning!" and start chatting away. Change diapers and head downstairs for some lazy morning time if we don't have to be anywhere early. Girls like to watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and I give them a sippy cup of milk and bowl of dry cheerios.

If  I slept in late and didn't get a shower in yet, the girls sit in my bed reading books while I take a shower.

8:30 - Girls sit down to breakfast (usually a combo of waffles, pancakes, oatmeal, cereal bars, fruit, yogurt)
I keep working on chores and might start prepping dinner if I'm really organized. I clean up the kitchen again after we are done eating. The girls love to "help".

9/10 - We go upstairs to get the girls dressed. It takes forever for them to pick an outfit and actually get it on. They change their mind five times each and run away laughing many times.

At this point we usually head out of the house to meet up with friends at the museum or other play place, go to a friend's house to play or we might just head to Costco or the library. If we stay home, we usually do some sort of arts and crafts time, baking or just play.

11:30/12:30 I prep something easy for lunch and the girls eat it.

1:00 - The girls are done eating and back to playing. I clean up the kitchen again. Its like groundhog day! I try and get a few more chores done so I have more time to relax during nap time. Other days I just focus on playing with them in the playroom or reading books with them.

1:30/2:00 - I herd the girls into their room, change their diapers and put them into their cribs for nap time. They usually spend at least half an hour talking and singing, sometimes much longer, before they eventually go to sleep.

I usually knock out a few house chores (cleaning, paying bills, laundry) before I make myself a late lunch or snack. I relax and check email, FB, Google Reader. I usually try to tackle a project or two on my to-do list, but sometimes I just watch tv or take a nap.

4:00 - The girls are usually up from nap by now. We head downstairs for a snack and I might let them watch a tv show or we play downstairs or read books. Some days we bundle up and go for a walk in the neighborhood and get the mail from the mail box down the street.

We usually get out busy bags, puzzle books or their toy laptops (all stored on the kid shelves in the pantry) to play with in the family room while I cook dinner.

5:30 - Marcus is usually home by now and we all sit down to dinner.

6:00 - Every other night the girls take a bath. On the off night, we all play together or they play with Marcus while I clean up the kitchen.

7:00 - We head to the girls room to get ready for bed - pajamas, brush teeth. After they are ready for bed, they sit in the big chair in their room to read books with Marcus (usually about four books).

7:30 - The girls go into their cribs, I sing them "the goodnight song" and we say goodnight.

After the girls go to bed, Marcus and I try to be productive. Right now, its kitchen projects and I'm working on my long to-do list with lots of holiday plans. Sometimes we just grab snacks and veg in front of the tv though.

10:30/11 - We head to bed. Sometimes we stay up way too late if we are hooked on a show and watch "just one more episode."
**If you know me very well, you know I am kind of a organizational/clean freak. Its a blessing and a curse. This post really shows how I pretty much constantly clean/organize as the day goes on, but it keeps me sane!

December 15, 2012

The Bookcase

I want to update this nursery post with new pictures of the bookcase in action. We used it as a changing table in the nursery at our old house, but we moved it into the playroom at the new house.

The nursery post is the most viewed post on this whole blog (its linked to Ana White's knock-off building plans website). Here is the building plan. Marcus and a friend built it from scratch when I was pregnant. They modified the dimensions to make the top shelf shorter. Here is what it looks like now:

December 14, 2012

Formal Living Room Fireplace

I'm way behind on documenting house projects, but want to show the update I did back in October to the formal living room fireplace. It had this super cheesy wood decal glued on the front. Barf. You can see it in the far right of this picture of the unfinished new floors.

I pried the decal off with a screwdriver first. Then I was left with unpainted wood under the decal. Marcus filled in the indented space with putty and sanded for me. The whole fireplace and a lot of the off-white baseboard/window trim downstairs needs to be painted. The most boring job ever is still pending. So we picked out some bright white trim paint and its first client was the fireplace. Four coats later we have a nice clean white fireplace. So much better!

It took me a few months to take pictures so now we have Christmas mantle decor :) The stockings were not cooperating for pictures, but I am used to non-cooperation for pictures so no biggie to me.

December 11, 2012

Two and a Half

Zara sleeping with her beloved "Bear" on a road trip

Lexi planning her Christmas list

Lounging in front of the tv

Where do I even start? These girls are fun, opinionated and silly. Every day is hilarious and hair-pulling. Sometimes I laugh and sometimes I want to cry. Instead of crying, I usually just count the minutes until nap time or bed time and take a deep breath! Because how can you reason with a two year old who is crying hysterically because her granola bar just broke in half? I am a mean mommy and do not give her new bar because we all know where that will lead.

On a bad day, the world is over if we don't let them climb into the car themselves, zip up their own pajamas, turn the lights on and off, turn on the water in the bathroom sink, close the refrigerator door, count the number of fish on each page of the book and the list goes on. Toddlers don't have control over much and they live for routine so I try to let them do as much as possible, but sometimes I say no and try to be consistent. I put the kabosh on letting them turn on the faucet in the bathroom sink because it was just way out of control and WET. I now tell them "its a mommy/daddy job" and they are ok with it most of the time.

On a good day, they are happy and easy going, share their toys and say please and thank you. I've been sick with a lingering cough lately and Zara will tell me, "bless you" after I cough. I am thankful that most days are good days with our sweet girls. Here are some more tidbits at two and a half:
  • The girls are still great eaters, most of the time. They are definitely unpredictable though. As soon as I think they don't like something, they prove me wrong. Zara LOVES eggs and will eat almost anything else. Lexi LOVES fruit - we have been eating lots of mandarin oranges  and pears right now. They will usually both try at least a bite of anything and we are happy with that. We tell them they need to take a bite and try it and don't have to eat anymore if they don't like it. Zara loves to tell us, "I don't like it" and "I DO like it!" Their favorite restaurant is Chipotle. 
  • Both girls are definitely particular and opinionated, but Zara in particular is very stubborn about it. She tells me what she thinks all day long ("I don't want that", "I want it", "I like it") and changes her mind constantly. If she gets crabby, she just starts crying about everything so I would much rather hear it in words. She seems to be very black or white because she loves to point out the rules and the way things are so I try to give her lots of consistency.
  • They label everything that comes in different sizes (toys, animals, balls, leaves, houses, EVERYTHING) as the Daddy (largish), Mommy (medium) and Baby (small). Its so funny that they have this inherent need to categorize it all into family relationships.
  • We are still casually working on potty training. Lexi seems to be very motivated by the M&Ms (and has some bladder control) because she usually goes on command when I ask them to sit on the potty. Zara likes the idea of wearing underwear, but is still figuring it all out and only really goes in the potty by chance. We will probably try to switch out of diapers again soon and see how it goes with more direct training.
  • The girls are still sleeping in cribs. We plan to switch them to beds this spring. They both love wearing the Halo Sleepsacks and those keep them from climbing out. Lexi can definitely climb out without the sleepsack on and sometimes tells me, "Take my sleepsack off and I climb out by myself," but I remind her how hard she smacked her chin last time she tried. Then she lets me lift her out. Naptime is about 1:30 to 3:30 and bedtime is about 7:30 to 7:30.
  • Marcus, A and Z attended Music Together class once a week this fall. They were shy at first in the class environment, but really opened up in the last few classes. We will probably try something different in the new year. They are already asking to take ballet and gymnastics, but those classes don't start until age 3.
  • The girls love talking about people's names. They will tell anyone that asks that mommy is "Matalie Shirzad" and daddy is "Marcus Shirzad." Zara asks "what's his name?" about every person/animal pictured in a book. When a stranger in public tells Lexi she's cute, she tells them, "I'm not cute, I'm Alexandra". I get the same response when I tell them they are being silly or stinky or anything descriptive. "I'm not stinky, I'm Zara".
  • We visited IKEA a couple times this fall and again last weekend as we continue to slowly furnish and decorate the house. The girls love that place. They usually end up with a stuffed animal and a big meal from the cafeteria. Zara keeps saying "we went to Tortilla" instead of IKEA. She tells the new monkey, "we got you at Tortilla."
  • Reading books is still their favorite activity, followed closely by watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. The girls also really enjoy "arts and crafts", baking with me, walking to the mailbox, loading their shopping carts with toys and play food and puzzles. Now that the rainy season is upon us we visit the library and the children's museum at least once a week. The "bouncy house" (inflatable play place) is frequently requested as well. 
Sunday morning we all slept in until 8:30 and then the girls came and snuggled in our bed until we all got up at 9. It was one of those blissful mornings that rejuvenated my "mom spirit" so much. It was exactly what I needed after a particularly difficult week of tantrums and tribulations. It probably won't happen again anytime soon so I better write it down!

December 2, 2012

Beginning to Look Like Christmas

This is my absolute favorite time of year. Our tree is up, house decorated, kids in cute Christmas jammies. They were so excited to wear "my Christmas dress" yesterday to the Providence Festival of Trees. We saw Santa there too and the girls were all about sitting on his lap and getting a candy cane.  It was so opposite of last year when they wouldn't sit on his lap at all.