Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers

June 30, 2016

Not Much Has Changed in Six Years...

Six years.  Wow.  In some ways, not much has changed.

Readers are leaders.

And I can't wait to see what the next six years holds!!!

June 27, 2016

Bad Words

Two years of big-kid school under our belts, and I haven’t encountered many “bad words” from the girls.  Here and there I’ve gotten a report about someone saying a particular word at school.  I remember “butt” and “OMG” being discussion points at our house, but the girls have generally been very smart about asking us if they think a word or phrase seems out of place.

We’ve reinforced with the girls that they will never get in trouble for asking us a question.  We talk about what a word or phrase means, and why it’s not appropriate.  We remind the girls how hurtful words can be, and how people will sometimes try to garner power by the words they use.

Often, when I read to the girls, I edit text here and there.  I don’t like the words “fool” or “ugly”, for example, and I rarely say them.  Now that they can read so proficiently, the girls will sometimes call me on my omission.  We’ll talk about why I changed the text, and discuss words the author could have used in their places.

A few days ago, I was reading the sixth Little House on the Prairie book to the girls.  I’d edited the word “stupid” a few times, but I decided to say it for the purpose of discussion.  Of course it was used in a different context as to what might be heard on the elementary school playground, but I thought it would make a good point of conversation.

The girls’ reaction was one of seven-year old innocence.  “Laura’s fingers felt numb and stupid,” I think the line went.  Both girls’ mouths dropped open.  They both gasped slightly and looked at me with big eyes.

I couldn’t help a little smile.

I was glad for the opportunity to discuss the use of the word.  And I was proud that they recognized that word as one we do not use.

May they always recoil when they recognize something inappropriate, and may the ways of the world not numb them to what is right.  

June 26, 2016

Look, Mom...No Wheels! training wheels, that is!

It's been incredibly hot here the past couple of weeks, so I haven't gotten to see the girls ride their bikes very often.  Friday afternoon, we all decided to brave the elements when I got home from work.

The girls were ZIPPING up and down and back and forth...getting onto their bikes by themselves...stopping with precision...and making only one or two [unplanned] trips into the grass.

Baby A is quite the "leaner".  It almost makes me a little nervous...but she seems to have the hang of it!

And I love this picture of B.  She was showing off her excitement (and being a bit daredevil-ish) as she headed straight for Mommy.

I'm so proud of these girlies!  Next step...taking it to the streets!  The big hill in front of our house (relatively speaking...when your seven-year old is riding a bike...) makes me nervous, but I know the girls will be fine through the neighborhood.  That's one we might have to do individually, though.  I don't know that my nerves can take keeping up with two of them just yet.  Baby steps (for me!)!

June 22, 2016

Anniversary Plans

Today is our wedding anniversary.  Seventeen years.  Wow.

I was thinking last night about previous anniversaries.  Certainly I can’t remember each one, but several come to mind.

There were a handful of years where we seemed to be moving right on/around our anniversary.  Our first anniversary, we’d just moved to Mississippi, for my first job.  We celebrated with dinner at a new restaurant in a new town.

Our second anniversary, we were still in Mississippi.  We ate dinner at a restaurant we’d never been to before.  I remember ordering an appetizer off the specials menu, and we were both shocked when we got the bill to learn how much it was.  (HA!  I don’t remember what it was, or if it was good, but it was expensive!)

Our third anniversary, we’d moved to North Carolina.  I remember the restaurant where we celebrated.  It was one of our favorites there.

Our fourth anniversary, we’d just moved into our house in Kentucky.  We had a hot and sweaty day of unpacking, but we cleaned up to enjoy a wonderful meal.

It’s funny, looking back on those years.  We worked hard, and we played hard.

I think we celebrated some later anniversary in New York, but I can’t quite remember which. 

The next anniversary I can remember is when I was newly pregnant…maybe 8 weeks along.  Heading out to dinner, I put on a dress that was getting a little bit tight, and I felt so proud of that fact.  I wondered if anyone would notice.  I remember the wonder we felt as we talked about our life together and dreamed of what was to come.

The next anniversary – our tenth – we took our 5 ½ month-old twins to dinner.  We went to one of our favorite restaurants for a very early dinner.  I remember where we sat, at the very front of the restaurant, the girls in their carriers.  I think they napped during our dinner.  I remember we ate pretty hurriedly, for fear they’d wake up.  I felt almost giddy that we were “sneaking” in that dinner with our twins in tow.

The next few anniversaries are more of a blur.  I seem to remember take-out from our favorite sushi restaurant one year.  And a couple of years ago, we had a sweet family date…breakfast out, and hiking at our favorite park in town.

This year, I’m heading off to work today.  We’re planning to go out for dinner, the four of us.  I’m hoping I can coax the girls into wearing a sundress.  We’ll head downtown and have a nice meal.

The girls were whispering last night.  I expect they’ve made us a card of some sort, and they are super excited to give it to us.

We’re not going to enjoy a romantic getaway to NYC, or let go with wine and live music for an evening of fun.  But I’m really excited for the four of us to go out…to fully share this occasion with the girls and to celebrate as a family.

To everything there is a season.  And I am thankful for this season we’re in.

Happy Anniversary to my love!

June 21, 2016

Sweet Impromptu

The girls had a dentist appointment yesterday afternoon.  The game plan was for Hubby to take them, and I’d join everyone for the dentist’s walkthrough at the end of the appointment.  I left work 30 minutes early, thinking my timing would be perfect.  I guess they were running ahead of schedule, though, as I got the call that they were all done when I was a couple of blocks away from the dentist's office.

(Everyone got a good report…hooray!)

It was about 4:15, which is far before suppertime in my book.  But…we were SO CLOSE to downtown.  We decided to head that way and take advantage of a happy hour appetizer special somewhere.

Before making our restaurant choice, we stopped by the jewelry store to pick up the beads the girls ordered for their bracelets (the ones they get for each tooth they lose).  Then we landed next door at a new little restaurant, one we checked out for the first time a couple of weeks ago.

We enjoyed a yummy, relatively lightly supper.  What a treat it was, on a random Monday late afternoon, to hang out with my girlies downtown!  We talked about their day, they asked about mine, and we fantasized about vacation.  Even after a normal (semi-hectic) day of work, our dinner felt so leisurely!

We finished supper and it was barely 5:30.  We had two cars, and Hubby declared he had an errand to run.  I decided I wasn’t quite ready for our adventure to end…so I drove the girls to get some yogurt.  They were almost incredulous that we would do that after supper!  (I think they always consider yogurt a mid-afternoon treat…the thought of having it so late in the day drew gasps of surprise!)

(I'm growing to appreciate the goofy charm of a least the [awkward!] way I take them!)

After we savored every last spoonful of yogurt, we headed home.  It was a HOT afternoon – still about 90 degrees – but the driveway was mostly shady.  The girls jumped at the chance to ride their bikes for a few minutes.

Just as they were donning their helmets, Hubby pulled into the driveway.  He took over chaperone duty while I changed out of my work clothes.  I got to witness a few final spins up and down the drive (and WOW how the girls have improved since last week!!!).

We headed in and had a quick shower before bedtime.  I told the girls we could read some Little House as a bedtime story, and they were again elated.  We’re reading through a very harrowing part (book 6, The Long Winter).  We read a chapter and a half – and by that time put us a little late for bed.  They begged for just one more chapter, but I had to finally tell them we’d packed all the adventure we could into the afternoon.

Just as I was tucking the girls into bed, Daddy came upstairs for one last hug.  We all finished the day with big smiles on our faces.

What a wonderful afternoon of impromptu we enjoyed.  Some of life’s simple pleasures, for sure.

June 11, 2016

A Long List!

It’s summer.  At our house, among many other things, that means:

-          It’s hot.
-          Our eating is a little more fluid (particularly as Hubby takes the girls out to lunch more often than he probably should!).
-          Bedtime is still a thing…but a 30-minute swing won’t bother me.

On Friday morning, I offered that Hubby could take the girls out for lunch and I’d make a light supper when I got home.  Hubby was all about that, and I began to look forward to some tuna salad for dinner.

Mid-afternoon it looked like I was going to get out of work in a timely fashion, and I decided that I’d invite the girls to help me in the kitchen.  They were THRILLED with the invitation.

I told them they could help me make tuna salad, AND that we could make a blueberry cobbler for dessert (having just picked our first batch of fresh blueberries the night before!).  The girls’ eyes were wide with excitement, especially with blueberry cobbler as their prize.

I didn’t quite intend for the girls’ work to be so extensive, but they did such a great job, I kept finding more and more for them to do!

For supper, they:

-          Peeled seven boiled eggs without ripping into the white.
-          Cut the eggs into pieces (KNIFE PRACTICE!!!).
-          Raked their eggs into the mixing bowls – by that time we’d decided to make tuna salad AND pea salad.
-          Got the tuna out of the pantry and tried to use the can opener.  (This didn’t go so well!)
-          Got the peas out of the freezer, cut open the bag, and put them in a bowl to cook in the microwave.
-          Got the pickle relish, mayo, and cheese (for the pea salad) out of the refrigerator.
-          Scooped out pickle relish.  (And then sampled the pickle relish.)
-          Mixed up the salads without squishing the eggs.
-          Tore Romaine lettuce (from our garden!!!) into bite-size pieces.
-          Pulled the stems from the mushrooms.
-          Meticulously placed tomatoes and sliced mushrooms on each salad.

For dessert they:

-          Cut the butter and put the pan in the over for the butter to melt.  (This was the first time someone set a pan in the oven.  It made me nervous, but no arms were burned.)
-          Measured the sugar (measuring the flour is still a mommy’s job at our house…don’t want it to be packed!).
-          Whisked the dry ingredients without losing any to the counter.
-          Cheered for a sprinkle of cinnamon in the batter.
-          Meticulously placed the blueberries on top of the batter, being careful not to burn themselves on the hot pan.

Sure, making supper took a little longer with all three of us than it would have taken me alone…but the girls did such a great job!!!  And they were so proud to enjoy the fruits (and veggies) of their labors!!!

B, making peanut butter cookies with me last weekend.  FUN!!!

June 10, 2016

A Milestone for the Girls AND the Hubby!

I came home Tuesday night to my hubby standing in the driveway.  I couldn’t see the girls, though, which was unusual.  Typically they’re jumping up and down to greet me when I get home (which is all kinds of adorable).

As I was getting out of the car, it caught my eye…

…the girls’ bikes…SANS TRAINING WHEELS…by the garage.

I truly couldn’t believe it.

The girls came running up to me, helmets on, ready to show me what they could do.

Hubby helped B push off on her bike, and then he shuffled right behind her to make sure she maintained her balance.  They made several loops up and down the driveway.

She was doing it!!!

Baby A waited {mostly} patiently for her turn.  She was doing it, too!!!

I grabbed the camera to make some pictures.  I tried not to distract the girls…but they were so proud of themselves, I think they wanted to smile at me…which resulted in some big swerves here and there!

Then I took a turn running behind the girls.  The funny thing was the coaching that Hubby kept giving to ME.  “You should be to her left!  She’s used to me being on her left!”  Hahaha!

We celebrated the girls’ accomplishment after supper with their second-ever banana split.  They were tickled!

By Night #2, the girls were riding by themselves (still with a little help getting started).  Their confidence was no-doubt aided by the bright pink elbow and knee pads Hubby got them that day.

I am so proud of the girls, and I love seeing the pride on their faces.

And as proud as I am of the girls, I am also so very proud of my husband.  He’s very, very protective of the girls.  He absolutely cannot stand the thought of them getting so much as a scrape.  To see him running (in a not-so-relaxed fashion most of the time!) just behind the girls…it made my heart swell even bigger.

What a milestone for all THREE of my loves!!!

June 8, 2016

Way Back When-esday: Car Seats!!!

A couple of days ago I shared a picture of the girls in their original car seats, taking one last stretch.  (We just installed new seats this weekend.)

(They thought it was hilarious to "relax" on the driveway!)

I am not sure what prompted me on Monday to rifle through pictures from June 2010...SIX YEARS AGO...but I happened up this little jewel.

(Obviously this was before they smiled somewhat reliably on command...HA!)

We were heading to a local Australian-themed zoo, and I snapped a picture while the Hubs was pumping gas.  Look at those yummy little legs!!!  And those bubble suits were the cutest!!!

My discovery of this picture came just days before Cheryl's Way Back I knew it was kismet for me to share.  :)  You *may* know I c.a.n.n.o.t. resist a good comparison picture!!!

[And I just gasped thinking ahead 20 years...imagine what kind of fun the girls could have recreating pictures from their childhood when they're adults!  Squee!!!]

{Dear A and B: If you're reading this in 2036, please know that would make a wonderful Mother's Day gift!}


June 6, 2016

Farewell, Old Friend

We said goodbye to a faithful friend this weekend... we purchased when the girls were not quite 10 months old, and began using when they were about 15 months.

One that has seen us through a few leaky diapers and potty training... spilled hot chocolate.

One that made trips as far east as North Carolina, as far west as St. Louis... far north as Chicago, as far south as New Orleans.

One that kept them safely rear-facing until they were more than four (and I'm still pretty proud of that!)...

...and witnessed the AWE of four-year olds viewing the front of the car for the first time.

One that saw us through the first day of preschool, to preschool graduation... the first day of kindergarten, to the end of first grade.

But the time has come to retire these jewels.

So farewell, Faithful Friends.  We thank you for your valiant service!


We found convertible seats that should last us the duration, ones that will still allow 5-point harnesses until the girls are 57" and/or 65 pounds.  Score!!!  After their first ride, the girls complained that they weren't sitting up as high and that the seats felt "weird".  I guess so...a change after 6 years is a shock to one's system!

June 5, 2016

Saturday Night, Seven Years Ago

Last night was graduation at Hubby’s high school.  He left shortly before supper, his faculty gown in hand.  The girls ooh’ed and ahh’ed over it, gave him a kiss, and we set about our evening.

We’d had a big lunch, and – since it was just the three of us – I decided to do a scaled-down supper.  The girls were tickled over a peanut butter and banana sandwich, and we enjoyed a cookie that B and I made earlier in the day.

After supper we read some books, and A helped me with a few chores.  B got in on the chore action just before bedtime.  The girls donned their pajamas and I brushed their teeth.  As a reward for their help, I read them a full chapter in our latest Little House on the Prairie series. 

The girls hopped into bed and I kissed them goodnight.  We did a couple of rounds of extra hugs, I told them I’d see them in the morning, and I headed downstairs to do a few more chores and then settle down to watch some TV and edit some pictures.

It hit me at some point what this same night was like SEVEN YEARS ago.

Hubby’s graduation was the first night that he wasn’t there to help me get the girls in bed.  I was perfectly comfortable managing the daytime routine, but by the end of the day, I was so incredibly ready for a second set of hands. 

I don’t remember the particulars, but I do remember feeling like an absolute hero for getting the girls to bed by myself.  I remember plopping down in front of the TV and indulging in an ice cream bar.  HA!

To the age-old question, “Does it get easier?” I generally don’t reply in a straightforward manner.  My answer is usually along the lines of, “It’s still hard, just in a different way.”

But this bedtime comparison reminds me, THIS is one thing that’s definitely gotten easier with time!

June 4, 2016

The GIFT of New Shoes!!!

We’ve been incredibly pleased with the girls’ PE curriculum.  Especially in elementary school, I just remember playing on the playground during PE, with the occasional game of dodge ball awarded us now and again.

In contrast, PE these days is a serious subject!  Their PE teacher is simply amazing with how she incorporates learning about the human body in ways that are so much fun.  And our always-active girls are even more inspired to move and groove, as evidenced by the “exercise videos” they like to make at home.  HA!

The girls don’t participate in the running club, but still they have opportunities to log running time each week.  For every 5 cumulative miles they run, they get a little token.  Baby A logged over 30 miles this year, and Baby B, over 20!

I had a hunch something different was up a couple of Thursdays ago, based on the invitation to parents to attend the morning meeting for a special announcement.  I could not have imagined what happened, though.

The girls’ PE teacher had entered their school in a contest from New Balance, touting their curriculum and how running and being active is a part of every day for their students.  Of all the schools in the COUNTRY, the girls’ school WON! 

AND…the unbelievable part is that New Balance gifted NEW SHOES to EVERY student, EVERY teacher, and EVERY staff member…even the bus drivers got new shoes!!!

The girls still don’t quite realize what a huge deal this is, but they do love their new shoes!

The kiddos didn’t have a choice of colors, though, and the girls’ shoes are identical.  Baby B came up with the idea to get different colored laces.  Viola!

When life gives you identical shoes, add some different laces!

And even more special is that these shoes are the girls’ first TIE shoes.  They’ve been able to tie a bow for the past couple of years now…but [frankly] this mama never wanted to give up the speed that Velcro provides in getting in the car each morning.

So far, the girls are tying their own shoes, and doing a pretty decent job of it!  They’re still working to get their knots good and tight.  (I thought it was so cute that A told me proudly after a recent outing, “I didn’t have to re-tie my shoes once!”)

This is such a special treat for our girls and ALL the kiddos at their school.  I know one day they’ll realize how incredibly cool it is – even beyond their first pair of TIE shoes.