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January 31, 2011

Why I Feel a Great Sense of Responsibility for the Rising Price of Crude Oil

That's one day's worth of plastic ware!!!

Before the girls were born, I knew we would have our share of plastic toys, but I didn't realize how much plastic I would have to make room for in my kitchen!

The girls' cups and bowls and plates and forks and spoons now consume the bottom shelf of one large cabinet.

Move over, pretty coffee cups! Get outta the way, delicate serving platters! There are some new kids in town, and they like it rough and tumble, and the brighter the color, the better.

While the girls are usually pretty good about not throwing their plates and cups, I still don't think they're ready for actual glass or ceramic. And I expect the thought of pointy fork tines will probably scare me for a while.

No, I think plastic is the way to go for us right now.

I don't think the girls much care what color their cups and plates and bowls are, although it does serve as a great prompt for dinner conversation.

Kiddie plastic ware just seems to come in the most outrageous color combinations...and maybe that's part of what makes it seem so obnoxious to me.

...well, that, and the fact that it's taking over my kitchen...one cabinet and dishwasher rack at a time.

January 30, 2011

Awareness: Sunday Senses

I love the series that Rebecca has started doing on Sunday mornings, Sunday Senses. It's a reminder to step back, look around, and take note of what's going on. Appreciate this little slice of life for what it is, as it will be gone in an instant!

Here's my little sliver this morning...

See. The den is a mess already...it doesn't take long! The girls are playing with Daddy. :)

Hear. Kiddie music...of course. "I've been working on the railroad..." at the moment.

Taste. Ghirardelli Chocolate-Caramel coffee...a little Christmas present to myself. YUM!

Smell. The remnants of Sunday morning breakfast...crepes for the hubby and French toast and eggs for the girls. (My lowly bowl of cereal didn't leave much in the way of lingering smells.)

Feel. The cold wood floor on my feet (I really should put on some socks, but I don't want to upset the balance of the universe by going upstairs!).

I was just reminded of one of my favorite quotes:

"The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware." ~ Henry Miller

Happy Sunday!

January 29, 2011

The Best $3.99 I Ever Spent

Without a doubt, the best $3.99 I ever spent was on a set of stacking cups.

It's not much of an exaggeration to say that the girls have played with them every.single.day. for the last 18 months!

At 7 months, they made great teether toys and were perfect for grasping!



At 11 months, we played a lot of "Put the Ball in the Cup"...



At 18 months, Daddy discovered the fun of building towers with the girls, and the cups were the perfect foundation...



...and about that same time, the girls began to nest the cups themselves!



At 22 months, the girls really got into pretend play, and the cups were great to serve all sorts of foods and beverages to each other, and to Mommy and Daddy!


And just recently, the girls learned to make towers all by themselves!


The cups are great for counting, and I credit the cups with the girls having learned the color "turquoise" so early on.

I hope the girls will continue to find new ways to play with these cups for at least another couple of years. They've been such a part of our lives for so long, I can't bare the thought of parting with them!

January 28, 2011

Fab 5 Friday...and ME!

It doesn’t take much to make for a fabulous week in my book!

1) Friday was Baby A’s first fever-free day last week, and it just so happened that Daddy was home for another Snow Day. We celebrated with a batch of waffles, the girls’ first. I had been looking for an opportunity to make them since the girls have a plastic waffle in their assortment of play food, but they’d never actually tasted the buttery goodness for themselves.

2) Late last week I started playing a little game with the girls, asking their stuffed animals what they could see out the window. “Grass?...Yes!” “A fence?...Yes!” “A giraffe?...No!” As part of this game, we talked about mulch. The girls must have loved that word, as they were pretty fascinated with pointing out mulch for a couple of days…until it snowed and they could no longer see it. They were pretty disturbed. It was a little sad, but also pretty funny!

3) We have a new Page-A-Day calendar this year, featuring snapshots of cats. The girls discovered it, and they ask every morning to see the “kitty cat cawendar”. It has become a treat for me to show them the picture while they drink their milk at breakfast, lunch, and during snack. I tell them the kitty’s name and which state she’s from, and usually by the end of the day they’ve got it down.

4) The girls love playing “paper-markers”, as they call it. We use washable markers, but they don’t always come off with just a wipe. A couple of times I’ve held the girls over the kitchen sink and helped them wash their hands with soap and water. They seem to feel like rock stars. And my guess is that the water tickles their hands, as they laugh like little nuts the whole time!

5) I’m not sure how this came about, but the girls have started requesting that their daddy sing “Found a Peanut” every night before bed, while I get their toothbrushes ready. The funny thing is that they don’t want me to sing…only Daddy! And even funnier is that he declared long ago to me how much he hates that particular song.

And what did I do for ME this week???

I have been CRAVING frozen yogurt from a new self-serve place in town that has all sorts of yummy toppings. The girls and I were going there about once a week back during the fall, but it’s been so cold the past few weeks that it didn’t seem right to bundle them up, only to freeze their core with a frozen treat.

On yet another of Hubby’s Snow Days this week, I slipped out during naptime to satisfy my craving. I did feel a little silly, traipsing through the SNOW, but I sure enjoyed that cup of yogurt…topped with Snickers crumbles and hot fudge (since it was cold outside, ya know?).

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January 27, 2011

Is "Goodnight Moon" Somehow Inherent?

Although I never had the book “Goodnight Moon” as a child, it was top of mind for me as one of those well-known books that I certainly wanted my girls to have.

When I was browsing the children’s section of the bookstore one day before they were born, I came upon it and picked it up, thinking it would be the perfect addition to the nursery.

When I read through it, though, I just didn’t get it. There seemed like so many other books that were sweeter and more nostalgic, ones that I could picture myself cuddling with my girls to read before bedtime…ones that probably elicited a tear in my heightened state of emotion.

Several months ago, I was browsing again and saw the book. I read through it, and I still didn’t get it. Further, I surely didn’t want to introduce the concept of saying goodnight to every.single.object in the room. The girls would never go to bed!

Just recently, though, the girls – without ever having heard the classic tale themselves – have begun to show some “Goodnight Moon”-like tendencies.

Baby A was being so sweet in the bath a few days ago, for example. “Love you, Mommy,” she said, melting my little heart as it does every time I hear that. “Love you, Daddy,” she added…awww. “Love you, Sasha,”…awww again.

And then she said, “Love you, towel.” Hmmm…I know she is really fond of her duck towel.

Love you, water.”

Love you, soap.”

Suddenly my “Love you, Mommy” seemed to lose a little of its weight.

The girls have both had similar conversations with saying “Good morning” and “Goodnight” to anything in earshot. It’s cute, but I seriously hope it doesn’t take off as a bedtime ritual.

I still don’t have plans to buy “Goodnight Moon” for our bookshelf. I figure I’ll save myself the $9.99, satisfied that the girls will still enjoy the “Goodnight Moon” experience, whether I like it or not.

January 26, 2011

Say What?!?!

With few exceptions, every single day since the girls were born, we call our great-great aunt, GG, at least a couple of times a day. Although we don’t get to see her very often, I love that she’s a huge part of our everyday lives.

We usually talk to her sometime in the morning, and then again in the afternoon. And we always give her a quick call before bedtime to wish her goodnight.

The girls are very accustomed to this routine, and if they think I’ve fallen behind schedule, they’ll sometimes say, “Call GG, please!

A month or so ago, GG mentioned that she needed to buy some pineapple. When we called her the following morning, she didn’t answer. I told the girls that GG must have gone to the store to buy pineapples. To this day, when she doesn’t answer the phone, one of the girls will declare, “GG, buying pineapples!

I apparently called GG “goofy” during one of our conversations – very playfully, of course. One night as we were telling her goodnight, Baby B started to laugh. I asked her what was so funny, and she said, “GG, goofy!” That became a big joke for the next few days, and then she added to it, “GG, goofy goofball!” I don’t know where she got the term “goofball”, but we all thought that was even funnier (at least I think GG thought that was even funnier!).

Most of the time when I dial GG on the phone, I recite her number aloud. The girls pretend to talk on their toy phones, and when asked who they’re talking to, the answer is usually “GG”. I couldn’t believe, though, when Baby B sat down and pretended to dial her phone, and started saying the first few digits of her phone number!!! She got the 1 – [area code] correct before she added some random numbers in there.

I have the feeling that these girls are going to have GG on speed dial before long, and then there’s no telling what they’ll say to her!

Playing along with Missy’s Say What?!?! Wednesday!

January 25, 2011

Velcro and the ASPCA

About this time a year ago, when the girls had just turned a year old, we were getting them ready for bed. We noticed a fly in the bedroom, and my husband stood up on the bed to swat it down from the ceiling.

Baby B came unglued. She screamed and screamed, those high-pitched, scared-to-death screams. It took me rocking her to sleep (a very rare occurrence) for her to finally settle.

Fast-forward a month or so, when the batteries in the girls’ beloved Glow Worm began to wane. Daddy dutifully opened the Velcro on his back to address the problem. Cue Baby B’s screams…very reminiscent of the screams we heard during the Fly Incident.

Hubby and I looked at each other, and quickly began to console Baby B and the Glow Worm. “He’s fine, Sweetie! Look, he loves you! Give him a big hug!” as we quietly refastened the Velcro, good as new.

Later that evening, we talked about what a tender heart our sweet Baby B has. She’s quite convincing in the delivery of her arguments, and – based on how we’ve seen her react – we think she could be a pretty hard-hitting lawyer for the ASPCA one day.

On a seemingly unrelated note, Baby A has quite the Velcro fetish. There must be something about the sound of it…she loves to open-and-close-and-rrrrrrip-open again.

Not long after the Glow Worm Incident, Baby A discovered the Velcro closures on a couple of their stuffed animals’ backs. I quickly recognized the emotional trauma that could easily ensue…Baby A opening and closing ‘til her heart’s content, Baby B scarred forever at the animal cruelty inflicted by her own sister.

I promptly removed all such stuffed animals from the girls’ toy bin.

A few weeks ago, I decided to try the girls again with some of their beloved toys. They were beyond thrilled to see some of their long, lost friends. As we welcomed everyone back to the den, I cautioned the girls, “Be very careful with Violet’s back."

So far, so good. The girls are enjoying playing with their plush pals, and they remind me every few days to “be careful, back!

Particularly seeing A’s tenderness in these reminders, her seriousness in making sure her stuffed animals are all well-fed and well-cared for, warms my heart.

It gives me hope that one can put aside even the strongest of Velcro fetishes when a higher calling is at stake…like one's sister’s emotional well-being.

January 23, 2011

A Bit About Me, January Edition

My birthday is February 23rd, and on the 23rd* of each month, I devote a blog post to myself...sharing a couple of really random bits of information about the woman behind the mom.

Without further ado, I present to you January's randomness!

11) I can’t stand for my husband’s sock- and underwear drawers to be disorganized.

Occasionally my hubby will try to “help” with the laundry by putting some of his things away…which for him means cramming his undies into the drawer, unfolded. That's actually not helpful. There’s no way I could put the next batch of folded undies on top of those, so I have to reorganize the whole drawer. I know no one sees that…and if he isn’t complaining, then I should be at peace with it…but I just feel like a better wife if his socks are neatly paired. Yes, I know I have a problem...

12) One of the most “I-can’t-believe-I-really-did-that” things I’ve done was rent a car with three strangers and drive 350 miles in the middle of the night to make a business meeting.

I made my first leg of my flight fine, but the second leg was delayed, and delayed, and delayed, and finally cancelled due to a problem with the airplane. I had an important meeting at 8:00 the next morning. In a daring moment, I stood up in the airport terminal and said, “Who wants to drive to Bentonville with me?” Three folks quickly volunteered, and off we went to the rental car counter.

There were two college girls who had interviews the next day, and a 30-something guy who worked in advertising who had a week-old baby (and post-pardom wife) waiting for him at home. We let the girls sleep in the backseat, and the guy offered to drive. Since I didn’t know him from Adam, I stayed awake all night, too. I considered it my job to talk to him and make sure he stayed awake and drove with decorum.

First we talked about family, then school, then sports…but after three or four hours I was running out of ideas. Towards the end of our journey I remember asking him what his favorite cereal was…HA!

I eventually got about an hour and a half of sleep that night at the hotel, made my meeting, and then crashed on the return trip home. It was nutty, but I definitely got some accolades at the office the following day!

To check out past randomness...

August
September
October
November
December

*This month is whizzing by, and I almost missed my post date! I'm technically posting this on the 23rd, just before midnight. I say it counts!

January 21, 2011

Our "Garden Party"

Beautiful flowers are in bloom...

[Baby A] and [Baby B] are turning two!

Please join us for a "garden party"!


Since the girls' birthday is in January, I couldn't risk a petting zoo party or a trip to the dairy barn. I brainstormed about what they and their little friends would enjoy in an indoor setting, and it finally dawned on me...library story time!

I wanted to do something centered around flowers. With help from my blogger friend Charlene, I chose the book My Garden. It's about a little girl who helps her mother in the garden, but dreams about all the things she would have in her own garden..."If I planted seashells, I'd grow seashells," she fantasizes, for example.

So for the girls' second birthday, we welcomed everyone to our garden...


We were joined by all our twin friends...


...as well as Aunts Karen, Kristin (a surprise visit, at that!), and Shanda...

...and Granddaddy and Emme!


The kiddos played, and then it was time for our story. Aunt Shanda put on her thespian hat and captivated the audience (speaking relatively, in a room of babes) with her animated voice and kiddie-yoga influences.


And then it was time for snacks, inspired by what you might find in a garden...


...like bunny rabbits (grahams), a goldfish pond (crackers), blueberries and strawberries...


...and lots of flowers and bumblebees, too!


We sung "Happy Birthday" - twice of course - first to Baby A, and then to Baby B...


Unlike last year, the girls knew just what to do with that sugary sweet icing...yum-yum!!!



I had planned a craft, but I was (uncharacteristically?) going with the flow during the party, and I didn't think the wee ones were much in the mood to sit and ponder the placement of flower and butterfly stickers on a garden backdrop. These turned into take-home treats, instead.

Here are the girls' creations, done the day after the party...

In addition to the sticker craft, our pint-sized guests left with a bottle of bubbles...


Friends make our hearts bubble over with joy!

Thank you for joining us to celebrate our birthday!

After everyone left and the girls settled down, we let them open their gift -- a collective present from their twin friends...


FAIRY COSTUMES!!! (These were quite the hit, by the way!)


We had so much fun celebrating the girls birthday!!! And we are so blessed to have been able to do it with our sweet family and wonderful friends.

January 20, 2011

Fab 5 Friday...and ME!

By some accounts it’s been a pretty un-fabulous week, as Baby A has had the flu…but there’s still been plenty of fabulousness to even it all out…

1) We have a resident bunny in the backyard that we have been able to spy several afternoons this week. The girls lined up some of their plastic vegetables – like a lettuce leaf and a carrot – on the windowsill in case the bunny got hungry.

2) The girls have learned their days of the week! They are pretty good with Monday through Thursday. It usually takes a little prompting to get the other days, “What day comes after Thursday?” but they can eventually get Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, too!

3) I gave the girls a couple of washcloths to use as “potholders” in their kitchen. They serve as potholders, and diapers for their babies, to name a few uses. A couple of times I observed Baby A wiping surfaces – like the couch – saying, “Clean it!” I love that child!

4) Completely unsolicited, Baby A has told B a couple of times, “Love you, [Baby B]!” Melt.my.heart.

5) The girls have started to name their stuffed animals. I think it’s so cute to see them distinguish between identical puppies, for example. One is Snoopy, and one is Sammy…and ne’er the twain shall meet.

And what did I do for ME this week?

I have a pretty steadfast rule that I finish books once I start them. I will confess that I bought this particular book – about the different cultures within rural India – a full 14 years ago. I’ve read the first chapter several times, but I have never been able to continue. (It’s very interesting, but not exactly a page-turner.)

I set out a few weeks ago to read the book, once and for all. I’m about 2/3 of the way through it…but…I got the new John Grisham book for Christmas. I could stand looking at its shiny, untouched cover no longer. I set the Indian account aside (temporarily, I swear!) and dug into the Grisham novel.

Aaahhh…the beautiful sound of pages turning at a rapid pace! It may be a stretch to most to think of this as a guilty pleasure, but it sure feels like one to me! :)

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January 19, 2011

Staggering

When the girls were first born, I adhered to the sage advice from several “multiples” resources, “When one baby wakes up, WAKE UP THE OTHER BABY!” I was determined to get – and keep! – the girls on the same schedule.

The girls started sleeping through the night at three months old, and at that point, I started allowing a small amount of flexibility in their schedules, particularly during the time in which they were taking three naps a day.

I always put them down for naps at the same time, but if one baby woke up early (and in those days, waking up meant crying!), I would pick her up but allow her sister to continue to sleep for up to 30 minutes. I reasoned that those 30 minutes wouldn’t damage the synchronicity of the girls’ schedules too much…and I used those 30 minutes for some valuable one-on-one time.

Over the past year, these occasions have happened very rarely. The girls are content to talk to themselves or play quietly in their cribs if they wake up a little early. And with only one nap, I am not usually anxious to admit that someone is awake before they “should” be.

My sweet Baby A came down with the flu on Monday morning. She’s fighting like a champ, only slowing down when her ibuprofen begins to wear off and her fever begins to creep back up…but she has slept like a rock at naptime and at night.

I laid both girls down at their usual naptime yesterday. After about 2 ½ hours – what I consider a very successful nap – I began to hear chatter. I went into the girls’ room to find Baby B awake, but Baby A was still sacked out. I put my finger to my lips to ask B to be quiet. I tiptoed to her crib and whisked her out of the room to allow her sister to sleep a while longer.

I took advantage of A’s extended snooze to spend some one-on-one time with B, reminding me of the “staggering” I used to do when the girls were tiny.

I brought B downstairs, and we snuggled together in the living room (a big treat, as that room is off-limits for the girls). She sat beside me in the armchair and we perused a cookbook. She pointed out all the different meats and veggies, and we ooh’ed and ahh’ed over the yummy desserts.

And then I decided to see if B would be willing to help me with some laundry. I haven’t folded laundry with the girls since they were tiny…before they were very mobile so as to mess up my meticulously organized stacked of towels!

B giggled at the huge mound of towels I dumped in front of her on the bed. I sorted the washcloths from the hand towels from the bath towels. And then I asked her to hand me one washcloth at a time. She did an amazing job! She was so patient…the perfect helper!

Baby A did get some one-on-one time when I took her to the pediatrician, although it was nothing like the thrill of folding laundry. But I guess we’ll take what we can get…and look for opportunities where they arise.

One-on-one time is always special, no matter the task at hand.

January 18, 2011

One of My Favorite Quotes

I love quotes. I love those that inspire, and those that make you laugh, and those that remind you that you’re not the only nut in the world.

One of my favorite quotes about motherhood is from Desmond Tutu:

“You don’t choose your children. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.”

I think about it from time to time, and I draw a couple of really big pieces of inspiration from it.

I did not choose…nor could I have chosen…my children. God chooses them, specifically for us. I think most of us think of our children as gifts, but this further reminds me that my children are their own people. They are not “the twins”, and they are not miniature versions of me who will surely want the exact same things that I want.

My girls may not be 5’2” with eyes of blue. They may not like to bake. They may not want to attend The University of Alabama. They may not enjoy coffee, or manicures, or find joy in the perfect assortment of office supplies.

And that will be OK.

They will be their own beautiful people, and it’s my job to support them, to offer them the resources to figure it all out.

Mothers are a gift to their children. And one of the best gifts I can give to my children is myself…to give to them wholly, my heart and my soul, and my time and my resources.

I think it’s tempting sometimes to think, if I could only buy my kiddos this toy…or if I could only do this scrapbook layout…or if I could only take them to Disney World…but those things aren’t really important.

The most important thing is for our children to feel safe and secure and loved and supported…for them to have infinite hugs and kisses and a warm lap to snuggle in…for them to have a hand to hold, a cheerleader, and a trusted guide.

And I’m pretty sure I can do that.

Thanks to Multiples and More for the inspiration to write this post!


January 15, 2011

Unexpected Whiplash

I was feeling so proud of myself for approaching the girls’ birthday last week with such a joyful heart. And on the big day, I just enjoyed myself, enjoying the girls and appreciating the moment. I did shed a couple of tears as I was putting them to bed, and again at 9:47 and 9:49, the exact moments they entered this world, two years ago.

The day after the girls’ birthday, life began to return to normal. I was no longer evaluating each and every emotion, trying to gauge my feelings…

...and it’s exactly that nonchalance that allows things to sneak up on you.

I was looking for a particular picture, and I ran across one of my very favorites from those first few days after the girls came home from the hospital.

It’s incredible how tiny Baby A was, and I love how sweetly she was tucked into her daddy’s lap, safe and sound.



That picture didn’t elicit any tearful emotions, just a sweet sigh from Mommy.

Then, later that day, seemingly unrelated, the girls did some “artwork,” as they call it. I happened to think to hang it on the refrigerator. Why I haven’t hung their artwork on the refrigerator to date, I don’t know, but then it hit me…

…how were my babies so tiny just a short time ago, and are now big enough to have ARTWORK hanging on my ‘fridge???

Artwork is for Big Kids. How did My Babies get to be Big Kids so quickly???

And I may have just shed a little tear.

January 14, 2011

Fab 5 Friday and ME!

Another fabulous week in A & B World!

1) We got a healthy report from our pediatrician during our two-year checkup on Friday. I know my babies are perfect, but it’s always nice to hear it from an expert. :)

2) The girls are doing SO WELL eating with utensils! KNOCK ON WOOD as I type this, they’re getting less food on their hands, which has resulted in less food in their hair! I’m thinking we can cut baths back to twice a month. (KIDDING!!! Although wouldn’t that be nice?!!!)

3) The girls' newfound proficiency with utensils has opened the door to a plethora of new dishes. It was so great to make a chicken pot pie one night, and split pea soup another…and have the four of us sit down, at the same time, and eat the same thing. Hallelujah!!!

4) Our kitty Sasha has gone into the den (which requires the hurdling of baby gates) a couple of times this week while the girls were in their high chairs in the kitchen. Both times, they said, “Share, Sasha,” and did the baby sign for share [as I once asked them if they’d be willing to share their toys with Sasha]. I don’t remember ever seeing them sign “share” in the context of sharing with each other, but I guess their furry sister prompts them to be much more generous!

5) I made a big family breakfast on Tuesday (yet another snow day for the hubs). I served up matching plates (but for the fact that ours weren’t neon plastic) of scrambled eggs, fresh fruit, and pigs-in-a-blanket. I froze for a moment, realizing I didn’t want to tell the girls what the sausage-filled balls of doughy goodness were called – lest I turn them into vegetarians for life – but they didn’t pause long enough to recognize my stutter. The dove straight in and enjoyed every.last.scrap. ‘Atta girls!

And what did I do, just for 'lil ol' me???

My hubby has been out of school most of the week due to snow. During naptime last Friday, I got out to run a few errands. Although it meant I had to speed-shop for my groceries, I stopped in a new bead store that I’d been eyeing for months. I got to chat with the owner, and we shared our love for “buy local”. I only bought a couple of beads for two specific projects I’ve been thinking about, but I’m inspired to stop back in – soon, I hope – and try my hand at a new project.

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And…one more fabulous note...

Thank you so much to Rebecca of Unexplained x2 for awarding me the Trendy Blogger award!!! I don’t know how “trendy” I am (particularly if you could see me typing this in my Christmas-sock-monkey fleece pants and bumblebee socks…ahem…), but I appreciate the shout-out.

Rebecca is most certainly one of the bloggers I never miss…when I see a new blog post, I drop everything [except a baby] so I can check her out. Gotta love her honesty, and the way she writes about it is heee-larious. And I think she's a pretty smart mama, too. Check out some of her other picks here.

The Trendy Treehouse

January 12, 2011

Mixed Drinks

Because we had to supplement the girls’ diet with formula from Day 1, there was no “transition” to speak of when we moved to formula.

But when our pediatrician spoke those magic words at the girls’ one-year checkup, “You can move them to whole milk,”…when my mental calculator began to whir with the sound of savings…I had no idea what I was in for.

We used the remainder of the formula we had on hand, and the girls had their first taste of moo-juice in their nighttime bottle a week or so after their first birthday.

Baby B made a little face and fussed for a minute, but she ultimately drank her entire bottle that evening…and she never looked back.

Baby A, on the other hand, took a couple of sips and began to scream! She steadfastly refused to drink any milk. We had no formula remaining, so she went to bed without a bottle.

The next day, I decided to play tough. Milk, it was! But by the end of the day, when she had not had one drop of liquid, I relented and made a quick trip to the grocery store for another can of formula.

I remember that the poor baby didn’t believe me when I offered her a bottle of formula. I finally had my hubby give it to her before she would take it!

We went a few days with Baby A drinking formula again, as I felt I had to regain her trust. And then, ever so s…l…o…w…l…y… I began the transition again.

In a 120mL bottle, I literally started with 110mL formula and 10mL of milk. I went with this mixture for two or three days, and I would increase the milk by 5 or 10mL.

It took a full month or so before I could finally sever my ties with the Formula League and pledge my allegiance to Bessie the Cow.

Fast-forward 10 months, and I find myself sweating again. The pediatrician directed us last week to move the girls from whole milk to 2%.

At first, I was paralyzed.

I bought another gallon of whole milk and began to contemplate a game plan and give myself pep talks. A couple of days ago I bought another gallon of whole milk, along with a half gallon of 2% to begin the transition.

Before bed last night I gave the girls about 3/4 whole milk to 1/4 of the 2%. Holding my breath, I handed the girls their cups. Success!

By this evening, I decreased the ratio to 2/3 whole milk. So far, so good.

Fingers crossed that the switch continues according to plan…as just the thought of that prolonged transition a year ago makes me want to pour myself a mixed drink!

January 10, 2011

Logic 101, It Ain't

The girls and I are always looking for new things to discuss during our walks in the neighborhood. The holidays gave us lots of fodder, beginning with Halloween.

There were scores of pumpkins and some black kitty cats, which the girls loved to point out. One house a couple of streets over had some ghosts and witches hanging from a tree right by the sidewalk.

Although I hadn’t intended to teach them those words just yet, the girls were intrigued. I opted to call them all “ghosts” [fearing their mispronunciation of the word "witch"!], and we waved to them every time we passed. “Good morning, ghosts!” the girls would say excitedly.

And then one day, the ghosts, along with the black cats, were gone. “Ghosts?” the girls asked as we rounded the corner. “The ghosts went bye-bye, because Halloween is over,” I reassured them.

They accepted the explanation, but it still seems top of mind for them. “Ghosts, bye-bye…Halloween over,” the girls still say every time we walk by that house.

Many of the pumpkins stuck around until Thanksgiving. I’m not sure how the girls rationalized that against the pumpkins being gone. Maybe they were distracted by the appearance of a few turkey flags on our route.

The first of December of course brought a plethora of conversation topics…reindeer, snowmen, Santa Claus, oh my! The girls have never been so entertained!

Our walks – and car rides, for that matter – were filled with all sorts of holiday chatter all the way through New Year’s.

Earlier this week, I actually dreaded our first walk since our neighbors (well, almost all our neighbors…ahem) took down their holiday decorations. We made our first turn, where the girls were expecting to see their first set of reindeer friends.

Reindeer!!!” the girls demanded. As with our Christmas tree, and our Santa Claus collection, I had to explain that the reindeer are gone, because Christmas is over.

So now, what do the girls say every morning when they come downstairs to an empty den? Or when we pass formerly decorated houses? “Christmas tree, bye-bye…Halloween over,” of course!

Although without the necessary conjunction “because”, that is a true statement, the girls’ logic doesn’t quite hold…

…but give ‘em a break. I can see how holidays could be pretty confusing to a two-year old!

January 9, 2011

Ritualistic? Well, Maybe Just a Bit...

It’s no secret that I’m rather schedule-oriented.

The girls get up at a certain time, eat breakfast at a certain time, poop at a certain time, go down for a nap at a certain time…you get the picture. (And just kidding on the poop…but wouldn’t that be nice???)

There are also plenty of things I do each and every day, just the same…like invite the girls to eat in the exact same intonation, and pray the exact same prayer every night as I put them to bed (part of which I’ve been praying since we found out we were pregnant!).

Our breakfasts alternate between oatmeal and cream of wheat during the week, and on Sundays I make the girls French toast (following a Saturday night reading of Curious George and the Pancake Breakfast).

I don’t literally consider myself ritualistic, but I think there’s value in structure and knowing what to expect…and I figure, why mess with a good thing?

I’ve blogged about a number of “traditions” I’ve started for the girls, like strawberry cake on Valentine's Day , the girls’ 1/2 birthday celebrations, our annual trip to the pumpkin patch, and most recently, their birthday play-by-play.

Traditions…rituals…whatever you call them, I thought I’d divulge one more.

I take the girls’ picture before each of their well-baby visits. For a visit to the pediatrician, they’re always dressed in a special outfit, and I’ll have an exact weight and height to note on the picture. Oh, and I’m a Sucker (with a capital “S”) for comparison pictures!

The girls’ two-year checkup was on Friday.


Baby A measured 24 pounds and 34”. Baby B measured 25 pounds and 33.5”.

Look how much they’ve grown – and changed! – since just six months ago, at their 18-month checkup!


Baby A measured 21 pounds, 10 ounces and 32”. Baby B measured 23 pounds, 3 ounces and 31.5”.

I hope one day the girls will appreciate my dutiful note-taking and schedule-making…either that, or they’ll work together to find a 12-step program for their “ritualistic” mama.

January 7, 2011

Second Birthday Play-by-Play

Thanks to my friend Jenny's twins being born one week prior to A and B, I got to copy her brilliant idea of a "birthday play-by-play" last year. And I had so much fun, I decided to do it again this year!

What's a "
birthday play-by-play", you ask?

Well, I like to think of it as a snapshot in time. I take a gazillion (or more accurately, just over 200) pictures on the girls' birthday. I jot down as much detail as I can during the day...what time the girls got up...what they had for breakfast...who said what...where we went...and what we did.

I would love to be able to keep this up in the years to come, and have what I imagine will be a pretty awesome account of a "day in the lives", year by year.

So, without further ado, and with apologies upfront for the picture-heavy post...

I present to you the girls' Second Birthday Play-by-Play!

7:30am: Good morning to my beautiful birthday girls! When I said, "Tell Sissy 'happy birthday'," they did in unison...so sweet!


Morning snuggles with "tiny baby dolls".


7:45am: Downstairs in the den, the girls discovered their new couch. Here you see them giving it the "crawl and climb" test.


8:15am: Mommy made a very special breakfast that included French toast. "Hey, it's not Sunday morning!" the girls must have thought. "This IS going to be a special day!"


After breakfast, the girls made themselves at home on their new couch. They snuggled with their various dolls and doggies and looked at some books.


Even on their birthday, there was still work to be done in the kitchen. :)


11:00am: We met Aunt Shanda for lunch at Garcia's. Aunt Shanda was there when the girls were born...and we have to make a point to see her sometime during our special day every year!


12:15pm: Home from lunch. The girls piled back up on the couch and admired their new puppy doggies from Aunt Shanda, along with their shiny silver purses (not pictured). :)


3:30pm: After naptime, Miss Jennifer (a very sweet college student who has helped me with the girls a couple of times) stopped by. She brought the girls magical microphones, which they've since discovered make singing the ABCs even more fun!


5:30pm: Mommy made one of the girls' favorite dishes, shrimp scampi with mushrooms, over wild rice. They cleaned their plates and asked for seconds. Mommy finally had to say no when they asked for thirds...they didn't know they needed to save room for CAKE!

The girls have sampled plenty of sweets, but this was the first time they ever got an actual serving of a dessert...for themselves...with ICE CREAM. The chocolate molten lava pudding cake and vanilla ice cream were a hit!


After supper, the girls got to open their gifts from Mommy and Daddy, two books each. I'm guessing by the looks on their faces that A asked B, "Hey, what'cha got there?" And B said, tearfully, "I don't know! I can't open it...Mommy uses too much tape!"


6:15pm: We enjoyed some cuddle time with our new books on our new couch before it was time to go upstairs for one last cup of milk.


7:15pm: Every night, after we drink our milk, we put on our night-time diapers, read a bedtime story, and snuggle with Daddy.


7:30: Mommy sings a silly little song..."Let's brush our teeth and wash our faces, and then we'll go to bed and say our graces!"

Happy birthday, Baby Girls!We are so very blessed!

Fab 5 Friday...and ME!

Despite a little case of the sniffles, this has been one fabulous week!

1) On New Year’s Eve, the weather was nice enough for us to go for a long walk. When we got home, I parked the girls’ stroller in the driveway, and they enjoyed watching Mommy and Daddy play a few minutes of pretty competitive Frisbee. With a little coaching, they clapped and cheered at the more spectacular catches. And they naturally laughed when Mommy dropped the pass (not sure how I feel about that one!).

2) I made a big batch of juvec this week…as close as I’ve ever been able to come to my hubby’s mom’s recipe…what I describe as “Hungarian jambalaya”. I decided to try it on the girls, and they loved it! And their daddy’s heart melted just a little more when he heard, “More juvec, please!

3) I’m quite proud of myself for working towards one of my 2011 goals with unabashed fervor. The girls have eaten at least one dish a day from bowls…with spoons! Baby A is doing amazingly well, and Baby B is trying really hard. And Mommy is taking deep, deep breaths.

4) The girls are reaching new levels of conversation every day. Just one example…upon seeing me pull a cup out of the cabinet, Baby B said, “Kitty cat on Mommy[‘s] coffee mug!” WOW!!!

5) We had a fantastic day on Wednesday, honoring our girls and celebrating their second birthday. It was relaxed and fun…filled with lots of playing and reading and several of our favorite foods. Bliss!

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Starting this week, I’ll be linking up with the great Dolli-Mama at Life Not Finished for what I think is a fantastic new meme, “52 Weeks of Me!

I generally keep this blog focused on the girls…as my life is of course very focused on them…as I think it should be. But with that focus, it can be easy for a mom to forget about herself.

That saying, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”? Yeah, I’m not quite sure where that came from...

Dolli-Mama has challenged herself to do one thing each week just for her, and I’m excited to join her. Some weeks that one thing might be big – like a pedicure or a date night with hubby.

But what I think is particularly great about this challenge is forcing ourselves to look around when we don’t have a “big event” to cite…to appreciate the bubble bath I had after the girls were in bed, or the real cream I treated myself to in a cup of coffee.

Sometimes it may just be a matter of perspective, but we have to make sure to take care of ourselves. I truly believe it makes us better mommies…and that’s what it’s all about.

So how did I indulge myself this week???

On Sunday afternoon, when all the troops – A, B, Daddy, and the kitty cat – were napping, I went to Panera. I got myself a big ceramic coffee mug and filled it with hazelnut coffee and a splash of real cream. That went perfectly with the toffee crunch cookie I ate! I scored my favorite table right by the fireplace. I sat back, relaxed, and worked on some (belated) holiday cards…all.by.myself. Yum!!!

Check out the Dolli-Mama and see what she and others did this week to treat themselves...and maybe it will inspire you to do the same!

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January 4, 2011

Birthday Emotions

The girls’ second birthday is tomorrow.

Last year this time, I had been crying for days already. I can’t quite explain it, but I’m sure most moms understand.

For me, I was thinking about those last few weeks of pregnancy, how I wish I’d had my feet up more, and what I might have been able to do to keep the girls cooking just a little longer.

I was thinking how quickly the past year had flown, and hoping I hadn’t been too caught up in the tedium and missed some really special moments.

Last year, our girls were still babies, and I knew they wouldn’t stay that way for long.

So far this week, I haven’t shed any tears.

Part of it is that I know by now I can drive myself crazy with the “what if’s” and “woulda-shoulda-coulda’s”, and I avoid thinking about certain topics altogether.

But I think the bigger piece is that this past year has been pretty amazing, and I remark so often that it just keeps getting better every day.

For the most part, our girls aren’t babies anymore. They are little girls. They are full of song and dance and letters and numbers...hugs and kisses and cuddles and snuggles...walking hand in hand and exploring the world. I feel like every day I’m glimpsing the future, and I just love the thought of what it holds.

I can’t say I won’t cry tomorrow…when the clock strikes 9:47, and then again at 9:49…when I think about those magical moments that changed my life forever.

But if I do, I know they’ll be tears of joy and thankfulness.

Happy birthday, baby girls! It’s been an amazing year, and I’m looking forward to many, many more.

Back to Life, Back to Reality

(…in my best En Vogue impression...sorry for the visual...)

I think that one of the challenges of being a stay-at-home mom to young children is that most days look very much the same. Particularly because I am very schedule-oriented, a Tuesday looks a lot like a Friday, which bears a striking resemblance to a Sunday.

My hubby is a teacher. Between three snow days and the holidays, he was home with us for almost three weeks. Monday was his first day back at work.

I certainly wouldn’t say I had a “holiday break”…I still changed every single diaper and fed the girls every single meal…but yesterday, when I realized my first opportunity to shower wouldn’t be until after lunch, it hit me that I at least enjoyed a little more freedom these past couple of weeks.

Yes, I had more freedom…to shower when the girls were (gasp!) awake…to make a couple of grocery store runs in the middle of the day, sans kiddos…to take a couple of naps downstairs with the baby monitor off (as hubby was napping upstairs with the monitor on)…and to get out and about during naptime, making good use of my Starbucks giftcard.

And what about the girls?



They enjoyed considerable snuggling with Daddy.

And Daddy?



He enjoyed all sorts of culinary creations.

This week, the girls and I will work to get back in our little groove, and Daddy will get to enjoy a few extra welcome-home kisses at the end of the day. While we enjoyed the holiday break, "back to reality" is probably a good thing.

 
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