21 May, 2016: HOW COULD IT BE…THEY ARE 3!!!!

HAPPY 3RD BIRTHDAY, OUR DEAR TASHA AND KAT!!!

We are late posting here, but that does not mean the girls did not enjoy multiple birthday celebrations.It’s hard to believe three years has passed, but the 2-pound preemies are now sweet, chattering, inquisitive whirlwinds with great senses of humor! They still love stickers, jigsaws, and their babies. They still do not love potties, unfortunately. When asked how old they are Kat will consistently say “3” and Tash will consistently respond “4”. When asked what they wanted on their cakes, they chose Cookie Monster (Kat) and Pooh Bear (Tasha…who changed her mind immediately after we ordered it and wanted Elmo). Good taste, ladies.

KATARINA, age 3

Kat 3rd Birthday  IMG_6263IMG_6379

NATASHA, age 3

IMG_6247IMG_6372IMG_6349

Round one began with a celebration on the actual day…happily joined by Grandma and Grandpa Diener. This year the cupcakes invoked massive smiles and immediate plunging into the icing. A far cry from last year when the cupcake and presentation of icing brought Tasha to tears and Kat didn’t particularly want to eat hers. The gift of the day was definitely the new sandbox…thank you Linny for finding it and thank you Neil for seeking out the elusive “play sand.”

IMG_6257IMG_6336

Round two occurred on Saturday when we held our first ever kiddy birthday party. We felt so lucky to have some of our favorite people to celebrate with us. Grandparents, Linny, Auntie Maggie, Auntie Denise, PEPS friends, and the lovely Arthurs and Carters among others. Despite the rain, we were able to make use of the best invention ever. OVER-SIZED INFLATABLE BOWLING.

P1000317P1000323

3yr bday cakes3rd bday family shot2

IMG_63963rd bday bowling

Round three occurred on Monday when the girls got to celebrate at preschool. The kids sang happy birthday twice, the girls made birthday crowns thanks to Teacher Janice, and we had pajama night at preschool to top it off. Pretty good living. Especially these horses…their favorite thing at preschool.

Girls @ preschool

Other adventures since our last post included a lovely visit from Grandma Sue. We had many adventures, enjoying Golden Gardens, discovering Kubota Gardens (a hidden gem in Seattle), and visiting the tulip fields!

IMG_6236IMG_6075

IMG_6001 IMG_6003

IMG_6081 IMG_6044

In April we had a visit to Canmore to meet baby NESSSSA and Allison. Off the charts cuteness. She and Cousin ND have to have a photo shoot together. Also constituting a major breakthrough (especially for Neil’s back) was that the girls were able to sit in their plane seats without car seats. They’re growing up…sniff sniff!!

Girls, Allison & NessaAlli, Nessa and girls in Canmore

Alli & Nessa in CanmoreTash watching Deer Canmore

As the girls reach age 3, we have been reflecting back on their early days. Prematurity, more than 100 days in the NICU, feeding tubes, 17 hours of feeding per day, staggered sleep shifts to cope with two newborns, endless late night bouncing and rocking.  Some long days, but years gone quickly. In the blink of an eye they are people with strong and beautiful characters. We didn’t think it possible, but every day becomes even more enjoyable. We look forward to seeing what these two accomplish next…and to being a part of their life adventures!

 

25 January, 2016: BELATED HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Wow. Six months since our last post. Even if belated, we first and foremost wish all our friends and family the very best in health and happiness for 2016!  We are surrounded by such wonderful people and our appreciation for them has only grown since the arrival of our dear daughters 2.75 years ago.

Our last few months were rather dominated by two major but very different trips.

  1. Hike, hike, and hot tub in CanmoreIMG_0475

We were lucky enough to take a two month sabbatical in breathtaking Canmore, Alberta. It was an incredible experience. And a very physical one with 17 hikes accomplished in total. We were still able to carry the girls in baby carriers/backpacks so the hiking exertion was stepped up thanks to the extra 25 pounds each.  No breaks when you have twins! Lucky for us, they didn’t mind being in the backpacks. And you don’t need bear bells when you are carrying toddlers. For one hike we left Elmo in the car; we, and the surrounding countryside, were serenaded to hours of “Elmo? Elmo? Elmo? Elmo?”. Next hike we absolutely remembered Elmo….and were serenaded to hours of “Elmo red. Elmo red. Elmo red. Elmo red.” I’m sure the bears ran away as fast as they could. We also learned that Kat loves high winds but Tash does not (“Stop wind. Stop wind. Stop wind”).  It was all worth it and we would recommend that everyone add “experiencing fall in the Canadian Rockies” to their bucket list! A few outdoorsy highlights: a night at Emerald Lake, the 13 mile trek to see the Burgess Shale fossils, Quarry Lake in Canmore town proper, and the larches at Highwood Pass.

Just another day in the Canadian Rockies:

IMG_4855IMG_5165IMG_5169IMG_4535

IMG_4976IMG_4790 IMG_4985

I will add that we purposefully got back to Seattle in time to enjoy Halloween. The girls went with astronaut and Cookie Monster. Sort of funny as neither of them had much interest in cookies…until Christmas when they discovered the joys of gingerbread cookies…which has changed EVERYTHING. A whole new world.  We also did the now annual pumpkin patch. This is far more of a hit than trick or treating, which is just confusing to Kat and downright alarming to Tasha.

halloween 2015IMG_5452
IMG_5373
IMG_5275

2. Christmas in Toronto

This year, bringing a Christmas tree INSIDE the house was mind blowing for the girls. They patted and hugged it and talked about the tree having enough water. They also tore off every ornament within reach. And then, before we knew it, we were back in travel mode headed to Toronto to spend Christmas with the whole family. So lovely! We had a full ten days to spend with Grandma and Grandpa Diener, as well as Aunt Vinaya, Uncle Anton and BABY ND!  The girls were really excited about their baby cousin. We kept discussing this new baby with such exuberance that they can’t say his name without yelling it. Although to be honest, the girls had entered into the stage of being fascinated with electronic devices and the baby monitor used to watch their cousin during naps was enthralling (never mind the baby).

Kat xmas 2015

IMG_5632IMG_5519

IMG_5640IMG_5655

For Christmas Eve and Christmas Day we had the pleasure of hanging out with the Wichmans. We feel very lucky to have had Kat & Tasha meet the their relatives this year. Not to mention we achieved the impossible…a group photo!

IMG_5738

So where are we at now? Well. The girls are definitely two year olds (fast approaching three). They have very strong opinions about toys they should play with, food they should eat, where they and we should sit or stand (“there dada, no, THERE”), and how a blanket should be placed over them when in bed (“flat momma, no, FLAT”). Bedtime now involves one book, saying goodnight to a half dozen animals, and more than a half dozen requests for water. One of their new favorite things is singing. We took them to Benaroya concert hall for a kids Christmas music special and they are still talking about “the lady” (she remains nameless) who sang and played piano and drums. They also learned the words to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and sing it approximately 249 times a day, especially Tasha who really likes to belt it out like a baritone opera singer. More recently they have ramped up their imaginative play; they enjoy serving up pancakes from their kitchen and changing baby’s diaper (cream and wipes essential).

To end this long post, I will add that I (Lara) am  training for a half marathon in February with a group called Team Challenge. This crazy endeavor is to raise awareness and funds for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America. Should you have made it this far, please consider reading my story and even making a small donation at:  http://online.ccfa.org/goto/Diener

It’s a meaningful cause for me and the over 1.2 million others affected by this disease (who usually keep really quiet about it).

So meaningful, in fact, Neil jumped into frigid Lake Washington after running 5km the morning of January 1st to help Lara raise money for the CCFA. He is depicted post polar bear plunge in the photo below left. Below right is the CCFA team in training, with Lara in orange hat. This was before running 9 training miles in monsoon rains this past Saturday morning, at which point we were just as sopping wet as Neil. What a start to 2016…we hope you all are staying warmer and drier than us 🙂

IMG_5765ccfa run in rain 1-23-16

 

 

1 August, 2015: Baby and Toddler Joy!

PART I: BABY!

We hadn’t thought about re-addressing babies in this blog now that our girls are toddlers. However, there’s been a massively exciting development in the family. The girls have a cousin!!!!!!!  Welcome to the world!  We couldn’t be more excited to be auntie/uncle/cousins to this lovely little boy.

 

The girls are practicing to “be gentle” in high gear now. Hard to tell. Fingers crossed for you, cousin:)

 

PART II: TODDLERS!

Yes, two-year old twins are a ton of work. And the tantrums have aged us (Lara at least, Neil seems more impervious to the roller coaster that is toddler emotion!). However, toddlers come with such joy, curiosity, and cuteness that we find ourselves filled to the brim with joy, curiosity, and well, grey hairs. At the end of the day it’s a damn cute age and we are on board with the old adage, “wouldn’t change a thing.”

So here’s Tash & Kat at 26.5 months (they should actually only be 2 years old today if Kat hadn’t been in such a rush to enter the world!).

Girls on new bench july 2015

They are full fledged little people who now ask for milk or banana, choose their own shirts, and tell us to sit down and read them a book in a no-nonsense tone (“sit…here…read”). They could not possibly adore Elmo and the Sesame Street characters any more . They mimic our actions (sweeping, dancing, marching) and words (“Oh sweetie”, “Oh puppy”, “no no no no”) every chance they get. Sponges.

One of the highlights of the past few months was the family trip to Hawaii. We visited Kona again with Grandma and Grandpa Diener (no Anton & Vinaya this year, sniff sniff, but refer to Part I for reason). In terms of kid outcomes, this trip was mountains improved over last year!!!  Flawless nights and naps, no infections contracted, and enjoyment of the beach (last year it was evil sand and terrifying tidepools). Sweet memories this trip.

IMG_3875fb3

fb2  IMG_3880

IMG_3559 IMG_3682

IMG_3942IMG_3688

Tasha was a little more cautious than Kat about using words, but she’s discovered her voice since Hawaii to the say the least. Lots of chatter with an emphasis on puppies, Elmo, and Cookie Monster (Sesame Street has superseded the baby fixation). Kat has an extensive vocabulary and startled us the other day by reciting numbers up to six.  Sometimes I wonder if they’re at last starting to listen to each other. They have sweet moments looking over a book together, reading the story obviously with their own interpretation and pointing emphatically at each character. These are unfortunately outnumbered by moments of frustration over sister taking toy of the moment. Or getting too close. Or using the spoon the other wanted. Or laying face down over a jigsaw puzzle so sister can’t place the last satisfying piece. However, as far as I know adults don’t tend to splay themselves over board games to prevent plays so we’re hoping that one is just a phase.

Really the videos portray the sounds and movements of toddlers best, so here goes…

Reading & Singing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVWPRpoj3Ec

Reading & Dancing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_eFG8_-KTWU

Just dancing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGfLvMaugoI

What’s that on your head, Kat? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVoCFe_nH_U

Squeaky shoes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBSgiEXmoBI

Sliding: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baqhKxDSonk

Bubbles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZizc61pWpA

 

 

 

 

May 12, 2015: What? We’re TWO!

“They” talk about the miracle of life. “They” also say that life with young kids consists of some really long days, but weeks that fly by. We’re on board with both concepts. Maybe not exactly reproduction so much as the miracle of development. That is, how, in an extraordinarily short two years, did these two tiny blobby beings evolve into the little people – little people with fierce opinions, kindness, affection, intelligence, and cunning – we have today. It’s an awesome thing. Exhibits A-D below.

Birth ….   6 months….  1 year…..  2 years

Katarina Asleep Tash at 7 weeks

23

IMG_0820

IMG_3227

To celebrate the two year mark, we had some lovely cupcakes.  Apparently frosting can be a horrifying experience for some. Who knew.

IMG_3220IMG_3235

We also took a field trip to Kelsey Creek farm to meet the chickens, bunnies, pigs, horses and goats. A success story! The horses were such a hit, Tasha offered her stuffed bear to his/her snout.

IMG_3332IMG_3408

IMG_3373 IMG_3363

Speaking of stuffed bears…shout out to Pop Kitchen! Thank you, they were a hit!

IMG_3311 IMG_3313

For her birthday, Tasha also won the crazy morning hair award 🙂  The girls tied for the tissue paper tearing contest.

IMG_3272IMG_3253

For all the details, check out the video: https://youtu.be/0xPPlaCVZ3s

Earlier in the year, we were able to hit the Skagit tulip festival finally. The wheel barrow was a hit for ten minutes. Then Kat wanted it to stop moving so she could hop in and out, whereas Tash wanted to be pulled in it. Conflict. Tears. Screams. Wheel barrow had to be hidden behind bed of tulips. But good pics were captured and colors were gorgeous.

IMG_3129

IMG_2830 IMG_2950IMG_2866 IMG_2889

Thankfully, they are not always fighting. Sometime they read together (https://youtu.be/Scic7B3Q6MA) and sometimes play (https://youtu.be/-2Ur6OEc5Ek)

We also had our first Easter egg hunt experience with the girls. It was an event hosted by the families of multiples organization. So picture a field of easter eggs teeming with twins. Eerie? Cute?  Up for grabs. Either way, eggs were a tad confusing and sometimes upsetting to our girls at this stage.

IMG_2999IMG_3007

We also had springtime visits from Grandma and Grandpa Diener. Fun times walking around Golden Gardens, Pike Market, and the hood.

IMG_3164Grandpa D visit to Golden GardensGirls on walk with grandpa DFam at Pike Market March 2015

Bonus shot. Typical dog-pile evening for Lara:

Lara, girls and Bruno March 2015

Finally, extra videos for the die-hards!

Girls discovering an art installation at Fremont Peak Park:  https://youtu.be/1umoNv3rulg.

Training for babysitting: https://youtu.be/P-F5ROkiUu8

Trains & slides:  https://youtu.be/e9Jb2soyx34

 

25 March, 2015: MummyDaddyBruno!

It’s been far too long since our last update!  This extremely sunny and mild winter in Seattle flew by. Did we really have a winter?? Cherry blossoms began in late February!

Seattle blooms

We haven’t had a well check with the doctor for awhile but the girls are still hovering around 21 pounds each. They seem to be stretching vertically. Kat almost seems a smidge taller than Tash, and is still very wiry and nimble. When you pick her up she scrambles onto you like Legolas on a Mumakil. Tash is becoming a lot more social with strangers (role reversal there) and is our roughhouser. I’m pleased to report they do have affectionate moments with each other more frequently. Not often. But more frequently!

DSC00270

IMG_2668

The biggest change here is the arrival of words. Kat’s first words were “up”, “mommy”, “daddy”, and “puppy”. Tash has moved on from the all-encompassing verb/noun/adjective “guh” to “mommy”, “daddy”, “ba” [ball], “be” [bird], “baaa” [bath], and a VERY clear “puppy”. They rotated these words for quite some time, but something has switched on for Kat recently. She now says “no no no no”, “Bruno”, “Mommydaddybruno”, and an assortment of other random words (pancake, button, monkey, airplane, cream, sticky, kick). We were really excited when she said her sister’s name for the first time yesterday. It’s such fun to watch the verbal communication thing take flight. It’s also so much easier to have them say “milk” or “book” instead of crying and straining for some mysterious item.

The girls have also become far more physical and activity-oriented. No more shaking little baby toys. They love being outside throwing rocks, mixing pine cones in a bowl, swinging or using the slide at the park, plucking the neighbor’s flowers, etc. While indoors they adore watching airplanes and birds through the window. They still love sweeping and wiping, but I’m 100% that is mimicry that will not last much longer. They have just discovered that their “babies” [small plastic dolls] can be clothed and fed with a spoon or bottle. VERY exciting development for them. Life in general is one big party of exploration.

DSC00285

DSC00281

Girls & tulipsGirls playing dirt Jan 2015

Most recently, they acquired their own arm chairs….

Kat in new chair March 2015 Tash in new chair March 2015

….light enough for a girl on the go with places to be…

Girls with new chairs March 2015

Girls moving new chairs March 2015

…bonus feature is it facilitates climbing!

Kat with new chair March 2015

After our lovely holiday in Canmore, Alberta we decided to repeat the trip one last time before we have to start paying for the girls’ own seats on the plane (at age two, no breaks for preemies who spent the first three months of life in the hospital, boo). The goal was also to see Uncle Anton and Aunt Vinaya there. Unfortunately, Tash was hit hard by illness in February. We postponed the trip by a few days only to arrive there and have Kat come down with the bug. Not pretty for three quarters of the trip, but at least for the end bit both girls were back to their happy selves AND got to briefly see Grandma D. and Grandpa. D.  We are grateful that the girls didn’t pass this bug on to their aunt and uncle.

IMG_2706

Canmore Family Pic Feb 2015

IMG_2727

IMG_2680

Note Tasha had her first very Canadian experience of wielding a hockey stick. Bit scary.

IMG_2736

Add grandma to the mix with another stick. More scary. Or funny if you’re Tasha.

IMG_2740

Most recently we had the pleasure of Grandma D. staying with us in Seattle for a few more days. Lots of quality grandma time. Here’s a shot of the Grandma D and Tasha skyping with Grandpa D. We all love the ipad here.

Grandma D & Tash talking to BO

The pics really don’t do the girls’ development justice, so a few videos for live action:

Kat feeding Tash: http://youtu.be/nuyIwW8Z8b4

Girls feeding Bruno: http://youtu.be/ZE0kUtm9sck

Girls feeding themselves: http://youtu.be/82rMtXxKw9k

Girls dancing to Metallica: http://youtu.be/c9erca5Suv4

Girls holding hands: http://youtu.be/l18PSN8JuvI

Up and down: http://youtu.be/2TZbl0cZcJs

On the deck in March…and yoga: http://youtu.be/XJjvS_AV3z4

4 January, 2015: Happy New Year!

Wishing a happy and healthy 2015 to all our friends and family!

We spent the holidays in Canmore, enjoying a week in the mountains with grandparents. A real Christmas miracle was the fact that both toddlers and all five adults were healthy!  (of course we had been blasted by bad colds before the holiday, so got that bit over with)

IMG_2448

As far as Christmas goes, the girls are still oblivious to the whole deal (e.g. underwhelmed by tree: http://youtu.be/TP1DD23PxIk ). They got some pretty cute presents, but were often just enamored with the tissue paper. I’d say the most popular toy yet is the Star Wars deck of cards we picked up at Goodwill for a buck. They like to sort through them endlessly, move them from floor to sofa, and sometimes place one next to Bruno so he doesn’t feel left out. Otherwise, books are still a huge hit and they’ll sit rifling through them for nice stretches of time. Oh…and the motorbike, dishwasher, and broom also make the top five most fascinating household items!

IMG_2574

IMG_2560 IMG_2609

The town of Canmore now has a gorgeous community center called Elevation Place complete with library, climbing walls, coffee shop, lounge, pool, and toddler slide. A huge hit with the girls who liked to gaze (we think longingly) at the climbers through the glass wall.  Our guess is Kat will be scaling those walls as soon as she’s allowed in…age four, apparently. We also had our first visit to a library while there. Most appropriately Grandma Diener, former Librarian was able to share this extra special moment with the girls.

Canmore elevation place Dec. 2014 Canmore library Dec 2014

In other news, the girls had their 18 month appointments back in November. The pediatrician often just says, “you’d never know these were 28 weeker preemies.”  They are the same weight (just over 20 lb) and height. They chatter gobbledygook a great deal and don’t have too many words at this stage, which is still on track if you go by their their adjusted age. So far Kat says “mama” and “dada”, but possibly her most well-used word is “up.” Meaning lift her up mainly so she can see what you’re doing on the counter or table. Tash has a fondness for b words…she uses “bye bye” the most, followed by “ba” for ball and bath and bird and plane. They like reading and dancing  (http://youtu.be/V36Vu47L2s0), and are starting to chase each other (http://youtu.be/L3_eprHN0eY) while squealing. And of course we got them really drunk one night (http://youtu.be/SC7ywKNHC68). That was after one beer each.

Katarina, 19 months

IMG_2460IMG_2318

Kat Canmore Dec 2014

Natasha, 19 months

IMG_2216IMG_2556IMG_2598

Some bonus shots:

IMG_2590 IMG_2456 IMG_2402IMG_2241

IMG_2381IMG_2337IMG_2261

And finally, more video for the die hard fans:

Breakfast in Canmore : http://youtu.be/U7m1aYGPxdI

Tasha nuzzling her sister: http://youtu.be/yvKGoEAl4-0

Light is fascinating: http://youtu.be/w_0JcmChldM

 

2 November, 2014: May the force be with you!

A belated Happy Halloween to all!  We dedicate this post to Lara’s late cousin, Leighann, and think she would have approved of the costumes and our pumpkins.

Halloween pumpkins 2014

Tasha and Kat had their second successful Halloween (success defined by us is their willingness…or tolerance…to wear a costume of our choice). They went as the Star Wars desert creatures, Jawas, well executed thanks to their height and toddling. What a difference from last Halloween! This time last year Kat was on the brink of having her feeding tube removed permanently. We still feared she wouldn’t be able to take in enough milk on her own and that g-tube surgery might be in her future. But wow- did she ever prove the naysayers wrong. Feisty Kat took to drinking from a bottle and eventually to eating solids like she couldn’t believe we’d held out on her for so long.  Here are our “now” and “then” shots:

Halloween 2014tash halloween 2014bHalloween Kat 2014

IMG_9459

In the spirit of the season, we also managed to visit our first pumpkin patch. A first for all, in fact. Neil had never seen so many pumpkins in his life and still thinks it’s all “slightly weird”. The girls personalities shone through as Kat motored from pumpkin to pumpkin, while Tash stood rooted to one spot making “I’m not sure about this” sounds.

IMG_1919 IMG_1924

IMG_1898 IMG_1895 IMG_1955

We also had Grandpa Diener in town that weekend for a lovely visit. Tasha decided that feeding him her dinner was the most fun she’d had all week. Kat, as always, enjoyed flying through the air compliments of Grandpa D.

1011141335aIMG_1977

In early October, we were able to visit Canmore. The girls’ third trip there!  The fall foliage was absolutely gorgeous and we were able to do walks by the Bow River, as well as one “hard core” hike with the girls in baby backpacks. Not sure how much longer that will be sustainable as they get bigger and more interested in using their own two feet. And no…Neil did not carry both girls up the mountain…this was a “change of scenery” tactic for Kat after she had a slight meltdown at the summit. Lucky for all, it did the trick.

IMG_9644

IMG_9615IMG_9643

IMG_0131

IMG_0123

IMG_9907 IMG_9901

The girls also had what we’d call their first real “play in the park” experience. The mulch and pebbles tend to be the most interesting part of being outside for them…however, once Neil gave Kat a demonstration of the slide, she was enamored. Tasha marched around the park features to assess them and got up close and personal with the boulder wall (yes, only in Canmore).

IMG_9825 IMG_9811

Last but not least, we had professional shots taken of the family end of summer. These didn’t make it into the last blog update, so here go some of our favs!

Ms. Natasha Sophia, 15 months

N _bw crop 1807 N_1879 N_1933N bw_1752

Ms. Katarina Grace, 15 months

K bw 3003

K_2384

K_1986

 

K_2301

The gang:

N & K gg 21_2434

K & N_bw 1954

 

And bonus shots (we’re impressed if you made it this far). How in trouble are we here???

Kat with dark shades IMG_9538

2 September, 2014: Two Toddlers

It’s been an eventful couple of months since we last updated! Lots and lots of “firsts”: first hiking, first camping, first concert, importantly (for Neil) first Sounders match, first houseboat visit (hey, it’s Seattle)….and one other first that we will get to 🙂

To start…here’s what they look like now:

IMG_9062 IMG_9148

In July we had a lovely visit back to Canmore. The girls…wait a minute, no, WE really broke in the baby backpacks. I can’t think of a better way to keep in  shape than to hike with an extra 25 pounds on your back. If nothing else, shows how badly we wanted to be out hiking…and have the girls experience some of the great Canadian landscape. Even though Grandma Diener outdid herself and had stocked up the home with great toys, we hauled the circus out a few times. We also had the immense pleasure of seeing our old friend, Allison. And the girls happily took Grandma and Grandpa Diener’s 40 pound schnauzer in stride (and vice versa) which was a relief for all. A fantastic vacation!

0728141501

0727141500 0727141501a 0728141511 0729141000b

In mid August we really pushed the envelope. No hiding that Lara pushed this plan on the family. Neil makes no bones about taking absolutely no responsibility….

We camped. In a tent. For two nights. With one year old crawling twins. And survived to tell the tale! It was even fun. (even Neil agrees with that)

We chose to take the plunge because it was a very twin-friendly environment. The Seattle Families of Multiples organization booked a group site so that twin families can descend en masse and not worry about the pandemonium bothering anyone else.  The site was gorgeous and the girls did very well. The biggest challenge was actually preventing Kat from eating pebbles. And napping. Napping in a bright tent was not happening so we took a couple drives. Thankfully the nights were no problem with the girls snug in their pack’n’play portable cribs. We were really pleased that it all seemed to go as well as it did.

CIMG8879

0817141026 0816141505

 

0816140757a

It has been a beautiful summer in Seattle which has given us the opportunity to get to the local concert series held outdoors at the Zoo (Zootunes). The girls went to two concerts (with us) and had a blast – charming the people around them and clapping completely not in time to the music.They don’t look overly thrilled here, but we swear they bopped to the tunes.

FirstZooTunes

 

Most recently, the family had an outing very dear to Neil’s heart. The girls got to experience their very first Seattle Sounders match in person. The plan is to have the girls go to as many games as possible with Neil…learn the chants…wear the green colors…and take up soccer themselves. Obviously 😉

Sounders5Sounders7 Sounders1 Sounders4

To make it even better the Sounders won.

Then on a real Seattle note. The girls also had their first visit to a houseboat. The float planes landing were a big hit. We do love this city!

0831141913c

On the home front…there have been pretty big changes since the camping endeavor. Namely…both girls are officially walking! So we have two toddlers. Which is unbelievable to us. The developmental progress these babies make in a year is mindboggling. We know most parents experience a sense of awe as their babies make strides into toddlerhood, but it’s been especially breathtaking to us given their two pound start. No surprise at all…Kat decided to walk the day after we got home from camping and she didn’t look back (http://youtu.be/ruOAOL7uE0g). No more crawling for her. Her walking has since gone from a steady zombie striding to a full tilt rushing about with arms waving style. There is no slow walking for Kat.

Tasha tried walking about ten days later with the most cautious, slow and steady couple steps I could imagine (http://youtu.be/d1x7Lj5H4_4). She then applauded herself for a few minutes and squealed/screamed. We assume in delight. Only then did she consider trying a couple more steps. She’s still cautious and slow with the walking, often just crawling. On par with what we would have predicted for Tasha’s personality!  The girls continue to be a joy. Watching their VERY different personalities is endless entertainment for us (http://youtu.be/02VyL5Q7DSc).

IMG_9146 IMG_9133IMG_8990IMG_8988

 

3rd July 2014: Belated Happy Solstice!

Lots of change here at the twinmageddon household!  The girls have become extremely mobile…we’ve had a a whole lot of crawling and “assisted walking”. Since they’re speedy and, of course, seem to know the optimum direction for danger, we are kept on our toes! Kat has already “opened” a can of ginger ale.  We can’t believe they’re the same tiny babies when we see them hoofing it from kitchen to living room to baby gates to Bruno, back to kitchen, etc. They are both approaching 20 pounds and on track with developmental milestones.

0606141427a (1)IMG_8546IMG_0915IMG_8538

At the end of May we got back from a trip to the Big Island, Hawaii (pics below) with the Diener clan and within no time Kat was crawling. Apparently we got back in the nick of time to do the frantic babyproofing thing (yes, yes, we know you’re supposed to get that stuff ready early). About 48 hours later she was pulling up into a standing position. And within a couple weeks she was couch surfing with confidence. Tasha followed suit, crawling a few weeks after her sister. We don’t doubt she had the strength for crawling earlier, but Tash is a cautious creature who doesn’t rush into anything new. And besides, her feet were busy holding onto toys so that she could study them better.

http://youtu.be/ZydToqgZTwc

http://youtu.be/eaOEJqBh6jE

http://youtu.be/3CjPcpWJg_M

The crawling also has added whole new dimension to our girls’ interactions with each other. Said interaction was pretty minimal (non-existent for weeks at a time), but being able to crawl to and follow each other around has moved their relationship beyond just throwing at and stealing toys from each other (Kat from Tash 99% of the time). Now they play head butting games that result in hysterical giggles, grab each other’s hands, do mock kissing of each other’s shoulders, and even…gasp…share toys!

http://youtu.be/1vDvwrM7L94

http://youtu.be/S7gUNwjY7A8 (you might need ear plugs or mute for this one!)

Lucky for us, Bruno has remained incredibly patient with this new crawling development. The girls chase after him to “pet” him, but when he gets tired of them he moves under the kitchen table for a quiet snooze. Tash remains particularly enamored with the dog…especially his ears and nose (poor Bruno!). Both girls and Bruno love a game of fetch, even if it involves head on collisions 🙂

http://youtu.be/HcT9PlKXagM

We also celebrated Father’s Day – Neil’s second but first with the girls actually being at home – in style. We hit the fav pub, the Yard, for lunch and some World Cup.  At their young age, the girls have watched essentially no TV with the exception of about a dozen World Cup and Sounders matches. They love to play with balls…so time will tell.  There were also the usual father-daughter gravity games to be had:

http://youtu.be/NtIVbdzNnXA

http://youtu.be/qe6gRqq9ngM

Finally, some pics from the Hawaii trip with Grandma and Grandpa Diener and Uncle Anton and Aunt Vinaya. Unfortunately the girls caught colds second half of the vacation. This resulted in some rough nights (and the quintessential night-time howling baby experience for Anton and Vinaya whose bedroom was nearest ours…sorry guys). This also meant a rough flight home that we shall block out as thoroughly as we can. At least our fellow passengers were extremely kind!  And our time with family was priceless.

CIMG8417 CIMG8424 CIMG8442  CIMG8450 CIMG8380

As of today Kat is standing for a couple of seconds at a time and her walking is becoming less and less “assisted” so stay tuned for some interesting video on the next update!

PS HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANDPA D (AKA BO)!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12th May 2014: HAPPY 1ST BIRTHDAY!

The girls have completed their first orbit of the yellow dwarf star we like to call the Sun! They went all the way around, didn’t cut a single corner, and covered the 940,000,000km at an average speed of 108,000 km/hr, without getting a single ticket! We’re so proud of them.

Joking aside, this is a powerful day. We have been reading back over some old blog posts and looking at unpublished photos/videos (many we don’t feel comfortable publishing on this blog), so….there have been many emotions bubbling up today. For us it’s mostly relief and thankfulness – the girls are doing as well as our most hope-y dreams hoped they would.  When we look at the old photos it startles us to see what they looked like, makes us quietly pause breathing for a second, but now:  http://youtu.be/726s2rSpy_s

…wow….so, so, so happy.

To celebrate they each got a carrot-banana cupcake – we haven’t introduced them to chocolate yet – and the very long (10min) video is, of course, worth watching 🙂 http://youtu.be/wtvVvMHIn0M. As an aside, one question we get asked a lot is whether we can tell them apart or how similar they are, which is an understandable question with twins. We always laugh and if you watch that video you will get a good sense of why.

We also took them back to the NICU to see some old friends (Kat and one of her primary nurses below…they were tight after 100+ days!), drop off some donuts and visit the Family Tree (http://www.swedishfoundation.org/swedish-family-tree) where their names are inscribed on plaques, thanks to the Diener grandparents. The NICU staff couldn’t believe how good they looked (see ” hope-y dreams” comment above).

CIMG8351

 

CIMG8349

They are starting to interact with each other more and more. Mostly this is Katarina stealing whatever toy Natasha is playing with, which results in Natasha frowning, looking sad and then…..picking up a different toy and continuing to play. Recently, however, Natasha has started fighting back, and startled Katarina the other day when, instead of letting go of the bright yellow block Katarina was coveting, Natasha whacked her with it. Katarina looked around with a very confused expression on her face. The girls tend to get reserved whenever we bring out the video camera (Natasha more than Katarina) but here are a few other videos worth watching. First Katarina v a beach ball http://youtu.be/l0jLoZnjzyM and one of our personal faves: the girls playing piano http://youtu.be/WbYDHwOfLqw  Their album will be out soon.

Their first birthday is absolutely momentous to us…but we also managed to celebrate Mother’s Day in style. Mom’s dream to get back out hiking came true…we did our first family hike. Of course Twin Falls had to be our choice 🙂

CIMG8334 CIMG8341 CIMG8346

 

A belated Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!