Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Writing Is On The Wall...

21 Months

We are moving toward a new year and our future as parents of two, two year olds. Our little guys are quite expressive artistically and love drawing and coloring…especially on walls and other surfaces not quite meant to showcase the work of a toddler! We always redirect their creativity to paper (to their joint disappointment), but they always try a sneak a scribble or two on a wall, cabinet, or piece of furniture. Maybe they are just budding graffiti artists!

Their language skills are developing rapidly. They try to repeat what people say much more and have eased up a little on the baby talk. Recently, we pulled out the camera to take a picture of them and asked them to smile, and they both kept saying “my-allll”. They say it all the time now, usually coupled with an over-the-top, tooth-filled smile. They are now calling out for one another by name, especially if they are in separate rooms and often when one wakes up from sleep and the other is still snoozing. So sweet!

Every once in a while, when the weather is not suitable for outside play and when daddy can stomach it, he takes the boys to an indoor play area in a huge nearby shopping mall. Daddy is usually a little grumpy when he has to venture into a church of hyper-consumerism, but this play area gives the boys a chance to meet other children and expend some energy, so he tries his best. Recently, there have been live musical events for the holidays so daddy has taken them a little more frequently. On previous occasions Astral and Defy have refused to dance in public, but those days are long gone and they’ve been thoroughly enjoying showing off all their amazing dance moves. Clearly vegan babies are the best dancers!

Astral and Defy are eating really well and growing strong. They still love their green juices and smoothies, especially ones with avocado. Last week I made my first batch of homemade granola with oats, buckwheat flour, walnuts, raisins, coconut flakes, and maple syrup, and it was a big hit! They (daddy included) ravenously devoured the first batch and whined for more.
granola made with vegan love

We wanted to get one more post in for 2011! Short and sweet! I can’t believe it is going to be 2012 in a few hours. Having children seems to make the time fly by faster than ever. Hopefully the new year has great things in store and more people will be inspired to end animal exploitation and become vegan!!! Happy New Year...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Perfect Circles…

The so called “terrible twos” are fast approaching, though at times it seems like this stage already started a while ago! Astral and Defy will be 21 months in a couple of days and they are constantly entertaining and terrifying us at the same time. They are super funny and already show promise of great senses of humor. They are also little dare-devils and seem destined for a future of professional skateboarding (daddy would love this) or stuntmen! There is no holding these two little guys down. They know how to get out of anything that confines them, including tightened car seat straps and booster seats. One minute they’ll be eating at the table and the next they will be standing on top of the table dancing. Super cute, but super dangerous as well!

We have two budding artist who proudly know how to say and indentify all of their basic colors and shapes. They've recently moved on to drawing perfect little circles and they’re working on hearts and straight lines! We have some pretty strong "artist genes" in the family so maybe they will inherit the talent.

They continue their love for books and can sit and listen intently, completely engrossed by a story. Their attention spans are great for their age. They enjoy going to the library, and as soon as we walk in the doors they are so excited they can’t help but scream, “BOOKS, BOOKS, BOOKS!” while running toward the shelves. They don’t even wait to get to the kiddie section, sometimes they choose the most ridiculous non-children books! So cute!!!

The weather has been really nice and has allowed lots of playtime outside with just hoodies and not big bulky coats. I am sure that will be ending soon, but we are thankful while it lasts. Astral and Defy have been having so much fun playing with leaves this season. They love to roll around, bury themselves, gather and throw all the beautiful fallen leaves. Snowsuits are ready to be broken in with the first big snow, which will be a new adventure for our little boys.

Potty training is going great at full speed ahead! We are researching organic training pants right now for the next phase. We are so ready to retire their cloth diapers because cleaning them is every bit as pleasant as it sounds. Astral peed standing up last week, which they both have been doing for a while, but this time (GASP) he didn’t get any pee on the floor, it all went right into the potty. Totally perfecting his aim! LOVE IT!

The boys continue to eat pretty well and are still devouring their green juices and smoothies. Their favorite snack right now is nori (seaweed). They can’t get enough of the stuff. We love pulling out their healthy snacks at the parks and play dates and telling people about our vegan family.

The 20th month of Astral and Defy’s life, like every other, has passed by in what seems like a blink of an eye. Every time we meet another twin mom or dad, they always say the same thing: “it gets easier”. Just last week a mom was jogging by at the park and she yells out without stopping, “It gets easier…I have 7 year old twins”. Raising twins hasn’t been easy, but it isn’t as hard as people make it seem. Maybe because we had twins in the first round and we don’t know how easier the experience would be with a singleton. I think it gets easier for all parents as children grow and mature. Having twins may actually be easier at times because they have a fulltime partner to play and laugh with. They can entertain one another while lunch is being whipped up or while the floor is being swept. Even if it does get easier, I don’t really care, I’m all about relishing the now. Even when there is a tantrum and bodies fall dramatically to the ground, I cherish every second. I know one day Astral and Defy will be grown up and I will wish I had just one more love-filled toddler cuddle or high-pitched, squealing tantrum. When we decided to have children the last thing we thought was that it would be easy…

All photos are of Astral and Defy at 20 months old

Monday, October 31, 2011

Our Happy Little Helpers...


watching the planes take off from National airport at Gravelly Point

We are entering the 20th month of Astral and Defy’s lives full speed ahead (in only 3 days)! Our shining twin stars are becoming quite the little helpers. They follow direction so well (when they want to) and really enjoy helping with little chores around the house. They love stuffing the laundry into the washing machine or drawers, sweeping, loading the dishwasher, wiping things down with a cloth and picking up their toys/books. We sing them a little clean up song for motivation, which they're totally in to. They often put all their books back on the shelf and all their toys where they belong only to throw them all back on the floor upon completion. They seem to get more joy out of destroying a room than cleaning it and I’m sure that will continue for some time...

Astral and Defy do occasionally fight over a book or toy but mostly they cooperate with one another and help each other out. If one guy has a toy or book he wants to make sure the other one has a toy or book too. If one of them is upset then the other one will often try to make him laugh. I mentioned in the last post that they were sitting on booster seats at the dining room table and that they could already unlatch themselves and get down. Now when one gets down he will unlatch the other guy so that he can "escape" too! Talk about brotherly love...

Astral Defiance
Defy Aster

Observing their evolution into little people is just indescribable. I could call it amazing, astonishing, remarkable, but none of those words do it justice. Watching their development is a lesson in humanity and reinforces our choice to live a vegan life and share this vegan life with them. Human children are so compassionate, empathetic, and seem to naturally love animals. Most parents nurture that love even as they set a piece of nonhuman animal flesh or a cup of stolen mammary secretions on their children’s highchair trays, beginning their lives as unwitting animal exploiters. Astral and Defy really do love animals. They absolutely adore our companions Star and Sunny, although we are not sure the feeling is always mutual. They also love all the animals and insects they see in nature and are so interested yet gentle when they come across them. They thoroughly enjoy matching animal noises to pictures of animals in their favorite books. I just can’t imagine them making cute piggy noises then letting them shove “hot dogs” down their throats at lunchtime. So many people claim that it is, or would be, “hard” to raise vegan children, but to us it would be so much harder to outright lie to them and break their trust after encouraging them to “love” animals.

The fall weather has been extremely beautiful, but is quickly becoming quite cold and crisp. We had our first snow this past weekend. It wasn't much, but it marked the beginning of brisk and cold bundle-up weather. Astral and Defy are still getting used to their winter coats and aren’t quite fans yet. Virginia is so beautiful in the fall and we’ve been taking advantage of the spectacular scenery. I’m so excited for them to play in the snow this year! They are going to love it!

Great Falls

They are doing quite well with potty training and they are “going” in their potties a couple times a day and sometimes more (and sometimes less). They are still sleeping in their rooms alone for the most part. Their speech is getting clearer and they are adding more words every day. They are learning their colors and shapes and surprise us every day with what they know.

kamut and corn puffs with bananas, kiwi and raspberries

Astral and Defy’s hair is really growing in now. It’s so curly and cute; they might actually need a little taming trim soon. Astral’s hemangioma on the back of his neck is going down (involuting) a lot, which we were told would probably start to happen around 18 months. Their appetites and bodies are growing like weeds, their favorite shoes are getting too small and they are wearing 24months-2T clothing.

Astral and Defy have taken us on quite the adventure for the past 20 months. It hasn’t always been easy, but it has always been wonderful despite the lack of sleep and endless responsibilities that come with the territory of parenting twins (and parenting in general). Hopefully they will continue to have a desire to help out in life. Each day we try to ensure that they will continue to be creative, imaginative, and intelligent little people. Our lives have changed so much, but we have yet to experience anything as rewarding as being their parents. We used to be on our own time and could be completely selfish if we chose to be. We now know the true meaning of being self-less…

after nap fist bumping