Thanksgiving Preschool Potluck and Friendsgiving

Samantha and Amelia kicked off their Thanksgiving week with a feast at their preschool. I volunteered to help the kids make their special placemats the week before Thanksgiving, and the twins seemed pretty nonchalant with me coming in to both classes that day.  During the Thanksgiving Feast, however, Amelia freaked out when I went to help serve the food in Samantha’s class… so much so, that she would hardly touch her food. The girls were both a little weirded out by the whole potluck since they don’t normally stay for lunch at preschool, so I think being off their normal routine, plus having me there, became the perfect storm for having an off day.

It was quite the feast! The parents and teachers had a good time sampling everything after serving the kids, but next time, I’m thinking we should all sit down and have the kids serve us!

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I came back to comfort Amelia after stepping eight feet away into Samantha’s class to help serve the food. Once her belly was full of turkey and dessert came around, she seemed to be in better spirits.


Samantha tried every dish and thought the whole potluck thing was a swell idea.


Amelia was proud of her turkey hat.



Some of the kids barely tried their food, but magically became hungry again after the pumpkin roll made an appearance.


Happy Thanksgiving!


I’m having a hard time picking and choosing which crafts of the girls’ to keep now that they are coming home with something every day, and the clutter-hater inside me wants to keep the paper at bay. We usually hang them up for a few weeks, and then I take pictures and store a few of them in the girls’ portfolios. It’s already pretty full– can’t imagine 15 more years of paper! Some of the girls’ crafts this month:


I had fun working with Samantha and Amelia’s classes on their Thanksgiving placemats earlier in November.

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This was the first year the twins were a little more aware as to what Thanksgiving was all about, so it was our first year doing a Thankful Tree at home. I had grand plans of making a cute tree with lighted branches, but ended up just telling the girls to go out back and pick whatever branches they could find. At dinner (i.e. whenever we remembered), we’d write down what we were thankful for. S and A repeated each other, Meredith, mom and dad, and Bandit pretty much every time, so we had to teach them to think outside of the box a little! We took the tree down at the end of November, but the girls have been asking where the Thankful Tree is, so maybe we need to keep this tradition year round?

In a moment of annoyance that the girls were whining about something or other one morning, I had them watch a short YouTube documentary clip about a boy named Juan who lived near a trash dump in Mexico and picked up trash with his family for a living. I was thoroughly depressed watching it, but the girls were fascinated and, at the very least, I think they may have an inkling of understanding about how blessed they are to live in a house and have plenty of food.

Now, whenever the girls whine, I remind them about Juan. Out of the blue the other day, Amelia proclaimed she wanted to give some of her toys to kids who picked up trash and didn’t have any toys, and she suggested giving away her favorite stuffed animal, a stuffed cougar. Touched my heart! Samantha added that she, too, would like to give some toys away to those less fortunate, and suggested giving away “Amelia’s piggy.” We’re still working on her.


Meredith was stoked for her first Thanksgiving! This girl loooooooves food.


The next day on actual Thanksgiving, it was time for Friendsgiving at the Erpeldings. Sheela and Todd were so gracious to host us, Sheela’s dad, and their other friends, Christine, Ragnar and their toddler, Annabel. The best part was having our feast at 11:30 a.m.! Best Thanksgiving idea ever! We all stuffed ourselves, the kids played and then we went home for a nap! THE BEST.

We brought the stuffing and cranberries, Christine and Ragnar brought some delicious pie, and Sheela, Todd and the kids put together some amazing sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, rolls, turkey, honey baked ham, and Todd’s specialty, sauerkraut! Sammy actually tried it and liked it! It was truly a team effort as Avery and Owen showed off their battle scars from peeling potatoes… way to go, kids!

Deciding on the menu, running around to gather all the groceries and supplies, getting the house ready and preparing all that food was no easy feat, but Sheela made it look easy! We were so grateful to spend a fun Thanksgiving sharing a nice meal with friends and hanging out.


With seven kids, plus Meredith, we had quite the lively kids table. Surprisingly, in between wiping mouths, fulfilling requests for more sweet potatoes, and picking up dropped silverware, the adults were able to enjoy our meal as well.


Samantha and Amelia had seconds (and thirds in a few cases) and were the last ones to leave the table. Actually, Meredith was the last to leave the table… she looked like a stuffed little turkey by the time she was done.


Such a cute kids table.


The girls were occupied coloring on the tablecloth and playing with their friends. Somehow, toys at someone else’s house are always more interesting than our own.




Meredith gorged herself on turkey, rolls, potatoes, sweet potatoes and green beans. She had a little taste of pie and was quite angry we hadn’t been feeding her that the whole time.


With a new floor to explore, Meredith was in heaven before a post-Thanksgiving coma hit her and she napped all afternoon.


We had so much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving and were so thankful to celebrate with our little family and great friends!

Lots of love,




Meredith 9 Months

Hi there! I love being 9 months old!


Samantha, Amelia and Meredith 9 month comparison:


Meredith’s 9 month stats: 22.5 pounds, 30 inches. Over the 97th percentile, once again. I can feel every pound of it.


Meredith reached a plethora of milestones at 9 months. Just prior to her 9 month birthday, she said her first words “Baba” (although at first, it sounded like, “Mama.”) Jake and I were both there and after she said it a few times and was  gleeful when we brought her bottle to her, we both concurred her first word was indeed “Baba.” She perfected “Mama” a week later, and a few weeks after that, started in on “Dada.” It’s been mostly “Dada” ever since, with a few “Mamas” and “Babas” here and there.


I figured Meredith would reach her gross motor milestones faster than the twins had, seeing as she has the twins to emulate and keep up with, but she’s actually been consistently about a month or so behind where they were with big movements.

By her 9 month birthday, Meredith was rocking back and forth on her hands and knees, and could back up, but was incredibly frustrated trying to move forward. A few days after her 9 month birthday, something clicked and she’s never looked back. The twins, on the other hand, were crazy crawlers by their 8 month birthdays and were already pulling up to stand. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised considering Meredith is carried around/in her car seat/stroller/high chair and on the go to the girls’ activities a lot more than the twins ever were. Back when the twins were born, we spent tons of time at home, on the floor, and outside on the grass. I couldn’t carry the twins at the same time, so they had to learn to move FAST!

Amelia and Samantha in “jail” at 8 months:





Interestingly, Meredith has consistently been far beyond where the twins were with fine motor skills, cognitive skills and verbal skills. Maybe there’s a tradeoff? It’s amazing to me that she actually manipulates objects and concentrates on toys for long-ish periods of time… she will pick up objects off the floor, blades of grass, cheerios, whatever, and just move them around in her hands, finding every possible use for them. It’s fun seeing those little wheels turning in her head as she discovers new things.  Her favorite activity is helping me build block towers and then shrieking with delight when she knocks them down. The twins NEVER found this fascinating!

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Meredith is also a lot more vocal about letting us know what she wants. Gone is that mellow baby… she’s found her voice and knows how to use it.


Meredith loves all finger foods– sweet potatoes, carrots, peas, butternut squash, ravioli, pasta, cheese, green beans, asparagus, banana, apple, pear, mango, grapes, salmon, meat, chicken, pita bread, eggs, bagels, and avocado being among her faves.  She only has two teeth, but man, do they work hard. Her most requested dish is definitely Spaghetti Pie, but I can only handle this one on days I’m willing to deal with a colossal amount of cleanup.


Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the messiest baby of them all?  Samantha is still the reigning champ, with Amelia close on her heels. messyfaces

Yep, definitely Samantha.


Whenever I’m about to complain about Meredith’s messy adventures in solids, I just think back to these little horrors:


Meredith’s 9 month recap: The star of the neighborhood!


She is a social butterfly and loves all the little kids flocking over to play with her. Note the twins are off playing by themselves!


Meredith enjoyed rooting for the Utes… unless it’s 85 degrees at the Rose Bowl. Can’t blame her on that one.



Park playdates were a lot easier before she was crawling everywhere.


First trip to Tanaka Farms.

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First fall trip to Utah and loving every minute of the swings.

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Meredith enjoyed the fall colors in Utah on our hike.






Meredith was soooooo close to crawling at Grammy’s.


S’mores! ‘Nuff said.


Pool day in Vegas on our way home.


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Meredith’s proudest accomplishment this month was waiting until I was distracted so that she could lunge forward and grab a fist-full of frosting the girls were using to decorate Halloween cookies. Verdict: delicious.


As always, she idolizes her sisters (and is simultaneously terrified of them!)


Happy 9 Months, Meredith!


Everyday adventures with Aunt Sarah

We love the “everyday pictures” Aunt Sarah captures and manages to make artistic… wish I had that talent! Most of the day, I’m consumed with the never-ending cycle of cooking/feeding/cleaning/playing/cleaning/dressing/chauffeuring/cleaning that I don’t stop to take pictures of us just hanging out. It’s nice to have those memories captured (and made a million times more cool) from someone on the outside looking in.

Floor time with Meredith. Back when these were taken, Meredith could only crawl a few steps forward, but now she’s all over the place and screams whenever we try to hold or contain her. She’s gone!

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Post-gymnastics plasma car adventure. Their long legs make steering these cars a little awkward-looking, but they still love them.


Giggling Sammy.

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Amelia loves to pick all the plants around the park (if anyone is wondering what happens to all the newly planted flowers… sorry!) and the girls create a “salad” out of them.

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Checking out some coupons for Mom.


More close-ups of Meredith in the wild.

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Laughing or crying?


Sammy in the laundry basket, Amelia crumpled on the floor and Meredith in the sea of blocks. Just a typical afternoon.


Fairy Amelia before her school Halloween party.

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More chubbiness.

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Typical family photo with only Jake and I paying any attention.




Meredith looks up to her big sisters.


The spinning ride of sorrow! Samantha and Amelia realized this ride was not their cup of tea.


Sammy alternated between scared, sad and angry.


Much more our style!

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Showing sis the ropes.



Thanks for the Fall 2016 memories, Aunt Sarah!



Fairies and Tinkerbell: Meredith’s First Halloween

Halloween is over. Can I get an, “Amen”?


This year, the girls decided early on that they wanted to be fairies for Halloween after Aunt Annie handed down some cute fairy costumes her twins wore for a fairy birthday party one time. I stashed the costumes away for a few months so that when Halloween rolled around, the girls wouldn’t be sick of them. My tactics worked. I dug around my craft supplies to make their fairy crowns, hot glued fake moss and butterflies onto some old shoes they barely fit in anymore and found a YouTube Fairy Princess makeup tutorial… voila! Fairies!

After the girls decided to be fairies, I planned on Meredith being Tinkerbell and lucked out since my friend had a Tinkerbell costume which fit Meredith perfectly. I couldn’t resist picking up some Tinkerbell fairy shoes at the Disney Store, which was my one splurge. The little pom poms and jingle when you shook the shoes kept Meredith occupied, and regardless, I loved them! While I happily put the rest of our Halloween decor and costumes away in storage on November 1, Meredith’s Tinkerbell shoes on her dresser remain the lone vestige from Halloween.

I had originally planned on a Peter Pan theme, and a Tiger Lily costume for myself, but decided I had to be standing right next to Jake and Meredith or else my costume didn’t fit in, especially with the twins (thanks to the girls’ preschool party which served as kind of a dress rehearsal for helping me figure that out!) So, last minute, I dug out whatever green clothes I already had, got some green tights and wings, made myself a flower crown and transformed into a woodland fairy. I wish I had thought of doing a Midsummer Night’s Dream theme earlier on… I would have paid money to see Jake in a Puck costume.

For Peter Pan, thank you, Amazon, for the hat and tights… fortunately, he agreed to wear them.

The grump face in blue is Samantha and the one with the five-foot pout in pink is Amelia.


Family costumes in prior years:


This was the first year the girls picked out their own costumes and they proudly told anyone who would listen what they were going to be all month. Meredith, of course, didn’t have a choice, but loved her shoes and wings. She made the most squeezable Tink! I have to say, however; my favorite costumes so far have been the year Grammy made them Madeline costumes.



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Meredith 2015 and 2016:

picmonkey-collage5 The twins were so excited for Halloween all month, so much so, that the month seemed to drag by and I got sick of hearing, “Is it time to go trick or treating yet?” While the girls had fun on their Halloween field trip, they kept asking when it was time to get in their costumes and trick or treat, to the point that I had to threaten not going trick or treating that night if they asked again.

Although we had picked out pumpkins weeks before, we Jake didn’t carve them until the day of. After browsing Google Images, Samantha picked out a cat and Amelia picked out a creepy two-faced ghoul. To each their own.



After pumpkin carving and scrounging for dinner (our pizza order ended up being 2.5 hours late and we were starving!), it was finally time.

But wait… first pictures! The twins were not pleased and alternated between humoring me and doing the ultimate pout faces. Despite my last-minute hot glue touch-ups, the moss just did not want to stay put on their fairy shoes as the girls were running around. Oh well. From far away it still looked cool!



Pan and Tink.


Please just humor me.


At least Meredith is almost always game for pictures.


“All the world needs is a little faith, trust and pixie dust.” -Tinkerbell

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Fly away, Tink!


Two grumpy fairies and a happy Tink.




Glow sticks!


Our neighbors set up a throw the spider on the sticky web game the twins loved and then it was time to hit the streets. Our neighborhood is full of little kids and young families, which makes staying local for trick or treating all the more fun. we met up with our friends and caravanned around the neighborhood with them, mostly hitting up the houses that had the non-scary decor. Some houses went all out and were a little too PG-13 for the kids, complete with electric chairs, screaming sounds, and chain saws. We stuck with the blow-up frankensteins and smiling ghosts.

It’s normally warm, if not downright scorching with Santa Ana winds to boot, this time of year, and I usually plan the girls’ costumes accordingly. This was the one year it was actually a tad chilly outside, and the girls wanted to wear sweaters, effectively covering up their costumes. Oh well.


After an hour, the twins were winding down and Amelia kept tripping, spilling her candy all over the sidewalk every time. Meredith had been camped out in the Ergo during trick or treating, and while she was excited by all the sights and sounds at first, her eyes were glazed over by the end of the night. Time to head home. The twins chose a piece of candy to eat on the walk home and we barely had time to wipe off their makeup before they conked out, an hour past bedtime.

Unlike last year, the candy fairy did not make an appearance. In an effort to let loose, I let the twins choose one piece of candy each afternoon to eat, which had the unforeseen, but happy consequence of them keeping busy every day dumping out all their candy, asking what each one was and comparing their loot with each other. Pretty soon, they’ll be trading, I’m sure. After three days of being excited to choose a candy, they completely forgot about the whole thing and never brought it up again.

Addison, Jadyn, Samantha, Amelia and the lone boy, Nate.


I was proud to overhear the twins talking while choosing which candy to eat one day and heard Amelia inform Samantha that, “Candy doesn’t have vitamins and we only eat it on holidays and special times.” Brainwashing at its finest!

Lots of love,