Pages

Ticker

Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers

February 29, 2012

Hop Day Slice of Life

My babies celebrated their third birthday on January 5th. Mathematically, I understand it...but it still felt weird to think about celebrating their FOURTH Valentine's Day a couple of weeks ago. They're not old enough to have had FOUR anythings, right?!

So...I was excited to think about the girls' FIRST Leap Day, yesterday.

I saw a cute idea (thanks, Helen!) to create a time capsule of sorts, documenting a slice of life...to be revisited every Leap Day.

I don't yet have everything bound, sealed, and buried in the backyard (kidding!), but here are the elements from our Leap Day scrapbook...

The girls made frogs from scrapbook paper, ribbon, and sequins, to serve as the cover for our book.


Here's our "slice of life" photo of the day...the girls, just up from nap, wearing their penguin shirts for probably one of the last times, having changed into yoga pants after our early-morning trip to the grocery store. They were crawling all over each other, constructing their train set.


Self-portraits, each labeled with their best "A" and "B", respectively.


And here's a little "interview" I did with each of them...

Baby A
Favorite color: turquoise
Favorite food: grapes
Favorite animal: giraffe (thinking about zoo animals, I'm assuming)
Favorite thing to do: play
Favorite book: "Little Bear's New Friend" (what she requested her Daddy read when he got home)
Favorite restaurant: Buckhead
Favorite toy: Abby (her baby doll)
Favorite thing to do at the park: slide
When I grow up I want to be a: teacher
What are you looking forward to doing when you get older: eating in big girl chairs (we were just finishing dinner)

Baby B
Favorite color: blue
Favorite food: sweet potatoes
Favorite animal: polar bear
Favorite thing to do: play
Favorite book: "I Love My Kitten"
Favorite restaurant: Garcia's
Favorite toy: Lily (her baby doll)
Favorite thing to do at the park: swing
When I grow up I want to be a: doctor
What are you looking forward to doing when you get older: drinking out of glasses

To think they'll be SEVEN when we pull this out of the cabinet...wow! How fun it will be to show them what we did when they were three! And here's hoping they'll be willing to humor their mama when they're eleven!

Hope you had a memorable Leap Day (or Hop Day, as Baby B kept calling it as she and her sister hopped like frogs much of the afternoon)!

***

Linking up with Charlene for Hey, Mom! Look What I Did! for her fantastic weekly craft link-up!

February 28, 2012

It's Fleeting...

My word of the year for 2012 is AWARE. I chose this word, thinking not so much about my girls…but rather as relates to the many other aspects of my every day life

As a general rule, I think I do a good job of practicing AWARENESS as a mother…but still, there are moments every day that strike me, reminding me that – while there will no doubt be new joys tomorrow – the joys of today are fleeting.

One of the tiny little moments I’m really savoring now is loading and unloading my girls from their car seats.

I know it won’t be long before they insist on climbing in and out themselves…that they won’t always delight as I lift them up high and twirl them around. I know that an itty-bitty tickle won’t always yield a great squeal of anticipation. And one day “AIRPLANE!” in the parking lot of the grocery store won’t evoke that contagious belly laugh.

Coupon savings and long lines at the checkout are so easily forgotten when I pause for a second to enjoy the twinkling eyes of my baby girls.

And on the way home from our errand, I find joy, too. Our girls are still rear-facing in their car seats, and there’s something so incredibly dear about reaching back over my shoulder at a traffic light, barely grasping their tiny, sticky hand in mine, feeling them pull against me in a little game…and then hearing Sissy squeal, “Take my hand, Mommy!

These are such small moments in time…fleeting…but I’m doing my best to be AWARE and savor them while I can.

February 27, 2012

Birthday Celebrations, and Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is

I had a fantastic birthday celebration, spread out over several days!

On Thursday, my actual birthday, I took the girls for a very special mid-morning treat…DONUTS! My last group of work colleagues always brought donuts to celebrate birthdays. I L-O-V-E blueberry cake donuts from this local shop…but I realized I hadn’t had them in over THREE YEARS! The girls were on their best behavior, and we all savored our donuts, and Mommy, her coffee.

The girls and I had a great day…with not so much as one time-out…AND they took a good nap. We had beautiful weather, too, so we got to spend some great time outside together.

On Thursday night, after the girlies were in bed, I met three of my wonderful mommy friends for a late sushi dinner. It was so nice to be surrounded by such dear friends…and wonderful food…AND the chocolate chip cookie cake of my dreams, no less!

On Saturday morning, I met two of my besties for a late breakfast. Breakfasts out have always seemed like a treat, but – since the girls were born – they are so rare and even more special. We met at a new café that purports local ingredients. I (over-)indulged in their breakfast special…biscuits and sausage gravy, scrambled eggs with cheese, and the yummiest bacon.

In a pork-and-eggs-induced stupor, we found our way to the nail salon for a pedicure. Bliss!!! And, as our nails were drying, Aunt Shanda produced three Cadbury Crème Eggs from her purse…a birthday tradition for me (and thank goodness my birthday is relatively close to Easter!).

I felt so very blessed to have had such wonderful time with my baby girls, and to have been showered with affection from my closest friends. And thank you all for the many birthday wishes, too!

My birthday finale was supposed to have been the girls’ first “tablecloth restaurant” experience, on Saturday night.

However…

The girls were having trouble settling down for their nap on Saturday afternoon. They weren’t fussing…but they weren’t lying “nice and still and quiet”, either. In isolation, I think they would have eventually gone to sleep…but neither one could rest with her sister mumbling.

I went up several times to remind them it was naptime…sadly, to no avail.

I finally told them, “If you don’t nap, we will not go out to dinner tonight.

Unfortunately, I had to put my money where my mouth was. They were very upset (as was I…sniff, sniff)…but I hope it made an impression on them.

[There was no way I was going to attempt a “tablecloth restaurant”, or any other, without a nap. Been there, done that, and I still shudder to think about that experience a full year ago!]

I know this may have just been a coincidence…in no way does one day a trend suggest…but on Sunday they napped for a solid two hours!

Here’s hoping the reminder that "Mommy means business" sticks…and we can cash in that birthday dinner sooner than later!

[And I'm OK with an extended birthday celebration...maybe I should continue to do some fun little things all week to bridge this upcoming weekend! Hmmm...I kinda like it!]

February 26, 2012

This Ain't Camping...

Sharing one of my favorite pictures of late...

"Aunt" Alison sent this little tent to the girls for their birthday. I put it up one evening, after they were in bed. They were so excited when they came downstairs the next morning!!!

I love this picture of them checking it out...twinkling eyes...smiles you can't fake...and bedhead at its finest.

The tent serves as a great place for tea parties, drawing, and reading. And B likes to go in and pretend she's at Target or the grocery store.

Oh, and when the girls aren't occupying it, Sasha thinks it's pretty cool, too.

February 25, 2012

Unmentionables

Quiet moments are rare in our world. Our girls are always proffering commentary, exploring, asking. I wouldn’t want it any other way…but it does sometimes lead to some “unmentionable” conversation.

***

A few days ago, I was shopping at Target with the girls in their stroller. We were headed towards the back of the store, passing by the ladies’ clothing section.

Ooh, bras!” Baby A squealed.

Yes, sweetie, you’re right
.

Those are beautiful!

Yes, I see lots of different colors, I said, as I continued my quick gait.

I’m gonna wear a bra when I’m older!

Yes, sweetie, much older.

[Cue audible laughter from a couple of ladies shopping.]

***

I was getting dressed in front of the girls one morning. “Why aren’t you going to change your panties?” Baby A said, with alarm.

I explained I had showered earlier in the day, so my panties were clean.

Thank goodness the windows were closed for that little exchange.

***

As I reference different places I’ve been and things I’ve done, the girls always want to know, “Was I in your tummy?” or “Was I in your heart?” (before I was pregnant).

I knew the question was coming…”How did I get out of your tummy?” asked Baby B.

As I was formulating my answer, she volunteered, “Very carefully?

Yes, sweetie, very carefully.

[Whew!]

***

Kids are embarrassing.

Luckily, they’re cute, too…so it all evens out.

February 24, 2012

Fab Friday!

So very blessed with another fabulous week!

1) We had a really busy day on Saturday. We don’t usually do more than one “activity”, but there were a couple of community events that we wanted to attend. We started the day at the Train Museum, taking in the model train show. The girls’ favorite part was “driving the toy train”, a miniature locomotive they each got to steer.

2) Then we went to lunch at Smokey Bones, or “Fokey Bones”, as Baby A calls it. We hadn’t been there in ages, but the girls devoured a grilled chicken breast, steamed broccoli, and macaroni and cheese. There was literally nothing left on their plates! It's so nice when the girls enjoy a meal out as much as Daddy and I.

3) After a nice nap (for all of us!), we went to the Chin National Day Celebration to see some of my husband’s students and their families from Malaysia, Thailand, and Burma. The girls grooved to some music, although they both kept saying, “It’s too loud!” HA!

4) And we rounded out Saturday by dropping off dinner to a friend whose baby girls have been ill. The girls were so concerned when I told them Erin and Lana were sick. They’ve asked at least 20 times, But the fruit salad will make the babies feel better, right?

5) In celebration of Mardi Gras, I made Cajun shrimp and grits and bread pudding. The girls loved it all! And I love seeing my girls enjoying good food.

6) On Tuesday “Nana” Audrey came by. She brought the girls a belated birthday present, new baby dolls. It so warms my heart that they chose to name them after our friends’ twin girls, Erin and Lana.

7) And “Nana” Audrey French-braided the girls’ hair. They sat really still, taken with their new dolls…and I can’t get over how sweet they looked!!! Baby A had her hair down within an hour, but B kept hers up through lunch…a new record, for sure!

8) The girls and I met one of my former colleagues for lunch on Tuesday. It’s always a treat to see her, and to see her interacting with my girlies. Her grandchildren are in the same age bracket as A and B, but they don’t live close by. I think it does her heart as good as it does ours.

9) We are so very lucky to have Daddy home with us for bedtime, 99% of the time. Two nights this week, though, he had to work late at school. That made for a long day for me, but we managed pretty well. It helped that we were able to get out for a walk each day – sometimes twice – and the girls took it relatively easy on their mama. It was so sweet to hear the girls tell Daddy how much they missed him the following mornings, though…and they were thrilled when Daddy came home on time on Wednesday.

10) We met Daddy at the park on Wednesday afternoon. It had been about two months since we were last there. It was AMAZING to see how much more proficient the girls were with all the equipment, in such a short amount of time! Baby A bolted for the slides, and even Baby B went down by herself numerous times after a bit of coaxing. The girls climbed up – and down! – a “rock” wall, which they’d never even attempted before. And Baby A was all about the MONKEY BARS (with Daddy’s help). My girls are getting so big!!! [They're still kinda scared of the swings, though!]

11) The girls and I were snuggling before bed one night. Baby A said, “If Sasha were here, then Mommy would have all her baby girls.” I can’t help but smile at her grammar…and her sweet regard for her furry sister.

[I haven’t worked to contain my list to five points – a la “Fab 5 Friday” – in a while, it seems. There’s just so much fun stuff happening these days, stuff I just don’t want to forget!]

And I certainly had a FABULOUS birthday day on Thursday...but I'm saving that for another post! :)

February 23, 2012

A Bit About Me, February Edition

Wow...is it my birthday...again?...already???

My birthday is today, February 23rd, and on the 23rd of each month, I share a little something random about myself. So here 'goes!

35) I have been using the same key chain – the logo for The University of Alabama – since I was a senior in high school.

I was invited to a meeting of the local alumni association, where I won it as a door prize, and I have used it ever since. Last year, I thought I lost my keys (which were later found on my aunt’s mantle…in Alabama…after we were home from our holiday visit). I was upset over the expected expense of having to replace my car key…but more so over losing my key chain. I’m happy to report it is safely back in my possession…and hopefully will be for at least another 18 years.

36) One of my favorite birthday confections of my youth was a giant chocolate chip cookie (made in a pizza pan).


I bought a pizza pan specifically for the occasion a couple of years ago, and made one for myself. It was SO good. But…I have hesitated to make it again, as Hubby doesn’t care much for it, I don’t want to give the girls too much of it…and I surely don’t need 7/8 of a chocolate chip cookie pizza!

***

Happy birthday to me! And I may not be making myself a giant chocolate chip cookie, but I think I'm going to treat the girls and me to some donuts this morning. My last group of work buddies usually got donuts from a locally-owned donut shop when someone had a birthday. (I'm a Krispy Kreme girl at heart, but - alas - we don't have one of those in town.) I haven't had donuts from there in over THREE YEARS! I think some blueberry cake donuts will hit the spot...and I think the girls might kinda like them, too. :)

And over the next couple of days, I'm really looking forward to getting together with a few friends, and a nice dinner out with Hubby and the girls. Wish us luck at their first "tablecloth" restaurant!!!

February 22, 2012

The Thirsty Crow and Baby A the Resourceful

Since we emancipated the girls a few weeks ago, taking down the baby gates that had delineated their playroom sanctuary from the rest of the house, we've all had a lot of new experiences.

The girls have...

...seen me put in my contacts every morning, as I can't just leave them playing for a moment while I run upstairs...they accompany me everywhere.

...helped sort and "fold" laundry...and I've had to give up some of my perfectly-aligned stacks of socks and washcloths.

...learned to carry their cups from the table to the sink...giving me hope that I won't bear soul responsibility for dishes for the next 15 years.

...gotten pretty proficient in taking things to the recycle bin...and I hope they're learning to respect the environment.

...and on and on and on.

Many of these are housekeeping-oriented learnings, and I know it's time the girls start to get a larger sense for how things work around the house.

There have also been so many sweet moments, too. I love...

...when the girls come to see what I'm doing in the kitchen, and then they run back to their play kitchen, full of new inspiration.

...when Baby B comes to find me in the kitchen, just to say, "I love you, Mommy," and then skips back to her playing.

...that the girls find Sasha's toys and try to take them to her (although the thought of cat slobber on their hands makes me go through even more baby wipes during the course of the day).

...seeing the girls reading at the kitchen table, just like Mommy and Daddy read the paper, and Mommy enjoys her books.

And along those lines, I captured one of the cutest things (I think!) in recent weeks. On Day 3 of the unleashment, I was working in the kitchen to get lunch ready. The girls were reading at the table, and I was thankful they were entertaining themselves long enough for me to peel a couple of kiwis.

I wasn't paying too much attention, only enough to know where they were and that they weren't swinging from the chandelier.

When I finally focused on them, here's what I found...

I couldn't help but think of the Hindu folktale, The Thirsty Crow. The crow -- seeing a tiny bit of water at the bottom of a tall pitcher of water -- works and works to put pebble after pebble into the pitcher to bring the water level up so he can drink.

Baby A wasn't comfortable on her knees at the table, so she assembled a pile of books (with Baby B's help, it should be noted), until she was just the right height.

Add "the exhibition of new resourcefulness" to the list of things the emancipation has brought us.

February 21, 2012

Maybe It Takes "Crazy" to Know "Crazy"

Before I was pregnant with the girls, I would hear people talk about “baby brain”, and think they were pretty crazy. C’mon folks…buck up and quit making excuses. The meeting was scheduled a full week ago. Where were you???

And then enter a couple of sweet little embryos.

I don’t think I missed any meetings at work, but I certainly felt a bit scatterbrained from time to time. While I never labeled myself as such, I began to wonder…perhaps there is something to this “baby brain” concept after all???

After the girls were born, I felt even more scatterbrained, but I could chalk that up to sleep deprivation, times two, at least for the first three months. After the girls began to sleep through the night, though, I started to wonder (and worry)…when will this “baby brain” go away? When will I feel like my head is squarely on my shoulders again?

When the girls were eight or nine months old, I finally began to feel like “myself” again. And while I can’t say I’ve been walking the straight and narrow (organized) path every day since, I haven’t thought much about “baby brain” in quite some time.

…but recently I’ve caught myself doing some pretty goofy things…nothing of real consequence…but geez!

Twice, I’ve left the house – once to eat lunch in a decent restaurant! – wearing my “garage” shoes, a very RATTY pair of flip flops I wear when I load the girls in the car. In addition to them being really RATTY, both times, it was COLD, not flip-flop weather.

I needed powdered sugar last week. I thought the box felt a little odd, but it wasn’t until I was putting things away in my pantry that I realized I bought GRANULATED sugar.

And I caught myself doing baby signs to our cat. In small defense, it was nap time, and I was tiptoeing around…but I felt pretty SILLY.

I don’t know if I could still legitimately claim “baby brain”…maybe it’s just a case of the crazies.

And then, yesterday, as the girls and I were checking out at Target, I was approached by a Crazy Lady…

…completely out of the blue, she made her way over to tell me how, when she was the girls’ age, she went grocery shopping with her mother.

“In those days, people bought Kotex, you know. And later that day, we had company for dinner. My mother asked me to get more napkins, and I went to the bathroom and brought the box of Kotex napkins to the table.”

A funny story, for sure, but it did little to help my crazy complex. Perhaps it takes one to know one, and that random Crazy Lady sought me out.

February 20, 2012

Green Means Up

A couple of months ago I wrote a post about how early our days were starting. After enjoying the girls waking up at the glorious hour of 7:30 for about six months, potty training brought with it a much earlier get-up-and-go…such that 6:30 felt like a really good day.

There were a handful of days around the holidays (when this mama may have been staying up much past her bedtime) when Baby A was up well before 6am to use the potty…and was up for the day.

In my sleep-deprived pre-holiday haze, I recalled a couple of blogger friends who use some type of “OK to Wake” clock to signal their kiddos when it’s appropriate to start the day.

I ordered the “OK to Wake” Alarm Clock for the girls. It’s been in place for close to a month now, and I’m so T-H-A-N-K-F-U-L to report that mornings are a little sunnier at our house.

I set the clock to illuminate at 6:30am. While I would love to get back to the 7:30 wake-ups of old, I didn’t want to push my luck.

The girls know that, if they wake up before their clock is green, they “roll over and go back to sleep”. And when the clock turns green? They both shout, “Mommy, my clock is green! I slept well!

I was worried that the clock would wake them up. It doesn’t glow brightly, but I wondered if they’d be so excited to see it flip to green that they would try to wake up. We’ve had a few days that they’ve slept through the 6:30 mark. The clock stays green for 30 minutes, so they were still able to shout their wake-up greetings at 6:49. (And boy, did this mama enjoy her extra 19 minutes of quiet time!)

Many days I hear the girls stir before 6:30. The majority of the time, I think they do try to “roll over and go back to sleep”. There have been a handful of days that someone has needed to use the potty, or just wanted to start the day early.

I’ve gone up, taken care of potty duty, if necessary, and then put the early riser back to bed. There have been a couple of times when that wasn’t well-received, but I was able to point to the clock as an “impartial party”, stating it was not time to get up. “It’s still sleep time. You need your rest. Call Mommy when your clock turns green, and we’ll start our day.”

I’m linking up with Julia at Pontifications of a Twin Mom for Mama Loves. This mama L-O-V-E-S having more predictability in the mornings, even if that “predictability” starts bright and early at 6:30.

February 19, 2012

Crowning Glory

As part of our Valentine's Day play date last week, all the kiddos made crowns...a la The Kings and Queens of Hearts.

I bought a pack of big foam sheets, 12" x 18". I cut the sheets into three strips, measuring 4" x 18". I used a circular template to cut out three "scoops" from each strip. I used a small hole punch to attach pieces of elastic to close the crowns.

And the kiddos went to town decorating their crowns with self-adhesive foam hearts.

Everybody had a fun time making the crowns (and it wasn't even very messy!). And if this isn't the most adorable picture! :) [Our friends M and A are missing from this photo.]


The girls gave up their hats for nap time, but it was the first thing they asked for when they woke up. Baby A, in particular, wore hers the entire rest of the day!


As the crowns weren't exactly constructed for long-term wear -- I had to re-tie the elastic a few times -- I decided to "retire" them after the girls went to bed Tuesday night. They asked for their crowns immediately on Wednesday morning. I told them that Valentine's Day was over, but I promised we would make crowns again next year.

(This craft could easily be adapted to a lot of different holidays. The girls may get to enjoy their "crowning glory" again sooner than later...I see bunny ears in our future!)

I'm linking up with Charlene at Adventures-in-Mommy-Land for Hey, Mom! Look What I Did! Hop on over for some great crafting inspiration! And check out her Weekend Show & Share link-up for grown-up crafts, too!

February 18, 2012

Super Stuff on a Saturday

Pardon the long list, but we really did have a super week...such that I didn't have time to type it up on Friday...much less could I narrow it down to only five things!

1) As part of our Valentine’s Day celebration, we went to our favorite sushi restaurant for lunch on Saturday. The girls devoured their chicken and shrimp teriyaki, and shared our edamame, miso soup, and salad. I love seeing our baby girls – sitting like big girls – in a restaurant that so feels like “home” to us.

2) And while we were having lunch, Daddy was chatting soccer with the sushi chef. I didn’t think the girls were listening, but when Noi mentioned “Thailand”, B piped up (loudly!), I know where Thailand is!

3) We had a great turn-out for our MoMs group Valentine’s Day party. It was so much fun to see our girls interacting with their friends…doing crafts…eating a snack. But it sure did make them seem like big kids!

4) Spur of the moment, we got an invitation to visit some friends on Sunday afternoon. I love having friends who will invite you over on a whim.

5) And while we were at our friends’ house, they brought their (big!) dogs in, just so the girls could say hello to them. The girls LOVE to look at Noah and Napster in their backyard, and they talk about those "puppies” all the time. I was so proud of A and B for talking so nicely to their furry friends (even though the girls kept their distance).

6) We had a Valentine’s Day-themed play date at our house on Tuesday. It was fantastic to be surrounded by my best mommy friends…and the girls’ best friends…everyone feeling so comfortable and having fun together. It really warmed my heart that the kiddos came running into our house and knew just where to go, and what they wanted to play with. I’m so thankful we have such a wonderful group of moms and kiddos to call our friends.

7) During the play date, I guess B may have been feeling a little insecure with all the activity in the house. She kept coming up to me, just to say, I love you, Mommy,” and then she’d run off again to play. Melt.my.heart.

8) Daddy brought home a bouquet of tulips for all his ladies for Valentine’s Day. Multiple times a day, the girls will glance up and say, “Those are such beautiful flowers!”

9) The weather hasn’t allowed us to get outside much over the past week or so. Thursday afternoon it wasn’t raining, so we bundled up for a walk in the neighborhood, hand in hand. As I was putting B’s shoes on, she said, in dramatic fashion, “We haven’t been for a walk in…like…seven months!” Her fluent use of the word “like” and gross exaggeration scared me a bit…but I couldn’t help but laugh.

10) Playtime is not always harmonious, but sometimes it is. I’ve heard some of the sweetest things this week. While they were playing with something, B said, “I'm not sure how that works, Baby." And then A, "Here, let me try.” They're already figuring out that two heads are better than one.

11) And Baby A is always so nurturing with her baby doll. After being away from the house for a couple of hours, she makes a beeline for her baby. Snuggled with her baby on her little couch, she called out, “Abby is resting on my chest, Mommy! I’m holding her hand!

12) And the quotes of the week? A couple of times, the girls have called out to each other from across the room, “Hey, soul sister!” And on Sunday, I told the girls we were having shrimp cocktail for supper, which they love. Baby A wandered into the kitchen as I was getting dinner ready and declared, “Mommy, I’m ready for cocktails!” Aren't we all, Soul Sister...aren't we all...

Here's to another super week!

February 16, 2012

Don't Over-romanticize the Twinship...and DON'T TOUCH MY KID!

One of my big takeaways from Abigail Pogrebin’s book on twins, “One and the Same”, was “don’t over-romanticize the twinship”.

I think this idea can apply to so many aspects of parenting. In one of the easiest examples, Pogrebin cites the tales of twins, living in separate geographies, who instinctively know when something has happened to the other. A stabbing pain in one’s leg prompts her to call her sister, who just fell down the steps.

Such occurrences may happen to some sets of twins, but Pogrebin cautions not to “expect” those supernatural powers of our twins. If A doesn’t grab her knee on the playground with Mommy at the exact moment B stumbles while riding her bike with Daddy, it doesn’t mean she’s failing her twin sister.

I try to think about my girls as two kiddos, who happen to share a birthday. And they seem so different to me, each with her own personality, strengths, and challenges. Sure, I keep them on the same schedule and feed them the same things (careful to make sure they each get the same number of grapes), but I hope and pray I’m nurturing their development as individuals.

For as intentional as I try to be with my girls, though, all bets are off when we step out the door. Every mom of multiples can relate to the random…sometimes maddening…sometimes outright intrusive…comments we get in public.

The most bizarre to date happened last week. We went to one of our favorite restaurants. It’s the definition of shabby-chic in my mind…mismatched chairs, displays from local artists on the walls, a collection of books and games like Scrabble and Jenga on a bookshelf in the corner. We’ve gone there for years, and I always envisioned bringing our kiddos one day…engaging in a rousing board game while we awaited the delivery of The Best Pizza in the World.

As we aren’t quite ready for family Scrabble, we walked over to speak with another family while we were waiting. We didn’t know them, but they looked nice enough…Mom, Dad, and a couple of daughters, maybe 12 and 8…playing Jenga. We thought A and B would enjoy seeing them playing “blocks”.

Sure enough, the family was nice enough to illustrate a few moves for the girls, and then we started to chat. The older daughter got up to talk more directly to Baby A, whom I was holding. “Twins?” she gasped. I introduced the girls. “You know twins are supposed to feel what the other feels!

Before I realized what was happening, she PINCHED Baby A, and then asked B if she felt it.

I’ll give the kid a bit of a break…she was 12, after all…but seriously??? You don’t touch my kid, much less PINCH her! It wasn’t a hard pinch, but still!

Fortunately, we saw our pizza headed towards our table so we quickly parted ways.

I’m adding this to my list of things to beware of in public…as if I needed another phobia!

February 15, 2012

Small Steps for Babies, but One Giant Leap for This Mama

For the past few months, I’ve been venturing into Target…the grocery store…Hobby Lobby…from time to time with the girls...sans stroller.

If I only need a couple of smaller things, I get a hand basket, and the girls now know to walk one in front of the other, each holding onto the basket. Granted, we look like a lopsided centipede, but the girls know the routine, and I can usually manage the trip without having to medicate myself.

On Friday, we needed just a couple of things for our Valentine’s party, and so the girls and I headed into Walmart, planning to use the hand basket method for the first time there.

We walked in to a crowd of Valentine’s Day shoppers (even at 10:00 on a Friday morning)…and found, to my great dismay, no hand baskets.

Ack!!! What to do???


I needed those Valentine’s Day cupcakes. I couldn’t let A and B each carry a box, for fear they’d drop them. There was no way I could hold their hands and get the goodies. And there’s NO WAY I’m letting their hands go in Walmart, of all places!

So I made a quick decision to try the girls pushing a shopping cart.

To my great surprise, they did great!

They walked alongside each other, their hands stretched high above to reach the handle of the cart. I walked behind them, my hands on top of theirs, steering.

I haven’t quite figured out the appropriate reference…perhaps we were still a centipede, not quite as lopsided…but still moving pretty awkwardly, for sure.

But at least we were a cute centipede, the girls in their coordinating hoodies, skinny jeans, and boots. We might have enjoyed a few (or 20) compliments from the over-50 crowd who was shopping that morning, too.

We procured our cupcakes, and managed to pick up quite a few more items we needed at home. The only challenge was when I needed to make any more detailed selection, like in the produce department. The girls didn’t fully grasp the concept of standing still with the cart…I got rammed a couple of times as I was bending over the bin of lemons.

Still, I call our shopping trip a success! The girls won’t be pushing the cart for any major grocery shopping for a while…but at least I know I can save my panic attack for another occasion if the store happens to be out of hand baskets.

February 14, 2012

L.O.V.E.

Family, together = LOVE.


(Yes, that's a big stack of scrapbooking supplies and the edge of a ziplock baggie you see in the background...family, together doesn't always = time for organized crafting, timely clean-up, and/or photo editing...but that's OK.)

February 13, 2012

Valentine's Day Fun in the Kitchen

The girls are developing a deep love for crafts. And a craft in the kitchen? Can you hear their unison squealing???

As part of our Valentine's Day fun, I let the girls help me make some goodies for a couple of our neighbors and friends.

They helped me hunt for pretzel rods at the grocery store, and they helped pick out the perfect combination of holiday-colored sprinkles.

The girls rolled the pretzels in the chocolate...


...and then again in the sprinkles.


So pretty!


The girls will attest to them tasting good, too. "Yummy in my tummy!" they agreed.

Accompanied by one of their handmade cards? Happy Valentine's Day from A and B, indeed!

February 12, 2012

The Meaning of Valentine's Day, per A and B

I've always heard that the holidays are so much more fun with kids, and I always associated that statement with "the holidays", meaning Christmas.

I'm learning that "the holidays" in the context of little kiddos doesn't just refer to Christmas. Even Groundhog's Day is fun when shared with the wee ones...reading books, doing crafts, and inventing ways to celebrate!

Ahead of Valentine's Day, we've been doing lots and lots of crafts, mostly making cards for our friends and family. And I've been impressing upon the girls that that's what it's all about...expressing our love to those we hold dear.

A couple of days ago, the girls were working on their magnetic drawing pads. Baby B announced, "I'm making a Valentine for Sasha!"

That's so nice! What does it say?

In her typical expressive fashion -- complete with batting eyelashes, head nods, and waving hands -- B proclaimed:

"It says...

Dear Sasha, Your fur is so soft and I like to stroke it, and your nose is so wet and I like to pet you and I love you."

No doubt she picked up on that line of thinking from one of the books we've been reading, but oh...how sweet!

My girls melt my heart with their sweet play patterns, showing me they're taking in all the elements of their environment. And their awesome regard for their furry sister Sasha is the icing on the cupcake for this mama.

February 11, 2012

No-Sew Handmade Heart Baskets

I was thinking about something little and fun for the girls for Valentine's Day, and I remembered these felt heart baskets my mom used to make.


A quick romp through my craft supplies yielded several pieces of standard 9" x 11" felt, and I got to work.

Fold your felt in half, top to bottom, and cut it half. Each piece will be 4.5" wide. You will need two for each basket. I used coordinating colors.

With the folded side to the bottom, round the top corners. I didn't use a pattern, but started my "curve" about 2" down one side.


From the bottom, cut three even slits, 1.5" each. The slits should be 4.5" long.

Then start "weaving" the two pieces together. Start from the top inside "divot" of the heart. Here are pictures of the first row...



[I had to play around to remember how to do this. Once I got started, it was easy and went very quickly.]

Repeat the alternating pattern for the next two rows, and your woven heart will look something like this, wrinkled and rumpled.


Pull each of the rows so they are straight, and viola!


I know I labeled this as "no-sew", but I did sew a little handle onto each basket, 1" wide and 9" long...but you could glue it if you wanna.

The finished baskets are about 6" x 6"...perfect for an itty bitty "happy" for my itty bitty valentines.

***

Linking up with Adventures-in-Mommy-Land for her Valentine's-themed Weekend Show and Share...a place for mamas (and dads) to show off the crafts they've been up to. Hop on over to see all the amazing things Charlene has been working on...and check out some great ideas from other bloggers, too!

February 10, 2012

Fab 5 Friday

Counting my blessings for another fab-filled week!

1) On Friday afternoon, the timing worked out for us to meet Daddy downtown after school to go to the post office. We’d planned to have a little snack at our favorite coffee shop, but by the time we finished, it was closer to supper time. Spur of the moment, we decided to go to one of our favorite shabby-chic restaurants for The Best Pizza on the Planet. Seriously. The pizza was scrumptious, for sure…but it was so much more than that. It was awesome being able to go out to dinner spur of the moment, and to so fully enjoy a meal together, so effortlessly.

2) Our twin friends K and K had their third birthday party on Saturday, at an indoor play place. The girls had an absolute blast in the bounce houses (as did Mommy!). It was so fun to watch B climbing all over the place, and so sweet to see A claim a baby doll and push it around in a stroller. And of course it’s always great to see my girlies playing with their friends.

3) The girls have been all about letters this week. A favorite pastime has been them asking me, “What does ____ start with?” I’ll sound out the word, and maybe give them a clue, and they usually get it. Baby A has taken a real interest in writing letters, too. She’s mastered A, I, T, E, F. And I could not believe when she asked me on Thursday, “What does Whitey [their stuffed bear] start with?” I told her “W”, and 15 seconds later, she said, “Is this a ‘W’?” She drew it without any instruction!!!

4) We hosted our twin friends M and C, who are 9 months younger than A and B, for a play date on Tuesday. It was so fun to see the dynamics of the group. Baby A hung with the boys and played with the train set for quite some time, while B pretended to run errands. We’d talked about sharing before M and C got here. A couple of times, I caught A taking a toy from one of the boys. When I called her on it, she said, “He needs to share.” Um, still have some work to do there!

5) And the quotes of the week?

The four of us were snuggling in the den, the first thing Friday morning. Baby A was twitching her nose, and I asked if she smelled something. “I smell Daddy.” What does Daddy smell like? “Like he needs to take a shower.” Not true (at least to my nose)...but oh, so funny!

And I overheard B explaining to A about a toy, “…and if it rolled under the couch, Daddy would get it when he gets home...because he's the master of getting stuff."

February 9, 2012

Tender Heart

It’s happened twice this week.

The first time, we sat cuddled on the couch in the girls’ room after nap, reading a story about Lilypet.

Lilypet is a pristine white field mouse who disobeys her mommy and wanders away from their house in search of adventure. She tries to make friends with some animals on a farm, but they are scared of her. She runs away from the farm, only to come face to face with a tom cat. She narrowly escapes the cat, only to then realize she’s lost.

At that point in the story, I glanced at Baby A, and her little chin was trembling, tears welled in her eyes.

It’s OK!” I told her, turning the page. “Look! See, Lilypet finds her way home, and here she is with her mommy, safe and warm.”

Despite the picture of the happy ending, Baby A was quite upset, crying. She climbed into my lap and burrowed her face against my shoulder. We had to put the book away and move on to something else.

A day or so later, the girls asked to read from the book of fairy tales they got for Christmas. Judging solely by the pictures they insisted on reading “the one with the ducks”, The Ugly Duckling.

Given what had happened with the Lilypet story, I was trying to temper my usually-impassioned style of reading, and hurry through the sadder parts. But my efforts were to no avail. We made it to the part of the story where the ducks are teasing the baby swan, and Baby A lost it again.

Of course I don’t like to see her upset – and I’ll try to be more discerning about what stories we read for a while – but oh, how I just want to wrap her tender little heart in the softest blanket and cuddle my baby girl forever.

February 8, 2012

Phone Etiquette

As a general rule, I think my girls are pretty well-behaved. Sure, they test their boundaries here and there – as is their job – but they’re mostly pleasant kids.

The last week and a half, since the floodgates (er, baby gates) came down, there has been more boundary-testing, but that’s understandable. I’ve done my best to be consistent in discipline, while remembering that certain things…like the lure of making laps around the kitchen table…probably just have to run their course.

The one horrific exception to the girls’ good behavior is when I’m on the phone. This has been a challenge to some degree for a while, but – if worse came to worse and I had to answer a phone call – I could step into another room (leaving the girls in their gated safety bubble).

Now, though, all bets are off.

The girls could be playing beautifully, engaged in a great pretend scenario, or reading, or drawing…but the ringing of the telephone often seems like the starting gun of a 100-meter dash.

No sooner have I uttered “Hello” than the girls are climbing on the back of the couch, peeking into a cabinet, or making a run for the stairs.

I know consistency in discipline is important, and my friends and family have heard me “count” the girls – and put them in time-out – plenty of times. I know that the girls need to learn that – even when Mommy has her attention turned – they are still expected to behave as they know how.

But oh, my…we’re just not there yet.

So, friends and family, please forgive me if I’m out of touch. Husband, please understand that no, I still haven’t called the cable company to explore our options.

I’m just biding my time…trying to save myself some drama and keep my blood pressure in check.

And as for nap time? That’s MY time! I talk all.day.long, and I don’t usually answer the phone then, much less make calls.

It's necessary I save my voice box "to be consistent in discipline" when the girls wake up.

February 7, 2012

Valentine's Day Fun (and Learning)

Hubby and I have never made a big deal out of Valentine's Day, but, with the girls now three years old, I find myself more excited about the upcoming holiday than I was when I was a pimply teenager.

We have been having so much fun making Valentine's crafts!


I love having so much "themed" inspiration...and an outlet for our creations. At the risk of spoiling some of the surprise for our friends and family, here's part of what we've been up to.

And in addition to all the gluing and "following directions" practice, the girls might just be learning a little something, too...

...like a heart symbolizes love.


..."X" is a sign for a hug, because you cross your arms (and the girls hug themselves).

..."O" is a sign for a kiss, because you make your lips into that shape (and the girls do a big "mwah!").


...and lots of letter sorting and placement...


I love the way these turned out!

And of course the girls are always so proud to show off their creations!


We've gotta kick our production into high gear and start getting these in the mail. Unlike our Christmas cards (which I may still be working on...ahem...), I'm hoping to do a little better. :)

***

Speaking of creative inspiration, I'm the featured blogger today at Adventures-in-Mommy-Land! And Charlene's blog truly has some of the greatest creative inspiration.

Charlene does the most amazing crafts with her kiddos...and she bakes, and she decorates, and she sews, too.

She hosts a weekly link-up, "Hey, Mom, Look What I Did!" and there are always so many great ideas showcased.

And she just launched an Etsy shop selling the most precious aprons. I happened to be lucky enough to win one from her blog in October -- it's gorgeous! She has aprons for adults and kiddos -- girls and boys.

If you haven't met Charlene, I encourage you to stop by and say hello...I think you'll be glad you did.

February 5, 2012

Ungated Goodness

Lots of changes at our house this week with the downing of the baby gates! While it's been lots of work in some respects, there have been lots of sweet moments, too.

Here's one of my faves, from Saturday morning...


...Daddy reading his paper after breakfast, spontaneously joined by the girls, reading their books.

Worth it!!!

February 4, 2012

Budding Artists?

We bought the girls small magnetic drawing pads for our mini-vacation last summer. They had fun playing with them in the hotel, and I kept them packed in our "travel bag" for future such trips.

Our sweet Miss Jennifer gave the girls similar magnetic drawing pads for Christmas, and the girls had a blast playing with them in the den. After a play date at a friend's house, where the girls really enjoyed the larger Magna Doodles, we decided to invest in two of them with some of the girls' birthday money.

What a fantastic investment that has been!

The girls L-O-V-E to draw. It's not at all unusual to find them like this...


...for 20 or so minutes at a time!

The girls love to draw themselves, and of course they love to request drawings upon drawings from Mommy.

And when Mommy draws, she sometimes tries to sneak in some letters and numbers, too. To the girls, it's all part of the game, but I think the drawing pads are really a great - and fun! - learning tool.

I've been amazed, too, at how well the girls draw on them. With crayons, they still mostly scribble...lots of colors, all mixed together.

Maybe the pen glides more easily across the drawing pad...or maybe it more closely resembles an actual pen...but the girls hold it in pretty good form, and they've made quite a few masterpieces (I think!).

Here's B, showing off one of the first examples I saw her make of an actual face...


...and here's A, so very proud of her "A"s.

Of course, I can't always recognize the girls' drawings. Here's A, with her signature letter, and B explained, "This is a type of animal...that I really love!"


I'm with Julia at Pontifications of a Twin Mom again this week for her great link-up, Mama Loves.

I don't know if we have budding artists on our hands, but this mama certainly loves these doodlers, and so do Baby A and Baby B!

February 3, 2012

Fab 6 Friday!

We’ve had such a gorgeous week of weather. While I would mostly rather the seasons stick to how they’re supposed to act, we have so enjoyed all the time outside. The girls and I have gotten in some great stroller walks, and some great hand-in-hand walks, too…sometimes in immediate succession. We’re all just soaking up the sunshine and fresh air, and that’s truly fabulous!

In other fabulous news…

1) We usually go out to lunch on Saturday, and we had our sights set on one of our favorite dives. Hubby saw an ad in the paper for a new restaurant, though, and – spur of the moment – we decided to try it. It was excellent! From-scratch sandwiches, pizzas, and salads, in some pretty interesting flavor combinations, using “Kentucky Proud” ingredients. We had a great meal…and how GREAT it was to try a new place – spur of the moment – with the girlies!

2) The girls and I have had so much fun making Valentines this week! Pictures to come, of course. :)

3) It’s rare that the girls and I go out to lunch during the middle of the week, but we decided to break with routine and treat ourselves to a mid-week outing. Aunt Karen was available to join us, and it made for such a nice morning. We enjoyed our lunch, and the girls were extra-snuggly that day, too…there’s just something so heartwarming about seeing my babies cuddled with their “auntie”.

4) We have a small futon in the girls’ room, and we used to cuddle there every morning as a family. We had to dispense with that when potty-training started, though, as we began making a beeline for the bathroom instead. Over the past couple of days, the girls have asked to read books when they woke up. How sweet it is to snuggle with them there, so reminiscent of their baby days.

5) I noticed a new freckle on Baby A this week, a tiny one on her left collarbone. I know I won’t always be able to document every little thing, but it makes my heart smile to be able to recognize such little changes…and to know that that little freckle will be with her always.

6) Baby B is an avid thumb-sucker, but only when she sleeps. When she’s really tired, she’ll go ahead and insert her thumb into her mouth as I’m zipping up her blanket. Daddy has been talking to her gently, asking her to try to refrain. Bless her heart…she’s trying…but I had such a laugh one night. I zipped up her blanket and she tucked her left hand inside. She wrapped her right thumb in her blanket too, and said, I’ll just put it here so it’s safe. Hahaha! And of course as soon as her head hit the mattress, I heard that familiar sucking sound.

And me???

I met a friend for a late cup of coffee on Friday night, scoring my favorite spot in the whole city, right in front of the fire place at the coffee shop. AND…I got a pedicure…ALONE…on Sunday afternoon. Bliss!!!

Hope there was plenty of fabulous in your week, too!

February 2, 2012

An Un-Gated Community: Day 5

We’re on Day 5 of no baby gates. All in all and KNOCK ON WOOD, things are going pretty well…as usual, much better than the worst-case scenario / Mommy-stuffed-in-the-oven-while-the-girls-swing-from-the-chandelier I had imagined.

Granted, I have relaxed some of my standards. I would really like for the girls to hang out in the den unless they have a reason to be in the kitchen…but I quickly realized that’s probably unrealistic. Particularly when I’m in the kitchen, they want to wander in to see what’s going on, and I’m OK with that.

Nonetheless, I have held to most of my rules:

- The den is for playing; the kitchen is not.
- Toys stay in the den.
- Walk - don't run - on the wood floor (at least in theory).
- Do not sit on the wood floor.
- Do not reach up on the table or the counters.
- Do not open cabinets or drawers.

I was afraid the kitchen table would be a big lure, and I envisioned the worst of bumps and bruises – on the girls and on the furniture. We quickly reached a compromise, where the girls can sit at the table to read. (And how I love to see my babes propped up reading!!!)

Still, that has prompted us to add a new rule -- do not move the kitchen chairs.

One more rule I added -- ask Mommy before you throw anything away. (I didn’t think about it, but the girls have never had free access to a trash can!)

The girls have done a good job of not wandering into the dining room or the living room. They don’t see us spending much time in there, so maybe it doesn’t much occur to them. And they haven’t gone upstairs by themselves, save when I’ve gone up there to get something, which is probably understandable.

These past few days have been interesting for me, though, a combination of count it, and ignore it, while trying somehow to be consistent.

I know that the girls are exploring their boundaries, and some things probably just need to run their course. They’ll eventually realize that walking laps around the kitchen table is not very fun. It drives me a little batty, but I’m choosing to ignore it.

Other times, I’ve found myself being very strict about certain things, like opening cabinets. I think there is a certain example that needs to be set, that these are hard and fast rules. Three strikes, and you’re in time out, no questions.

Like any other transition, the past few days have been stressful…the girls, testing their boundaries, and me, trying to respond fairly, and in a way that helps them understand what’s expected of them.

And, although I didn’t think to expect it, this has been a very emotional few days, too. I look back to so many other transitions…most recently, potty training…when the girls are accepting new responsibilities. It must be a lot for them to process, and there’s definitely a heightened sense of emotion here.

Between the stress of trying to discipline the girls and the emotions running pretty high, this mama is pretty tired. I don’t usually think much about what day of the week it is…but this week I’m definitely looking forward to the weekend and having Hubby home.

And my guess is that this first week will be the toughest…that in another few days we’ll all have reached a new level of “normal”.

In the meantime, I’m so enjoying the open feeling to the house…not hurdling baby gates 100 times a day…and the idea – as Rebecca said – that “it’s their house, too”. It’s definitely a new level of “family”.

February 1, 2012

Tales of a Duck and a Butterfly

About two years ago, we bought the cutest, fuzziest hooded towels for the girls...a yellow duck for Baby A, and a bright pink butterfly for B.

At just over a year old, they couldn't tell us how much they loved their towels, but their big smiles - and soon after, their voracious signing - were quite clear.



Our duck and butterfly towels aren't quite as fuzzy as they once were, but the girls still love them, just the same. After every bath, they give them nose kisses and declare, "Thank you for drying me off!" before they trek to the hamper.



We'll have to retire our towels before long, but they've certainly served us well. I look forward to being joined by a couple of new fuzzy bathtime friends...but not before I got one more photo session with our beloved duck and butterfly.

I'm linking up with Twinfatuation for Way Back When-esday. Thanks for hosting this trip down memory lane, Miss Cheryl!
 
Design by Mommy Monologues