What 3 year olds like

A few months ago, I shared the gift list for the girls' 3rd birthday and Christmas. Well now that we've had a month of fun and play and Christmas is over for 2013, I can confidently share with you what my 3 year olds like to play with.

Clockwise from top left

  • A playhouse with little people and furniture. The enjoy making up stories and scenarios and its amazing to see the breadth of their imagination. Pictured is the Fisher-Price Little People Home which had been sitting in the garage for over a year before I brought it out last week. Any dollhouse would do but I have no complaints about this one especially as it has a lot of extras - farm, animals, school bus, zoo etc - available online and in stores
  • Coloring books, writing books and stickers. Thanks to Samantha's advice, I got a pre-K learn to write book that Sugar seriously loves practicing her numbers on. (Johanna of Baker Twins suggested building their hand muscles with playdough and I do have that in storage but just can't figure out how to incorporate it into play without making a big hardwood-ruining mess)
  • Dress up clothes and accessories 
  • Electronic music activity board (LeapFrog Touch Magic Ocean Music School)
  • Jigsaw puzzles. 10-30 pieces appears to be ideal for their current skill level. Spice really loves her Dora puzzles and our puzzle collection has been growing rapidly
    • Twin mom tip 1: Have the kids try to solve the puzzles together and/or separately depending on their dynamics. 4 times out of 5, the sanity of our house is preserved by keeping the girls working on 2 different puzzles at least two-arms-length apart (see photo above)
    • Twin mom tip 2: Store individual puzzles in ziplock bags and let the kids learn to get a bag, solve puzzle, break it up and put it back in the bag. We have that routine down to a pat and it saves me picking up puzzle pieces after them
There you have it! I think most of the items on the list worked out really well. What say you? What did your 3 year olds enjoy at this stage?

The Wonder of the Season

Elf on the shelf, advent calendars and other Pinterest-worthy activities
Family pictures and photos with Santa
Meeting the mailing deadline for cards and presents
How much to spend on gifts
Should you gift your colleagues?
What of the boss, cleaning lady and bus driver?
Travel craze and sometimes rage
Family reunions and drama
Christmas menu planning
Store-bought or made-from-scratch?

Tis the season for many-a-stressful moment... But sometimes we need to pause and enjoy the wonder of the season through the eyes of a child (or two)

For my little ladies, one of their favorite things to do this time of the year is to gaze out the window and admire the snow, trees and squirrels. So simple!

Here's wishing you a simple, delightful Christmas season.

A tale of 2 trees

In our house, there sits 2 Christmas trees.

Tree number one is the fancy tree...all $20 worth of fancy. On it hang glitter-covered apples and pears - a testament to my sometimes-imaginary crunchy nature. The girls hung all the ornaments on the bottom so you'll see some branches sporting up to 3 ornaments each.

Tree number 2 is the heart tree. Hidden away upstairs in the family quarters. On it hangs the twins' first shoes, custom/handmade ornaments from my sisters, 2 "baby's 1st Christmas 2010" ornaments and a little ornament from our 2011 Christmas in St John's Newfoundland. This tree is a little short and a little bare but every ornament on it is precious and I hope to fill it up over the years as we write the history of our family.

Which tree do you think is my favorite? Which one is yours: the fancy tree or the heart tree?

PS: I love using the girls' first shoes as Christmas ornaments. For other ideas on things to do with baby's first shoes, see the post I wrote 2 years ago.

Linking with Kelly's Korner blog

Santa's Empty Bag

And THIS, people is why Santa's bag will be almost empty this Christmas.

A playroom full of oft-ignored toys
A tote that can't close due to the abundance of 4T clothes that are waiting for the girls to grow
A cupboard or two filled with "not yet ready for them" toys

More than I hate clutter, I hate for my girls to have so much that they lose the joy of enjoying "just enough".

We're blessed. God has been very good to us this year. The girls have more than enough toys and clothes to take them into next Christmas. So we're making things real easy for Santa this year. He can come down that chimney with an empty bag and it'll be all good. It works for us. We'll still have a very merry Christmas once we get around to cleaning the playroom!

What's it like having 3 year old twins?

They're 3!

Yes indeed! Am I excited? Yes I am!
Is this belated birthday post going to be chock full of exclamation marks? Yes it is! :)

Having 3 year olds is amazing! They're playing together, having coherent conversations with us and each other and yes, fighting like cat and dog.

So what do their stats look like these days? I'm happy to respond that they've maintained the trend of their first and second years beautifully.

The adorable Ms Spice
Weighs a little over 27lbs and is just under 25th percentile for weight. Height-wise she's 36.5 inches which puts her squarely in the 25th percentile range for height as well. At age two she was around 23rd percentile on the CDC chart and I expected her to gain 3-6lbs over the year which she did. (Y'all know I'm anal about my charts and numbers, right?!)

Communication: This girl puts together some very advanced sentences. The most shocking was on their birthday when I told her it was time to go to the rec center for our sports class. She looked me in the eye and said "I'm not going anywhere today". And that, people, is a 5 word sentence that made this mother's jaw drop

Kindergaten prep: Recognizes all her letters in upper and lowercase. Can recite her numbers to 20 and also count objects. Knows her colors and recognizes her name when it's spelt out

Loves: Hoarding collecting interesting artifacts, jewelry, envelopes, stuffed animals, magazine clippings, plastic cards, coupons... you catch my drift?

With her sister, she puts her choices in the backburner and goes to her for comfort when we ignore her for naughtiness

With her mummy, she can get away with a lot when she begs nicely because she's had maybe one tantrum in the last one year and who can bear to say no to a kid who is so gentle and unargumentative

With her daddy, she shares a lot of physical and personality traits that make them best buddies

With family and teachers, she's quick and generous with her hugs and makes everyone feel like they're her most special people.

The bubbly Ms Sugar
Is 38 inches tall and weighs in at 27.5lbs. That's also under 25th percentile for weight and 60th percentile for height. I think she has maintained her growth trend for the year - at age two the doctor's office measured them to be the same height but Sugar was obviously taller, nurse was just not patient.

Communication: She's still noticeably behind Spice in her communication and sentence making but she's still developing at her own pace and manages to get her point across just fine

Kindergaten prep: Apart from everything I listed for Spice, she is also able to count to 30 (that was twenty-zero for a while) and has an amazing memory for words and song lyrics

Loves: Exploring places and things - locked bags, locked doors, remote controls, electronic gadgets, cupboards, drawers etc.

With her sister, she's the number one tormentor and protector

With her mummy, she's good at keeping me on my toes and melting me with unexpected moments of supreme sugary sweetness following some equally intense tantrums

With her daddy, they're able to make each other cry tears of joy and frustration and silliness in the space of one minute

With family and teachers, she makes them work hard to be allowed into the circle of trust. When they get in, they're quickly wrapped around that stubby little finger.

Happy birthday my angels. I'm so proud to be your mother and everyday I'm learning to be a better, more patient person because of you. Thank you!

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