Thursday, March 12, 2015

Turning FOUR

Four years ago... we were getting ready to welcome two new babies into our family.
Four years ago... Izzie had no idea that her quiet life as she knew it would change forever.
Four years ago... we had two little boys that couldn't wait until their due date to meet the world.
Four years ago... we welcomed our sons to our family and everything changed.
HAPPY 4th BIRTHDAY ASHTON ALAN& AIDEN JAMES!!!
There were nights of exhaustion, survival, pride, family helping, and merely existing.  There were also nights that Adam and I signed a peace treaty and vowed to not talk as we had nothing good to say through the exhaustion and sometimes frustrations.  The nights that my mom would stay over so Adam and I could go in the basement and watch a movie and sleep the through the entire night.  The nanny and family that helped every week so we could keep the boys out of daycare their first year.  I never thought of how difficult it was, until this past weekend when a friend was talking about statistics of divorce and families with multiples having higher divorce rates. 

There is no way.  No way that Adam and I could have done it alone, without each other and without help of family and friends.  I have been going through all my past blog posts and although it took extra time on Sunday nights, I missed some posts, and sometimes I had nothing to write about.  It is our memories shared with family and friends and hopefully read someday by Ashton and Aiden.  It is my journal.  I look back and can't believe we spent 5 weeks in the NICU.  Sometimes it feels like just yesterday, sometimes it feels like a vague dream.  I look back and smile at the times I had my camera out and took pictures of what I thought was nothing, but now I have memories of the boys first crawling, interacting with each other, cuddling with daddy on any given night, and what we did for most every single week of their lives.  I am amazed at how much they have grown, but ultimately they will always be my little boys.  Our little boys who had no hair until they were 8 months old.  Our little boys who have always had their best friend right by their side and their worst enemy to always compete with.  Our boys who are so lucky to have so many adults who care about them.  Looking through the blog, I am constantly reminded how lucky we are to have close cousins.
"Cousins are ready made friends for life."
"Friends may be FOREVER but Cousins are for LIFE."

Some key words that sum up our two four-year olds:
They are different.  I met another mother of 5 year-old twins this past weekend at a hockey tournament and I thought she was describing Ashton and Aiden when talking about her sons.  Ashton is emotional and more sensitive.  He is especially sensitive when he is tired.  Ashton needs more sleep and still needs his nap most every day.  He cries, whines, and melts down when he is tired.  Aiden is pretty much a non-napper.  He will look out for his brother, but also knows when Ashton is tired and tries to push his buttons.  Aiden is sensitive to Ashton's needs and looks out for him when he is getting in trouble or thinks things aren't fair or if Ashton is hurt.  Aiden prefers the same kind of cereal every morning (just like his dad) - Fruit Loops.  Ashton prefers to change things up (just like his mom) with toast, eggs, mini-muffins, yogurt, waffles, or oatmeal.

The prefer to dress similar right now.  I know when they were first born, I was adamant of not dressing them identical, but coordinating.  Looking through most pictures you will notice they are matching and that is by their choice and convenience for me.  I would much rather them dress different, but they choose even similar underwear.  They will even problem solve by splitting pairs of socks and being mismatching so they can both be the same.  I bought them Zach Parise shirts for their birthday and we get by being different (one is green and one is red) by trading shirts half way through the day.  It's convenient for me as they wear it together, I wash it together, fold it together, and put it in the drawers together.

They love Hockey.  Hence the theme of their birthday party this year.   We incorporated the hockey theme with the Mustang colors and the Minnesota Wild colors.  They can't wait for nights of hockey practice and beg to do open skate after.  They skate on the outdoor rink whenever they can and use our pond often.  If they aren't playing hockey outside, they want to "shoot pucks" in the basement.  If they aren't playing hockey, they want to watch hockey either on TV or go to Brigs and Blais' games.  We have several Wild games DVR'd for the nights and mornings there isn't a game on, just so they can watch it.  They know most Wild players, their numbers, and the watch for their favorites (Parise, Koivu, and Dubnyk) to score or make a save.  Bonus - watching hockey has taught them their numbers this winter. 

They are active.  We are feeling cabin fever with not getting outside.  This is also where hockey practice has been a nice outlet for unused energy.  Aiden sits and watches movies a little bit better than Ashton, but unless they are sleeping - there is always movement.  While they still wrestle with each other, they are playing with each other more and more.  They build forts, shoot pucks, play dinosaurs, do puzzles, play 'Trouble and matching games, and race cars.  I also hear a lot of "puppy play" where one pretends to be a puppy and the other is the owner or the daddy. 

They have many interests.  Dinosaurs, Star Wars, Hockey, "shooting pucks", Baseball, Football, Legos, and recently Aiden has really take to his stuffed animals.

They eat a lot.  If I were to rename Ashton, his name would be "I'm Hungry."  Not 10 minutes after supper he tells us his belly is hungry.  Aiden will eat a bowl of cereal before bed, sometimes two while Ashton has started eating a full bowl of oatmeal before bed; then again for breakfast.

They are Best Friends.  We have turned a corner where they can be left unattended in the basement or their rooms and play.  Don't get me wrong... they still fight.  Just not as much.

The morning of their birthday, we let them open one of their presents.  They were excited to wear their new Parise shirt to school!
 The night of their birthday we had supper, they opened their presents from us and then the neighbors came over for cake and ice cream.

Snorkel Gear for our trip to Punta Cana!

 Ashy gets to blow his candles out first since he is 3 minutes older.  Then it's Aiden's turn.
 Getting in a little Star Wars after cake and ice cream.
 Practicing with the snorkel gear in the tub.  The boys want to see some fish in the Dominican!!!
To celebrate their birthday, we had some family and friends over for a hockey themed birthday.
 Some of the numbers they requested...
26 - Brigs
9 - Blais / Mikko Koivu / Aiden
6 - Ashton (because it is a upside down 9)
11 - Zach Parise
20 - Ryan Sutter
My two favorite hockey players.
 Wild Colors and Mustang Colors...
 Concession stand theme food.
 Just this year's hockey pictures...
When I asked what their favorite part of their birthday was?!?!  Presents.
 Cousins.
 A stick handling/passing machine.  Gramma and Grampa know them too well!
 Darth Maul from Star Wars and someone else... sorry I do not know the characters!
 Aunt Debbie made them a Star Wars blanket.  They love the blankets she makes!
 The Rueber's are setting them up for the next season... a pitching machine and bases!
 Time to blow out the candles and sing Happy Birthday!
 Brothers.
 So ready to be four!
 Aiden's turn.
 Still playing hockey in the basement... nightly.
 Maureen and Papa Coach got them some really cool kinetic sand!
 It was a busy and fun day.  All tuckered out and tucked in for a movie with their new blankets and "Star Wars Guys."
 This post was a long time coming.  Sorry it is so late.  I wanted to get it posted before really feeling overwhelmed and coming back from vacation with hundreds of more pictures!

Thanks to everyone for helping us celebrate our boys turning 4!

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