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May 27, 2013

Planting May Flowers...Then and Now

Last May we made a morning of going out to breakfast -- a rare treat -- and then going to the garden center to get flowers for the girls to plant.  They've been asking to plant flowers again this year, so we embarked on a repeat adventure this weekend.

We again enjoyed a super-yummy breakfast, and then headed to the garden center.  The girls again picked petunias for their flower pots.  Last year, they chose pink and purple; this year, purple and white.

I also picked out some begonias for our front flower bed.  (This year is the first time I've planted our front beds since the girls were born...yikes!)

Baby A was quite the helper at the garden center.  She insisted on pulling the flatbed wagon...and she did a pretty decent job!

When we got home, Daddy unloaded the car while the girls and I got our gardening gloves on.  I can't remember that from last year, exactly, but this year was nothing short of hysterical.  I thought the girls would be old enough to put their gloves on by themselves...but I was wrong!  It was a real feat to help them, laboriously, get 20 fingers in place.  My incessant laughing didn't make things go any more smoothly.  Hee hee!

When we finally had our gloves on and our equipment in place, the girls did a great job dropping the plants into the holes I dug.  They were troopers...helping through two pots of petunias and the front flower bed.

After our hard work, we relaxed for a few minutes with a snack on the picnic blanket I spread on the driveway, and then the girls wanted me to show them how to jump rope.  They have a lot of practicing yet to do...but I had a great time!

I only took a few pictures yesterday.  In contrast to last year, Daddy was working on potting our ferns while the girls and I took care of the I didn't get as many action shots.

Still, it was so much fun to compare this year's pictures to last...

2013...we're ready!

2012...trying to figure out those gloves!

2013...the fruit of our labor!
2012...grow, little flowers, grow!
One other notable note is that last year was toasty warm...and this year, not so much!  We were fine eating breakfast in our jeans and long-sleeved shirts...but it was downright COLD at the garden center.  Thankfully we had fleece pullovers in the car that we donned...and kept on for the duration of the morning!

Live long and prosper, petunias!  We'll do it again next year!

May 25, 2013

Embarking on Uncharted Territory!

I finally made the decision.  We are embarking on uncharted territory this summer…I signed the girls up for a tumbling class!

The girls’ first introduction to “structure” was preschool this year.  They’ve done so well with that, loving every minute of it.  But outside of swimming lessons last summer (which seems to fall into a different category), we have yet to participate in any organized sports.

The girls love to be outside, to run and jump and play.  They love to kick the soccer ball, too…but only for a few minutes.  I know that many sports programs start as young as three, but it just hasn’t felt like the right time for us yet.

I have a few friends whose kiddos have done tumbling, and the idea of channeling the girls’ energy into something physical, maybe helping them become more physically aware of themselves, has appeal to me.

Our friends K&K take gymnastics at a gym on our side of town, and I know they love it.  I checked out the other facilities in our city, but their gym had the most appeal to me.  I stopped by to talk to them earlier in the week, and then I asked the girls if they’d like to do some tumbling this summer.

The term “tumbling” didn’t otherwise have much meaning to them, I don’t imagine, but their eyes lit up, just the same.  We went on Thursday afternoon to turn in their registration paperwork.  They got to check out the gym, and they got to meet one of their teachers.

The teacher was between dance classes, so she got down a padded mat for the girls to see.  She offered to help them with a somersault, but they were a little nervous about that.  Since we got home, though, they’ve been asking me to somersault every chance they get.  HA!

The girls will need to wear a leotard (over which I confirmed they can wear shorts) for class.  We went shopping yesterday and found two pink leotards.  Nearby there were some “yoga shorts”, which looked perfect to me.  The girls each picked out a pair, but we continued to look around.  When we spied some knit “running shorts” (solid with white trim), they were IN LOVE.  They ran to put back the yoga shorts and pick colors for their exercise shorts.

The girls tried on their leotards last night, along with their shorts.  They giggled getting into the leotards, and Baby A kept referring to it as a “onesie”.  HA!  They’ve talked a lot about their shorts, too.  Mommy, when I’m not in tumbling class, I can wear those shorts for exercising, or jogging, right?  It just tickles me that they’re so giddy about having “exercise shorts” like Mommy and Daddy (as if their other knit shorts aren’t fit for exercising).

I may be a bit nervous at this endeavor (although I know everything will be fine, and I’m excited I’ll be able to stay and watch their classes)…but the girls are BEYOND thrilled!!!  They can hardly wait for the first week of June!  Cute pictures to come!

May 23, 2013

A Bit About Me, May Edition

My birthday is February 23.  On the 23rd of each month, I share a couple of random facts about myself.  So, for the month of 'tis!

I have a long history with ironing boards.

I’m not one to iron very frequently.  My work clothes always went to the cleaners, and I have few opportunities to wear anything that requires ironing these days.  Once upon a time, I ironed Hubby’s shirts and pants…until, that is, I discovered the wonders of wrinkle-free fabric.  He’s a teacher and a coach, I rationalize: he doesn’t have to be dressed to the nines.

Over the past five years, I’ve ironed more than I did the previous five years, although that’s not saying much.  Still, I find myself ironing a few of the girls’ outfits for pictures and special occasions.

[I should note I’m using the same ironing board my dad bought me when I moved into my first apartment, as well as the same travel iron I got before I went to college.  I’m guessing technology has improved in the last 20 years...perhaps I should consider investing in a new iron?]

It dawned on me a couple of days ago, as the girls were pretending to iron the carpet (I had stashed the iron in my closet over the weekend and hadn’t put it away)…I used to have a tiny little ironing board and pretend iron when I was a kiddo.  I saw my mom ironing all the time (I remember she’d iron and watch some soap opera during the middle of the day), and I guess I loved imitating her.

That just strikes me as funny.  The girls have a ton of pretend kitchen stuff…pots and pans and all sorts of food…but nothing so utilitarian.

It’s not that I mind ironing so much these days…it’s kinda fun to press those itty-bitty outfits for the girls…but it’s not exactly something I’d enjoy pretending in my spare time. 

I love to jump.

I saw this e-card a couple of days ago…coincidentally just hours after I’d been jumping with the girls.

A year ago, I went in the bounce houses with the girls primarily as a safety precaution.  I wanted to make sure they weren’t running into each other, and that other kids weren’t running into them.  I climbed up the gigantic slide ladder behind them to make sure they didn’t slip back down.

These days, they’re pretty proficient jumpers and climbers.  As long as it’s not crowded, they can handle their own around each other and other kids.

Yet, I still jump and climb and slide.  It’s a great workout…the girls love to show me their tricks…and it’s FUN!!!  Continue to stare, fellow mamas…I know my toe-touches are something to envy.  Bwahahaha!  But I'm getting a front row seat to my girls' shining eyes and contagious laughter.

May 22, 2013

Super Stuff!!!

It’s been a super-fabulous week, and for that I am thankful!

1)      During the last week of school, B was telling me that an ant got on her classmate's shirt while they were outside playing.  Did it bite her?” I asked.  "No, it was a very gentle ant," she explained.

2)      The girls were doing artwork (as they call it) one morning, and I was having so much fun listening to their conversation.  They kept saying, “Yes, ma’am!” to each other…it just rolled off their tongues, as they went about their business.  I love my little Southern ladies!

3)      One afternoon the girls and I were playing in the backyard.  B was blowing bubbles, and I asked A if she wanted to chase the bubbles.  It wasn’t exactly what I’d imagined when A stood straight in front of B so B could blow into her hands.  Hahaha!  As one of my Facebook friends aptly commented, “Work smarter, not harder.”

4)      Aunt Shanda held a special kiddie yoga class for our MoMs group at her new yoga studio.  The girls were SO excited when I told them we were going on Saturday morning, and they had SUCH fun!  We hadn’t done yoga with her in a couple of years, and this just felt like the perfect age.  They were all into the pretend scenarios and they followed directions super well.  It was such a fun morning!

5)      After yoga, we went next door to our favorite little bakery for lunch.  Our friends M&C and their dad joined us.  I was so impressed to have FOUR little ones…who all wanted to sit together at the end of the table…and they all behaved so well!  Everyone ate nicely, and I even enjoyed my entire sandwich, too. 

6)      On Sunday we had the girls’ closing reception for three-year old preschool.  I am still laughing every time I think about their antics going across the front of the room to receive their certificates.

7)      The first thing on Monday morning, the girls pulled out some Christmas books from their bookshelf.  On a whim, I asked if they wanted to pretend it was Christmas, just for the day.  They had a blast!  We read Christmas books all day long…we made a Christmas tree craft…and I made a Christmas-themed lunch.  I stopped shy of turning on Christmas music, though.  The girls are still pretty bad about singing Christmas songs these days, and I surely didn’t want to encourage that! 

8)      Over our Christmas-themed lunch, I asked the girls what their favorite thing was about this past Christmas.  Separately, they both said, Helping Mommy in the kitchen.”  Awww!!!  That reminds me that the spilled flour and sugar on the floor are all worth it! 

9)      At the table one afternoon, I asked my standard, “How’s your lunch?  B made me laugh when she immediately piped up, “I’m enjoying it immensely.”  That’s a line from a book, but it just made my afternoon to see how she incorporated that phrase so effortlessly.

10)   One day we were talking about numbers and letters.  There are 26 letters in the alphabet, and there are 10 numbers, but the combinations of numbers go on forever.  Baby A then asked, “Mommy, if numbers go on forever and ever, why do you stop counting when you get to 100?  Hahaha! 

May 20, 2013

Preschool Pomp and Circumstance

Well, it wasn't exactly "Pomp and Circumstance" yesterday, but we did enjoy the closing reception at the girls' preschool.

The girls were SO excited...they've been looking forward to their reception for days.  Poor kiddos, though...I didn't realize until afterwards that they expected to be able to "go to school".  When we got home, they asked why their day was so short!

We took the girls to their classroom.  They were so tickled that their Daddy was able to come.

While the teachers organized the kiddos, the parents got to enjoy a slide show of pictures from the year.  It was so much fun to be able to peek inside their classroom to see some of the adventures I'd heard about.  (And we got a CD with all the pictures from the sweet!)

At 3:00, the two classes of four-year olds came in.  Each class sang two songs, and then it was showtime for A&B's class.  They sang "If You're Happy and You Know It" first.  They all did a pretty good job with the motions, even the last chorus of "Do all five!"  Then they sang the "Goodbye Song".  I couldn't listen to the words very closely, though...for fear I'd get teary.  "It is time to say goodbye to all our friends...give a smile and wink your is time to say goodbye to all our friends!"

The girls were pretty wide-eyed during their songs, but they did all the motions and I could hear B's voice loud and clear.  I was a proud mama, considering that was their first time ever in front of a crowd.

All the kiddos sat down to the side, and then they were called individually to get their certificates.

Baby A sacheted  across the stage.  She does a funny little dance sometimes when she's in a new situation, and I guess her display was an extension of that.  She was kind enough to pose for a picture afterwards, though...and her stance just cracked me up.

Baby B walked proudly across the room to claim her certificate.  She then posed for a picture, most of the time holding her certificate right over her head.  Here she was just before she covered her face, which solicited quite the giggles from the room.

Then all the kiddos sang a prayer before we got to enjoy some cookies and fruit.

It was such a sweet afternoon!  The girls felt very special, and they were so excited to get home and look through the bag of goodies that each child contained the alphabet books they worked on all year, along with their name tags and handprints and a few other things from their classroom.

I had planned to make the girls' favorite dish for supper last night...but this mama was a wee bit tired after all the festivities.  We instead celebrated with dinner out at our favorite Mexican restaurant, and they loved that, all the same.

And now, on to summer!

May 19, 2013

Reflections on the First Year of Preschool

It’s hard to believe it’s been a year…

…a year since I signed my girls up for preschool.

…a year since I lost sleep over whether it was the right decision.

…a year since we visited the girls’ classroom and met their teachers.

And it’s even harder to believe it’s been nine months since preschool started…

…nine months since I choked back tears, reading “The Kissing Hand” on the first morning of school.

…nine months since the girls so bravely walked into their classroom for the first time, their heads held high after a super-quick hug and kiss for their mommy.

…nine months since I first walked away, leaving my girls in the care of someone else.

Heading to their first day of school, hand in hand.


I am so very thankful to say it’s been a truly wonderful experience…for them…and for me.

The reservations I had about signing the girls up this year were several-fold.  I was afraid we’d lose the beauty of our “organic” schedule.  I was afraid the girls would be forced to mature at a rate faster than what they otherwise would.  And – frankly – I was afraid of outside influences beyond my control.

None of these fears have come to fruition, though.

True, there was very little “organic” about Tuesday and Thursday mornings.  We had a schedule, and we stuck to it to get to school on time.  The other days of the week, thankfully, were unencumbered.  The beginning of school didn’t make the girls any more antsy to go and do.  They were no less content to play quietly at home.  Their pretend scenarios were as involved as ever, sometimes even more so, as they incorporated themes from school.

Perhaps it was just the luck of the draw, but we feel so thankful that the five other families in their preschool group were such nice folks.  At least relative to the six hours a week the kiddos were together, and a handful of extra-curricular get-togethers and birthday parties, everyone seemed to have the same basic value systems.  We’d be happy to have any of their classmates’ families to our house, and I think that’s a huge blessing.

The last day of school, with twin classmates K & K.

And lastly, my baby girls are still my baby girls.  They’re still my sweet, precious, unassuming babies.  They’re kind and gentle and curious.  They haven’t suddenly started rolling their eyes, or feigning embarrassment, or talking like Valley girls.  I credit this to the wonderful families of their classmates, and also to the no-nonsense approach taken by their teachers.

So what have we gotten from preschool???

The girls have gotten lots of alphabet practice.  They’ve made so many wonderful crafts every week.  They’ve learned some new songs.  

Silly faces for Silly Day in November.

What’s much, much more, though…the girls have made friends.  They’ve played together as part of a group, and separate from each other.  They’ve learned to follow rules, and to respect their teachers’ authority.  And they’ve enjoyed a little bit of space apart from me.  They’ve been able to tell me stories about what they did, and answer questions to which I didn’t already know the outcome.

All in all, it’s been a priceless experience…everything I could have hoped for, and none of that I feared.  And we are very thankful.

This will no doubt go down as one of my favorite pictures, from the last day of school.