Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas Pics

Nathan on Dad's lap on Christmas Eve.  He learned how to tear the paper quickly!

Thanks for presents!

Matthew napped with Grandpa A while Nathan unwrapped their gifts.

RIBBONS AND PAPER!  Thanks Gigi and Great Grandpa P!

Grandpa A and Smiley Nathan, Aunt A and Curious Matthew on Christmas morning

Nathan loves Christmas!

Matthew FINALLY gets a chance to unwrap!

Uncle A and Grandma A help the boys unwrap their toys.

Matthew and Uncle A sporting new caps

Great Grandpa P, Nathan, Gigi, Matthew, Cousin S and Cousin E, who did NOT like the babies opening presents!

We are not too sure about this.....

Nathan: I'm planning my escape.
Matthew :Save me, Aunt M!

Whew, I'm outta here!  Try again next year, red guy!

Santa surprised Grandma K with a pretty necklace!

Me and Steve opening Aunt P's gifts of Tigger and Pluto outfits for the boys.

Uncle D, I thought maybe you'd whip me up some teppanyaki seeing as how it's Christmas and all...but I'll take what I can get. Thanks for feeding me! 

Matthew strollin' with Uncle A

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  We have been abundantly blessed in 2009 and pray that our friends and families across the globe will find good health, happiness, and many blessings in 2010 as well!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Beach Like No Other

How fun, I get to be a guest columnist for my own blog. Kim normally writes the fantastic posts that you get to read every day or so, but she deferred to me on this next topic.

For airline and airplane enthusiasts, there are numerous "must see" locations, but few leave us shivering with delight as Maho Beach in Saint Maarten. Princess Juliana International has one runway and features a short approach that has to be seen to believe.

There are signs posted to warn you about
how much fun you're about to have

The very end of the runway sits next to Maho Beach and aircraft pass over and land literally feet away from you. In addition, due to prevailing winds, nearly all departures occur from the same end of the runway. This results in a jet and sand blast experience like no other. People come from all over the world to get the chance to see this, simply search "St. Maarten Airport Landing" and you'll see what I mean. The airport is quite busy and accepts long range widebody traffic from carriers like KLM and Air France, as well as numerous domestic and Caribbean based carriers. This keeps the runway very busy and us airplane geeks quite happy!

Play this video for the experience yourself. This is not our video, but exactly what we saw!

This was a dream come true for me. I had always wanted to visit St. Maarten simply for the airport take offs and landings, not to mention the beautiful escape it makes as Minneapolis is receiving 20 inches of snow. Kim was happy because there was a beach and warm weather; that's enough for her. I am thankful she puts up with me!

I had business to attend to and so I chose a hotel right next to the airport, with a room that looked at the airport; how convienent! This left us within walking distance of Maho Beach and our first evening there, we just happened to time it right to be at the beach when Air France took off. When airplanes land, people stand directly under or just to the side of the fIight line. When the airplanes takes off, adventurous individuals choose to stand mere feet from the engines. When the aircraft spools up to take off speed, it leaves behind jetblast and you get hot, windy air that kicks up an incredible amount of sand. I never intended to participate in the fun, but instead wanted to take pictures of it. I expected the aircraft to straighten out and take off, but instead, he left at slight angle and I ended up directly in the blast zone!

Air France A340 bound for Paris
This is the aircraft that I ended up behind

One last fun aspect, there is a resteraunt right on the beach that is wholy dedicated to serving food (good food at that) to folks watching the aircraft. They have ATC radios and pizza's named after all the airlines. I had always wanted to sit there and watch the aircraft and was very happy that I got to do this too.

Yes, it's real. This is American Airlines Boeing 737 landing at Maho Beach.

Lined up on the airport fence for the chance to be jetblasted


The guys and me at Maho Beach

Thursday, December 24, 2009

"Mister, your baby is staring at me."

We're used to people asking questions about the boys when we're out in public. We have prepared answers for "Are they twins?" Yes. "Are they identical?" No. "Do twins run in your family?" They do now. But what do you say to the little boy waiting behind you on the jetbridge who says as you're boarding the plane, "Mister, your baby is staring at me!"

That's how our mini-tropical St. Maarten trip began on Saturday night. My funny husband said, "It's because he wants you to take care of him on the plane ride tonight," and pretended to hand Matthew over to the kid! (Actually, it began with 8 oz. of breastmilk dumped into our diaper backpack as we backed out of the driveway going to the airport, but that's not a fun anecdote to start with.)

We spent one night in Atlanta because we didn't feel like we'd make a 40 minute connection between flights on Sunday morning. The night in the hotel was unremarkable, but I have to mention it because I snapped this adorable pic. I wonder if the Crown Plaza needs baby models, because this is an advertisement if I've ever seen one!

We bought this Snap and Go stroller for 20 bucks off of Craigslist because we need one that fits through the Xray machine when we fly. It clearly had a rough life before we adopted it, but we like to think that we gave it some love in its golden years. Now, the poor stroller has two wheels in the grave, because when we landed in St. Maarten, the rear axle was bent so badly it wouldn't move. My muscle-bound man wrestled it into barely-working order so we could squeak around the island for two days. Stroller funeral will be held upon our homecomeing to MN. Please send condolences to the blog comment section.

Me, Nathan, Matthew and aforementioned stroller enjoying the sunset.

Steve actually DID have to do some work on Monday morning, during which time I put the boys down for a nap and washed their dishes in the bathroom sink. We headed out to the pool when he came back and it was a good thing, too. The fellas had been practicing their flipping-over skills on the beds, desperately trying to reach the tile floor.

Matthew's unblinking stare!

Steve and Nathan's self-pool-portrait

Nathan loves to splash in the water!

Matthew just loves swimming!

We were able to dip their toes into the Atlantic, too. The ocean was a little too loud or a little too sandy or maybe they were a little too tired to think it was fun. The boys were not upset or crying about it, but they were not enjoying it, either. So that excursion was a short took longer to get us all slathered up with SPF 50 then bathed afterward than it did to visit the ocean. But it was worth it!

It was a lot of hassle getting there and a TREMENDOUS hassle getting back (try missing a flight and renting a car to drive from Atlanta to Michigan OVERNIGHT to make it home for Christmas when you've been awake since 4:30am - now that's what I call a good time!), but when someone asked me if it was worth it, I say yes. Wouldn't you?

Nathan sleeping, Matthew with Steve on the balcony watching the planes land. Airplane geeks, stay tuned: I'm saving the most incredible airplane shots for its own entry!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Joy to the World!

We have so much joy in our house we just have to share it with the world!  I can hardly believe that our itty bitty preemie babies are now over 6 months old and they are turning into BOYS! 

Because we'll be traveling back to MI for Christmas, we decided to do our first Christmas with the boys last night.  The presents appeared under the tree while the boys napped, and it took Matthew just a minute to find them!  While I was busy with Nathan, Matthew rolled himself to the tree and RIPPED A CORNER OFF A PRESENT!  This kid has never in his life ripped open a present, but he figured out what to do with that box all by himself.  I tried to get a picture when I caught him batting at the stockings which were under the tree, but when he saw the camera, he stopped and rolled away.  What a smart kid, avoiding photographic evidence!

We did manage to snag a few photos last night, though:

Other way, Nathan!  You're so close!

Matthew wouldn't take the bink out to try the sippy cup Santa put in his stocking.


They liked the paper more than the presents!

Here's what Mommy and Daddy found under the tree: a little Matthew Man and Smiley Nathan!

Thanks for the wrapping paper!

Bonus pics: Matthew is playing with the HANDLES on my cedar chest.  What you can't see are ALL THE TOYS he opened last night. 

Cutie pie Nathan with the apple from applesauce last week. 

Why did we bother with presents when we have wrapping paper, handles, and apples?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Day in the Life of an Elf

We bundled up our little elves to go see their buddies working at the Macy's holiday display in downtown Minneapolis today.  Each year, they put on an animated figurine display that is so unique and entertaining that you can't NOT go - especially when it's free!  Steve and I finally timed it right - on a Tuesday afternoon - so that we didn't have to wait in line or deal with big crowds.  Thank goodness for the skyways!  Thanks to them, we didn't have to take the boys into the below zero air we had here today.

Dad, Matthew and Nathan at the entrance: "Welcome to A Day in the Life of an Elf"

Nathan enjoying the animated elves in Santa's Mail Room.  Behind him you can see "Reindeer flight school" where there is an elf vectoring in the reindeer flight traffic like Daddy used to do.

Here we are in Santa's Bakery where the elves were baking up sweet treats.  Our favorite was the candy cane machine!

If you've been reading, you know I'm jealous of other bloggers who know how to post video.  So I shot twenty second's worth of our favorite scene today: The Singing Christmas Tree Forest.  Both boys were just fascinated watching the trees bend and turn, which had faces, lights, ornaments, songbooks and giftbox feet that tapped!  Unfortunately, the video doesn't do it justice because it was dark in there and there was no sound on the recording.  BUT, we're getting there!  I figured out how to record on the digital camera AND got it saved and uploaded to our hard drive.  SO, I'm making progress...albeit very slow.

Just a day in the life of our little elves.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie...

Who's made this into baby food, holler "I!"  If you had told me a year ago that I would be nursing twins and making my own baby food, I would have wet my pants laughing!  Joke's on me, because here I am, still nursing six-and-a-half-month-old twins and this week, I forayed into baby food making.

Okay, I haven't made peach or pumpkin-pie baby food yet, but "Apples, Peas and Carrots" just doesn't have the same ring to it.  I purchased several jars of baby food about a month ago, and now that we're getting to the bottom of them - because they are eating A LOT, I thought, what the heck, let's see if I can't find that baby food website I heard about.

So in a minute's time I found, printed a few recipes and was up and running.  I couldn't believe how easy it was!  Wow, that sounded a whole lot like a Billy Mays commercial, may he rest in peace.  Oh, and there were recipes for peaches and pumpkin, too. I consider those "intermediate" recipes...I'm just a beginner!

Matthew helps me count the carrots before peeling, cooking, and pureeing.

Nathan tries feeding his elephant while I peel, core and boil the apples.

More peas!  Nathan says (no, grandmas, he's not talking yet, but he DID like the fresh peas!)

I'm finally putting that blender to better use than the occasional milkshake.  The puree goes into my former breastmilk-freezing ice cube trays for a few hours and voila!  Baby food!  Watch out, squash, you're next.

All in all, I'm pretty darn proud of myself.  No, really proud. Too bad I can't add my nursing skills and pureeing skills to my resume.  

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Here Comes Santa Claus!

We had a wonderful time attending our MVMOM"s "Morning with Santa" today.  It was chilly, but we dressed up for Santa in "best gift ever" onesies topped with a Santa hat and headed out.  There were lots of activities for big kids that I can't wait to take the boys to do in the future: cookie decorating, craft projects, coloring pages, and of course, snacks.  My friend A was a great help handling the boys and getting them in and out, dressed, and set up today, and I had a good time chatting it up with other twin moms I knew from previous MVMOM activities. 

What did the boys think?  Well, they didn't say much today - not even a screech!  Matthew and Nathan had their eyes peeled wide open, taking in all the kids and decorations.  When we put them on Santa's lap, they just chilled.  No one cried, so that's good.  Maybe, just maybe, we'll get a smile next year!


Friday, December 11, 2009

C is for Cookie...

It's good enough for me!  Oh, keep reading, I'm full of these little ditties!  Yesterday we had our friend C over to make and decorate Christmas cookies.  Ok, let's be honest, while she was doing all of the rolling and cutting of the dough, (my least favorite part-hee,hee)  I was busy changing, feeding, and calming two little cookie monsters.  I did manage to dip a million pretzel rods in chocolate, her least favorite part, so I guess we're even.  Finally, finally, we got to the fun part:

decorating!  Nathan held the sprinkles for us.

Matthew was having a good time; Nathan liked the crinkly chocolate chips bag.

Setting up to get the cookies in the picture.  Look closely as Nathan swipes a pink heart!

Trying to get most of the pink frosting off his fingers before they go....
in his mouth!