Last week our daycare was closed. My office was closed the day after Independence Day so it was my turn to stay home and look after the girls. We had tons of fun, and all things being equal they’re pretty easy to handle nowadays. Well, as long as you aren’t trying to accomplish anything or go anywhere, that is.
Anyway, they were very chatty and while I was in the kitchen I noticed them playing and talking to each other. I pulled out my phone and was able to capture the following video:
I posted that video to Youtube over the weekend, but realized that those who don’t regularly live with 2 year olds in general, or our 2 year olds specifically won’t have much clue as to what they are saying. Even Jess and I have a hard time deciphering their language at times. Actually, they seem to have rather extensive vocabularies already. I’d guess they probably know and use upwards of maybe 1000 words. Just that same Friday, we were playing with animal flashcards and Meri correctly named 63 of 72 animals, including the difference between a monkey and a gorilla. Impressive.
As you may have been able to tell, they recently have gotten big into “I don’t like X”. You name it, they say they don’t like it. Despite all evidence to the contrary. They will say they don’t like ice cream, as they’re EATING ice cream. So, we’ve learned to take their input with a grain of salt. My favorite is when they say they like and don’t like the exact same thing within the same sentence. Usually they can be distracted from “I don’t like” syndrome. I’m assuming this is a 2 year old thing.
What follows is a transcript of their entire conversation. My comments will be in italics.
Begin Scene… conversation already in progress…
It’s nothing if not entertaining around our place.
Edit… if you don’t watch the video while you read the transcript, it sounds like the most insane conversation you’ve ever heard.
Life with toddlers learning to talk is just one of those things. Sometimes it’s terrific and sometimes it’s not. More so of both when there are two of them spewing words at you non-stop.
For example, months ago they adopted the word “milp” which meant “milk”. Simple enough. Jess and I even found ourselves asking them if they wanted “milp”. Fun to say.
Well, somehow, a few weeks ago they completely changed it up on us. They no longer say “milp”. Now the word they use for milk sounds way more like “nap”. Those were a difficult couple days while we tried to figure out what in the hell they were saying. I still don’t know how they both were able to change the word at the same time. I picture them laying in their cribs at night conspiring to confuse he hell out of mom and dad.
Last week I was with Alex and Meri while Jess was out. Alex walked up to me and said a word that sounded like “cut”. It was obvious she was asking for something, it wasn’t just a statement. She had nothing in her hands, we weren’t eating or anything. No context clues whatsoever. Just out of the blue. Being 2, she didn’t just say “cut”… it was more like “cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, CUT, CUT, CUT…”
I literally had no idea what she was saying. So I start fishing, “cut?” I ask.
“Yeah”, she replied.
Shit… that doesn’t help me any.
“Cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, cut…”
“Something to eat? A toy? Can you help Daddy out?”
“Cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, cut…”
Amazingly, hearing the word 75 times hasn’t helped me understand what she wanted. In desperation I turned to Meri to see if she could possibly act like a UN language translator.
“Hey Meri, do you know what sissy wants? Do you know what she’s saying?”
Meri replied, “cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, cut…”
Luckily for me, 2 year olds are easily distracted and we moved on to something else. To this day, I still have no idea what she was saying. Jess has heard it as well, and similarly doesn’t have a clue.
Some other word adventures…
The word “more” has been said roughly 7 million times in our house since they first learned it a year ago. However, now it sounds like “moy” instead.
The word “uh-oh” is also used contsantly. Unfortunately they do not understand the difference between an actual accident and something they are doing on purpose. Meri will be standing there unzipping her pajamas all the while saying “uh-oh, uh-oh, uh-oh…”. Sweetie, that is not an uh-oh, you’re just being naughty.
Alex’s big thing lately is “hot”. Everything is hot. If it’s not stone cold, it must then be hot. We have to constantly reassure her that her that nothing is hot.
They are addicted to the movie Monsters Inc. Specifically, the very first scene of the movie where the monster screams and then falls down in the simulator. They let us know they want to watch this by repeating the words “guy fall” over and over and over again.
“peas” = please
“doot do” = thank you
“kak-kah” = cracker
“coo” or “coo coo” = cookie
They’ll pick up their toy purses they got for Christmas from grandma, sling them over their shoulder and say, “bye-bye… seelater”.
Must to Jess’s chagrin, Alex will occasionally just call her “mom”. She gave me a “dad” the other day.
Alex has had a rash on her rear, and she’ll say “bum hurt”. Sad and funny at the same time.
They love to talk about toots and poo poo. They must be my kids after all.
Still, the most uttered word by sheer volume is “uhh”. This is the catch-all word that is repeated ad nauseum. Any time they don’t fell like using their words and/or don’t know what words they want, they just say “uh uh uh uh uh uh…” it is quite aggravating. That is one bit of this journey I won’t miss when we pass by.
There is certainly never a dull moment in the Habertwin household.
The Habertwins just keep growing. Well, not that much, since at our last doctor appointment they are still in the 5th and 8th percentiles for weight and all. Let’s say they are “advancing” at a rapid pace.
They can probably identify easily over 100 different items by name. If we say go get “xyz” toy, they can find it in the pile. Reading their picture books, we can ask them “which one is the cow?” and they can point it out. Verbally the aren’t as advanced yet but are improving almost daily. The words they do say (da da, momma, bye-bye, night-night, cheese, shoes, etc.) they are starting to put them together to form thoughts. Just yesterday, I went into our bedroom while Jess was playing with them. Alex turned to Jess and said “da da bye-bye”. Mind boggling that is happening already. We are also working on them saying their names. Alex does pretty good with her “Allllll-cexs”. Meri falls back something close to “momma” but is working on it.
You can tell Meri, “Let’s go change your diaper” and she will drop whatever she is doing and start heading to her room. Pretty funny to watch. She gets so excited about it for some reason.
We survived another round of sickness/simultaneous teething. The progression is like this… they start teething, so their gums hurt. They chew on their fingers constantly to make their gums feel better. Fingers in the mouth end up getting them sick. Thus, we have 2 children who are teething, uncomfortable, in pain, and can’t breathe because they have colds. Wow. Not good times.
We have reached a point where the following is completely true. If we have one of something, we have zero of something. Because, if there is just one, they will battle over it. As an addendum to that, if we have 2 of something, but it is something they can carry in one hand, then we’re still screwed because one kid will end up with both of them with the other kid screaming. In those cases, we need at least 5. One for each of their hands, and a “floater” to assuage any additional problems. I can see this getting out of control rapidly.
On the positive side, 2 days in a row last week we had 100% cry free afternoon commutes. 45 minutes of total silence from the back seat. No crying. No screaming. No nothing. I can probably count the total number of times that has happened in 14 months on one hand. So, you know, rare. About two thirds of the way home, Jess and I were looking at each other afraid to say anything that would screw it up. It was like a pitcher with a no-hitter going and nobody wanting to break his concentration. Alas, the string only lasted 2 days, but those were 2 glorious days… We are hoping to have turned a corner on this, but it is too early to tell.
With the weather finally getting nicer, the girls absolutely love being outside. They have been exploring the backyard, picking up rocks and digging in dirt. Good times.
They love eating bites of pizza. They must really be my kids after all.
All in all, every day that passes they are becoming more and more fun to be around. Their personalities are really coming out. The days that they are both in good moods are like gold. I wouldn’t trade those for anything.
Without further ado, here are some pictures. As always, go to Flickr to see all of the photos.
Twins – March 2012
Twins – April 2012
Damn. How time flies anymore…
Alex and Meri are growing like crazy. Granted, they don’t seem to be getting a ton bigger just yet, but they are running now. Usually in a direction away from us when we call them. They think that is hilarious. They both have crazy fascination with their coats and want to wear them all the time. They absolutely LOVE zippers. Can’t keep their hands off them. Want to move them up and down. Alex will grunt at you to zip up her jacket so she can play with it more.
We’ve upgraded from their old “bucket” style car seats to their new big-kid type seats. They adjusted to them pretty well. Jess and I had a little more work to do, since we now have to wrangle the kids in and out of the car, rather than just grabbing the whole seat. We’re getting it figured out.
They are both learning more words. They don’t know what all of them mean and they are just mimicking Jess and I, but they do know somethings like “banana”, “duck”, “night night” (nap/bed time) and others. Some of the recent additions are “sissy” (what we call each of them), “boom”, “go go go”, “done”, “yeah”. It is quite fascinating. Although, the still don’t like to perform on command. Go figure. The do know what the sound of the bathtub being filled and will come running and attempting to strip off their clothes. Yeah, they love baths.
Meal times are still trying. Alex, for the most part will eat without much complaint. Meri, on the other hand wants nothing to do with us feeding her most times. She only wants to feed herself finger type foods. All well and good, unless you’re trying to feed them some bananas and yogurt in the morning and still get out the door at a reasonable time. Yesterday, Jess and I spent about 4 hours preparing 10 different recipes of baby food and filling our freezer with stuff to feed them. All fresh veggies and meat. Provided they eat it, they will definitely be eating better than their parents do.
Anyway, without further ado, here are more pictures of these crazy kids. As always, more available on Flickr.com than are posted here. Enjoy!
Habertwins February ’12
With Jess going back to work after Christmas and my office being closed for the holiday (as well as our daycare being closed), it fell upon me to man up and maintain the Habertwins for 4 straight days all by my lonesome. To say it was an adventure would be an understatement.
These girls are high energy and completely mobile. They just don’t stay in one place for more than 37 seconds at a time and are usually heading in opposite directions. Actually, that is probably a good thing since Alex has a penchant for horse collar tackles of Meri and mashing their heads together. Anyway, the best we can do in our house to keep them corralled is to close all the doors to bedrooms and bathrooms. However, the main living area of our house is one big open room of kitchen, living & dining rooms. It is impossible to keep them in a small contained area. One day, as I was feeding Alex a bottle, Meri was occupying herself by dunking a book in the dog’s water bowl. Needless to say, I spent a good deal of time chasing them down. If I had a dollar bill for every time I said either of their names, “come here” or “no” we could retire early and hire a live in nanny.
Here is a visual representation of what went on in our house. This first picture is all of their old toys and new Christmas stuff semi-neatly piled up out of the way:
After 2 hours:
And after 4 hours:
You might notice that the density of toys seems lower in the last picture… that is because many of the toys have since migrated out of the living room area and are now in the kitchen, dining room and elsewhere.
One thing I learned fast was to break the day down into more digestible chunks.
First chunk was getting them out of bed, diapers changed, bottles fed, breakfast fed, another diaper change (poopies this time), play time, then down for their first nap, sometime between 9:30am and 10am. Yeah, they’re weird. For some reason, they can sleep 12 hours, wake up for 2 and be tired again.
During that nap, I can finally relax, maybe take a pee, and polish off the coffee without having to keep little hands out of the mug. The thing is with these girls, you can’t set anything down where they might reach it. Because they WILL reach it and dump/poor/spill/wreck anything they can. However, one benefit of being the only one home watching them is that I get to drink the entire pot of coffee myself. The caffeine jolt helps quite a bit. About an hour after they go down, you start watching the clock, just knowing they are going to start hollering soon. The first day I got them up when they only napped for 45 minutes. That was dumb. By Friday when they squaked at an hour in, I let them spend 10 minutes crying when they fell back asleep for another hour. It’s all a learning process.
Chunk 2 is getting them up from the nap, doing more bottles, more diapers, then some lunch. Feeding them is probably one of the most stressful parts of this whole deal. They keep you on your toes. You just never know what they’re going to want. Sometimes, they HAVE to feed themselves, and will do the tight-seal-mouth-turn-the-head method of spoon refusal. Other times, you’ll get out some pieces of cheese or banana or whatever on their tray and they won’t touch it. One time, Alex would pick up a piece of food from her tray, look me square in the face and drop it right on the floor with disdain. *sigh* Or, food they loved yesterday and couldn’t get enough of, today they will spit out the second it touches their tongue. I don’t even want to think about what this bodes for the future. One thing they always seem to like is Cheerios. Which is a good thing, unless the dog is at doggy day care to stay out of dad’s hair for the day. Tuesday, there were roughly 4,739 cheerios spread across the floor.
The afternoons are not as structured as the mornings. It is a lot of play time. The thing with 1 year olds, is that at least as far as I know, they aren’t really into organized activities. Which makes killing time so difficult. On Wednesday, the Grandparents took the girls for 3 hours which was like a mini vacation. I came home and napped. Thursday and Friday the weather was so nice (in the 40′s) that we were able to take LONG walks around the neighborhood. Friday afternoon in particular, we went almost 4 miles in an hour and a half. They slept a little in the Bob stroller. I put on my headphones and could zone out for a while. That was nice.
Hopefully, they’ll take an afternoon nap somewhere in there. Afternoon naps are iffy though. Most often, they’re pretty short. Then it’s just killing time until mommy comes home to help out. I can remember one day looking at the clock on the wall and thinking, “Ok… just 5 hours and 10 minutes until Jess gets home”. Then looking at the clock again at what felt like 40 minutes later… 5 hours and 5 minutes until she gets home. Ooof.
One day, Alex pooped 4 times. Throw in 2 for Meri, it made for a stinky day.
I admit, shortcuts were taken as well. They stayed in pajamas all day. Life was just easier that way. Besides, we weren’t in public anyway. In fact, Dad stayed in pajama pants and a t-shirt as well. Funny how everything else goes right out the window. I didn’t get dressed. I didn’t shower. I only put actual clothes on when I took them for a walk. Only one of the 4 days did I even remember to eat lunch. I didn’t accomplish a single other thing than tending to the Habertwinadoes. I’m guessing that it probably takes a month or 2 before you reach a point where one could watch kids and still accomplish other things like cleaning up or doing laundry. I’m certainly not there yet.
All of that being said, it was probably a good thing for me to have done this. If anything, I figure if I can do that I can do just about anything. Plus they did get some quality Dad time. Not that they don’t get a good amount of that on a regular basis, but with mom nowhere to be found, they couldn’t be dependent on her. I think by Friday, the girls were getting used to Dad’s program as well. Having one less set of hands makes putting them down for a nap different. Instead of them each getting one on one rocking and bottle time, they got to share Dad’s lap. I held a bottle and a baby in each arm and rocked them. Tuesday, they didn’t like this much and cried for 20 minutes after I put them in their cribs. By Friday, they went right down for their nap with nary a peep. No muss, no fuss.
And, all of the work aside, they can be a lot of fun when they’re in good moods. And even when they’re choosing to not eat, sometimes they can be pretty funny. I also was able to spend some time teaching them where their noses and ears are. It is pretty cute to see them point to their noses when I ask where they are. However, Meri will often stick her finger IN her nose… which I suppose is still correct. Unfortunately, they don’t like to perform in front of others. So, it’s a pretty tough skill to show off.
I’m pretty interested to see what 2012 has in store. I can almost see these girls getting bigger every day. Each day they get better balance. They learn something new. They are sleeping in now, if you can believe it. During the break, they slept til 7, 7:30 and once til almost 8am. That is a far cry from the 5:45am days. In fact, this morning when heading back to work we had to set an alarm, get ourselves up and ready at 6:40, before waking them up. I never thought I’d see the day. It was the first alarm I have set in 13 months. Crazy.
I’m really trying my best to soak in the things I enjoy before they’re gone. Probably my all time favorite is the few times a day when they’ll nestle their heads on my shoulder when holding them. If they only knew that was the perfect way to keep dad from ever putting them down…
Damn right it did.
Alexandra and Meredith, and more miraculously Jess and I, have survived a whole year. I can scarcely believe it.
One year. 12 months. 52 weeks. 365 days. 8760 hours. Let’s break this down a little. Doing some quick calculations, I’ve come up with the following facts and figures. A glimpse into the first year with twins.
Diapers. Roughly 4,380 diaper changes averaging 6 per kid per day. However, that might be conservative. I know there were days were I changed 6 diapers by 10am. We performed 2/3 of those (the others were at day care), dividing by two of us, means we have each changed roughly 1,500 diapers. Also, we’ve probably spent about $800 on just diapers. That’s a lot of money to just shit on…
Feedings. We did finger feedings for them for the first month. Every three hours. Total of 240 times, give or take. I don’t even know how we did that that many times. Seriously. Brutal.
Breast feeding. Jess breastfed them as many times as we finger fed them. Which is even more remarkable. Sure, we switched to bottles about a month in, but Jess was still pumping after every meal until about month 4.5. She fed and/or pumped easily 1100+ times. Filling gallons of bags.
Formula. They go through about a can a week, give or take. Cans cost us $25 each. They breastfed for 3 1/2 months. Starting about 3 months in they started with formula, so, that’s 40 weeks give or take. Upwards of $1000, and we ain’t done. Not to mention having filled and mixed all of those bottles 4 or 8oz at a time.
Baby food. They average maybe 3 or 4 containers a day since month 4. We’ve bought pallets of that stuff. It is quite amusing when we go to the grocery store and Jess piles 50 or 60 containers in the cart.
Sleep. They started reliably sleeping through the night around month 9. So, that’s approximately 240 nights in a row of interrupted sleep where we got up to tend to them. Over half of those entailed getting up more than once. The first 100 days or so, neither of us slept for longer than 3 hours at any one stretch.
Rounds of teething. At least 6 separate times, they’ve simultaneously begun teething. These episodes last about a week, and really really suck.
Photographs. I’ve taken somewhere in the neighborhood of 13,000 pictures. That seems like a lot, but I think I could have easily taken more.
Daycare. Jess went back to work start of month 4. Girls have been in daycare for 9 months. $700 per kid, per month. $12,600 on day care. Excuse me while I vomit into my shoes.
The girls have been moving non stop since they were born. They were army crawling by month 5. Standing by month 7. Alex started walking before 10 months. Meri not far behind. They currently both have multiple bumps bruises on their heads from their wacking their melons into things. Looks like they were in a prize fight or something.
On Sunday we had a big shindig to get all the friends and family together to celebrate. The girls were really good all day. Jess and I were amazed. They couldn’t have been better. They had a blast digging into their cakes. Whipped cream everywhere. Then the gifts… wow… everyone was way too generous to us and the girls. They got tons of new books, new toys, new clothes. They really cleaned up. We can’t thank everyone enough. Photos will be coming. Watch this space.
Today was their actual birthday and that didn’t go quite as smoothly. After rousting them and getting them ready for the day, I was holding Alex. Just about to put her in her car seat when she proceeds to projectile vomit. Ever been puked on so much that you had to change every article of clothing you were wearing? Including socks and underwear? Yeah, that was me. We got her cleaned up, thinking maybe she just choked on something. Get them in the car to go to work and not 3 minutes down the road, Meri pukes all over herself in her car seat. That seals it. We turned the car around and came home. Clean everyone up and then put them down for a nap.
They slept for almost 2 hours, and I was able to work from home. The got up, had a little bit of bottle, played some. Seemed to be much happier. Not long after that they went back down for another 2 hour nap, which was great. When the got up, we tried a little cereal which they ate. They were really thirsty so they did drink quite a bit. All systems looked like we were good. They went down for one more 50 minute nap at 4pm and we thought we might be in the clear.
We did some bath time, since they both smelled like vomit. Half way through we saw something floating in the water. Green and stringy. Still don’t know if this was puke or poop. I didn’t see anyone yak, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Drain the tub and use the shower head to rinse them off well, which made them cry. Finally get them calmed down and Jess is rocking Alex… I’m in the other room with Meri when I hear “Um… she just puked all over me.” Re-clean her up as Jess strips off puke filled clothes. Meri is still fussing and starts to make that sound like she is going to puke. I hold her near the kitchen sink, hoping that if it comes I can angle her correctly. Despite many false alarms, she never pukes. We finally put them down after giving them a little water to drink and Alex crashes. Meri cries herself to sleep. Luckily they are both down now. Whew. Happy Birthday indeed. I thought this much puking was reserved for your twenty-first, not your first… I can’t wait to tell them about this someday. For the record, not one drop of puke landed anywhere near the hardwood floors. Every single bit was on carpet somewhere. Nice aim, girls.
Raising twin babies, you quickly become immune to things that would have horrified you previously. You think getting barfed on is as traumatic a thing as can happen. Meh… no biggie. Poop shooting out the side of a diaper? So what? Snot running down their faces? Whatever. Parents just learn to be bulletproof.
When well, the girls are infinitely more fun then they’ve ever been. Alex is into pointing at things. Everything. They love eating Cheerios. Just today, when we were in the office, Alex had a post card and Jess said, “go give that to daddy!” and she walked right over to me with it outstretched in her hand. We haven’t tried to teach her anything like that. She did it all on her own. Amazing.
I will say, that just about the highlight of my day is when we walk into day care to pick them up. They will be playing, walking, or doing whatever. Then they stop, look up at the door at us and both get the biggest smiles on their faces. Now, they will toddle over and grab our legs. Sorta makes everything else worth it.
This past year has been rough. But the payoff is incredible. I love those crazy little girls.
I’m never doing this again.
We made it another month… Double digits, baby.
The girls are going like gangbusters now. Alex has no fear, and will let go of the couch and just recently walked like 6 steps before tumbling. It’s amazing, and frankly a little disconcerting to see a person less than 2 feet tall walking. If she wasn’t so cute, it might be something out of a horror movie. Meri, is still walking only while holding on to something. She isn’t as adventurous as her sister. However, she is generally less perturbed about things than Alex is. Meri can entertain herself more than Alex. Gets less upset when hurt than Alex, except for when mom does the nose sucker… she does NOT like that.
We’re sleeping through the nights still. Bed time is around 7pm which is awesome. It gives Jess and I some decompress time before we crash. It’s really nice. We also have a routine where while Jess is feeding them, I’m making something for she and I to eat. Usually something simple, but still… home cooking.
They both are eating well. They are getting 3 “solid” meals a day now. Jess and I take turns with who gets to get the girls up and fed in the mornings, and who gets to sleep an extra 20 minutes. Basically, one of us will roll out of bed around 6am. Get both girls changed, warm up some formula and get that in them (put them side by side on the couch while you double fist two bottles). Then, get them in their highchairs and mix up some of their oatmeal and maybe mix in a little fruit. Feeding them solids can still be a bit of a challenge as they don’t like to pay attention. Also, when the food gets on their face they like to smear that around. We gotta use strong spring clips to keep their bibs on since they like to pull theirs off (or, their sister’s depending) and wave it around. After breakfast is over and they’re cleaned up, they go in their jumperoos while we get ready for work. Usually, while they are in those, one or both of them will poop, so they’ll have to be changed again before getting dressed for the day, loaded in their seats and out the door. Somehow, we are able to leave the house around 7:20am every day. Whew.
Without further ado, let’s make with the pictures. As always, click an image to view it, or the whole set on Flickr.
Let’s see… what’s been going on…
Well, we successfully drug the girls across country to Pittsburgh PA. That was a serious accomplishment, if I do say so myself. Full post on that trip is forthcoming, I promise.
After a few more teething rounds, which were not fun at all, we now have 5 teeth each. Nothing can stop these pip-squeaks from growing. I remain completely blown away how 2 kids can both start teething within 12 hours of each other. Amazing.
We took the girls to the Western Idaho Fair a couple weeks ago. It was hotter than hell the day we went, but they were total troopers. Nary a cry was heard. They are almost always good in public, though. They didn’t get much out of the fair, I don’t think. They just kinda rolled around in the stroller with the same bewildered look on their face. Next year will undoubtedly be more fun. One side note to taking twins to the fair… for once WE were not the biggest freak show/attraction for people to stare at and comment about. Between carnival rides, food booths, farm animals, and hot tub sales, there was plenty else to keep peoples’ attention off of me any my kids. I can’t adequately describe how nice that was. I wish I could go to the fair every week for that reason alone.
However, the biggest news has come from changes to our bedtime/sleep routine. We had settled into a routine of rocking them to sleep every night. Some nights, it would take 45 minutes… sometimes 90 minutes. To be perfectly honest, it wasn’t that bad of a gig. Jess and I would each get a beer, have our phones, sit in their dark room and relax ourselves. The problems came in keeping the girls asleep. If they woke up, we could be stuck rocking them back to sleep because we didn’t know what else to do.
Well, Jess had ordered a DVD called The SleepEasy Solution and we chose to try their method. It basically consists of performing your regular “wind down” bedtime activities as usual… pajamas, stories, bottles, etc. But not letting them fall asleep. Then, you put them down awake and leave the room. Of course, they cried. You set a timer for 5 minutes, then you go into the room and let them see you, but don’t touch them, and reassure them that you’re there and they can do it. Less than 30 seconds. Then, you set a timer for 10 minutes. Repeat. If they’re still crying, set a timer for 15 minutes and repeat. Basically, you’re teaching them they can fall asleep without a crutch (our rocking). The first night they cried for about 35 minutes. The second night, we didn’t make it to the 15 minute check, they fell asleep at about 28 minutes. Eventually, in 5 or 6 days they are asleep in less than 5 minutes after we put them down. Seldom do they cry as we leave the room. We will listen to them on the monitor and they will jabber to each other in the room, but not cry. Then they just fall asleep. Damn, this shit almost works like magic. Amazing. Plus, it gives Jess and me 30 to 90 minutes of our days back. Not to mention that when the girls wake up in the middle of the night, they seldom cry. If they do, we still don’t go in and they just fall back asleep.
Now, we’re still rolling out of bed at 6:30am, but there isn’t much we can do about that…
Anyway, without further ado, on with the pictures. As always, there are more pictures on Flickr than posted here. Click on the picture itself, or the link to go there.
One of the girls at daycare french-braided our hair!
So, there ya go. More to come!
I have attended 2 concerts this summer. First was U2 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh and the second was Mötley Crüe and Poison at the Idaho Center.
Needless to say, these were quite different experiences. Funny bit of trivia, 2011 marks the 35th year for U2, 30th year for Mötley Crüe and 25th for Poison. That is some symmetry for ya…
U2 – July 26th, Heinz Field, Pittsburgh PA.
Basically the impetus for our taking the twins to Pittsburgh in the first place was that Jess bought U2 tickets on a whim last year while she was still pregnant. Of course, we couldn’t know just how much our lives would change with the arrival of the girls. Nevertheless, we loaded up the family and journeyed across country for 2 reasons… to see family (and show off Alex and Meri) and to go to see U2. Jess and I had had U2 tickets for the previous summer in Seattle, while she was still pregnant. However, Bono threw is back out or something and that leg of the tour was postponed. Thus, this summer rolled around and we had to adjust our plans.
This was by far the biggest concert I’d ever been to. I’d never seen an outdoor arena show (local amphitheaters excepted). Especially not an outdoor show with 70,000 other people. Jess, on the other hand is a bit of a U2 freak. This show would mark her 10th time seeing them. Double digits. Pretty impressive. Even more when you realize they’ve never been to Boise, so she’s had to travel for each and every one of those shows.
We had general admission floor tickets and had planned to eat before the show. Unfortunately for us there was exactly ONE food option for the entire floor population. We ended up standing in line some 45 minutes in order to get a cheesesteak served on a hotdog bun by some young women from an former Eastern Bloc country. Rachel, Jess’s cousin who was with us speculated they might be slave laborers. One unfortunate side effect from our food necessity was we missed being in the Gigapixel Fancam. What a bummer. The other, less unfortunate effect was we missed all but about 4 minutes of the opening act Interpol. None of us could name a song of theirs. I’m sure they must be good if you’re going to open for U2 and all, but we weren’t losing any sleep over missing them.
Eventually, we ate our food, got beers and headed into find our spot on the floor. Despite what that gigapic looks like there was actually a nice bit of space on the floor where we were. Nobody was packed together to tightly, which was nice. I hate being stuck somewhere unable to move. We settled probably 30 yards from the stage.
Bono and the boys just walk out on stage. All shown by their gigantic 360° screen above the stage. I found it interesting that they didn’t even dim the lights before. To be perfectly honest, they strode to the stage like it was out of a movie. I wouldn’t be surprised if they choreographed that. Maybe just because they are so practiced at it, it just looked like a music video.
Speaking of music videos, this entire concert was so smooth and polished everything felt like it was a movie or video shoot. The camera work that they displayed on their screen felt like it was pieced together over a couple of weeks by an experienced editor, not produced on the fly. Amazing work.
This massive video screen at one point in the show expanded down to almost reach the stage. When it was in this mode, they did more designs and motion tests than pure video. Broke up the show nicely.
All told, I probably recognized a good 60% of the set list, which made things fun for me. I’m one of those fans that really enjoys familiar songs. Sue me. They played the 3 songs that I really wanted to hear, Beautiful Day (with the help from the International Space Station), Sunday Bloody Sunday (with accompanying imagery from the “Arab Spring”) and Where The Streets Have No Name in an encore. I have to say, there is something about being 30 yards from one of the most famous people in the world in Bono. If there was someone who was crafted in a lab to front one of the biggest music groups in history it is this guy. He is at turns ultimate showman, singer, humanitarian, and switches between them effortlessly. I do find it mildly amusing that I don’t believe any of the other 3 guys ever said one word during the show… happy to let Bono do it. Also, I’d like to mention guitarist The Edge. He has crafted a sound which you immediately recognize. It was really something to hear him tear into Mysterious Ways or City of Blinding Lights. Even for a non-die hard fan it can give you chills.
However, by FAR the most fun thing for me was watching Jess absolutely light up during this show. After the tough past 8 month daily grind of having and raising twins, it was worth every single bit of stress it took to get us to that show to see her love it so much. I couldn’t have wiped the smile of her face with a belt sander. She was engrossed in it. I doubt she had a care in the world for those 2 and a half hours. That alone was worth every last penny to me. I now know why she’s made it to 10 of those things. I’ll say it right now, next time they’re on tour, I’m in for another go-round. Let’s do it! You can see my iPhone’s feeble attempt to capture her during the show in that image.
Bono and the boys did play for 2 and a half solid hours. As you can see from the set list, 25 songs. Many of those contained snippets of other songs in them which stretched them out. You certainly can’t claim we didn’t get our money’s worth. If my aching feet were any indication, we most definitely did.
Seeing U2 at this point is almost a cultural touchstone. Even if you’re not a fan you probably should take in a show of theirs just to say that you’ve done it. Well worth every bit of effort it took to get there.
Mötley Crüe & Poison – August 13th – Idaho Center, Nampa ID
On the other end of the spectrum from U2 would be Motley Crue. When I was 13 I was a GIGANTIC Motley Crue fan. I have never seen them in concert for whatever reason, but this was my chance to relive my childhood. And, as much as I hate to admit it, I was probably an even bigger Poison fan when I was 14. I was young and dumb… what can I tell ya?
Ma and Pa Haberman came to watch the Habertwins for the night, so Jess and I packed up a few beers to drink in the parking lot and headed out to the Idaho Center. As we sat there drinking our beers, we watched other fans arrive. I gotta say, the people watching was OUTSTANDING at this show. You had all types. The dudes who look exactly the same as they did in 1988. The chicks all sexed-up in their miniskirts and heavy makeup. Metalheads in their denim jackets over old tour t-shirts. Bikers. People obviously in costume. Rednecks. Even boring old normal people like me. Great stuff.
We got into the arena and got us a couple more beers. After walking around a bit, we hit the merch counter to take a peek. Jess talked me into getting a Motley Crue t-shirt just for the comedy of the whole thing. It is the first bit of anything I have ever purchased at a concert. Probably worth the $25 it cost.
It wasn’t long before Poison started their opening act. I told Jess that after watching a few seasons of Rock of Love, I was pretty tired of Bret Michaels’ shtick. And he was in full “Bret Michaels” mode in this show as well. But, since they only had limited time to play, he didn’t have a lot of time to talk to the audience. Instead, they busted through all of their biggest hits. Only mixing in “We’re An American Band” originally by Grand Funk Railroad to change it up. 45 minutes of music later they were done. I have to say, I think I enjoyed Poison even more than I thought I would. Of course, I knew every word to every song they sang. It almost took me back to the days when I would put their tape into our big stereo at home, grab my headphones to listen and read the latest issue of BMX Plus magazine. Good times. They ultimately finished up with Talk Dirty To Me and Nothin’ But A Good Time. It certainly was.
Between shows, the crowd thinned considerably. Ostensibly to empty their bladders and to get more beers. Jess and I among them.
Our seats for this show were in the front row of the arena seats, just one step off the floor. Basically we had floor tickets, but saved $20 a piece. The most amusing part of our seats was that we were right next to the stairs heading up the aisle of the stands. Being that they were steps and many tipsy people walking by, we got to see a number of good stumbles from people. I love the ones who played it off like they meant to trip. Too funny.
On stage, the crew was busy swapping the stage around for Motley’s main act. From our distance, we couldn’t really see what was going on, but they were really working up there.
The way the Crue started was sorta like the way U2 started, in a bizzaro universe. House lights were still up, and people were still milling around… then BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM! Six or eight very loud pyrotechnics went off, the curtain drops, lights go out and they immediately tear into Wild Side. The crowd went nuts and hundreds of people tried rushing back to their seats in the dark without spilling their beers.
Seeing a metal show is really unlike seeing some other type of music live. You certainly don’t go to a metal show looking for quality audio. Going in, you know it’s going to be loud. I mean like really loud. Like pushed way past distortion loud. And the Crue was definitely that. Throw in the, let’s say “sub-optimal” acoustics of the Idaho Center and you get otherwise awesome songs sounding like they are being played through crappy speakers at full volume with your head in a beat up aluminum garbage can. But, you don’t care.
The set list for Motley Crue contained exactly 1 song released after 1989, and that was their Grammy nominated song from 2008 Saints of Los Angeles. That is exactly the way I wanted this show to go. None of that “now here is a few songs from our new album!” Nobody cares. We’re there to hear the songs we know and love, and Motley Crue delivered the goods.
Also, a staple during a metal show is a few “solos” by the guitarist and drummer. Of course, the Crue obliged. Mick Mars did a wailing guitar riff that lasted a good 5 minutes… fingers flying around the strings.
The big spectacle of this show however was the apparatus that was Tommy Lee’s drum kit. “Roller Coaster” we were told. Always the innovator and a hell of a drummer, Tommy Lee really pushes the envelope with his live shows. In 1987 he broke out a spinning drum kit. At this show, his entire kit rides a giant circular rail system while he pounds out a massive drum solo. At one point, he brought a woman up on stage to go for a ride with him. He really comes across as a giant kid who is just having the time of his life.
Even lead singer Vince Neil still had his pipes available and hit all of the requisite screams when need be. Very impressive. Thinking about it, it really is incredible that all 4 original members of this band are still alive… still coherent enough to play a killer concert night after night. I read their book The Dirt and the amount of partying and drugs they did is astronomical. I would wager that if normal humans had tried to live that way, a good 50% wouldn’t survive 2 years, let alone 30. The only thing we can surmise is that they aren’t human. They are super-human metal gods put on this earth to bang the heads of the masses.
After blasting out all of my favorite Crue songs (Home Sweet Home, Same Ol’ Situation, Looks That Kill) they finish off with Kickstart My Heart, replete with huge pyrotechnics and boom, they’re done. No encore. They played fast and loud for an hour and a half and that was it. You kinda have to admire their not playing the phony leave-the-stage-but-come-back-for-the-encore-that-was-always-planned-anyway routine. They just quit, took their bows and walked off. That’s metal.
Ok, on to the comparison. I think we should break this down tale of the tape style… here goes.
|Heinz Field, Pittsburgh PA||Venue||Idaho Center, Nampa ID|
|Lots of beer stands… one single food option with a 45min line for 3000 GA patrons||Concessions||Plenty. Easy to access, and not outrageously expensive.|
|Advantage: Motley Crue|
|70,000. Loud, but generally normal people (various continuous pot smokers excepted). Aged young to old||Crowd||Maybe 7,000 made a lot of noise for the size and completely packed with a plethora of kooks. Epic people watching|
|Advantage: Motley Crue|
|Crystal clear. Beautifully mixed and very smooth. Very loud (possibly louder than the Crue, but was also outside), but so well balanced you caught no distortion||Audio Quality||Still very loud. Every dial pushed to 11, damn the torpedoes. Sometimes devolved into a cacophony of unrelated noises and distortion. If you didn’t know the songs, you weren’t learning them there.|
|Entire concert played like a movie. Flawless. Something to behold. 360 screen put to awesome use.||Production Quality||Rough… but with pyrotechnics. No constant video of the band in background. Did have a drum kit roller coaster.|
|60% – 15 of 25 songs I was pretty familiar with. Not bad for a band that I’ve never really listened to.||Song Recognition||100% – granted, I’m not totally hip to Saints of Los Angeles. But knowing every lyric of every other song makes up for that, I believe.|
|Advantage: Motley Crue|
|Lugged two 8-month olds 2000 miles across the country.||Ease of Attendance||Mom and dad babysit|
|Advantage: Motley Crue|
|30||Years as a band||25|
|Current tour grossed over $700 million. Dozens of stadiums sold out around the world. One of the biggest bands in the world.||Cultural Relevance||Aging hair-metal band. Once huge, now playing in glorified rodeo barns. Still rock though.|
|Bono wore leather pants and at one point a leather jacket with red lasers sewn into it.||Leather||Everywhere… Band… Opening band… backup dancers/singers… audience|
|Advantage: Motley Crue|
|Wore earplugs. At one point I thought the crowd sounded pretty quiet compared to the band… then I took my plugs out and realized they were NOT quiet. Quickly put them back in.||Post Show Ear Damage Level||Also wore earplugs… Damn I’m getting old.|
|Strong. Would travel to make it happen.||Desire to see again||Maybe… probably wouldn’t go out of my way to.|
|Made Jess inordinately happy. She knew every word to every song. Danced the whole time. Attention rapt with the band.||Intangibles||Made me grin like a fool most of the show (especially with the spinning pentagram). Felt like 6th grade again. Knew all the lyrics.|
|7||— Totals —||5|
There you have it. With a total of 7 to 5 (with 2 pushes) the U2 concert takes home the title of best concert I saw this summer. Motley Crue put up a good fight, but the enormity of U2 was too much to over come.
Thank you Jess for getting us there. If it was up to me, we would have DEFINITELY skipped it and would have been far worse off for it. Having toted them girls across country now makes every day seem easier by comparison. There isn’t anything we can’t do. I mean what I said about next time U2 tours… we’re going someplace fun to watch ‘em. Maybe even visit some friends in Chicago.
You know how when you get busy and time just slips away from you? AKA, why you’re getting 3 months of photos in a single post…
A short Habertwin update. They are growing quickly. They are grabby as all hell, especially with things they aren’t supposed to have. They are eating a ton of baby food and still sucking down bottles of formula. Their dexterity is amazing. They are now able to grab a binky and put it correctly into their mouths. Of course, they are also just as apt to chew on some other part of the binky… can’t tell if that’s intentional or not. Meri is now combination army crawling/rolling across the floor to get to where she wants to go. Alex isn’t quite as mobile, but can still roll and scoot backwards a little bit. They’ve both got “monkey feet” which they curl their toes to grab things.
They are sleeping in their own room, each in their own cribs for about the past month. Which is a good thing, since they were rolling and knocking heads sleeping together. They generally only wake once per night. Unfortunately, that is only a generality. Last night they both were crabby and awake from 1:30am until about 4. Not good times. Meri has slept through the night a handful of times already. Alex is not there yet. That’s the thing with twins… Even if one perchance sleeps through the night, the chances of the other one doing the same thing are not great. So, we’re still getting out of bed anyway. The frustrating thing is we know they know how to do it now… they just choose not to.
We’re still crying on the commute home every day. That’s not fun. Nothing we attempt to do appeases them. So, they cry the entire 45 minute trip home. As soon as we get there, they stop. Go figure. Good thing that’s not stressful.
Anyway, without further ado, here are the pics. As always, more pictures reside on Flickr.com to view. Click the link or the individual picture to view them.
You’ll notice that only Meri is wearing the sticker on her shirt with the “6 months” on it. That’s because we misplaced the other set. Still haven’t found ‘em, nor really had much time to look. Oh well.
So, there ya go. Hope you enjoyed.
Perhaps next month’s will be published before November, but I make no guarantees.