Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Vera and Laura's ONE YEAR update

Taaaaa daaaaaa! We made it through our first year and everyone survived! It has been rough at times (I have spent more time with doctors and in the hospital with the girls in this past 12 months than I had in my entire 30 years). But here we are with two beautiful, happy little chunks who just celebrated their birthdays on March 1st.

February was a low key month for us. The weather hasn't been that great (although it is feeling more like spring with every passing day) so we have mostly stayed in. We did spend the last weekend of the month in Portugal for a change of scenery and because it was a long, holiday weekend but other than that we have been here.

The girls started a music class and they love it. It is once a week for 45 minutes and they are generally the youngest and yet most enthusiastic kids in the class. They get to use all kinds of handheld musical instruments like bells and maracas. The most fun they have are with the drumsticks which become deadly weapons in their hands.

We have also been trying out different kinds of foods so that we can start having Vera and Laura eat more solids and less baby food. So far it has been hit or miss. Strawberries were a definite bust which surprised me a bit. The girls have got a pretty good eating and sleeping schedule going and are almost to sleeping through the night. YESSSSSSS!!!

Both babies have new teeth coming in which makes for a total of 6 each. Luckily they don't get too fussy while teething. In fact, I usually can tell they have a new one because they are more drooly than usual.

We also went to get first haircuts in February because I couldn't handle the mullets that they had going. There is a children's salon quite close to my house where I took them that had special car shaped seats and a TV to distract them. Both babies did well although I think they were a bit confused about the whole thing.

Vera now sits up and stands up all by herself. She is able to move around while holding on to something for support and her crawling game is on point. She likes to sit practically on top of Laura which of course makes her sister cry. Vera (in fact both girls) have become copy cats and like to imitate what other people. If I cough, they fake cough. If one laughs, usually the other will too. Vera also points at everything and likes to put her finger in people's faces. She's a weirdo.

Laura is scooting around on her butt but will NOT crawl. She is a bit lazy I think and is comfortable just sitting and playing wherever she is placed. Laura has been feeling much better this past month and it shows. 

Both girls are very vocal and are making all kinds of sounds but still no real words. I am still practicing mama with them every day. I have had some interest in whether we are raising them to be bilingual and yes, that is the case. I speak to them all day in English and they get Spanish input since it is the community language. For me it's very important that they be able to speak and understand both.

We had a small birthday party for Laura and Vera last weekend with some friends and their kids. It was a fun time and I know the girls enjoyed their first cupcake. Funfetti of course. 

So there you have it. A year in the life of our twins. Cheers to everyone who has followed our journey thus far; I hope you have enjoyed it!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

11 month baby update

I know I have just recently posted two blog entries that pretty much sum up our last month but for posterity I am going to include this one as well for the girls' 11 month update. As always, you can check out past monthly updates either in the blog archive or by clicking on the monthly update label found on the left side of the page.

This month started out great! We celebrated the Vera and Laura's first Christmas and were off work until the 9th which was nice. My mom was here to visit for a week and Jose's sister and our niece were also in town from France. I would never have guessed how tough things would get, especially considering that the month of December had been relatively easy in terms of the girls' health. 

I won't go into all the details of Laura's hospital stay since I wrote an entire blog post about it which you can check out but basically we spent two weeks of the month being sick and away from home. Vera spent that time with my in-laws where she was totally spoiled and loved every second of it.

We finally came home last Friday and this marks my first week off of work since Laura can no longer go to daycare. It's been a few days and so far, so good. I honestly think having the two babies helps to make things a little less boring since there are double the things to do. I am planning on writing a blog about our typical day soon, when we have our routine established. I am excited to have found a baby music class and another one in English that we will be trying out in the next few weeks. Plus I am continuing with my private classes in the evenings when Jose gets home from work so hopefully I won't get too bored.

Vera continues to be way more mobile than Laura. She still isn't exactly crawling but she can move around quite well and has gained the ability to go from lying down to sitting up. We find her most mornings now sitting up in her crib (which we lowered this month) and babbling. One of the many things that I love about Vera is that she always wakes up with a smile. Her toothy grin (she now has four big teeth) is adorable. She has been practicing pulling herself up to stand and really likes it when one of us stands her up. Vera is still bullying her sister a bit but Laura has started to defend herself more which makes Vera cry quite dramatically. Just today Laura hit her when she took something away and since I was sitting and playing with them I saw that it wasn't a hard hit, more like a tap. You would have thought that Laura had punched her full on in the face by the way that Vera sobbed. They were definitely crocodile tears. Vera is still also putting consonant and vowel sounds together but not forming words yet. She will say ma ma ma ma ma but I don't think she is referring to me. Bummer.

Laura still doesn't seem interested in getting moving and when I asked her pediatrician about it at our check up this week he didn't seem concerned. We will keep an eye on it. She still loves sitting while surrounded by her toys and is much better than her sister at feeding herself with her fingers. Laura also has four big teeth and one more coming in on the bottom. Her front two top teeth look as if there will be a gap between them, as my mom calls it, the Garber gap. Her hair is getting quite long and I am considering taking her somewhere for a cut even though it breaks my heart. It's just that some days she looks like Justin Beiber with her hair in her face. Everyone at the hospital fell in love with Laura and how could you not? She's beautiful and so sweet. I am so happy that she is feeling better.

Both girls are now eating all kinds of foods but they especially love having bananas, digestive cookies and Vera really likes yogurt. Cooper has discovered that lots of things tend to fall to the ground while they eat in their high chairs so he is usually found circling around like a shark. 

We have started to plan for their first birthday which I can't believe is in just a month's time. We have already decided that we are getting them flamenca dresses for their gifts and I ordered them from a seamstress last week. I can't wait to see how they turn out. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Babies' first Christmas and mom's visit

This post is coming late because as you might know from my last post, things have been a bit crazy around here this month. Now that we are back home from the hospital and I have some more free time I am going to try to write more on the blog, especially since I feel like the girls are growing so fast! This entry is important since it chronicles their first Christmas. Enjoy!

Noonie came to visit!
I like the Christmas season but I have to say that this year was super special since it was Laura and Vera's first. Jose and I tried to do all the fun stuff associated with the holidays and over the past month and a half we have had a blast. From shopping for gifts, to spending time with family and friends, to visiting Seville and our town´s city center, everything has been wonderful. 

Downtown Sevilla
We kicked off Christmas by heading into Seville to see the lights. We went after work one afternoon early enough that it wasn't too cold and before there were too many people (it gets CRAZY busy). We went to see the nativity scene market and stopped in a few shops before having dinner downtown. The girls fell asleep in their stroller so Jose and I also walked through a Christmas festival happening in a park. Just seeing all the lights and the festive atmosphere was enough to get me into the holiday mood. 

Everyone at Christmas Ever
We celebrated Christmas Eve and Christmas day with Jose's family in their village. Santa came to visit bringing presents for everyone and we ate a ton of food. Jose's sister and her boyfriend came from France for a few weeks and brought our niece Eva with them of course.  Vera and Laura have two cousins that are the same age as them so it was exciting to have them all together for their first Christmas.

The girls with their cousin Eva
My mom flew into Spain on the 30th of December so we went to pick her up at the airport. It was also Jose and my fifth wedding anniversary but we didn't end up doing anything to celebrate since it was in the midst of my mom's visit. We are still planning on something special just the two of us soon.

We spent New Year's Eve at Jose's parents house where we had dinner and ate our grapes at midnight. It shouldn't be surprising to anyone else who has young children but we didn't go out to party that night. 

Between New Year's and the big celebration on the sixth of January we went to see a small parade in Jose's hometown featuring the three Wisemen and we also headed into the downtown area of the city where we live. We looked at the lights, rode a special Christmas train for kids and had some street food. The girls also got to go see the traditional representative for the three Kings (the cartero real) who children visit and give a letter to which details what they want for Christmas.

The girls with the cartero real
On the fourth of January we drove a few hours away to visit a giant chocolate nativity scene that we had been hearing about for the past years. This year it was themed around famous cities in Italy and though it was original, I am not sure it was worth the two hour drive to get there. At least now we can say we did it. My favorite part was the chocolate sculpture of Juan y Medio, a tv presenter on our local channel Canal Sur who I have loved for years. 

Chocolate nativity scene in Rute
On the fifth we of course had to go see the annual parade of the Three Kings where Jose took his job of catching stuff they were throwing quite seriously. We ended up with some random stuff like underwear but also got some balls and other toys that the girls are playing with now.

The next day we opened up all of our presents that the kings had brought for us and then had lunch with Jose's family. We tried to be reasonable in what the girls got this year especially because they didn't realize what was going on. They both got baby dolls and a xylophone to share. Our family on both side truly spoiled them though so thank you to everyone!

There is a tradition of having a round cake filled with cream for breakfast on the sixth after you open presents. You slice the cake and two of the pieces contain small figures, one of a king and one of a bean. If you get the king you are special and get to wear a crown. If you get the bean you have to buy the cake the next year. I had gotten the bean for the last few years but this time I ended up with nothing but calories!

Christmas train selfie!
My mom left for the U.S. the next day and we were sad to see her go. It was a relaxing visit and I am happy she got to experience Christmas here in Spain. The weather was really nice and we got to eat outside quite a few times which I know she appreciated especially since she was escaping the cold of Michigan.