It’s crazy that it’s been a year since I posted an update. In some ways it seems like so much has changed and the kids have matured so much, and in other ways life is so much the same. But one thing that is constant is that life is busy.
So last week McKenzie turned two and the boys will be 5 in February. I feel like we are getting into some fun ages. They’ve already been fun, of course, but getting them all so that they are potty trained and maybe even not napping is something we are looking forward to. McKenzie still naps once a day, but I feel like she will naturally get rid of that before too long. She could probably go down to just a catnap at this point, but we heaven’t made the leap. I simultaneously look forward to being able to do more with our time without naps, and also will miss naps (and the sweet ages they go along with).
Since McKenzie just had her birthday, we’ll talk about her first. It’s hard to know how to sum up a year, but the bottom line is she has grown so much, as most one years olds do. She has gone from a cute little waddle and just starting to walk, to full on running and either chasing her brothers around or being chased. Regardless of which it is, they all love that particular activity.
She has gone from just starting to articulate her first real words to saying nearly all of them. Her speech is really something that amazes us, particularly because that’s an area the boys were a little delayed in. But she really does seem to know a word for everything. And when she doesn’t, she asks and never seems to forget it. She has to get better at articulating, but she’s definitely saying the words. At her age, putting 2-3 words together is normal and she easily does that and has been for months. When she first started doing it (probably over the summer), I was shocked. But now, putting 3-4 words together is quite normal for her.
And her ability to remember things and understand concepts is amazing. The boys take a multivitamin everyday and it says on them that they are for 2 year olds and up. So after months of her wanting to be able to have one too, she finally got to last week. The boys and I got all excited for her and she had a big smile as she popped in that first gummy multivitamin (it’s the little things, right?). Then, a couple hours later when our nanny arrived, she went right up to her and immediately told her that she’d been able to have one for the first time. She was clearly excited about it. I only have experience with my own kids, so perhaps that’s normal at her age, but it seemed quite amazing to me. And yet, she doesn’t those kinds of things often. And she does puzzles like a champ and matches pictures beautifully. She’s a very smart little girl.
She’s also a great sleeper and really always has been. I didn’t really do anything differently than with the boys and I can’t say the same for them, so she’s just kind of a natural with it. She’ll go to bed around 7:30pm and usually sleep until 6:30 or 7am and then happily chill in her crib until I come get her. It’s quite helpful when I need to get the boys situated first.
And I’ve always thought that she’ll be the one that can really tell the boys apart the best, but I’m still kind of waiting for that to happen, LOL. She loves to just scream, “No, Brooks!” because she can’t quite tell the difference yet. Although this week, she’s been calling Ashton by his name a little more so I’m thinking she may be starting to figure it out.
When it comes to eating, she’s a little tougher than her brothers. Part of it is probably that her exposure to various foods like snacks and treats happened earlier than her brothers because they were having those things and she saw them. But she seems to just naturally not be as into fruits, veggies, meat…well, anything other than snacks and yogurt. Trying to make sure she eats well balanced meals is a challenge. She’ll just straight up not eat rather than eat something she doesn’t want. I try not to worry about it. She’s surviving and growing and doing all she needs to be doing, so I guess it’s all good. Hopefully.
She has all of her teeth, but we are waiting for the two year molars to come in. No sign of them yet. I’m expecting some restless nights, but we’ll see.
I’m totally ready to potty train her. The boys showed signs of being ready shortly before turning two, so we potty trained them a month or so after they turned two. The world had just shut down, so it was a great time. I’ve been waiting to be able to stay put for a week or two so that we can focus on it with McKenzie, but life just doesn’t let up. A month or so ago, I did decide to introduce the idea of it to her at bath time. We didn’t do anything like that with the boys, but McKenzie kept peeing on the floor before bath time, so it seemed like a good time to try sitting her on the potty. She now knows the routine and after she sits, I turn on the water, which often leads to her peeing. We put it in the toilet and she gets in the bath. She seems to really get it quite well, so I’m hoping that when we make the jump, it’ll go fairly smoothly. We’ll see. I’m thinking at this point we’ll wait until the holidays are over and then give it a shot.
You may or may not remember that the boys started some survival swimming lessons at around 19 months, which then turned into regular swimming lessons, and McKenzie started with the same thing over the summer. While she wasn’t such a fan at first, she did extremely well and enjoys it now. What’s funny is that all 3 kids would hate it at first while at lessons, but then wanted to practice what they were learning at the pool and would do nothing else and loved it with us. And they all just love it now.
As far as things she loves, the list is long because she’s a pretty happy kid and loves most things. Her favorite thing is definitely her momma (ha!). She, of course, loves her daddy too. But those brothers are her best friends. She just loves playing with them and always gives them sweet hugs when they get home from preschool. The boys do a whole lot of pretend play and she gets right in there with them. One of their favorite things is using their little kitchen to cook for everyone.
She loves Frozen and sings “Let it go” regularly. She has Frozen dolls, a jacket, clothes, slippers, etc. She loves them all. “Anna”, “Elsa” and “Olaf” are words she knows well. In fact, we let the kids go ahead and get their mini Christmas trees out a couple days ago and decorate them with the little ornaments and when she picked up a reindeer ornament, she said, “Sven!” It made me laugh.
The boys love dressing up, so it’s something she has gotten into as well. Her “Elsa” dress is probably her favorite thing to wear. But the boys got some Ghostbusters costumes recently, so I got her a ghost and she loves being chased around by the Ghostbusters. The boys also have some superhero capes/masks/etc that they got for their last birthday and they all love dressing up in them and running around.
McKenzie also loves dancing and singing and actually does a pretty great job of learning songs already. She loves swings and going down slides. She has a balance bike we gave her for her birthday last year that she has mastered and loves riding. We got her the next level balance bike for this birthday, but she needs a touch more height. Her feet barely reach the ground.
Lately she’s into putting her animals and baby dolls to sleep in her room, turning on the white noise and turning off the lights. It’s pretty cute. She got a couple Barbies for her birthday and she’s loving them. One has been taking a bath with her and when I wash her and her hair, she does the Barbie’s. Barbie gets out of the bath with her, dries off and even sometimes gets butt paste and a diaper. The other night, McKenzie wanted to brush Barbie’s teeth with her actual toothbrush, which I was ok with, but when she wanted to use actual toothpaste, I said no (poor Barbie doesn’t need toothpaste all over her face) and McKenzie had a total meltdown. She was SO upset.
So overall, she seems like a pretty normal 2 year old little girl to me. We love her dearly and I can’t imagine life without her.
Ashton and Brooks Update
These two are crazy little boys, like most little boys. They are non-stop energy, non-stop noise and a big ‘ole handful, but we love them like crazy. It can be challenging having two competitive boys at the same age. The fighting over toys and such can be tiring. We often have two of things and they must truly be identical otherwise there will be something better about one and thus an argument ensues. And it’s not like we talk about it with them and then move on. No. It’s an argument that plays on repeat every 2-3 minutes. Exhausting.
But on the other hand, they are precious, sweet little boys who have the absolute best time together, would take down anyone who hurts the other and are so loving and wonderful. Their laughs are contagious and when they aren’t sick, tired, or fighting, they are usually laughing (probably about something poop-related) and having a ball.
Last year they were in the same preschool class, but this year we decided to separate them. Often with twins, there is one that is more dominant that the other. That was always Brooks. We definitely picked up on it and wanted to make sure that Ashton was able to grow in his own right this year and learn to speak up for himself. They also both needed to be able to learn to make friends with people other than each other. That said, playground is still their favorite time of day, which is when they see each other.
The thing I didn’t anticipate about having them in separate classes was that it would be twice the work for me. It’s not like there’s that much happening in preschool, but it has definitely added another layer of things to do and added to the busy-ness. I imagine we may keep them separate moving forward and it makes my head spin a little to think about it getting complicated in elementary school next year. Speaking of which – I can’t believe they are going to be in kindergarten next year! WHAT?!
It was also brought up to me recently at a doctor’s visit that their articulation of certain letter sounds could really be better. I’ve wondered about it but nobody had really brought it up, so it hadn’t become a thing. But we’d kind of wondered if it interfered with them playing with other kids and it seems like that may be the case. So we are in the process of getting them into some speech therapy to work on that so that other kids can understand them better. Adults don’t typically have a big issue, but kids seem to.
Personality wise, these two could not be more different in a lot of ways. It’s like they are two halves of a whole and technically, they are! Let’s take a look:
Ashton: Right-handed, likes boxers and wears them up high like Steve Urkel, favorite meal is peanut butter and jelly, uses ketchup reasonably, has to be reminded to hug me before walking into class at school, more playful.
Brooks: Left-handed, likes briefs and wears them lower on his waist, favorite meal is chicken nuggets, goes through an entire bottle of ketchup weekly, likes long hugs before walking into his class at school, more focused.
Of course they also love a lot of the same things. They really love their swim lessons and have gotten to be such strong swimmers. There is another little girl in their lessons who hasn’t been swimming as long and last week, when they were all racing each other, the instructor had her swim about half the length of the pool before he told the boys to start. They all still ended up reaching the other side of the pool at the same time. They are strong swimmers and love it.
They played soccer in the spring and are looking forward to playing again this spring, Ashton especially. They get dressed up in their soccer uniform regularly and carry around their trophy. We will probably do separate teams this time because last time they competed more with each other, than with the players on the other team, Brooks especially.
They started playing some tennis this Fall. The hubs grew up playing tennis and played in college and it’s a sport we both enjoy, so it’d be fun to see them take an interest in it. So far I think Ashton is more into soccer and Brooks really likes tennis, but they always want to do what the other is doing. They both have pretty good hand-eye coordination. We started having them hit balloons with little beach bats when they were 2, so we’ve been working towards this skill a while, LOL.
Pretend play is also really big for them, since they always have their best friend for it. They rarely sit still doing an activity. Wrestling might just be their favorite thing. They also play really well with McKenzie, but she has gotten to kind of a challenging age for them. She interacts and plays with them so well and is talking so much more that they don’t really understand that there’s still plenty that she doesn’t understand. They’ll talk to her like she gets what they’re saying and then get frustrated when she just grabs a toy and runs away with it.
They also constantly want her toys, so her getting to play with her own things is a challenge. We try to govern the whole thing, but the boys can be quite relentless. And since putting babies to sleep is such fun pretend play, there tends to be fighting over those items.
And health-wise, there hasn’t been anything too crazy this year. Brooks did hurt is foot by getting it caught under a door early in the year and had to wear a boot for 3 weeks. He did amazingly well with it though. And then about a month or so ago Ashton had his two front teeth removed. It was kind of a shock in the moment and yet not necessarily a surprise. Apparently he’d had one too many bumps on them. They had become loose and were bothering him and we thought they’d just firm back up over time, like all their teeth issues had in the past. But when they didn’t, the dentist found that the roots were completely gone. He was going to be losing the teeth one way or another, so they were removed so that they’d stop bothering him and he could eat. So we got a visit from the tooth fairly sooner than we expected. Like I said, not a huge surprise, given how they play fairly rough. I’m just still surprised that Brooks’ are in tact.
So yea, typical boys. They keep us on our toes.
Mom and Dad Update
Well, I’ve kind of already mentioned that we are just trying to survive over here. Life is busy, busy, busy. And yet, most of the busy-ness is just keeping three kids alive and from harming one another when fighting over a toy. It really makes it hard to do anything else, so the to-do list grows.
And to be honest, this blog is a lot of work. Like, a lot. But I wouldn’t trade it for another job. And after 10 years of blogging, I finally got my own space (in our home) this year. If you follow on Instagram, you may have seen the kitchen/studio we built in the basement. It’s a work-only space and it’s been wonderful to have it.
But probably the biggest change this year was with the hubs. He actually made a big decision and left his prior line of work to come work with me. As I mentioned, this is a lot of work and it’s been hard to constantly not have enough time to get things done and do everything that needs to be done. There still seems to be more to do than we can do, but it’s better than it was. And it’s been really nice to have him working with me rather than what he was doing before. The schedule was brutal, so it’s been a great change.
Other than that, we are healthy and all is good. We love our sweet little family and are so thankful God has blessed us with these beautiful kiddos. We are looking forward to this holiday season and watching the wonder of it through our kids. I’ve always loved this time of year and it’s fun to re-experience the child-like joy of it through our kids.
On that note, if you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading and Happy Thanksgiving! We are so very thankful for you because without you, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do. So thank you from the bottom of our hearts! I hope you made something tasty for Thanksgiving and I’d love to hear from you if you did!
All photos are by © Amy Jo Photography