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April 29, 2016

Our Mini-Vacay Adventures!

For Spring Break this year, I took off a couple of days and we headed south to Sweet Home Alabama.  Our first stop was Rocket City...Huntsville!  After an incredibly yummy, down-home Cajun lunch (including an up-close encounter with the biggest crawfish I've ever seen), we headed to the Space and Rocket Center.


Some cool interactive exhibits!

On the surface of the moon, with Rocket Park in the background!

The girls loved the "moon surface"...although I'm thinking the moss is an Earth-add.
And I love this picture of A, so engaged.  She stopped off here while we were looking at something else.  I loved the view from behind her, seeing her anticipation at the liftoff video!

Waiting with baited breath!
After a delicious (and much more expensive than we'd planned) dinner [I was looking at the LUNCH menu...not the dinner menu!], we rested up and met my cousin and her sweet baby girl for breakfast the next morning.

Then we headed to Hubby's alma mater, UAH, for a walk down Memory Lane.


Cool sculpture!

And then we headed to my alma mater...our first "home" together...Tuscaloosa.  We immediately headed for campus.  We just so happened to park beside the stadium.  Hee hee!

Family photo opp!

The girls always zero in when they see "2009"...here, in Champions Plaza.

I love this view!!!

One of my favorites...such a happy place!!!

The girls practiced their "Nick Saban clap"...HA!

Baby A climbed up quite a way for this photo op!  B was not keen on joining her...
And then we headed to supper downtown, at one of our old favorites.  DePalma's...YUM!!!

My loves!
The girls requested Alabama ballcaps, which we procured on Friday.  They could hardly wait to put them on Saturday morning and head to campus for the A-Day festivities!  Our first stop was Daddy's monument!

These girls are two proud peacocks!
And then we attended an alumni event at the business school.

So official!
And just before game time, we headed to the Quad to see the sights.  I LOVE this picture of the girls with their backpacks!!!
They look SO grown up!
At last it was Game Time!
Excited for their pom-poms!

Our view!
After the game, we took a break for some ice cream (and Mommy had some coffee), and then we headed to Aunt A's house for some catch-up time.  Here are all the kiddos together!

Posers!
Sunday morning we enjoyed a yummy breakfast at a German bakery, and then we spent a little more time on campus.  I am thrilled to have captured this impromptu hug in the shadow of Denny Chimes!

Be still my heart!
And our A couldn't help but DANCE to the chimes...hee hee!

What a happy soul!
On our way home we made one last stop at GG's house.  Baby B wasn't much for pictures, but A was all smiles alongside GG.


We packed A LOT into four days...and it sure was fun!!!

April 25, 2016

The Great Outdoors, and Other Wonderful Things

We had such a great weekend, and so much of it was spent outdoors.

Friday night the girls had a soccer game at 5:30.  Sure, that made for a hectic afternoon in some respects…but truly, what better way to leave the school/work week behind and do something FUN??!!!  And to top it off, Baby A’s teacher came to see the first half of her game.  She was ECSTATIC.  She definitely played with some extra pep in her step, and she scored two beautiful hard-fought goals!

Saturday morning, Daddy treated us to bagels from Panera.  We spent that morning mostly hanging out in the living room…we read and did puzzles before we had an early lunch.  (We hadn’t done a puzzle in quite a while.  What fun it was to join my girlies for some corner searching!)

Saturday afternoon we headed back to the soccer field.  It was such a gorgeous, sunny day…not too hot…PERFECT.

Loving my new zoom lens for my camera!!!  I won't share pictures that show other people's children, though...so here's a crop of my A in action.

After the game we went to get ice cream.  (And this mama might have enjoyed the smiles of strangers at seeing her babies in their uniforms.) 

Sunday morning we decided to make our first trip of the season to Lost River Cave.  For the first time, we took the cave tour (on a boat!).  The girls were super excited for that treat, and then we did our usual hike around the park.  We were delighted to discover a few new trails, and to visit our favorite trails, of course.

After a quick and yummy lunch at our favorite hangout, Home Café, we enjoyed a Sunday afternoon nap.  (At least Mommy and Daddy napped…I understand from the girls they played “camping and hunting for dinosaur bones.”  Like ya do!)

Late Sunday afternoon, we headed outside again.  The girls wanted to blow dandelions in the backyard.  Much to what I imagine was the neighbors' chagrin, we did just that.  

I love how you can see the dandelion seeds in this picture!

Quintessential B and her sensitive blue eyes.  :)
Then we played some front-yard soccer (scoring between Frisbees set up as goalposts)…we enjoyed some catch…and the girls asked if we could have a picnic supper.

While I’d intended to do some cooking for the week, I’m so thankful I let it go.  We had leftover pizza on paper plates on a blanket in the front yard.  And then the neighbor gifted the girls some new sidewalk chalk, and we all enjoyed that unexpected treat.

We finished the day with a bubble bath.  “This was the Best Day Ever!” Baby A proclaimed.  I think I might agree.

And then, for the grand finale, I gave the girls a new night-night story I picked up at Kohl’s, entitled “Swimmy”.  “What did you buy this for?” my B asked.  “Can’t Mommy sometimes buy you something, just because?” I responded.  That was met with the hugest smile.
 What a wonderful weekend I had with my precious baby girls…full of the great outdoors, peppered with some impromptu fun.  I couldn’t ask for more!

April 23, 2016

Of Cats and Kids and Playing

We added our precious furry boys to our family a year ago in December.  They are such a treasure, but they’ve caused us to change our ways around the house in some respects, too.

The boys are a bit on the rambunctious side, AND they will run off with anything small.  (I’ve never seen a cat do that before!!!)  That prompts us to keep the kitties in the basement when we’re not home.  (That always sounds terrible to me, but it’s a fully finished space as big as our first house!)  When we are home, we close all the bedroom doors to limit the kitties’ roaming.  (They’re angels when they’re with us in the common areas.)

So…when the kitties are out and about, we’re generally hanging out in the kitchen, living room, or den.  And…this has very nicely coincided with the girls’ obsession with reading.  So…we spend a lot of time as a family reading or playing cards and hanging out with the kitties.

Sounds wonderful, right?  It is!

Except…

The girls don’t spend nearly as much time just playing as they used to.  The vast majority of their toys are upstairs in the playroom / bonus room, and those are rooms we close from the kitties.  The girls have their “quiet time” on Saturdays and Sundays, and they usually play then.  But – by design – that’s their time to themselves.

So…

It’s been such a beautiful treat to happen upon my girls playing so nicely a couple of times recently.  

One day, I came home from grocery shopping and Hubby was in the basement with the kitties.  I sneaked upstairs to the most wonderful sight.  I stood in the hallway and watched the girls, unbeknownst to them.  They were playing with their snap circuits, working together to figure something out.  

How I loved listening to their conversation.  “I’m trying to make the flying saucer, but I can just get the fan to work.”  “Here, let me show you what I think will get it.”  They communicated so nicely, helped each other respectfully, and delighted with each other when they got what they were looking for.

Even after I interrupted them, they continued to play so well.

And then earlier this week, I came home to Hubby cutting the grass, and the kitties were in the basement by themselves.  I could hear the girls in their playroom.  “Do you have any baby food?”  “No, we can just make our own.  Here, I’ll mush up some bananas.”

They had a very elaborate setup with their baby dolls and a full meal.  This time, they were waiting on me to join them.  “Mommy, will you play with us?!”  When I went into their playroom, there was a seat for me at their little table, and they had even saved the best piece of cake for me.


These exchanges used to be a daily thing…in our old house, where their toys were in the den…before kitties…before school and work.  I enjoyed them then…but I absolutely treasure these precious moments now.

April 11, 2016

My (New) Favorite Age

When the girls were smaller, I remember regularly declaring at each new milestone, “THIS is my favorite age.”  It just seemed like things got “better and better”…certainly more “fun”, week after week.

I haven’t uttered that phrase in a long time now.

It’s not because things have suddenly gotten “not-fun”.  I think it’s because the milestones aren’t as easy to see.  There’s much less contrast between 5 ½ and 6 than there was between 2 ½ and 3.

It struck me within the last week, though, what an awesome age 7 is.  It’s such a dear combination of BIG KIDS and precious BABIES.

My amazing girlies are big enough to actually help around the house…and sometimes they even enjoy doing so!  Yesterday they surprised me by setting the table [in almost excruciating detail, no less!].  They love to help manage the grocery list, both ahead of going to the store and while we’re shopping the aisles.

We can have some really in-depth conversations with the girls.  We talk (at an age-appropriate level) about politics and race and gender.  Their questions and comments amaze me quite often. 

(Last week I told my A that her comment was very evolved…and then I asked her if she knew what that meant.  “Changing slowly over time?” she mused.  HA!  YES!  Although there’s a twist to the way I used the word.)

And the girls love to play with words, too.  I asked for help in the kitchen this weekend, I was answered by, “I’d be delighted, my lady!”  Hahaha!!!

The girls read ALL THE TIME.  B, in particular, is in the biographies.  (Just over the past couple of weeks, she's read the likes of Louisa May Alcott, Thomas A. Edison, and Frederick Douglass!)  And the girls love to write, too.  They love to journal about what we did in a day.  It’s pretty incredible to read their perspective!

On the other hand, though, my BABIES still love to cuddle in my lap.  They lavish me with affection.  “You’re the best mommy in the world!  I could hug you and kiss you forever!

They play pretend – like when they made an old-fashioned “train” of barstools [just like when they were three!] – and they love their stuffed babies.  I even see them cuddle their baby dolls from time to time.



So…seven is in contention for my favorite age.  It’s a look ahead to the amazing things to come…and a glimpse back at the same time to the sweet little girls of yesterday.

April 6, 2016

Way Back When-esday: Longevity!

Uncle Tommy and Aunt Janet sent the girls these adorable LL Bean sweaters when they were three.

I opened the package and ooh'ed and ahh'ed at the cuteness...and promptly gasped at how much they surely cost.  (I tend to be more of a Target kind of gal.)

The sweaters, size 3T, were a bit big on the girls that first year.  We wore them a time or two, but the sleeves were rolled up, and we had some extra length in the torso.



Last year I made pictures of the girls in these sweaters, marveling at that being their FOURTH season to wear them.

I am beyond amazed we've now made it FIVE SEASONS.  The sleeve length is borderline, particularly for my A, but these sweaters have truly stood the test of time.


[For the record, I have no idea if my A has *always* worn the blue, and B, the pink.  I guess that's my next task...to comb through pictures from 2013, 2014, and 2015 to nail that down.  HA!]

And...depending on growth spurts, my B has the potential to record another year next year!!!

I dare say these sweaters were an incredible investment...and -- although we still love our Tar-jay -- I don't know that our store brand duds have near the longevity.

Wow!!!

{Thankful to the One and Only Cheryl at Twinfatuation for prompting "Way Back When-esday"!!!}

I was in no way compensated by LL Bean for this post...just sharing our amazing experience...and marveling at how different -- yet same -- my BABIES are.

April 3, 2016

STOP READING

For the last few months, nothing makes the girls happier than a new book.  Or a book they haven’t read in a while.  Or even a book they recently enjoyed and want to read again.

The girls each got a book series for Christmas, and I think they devoured it within two days (switching off books so they could read what the other got).  And then, less than two weeks later, they got two more series for their birthday.  And again, it was read within days.

The girls have gotten a few new books here and there – for Valentine’s Day, for Easter, spending a gift card to the bookstore they got as a present – augmented with very frequent trips to the library at school.

This week was the book fair at school, and the girls could hardly wait to make their selections.  I joined them for lunch, and then we went to shop.  


We decided on a total of seven books…two of them were compilations of three stories each…in the neighborhood of 360 pages each.

We’re four days out from the book fair, and the girls have read all their new stories.  Seriously.


While all this still and quiet is really nice in many ways, I have found myself at times directing the girls to STOP READING.  (And that feels a little crazy to say!)

Let’s PLAY something, I'll encourage them.  A game…a puzzle…some blocks…a Lego set.  They’ve been happy enough to oblige, but it’s clear that reading takes first place in their hearts.  Or sometimes they’ll agree to have me to read to them, which is a nice compromise...and I’m happy to oblige that little “blast from the past”.

If readers are leaders, then look out, World!

March 22, 2016

Busy Bunnies and Bribes

“Bribe” is probably a strong word.  But it’s no exaggeration that my little bunnies were some kind of busy on Saturday.

Saturday we had not one, but TWO Easter egg hunts!  The girls didn’t attend any official hunts until they were in preschool…but they’ve made up for that with frequency over the past couple of years.

Saturday morning we went to the egg hunt my company hosts.  It’s incredibly sweet for me…so many years before I had kiddos, I remember seeing the advertisements for the company egg hunts, thinking how sweet it would one day be to bring my kiddos there.  It took a few years…but here we are!!!

I knew there would be an Easter bunny at the party.  And to date, I have zero pictures of my girlies with The Bunny.  I’ve asked them a few times if they would be up for a picture with the mall bunny, and they’ve vehemently declined.

On Saturday morning I told them, “Mommy doesn’t have any pictures of you with the Easter bunny, and I would really like one.  Would you be willing to have your picture made?”  I reinforced that it was their decision.  At first they said no (although not quite as vehemently as in years past).  I told them I would stand beside them, and they didn’t have to touch the bunny.  I reiterated that it was their decision.  They looked at each other, and finally acquiesced.  (Cue internal squeal from Mommy!  And I didn’t even resort to a bribe!)

The girls held true to their word and took a picture with the bunny as soon as we got to the party.  They even smiled!!! 



The girls made two rounds through the obstacle course, played a couple of games, and then it was time for the magic show.  This year they again asked me to sit with them.  (They don’t seem to be big fans of clowns, either!)  I sat for a few minutes, and then told them I’d like to stand behind them.  They were OK with that (although they kept turning around to make sure I was still in sight).




Finally it was time to HUNT!  The girls were in the Big Kid group this year (ages 7-12).  Baby A scored 11 eggs, and B found 7.  They were satisfied with their treasures, and we went home soon thereafter.  (It was COLD!!!)



After a light lunch and a short rest time, we loaded up for our Mothers of Multiples Easter party.  There were two adorable crafts (although there was a little disappointment because B didn’t like how she placed her bunny ears, and A didn’t like how her handprint turned out…both were easily remedied the next day in Mommy’s craft room).  



Due to the COLD weather and threat of rain, we held our “hunt” indoors.  The girls scored far more treasures, and it was so cute to listen to them ooh and ahh over each egg they opened.




It was a full day for my little bunnies, for sure!  But fun memories – and a few heirloom pictures – were made!  I call it a great day!!!
 
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