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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

March Madness

I tried my best to not let March pass without updating the blog, but missed it by two days!  We have been busy, busy, busy!!  I'm not even sure where to begin.  The twins were able to celebrate their birthday again at school.  They took cupcakes for all of their friends.  They are still loving all of their presents and can remember who gave them what.  They got toys, games, clothes, beach towels, puzzles, etc.!  Tim converted their cribs into toddler beds and we got them new bedding.  At first, they loved the beds and kept wanting to lay in them and pretend that they were sleeping, but when bedtime came, they wanted no part of them.  It took a few nights of us laying in the floor until they fell asleep, for them to feel comfortable.  We still struggle with them getting out of their beds and coming to our room at night.  We bought a gate for their door, so now they will wake up in the middle of the night and stand at the gate crying.  We try our best to get them back in their bed and back to sleep, but I will admit that at times, we give in and just bring them to our room.  We had decided that Spring Break was going to be our week to really put our foot down and then the family came down with the stomach bug.  Tayden had it first and then Brooklyn and I got it.  Needless to say, our plans changed.  In true Russell fashion, I had a week off and then sickness found us and it always does when I have time off.  We spent the week of Spring Break hanging out at home and cleaning.  My mom came over a few days and we would attack different rooms/closets.  Having an extra set of hands allowed us to get some projects done and get more organized.  Thank you mom!!!!

We have been able to spend a great deal of time outside enjoying the beautiful weather.  The twins love playing in the sandbox from Lovey and Unka Dean.  We have picnics on the patio and they stay entertained for hours in the yard.  They also spend a lot of time in their new playroom.  They have mastered the art of making a complete mess in a matter of minutes.  It is great having a separate space for them to play.  Our living room is now a living room, rather than a storage place for all of their toys.  I still need to add some finishing touches and then I will post pictures.

We took the twins to a trial gymnastics class, because Brooklyn is quite obsessed.  She can do the splits and is always talking about going to gymnastics class.  When we arrived at the gym, both kids were beyond excited, but Tayden quickly became his shy self.  He wanted to be on the floor with the group, but did not want to participate.  Brooklyn, was a totally different story.  She soaked up every single activity.  There were 5-6 other girls and she had a great time keeping up with them.  She walked on the balance beam, jumped on the trampoline, played on the bars and the rings, and had fun with the giant parachute.  At the end of the class they sang "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes."  It was the only part of the class that Tayden wanted to do.  When it was time to go, Tayden was ready, but Brooklyn was so distraught that she cried for about 20 minutes.  She kept saying, "I want to do gymnastics!!!!"  We weren't thrilled with that location, so we plan to find another place that she will love for weekly classes.  We think Tayden would love a music class, but haven't been able to find one near us.

Earlier in the month we participated in the MS Walk in honor of my sister Lauri, who has been living with MS for many years.  We had a great team that braved the freezing cold weather for the walk.  Lauri walked more than one mile!!!  We celebrated by having a yummy family breakfast.  It was a great day, and more importantly a wonderful reminder of how strong my sister truly is!

The twins are still completely in love with their school.  They love going to play with their friends, see their teachers, and learn new things.  They come home each Tuesday and Thursday with amazing crafts and knowledge of new topics.  We are thrilled that they love it so much!!  We were planning on putting them in Mother's Day Out for four days a week next year and had even visited another school that offered all four days.  Then, our "plan" was completely challenged.  Tim's company had a conference call one morning in which they laid off his entire department.  This was completely unexpected.  Tim took it as a blessing! Although he loved being able to make his own schedule and work from home, he missed being around people.  He had grown very weary of collections, which he has done for over 12 years.  He was ready to make a change, and fortunately the change was made for him.  After much prayer and many conversations, we decided that it would be best for him to do real estate full time for awhile.  He has sold three houses in the last month and a half - which is definitely a blessing straight from Heaven.  He is still able to stay home with the twins, and when they are at school he runs errands and goes to the gym.  We are able to spend much more time as a family in the evenings which has been GREAT!!  He is now able to show houses whenever he needs to and has much more time to work with his clients.  He has decided to start EMT school in the near future.  He has always had a desire to work in the medical field and he feels like this is the time to go to school, especially with summer coming up - which means I will be home.  Once he completes his certification, he can get a job as an EMT to supplement his real estate if necessary.  He is very excited about all of the possibilites and I am glad to see him happy.  Please pray that his real estate will continue to flourish.

Last weekend, we traveled to Waco to see the Elmo show.  It was here in our area in February, but with my birthday and the twins' birthday, it was too hectic to try and go.  We figured it would be fun to get away for a night and make a trip out of it.  We left on Saturday and stopped off at the outlet mall in Hillsboro.  Once we arrived in Waco, we ate dinner at Chuys and then headed to the hotel.  This was the 2nd time for us to stay in a hotel with the kids.  They had to explore every inch of the room and were so excited to be somewhere new.  I shared a bed with Tayden and Tim shared with Brooklyn.  When it was time to go to sleep we turned out the lights and figured they would fall right to sleep.  Tayden kept touching my face to make sure I was still next to him, and Brooklyn kept telling Tim that she was "a little bit scared."  They fell asleep pretty quickly and were ready to see Elmo the next morning.  The show was great and we had awesome seats three rows from the stage.  The characters came off the stage numerous times and Brooklyn was able to shake hands with the Count and Rosita.  Tayden was a bit scared like last year, but eventually warmed up.  We had a great time getting away as a family and spending time together.

I must share some of the funny things that the kids have been saying.

Brooklyn was singing in the car and when Tayden started singing with her, she held up her hand and said, "No, you don't sing with me.  You look out the window."  She tells me quite frequently that when she grows up she is going to drink coffee and wear bras.  One day I was laying in their floor trying to get them down for a nap and she said, "Mommy, Tayden and I are going to leave you one day to go to college."  Talk about depressing!!!  She loves reading books and playing educational games on our tablets.  She will take whatever book we just read and sit on the couch and "read" it again aloud.  It is hilarious to hear her repeat the things she remembers and she is quite accurate with retelling the story.  She tells us many times each day how much she loves us and gives us big hugs and kisses.  She loves meeting new people and will tell anyone she sees, "Hello," and ask them what their name is and what their mommy's name is.  She listens intently to adult conversations and will ask me who I am talking about.  She wants to be apart of everything and goes full speed from when she wakes up until she falls asleep.

Tayden's personality cracks me up.  He gets nervous around new people and likes to reinact things that have happened to him while walking around in a hilarious way which is kind of like a stomp that involves many hand motions.  He is enamored with books (especially I Spy) and playing games on the tablets.  He seems to be able to spell a new word each day and loves to try and stump us with letters.  He will say, "What letter is this?"  Then he will start making the sound the letter makes to give us a hint.  His teachers cannot believe how much he loves music and all of the songs he knows.  He LOVES to sing and is really good at it.  The other day he was in the backyard.  I went to the bathroom and when I came back he was in the middle of the yard pretending to play the guitar and the piano, while dancing to our neighbor's radio.  It was quite a sight!!  He likes talking about the calendar and telling me what month it is and what month is coming next.  I have a feeling he got the organizer gene from his mommy.  On Sunday night, he was walking around the house with a notepad and crayon taking our dinner orders.  He added "salt and pepper" to everything.  Hilarious!

I have my first round of STAAR testing this week.  I am a bit nervous, but hopeful that it will go smoothly.  I learn something new each day and truly love what I am doing.  I was issued a handheld scanner to inventory all of my tests.  This completes my childhood dream of wanting to work in a grocery.  I have a job that allows me to puch buttons and scan - what more could a girl want?

Next up - our Easter blog...

pirate ship

My Little Pony

Mickey Mouse playdough tools

birthday cake set

Tayden's big boy bed



Brooklyn's big girl bed

checking it out for the first time

pretending to sleep

cupcakes for school birthday celebration

Valentine's outfits

sibling love

community helper theme at school

Firegirl Brooklyn - Tayden didn't have a picture

pizza chefs

gymnastics class - noticing the only child standing

Brooklyn on the trampoline

love this face

zoo week

Spring Break silly string fun

they love their sandbox

fun at the hotel

taking some notes before the show

loving every minute

Rosita - that shook hands with Brooklyn

captive audience