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September 29, 2010

Let's Just Keep It in Context, Folks

It’s so exciting to me that Baby B is now regularly putting together two- and three-word sentences, and Baby A is not far behind her. I just marvel at each new thought they express…it’s just amazing to me.

I was reveling in a new phrase that B said this afternoon. I was drinking a bottle of water, and she pronounced, “Mommy drinking!

Yes, Sweetie, Mommy is drinking a bottle of water.

And then it hit me what a potentially disturbing phrase she had just uttered if taken in the wrong context.

I can just hear the whispers circulating in our little town…

She drinks!

In front of her kids!

And it must be pretty regular to think her 21-month old says it like it’s the most normal thing in the world!

Tsk, tsk, tsk...for shame, for shame!

I just added this to the list of shudder-inducing words and phrases that I hope the girls don’t say in public…”Boobies!” (which they still call “blueberries”), and “Shirt!” “Shorts!” or “Sit!” (which all sound too close to "shiznet" for my comfort level).

I’m sure I’ll be a source of embarrassment for the girls when they’re in middle school…I guess they’re just trying to prepay the favor. :)

September 28, 2010

The Dark Side of Baby Sign Language

I woke up today, excited to be guest posting on MultipleMum’s blog, And Then There Were Four. I have long extolled the virtues of baby sign language, and I wrote about what I consider the keys to our success in using it.

Baby sign language was top of mind for me this morning…what turned out to be quite a messy morning, actually. And it got me thinking…

…there is a dark side to baby sign language.

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about how our girls are so bad to touch their heads while they’re eating, resulting in TWO goopy messes of hair.

I realized this morning that baby sign language is partly to blame.

We had a gentleman working on a little project in our downstairs bathroom. I didn’t quite time things right, and he arrived in the middle of the girls’ breakfast. They could see him from their highchairs in the kitchen, and they were very excited to chatter away about what he was doing.

“Bathroom!”…“Door!”…“Open!”…“Man!”…”Working!”…“Hat!”

The girls don’t use signs for bathroom, door, open, man, or working, but they do for hat.

Do you see where this is going???

I think every.single.time they glimpsed him, they exclaimed, “Hat!” And yes, every.single.time they exclaimed, “Hat!” they also signed it, touching the tops of their heads. Their hands were, of course, caked with scrambled eggs, cream of wheat, bananas, and plums.

While breakfast is usually a relatively “clean” meal for us, we were goopy-headed before 8am this morning.

Hmmm…I wonder if this is why my mom always said you shouldn’t wear hats at the dinner table.

September 26, 2010

International Flair

As I may just have mentioned a time or two, I’m originally from the great state of Alabama, and I think it’s one of the best places on this green earth. We haven’t lived there in ten years, though, having moved a few times with my job.

We’ve been put for the past seven years, and – while we’re too far from a good plate of fried okra and the majestic white sand beaches of Alabama’s gulf coast – we feel like we’ve found a good "home away from home" to raise our girlies.

The town we live in is not large, at just over 60,000 people, but it’s got a lot to offer…a small town feel, with (at least relatively speaking) big city diversity. Over 10% of our population are first- and second-generation immigrants. I love knowing that our girls will be exposed to a variety of languages and cultures in their own backyard.

This weekend we attended our city’s annual International Festival. Represented were 22 countries!

It was a great day for a festival, as we FINALLY got our first taste of beautiful fall weather. The girls had a blast at all the sights and sounds, and of course – the tastes!

They got to see all sorts of beautiful colors and patterns in the native attire of a lot of the attendees.

They swayed to the enchanted sounds of a Celtic band, grooved along with the Flamenco dancers, and were mesmerized by the pretty umbrellas that the Japanese performers used.

They also rather enjoyed a couple of snacks. They were all about a Bosnian-style gyro, and they were licking their fingers and asking for “More!” Armenian walnut pastries.

(They also enjoyed the dancing fountains, the origin of which I’m not sure of…HA!)

We all had a fantastic morning, but we did have one funny thing happen…I caught a lady smiling and pointing out the girls to her family. Before I knew it, she was taking pictures of them.

They were pretty cute in their new fall tunics and patchwork hats, if I do say so, but I didn’t expect them to be tourist attractions! (But you know this proud mama didn’t really mind.) :)

September 25, 2010

My Little Elephants

…they never forget!

A full week ago, we had a man over to talk about some work in our backyard. The girls and I sat in the den and watched out the window as he walked around, talking to my husband.

He must have made quite an impression on the girls in the 10 minutes he was here. Several times a day – every day since – they start a little conversation, each piping in with a piece of the puzzle…

“Man!” Yes, there was a man here.

“Outside!” Yes, he was outside with Daddy.

“Walk!” Yes, he and Daddy were walking around.

“Fence!” Yes, the man and Daddy stood by the fence.

“Jeans!” Yes, the man was wearing jeans.

“Shirt!” Yes, the man was wearing a shirt.

“Shoes!” Yes, the man was wearing shoes.

“Hat!” No, the man wasn’t wearing a hat. (I don’t know if they thought that would have completed his ensemble, or if they just get on a roll, naming articles of clothing.)

“Paper!” Yes, the man was holding a piece of paper.

“Bracelet!” Yes, the man was wearing a bracelet. (This one makes me laugh. The man had on a big gold watch, and I told the girls it was a bracelet. I’m sure he would be mortified!)

“Knock!” Yes, you knocked on the window at him.

It reminds me of giving a kid a nice gift, and he just wants to play with the box…throw out the hours we spent playing puzzles and counting our steps, and show them a man walking around for 10 minutes instead.

I guess it goes to show me how learning opportunities come in all shapes and sizes!

(And don’t worry…I am not seriously going to throw out the puzzles and quit counting steps, to be replaced by people watching at the mall! But I will keep narrating even the most random of occurrences...as this is a good reminder that they're paying attention afterall!)

September 24, 2010

Fab 5 Friday

The girls have said and done so many cool things this week, it’s actually hard to narrow it down to the five most fabulous, but here ‘goes…

1) The girls are really starting to take an active part in music. We listen to music most of the day, and within the past week they’ve done all the motions to “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “If You’re Happy and You Know It”, unprompted. They’re also trying to say, “Round and round,” as in, “The Wheels on the Bus.” It’s so cool to know they’re paying attention to their environment.

2) Baby A has been “practicing” putting her shorts on by herself…off and on, off and on. Sometimes she even gets them on straight!

3) Baby B has started requesting, “Hugs!” and then giving the biggest neck squeezes. She did it first to her daddy, and he told me later he almost cried (which of course made me almost cry!).

4) I sorta-kinda think that Baby B may have said a couple of sentences this week! She’s been saying, “Mommy clean it,” when she drops something from her highchair (I’m giving her credit for an observation, not an order – at least I hope!). She has also said, “I got it!” several times when she’s picked something up or been handed something.

5) The girls and I have gotten out for a walk every day this week. It’s so nice to get some fresh air, and for me to get to watch them hold hands and play footsie beside each other in the stroller.

Living it and loving it!

September 22, 2010

A Bit About Me, September Edition

On August 23, I posted a couple of random things about me. My plan is to do this on the 23rd of every month, leading up to my birthday on February 23…when I imagine I’ll have painted a pretty random picture of myself.

Here are September's random tidbits...

3) I heart San Francisco. Our absolute favorite vacation was three years ago, when we spent several days in San Francisco and the surrounding area. I just loved every bit of it…the downtown, the bridge area and Golden Gate Park, Pacific Coast Highway, Sausalito, and of course, wine country. And it just so happened we were in New York the following week (taking a long weekend after I was there for work)…so, within the span of a week, we spanned both the Golden Gate Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge. Not so bad for a girl from the Heart of Dixie, huh?

We’re looking forward to showing the girlies some of our favorite places.

4) I had some rather strange aspirations as a child. My dad recently reminded me that, when I was about three years old, he asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. For a solid year or so, I always answered, “Crystal Gayle.” Crystal Gayle is a country music singer from the ‘70’s and ‘80’s who was known for her extremely long hair. Between the singing and the hair, I was mesmerized. He kept trying to explain that I could be “like” Crystal Gayle, but I couldn’t actually "be" her. Either way, it’s a good thing I moved onto something else…I can barely sing a lick, and at shoulder-length, my hair is the longest now it’s been since my freshman year of college…and it would of course take years of commitment to grow a mane like Crystal.

I'm keeping copious notes to be able to remind the girlies of some of the silly things they said and did growing up.

So there ya have it...the randomness continues!

September 21, 2010

What Happens in Las Vegas...

…I really wish would stay in Las Vegas!

Before the girls were born, I used to have to travel to Las Vegas twice a year for work. And for me, a little bit of Las Vegas goes a looong way.

Sure, it’s neat and cool and something to see, but the flashing lights, and the smells, and incessant sounds – oh, the sounds! – are enough to cause me to go into sensory overload.

On a related note (just follow me here…), the girls have very few battery-operated toys. My philosophy is that I want them to use their imaginations to develop their own play patterns, and not come to expect every toy to “do” something for their entertainment. (And there may just be a small part of me...ahem...that doesn’t like the noise…)

Over the past several months, though, the girls have “acquired” a couple of battery-operated toys (thanks a lot, Aunt GG!). And of course they LOVE them.

The worst (um, I mean the most colorful) is a cow that has six buttons on its torso, each with a picture of a different farm animal. It alternately makes animal noises and plays songs when the buttons are pushed. The buttons also light up in different colors to the rhythm of the songs.

Remind anyone else of a casino???

And the girls seem to want to hear several songs at once – which isn’t possible, but they sure try! – by pressing multiple buttons at once. It leads to a cacophony of electronic sounds and lights, punctuated by the occasional squeal or cry.

Yep, it transports me right back to a Las Vegas casino…although there aren’t any scantily-clad waitresses offering to bring me something to drink. And some days, when the noise really begins to get to me, I think that might be a welcome offer.

September 19, 2010

It's the Little Things

We had such a fun afternoon on Saturday.

We didn’t do anything really spectacular…we didn’t visit the zoo or go to a show or tour the botanical gardens.

No, we took the girls to story time at the local bookstore.

The story was far too old for the girls…we sat to the teller’s right side, so we couldn’t even see the pictures…and the poor teller didn’t seem to have ever read the book before (I’m just guessing as she mispronounced quite a few words!)…

…but the girls had a blast.

Before story time began, we walked around the children’s section and pointed out all the animals and farms and trees and babies and girls and boys on the fronts of the books on display. The girls enjoyed seeing several other kids. And they got to sit on tiny little benches made just for people their size.

And after story time, the four of us split a Reese’s peanut butter cup cookie in the bookstore’s café. (And fortunately the girls didn’t realize it wasn’t an even split!)

As the four of us walked out of the bookstore, hand in hand, I so enjoyed seeing our long shadows in front of us.

It was just a really sweet reminder that it’s the little things…sharing an ooey-gooey cookie, seeing our family – complete – in silhouette, and delighting in the girls’ delight…that it’s all about.

September 18, 2010

Teamwork

Any good relationship requires some give-and-take...some push-and-pull...


This "twin moment" brought to you by Baby A (the pusher) and Baby B (the pushee).

September 17, 2010

Fab 5 Friday

Another fabulous week at A & B Enterprises!

1) On Saturday we went to Panera for a mid-morning bagel and coffee for the hubs and me (and a snack for the girlies), and then ran a couple of errands. It was so nice to be out and about as a family of four…and we didn’t even use a stroller! The girls and I walked hand-in-hand while Daddy pushed the cart through Target and Sam’s. It was quite a work-out for me, but it was so cool to walk around with my “big” girls.

2) Baby A is beginning to take her animal noises very seriously. In particular, when she meows like a cat, she closes her eyes and shakes her head emphatically.

3) Baby B is becoming a tattle tale. I know it won’t always be so cute, but I can’t help but smile when Baby A drops some food and B says, “Sissy…not nice!”

4) Baby A has become very proficient at performing all the motions to “The Itsy Bitsy Spider”, and Baby B loves to shout, “No more!” during the chorus of “…no more monkeys jumping on the bed” (said the good doctor).

5) It’s so much fun to read books with the girls these days. There are 20 or so that we read on a very regular basis, and I can pause at any given time for them to fill in the blank for the next word. Wow!

The girls literally learn something new and fabulous every.single.day. If I weren’t seeing it with my own eyes, I just don’t think I’d believe it.

September 15, 2010

Beauty is in the Eye of the Baby Holder

From Day 1, I’ve been telling my girls they’re beautiful. I just can’t help myself! It seems only natural for me to say, “How are Mommy’s beautiful baby girls this morning?

And almost from Day 1, my husband has been scolding me for what he perceives as my superficiality.

Do I think my girls are beautiful? Of course I do! What mother doesn’t?!

But if I ever had to spell it out, I guess I’m thinking about beauty in a much larger context…I’m trying to raise my girls to be beautiful, healthy people, on the inside and out.

Certainly I praise the girls for being sweet and kind…for being polite…for behaving nicely…for following directions…and of course for learning new skills and words.

I think it’s important to instill self-confidence in our girls along a multitude of aspects, beauty – however it’s defined – being one of them.

I have sworn to my husband that I’m not trying to groom the girls to be on Toddlers and Tiaras. I have a bare bones beauty regimen myself, and I actually worry if I’ll be able to teach them to apply lipstick properly…I’m not sure I know how myself! :)

I am quite sure the question of beauty is yet another idea that I’m far over-thinking!

September 13, 2010

Two Miniature Wetsuits, Please...

For a long period of time, I’ve contemplated whether I could wrangle the girls into wearing shower caps while they eat.

They’re so bad to run their precious little hands…caked with not-so-precious avocado, or peanut butter, or spaghetti sauce…right through their beautiful golden locks.

And that of course yields not-so-beautiful…and not-so-golden…clumps of messy hair.

And Heaven forbid that I say, “Don’t touch your hair,” as that only prompts them (both!) to proudly show me they know right where their hair is.

But I worried that pint-sized shower caps – or maybe literally pint-sized bowl covers – would only draw more of their attention to their heads.

And then I thought about a wetsuit.

The head-to-toe covering would be difficult for them to disrobe, and I would protect not only their hair – but their entire bodies! – from the wrath of my homemade Alfredo sauce. And I think the rubbery nature of the wetsuit would allow me to just hose it off after meals.

Hmmm…difficult to disrobe, yes…but also probably difficult to enrobe, especially for each and every meal occasion.

Alternately, my husband has suggested we just give them buzz cuts to match his ‘do. Sadly, between his love for efficiency and weak stomach, I think he’s only half joking.

I’d better think some more on this one…or just accept that I’ll have to deal with this situation until the girls learn to use utensils and keep their hands on the table.

September 12, 2010

Revisiting the NICU

If I do say so myself, I was very even-keeled throughout my pregnancy. I wasn’t overly emotional, unless you count walking around with what was probably a big goofy grin on my face, giddy with excitement.

I only had a couple of breakdowns…one when I was trying to figure out the car seats (thinking, if I can’t do this, how will I ever be a fit mother?!)…and the other when we toured the NICU as part of the prenatal twin class at the hospital.

I came home and just lost it, thinking about those tiny babies I’d seen there in what seemed like such a cold, sterile environment. The experience strengthened my “resolve” (as I foolishly thought I had some real control in the matter!) over carrying the girls to term.

Given my “resolve”, I was in a great state of shock when I went into labor. Our girls were born at 34 ½ weeks. They were basically healthy, and they only spent 10 days in the NICU as “feeders and growers” as they called them. We had a couple of small scares, but overall we were very lucky.

I don’t know if this is a common feeling, but in a lot of ways I felt like I was floating through those first couple of weeks, just putting one foot in front of the other. I almost equate it to being in a state of denial, kind of like I expected to wake up any minute and still be pregnant.

We attended the annual NICU reunion today. It was so great to see a couple of the nurses that worked particularly closely with us.

Those nurses are amazing people, and they will always hold such a special place in our hearts. They maintained such a delicate balance…of showing respect to us as the girls’ parents, while taking the utmost care of them, and at the same time teaching us to care for our babies.

I had a conversation with one of my twin mom friends a few months ago. She talked about how uncertain she was as a first-time mom, about how she cried and cried when she brought her babies home, feeling like she didn’t know what to do.

While I certainly did my share of crying, it wasn’t because I felt like I didn’t know what to do. It dawned on me several days later that I have the NICU nurses to thank for that.

Those nurses were there for us, not just punching the clock and doing their job, but wrapping their arms around us figuratively, and at times, literally, during those first critical days as the size of our family abruptly doubled.

They cheered as I changed my first two diapers…they showed me all sorts of tricks for coaxing a premature baby to take a bottle…they affirmed my every “was that a burp?” question…they stood by my side as I gave the girls a bath for the first time.

The environment may have been cold and sterile, but that’s not how I remember our time in the NICU. The nurses were always so reassuring, letting us know the babies would be fine, and so would we. For that, and for so many more things, I will be eternally grateful.

September 10, 2010

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

There’s just something about this time of year that makes me feel so alive

alive with the first feeling of a crisp fall morning…

alive with the beauty of the changing leaves and promise of homemade apple pie…

…and alive with the roar of the crowd at a sold-out college football game!

I grew up in the great state of Alabama. From the majestic foothills of the Appalachians to the sandy white beaches of the Gulf of Mexico, with the heart of Southern hospitality and down-home cooking nestled in between…I often just call it “God’s Country.”

Alabama is also the heart of the Bible Belt. Religion may be big there…but so is football. Folks take their football pretty seriously. And allegiance is everything.

I attended The University of Alabama, and my allegiance is to The Crimson Tide. Yep, I bleed crimson, alright!

There’s something really special for me about having attended such a big state school, one that has perhaps the most storied football team in history. With my allegiance comes an awesome sense of belonging, and a fantastic sense of pride.

Having moved with my job, I haven’t lived in Alabama since I graduated college. But all I have to do is flip on the TV during football season…whether I’m a few states away or across the country…and I’m immediately transported home.

The sea of +100,000 crimson and white-donned fans, the roar of the crowd, the familiar songs and cheers…those things are a part of who I am. And it’s such a neat feeling, no matter where I am, to spy someone with an Alabama t-shirt or ball cap, and greet them with a “Roll Tide!” It’s definitely an awesome brotherhood.

Outside of eat, sleep, more, and all done, “Touchdown, Alabama!” was one of the first “signs” the girls learned. I was hoping by the beginning of this season they’d be able to say “Roll Tide!” for themselves. They’re not quite yet there, so I’ve rephrased my question...

Ask the girls, “What’s the Tide gonna do this year?” and they wave their little arms and growl, “Rooooll!


Of course I would love for them to follow in my footsteps and attend The University of Alabama. I’d be so honored to see them traverse the same sidewalks, passing under the exact oak trees that I once did as a student…for them to know firsthand the building where their daddy and I met, and the old mansion just off campus where we got married…

…but I promise I will try my best not to push them too hard in that direction, to let them make their own decisions about what’s best for their future. First and foremost I want them to get an excellent education, of course. And my wish for them is that – even if it’s not my brotherhood – they’ll be able to appreciate a larger sense of community, as I so enjoy.

And if nothing else, maybe they’ll at least wear an Alabama t-shirt in honor of mom now and again.

Fab 5 Friday

We had a fabulous Labor Day week, highlighted by a trip to Sweet Home Alabama!

1) We had a safe trip to Alabama and back…and Mommy only had to spend about an hour total wedged between the girls’ car seats!

2) I think the girls are beginning to show an interest in the “A-B-C” song. Baby B keeps saying, “A-B-C-B,” and Baby A’s favorite letters seem to be “C” and “D”. (Did ya follow that?!)

3) Baby A exclaimed, “Rain!” when she woke up from her nap on Wednesday, based solely on the sound of light rain pinging the windows behind closed blinds. And later that day, when I pointed to a picture of a dinosaur, Baby B declared, “Turtle!” I have to credit her resourcefulness.

4) The girls and I met my friend Jenny and her B/G twins – who are the girls’ senior by exactly seven days – for coffee and bagels on Thursday morning. I felt like quite the soccer mom…and I loved it! :)

5) I love the way the girls giggle and squeal in delight when Mommy and Daddy give each other exaggerated kisses hello and goodbye.

Life is good…or actually, it’s pretty fabulous.

September 9, 2010

Sweet Home Alabama

The girls' first trip to Sweet Home Alabama was over Labor Day weekend last year, when they were eight months old. We've been looking forward to anniversarying the trip all summer.

We followed the same basic schedule this year as last, but there were definitely some differences with the girls being 20 months old this year!

We left Saturday morning, running about an hour late. I don't remember the specifics of our departure last year, but I don't think we've gotten any more efficient over the past year in leaving on trips!

Instead of stopping part-way for a bottle, though, we drove about 80 miles and stopped at the Olive Garden for lunch. The girls enjoyed their first taste of pizza - chicken alfredo - with Mommy.

We arrived at Granddaddy and Emme's house late Saturday afternoon. We admired the views from their back deck...


...and went to feed the geese, turtles, and fish in the neighbor's pond.



Sunday we enjoyed having my aunt (Grandma Linda) and cousins (Aunts Teresa, Tiffany, and Sara) over for a delicious barbeque. Granddaddy is quite the grill master, and this year the girls got to enjoy his handiwork, too.

Sadly, there aren't any pictures from the barbeque, though. Baby B was experiencing a bit of a meltdown. Last year she was pretty ambivalent to the festivities...this year, I think there was a little too much newness all at once...

Monday, mid-morning, we said goodbye to Granddaddy and Emme and headed to visit Great-Great Aunt GG, and Great Uncle Tommy and Aunt Janet.


Following the Grill Fest on Sunday, the girls got their first taste of real down-home Southern cooking, including Aunt GG's famous macaroni and cheese and green beans. They were licking their little fingers! I loved that the girls were able to partake in all the wonderful food, as opposed to the pureed fruits and veggies they were eating this time a year ago.



We got home Monday, late afternoon, exhausted...but happy at having seen the 'fam. And that's one thing that will never change...how great it is to have been back in Sweet Home Alabama for a couple of days.

Check out these comparison pictures from Granddaddy's porch swing...




What a difference a year makes!

September 8, 2010

Lick Your Babies

Just visit the homepage of any parenting website, or cruise down the how-to aisle at the bookstore, and any mother is sure to be panic-stricken at the millions of do’s and don’ts – many conflicting – about rearing well-balanced children.

When I pause to think, it’s enough to make me question almost everything I do…

Am I spending too much time with the girls? Am I spending enough individual time with the girls?

Am I encouraging the girls to develop into individuals, separate and apart from their twinship? Could this encouragement drive a wedge between them?

Am I creating enough structure in their environment so they feel safe and secure? Or have I introduced too much structure so as not to encourage their creativity?

In teaching the girls to respect authority, am I hindering the development of an independent spirit?

Oh, and then there’s the topic of food...one which could certainly warrant an entire book in itself...

How much should I encourage the girls to eat? Or should I have a take-it-or-leave-it approach? Or could they interpret a -it-or-leave-it approach to mean that I don’t care if they get the appropriate sustenance?

Should I praise them for eating well? I don’t want them to think it’s the key to mommy’s heart (although it does make me awfully proud)!

Should I keep them on the straight-and-narrow path of eating only healthy foods? Or if I never introduce them to Fruity Pebbles, will they one day rebel and begin eating every sugary processed food in sight?

ARRRRRRRRRRRRRGH!!!!!!!!!!

But finally, I found something I can feel good about…

I am reading “One and the Same”, a book on twinship by Abigail Pogrebin. She cites one study about epigenetic differences in identical twins – changes in genetics brought about by environmental influences such as chemicals or food.

The 2004 rat study illustrated that “affection, or the lack of it, may also have an impact.” “…rats who were not licked and groomed by their mother as often as their siblings went on to exhibit more stress.” “The offspring of the high-licking moms exhibited better response to fear.

This is one by which I can confidently check “yes”, as I am positively certain that I “lick” my babies enough. They get more hugs and kisses and belly rubs and toe tickles than they know what to do with…

…and I guess I’m just hoping that makes up for any other psychological scars I may unknowingly be inflicting.

September 5, 2010

The Economist

I just downloaded some pictures from earlier in the month, and I can't quit laughing at this one...


I promise this wasn't staged. I just caught B hanging out on the couch, looking at a book. It cracks me up to see how serious she is. She might as well be reading the latest edition of The Economist, not Dr. Seuss!

And don't you just want to pinch that chin?!

September 4, 2010

A Few (More of) My Faves...

Chantal at Twice: First Came Twins was so kind to think of me as having a “Blog with Substance”. Thank you Chantal! :)

Now first, I don’t mean to suggest that all blogs don’t have substance! We all blog for different reasons.

I blog to share some of the trials and triumphs of this wonderful, crazy life with my girls. I keep a detailed journal of my own to record our adventures, the cute things the girls said and did, milestones hit, and all my feelings along the way. I pull excerpts from these adventures and try to present them in a creative and entertaining way. It’s a fun way to challenge myself.

I read a vast variety of blogs, and I learn a little something from each and every one. From some, I might get an idea for a craft or activity; from others, I might take note of a disciplinary challenge; from others I might see how a particular conversation was handled; and yet from others I might just laugh, or coo, or be reminded to stop and smell the roses.

As I’ve said before, I’ve made some awesome bloggy friends over the past several months, and I feel like a better mom for being able to share in their knowledge base. I’ll also add that I can credit maintaining (at least shreds of) my sanity some days to knowing I’m not the only one on this wonderful roller coaster!

That said, here are a couple of my favorite “Blogs with Substance”:

And then there were four. Multiple Mum has four kiddos, including B/G twins that are a couple of weeks older than our girls. She talks about some of their adventures, but I wouldn’t categorize her as a “Mommy Blogger”. Part of the beauty in her blog is that – in the words of a movie you may just have heard of – you never know what you’re gonna get…but just like chocolate, it’s always something yummy.

Buried in Laundry. Quadmama is a down-to-earth mom to four-year old quadruplet girls. She writes about the everyday issues that parents face, from sunscreen-ing your kids (times four in her case…meaning she’s my hero!), dealing with a picky eater, and following through on the consequences you outline for your children. Her blog is one that I make lots of mental notes after reading, which hopefully I’ll be able to reference as our girls get a little older.

Are We There Yet? This is one of my new favorite finds…one of those blogs that I drop everything (except maybe a baby) when I see an update. Sarah is a heeee-larious mom to four kiddos, including a set of B/G twins. She is a minivan-driving, extracurricular-activity-juggling, craft-loving mama who fesses up to having just a touch of anxiety. Oh, and did I mention she’s heeee-larious???

And Chantal, right back atcha! Chantal is such a conscientious mom, and I really admire her approach to parenting. I’m not quite as “crunchy” as she is (her word!), but I think we have similar parenting values, and I appreciate the how and why behind what she does.

September 3, 2010

Fab 5 Friday

The week’s fabulous highlights…

1) (With upfront apologies for the rude visual…) the girls were so delighted to watch me blow bubbles with my bubble gum. They squealed with delight and kept asking for “Mohr!”

2) We ate at our favorite Mexican restaurant over the weekend, and the girls couldn’t get enough Mexican food. They ate every morsel from their plate, a substantial portion of mine, and they still wanted more. Hmmm…wonder where they got that from???

3) I knew the girls enjoyed seeing the ducks in the lake at the park on Saturday. What’s so cute is that they are still “talking” about it…”Ducks!”…then “Wa-wa!” accompanied by some tail-feather wagging of their own. (They perhaps could have seen Mommy imitating a duck waddle for them at one point???)

4) On Wednesday, I told Daddy that he needed to shave. (I’m surprised the girls weren’t scared of him the way he looked!) A few minutes later, as Baby B was sitting in his lap, she touched his face and said, “Save!” ‘Atta girl!

5) The girls and I have run several errands this week – the grocery store, Target, Hobby Lobby, the farmer’s market – and they’ve been downright cordial to random people who talked to them. Baby B was pretty generous with her toothy grin, and Baby A did several Miss America waves…and not a single tear was shed!

I can’t help but smile at these baby girls o’ mine!

September 1, 2010

The Old Normal and the New Normal

In theory, I am of the belief that – to the extent possible – a family should incorporate a new baby (or babies) into their life…and not completely rearrange their life to suit the new baby/ies.

That was certainly my game plan before the girls were born.

But as the “old normal” on the weekends, for example, involved a lot of eating out, a lot of napping, some shopping and a mani-pedi – if I could fit it in with my nap schedule – we’ve had to establish more of a “new normal” than I imagined.

Although the “new normal” obviously involves a lot less of those earthly pleasures, over the past couple of months I’ve finally begun to feel really settled into our routine.

Our routine does pretty well revolve around the babies, but I’m comfortable that that’s how it should be right now. They need and deserve a lot of attention, and I feel like it’s my job to give it to them.

But amid our two-ring baby circus, there are certain things that remind me of the “old normal”…things that I used to take for granted…things that really give me pleasure and allow me to recharge so I can devote that time and attention to the girls.

Reading. I don’t get to do it as often as I’d like, but there’s something so nice about curling up with a book for a little while during naptime, or snuggling in to read for a few minutes before bed.

Soaking in the tub. At night, when everyone is nestled in bed, I sometimes like to slip into the tub – often with a magazine – and unwind from the day.

Baking. I love to lose myself with a from-scratch recipe and my trusty measuring spoons. I love the act of following instructions (as the last I checked, my kiddos surely didn’t come with any!), the sifting and mixing, the yummy smells, and of course the taste-testing.

And on those rare occasions that I do get to enjoy a mani-pedi…or even more rarely, a massage…well that’s just a little slice of “old normal” heaven.

I am really looking forward to sharing some of these little pleasures – like baking and mani-pedi’s – with the girls one day. I think that might even allow me to ditch the “old normal” / “new normal” labels, and just call it plain ol’ fun.

Say What?!

I love Missy’s Say What Wednesday meme. It’s so much fun to read excerpts of her girls’ conversations. Kids truly do say the darndest things!

Our girls’ conversations are considerably more limited right now, but I still find them so entertaining. Here are a few snippets from our house…

Mess!” is one of the girls’ favorite words. They have no shame at exclaiming it, even when they’re the ones who smeared avocado all over their highchairs and themselves! And I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when they (seriously!) say it while petting my hair some mornings!

I make French toast sometimes on the weekends. Almost every time I remind the girls to “eat your French toast”, they grab their toes, and exclaim, "Toes!" And then I have to remember to wipe their feet after breakfast!

One of the girls’ favorite books is a Noah’s Ark book. They call Noah “No-no!

The girls know the words “sit” and “shirt”. However, their enunciation is not always very clear. I’m constantly “confirming” what they say, lest the neighbors think we are raising a couple of potty mouths!

We went to eat at our favorite Mexican restaurant over the weekend. We worked with the girls the afternoon prior on saying, “Gracias!” It was so cute to hear their little baby voices thanking our waiter.

The girls are both saying, “Bess!” (as in “Bless you!”) after someone sneezes, and even after themselves. New this week is a well wish after coughs, and even yawns.

I’ve taken to wearing plain t-shirts whenever possible. The girls otherwise get really distracted at any design. One t-shirt I wear often has a sun on it…”Sun!” One has line art of a person reading a book…”Book!” One just has circular swirls on it…”Ball!

The girls are all about hairstyles…mine, anyway. I taught them “ponytail”, which B shortens to “pony” (even though she can point out the “tail” on an animal), and A calls “bone”. I have been wearing my hair down a lot lately to keep from having to affirm, “Yes, Mommy has a ponytail,” approximately 1,112 times a day.

And is it bad that Baby B knows to say, “Coffee!” when she sees me rinsing the coffee pot?

Amazing, I tell you!
 
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