Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Thirteen Months

We are one month through the twins' second year.  This second year seems to be going a lot faster than the first one did.  

They are so cute!  They are finally both putting on weight as they should and I love how round and squishy they are.   I am so glad to see them looking so robust.  So is their doctor,  who is no longer worried about their growth.  Yay!  

It's still hard to keep them fed though!  I am always scrambling to find something that they can eat.  We go through bananas faster than I can get more at the grocery store.  Baby food and applesauce too.  The more kids I have the harder it is to find time to go to the store, so I often end up scrambling to try to find something to feed the hungry twinses, and I am glad that they are getting older and can eat more of a variety.  I will confess that their diets are not quite as healthy as the diets of my other babies... they eat lots of graham crackers and (gasp!) sometimes they even eat Ritz crackers,  which would have horrified the mom I was ten years ago.  

They have learned to go down the stairs now,  which is always a huge relief.  

They babble a lot and the older kids say they talk to each other, though I haven't really seen that yet.   I have noticed that they "play" together now, as well as work cooperatively to get into things and dismantle the contents of cupboards or baskets.  Seeing the two of them moving about the house together is so so so so cute.  

They still are not sleeping as well as they ought.  They sleep better than before, but many of my nights with them are still difficult.   Their sleep issues appear to be tied to caloric intake; when they nurse at bedtime or during the night they don't ever get quite as much as they need, so they wake more frequently in order to eat more.   Stuffing them full of solids and/or Pediasure at bedtime has helped a lot, to the point where about half our nights lately are fairly decent, but even then they still have this amazing knack for waking up just as I am drifting off to sleep.   

My older kids all have such an awesome relationship with the twins.   They are so helpful with them and I love to watch them interact with each other.  As would be expected,  Peanut and Frog have a bit of difficulty with the twins.  There is a lot of vying for my attention.   One thing that disturbs me  is how Peanut will say that she only loves Twig, she doesn't love Leaf.  This to the point where sometimes she throws huge screaming fits when we put Leaf's car seat in the base next to her car seat instead of Twig's.  Then Frog will say that he likes Leaf and not Twig... at least that balances out?  I am very sensitive about making sure that one of the twins doesn't become the favorite twin.... I am sure it's inevitable that there will be favoritism shown here and there, but I am trying to make sure that one twin isn't consistently everyone's favorite, or that one isn't always slighted.

My favorite twin is always whichever one I happen to be holding at the time.  They are both so beautiful and so happy and so sweet, and I am madly, madly in love with both of them.  

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas Day

We spent all Christmas day playing with toys, playing games together, and snacking.  Neither the Badger nor I ever feel like doing much cooking on Christmas Day, so we didn't do a big meal or anything fancy.  We just enjoyed being together as a family.  Here are way too many pictures of the kids playing with their Christmas toys.  You're welcome, Mom. 

This little car is the one present we bought for the twins.  It was the only thing they really needed.  I always pick one of these up around the time my babies are ready to learn to walk because it really helps them develop the necessary skills.  I have always gotten them secondhand before and then passed them on when we moved, so this is the sixth one we've had.  We named the first one George, so this is George the Sixth.  It's the first time I have bought one new, but I wasn't seeing any on Craigslist in the weeks before Christmas.  Already Leaf can push it and walk behind it, so I am glad I bought it!

Hey, look!  A picture that has me in it!  In my candy cane pajama pants!

In the next four pictures you get to play "spot the RC helicopter."  

Roo is getting older. She still wants toys, but she also wants clothes and stuff.  She was so thrilled with these boots. 

Merry Christmas from all of us here at the Birrd's Nest!

Christmas Morning

We had to be very, very careful with money for Christmas this year.  We are still not recovered from being unemployed a year ago.   Cutting out everything extra from our budget that we could over the last several weeks, we put every extra dollar we could spare toward Christmas.  When you have ten people in your family, even several hundred dollars spreads pretty thin.  There were several things we really really wanted to get for certain people that were just too expensive (I think that if I could I would probably spent way too much on my kids for Christmas.)  But here's the thing I've learned with kids and Christmas: if you don't have a ton of expensive gifts the magic of Christmas morning can make a $10 gift feel like a $100 gift.  And so, even though most of the gifts were in the $10-$30 range, they were very carefully selected so that all the kids were thrilled and said it was their best Christmas ever. 

 All Peanut wanted was a rocking horse.  She kept asking for one repeatedly for several weeks beforehand.  So that was one item we spent a little more on, and it was worth it.  Oh, she was thrilled!  


She loved the horsie in her stocking too. 

This little plastic Snoopy in Fish's stocking was a huge hit.  A very small thing that was a very big deal to him.

The Rabbit kept telling me about this little bird her friend has that repeats back what you say.  Oh, how she wanted one-- she couldn't stop talking about it.  I found them at Target and they were only $10.  It totally made her Christmas and it was one of the funnest things we played with all day.   It's a really cute little bird and it talks back to you in a very cute little voice. 

The Badger bought more cheap remote control helicopters for the boys.  This is becoming a tradition at our house.  They are playing with them even as I type this. 


The older four children all wanted to spend their hard-earned money on Christmas presents for their siblings.  They each only had around $15, so I suggested that they each buy a present for one person.  Bean would buy for Fish, Fish for Roo, Roo for Rabbit, Rabbit for Bean.  They carefully chose just what they knew that person would love.  Here is Rabbit opening her craft kit from Roo. 

Peanut's other present was a dress up snow queen dress.  It was a big hit. 

Wearing her dress and rocking on her horse and loving every second of it:

Chubby, cuddly twinses:

Fish is about to pass out with joy here.  He just opened his Lego set. 

This was Frog's big present: the Badger found it at Costco for $30 and knew Frog would love it.  He was right!

For most of the kids, the Badger picked out one gift and I picked out one gift.  I bought Frog this knight dress-up.  He loved it too.  I love the combination of knight costume and space pajamas.  Little boys are so fun!

My extended family draws names every year, and this year Uncle Horrible Beast had our name.  He asked for some suggestions, and we were all thrilled that he decided to buy us another box of PlusPlus to add to our collection.  We really love PlusPlus! 

Oh, what a wonderful Christmas morning it was at our house this year!

The Picture They All Hate to Pose For

... but I tell them they'll all thank me for it in 30 years.  Christmas morning on the stairs... oh, the memories!

(Twig was still asleep, so that's why there are only 7 children in this picture.)

Christmas Eve

We have had the loveliest Christmas here at the Birrd's Nest.  Christmas can be the best day of the year for big families.  The activities and traditions of Christmas increase in fun the more children you have around to participate in them, so even if you stay home and no one comes over, it's a party.

Having a large family can be tough.  It can be grueling to have the responsibility for so many little ones on your shoulders around the clock, day in and day out.  Some days I just pray that we will all survive.  And then there's Christmas, where having a house full of little ones seems like so much joy that I will burst.  It's my payback day.

Because we've moved around so much and had so much change over the years, we have traditions about some things but not others.  This year we decided to have a nice family dinner on Christmas Eve.  I had a hankering for what I call "Minnesota Meatballs," which are made with wild rice.  It's a beloved recipe from my youth up north that I can only make on the rare occasion I have wild rice in the house.  So it seemed special enough for Christmas Eve.

I don't know what kid had the camera at what point, but here are some pictures I ended up with.

Here's my kitchen going full-tilt.  I would never have thought to take a picture like this, but one of the kids did and I thought it was kind of cool. 

Roo and Rabbit love to set the table, which makes me so happy!

Someone cleaned up the living room and snapped a picture of the tree.  My Christmas tree has been a giant toy this year, with kids constantly moving the ornaments around on the lower branches.  I think the upper part of it is quite lovely though. 

Hello, Twig!  How's the high chair life?

Sitting down to dinner. 

Here's a better angle.  Everyone raved about the food. 

We set out a jigsaw puzzle.  Frog was very interested in it.  He does good with the puzzles at nursery at church, so he was sure he could handle this one.  He worked at it for a long time, though I don't think he fitted any pieces.  He's definitely a puzzle person, like his mother.  

Here we are with the little ones in new pajamas doing our annual Nativity puppet show.  This is a tradition I love!

We had planned to have a fire in the fireplace, but we had technical difficulties.  (The short version is that all our firewood is all still too green and wet.) 

Bean was the narrator this year. He did a fine job.

Frog loved the puppets. 

After our devotional, we had pineapple upside down cake.  The twins were absolutely adorable mooching bites off the Badger.  He enjoyed sharing with them.   It was kind of crazy having dessert right before bed though... I don't know that we'll turn that into a tradition. 

The kids were so wound up, but the funny thing was, they went to sleep right away.  For several weeks Roo had been referring to Christmas Eve as "the night of horror" because you can't sleep and it seems like tomorrow will never come.  But she fell right asleep!  So did Peanut and Frog, and Fish and Rabbit weren't far behind.  Bean has always been my night owl, so I put him to work helping play Santa Claus.  It was great to have him haul all the presents up from the basement and help with some toy assembly.  (We keep all presents hidden away until Christmas because my little kids would never leave them alone and wrapped if we put them under the tree during the days and weeks beforehand.)

And this was what it looked like as we went off to bed, greatly anticipating the joyous morning to come.  

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Dress

A few years ago on our wedding anniversary I got out my wedding dress and let my little girls try it on.  It was just about their favorite thing ever.  They asked if they could do it again this year.  Absolutely!

When we stood Rabbit up on the stool...

A bunch of little people came running to crawl underneath that huge boofy skirt, a la Mother Ginger from The Nutcracker. 

An episode of great merriment ensued. 

Then we went back to a more serious, contemplative mood. 

(For a little while, anyway!)