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April 28, 2013

One Way or Another!

Alison is my bestest friend.

We went to college together, and although we haven't lived in the same city since, we've somehow managed to stay in touch on a regular basis, and we see each other whenever we can manage it.

That wasn't too hard before we started having kiddos.  The frequency wasn't high, but we had some really fun girls' weekends together.

When the girls were infants, Alison came to visit a couple of times.  The first time, they were seven weeks old, and it was the greatest gift...to have another couple of hands in taking care of them, of course...but even more so to have a few glimpses of "girl time" together...to be reminded that I was once -- and would be again one day -- defined by more than diapers and wipes and feeding schedules.

When the girls were five months old, Alison visited again.  She helped me get those babies out on the town, as we took them for lunch at my favorite sushi restaurant.  And then she encouraged me to get them out of the master bedroom from time to time.  :)  Following her visit, I started spending more time in the den with them...on the floor...gasp!

Alison planned another visit when the girls were about seven months old...but shortly before she learned she was expecting her own sweet Baby A.

We had a lull in our visits for a few months, but I did manage to sneak away for about 10 hours when my girls were 14 months old...my first time to leave them!  I made a crazy down-and-back trip to Sweet Home Alabama for Alison's baby shower.

Since that time, we've somehow managed to see each other every few months.  We always find each other on our trips to Alabama, and then we've managed a handful of meet-ups somewhere in between my house and hers.

In August 2010, when Alison's Baby A was four months old, we met up for lunch in north Alabama, roughly halfway between our houses.  It was a long way to go for lunch...but oh, so worth it for some one-on-one time with Alison!!!



In May 2011, Alison and her hubby were on their first weekend away since their A was born, and we met them for lunch in Nashville.  In addition to catching up with Alison, it was a memorable trip for us, too...the first time we left the city limits after my A potty-trained...her first public potty experience!



In April 2012, Alison met us for a mid-morning snack in Huntsville, when we were down for my cousin's wedding.



And yesterday, we logged our first one-on-one time since 2010, when I sneaked away for the afternoon to meet Alison in Nashville.  She and her hubby were up for a concert.  While I'd originally thought we'd make a family event out of it, it occurred to me late Friday night that I might be able to con Hubby into taking the afternoon duty while I had some girl time.

It was wonderful, as always...recharging for the soul.  And I am so thankful I got to see Alison with Baby O before he is scheduled to make his appearance in a couple of months.



Here's to many, many more meet-ups...here, there, and in-between...one way or another! 

(And I might just be looking forward to when we may one day get another chance at a girls' weekend...or at least a girls' night!)

So thankful for my Alison!!!

April 27, 2013

Hooray for Evolution!



The first post I read this morning was Deanna’s, in which she talked about the evolution of bedtime stories at her house.  I just had this exact conversation with a family friend this week, talking about how our girls’ preferences have continued to grow and change.  It’s such an interesting evolution to witness!

Since the girls were born, we’ve gone through so many phases with books and reading…

I went from reading great works of literature to them as infants…to finally realizing they wanted to point to pictures, instead of be read to, when they were toddlers.

They’ve chewed books…and cuddled with books…and then peeled the laminate off others.

For this book-loving mama, it’s been quite a ride.  I want so desperately for the girls to love to read, as I do.  During those times – mostly as toddlers – when they wouldn’t sit still for anything…when they couldn’t be left alone with the most indestructible of texts…I worried.

Finally, when they were about two-and-a-half, I think, they settled into quite the listeners.  There were times that I think they would have let me do nothing else all day but read books.  While that could be a little tiring, ultimately I was so relieved!

The girls have tons of books.  With only a few exceptions, we still have almost all the books they’ve loved since they were tiny.  We might read a really simple story, and then sit down for something much more involved.

For a long time, I identified that, as long as there were interesting pictures, the girls were game.

We even have a number of science-oriented books…one on bees…one on butterflies and moths…one on snakes and reptiles…one on animals of Asia.  For Easter they got books on volcanoes and planet earth.  The headiest one they have is on the solar system.  It’s amazing to me that the girls often request those books.  I know at least some of the concepts are over their heads, but they seem to love them nonetheless.

What’s been the biggest surprise lately, though, is how they’ve taken to my classic Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy books.  Each story is five or six pages long…but those are mostly single-spaced…and there are very few pictures.  The pictures in the book I have are mostly black and white line drawings, with a simple color one now and again.

It’s been such a delight for me to share these stories with my girls…ones I remember from my childhood…to have them request a Raggedy Ann story over a new book with glossy pictures.

And it’s let me know they’re not just looking at pictures.  They’re listening and following and retaining information. 

Hooray for evolution!!!  And – in this case – hooray for harkening back to the old days of Mommy’s childhood, too.

Next up?  I’m thinking Little House!!!

April 26, 2013

Checking on My Babies



When the girls started sleeping through the night, at about three months old, part of my routine was to check on them before I went to bed.  A strict follower of rules, I always put them to bed on their backs, wrapped tightly in their swaddle blankets.  It wasn’t long before Baby A, in particular, began to flip over to her tummy, and she traveled quite a bit, too.  I’d usually find her 180 degrees from how I’d placed her, tummy down, fast asleep.

I would pick her up, and – still sound asleep – she’d resist against me.  I don’t know how she did it, swaddled so tightly, but I can only compare it to seeing a bug that’s gotten stuck on its back...struggling against all odds to right itself.

I would flip A over and place her back in the correct direction.  I would rub Baby B’s back, and then I could go to bed myself (even though I’m guessing by the time I made it down the hall, A had probably rolled over again).

My nightly checks continued until the girls were probably close to two, although at some point I finally gave up my quest for Baby A to sleep on her back.

One evening I came in to caress my babies’ sweet, sleepy cheeks, and Baby A woke up.  She F-R-E-A-K-E-D out, seeing me in her room.  At the time, were already dealing with some degree of nightmares (or something), and scaring her was the last thing I needed.

At that point I rationalized that the girls (still sleeping in zipper blankets) didn’t really need anything from me during the night.  If they did, they’d surely call out or cry…but otherwise I decided not to risk scaring anyone with a late-night visit.

It was only recently, when we made the move to big-girl blankets, that I began checking on the girls again.  It’s been such a sweet, sweet reminder to me of their infanthood.  Few things match the beauty of a sleeping baby (or four-year old)!

Harkening back to their baby days, my B is usually in a similar position to where I left her at bedtime.  She’s often on her side or her back, not having moved much.

I finally moved A’s pillow to the end of the bed she prefers (which just happens to be close to B’s head…so sweet!).  And I make sure she’s nicely situation on her tummy when I tuck her in.  Still, she usually manages to entangle herself in her blanket. 

As gently as possible, I try to find an edge to her blanket and pull it / roll her so I can cover her again.  She has yet to fully wake up, but a couple of times she’s said, “Give it to me!” I guess thinking I was taking her blanket away!  She tosses and turns, almost violently at times, swiping at her hair and fighting her way back to a comfortable position. 

Feeling her energy, I can’t help but be taken back four years to how my little beetle bug behaved then…bedtime sweetness at its best.

April 25, 2013

Super Stuff!!!



So thankful for another fab-filled week (even if I am by now running waaaay behind!)!

1)      The girls and I were grocery shopping, and I banged my elbow on a shelf.  D’oh!!!  Mommy hurt her elbow!  My sweet Baby A made a beeline around the cart to come kiss my boo-boo.

2)      I have a terrible habit of not fully shutting the pantry door.  My Baby B – multiple times a day – comes by and, without fail, asks, Mommy, may I close your pantry, please?  Why yes, you may!

3)      The girls found an acorn cap and asked me what it was.  It’s the top to an acorn,” I explained.  They immediately decided they must find the bottom to the acorns.  HA!  Thank goodness they weren’t too disappointed not to find any right there.

4)      My Baby B seems to have mastered the art of blowing bubbles!!!  It helped that I bought some “super bubble” solution, I think, but she was so proud of herself…and so was I!

5)      My Baby A and I had a really great session playing with our “Velcro mitts”, as we call them.  She wanted to catch the ball 10 times before we went inside, and she managed that, plus some.  And I’m thankful to report she’s finally throwing up and out much better…many fewer dives required from Mommy!

6)      One afternoon the girls were coloring.  Baby A asked B if she could borrow her red crayon. B said, "Yes, you may have it, as long as you behave."  I think that sounds fair!

7)      The girls were such awesome helpers one morning!  We decided it was “Cooking Show Day”, and they played large roles in making granola (measuring out the ingredients); guacamole (mashing the avocados); tuna salad (cutting eggs with a butter knife and mixing); and stuffed eggs (peeling 8 eggs between them!).  I was so impressed how they stuck with me for two solid hours…helping when I could let them, and watching across the island when I was dicing veggies.

8)      The girls were coloring while I was making lunch.  B came to me with marker all over her hands. "Look, Mommy! I'm a chameleon!"  At least it was a cute and creative excuse for the mess she'd made!

9)      I asked B why she always draws me the shortest of the four of us.  "Don't worry, Mommy...it's just the way God made you."

10)   I overheard the girls one morning, from the living room (where I could not see them):  "Lift my leg and see how high it will go."  I got my hands dried and in there pretty quickly…I knew that could turn south in an instant.  HA!

11)   One day Baby A said, in response to something I’d asked her to do, "...I'm just a tiny, four-year old baby."  Yes, you’ll always be my tiny baby...and that’s a really great try…but that’s not an acceptable excuse.  HA!

12)   And B summed up the start of her day one morning by saying, It's good to get up in the morning and color."  Literally and figuratively…amen to that!

April 23, 2013

A Bit About Me, April Edition



My birthday is on February 23.  On the 23rd of each month, I share a couple of random things about myself.  For the month of April, here 'tis!

I had “twins” for extra credit in science class one time.

In the seventh or eighth grade, we had the opportunity to carry around a blown-out eggshell “baby” for extra credit.  It seems like we had to keep a diary of the egg’s whereabouts, and I distinctly remember having to find a “sitter” during PE class.  I hadn’t thought about it in eons, but I recently recalled that I made not one, but TWO, eggshell babies for the project.  I didn’t get double the credit…but they did look super sweet, sitting side-by-side.  Feels kinda prophetic...although I should note that I have never shoved my actual babies into a locker.

I don’t enjoy gardening.

I love having pretty flowers around the house, but I just don’t like planting them.  I don’t enjoy the bending…the weeding…the digging…it’s just.not.me.  It’s one of those things I feel like I should enjoy, but I don’t.  Once upon a time, I did enjoy watering, but now even that is a chore I relegate as best I can.  You might guess we have mostly greenery and perennials at our house.

For the sake of the girls, though, I try to fake it here and there...I orchestrated them planting petunias last year, and they did look awfully cute in their gardening gloves.  Hmmm...maybe if THEY like to garden, I just might have those pretty annuals one day!

April 21, 2013

The Evolution of Birthday Parties



I remember the first birthday party the girls were invited to…M&C’s first birthday, when the girls were about 21 months old.

For Hubby and me, it was all hands on deck.

We played with the girls while we were there, and then got them set up for pizza and veggies – the first meal they ever ate picnic-style, sitting on the floor.

Birthday parties were a family affair until the girls were three.  I took them to K&S’s birthday party by myself, and I remember being SO proud of that “mommy milestone”.

Over the past year, I’ve mostly allowed Hubby to bow out of the birthday party activities, but I’ve still been really involved during the course of the party…doing crafts, fixing plates, and keeping my eyes steadily trained on playtime.

Yesterday I experienced my first party where I was purely a bystander. 

We were invited to J’s fifth birthday party yesterday, at a tae kwon do studio.  I had no idea what to expect…I didn’t know if there would be a tae kwon do component, or if they were just renting that as a party space.

As it turns out, the party was all about tae kwon do!  It started with the TKD master (I guess you call him???) introducing himself, and he began to lead the party.  He had all the kids go to the bathroom and wash their hands [we just wet-wiped…hee-hee], and then he passed out pizza on plates.  I sat with the girls and orchestrated the sharing of a bottle of water…but it wasn’t too taxing.  (HA!)

Then all the kids went into the TKD room for almost two hours (save for a cake-and-presents break) of physical activities.

I watched from the waiting room area, but the girls were fully engaged by themselves.  I got to drink a bottle of water – by myself – and eat an entire piece of cake.  And I talked with some of the other parents, in mostly complete sentences.

I have to say, it felt pretty weird!

But it gave me time to step back and think about the evolution of birthday parties over the past three years…and how much my BABIES are growing up!  I have to think about that in small doses...otherwise it feels like a karate chop to the midsection.
 
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