29 Aug 2009

Delightful children

Excuse me while I gloat a bit.

My darling children slept in until 9 am....on a Saturday! They ARE delightful children. They must have picked up that their parents have been feeling really exhausted this entire week and taken pity on us.

28 Aug 2009

Duplo cooking and furniture removal

All is quiet on the House of Z front, so I'll just post some photos from the past couple of days.

I wish Enya's eyes had been open as this would have been a classic

Gives a whole new meaning to having fun on the job doesn't it

26 Aug 2009

Leg weight

The saddest thing is I've got photos of me doing the same thing and I was a hell of a lot older than Enya is here!!

Ciara terrorising (cuddling) Enya

Enya running (crawling) away from said terrorist. Is is just me or does Ciara look evil in this picture?

25 Aug 2009

Bird park weekend

Advance warning no C and E pictures with this post as Z had the camera and we were at a BIRD park. We came home with a few blurry shots of the people and lots of outstanding shots of the birds. What can I say Z loves birds!

Z's dad came down for an overnight visit this weekend, to celebtrate the girls birthday. After a braai and a late night on Friday, Saturday we decided to visit a local bird park Z found on the internet. We'd been to another bird park a few months ago which we'd hated but this one was lovely. It was smaller and well maintained, it is set on a forested hillside (what a surprise there, we live in the middle of a heavily forested region) which meant that the approach through the trees was beautiful and it just got better from there. What I particularly liked was that they tried as far as possible to keep the cages as unobtrusive as possible. The parrots were not caged there was just a rail around their lawn, the storks had a fenced enclosure with no roof. The flamingo enclosure had wires strung across the top, to stop the birds from flying off but no cage between the visitors and birds, just a low wooden fence and drop off.

C and E had a fantastic time, they were really looking at some of the birds, the parrot and owls in particular fascinated them. They also had a great time in the petting enclosure chasing the poor little goats. Enya, in particular, kept trying to hug the goat kids. We finally had to drag them out of there when Ciara paddled her hands in the "puddle" one of the bigger goats produced, but I got lots of lovely video of them playing (I still can't figure out how to upload video!).

The bird park was also the end of Z's dads visit as he then continued home while we drove in the opposite direction back to our place. Sunday was another sunny but cool day so we had to cancel our plans to hit the pool again, instead spent the afternoon playing with the girls in the back garden. We have discovered if we sit the girls in the sandpit we get about a half hour of peace as they entertain themselves, although still need to be supervised obviously. Thankfully we slowly seem to be reaching the end of the investigating-everything-with-the-mouth phase. Z discovereed the Mirabelle were ripe so after plucking a bucket full of fruit he made mirabelle jam and even some compote for the girls breakfast.

And that was our bird park weekend!

21 Aug 2009

Stinky hot

The last couple of days have been absolute stinkers, the hottest days of the year. I celebrated by taking the girls up to the local open air pool BY MYSELF! Up to now I've always gone accompanied by other adults so we had at least one adult per child, preferably more!
the very crowded pool

It all worked out surprisingly well except we have two flirts in nappies. Ciara in particular is renowned for the fact that she will seek out the good looking young men and flutter her eyelashes and beg to be picked up, but now Enya is getting on the act. I must have rescued 3 or 4 young men yesterday from the terrible two, thank goodness most young guys are pretty good natured about it. Ciara is quite capable of just plonking herself down in their laps if I'm not quick enough or am distracted by Enya.

Ciara on her way to the next victim

Now what you can't see is the young man lying on the ground to her right, the sad face is because I'm telling Enya to leave him alone

The pool itself is gorgeous, set in the middle of forest and is a "natural" outdoor pool which means no chemicals. Instead it has a stream flowing into and out of it to maintain the water quality. If only the whole way there wasn't uphill and along a gravel path, I'd spend my summer there-now that I know I can do it alone!
The path to the pool

19 Aug 2009

Enya at 2 years

2 years ago we didn't think Enya would survive as she had a really rough start, so the fact she is here 2 years later and doing so well is an absolute miracle! I can remember the neonatologist warning us that we would have to be careful not to favour her as the "tiny weaker" child, and he is right, I sometimes have to fight with myself as I do tend to be more protective of Enya. Enya herself is remarkably fearless, as the physio says she doesn't believe there is anything she can't do. Even if physically she is not quite steady or developed enough to do it she will still give it a go, which can be quite scary to watch but she needs to explore her own limits. She was the first to do a single step completely unaided, even though she nearly fell each time she did it, she kept on trying until now she can do it quite steadily and has also progressed on to doing 2 steps like her "big" sister.
trying to climb out the cot (she managed it twice while we were on holiday)

Speech wise Enya is imitating everything we say, picking up the melody of the words even if the pronunciation is sometimes way off. This is the one area where she is ahead Ciara, she knows her body parts although she can't name them herself she can point if we ask where the ..... is. She chatters the whole time when playing and will hold jargon conversations with us for minutes at a time. She even sings along when we play CDs.

Enya is a very soft hearted and caring child, she gets upset if anyone else is crying and hates it when we tell her off. She ducks her head down, the mouth goes square and the tears just well when she is in trouble. She is quite easy to distract from her tears, if we pick her up and cuddle her to our left shoulder (the right just won't do) she usually calms down quickly and enjoys a snuggle. She is an extremely affectionate child who loves to give and recieve *mwaahhhs* and cuddles, she is also very ticklish which keeps Z entertained! She would be happy if she could spend half the day in our arms being cuddled. If Ciara is upset, Enya will often try and comfort her with a cuddle or more recently by bringing "babee" to Ciara. What I find very surprising is that she is also starting to give things to Ciara if Ciara asks (says "bitte"), Ciara is not quite that generous to say the least!

As a baby she had no fear of strangers but she is going through a phase right now where she doesn't like strangers at all, she barely tolerates our landlady who she sees regularly. She is however fascinated (like Ciara) with older children and loves to play with them if they let her. She has learnt to climb up the front of the slide in our garden and can now even turn herself around and launch herself down by herself although we still supervise as the platform of the slide has no rails. She is however terrified of swings and barely tolerates gentle swinging when being held firmly in our arms. Given how Z throws her around when they play together I don't quite understand this, she also loves to run back and forth holding the swing so it's not that she is scared of the swing as an object.

Her favourite toy is her Cusko it goes everywhere with her although we try restrict it to her bed as she sucks her thumb when she cuddles with it. She loves to put toys in her mouth and mouth and suck on them- I guess she is still very orally fixated. She also loves her bottles and tubes (trying to open them) and loves to play with wheels and cars. Her favourite part of the new duplo lego set is the wheeled platform- I see her often running it along the ground making car brrmmmming noises. The bobby car has finally been mastered too, she can steer and no longer hits all the furniture (only about half now). Another thing she really enjoys is climbing into things or crawling through obstacle courses- I think the confined spaces makes her think she is safe from being "got" by Ciara. I have made Ciara sound like a monster and Enya an angel but she isn't. Enya has been known to steal things from Ciara and because she is so fast she gets away with it. Enya also gets frustrated very easily and throws things around and yells as she doesn't know how to handle the frustration yet. I think she has inherited my temper, poor thing!

Dressing up is also fun

Obstacle courses, and before you ask she did this all by herself

Don't ask me where she gets if frrom but she also likes things in their place and will get upset if for instance the toilet lid is up. In the mornings she come into the bathroom see the lid is up and look at us squwaking, she then will go over to the loo and put the lid down and then all is good in the world again. She also tends to be the first to help pick up toys or if we are out will often bring me litter (bonus is when she can throw it in the bin herself). If, when she is feeding herself, she drops food on the table she often trys to pick it up and feed it to me or drop it back in her bowl. I can see she will be keeping me and her messy sister in line in the future.

Little monkey trying to grow taller

For the longest time we had problems with feeding her solids, that is now going really well. She still takes a looooong time to chew and swallow but in comparison to where we were even a month ago she has improved dramatically. I have even seen her finish a roll before Ciara which I would never have believed possible. She remains small, so small that we are now getting asked if they are really twins as one is so much bigger (3kg heavier). To be honest as long as Enya is growing it doesn't bother me that people don't see them as twins, all I have ever wanted is for them to be seen as individuals rather than the Z twins.
Look at that grin, it says everything doesn't it!

18 Aug 2009

Ciara at 2


Ciara at 2 ia as loud and bossy as ever, in the NICU while still on CPAP the nurses could hear her across the corridor and through the incubator. She used to perform for the half hour before her feeds were due. Now she can go longer between feeds (thank goodness) but she is still not shy about letting us know when she is hungry. Thankfully she is a dustbin just like her father and eats everything (except fruit)so at least one of our children is easy on that front!

She bosses/bullies Enya around but tends to come crying to mommy if Enya retaliates or steals something of hers. She is definitely the initiator of a lot of the nonsense the terrible two get up to but is also quick to cry to when something comes crashing down and she realises she's in trouble again. She loves to cuddle her "baby" sister (who hates it!!) but will also cuddle her mommy around bedtime. She still likes to bite our noses as a sign of affection but is thankfully now also giving us kisses (or *mwaahhs* as they are known in the Z household). She has absolutely no fear of strangers and will often hold her arms out to be held by strangers even if she is already in my arms- I believe it is the fascination with new things/people, if she's upset then only mommy will do!

I have to laugh as she gets very worried if I lie down and close my eyes, she comes up and twists my head to her and pats my face until I open my eyes. If I pretend to cry after she has pinched or hit me, she starts to cry too. Everyone always thinks she is bold and fearless but there is a very anxious and sensitive soul inside the tough packaging.

Her new word this week are "haben" which means want in german, and believe me she wants everything in sight. She was also playing around with the word "shoe" today but we'll see if it is still there tomorrow. If we ask her how old she is, a very definite "two" (with 2 fingers held up in the air) is the response. She is also finally pointing to body parts when we ask what they are, even if she still can't name them herself.

She mastered going down 2 steps by herself without holding onto anything which I find amazing given how scared she was last week to go down a single step by herself. But with lots of cheering her on she seems to have overcome her fear and having 2 big boys to follow around this weekend was the final impetus to doing stairs by herself.

Ciara with her "babee"

Her favourite toy right now is "babee" a clown she was given for her birthday, this is the same type of clown she kept stealing from Anna (daughter of friends) when we all in Turkey on holiday. Now that she has her own, it has to go everywhere with her, even to the dinner table. If we do manage to lose it for a few minutes, the question "where is babee" provokes an immediate panicked search accompanied by frantic crys of BABEE! And whoa betide Enya if she dares to pick babee up, that is not tolerated, she immediately sends up a wail of bitte and will often try snatch it from Enya's arms.

Birthday girl with her clunkers on

Ciara is also fascinated by anything shiny or remotely necklace/bracelet like, she often wanders around the house with my junk bracelets on her right arm and anything that can go around the neck, she'll put on- bags, gloves on a cord, name bands, the strap from her walking harness- you name it it's been around her neck. Ciara also loves to dress up- if she finds hats, gloves or shoes lying around she'll try them on. She loves to play with watches, rings, bracelets and necklaces that other people are wearing, she will even try and get them off so she can try them on.
Dressing up

"potty training"

Potty training still isn't happening although she is fascinated by flushing loos and always waves bye bye when we do flush (she also checks after and then proudly tells us it's "all gone"). She will sit down on the potty but immediately bounces back up as she is too busy to sit still for long.

17 Aug 2009

Happy belated 2nd birthday Ciara and Enya

Things have been a bit hectic in the last week, what with getting ready for C and E's 2nd birthday celebrations, however it was a great weekend and well worth the effort.

Friends arrived on Friday night with their 2 sons (3 and 5 years old) and the fun began. It was wonderful to see how they all played together, with Ciara and Enya running after the bigger boys and the boys, especially the oldest one, were great about helping the girls so they didn't get left behind. Bedtime was really difficult for all the kids that first night as none of them wanted the fun to end!
Bed time preperations

The adults finally got to bed at 2am as some of us (the moms) were busy with final preparations for the big day, while others were starting the celebrations early (the dads!).
The cake finally finished at 2am

We really hit gold with the weather as the entire weekend was forecast to be sunny and hot and for once it was too! The morning started with a lazy breakfast before we all moved into the lounge to open presents. C and E still are not quite sure about how to open them but they really enjoyed them once they were open (and the wrapping paper removed otherwise that is still the preferred toy). They got loads of lego duplo from our friends and they love it-they haven't really figured out how to build it but it fits perfectly on their fingers so they keep running around with "lego fingers". Z and I gave them a play kitchen which all the kids liked, although I can see the next few years is going to involve lots of picking up as it came with loads of accessorys (and the set wasn't even complete we have to go back to the store and get the missing pieces tomorrow). What worked out really well for us was to open a few presents and let the girls play with them for an hour or so before moving on to the next present. I still had the feeling by the end of the day they were a little overwhelmed with all the presents so we landed up saving a couple until the next day.
Ciara and the lego box

Enya with her lego window

Helping daddy unpack the kitchen

The rest of the friends arrived in the afternoon and then the playing began in earnest. We only had 6 kids there in total, but somehow they seemed to multiply underfoot. We had a slight mishap in that I gave all the kids bottles of soap bubble mixture (we've been practicing blowing bubbles in play therapy) unfortunately I had to leave the terrace with Ciara and in that time Enya decided to try drinking the mixture. After phoning the hospital and poison control centre it was determind we just needed to give her something to stop it foaming in her tummy so only a quick visit to the chemist was needed (a thousand times better than a visit to the casualty and a stomach pumping). Dinner was a braai (BBQ) and I'm happy to report Ciara and Enya joined us at the table as they are now pretty much only eating table food, they've had one exactly one puree in the last 2 weeks- why couldn't that have happened before our holiday!!
Dinner time

We finally got the kids into bed at 9pm and they slept through until nearly 8am the next morning. The adults continued celebrating until the early hours of the morning again. Some people probably think we make too much fuss over the girls' birthday but for us, it really is a celebration that they survived their hard start and that they are doing so well! The kids all took a long nap on Sunday morning ( some of the adults did too!) and then we spent Sunday afternoon in the park where C, E and the boys delighted in paddling in the stream that runs through the middle of it. Unfortunately we all forgot our cameras so no photos from that. The friends left around5pm and our birthday celebrations finally came to an end!

From my view this year was a lot easier than last year, maybe because I didn't have time to ponder the "what if's" and "what could have been's" or maybe it is one year further in the past, but this year I could really celebrate the fact my girls were 2 (*sob, I no longer have babies) without the sad overtones from last year.

9 Aug 2009

lazy blogger

Not got a lot to say right now, I'm enjoying the summer with my little monkeys (who are now down to one 2-3 hour nap a day WHOHOOOOO!) and just enjoying everything going well for once.
I thought I'd add some recent photos to make up for my utter laziness so enjoy..
Ciara after a hard days sweeping

Enjoying a sunny lunch

Walking in mommys shoes (Enya)

5 Aug 2009

Computer glitch

My computer has gone bottoms up so I'm not able to update much right now. All is wellish here, the girls continue to communicate with their few words. They are into (and onto) everything and somehow inexhaustable still.

We are down to one nap/day and they are not seeming to miss the second nap this week (last week was a completely different story), mommy on the otherhand is buckling a bit!! I've taken them out every morning only bringing them home at lunchtime, this has alleviated some of the whinging, I think they were just bored of always being home. Unfortunately the 4pm whinge is still in operation, I'm usually busy preparing dinner and they don't like the fact that I'm not paying them attention.

Ooops gotta go, will post again soon