Tuesday, July 29, 2008

going swimming

This morning I wasn't feeling well, so the girls were sweet and went to play in their room to give me time to rest. Things didn't go smoothly at first, but after a few threats reminders, they actually played nicely together for the rest of the morning. I had no idea what they were doing, but they were quiet, having fun, and I was able to lay down. I'd see them come out of their room occasionally to get some toys, then head back while mumbling something about a swimming pool. Right before lunchtime, they came to invite me to see the pool they had made. They had taken every stuffed animal from around the house and created a "swimming pool" which they had taken turns swimming in. There was some major clean-up involved before naptime, but it was well worth it. They definitely redeemed themselves after yesterday's shopping fiasco!

Monday, July 28, 2008

unfinished business

We made our weekly trip to Wal-Mart today, but we have very little to show for it. It just wasn't a good day. Things were going well for a little bit, then went downhill very quickly. About a third of the way through the trip, I called it quits. I'd had enough, and we were going home. How did this solve the problem? Not sure. I was just done. We headed to the front to pay for what little we had managed to get, and out of 23 check-outs, only TWO were open. Seriously?! TWO?!?!? Grace was doing fine, even apologizing for her sister's behavior and the fact that we were having to leave. Catherine, on the other hand, was not fine. And she let everyone around us know it. So, after waiting for what seemed like an eternity, it was our turn. Grace continued to apologize and explain to the cashier why we were leaving. Catherine just continued to demonstrate why we were leaving and provided plenty of reasons for Grace to apologize. It wasn't pretty. I could barely look the cashier in the eye for fear that I might burst into tears. I actually did when we hit the parking lot. Things have settled down, but I'm still on the verge of tears. Why? Because we still have to go back to Wal-Mart for the rest of our groceries!!!! Maybe next time they'll at least have three check-outs open!

Saturday, July 26, 2008


This is what I heard tonight coming from the girls' room:

Grace: "Catherine, stop doing that!"
Catherine: "No."
Grace: "CATHERINE! Stop doing that!"
Catherine: "No!"
Catherine: "NO!"

I went in to check things out, and they were each in their own beds, dreaming away. Pretty amazing that they even manage to fight in their sleep.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

u-turns allowed

Yesterday, I learned an important lesson. Two, actually. Before leaving home yesterday to head to my friend's house, I put her address into the navigation system (we call her "Violet") in the minivan. I told Jessica right before leaving that I didn't need directions...I would just follow the car's directions. It's nearly impossible to get lost in my new car. You know where this is headed, don't you? About 20 minutes into our little excursion, Violet told me to head north on the freeway. For some reason, I had my mind set on heading south. Occasionally, Violet will take us on a different path than the one I originally planned that will still end up in the same place, so I thought maybe that's what was happening. I thought I would go the way I knew was right, she'd recalculate the route, and we'd be on track again. Not quite. For the next few miles, I kept hearing things like, "take the next left," or "make the next possible u-turn." Like I said, I was convinced that I was right, and she was wrong, so we kept going. After several more miles and much more urging by Violet to turn around, it finally hit me. I was supposed to be going north. Oops. It took me a few more miles to find a place to turn around, and then I had to get back on the freeway, heading in the right direction. After traveling many needless miles and wasting precious time I could have been with my friend, I was finally going the right way. It was then that I realized that this wasn't the first time I had ignored a loud, clear voice that was trying to lead me in the right direction. I thought of how many times I've prayed for direction, guidance, and answers, but then taken things into my own hands anyway. I'll present a situation to God, specifically ask for His help, then ignore Him when He tries to tell me which way to go. I head off in my own direction, convinced that I know the way. The whole time, He's calling out to me, "TURN LEFT! MAKE THE NEXT POSSIBLE U-TURN!" But I keep going. Until I've gotten so far off track. It's then that I usually quiet down just enough to hear Him. And then I realize. Oops. I wasn't supposed to go this way. I've just wasted so much time, so much energy, and I've gotten myself into an even bigger mess. Luckily, neither Violet, not God will give up on me. No matter how stubborn I am, or how far from the calculated route I might stray. There's always a way back on the freeway. But, it might cost us something. Time. Pride. Heartache. So, please learn from my mistakes. Don't ignore your navigation system, especially when you are as directionally-challenged as I am. More importantly, don't ignore God.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

twin playdate

We just got home from a playdate with the only other set of twins we really know! We had the best time. I met their mom, Jessica, about two and a half years ago. Seems like so much longer than that. I was in Target (big surprise!) with the girls, and we ran into her in the diaper aisle. She asked me about the girls, and in my head I was thinking, "Here we go again." When you are in public with twins it can feel a little like a freak show. Especially when they were little. Everyone wants to stop and tell you their story about their brother's neighbor's cousin who went to elementary school with a girl who has a sister with twins. Seriously. We were having a bad day (which had been preceded by about 8 months of bad days) and the last thing I really wanted to do was stop and make small talk with this cute, put-together girl who was all by herself, leisurely making her way through the store. I'm so glad we stopped to talk, though. Turns out, she had twins at home. Twins who are only about 4 months younger than mine. She got my phone number, called a few days later, and we became instant friends. Friends doesn't really even describe it, though. She is the only other friend I have with twins. She knows what I go through on a daily basis. I mean, she really knows. She can empathise with me in every situation. She knows what it is like to have two kids going through the same stage at the same time. She understands the unique situations we go through. She never judges me. She never criticizes me. She just listens. And she knows. Sometimes that's really all I need. So today, I got to spend time with my friend who has known me for the shortest time, but is one of the ones who knows me best. The kids had fun playing together, but I think I had more fun. I was actually really sad to leave. She lives about 45 minutes away now, so we never see each other. When I left, I really did get sad. It was the kind of sad that you felt when you left home to go back to college after that first Thanksgiving break. The place you were headed was great, and you were excited to see everyone there, but you felt like you were leaving a big piece of you behind. Like you were leaving the people who know a part of you that no one else knows. She is such a blessing in my life. I hope the years will only bring us closer!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


When they aren't battling over a toy, screaming at the top of their lungs at each other, or knocking each other upside the head with their sippy cups, the girls love to help each other. They like to take things to each other, open doors, find missing toys, dress each other, etc. Sometimes they like to feed each other. Last week, it might have gone a little too far. One of them actually wiped the other one's bottom. Real nice. At least I didn't have to get up to do it. That's a good thing, right? They've offered to do it several times since then, but I've managed to get there in time. We now have a strict no wiping anyone else's bottom unless you are mommy or daddy policy.

Monday, July 21, 2008

3 minutes

At 4:56, we pulled into the parking lot of our town's water department to pay our water bill that was due at 5:00! The girls and I raced in before they closed, and in the mere three minutes we were there, Catherine and Grace managed to make a new friend. This happens wherever we go. They have never heard of stranger danger, and they are pretty sure everyone we come in contact with is just dying to meet them and hear everything they have to say. In under three minutes, the girls were able to tell the nice man in the office:
  • the name of the town in which we live (which he obviously knew!)
  • our street name
  • we had to come pay our water bill
  • mommy lost the envelope
  • if we don't pay, we can't take anymore baths or showers
  • we have a dog who is sick with a skin infection
  • our sick dog peed on the rug last night during dinner and daddy threw the rug away
  • we had waffles for dinner
  • they were NEW waffles (don't worry, I don't feed them old food...these were just a new kind of waffle)
  • Grace has two bug bites
  • we were headed to see Nanny and Pop
  • they are our best friends

I really don't know where they get this. They find someone who looks willing to listen, and they just start spewing out random things. Okay...maybe I do know where they get this. I've been known to do the very same thing. Just not to strangers. Unless blogging counts!

Thursday, July 17, 2008


i'm no supermom. is anyone? we all have our flaws. our dirty little mom-secrets. we pick up chicken nuggets on the way home because we're too tired to cook. we leave our kids in their pjs until dad calls to say he's on his way home. we put the kids to bed early on thursdays just so we can watch "the office" without interruption. no matter what your secret is, i think we all have them. i'm guilty of forgetting that, though. i get bogged down in my little world of tantrums, bribery, and failure (mine, not theirs!), and i start to feel very alone. i see the moms at the grocery store, the mall, and church who seem so put together. not a hair out of place. no flip-flops or mom uniform in sight. all the other moms seem to have everything in order, and i wonder what's wrong with me? am i the only mom who considers just getting to wal-mart a major accomplishment? am i the only mom who wonders if she's doing a good-enough job? does any other mom constantly feel like she's two steps behind? my twin-mom friend and i have this talk a lot. are we the only ones who just can't seem to get it together? how does everyone else do it? where are we going wrong? after talking a while, we try to convince ourselves that we're really no different from those moms. they may look like they have it together, but maybe they don't, either. their kids have fallen out of the car onto the church parking lot head-first on their watch, too, right? surely they bribe their kids with stickers just to get through the store like i do. and who hasn't parked their kids in front of the tv with a snack just so they could catch up with a friend over the phone? tell me i'm not the only one! i'm certainly no supermom. some days, i struggle just to be mediocre-mom. i don't think my kids mind, though. that's the great thing about our kids...they love us just the way we are. flaws and all! why can't we just accept ourselves the way we are?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

table manners

Me: You have a fork right there, you know.

Catherine: Yeah, I know.

Then, as always, monkey see, monkey do...

What can you do?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

stepping back

On Wednesday, we went to the park with some friends. It was a park that we had never been to before, and the girls loved it! I, on the other hand, was a nervous wreck. The park is not my favorite place. Especially new parks. Familiar, frequently visited parks are great. Unfamiliar ones...not so much. I'm constantly scouting out the place for hidden dangers, unsafe structures, and people I've seen on America's Most Wanted. See, here's the things about twins - they always, always run in opposite directions. This is especially true in open spaces (as well as Wal-Mart!). At the park, the girls often go different ways. Even if they are in the same place, it's likely that they still aren't together. One is going up the stairs, the other is coming down the slide. I prefer to have both girls within arms reach. I'll admit it, I am a bit of an overprotective parent. I really am working on it. Admitting it is the first step, right? Little by little, though, I'm learning to step back. To an outsider, I doubt that it looks like I'm making much progress. But I know that I am. There is a place between the mom who hovers over her child at the park every moment (me), and the mom who sips Starbucks, reads her magazine, and text messages her friends without glancing at her child until it's time to go home. I'm trying to find that balance. I want my kids to know that I am always there, watching and ready to help if they need me. More than that, though, I want them to know that I have confidence in them and that I believe in them. I want them to know that I know they can do it, I trust them to make good choices on their own, and I have faith in them to do the right thing. I know they'll fall (we've already had a broken arm!), and I know they will make mistakes. As much as I want to protect them from falling and failing, I know it is good for them. It is only by experiences that they will learn how to get back up, make things right, and try again. It is only by falling and failing that they will learn that they can get back up, make things right, and try again. Being a good parent isn't making sure nothing bad ever happens to your children. If that was it, I'd have it made! Instead, it's teaching your children how to handle situations and giving them the confidence to know that they can do things on their own. So cut me some slack next time you see me at the park looking a little stressed out. I'm working on it. I promise, I am!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

company's here!

My grandmother was in town for a few days this week, and I don't know who was happier about her visit - my grandmother or the girls! Catherine and Grace loved spending time with her, telling her jokes, and making her laugh. She loved seeing how much all of the great-grandchildren had grown and seeing all of the new things they can do now. It's funny to watch someone who hasn't seen them in several months...things that have become old hat are new again. There is someone new to ooh and ahh over all they can do. Someone new to tell their jokes to, sing songs to, dance for, and share pancakes with. Someone new to kiss and to hug. And they loved every minute.

Monday, July 7, 2008

hard at work

Last week, at one of my favorite places in the whole, wide world (the Target dollar spot!), I found some great and cheap stuff for the girls. They had just restocked, and they had tons of preschool workbooks and flashcards. Don't worry, mom, I know they are only three. The workbooks are, for the most part, for later. One book, though, had some tracing pages that I let them do the other day. They loved it! They loved sitting at their little trays "working." It was funny to see their little personalities come out while they worked. They reminded me of so many of the kids I taught. Catherine was the one who was too busy to stop and listen to directions. She heard me say, "follow the arrow and trace over the line," and before I knew it, she had finished three pages. Grace started out as the kid that just wanted to get to the end. It wasn't that she didn't care about doing a good job, she just wanted to do it fast. Once I convinced her to slow down, she turned into the perfectionist. I don't know where she gets that. She wanted to try over and over until it was right. If she tried, but couldn't do it perfectly, she didn't want to do it at all. Each day since then, they have wanted to "do some work." Catherine likes to draw circles to show Daddy, and Grace likes to draw straight lines. Lots and lots of straight lines. I'm happy to see that they like to sit and work. I'm actually happy to just see them sitting still and concentrating on something! I hope they will grow up loving to learn. I hope Grace doesn't lose her determination, but I hope she's also able to accept imperfection. I hope Catherine keeps her focus and motivation, but I also hope that she will remember that it's okay to accept help from others. In just a little over two years, the girls will be doing real work at school. TWO years? That can't be right! '08, '09, yep, 2010. In just a little over two years, they will be at school all day, five days a week. I'll have to send them off in the morning, and not see them again until the afternoon. (Except for the days that I go eat lunch with them, which will be all days ending in "y". No, I promise not to be that mom!) They will spend more time with their teachers than with me. (Unless I decide to go back to teaching so I can be their teacher! Just kidding. Umm...maybe.) I'm so thankful to have this time with them now. I'm thankful that, for right now, I get to be the one who is teaching them their letters, reading to them, and singing songs. Even on our bad days, I'm glad I'm the one disciplining them, teaching them right from wrong, and drying their tears. Before long, there will be a school nurse bandaging their skinned knees, and they will have new friends to tell knock-knock jokes to. They might even realize that minivans aren't cool! Until then, I'll remind myself to enjoy the time I have, and we'll make as many memories as we can.

Friday, July 4, 2008

4th of july

today was a fabulous fourth of july! we had lunch with one set of grandparents, and dinner with the other. what could be better? we even squeezed a pretty good nap (for all four of us!) in between. for dessert at my parents' house, we all got a little messy and had s'mores. it was fun to just relax and be with family all day.

happy 4th of july!!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

it's gone!!!


today was the day! i've been growing out my hair for months, and i finally got it cut today to donate to locks of love. 11 inches...gone. i think i like it, but i'm still a little on the fence.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

oh, crap!


i heard the cry today about 45 minutes into the girls' nap. every mom knows the cry. it's the cry that you know needs immediate attention. it can't wait until the next commercial or until your finish another page in your book. you have to go now! someone is seriously hurt or sick. until today, hearing that cry in our house meant that someone had thrown up. i hate the cry! i'm not good with throw up. today, though, it had come out the other end. for those of you who don't know me, that's just gross. for those of you who do, it's hilarious. there i stood, total germaphobe, with my sweet little girl laying in a bed of poop, crying. it wasn't as bad as it could have been. there actually wasn't that much. anyway, there i stood, just staring at her. i was the only one home, so it was up to me. the germaphobe in me wanted to go get a pair of rubber gloves. the mom in me just wanted to hug my little girl and tell her it was okay. so i did. i hugged my poopy little 3-year-old. i told her it was okay, and we took care of it. we got everything and everyone clean (and sanitized!). i got her bedding and clothes in the wash, and threw away a few things that couldn't be salvaged. i gave her a bath, then held her in my lap until she calmed down. i'd like to think that won't happen again, but i know it probably will. maybe next time, though, toby will be home!

true love

i'm in love. true love. and it's not with my husband. yes, i am in love with him, but i have a new love, too. i lOvE, i mean seriously LOVE, my new minivan! i didn't think i could love it more than the day we got it, but it do. i love it more and more each day. today was our first really big shopping trip at wal-mart. let me define big for you - no more room in the cart (top or bottom), over an hour, we can't buy one more thing - BIG. i never could have done this with both girls in the accord. not only did i buy lots of food, but i got bulky things like toilet paper and paper towels. i really couldn't wait to get to the car, press the buttons, watch the girls climb in, then neatly load my groceries. it was heavenly. i didn't even break a sweat. and it's july. the girls got in by themselves, and i was able to buckle them in without ducking, bending, or stooping. all of the groceries fit perfectly in the back. and there was still tons of room! there were even two hangers on the top of the back seat to hang my chips and bread above everything else so they didn't get crushed. when we got home, the girls could reach in the back and grab sacks to carry in. no more reaching down into the trunk to dig things out. i used to hate going to the store when we had lots of things to get. i'd have to strategically plan when to purchase large items so everything would fit in the back. now i couldn't fill it up if i tried. okay...maybe i could, so i better not try! anyway, all of this just goes to say that i really, really, really, love my minivan. even if it is a dorky mom-mobile!