Happy Birthday, Grandma Cathie!

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Grandma Cathie and Uncle Christian visited us during their Spring Break. We had a lot of fun, and even got to celebrate Grandma’s birthday! As you can see from the pictures above, the girls are all very excited to celebrate birthdays. First, they got themselves all cleaned up in the tub, then they decorated the house! I’m not sure anyone has ever talked Grandma into wearing a tiara or having a “My Little Pony” theme at her party, but her granddaughters sure can do that!

Grandpa Bruce had arranged for a bunch of people to call on the phone or by Skype. It was a great surprise and a lot of fun! Each person that called shared a few stories about Cathie, but since we’ve embarrassed her enough with these pictures we’ll keep those off the blog

Happy Birthday, Grandma! We were happy to share a great party with you!

Bouncy House!

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Emmy had an extra day off for Spring Break, so we decided to take a day and go down to Albuquerque. The best part was the bouncy house at Hoot’s Party Zone, which we had been to last October with Kaylee when we were in Albuquerque for a doctor’s appointment. After Emmy saw the pictures from that trip, she requested to go to the “bouncy house” pretty much every day after that! They have parties there almost every weekend, so when Emmy finally got a day off during the week we made sure to go!

Emmy and Kaylee and the twins had a blast at Hoot’s with Grandpa Bruce, Grandma Cathie, and Christian. We loved the “climbing maze”, which is a multi-level connected maze that you can crawl all around, and the best part was that not only were adults allowed in all of the bouncy houses and climbing structures (to help their kids, of course), but they are free! Julia, Christian, and I had a blast chasing Kaylee and Emmy all around, and the twins got to bounce around a little with Grandpa and Grandma, too.

After we wore ourselves out, we headed over to Golden Corral, which is one of Emmy and Kaylee’s favorite places to eat. Again, we had gone their on our Albuquerque visit last October, so Emmy wanted to relive every moment of that trip! Emmy and Kaylee had more desserts than actual food, but that’s what Spring Break is for, right?

But Spring Break wasn’t over there! To be continued…

While Mommy’s Away…

Last weekend, Julia went to Time Out for Women, a conference where women talk about womanly stuff. And while Mommy was away, the rest of us had a party! Saturday was St. Patrick’s Day, so Julia made us a fancy St. Patrick’s Day fruit plate – a little rainbow with a pot of gold coming out of it for some of the festivities. Very nice. The pot of gold did not survive long, and the rainbow was eaten right along with it, because we got to watch movies (Emmy was somewhat obsessed with Steve Martin’s version of Cheaper By the Dozen that weekend) and play all weekend long!

Julia is not a fan of sloppy joes, but I think they are delicious, so the twins and I cooked some up while Grandpa Bruce came and watched the girls while they rode bikes. I figured that since Julia likes food when you take fancy pictures of it, I would do the same when I cook. What do you think? Here, have some more sloppy joes. I made ’em extra sloppy for youse! I know youse kids like ’em sloppy!

The girls got to sleep in their sleeping bags in a play tent I set up for them in their room. The tent had a tunnel in and out of it, which they made sure to use each time they wanted to get out. The girls decided to wear some of their swimming gear to bed instead of actual pajamas, but isn’t that what parties are for?

When we got up the next morning (which was way too early, by the way… when do kids start wanting to sleep in?) we had green pancakes for St. Patrick’s Day!

We even ate in the living room, but don’t tell mommy! Here they are on their second watching of Cheaper By the Dozen. Also note that Emmy was sure to wear her green pants, at least until later, when she decided she wanted to get pinched.

Mayzie (on the left) and Leah played obstacle course in the tent. Apologies for the cell phone pics. Emmy and Kaylee made sure they had fun going through the tunnel a bunch of times…

And they even set up a path for the twins to crawl along before they came into the tunnel. These sisters had a lot of fun playing together.

And when all the fun was over, they all hopped in the bath to get cleaned up so that we looked a little more presentable for when Mommy came home! Leah definitely enjoyed the bath with all her sisters, and Emmy did a great job as the woman of the house to make sure everyone was safe.

First Annual Interviews with Emmy and Kaylee

On Sunday after we watched General Conference, we decided that it would be a good time to start a new annual tradition. I had been thinking about General Conference and traditions for a while. Since General Conference comes at a regular time each year (the first Sunday and preceding Saturday in both April and October) and it’s also a time that’s not quite as busy as New Year’s, we thought it would be a good time for a tradition that we had wanted to start for a while but hadn’t got around to yet. But that’s not why you’re here, you’re here to see a couple of cute girls!

Evacuation Part Two: Albuquerque

After our evacuation down to Albuquerque (we arrived late Monday afternoon, June 27th), we stayed in our hotel until Thursday. Our first few nights with the twins were filled with several adventures, but I will share just a few in no particular order:

The twins had their first time in the crib together at the hotel. (Our apologies for the low quality of several cellphone pictures in this post).

The twins had their first nights in a crib together! We brought our pack-and-play along for the trip, and they slept there together while we were in the hotel. We were pretty exhausted from getting up with them at night frequently, but they did great overall. They still sleep in this pack-and-play together today (six weeks later), but we’re not sure how long that will last since they like to huddle on top of each other now.

Kaylee makes her whirlygig at Explora
Emmy tries out her whirlygig - hers was the best that we saw in our fiften minutes at this station!
Emmy and Kaylee loved making bubbles at Explora.
One of many giant bubbles!
Emmy and Kaylee in the Mirrors at Explora
The Kaylee in the Mirror
The girls didn't want to leave... they stayed at the mirrors by the doors for a while even though we had to run to the airport!

Explora! Emmy and Kaylee love this place; it’s like a little science museum for kids. We met up with a few fellow evacuees from church, which was nice for Emmy and Kaylee since they got to see some of their friends even though we were far away. As we had left Los Alamos, Emmy said “This is my town and I don’t want to leave!,” but she was finally convinced that all of her friends had to leave, too. Emmy and Kaylee had lots of fun cutting up paper that flies in the wind, playing in mirrors, and playing with Bubbles. I got to talk with my sister on the phone. The girls would have stayed all day, I’m sure, but pretty soon we were getting hungry and it was time to go to the airport to pick up …

Yum! We ate at Fuddruckers near the airport with Grandma Kath.
Normal table manners were out the window. Time to have fun!

Grandma Kath! She had planned on visiting us in Los Alamos, but since we were in Albuquerque we got to pick her up at the airport! We had fun with her at Fuddruckers where the girls got burgers and shakes, and I got an excellent green chile cheeseburger. Very good. It was nice to have a few extra hands to help with everything. When Emmy heard that Grandma Kath was coming, she said to make sure she brought her swimsuit (like you’d ever have to ask my mom to bring a swimsuit on a trip!).

The pool! The hotel had a pretty nice indoor swimming pool, which we thoroughly enjoyed. Uncle Christian, Grandma Kath, Emmy, Kaylee, and I (Alex) all enjoyed the swimming pool quite a few times. We had been to the swimming pool in Los Alamos the Saturday before and the girls were pretty scared about getting in the water, but once they remembered how much they loved the pool they wanted to go any free moment they had.

Target runs! Apparently pulling out everything in sight isn’t the greatest strategy when packing, but since that was done in a hurry a few things were forgotten. My mom went to Target with Emmy and Kaylee and I while we got a bunch of random stuff for the twins and everyone else. All throughout our time in Albuquerque we saw people we knew from Los Alamos, whether it was old neighbors (at Target) or former classmates and co-workers (in the hotel), as well as our previously-mentioned friends from church. Seeing them made things feel a little more like home, even though we were a hundred miles away from all our stuff.

Air conditioning! Sadly for Julia and the twins, they didn’t get to enjoy much of our adventures around town, but they did enjoy the air conditioning! I’m pretty sure she’d tell you that this was the best part of our evacuation. She and the twins (not to mention her parents) did an awesome job of keeping everything humming along as we all spent lots of time entertaining kids and planning out our next days of the evacuation.

Acts of kindness #1… Paul and Nicole Rhien, our friends from Los Alamos, had moved down to Rio Rancho (which is right next to Albuquerque). They were quick to check up on us as they had heard through Facebook that we had our twins, and that we were going to be in Albuquerque. Not only did they bring us a whole box of newborn-size diapers (they literally lasted us over a month!), but they also offered for us to stay in their recently-vacated apartment (they had purchased a home and still had a little time left in their rental apartment). Although the circumstances didn’t work out for us to stay in Albuquerque, we definitely appreciated the offer!

… and #2: For a second act of kindness, an unknown friend paid for a whole night’s stay in our hotel, and left us a well-loaded Target gift card! Talk about an act of kindness. Amid all of the stresses of evacuating and caring for newborn twins, we were definitely humbled that someone would do something like this for us. If that person happens to read this blog, I really want to say thank you. We saw many other acts of kindness on our trip, and it really touched me that amid all the chaos of life, there are lots of people who genuinely care not only enough to say they care, but they actually do things.

Doctors Visit! With our hurried evacuation, we worried a bit about how the twins were doing. They had slept really well on the way down to Albuquerque. In fact, they slept so long that I’m sure they missed their scheduled feeding. With all of the craziness and worrying about if their belly buttons looked right or were they jaundiced or anything, we were very impressed that Dr. Nichols made a house call! He and the other doctors from their practice had evacuated town as well, so he was covering the families that really needed a visit in Albuquerque. It was great that he could come and check the twins out and look at them. We joked with him that we rarely saw him under regular circumstances (our kids have been pretty healthy except for some big things – like this evacuation and Emmy’s birth). We joked with him that we wanted a reduced rate for the check-up since he wasn’t able to weigh the, but the joke was on us because the whole visit was free. Again, I’m very impressed with how they took care of us.

Breakfast at the hotel. The girls loved that they could hit a button and have pancakes less than a minute later! (Also a good view of Emmy's bed head!)

Moving on with our journey… Part of the reason to get the twins checked out was because we knew we might be headed north. My grandpa had been in hospice care for a little while, and things were starting to get worse. He passed away on Wednesday, June 29th, which was also the anniversary of his and my grandma’s marriage. He had been sick for quite a while, so we knew this was coming, but it wasn’t really easy to deal with this on top of everything else that was going on. The funeral would be the next Tuesday in Idaho, so we our big group (two twins, two girls under five, their uncle, mom, dad, a grandpa, and both grandmas) decided to make our way up to Utah, where we could stay with family.

Daddy with Mayzie (in the orange outfit affectionately known as the carrot) and Leah (in pink!)

Our trip to Utah will be continued in part three!