There are so many times when I think "ah, I have to have this on the blog!" and then weeks or months go by and I forget everything I wanted to write. So, in an effort to document these busy days, once in a while I'll do these "Life Lately" summaries of what we've had going on.
I can't believe it's almost been a month since cousin Lulu was here. She enhanced our lives so much with her artistic talents and help. She was always willing to jump into the fun, like below where she's hanging with Evy and Beckett doing prairie dress Cosmic Kids yoga. We found this yoga YouTube channel a while ago when I dropped Evy off at the YMCA daycare where they had one of the videos on. When I picked her up the ladies said Evy didn't stop. She did every pose Jaime, the yoga teacher in the videos, instructed. She was a two-year-old bucket of sweat.
Since then we've incorporated these yoga stories into our lives. They are super creative and fun. For example, there's one where Jaime tells the entire Frozen movie story through yoga moves. You couldn't think up a more perfect scenario for our Evy.
The pictures below are of Evy and Levi's end of preschool celebration. Evy was SO excited to have Levi join in her class for their little program. She wanted to hold his hand the entire time. Then we went to the gym for snacks and we said goodbye to Levi's teacher. Of course he wouldn't pose for a picture with my camera so Miss Jenny tried to get him in a selfie. It kinda worked...
With school done, I was really thankful that Lulu was here to help us transition into a less structured season. She did some creative art projects with the kiddos like the one below where they used straws dipped in paint to make fireworks on paper. This was such a great idea but I sort of ruined it by suggesting that we bring the project outside. The breeze wasn't great for preschoolers using permanent acrylic paints. (Whoops.)
Lulu also did lots of reading with the big kids. I love the picture below of the three of them snuggled on the porch couch.
We've seen lots of cool creatures in our yard like this white tussock moth caterpillar that Evy actually held. After posting a picture of her holding it on Instagram (which I totally encouraged), a few moms informed me that they are, in fact, poisonous. (Whoops.)
We made a couple trips to the North Carolina Museum of Art with Lulu. They have an awesome sculpture garden and path outside that is perfect for kids.
I think all of us assumed most of the art was free for climbing, but when we got closer, we realized we were wrong. (Another whoops.)
We wanted to show off Durham to Lulu so we took her downtown where Levi found a big orange turtle (It's ORANGE!!). Not far from it was a cool skate park. We had lots of fun pushing the twins around on the halfpipe.
After Lulu left we had other visitors come into town for the weekend. Here are a couple of the shots of the kiddos below. Kenny, Hannah, and Evan (in the sprinkler) came down from Maryland. Kenny was in grad school with Mark at NC State and he will go on to be a professor at Bucknell University in the fall. We are really proud of their little family and how far they've come (I say that because they are a lot younger than we are and we kind of feel like big siblings to them or some kind of older, very proud relatives).
The kiddos in the group picture (that has classic kid faces by the way!) are the offspring of people that were in our old small group. We used to get together every Sunday night and hang out but now a few of our members have moved away. We decided to gather again (minus Rachel, Elizabeth and Jessica...boo) to celebrate Stewart and Becca coming down from Indiana for a visit. They are fellow twin parents and I consider Becca my twin mommy mentor. She was and is such a warrior. Whenever I think I can't handle something, I remember how Becca was when she had newborn twins and a two-year-old. She took it all in stride and always seemed calm. I am so thankful for their presence in our lives and how God used them to prepare us for our season of twin babies.
After this group left, we've had some time to ourselves. We miss the visitors but we also make sure to cherish these days where it's just us.
The last couple of weekends our sweet neighbors have let us use their pool which the big kids have loved.
One major way our family bonds is through food, especially breakfast. We found out that we can buy our favorite pancake mix in bulk on Amazon Prime. If you stay at our house, you will get a taste of these Sturdiwheat flapjacks and from then on anything else will disappoint. They are, not surprisingly, Minnesota made and the absolute best.
We've had a lot of pancakes lately.
Outside of breakfast, there are many moments when our family (specifically Levi and Evy) do NOT bond. But after a full day of brother-sister fighting, my heart melted when Evy made Levi this dumptruck filled with basketballs. Then Levi bunched it up and threw it on the ground and Evy got mad at him for mishandling her drawing. Then Levi hit Evy and Evy pushed him back and they were both sent to their rooms crying.
Oh well, there was a small victory somewhere in that scenario.
We celebrated Father's Day and the fact that Mark is the very best dad in the entire world. (Sorry fellas, he wins....even MY dad admits it). Here's a picture of the kids with their superhero.
My cousins DJ and Monica recently moved here so we drove out to their new place in Clayton, NC for a Father's Day party. Here's a couple pictures of their 9-month-old Ava playing with Carter (taken by Monica).
Here's a ridiculously cute picture of the boys.
And here are some shots of the older two jumping on our bed (not fighting yet!).
So that's been some of what has filled our days recently. And I do want to stress that these pictures I post are NOT at all representative of our lives as a whole. Mark read the beginning and said, "you make it seem like we actually do stuff outside of holding babies." Truthfully, Lulu was the inspiration behind a lot of these adventures. I guess we wanted to impress the college student (and entice her to want to return!). Like everyone does, I tend to pull the camera out for the happy stuff because when things are not so happy, I usually have a screaming baby in my arms. It's not easy taking pictures in those moments.
In addition to all the fun, we've had many challenges. The babies weren't sleeping when we wanted them to so we've had to suffer through crying-it-out. That has been rough but totally worth it and I plan to post an update to my Babywise post about sleep soon.
Beyond the sleep stuff, some days I have major highs and lows thanks to post pregnancy hormones. I can feel like I have everything under control and super confident one minute, but then doubt everything about who I am as a mother and a person the very next. Since I've gone through this a couple times, I can identify these feelings and that makes them more manageable. But whenever I feel that way, I sympathize for those ladies that deal with the lows on a more regular basis. I could not imagine mothering in that state all the time. I hope to post more about this topic someday because I think it's so important to be aware of and open about how hormones play a part in this whole motherhood thing.
But for now, you get happy pictures. And in my low moments, these posts that show how life flashes by in an instant help me to treasure my time as a mommy to littles. All of it is a blessing, even the screaming and fighting. I pray for the patience and energy to enjoy it with grace.
Really, how can I not enjoy it when I get to look at these hunks everyday?