Happy 17 months Sasha & Willow!

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Dear girls, somehow another two months has flown by and you just turned 17 months, which means you are just a month shy of 1.5 years.  Something happened in the last two months and we’ve turned the corner into the most delicious era of babyhood.  Perhaps because both of you finally cut all four of those evil molars and (perhaps not coincidentally) started finally sleeping through the whole night.. or maybe because this is just that sweet spot before the terrible twos but after language has been adequately developed for you to make your wants known. Whatever the reason I am just SOAKING you both in.

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Our days are filled with cuddles, books (LOTS OF BOOKS!) stuffed animals, hats, new words (more on that later) food and two days a week school which you LOVE and anticipate greatly!  In fact every time I put your hats and sweaters on you both say “school!” and get so excited!

You both have so many words you pretty much say everything and anything that you hear you just add it right to your vocabulary! If I had to guess I’d say you both know at least 100 words.  Most you say correctly (the unremarkable ones) and others you have persistent wrong pronunciations that no one has the heart to correct. Like “Yaku” for crackers or “yaks” for socks or “yets” for dress.

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Sasha you have recently even started stringing words together to form rudimentary sentences like “Sasha go.”

I love how even though you both can say each others’ names you still refer to each other as Yaya (Sasha) and Yayu (Willow)… someday I expect we will all watch the Secrets of the Yaya Sisterhood and I will remind you of your old names for each other!

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I love how your bond is already so strong as I am reminded of every morning when Sasha you wake up first and then I hear you call to Willow (Yayuuuu…”) at first quietly, and then increasingly more insistent and louder until you wake her up and I hear you both giggling together.

Speaking of giggling, there is a lot of it going on during your first bath together:

Oh how sweet you both are, I just want to freeze this moment in time so badly. Even Jasper gets upset that you are growing up so fast! In fact, next month you start your transition out of the infant room and into the toddler room at “school” (daycare).    Life with you two and your brother is so crazy, and wonderful, and hectic, and amazing, and exhausting.  But not a day goes by when I don’t wonder how we ever lived without the joy you bring to our lives.

xoxo,

Mommy.

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Happy 15 Months Sasha & Willow!

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I am a week late for this AND I skipped two months. AND I never posted the girls 1 year photoshoot & cakesmash photos. So I’ll use those here because I haven’t taken any “real” images since (except for Christmas day and I haven’t even had a chance to pull those of my memory card yet!)

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Saha, somewhere in the past few months you became the “easy one!” Being the firecracker that you are, that’s not to say you don’t screech in displeasure when it suits you – but most of the time you toddle around and play independently, perfectly content to explore on your own.

Your level of verbal comprehension is astounding to me. In fact, you’ve become my little helper as I can issue you a request such as “Sasha, go and get mommy Willow’s boots” and you will run off, find exactly what I’ve asked for and give them to me!

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You have so many words, I’d guess maybe 25-30? I think I will list them here in case we ever wonder what words you said when. At 15 months your regular vocabulary includes:
Eat (you say it like Eattttch and touch your finger to your mouth & nose like the baby sign for it)
Hat (one of your favorites!)
Bah (breastmilk)
Botch (Pacifier, from the word “bottle”)
Boot
Dressed
Dance
Duck (you love the windup duck toy Santa brought you!)
Doll
Bow (Jasper’s Bear)
Down
Up
Back (as in put it back)
No
Yeah
Mama
Dada
Popop
Yaya (your word for Willow)
Mo’ (more)
Do’ (Door)
Bye
Hi
Nigh Nigh (going night night, ie. to bed)

It’s SO much fun communicating with both of you girls!

You are my little social butterfly – if we go out shopping you will say “Ha-eee” if anyone comes near us and will continue until they stop and acknowledge you, at which point you flash them your 10,000 watt smile!

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Willow, you have gone through such a transformation the past few months..you finally started walking!  In fact, your activity level has gone up so much that you actually LOST weight between your 12 month and 15 month checkup.  (You currently look a lot more svelte than these pictures!)

You have also begun asserting yourself so much more – you are still Sasha’s victim much of the time (she loves to pull your hair and tackle you and use you as a pillow!) but you also fight back now and we all cheer you on!   You will swat away any food that you don’t want and say ‘Nooooo” or lately, you just throw it on the floor much to my dismay!   Now that you are walking so well, you are a bit more prone to play and explore on your own, but sometimes  you still like to simply cling to mommy like a cute little appendage.  I don’t mind the extra snuggles, but it does make it hard to get anything done!

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Your big blue eyes, pixie hair and lately pigtails positively SLAY me. I could just eat you up and smother you in kisses (and frequently do) all day long!

Perhaps the most amazing thing to watch is your developing sense of compassion for each other. You are both HYPERaware of which pacifier or article of clothing belongs to whom, and will bring them to each other as a love offering.  Willow, lately I haven’t been leaving food on your tray because you love throwing it, so Sasha has starting reaching over and putting food on your tray when she notices you have none but she does!  She will also bring you puffs or other items she knows you might like when you are crying… it’s a beautiful thing to watch your bond develop.

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I couldn’t love you both more without positively bursting – and it’s so sweet to see that love echoed for each other.

Love,

Your mommy.

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On Turning 40

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20 something me.

Yesterday was my 4oth birthday.   I’ve though a lot about that day and how I would feel about marking another decade.  Obviously I’m not particularly thrilled about the milestone, but then again, when I look at where I am in my life and the multitude of blessings, how can I possibly be anything but proud and grateful?

Never in my wildest imagination would my 20 something year old self have thought that  I’d be where I am right now – living in the house of my dreams, doing something creative for a living, with three happy healthy children that I love more than life itself and a wonderful man to share it all with.

Sure, there are things I miss about that younger me..

She could actually shop and have time to try things on because she didn’t have four impatient people to appease.

She had time to go to the gym. Every day and for as long as she wanted to.

She was strong and lean and had no stretch marks, her stomach was beautiful and flat and she could wear whatever she wanted without trying to cover up the aftermath of a twin pregnancy.

She dreamed big and thought she could be a rockstar if she wanted to.. literally a rock star.

She had all the time in the world to devote to writing songs and being deeply creative in a way that only free time and solitude allowed for.

She had many good friends who lived within walking distance (or even in the same apartment!) and had all the time in the world to hang out with them.

But I don’t envy her. How could I? She had yet to even imagine the type of fierce love that three tiny souls would unleash in her.  It’s hard to even comprehend a life before that love.

I would have a few words of advice for her however. I might tell her to cherish her sleep, because it would be in scarce supply.

I would tell her to finish that CD she was working on, that sometimes the perfect can get in the way of the good and it’s better to have something than nothing.

I would tell her to feel beautiful, to eat a piece of cake without guilt or shame.

I would tell her to enjoy her tiny closet of a studio apartment that took only 5 minutes to tidy up!

I would tell her to travel more because there would come a time when doing so would entail 5 times the cost and 20 times the sanity.

I would tell her not to stress so much about what to be or do when she grew up – things have a way of unfolding just as they should.

But most of all I would tell her that she had so much to look forward to.  More wrinkles, under eye bags, sagging and furrows yes,  but also much more love than she could even dream of.

I am 40, and my life is full and happy. What more could anyone ask for?

 

 

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Happy 1st Birthday Sasha & Willow!

My dear, sweet girls.. one year ago today, early in the morning – before dawn – your father and I drove nervously to the hospital. We didn’t know exactly what to expect except we both knew our lives were about to change forever.   If I’m to be perfectly honest with you, I expended so much energy worrying about how we were ever going to take care of not one but TWO newborns that the emotions that flooded over me once you were born took me completely by surprise. You were here, finally here – and you were both so perfect and beautiful and meeting you that morning was one of the three happiest moments of my life.

And now, just one year later I can’t remember how we ever felt complete as a family without you both..the idea of having just ONE of you is incomprehensible.  Like two sides of a precious coin, you are so different from each other but somehow make up a whole that is greater than the sum of it’s parts. Our girls.

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Sasha Star.. little did we know how prophetic your name would be. You are like a star in everything you do. Bright, charismatic, adventurous.. you enchant all that you meet in an instant.  You have been a social butterfly since the day you learned to smile -at a restaurant you have to turn around and look at EVERYONE in the face until they notice you, and god help us all if you don’t get the attention you seek!   Not just a pretty face, you are so very clever – nothing escapes your notice or seems out of your grasp to figure out.    And you are delightfully playful as well – you love nothing more than to rough house with your daddy and brother, getting right in there with them, perhaps even able to take them down if you so desired!

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Willow Rose.. you completely embody the sweetness of your middle name. I have never met a calmer, sweeter, more patient or gentle-natured baby.  And I certainly didn’t expect to be lucky enough to call such a baby my daughter!  Your ability to simply melt into the arms of whoever is lucky enough to be holding you and cuddle there – it’s remarkable.  Just being in your presence is soothing – if we could bottle your essence I’m pretty sure we could achieve world peace!  I love how you do everything your own little Willow way on your own Willow time – which is when you are good and ready and not a moment sooner.

A friend asked me how my heart doesn’t simply burst out of my chest everyday from the joy of you both – and the answer is that it does. Not a day goes by when I don’t think how lucky, how incredibly doubly blessed we are. Perhaps because I know you are my last children, I savor these last moments of your babyhood in ways that I might not otherwise..with your brother it seemed that we were always looking ahead to the next milestone as each was new to all of us. With you two, each milestone I know will also be the last for all of us, and it’s all the more bittersweet. I don’t begrudge you your achievements – but I do wish I could freeze this moment in time just a little bit longer!

But I cannot, and so I can only steal as many hugs and cuddles and sweet kisses as you will allow, and look forward to the joy of watching your language and personalities emerge and take shape this second year.

Happy birthday to my two most beautiful girls – thank you for making me feel like the luckiest mother alive!

xoxo, Mommy.

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Love is in the Mix

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When I first got the call from the publisher asking if I’d be interested in shooting the cover and inside images of Kate’s upcoming cookbook, I was extremely honored. But I have to admit I wasn’t completely sold on the idea at first…

First of all, the twins were still infants and I was still breastfeeding, so the logistics of driving to Kate’s house and shooting all day were tricky.

But also, posing LARGE families is not really my forte – when I get inquiries for large extended family type shoots I generally decline.   So when I heard that they wanted a shot of all NINE of them for the cover my first thought was just that this isn’t a project for me!   But then, when I learned more about the project and that the whole book was geared towards MAKING FAMILY MEMORIES and connection in the kitchen I realized that this was actually the perfect project for me!

And as a twin mama, I have to admit I was completely in awe of the way Kate manages her large brood. It was absolute pleasure to spend the day in the Kitchen with Kate and her Eight and I hope to get the chance to do it again sometime.

For anyone interested the book is available on Amazon – I’m still waiting for my copy from the publisher, I can’t WAIT to get my hands on it!

 

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Happy Belated 11 Months Sasha & Willow!

Dear Sasha & Willow,

This letter is late…20 days late to be exact!  And in 10 short days you will be ONE! I’m so unprepared, on every level.  We have parties to plan, apps to release, photoshoots to style and order outfits and props for, all of which I’m woefully behind on. But I just couldn’t not talk about your 10th month because so much has happened!
Sasha, this was the month you started waving and saying “Hi” all the time. You hold your hand hi above your head and it sounds  rather like “Hah”, like you are some sort of southern belle – belle of the ball with your queen wave!

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You also say ball, and throw the ball and play catch with your brother…

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In fact, you like saying ball so much you’ve taken to saying “Baah” all the time for almost everything!

You also started taking steps.. you are officially a toddler.  So bittersweet..

And Willow, this has been a HUGE month for you! You finally started crawling!!!!!!!!!! Slowly and deliberately and completely Willow-like, and only if you REALLY want something badly..

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You are as sweet as ever – it’s like therapy just being near you. They need to bottle you and hand it out and the people of the world would be so much better off.  You LOVE playing with your feet – you are always holding your foot -just like a little Buddha baby!

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You both are still teething and have your moments – or several  – but overall we’ve turned this amazing corner and you are both so shockingly pleasant almost ALL of the time!

And if I leave you to your own devices you entertain each other wildly – I hear you laughing but can’t see exactly what you are doing because if I get too close you stop – but I have caught Sasha tackling you Willow and resting her head on you, to which you laugh hysterically. It’s the sweetest sound in the world.

Today your mum-mum watched you and told me that when you were supposed to be napping, Willow you threw your pacifier through the slats of your crib, to which Sasha wisely replied for you “Uh Oh.”   Already finishing each other’s sentences – how priceless!

xoxo,

Your mommy

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Happy Fifth Birthday Jasper!

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My Dear sweet Jasper,

Yesterday you turned five. FIVE! How did this happen? In some ways I feel like it was just yesterday that we brought you home from the hospital and in other ways it feels like it’s been you me and your daddy for so long already that I can’t imagine or remember a time before you!

This year has brought more change to our family than any other year before and possibly after… with the addition of your sisters or “your babies” as you like to call them, it seems that life as we knew it has been completely turned on it’s head.  Despite our concerns that you might have difficulty adjusting to our new family dynamics you have managed to take it all in stride. In fact you greatly relish your role as big brother and often defend your sisters indignantly if daddy or I tease them about anything (“Don’t say that mommy, my sister is NOT a nightmare!”)

Four was a threshold year.. one that you entered at the tail-end of toddlerhood and exited as a fully fledged “kid” with all the requisite behavior and attitude (and a good deal of goofiness) that that entails!

And while I won’t lie and say I don’t dearly miss the little curly headed chubby armed toddler you used to be, I am so happy to be getting to know you in a completely different way as your personality, likes and dislikes, fears, imagination and talents unfold before our eyes.

Mostly I feel proud of your kind and generous heart. The way you try to give pieces of your coveted pirates treasure away to your best friends. Or the way you offered the prize you won at the carnival to your friend who was crying because he hadn’t won – without hesitation.

You have a philosopher’s mind, often asking me things like: “What controls the world?” and “Who made the first roads?” If I answer “people” you ask me who made the first people!

This year you have emerged from your shell in so many ways, much less shy and inhibited.  While it still takes you a while to warm up in certain situations, you will talk to ANYONE when we are out shopping or in public!  And you adjust to new situations with so much more ease.. like how you started playing in a soccer league (and you are great at it!) and how you jumped right on that schoolbus the first day of camp and went somewhere you’d never been before. So brave and grown up.

The morning of your birthday we cuddled in bed and I said with a little sadness in my voice that I couldn’t believe my boy was five… you asked with great concern if this made me sad.  I told you that what made me sad was that someday you wouldn’t want to cuddle with me that way anymore, to which you indignantly stated that you would ALWAYS want to cuddle with me and pulled me closer.  I told you that I’d remind you that you said that one day and you told me not to tell you that you wouldn’t want to cuddle someday because it was making you sad. So I stopped and just enjoyed the closeness without words… Until one minute later when you asked me if I could please take my arm away from from around you!  It’s a perfect metaphor for what it’s like being you rmommy right now. But I wouldn’t change any of it!

Your daddy and sisters and I love you so very much, I hope that you know that always.

xoxo,

Mommy.

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Happy 10 months Sasha & Willow!

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If you girls are paying attention, you might notice that I did not post a 9 month letter.   I’m so sorry about that, life with you girls is so hectic that it’s easy to let even a whole month slip by, particularly since you started teething!

You both were late to the teething game, but have made up for lost time with a vengeance. Willow you got your two bottom little teethies first, seemingly overnight:

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Sasha you caught up 3 weeks or so later getting the same two bottom teeth just as we were headed out to our family vacation to the Outer Banks (more on that later!)

In fact, these past two months have been full of milestones of all kinds…including Raspberries:

Clicks:

Dancing:

And most recently, kissing!

As for the big milestones, Sasha you just started crawling!  Not a military crawl like your big brother did, but a proper up on all fours crawling. You are getting faster, but it was fun to watch your early tentative attempts that resembled shuffling on your knees – mostly because it’s so unlike you to do ANYTHING tentatively.

You are also pulling up on anything you can, though I seem to be your favorite thing to climb all over. And your sister too if I’m not careful!

Willow, where your sister has mastered gross motor skills at a faster pace, you truly excel at the fine motor skills like your superb mastery of the pincer grasp. You can find and pick the tiniest of things between your two little fingers and can motor through puffs like nobody’s business! You also mastered the skill of drinking water with a straw sippy cup with no instruction.

And your relationship continues to develop, nothing makes me happier than to watch you giggling with each other and trying to communicate in any way you can figure out how to, even if it’s just copying each others screeches:

When I think about how close to 1 year old you are It makes my heart skip a beat – with each milestone and stage I know it will be the last time we experience it, which is sometimes met with a sigh of relief, but also often with one of sorrow at how fast the months fly by…

xoxo,

Your mommy

 

 

 

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First Day of Camp

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We’ve been anticipating this day with equal parts excitement and dread (at least on my part!) knowing that Jasper would be getting on a bus by himself for the first time and going to a camp where he’s never been before.

I’ve blogged many times before about how he’s not great with transitions and this will be his first change since he started at daycare when he was just 3 months old.  Even still sometimes when I would drop him off to daycare pre-k where he has known everyone his whole life he would still beg me to stay for a few minutes with him.. and that’s why I just can’t imagine him getting off that schoolbus with his little monkey backpack and his baseball cap and seeing a whole unfamiliar world surrounding him!

Jeff did bring him to meet his counselor yesterday at the meet and greet and he will be in the same troop as three of his good friends so I’m 90% sure he’s going to be fine – probably MORE than fine, but I just couldn’t help but be completely weepy when he greeted the bus counselor shyly and climbed aboard:

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After he got on the bus at 8am sharp, Jeff went to work and I got the girls ready for our day and the house was so quiet without Jasper.  As I ran around gathering our supplies for the girls at daycare I would see Jasper’s daycare bag with his sheets for nap (they don’t nap at camp) and just get teary all over again.

I’m just so in awe at how quickly he’s growing up.

And Jasper if you ever read this someday, I want you to know how proud your daddy and I are of you, and how you willingly got on that school bus to meet whatever unknown awaited you like the brave boy you are.

We love you so much and can’t wait to hear all about your adventures!

 

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His Almost Graduation Day

Jasper’s will turn 5 in August, which is after the cutoff date for public school Kindergarten so everyone has been very surprised that we have decided to keep him back in Pre-K one more year.  Now in Waldorf school (where I HOPE he will go next year??) the cutoff is much later and they routinely hold children back depending on if they show signs of readiness that have nothing to do with birth date so it’ seems natural to me.  But I’ve gotten many raised eyebrows about it that I feel like explaining.

Mostly it’s that he tends to be a bit shy – I don’t want him also having the additional “handicap” of being one of the youngest boys in his class.

This hold back/ vs send early is actually something that we experienced in our family growing up as my sister and I are both early fall birthdays and  I was not held back but she was.  As a result, I was always one of the youngest in my class and she the oldest.

Now I didn’t struggle per se, but I was VERY conscious of age.. like I would think people wouldn’t want to be friends with me if they knew I was one of the youngest. For some reason it seemed like a  huge stigma to me.

My sister on the other hand was such a leader in her class.. a total queen bee!   So I’ve always known that if I had a choice, I’d rather give Jasper the confidence advantage that comes with age.

The problem with this decision is that nearly ALL the kids that have been his close friends in school (some since they were infants!) are now moving on, leaving him with just two of his close friends left in a classroom that now has some kids that are almost 2 years younger than him.

I could have had him switch schools to do his final year of Pre-K at the Waldorf school, but honestly I just am not quite ready to tackle early school day closings, multiple holidays, summers off, having him in a different school than his sisters and all the logistical gymnastics it would take for him to switch. So he’ll be doing one more year at his current daycare Pre-K where he will be the oldest child. Fingers crossed I don’t regret my decision!

So that’s the rather long preamble to the fact that last night was “graduation day” for almost all of friends.. many of whom are younger than Jasper!

Here is his crew of great friends, only two will remain next year:

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And here is their whole class with some of the younger children as well:

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Just as we were about to leave, I saw Jasper’s longtime crush (let’s call her “G”) looking very sad.  I asked her mom what was wrong and she said that she was sad to be leaving Jasper. There is a whole long backstory here about G and Jasper, but lest just say he really worked for her affection! So it was so sweet to hear she’d be missing him too. When I asked her if she’d like a picture with him before she left she readily agreed:

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It was hard for me to take these images because the twins were also there, but I’m SO glad I was able to capture these memories for Jasper (and ok, his overly sentimental mama!) of the early strong friendships that he made in daycare.

So Happy graduation to Jasper’s dear friends.. we will BOTH miss you terribly!

 

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