Wednesday, December 5, 2012

October & November

Ok, so I might have missed last month but to say I've been busy is an understatement :) But hey, you got my birth story!!!

Early in October we took a trip to the pumpkin patch and had a really great time. We even got a short visit from Paige (yay!) Then, we welcomed Elana to the family on the 17th. We were very lucky that Rusty was able to take 3 weeks off of work. It was great having him home, enjoying family meals and putting the kids to bed together each night. Not to mention the sigh of relief and the looks we gave each other after the big girls got in bed. Is this really our life?! It's insane and awesome all rolled into one.

In November, Rusty went back to work. I quickly fell into a routine and it was almost like we've always had 3 kids. Almost. I quit being terrified of being left alone with all of them. Sometimes it seems like someone is crying in this house constantly. But it's the moments where Audrey and Madison are running and laughing hysterically together in the evenings, the random hugs and kisses, the way A&M adore Elana, the way my dog tolerates the kids antics and watching the way my husband fathers and loves our children makes my heart so full!

We celebrated Thanksgiving this year at mom's. I feel so blessed that she is not only here to celebrate with but also, that she cooked us a delicious Thanksgiving meal! We have so much to be thankful for this year (and every year).

My little Audrey. This kid is really talking now! She is saying new words all the time and now multiple words together. "Daddy, where hoppo?" "Milk please," "Daddy work, gone!" "Towel, hands" We are always saying to each other, did she just say {insert phrase here}. She also loves showing off what she is learning. When we read books, she will point to and name everything she can on the page: daddy, baby, meeew (cat), shoes, etc.
She has a definite mischievous side as well. She is quick to imitate Madison's naughty behavior (throwing food, cups, you name it) and then when you discipline her she cuts her eyes away in defiance or continues the said naughty behavior. Sigh. Nap time is a constant struggle. She will play quietly in her crib for an hour or more until she decides nap time is over. When I go in to settle her down I find teddy, dolly, blankie and usually her clothes, thrown out of the crib. I redress her, cover her back up and get out of there hoping I'll get lucky and she realizes how tired she is!  

Madison: oh, our little stinker!!!! She is into EVERYTHING! Opening drawers, cabinets, baskets and emptying their contents everywhere. Tearing pages out of books, climbing on the couch, climbing up the slide, on the chairs outside and standing on the picnic table. And often, a temper tanturm upon correction! After we further toddler proofed our house and stood our ground on boundaries, things calmed down. I think it had a lot to do with the disruption of our new addition too!
Not to forget her joyful side :) She absolutely loves her dog and her sisters! She runs around the house squealing and gets the dog running all over going crazy! We are lucky Layla has such a good temperament! Madison is also expanding her vocabulary. She's been "talking" for awhile now but we're just now making out the words! The first time I realized she was talking, she pointed to a pair of shoes in one of her favorite books, Muddypaws, and said, SHOE!

Elana is a sweet little baby! She doesn't cry much unless she is hungry or tired and then watch out, she's pissed!! Unlike our other babies, she doesn't like pacifiers. She must have a sensitive gag reflex as she has projectile vomited on several occasions...I'm throwing in the towel on this one. She's just starting to find her hands and suck her fingers and thumb so that should help :)
So far she is a resilient little thing as she gets poked in the eye "baby, eye" (yes Audrey, that's the baby's eye, please don't touch!!!!) or bashed in the head with a toy (Madison! Watch out!) She is starting to smile real smiles every day and it's so fun! I wonder daily what she will be like when she is the girls' age. If she's anything like her big sisters, she'll be sweet trouble too!
She is definitely a mama's girl and loves to snuggle. She is still sleeping in the bed with us at night because she eats so frequently (every 2-3 hours). I'm enjoying it because I know soon she'll have to start sleeping in her own bed! Right now we are working on her taking a bottle....only 5 1/2 more weeks before I'm back to work!!

As for next month, December is here! Oh my. Let the Christmas holiday begin...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Birth Story

For all of you that are curious, here is my story!
I started feeling minor contractions while hanging out with my mom on Tuesday night (October 16th). I went home and put the girls to bed and the contractions seemed to be a bit stronger. I was timing them and they seemed to be between 3-10 minutes apart. I texted Rusty about 9:30p and told him I might be in labor but not to leave work early. After scrubbing the bathrooms and tidying up the house, I decided that double batch of muffins I was planning on making that night should probably wait. Rest was important now, especially if it was the real thing. I notified my midwife and my doula that I might be calling them in the early morning hours!
When I laid down my contractions got worse but slowed down. I eventually fell asleep on and off for an hour or two until 2am when I could no longer sleep through contractions. I sat on my yoga ball awhile until I was pretty uncomfrotable and my contractions were 3-5 minutes apart. I called my midwife and we decided that I should come in to the center. I woke Rusty up, took a shower and waited for the in-laws to arrive to be with the girls.
On our way to the birth center we stopped by McDonalds for some food. Soon, neither one of us felt much like eating! When we got to the center, we were met by the midwife and my doula, Cyntha. (A doula is like a birth coach that helps you through labor!) It was 5:30am. They checked me at I was 4-5 cm but they wanted my contractions stronger and closer together. The midwife showed me how to lay on my side to accomplish this. I laid there about 2 hours and it was working! Around 7:30 my water broke and that next contraction was VERY intense.
At this point, I decided that it was time to get in the tub. It was warm and amazing. I pointed the jets on my back and it seemed to help. The baby was moving around a lot at this point. I was probably in the tub about 2 hours enduring pretty intense contractions but she was expecting me to be progressing faster. She wanted me to get out of the tub and try some other things. At this point, I didn't care as long as it would bring labor to an end! When she checked me, she said I was 7cm and the baby wasn't in good position and needed to be turned. If that sounds painful, it is, wowza! I'm thinking to myself, 7cm, that's it? Maybe I can't do this?! Robyn (my midwife) assured me that I could be pushing soon if I did what she told me to do.
So we walked. I wanted to lean over so bad but she said standing strait up was best to get the baby down. I think I stood up but I really am starting to forget the details! Then Robyn told me I needed to lay down flat in the bed. I told her it hurt too much in that position and she told me that was good! Haha...ok! She said the most uncomfrotable position is usually the one that is causing the strongest and best contractions to get the baby out.
Eventually she said I could turn on my side which was a bit better but still very intense (poor Rusty ended up with finger mark burises...hehe). All the sudden I started pushing. It wasn't like last time with my epidural when they told me when I was having a contraction and that I should push. It just happened, it was like an extension of the contraction and my body just did it. They told me later that it was 8 minutes from that moment to the time she was born. It felt like both an eternity and a split second to me!
Before I knew it, the head was out. Really weird. Then she was here. My whole plan was to have a water birth and catch her myself. At this point, I was so happy it was almost over it didn't matter I wasn't in the tub. I don't even think I physically pulled her up myself but the midwife was there to help and put her up on my chest. I was in shock and so happy to be holding this new life and hearing her sweet cry, I didn't even think to look at the gender. Robyn helped me hold her up to get a look and Rusty told me "three for three" just about the time I caught a glimpse myself. I felt suprised she was a girl, not that I was expecting a boy, but I guess just that this little thing moving around inside of me all this time finally had a gender and a name.
Elana Danielle Jones. 6lbs 10oz, 20 inches long. Born at 10:38 on October 17, 2012. A very special day indeed. I was secretly dreading her being born on this day because I didn't want to take away from the fact that it was Dannis' day. But now I understand why it happened. The longer I go through life, the more times I learn that everything that happens to us happens for a reason. We may not understand it at the time, but there IS always a reason.
A few short minutes after she was born she started rooting around and I nursed her for the first time. She did great and it was kind of like riding a bike for me! We were all starving by this point so Rusty went out and got my my favorite: a wrap from Crispers and a smoothie!!! I laid in bed and cuddled Elana all day. At 4:30 my in-laws and the girls arrived to meet their little sister! Audrey was scared of the birth assistant and started crying but eventually noticed the little baby laying next to mommy. She just kept saying "baby" and pointing at her. Madison was not interested in the slightest. She WAS interested in dismanteling the place and unplugging the fan. Life's about to get really crazy :)
Then we all packed up and headed home!! Just 6 hours after she was born we were on the road home. I was happy to be spending our first night at home in our own bed. Lots of people have asked me: would you do it again? If given the opprotunity to have another child (haha) I would have another birth center birth. The experience was amazing as was the midwiffery care. They were not only focused on getting baby out of me but they were also interested in caring for me, as a person and how I was dealing with labor, birth and postpartum. What an amazing experience and I'm so glad I had the opportunity to have another baby to love! Maybe its all hormonal but looking back it didn't seem unbearable even though I know it was at times. It must be why mankind continues to exist :) All Rusty has to say about it is that he is very proud of me and I would have gotten a lollipop but probably not a!

 Elana on her first night home :)
You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy, when skies are gray....

Monday, October 8, 2012


So, I'm a bit late on our September update. Time has rushed us into October and the month is already a quarter of the way through! Baby is due this month (12 days to be exact!). How could that be so?

This past month we were very busy (what's new?) We had another trip to the beach, this time with Grandma and Grandpa Jones. Fun times and less rain :) We have spent a lot of time playing outside in our new double swing, drawing all over everything in the backyard with sidewalk chalk, and even eating homemade popsicles. Not to mention the fun times with boxes.....the girls love it when mommy shops online!

Our big event for the month was having a party to celebrate the coming of the new baby! We had a great time with lots of friends and family in attendance. It was so great to see all the kids playing together in the back yard. What a great space. Daddy and Grandpa worked hard to put up a sun shade just in time for the party. Another great addition to the backyard!

Madison: This little girl is starting to really get some hair! It is VERY blond and kind of curly in the back. She has just enough to put a small bow in...but who are we kidding? It gets torn out immediately!!! She is still into lots of mischief but is generally a very smiley, happy child. She is a lot like her daddy was when he was little! I am amazed with the amount of teeth this kid is getting....and all at once. She is an amazing teether (thank god!). She's getting all 4 molars and an incisor! At her 18 month check up she measured in the 75th percentile for height and 50th for weight. Sometimes I am shocked to look at her because I see a little girl looking back at me, not my chubbo little baby!

Audrey: This month, Audrey's vocabulary has exploded! Each day she says a new word or two. I think she must have doubled or tripled her word count and often imitates words that you say. She likes for you to know she can talk too and is proud to walk around pointing out things and naming them. Seat! Wawa (water)! Baby (pointing at the nursery or my expanding midsection)! She has a sweet little girl voice and it's so fun to hear her say mommy! At her 18 month appointment she was 25th percentile for weight and a bit less than 50th for height. She is just starting to get her first molar.

Baby J: A bit more than 38 weeks gestation at this point and we can expect to meet him/her any day now. I don't feel like labor is close but I didn't with the girls either. My bag is packed and my birth plan is in place. I still can't imagine life with 3 kids but I know it's coming! I'm excited not only to find out the gender of this baby but also, who the baby is going to look like and what temperament he/she will have. I'm hoping for some sign of a proper name. We still haven't committed and not sure that we will until the baby is born.

October is going to be a month of extremes. We will be celebrating the joy of new life but also celebrating the life and mourning the loss of Dannis. Saturday we will be scattering some of his ashes at the NamKnights clubhouse and his birthday is also coming up. October promises to be a month to remember!

Monday, September 3, 2012


August has come and gone. The major event for the month was our outing to the beach. It was the first time we've been since the girls were around 5 months old (besides Castaway Cay of course). It was a bit easier this time and it seems like that is the way most things have been going these days. Here we are in front of our mini-van with a wagon full of stuff. Coolers, canopy, chairs and towels, oh my, life has changed! We were accompanied by Paige and also met up with Kara, Becky and Evie. Unfortunately, our trip was cut short by a really nasty thunderstorm! We actually saw the rain coming towards us down the beach!
This month we also had a play date with my friend Boni and her two kids Brianna and Allison. A week later we headed to Universal Studios with them too! So fun to hang out with people doing the same things that we are. It was the girls' first trip to Universal which is hard to believe because we can really go anytime! The girls got to ride Shrek and check out Fievel's Playland. They had a great time in the mini-bounce house.
We spend time outside almost every day despite the heat. I put the girls in sun shirts and hats and let them roam the backyard. By now they are starting to get pretty tan little legs (well, at least Audrey is!). She is darker than her daddy!! They love to swing, play in their house and squirt each other, and themselves, with the hose! It seems like they pick up more signs every day. So far their joint vocabulary is: eat, drink, milk, more, all done, banana, berries, fruit, bread/muffin, fish, bear, ball, baby, please and probably a few more I'm forgetting! It's so amazing to watch them grow and learn.

Audrey has become quite the talker! She has always babbled a lot but now she is starting to make sense to someone other than herself :) She often verbalizes as she signs the words so it makes it even easier for me to understand exactly what she is saying! So far she says: mommy, daddy, ducky, doggie, poppie, baby, ball, eye, ear, beep beep (car), uh-oh, and cookie. Sometimes she really gets going and says all the words she knows one after the other! She also had her first 3 word phrase "more fishies please" all in sign! Her newest thing is babywearing. She has a baby doll that sits inside a backpack that can be worn. Too cute. Audrey is definitely still the more girly of the two. She prefers not to get too dirty so she didn't really enjoy the sand at the beach. After daddy buried her in sand enough times, she decided she was ok with dirt. It was so fun to watch her explore the beach. She ran right up to the water and was very interested in the seagulls.

Madison is a girl with two extremes. VERY happy or VERY mad! She is bubbly, bright and quick to smile. She gives hugs and kisses and seems very in tune with Audrey, especially when Audrey is upset. She has recently been very attached to me and likes to be worn either in my sling or Boba. Madison also has a temper if she doesn't get her way and is known for her tantrums (throwing herself on the ground and all!). If she wants to do something, she does it, over and over! Playing with the TV cabinet drawers, climbing (and catapulting off) the couch, opening no-no drawers, pulling things off the table, throwing food on the ground, to name a few. Yes, this has been a month of testing limits and boundaries. One thing remains; she is an amazing napper. We have struggled with Audrey napping but Madison sleeps through it all (thank god!) All the mischief making must wear her out! She has also said 2 words this month: WOW and dada! Most of her language skills are in the form of sign but it's fun to start hearing her voice instead of just shrieks and squeals!
Baby Jones is growing! At the end of this month, I was 33 weeks along. If this was my last pregnancy I would be one month into bedrest and delivering in just 3 weeks! The nursery is almost ready, the bag (partially) packed, and names picked, well, we're still working on that last one there! Hoping it comes to us by the time baby arrives :) I recently switched my prenatal care from the OBGYN to a midwife and will deliver at a birth center insead of the hospital. The closer I get to delivery, the more excited I am about having a natural birth and postpartum experience. The plan is to have a waterbirth and catch the baby cool is that?! Well, I'm excited about it anyways. I've already had 2 meetings with a doula that will help me through labor. This baby moves a lot and sometimes kicks me so hard I find myself gasping! I'm SO excited to find out the gender and see what (and who!) this baby looks like!!!
So, with 4 short weeks to go, I'm scrambling to get ready. Trying to catch up on my photo books, videos, making and freezing extra meals AND get the house in shape to welcome another member of the family! I'm getting along ok at work but find I need a day to recover from my long shifts. All and all, so thankful to be able to continue working and taking care of my family!!!

Monday, July 30, 2012


Life here in sunny Florida has been busy to say the least. Besides taking care of two 16 month olds, and working it seems there is hardly time for anything other than pure survival. Oh, and in my free time, cleaning out our spare (junk) room and getting ready for baby. And organizing our garage. And bedroom. But I keep my head up knowing that things work out, somehow someway. They always do.

Uncle Nolan came for a surprise visit last month which was really nice. Looks like we won't get another visit until maybe December, pre-deployment! So much will change by then :) Not to mention, we get another visit from Tia in a few short days! Yay!

Audrey is my little helper. She is very good at following directions, loves to clean up and always seems to be supervising Madison's shenanigans. She is signing (and saying) new words everyday it seems. Her newest is "Cookie" from Sesame Street. Elmo is still her one true love but he still has the name "doggie!" She learned the tricks well and will sign "please" at the back door, wanting to go outside, or in front of the entertainment system, in hopes of watching Sesame Street. I guess it could be worse! Most recently, she hopped up on her rocking horse and started rocking! How fast they grow! :')

Madison, still our little tomboy, also loves her outside time. We get our diaper free time outside most mornings and/or evenings. On any given day you can count on a nudist running around our backyard. She likes to walk around the entire backyard checking things out. Eating acorns, throwing rocks, and trying to reach the pooper scooper! It's never dull. She has always been shy around strangers but it is especially pronounced now. Suddenly, it's all mommy, all the time. She goes from practically ignoring me to giving me random hugs throughout the day, only wanting ME to hold her and being grumpy with daddy. (Poor daddy) but he's used to a woman's mood swings ;) She even signed mommy for the first time today. Guess she does love me after all!

Baby Jones is 28+ weeks along! I think it is not a question of he or she but human or ninja! This kid is much more active than my girls but there is probably more available space too! I'm still feeling really pretty good but have my days of sheer exhaustion. Some days I get to lay down during nap time for a nap myself. Guess I better enjoy that now. I think the more kids you have, the less sleep you get. Is that about right? We have made some headway in the nursery, getting the painting done (yay!) and starting to put the little details together. I've got all the neutral newborn clothes washed and put in the drawer, along with the newborn diapers ready to go! Hard to believe this baby will be here in less than 3 months!

Let's not forget about my wonderful hubs. He works hard 5 days a week and I have plenty of tasks for him in the mornings before work and on his days off. Really couldn't fathom life without him! We are lucky enough to have parents stepping in to allow us a much needed weekend away. We'll be staying at the beach for 2 nights. We might actually have a few meals in quiet and sleep in after 8am! SO looking forward to this!!!

As always, pics from the month are in our web album.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


On the first of June Rusty celebrated his 29th birthday! Getting close to the big 3-0!!! We celebrated by staying at one of Universal's hotels (our first night away from babies!!!) It was very relaxing but too short :)

Not too much else happened this month. I spent it in recovery mode, trying to organize my photos, work on the nursery and clean out the garage (AKA: nesting). It made for a few late nights after the girls went down for bed!!

At least once a week I take the girls over to see my mom and have dinner there. They love to run around her house and make a mess :) Other evenings you can find us reading books with toys sprawled across the living room or watching Audrey's favorite show, Elmo. We also go outside when the weather is nice and play with the water table they got for their birthday.

Audrey is quite a little ham. She is always giving a big smile with her eyes scrunched closed...she knows it's cute too. There are still just a few words she is saying but instead of her favorite "doggie" she also says ducky, doll, and ball frequently. She likes to make animal noises can pretty much count on the monkey, duck and cats in her books to make some sort of noise while you are reading! She loves to pet Layla and it seems like Layla is more tolerant of her than she is of Madison.

Madison still isn't talking yet but she still wants to know what everything is! She points and makes this hissing noise when she wants to hear the name of an item. When she wants to, she follows pretty complex instructions and points to specific items in her books. She loves story time and will bring you book after book if you are willing to read them! She remains a brute but is very sweet and likes to cuddle at bedtime. Her blankie is still #1!

They both learned that if they "ask nicely" (by signing please) they get what they are asking for. Trying to teach manners to two 15 month olds is proving challenging! They also have a few minutes of potty time each evening where they get to sit on the potty like a big girl, I tell them. I'm hoping to have them potty trained by the time they go to college ;) Their new thing is giving each other a kiss goodnight before bedtime and naptime. It is absolutely precious in case you were wondering!

Baby Jones is growing well. I had my 24 week check up a couple of days ago and they are still seeing me only every month! Quite a change from my last pregnancy and thank goodness for that! Everything is going well, my blood pressure and urine screens have been normal. Baby has a strong heartbeat and is measuring about 23 weeks via tape measure! I seem to be feeling more kicks and jabs this time but that might just be because there isn't another baby to kick in there, only me! We are still playing the name game too, in case you were wondering. We have agreed on one girl name and one boy name but I'm not 100% sold on either one. For some reason #3 is much more difficult to name than the first two!

We don't really have plans for July other than to survive the Florida heat and hopefully spend sometime in the pool!!!

Monday, June 4, 2012


May is always a busy month for us. This year I turned 27, Rusty and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary, I got to enjoy my second Mother's day and we enjoyed our first family vacation. Tired yet? I am!

This month the girls have been busier than ever! Madison remains a tomboy. She is our explorer and troublemaker! She knows what she isn't allowed to do and checks over her shoulder to make sure no one is watching. If she notices someone watching her, she quickly continues doing the forbidden behavior! She is full of confidence at home but remains shy around strangers. As tough as she sometimes seems, there is a gentle side to her. In the evenings (or even mornings!) she loves to cuddle up with her blankie. My favorite times with her right now are right before bed when we read our stories. She always climbs up on my lap for a quick cuddle before bed.

Audrey is still a mama's girl and loves to ride in my backpack when we go to the grocery store or walking around some place. She has become quite the little chatter box as well. She walks around the house saying something that clearly, you should understand!!!! When she really gets going, she'll even stick out her pointer finger as if trying to make a real impression. She is starting to try to say more words, although "doggie" remains her favorite. Every animal is a doggie to her and every animal also makes a monkey sound "e, e, e!!" Very entertaining. A few other words she has tried to say are ball, daddy and ducky. She is also a little mother. Audrey loves her "babies" and is always toting around one stuffed animal or another. She is very sensitive to Madison's feelings and gets very upset if she is crying.

Both girls are becoming entertainers. They like to kiss their stuffed animals, blow kisses, kiss the animals in story books and wave hello and goodbye. When one does something, the other is usually quick to follow.

As for little baby Jones, he or she is growing well. I feel movement everyday and I realize how special a time this is. We have our final ultrasound this week. It's so weird to me since I had so many with the girls but I'm so satisfied to feel the little bumps of tiny limbs inside of me! We have decided to make the sex of the baby a surprise and can't wait to meet this little person. I'm already 21 weeks!

I wish I could freeze this stage in our lives for a little while. I love growing new life inside of me and I love watching the girls discover the world. (It doesn't hurt that sleeping through the night is consistent!) Rusty and I have seemed to settle into a routine and I am enjoying seeing him as a father more than I thought I would. He is also a great husband :)

More next month (or sooner if I'm feeling really ambitious!)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

First family vacation: Complete!

Our long awaited Disney cruise has come and gone. And it was amazing! Not every second was perfect but overall really great and really relaxing.

It wasn't like any vacation we've taken before but there were no dishes, no cleaning and no laundry. We napped every day with the girls and went to bed not long after their 7:30 bedtime. It was just what we needed!!! My favorite part was watching the girls explore new things and smile with pure delight. This was certainly a trip to remember!

Check out the rest of the pictures in the photo album to the right :)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Audrey and Madison Turn ONE!!!!

April started out busy and never slowed down!!! The first day of April, we celebrated the girls' first birthday with family and friends. Then on the 3rd we celebrated their actual birthday with brunch at Keke's buffet with mom, an afternoon walk in their wagon and some cupcakes for after dinner desserts!

This month we also announced that we are expecting our third child on October 17th! This also happens to be Dannis' birthday so it will be a very special time!

Most of this last week has been spent getting ready for our cruise which leaves on Friday! It is a long awaited, much needed vacation!

In baby news: the girls' continue to grow up (how do you keep that from happening anyway?!) They are now both walking and are getting better and better each day. Soon they'll be running! They are both starting to become more vocal, babbling all day.

Audrey: She said her first word! Doggie! She is very particular at mealtime, sorting out her food in a way that is very methodical! She also loves shredding paper and putting the pieces into piles...oh my looks like she inherited my OCD! They are starting to learn more sign language too. Audrey knows "more," "clean-up" and "bye-bye." She also helps (sometimes) with cleaning up by putting toys into the toy basket. Her hair now requires brushing and she loves to do that too. And don't even think about trying to take her brush away until she's!

Madison: She was our first real walker! There is no fear in her and I think that's helped her be successful first. She knows she is going to fall, and it doesn't keep her from plowing on ahead! Madison is a much more rough and tumble sort of chick. She excels in gross motor skills but some of the more finer things like sign language are only for times that she's in the mood to do them! She currently (occasionally) signs "more," "all done," "bye-bye" and "daddy." Forget about mommy...haha!

More after the cruise! :)

Friday, April 13, 2012


It goes without saying that March was an unusually difficult month. I am still trying to grieve the loss of Dannis while being extremely grateful that mom's life was spared. I know it will be hard, but we will prevail.

I have blogged enough for my liking on mom's CaringBridge website so this will be short and sweet. Check out the girls' photos in the album. I'm going to leave the big first birthday party for the next blog ;)

RIP Dannis. I miss you :(

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Ok, ok! I'm finally updating! Geez....I'm glad people actually still check this thing :) So, life has been very full lately. The girls are everywhere and into everything! Let's talk about them first:

Audrey: Our once fussy child is now very happy (most of the time!) Every day we get lots of smiles and even a chuckle here and there! She is independent and social, always making eye contact and smiling at strangers while we are out and about. They always tell her how cute and beautiful she is and she just eats. it. up! Still a mama's girl, however, and gets very angry when I am around the house but not near! We often find her trailing after Madison on their little adventures. Monkey see. Monkey do. She is truly a joy! Audrey LOVES her fruit and carbs but has also come to love the meatballs, meatloaf and hamburgers her mom so lovingly prepares from scratch! She also happily picks through her tray with her very accurate pincer grasp to choose exactly which item she wants to eat (peas, corn and Cheerios are some favorites too!)

Madison: As we like to say, Brutis! As much as Audrey is a mama's girl, Madison is a daddy's girl!!!!! She finds comfort in Rusty in a way that I can't give her. Funny how they have chosen us in such a way! Madison is much more reserved and takes a long time to warm up to people. Even people she sees regularly! But for those of us who know her well, she is quick to laugh, squeal and smile, showing off her new toothy grin! She has also discovered that a little fake cough will get people looking at her pretty quickly. I shot quite a few photos of her this month mid-cough! She has graduated from the military crawl to her hands and knees, getting places quickly. As soon as she sees the back door open or our bedroom door she is sprinting towards the opening! The back door leads to the outdoors (where she loves to be!) and there's that funny green stuff out there with lots of dead leaves to munch on! Our bedroom, she has discovered, is where the shoes are. Another obsession! As always, she remains fascinated with Layla and will sometimes just start laughing at the dog out of no where! Unfortunately, she also likes to grab her soft fur. There have been a few occasions where she's ended up with a handful of it! Good thing Layla is so good with them!!

On Fridays the girls and I go to our Baby Bunch group and meet with other moms and babies. There is a different speaker each week and we really enjoy the outing. Rusty and I have also been working at teaching the girls a few basic signs. So far they have really picked up the sign for "more." Occasionally Audrey will sign for milk but it's mainly just more, more, more! We have "more" work to do, teaching them to use other signs to communicate their needs :)

It's hard to believe that their first birthday is quickly approaching. I'm in denial about it actually. I wish it wasn't happening. I have so enjoyed this first year and this time especially. Their personalities are blossoming, they are smiling and laughing, they join us for family meals, they are easy to take out and about, they sleep through the night. How could it get better? Part of me dreads them growing up because I love who they are right now so much. They want to be with us, they love us and they are so innocent. Each stage has its challenges and joys but this is my favorite time so far. Maybe I will like the next stage even better but who knows.

As for us: Rusty is still awaiting a promotion to lead position back on second shift. We are hoping he gets and interview (and the position) within the next week or two. As for my job, we are entering the slower season at work and I am nervous about getting canceled too much. I am considering taking a part-time position instead of per-diem but it also means taking a LARGE pay cut. We remain optimistic and realize that things will fall into place, just like they always do. It just causes a little stress in the meantime.

Until next time...

Monday, January 23, 2012

2012 is here....

...and we're still recovering from 2011! The craziness of the holidays is settling and the Christmas decorations are put away. In fact, I even have the V-day decorations put up. Other than that, our life is crazy right now! Rusty's schedule at work is changing from moment to moment. Ever since the closing of Jaws on January 2nd, he has been shuffled around and his shift has changed several times. It looks like he will be officially placed on second shift on another ride but we still don't know his days off. Oh, and there's a possibility he will be working third shift for awhile, starting Sunday but we probably won't know until late this week. This makes life really difficult when my schedule is already made through mid March! I know things will work out but it really is a struggle in the meantime!

Not much in other news except the girls are changing and doing new things everyday! Audrey is pulling up on everything (mainly mommy) but also any furniture she can get a hold of! Madison is still a sprinting is very interesting to say the least! They are also becoming good eaters and no longer require being spoon fed purees! We are able to take them out to restaurants to eat and it seems they are a bit easier to take out and about. We are (I think) in the process of transitioning from 2 short naps a day to one. I hope this one nap is long!!!

I staged a mini-photo shoot in preparation for the "holiday." Mainly just for fun :) Daddy was the one getting all the smiles for me in the pictures...a great assistant!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Babies' First December!

As much as we enjoyed the holidays, I am breathing an exhausted sigh of relief that it is all over! All of November was spent in preparation for Thanksgiving, December for Christmas and now it's already the new year! I guess I better start thinking about the first birthday party?! How time flies!

The month started with a camping trip. Yes, we took the girls camping! It was certainly not the most relaxing trip we've ever taken but it was great to include the girls in the December tradition! We were also able to steal away to the theme parks before the holiday black out days! Rusty and I had a date night to MGM for the Osborne light show and the next day took the girls to Magic Kingdom and met up with my cousin Stacey and her family!

We also had several visitors this past month! Paige was home from college and Nolan from the Army. So great to have my siblings home for the holidays and it made me so glad that the girls will always have each other :) My friend Savanah was also home from California and came to stay. Last but not least, my aunt, uncle and cousins from Minnesota came for a week! So fun to all be together!!!

Then came the actual Christmas holiday. We hosted Rusty's family on Christmas Eve. Aunt Judy and cousins Dylan and Noelle were in town too! I baked a turkey and a pie and we enjoyed lots of good food! Then, Christmas morning my family came and had brunch and opened presents. Then Rusty's parents came and opened presents, then we went to the grandparents for the afternoon. Feel tired yet? I do, just recounting it! Loved being together with family but wow! exhausting with two little people :)

The girls learned how to crawl this month! They are everywhere and into everything! Audrey is learning to pull up to a stand and Madison is the fastest crawler you have ever seen! They continue to LOVE their doggie! Layla has been a saint with all the craziness that is mobile twins. She shares her toys, tolerates the fur pulling and gives plenty of wet kisses! We are lucky to have a dog like her for the girls to grow up with!

We also have had major news in regards to Rusty's job. Jaws has closed as of the beginning of 2012 so he has been moved to another ride. We are very grateful that he didn't get laid off but are also struggling to adjust to a new schedule. He is now working 5 nights a week on second shift. My job is going well. Lots of sick people to take care of this time of year!!!

We are counting our many blessings for 2011 and hope that 2012 is another great year!