Posted by: howitallbegan | November 29, 2015

Peter Pan 360

There’s a production of Peter Pan in town right now. It’s a cool concept of a theater-in-the-round, and a small-ish crowd of people (maybe around 200 or so?) at every performance, so it feels intimate and a lot like there isn’t a bad seat in the house. They’d set up a big circus-like tent in a parking lot down in the arts district to hold the performances, and it is traveling all over the country. 

Our neighbor had four extra tickets and offered them to us at a discount. We thought it would be a fun chance to take the big boys out for their first-ever live production. So we went a little over a week ago on Saturday afternoon. 

It was good. I think it was a tad bit long for Gage (a solid 2 hours and 15 minutes, with a 20 minute intermission), but Cade was following along just fine and had no issues paying attention or getting antsy. 

How do you combat antsiness in a 3 year old? By making one bag of popcorn and one bag of cotton candy last for everyone for the entire time. Small increments of food distraction. 


The white tent over Mike’s head is (obviously) all around the entire set. They projected the scenes on to it, which was a cool addition. When the characters were “flying” we were flying too, through a graphic of London, and the clouds, and then to Neverland. It was a simple way to give the feeling of each scene. 


(These photos are before the show started, and before they announced there was no photography allowed. Whoops.)

Gage calls it “hotten” candy and it is probably the most adorable thing ever. I think this was the first experience with cotten candy for both of them, so that made it even more exciting. 


(It was Trabun family wear-a-vest day) 


At intermission Gage and I braved the cold and the lines for a bathroom break. 
We snapped this photo in front of a big poster outside. 


Meanwhile, at home, the babies were having a fun time with their grandparents and attempting to stay warm on their outdoor walk voyage. 


Overall the boys enjoyed it. Cade burst into silent crying tears at the very end. I couldn’t get him to explain what he was feeling and offered him a lot of words about what he might be feeling (sadness at the storyline; sadness it was over; etc.), but Mike thinks (and I agree) that he was totally following the plot line and was just so incredibly sad that Peter Pan decided not to stay with Wendy and the Lost Boys and be a part of the family. He was probably just overwhelmed and it was the only way he could express that. Combined with the fact that he didn’t take an afternoon nap, which leaves him highly emotional anyway, and it makes sense. He explained his favorite parts to Tapaw and Tamaw when he got home, but as we were exiting his words were something like, “I did not like that show and I am hungry and I just want to go home.”

He has asked questions about it and even quoted things from it since. Last night at dinner he had made a tube out of magnatiles and I heard him say, “Prepare for fire, Smee…” followed by cannon fire noises and his hand flying like a cannonball (which was actually one of the coolest effects of the whole show when they did that). So he was definitely soaking it all in like a sponge. 

It was a fun thing to do. I probably wouldn’t have paid full price for the experience (because I’m always cheap when it comes down to it), but at a discount it was definitely worth doing. 

Posted by: howitallbegan | November 28, 2015

Thanksgiving Festivities

Thanksgiving had siblings in town, and we had a great meal up at my parents’ house. 

I brought two pies (apple and pecan), a side of broccoli, and the canned cranberry sauce. Because there are always two Thanksgiving Day cranberry camps: homemade and canned complete with ridges intact. 


Gosh do I love a good pie. Especially the Pioneer Woman’s pecan pie recipe.

Shiloh and Coen were a little overwhelmed with all the people. I never really got a photo of them together, but this is a pretty accurate depiction of them pre-food. I think they must have been hungry too.


They had been a big help in the kitchen the day before as I baked the pies.


(I’m not sure how I’ve landed on so many muffin tins. Just go with it.)

I took a few photos of the Thanksgiving table from my end. 




The next day (Black Friday) those of us who remained gathered for a brisket dinner at our house. It was Bart’s birthday today, so we celebrated a day early. 


He’s 31. But I had a 1 candle so that seemed like the best option. 
We sang, and dove into the sugar cookie bar that I made from the Food Network Magazine recipe that I’ve made a few times. Man is it good. 


Before the babies went to bed I took a few photos of Kat with the twins. She’d held out and persevered long enough to win their affection. 


And then a group shot before everyone left, courtesy of the selfie stick. 


It was a good holiday gathering of family. Looking forward to seeing (most) everyone again in less than a month!

Posted by: howitallbegan | November 25, 2015

Donut Morning

We’ve had a few mornings of relaxation with Mike home and not in class last week (reading week) and this week (Thanksgiving). 

We took advantage of that and went for a Krispy Kreme run one morning. 


(Seven times out of 10 when Shiloh drinks water she drinks too much swallows wrong and ends up coughing and spitting it out. This captures that moment.)

(Also, not sure what Coen is staring at. The lights maybe? He’s usually pretty good about looking where he’s supposed to, even if it’s with a serious look on his face). 


Donuts make this family happy. (And so does the coffee and egg tacos we picked up from Central Market). 

Posted by: howitallbegan | November 17, 2015

An Assortment

I have a handful of groups of photos on my phone that have no connection to each other, except that they are our daily life.

So here goes.


We have magnet tiles that the boys use for all sorts of building and playing.

Sometimes we throw them on the fireplace screen and make “art” as it sticks randomly to the metal.

One morning the boys were really proud of themselves for making a roof with snow hanging off.

“Mom take a picture of us in front of our creation.”


Cade saw a pomegranate at Central Market one Monday morning and wanted to know what it was.

I explained it to both the boys, and they were sort of half interested in my response. It’s hard to conceive of a fruit with a bunch of seeds that each have juice inside that you’re supposed to eat.

I saw them on sale at Aldi’s the other day and I bought one to show them what I meant.

I also showed them the first few minutes of a Good Eats episode (yeah! Netflix has Food Network shows now!) about the pomegranate before we cut it open. They were really interested in his big pomegranate model with water balloons acting as seeds.

Shiloh and Gage were the only two willing to try them. Cade and Coen were totally in the “thanks but no thanks camp.”


The babies are doing all sorts of new things. Coen is walking 10-15 steps at a time, climbing on to and standing up on the fireplace hearth, and has three new molars with the fourth right on the horizon.

Shiloh sprint crawls, has been more eager to push things to practice walking, has all four of her upper teeth and two lower teeth, and has been climbing on top of things too.


The footplate of her high chair being a favorite.


At an estate sale on our street recently I scored a Halloween Mickey Mouse inflatable for $6.50.

To say the kids were excited would be an understatement.

Only 300 days until it would be appropriate to use it. Haha.

We’ve  been going on long walks to a trail behind our neighborhood. They are in the process of placing bridges across major streets along the DART light rail line and will complete/refurbish this trail to connect it with other trails in the area. Until then it’s pretty much abandoned and I’ll wear one baby, push one baby, and the boys will drive the jeep, and we will go for a walk back there.

It’s no joke of a hike (with a baby on your back). And to keep up with the high gear of the jeep is what I like to call shin-splint speed. I’m easily brought back to the days of the humps in the Marine Corps. I hated those, and it’s funny that I find myself reminiscing on that awful aspect of my training as I hike the neighborhood with the kids.

Anyway. We found these cool mini “pumpkins” on a vining plant back near the trail, along the fence that keeps you off the DART rail tracks.

They actually sell this on stems at Trader Joe’s this time of year, except in more orange and red colors than yellow. But still.

(I think they’d probably fall under some sort of pepper classification, but I could be wrong). Kind of neat to stumble across in the wild, on an abandoned trail.

Posted by: howitallbegan | November 14, 2015

Fall at the Arboretum 

We’ve been using our Arboretum membership a lot recently. It’s close enough that we can go for a quick visit between the babies’ morning and afternoon naps. And there is enough to do that we don’t see the same thing every trip, and the boys have lots of room to roam and run. 

The new children’s garden is pretty fun for them too. The only hard part is that it’s starting to be field trip season for schools, and so a lot of times the whole place can be mobbed by big groups of kids. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it is when you’ve got a crew of little kids that most big kids aren’t looking out for when acting crazy.

One day we went and it was the first time the “build a flower” station was actually open in all the times we’ve visited. The boys had a lot of fun putting the petals and leaves and the stamen and pistil in the right spots. 






When we were walking away to head a different place Cade said, “Mama, putting that flower together was a lot of fun. But it was a lot of hard work.”




I replied, “Aren’t you glad you aren’t God? You’d have to do that billions of times every single day.” (Which got a chuckle out of a worker standing nearby, and a whole-hearted agreement by Cade. Being God would be hard. Flowers being the least of it.)

We made our way to this cool two-story tree house that has nets that hang about 20 feet off the ground. This a popular destination for large groups of big kids. We waited patiently and eventually had it all to ourselves – well, with one other family. 


All four kids love these nets. The babies get so excited to crawl around like crazy. 




On a different day we spent a good bit of time in the toddler area (5 and under only). We got there past the prime time, when most people these ages have headed home for lunch and/or naps. Since the babies second nap doesn’t start until 1:30 or 2, the older boys’ nap time has slowly been pushed to about the same, just to maximize the time we can be out and about. 



This is how hard it can be to try and corral all four kids in one spot and then get them all to look and smile. 




While the big boys chased each other in a little maze, the babies had so much fun in this little log. They couldn’t stop laughing and squealing with excitement. 



Here’s a pictorial representation of the plight of being a twin. 

(I imagine this is how they’ve felt since they first began to move in the womb). 








Hoping to continue to maximize our time outdoors while it’s still nice weather. That winter is coming on the horizon. 

Posted by: howitallbegan | November 11, 2015

Quilt Collab

I shared this on Instagram (@christytrabs), but wanted to share a few other photos here too. 

An explanation:

Quilting man. There’s something special about it. My late grandma had sewn quilts for all six grandchildren, most of us received them as wedding gifts. She had two other surrogate granddaughters (my cousins’ cousins, if you follow). Before she went into the hospital in September with a fever in the midst of radiation/chemo treatments (which set in motion a chain of events that ended in her passing 10 days later), my grandma gave four quilt squares and four pillow forms to my mom to give to me, so I could sew them into pillows for these two semi-cousins of mine, on her behalf. 


When going through her sewing stuff after she died, I found a bunch of blocks that matched the four she’d given to me. So instead of pillows, I divided them up into two piles of 12 squares, enough for two small-ish quilts to make for these two girls; the perfect size for an impromptu picnic blanket kept in the car or a tummy time blanket for a child down the road. The oldest gets married this weekend in Austin, so I had to scramble to get this done and had my mom watch the older boys while the babies napped this morning so I could bind this, but here’s the end result. 


A collaboration between me and my grandma. She made them out of neck ties she’d gathered from all sorts of places, and did these crazy quilt squares during chemo to keep her hands busy and keep her mind focused on the present. This is so definitive of our different approaches to quilts. She hand quilted; I’ve always only machine quilted. She always told me how impressed she was with the fabric choices I made, and that it really had never occurred to her to buy nice fabric just to quilt with. She was born in the Depression; her father died when she was an infant; she had four older sisters. She was raised quilting to make something useful or beautiful out of what you already had. 

(The back. This is a fabric I bought to use in the babies’ nursery but never did. I love it and hadn’t found a use for it yet). 
It felt neat to be the one to be able to finish this for her, to be the family member with the skill that, even with a different approach, could use my hands to pass on something homemade – to play a small part in making sure those girls knew how much they meant to her too. 

Posted by: howitallbegan | November 2, 2015

Halloween 2015

It was a rainy, dreary Halloween this year. It rained all day Friday (the 30th), and some of the day on actual Halloween. It wasn’t raining at trick or treat time, but it was misty and damp – which I guess is appropriate weather for Halloween. 

Since we weren’t sure if the kids would be able to trick or treat on Saturday night because of the weather, we opted to go to First Baptist downtown for their (indoor!) Harvest Festival. It poured outside, but we played inside for about an hour until the babies had their fill of late-bedtime-fun and were ready to get home. 

The big boys and I went on Thursday to see what kind of (discounted) Halloween outfits we could find. It was a total bust. We went to four or five stores and found nothing. Plus, they both changed their minds about what they wanted to be probably five times each in that hour alone. Ain’t nobody got time for spending money on an outfit that gets rejected. 

So we decided to wing it with the stuff we had at home in closets and dress up bins. 

But then I had an idea. 


Put the mylar bag on the outside? You’ve got yourself a robot. 


I had saved one other Blue Apron box because we thought we were going to make Lego Man costumes. A robot seemed easier though. 

And of course once I made one for one boy, the other needed the same too. 

We found a package of hologram paper at the Dollar Store and we taped it all together. The front was actually supposed to be all the square buttons I taped on. But then last minute I took some paper scraps for the other side to make a robot face and the boys loved it. 



This is the parking garage at First Baptist waiting on the elevator. 



What was so funny was their robot voice statements. 

Gage, when asked to hold a hand in the parking garage so he wouldn’t get run over, in total robot voice said,  “Robots don’t hold hands…”

He gets bonus points for being funny. 

Inside there were classroom hallways for trick or treating and an indoor play park.  The play park was a hit. 

The babies went as identical twins; which, I thought was pretty funny, but I don’t think everyone else thought it was as funny as it was in my head.


They had so much fun crawling around on the ground at the park while their big brothers played up in the structure. 


On actual Halloween my parents came over (with dinner!) to help pass out candy and see the kids. 

Before they came I’d taken the kids out back to carve pumpkins (which I’d hunted down at multiple stores and finally found at Home Depot – nothing like waiting until the last minute). Before I cut them open I told the boys they were responsible for cleaning out the insides and they were totally agreed that they’d help. Until I actually cut them open. Then they ran away in abject horror at the notion that they had to touch the slime (Cade) or smell the smell (Gage) of the pumpkins. Ginger was a fan, and took every chance to steal some pumpkin to eat. The babies hollered to get in the middle of it (Coen) or crawl around and eat acorns (Shiloh), but had to sit in the portable playard instead. Womp womp. 

Our neighborhood has a block party, but it would have been a bit of a walk, and the timing wasn’t great for getting dinner going and the babies to bed. Plus it was a little cold out for the babies – windy and a bit wet. So we went for a walk around the block. 


Automobile funnel hats, also from the Dollar Store, with some spray paint and elastic for a chin strap. 



The babies as (warmer) identical twins. 

After dinner and once it got dark, my dad trick or treated with me and Mike and the big boys while my mom passed out candy at our door and stayed home with the babies. 

Cade decided to wear some of his favorite dress up stuff – his DJ Lance hat, a red bandanna headband under that (from a Jake and the Neverland Pirates get up) and his “C” superhero cape that my friend Jenny made for him. He said he was a rescue bot (which is a show that he’s seen a picture of, sort of like transformers I think? But he’s never actually seen the movie.) I applauded his costume ingenuity. 

Gage wanted a hat out of the dress up bin too, which is how he landed on this skull cap that goes under a pilot’s helmet. It looked pretty robot-ish. 


My dad took some photos too…



We went up and down our street; met a few new neighbors; got some candy; then called it a night. 

We used our glow sticks for a Halloween bath, and then headed for bed. 



I’d say it was a huge success, overall. This is literally the first year that one of the older boys hasn’t had to be coerced into a costume, forced out the door, and held during the actual trick or treat part. Halloween is hard for an introvert. But five seems to be the sweet spot for Cade – he was a little hesitant at the first house, but was guns blazing by the end of the night. Gage?  Oh, he will do pretty much anything for candy. We had to remind him a few times not to actually go IN people’s houses, because he’d step up at the door, starting craning his neck inside and looking around, and then leaning like he was about to walk on in. 

It was a fun night. And Sunday morning? The boys asked when it would be Halloween again, and had a few different discussions about what costume they thought they wanted to be. I laughed. Only 363 days to go, dudes. 

Posted by: howitallbegan | October 28, 2015

A Cicada Bug Tale

A week or so ago, we found a cicada bug that had just emerged from its shell on one of our rain barrels. 

Excitement ensued. 


Cade was slightly hesitant at first, but then was all about it. Gage was fascinated, but terrified. 



I got some video footage of it, and decided it was best put together in a movie trailer format. 

That poor bug never stood a chance. Let it be a lesson to all cicada bugs out there. If your summer appearance is delayed to mid-October, there’s a chance your bug life will look a little different than your peers. 

Posted by: howitallbegan | October 26, 2015

These Two

I put these two in the Little Tikes car we have out back, and the photo opportunity was just too much to resist. 


I feel like every photo contains so much personality on display. 

I also think these are some looks that will be given to me through the window of a real car in say, 15 years. 



Slow your roll, dudes. 

Posted by: howitallbegan | October 23, 2015


Tonight was the night Buck got put to sleep to go frolic in heaven with Jesus. He’s probably pumped to be reunited with Bogey.

He’s been having a hard time walking and breathing, and the vet told us in the summer time that she thought he was in a lot of pain in his hips. That’s deteriorated to him losing his legs from underneath himself many times a day, dragging his back paws as he walks, him laying on the ground and moaning with every exhale, and last night he wouldn’t get up to go to the bathroom. So I scheduled the appointment this afternoon and Mike took him tonight.

I wanted the babies to have one final picture with him.

Coen just wanted to pet him and face plant into him.

He’s been such a good dog for our family. He joined us in California about six weeks before Cade was born.

He was so happy to be out of the heat.

He loved to play ball and frisbee, which he gave up doing in the last few months.

He was sweet and gentle with the kids at every stage.

But not necessarily always the most considerate.

He was Cade’s first buddy and Cade had so many games he played with Buck that brought out belly laughter. In fact, the first time we ever heard Cade laugh hysterically as a baby was due to Buck.

Cade Chases Buck from Christy T. on Vimeo.

Buck patiently tolerated Cade’s games.

And those games got funnier as Cade got older.

Buck was a stray who was found on the side of the road by a farmer in Denton. A woman at my mom’s office connected my mom to the farmer. He was my parents’ dog for a few years before coming out to LA to live with us. When we moved here to Dallas, even though he was returning to his proverbial dog roots, I’m certain he was a little mad about leaving the SoCal weather behind for this heat.

Game with Buck from Christy T. on Vimeo.

And the cold.

He loved a good bath though. The lab in him made him a water dog for sure. In fact, even to the very end, he attempted to put his face into any stream of water shooting out from a hose.

He got used to another baby, who loved him so much.

Gage and Buck from Christy T. on Vimeo.

He was a good dog to other people’s kids as well. He put up with a lot from some of our friends’ kids who didn’t have dogs. And he hung out with cousins too.

Nice to Meet You from Christy T. on Vimeo.

He still tolerated Cade’s games like a champ, and handled the teaming up in the games with a smile.

In January when we got Ginger there was a bit of a disturbance in the hierarchy. Ginger ultimately took the Alpha dog role in the house. But Buck showed her.

He wasn’t necessarily the smartest dog, but he was loyal.

He had the worst breath in America, and coupled with his lack of ability to give you personal space, it was a memorable experience being around his panting. There were several times over the years people thought we needed to change a baby’s diaper and it was actually Buck’s breath.

Did you ever see the TV show ALF? He always reminded me of ALF.

It seemed like he was always smiling.

All the way to the end.

Rest in peace, Buck-a-wuck. You were a good dog.

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