Author: Lala
•Sunday, October 30, 2011
Our girls are now 15.5 months old (from birth). They are a bit small for their age (esp. Rianne who is only 18 lbs.) but they are doing perfectly fine. The appointment with the follow along clinic last month went well, which they can go to every six months till they turn two because of their prematurity at birth. The Doctor said that they are doing great and that she did not see any reason for concern, developmentally, which we were happy about.

It has been quite busy for me these past weeks from moving into our new apartment and settling in, doctors appointments, never ending sewing projects - which I love to do!, preparation for our trip to the Philippines and of course - two toddlers. Our girls are definitely growing. They are now pro at walking and just started running. They love to climb everywhere. They love books, baths and of course going out. I try to take them out once or twice every day since they would be screaming if I don't. I love and enjoy our morning walks, normally up to an hour, to the neighborhood or to the park. I would let them walk around the park and then take them home. They dropped their morning nap about a month ago and they are now down to one-two hour nap at noon. By around three in the afternoon, they are again ready for another outing. I normally take them to the mall especially now that it is getting pretty cold outside. We normally do some outing on weekends. We have been to the National Zoo twice, National Aquarium, the Mall at DC, festivals, the coolest park on earth (or at least in VA) Clemyjontri park and a lot of stuff. Every outing is a little bit challenging but fun!

Being a stay-at-home mom was a challenge for me. I enjoyed working and loved being out. Adjusting to the responsibilities of a full-time homemaker in a place foreign to me was not easy. I've had a number of breakdowns and being so far away from my family, friends, culture, food and other stuff in and about the Philippines did not make it easier. I am thankful that I have been blessed with an understanding and supportive husband who tries to do his best to make me happy. Hard as it is, I am happy and thankful that I can stay home with my babies. It has been a blessing to witness their growth and development. They have come a long way and I am happy to be a part of it. I thought it was taking forever for them to learn how to crawl, then to walk, and I couldn't wait till they do those things but looking back, those times were preciously memorable and I missed my babies. Mikelle and Rianne are now little girls. They can now communicate better, understand and follow simple directions like get a book or put the ball in the box, recognize some words and what it means like book, bath, bus, airplane, kain (eat), bola (ball), squirrel, butterfly song, relo (clock), unggoy (monkey), ear, belly, nose, foot, sapatos (shoes), labas (out), and other stuff. It's fun stuff! I enjoy watching them play together - not so much biting each other though. I love their special relationship and let me share some of those special moments together:
 Riding together. Mikelle loves being in charge of the wheels.
Reading together
They love playing in the tub
Mikelle (left) managed to climb and fit herself in to join Rianne - she looked really happy!
 eating spaghetti
 Like what I said, Mikelle takes over the wheels while Rianne enjoys the ride.
 To them, anywhere is a good place to eat. They will often lie down wherever they are as soon as they get their bottle.
 Racing for the toy
 Love that face!
 Rianne love playing with her tongue
 Clemyjontri park

 flying together
Thing 1 and Thing 2 for Halloween. I made their skirts and headbands to complete their costumes.
Us at our ward Halloween party with our good friends, the Jensens.
Author: Lala
•Sunday, October 16, 2011
[From Carl]
I'm sitting here writing a blog post instead of attending church right now because we are basically all sick.  I'm not feeling much myself, but the kids have had a pretty rough few days, and now Lala's feeling it too.  The good thing is that the girls are mature enough to just try to get back to sleep at night, rather than simply crying all night about feeling crummy or having a clogged nose.  Once again, their being good sleepers makes things a lot better for us.

Mikelle got sick with a cold first and started coughing a lot, and now she seems to be getting better and Rianne is the one feeling really bad.  We make zero effort to keep infections from spreading between them.  They chew on the same toys anyway (and bottles, and spoons, and socks), and are always together (climbing on each other, often).

The kids are babbling up a storm lately.  This morning we were laughing because it looked like Mikelle was giving an animated speech, complete with hand-chops and standing on a soap box (actually, a diaper box, but close enough).  Lala thought that reminded her of me. Rianne has always been a few weeks behind on most development milestones, but she has been making the babbling far more intricate as well.

They keep changing.  When we decide one is shy and the other bossy, they change it up.  For a while it looked like Mikelle was taking over the role of "petitioner for redress of after-meal cleanup grievances", but now I'm not so sure.  Rianne still defends herself by biting Mikelle, but we usually stop it first.  Mikelle has the past few days gotten in Rianne's face a lot and thinks she's a cushion to bounce on, or lie on, or poke.  Of course they always follow each other (and us) around.  Both of them are really good at walking, and Mikelle especially likes to take off exploring when we let them out of the stroller.  They are no longer so obsessive about putting everything in their mouths, which makes outings far easier.

We got a lightweight folding side-by-side double stroller, which is really what we need now.  It's something practical for Lala to use (she couldn't even get the really big stroller we have into the car, so she couldn't really go places).  I, being rather stronger, can still take the kids and the stroller on the bus by myself, since it's really just a matter of arranging all the stuff to carry so I can do it with two arms (putting one kid in a harness makes this possible).  We have been going out basically every afternoon - the mall is our friend.  The kids get very bored if we try to just stay home.  We're pretty intimidated by winter - how will we get out so much? 

It's getting close to November, which means that the Philippines is coming up soon!  I'll be in Las Vegas for a conference the week before we leave, and Lala will stay with friends in Maryland while I'm gone.  Basically, nothing will be very routine for the rest of the year.  We got some "Peapod" tents for the girls to sleep in when they're not at home.  Lala had the girls successfully use them for the afternoon nap when she visited a friend last week, so I think that will work out.

It's been busy times, even with the move behind us.  It seems like every time we turn around someone sends us a bill saying we need to pay more money than we'd agreed on (Verizon internet, rental office (twice), doctors, yikes).  With the upcoming travel and the move, it's been kind of hard to make a budget that reflects reality.  We'll just have to see where we are come the new year I think.  I guess with a family "in flux" is kind of our normal state.