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January 30, 2015

One-on-One Time with *This* Kid

On Saturday, I had a monster grocery list to accomplish.  A monster grocery list + Saturday afternoon shoppers does not = fun with two kiddos (even with a hubby in tow).

Hubby and I decided to divvy up and enjoy some one-on-one time...definitely less stress, and such sweet fun, to boot!

I explained the situation to the girls, and Baby B volunteered to hang out at home with Daddy.  She was all excited...UNTIL she learned that Mommy and Baby A were going to enjoy a special snack as part of the grocery trip.  I was able to even that out by making Daddy and B big bowls of ice cream (with chocolate syrup!) before A and I headed out.

Baby A said she wanted to go to Panera.  That didn't take any convincing for me!  This little girl was stoked to choose a cookie.  And it didn't hurt my feelings that she picked a Valentine's Day one with yummy lemon icing!

The only thing more picturesque would have been if we'd gotten the table by the fireplace.  But then I wouldn't have had the window light to appreciate this precious little face.

I snapped these pics with my phone.  They're not photographic masterpieces, but they're still a great reminder of very sweet time enjoyed together.

Such a bright smile!

Digging in!
Before I handed the cookie to A, I broke off a small piece for me.  "You can have the big part, Mommy," she told me.  What a dear heart she has.

We chatted and joked and toasted, and she alternately sat in her chair and snuggled in my lap.  And as I was finishing my cup of coffee, Baby A introduced me to something new (for her).  "Have you ever heard of a staring contest?" she asked me.  This kiddo is quite the competitor!



It was hard not to crack up with those bright eyes smiling at me!

My heart was very full, hanging out with this baby girl...and also being reminded of the many, many treats A & B and I enjoyed at Panera over the past five years.

Looking forward to one-on-one time with Baby B this weekend!

{LOVE}

January 25, 2015

The Perfect Snowy Day. Seriously.

On Saturday morning, we woke up to a good 2" of snow.  We've had fun in the snow before, but this was absolutely, positively The Most Perfect Snowy Day.  Ever.

We enjoyed a warm breakfast with scrambled eggs and cheese, and then we promptly began to bundle up to head outside.  I invested in snow bibs for the girls back in the fall...we were so excited to break them in!

We got outside around 8:30.  The sun was shining brightly, and it really wasn't very cold.  Baby A made a beeline for the front yard and started making snow angels.


Baby B quickly followed suit.


After a few angels, Baby A wanted to RUN!!!


Baby B ran a little, but stopped to appreciate the angel she made.


After RUNNING, Baby A decided to try out forward-facing snow angels.  It didn't make a very pretty outline...but it sure made a pretty picture!!!


At one point (looking for a cute picture, I was), I encouraged the girls to taste some snow.  Baby A wasn't a fan...


...and neither was Baby B, but her distaste was short-lived.  "It's just frozen water," she said.


And then Baby A decided to try an army crawl.  HA!


The girls asked me to get out their "snow castle" gear.  I suggested we build in back of the house, where we don't get so much sun, hoping their village would last longer.  They packed a few buckets to make a small city.  Baby A started talking about the break in the sidewalk being an interstate.  HA!


[A couple of times, Baby A said, "Is this picture time or play time?"  Hahaha!  I played far more than I took pictures...but I had to capture some things on film, too!]

The girls had been dying to go sledding since they saw the first glimpse of snow.  Over breakfast, we watched some of the neighbor kids attempt to sled, but there didn't seem to be enough snow.  I originally told the girls we'd just have to enjoy playing in the snow...but I finally decided to let them give it a try.  I'm so glad I did!

The first few trips down the hill were not exactly smooth.  I scooted the girls down most of the way, and they'd slide a foot or so before having to inch along.  Eventually, though, the snow became packed.  As long as we stuck to our "trail", we flew!


Baby B was WHIZZING here!


And I can't get over how "professional" she looks, holding her board.  Who says a girl from Alabama (at least at heart) can't compete in the Winter Games???


I was really lucky that some of the neighbor kids had abandoned their sleds by the hill we like.  After seeing the girls having so much fun, I borrowed one of their sleds and joined in the fun.  It was exhilarating!!!

The girls had snow bibs, but they had on their regular Ugg-style boots.  I knew my feet were feeling pretty chilly, so I thought it was probably time to head inside.  I asked Baby A at one point how her feet were.  "Oh, they're fine.  I can't even feel them."  Yikes!!!

Here are the girls, wiped out at the bottom of the hill.  What fun we had!!!


After an incredible morning, the snow melted by mid-afternoon.  That's my kind of snow...loads of fun, but none of the stuck-in-the-house to go along with it.

I never want to forget this day...hearing Baby A's raspy laugh as she gathered speed down the hill, and Baby B's notorious giggle as she did the same...sledding down with the girls (one at a time), and wiping out together, doing an extra roll or two in the snow and snuggling up tight...and Baby A's characterization, after homemade hot chocolate inside, "This was the best morning ever, Mommy."

January 24, 2015

The Day Before "The Very Crazy Day"

The day before “The Very Crazy Day” was supposed to be a fun one.  I was [mostly] off work, and the girls had their first field trip AND their school Christmas party.

The girls were SO excited about their field trip to the skating rink.  I don’t think they quite knew what to expect from skating, but they were ECSTATIC to be riding the school bus.

I met the kiddos at the skating rink.  I had full intentions of skating myself…until I saw how hard it was to keep a small child afloat on skates for the first time.  The kindergarten students were supposed to be matched with a fifth grader to help them.  Baby A took off with her “friend K” (as she calls her).  She wanted zero help from her mommy.  [Baby A also took the buddy system VERY literally.  She followed K everywhere.  Thank goodness for the grace of this sweet fifth grader!  She was so kind to A.]

Baby B, meanwhile, had a very tight grip on my arm.  I coaxed B as best I could, and she finally opened up a little bit when her teacher offered to take her around the rink.  Baby A was “skating” by the end of the two hours.  She wasn’t whizzing around, exactly, but she could get where she needed to go.  Baby B was still pretty tentative, but she was making it, too.

Baby A, going it alone!

Baby A and Mrs. Mc!

Both girls were EXHAUSTED at the end of the two hours.  Baby A took off her skates (and followed K to the canteen area to sit with her fifth grade friends…HA!).  Baby B started crying a little bit.  That was really out of character, but I chalked it up to her being tired and very overstimulated.  Not only were these kiddos trying to balance themselves on skates, there were all sorts of crazy lights (and no lights, at one point!), and the music was LOUD.  [Skating rinks haven’t changed much in the past 25 years.]

I gave the girls hugs and told them I’d see her at their party that afternoon.

I had such a fun time at the girls’ school.  I got to help orchestrate the dividing of the gifts.  (While I have strongly mixed emotions about that…to be detailed in another post), I loved seeing the kiddos' faces.  And I got to see the kiddos eat waaaay too much sugar.  (Again, mixed emotions, but) it was pretty cute.



I spent time first in A’s class, before I headed next door to see B.  [Their teachers are fantastic, helping me float between the two classes.]  I gave B hugs, and the first thing she said was, “Mommy, my arm hurts.”



I asked her to move it this way, that way, every way, and she did.  I told her she probably just bruised it skating, and that she’d feel better the next day.  [The next day was, of course, The Very Crazy Day.  To be continued.]

After the girls’ parties, I got to carry home two sweaty, sticky, exhausted, but very happy kiddos.  The first field trip and holiday parties were in the books!

January 22, 2015

Little Girls and Kittens

“Every little girl should have a cat,” my great aunt has told me several times.  I couldn’t agree more.

Since we lost our sweet Sasha in January last year (proceeded by her brother Misha, in April 2010), we’ve been talking about getting kittens.

We agreed we needed to get some things squared away in the house (part of the kitchen floor had to be refinished) before we wanted to invite new babies into the mix.  The floor was {FINALLY} finished in mid-November, and we made quick plans to adopt two kittens over the holidays.

[The kitties were not to be Christmas presents, but we’d all be mostly home for two weeks, so we thought that would be a great time to acclimate new kittens.]

The middle of December, I called the Humane Society and got our paperwork taken care of.  As much as we wanted the girls to pick out their kittens, the lady I spoke with advised I might come in the week prior to Christmas to get an idea.  She said they actually “run low” of kittens and puppies at Christmastime!

A week before Christmas, I went to the shelter on my lunch hour.  They had four tiny kittens – exactly what I’d envisioned – but they were pretty skittish.  I asked if they had any other babies, and they directed me to the “cat room” in the next building.  I walked in and introduced myself to the lady there.  I told her I was looking for two kittens, ideally a sibling set.  “Oh, you have to meet these twin boys we have!” she told me.

I’ll take them! I felt like saying.  Sight unseen.

I got to spend some time in a room with “Bubbles” and “Julian”.  They were bigger and older than what I had in mind.  (The shelter estimated them at 3 months, but I figured they had to be at least 4 months old.)  But…they were SO SWEET!!!

They were incredibly affectionate and agile.  I bent down to speak to one, and the other literally jumped up on my back!  One made himself at home on my coat!

I fell in love.  How I hated to leave those babies when it was time to go back to work!!!  I put my name on their cage and told them Mommy would be back soon.

I’ll say that Hubby wasn’t 100% sold when I told him about the twin boys I’d met…they’re bigger and older than what we were thinking…and they’re solid black…but they are AMAZING.  He agreed to go to the shelter with an open mind, but he asked if we were obligated to those particular cats.  No…but just wait, I told him.

We named the kitties Miki and Alex, and the girls were beside themselves when we went to pick them up.  Hubby fell in love right away, too (as I knew he would).

There have been a million precious moments in the month we’ve had these babies.  The highlight is seeing the girls “mother” them. 

“Good job, Miki!  You’re such a smart boy!”

“Come on, Alex!  You can do it!”

“Do you want me to get your toy?  Come on, Sweet Boy.”

Yes, every little girl should have a cat...or two.


Alex and A, the first day home.

Miki and B, the first day home.
Christmas morning, giving the boys their stockings.

January 19, 2015

So Much Super Stuff!!!

I have been absolutely terrible about carving out time to write over the past few months.  I won’t lament that [here]…but I am very thankful to have jotted down a few gems over the past few weeks.  Super stuff, for sure!

1)    When GG was here for Thanksgiving, we surprised her by having uploaded her picture to JibJab, the video making site.  We were all in hysterics, seeing her dance online to Feliz Navidad, the girls along beside her.  She had never seen anything like it, and just couldn’t quit laughing.

2)    In the fall, a children’s author came to visit the girls’ school.  They were so impressed, and they told me all about what he said.  When we brought out our Christmas books for the season, my A noticed he illustrated one of their books.  “HENRY COLE!!!!!  Mommy, HENRY COLE!!!!!  He came to our school!!!!!  HENRY COLE!!!!!”  I LOVE her enthusiasm…AND that she would read the name of the illustrator by herself!!!!!

3)    One of our first Christmas activities was to make snowflakes.  I got out some coffee filters and showed the girls how to fold and cut them.  The girls were intrigued.  And when B finished hers, she must have said five times, in awe, “Mommy!  It’s just so beautiful!!!”

4)    I took the girls to see Rudolph the Musical at our local performing arts center.  It was our first time to go to a show there, and the girls were in awe.  What a pleasure it was for me to take them...to introduce them to one of my childhood favorites, at that!  And My A, in particular, was sitting on the edge of her seat!  I’d prepped the girls that the Abominable Snow Monster would be a part of the show.  They were nervous, but they both did great, keeping it in perspective.  My A later said that was her favorite part of the program.  HA!

5)    The girls learned (maybe from school? as we didn’t focus much on it during our reading at home?) to name the 8 reindeer.  They are fiercely passionate about doing so, any time they see a drawing of Santa and his reindeer…and then they interrupt whatever story or situation to break into song about “the most famous reindeer of all”.  Hee hee!

An elf and a reindeer...my loves!!!

6)    We had a really crazy day on Friday before Christmas.  It’s a post (or two) in itself, involving numerous X-rays and a potentially broken arm.  When the day finally closed on a high note (with the option for us to just watch B for any signs of distress), I told her we should celebrate at the Dairy Queen.  That baby girl looked like she had a new lease on life…that was definite cause for a celebration!

7)    During our Crazy Day on Friday, I told B at one point (before it was all over), “It’s been a crazy day.”  She tearfully replied, “And I don’t like it!”  Me, either, Baby Girl!!!

8)    On the first weekend of Christmas break, we were having a pretty ordinary day.  We were doing laundry, coloring, cleaning up a bit.  Out of the blue, my precious B said, “Mommy, I just love days like this!”  Me, too!!!  Oh, how I miss our unstructured time!!!

9)    One morning during Christmas, my A asked, “Are we going out today?”  I originally told her no, to which she exclaimed, “YES!!!  I can wear my pajamas ALL DAY LONG!!!”  I later remembered we had an errand to run.  She reluctantly got dressed…but she came home and put her PJs back on!

10) WE GOT KITTENS!!!  The girls have been looking forward to this for months and months…and so have we.  They are the sweet big sisters to those furry babies!

11) We got our kittens on December 21, and of course we had to make stockings for them.  We decided to use the stockings the girls brought home from kindergarten…we cut out the kittens’ initials from felt and glued them on.  The girls were so excited to hang them over the fireplace!

12) A couple of days after we got the kittens, A asked to spend Quiet Time in the basement with them and her daddy.  She “napped” on the couch with them (I CANNOT believe she slept…but she was quiet for a good while!).  Afterwards she said, “This was the best quiet time EVER!”

13) We went to a sandwich shop over the holiday break, one we hadn’t been too in a long time.  I could not believe that B walked in and immediately remembered that her daddy spilled a cup of water the last time we were there – a year ago!  These girlies don’t forget anything!!!

14) Before Christmas, B was taking guesses at what Daddy bought for Mommy.  When she realized she was right, she said, “That’s what you got her for her birthday, and for Mother’s Day!”  (Yes, I love dark chocolate…but Hubby is not very original.)  B’s horror and her accusation just made me laugh!

15) On the topic of presents, A worked hard to wrap up a piece of her artwork for each of us.  I overheard her ask B, “Do you have your gifts made for Mommy and Daddy yet?”  B said, “I don’t need to make anything…they already have the best gifts ever,” referring to herself and her sister.  Hahaha!!!

16) On Christmas Eve, we were buzzing around…doing the last few preparations for the big day.  During Quiet Time, I told the girls that Mommy needed a nap.  My A asked if she could snuggle with me and nap, too.  I’m so thankful I took her up on that…we piled on the love seat, stretched out, and that precious baby slept in my arms.  Merry Christmas to me!!!

17) Baby A has been so affectionate lately (not that that’s a new thing).  One of her favorite things to say is, “I wish I could snuggle with you every single minute of every single day.”  Me, too, Baby Girl!!!


18) I usually go up to check on the girls in their beds before I go to sleep.  As I pulled up the covers around A, she stirred ever so slightly…and then she whispered, “Thank you, Mommy.”  Heart. Melts.

Super Stuff, for sure!!!

January 13, 2015

Strides in Reading!

I don't precisely remember learning to read.

I remember not being able to read, and I remember an adult saying, "You can't even read that?"  (I was FIVE!)

I remember learning certain letter combinations in first grade.  And I remember being incredibly proud for sounding out and spelling the word "clown" for one of my classmates.

Everything turned out OK for me in the end.  ;)  I was a big reader throughout my growing up years, and -- as I discovered during the girls' infancy -- I just don't feel like "me" if I don't have at least one book on my nightstand.

My girls are reading.  They have been reading since shortly after school started.  And it's such an awesome thing.

Tonight, though, I saw my Baby A read completely new text with such incredible ease.  She needed a tiny bit of help on a couple of words, but she was otherwise reading so fluently!

It was beautiful to watch...and beautiful to see how PROUD she is of herself, too!

No flash = blurry picture...but look at that JOY!!!

For the first time, she brought home a chapter book for homework.  The teacher sent a note that this book was to replace the weekly book she read TWICE last night.  "She's flying!" the note said.

She instructed A to read one chapter a night.

Baby A read her chapter to Daddy after school.  Before bed, she asked if she could read another chapter to me.  And she was pretty disappointed I wouldn't let her read a third chapter after that...but it was already past her bedtime.

My Dearest Baby A,

May this be the first of many decades to come of you wanting to stay up past your bedtime reading.

With love and hugs, 
Mommy

January 10, 2015

Happy SIXTH Birthday to My [ALWAYS] Baby Girls!!!

Monday, my girls turned six years old.  SIX!!!



I’m coming to terms with them being BIG KIDS.  They…

·         Love to draw
·         Love to craft
·         Enjoy math challenges
·         Write the sweetest notes
·         Read pretty proficiently
·         Make their beds (sometimes)
·         Rinse their own hair in the shower (no easy task)
·         Eat (most of the time) without getting food on their clothes
·         Sit on their bottoms and are tall enough to reach the table
·         (Usually) like to help unload the dishwasher, and they know where almost everything goes
·         (Usually) like to help with laundry…they can set the washer and dryer themselves!
·         Buckle and unbuckle themselves in the car
·         Complete all zippers and buttons without help
·         Can tie a bow
·         Know the way to most places we go in town
·         Are excellent travelers
·         Can recite all our address and all our phone numbers, including the phone numbers of some family members
·         Can put their own hair in a ponytail (Baby B can, anyway)
·         Know far more about an iPad than I do
·         Ride bikes (with training wheels)
·         Hula-hoop
·         LOVE our kitties

I could go on and on.  They are smart, and sweet, and kind, and thoughtful.  As they are growing into such amazing young ladies, I am so thankful they still…

·         Love to snuggle with their Mommy and Daddy
·         Love to sit in my lap
·         Squeal with delight at tickles
·         Can’t resist a good strawberry kiss on their bellies
·         Love to be read to
·         Let me carry them to bed at night
·         Delight in talking to Mommy on the phone
·         Are so affectionate with their hugs and kisses
·         Talk about when they grow up, and their “house” plans always include each other and Mommy and Daddy
·         Play with their baby dolls
·         Create amazing pretend scenarios, often involving “vet” or “store” or “train”


They are the most precious BABY girls…always will be…at SIX or SIXTY.
 
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