Friday, July 29, 2011

Doggie Show

There's something about a dog's fuzzy, squishy muzzle that I just want to kiss. Because the Dog Love runs strong in our family of four, we headed out for an afternoon at the Houston Dog Show!

Sean and I must have had a joint brain seizure because we decided to carry the boys around the show in lieu of the stroller. They were, in a word, wiggly.

But when we got to the fly ball section, we plopped them on our shoulders and they went wild over those racing, barking dogs.

It was interesting, at home Liam is much more likely to pet Pogo but at the dog show, he was more hesitant while Dash jumped right in there to greet the friendly canines.

Let me tell you though, holding onto a child for two hours is exhausting. They still don't favor walking but there weren't places for them to crawl. I was feeling those muscles ache for days.

I always like the obstacle courses. I was hard for the boys to get into it when the dog spent half the time on the far side of the mat. They'll probably like it more when their attention spans lengthen. We did, though, decide that Pompa and Rufus need to try this out; Rufus seems made for this.

We finally found a place to set down on the floor where Dash and Liam goofed around with a little fence guard rail (just their size!).

It's easier to pay attention when you have something to suck on, isn't it? Yes, according to Liam. What was he watching?...

The frisbee toss! We somehow picked a spot pretty much directly in line where the owners were throwing the frisbees, so we all got a good look at those pups in action. After we sat down, about 30 other people came and sat down around us, since it was such a great view.

Liam's thinking about catching one of those frisbees himself. Maybe when you get a few more teeth, hon.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Silly Kids

We returned from our vacations several weeks ago and the boys definitely came back a little more grown up. Somehow they instantly knew how to do things they hadn't before. Liam pulled out his See n Say and pulled down the lever while holding it (usually we'd have to help with either holding or lever pulling). Dash figured out how to open up the child-locked cabinets. They open up their diaper garbage can aaaaall the time (BLECH!). They climb up on the fireplace hearth and coffee table about 18 times a day.

They've also been extra silly. I should just have the video camera running all day because they're always cracking me up. Here's a few videos from ages ago (way back when my parents were here for a day, you can hear mom's laugh).

First off, Dash's crazy twist dance:
This has recently become Dash's defensive move whenever Liam tries to take his toy. It works.

Next, a little face squishing:
You give them just a little prompting and they'll start it up again in a second.

Now we have a little Boppy playtime:
Did you notice Liam's slow recline? He's constantly leaning his head back on things- he needs his relaxation.

And lastly, let's end with some splashing:
When's the last time you had so much fun getting clean?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Panel of Expert: Sunday Naps

The Great Nap Transition has begun! As of Monday, Liam and Dash are one-a-day nappers. For the last week and a half they'd been taking forever to fall asleep. Not crying or anything, just jabbering and playing. But it was pushing bedtime later and later.

It's going... uh, it's going. They're definitely crankier in the hour before the nap. I'm trying doing five hours of awake time on either side of the nap. They've been waking up with Sean's alarm at 6am regularly (grumble grumble) which means naps start at about 11am. Both days, they only slept for a little over an hour and a half so bedtime was 6:15pm!

I'm sure the kinks will knock out soon. All except one thing, the reason I've been dreading this transition for months...

Naps on Sundays.

Our church schedule is from 11am-2pm, right when I predict their nap will land once we're all adjusted. That time slot has actually been perfect up to this point, fitting snuggly between naps, but now it'll just step right on their precious sleeptime.

So here's where I need your advice. Many of you have had to deal with this or observed it in others. How do I manage this schedule conflict? Do I try to keep them happy during a 3 hour nap delay? Do I try and make them take two naps again on just Sundays? What's worked for you? I'm so so so so nervous about this and I need your help!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Button Toy

Current most coveted plaything?
The garage door opener. I think the repairman that was parked by our house the other day must have thought our garage was possessed.

Yeah, we don't let them play with the opener too often.

And they generally take it pretty well. Seeing as how they have a house full of real toys at their disposal.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Tube

For Sean's birthday, I bought him a cool map. It came in this big tube. So in essence, I bought the kiddos a gift, too.

Everyone wants to play with the tube. You can thump it like a drum, you can talk into it, you can eat it, you can peer into it.

Oh peering is so much fun! You guys should try peering sometime.

Liam's momentarily skeptical. What's so fun about this tube anyway?

It's a toy dispenser?! I'm sold.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Just Can't Get Enough

It's always nice to get the boys to bed for the night and have a little relaxation time for myself.

But do you know what I'm usually doing during those "Me Times" away from the boys? Looking at pictures of the them.

From editing photos to scrolling through old pictures to watching videos to studying the prints on the wall, I just can't help myself. I just can't get enough of those sweet faces.

Me Time is all about them. I guess that's what motherhood does and I sure do love it.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


My, what yellow teeth you have, Dash! Your mustache sets them off nicely, I must say.

Don't be jealous, Liam, you too can have yellow teeth one day.

(P.S. Congrats to those who got it correctly- in yesterday's post, Liam was on the left and Dash on the right! Whether you got it right or wrong, keep practicing!)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Getting Groceries

I just made the most fantastic discovery! My local grocery store just bought new carts with...
... TWO child seats! This is nothing short of miraculous. They must have noticed me careening through their aisles pushing a stroller and pulling a cart like a nutjob.

What, don't make fun, this is really exciting for me! So many options are now open to me, it's fantastic.

But I still have to pull out all the stops to keep them happy by the end of the trip. All that waiting in the checkout line is a real baby buzzkill.

OK! Now's your challenge. With your new-found knowledge, can you tell which baby's which?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Key Differences

People ask me all the time how I tell Liam and Dash apart. Well it's easy, they look completely different! But not everyone thinks so. When I think about it, there are a few key differences that I think this picture highlights:
Liam: Left, Dash: Right

Liam has a much more rounded head. If you ran your hand all around his hair, it'd feel like one continuous curve. Dash has a more angled head. You can see how the top of his head is almost squared off. Because of this head shape, I think it gives Dash a slightly taller forehead.

Liam has soft, squishy cheeks that hang lower than Dash's, who's cheeks are a bit leaner (though both are fantastically kissable). This makes Liam more likely to sport a cute double chin.

I haven't determined yet if there is a true anatomical difference, but Liam's eyebrows often look closer together than Dash's. Maybe he just furrows his brow more.

Jut as with the eyebrows, this might be more of a behavioral thing, but Dash's bottom lip is usually thinner/less pronounced than Liam's.

Their hair's pretty much the same except back bottom edge. Dash's hair bends to his left along the whole edge, while Liam's comes to a point on the left side. You can see it in this picture.

People often think Dash looks sleepy because the bags under his eyes are a little fuller.

Liam still has the little strawberry mark on his forehead, though it's faded a bit. This is most people's fallback. However, as each child is almost guaranteed to model a bump or two atop their heads these days, it's a rather unreliable differential.

There, easy peasy! You can always tell the difference now, right? Totally!

(But in case you can't, I always label which child is which in the Flickr description. So you just click on a picture if you're wondering and you can find out!)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sean's 26th Birthday

I love the half year when Sean's the same age as me. So here's what we did to celebrate the onset of those six months:
We celebrated at Grimaldi's Pizzeria. Super awesome thing: they bring over pizza dough for the kids entertainment.

Dash was all about it. He ate it and stretched it and ate it and tore it apart and ate it.

Liam, on the other hand, gave it a few tugs when encouraged and that was that.

He was more focused on his outrage at the lettuce we place in front of him. How dare we give him something so inedible!

After dinner we wandered around the fountains and yard by the restaurant. Sean's such a lucky birthday boy.

This is what inevitably happens when you hold two one-year-olds.

So we let them wander. That's their favorite.

Here's one of my handsome men.

Another of my handsome men.

The last of my handsome men. Gosh do I love them all.

We finished off with birthday pie! Dash was too busy playing in the kitchen cupboard to sing to daddy.

Well, actually, we finished off by seeing Harry Potter after the boys went to bed. We thought we were giving the babysitter the easiest job ever but, lo and behold, the boys picked that night to wake up crying. They never do that at night (while home, they do it all the time on vacation). I don't know if she decided to go in right away or what, but she said she just went in there and rocked them and it was alright after a while. Um, I don't know how she did that, because whenever I've gone in there in that sort of situation, it just makes it worse. Whatever she did, they were asleep when we got home, so I guess all's well.

And Harry Potter was so awesome! So intense and so emotional.

I have a few thoughts about it to share and there's DEFINITELY spoilers.

  • I cried: when we saw the Battle of Hogwarts victims (now having twins makes that so much harder!), Snape's memory of discovering Lily with a crying Harry in the background, Harry telling Ron and Hermione he had to go to the forest (Hermione's "I'll go with you..." oh such tears), and Ginny seeing the "dead" Harry.
  • These kid actors have become SO GOOD!
  • Some changes from the book were real improvements! Like the defenses everyone put up for Hogwarts- in the movie it was very impressive, in the books some of the spells seemed kind of silly. Also, I thought the way Neville attains the Sorting Hat felt more organic.
  • I thought King's Cross was pretty darn good. I just wish they had talked about Voldemort taking Harry's blood, how it allowed Harry to come back to life. I mean, I experienced years of angst, wondering what that "twinkling" in Dumbledore's eye was back in book 4. I worried it was a hint that Dumbledore may be on Voldemort's side. But at King's Cross, we finally learn that Dumbledore had discovered a way for Harry to survive after all! It's an amazing connection to make as you're reading. The movie just wants you to accept Harry's "resurrection" blindly.
  • I loved love loved the added scene of Harry talking to Ron and Hermione before going to the forest. These three are the heart of the story and it heightened the emotion so much.
  • I don't understand why Harry and Voldemort merged as they were flying through the air. I also am not sure what exactly killed Voldemort. Was he so weak that Harry's expelliarmus curse actually did him in? Or did Voldemort's avada kedavra get sucked into him in a way that was not obvious to me? What do you guys think?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Mr. Birthday

It's someone's birthday and I'll give you a few clues as to who it is:

  • He regularly surfs wikipedia.
  • He wanted to be a dinosaur when he was little.
  • He still wants to be a dinosaur.
  • He has eyes like the sea after a storm.
  • He once told me he wanted to retire to France to live in a little villa and wear suspenders.
  • He's the most brilliant man I know.
  • He the handsomest man I know.
  • He makes up little ditties at least three times a day. Often they only consist of five words.
  • He loves his kids so much.
  • He has the best giggle on the planet.
  • He smells so good.
  • He makes up the most fascinating voices when reading children's books.
  • I'm pretty sure everyone in my family likes him more than me.
  • He has really stretchy skin.
  • He just bought a rockin' plaid tie.
  • He is my absolute best friend.
  • He has some very dreamy, manly, bulgy arm veins.
  • He likes my face without makeup.
  • He is such a good communicator.
  • He makes my heart go pitter-pat.

Did you guess who it was? I know, those clues didn't give much away. But take a stab at it anyway!

Ready to find out? Happy birthday to...
Sean! The man of my dreams! My one and only! My prince!

I love you so much, Honbun. Welcome to 26!

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Oh me oh my oh golly, I'm so so so so antsy! Why? Harry Potter comes out tonight! Were we childless, were Sean not working early the next morning, we'd be front and center for that midnight showing. But as it is, I guess we'll settle for Friday night. A few hours wait isn't so bad, now is it?

I recently finished rereading the seventh book to gear up for the movie. There's a few chapters in there that I really really love. And want to talk about them. Oh look, I have a blog, I'll talk about it there! I mean, here! (The last two chapters are in the newest movie, so I'll try to be as spoiler-free as I can. But no promises)

Chapter 24: The Wandmaker
I defy anyone to hold back the waterworks as Harry buries Dobby. Those were my first tears of the book. But emotions aside, what I really love about the chapter is the control Harry finally achieves. When Harry began looking for horcruxes he became very frustrated and a bit lost for direction. Then he became obsessive over the hallows. Finally, that soul-rending grief Harry experiences over Dobby gives him the check he needed to set his mind in order. With that control came a simmering power that just diffused off of The Boy Who Lived as he methodically set his plans in order. It gave me such confidence that he was going to get the job done well.

Chapter 34: The Forest Again
The hollowness Harry felt, the dead weight of the truth he'd just learned- I could hardly breathe as I read it. The way he just let the cold wash over him, no rage, no defiance. Only sad, slow acceptance. I don't know how he could muster the will to move, to go face his destiny. I felt so heavy yet so disconnected as he walked through the forest, disbelieving what was to come. Such a gripping journey.

Chapter 35: King's Cross
What an existential chapter. It was so open and voluminous and empty- empty in a good way, in a way similar to "Waiting for Godot." The symbolism of the setting was perfect. The conversation so raw and captivating. I read each line at least three times, not because it was convoluted, no, not at all. I read it so many times so I could lap up every last meaning, every last nuance, every newly revealed piece of the puzzle. It's a mind-captivating chapter that I want to go read again right now.

Alright, I think I'm ready for this movie! Not that I'm excited for the movies to be done, though. After the books, at list we had the films to look forward to. Now what? Maybe Pottermore can fill that void a bit. And perhaps a Universal Studios visit one day :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Poke in the Eye

Is everyone tired of my long, meandering vacation posts? Me, too.

So today, I'll just leave you with this image:
Sometimes having a twin is a dangerous endeavor.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Zechiel Family Reuion 2011 Roundup

Reunion 2011
We hired a professional photographer to get some nice portraits of everyone at the beach. I'm so happy we did that! I'm glad I didn't have to do any of the work (besides take photos while Jennifer the Pro took hers, as shown below) and it was nice to see someone who does this for a living in her element. I took tips in case I ever want to try my hand at getting paid to take pictures.

beach boys 2011
I know I already linked to this picture in another post but it's worth another look. I think I stare at this picture about 84 times a day. Those boys are so stinkin' cute! (giving them seashells to play with: genius) I can't wait to see the real proofs!

While we were waiting for Jennifer the Pro to show up, Jennifer the Sister and I decided to swap family photo taking. Nice capture, Jenny. If only I'd have gotten a better tan... and my hair wasn't so stringy.... Why I didn't bring a hairbrush, I'll never know.

And here's Jenny's fam. Lookin' good.

Silly faces! Normally I don't like the idea of wearing white for portraits but at the beach, it's perfect, don't you think?

Ah, my handsome men. We really worked hard to keep these boys happy. The photographer wanted to take pictures at sunset because A) it' less hot, B) it's less crowded, and C) it's her favorite lighting. That meant we had to keep the boys up late. They didn't end up getting to bed until almost two hours past bedtime. Oy.

And on top of that, they had woken up super early that day and had a very short morning nap. They were just all around tired boys. It seems like that was the theme of the trip- Liam and Dash not sleeping on the days when I really want them to sleep. I'd been thinking about this day for weeks, trying to slowly drift bedtime and such so to minimize their sleep deprivation on this day. And then they go and wake up at 5:45 am. They did the same thing the day we were driving to FL. They had lots of sort naps the whole week. It sort of stressed me out. Like a lot.

But what can you do? Sean helped me chill out a bit. He helped me notice this picture, too. By which I mean he said, "that'd be a good photo," and I agreed by taking the snapshot. Thanks hon.

Hey, there's Jennifer the Pro at work. She had to move fast to get photos of everyone before the sun went down.

One thing that's so great about reunions is seeing all the cousins interact. It's cute to see little friendships born and strengthen.

Sean and I survived sleeping in the same room as the boys. We tried to keep it as dark as possible for them by shutting the hurricane shutters and taping a blanket over the patio door. All the guests in the rentals around us must have wondered why we were trying to block out the light while in sunshiny Florida.

It was so unnerving trying to be as quiet as possible to make sure we never woke the boys. Whenever they woke up early, I'd hope they might fall back asleep and keep myself stock-still so they wouldn't notice we were there. Because once they knew I was a couple feet from them, it was all over. One night, Sean suddenly started talking in his sleep. And not in a little mumble either, it was almost a yell! So I clamped my hand over his mouth but he kept at it. So I shook his head some- it made no difference. I practically had to push him off the bed to get him to stop! Thankfully, the boys only stirred a little.

Niki lived in Pensacola for much of her childhood so I think she had a really good time being back in a place she considers home.

Brian: Suave and Debonair

Brian: Silly and Goofy (and freshly sun-burnt)

Chris came partway through the week since she had to work the first half. I sure need a few more days with her around!

It really was a fun week. It certainly wasn't carefree, having a couple kids in tow, but it was way more fun to have children with whom to share the fun. I had hoped to take way more beach photos whenever we went to play but I was, firstly, scared of getting sand in the camera (we've ruined a camera that way already) and, secondly, I have clingy babies to watch! It's more fun to make the memories than take pictures of them, though, isn't it? And we sure made lots and lots of good memories.

WoooOOO, now that's a kiss! Mom and Dad did so much to make that fun week possible. Thank you so much! Did I mention that they flew down to Houston and then drove with us to Florida. I guess it was cheaper to fly here than to Florida, plus they had Rhuelin's baptism in Texas to attend the day after the Reunion. We decided to drive through the night to return home and somehow dad ended up driving the whole second half himself. I don't know how he did that. I think he took about eight naps the next day! I'll tell you one thing though, my children were d.o.n.e. with the car after all these trips. Except for a trip to and from church on Sunday, we gave them a week break from the car seat. I'm happy to say that they now seem cured of their car travel woes!

"Me? Eat sand? Oh no, I wouldn't do a thing like that! Why do you ask?"

"Oh yeah, I definitely ate that sand! It was great! I love this Destin place!"