Monday, 27 January 2014

Grace for the weary

It's 8:53pm. The house is quiet. Finally. You couldn't have known that mere minutes ago it was a bustle of activity; the business of getting to bed.

Babies nursed, diapers changed, toys picked up, bottles given.

Teeth brushed, pajamas donned, babies rocking in arms, in chairs.

Lights out, stars shine, fans whirring in the humid summer heat.

Patience wanes, babies lie sleeping while older ones resist. The air thickens with the tension of opposing wills. Abundant energy defies the call to calm down. Voices raised.

Prayers. For mom and child alike. Petitions for love, joy, peace and obedience. Forgiveness sought.

Songs. Lyrics fighting the feelings in the singer's soul. Truth sung over the lives of loved ones. Hope for the next day, new mercies to behold.


Received so that it may also be given.

"Goodnight kids, I love you"

...and then there's the planet where Zombies come from...

...and other weird things my kids say.

Elena, sitting on the potty without her shirt on, feeling her long hair on her back: It's wong, mommy!
Me: Yeah, honey, it's growing really long!
Elena: Almost I will be a woman!!
Not sure where she got this idea about womanhood and long hair...or what it says about me right now...
Lucas: Let's call them both Leila! (the twins)
Me: Why, Lucas?
Lucas: Then we'll always know who is who!

In the car after school, Elena sees some graffiti on the walls: (shouting indignantly) Somebody dwawed on the walls! Who was it? Maybe it was God!!

At the dinner table,
Lucas: Mommy! That baby is leaking from her mouth!

And a wonderful conversation between the two of them, in the car, after driving around the block in a vain effort to secure a parking spot:
Lucas: they're not sharing!
Elena: I like shawing,
Lucas: I like cars, but now they're mean, because they're not sharing; the road or the parking lots...
Elena: Dirty cars!
Lucas: Yeah, poopy cars, they're like little disobeying babies!

And just so Leila doesn't feel left out...

What crazy things do your kids say? Linking up with Rosie today.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Quick Takes

You know you have four kids when a "date" with your hubby means having an hour in the car "alone" (i.e., all four kids sleeping in the back) and you stop to pick up your favorite drinks and snacks to enjoy on the way.

There's not much point spending half an hour writing out your meal plan and grocery list if you take it to the store and then forget to look at it until you've finished shopping and put everything into the car. Forgot one thing? No way you're going back into the store!

Lucas: Mommy, your belly is really squishy...
Me: Yes, it is Lucas, because mommy had a lot of babies in there.
Lucas: Yeah, first Lucas was in your belly, and then Elena, and then Lisa and Leila. You're right mommy! That's a lot of babies!
Lucas: But how did the babies all get out?
Me: Well...
Lucas: Look mommy! Leila's awake!
Me: *phew* dodged that bullet. 
At least he didn't ask how the babies got there in the first place!

How can my babies be 8 months old already? The time is flying by so fast. They are well over 8 kgs (about 18 lbs), eating all kinds of foods, sitting and playing by themselves, crawling all over the place and already trying to climb up on the furniture. They babble and sing and love to laugh. It is getting harder and harder to get a good photo of them together!

A few random numbers for ya:
30 - The average temperature (Celsius) this week. It's been hot, folks!
4 - Number of times I was up in the night with the twins. And this was actually a pretty good night! Each was up twice.
3 - Approximate number of times my cup of tea gets re-heated before finally finished.
6:00am - The time Lisa decided to get up for good this morning.
70 - The length (height) of my babies (in cm).

Lucas and Elena are getting to a wonderful stage where they love to hear stories. Mostly at bedtime as I think they want to prolong the process as much as possible. What are some good books to read aloud to them? They are age 3 - 5.

I was pretty happy about this Angel Food cake I made for David to celebrate his birthday last week. Not too hard as long as you're careful about any oil, grease or egg yolk that can mess up the rising of the cake. Baked it in a tube pan, then filled the centre with fresh strawberries and "frosted" with whipped cream. So, you know, if you happen to have a dozen eggs lying around, give it a try! Here's the recipe I used.

Happy Friday everyone! 

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Two Peas in a Pod

... Or not!

Aside from sharing womb time, Lisa and Leila are as different as any other two siblings. People love to know just exactly how different they are, often asking "who is more happy / sleepy / loud / smiley" etc. We have a tendency to make a lot of comparisons between our children - Lucas did such and such at this age, Elena didn't do such and such like that. Of course we never quite remember exactly  how it was with the older children, so it is quite interesting to be able to compare the twins in "real time" as they are growing up together - going through the same stages at their own pace and in their own way. 

So how similar are Lisa and Leila? In some ways about as similar as night and day! Lisa is our loud one - she was born first with a great big wail of a cry, bringing tears to my eyes. When Leila was taken out she had a small, delicate little cry. This has continued to be the case when they get vaccinations or when they had their ears pierced.

Leila in her favorite toy on the left and Lisa in hers on the right. 
As we've moved past the sleeping-all-day part, we now get to enjoy watching the two of them play "together" - side by side usually, and occasionally one crawls on top of the other. Leila is much more easily occupied by our baby toys, and quite happy to sit on her own inspecting the small details of all our toys and books. Lisa is much happier when she's close to someone (and thankfully Leila helps with that) and is much more intrigued with household objects like spatulas and TV remotes. Of course with the two of them everything also goes into the mouth... As I sit here writing this, they are playing on the floor fighting over sharing a balloon. 

We started our wonderful solid food journey about two months ago, and at the beginning Leila refused to eat off the spoon. So I'd let her experiment by herself with the food on her tray and feed Lisa with the spoon. I would say we do a mix of baby-led eating with finger foods and purees / spoon fed meals. 

Sleeping is where they seem to differ the most. Lisa is a cat-napper, often lasting no more than half an hour in the crib. She prefers to nap in a stroller or bouncy chair. Leila takes good, long naps, sprawled out on her belly in the crib. Lisa needs to be coaxed (rocked, bounced etc) into sleep, Leila gets fussy and we lie her down and within minutes she is sleeping. This has made it interesting to try to get them on any sort of reliable schedule together!

Lisa is our more "high maintenance" baby and Leila is just so laid-back it is amazing. They both love to smile, babble in different ways, play with Lucas and Elena and be held by mommy and daddy. 

With all their differences there is one thing that remains the same; every day we fall in love with them even more. What a surprise it was to learn we would be having twins - and each day they surprise us as they each grow into their own unique little person. Such a privilege to be a twin mommy! 

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Four in Tow

This past weekend I had the opportunity to get all the kids out of the house for a birthday party. Hubby, unfortunately had other responsibilities so it was just me and the kiddos. Now with four kids age five and under, you might think it's a little crazy to go trekking across the city with them as the only adult. While it can be stressful, it beats being stuck inside the house all day, so I decided to go for it. There are several things to do to make going out with your kids an enjoyable time for everyone.

1. The Destination
Obviously I'm not going to want to take my kids to an event that is unsuitable - say, where they have to all sit quietly for a long time. We were headed to a kids birthday party, so I knew there would be lots to entertain the older kids. It was primarily for them that we went. There would be kids we knew for them to play with, and people to help with the twins.

2. Set Expectations
We had attended another birthday party at this same location about a year and a half ago. I had taken the kids by myself (obviously without the twins) and we'd had some issues with behavior and obedience. So this time I made sure to set the expectations of what we would do and how the kids were to behave while we were there. Combined with the fact that they are a little bit older and more mature, it helped to prepare them for going out.

3. Be Prepared
This means a fully stocked diaper bag; food for babies, snacks for older kids, changes of clothes for everyone, sippy cups and pacifiers, toys, blankets, bottles, etc. (See the next point for where to keep the mounds of baggage you need.) I knew we'd be parking on the street so I planned to arrive a little "early" - i.e., party is set to start at 2:00 and we arrived at 2:30 - basically the first guests apart from the family. This meant we were able to get a good parking spot close to their building. I would guess most of the guests arrived between 3:00 and 4:00. This is pretty typical for Brazil.

4. Use your stroller
While strollers are useful for carrying children (especially multiples), they offer more than just that and storage for all your stuff; the stroller becomes "home base". The older kids can easily find us when we're out. The stroller also helps keep us all together - when we cross the roads the older kids know to hold onto the sides of the stroller. They also discovered that they can ride on the sides of it. When momma says the train is pulling out, they hop right on. It's pretty hilarious (and heavy to push!), but helps when we need to get moving.

5. Stand Out
I learned this tip from an article about taking your kids to the beach. Dress them in brightly colored shirts so you can easily spot them from far away. I took this to the next level and also dressed in a bright shirt so they'd easily be able to spot me if they needed something. Here in Brazil it also helps to have blond haired kids as they're in the minority and easy to spot in a crowd.

6. Accept Help
One thing I have really noticed with twins is that people are much more willing to help. I had so many people offer to hold one of the twins while I nursed / bottle fed / changed the other. I met another mom of twins who could empathize with me. Also I can strike up a conversation with anyone on the basis of my babies. (Great for an introvert like me.) Some of the dads there pitched in as well - helping Lucas go on the monkey bars and watching Elena play.

All in all we had a great time; the kids basically slept all the way there and back in the car (about an hour and a half each way) and we all thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to get out, play with friends, eat good food, celebrate and make connections with our church (and wider) community.

What other tips do you have for getting out with your gang?

Friday, 10 January 2014

First Christmas

Before we get too far into January, I wanted to record some memories from the twins first Christmas. Lucas and Elena were very excited for Christmas this year, understanding more of the true meaning of Christmas and of course also looking forward to getting some presents. Lisa and Leila, at 7 months, had fun just coming along for the ride, and eating the wrapping paper. Oh, and stealing the other's gift...

 We had a nice quiet Christmas Eve at home with just our family; reading the Christmas story and watching the Charlie Brown Christmas special before opening one gift (gifts for the kids from their Auntie Grace and Uncle Drew in Canada).

On Christmas Day we had a nice breakfast of French toast and bacon before opening more gifts and getting ready to head into Sao Paulo for a big Christmas meal with my in-laws. My sister-in-law was also there with her two girls and her parents. The big kids did really well during our little service and then we opened gifts. Lucas really enjoyed helping grandma hand out all the gifts and stockpiling his own stash to open at the end.
Playing with / eating / opening their presents
 At the end of the evening when all the gifts had been cleared away and we were packing up to head home I managed to get a few shots of the girls in front of the tree.
Love their matching expressions. 
 Lucas is already asking to have the Christmas decorations back up in our home. It's a good reminder to keep Christmas in our hearts all year long. Hope yours was a wonderful celebration of the greatest gift - Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

If I'd had time...

Lots of people are taking time to look back over the past year, linking back to some of their favorite events, projects, recipes and posts of the year.

Unfortunately I didn't blog as much as I would have liked in 2013 - let's blame it on my twin pregnancy and their births and adjusting to life with four kids under five...

So here are my top ten posts I wish I'd written in 2013...

1. Post date - January 2013 - In January we celebrated Lucas' fourth birthday. Coming off the end of a hard first trimester and a few weeks of a horrible sinus cold, the only way we pulled off a party for him was with a lot of help from my mother-in-law. We had a "construction" theme, with a building site cake and a "build your own sundae" station.

 2. Post date - Feb 2013. Arriving on the day of the party was my brother Aaron, who came to visit us in Brazil for the first time. He was only here for ten days, but we enjoyed eating lots of churrasco (Brazilian BBQ), going to the beach, a water park and just generally hanging out and playing with the kids.

3. Post date - April 2013 - About four weeks before the twins' birth I did a maternity photo shoot with my friend from church, Raquel. We trekked across one of Sao Paulo's largest parks to find a quiet corner for some nice shots. Although I had hoped to get some good family photos as well, I'd forgotten how early the sun sets, and by the time the rest of the family arrived (and trekked across the park to find us) it was almost dark. Still I was glad to have taken the time to do it seeing as it was my last pregnancy and twins at that!

4. Post date - May 2013 - While I have mentioned the twins birth several times, I still haven't really gotten around to writing the full story. Most notable for being my first surgery and having a horrible recovery. As far as c-sections go, it was very routine. I kind of wished I'd had it filmed.

5. Post date - June 2013 - After growing my hair out for almost three years, (more out of laziness than a real desire to have long hair), it was getting to be too much to handle. Thanks to my pregnancies and breastfeeding, I haven't treated or dyed my hair in a long time. So my lovely blond hair was natural and chemical free. I'd hoped to be able to sell it for a nice amount, (natural blond hair is pretty rare around here) but I just didn't have the time to search out many options. In the end I was able to sell it for a little and get a nice hair cut which is much more practical for my lifestyle right now.

6. Post date - August 2013 - In August my oldest girl turned three! With the twins birth so relatively close I wanted to make sure she had a nice party. Of course, she requested a princess party. While I had planned to keep it pretty simple, I sometimes have a hard time doing that and we ended up with a big princess castle party with princess hats and wands, helmets for the "knights" and lots of food and fun!
 Elena really enjoyed getting to dress up in a fancy princess dress for the party.

7. Post date - November 2013. With life settling down, getting into routines with all the kids and our babies no longer "newborns" - I was freed up a little bit to help with a good friend's baby shower. It was so fun to get back into doing projects like this again. I really had a lot of fun with the decorating.
In case you can't tell - the couple wearing the "baby kit" (top right) are the expectant parents. Their first born, a boy, is due any day now!

8. Post date - November 2013. Since he had received a five year tourist visa, my brother decided to visit us again in November. As he had a longer trip he was able to visit Rio as well. Again, we enjoyed many of the same things; going out to eat, to the beach. He also met the twins for the first time. Now there is only one member of my family to meet the twins - my youngest brother. We're hoping he'll make a trip here this year. :)

9. Post date - December 2013. In 2012 we decided to host a small "Thanksgiving dinner" at our place for a few couples. We made a traditional turkey dinner. In 2013 we thought we'd like to invite more friends to share in the traditional meal and put together a big Thanksgiving meal for about 30 of the young people from our church. Needless to say we enjoyed a feast in early December; great food, fellowship, a "white elephant" gift exchange, and a surprise proposal!

10. Post date - December 2013. When it came to decorating my house in 2013 for Christmas I wanted to do something different from the previous year. I could have easily just pulled out all my nicely organized decorations and done something very similar, but I just couldn't make myself do it. I love re-arranging and doing things differently. So this past Christmas I decided to go with a nice traditional red theme.

So while I still have a lot of thoughts on the year past and many more ideas for posts for the months to come, I hope you enjoyed reading the ten posts I didn't write last year.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...