Well, another year has gone by and I actually haven’t blogged in an entire year. That seems crazy to me becauseI just read through last year’s birthday post for my kiddos and it seems like I wrote it just yesterday!

Today, after another action-packed year, our “babies” turn 4. I got teary eyed last night walking out of their room knowing that 3 was over…tears because of some great memories, tears of joy because 3 was pretty tough, tears of hope because 4 might be a little easier. It’s nuts how two little people can make me so dang emotional.

This year, like the two years past, I’ll give you a little insight into our lives via the alphabet. So here goes:

A: Alphabet. When the kids stopped napping (yikes!), I had to be entertainer extraordinaire every afternoon, so we’ve started focusing on one letter of the alphabet per week. I put a big sheet of paper on the wall and every time they (or I) think of a word that starts with the letter for that particular week, we write it down and I attempt to draw a corresponding picture. Sometimes we bake something that starts with the letter of the week or we do some other craft around that letter.

B: Books. They absolutely love books. Neala has memorized several of our books and she likes to “read” them to Rylan while he’s in the bath. They will both sit on the couch for long periods (10 minutes) and look through books. Each trip to the library results in at least 12 new books to dive into.

C: Cousins! We’ve started hanging out with cousins every Wednesday. Usually it’s 8 kids and 3 adults, and it is absolute madness. All 8 kids really play quite well together and it’s been so fun to see them enjoying each other so much over the last few months.

D: Dinner (similar to E: Eating in last year’s birthday post). Mealtime is still a bit of a nightmare but we’re trying some new tactics including letting the kids be more involved in the cooking process and putting empty plates in front of them and letting them serve themselves. The biggest struggle at mealtime is still my own insane stress about trying to make sure they’re eating enough nutritious food for their tiny little bodies.

E: Endocrinology. The endocrinologist has been following Rylan for about 18 months now because he is soooo small. He turned 4 today and has not yet hit 25 lbs. He is following his own growth curve so no one seems particularly concerned and the topic of growth hormones has be shelved–at least for the moment. Neala has gone with us to Ry’s endocrinology appointments and he couldn’t understand why our pediatrician asked him to see Rylan and no Neala because she’s not exactly a giant…but she’s also following her own curve. The one BIG thing that puts my mind at ease is that they are developmentally right on track.

F: Friends. (This is a repeat from last year…sorry) Both kiddos are really starting to branch out and make new friends, especially at school. Ry has his group of two or three kids he always plays with and Neala has her two besties. They also have an incredible bond with another set of boy/girl twins and it’s so fun to see them all play together. And…aside from the usually sibling fights, they are such good friends with each other. It really just melts my heart.

G: Globe. They have learned a song about the planets and asked us if one of their cousins lives on planet Earth. Neala was really sad that ,”All the people live on Earth,” because she likes the “pink planet.” Recently we had a long discussion about the difference between June, Jupiter, and Juniper. Super confusing.

H: Hair (repeat from their 2nd birthday post). Rylan still comforts himself by twirling hair. He prefers my hair over all others and I often end the evening with little tiny dreadlocks from the bedtime routine. He wakes up each morning with a little mowhawk from twirling his own hair. We always know it’s time for a haircut when I can no longer comb through the poouf. Neala doesn’t ever seem to mind having her hair in her face but with mild coaxing (and some TV) I’m able to put it in cute braids almost every morning. I think they’re so darn cute and then when she wears her hair down, she looks so darn grown up.

I: Intimidating. Who knew two little people could be so freaking intimidating. This whole parenting thing is no freaking joke and I’m terrified I’m going to ruin my children. Their personalities are SO big and I’m doing my best to guide them to become caring, compassionate, playful, and kind individuals, but man, it’s hard!

J: Jet. We flew to Vermont in August to stay for a week with family and the kids were such great travelers. They actually slept most of the way there and most of the way home! And this coming from two kids who don’t nap anymore! We were so relieved and we had a great vacation!

K: Kiss! Both kiddos give the sweetest kisses at bedtime (and other times). My favorite part of many days is after the meltdowns and mealtimes, after the bathtime and bedtime madness, and we ask each one what they’re going to dream of and then we get a little hug and a big kiss. Melts my heart every time.

L: Library. We’ve started going to the library about once a month. They love going and would bring every single book home if they could. We have a special spot on the bookshelf in their room for the library books and they know those special books are not allowed in the bathroom or at the table.

M: Meaning. They are constantly learning new vocabulary words and asking what certain words mean. Sometimes they don’t get it quite right and it’s hilarious (to me) and maddening (for them). If it’s not their turn to do something, they’ll often throw themselves on the ground and yell, “I never never got to do that!” Not too sure they understand the meaning of “never.”

N: NEALA! Neala is sweet and opinionated. She is quite shy with new people but is really coming out of her shell, and when she does, she’s talkative, silly, and LOUD.

O: Onion. Favorite quote: “Mommy, why do onions make my eyes melt?” -Neala, who hates onions and slyly puts them on the floor under her chair at school if they’re ever served.

P: Pre-K…technically, early Pre-K. In March, we moved the kids from Sweetheart Day Care to the UNM Children’s Campus. We were extremely fortunate that they had two spots in a classroom together with a great group of kids and 3 fantastic teachers. In August, they started in the early Pre-K program at the UNM Children’s campus and moved to a new classroom but stayed with all their friends and the same teachers. They are flourishing at school and we are so glad there was a spot for both of them!

Q: Quarrel. Yes, they fight. A lot? Maybe? Seems like it, but I’m not sure what to compare it to. They are quite good at communicating most things, but their feelings are sometimes so big that it’s hard for them to really say what they want to say and they resort to physically hitting or scratching. Sometimes they fight with each other, sometimes other kids (that was NOT at good day at school).

R: RYLAN!! Our Ry guy is a firecracker. The dude is constantly moving and talking and his imagination runs overtime. He is also sweet and caring when he takes a moment to think about what’s going on around him.

S: Swimming. The kids took swimming lessons in June and it was an absolute failure and a bit of an embarrassment for me. They threw some major fits and I had to get in the water with them most day (I actually hate swimming). A few weeks ago, we started taking lessons at another facility and they are absolutely loving it!

T: Time. They’re beginning to understand the concept of time and whenever we get in the car they ask, ” When are we gonna get there??” The stuff nightmares are made of. We also use timers as a way to make transitions in lots of situations and will often ask them how much time they’d like. A common answer is “40 minutes.” No. That’s too long. Forty minutes is too long to do most anything with two toddlers.

U: Undies. We’ve been diaper free since February of 2016! Yessss!

V: Vocal. Holy cow, are they vocal. Yeesh. The chatter, yelling, singing, and noise is non-stop. Most of the time it’s hilarious and awesome.

W: Weddings. We attended 6 or 7 weddings this past summer and fall. The kiddos accompanied us to two of them and were a big hit. Except in the middle of the vows during the second wedding when they got in a fight and I had to run out with one under each arm, praying that my vintage strapless dress that belonged to my great grandmother didn’t end up around my ankles.

X: Um…we’re going to go with x-mas tree this year for the letter X. The kids accompanied us to the 22nd annual Rice Family Christmas Tree Cutting Party this year. They loved tromping out into the woods to find the “perfect” tree. They also enjoyed decorating one bottom brach with at least 10 ornaments. It’s lovely.

Y: Yawn….they stopped napping. Yes, stopped completely. Afternoons are challenging but we’ve fine tuned our routine a bit and now do bathtime before dinner, dinner at 5:30 and they’re usually sound asleep before 7pm. Yaaassssss!!!!

Z: Zoo! We go to the zoo about once a month. Lately their favorite thing at the zoo is the new play structure–go figure. Who cares about the animals when you can run and jump and slide??

So, that’s that and I’m really hoping to get back in the blog game…we’ll see!