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November 8, 2016

Surprise and Delight

On Wednesday, I came home and the girls were working on their homework.  I encouraged them to do a good job, and I told them I had a surprise for them at bedtime.  They couldn’t contain their huge smiles, and they began to guess what it might be.  “Pajamas???”  “A night-night story???”  “A new Christmas CD???”

They went back to their homework, and then we enjoyed a nice supper…but they were a little more anxious than usual to head upstairs for the evening.  They really wanted to look around, to see if I’d hidden something.  [I hadn’t.]

Once everyone had donned their PJs, brushed their teeth, and straightened their beds, I ran downstairs to get the girls’ treat.  Sure enough, it was a new bedtime story, a Thanksgiving-themed one, A Turkey for Thanksgiving.

The girls piled up on either side of me, their attention even more rapt than usual.

(I couldn’t help but be thankful that the girls’ routine still includes me reading them a story every single night.  They’ve been capable of reading to themselves for two years now.  I know this won’t last forever, but I sure savor it.)

I began to read in my best animated voice.  Mrs. Moose asked Mr. Moose to find a turkey for their Thanksgiving meal.  He set out and was joined, page by page, by other animals as they hunted.

The girls were on the edge of their seats…peering intently over my shoulders…I could almost feel them wincing as the animals cornered the terrified turkey. 

Of course I knew the ending to the story…that the turkey was the honored guest at the Thanksgiving table, all the animals talking about the joy of sharing the holiday with friends.

And when the ending finally revealed itself, I relished the girls’ utter delight.


Surprising my baby girls…enjoying a new night-night story…appreciating them, appreciating the story…it was such a wonderful night.

November 2, 2016

...On Sharing

We don't eat much candy at our house, and the girls were wide-eyed at the huge haul they were bringing in on Halloween night.

(We only went to 12 or so houses, but the houses are far between and there weren't many kiddos, so everyone seemed to be extra-generous.)

At one point, B looked to me and said, "Mommy, we have so much candy.  I know what we can do for my birthday treat at school.  I can take my candy and each of my classmates can choose one or two pieces."

Her forethought and generosity wowed me.

And then, on Tuesday morning, the girls were going through some of their goodies.  They were talking about the different kinds of candy, what they were looking forward to trying...and which pieces they would give to their daddy.

"Daddy loves Reese's!" my A exclaimed.  "I'm going to give him those!"

Such sweet, thoughtful baby girls!!!

November 1, 2016

Insect Fascination

Since having kiddos, I have an entirely new appreciation for Halloween.  HOW FUN it is to see the littles in their costumes...I can barely stand the cuteness!!!

I'm really fortunate to date that the girls have been so amicable to my costume suggestions.  And thinking back over the past few years, I realize we had a bit of a fascination with INSECTS!

When they were two, ladybugs:


When they were three, butterflies:


And now, at seven, bumblebees:


(Seeing these pictures, I'm also reminded how much easier it is to get a picture with the girls standing still!!!  Hee hee!!!)

I have to admit that I'm already thinking about next year.  SPIDERS!  They're not insects...but pretty close!  :) :)

October 31, 2016

To Cap Off October...

Oh, October...where have you gone???  More on that later...but I thought I'd at least cap off this BUSY month with our annual Halloween picture:


This is our EIGHTH family Halloween picture!  I LOVE this tradition!!!

And I snapped a few more shots while the girls were suited up for pictures on Saturday...

Showing off their pumpkins!
 The girls insisted on pollinating the flowers!  B later told me she was just pretending..."because my tongue is not that long and it's not shaped like a straw."  Hee hee!


Hubby was hungry and ready to head to lunch...but he managed to capture a glimmer of sun on our back patio.  So sweet!


And lastly, we ventured outside to light our pumpkins on Saturday night.  The girls were tickled to see their creations come to life!


We're looking forward to trick-or-treating with friends tonight!

(And I'm looking forward to getting back to my blog soon...how I've missed it!)

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!


September 21, 2016

Way Back When-esday: Granddaddy Edition

Granddaddy came for a visit this weekend.  The girls had been eagerly anticipating his arrival, and their excitement grew ten-fold when they learned he was bringing his bike to ride with them!


We had a very relaxing visit...we hung out and ate good food and played and read.

And of course we snapped some pictures before Granddaddy headed home on Sunday.

This one...


...made me think of this one...


We're holding opposite babies, but you get the idea...what a difference 7 1/2 years makes!!!

###

Thanks to Cheryl at Twinfatuation for her Way Back When-esday prompt!  It's sometimes bittersweet to look through pictures of the girls' infancy, to realize how quickly time flies...but it's always a worthwhile trip down Memory Lane!

September 6, 2016

Precious Emotion and Maturity

I’ve witnessed a couple of the most precious displays from Baby B over the past few days, ones that simultaneously melt my heart and make me wanna cry.

We were out to dinner on Saturday night, and I took the opportunity to tell the girls that I won’t be able to attend their fall festival at school.  [I feel terrible about it…it’s something they look forward to so much…but I made plans several months ago to go to an event with my dad.]

I expected the girls to be upset.  I can’t say they were thrilled, but they took it in stride when I told them they would still go with Daddy, only Mommy wouldn’t be there.  And then, moments later, I saw Baby B’s chin start to tremble.

I don’t like it when you’re not home for night-night,” she told me.

To glimpse what's important to my precious girl!!!

And then, in the middle of that same night, B came to me around 2am to tell me she’d gotten sick to her stomach.  I asked her to go to the kitchen, and I made my way there.  I couldn’t quite put two-and-two together, as to how everything transpired.

B explained that she woke up feeling sick and came downstairs to get me.  “…but I saw you were sleeping, and I didn’t want to disturb you.

Bless it!!!

She got her “bucket” out of the kitchen and lay on the couch instead.  She finally woke me only when she actually got sick.


There’s emotional maturity and the sweetness of my baby girl, all rolled into one.  It tugs at my heartstrings, for sure…and makes this heart of mine so happy.


August 31, 2016

Thanks for the Memories, August!

August has been a whirlwind!  I CANNOT believe that the girls have been in school THREE WEEKS today.  (I guess that explains where the time has gone!)

So...before the month ends, here is {one} first-day-of-school picture.  The girls posed like this on their own...look at those long legs!!!


Despite the back-to-school busyness, we've packed in a lot of fun, too...

...several trips to the library to keep these girls entertained...


...a mommy-and-me trip to the trampoline park, where these girls gave me a run (er, jump) for my money...whew!


...a family trip to the yogurt shop (during which Daddy agreed to a selfie!)...


...and the kickoff of the soccer season...


I'm supremely thankful, among all this BUSY, that the girls still made time for play at home.  Here they are, having "built a TV", putting on a show for Mommy and Daddy before bedtime.


~ Thanks for the memories, August 2016! ~

August 30, 2016

School-Day Morning Sweetness

Not all aspects of our school-day mornings are “sweet”. 

Nope. 

There’s the half-paying-attention syndrome that sometime plagues us, prompting Mommy to offer up more “reminders” than ideal.  There are the “you-fixed-her-hair-first-yesterday…it’s-my-turn-to-go-first-today” grumblings.  And there are the “why-didn’t-you-pack-my-backpack” accusations, one sister of the other.

Sigh.

But…

I’ve had some of the sweetest sleepyheads to greet me in the mornings.  Our girls are usually up early, and it’s a supreme treat to get to wake them on occasion.  “Good morning, Mommy,” they’ll mumble.  “I love you.”

Melt.

I get warm belly kisses from still-snuggled girls, one of my favorite things in the world.

And the sweet little voices who often read to me aloud as I’m getting ready.

And to end the morning, I sometimes get an over-the-shoulder look and wave as the girls enter their school.


That morning sweetness doesn’t begin to rival our weekend family time, nor does it touch the lazy mornings we spent together the girls’ first five and a half years of life…but it buoys my day, for sure.

August 24, 2016

Way Back When-esday: The First Day of School

I've been feeling somewhat overwhelmed as of late at how BIG my BABIES are.  My A is getting pretty close to my shoulder!  And my B, while not as tall, is looking so grown-up with her shorter hair.

After snapping this adorable picture of the girls holding hands walking into school a couple of weeks ago...

Heading off to second grade!
...I knew I had a "match" from a few years ago.  Honestly, though, I couldn't bring myself to dig it up right away.

I finally braved the file of older pictures, and -- sure enough -- I gasped at what BABIES my baby girls were.  It seems like just a couple of years ago that they marched bravely into preschool.  Surely it couldn't have been FOUR YEARS.

Heading off to preschool!
Wowza!  Pigtails and all!

It surely tugs at my heartstrings...but I'm thankful for this little walk down Memory Lane...hand in hand.

And I'm thankful to Cheryl at Twinfatuation for prompting this Way Back When-esday post!

{Now pardon me while I grab a tissue.  I seem to have something in my eye.}

August 18, 2016

Sister(s) Golden Hair

I was hanging out with the girls at their open house, two days before school started.  It was around the golden hour of photography, and I was snapping pictures as the girls enjoyed a popsicle before we headed home.


B finished her treat first, and I couldn't resist snapping a few pictures of her braids as she watched some kids across the way...


...and then of A as she enjoyed a few more licks...


How I love those precious golden-haired sisters.

My heart!!!

When They Need Each Other...

I think of our girls as so independent.

Sure, they're usually together.  And they often dress in coordinating clothes ('cause it's easier for me!)...and they'll occasionally want to match.

But developmentally?  Psychologically?  They seem to be very confident in themselves.  They're two little people, orbiting in close proximity, but usually very much doing their own things.

I guess that's why it feels extra sweet to nab the occasional picture of my girls, clearly comforted by being together.


I took this at their open house, two days before school started.  Hubby couldn't come with us (as he was at his own open house across town).  While I waited in line to get our car tags for the pickup line, I told the girls to wait in the line to get their tickets for the popsicle stand.  I could see them at all times...in their school gym...but they were still apprehensive to wait in a line themselves and ask for something of an adult, without me being right there.

I couldn't resist snapping a few pictures as they inched closer to the front of the line, clearly a bit nervous at the prospect ahead of them.

My sweet girls!!!  I am so incredibly grateful for them...and for the fact that they have each other!!!

August 16, 2016

The Perfect Vacation Day

I took the day off on Tuesday to spend the day with the girls…the day before school starts…which is now our cool little tradition.  We’d all been looking forward to it for weeks.  And the day didn’t disappoint.

The girls had breakfast in traditional day-before-school fashion, with a candle in their cinnamon roll to make a wish for a great school year.

Make a wish!
We spent the morning playing at home.  We read together, we worked on a canvas, and we had plenty of pretend time.  



Here, the girls made a “beach”.  All was well until Mommy pretended to be a shark!


We headed downtown for lunch, to a new seafood restaurant none of us had tried.  It was so cool to enjoy something new, together, for the first time!



After lunch the girls slipped into their swimsuits (and Mommy, into shorts and a top) and we headed to the dancing fountains.  What fun we all had, running around and squealing!



Here, pretending to be flamingos!
After we had our fill of the hot sun, we dried off as best we could and headed for ice cream.

Sharing a bite!

What a wonderful afternoon it was!!!

We came home and scrubbed up and down in preparation for the start of school.

The rest of the day somehow disappeared into reading and snuggles, with a little needlepoint slipped in before supper.


We didn’t take a trip…we didn’t live it up at the spa…but it was the most perfect vacation day I could imagine…logging some wonderful one-on-one time with my baby girls and celebrating the eve of yet another milestone.

August 7, 2016

Girls' Night Out!

We finally got the girls’ school supply list last week, and I’d been looking forward all week to our “date” on Thursday night to go shopping.  Hubby had open house at his school, so he dropped the girls off to me at precisely 4:30.  (Summer hours…woo hoo!)

The girls were all skippy across the parking lot, and I would have been, too, if I didn’t have on heels!

We decided to get our shopping done first.  We headed to Target and got everything we needed in just a few minutes.  Their list this year wasn’t very long, and everything on it was understandable.  The girls chose the colors of binders and notebooks they needed, and we were set.

From Target, we headed to our once-favorite Mexican restaurant, one we hadn’t visited as a family in several months now.  We enjoyed a yummy meal and some snuggle time.

After supper, I surprised the girls with a trip to the library.  You’d have thought they won the lottery!  We missed the library last week, and they’d been clamoring to go.

They picked out their books pretty quickly, and we had a lovely chat with the librarian.  She asked the girls about books they’d read.  I thought it was pretty impressive how many books / book series they said “yes” to!

When we got to the car, I told them how proud I was that they love to read, and how they should be proud of the many books they’ve read.  “It just comes natural!” Baby A responded.

I had one more surprise up my sleeve that evening…ice cream!  The girls really would have loved a cone, but the two places close by with cones have outside seating that I feared would still be wet after a late-afternoon rain.  We headed to the yogurt shop instead.  The girls chose their yogurt flavors and we sat on the indoor/outdoor side.  We had that entire part of the shop to ourselves, and we were all grooving to the music they were playing. 

What kind of music is this, Mommy?” B asked.  I told her I would classify it as hip-hop.  “Well it has a very lively beat!” she said.  Hahaha!  And when my A finished her yogurt, she couldn’t resist dancing a bit.  That’s uncharacteristic, to see her so uninhibited in public, but I guess she felt comfortable since we had the place to herself.  She was busting a move, for sure!

(From a June trip to the yogurt shop...the same sweet smiles!)
We packed a lot into three hours (pushing out bedtime to accommodate), but we had so much simple fun, just the three of us.  

L.O.V.E.  

August 4, 2016

Sweet, Seven-Year Old Anticipation

I was witness yesterday to some sweet, precious, seven-year old anticipation.

Yesterday morning the girls got up and came downstairs.  I hadn’t asked them for “belly sugar” in a while, so I decided to give my luck a go.  We play a little game where they tell me what kind of kiss I can give them…ranging from little to big, and from super sweet to silly.  A “little-sweet” kiss is just a peck.  And a “big-silly” is a huge raspberry.

No matter the type of kiss they allow, I always make a big deal of preparing myself.  And seeing the light in their eyes…not knowing how much something will tickle…is golden.  I ALWAYS make good on my commitment to honor their allowance for little/big, sweet/silly, but they can hardly stand the anticipation. 

My kisses are met with a range of hugs to squeals, and it’s one more piece of “baby” I can hold onto for now amid all the “grown-up”.

And then, yesterday at lunch, Hubby met me with the girls at the hair salon.  I got a trim, as did Baby A.  When it was B’s turn, I asked if she wanted to get more than a trim, to cut her hair just below her shoulders.  She’s been growing out her bangs since last summer, and we’re almost there!

B answered with gusto right away, “Sure!”  I showed her how long her hair would be, confirming we’d still be able to do a ponytail.  She was game!  She sat in my lap, facing me.  I got to see her face, full of anticipation, no doubt proud of what she’d agreed to.

And at least as sweet was watching Baby A’s face taking it all in.  She was rapt with anticipation, too, her eyes just dancing as she watched Sissy’s hair fall to the floor.  “Do you like it, [A]?” I asked her.  “YES!  It looks AWESOME!!!”


Sweet anticipation…and sweet sissies…I couldn’t ask for anything sweeter.

August 3, 2016

Way Back When-esday: Presidential Prowess

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking way back to eight years ago.  I was pregnant.   And it was the height of the primary season ahead of the 2008 presidential election.

Not knowing the genders of the babies just yet, I assumed – for the sake of conversation – that we had one boy and one girl.  And I gave them the in-utero names Barack and Hillary.

I remember my colleagues and I had some fun with that one. 


Hee hee!

Fast-forward eight years to today, ahead of the 2016 presidential election.  We’re still having lots of political dialogue…but this time the girls are more verbal participants.  Here are a couple of my more recent faves…

“Mommy, why don't you run for president?”…and then, “Well, you’re the president of our house.”

And when I mentioned that Daddy couldn’t be president [because he’s not a natural-born citizen], Baby B piped up before I could elaborate, “Because he’s Independent!”  Hahaha!


I’m hoping my girls will always have a passion for politics and world events.  Heaven knows we started ‘em early!

My red, white, and blue babies!

***

Shout-out to the always awesome Cheryl at Twinfatuation for inspiring this Way Back-Whenesday post!

July 23, 2016

It's a Family Thing (Finally!)

Since the girls learned to ride their bikes without training wheels, we’ve been contemplating whether Baby B needed a new bike.  She was still riding a 16”, in comparison to Baby A’s 20”.  Our A seemed to get places a lot faster with those bigger wheels, and little B seemed always to be telling us how tired her legs were.

Hubby told B we’d get her a new bike when we got back from vacation.  So of course the first words out of B’s mouth the morning after we got home from Maine were, “We’re getting my new bike today!

Late that Saturday afternoon, we made good on our commitment, taking the girls to the bike shop downtown where we bought their original bikes two years ago.  We found a great bike for B, and A was [mostly] patient while her sissy got lots of attention.  B agreed to let A ride her bike, so all was relatively well.

Hubby and I had been talking about getting bikes ourselves, but I hadn’t planned on making the splurge that day.  It was no time, though, before we’d each picked out bikes.  It’s a good thing we recently straightened up the garage…our family of bikes is quite formidable!

I’ll admit it took me a few minutes to feel comfortable on my bike.  (It had been quite a few years…30, perhaps???...since I’d ridden one!  And I’d never had a bike with hand brakes and gears!!!)  We tooled around a bit that first evening, and then – helmets on – we went for our first family bike ride the next day!

Over the past two weeks, we’ve logged as many family rides as we could…early on a Saturday or Sunday morning, or first thing when Mommy gets home from work in the afternoon.

This mama is having a super-fun time whizzing through the neighborhood, and it’s such an awesome sight to be surrounded by the family.


I’ve long talked about Mommy milestones, and certainly the girls’ milestones are huge.  This is one Family Milestone that will stick with me for a long, long time!

July 13, 2016

Maine: Days 3, 4, and 5!

Day 3: Wednesday

On Wednesday morning we trekked to breakfast at a diner on the other end of Old Port.  It was a hike, but it was a nice way to start the day.  After breakfast we set out for Kennebunkport to go to the beach.

We didn't know what we'd find, exactly, so we neglected to get a parking pass.  We got incredibly lucky to find a parking spot at the beach AND a lady who'd accidentally gotten two passes.  We paid her for the pass, and we were set!

In hindsight, I wish I'd brought the girls' swimsuits to the beach -- or at least a change of clothes.  The deal was that we would walk in the water, getting wet up to our knees.  The girls got SOAKED to their tummies pretty quickly, surprised by the waves coming in, though.  

The water was COLD, but the view was breathtaking!


I love toes-in-the-sand pictures!


Here's an old-fashioned selfie (with the big camera!) of Hubby and me!


(I reluctantly turned the camera over to an older couple to ask them to take a family photo of us.  [I say "reluctantly" because we were surrounded by water!  Ack!!!]  It didn't turn out so swell, though...and my arms are not long enough for an old-fashioned family selfie.  HA!)


 We'd planned to have lunch in Kennebunkport and walk around there, but the girls were too wet.  We drove back to the hotel for a quick shower, and we ate lunch there.

That afternoon, while Hubby watched a soccer game, the girls and I trekked to the Promenade again, this time to the playground.  The ocean made such an amazing backdrop for their frolicking!!!



And of course we had to pause a few times to take in the view on the way back to the hotel.



We ate dinner at a place call The East Ender.  I got an appetizer of sea snails, and the girls were hooked.  One of my favorite lines of the trip was surely, "Mommy, may I have another snail, please?"  HA!!!

Day 4: Thursday

Thursday morning, after finding a different diner for breakfast, we walked about a block from our hotel to the ferry terminal.  We bought tickets for a trip to Peak's Island, the largest and most-inhabited island off the coast.  After a relatively short ferry ride, we hopped off the ferry and headed for the golf cart rental.

Pretending to drive!
Hubby didn't have his license with him, so the driving was up to me.  It was a COLD day, especially zipping around in our cart, but we enjoyed the ever-present ocean view as we made our way around the perimeter of the island.

We made frequent stops, one here where many before us had balanced rocks on the jagged coastline.



The girls wanted to try their hands, of course!



We took one detour (after stopping to ask for directions) to visit a house that sells honey.  A local couple was out for a walk, and they snapped a family picture of us...one in which everyone is actually looking at the camera and smiling!


The honey was sitting on a table with a bucket in which you could deposit $5 per jar...all on the honor system.  Kind of cool!


We ate lunch on the island and headed back to the hotel.  By the afternoon, it had warmed up a bit, and the girls and I headed for the narrow gauge railroad museum.  We took in a few sights inside before we boarded the train for a trip most of the way around the peninsula and back.


The train stopped at the halfway point, and the kiddos got to ring the bell.  The girls were all about it!  In this picture you can see the swing bridge that's no longer in operation.


After a good dose of Portland history on the train ride, we headed for a little shop I'd been eyeing since Monday, Vena's Fizz House.  I was super excited to introduce the girls to what I thought would be a great treat!


The inside of the shop was super quaint.  I love this picture taken from inside where we sat.


I had a delicious ginger soda, and I ordered a raspberry lemonade and a cherry limeade for the girls.  They were NOT fans, though.  "This burns my throat, Mommy!"  Oops!  Their first ever taste of carbonation was a flop (but I'm really OK with that!).

We had a fantastic dinner at Duck Fat.  We had incredible poutine with cheese curds, the fries having been cooked in -- you guessed it -- duck fat.

Day 5: Friday

Friday morning we found ourselves at a donut shop boasting donuts that are made from Maine potatoes.  They're the best donuts I've ever eaten.  Seriously.  We got a half dozen sampler box.  My favorite was the maple bacon, while Hubby and the girls loved the sweet potato best.  It might sound a little on the different side...but it was nothing but delicious!


After packing our bags, we headed for the Portland Observatory, our last must-do.  We got there early and decided to pay a visit to the fire station that's just next door.  We met three wonderfully kind firemen who invited the girls to sit in the fire truck.  They were just a little bit excited.  :)


We still had a little time, so we showed Daddy to the playground at the Promenade.  It happened to be Daddy's birthday...what a great place to celebrate!


Lastly, we made it to the Observatory and climbed the 104 steps to the top.  (We only counted 103, but I'll take their word that we missed a step somewhere.)


The view from the top was beautiful!


And I love this picture of the docent, a lovely retired school nurse, pointing out the sights to the girls.


I snapped one last picture on our way back to the hotel to start our way home.  

Buoys hanging on a fence in a residential area.
We had a wonderful trip, one we'll remember fondly for many years to come!!!  Thanks for the memories, Maine!!!
 
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