Thursday, February 28, 2008
Well, as promised, as the result of our cameralessness, I'm digging deep into the photo archives. Golly, I've just got to say: They were sooooooooo darn cute!!!!!!!!! Two years ago today, the boys playing the piano. Even as a 21 month old Kyle was totally into music and musical instruments. He'd pound away at the piano for long stretches of time, focused on seemingly trying to understand how it worked-- wanting to take the top off and watch the pads move inside as he'd press the keys; seeing how loud he could make the sounds; figuring out what happens as he'd play each key individually. All the while, his brother sitting next to him, pounding away too-- but looking out the window and quickly distracted from the actual keyboard. Fast forward two years to right now. These days, as a 3-year-old-almost-4-year-old Kyle sits down at the piano bench multiple times every day. His little legs dangle from the bench as he patiently and deliberately presses the keys, trying to work out the tune to the Messiah's 'Hallelujah Chorus.' He's fixated on this particular tune. For the past couple of weeks he's spent hours upon hours on it-- trying to work it out with his little fingers on the keys. He's a perfectionist-- the tune has to be played with the precise notes to satisfy him. Owen comes and goes from the bench, interested in pounding away with both hands, just making noise, and then distracted, interested and then distracted, interested and then distracted. But Kyle wants more than noise-- he wants the music. He plods along tirelessly trying to sound out the keys to make the tune. And at least 2-3 times a day he gets it exactly right: 'Haaaaa-lle-lu-jah, Haaaaaa-lle-lu-jah, Ha-lle-lu-jah, Ha-lle-lu-jah, Ha-ll-eeeeeee-lu-jah.' Braydon and I will hear it from other parts of the house and yell out to him: "Yay Kyle!!! You got it! That's it! Yay Kyle!!!" But no response. He just keeps at it. He doesn't do it for the praise.
Posted by Heather at 7:00 PM
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Two Prefaces to this Post:
1) The photos above were actually taken just a few days before the camera died. But they could easily be from this morning's breakfast~~
2) The boys' imaginary friend, June (click here), has been waxing and waning these days. Sometimes she's with us at many moments of a day, sometimes we'll go for long stretches of days without ever hearing mention of her. She seems to be there when they need her and gone when they don't... and there's no telling when they might need her~~
This morning Braydon had to leave for work early. I was sitting at the kitchen table with Kyle and Owen, the three of us eating our breakfast. From the table you can see through large glass doors directly outside to the deck and a large birdfeeder. We have tons of beautiful birds in this part of Pennsylvania. K & O have been really into bird watching this winter, and they particularly like identifying the different kinds of birds they see. Their favorite are the bright red cardinals-- "CARD NULL!!!" they shout wildly. "Card null! Card null! Card null!" This morning the boys were making a big commotion of the fact that we were "ALL eating our breakfast!" (i.e., the three of us at the table and all the birds flocking to the birdfeeder). By halfway through our breakfast, though, still no cardinals were to be seen. So, in typical K & O fashion, rather than dwell on the disappointment, they cheerily and snappily moved right on-- "Oh man! No card nulls today! Maybe another day!!!" And then the real riot began... It was onward in the birdwatching... to the "FURPLE PINCHES!!!!!!!!!! Furple pinches! Furple pinches! Furple pinches!!!" You'd think they were watching their favorite episode of their Curious George videos-- the excitement and exuberance were that extreme. In truth it really was quite spectacular-- it was like a purple finch feeding frenzy at the birdfeeder this morning. I interrupted their "Furple Pinches" proclamations to say to them, "Yes PPPurple FFFinches! Look! So many Purple Finches!" (i.e., doing what you're supposed to do with preschool age children -- not 'correcting' them but simply repeating and enunciating the right pronunciation). This stopped them dead in their tracks. Stone faced and silent they stared at me as though I had just committed a serious infraction. All serious now, the thrill all gone, Owen says to me, exaggeratedly: "FFFurple PPPinches." Silence. Both of them still staring me right in the face. I said, calmly, "Yes, Purple Finches!" Kyle then cocks his head, turns and looks at Owen and says: "Owen, look, June likes Furple Pinches too!!!" And now it was not just two against one, but three against one. One thing I've learned over the past three years is to choose my battles. I quietly smiled at the two of them and then took another bite of my cereal. And at that K & O (and presumably June too), carried on, slap-happy, and as fun-loving and feisty as ever~~ "FURPLE PINCHES!!!!!!!!!! Furple pinches! Furple pinches! Furple pinches eating their breakfast just like we're eating our breakfast!!!!! We just loooooove furple pinches!!!"
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
This photo was taken a couple of weeks ago. They suddenly really like wearing these crazy 'wigs' and when they wear them they proudly say, "We're CRAZY BOYS!!!", and they act crazy (even crazier than usual... just let your imagination run wild and you'll get a good mental picture). As a result, we find metallic strips of blue and red tinsel stuff all over the house... which is really annoying. They are so wild and so crazy.
And at the same time they are so incredibly lovey. It is quite a charismatic combination of personality traits to have. Some of their latest lovey-dovey phrases are:
"Mommy/Papi, I loooove you sooooo much."
"You are the best Mommy/Papi in the whole world!"
"Mommy/Papi, you are my special girl/boy."
"Mommy/Papi, I need my love tank filled. I need a hug. Will you fill my love tank?"
Owen has taken to lots of self-initiated kissing -- i.e., at random moments of the day he impromptu starts silently kissing Braydon or I all over our faces over and over and over and over, very passionately.
And Kyle has taken to saying the following (while cuddled up on my lap, caressing my face and hair with his hands):
"I love you my Mommy. Look at your beautiful skin. And look at your beautiful hair. And look at your beautiful eyes. I am so glad you are my mommy. I love you so." (so sweet-- and so transparent-- I've been saying this exact phrase to him repeatedly for the past three years; lovey boy.)
Then in the next moment they'll be running around like little maniacs jumping on furniture and climbing up bookshelves and sliding down banisters and screaming nonsense at the tops of their lungs. Times two. They drive our poor cat crazy, they break things, they make messes like you wouldn't believe, they do stuff they know they shouldn't do, often. And when they act in concert, using their twinship against us, double-teaming and third-wheeling us, conspiring together to undermine us, they can quickly and easily make us feel like we're seriously losing our minds (which is pretty regularly). They push our buttons and challenge our patience. And then in the next minute they melt our hearts so that we're a love-struck gooey mess desperate to give them the world. They are absolutely charming and absolutely exhausting all at the same time. They are three year old twin boys.
Monday, February 25, 2008
Cameraless in Blogland
Posted by Heather at 12:47 PM
The week before last, when we were in Sand Key, Kyle and Owen perfected the art of making "Ks." This was incredibly exciting for both boys since prior to Sand Key they could not seem to manage to make a "K" no matter how hard they tried. It was gratifying especially for Kyle given that it is the first letter of his name and the one letter in his name that both he and Owen simply could not write. Making "Ks" in the sand was a major activity of our trip. Hundreds of them were drawn, all over the beach, by all four of us. And somehow this turned into a sort of letter-writing-breakthrough for K & O. They started writing other letters that had previously stumped them ("Rs," "Ms," and "Bs" for example), and then numbers too (they mastered the previously-impossible "4" when they became absolutely determined to write our hotel room number - 441 - in the sand over and over and over), and then on the last day of our trip-- the elusive shape of a heart (a shape that both of them loved but neither of them could draw before we left for Florida). Somehow the sand-writing just turned a corner for them. Maybe it was because they could write so big in the sand? (instead of being constrained to paper) Or maybe it was because they could use their fingers? (instead of pencils, markers, crayons, or sidewalk chalk) Or maybe it was just the beautiful setting, the doting parents willing/able to watch them write in the sand for hours, or the glorious sunshine and warm breezes??? Who knows. Whatever it was, it was a huge breakthrough. They've been writing letters, numbers, and shapes like madmen ever since. They can write many/most letters now. They can both write their own names and each other's names now. They can write Alex's name. And they can write more and more numbers and draw more and more shapes each day. When it rains, it pours. Here, ever since we returned from Sand Key, it is pouring letters, numbers, and shapes.
Posted by Heather at 12:37 PM
Friday, February 22, 2008
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Baby Sister's E.T.A. is exactly 12 weeks from today. The anticipation is building. The To-Do List is long. And things are really starting to heat up and go into full gear at the Johnson-McCormick Family Homestead. I hope that in 12 weeks I'll be able to confidently say, "Bring it on!!!" But right now all I can think of to say is, "Eeks!"
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
I haven't posted about Twinspeak lately, but it is still going strong between K & O. (click here for another time I posted about Twinspeak). For those of you who are parents of twins, you know all about "Twinspeak" I'm sure, but for those of you not intimately familiar with twins, remember-- the twins (at least ours) know and often use the 'correct' word(s) when not in earshot of each other, but when in the presence of each other they consistently (and in our case, always, without any exceptions ever) use the 'twinspeak' word(s) in place of the 'correct' word(s). Some of my current favorite K-&-O-Twinspeak terms are:
- Syrian Bars = Cereal Bars
- Making Smoothies = either truly making yogurt smoothies in the blender or fiddling around with the humidifiers in their rooms
- Nanny Juice = Soda
- Bonk and/or Donk = the verb to slam with one's body
- Vacation Trees = Palm Trees
- Macaroni (when used just as the single word, not in conjunction with "and cheese") = the adjective anything good
- Bunny Macaroni = the adjective anything super good
- Stinky Macaroni = the adjective anything not good or in place of the word "yucky"
The funniest Twinspeak thing of late, however, is this~~~
A couple of weeks ago the four of us were eating lunch at home on a weekend. Owen started acting up at the table. Kyle said (in a very sing-song-y, bossy tone), "Owen, remember your table manners!" Immediately I said (firmly, to Kyle), "Kyle, that is not your job," and then (firmly, to Owen), "Owen, eat your lunch and stop acting up." Kyle said, "Why that not my job?" I said, "Because you are not the Mommy, you are the Brother." Owen, acting sassy, said, "I like it when Kyle says that to me." And Kyle jumped right in, "See, he likes it when I say that to him!?!" (this is another regular theme in our house-- often when we try to scold one of them for bothering the other, the 'other' will jump in claiming that they "like it" when their brother does whatever it is that we're trying to scold him for). "O.k., listen, both of you," I said "that's enough. Kyle, you are not the boss. Owen, you are not the boss. I am the boss." They both looked at me like I was crazy. So I tried to be more clear, "In this house, I am the boss!" Very upset, Kyle retorted right away, "No! MORFAR IS THE BOSS!" I didn't quite know how to react. Braydon was just sitting there watching this whole scene unfold. I said, "O.k., at MorFar's house, he is the boss, but at our house I am the boss." Owen was clearly unsettled by this. "No!" he said, "You are not the boss, MorFar is the boss." Kyle was deeply disturbed, to say the least. "No!!!" he yelled, "No! No! No! MorFar is the boss!" I had no idea where this was coming from or where it was leading, but I wanted to cut it off right there. I leaned down to his level and looked him in the eyes like I meant business, "No, Kyle, I am the boss of this house." Since that day either K or O or both have brought up the whole "Boss" topic at least once a day. It always revolves around "MorFar is the boss." Often while driving in the car I'll hear the two of them in the backseat discussing it: "Mommy is not the boss, MorFar is the real boss." "Yes! That's right, MorFar is the boss!" Or, I'll overhear them playing together in the playroom: "The boss is MorFar, MorFar is the boss!" "Yes! That's exactly right! MorFar is the boss!" These sorts of exchanges will go on, back-and-forth, back-and-forth over and over between the two of them. Anytime the word "boss" comes up, they say "MorFar" and in the past few days I've noticed them both starting to replace the word "boss" with the word "MorFar" (as in, "We are pilots! We are the MorFar of this airplane!" or "We are pretending we are teachers! We are the MorFar of this school!!!") I have been at an utter loss as to what this is all about... wavering between ignoring it and thinking it is just nothing, to frantically fretting that it is some sort of weird twisted three-year-old boy form of patriarchal-female-disempowerment. 'Why my father?' I've thought over and over in my own mind. 'Yes, I know they worship him, but The Boss?' And 'If they insist on it being a man instead of being me, then why not Braydon, why my father?????' I've fluctuated between just brushing it off and spending lots of time trying to untangle the whole mess in my own mind. And I've kept reminding the two of them that indeed, at our house, "Mommy is the boss." Until... yesterday...
When I got home from work a package was sitting in the garage. It was addressed to Kyle and Owen. And it was from MorFar! As soon as I got in the door the boys ripped it open in two seconds flat. Inside were two stuffed Fenway Park 'Green Monsters' wearing Boston Red Sox shirts and baseball hats. The boys were thrilled beyond belief, of course. They carrried them around for the rest of the night. They pretended they were "hitting the ball." And the "Red Soxes" (as they quickly came to call them) even had to eat dinner with us at the table. At one point K & O came right up to me, in the kitchen, as I was making dinner. "See," Kyle said, pointing to the "B" on the hat of his, "see, Mommy, it is a 'B' for Bosssssston Red Sox. See!?!?!" Halfway ignoring it, I said, "Uh huh." Owen tugged at my arm, "Look, Mommy, see, from MorFar, the Bosssssssssssssston Red Sox. See, Mommy??!!" I turned to look down at the two of them. Both of them standing there, holding their "Red Soxes" looking up at me with serious determined faces. "Yes," I said, "I see." Kyle smiled smugly and said, "See, Mommy, Bosssston Red Sox! See! MorFar is the Bossssssss!" And then they both took off running, very satisfied, with their "Red Soxes," to the playroom.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Tonight after dinner we were all upstairs getting the boys ready for bed. They both had to go "poopie in the potty" at exactly the same time (this happens a lot with them). Very regularly they'll both pee together in one potty at the same time. But when it comes to poopie they have to split up. So, Owen was on the potty in the boys' bathroom and Kyle was on the potty in Braydon and I's bathroom. While we were waiting for them, Braydon and I were cleaning and neatening and sorting in the boys' bedrooms. I quietly entered my bedroom to head into the bathroom to check on Kyle. As I got within earshot I could here Kyle talking to himself while sitting on the potty (Kyle talks virtually non-stop for every waking hour whether in the presence of others or not). I could hear him in there, all alone, chit chatting away. Before reaching the bathroom I stopped to listen in on him and this is what I heard:
"I love my baby! I love my baby! I love Baby Sister, I love Baby Sister, I love Baby Sister! And she needs to come out of that big big belly!" And then very loudly, "Mommy come wipe my butt!"
Since getting back from vacation last week I've been having a hard time finding the 'ooomph' to blog. Just like any habit, if I've fallen out of the routine of blogging every night, then it is hard to pull myself back into the groove. Plus, (in addition to being pregnant/exhausted 24x7) there are three other things going on that I think are contributing to my bloglessness. The first is that this week is Winter Break at Kyle and Owen's school and that throws a huge wrench into our whole rhythm (Alex is babysitting all day on T and Th, but I'm home with the boys all day on M,W,F of this week). 2nd is that Braydon and I seem to be going through some sort of sudden nesting instinct-- the sudden cumpulsion to re-arrange the entire house, re-do whole rooms, clean out closets and cabinets, etc., etc., etc. We did this for 8 months straight while we were waiting/nesting for the boys, but up until this week we had done almost nothing in preparation for "Baby Sister." Something about the final countdown of entering the 3rd trimester has suddenly seemed to prompt us into a frenetic-nest-'till-you-drop mode. That is taking up a lot of the time that I'd normally sit down to post to the blog. Lastly -- and most importantly -- we are in a terrible predicament that contributes greatly to me being an uninspired blogger: our camera died. We don't know what happened, it just stopped working all of a sudden. We're in the process of trying to get it looked at. In the meantime, we're totally camera-less, which means half of our blog material is just plain obsolete right now. So, hang in there with us folks as we make our way through this blog-bump-in-the-road.
Posted by Heather at 3:44 PM
Friday, February 15, 2008
One of the boys' favorite things to do is have us watch them do things. "Papi/Mommy, watch me!" is a common refrain heard in these parts. Whether it's for jumping on the bed, thowing rocks, riding a scooter, or flying their airplane or writing their letters, they always love to have us "watch them". And watching them really means: Mommy/Papi, tell me that you see me doing something and tell me that you are proud of me. The reponse to the call is "I see you! Great job!" I am sure most parents can totally relate to this in some way.
Recently things around here have been pretty dicey. We've been flat-out with work, I've been seriously distracted, Heather's pregnant (and been sick), we're a family that loves to be outside and the weather's been nasty, it's the dead of winter, tensions have been high, stress has been high, tolerance - low. We have not fully gotten back into a routine after the holidays, we're just not quite in sync.
And we have not heard "Watch me!" as much. And for me in particular, I almost never hear "Papi, watch me!" When they do say it, they almost always say "Mommy, watch me!" They have just not been getting the attention they need from me. They were not even asking for it, since they were not getting it. And worst of all, I have not even been fully aware this was happening. It had just been slipping away.
Then we went on our little vacation. We let everything go. We forgot about work, we forgot about stress, we doted on our little boys. We snuggled, we played, I threw them high in the swimming pool, we had special smoothies. It was everything we all needed and wanted.
About 24 hours into our get-away everything began to change. I started to hear "Papi, watch me!" and again, and again. It was as if a switch had turned back on. It was miraculous and wonderful. I had not even realized I was missing it. Papi watch me jump in the pool, watch me play in the sand, watch me make a face, watch me thow a frisbee, watch me throw a rock, watch me drink my drink, watch me write a letter in the sand;
Watch me just be me.
When we got home, we took an extra day off of work to get reoriented. At one point the boys were throwing koosh basketballs in the house into a koosh hoop - and having a great time. Owen wanted me to count how many times he was able to get it in the basket. And of course each time: "Papi, watch me!" After 31 times of getting the koosh in the basketball hoop and over 60 "Papi, watch me!", he wanted me to start over from 1 and count again. By this time Kyle had gotten in on it and there were two sets of "Papi, watch me!" Lots and lots of watch me. And for every one, there was a:
I am watching you; great job!
And now we are home and back at it. And I don't want the "Papi, watch me!"'s to go away. And with our lives the way they are, I worry about that and fear they will. It's entirely in my hands to make sure it doesn't.
I (in particular) have to stay focused on the most important things in life - watching my boys.
Posted by Braydon McCormick at 8:00 PM
Posted by Heather at 7:00 PM
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Thursday, February 07, 2008
If you've been reading this blog for awhile then you know that we're fond of taking little Blogging Breaks from time to time. ;) I like to let y'all know about our Blog Breaks so that nobody frets over what horrible thing has happened to keep us from blogging. Don't worry; all is well. We'll be back to blogging in a week or so. We'll catch up with you then.
Posted by Heather at 7:09 PM
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Posted by Heather at 11:24 AM