Wednesday, August 19, 2015

State Fair and Twins Contest

On the very first day of the Iowa State Fair we headed out of the house bright and early for....THE TWINS CONTEST!!!! 

I had been looking forward to this all summer and I was so happy it landed early in the fair so I could go before school started. We had to leave our house by seven to get over to the fairgrounds, park and get registered at eight a.m. I think it was the earliest we've ever been to the fair! 

After we registered (which consisted of signing up on a piece of paper), we met my brother Sam and his wife Nikki and had some mini donuts while playing with the kids. It did seem like a long time to wait so next year I think we will try and push registering back a bit or plan to go eat breakfast before the show starts at nine. I just wasn't sure what to expect this year and I didn't want to miss anything! I was thankful it was still nice and cool at the fairgrounds this early. 

The infants under one category was first and so we lined up and headed on stage. It was really neat to see the other babies in the category- some were tiny and some were so chubby! We were the only girls and also the oldest so I wasn't sure if that would be in our favor or not. Once on stage, the announcer had us tell the babies names and how old they were and then after a few minutes of deliberation from the judges they announced the places, starting with 5th. As the places ticked by I started to wonder if we would get first and....we did!! Anna & Brynn won first place in the most alike under one category! yay! :o) 

It was so exciting! 

All in all, we were done at the contest by 9:17 so Sam and Nikki took Michael around for a bit while Scott and I got a coffee and sat and watch some more of the contest. It was really neat to see all the different twins and wonder what the future holds for our girls. You bet we'll be back every year for the contest! We put the blue ribbons on the girls' stroller and all day when people stopped us we could tell them they were blue ribbon babies. 

We spend the next few hours enjoying the's what we did:

Enjoyed the garden and the tunnel (of course). Michael had fun running in the fountains and I was happy I thought ahead to bring a towel and wear fast drying clothes. 

We also caught two shows at the fun forest stage- I love how the shows are right after each other and are very kid friendly. The girls liked being able to get out of their stroller for a bit and have some puffs. 

After walking around a bit, we really enjoyed taking a break in the baby animal barn. They have a nice baby care station with rocking chairs and changing tables- so nice! It was nice just to get out of the hustle and bustle for a bit and have a safe place to change the girls. 

Michael and I treated ourselves to a ride on the sky glider while Scott took the girls to get his lunch (Michael and I had corn dogs- so good!). We unfortunately only had enough money for a one way trip so we had to walk back to meet Scott but it was still fun. 

We ended out day with our favorite- a Bauder's peppermint ice cream bar!! YUM!! They are tricky because they are so good but you have to eat them fast because they melt quickly in the typical state fair weather. 

Meanwhile the girls were zonked out! They did such a good job being in their stroller for a big chunk of their day. I could tell it was getting warm in there for them so we did take off their dresses in hopes of keeping them a bit cooler. I think we managed to hit up the coolest day of the fair but it was still warm and humid. It seemed like most people were hot and grumpy. We tried to manage our expectations by not doing too much and staying in one area of the fair. Michael got a little tired of walking but I think we overall fared well as a family. 

We took one more swing through varied industries to pick up our Cyclone Football posters and then we were headed home!

Overall a great day at the fair! It was nice to spend some time with my brother and his wife, get stopped a million times by people to say hi to the twins, and have our two minutes of fame! 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Back Home Weekend

The first weekend in August, we traveled back home for a weekend. Believe it or not, this was the first time we've taken the girls back to my hometown. Keep in mind that my mom visits often and we have only ever taken the girls overnight two other times before so we are not as terrible children as it sounds (hopefully!). Here are a few highlights:

Woodbury County Fair

We had fun taking the girls for their first trip to the fair! The fair has so many fond memories for me, the best being my reign as the Woodbury County Fair Queen (every girl's dream!). It was fun seeing friendly faces and getting stopped every five seconds for someone to fawn over the girls. We also enjoyed plenty of fair foods such as tenderloins, ribbon fries, lemonade, brisket sandwiches and a funnel cake. I also got to hit up my favorite vendor for some new books for the girls' birthday. A lovely surprise was had by running into an old friend in the parking lot and being able to meet her new baby and new husband. 

We were also able to visit with some family that we don't get to see often: my uncle Scott, and my Aunt Cindy & Uncle Mark, my cousin Therese and her girls. I was glad we were able to get together and visit as I feel terrible we don't make it back home that often...although hopefully more now that girls seem to be easier travelers (fingers crossed!). We did not remember to talk a photo of all the kids together even though we talked about it so I will just to rely on my memory of the nice afternoon. I especially enjoyed talking to my cousin's girls as they are going in to 5th and 6th grade- my favorite ages! :o) 

Luckily grandma was able to rustle up TWO vintage highchairs for the girls to use at her house. This photo reminds me of this one of Michael when he was a little younger than the girls: 

Speaking of vintage mom also had out her little rocking chairs which were my grandma and her sisters when they were little. My mom said her grandfather bought them off a peddler's wagon when he was coming through town. I'm not sure if that is accurate- grandma, you'll have to correct me if I'm wrong! At any rate, it was such a nice coincidence that she had TWO and the girls were so cute rocking in them. 

The other big part of our weekend was that Scott had planned an overnight out for us to celebrate our 9th anniversary while my parents watched the kids. It was a treat! He booked a very nice suite at the Stoney Creek Inn in Sioux City which was very nice and even had a little patio. We had a very nice dinner at Kahill's which is where we had our rehearsal dinner and hadn't been back since. It was fun exploring the grounds of the hotel as there were two weddings going on! The big ballroom was busy with a convention so we couldn't peek in and reminisce about our wedding but it was fun nonetheless being back at the scene of the crime.

After dinner we had some drinks and explored the Hard Rock Casino which was right across from our hotel. It was pretty neat! We met up with my friend Kim from high school and it was so so great to catch up with her. She has been going through some health things and has been on my heart so I'm glad we got to connect face to face. It was also fun meeting her guy friend and getting to know him! It was a really fun night and just what we needed. I'm glad I was able to meet up with so many friends and family this trip (and I can't forget about my friend Jessie and her family who we saw en route- a perfect stopping point to break up the trip!) and was happy that we were able to connect. 

So here's to nine years! It's been quite the ride! 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Ordinary Days

We have had so many days this summer that are exactly like this one: just hanging out at home and enjoying playing together. I just wish I could bottle the girls up and keep them just like they are now forever. They are so fun to watch play together it is truly a wonder how I get anything done all day (hint: I don't!). 

The girls love to play in our sun room. While I am sad that it now looks like kid zone 101, I am happy that we have the space in our home for them to have plenty of room to spread out and not feel like toys are everywhere. I know this is short lived and soon enough I will be back to a house that is free of primary colored toys so I am enjoying it while it lasts! 

Speaking of primary colored toys...we finally found a safe place for Michael to work on his legos that is out of the way for the family: our formal dining room! We blocked both doorways and so he can spread out and not worry about little fingers getting a hold of tiny pieces. He will play in here for long periods of time, creating new things with his imagination. I think he likes being close to us upstairs but still having his own space. My cleaning lady assured me that most of her clients with boys Michael's age have a lego table in their home! 

I was having so much fun snapping away at these next photos that I didn't hardly notice the back and forth that was happening with the little toy- see if you can follow it! Anna has the straight up pony tail and Brynn has the little bubble bun. 

Brynn has just one little tooth on the bottom and you can see it in this photo. It is hard to catch unless she is smiling a certain way so I was happy to have gotten it! I call it her hillbilly's pretty cute! No teeth yet for Anna. 

Extreme Anna gummy smile close up!

Some of my favorite photos of Michael are just the ones I have of us playing at home together...glad I also have special memories of the girls doing the same thing. And lord knows how fast that time has gone! Soon we will be in our new school schedule for fall so we are savoring our last days at home together!

Friday, August 14, 2015

11 Months

11 months!!

We are officially on the last month of the girls' first year!! I can hardly believe it. I am, of course, in complete denial that they will be turning one next month and wonder every day where the year went. I guess I just thought they would be babies for a little while longer. This time of year when I am getting anxious about returning to school reminds me so much of this time last year when I was anxious about the return to school and also anxious about the girls arriving. I am so glad I was able just to stay home for those few weeks before their arrival to rest up, keep them growing safely, and try and stay calm before the storm. I was so worried about getting them safely here that I couldn't dwell on what the future held and as a result so much of what has happened this year has been a total surprise and not something I had spent a lot of time premeditating, if that makes sense.  When Trace was little I used to daydream all the time about what life would look like with him and Michael in a year, in two years, in five years...what cute outfits I could dress them alike for Christmas cards and birthday parties, etc. And with the girls it really was a conscious decision to try and just take it one day at a time and in some ways I think that made the year go faster. 

I've been trying to plug away at the girls' scrapbooks to get them done by their first birthday (eek!) and it just pains me to see them so tiny. It's not a bad pain- but the kind that makes your heart hurt with longing as those days have gone by too quickly. At the time I thought these photos were pretty silly but now I'm glad I have a reminder of myself with them during this fleeting time period. 

One month, Brynn closest to camera. 

two months

So I figured we needed some updated photos with the babies and I to show how much they have grown in my lap. It is wild for me to see how big they have gotten and how much they like to show their personalities! 



These two are such a blessing and we can't wait to celebrate their 1st first birthday next month! 
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