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August 31, 2011

Blessed Homecoming

A friend of mine from high school just had the sweetest twin baby girls (new lil' sissies to her older daughter, who is about the same age as A&B).

It's been so much fun to follow her pregnancy journey, and now see pictures and hear the first few anecdotes since the babies came home last week.

Seeing those teeny tiny fingers and toes was a sweet reminder of a couple of my favorite pictures from when our girls came home from the hospital.

I love this one as we were packing to take the girls home. You can see the pride in our faces (and maybe a little bit of fear, too!)...



And this is one of the first couple of pictures taken of the girls at home. I just remember a very overwhelming feeling of belonging...for us and for them. They were together at last, in their own little bed...side by side.



[I popped over to link up with Cheryl at Twinfatuation for "Way Back When-esday". I knew she'd had some storm damage, but the picture of the damage to her house is unbelieveable. Cheryl, we're so glad you and your family are OK...you're in our thoughts!]

August 30, 2011

Building Blocks of Knowledge Acquisition

The girls’ language skills started to really blossom around 20 months. It was about that time that they started being able to fill in the blanks in simple songs and rhymes, including the ABCs. I could say, “A…B…C…[pause]” and they would shout out “D!

Over the next couple of months, they began singing their ABCs in earnest. They also learned their numbers to 10, and then to 15 (although they still often skip the number 13...despite any superstitious surrendering at our house).

My gut was to boast, “My girls know their ABCs! My girls can count to 10!” [because I was some kinda proud]. But something about saying that just didn’t quite sit right with me [beyond the fact that boastfulness is not always becoming]. :)

Yes, the girls could say their ABCs, but did they know what they were saying? They could recite their numbers, but I knew they weren’t counting.

Several months ago I read the book Einstein Never Used Flashcards. A big part of it talks about the process of knowledge acquisition. It’s just so fascinating to understand the building blocks…how children learn one skill set, and the next is built upon it.

One section of the book is devoted to numbers, and what skills precede a child being able to grasp more abstract concepts…from less versus more, to counting, to addition and subtraction.

At 2 ½, I can finally say that my girls can count. They now can recite their numbers to 20…but over the past week, Baby B counted four crayons, and Baby A counted five keys. It really felt like a major milestone!

One section of the book is devoted to language and reading skills. I found it so interesting that a major step is a child’s ability to realize that letters on a page tell us something…that combinations of letters form words, and the sequence of words communicates an idea.

I know our girls are there, as evidenced by the endless, “What this says?” questions at each and every turn.
And I finally feel comfortable saying they know their ABCs…they’re not just making sounds to the tune of a familiar song. They can identify their letters, and – although they sometimes need a little help – they can list a few words that start with each letter.

I don’t mean to suggest that I needed to have read that book to “teach” the girls, or that I’m “following” some lock-step approach. [The point of the book actually is to reinforce the importance of playing and reading and talking, citing that a “flash card approach” is not necessary.]

But reading the book has helped me to understand some of the milestones to look for…and appreciate. And the whole idea of the process of knowledge acquisition is pretty darn cool, if you ask me.

August 27, 2011

Nature Calls

I’m sure it’s no surprise that our girls – like most kids, I assume – are near obsessed with animals. Farm animals…zoo animals…fish…birds…butterflies and moths…even beetles…those are a few [hundred] of our favorite things, no doubt.

The girls’ books are a great source for animal appreciation. Particularly when they were smaller, we spent many an hour turning page after page, pointing to animals, Mommy making all sorts of noises and gestures.

Things really got fun when the girls started to engage in baby sign language, shortly after they turned a year old. They loved to flap their arms for “bird”, slap their knees for “dog”, and hold the imaginary reins of every “horse”.

It was about that time that we began spending a lot of time at the window, looking out into the backyard. We live in the ‘burbs, but in addition to lots of birds and butterflies, we’re also fortunate to have a few other furry creatures bounding by.

We spot bunnies on a regular basis. We think we even had a nest with two baby bunnies somewhere nearby this spring.

We also have our share of squirrels, including one of the most beautiful creatures I’ve ever seen…a stark white squirrel.


This picture was taken through the window, so it’s a bit cloudy, but I’m glad to have captured this majestic critter on film. He’s even more stunning against the bright green grass, or running through the deep dark mulch.

The girls go running to the window when one of us spots a bird or rabbit or squirrel…and you can usually find all of us with our noses pressed to the glass when the white squirrel graces our yard.

August 26, 2011

Fab 5 Friday...and ME!!!

Despite a little cold having worked its way through our house, this week was still pretty fabulous!

1) We’d gotten out of our summertime routine over the past few weeks, but we got back on track on Saturday. We strolled the farmer’s market for fresh fruits and veggies, and then had a late breakfast (for Mommy and Daddy / a snack for the girls) at Panera. It’s seriously the perfect start to the weekend.

2) I very rarely take the girls out for lunch...but we made an exception to join Aunt Shanda on Monday at our favorite Mexican restaurant. We hadn’t eaten with her since the girls’ birthday (in January), and it was pretty amazing to think about the differences in just seven months! Oh, and the food was delish, of course, too!

3) I taught the girls a new party trick this week…to fist bump and say, Wonder Twin Power!They have no idea what they’re saying, but it cracks me up every time.

4) Baby A is really making strides in her “artwork”. She can make a pretty decent “A” at times (although just as often it looks like an “H”)…and she shocked me by attempting to draw a cat! She had a circle with whiskers on either side, and a scribble of some sort in the middle. Of course I saved that as her first masterpiece!

5) Baby B said a couple of things I could hardly believe this week. “I realized Nana Audrey was coming because the door was closed.” Seriously???

And Daddy had to leave for a late meeting at work one night. B asked me if Daddy would see his “colleagues”. She didn’t say it perfectly, so I asked if that’s what she meant. She repeated it correctly. I asked if she knew what that meant. I gave her a fill-in-the-blank. “’Colleagues’ are the people that Daddy….” and she answered “teaches with”!

Oh, and I referred to my old pair of sunglasses as ratty, which both girls have now picked up…HA!

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

I had plans to get together with Aunt Shanda on Friday night in some form or fashion. I called her last minute and asked if she’d be up for making S’mores. I stopped by the store to pick up the fixins’, and on the way to her house, I glanced over to see Aunt Karen at the stop light beside me. I asked her if she wanted to join us…and she did! [We live in a small town, but it’s not seriously that small…that was quite a surprise to run into Karen!] So…an impromptu S’mores party…to a soundtrack of reggae music and a couple of great friends…good for the soul, it was!!!

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August 25, 2011

Gettin' Crafty!

From the time I was a very little girl, I remember loving arts and crafts. From coloring and painting…to cutting and gluing…to basic needlework…I could entertain myself for hours. I lived for art class at school, art lessons in the afternoons, and craft day at Girl Scouts.

Over the past several years, I’ve dabbled in scrapbooking, and I really love it. It helps focus my need to preserve every ticket stub, and the creative possibilities are endless.

Before the girls were born, I bought a lot of “girly” scrapbook supplies…frilly pink paper, beautiful ribbon, adorable buttons and brads. One of my best friends swears I told her, “I’ll need something to do while the girls are sleeping…I don’t want to be bored.” [Insert crazy-person laugh here…as if!!!]

Sadly, I haven’t done much scrapbooking over the past three years. Although I did finally organize my supplies in a user-friendly system, it still seems like such a task to pull everything out and “scrap”. [Or maybe I’m just waiting to find myself “bored”…bwahahaha!!!]

For our MoMs meeting on Sunday, I asked one of my former colleagues to speak to us about scrapbooking. Nancy has a contagious enthusiasm, and such a clear passion for what she does.

We all had so much fun, sitting around in a circle…cutting, gluing, sharing pretty paper and buttons…and gabbing, of course. It definitely reminded me of a Girl Scout meeting (minus the S’mores).

During the meeting, Nancy stressed that you don’t have to spend a ton of money, or invest a ton of time, to scrapbook. She gave us some great organizational tips -- my favorite is keeping pictures you plan to scrapbook, grouped together by event, in a coupon wallet…genius!!!

So…newly energized and inspired, I broke out my scrapbooking supplies this week and put together a page. It’s not the most brilliant of masterpieces…I spent maybe 30 minutes in total…but I have to say, it was invigorating.


[For the flowers, I had the girls finger paint on cardstock. I then cut out ~1" circles, applied adhesive on the back, and had them glue the chips around a circle I'd drawn. I used ribbon for the flower stems and grass.]

Speaking of enthusiasm, passion, and energy…I’m linking up with Marcia’s Virtual Craft Day. Marcia says she’s not “crafty”, but she seems to put together some of the cutest little notebooks, pencil caddies, and party favors. (Enthusiastic, passionate, and energetic, she may be…but I think she’s a bit of a fibber!)

Marcia’s challenge is to set aside some craft time every week, and I think it’s a great idea. I need to sit back, relax, and not worry about creating The Perfect Piece of Art…but just enjoy. I know I will.

***

I have been anxiously awaiting the girls getting old enough to begin arts and crafts with them. They love to color and play with stickers. And their scribbles are ever-so-slowly becoming more intentional (at least here and there). I’m occasionally brave enough to dabble with the girls in finger paint, and we’ve even experimented with glue a time or two.

It won’t be long before they’re "artsing-and-crafting" right alongside me…and that’s gonna be some kinda fun!!!

August 23, 2011

A Bit About Me, August Edition

My birthday is February 23, and on the 23rd of each month, I’ve taken to sharing a couple of random things about me.

This month I’m writing as part of Holly’s What I Love About Me! link-up at Twins Plus One, Three Times the Fun.

23) I love that I love to cook.

I’m not a gourmet, by any stretch, but I really enjoy being in the kitchen. There’s just something about creating a dish from simple ingredients…and taking care of my family in the process…that is really fulfilling to me. I love trying new concoctions, and also making those tried-and-true dishes where I don’t need to crack open my recipe books. Since the girls were born, we go out to each much less often than we once did. I love that I can find joy in something I do every single day…might as well!

24) I love that I love doing things for other people.

Of course I love to be on the receiving end of good fortune, but I find a lot of joy in making other people happy. I love surprising my hubby with his favorite dessert, or making a plate of goodies for him to take to his students. I try to keep a little mental tally of my friends’ favorite cookies, flowers, colors…it’s so much fun for me to surprise someone with a little “happy”. I try hard not to focus on just material things, but showing people that I really know them in other ways…with an impromptu card or goody. I’m working hard to instill this same love in the girls, helping them find the joy in doing for others, too.

[I usually keep these posts a bit more random, professing my love for my measuring spoons, or my affinity for my favorite pen. This was actually kinda hard to write…it feels a little boastful…but I think that’s part of Holly’s point. We all need to step back and pat ourselves on the backs from time to time and appreciate the wonderful gifts that we all have to share. Thanks for the prompt, Holly!]

August 22, 2011

At 2 1/2, Are My Girls Too Big to Swaddle???

I was a big proponent of swaddling from Day 1. I could really sense the girls felt much more comfortable and secure when they were snug as a couple of little bugs in their blankets.

Although I considered myself a pretty proficient swaddle-maker, by eight weeks or so, the girls were able to wiggle out of even the most securely blanketed cocoon. And as soon as they’d startle themselves with a movement, they were awake.

I remembered a friend had suggested using a swaddle blanket with Velcro closures…like a little straight jacket, she’d said. Before the girls were born, that sounded like a perfectly horrific description…but desperate for more than two hours of sleep at a time, I found myself being much less horrified by the thought.

We finally invested in a couple of Kiddopotamus SwaddleMe blankets. It may have been a coincidence, but after using them for less than two weeks, the girls started sleeping through the night. [Cue the singing of angels!!!]

When I need to relax myself, I have a very peaceful scene I focus on in my mind. On an infant level, I equate the stillness encouraged by a swaddle blanket to that discipline. Based on our (miraculous?) experience, I have given swaddle blankets as part of almost every baby gift in the past two years.

I don’t know if I’m giving too much weight to the blankets we used, but I credit them with helping our girls achieve nighttime sleep…and with setting them up to be really good sleepers for a long time to come.

Fast-forward a couple of years, and I’ve found myself longing for the miraculous effects of our swaddle blankets. The girls still sleep very well at night (KNOCK softly ON WOOD), but we’ve had our share of naptime struggles as of late. I know the girls are tired, but one of them – in particular – seems to have trouble settling down to fall asleep.

Is she too big to swaddle??? I mean, if she would just hold still for three minutes, I know she’d be out like a light!

Since I don’t think they make swaddle blankets in size XXXL (short of an actual straight jacket, which would likely be considered child abuse, at least in some states), I finally invested in a white noise machine.

I am hoping the sound of falling rain will give Baby Numero Uno something to focus on and clear her mind…instead of winding herself up with the recitation of every nursery rhyme she’s heard in the course of the day, followed by a rousing chorus of songs and animal noises.

I’m linking up again this week with Julia at Pontifications of a Twin Mom, citing the swaddle blankets one of this mama’s true loves. And I can only hope that the sound machine will hold some of the same magic, such that I might link it up one day, too. Pleeeeeeeeeease???

August 20, 2011

Mirror-Image Twins

I usually say that our girls are *very* fraternal, as I don't think they favor very much physically.

Personality-wise, the girls are pretty different, too.

But in response to the question, "Do they get along?" I always answer to the affirmative. They complement each other so amazingly well, each moving seamlessly around the other.

They're not always playing together, but it seems there's always some level of awareness as to where Sissy is and what she's doing.

And oftentimes, I'll find the girls like this...me not having said a word, but the two of them, almost perfectly mirrored to the other...



They may not share the same DNA, but this twinship deal is certainly a beautiful thing.

August 19, 2011

Fab 5 Friday...and ME!!!

So thankful for another fabulous week!!!

1) At least during the first part of the week, we were loving the COOLER WEATHER!!! We got to enjoy some fantastic time outside, including walks and playing in the back yard. It just does a body good to breathe fresh air and soak up a bit of Vitamin D (through a thick layer of sunscreen, of course).

2) Daddy couldn’t have been more surprised when he drove home on Monday, seeing the girls coloring with chalk on the driveway. That was our first foray into that medium, and we all had such a good time. “We chalked,” Baby B kept saying. And for several days afterwards, the girls would exclaim, “Kitty cat! Rainbow! Boat!” every time we went outside.

3) We had not one – but TWO – play dates over the past week! On Friday, my friend Meridith came over with her three-year old little boy and five-week old little girl. A&B weren’t very interested in the three-year old, but they were so tickled to be up close and personal with a baby. And then we had a fantastic time playing with K&S on Wednesday.

4) Very recently, the girls have begun to hold real [albeit very short] phone conversations. Daddy calls us every day during lunch. I love holding the phone for the girls and hearing them answer questions about our day, smiling from ear to ear.

5) The girls have uttered some really grown-up phrases as of late, and it’s just too cute. B was talking to Daddy one morning, and she said, “That’s my point,” in perfect context. And A was explaining something to me. She said, “…sometimes, but not very often.” And A just cracks me up when I’ll ask her what she’s doing, and I’ll often get, “I’m just being silly,” in the sweetest little baby voice.

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

I feel like I’ve had to really stretch the past couple of weeks to name my “me” time, so I’m listing THREE things I can cite this week!

On Saturday I slipped out for an hour and checked out the grand opening of a new tea shoppe downtown. I indulged in a red velvet tea cake, my book my only company.

I bought myself some new sunglasses…nothing fancy…but it was time to invest in another pair.

And on Thursday, while Miss Jennifer was with the girls, I ran a couple of errands, and still made time to pick up a trashy [Star] magazine and enjoy a latte before I had to head home.

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A fabulous week, all the way around!

August 18, 2011

Pardon Me While I Catch My Breath

Seeing them almost every minute of every day, I often find it hard to look at my own children and really gauge how big they are.

It usually hits me when I see my friends’ children. And sometimes when I remark, “They’re so big! I can’t believe how grown they are!” my one friend reminds me that my girls are, in fact, four months older than her girls.

We had a great time yesterday playing with our dear friends K and S, who are exactly one week older than A and B.

Of course seeing the four kiddos, leaping and bounding around the den, talking and interacting, it struck me how BIG K and S are. They’re not babies…they’re little kids! And I guess that means my girlies are BIG, too.

It seems like just yesterday the four of them were crawling around the den, not a word to their names.



And yesterday, they all piled on the couch and responded to Miss Jenny’s, “Everybody say ‘hooray!’” and “Everybody stick out your tongues!” while I snapped some pictures.


Huh???

It was such a fun morning, but a really eye-opening one, as well.

To underscore my realization of my BIG kids, the girls and I took a quick trip to Kohl’s yesterday to buy a few long-sleeve shirts and pants. [Cooler weather eventually has to get here, right???]

I instinctively steered the stroller to the same spot where I’ve been shopping for the past three years. “Oh, aren’t these bibs the cutest?! And look at these little Halloween costumes!

…and then it hit me. That section is for NB through 24 months.

Gulp.

I had to walk past all that baby cuteness to the preschool section.

Gulp.

2T - 4T.

Yep, my girls are BIG.


Don’t mistake me for complaining. This is The Most Amazing Age.
But pardon me while I catch my breath…and perhaps consult my chiropractor for this mean case of whiplash.

August 16, 2011

Mama Loves: Allegories

We have a ton of books at our house…it’s one of the few things I think we can never have enough of. A recurring theme throughout many of the girls’ books is the search for something…

…the duck looking for other animals that are like him…

…the farm animals trying to figure out what a kangaroo is, and how she will affect their life on the farm…

…the puppy trying to learn the name of other baby animals…

…and our favorite nighttime story, Have You Got My Purr?, about a little kitten who is searching for her purr.

Her mother tells her, “You will find your purr, just wait and see.”

The impatient kitten can’t wait, so she visits with each of the other animals on her farm, hoping they might have her purr. The sheep only has a “baa”; the pig, an “oink”; the cow, a “moo”…until, at the end of the day, the wise old owl directs the kitten back to her mother.

The mother cat realizes the kitten’s misunderstanding: “No one can take your purr. It’s inside you. You hear it when you’re happy.”

So the tiny kitten, so tired from her journey, snuggles next to her mother, “…and suddenly, there it was!” The most perfect purr.

We’ve been reading this story since the girls were tiny. They love the farm animals…the precious artwork…the way the story starts out with gusto and gradually winds down…

...and in addition to all those things, this mama loves the message.

We are each responsible for our own happiness. No sheep, no cow, no pig…no man, no woman…no car, no house, no designer shoes…can deliver it. Our happiness is inside each of us, and I think my job is to help our girls know this, and give them tools to find their own.

***

I’m linking up again this week with Julia at Pontifications of a Twin Mom, for her series, “Mama Loves”. We all love this book at our house!

August 15, 2011

...and THAT Would Be an Embarrassing Injury!

I distinctly remember Baby A’s first bruise. She was about seven months old, and I noticed a big, ugly, purple bruise on the back of her calf. Like any [neurotic] mother, I called the pediatrician’s office. Of course the nurses knew me well from the [various other neurotic] calls I made on a weekly basis.

My favorite nurse assured me that a basic bruise was no big deal…and then I’m guessing she hung up the phone and told her nurse friends, “You’ve gotta hear this one!

Since that time, our girls have had their share of bumps and bruises, including three skinned knees [two of which required band-aids], and various, assorted, and sundry bruises from running into things, falling on top of things, and yes – colliding with each other.

I’ve chilled out quite a bit over the past couple of years, and I’m usually comfortable to quell my own neuroticism, leaving the pediatrician’s office to deal with actual concerns.

Since Baby A started using the potty this spring, we have had a couple of close calls, neither of which has resulted in a call to the pediatrician...and I’m really hoping I don’t have to resort to that.

I saw a report several years ago about “toilet vapors” travelling several yards with a flush, and I’ve since become an adamant Toilet Lid Closer. (Do you see where this is going?)

I opted not to reward Baby A’s potty success with candy or stickers. Instead, I made a huge deal out of flushing the toilet. And thanks to my superb salesmanship, when she finishes, she is so eager to depress that little silver handle…often WITHOUT FIRST CLOSING THE LID.

I can’t stand idly by and allow my darling daughter to be covered in “toilet vapors”, though, so I rush to close the lid.

And yes, in my haste to protect her from “the vapors”, I have bonked her on the head with the toilet lid a couple of times.

Fortunately I think those “bonks” sound a lot worse than they are, as Baby A hasn’t been phased at all…she’s just concentrated on celebrating her success with that little silver handle.

I guess I need to start marketing the fun of closing the toilet lid, too, in the hopes of avoiding a real injury. Heaven knows that a run-in with a toilet lid would make for an embarrassing call to the pediatrician!

August 14, 2011

View on a Sunday Morning

The temperature is only supposed to reach 83 DEGREES today, so you can imagine how pleasant the weather was this morning!

We went for a long walk in the neighborhood...Mommy, Daddy, A, and B, hand in hand. We talked to a couple of dogs, chased a few butterflies, and checked out some cacti that are part of the landscaping a few streets over.

When we got home (after a full hour's walk!), we broke out the girls' lawn chairs for them to enjoy a little snack under the big tree in our backyard.


We finished out the morning by playing for a few minutes with our neighbors, and then came inside for a hearty lunch.

I'm hoping for a hearty nap (!!!), and then we'll try to soak in some more fresh air this afternoon.

This is the good stuff!

August 13, 2011

Blogger Woes...Help???!!!

There's nothing else for me to conclude than that my blog has been somehow possessed by a mutant Lego monster who finds joy in rearranging all my hard work, and eating those integral little pieces that help all the bigger parts come together.

Gah!!!

My Blogger woes started -- I think -- when I downloaded the new version of Internet Explorer (version 9, I think). I was no longer able to publish a post in regular fashion...I had to save it as a draft, and then publish from my dashboard.

This wasn't too crazy, but I couldn't then go back and edit posts (without deleting them and starting over)...and Blogger was toying with my spacing, too, which also drives me NUTSO!

Then I noticed that the titles of my posts didn't seem to function as links. And -- related to that, I think -- I had several folks tell me that my posts weren't linked in Google Reader.

And then yesterday, after I published a (very poorly-spaced) post, my blogroll seemed to disappear! I finally found it last night, at the very bottom of my blog. The crazy thing is that I can look at my "Design" tab and everything looks in order.

HELP!!!!!!!!!!

Does anyone have any counsel? I don't mean to over-exaggerate, but I just feel all out of sorts!!!

August 12, 2011

Fab 5 Friday...and ME!!!

This was Daddy’s first full week back at work, and the girls and I are adjusting really well. We’ve read a lot of books, had a lot of tea parties, and done some grocery shopping. We miss having Daddy home, but we’re enjoying being back in our routine, too.
So what specifically made our week so fabulous?
1) On Saturday afternoon we went to story time at the bookstore. We hadn’t been since last October, and I was so amazed at how well the girls did! They actually followed the story, and have talked about various story elements throughout the week. I call that a milestone!

2) Thanks to an overcast sky, it wasn’t *quite* as hot on Sunday afternoon, and we were able to play outside in the backyard with the girls. We spread out the picnic blanket for our afternoon snack, and we were finally able to give them their bubble mowers. Good, clean, family fun…I love it!!!
3) The girls had their first taste of Indian food on Saturday night – Mama’s [probably-not-very-authentic] Tandoori Shrimp. Baby A ate well enough, but Baby B devoured her portion. It makes my heart smile to see the girls eating well and enjoying good food.
4) When I got the girls up on Wednesday, Baby B said, I missed you all night, Mommy!
5) I was able to take the girls on a walk on Thursday morning, for the first time in close to two weeks. The weather was so pleasant…I could almost taste a bit of fall in the air. The fresh (and COOL) air did us all so good…ahhh!!!
And what did I do for ME this week???
I spent A LOT of time this week catching up on picture editing. That may not sound like “me” time, but it sure does take a weight off my shoulders to be back on track.

August 11, 2011

Captured: Screaming and Crying

My sweet friend Marcia of 123 Blog is hosting a link-up for crying baby pictures.

It feels a little wrong somehow when I chuckle seeing pictures of babies crying...but without the accompanying soundbite and larger context, some of those pictures are so darn cute.

In two-and-a-half years, though, I have only a couple of pictures of my girls crying. I don't mean to suggest that there ain't no misbehavin' going on at our house...HA!!!...but the girls' true crying - fortunately - doesn't ensue very often.

The girls truly cry when they're hurt...and of course I'm not going to take a picture then.

The other time the girls really cry is as part of some type of tantrum...and picture-taking doesn't fit into my "I'm Choosing to Ignore Your Fit" / "Never Let 'em See You Sweat"-approach.

After a bit of thought, I remembered I had a few pictures from our first holiday pictures, taken when the girls were about 11 months old.

Everyone was OK as long as the four of us were together, but Baby B wasn't quite so sure when I put her down on the cold floor for some babies-only pictures...



This is the next frame, with B in full-on tears. Baby A seems to be questioning what just happened...



As soon as Mommy entered the stage, in the next frame, B was all smiles again (and A seems to be wondering what happened to her close-up)...



...and just to show we had a happy ending...here's our holiday card shot...



I'm certainly glad I have these pictures, and maybe one day Baby B will be able to chuckle at herself, too.

August 10, 2011

Where I Attempt to Use Murphy's Law to My Advantage

As the Potty-capades go, Baby A is doing very well.

Over the past couple of days she’s been napping in her undies, and so far we haven’t had any security breaches. She’s waking up dry in the mornings, too, but I’m not quite ready to let go of the safety of a nighttime diaper…and she doesn’t seem to mind.

Baby B is still quite the confident diaper-wearer.

I do think she may be making small strides in the direction of the potty. Over the past two or three weeks, she’s become very particular about her diaper. She starts yelling immediately after she gets wet or dirty, “Mommy!!! Go change my diaper!!! I have tee-tees!!!” I hope that means she’s becoming more aware of bathroom activities.

I’m still A-okay with Baby B taking her time at this point, although I wonder if she’ll “train herself” like Baby A did a few months ago, or if she’ll require a different tact.

I decided to tempt the hands of fate earlier this week.

Target has an excellent deal on diapers right now…but you have to buy A LOT of diapers to get the deal. Specifically, I am now the proud owner of 224 shiny new Pampers Cruisers.

I laughed to myself a bit…having so many diapers on hand, it’s my luck that tomorrow Baby B will wake up and tell me she is a big girl, that she will not be wearing diapers ever again.

And then I decided I’d take the risk.

If Mr. Murphy (of Murphy’s Law fame) wants to help me out, I’m all for it. The $70 I spent on diapers would be well worth having TWO potty-trained kiddos.

…or, if not…I’m set to respond to Baby B’s alarms in high style for another couple of months.

August 9, 2011

Setting a Good Example Goes Both Ways

As parents, of course we’re supposed to set a good example for our kiddos…and the area of eating is a big one for me.

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about sweets. While I could polish off most of a pan of brownies, along with a pint of ice cream to help wash it down…I am trying to teach my girls by example how to enjoy such treats in moderation…to appreciate the yummy-ness, but not overindulge.

It’s probably not a secret that I’m really proud of how well my girls eat. They eat a really balanced diet, and they’ll try (and usually like) most anything I put on their plates.

I was thinking about it a week or so ago, that I don’t think our girls have EVER eaten a meal without fresh fruit. I serve fresh fruit three times a day at home. And – while I’ve greatly pared down the paraphernalia I take when we eat out – I still carry a bowl of grapes or diced strawberries when we go to a restaurant that doesn’t offer fruit on their menu.

And then it occurred to me that I am the one that needs to learn from their example in this case.

Not only am I trying to set a good example for my girlies, I’m trying to do what I can to take good care of myself so I can be around for a long, long time.

So on this note, I’m taking a page from my girlies.

It’s nothing to wash a few extra strawberries to share with them at lunch, or peel another orange so we can all have juice dripping off our chins at supper.

It’s an easy lesson…and a yummy one, too…and a little reminder that this parenting gig is a two-way street in a million different wonderful ways.

August 7, 2011

Mama Loves: Standing the Test of Time

Over the past few months, I had gotten waaaay behind on editing and printing pictures. I've been working so hard this week to catch up (and I'm almost done!!!)

One of the nice things about going through several months' worth of photos at once is that I feel like I have better perspective...it's actually easier to step back and appreciate the changes and the trends.

One constant in every month's photo collection is seeing our girls in their high chairs (where they're forced to be still for the picture!), and most often wearing their bibs.

When the girls started feeding themselves "big people food", around 14 months or so, I was anxious to buy those vinyl bibs that you just wipe clean. We went through several iterations until I finally found what I believe is The World's Perfect Bib.

These bibs from Bumkins are fantastic...they are water-proof, they wipe clean after each meal, and then I can throw them in the washer (and hang to dry) at the end of the day.

I love the confidence that the girls have clean bibs. And, as evidenced by these photos, the bibs have definitely stood the test of time at our house!

Here are the girls at 16 months, having enjoyed some meatballs in spaghetti sauce, avocado, and blackberries...


...and here are the girls on the 1/2 birthday, at 30 months, digging some strawberry cake!



Yup, these are the same bibs! I have eight them, meaning I can go up to four days between loads of laundry.

I'm linking up with my dear friend Julia at Pontifications of a Twin Mom, as part of her new weekend series, "Mama Loves"...a way for us mamas to share with each other some of our favorite things, things that help make our lives just a little bit easier.

Pop on over and check her out! (And she *might* just have a giveaway going on right now, too...one of her favorite things!)

*I was in no way compensated for this post...I just love these bibs, and wanted to share!

August 6, 2011

Packing It In

Yesterday was Daddy's last day of summer vacation. With the weather having been SO HOT most of the summer, there are quite a few items from my Summer List that we haven't done.

I decided to pack a couple of adventures into our last day...eat an ice cream cone...and play in the dancing fountains downtown.

(My girlfriend suggested several weeks ago that those activities would go well together...that the girls could get all messy eating ice cream, and then they could "hose off" in the fountains. At the time, I secretly thought that sounded a little barbaric...but I finally decided it was a pretty good idea!)

Eat and Ice Cream Cone
Of course the girls have had ice cream before, but never in a cone. And I much prefer them having "real" ice cream from the local dairy farm, but I figured some good old-fashioned Dairy Queen soft serve would be easier to eat. (And I grew up on the stuff, and I figure I turned out OK!)

Clapping for ice cream...


The first few licks...



Baby A...
Baby B figured out she could eat the cone, too!
"Sissy has a mustache!" Baby B kept saying...little did she know that she had one, too!
Sitting pretty with Daddy after the arduous clean-up process, clapping once again in thanks...
The girls seemed to enjoy the experience, but my guess is that they would prefer the efficiency of a spoon. And Mommy is just fine with that, too!


Play in the Dancing Fountains Downtown


I dressed the girls in their swimsuits before we left the house. I told them we weren't going swimming, but they would probably be getting wet.
After we ate our ice cream, I told them we were going to play in the fountain downtown. Given their fascination with fountains over the past few months, they were ecstatic!


The girls didn't quite know what to think at first...
When the first few drops of water hit her, Baby A said, "Mommy go change my shirt!" She was ready to go! Baby B was so adventurous, though...she LOVED IT!!!

Baby B exuded such pure joy!!! A few times she really got surprised by the water, and I thought she was about to cry...but she'd catch her breath and get ready for more...she had a BLAST!!!

And I considered wearing my swimsuit, but I figured I wouldn't really get wet...but I just couldn't keep myself from running through the fountains with my girlies! I got soaked to the bone, and I seriously felt like a 12-year old!

This was definitely a fantastic Last Day of Summer Vacation, one for the memory books. Bliss!!!

August 5, 2011

Fab 5 Friday...and ME!!!

Thankful for another fabulous week!

1) Baby B has been calling to me, “Hey, Sweet Mommy!” I’m trying not to let her know it, but I think she could “buy” a lot with that precious phrase.

2) Baby A has been saying, in a perfectly dismissive manner, Oh, I’m just being silly,” when I ask her about something. HA!

3) Thanks to some new play food, the girls have been really focused on artichokes this week. That of course meant we had to go out for spinach and artichoke dip, followed by a veggie pizza – with artichokes – on Wednesday night. The girls inhaled their spoils, and Mommy and Daddy had a great time, too.

4) On Thursday, on a whim, my dear twin mama friend Jenny and I decided to meet for a mid-morning snack. Two mommies…four two-year olds…no fussing or crying or running…AND some adult conversation, to boot! I’m hesitant to write it down for fear of jinxing future get-togethers…but it sure was fantastic while it lasted!

5) We had the girls’ pictures made on Sunday morning in the downtown square. The girls did really well, and so I decided to treat them to their first trip to the donut shop (they’ve only had donuts a couple of times before, on the road). I have to admit…I loved seeing my girlies with little smears of donut glaze on their chins.

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

Sadly, this is Daddy’s last week of summer break. I took advantage as best I could, and enjoyed a mid-afternoon pedicure on Wednesday, all by my lonesome. Ahhh!

(The following morning, Baby A pointed to my toes first thing…”Mommy got a pigicure,” she said. I don’t know if it was a pure mispronunciation…or if – at least on some level – she combined “pedicure” with “piggy toes”…HA!!!)

Photobucket

August 3, 2011

Snuggle Time, Then and Now

I can't quite remember the circumstances around this picture...I'm assuming that Baby B was up early, and it wasn't quite time to eat, so Daddy was snuggling with her for a few minutes.

I do remember very clearly that I was not happy with this snuggle...I was so scared that her head would tilt too far forward and compromise her airway. I threatened Daddy that he'd better not go to sleep. And if you look closely, you can see he has one eye open.

Baby B was 6 weeks and 5 days old, and weighed 7 pounds and 11 ounces (per our infant scale, and thanks to the copious notes I took!).


This picture was taken last week. Baby A was still napping, and I asked Baby B if she wanted to snuggle with Daddy for a few minutes while I enjoyed a bit more time to myself.

In this picture, at two-and-a-half years, and about 26.5 pounds, Baby B is the one with her eyes open.


I'm linking up with the sweet and talented Miss Cheryl at Twinfatuation this morning...and appreciating while time may indeed fly, the sweetness always remains.

August 2, 2011

Perseverance and Changing Tastes

I LOVE roasted asparagus.
Drizzle a little olive oil, add a dash of Cajun seasoning…perfection will be mine in 12 to 15 minutes. I could eat an entire pound by myself, but I dutifully share (somewhat equally) with the hubs.

When the girls began eating table food, I wasn’t anxious to reduce my portion size exactly, but I was anxious for them to fall in love with one of Earth’s most perfect vegetables.

I gave them a sampling of the most tender stalks, and I stood back and waited.

They both spit them out.

That’s OK…we’ll try again. I’ve read on numerous occasions how it can take up to 15 times of sampling a new food for a child’s taste buds to acclimate.

So every time I made asparagus – at least a couple of times a month – I would serve some to the girls. And each time, they spit it out.

After a while, this almost became a source of “Are You Sure We’re Related?

I had all but given up…but still, I dutifully gave the girls a sampling every couple of weeks.

The last time I made asparagus, I gave the girls their obligatory two bites. We were all eating supper, so I wasn’t paying super close attention…I think I almost choked on my asparagus when I heard a little voice say, “More asparagus, please!

Really???

Sure enough, the girls magically decided they both liked asparagus! Yep, them’s my girls, after all! Between the two of them, they ate at least half of what I’d served myself.

And I was really content with sharing. Not only have my girls finally come around to enjoying one of my favorite veggies…in the meantime, Husband decided I “burned him out” on asparagus. He said the girls could have his portion.

Score, all around!

This lesson in perseverance and changing tastes brought to you by the Greater Council for the Promotion of Asparagus. [Not sure if there is such an organization…but if there is, and if they happen to read this post…I would welcome any coupons. Asparagus ain’t cheap!] :)

August 1, 2011

Wardrobe Malfunction and Indecent Exposure

Being a mom comes with a large dose of embarrassment.

To date my children’s commentary […like yelling “Boobies!” at the blueberries in the grocery when they first began talking…or loudly saying, “That baby needs to go home!” in the direction of an overtired babe at a restaurant…] has been the source of most of my embarrassment.

Over the past few weeks, though, I’ve had several new experiences that had me a little red in the face.

This spring, I did some shopping for myself. I bought several new sundresses and a few new tops. I tried everything on in the store, and then again when I got home. I was really excited about all my purchases.

Upon wearing several of my new duds, though, my husband has given me quite a few disapproving glances, and even a couple of “Cover yourself up!” hisses, as well.

See, as cute as I felt trying my new outfits on, what I didn’t bank on was the effect of two small children on the necklines of my new spring attire. Apparently it doesn’t take much pulling or carrying for things to shift out of place…and suddenly I wasn’t so “cute” as I was disheveled, seemingly a classic victim of wardrobe malfunction.

Maybe I need to consider shopping with the girls after all, so I can walk a lap around the store with them to gauge the effect of my children on my outfit. That, or just stick with turtle-necks and pants for the next few years.
Sigh...

The other new source of embarrassment is potty-related.

While we were travelling on our mini-vacation, we stopped to eat lunch. Baby A and I went to the bathroom, and the handicap stall was nice and clean, just waiting for us. We pranced right in and she did her business. I decided I would follow suit, and I engaged in my business.

By definition, handicap stalls should have an easy-to-use latch. Baby A discovered this while I was "otherwise engaged". She pranced right out of that stall, leaving me – ungloriously engaged – with the door wide open.

Thank goodness it was 11:00 on a Tuesday, and we were among the first patrons in the restaurant. I was just lucky that no one else entered the bathroom right then…they would have seen an unattended two-year old and a half-naked, red-faced mama…which surely wouldn’t have been good for anyone’s appetite.

I’m sure there are a million more embarrassing situations to come on this journey called parenthood. I just hope the situations involving this mama’s wardrobe malfunctions and indecent exposure are few and far between.
 
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