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February 21, 2015

The Hunt for Hearts

The past three years, the girls have had such a blast with their Advent calendars at Christmas.  I've been thinking for a while about doing something around Valentine's Day...but, to be honest, I'm usually pretty tuckered out come February from Halloween/Thanksgiving/Christmas/the girls' birthday in January.

This year, I had an idea to count down just the week of Valentine's.  That seemed doable.  I made this cute little box for each of them (using a pill box from the dollar store), and they LOVED getting a small treat every day leading up to Valentine's Day.

The girls' treats were mostly small candies...a Hershey's Kiss one day, and a few M&M's another.  Mid-week, they got a "task" to make Valentine's puppy chow for their teachers, and they loved that!  And on Saturday, Valentine's Day, I decided to take another page from their Christmas Advent playbook.

The girls opened the final compartment to find a clue, leading them on a Heart Hunt!

(B dressed herself "for Valentine's Day" bright and early...down to her socks!!!)

Valentine, Valentine, here’s a hint…
Look for a clue inside your tent!
Valentine, Valentine, it’s you I love!
Look for a clue by Mommy’s tub!

Valentine, Valentine, if you please,
Look for a clue where we hang the keys!

Valentine, Valentine, take a look…
Find a clue among your books!

Valentine, Valentine, you don’t have to race,

Find your gift by the fireplace!

By the fireplace, the girls found their goodies...a new book (from the Mercer the Pig series), ones they could read themselves!  And they had a "voucher" I made with a pass to the movies.

I loved being able to incorporate a little bit of the girls' holiday fun into Valentine's Day.  It makes my heart dance to see their excitement!


February 17, 2015

I Didn't Have My Camera...

We had such great fun in the snow this afternoon, but alas, I didn’t have my camera.  I missed so much!

…the way the late afternoon sun glistened off the immense blanket of snow…

…the way Baby A looked, running toward me, kicking up snow as she went…

…the look in A’s eyes as we found an excellent spot for sledding…

…the signature raspy laugh of Baby A as she SAILED down the big hill…

…the wipeout A took at the bottom of the hill…and then hopped up for more…

…the surfer-girl, “That was AWESOME!!!” commentary from A after her first big run…

(And once Daddy and B joined us…)

…the way B dressed herself, tying her scarf just perfectly…

…how B trudged through the snow – an uncharted path – with such determination…

…how B wanted SO badly to sled by herself, but she tried to start long before she got to the top of the hill…

…the way Daddy said, “I’ll make a new path!” and scooted himself along on one of the sleds…

…the way he lay on his back on the sled and eventually gathered some speed, much to the girls’ delight…

…the way Daddy was impressed that A was like a slalom sledder, going down the hill…

…the way we all trudged back to the house…cold, tired, and elated.

Yes, I missed capturing all these things.

But I was fully present, neither hand tethered to my camera, having the time of my life with my baby girls and their daddy.

Committing this to memory, I am.

(This picture was taken yesterday, when I did grab my camera a couple of times...this was after traipsing through the snow for a while...LOVE!!!)

February 15, 2015

Tender Hearts and the Big Screen

For Valentine’s Day, we took the girls to their first movie.  I’d seen the previews for Paddington, and I thought it looked sweet and funny.  I checked with a couple of friends who’d seen it, and they said it was very benign.  Their kiddos loved it.

The girls were excited to go.  We saw a “movie” at the planetarium a few months ago, and they have been talking about it since.  I prepped them as best I could, telling them how big the screen would be (“As big as the WALL???” Baby A kept asking), and that it would be dark during the movie.  They were set.

The movie began sweetly, but it was no time until there was a devastating earthquake.  Baby B hid her head, and Baby A started to cry.  Baby B remained tentative throughout the movie, and A cried off and on for the next 90 minutes.

My A was upset that the father of the family didn’t take kindly to having a bear in the house.  She was terrified of the villain in the film, the taxidermist who kept trying to steal Paddington from the family.  (Yes, a taxidermist.  Why I didn’t read about this and consider it might present a struggle, I don’t know.)

Baby B sat in my lap, and A sat by her daddy.  He kept hugging her, reassuring her.  A couple of times I tried to get his attention to see if he thought we should leave.  I had mixed emotions, for sure…it was torturous seeing A upset…but I thought it might be helpful for her to see the story through to witness the conflict resolution.

The movie had a happy ending, of course.  Walking out of the theater, Baby A said, “I liked the end, Mommy.”  She loved seeing the last couple of minutes, the family playing in the snow with Paddington.  And we talked a lot about the movie the rest of the day, confirming the girls’ understanding of certain parts, and trying to put them in context.

I don’t think the girls are scarred from the film, but I don’t think we’ll be making it back to the movies very soon.  Baby A has only seen a few movies (including Curious George and Milo and Otis), and she’s found both of those to be too intense, or “scary”, as she calls them.

Certainly I hate to see my babies in distress, but I so loves their precious, tender hearts.  I do hope they’re able to enjoy a good movie one day, but I hope that dear part of them never, ever fades.  

February 11, 2015

Show of Sistership

("Sistership" doesn't come up as a word...but I think it should.  It's not "sisterhood" I'm striving for, exactly.  There's a big component of "sportsmanship" I'm trying to convey.  I'm rolling with it.)

The girls have been working on their valentines.  Baby A chose to make bookmarks, and B opted for the very ambitious task of making rainbow loom bracelets for everyone in her class.

Valentines are due to school today (Wednesday), and A finished her bookmarks Monday night.  B was not tracking quite as well.  As of Monday night, she still had 8 or so bracelets to make, plus she had to write her classmates' names on the package and assemble everything together.

B made a couple of bracelets before supper on Tuesday (after she finished her homework).  After supper, it was all hands on deck.  I suggested that A help B, and I was so pleasantly surprised that was amenable to everyone.

B didn't balk at wanting to do everything herself, and A didn't boast that she was already finished and had time to do something else.  Everyone pitched in, and -- although it meant we were 20 minutes late for bed -- we got it done!

While B concentrated on writing her classmates' names on the cards, A finished making the last few bracelets.  She then helped me put the bracelets in the little bags.  And then she painted some cardstock that B would need to finish off the envelopes.  That was a big test in my mind.  Both girls LOVE to do anything with paint.  But B didn't bat an eye when A -- solo -- got to don her smock and do her thing with some paint and a Q-tip.

I love how the girls' valentines turned out.  I love that they wanted to make something for their classmates.  But above all, I love-love-love how they banded together to get the task done on Tuesday night.

This is a great valentine present to this mama...seeing my girlies working towards a common goal so seamlessly.

Happy Valentine's Day to me!!!

February 5, 2015


This weekend we finally packed away the Christmas books.  We love them so much, but I don't want to leave them out all year, as I don't want them to lose their "special" we so enjoy during December (and January).

For bedtime on Sunday night, I told the girls I had a surprise.  I brought out the first of their Valentine's books, and they were delighted!  What a treat it is to read that familiar text we hadn't seen since last year.

"Can we read Splat tomorrow night?" the girls both asked.  That story line is not the most sentimental...but Splat is a cat...and that makes him a favorite.  (We have acquired several Splat books over the last few years, although this was our first.)

I told them we could...but we had a change of plans the last couple of nights when I couldn't put my hands on that particular book.

I was tickled tonight to find it (precisely where I'd been looking!).  The girls were thankful to be reunited with an old friend.

It is so sweet to me how clearly they remember details from the story, not having seen it in almost a year.  Baby A pointed to a certain illustration and chuckled.  And that just made me smile.

This particular book holds a special place in my heart, too.  I remember so precisely when I bought it...exactly what happened that day...and it's hard to believe that was SIX years ago.

I was supposed to have a dentist appointment on January 7, 2009 (I think it was).  I wasn't quite able to make it, seeing as the girls were born on January 5.  I rescheduled my appointment for February 18 (I think).

It just so happened that my appointment fell during the girls' nap time.  (As they were still tiny, we were still having to wake them to feed, so I was "safe" to go out for 90 minutes or so.)  I put on my maternity jeans and a black sweater (the same as I wore when the girls came home from the hospital).  I specifically remember the receptionist saying, "You don't look like you just had twins!"  "Thanks, but I sure feel like it!" I remember joking.

My cleaning was a quick one, and I still had a few minutes to spare before the girls were due to wake up.  I decided to stop by the bookstore, which is close to the dentist's office.  I was feeling sorta-kinda guilty that I hadn't gotten the girls anything for their *first* Valentine's Day.  The bookstore had their V-Day books marked down to half price, so I decided to get them each a slightly-belated gift.

I was almost ready to pay, when my cell phone rang.  It was my husband, and seeing his call scared me.  I hadn't left the girls very often (if ever, by that point???), having just been cleared to drive about a week before.

Hubby told me not to be alarmed, but that Baby A had hit her head on the crib.  He had called the pediatrician's office, and they said he could bring her in for a quick checkup.

Although Hubby assured me everything was OK, my heart was beating so fast.  I hurried home.

Ultimately, everything was perfectly fine.  My A had somehow wiggled close to the crib rail and bumped against it.  She couldn't have hit it very hard...she was a 6-week old preemie!  Still, Hubby was being incredibly safe (and nervous), and he wanted to have her seen.

Of course she was fine.  (And I later remember somehow seeing the note "reassured father" in A's medical file.  HA!)

Thankfully, everything was just fine that day.  I got our Splat book and probably read it to the girls that night, them snuggled safely in our arms.

It's just funny to me how "real" this still seems in my mind.  I remember what I wore, what purse I carried, what outfit I dressed A in to go to the pediatrician.  I remember I was pretty scared that afternoon, probably at Hubby's nervousness, as much as anything...and while that "scary" isn't something I necessarily want to remember, I am thankful my mind has allowed me to travel back so clearly to when the girls were such tiny babes.

And, as when we broke out our Christmas books for the season, I'm thankful the girls' delight in such simple pleasures, like seeing Splat's furry face and wide-eyed grin.  They just don't know that this particular delight brings Mommy a multitude of memories.

February 1, 2015

SIXTH Birthday Party!!!

January birthdays are hard.  We don't have many indoor play spaces in our town, and the indoor-outdoor places we love (like the orchard and the dairy barn) are closed this time of year.  I've toyed with the idea of taking my chances on a party in the park...but we've had to reschedule the girls' party at least twice because of snow, so that seems like I'd really be pressing my luck.

I've been kicking around the idea of a pizza party of some sort, inspired by a Curious George story.  (He's a big source of inspiration for us, no doubt!)  When I landed on one of our favorite restaurants -- one that makes excellent pizza, to boot! -- I fell in love with the idea of a Pizza Chef Party.

Pepperoni, olives, dough and cheese
Come help us celebrate, won't you please?

The girls knew they were having a party on Saturday, the 17th, but they had no idea what or where.  I waited until about an hour before showtime to tell them.  They squealed with excitement!

We all headed out together, and Daddy and the girls dropped me off to get the decorations in place.  We were very thankful that Miss Jenny could join us, too.  She captured tons of great pictures!

It wouldn't be a party without a party banner!

The table was set...aprons, chef's hats, and plenty of wipes!

The girls, checking out their invitation on the door!

Birthday party family picture!

The Birthday Girls!!!

Hugs for Miss Jenny!
When the guests started to arrive, they picked out an apron...
J was the first guest to arrive.  She's such a sweet friend from preschool.
 ...and started decorating their chef's hats.
Working hard!
 Building on the "Italian" theme, the kiddos had mustache straws.  Hee hee!

Guido was in the house!
 After all the aprons were adorned and the hats decorated, it was time for a tour of the pizza kitchen!

All the chefs lined up together!

Checking out the pizza oven!
 And then each kiddo got a turn to put their pizza dough in the flour and run it through the press.

Baby B!

Baby A!
Once the dough was ready, the kiddos put on gloves (which was an activity in itself) and decorated their pizzas!

While the pizzas were cooking, we played a rousing game of Pizza BINGO!

At last, it was time to eat!  I was amazed that most of the kids ate their ENTIRE pizzas!

Baby B with a mouthful!
Finally, the yummiest snickerdoodle pie was served, and we sang HAPPY BIRTHDAY, first to Baby A...

...and then to Baby B!

What a fun party!  Full of friends and food...and relatively limited mess!  :) :)


What a perfect way to celebrate SIX for A&B!!!