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HAPPY Holidays!

This was Aden and Alex’s best Christmas so far. They are finally at an age that we can do more things with them.
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For the first time we attended Kennedy Krieger’s Festival of Trees at the Maryland State Fairgrounds. Because I helped decorate Towson University’s tree, I was given passes to attend the pre-event which opens an hour before opening to the public. Thank goodness because it did get crowded quick. The boys had their first pony or “reindeer” rides. They also rode the train, the carousel, and made a few ornaments. They even surprised me when they sat and watched a band perform! That’s a first! We will definitely be attending next year!
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Oatmeal, our Elf on the Shelf, arrived the weekend after Thanksgiving. He set up our tree and put on the lights- such a nice Elf.
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Some people hate the idea of the Elf but the boys seem to love him and he really does help with behavior! Need proof? Aden and Alex were both on green or purple every day of December and both were chosen as the Student of the Month for their class! I wish I could keep that darn Elf out year round!
015The boys loved decorating the tree and I loved watching them. Take a look: http://youtu.be/RlK8Dx6gHFU
569We did Breakfast with Santa. We learned last year, it’s best to visit Santa first then have breakfast. It worked out again this year. This was the first year Aden and Alex were able to tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas. Aden asked for Ninja Turtles and Alex, a Paw Patrol Lookout set. The real Santa was listening close by. Aden did have a hard time at breakfast. He didn’t seem to want to be there. If Aden doesn’t want to do something, he can get quite moody. I find ignoring him works best and eventually he will come around.
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For the first time, we decorated gingerbread men and gingerbread houses which was more fun (and work!) for Jon and I. The finished products were great! I didn’t want to throw them away!
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This year we thought it would be a good idea for the boys to buy Christmas presents. My favorite part of the holiday season is gift-giving, not gift-receiving. I know this is not usually the case for children but I want the boys to experience the joy of both. Jon took Alex to the Dollar Store and let him pick out a gift for me and Aden. I took Aden to the Dollar Store and let him pick out a gift for Jon and Alex. Their gift choices were funny. Alex tried to buy me a dog toy but luckily I ended up with a pack of pens. Aden picked a blue car air freshener for Jon. But their presents to each other were spot on. Alex picked an army pretend play set for Aden and Aden picked a set of mini-cars for Alex. Then we allowed them to wrap their presents. Sorry about the shortage of tape in the tri-state area. Both were excited to give their gifts on Christmas morning.
082Despite all the fun, for me, Christmas was stressful this year. I was a bit of a bah-hum-bugger. It was my own fault. I was late getting started this year on gift-buying, gift-wrapping, sending cards, baking, you name it. Ugh, there is so much to cram into one month. I was actually more in the Christmas spirit the day after Christmas! When all the work was done and I could sit back and watch my kids enjoy their new presents. Next year I’m starting November 1st. I’m not kidding. I want to enjoy the holiday rather than scrambling to get things done! Ho, Ho, Hopefully I can make that happen.048025

Fall Recap!

My apologies, I’ve fallen so far behind on blogging! I’m going to try my best to recap fall!

Gaver’s Farm
This was our second visit to Gaver’s Farm in Mt. Airy. It is by far my favorite family-friendly farm. There is so much to do: hayride, apple picking, slides, games, pillow jump, feeding the animals, etc…We spent hours there and still didn’t do everything. We did have lunch this year which we didn’t even attempt last year. Progress baby!
051097Aden was a ham this particular day and as cute as ever!
080Alex was excited he found a green (his favorite color) pumpkin!
119The Feast of Arturo- don’t ask! Unless you attend this yearly event, you won’t get it.
Every year families and friends gather at the State Park. We have a fire, everyone brings a dish and something to grill, the kiddos play on the playground and in the leaves, and the adults play games like LCR. Everyone has a blast!
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One of my favorite parts of the day was watching the guys and kids “play” football.
Take a look:
http://youtu.be/Z55atHjj9Mc
http://youtu.be/b-t3FeAOQdk

Halloween
Aden and Alex decided on their Halloween costumes back in August and surprisingly didn’t change their minds! Not once! Aden was Leonardo, a Ninja Turtle and Alex was old school Batman.
145We carved pumpkins. Please don’t ask why Aden isn’t wearing a shirt. I’m pretty sure he got pumpkin guts on it and refused to put another one on. I pick my battles. Luckily it was a mild night.
175They had their first Halloween parade at school and party afterwards.
181186Aden was in a bit of a mood at school, he always acts differently when I’m there. But he did pose for a picture next to a box of munchkin donuts! He loves his sweets!
205We had a party at our house on Halloween and invited family and close friends. We had dinner and desserts and then went trick or treating which was a huge success. Every year they get better and better.
226243Aden had his first visit from the tooth fairy. He lost two bottom teeth. It was hard for Alex but I assured him, he will get a visit soon!
267Thanksgiving
At school the boys made different foods to celebrate the holiday. Alex made cornbread, something he will actually eat and Aden made apple sauce which he will not eat. But he did enjoy making it.
461The boys had a Thanksgiving Feast at school. I was impressed with the set-up!
473On Thanksgiving Day we went to my Mom-Mom’s house for dinner and then Jon’s parents’ house for dessert and games. Watching Aden eat a turkey leg is something you need to see. Sorry I don’t have a pic to share.

In years past, I’ve published posts listing things I’m thankful for. It’s only fitting that I list a few…

I’m thankful for how well the boys are doing in kindergarten and the wonderful teachers and staff they have supporting them. On 10/21- Aden finally wrote his name! His teacher sent me the picture- it made my day.Aden wrote his name 9 18 2014I’m thankful for my free time. Enough said.

I’m thankful for Aden speaking more clearly and being able to understand him. Although we still have a long way to go, I’m thankful for the continuous progress.

I’m thankful that Alex loves to snuggle with me and asks crazy questions, like “Where did I come from?” He is very inquisitive and always wants to know how things work. Even things I’m not ready to explain to him.

Finally, I’m thankful for our family. Aden and Alex have amazing grandparents. Mom-Mom, Grams, Pop-Pop, they have been in our lives since the beginning. They shower the boys with love, attention, and sweets! What more could a child ask for? Aden and Alex are also blessed to have great-grandparents as well. Jenny, GG (Great-Grandma), Poppy, Grandmom, and Grandpop- more love, more attention, and more sweets! Aden and Alex have no clue how lucky they are. They may not know, but I do.
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Aden and Alex attended their first field trip as kindergartens to Sharps Farm. We had never been so I didn’t know what to expect. First, we had quick lesson on bees- the queen, the worker bees, the drone bees- it was a refresher for me. Alex had a small meltdown when he didn’t get picked to be a bee. This kid loves being the center-of-attention. Luckily he recovered quickly.

The kids were given corn to feed the animals. Both boys did great with this.377387

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

385Next, we went on a hayride. But this wasn’t your ordinary hayride. Imagine hayride off-roading. We even went through a small river! It was a bumpy ride but of course the boys loved it. 368After the wild ride, we visited the popcorn field. The boys were allowed to pick one ear of corn to take home. Supposedly you could put the ear in a paper bag, microwave it and the corn would pop right off. The boys wouldn’t let me try. So who knows? 390398When it was time to pick a pumpkin, as usual the boys weren’t really interested. I picked two pumpkins and we were on our way.

Lastly, we had lunch near a pond.
410Overall it was a great experience. Of course it wasn’t without stress but when I think about how things used to be aka “the crying days” and I’m not talking about the boys crying…it puts everything in perspective.
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Sand & Surf in September!

After the boys first week of Kindergarten, we surprised them with our annual trip to Ocean City! It was a beautiful weekend, warm enough to go in the ocean. We arrived late afternoon on Friday, unpacked our things, and went to the beach. We arrived around 4pm which is the latest I’ve ever went to the beach in my life. It was nice, still warm, nobody there. We lasted 2 hours!!! Then it was home for dinner and bedtime. 056The next morning we rented a surrey and went for an hour bike ride on the boardwalk. In the past the boys have enjoyed this, not this time. They wanted to pedal, they were hot, and they were bored, oh the fun times ahead! 018After our bike ride, we hit the arcade. This is definitely the boy’s favorite thing to do. Each of them got $5 in quarters which would have gone fast without me and Jon’s supervision. As usual cashing in tickets for junk prizes was yet again a horrible ordeal. Alex wanted a toy car which was a bazillion tickets, whereas Aden wanted Army men that we already had at home! We played a few more games and Jon ended up winning a ton of tickets on this toss game. Alex got his car; Aden got his army men, end of story. Get me the hell out of there! 039We went to lunch at Pizza Boy on 11TH Street. It was adorable watching the boys share lemonade. 045After lunch we went to the beach. It was more crowded and the boys are fearless. Jon and I had to be on top of them or else they would be swept out to sea. I do feel more comfortable since they know how to swim but the ocean is no match for anyone who isn’t a strong swimmer or doesn’t understand current and undertows. And until they do understand these things, Jon and I will be right on top of them. http://youtu.be/ZWya-MISvkY

In the evening, we went to our favorite park on 125th. The boys rode their big wheels with Jon and me barely keeping up. They played on the playground. We flew kites for the first time which was awesome. Aden and Alex both thought you had to run with the kite which in this case was not necessary because of the strong winds. It was still cute watching them.110102My favorite part of the trip was our early dinner at Fish Tales on 22nd street. Located on the bay, this restaurant is perfect for families with young children. There are tables located directly in front of a huge pirate ship playground. Once we ordered our food including overpriced kids meals (it was worth it!), Jon and I enjoyed adult beverages while we watched the boys play. It was AMAZING.
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Another great trip to OC. Each year the boys are doing better and better. Can’t wait to go back next year! 007

A few days before the boys turned 5, they had a gradual entry into Kindergarten. I understand the need for a gradual entry but I was afraid the boys would think they would only be going to school a few hours instead of a full day. During orientation, it was definitely hectic taking one, keeping one home, arranging childcare. Aden went first and Alex wasn’t too happy about that. But in the end, everything worked out.

Orientation was great. Aden’s teacher is Ms. Miskimon and Alex’s teacher is Ms. Rivers. Yes, they are in different classes and will most likely remain in different classes throughout their education. I feel very strongly about this. Yes, they are twins but they are also individuals. Individuals who need to learn how to adapt without the other one. It is also important for developing their social skills with others. I felt if they were in class together, they may gravitate towards each other rather than branch out and make new friends. This is especially important for Aden. I also felt more conflict would arise if they were together all day. Yes, they can play nice together and help each other out but they also are quite competitive which results in fighting. I witness this at home on a daily basis. Jon says that’s what brothers do. Unfortunately I’m an only child so I can’t relate.

Here are a few pics of their first day of Kindergarten. Believe it or not, I did not shed any tears. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I learned to let go years ago. I was already prepared.
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224232Aden and Alex had their first full day of kindergarten Sept 3rd. Both were very excited as was I. I packed their lunches for the first time, ham sandwich for Aden, and peanut butter sandwich for Alex. They would be eating lunch without me for the first time in years. Instead of being picked up in front of our house, they now have a bus stop a few houses down. So many changes yet I had complete confidence that they would do just fine. 147150153156Both came home on “green” and with smiles on their faces. I thought they would be exhausted from their new extended school day. Nope! They were both full of energy and driving me crazy within minutes. That is our life and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Dutch Wonderland

Before the boys started Kindergarten, my Mom and I took them on a day-trip to Dutch Wonderland in Pennsylvania. It was our first time there and the boys had a blast.156The theme park is perfectly designed for small children and the boys rode just about everything. They even rode their first big roller coaster!140139

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The day wasn’t without stress. Not even 2 hours into our day, Aden was ready to go home. Yeah, we’re not ready for Disney World. After we ate lunch and relaxed, he was okay. I never know when Aden’s moodiness will strike and throw a wrench in our plans. Alex was no saint. He was whining and complaining about as much as he was smiling and having fun. Getting Alex to do something he doesn’t want to do is like pulling teeth out of a wild hippo- good luck!

My favorite part of the day was Exploration Island, sort of a spin on Jurassic Park, but here the dinosaurs won’t eat you.146152*Watching Aden point never gets old!

I also loved watching the boys ride rides. Take a look!

Frog Hopper: http://youtu.be/1L22XS11ujo

Wonder Whip: http://youtu.be/Z0dFVBVomTc

Their smiles, excitement- it’s contagious. It makes all the stress worth it. Can’t wait to go back next year!192

I have 5 year-olds!

This year we celebrated a huge milestone, Aden and Alex turned 5! I asked Aden and Alex what they wanted to do for their birthday. They said, “Pump it Up!” We had their 3rd birthdays there and were pleased with how it turned out. Since I was already planning my own fiesta, literally, I had to cut the size of their party. For the first time, Aden and Alex were allowed to invite who they wanted, 5 kids each. This was difficult for me to give up control of the guest list but I guess I should get used to it. After all it’s their party, not mine. The boys are getting into superheroes even though they’ve never even seen one on TV? I guess that’s a boy thing. Their superhero gene has been activated. This made choosing the theme easy. I made superhero capes for the kiddos which turned out really cute. Other than that, I kept everything pretty simple. 023The next day was their actual birthday which also fell on Labor Day weekend. I decided to throw a fiesta themed party complete with pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey and a piñata. My inner party planner came out and I had a blast with this theme. I just wish I could have hired someone to decorate, cook, and clean-up or at least clone myself. Parties are hard work.
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I knew I wanted to go all out this year. It’s been a rollercoaster ride over the past five years. Sometimes I still can’t believe I did it: the schedule, the routines, the lack of sleep, driving to and from therapies multiple times a day, it’s enough to drive anyone crazy. And I might be borderline crazy at this point, but I survived. Those days are over. Early intervention is over. I now have 5 year-olds who are entering kindergarten. What does this is mean for me? It means time to do all the things I haven’t over the past five years. Now that’s something to celebrate! 077

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