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June 30, 2013

Things Making Me Happy

I have been smiling at Marcia's "Things Making Me Happy" blog post for 24 hours now.  I popped over to [finally] write a response, and I decided instead I'd blog about it.

These days I still feel like I'm running like a nut...the summer is zipping by...but all in all, everything is good.  So what's making me happy these days???

Off the top of my head:

1) My girls taking swimming lessons.  I love seeing them working so hard and having success...and of course, having fun.  I love their teacher, and I'm so thankful we found her!

2) Fresh fruit.  We've picked cherries and blueberries over the past couple of weeks, and we've been able to buy tons of yummy grapes, strawberries, and melons at incredible prices, too.  We've been eating fruit four or five times a day (instead of our usual three)...there's just so much goodness to pack into the day!  We'll be heading to the orchard this week, as their peaches are just beginning to come in.  I can't wait!!!

3) Miss Jenny.  I am so thankful for such a wonderful friend to our family.  The girls get so excited every Friday morning when I remind them, "It's Friday!  Do you know what that means?" 

4) Eating out for breakfast.  Hubby and I used to love to eat out for breakfast once upon a time.  Once the girls were born we did it only a couple of times until they were close to four.  It's such an easy meal to make at home, I always rationalized I'd rather just cook and "save" that eating out for another meal.  We've recently found a nice little mom-and-pop diner, and we've been out for breakfast every couple of weeks.  It's such an awesome treat to eat hot pancakes and have someone bring me coffee!

5) Pictures of my girls blowing bubbles.  I have taken a TON of those this summer...and I can't seem to choose my favorites.  I love them all!!!

6) Crafting.  I don't get to do it as often as I'd like, but it's always good for my soul.  I'm due some craft time one of these evenings soon!

7) Being *relatively* caught up on pictures.  They'd go a lot faster if I'd quit taking pictures of the girls blowing bubbles...but I can't do that.  :)

There are many more things, of course, but that's a super-quick list.

Thanks to Marcia for the inspiration (as always!!!)!

June 26, 2013

Some Michael Jordan Magic

Hubby and I spent a good part of our early years together watching the great Michael Jordan play basketball.  He was amazing in almost every move he made...but you knew things were about to get magical when he stuck out his tongue.


Over the past couple of swim lessons, I've noticed Baby A sticking out her tongue when she comes up from swimming underwater.  This was the best picture I could get of her yesterday, but she has the biggest look of accomplishment in her eyes, her tongue accentuating her achievement.



I couldn't help but think of Mr. Jordan.  I would also characterize Baby A's performance as "magical".

And then I couldn't help but think of one of my favorite pictures of Baby A from when she was six months old.  I didn't recognize it at the time, but perhaps her tongue-out pose was a look of accomplishment at her stellar tummy-time performance.


And yes, I'd call that pretty "magical", too.

June 25, 2013

A Major Breakthrough!!!



I vividly remember the girls’ first swim lesson, last summer.  I was so proud that they didn’t fuss or whine…they listened to the coach…and they seemed to have fun kicking in the pool.  Sure, they wouldn’t get their faces wet, but it was only the first class, right???

While I still think the overall experience was a valuable one, sadly we didn’t get much further in the two swim sessions we had last summer.  There was plenty of kicking, but I know the girls never fully got their faces wet, much less went underwater. 

This year, I was so thrilled when the girls got their faces wet during the first couple of swim lessons.  The girls were having fun, and I was hopeful that we’d get a little closer to submersion at some point.

To my wonderful surprise, it wasn’t long before the girls were getting their mouths…then their noses…and then their eyes in the water.  That was soon followed by them jumping off the side of the pool!!!  Of course Miss Jeanie met them immediately, but I could never have imagined that after our experience a year ago.

After five straight swimming lessons a couple of weeks ago, we had to take a break to recover from two cases of swimmer’s ear.  (While I was so very sad to see our girls with sore ears, it was scientific affirmation that they had, in fact, been UNDERWATER.  It wasn’t just a figment of my imagination!)

I was afraid that the girls might associate the pain in their ears with swimming and shy away from more time in the pool.  Thankfully, that didn’t happen.  They understood why we were taking some time off, but every day they asked (multiple times), “Mommy, when can we go swimming again?

Yesterday was our first day in the pool in just over a week.  The girls were very excited, but I didn’t know what to expect.  Would they remember what they’d learned so far?  Would they be timid – at least at first – with getting their faces wet?  Would they fear getting water in their ears?

Baby A asked to go first.  I was a little surprised by that, as to date, B has always been “elected” to take the first turn.

I sat there in total AMAZEMENT.  Baby A hopped right in the pool like she hadn’t missed a beat.  She got her mouth wet, and then her nose, and then she started going under to retrieve dive rings from the steps of the pool…deeper and deeper and deeper.

She was ecstatic to get to work with the kickboard.  She actually leaped out of the pool to get it, giggling wildly, surprising even her teacher.  When Miss Jeanie told her to put her face in the water and kick, SHE DID!!!  And she did it over and over and over!!!

It felt so incredible…to be witnessing what I can only describe as a breakthrough.  It was like my A suddenly “got it”.

She spent the majority of the lesson “swimming” from Miss Jeanie to the side of the pool, and then pushing off to swim back to Miss Jeanie.  Each time, her face was in the water, arms were in “swim position”, and her legs were outstretched, kicking.  And each time, she came up with the HUGEST smile on her face.

Not only was it amazing to witness this breakthrough, but it was such a blessing to see her be so proud of herself.  I know my smile was just as big as I watched my baby girl.

When it was her turn, Baby B did really well, too.  She got right back in with her face in the water and followed directions very well.  It wasn’t the same “breakthrough” feeling as I had with A, but I’m so thankful she fell right back in line with how far she’d come the week prior.

I can’t quite put my finger on it…that the girls are a year older?  That this teacher takes a different approach?  That the blowing of bubbles in the bathtub over the past 10 months was really worth it?

No matter…I couldn’t be more happy that the girls are having such a successful swim experience this year.  I certainly am not ready to call the Olympic Development Program, but I am hopeful it will set them up for a lifetime of fun in the water.

June 24, 2013

Our Weekend in Pictures -- Some Noteworthy, Some Not

Over the past month, I've found myself not writing as much as I'd like.  Typically I have my "computer / coffee time" right after breakfast.  The girls play [usually pretty well] together, and I sit, perched atop my bar stool, and enjoy the opportunity to warm up to the day.

Many days over the past few weeks, though, we've been up and running.  Either we've had morning swimming lessons...or we've had something to do with the house...or we've been off on an adventure.  It's all been good...but I surely miss my "quiet time" [RELATIVELY speaking] when I don't have it for a few days.  And I really miss my writing therapy, too!

I am trying to keep up with my camera, though.  I continue to try to balance the desire for a photographically good picture with wanting to capture the day-to-day as best I can.  I've definitely gotten better at that balance.  You'll see some "nicer" photos, and some that just had to be taken...no matter the lighting...'cause I had to capture the moment.

Even busy-busy-busy, life is so very sweet!  And even if I don't reflect that in words as often as I'd like these days, I'm thankful I have some pictures to jog my memory.  

Here are some of the highlights from our weekend!

On Friday my Baby B wanted me to take a picture of the "smile" she'd made with her necklace.  Baby A came up behind her for an impromptu hug.  L-O-V-E!!!


Saturday morning we went to a birthday party for one of the girls' sweet little classmates.  I'd climbed to the top of their play structure to try to coax A down the slide, and I snapped this picture of B, swinging below.  [Marcia, do you love the negative space?!!!]


Here's B, showing me some kind of nut (???) she found.  I love those baby hands so, so much!!!


Here are A&B, checking out the birthday girl's chicken coop.  They were talking in baby-speak, "Hey, baby chicks!"  So sweet!


On Sunday morning, Baby A asked for some white paper (NOT cream!), and she drew this house while I was making breakfast.  Perhaps we have an architect in the making???


The girls play "vet" very frequently, but to date they've always had a very humanitarian focus.  Sunday morning they got out both cash registers -- one for each of them -- in their vet's office set-up.  I guess they finally decided to cash in on the deal.  HA!



And Sunday afternoon, Hubby and I embarked on cleaning out the garage.  The girls played SO well while we worked...something I would not have thought possible, even six months ago.  At one point I found some puzzles that were mine as a child.  They were dusty and musty...but perfect for a driveway project.  The girls had so much fun!  And how fun it was for me to see them playing with something I last touched more than 30 years ago!  :)  :)


Pictures.  Some are pretty good.  Some are not.  But I love them all the same!!!

June 23, 2013

A Bit About Me, June (Anniversary) Edition

My birthday is February 23, so on the 23rd of each month, I post a couple of random things about me.  My wedding anniversary is June 22, so I usually dedicate June's randomness to something couple-related.



We’ve had some pretty hectic anniversaries.

Not less than a week before our first anniversary, we’d just made our first move, from Alabama to Mississippi.  We were in a tiny rental house while we searched for a house to buy.  We were living out of boxes and trying to find where we’d packed our drinking glasses.  We had to ask a neighbor we’d just met to recommend a nice restaurant. 

Our next two anniversaries were relatively uneventful, but we had another “just moved” celebration for Year #4.  Ten years ago, we moved into our current house, and we again dusted ourselves off the best we could to treat ourselves to an anniversary dinner.

This year, I’d REALLY hoped to mark another “just moved” celebration with the move into our new house, which was originally scheduled for June 20.  The completion date has been moved back a few weeks, though, so we had a relatively uneventful (in a good way!) celebration instead.

We don’t look to make these anniversaries so helter-skelter, I promise…but maybe it speaks to marriage…home is where your family is…and it doesn’t have to be picture-perfect to be good.

I love sushi.

This is no secret, but we haven’t had sushi in quite a long time.  Our favorite restaurant is one the girls like, too, but it becomes really pricey, really quick, so we don’t take them there often. 

Last night, after the girls were soundly in bed, Miss Jenny came over to monitor-sit.  Hubby and I scored “our” table (Table 5) at “our” restaurant, and lucked out with the owner’s daughter waiting on us.  It was a little surreal, as we haven’t sat there – one of the few two-tops in the restaurant – in a really long time.  We savored our favorite rolls and some yummy sake, and then were surprised with Japanese ice cream for dessert.

Yes, I love sushi…and I loved sharing the evening with my hubby, enjoying some of our favorite things, together.

June 22, 2013

Super Stuff on a Saturday -- with PICTURES!



It’s been another B-U-S-Y week, as evidenced by the sad lack of blog posts…but even amid the busyness, there’s a lot of super to be found!

1)      We’ve had so much fun over the past couple of weeks, keeping tabs on the bunnies in our yard.  One afternoon, we saw two adult bunnies, seeming to play with each other.  One would charge at the other, and the second bunny would hop straight in the air to avoid the collision.  They did this for a good three or four minutes.  All the while, the baby bunny grazed nearby…so sweet!

2)      My very dear friend – M&C’s mom – had her precious Baby A on Monday afternoon.  I got to visit her a couple of times in the hospital, and the girls asked after each visit, “Was A out of Miss Demara’s tummy already?  I can’t begin to imagine how they were processing everything, but that just made me laugh.

3)      Since Miss A was born, my A&B have been very attentive to their baby dolls.  It’s so sweet to see, since they’ve been more focused on their furry babies over the past six months or so.  They are absolutely chomping at the bit to meet Miss A soon!



4)      Baby A called for me a couple of hours after bedtime one evening, which is rare.  I bounded up the stairs to check on her, and was met with the sweetest, raspy little voice.  I love you, Mommy,” she said, and then she hugged and kissed my hand.  She just needed a little reassurance, I guess, to settle back to sleep.  It was definitely one of those I-love-being-a-mommy moments.

5)      After a particularly busy afternoon, when I realized there just wasn’t enough time in the day to cook what I’d planned for supper, I made a quick decision to pick up a pizza on the way home.  As we started to drive away, B said, “Mommy, I saw a sign on the door.  It was an advertisement for a large pizza with two toppings, for 10 bucks.  I probably swerved the car at her deadpan statement.  I didn’t see the advertisement, and I can’t imagine that was quite right – as it doesn’t sound like a very good deal – but her “10 bucks” had me rolling!  I don’t think of myself as saying “bucks” very often…but maybe I do?  She had to have heard it somewhere!

6)      On Thursday morning we went out for breakfast…a rare treat that is almost always reserved for the weekend…and then we headed to Lost River Cave for an early morning hike.  We hadn’t been since April, and it was so nice to see all the trees in their beautiful bright greens.  It was a very hot day – even before lunchtime – but it’s so very shady there we were quite comfortable.  I never tire of enjoying hikes with my sweet babies…and I love how observant they are of some of the neat little things that I would probably miss along the way.




7)      The girls and I have been working on a multi-layered art project over the course of the past few days.  It never fails that they pause at some point and say, “This is fun, Mommy!  It makes the gluey hands and fabric strings so very worth it.

8)      Seeing the girls working on their silly faces!




9)      I’ve let the girls help me unload the dishwasher the past few days.  I know that’s something that most kids have been doing for a while at their age…but it’s a chore I REALLY dislike…and I am usually so focused on just getting it done that I didn’t want to invite any “helpers” into the mix on a regular basis.  The girls have taken turns – one doing the utensils, while the other stacks dishes on the counter for me to put away.  So far, they’re having a blast with it…and it’s actually made it a bit “fun” for me, not quite as dreaded, actually, as it typically is.

10)   Aunt Alison sent the girls new outfits to mark their first day of preschool last August.  They were a bit big at the time, but they fit perfectly now.  The girls wore them for the first time this week, and they could not get enough of their “twirl dresses”.  I fear they could get used to this!



11)   The girls and I have eaten a couple of times at a new-to-us bakery close to downtown.  This week we had the opportunity to visit there with Daddy for lunch.  The girls were so cute, showing Daddy “our” table and telling him what they like there.  Fortunately, Daddy liked it to, so we’ll definitely be going back!

12)   For a long time the girls have been making up words.  What does 'alla-bob-kich-a' mean, Mommy?” they’ll ask…and then LAUGH.  Usually their “words” are so conjured it’s almost impossible to transcribe them, but they threw out an easier one a couple of days ago.  I thought I would note it for posterity’s sake.  "'Bop' is another word for 'pillow'. I just made it up," Baby A told me.  That was followed by hysterical giggles, in stereo.

13)   One morning, the girls were planning a trip with their babies, and I asked them where they were going. Baby A stated emphatically, "The Empire State building!" A few seconds later, B reconsidered, "Or maybe the Leaning Tower of Pisa, I'm not sure."  B proceeded to make the tallest tower she could manage, and told me it was, in fact, the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

So thankful for lots of super with my baby girls!!!

June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to our very favorite Double Daddy!!!


The girls helped me make stuffed crepes this morning.  They seem to have an innate ability (perhaps coming from generations before them) to roll crepes.  Filled with a sweetened ricotta cheese (which B said needed "just a little bit more sugar"), the girls were all too happy to join their daddy at the breakfast table, too.

The girls presented their daddy with this book, "Kisses for Daddy".  We have lots of books about mommies and babies...but this is the first one truly focused on a daddy and his little bear cub.  The girls loved snuggling with him to read...and I know he loved it, just as much.

We were running a bit behind this year, so we didn't have our traditional Father's Day handprints to present at breakfast.  We had a fun time making our handprints today, though.  Maybe we'll do a mid-week catch-up for that presentation.

We rounded out the day with one of Daddy's favorite meals, shrimp in Cajun cream sauce.  The girls licked their bowls, and Daddy had two big servings himself.

Before bed we read "Kisses for Daddy" one last time.  The girls bid their daddy goodnight, and wished him Happy Father's Day one last time.

It was a great day celebrating a great double daddy!

June 15, 2013

Cherry Pickin' in PICTURES

I'd never realized before that our local orchard allows people to pick their own cherries.  I happened upon that little gem of information a few days ago, and quickly carved out time on our calendar.  Of course I was looking forward to some yummy cherries...but -- truthfully -- I wanted pictures of two sweet cherry-pickers just as badly!

We checked in with the store and chose a couple of flat boxes to collect our bounty.  They pointed us towards the trees, and we were off!  Of course the girls wanted to carry the (empty) boxes!


Here's A, looking up at the cherries in the trees.  The girls were SO excited!!!


Here's B, getting started...


Baby A, adding her cherries to the growing collection...


Baby A with a huge handful!  (These were picked by Daddy, and she was carrying them to add to the box.)  (And I love the cherry juice under her fingernails!)


Baby B with another huge handful...I love her expression in the sun!


This was a posed picture...although it didn't turn out like I'd hoped.  I wanted each of the girls to hold up a stem of cherries.  They finally got into "position"...but only after a series of directions from Mommy...and by then the moment was long-gone.  HA!


Daddy was ready to call it a morning, and I think B was with him...but Baby A wanted to keep going!  I love the look of concentration on her face!


We finally agreed to call it quits.  Here are the girls, surveying our bounty.


After such a fun adventure, it was time to head home.


When we weighed in, we discovered we'd picked a little more than four pounds of cherries.  I can now confirm that cherries can be hand-pitted at an approximate rate of one pound per 15 minutes...much better than I thought!  Four pounds of cherries, at our house, yielded one cherry pie, one 9x13" cherry cobbler, and 1/2 a recipe of fruit spread.  We're loving the goodies at our house...you can truly taste the freshness!!!

And even if the cherries we picked had all been given to the birds...it still would have been worth it to me for the sweet pictures and precious memories.

Happy Summer, y'all!!!

June 13, 2013

Multi-Tasking

Since we don't live very close to our families, the phone has been a major presence in the girls' lives since a very early age.  I first remember the girls actively talking on the phone when they were about 14 months old, when they said their first word outside of "mama" and "dada".

As soon as they uttered the word, "Baby!" -- Baby B first, followed within about 10 minutes by her sister -- I started dialing.

Phone time over the next couple of years consisted mostly of "performances".  The girls would gladly recite the words to a nursery rhyme, or sing a song, or eventually recount the morning's adventures.

It was only over the last year or so that actual conversations began to happen.

These days, as long as the girls are in the mood [ahem], they can be quite the conversationalists.  During the school year, they talk to Daddy during his lunch break.  And we usually chat it up with GG at least once a day.

A couple of days ago, the girls were very consumed with coloring, first thing in the morning.  Since we'd missed our night-night conversation with GG the day prior, I asked if they wanted to call her.  They were very excited to do so...but they didn't want to put down their crayons.

I couldn't resist snapping this picture of B.


She didn't miss a beat in coloring the pig she asked me to draw for her...she reminded me of a busy executive (in her ice cream cone pajamas) working away while tending to the phone.

I guess it's never too early to learn to multi-task!

[DON'T FORGET TO ENTER MY GIVEAWAY from EASY CANVAS PRINTS...through 6/19!!!]
 
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