Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers

June 30, 2010

Better Than a Secret Decoder Device from a Kool-Aid Canister

When I was a kid, I loved Inspector Gadget. I yearned to solve mysteries and fight crime. I remember having so much fun with a secret decoder device that came in a specially-marked canister of Kool-Aid.

Fast forward 25 years or so (gulp!), and I’m still a kid at heart.

I fight household crime…my aim is to keep our den safe from toy-taking, hair-pulling, and biting.

I solve mysteries…like whatever happened to the missing orange star from our shape sorter? [It was under the couch.]

And I have what I think is a pretty cool secret decoder gadget…

See, our girls are quite the conversationalists. “Gah!” “Bah!” “Buh!” “Dah!” “Di!” “Mih!” “Rah!” You name the consonant, and they can make the sound. And of course these “sounds” all have immense meaning.

Thank goodness for my dictionary of baby sign language, which in my experience rivals even the best secret decoder ring. Heaven forbid if Mommy was unable to distinguish between “Bah!” with fingertips touching [ball], and “Buh!” with palms together, open upwards [book]. We might otherwise have a nuclear meltdown that not even the likes of the Powerpuff Girls could solve.

That, coupled with my Sixth Mommy Sense to figure out why the girls start signing “bear” when I ask them if they wants pears, makes me feel like part of their Secret Society.

And now if I can continue to guide them to use their WonderTwin powers for the pursuit of truth, justice, and the American way…and not just to baffle Mommy…we’ll all live happily ever after.

I'm linking up with Missy today for Say What?!? Wednesday...this is as close as our girls get to recorded conversation right now. :)

June 29, 2010

A Day in the Life at A&B Enterprises

I have read that having a predictable schedule helps children grow and learn, that consistency fosters their intellectual development. Of course I’m all about intellectual development…and I’m all about preserving my sanity, too! Particularly with multiples, I think a schedule is key to keeping this Mommy sane!

[Warning: Following is an excruciatingly-detailed account of our at your own risk! Or skip to the bottom for a few reflections...]

5:50-ish…wake up and force myself out of bed.
6:00 - 6:15...quick check of the computer, empty dishwasher, girls start to “talk” in their room.
6:15 - 6:30…eat breakfast with Hubby – either cereal, or bagels from Panera if we’re lucky.
6:30…start making the girls’ breakfast – scrambled egg, oatmeal or cream of wheat, diced banana and blueberries.
6:45…go upstairs with Hubby to get the girls up.
6:45 - 7:00…snuggle with the girls in their room and change their diapers.
7:00…feed the girls breakfast.
7:15…put the girls in the den to play quietly, while Mommy cleans up, has some coffee and enjoys some computer time (I put the laptop on the kitchen table so I can see the girls in the den).
*7:45…put the girls back in their highchairs for milk.
8:00 - 9:00…spend time with the girls in the den – we read lots of books, play with blocks, look out the window, dance, sing…you name it.

*...or don shorts and sunscreen the girls’ legs for a walk with fellow-twin Mom Krista and her girls, and give the girls milk when we get home around 8:45.

9:00…wash the girls’ faces and put them down for their morning nap.
9:00 - 9:30…Mommy takes a shower and makes herself beautiful for the day (who am I kidding? I would need a heck of a lot longer than 30 minutes to pull that off!).
9:30 - 10:50…do some laundry, cook some veggies for the girls, prep for supper, and chill as time allows.
10:50…prepare the girls’ lunch – usually two vegetables and some fresh fruit.
11:00 - 11:15…go upstairs and get the girls up from their nap; sometimes they wake up as early as 10:30 and “talk”, but occasionally they’ll sleep until 11:15 or so; I don’t let them sleep longer than 11:30.
11:30…feed the girls lunch.
*12:00…put the girls in the den to play quietly, while Mommy cleans up, eats a sandwich, and has some computer time.
1:00…spend time with the girls in the den.

*…or get the girls dressed and head out on the town. We sometimes meet one of my girlfriends for lunch; or we might run an errand, like to the bank or the post office; or we might go walk around the mall or the bookstore; or we occasionally go to Sonic and sit outside and enjoy a little ice cream. I try not to get the girls out every day...I want them to know we don’t *have* to get out and about to “pass the day”…but there are times when Mama needs some fresh air! I try to be back home by 2:00.

2:00…put the girls back in their highchairs for milk, often with a few crackers or half a cereal bar.
2:30 - 3:00…put the girls down for their afternoon nap.

3:00 - 3:50…listen to the girls “talk” instead of nap. I think Baby B would nap during this time, but Baby A seems ready to move to one nap. I’m trying to hit a balance between the two, but I’m sure it won’t be long before we make that transition. I try to rest during this time. I like to watch a little TV, or sometimes I’ll try to nap for 30 minutes.
3:50…prepare the girls’ supper – usually a meat, a veggie, and a fruit, followed by bread or crackers and juice.
4:00 - 4:15…go upstairs and get the girls up from their nap; after quite a bit of conversation, the girls will often fall asleep, at least for a few minutes; I don’t let them sleep longer than 4:30.
4:30…feed the girls supper.
5:00…put the girls in the den to play quietly while Hubby and I eat supper. I try to time our supper to be ready at this time – either a crock pot meal, or a roast or casserole I put in the oven an hour earlier, or I heat up leftovers or made-ahead meals.
*5:45 - 6:45…Hubby and I spend time with the girls in the den. Sometimes he plays with them while I do a few chores.

*…or give the girls a bath every other night.

6:45…take the girls upstairs for a cup of milk, stories, and cuddles.
7:15 - 7:30…wash the girls’ faces, brush their teeth, and put them to bed.

After I put the girls to bed, I usually enjoy some computer time, catch up on chores, and occasionally watch some TV. If I didn’t make it out with the girls for a walk during the day, I might head out for a run. I also do my grocery shopping once or twice a week after the girls are in bed. Occasionally I might meet a girlfriend or two for coffee.

After I graduated college, I wasn’t much of a night owl. These days, after dark is “my time”. KNOCK ON WOOD, our girls sleep very soundly, so I’m basically “off the clock” at 7:30. I often stay up much later than I should…but I just love the peace and quiet.

It’s hard for me to pick a favorite part of the day…I love getting the girls up in the mornings and cuddling with them and Hubby in their room. I love playing with them in the mornings, because everyone is fresh and open. I love taking them for a walk and pointing out all the comings and goings…and peering through the stroller canopy and seeing them holding hands or playing footsie. I love putting them down for a nap and seeing Baby B start to suck her thumb the moment she gets her blankey. I love feeding them when they eat well (which is most of the time)…I’m always so proud when they eat a good meal. I love getting out and about with them, and especially indulging in the occasional ice cream treat. I love playing with them and Hubby after supper, the four of us, together. I love snuggling with them while they have their cup of milk, and reading their bedtime story. And I especially love the last cuddles as I put them in their cribs. So yeah, it’s hard for me to narrow things down. :)

My least favorite time of the day is probably between 1:30 and 2:00. I feel like I hit a slump then, when I feel like I really should be engaging the girls.

I didn’t originally plan to answer this Question of the Week from Multiples & More, but it’s been so much fun to read others’ responses. I love getting a glimpse into the everyday lives of other families. And as I step back to look at our day, I would like to incorporate more outside play. Honestly, sunscreen is my biggest challenge! It is such a chore to lube up two squirming babies! We’re planning to get a swing set for our backyard within the next year, so I know I’ll get better in this department. But for now, I probably need to schedule more time at the park.

I’ve seen this quote on several blogs – “The days are long, but the years are short.” Unknown. Oh, how true it is! There are days when I think naptime will never come, when I’ve changed six poopy diapers by 9:00am, and it’s raining and we can’t get out of the house. But then I glance up and it’s somehow three months later. Thank goodness for picture evidence, because I might otherwise think I’d been caught in a time warp.

June 28, 2010

The Cover of the Rolling Stone

Actually, I'm a far cry from Lady Gaga, and our local paper is not quite the Rolling Stone...but the girlies and I did make the cover today!

Our Mothers of Multiples group held a family picnic on Sunday, and the local paper covered the story. We had a great time at the picnic, and this will be a cool memento for the girls' scrapbook.
Gotta love a small town!

June 27, 2010

Top 13* Ways You Know You Might Be a Bama Fan...

  • While pregnant, you braved the heat of Alabama in September just so your girls could “attend” their first ballgame...
  • Your favorite baby shower gift was two tiny cheerleading outfits...
  • The first song you sung to your babies was the Alabama fight song…
  • The first song you played for your babies was “Sweet Home Alabama”...
  • The first picture you have of your babies both smiling is in their Alabama onesies
  • The first “sign” you taught your babies was “Touchdown, Alabama!”
  • Your babies may be confused about the order of letters in the alphabet, as they keep hearing B-A-M-A over and over...
  • You avoid the yellow / purple combination of sippy cups, as it reminds you of the East Carolina Panthers, which reminds you of Western Carolina, which is the game in which Brody Croyle injured his knee in 2004 [you might just call this six degrees of Alabama football trivia]...
  • Your girls sign “elephant” with clear passion…
  • You wince a little bit when your girls sign “alligator”, which is just like the Florida Gator Chomp…
  • It’s really important that your girls learn to count not just to 10, but all the way to 13*…
  • Among the major milestones in your girls’ lives…their first steps, first words, and first bicycles…you count their first trip to Tuscaloosa as one of the biggies…
  • The only time you’ve broken your “no TV” rule was to catch a few glimpses of the Tide in action, and you were actually kinda proud that your girls were drawn to the screen like moths to a flame…

The 2010 season kicks off in just over two months…ROOOOOOLL TIDE!!!

*For any of my non-Bama fan friends, 13 is of course the number of NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS that belong to the Alabama Crimson Tide! Feel free to join us in supporting the Tide to their 14th title!

June 25, 2010

Mikey Likes It!

So I’m feeling a slight bit guilty…

...guilty for passing on dishes to our sweet, unassuming girls that didn't quite meet Hubby's and my "high culinary standards". :)

A couple of weeks ago I made a dish called Chicken in Creamy Pan Sauce. I cooked my chicken breasts in a skillet, set them aside, and then made a cream sauce from chicken broth and cream cheese…sounds pretty good, huh? Well, the taste was excellent, but in hindsight, the chicken breasts were too thick to be cooked like that. They turned out a wee bit tough. Hubby and I ate one portion for dinner, but we weren’t thrilled about the thought of leftovers.

I had originally intended for the girls to eat this dish, as well, and I decided I’d give it a try nonetheless. They loved it! When I cut the breasts into small pieces and served it up with a little extra cream sauce, the toughness was not an issue (or at least they didn’t complain).

Then, a few days ago, I made Scalloped Potatoes for the first time. I used my handy-dandy slicer to get the potatoes really thin, about 1/8” like the recipe noted. I followed the directions for the cream sauce and casserole assembly, and pulled the dish out of the oven just in time to meet my roast.

I don’t know what happened, but the potatoes weren’t quite done. Again, the taste was excellent, but there was a little more “crunch” than one would normally associate with scalloped potatoes. And again, Hubby and I ate one portion, but I then returned the dish to the oven to bake a little longer.

The next day, when I went to serve up leftovers, I found the potatoes STILL weren’t quite done. Hmmm…what to do? I didn’t think it was a good idea to return a cold casserole dish to the oven to bake even more. But hey, the girls don’t know what the texture of scalloped potatoes should be!

I cut the casserole into bite-size pieces and served it to the girls. They loved it! The “firmer” texture of the potatoes actually made it easier for them to pick it up (or so I told myself).

The girls got a few additional servings of these dishes over what I’d originally planned, and Hubby and I got to move on to the next menu item. Everybody won!

...but that doesn’t stop me from feeling a little guilty that I could be construed as using the girls as cute little garbage disposals…

June 24, 2010

Fab 5 Friday

So what have I been up to this fabulous week in June?

1) ...”swimming” with the girls for the first time in their kiddie pool and gauging their different reactions to the new experience…and soaking up the adorableness of them in their pink plaid swimsuits…

2) …listening to the girls identify a long list of body parts, including “elbow” (new to the list this week)…and appreciating their baby-speak “bobo” as they reach one chubby arm around the other...

3) …seeing Baby A work so diligently at her stacking cups, absolutely determined to get them in order…and being so proud that she didn’t get frustrated with herself even though she didn’t exactly take the most direct route from beginning to end…

4) …hearing Baby B shout “Mommy” for the first time (as opposed to “Mama”), when calling me from another room…and rejoicing at the sweet sound…

5) …reading animal-themed books to the girls and having them point and sign and yell at each and every picture…and marveling at their participation and enjoyment…

…so many little things that just make my heart smile!

June 23, 2010

Adventures in Water

The very first time we gave the girls a bath at home, our normally chilled-out Baby A was a fusspot, whereas Baby B seemed to rather enjoy herself (as much as a two-week old infant can enjoy herself, that is). It’s so interesting to see how that one aspect of their personalities – unlike almost anything else – has remained pretty consistent over time.

Aside from a couple of pee-pee / poo-poo incidents over the past 17 months, bathtime has become pretty predictable at our house.

Baby A is content to take her bath…as long as Mommy doesn’t get water in her eyes. Unfortunately, getting water in Baby A’s eyes seems almost unavoidable, as she’s so darn squirmy! But as long as I keep a towel close by to dry her face after any contact with water, all is well with her world.

Baby A, standing up to have as little contact with the bath water as possible.

I think Baby B may have been a fish in a former life. She loves the bath. She gets all giggly as she’s getting in, and I think she would sit and play for an hour if she could. And not that I don’t try to avoid getting water in her eyes, but if and when I do, she hardly even blinks. She maintains a big smile on her face, soap suds and all.

Baby B, as happy as a turtle in mud.

I wondered if the girls’ bathtime behavior would be an indication of how they would respond to the kiddie pool we bought last week. And sure enough, it was.

I got in the pool with the girls. Baby B sat down almost immediately, giggling and ready to play. Baby A clung pretty tightly to me. I told her to sit down, and she would squat (sweetly following directions), but she never got her backside too close to the water. I sat her down in my lap a couple of times, but she just popped right back up. She was content to walk around the pool and play with the water toys, but I think she would have been just as content to play with those same toys on the comfort of dry land.

Nonetheless, this was such a fun adventure. And if nothing else, I couldn’t get enough of the girls in their swimsuits. :)

We’ll try again in a couple of days, and I hope Baby A will eventually grow some sea legs.

June 20, 2010

Delighted Faces are Daddy's Treat

Even though he had to mow the lawn, Hubby had a great Father's Day. He loved his handmade artwork, and Mommy made all his favorite treats.

But the best part of all? Seeing the delight on his baby girls' faces at seeing him through the window...

...I think that makes even the 105 degree heat a little sweeter. (Easy for me to say, huh, taking this picture from the comfort of the den?!)

And that just Makes My Monday [the girls' delight...not the 105 degree heat!]! :)

(Playing along again with Cheryl at Twinfatuation!)

June 19, 2010

The Perfect Father's Day Gift

The girls had an idea for what they thought would be the perfect Father's Day present*. They had been begging to finger paint, and they thought this would be a great time to dip their hands into some ooey, gooey ink. And they wanted to make a list of some of the reasons they love their Dada. Here's what they came up with...

1. You taught us the fine art of nose-kissing.
2. You make us “fly” in the safety of your arms. “One, two, three…whee!”
3. You keep our high chairs nice and clean.
4. You make sure there’s always room for more dirty diapers.
5. You washed at least 10,000 bottles with love.
6. You give the best shoulder rides.
7. You know the perfect temperature for our bathwater.
8. You know just how to wrap us up in our duck and butterfly towels.
9. Your lap is nice and big and your arms are strong to hold both of us.
10. We love how you hold our hands and walk around with us and make us laugh.
11. You’re ours.

And the culmination of their efforts?

I think Dada's gonna agree this is the perfect gift (along with the baklava that Mommy is contributing)!

*Disclaimer: my girls aren't actually old enough to come up with "the perfect Father's Day present"...or if they are, they're keeping it as a secret between the two of them. Nor are they old enough to "beg" to finger paint...or to even know what finger painting is. No, it was Mommy who was so anxious to dip their little hands in paint (and they LOVED it!!!), and it was also Mommy who came up with the Top 11 list (but I feel certain they would agree, if only they could talk).

My Little Yogis

One of my dear friends is hosting "Playground Yoga in the Park" this summer. (It's an awesome community outreach project she dreamed's free, with donations accepted for the local Kiwanis chapter.)

The girls and I participated in her beta class a few weeks ago.
(We're on the far left-hand side.)

While the girls really enjoyed being outside and seeing the other kids, I really thought they were a little young...or at least a little young for me to wrangle them both myself.
But look what I caught Baby A doing...

...a near-perfect Downward Dog.
Yeah, the zen in our house is pretty high.

June 18, 2010

Fab 5 Friday

Another fabulous* week at A&B Enterprises...

1) NO MORE BOTTLES!!! The girls completely transitioned to sippy cups - including their nightcap - this week. Oh, sweet freedom from washing bottles...and sweet cabinet space...and sweet counter space (less the bottle warmers)!!!

2) The girls enjoyed their first taste of watermelon this week. And I got a kick out of them signing "ball" and yelling "bah!" when I pulled it out of the refrigerator. :)

3) The girls rediscovered the art of crawling, and for some reason, they think it's hilarious. One will crawl around, chasing the other, and they both laugh hysterically.

4) The girls' new favorite book is The Barnyard Dance, by Sandra Boynton. They can name / sign all the animals, and they get their groove-thang going when I sing the words.

5) The girls enjoyed their first foray into finger painting. It was a small foray for a Father's Day project (shhh...don't tell Daddy!), but it was a fun glimpse at something I know they're going to love in a few months.

*A + B = C, where C > fabulous.
(I just happened to write this while wearing an old Math Team t-shirt. I can almost feel my Algebra teacher shudder...)

June 17, 2010

A Busy Couple of Weeks Ahead...

I guess last year I was still lost in the haze of having a couple of sweet little infants, as I don't think I realized what a busy time the end of June / beginning of July is for our family...

Hubby and I are celebrating our 11th wedding anniversary with dinner out on Friday night (after the kiddos are in bed, sleeping soundly with the "house sitter").

Sunday is Father's Day.

The following Sunday is our Mothers of Multiples picnic (and I'm in charge of the food shopping).

Then we'll celebrate the girls' "1/2 birthday" (when they'll be 18 months old) on July 5th.

And Hubby's birthday is July 8th. (We also celebrate the cat's birthday then, too, but she's pretty easy to please.)

Once upon a time, we might have taken a trip somewhere - say hopped aboard a jet plane for a long weekend in New Orleans - to celebrate our anniversary. And we might have spent the day shopping and eating in Nashville for Hubby's birthday.

These days, both our budget and our time are much more limited, so - with the exception of our dinner out - we'll be doing most of our celebrating at home.

The fun part is that I'll get to cook up some yummy creations to mark each occasion.

The challenging part is that I'll be cooking up a lot of creations over the course of a couple of weeks...and I'll probably need a diet detox come mid-July.

But that's OK. I've already bookmarked the pages of my cookbooks, and I'm ready for some heavy-duty baking, basting, and roasting. Bon appetit to us!

(Do you think it's too much to ask Hubby to clean up the kitchen on his birthday???)

June 16, 2010

Like Suds Through the Dishwasher, So are the Days of Our Lives

The first house Hubby and I owned didn’t have a dishwasher. It was an older home, and while I thought about it occasionally, I would not have wanted to sacrifice the limited cabinet space to install such a big appliance. Further, Hamburger Helper-type meals really only dirtied one pan, and I am ashamed to say we used a lot of paper plates. Not having a dishwasher really wasn’t a big deal.

Our next house had a dishwasher, and while my culinary skills began to grow, I loathe to say that we still used a lot of paper plates. We rarely ever used the dishwasher – maybe during the holidays or when we had guests – because it seemed like it would take a week for us to fill it up.

Finally by the time we moved into our third house, three years into our marriage, our dishwasher began to see some action. We became more cognizant of the environment, so we curbed our paper plate usage, and I began to experiment cooking more from scratch. We probably ran the dishwasher two or three times a week.

This trend continued into our current house…until the girls were born.

There was probably a period of a few weeks when we used the dishwasher very seldom. When the girls first came home from the hospital, our neighbors and friends kept us fed for a couple of weeks, and then we relied on take-out…and we even succumbed to using paper plates and cups for a while (although the images of dying polar bears did little for my post-partum hormones).

These days, we run the dishwasher once a day, and sometimes twice. And it’s somehow always chock-full o’ dirty dishes. (And if dishwasher-loading were an Olympic sport, I think I would be a serious contender. [Hey, if curling is a sport, this could be, too, right?!])

I cook…a lot. We don’t eat out nearly as often as we once did, so I try to keep our taste buds entertained with a variety of cuisine. My ultimate goal is for the girls to eat what we eat, which they do roughly one meal a day, but I’m still cooking a lot of additional dishes – mainly different kinds of vegetables – for them. Add eight sippy cups a day to the mix, instead of hand-washed bottles (cue the choir of angels…hallelujah!), and that’s a pretty full load (or two).

I am proud to report that our paper plate allowance has been nil over the past 15 or so months. I wish I could say the same for our paper towel allowance…but all this eating is messy!

June 14, 2010

A Little Slice of Heaven, with Cheese Sauce on Top

The girls have long-since been regulars at several eating establishments around town. Since they were about five months old, I’ve taken them out with me to lunch once a week or so, and the four of us usually go out to eat sometime over the weekend.

Those first couple of months, we would time our outings so the girls would nap in their car seats. Around nine months, they started eating Cheerios, which served as “entertainment” while Mommy and Daddy enjoyed a quick bite to eat. After the girls turned a year old, they graduated to sitting in their stroller, and I augmented their Cheerios snack with cubed cheese. They were usually content to sit for 45 minutes or so.

When I started feeding the girls “big people food” after their first birthday…and they balked at even a mashed banana…I feared it would be a looooooong time before the girls would be able to eat out with us. I set their 18-month birthday as a goal for them to enjoy a meal at our favorite Mexican restaurant.

Although the first couple of weeks of “big people food” were a rough go, the girls have grown to enjoy a wide variety of food at home. And I began to share little bites of my restaurant food with them now and again, in between snacks of Cheerios and cubed cheese.

About a month ago, I decided to give the girls a try at eating off the menu in a restaurant. I had in my bag a back-up plan…cubed cheese, whole wheat bread, two avocados, and diced fresh strawberries…in case they balked at the new experience. Fortunately, I didn’t have to break out my stash.

The girls’ first restaurant meal was at our favorite Mexican dive, a full six weeks ahead of my original goal! They seemed to inhale a chicken quesadilla, rice, and black beans. I was so proud!

Since their inaugural quesadilla, they’ve eaten a cheeseburger, wood-grilled veggies, and fresh fruit at a restaurant downtown; and a grilled chicken breast and steamed broccoli at another of our hang-outs.

These meals haven’t exactly been relaxing…I am constantly reaching and wiping and encouraging…but it’s still so nice to have a break from eating in. And it’s so neat to feel like a “little family” out for a nice lunch, as opposed to a married couple trying to sneak in a quick bite while juggling a couple of kids.

For now, I’ve vowed not to let the girls eat out more than once a week. And I am very careful to follow the restaurant meal with a few “strict” meals at home, most often encompassing brussel sprouts. I don’t want the girlies to get any ideas about demanding restaurant fare on a more regular basis.

At some point this probably means I’ll have to curb my eating out, as well. I don’t know how much longer they’ll sit while I eat, knowing they, too, could be having a treat more delectable than Cheerios.

I've been meaning to write this post for a while. It just so happens to fit in with the Multiples & More Question of the Week!

June 12, 2010

Boy Toys and Girl Toys

One of my dear friends, whose boys are 10 and 7, has waged an ongoing battle with a number of fast-food chains in town.

Nothing gets her blood pressure up like ordering a kid’s meal and having the cashier ask, “Boy or girl toy?” She is very emphatic that her son should be able to choose the My Little Pony toy, or her niece the Transformers widget, without being “labeled”. (She reports that the fast food chain headquarters state that the question should be phrased as “My Little Pony or Transformers?” but that rarely happens in practice.)

I love to dress our girls in pink and purple and buttercup yellow dresses. I think that’s half the fun of having little girls! And they have a couple of dolls, and it’s so sweet to see them cuddle their “babies”. But at least for every doll, I’d be willing to bet they have a dump truck or fire engine, and the vast majority of their toys are gender-neutral blocks, nesting cups, and stacking rings.

The girls’ room is painted a soothing green, and they dressed as pumpkins – not princesses – for their first Halloween. I’ll be fine with painting their room a sickening shade of bright pink, and letting them pretend to be Cinderella one day, but I want it to be of their own accord. I figure they’ll get there soon enough without me “suggesting” it to them at this young age.

I recently bought the girls a ride-on / push toy. I had the option of a bright pink and purple one, but I instead chose the one in primary colors. The girls loved the toy, and I sent Hubby to the store to buy a second one. He came home [with a bright pink and purple one] and asked me, “Why did you buy the ‘boy’ one? Didn’t you see the ‘girl’ one?

Huh??? Don’t tell me that Dear Hubby has succumbed to the color-gender stereotypes!

I didn’t go so far as to make him return the bright pink toy, but we had a good conversation about the options we hope to offer the girls as they grow older.

I certainly don’t want to deter our girls from playing with dolls and make-believe pots and pans. And I hope they’ll enjoy accompanying me for mani-pedi’s and tea and crumpets one day. But I also want them to appreciate that their mama is no stranger to a hammer and screwdriver, and she can negotiate a mortgage refinance with the best of them.

June 11, 2010

Fab 5 Friday

Nothing truly momentous happened this week, but it was still fabulous! Following are just a few of the reasons:

1) Baby laughter. A couple of times, the girls have gotten so tickled, just sitting there looking at each other. I had no idea what was so funny…maybe it was a “twin thing”…but I loved it!

2) The girls are holding hands more often. They’ll do it on command (sometimes), and I also caught them straining to hold hands across the back seat from their car seats.

3) The girls devoured a chicken breast and steamed broccoli at a local restaurant on Saturday. The fact that they still aren’t wild about my steamed broccoli isn’t so fabulous, but that’s OK…

4) I made a big pancake breakfast on Sunday, and the girls loved it! I hope this is the start of a Sunday-morning-breakfast tradition at our house.

5) Mommy got a pedicure on Thursday!!! (Oh, wait…this is supposed to be about the girls…) The girls were completely enthralled with my freshly painted pink toenails (from my pedicure on Thursday!!!) that they could scarcely keep their hands off my feet. It was too funny!

It’s so often the little things that count…

June 9, 2010

The World's Game at Home

Hubby was very supportive during my pregnancy, but he deferred any and all major decisions to me. I researched and chose every piece of baby equipment and layette item, from the cribs, to the car seats, to the bottle warmers. Hubby was very kind to accompany me to set up our registry, and to load and unload the car after the baby shower, but he didn’t seem very vested in any of the babies’ “stuff”.

Hubby made only one contribution to the entire layette. As we made our final trip to take care of any outstanding items from our registry, he wandered off, and then came back to find me with two plush soccer balls. They jingle when shaken, and they are embroidered with “My First Soccer Ball”. I thought they were priced ridiculously high, but he was so proud of himself…and I was proud of his pride…so of course we brought them home.

We both agreed many years ago that we would not be ones to push our children in any one direction. We would expose them to different experiences, and allow them to develop their own passions.

Secretly, I really hope that the girls will take an interest in music. I play a wide variety of different musical genres at home, and we sing and dance. I know Hubby feels the same way about soccer. He eats, lives, and breathes it -- it is his true passion.

At 17 months old, the girls don’t watch TV, so Hubby won’t be sharing in any of the World Cup madness with them just yet. He’s already plotting the 2014 Cup, though, when he hopes they’ll be alternately snuggling with him on the sofa, juggling a ball in the den, and enjoying “the world’s game” together.

Maybe that daddy-daughter time will make up for the formative month he’s sure to miss from June 11 – July 11 this year, when Hubby will no-doubt be tethered to the sofa upstairs, watching The Cup.

In the meantime, he takes every opportunity to make sure we’re getting our money out of those plush soccer balls.

Six weeks old:

Four months old:

Ten months old:Thirteen months old (with a ball that actually bounces):


June 7, 2010

The Beauty of Technology

Since the day the girls were born, their great-great aunt has kept extremely close tabs on them. I call her a couple of times a day, everyday, and relay to her what they're doing.

No detail goes unnoticed...what they had for breakfast, what they're wearing, how much they weighed at bathtime, who said what and name it, and she knows it. Apart from Mommy and Daddy, she's hands-down their biggest fan.

Because we live about 250 miles from her, we don't get to see Aunt GG as often as we'd like. Outside of our visits every few months, she has had to rely on my daily phone calls and the pictures I send her once a month to "see" the girls in action.

Until now...

Aunt GG just bought her first computer, expressly so she can see pictures of her great-great nieces in "real time".

Ain't technology great?! And that just Makes My Monday!

Playing along again with Cheryl at Twinfatuation! :)

June 5, 2010

A Few of My Faves

I received the Trendy Blogger Award from The Mommy of Twenty Little Toes blog. (Her twin boys are close to our girls’ age; they are just precious, and she captures them in the.most.beautiful. photographs). Thank you so much for thinking of me! I always appreciate your encouraging comments.

I have to admit that I don’t feel very “trendy”…I feel like I’ve been in my little bubble so long that I can barely distinguish between black and navy...but thankfully the girls don’t seem to mind.

The stipulation of the award is that I now have to pass it on to ten other bloggers whom I think are “trendy”…and they in turn should pass it along from there.

I know not everyone likes to participate in passing these torches, and I don’t exactly know what “trendy” means in the context of a blog…but I thought I’d take this opportunity to highlight a few of my favorite blogs and bloggers*. (These are in alphabetical order by blog title [including articles]…not that I’m anal-retentive or anything…)

Amanda of Ditt and Dott: Raising Twins and The Frickin Chicken. I love seeing the wonderful activities she engages in with her daughters. AND she’s a very inspired cook, too!

Sadia of Double the Fun. I really admire her parenting style, and I love reading her analysis of certain parenting situations. I almost always learn something when I read her blog, and I try to tuck it away for when I face similar situations with our girls in the future. And her transcriptions of her girls’ conversations are priceless.

Apok of Knee Deep in Kids (the one daddy blogger on my list). He doesn’t post very regularly, but his posts are worth the wait. They are laugh-out-loud funny, particularly for those of us with a little twist to our sense of humor, and most are dead-on with respect to parenting conundrums.

Reanbean of On Matters of Motherhood (and Life in General). I really admire her parenting style as well. Like with Sadia’s blog, I always feel like I learn something from her posts. I love that she values reading to her kids and singing and music. And I’ve really enjoyed corresponding with her on a couple of topics, from kitty cats, to laundry stains, to book lists.

Christina of Our Life with Multiples. I admire her honesty. One day she’ll talk about the really tough challenges of being a mom…and the next day she’ll talk about what an awesome day she had at the park with her girlies. At least for me, that’s such an accurate representation of life with kiddos. (And who wouldn’t smile at seeing the picture of her girls playing in the sprinkler?!)

Joye of The Joyeful Journey. I don’t “know” Joye very well, but she has such a beautiful blog. There’s something about her amazing pictures, and even the refreshing font, that just makes me want to smile. Joye seems to be such a beautiful person and a wonderful mom, and it really shows in every aspect of her blog.

Nicole of The Stephens Family Blog (the one non-twin mom on my list). Nicole is a dear friend from elementary and middle school, although we’d lost touch with each other over the past 20 (gasp!) years. We reconnected about a year ago on Facebook, and her blog was one of the ones that inspired me to start my own blog. She is such a smart, cool, resourceful mom. I just love seeing all the effort she puts into doing fun projects and creating meaningful experiences for her girls.

Sonora of To Twinfinity and Beyond. She writes about her kids’ adventures, and her thoughts and feelings, and she does it in a very beautiful writing style. She’s got a lot on her plate with having four children ages five and under, but she seems to manage it with a lot of fun, grace, and reflection.

Cheryl of Twinfatuation. Her twins are probably the oldest set that I follow on my blog list. She hosts several memes, and there’s always something different to read. I find her blog entertaining, but also very heartfelt. Her kindness emanates from her posts and her comments.

Megan of Twinsomnia. She had me at her tagline, “Musings of a Mom Who Should Really Be Sleeping”. That’s certainly how I’d describe myself as I sit in front of my computer until way too late most evenings! I love her entertaining takes on the trials and tribulations of parenthood…and she does it while holding down a job…and she manages to comment on so many other blogs. I don’t know how she does it – maybe she really doesn’t sleep?!

Missy of Two Little Monkeys. I just “met” Missy through the Multiples & More blog network, and then I learned that she lives practically next door to where I grew up…what a small world! I really enjoy seeing the fun things her girls say and do. And I can’t wait to share stories with her during football season! (Roll Tide!!!)

Rebecca of Unexplained X2. Her straight-up take on what her kiddos are doing is another guaranteed laugh. She’s such a “real” mom, and her candidness just cracks me up. She writes things that I think in my head, but won’t put on my blog, lest my 81-year old great aunt or my little cousin happen to be reading. :)

Mohini of What My Kids Are Eating. She takes feeding her children a vast variety of healthy foods very seriously. I love to peek inside her cupboard (complete with pictures!) to see what she’s cooked up…and she is very candid about how her children reacted to the introduction of a new food. Thanks to Mohini I’ve gotten several new ideas for our girls. I've really enjoyed our foodie correspondence...and she’s offered to send me a lentil stew recipe! I can’t wait to try it out.

Oops…that’s 13 of my faves! (I can still alphabetize, but apparently counting, along with color identification, is no longer a strong suit. I could have easily listed more blogs, but I thought I’d stop before someone takes it upon themselves to send me an elementary math workbook to complete over summer vacation.)

I hope you’ll take a few minutes to check out some of the sites I frequent…and meet some of the moms (and one dad!) who inspire me, and make me laugh, and remind me that I’m not alone in this crazy, wonderful world of mommyhood.

*You won’t hurt my feelings if you don’t officially “accept” this award and pass it on…I know I’m living on the edge here by breaking the rules…but I just wanted to say thanks for keeping me from spending too much time on Facebook.

June 4, 2010

Fab 5 Friday

It seems like it's been a short week, but nonetheless a fabulous one!

1) Saturday we took the girls out for lunch at a restaurant downtown, billed to be the oldest standing brick structure in the city. They had their first cheeseburger (the real stuff…hand-made patty with cheddar cheese), and they loved it! We then took a walk around the Square, where there was an art show, and we ended our jaunt at the coffee house for some homemade ice cream. It’s just so cool to feel like a "real little family"! :)

2) We celebrated Memorial Day by taking the girls to the park, and we had the run of the place! The girls had a great time, and we couldn’t help but round out the afternoon with a little more ice cream.

3) The girls have finally decided they like ice cream! (I knew if I was diligent, they’d eventually come around…)

4) Daddy is officially home for the summer. The girls will certainly enjoy the extra daddy-daughter time, and having more man-to-man coverage will allow us to go and do a little more.

5) The girls like Mommy’s pot roast, and that makes Mommy happy.

I love summarizing my week with my Fab 5 list. It's a great reminder that, no matter how crazy things seem at times, there are always a few fabulous highlights.

June 2, 2010

Life, B.C.

B.C.: Before Children.

My BFF Alison sent me a throw-back picture this morning from a weekend we spent with her and her hubby in Nashville in 2006. This was taken at the Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar, one of our favorite Nashville dives for blues and rock-n-roll.

(It's not a great picture, but I'll confess that I just went digital before the girls were born. I have very few pictures online pre-2009. And this was such a fun surprise when it popped into my Inbox this morning.)

Hubby and I used to love to travel. Most of our travel was in the U.S....sometimes quick weekend trips, and sometimes week-long vacations we'd plan for months in advance.

We loved to see the sights and relax and eat. And eat. And listen to music. And eat.

Since the mid-point of my pregnancy, I can literally count on my fingers the times I've left the county.

Oh, how I miss going and doing!

But oh, how much am I looking forward to sharing our going and doing with the girls...minus the Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar scene, of course. :)

June 1, 2010

The Old Switcheroo

I would imagine this holds with all kids, but in particular with twins, the parenting books stress that you shouldn’t compare, and further, you shouldn’t label your children. Saying things like, “Baby A is the dominant one,” or “Baby B is more social” could have obvious psychological effects on both babies.

I can’t help but feel that the girls don’t trust me with their psychological wellbeing. Why else would they see fit to “switch” personalities – willy-nilly – so that there’s no way I could possibly label them, at least not for long?

In the womb, Baby A was very laid-back…to the point that I would sometimes lie down on my right side for a few minutes just to feel her move a little bit. In contrast, Baby B was the one doing complex gymnastic maneuvers at all hours. Baby A was born first, but I think it was only because B had carved out such a large space for herself, thus squishing A to the far bottom corner.

For the first few months, A continued to be very laid-back, while B refused to go unnoticed. I thought it was amazing how their behavior in utero had been so indicative of what I thought were their personalities.

But then Baby A decided to get in on the action. She became the one taking toys from her sister, while Baby B seemed to relish her turn to chill out for a while.

Baby A reached most of the early physical developmental milestones first…rolling over, sitting up, standing, and walking. But then B decided she would climb up on the couch, lest A think she was more agile. (Maybe a throw-back to the womb-time gymnastic exercises?)

And then, just for the fun of it, both girls said their first word – the same first word, “baby” – on the same day.

In social situations, the girls are a revolving door. One week, Baby A will be full of smiles for new people; the next, Baby B is the life of the party while her sister shrieks in horror if someone accidentally looks her way. Understandably, it makes our friends and neighbors apprehensive about approaching the girls’ stroller before checking in to see who’s “accepting visitors” on that particular day.

And so, in answer to TwinHappy’s question about birth order affecting personality, I just have to say I don’t know…and I am inclined to think that’s part of the girls’ master plan.

And as to which one of them cooked up the plan, well, I don’t know that, either. And I think that’s just the way they like it.