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August 30, 2010

Exercises in Child-Rearing

Although I let my gym membership go when the girls were born, I’m still getting a full range of exercises in…

Zumba. I dance all sorts of jigs with the girls. Sometimes we function as partners, and other times – for a more intense workout – I dance while holding them, on my hip, or occasionally on my shoulders. The Twist, the Charleston, and the Waltz are favorites at our house.

Weights. The girls’ combined weight is close to 50% of my total body weight. Lug that around – in part or in whole – and I’m sporting the best biceps of my life!

Stair Master. At least 150 times a day, I’m up and down, at least half the time carrying one or both girls. Quads and glutes, Baby!

Leg lifts. The girls love to “fly” on my legs. Lie down on the floor, facing skyward; position a baby between your knees and ankles; lift. Repeat…again…and again…and again.

Sit-ups. The girls also love “horsey rides”. Lie down on the floor, facing skyward; position a baby sitting on your lower abdomen; bounce. Repeat…again…and again…and again (while making galloping sounds). Works as a nice follow-up to leg-lifts.

Hurdles. Baby gates…’nuff said.

5K. Roughly our neighborhood route. I either power-walk with the girls in their (humungous) jogging stroller, or jog when I can actually go it alone. Ahhh…the feeling of a hot breeze in my hair. :)

Yoga. I often contort myself into all sorts of uncomfortable positions, usually reaching for a toy that’s made its way behind the couch, or cleaning up blueberries that somehow found their way under the refrigerator.

Water Aerobics. I bathe with the girls, which is quite a feat. There are little arms and legs everywhere, intertwined with my bigger arms and legs. Add to the mix one baby (A) who doesn’t like to get her face wet, and another baby (B) who likes to splash, and trust me, it’s exercise!

Now if I can just break myself of eating a snack when I feed one to the girls, I might be on to something!

August 28, 2010

Duck...Duck...Swing!

Saturday morning, we went to a local park with the intent of feeding the ducks in the small lake there.

This is one of those "iconic" family outings I've been looking forward to since the girls were born.

By the time we got up and at 'em, it was shortly after 10:00 when we got to the park. We finally spotted the ducks, but they weren't the least bit interested in our Cheerios, or in the bread that another family had for them. My guess is that other families had already had "iconic" experiences for the day, and the ducks were just full!

Fortunately, the girls didn't know what they were missing...they were excited just to be near the water and to see and hear the ducks.


We enjoyed the scenery for a little while, and then decided to head to the playground for a few minutes before lunch. The girls had a great time on the swings, and enjoyed watching the other children running around the play area.


Even without any up-close-and-personal duck encounters, this family foursome had an awesome Saturday morning.

August 27, 2010

Fab 5 Friday

Another fabulous week, thank-you-very-much!

1) The girls are beginning to play hide-and-go-seek with each other. They get on opposite ends of the couch and peer behind it at one another. Loud squeals and lots of laughter always ensue.

2) I’ve turned around several times to find the girls having pulled their Bumbo seats facing each other, sitting there, apparently “talking”. I’ve seen them stay like that for several minutes, before they noticed me watching and started picking at each other, just so I wouldn’t think something was amiss. :)

3) We’ve been listening to the soundtrack to “Cars” this week. Every.single.time it comes up in the CD changer, Baby A drops what she’s doing to do some serious getting down to the opening song by Sheryl Crow. She picks it up again when “Life is a Highway” comes on. It is absolutely hilarious to see her dance so hard that she often falls down.

4) It could just be a coincidence, but Baby B might just have put together a couple of short phrases this week. Thursday night, Daddy came home while I was having supper. The girls greeted him, and B said, “Mommy…eat…supper…” I’ve definitely gotta keep an eye on this one!

5) The girls like to watch Daddy cut the grass in the backyard, through the windows in the den. Over the past few days, every time they see grass in a book, they say, “Grass!” and then, “Daddy!” One day I’ll have to break it to them that he doesn’t cut all the grass in the world, just ours. I fear they’ll be disappointed.

Living it, and loving it!

August 25, 2010

A Case of Mistaken Identity?

I think I read somewhere that babies are often close to 18 months old before they can recognize themselves in a mirror.

Our girls have loved looking at mirrors since they were just a few months old. And when they began to talk just after they turned a year, they would often exclaim “Baby!” when they saw themselves.

The girls are now 19 months old. Over the past couple of months, they’ve started saying, “Sissy!” when they look in the mirror.

Our girls are nowhere near identical; in fact, I often joke they are VERY fraternal (as if there are varying degrees…HA!). I can’t imagine they see themselves and actually think it’s their sister.

This is definitely one of those amazing twin experiences in my book. My guess is that the girls know the mirror image is not their sister, but are at a loss for what to call themselves.

I know the girls know their own names (they answer to them when they want to), but on the other hand, I hope we haven’t confused them by calling them both “Sissy”…as in “Where is Sissy?” Or more often, “Don’t pull Sissy’s hair!”…“Give that back to Sissy!

I think this behavior is probably just the evolution of them recognizing their mirror image. But it does beg the question in my mind about identical twins…do they actually confuse their mirror image for that of their sibling's?

That’s just fascinating for me to think about. And whatever the case with our girls, I just love watching the learning process.

August 23, 2010

A Bit About Me

My birthday is on February 23. While I keep this blog primarily focused on the girls, I decided on the 23rd of each month, I’m going to devote a post to me. I’m going to share two or three random things about me, and I hope it will be fun (and not too scary!) to look back after a year and see what kind of picture these random things paint.

So here goes…

1) I studied Russian language in college. While I can’t say I’ve put my studies to very good use, I will always be grateful to my parents for allowing me to follow my passion. I had some wonderful life experiences, including the opportunity to study in Russia my junior year of college. Among many other gifts, I have a wonderful Russian “family” whom I hope to introduce my girls to one day.

2) I love measuring spoons. I have several cheap-o plastic sets, but my favorites fall on opposite ends of the spectrum. A few years ago my dad asked what I wanted for Christmas. I told him I wanted a really nice set of measuring spoons from Williams-Sonoma. That’s one of those frivolous purchases I wouldn’t make for myself (as the plastic spoons serve their purpose just fine), but oh! how I love them!!! They’re really heavy, and the imprinted font on each spoon seems so regal. I feel like I should be on a cooking show when I use them. :)

And on the other end of the spectrum, I have my mom’s aluminum measuring spoons. I would imagine they’re a solid 40 years old. They look pretty rough, but heaven knows they’ve been used a gazillion times. That’s one of those items I would grab on my way out of a burning house, for sure.

So there you have it…random, I told you!

August 21, 2010

Breakfast Traditions

Growing up, I remember my mom making big breakfasts on the weekends.

One of the combinations that sticks in my mind is her homemade biscuits, homemade pear preserves, and smoked sausage. It makes my mouth water to think about those the thick, syrupy preserves contrasted against the salty, smoky sausage.

When I spent the night with one grandmother, I remember her always making pancakes or cinnamon rolls, which I would enjoy along with the Sunday Funnies.

My great aunt always made the best scrambled eggs with cheese – lots of cheese – and bacon.

And my other grandmother always had powdered sugar donuts and chocolate milk, just for me.

I am so excited that the girls are finally old enough to begin to enjoy big weekend breakfasts. Pancakes and French toast are in regular Sunday rotation at our house.

I just love cooking breakfast at leisure, while hubby plays with the girls. And how nice it is to sit down to a big yummy breakfast…one that reminds me of my childhood…and know that the Big Family Breakfast Tradition continues.

August 20, 2010

Fab 5 Friday

My fabulous week in review:

1) I was working in the kitchen one day while the girls were playing in the den. I sneezed, and – unprompted – Baby B said, “Bess!” As in, “Bless you!” I could hardly believe my ears.

2) Baby A has invented a sign for “race”. She asks to “race” across the den several times a day. Mommy is her most willing contender, though, as Baby B finds the whole thing too funny…and it’s hard to race when you’re doubled over, laughing.

3) On Saturday morning, we went downtown to one of our favorite coffee shops. The girls ate a snack of milk and crackers while Mommy and Daddy enjoyed a late breakfast. It’s so much fun to think about truly “hanging out” there in a couple of years, maybe playing a board game with the girls while we enjoy some coffee and watch the cars go by.

4) I make roasted chicken or beef quite frequently, usually with carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, and onions. The girls have had onions as part of other dishes (like split pea soup), but never as a vegetable unto themselves. I decided to let them try some roasted onion, served alongside potatoes and carrots. After one taste, the girls scouted out all the other hunks of onion and started asked for more “unyi”!

5) The girls and I conned Daddy into singing “I’m a Little Teapot” with us after dinner on Thursday. They got such a huge kick out of Daddy’s rendition (and I don’t think my husband has ever been more attractive!).

It doesn’t take much to realize it’s the little things that make this life of ours so fabulous!

August 19, 2010

What in the Heck is a Zizzer-Zazzer-Zuzz, Anyway???

I posted yesterday about the evolution of the girls’ reading habits. These days they L-O-V-E books. It’s rare that I sit down without them both piling into my lap to read. (And that’s my idea of Mommy Heaven, with calorie-free buttery caramel topping, whipped cream, and a cherry on top...)

The girls are very engaged in the books we read, too. They love to point out the animals by name and/or sound, usually accompanied by the baby sign. The five little monkeys that were dancing on the bed often prompt the girls to get their groove on. And I think it’s so cute when the girls confuse homonyms…Little Nut Brown Hare (the bunny) incites a tug at their hair (and sometimes each other’s…but that’s another story).

It’s so much fun to relate to the girls this way, and to know that they’re truly paying attention to the activity at hand.

But this awesome level of engagement has brought to light some challenges…such that I’ve removed all Dr. Seuss books from the current library.

Removed all Dr. Seuss books??? What kind of mother are you to deny your children the bread and butter of children’s literature???

Consider:

Big E, little e, what begins with E? Ear, egg, elephant. E…e…E.

No problem, right? Right. The girls are all over those words.

But Big Z, little z, what begins with Z? A Zizzer-Zazzer-Zuzz, as you can plainly see!

Not understanding the irony, my poor girls are trying to figure out what continent houses a Zizzer-Zazzer-Zuzz. And I would like to submit what’s wrong with a Zebra with a Zipper, as you can plainly see? Come on…

And as recognizable as the illustrations are in a Dr. Seuss book, I have to take issue there, too. The girls are quite familiar with a kangaroo, for example, but a Dr. Seuss kangaroo? The poor guy looks like a too-tall, emaciated rabbit with a fanny pack and an eerily deflated tail. Let’s just stick with the basics for now…

Also censored from the den at the moment are several Sesame Street books. The girls don’t watch TV, and they were seriously working hard to try to classify the Cookie Monster.

Don’t get me wrong…I love a good Dr. Seuss rhyme like nobody’s business. And all these books will come back into rotation in due time. But for the time being, I’m going to focus our efforts on more biologically-relevant species.

August 18, 2010

The Evolution of the Written Word

From the time the girls were born until they became really mobile, a substantial portion of our “awake time” activities centered around me reading to them. Using as animated of a voice as I could muster, I read – literally for hours on end those first few months – every day. I started reading mostly fairy tales. I then graduated to some chapter books, like Raggedy Ann and Andy.

When I had cycled through our collection of children’s books at least a couple of times, I finally decided it didn’t really matter what I was reading, as long as they were hearing my (very animated) voice. I branched out and began reading them the books that I was reading. During those early months, I know the girls sat through a couple of John Grisham books, Kabul Beauty School, and Three Cups of Tea, plus countless Good Housekeeping and Redbook articles. (I kept the Marie Claire articles out of the nursery, though, on the off chance that they were absorbing some of the material.)

As the girls became more mobile, they were much less content to sit and listen to me read, even in my most animated of voices. Outside of their bedtime story, I struggled to find a good way to incorporate reading into our day. Then I realized I could keep them in their high chairs for a few extra minutes after meals, enticing (bribing?) them with Puffs or Cheerios, while I read.

Eventually, the girls’ antsy-ness couldn’t be subdued with any amount of Cheerios, and I had to release them to the den. I would perch on a chair, out of their reach (since they were otherwise certain to destroy any book in a matter of seconds), and read to them. They weren’t exactly paying attention, but I hoped my animated voice would somehow have a positive effect on their verbal skills.

After a few weeks, I gave up even this effort. I tried reading the girls board books, but all they wanted to do was chew on them. There was a period of a month or so that – outside of bedtime – the girls had no exposure to books. It made me really sad, and I actually worried – a lot – that this might somehow impede them learning to read. What was wrong with my kids???

When the girls were 13 or 14 months old, I finally found a way to reintroduce books to them…a way that they really enjoyed, and one that made me feel much better about their academic futures. :) Instead of reading the words on every page, I would just use the books to point out singular objects (“Dog!” “Bucket!” “It’s raining!”).

Eventually, the girls became more patient to read a very simple storyline. And now they’re usually content to listen to an actual story, as long as there are lots of pictures…and if I’m willing to pause for them to point out every dog, bucket, and raindrop.

I’m so thankful that books are once again a huge part of our days. Usually as soon as I sit on the floor with the girls, they’re climbing into my lap with a book in hand. I love that the girls love to read. And I feel much more secure that they'll eventually pass Kindergarten. :)

Oh, and when they’re the ultimate crime-fighting duo, settling complex litigation and working towards peace in the Middle East…while dressing to the nines AND making the best pot roast in town…well, I’ll know where they got their start.

August 15, 2010

Two is Not a Lonely Number

I am an only child. Growing up, I didn’t think much about it; I didn’t exactly relish the position, but I never remember asking Santa to bring me a little brother or sister for Christmas.

As an adult, though, what I wouldn’t give to have a sibling…to share stories from childhood…to carry on family traditions…to be there to support each other in good times and bad...to have someone who has known you your entire life. I look around at my friends who steal away for weekends with their sisters, and have their brothers over for cook-outs, and I have to admit I’m a little envious.

And so as an adult, I always hoped I would be able to have at least two children. I never dreamed that I would win the lottery and have not just two children, but TWINS!

I sometimes joke that I feel woefully unqualified to raise twins. I don’t have any experience with sibling rivalry, and I never really had to share anything! I had my parents, and my room, and my birthday all to myself.

But when I see my girls together, I am filled with so much joy. Whether you call it God’s plan, or fate, or just dumb luck, I’m so thankful that they have the gift of each other.


August 14, 2010

Kids are Like Cats

My hubby and I were married almost 10 years before the girls were born, and our kitties were our babies for almost 9 of those years.

We seriously treated them like children…their pictures were prominently displayed throughout our house and offices…we got them Christmas presents and celebrated their birthday…and even some of our friends and family members gave them presents, too.

When we announced we were expecting, several people said, “Have you told the cats?” (In answer to that questions, we tried to break it to them gently, but they were in denial for a long time.)

A number of my friends and coworkers expressed concern that we were so invested in our cats that we wouldn’t be able to distinguish between them and the girls. “You know the babies won’t use a litter box, right?” one colleague nudged me.

Another said, “You know you can’t just go off and leave the babies for a couple of days armed with a bowl of food and some water?” (As if we thoughtlessly abandoned our furry babies on a regular basis…come on, folks!)

And several people asked, “What will you do if your babies are allergic to your cats?” I always responded (jokingly, I swear!), that the cats were here first, so we would just have to find a nice loving home for the girls.

The girls are now 19 months old. While I do think some aspects of our furry parenting experience helped prepare us for our non-furry babies, I have to admit that having a couple of children is quite different than having a couple of cats…

…except a new book I bought the girls has me thinking: maybe kids are more like cats than I originally thought!

The book features photographs of kittens and invites young readers to “see how they spend their days”.

Kittens are curious and like to explore. Check…the girls are into everything these days!

The grass is a great place to explore – or just get some sun. Check…at least on the exploring part again. We’ve been avoiding the sweltering sun as of late (and I would think any kitten with half a tail would do the same!).

If kittens get lost, they can sniff their way home. I’m thankful I haven’t had to put this one to the test…I haven’t lost the girls yet!

Kittens have fun climbing into things – they fit into small places! Check…the girls particularly love the laundry basket.

Kittens practice balancing by climbing on things. I’m not sure about the balancing part, but our girls sure do love to climb!

Having places to hide makes kittens feel safe. Check…even if “hiding” consists of the girls sticking their heads behind the couch so they can’t see us.

If they meow, they might give away their hiding places. Check…even if they were better at hiding, the girls giggle – loudly – when they “hide”, so it’s not a big secret.

Exploring and playing makes kittens tired. They sleep up to 16 hours in a day. I’ll credit the girls with about 14 hours most days.

When they wake up, they are ready to go again! CHECK!!!

Yep, the girls definitely fit this bill. There’s only one thing I would add…

Kittens don’t generally respond well to verbal commands. They do what they want to do, when they want to do it. Fraid this one would fit, too.

August 13, 2010

The View from Downtown

We had some pictures taken on the Downtown Square a couple of weeks ago...



A and B really wanted to jump in the fountain. And come to think of it, it was so hot, that probably wouldn't have been a bad idea!

Fab 5 Friday

I honestly can’t believe that it’s Friday already…this fabulous week went by so quickly! I guess time flies when you’re having fun (and running at breakneck speed after a couple of silly girlies!)!

1) After months of saying “Bye-bye!” at bedtime, the girls are finally [sorta-kinda] saying “Night-night!” To hear their sleepy little voices say “Nigh-nigh!” as they’re all cuddly and clean in their sleeper blankets…it seriously melts my heart.

2) I imagine that requests (demands?) for specific attire won’t always be so cute, but a couple of days this week, Baby B has just had to wear a “dess” (dress). She’s really had it set in her mind, and who am I to deny dressing my girlies up in some frills???

3) Baby A cut her fourth and final canine tooth this week. I hope this brings my poor baby girl some relief from her incessant drooling – and resultant rash-y face – soon!

4) Throughout the day on Thursday, Baby A kept inviting me to sit in a particular spot, even if I was only a foot away from her. She would pat the floor, or the couch, and say, “Mommy?” She was so pleased when I would scoot over to her. And several times, as she was sitting in my lap, she patted my leg and said, “Sssss!” (Sissy), asking Baby B to join us for a story. Baby B would come toddling over, and everybody was quite happy.

5) The girls have been into squealing this week. Although it can be a little on the ear-piercing side, we’ve had some fun with it. Baby A might start, and Baby B will laugh…then B will squeal, and A will laugh…back and forth…again and again…until we’re all laughing at each other. And there’s nothing like a good tickle-party to punctuate a squeal-fest.

To borrow a line from the Golden Arches…I’m lovin’ it.

August 10, 2010

No Label Makers Allowed!

I enjoy reading blogs that have descriptions in the sidebar of each of the cast of characters…Little Johnny is X, Y, and Z; and Princess Elizabeth is A, B, and C. It’s fun to get a feel for each child’s characteristics as I’m reading about their adventures.

I have been considering a couple of recent pictures of Baby A and Baby B that I think could be used to make a really cute post about their personalities…

…but something about that just doesn’t sit right in my head…it actually fills me with a lot of anxiety…

I hate when people ask, “Which one is more outgoing?” Or, after seeing the girls for all of 90 seconds in the supermarket line, say, “Oh, she’s the leader of the crew, huh?” Or, “I can tell she’s the shy one.

For one, it totally depends on the day and the situation as to how each of the girls behaves…and kinda like the weather in the south, if you don’t like it, just wait five minutes and it’ll change.

But beyond that, I feel this intense need to try to keep from labeling the girls. I can only imagine hearing that you’re the leader time and again could affect the way you think, and of course the way your sister thinks, too. Or hearing too often that your sister is more verbally gifted, or the more “physical” of the two, well I’m sure that could impact your drive.

I keep a pretty detailed journal of the girls’ comings and goings. I write down fun little adventures we had, cute things the girls did, and milestones hit.

It’s easy to record that Baby A just cut her bottom left canine tooth…there’s no interpretation in that, and no means for competition. Baby B liked the boiled okra I served for lunch, but A didn’t…no issue there, either.

These past couple of weeks, Baby B has been saying new words every single day. I know I’m not remotely keeping up with all of them, but I try to jot them down as I can. (Yesterday she said “owl” and “bees” while looking at a picture book. Oh, how my little heart melts to hear her babyspeak!)

As I recorded this in my journal, I automatically thought back to what Baby A did yesterday. I wrote down how when Daddy got home, we cleared the floor of the den and tried to get the girls to race us, crawling, across the room. Baby B didn’t get far…she rolled over in a fit of giggles as soon as she saw Mommy crawling around. Baby A was into it, though…she was a legitimate race contender, saving her giggles until she made it to the finish line. She was so cute and determined.

I would love to tell you that Baby B has the most infectious laugh…it’s just so bubbly that you can’t help but smile. But I don’t want to imply that Baby A’s laugh is not infectious, too…it’s just as precious, but different…

I KNOW I’m over-thinking all this…I KNOW it’s only natural to make comparisons, at least on some level. And I KNOW it’s unhealthy to set the girls up to think that everything is equal, and always will be…that’s not life.

I guess I’m just trying to avoid labeling the girls so as not to inadvertently steer them in a particular direction; to allow them to grow into their own, unique selves, surrounded by a loving support system, but one that’s not pushy or judgmental.

So I’m going to go ahead and post a couple of pictures of my girlies...

Baby A:

Baby B:


...and I'll confidently write a single caption:

These are the sweetest, most precious babies this mommy could ever ask for.

'Nuff said.

August 7, 2010

Peachy-Keen!

"It's only going to be 90 degrees today," I told my hubby this morning. "We'd better get out and enjoy the cooler weather!"

It's sad, but true...the past few weeks, the heat has been nothing shy of oppressive, and we haven't spent much time outside all summer. This weekend the highs are "only" around 90, but highs in the upper 90's - with heat indexes well above 100 degrees - are supposed to return on Monday.

We decided to take a short drive to a local orchard. We carried the girls' morning snack and a picnic blanket. They enjoyed some blueberries and graham crackers with the beautiful orchard as a backdrop...



...and then we did a little clowning around.


We looked at lots of pretty flowers and made friends with a couple of seemingly-tame butterflies.


And then we grabbed a wagon and took the girls on a little tour. They had a blast as long as Daddy kept moving...I think they enjoyed the bumpity-bump-bump of the ride as much as the scenery.


We concluded our outing with some peach ice cream, and we bought a basket of gorgeous peaches to bring home. The girls enjoyed fresh peaches with their lunch, and Mommy has grand plans for peach cobbler on Sunday.

Yoga in the park last Saturday...a trip to the orchard this week...we may just have to make a habit of these Family Adventure Weekends!

August 5, 2010

Fab 5 Friday

Check out my guest post on sign language on Multiples & More!

*******************************************************

And so goes another week of fabulous adventures with my girlies!

1) Both girls mastered the sign for “spider”. They can now sign the significant parts of “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” – spider, rain, and sun. And of course they groove along as we sing, too.

2) Baby B’s new favorite word is “mess”. She is very quick to point out when there is the smallest crumb on her highchair tray or on the floor. And I swear she gestured towards my hair at one point this week (before I’d had a chance to shower) and said, very convincingly, “Mess!” (The little booger…)

3) The girls and I were standing at the window on Saturday, watching Daddy in the backyard. I knocked on the window, and they proceeded to knock, too. How cute it was to see their tiny little fists in action!

4) I took the girls with me grocery shopping this week, for the first time ever when I had a full weekly list (as opposed to just needing a few things). I kept them in their stroller, pushing it and pulling the cart. I did what I could to entertain them, pointing out all the pretty colors of cracker boxes and waving to every other child in the store…and it worked. They were so well behaved, and even smiled at the random people who came up to talk to them. I, on the other hand, was exhausted afterwards, but ultimately I still managed to smile at our big accomplishment.

5) Hubby and I invited the girls to be our “snuggle bunnies” on the couch Thursday night. They’re usually not content to just sit (without reading or tickling or some other distraction), but they piled up with us for a couple of minutes, seeming to enjoy being “big girls” just lounging about. It was such a fun “family” moment. I couldn’t help but fast-forward to thinking about enjoying Saturday morning cartoons with them one day, or Friday movie nights.

Tune in again next week for another recap of the week's sure-to-be fabulous adventures of A and B!

On the Brink

The girls are on the brink…at 19 months old, they’re not really babies anymore, but they’re not quite little girls just yet, either.

I’ve decided they’re “tweens”, moving back and forth between the dependence of babyhood and the more independent little girl stages to come.

I was looking at some pictures I took within the past couple of weeks, and I could hardly believe my eyes. I swear that my babies look closer to four in their stylish bubble shirts and denim shorts. It made me want to dress them in sun suits and matching hats for as long as I can!

In many ways, the girls are still babies...

They still cry when they need or want something. I still change a thousand diapers a week (or at least it seems like it). And every night, I still carry them up the stairs, tuck them into their zipper blankets, lay them down in their cribs, and kiss their soft little heads, just like I have since they were born.

But in so many ways, they’re so grown!

They walk (and run!) and talk (and babble!) and feed themselves (at least somewhat proficiently). They understand and follow directions (when they want to). They can play and interact, both with me, and with each other. And they have opinions…and lots of them! They like certain toys, and certain songs, and certain books, and Heaven forbid that I not understand which one they’ve specifically “requested”!

As exciting as it is to be on this brink with them…to know that they will just continue to grow and mature and become more independent…to look forward to figuring out more and more of their personalities…to anticipate what it will be like the first time we’re able to play a board game together, or make a batch of cookies…

…it’s also bittersweet.

I love my babies so much, and I just want to soak in every last ounce of their babyhood.

So forgive me if I continue to stuff them into zipper blankets until they’re seven, and carry them upstairs when they weigh as much as I do. And what’s wrong with a ten-year old using J&J Baby Wash? Oh, how I love that smell!

But I know that no matter how old they are, or how much taller they are than their mama (pretty please!), they’ll always be my babies.

August 3, 2010

Not Racking Up Any Frequent Flyer Miles

One of the things I miss most about Life, B.C. (before children) is travelling. I used to travel quite a bit for work, and I always kept an eye out for cheap airline fares, as well. If I saw an especially hot ticket price, Hubby and I just might have decided to make a long weekend of a quick trip somewhere fun.

In the past 19 months, I think I can count the times I’ve left the county (i.e. driven more than 20 miles in any one direction) on the fingers of two hands. We’ve only been to visit family a couple of times, driving about 250 miles each way. Outside of that, we’ve kept our big adventures to a 60-mile radius of home.

If I think about it too much, I begin to get a little stir crazy. But fortunately I have the blogosphere to keep me entertained… I get to “travel” to all sorts of exotic places with just the click of a mouse!

(I know I’m grasping here, but it’s all relative…and it keeps me from breaking into tears when I occasionally hear “Free Bird” on the radio…)

Not all of my bloggy friends make their home cities known, and I understand that, too. But for those who do, thanks for letting me visit now and again.

Here’s a sampling of some of my recent travels (sorry I forgot my camera, so I don’t have any pics)…

New Orleans, Louisiana…The Big Easy. I can almost taste the gumbo and hear the Zydeco music. (Oh, wait, I do hear Zydeco music…but that’s from the girls’ collection of CDs. They go nuts for the accordion!) (The Joyeful Journey)

Texas…everything’s bigger there! (Double the Fun and Ditt and Dott)

Boston. Hubby and I had grand plans to vacation there in 2008, but as it turned out, I wasn’t exactly up for the bicycle tour route. (Twice)

Our last mini-vacation during my pregnancy was to Chicago. It will be fun to take the girls back one day to show them the streets we once traversed together, causing Mommy to become quite winded in The Windy City. (North Side Four)

Disney World…I can’t wait to take the girls! (Twice the Love…Half and Sleep and Triplets: Who Knew?)

California. Hubby’s and my favorite vacation was to San Fran a couple of years ago. I know Wine Country will be a different experience with A and B in tow one day, but we can’t wait to share that experience with them. (Thriving and Surviving with Twins)

I even log some international travel in the blogosphere

The girls got to see a kangaroo at one of the local zoos this summer. I felt like I was paying a small homage to my Australian travels. (And Then There Were Four)

And it was awesome to feel connected to South Africa during the World Cup this summer. (1,2,3 Blog and Juggling Act of Life)

But for all my travels, sometimes it’s best to just go home, to Sweet Home Alabama. And these visits will be all the more fun during football season! (It’s a Crazy, Beautiful Life, Two Little Monkeys, Elliott’s Escapes, and The Stephens Family Blog)

At least my pretend frequent flyer miles are accumulating. Unfortunately, so is the dust on my non-pretend suitcase.

I know it won’t be too much longer until the girls are ready to pack up and go…and I can’t wait to begin to show them the world outside these city limits.

August 1, 2010

Photographs and Memories

From the first time I got to see the girls, I was snapping pictures. I remember my husband being concerned that the flash was bothering the babies. I told him they needed to get used to it, as it would be a big part of their daily lives. And I have been true to my word. Thank goodness for digital media, as I would have had to take out a second mortgage months ago to finance 35mm film!

When I came home from the hospital, I started an informal electronic journal, which I still maintain. Sometimes I write in it every day…something cute the girls did, a milestone hit, some particularly sweet sentiment that came to mind…and then I might go a week or so without writing anything before I pick it back up. I’m so thankful I’ve kept this up, as it’s already such a treasure to go back and read through it from time to time.

Within a month of the girls’ birth, I set up a picture share site via Shutterfly. I post pictures, with a few brief notes, once a month. It’s really no extra work for me, as I already upload my pictures monthly to Shutterfly to print.

And once a quarter, I create a photo book from my Shutterfly pictures. To date I have six books, and they’re great coffee table fodder. (Or they would be great coffee table fodder, if we didn’t have our coffee table in a random room, so the girls won’t poke their eyes out on the corners…)

But then I decided I wanted to be able to share certain pictures and stories closer to “real time”, so I started my blog when the girls were a year old.

Oh, and I scrapbook. (I’m so behind on my scrapbooks that I feel a little guilty using present tense, but between all my photos, my notes, and my blog…and all the paper and embellishments that I continue to buy…I’m sure it will be a snap to catch up on…one.day...yeah.right.)

So…

· 250 pictures taken a month, on average
· 100 pictures printed a month, on average
· Picture albums to hold said photos
· Electronic journal
· Binder to hold said journal
· Online photo share site
· Photo books, printed quarterly
· Blog
· Scrapbooks
· Baby books (which I haven’t really even started…gulp!)

...well, I’m feeling a little out of control, like I need to hire a part-time nanny so I can concentrate on cataloguing my photographs and memories...

...but on the other hand, I sometimes feel like I’m not doing enough, as I have only one set of scrapbooks, for example. I have a friend who maintains a scrapbook for each of her three girls…now that is an entirely different level of commitment!

I sometimes think about trying to condense some of the things I do, but I just don’t want to miss a thing.

I figure as long as my picture taking, journal writing, blog posting, and scrapbook gluing doesn’t take any time away from my girls, then it’s worth the effort. I affectionately refer to it as “second shift” at our house…or sometimes "third", depending on the actual chores that have to be done.

 
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