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May 30, 2012

Two Little Fishies (in Training)

I had been talking with the girls in big, general terms about taking swimming lessons.  They were excited about kicking their legs and swimming like a duck / dolphin / frog (or whatever the aquatic animal du jour was).

Yesterday afternoon, when the girls got up from nap, I told them I had a BIG surprise for them.  They get SO excited at the idea of a surprise...their faces just light up...and they started guessing.  They guessed the park and the orchard, but I told them the surprise was even bigger.

When I told them they were going to take a swimming lesson, they started running and jumping and squealing.  Then, after a small snack, they put on their new swimsuits.  They were bouncing up and down and everywhere, so very ready to go.

I had told the girls that they would have a teacher in the pool with them, that Mommy wouldn't be in the pool, but Daddy and I would be right there to watch them.  "And take pictures, right, Mommy?" B affirmed.

The girls even asked if I had my camera as we were leaving.  [Is this a sign I'm creating little monsters???]

The girls were very agreeable to taking a picture as we approached the pool...

...and here's A, checking to make sure I'm coming.

We got there a couple of minutes early, in time to watch the end of the previous lesson.  Luckily those kiddos were having a very grand time, which made the girls laugh. The coach was great about introducing them to the water.  The girls were quiet, but they didn't remotely come close to crying or fussing.

Baby A got her turn in the pool first.  She's not the "people pleaser" that her sister is, though.  If she doesn't know you, she's very likely to just look blankly at you.  That's the face she had during most of the lesson.

B was all giggles when it was her turn.  She quickly learned to blow bubbles in the water, and she radiated pure joy when the coach pulled her half the length of the pool a couple of times while she kicked her legs. 

She was so proud of herself!

Baby A was a little more tentative.  A couple of times, I heard B tell her, "Don't be scared, Sissy.  It's OK."

It's always so interesting to watch the girls together, particularly in new situations.  It's not always easy for me to guess how each will react.  Our usual daredevil Baby A was soaking it all in, while B seemed to relax much more easily.

We did see a few glimpses of Baby A's excitement, though.  She enjoyed kicking, can almost see a grin in this picture.

After the lesson, both girls told the coach "thank you", and then -- if I had any doubt about what they thought of their first time in the pool -- Baby A said, "Take a picture, Mommy!"

I was so thankful -- and so proud! -- to know that both girls enjoyed themselves and were proud of what they accomplished, too.

And on the way to the car, Baby A underscored it by volunteering, "I had fun, Mommy!"  B quickly agreed.

This was a really big milestone for us.  This was more than the girls' first swim was their first extracurricular activity...and the first activity during which I wasn't holding their hands.

I'd say we all did just fine.

May 29, 2012

The Taste of Summer in Red-White-and-Blue

We got together with some sweet friends on Sunday, in celebration of Memorial Day, but we didn't have big plans for the day of.

Spur-of-the-moment on Monday we decided to brave the HEAT and walk to the park, which -- in hindsight -- wasn't the brightest idea.  Even at 10:30, the equipment was so hot we could only enjoy a couple of things.  Still, it was a new adventure (we'd never walked to the park before), and it wore the girls out and made for a very peaceful nap time (for all of us!).

Monday afternoon I decided to get the girls in the red-white-and-blue spirit.  I got out my paper punches and bag of sequins.  They made cupcake toppers that we glued onto coffee stirs.

Then they got to work layering some fresh fruit in small cups.   

[In between the strawberries and blueberries, I whipped together about 2 tablespoons of cream cheese with a tablespoon or so of brown sugar, with a splash of milk.  The top layer is whipped cream (from a can...don't judge!).  We topped it with a dusting of graham cracker crumbs.  It was really refreshing!]

The girls were SO proud of their creations!

And they turned out pretty cute, if I do say so myself.

I'm still not brave enough to really let the girls loose in the kitchen...but in measured doses, they have such a great time...and so do I!

I'm linking up again today with Charlene at Adventures-in-Mommy-Land for Hey, Mom! Look What I Did!  Thanks to Charlene for so much great crafty inspiration week after week!

May 28, 2012

Weekly Awareness: Fine Things

A couple of weeks ago, Aunt Shanda had a birthday.  We were so honored to be able to kick off her day by having her over for breakfast before she headed out of town.

I planned on making her favorite muffins and coffee with extra vanilla creamer…and then I started to think about how I could jazz things up a bit.  My mind was soon spinning with thoughts of cupcake toppers, fresh fruit skewers, and meats and cheeses. 

I quickly settled on a black-white-and-silver theme, with pops of bright pink, Shanda’s favorite.

I had so much fun planning our little tablescape.  I brought out my mom’s silver-rimmed china, my silver chargers, some silver and crystal serving pieces, and I tied a black and white polka-dotted ribbon to the stems of our champagne glasses (for mimosas…minus the champagne, anyway).  [Shanda was traveling that day, and I had two wee ones to attend to.]

The girls were so excited when they saw all the pretties that morning…  

What’s this, Mommy?” 
What’s that, Mommy?” 
Is china from China?

…and it dawned on me that my girlies have never been seen any of my china, at least not outside the china cabinet.

I have three full sets…one from each grandmother, and one from my mom…and they’ve basically never laid eyes on it.

And it later struck me, as Shanda and I were sipping over-creamered coffee from delicate little teacups…in 36 years I don’t think I’ve ever drunk from these teacups.

Why do I have this stuff if I’m not going to use it???

Granted, we’re still very much in a “plastic” phase at our house…and I don’t put my china or crystal in the dishwasher, which raises some logistical challenges in terms of resource allocation…but I’m going to make a concerted effort to use my “good stuff” more often.

I want the girls to see us enjoying “the fine things”…and soon to enjoy “the fine things” themselves.  I want to live this life and celebrate all the fine little points in it…not just reserving “the fine things” for the rare special occasion.

AWARE in 2012.

May 27, 2012

Bring It On, Summer 2012!

Daddy’s last day of school was Friday, so it’s OFFICIALLY summertime at the Casa de A&B!

To mark the occasion, we took a trip to the zoo yesterday.  It was going to be a HOT day, so we got an early start…out the door before 8am…which I think has to be a record.  We enjoyed the sunnier side of the zoo first – where the elephants and giraffes are – and then treated the girls to a ride on the carousel.

They were SO excited, and I was SO proud that neither of them was scared this time.  Baby A chose to ride a panda cub, and Baby B chose a Siberian tiger.  They had the biggest smiles on their faces the entire time.

There’s a temporary dinosaur exhibit at the zoo right now.  We didn’t go through it, but we did take time to climb on one exhibit they have in the common area.  Here are A and B, practicing their dentistry skills, I suppose…

We walked a little more before sharing a big soft pretzel, and then we strolled through the shady side of the zoo.  We were excited to finally see the anteater, who has always been off exhibit when we’ve visited.  The girls were anxious to see the flamingos at the end of the zoo, and they sure put on a show…they seemed to be extra “talkative” yesterday (the flamingos, that is...well, and the girls!).

After the zoo, we headed to lunch at Macaroni Grill, per the girls’ suggestion, and then we rounded out our visit to the Big City with a trip to Whole Foods.  We barely got on the interstate for the trip home before the girls were out cold.

It’s so much easier to go and do with the girls these days.  As I think about our “bucket list” for this summer, I expect we’ll have lots of great adventures…

·         Hike Mammoth Cave
·         Long weekend in Memphis
·         Visit to North Carolina, making a couple of stops along the way
·         Visit the botanical gardens
·         Visit Dinosaur World
·         Visit Kentucky Down Under
·         Attend “Venus Presenting” to see the eclipse…better catch it now, ‘cause it won’t happen for another 500 YEARS!
·         Visit Chaney’s Dairy Barn
·         Go to the library
·         Visit the indoor play place
·         Take swimming lessons
·         Play in the dancing fountains downtown
·         Have a picnic at the park

And plenty of adventures without leaving our backyard, too…

·         Play with playdough
·         Play in the sprinkler in the yard
·         Make homemade pizza
·         Grill and eat outside
·         Eat a slice of watermelon
·         Get new bikes
·         Help Daddy wash the car
·         Make homemade ice cream
·         Do some messy artwork outside
·         Fly a kite
·         Make our own ice cream sundaes
·         Play in the rain and splash in some puddles

This time of year is definitely a special one for us.  It’s so nice to be able to enjoy so much family time every week.  The summer of 2011 (when the girls were 2 ½) was so much fun…and I’m thinking this one will be even sweeter!

May 25, 2012

Fab 6 Friday!

In addition to all the fun things we did this week…

·         Hiking on Saturday
·         Planting flowers on Sunday
·         The girls enjoying their new playhouse
·         Visiting the girls’ preschool on Monday (and seeing them so excited!)
·         Eating a snack downtown at our favorite coffee shop
·         Going to the post office and waiting nicely in line
·         Enjoying Daddy’s day off on Tuesday
·         Going to the park, just the three of us…woo hoo!!!
·         Going with “Grandma” June for yogurt on Wednesday afternoon
·         Visiting Daddy’s school on Thursday morning and behaving super well through lunch

…we had a fabulous week in many other respects, too!

1)      Several times this week I’ve observed the girls “teaching” their baby dolls…looking out the window, pointing things out…”Do you see the tree?  Isn’t it beautiful!  Look at the green leaves!”…reading books to them…pointing out colors and letters and shapes.  It is so stinkin’ sweet.

2)      One morning the girls told me their babies each had a rash.  I advised them to give their babies a cool bath and then use some cream on their rashes.  They pretended to bathe their dolls, and then they spread out on the floor with the CREAM PITCHER from their tea set, pretending to smear something on their dolls’ tummies.  HA!

3)      A couple of days ago, Baby B fell off the kitchen chair.  She cried a true cry (more than just to get attention).  Baby A got there a second before I did.  She kneeled on the floor beside B and held her head to her chest…just like I do when I comfort the girls.  Be still my heart!

4)      Over lunch on Thursday, I asked the girls what books they wanted to read when we got home.  My suggestion is ‘Little Bear’s New Friend’,” said B.  Then A said, “I want to read the one about the boy going to school.”  I couldn’t figure out what she was talking about.  I guessed at a couple of books that talk about school, but that wasn’t what she meant.  She wants to read ‘Mulberry Street’,” B finally interpreted.  (The very back story is about a kid walking to school, but I certainly don’t think about it being a “school” book.  I just thought it was so cool that B knew exactly what A was talking about.)

5)      B was explaining something to me one morning, and I knew she was talking about our friend Abby.  Instead, though, she said the name of another friend, Allie.  Allie?  I asked her.  Ohp!  I misspoke!  she said…and then she picked right up with her story, a mile a minute.

6)      As I was getting ready for bath time on Thursday night, the girls were in the kitchen with Daddy.  It was so fun to listen to huge belly laughs from A and B…AND Daddy…as I was upstairs.  (I came down to find some voracious tickling going on.)

So thankful for fun family adventures and fabulousness all around!

May 24, 2012

Trying Not to Over-Think Today...

It’s been a big week.

On Monday, I took the girls to visit the preschool they’ll attend in the fall for two mornings a week.  We’ve talked loosely about “school” recently, and I wanted them to have a visual as we work to get them excited about their new adventure.

The girls had so much fun meeting their teacher, and they got to play for a couple of minutes in the indoor playroom.  They’ve been talking about “school” every day since.  They’re excited about getting backpacks this summer, but they are disappointed they won’t be riding a school bus.  :)

On Tuesday I signed the girls up for swimming lessons.  There are a couple of short sessions they’ll attend, the first one starting NEXT WEEK.  Again, the girls are super excited.  They’ve been practicing kicking their legs (in the den), and they can’t wait to wear the new swimsuits we bought.

At that point in the week, I was already feeling, “Wow, what’s happening to my BABIES???

On Wednesday, I took the girls to the park by myself for the first time (at least the first time since they were about 16 months old, when they would not stay parked on a blanket!).  When they go with Hubby and me, they usually run in opposite directions, and they are fast climbers…so it scares me, thinking about not being close by.

I was so proud of the way they behaved, though!  I told them that we had to stay together on the same piece of equipment.  They followed the rules and listened really well.  Whew!

On Friday I have a meeting to attend, so Miss Jenny is coming to hang with the girls for an hour or so.  I was thinking about our plans for today, realizing we’ve been going and doing every day this week.  I usually try to have one or two days that we occupy ourselves at home.

And then it dawned on me.

Hubby’s last day of school is tomorrow, so today is the last day I’ll be home with the girls by myself…before Hubby is home for the summer…before they start preschool in the fall.

Of course Hubby won’t be with us every second of every day.  And in the fall they’ll only be in preschool for two mornings a week, six hours a week in total.  I know it’s goofy, but I got a big lump in my throat.

So this morning we played a little longer before I made breakfast.  We read a few extra books before snack…and in the living room, at that, a special treat.  I was planning a big morning of crafting when Hubby called, asking us to come to his school for a quick visit.

It’s probably a good thing that my Morning of Reflection at Home was interrupted…I know I was over-thinking things (as I so often do!).

The girls instead had a great time playing in Daddy’s room, and I treated the three of us to lunch at the restaurant of the girls’ choosing.

I know that Monday...or the next...won't really be any different from today...but these goofy little "milestones" sometimes trip this mama up!

May 23, 2012

A Bit About Me, May Edition

My birthday is February 23.  On the 23rd of each month, I've been sharing a couple of random things about me.  So, for the month of May... 

41) I like fleece pants (and I cannot lie).

[I cannot explain why Sir Mix-A-Lot popped into my head as I was about to extol the virtues of fleece pants…but he did…and for some reason it strikes me as far too funny this morning.  Need.More.Coffee.]

I bought my first pair of fleece pajama pants some time around 1998.  I have since bought many pairs, but I am still true to my original pair, in their ratty pink-with-white-snowflake glory.  It’s those pants I wore my first night home from the hospital after the girls were born, a tiny little piece of comfort food for the soul.   

I wear fleece pants all year ‘round.  I rationalize that’s why we have air conditioning!

42) I haven’t painted my toenails in about eight years.

While I used to enjoy the occasional manicure in high school and college, for some reason I never had a pedicure until I was in my late 20’s.  It was love at first footbath, though, and I don’t think I’ve painted my own toenails since.

I forewent all polish when I was pregnant, but I still continued to get pedicures every couple of weeks.  These days I only make it to the nail salon every four or five weeks, but I maintain it just helps me feel “human”.  I love meeting up with a girlfriend and chatting in side-by-side massage chairs.  And I also love going by myself with a good book.  I usually try to treat myself to a Starbucks afterwards since it’s conveniently on the way home.  Ahhh!

And yes, my polish usually lasts four or five weeks these days.  Flip-flops being my primary footwear will do that for ya!

See you next month!  :)