We had been keeping these private since we made photo albums as a suprise gift for Christmas, but now that Christmas is over I thought I would share them. At the end of October (aka our last free weekend of the year) we went to Brazos Bend State Park and got some cool pictures of Owen and Mason. I actually took the time to process these and prepare them for printing and I think they turned out pretty good, although I'm still no professional. A couple of my favorites:
Come into our house and you will notice something missing. Something that was functional, yet an eye-sore; necessary yet inconvenient. You guessed it. No more baby gates. While I am happy to report that we are free of these hindrances, I am also slightly sad to think that my babies are not so baby anymore. No, we were not protecting stairs, as most baby gates do. We were protecting our clean little babies from the nasty litter box. I have to agree that while gross and out of place, tucked away in a corner of our breakfast area was the only place that could house this cat commode. It didn't hurt that gating off the kitchen area also protected our lower cabinets filled with breakable kitchen items. We are of the opinion that it is easier to grant freedoms as the child is mature enough to handle them, rather than allow a freedom too early and have to take it away. Owen and Mason didn't know what they were missing, nor did they care. But now they can be trusted to stay out of the cabinets. As far as the litter box, we now have the floor space to tuck it away in our laundry room with the addition of a new, stackable washer/dryer set. So, there you have it. Kitchen freedom. Yet another milestone that signifies the entrance into toddlerhood.
For Christmas, Owen and Mason (with Daddy's help) gave me the most awesome present I've ever received. Let me start from the beginning. A few months before Mother's Day I saw a beautiful necklace, personalized with a name and on the back, a finger print. The store was selling each charm for $300 and I quickly realized that having 2 precious babies, this was WAY out of our budget, for any occasion, ever. I kept talking about how much I liked this necklace and scoured the internet for something similar but less expensive. Nothing was suitable.
On Christmas morning, Aaron handed me a small package labeled 'love Owen and Mason.' I had no idea what was inside because, like I said, I had resigned myself to never getting a necklace like that. Sure enough, inside was my necklace. I was so shocked and of course I asked, 'how?!' Aaron informed me that he MADE it himself. I was so confused, which prompted more questions. He told me he did research and in fact he ordered the supplies, then formed, stamped, fingerprinted, fired, and antiqued these beautiful charms. Simply amazing. Forever marked with the work of my husband's loving hands, and imprinted with the tiny fingerprints of my precious Owen and Mason.
We had a wonderful Christmas! The boys are at a great age and it was so much fun! We had the whole gang at our house: Mimi, Papi, and uncle Kyle from Lubbock; Great-Grandma Mary from Missouri; Granna and Granddaddy from San Antonio; Aunt Lindsay from Austin; and Numna and Bee from San Marcos. Oh, and don't forget the 2 extra cats and 3 extra dogs for a total of 4 of each! Phew! It sounded hectic going into it but it was amazingly simple, relaxing, and enjoyable. We all went to the Christmas Eve candlelight service to get into the true spirit of the season. Owen and Mason really enjoyed the live Nativity, complete with 2 camels, a donkey, a calf, a mommy and baby goat, and a real baby Jesus. Owen and Mason awoke to Santa's gifts strewn about our living room. A train table complete with the coolest of train tracks, parking garage, and roads. Fire trucks that can actually be driven by little guys were a big hit since these little guys are WAY into 'cucks, voom voom' (translation: trucks, vroom vroom...every time they see one). Remote control cars, money for a rainy day, books, letters, hammering bench, Disney DVDs, and even an abacus from their Finance major Uncle Kyle. We are all so thankful to every one in our special family. Aaron and I know that Owen and Mason love their gifts of love. They've hardly touched their 'old' toys and all the new ones are still out and about in the living room. You guys are awesome and the love you show our babies is so appreciated. We know that Owen and Mason will grow up knowing that there is always a lap with enough room for two...and a hug to go with it!
This year the boys were old enough to help with the ornaments. We decked them out in some cute pajamas, put on some Christmas music, and went to town. Mason actually put the star on the top of the tree when Daddy lifted him up. We figured we'd have to redo it after the cute photo op but he got it on there. Owen was supposed to have a turn but he was too interested in putting the balls on the tree. He got mad when we tried to make him switch tasks. Maybe next year. We also had fun playing with the train that Numna gave the boys last year. They love it so much that they constantly knock it off the track because they like to touch it. We discovered it was easier if we just let it drive around the living room sans track. They just march along right behind it, watching it drive around. They were in such amazement at the tree and it wasn't even surrounded by presents. We can't wait to see their reaction on Christmas morning!
We took Owen and Mason to visit Santa so they could tell him how good they've been all year. They have been pointing out every Santa they see, saying 'Tan-ta, Taaaan-ta!' We thought they may be a bit scared if we just threw them onto his lap so we decided to let them walk up to him on their own. They had no problem with this and they even gave him a high five. We thought we were good to go so we went ahead and put them up in his lap. Here is the resulting photograph:
Poor Santa had a death grip on them, all while keeping the perfect Santa smile. They were trying with all their might to get away. But we love the picture. It is a great representation of where we are right now. Like my friend said, we'll have many more years of smiling Santa pictures.
18 months has come and gone and now we are 19 months old! So much has happened and I just haven't had time to sit down and document it all. I know I'll be sorry when I realize I can't remember stuff.
The major event in our life happened in early November. My mom's dear older brother passed away after an 8 year battle with Alzheimer's. He was only 62. He was a wonderful person, touching lives as a pediatrician as far away as Cuba and Tanzania. He meant so much to our family and we will miss him. My aunt, his wife, passed along to Owen and Mason a handmade quilt that he frequently used while he was in the Alzheimer's facility. We will treasure it.
On a happy note, here are some funny things that Owen and Mason do: Cooooold They both have learned what cold feels like. I don't remember specifically teaching them this, they just picked it up and latched onto it for some reason. Their favorite meal time game is to say 'cooooold' and stretch out their hand towards our soda cans, glass of water, etc. They HAVE to touch it and say 'coooold' before they will let it go. So random. They also picked up 'hot.' Again, we didn't teach them this specifically, so we didn't realize that it was time to stress that we do not touch hot things. We're working on this, don't worry.
Bath time belly flops Owen knows that after dinner it is time for 'baff.' Recently they decided to use the bath tub as if it were a padded room. They stand up and flop down, hitting their head against the side of the tub, each other, a toy...and just laugh and repeat. Definitely boys! They also started this new thing when the water is draining out. They wave and say 'bye bye agua' (no, we aren't actively teaching them Spanish. One of Aaron's uncles taught them agua). Then, when the water is fairly shallow, they both lay backwards and say 'nigh night.' I think they'd stay all night long if we let them.
Mason has a name! For the longest time, both boys referred to each other as Owen. They have finally learned (for the most part) who to point to when asked where Owen/Mason is, either themselves or brother. Even more exciting is Mason has finally learned to say his name. Even though he says 'Ason' it is still adorable. And so is their little voices calling brother's name when he isn't in the room. The other day Mason woke up as I was getting him out of the car. Owen was already in the house so when Mason opened his eyes he didn't see Owen. The first thing out of his mouth, before he was fully awake, was 'Owen, Owen.'
Bye bye Owen has fully learned the meaning of bye bye and uses it correctly. He lets me know when he is ready to leave a store that I am dragging them around in. The other day we were in Toys R Us and we walked passed the front door. Owen started saying 'bye bye, bye bye.' The lady walking in said 'wow, I've never heard a kid ask to leave a toy store!' Poor guy, he must have been bored.
Eat They both let me know, loud and clear I might add, when they want to eat. This is a fairly new word so I was surprised to hear it pop out of their mouth in the correct context. The other day we were eating a casserole with large elbow macaronis in it. Mason picked one up, held it to the side of his head, and started talking. It took us a second but we realized he was pretending it was a phone. So smart!!
Sharing There is always a teachable moment regarding this concept. Owen is such an 'in the moment' kid that he doesn't understand that if Mason has something it will still exist in a little while for him to play with. He gets so frustrated and usually cries as he finds a little corner to cool off in. Mason, on the other hand, understands that one toy is exactly like the other toy so when Owen is insisting on having Mason's, Mason is okay with trading. He is very good about letting Owen play with something he has. I have to regulate though and make sure that Mason gets his turn when I feel like he really does care about having a turn.
Mother's Day Out We are MDO hunting. Hoping to get the boys started sometime after the new year. I think they'd really like it and I sure could use a bit of time to get errands done without involving a stroller.
Words, words, words Owen has really progressed lately in his speech. He used to listen more but now he is trying new words out. He is still not as articulate as Mason but he isn't far behind. Both of them have increased their vocabulary so much lately. I didn't realize they could say 'hand, horse, granddaddy, eat,' etc until it popped out of their mouths. They are also very good at mimicking a word you say and are really on the cusp of speaking in sentences. We are realizing as their speech gets more understandable that all this jibber jabber has been words to sentences. They just weren't good enough at saying it yet. We are hearing the sounds of familiar words taking shape in the common phrases they use. We find ourselves saying 'Ohhh, they've been saying that this whole time...'
I'm sure there are a million more things that I will think of later. I'll post as they pop into my brain again.
In the mean time, our family wishes everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. We hope that your holidays are filled with love, wonder, and laughter.
Owen and Mason have been busy learning about all the fun things that surround the Christmas season. We have been reading books about Santa ('Tanta'), Snowmen ('Mo-man'), Rudolph ('deer'), candy canes ('ca-cane'), nutcrackers ('cuh-cacker'), etc. We put up our Christmas tree and got some really cute pictures. At the moment, those pictures are still on our 'good' camera but I will be posting them soon, I promise! Owen and Mason painted a plate that we will use for years to come for Santa's cookies. They had a blast dunking the paintbrush into the puddle of paint. We had to encourage them to smear it around on the plate. Mommy got smart and started putting little dots of paint on the plate and told them to 'get the dots.' They thought that was a fun game. And it worked! We got a great keepsake out of our mess.
We also made our first ever batch of Christmas cookies, complete with icing and sprinkles. They sure didn't need any help shaking the sprinkles out! And afterwards, there were red and green sprinkles everywhere! Oh well. Who cares when you get to eat your creation?
Mommy also made some crayons for Owen and Mason out of a Christmas candy mold. They turned out really cute and the boys had fun trying to figure out what exactly they were supposed to do with these weird looking crayons.