In the 'Hood

The heat has finally broken around here over the last few days, so we have been able to spend a little more time outside in the evenings.  Unfortunately, I have the mosquito bites to prove it.  We were playing in the driveway the other night when five or six of the neighborhood kids stopped by to see the girls.  The bigger kids were walking around with the girls, pulling their wagon, and letting them sit on their bicycles.  Addison and Mackenzie loved the attention, and I loved watching all the kids gathered in our front yard. 

When I was growing up, I fantasized about living in a neighborhood where my friends could walk over to play and we could all ride our bikes together.  I grew up on a farm, surrounded by pastures and barns.  The only people that lived nearby were family members, and though my cousins weren't too far away, the road we lived on was too dangerous for us to walk back and forth.  While I very much enjoyed living out there and growing up with a variety of animals in my front yard, it would have been nice to have some company around sometimes.

I was about twelve when my dad remarried and moved into a neighborhood across town.  It was the kind of neighborhood I had imagined must exist somewhere...a pack of kids roaming the streets, riding bikes, jumping on trampolines...just hanging out until the streetlights came on and they went home for dinner.  I was already good friends with several of the neighborhood kids, so I jumped right into the mix.  Though my sister and I didn't spend all that much time over there, and the time I was there was generally spent with my dad, I did get to enjoy a bit of the 'neighborhood feeling' I had never understood before.

When I was in 9th grade, there was a disturbing incident with some rogue skunks at my house out on the farm (that's a whole story for another day; I still shudder at the memories whenever I smell a skunk!).  My mom moved us into an apartment in town while she looked for a house.  My best friend Kelly lived in the apartment complex, and although we weren't BFFs quite yet, we were able to hang out together and she introduced me to some of the other kids in the area.  It was such a fun concept to me that I was able to walk out the front door and see some of my friends. 

We weren't in the apartment too long before we moved into the house where my mom still lives.  Although it's technically only one street, I guess you could say it was a neighborhood.  By this time, I was in high school and was more interested in making friends who could drive than walking to someone's house...which was good because almost everyone in the neighborhood was retired and their kids were long gone.  There was a family with a daughter my sister's age, which was nice for her.  Still, it was a nice (paved!) street where we could walk, rollerblade (yes, it was the 90s!), and ride bikes. 

When Jeremy and I bought our first house, I was still a little enthralled by the concept of a neighborhood where we could actually get out and walk a mile or two, get to know our neighbors, and have someone to pick up mail when we were out of town.  Of course, it didn't exactly happen that way...we only really got to know one set of neighbors and another set called the police when our dogs escaped the fence one afternoon, leading to a bit of tension on that front.  But it was nice to see kids out playing football in the cul-de-sac and to be able to take the girls on a nice walk without having to load up the stroller and drive somewhere.

While house-hunting a few months ago, a good neighborhood was one of the top requirements on my list.  I knew we would be in this house for much of the girls' childhood, and I wanted a place they could safely roam with their friends in a few years.  We received housewarming gifts from a few neighbors when we moved in, and after meeting some of those around us, I was sure we were going to love our new little place in the world.  On these summer evenings, while watching those kids race up and down the street on their bicycles, catching snippets of nine-year-old conversations as they cut through our yard to the street behind us, and hearing the parents shout that it is time to come in and eat, I am reassured again that we made the right choice. 

Before long, it will be our own girls out there learning to ride bicycles, whispering about school and friends and, yes, eventually about boys.  (But I hope they wait MANY years before the boy part kicks in!)

Don't forget to visit Mama Kat's each week for more Writer's Workshop posts!


Fashion Statement

Fashion statement

I think Addison just might be a future trendsetter. 

Notice the highlights of this outfit:  She has on one regular brown sandal and one Dora slipper (we have a major love of shoes in this house!).  That's a bright blue bow holding up the 'Pebbles' hairdo.  Of course the bow in no way matches anything else she has on.  And that would be a miniature slinky she's holding in her mouth. 

Obviously, she has to keep her hands free to switch out shoes every five minutes.


Always Runnin' Behind

I have been feeling very scatter-brained lately.  I'm forgetting to do things, forgetting meetings, and generally just spacing out a little.  Last week, I totally forgot an adjunct faculty meeting at the college where I teach part-time.  I had to run out yesterday after work and sign my contracts so I could begin my class. 

Last Thursday, I logged onto my college email to see if there was anything going on between semesters, and I realized fall classes started on Friday...the next day.  I had nothing ready, and I needed to familiarize myself with the new version of Blackboard before I could even post stuff for my students.  Thank goodness my class is online and I have tests, etc. ready from previous semesters.  Jeremy took care of the girls on Saturday afternoon so I could get the necessary things done.

This weekend was sort of the final straw...I can't keep wasting time backtracking to take care of things that should already be done.  It's time to get organized!  I have a daily desk calendar at work, and a small one that I keep in my purse; I've just got to get better about using them.  And it would help if I remembered to check them daily to see what I'm supposed to be doing.  That's sort of the point, right?

As the girls get bigger, we are going to have more appointments and obligations to keep up with, so I have to figure out a better system now.  Surely I'm not going to have to break down and get a Blackberry that will tell me every time I need to be somewhere.

What is your system like?  How do you stay organized?  (Marcia, I expect some good tips from you!) 

I got my 2011 planner for work already.  I just love the feel of a clean, blank calendar, just waiting to be filled up.  I'm such a nerd.  : )



I was a bit of a weird kid.  Not overly strange in any obvious ways, but looking back, I realize how odd some of my obsessions were.  The thing is, a lot of the weirdness went on in my head, so no one really knew it. 

A few examples:  I had a little cough/sniff/clear-my-throat routine for awhile.  That one was noticed by my family and they still give me grief about it!  I felt like I physically couldn't do one of those actions without following it up with the other two.  I obsessively twisted my hair around my fingers...and I had to do it an equal amount of times around each finger.  Every time.  I counted my steps everywhere I went, and always had to start climbing stairs with my left foot.  (Okay, this one I still do...some of the tendencies didn't leave me!)

Anyway...like I said, I was a little strange at times.  You may pick up that those examples involve similar themes of pattern and order.  Despite sometimes living amid chaos, I do have a thing for order. 

There is a certain video game that has been around for a LONG time that played right into my obsession with patterns... I know you played it too... just admit it...

I LOVED me some Tetris!  I played it on the original Nintendo, then on the computer, for hours and hours.  I just love the way those pieces fit so neatly together when you found the right combination.  It fed right into my love of patterns.

I might have played Tetris a little too much at times.  I can remember closing my eyes to go to sleep and seeing the blocks falling against the darkness.  I even dreamed about Tetris pieces a few times...can't believe I just admitted that on the Internet!  (Oh, wow... In looking for pictures of the game, I found out there is an actual term for this kind of thing.  It's called the Tetris Effect.  Who knew??  Maybe I'm not as abnormal as I thought!)

It's been a long time since I have played a good, old-fashioned game of Tetris.  They came out with a new version for Super Nintendo and other gaming systems, but I like the classic version, without all the fancy new graphics and changing rules.

Well, friends, it was a happy day last week when I was browsing the Wii games and came across this:

I couldn't resist...the obsession begins anew!  Although when I played for the first time last night, I realized my eyesight is not quite what it used to be... I guess that's a good way of limiting my playing time.  I can't wait to wow Jeremy with my Tetris skills this weekend.  : )  Wonder how long it will take before those geometical shapes start showing up in my dreams?

Mama's Losin' It


Stuck on You

As I mentioned, Jeremy and I celebrated our fourth anniversary last week.  It doesn't seem like it's been four years... it actually seems like it should be much longer.  Wait...I don't mean that the way it sounds!  What I mean is that it's hard to imagine a time when Jeremy wasn't a part of my life.  It just feels so right that we are together as a family, like this is the way it's always been.

In all actuality, we have really been together eight years, which IS a long time to me. 

We have done a lot of growing up together.  Although we were in college and felt all grown up when we met, there was a long way to go.  Looking back, I realize we were only twenty when started dating, which now seems a lot younger than it did back then.  (Funny how young the 20s seem as I get closer to the 30s!) 

We have experienced a lot in eight years, but thankfully we have been blessed with relatively peaceful lives.  We did the college thing... got jobs... got engaged... got a dog... got married... got new jobs... bought a house... got another dog... got pregnant... had twins... survived the first several weeks... finally slept again... sold our house... moved back to my hometown... bought a new house... got rid of our dogs... celebrated surviving the first year with twins... and finally settled into a new normal as a family of four.  You know, the usual!

In all seriousness, we are truly, truly blessed.  Our lives may seem boring to some, but we love it.  Of course we argue (or bicker, I would say, and it's never over anything major); we get frustrated with home, work, or life in general and we have our moments when nothing seems to be going right.  But we love each other, we love our family, and we love our God above all else.  I went into marriage knowing that it's not always easy and it takes a lot of work...but when those key pieces are in place, everything else will just follow.  There are hard moments, but I haven't really found OUR marriage to be that hard at all.  When everything else seems hopeless, my marriage is my refuge.  I have a husband who loves me, loves our family, and is on my side when the world is against me.  What more could I ask for?

These past few years, and the last two years in particular (pregnancy, babies, sleepless nights, hormones, etc.), have made our relationship stronger than ever.  We have more to fight for now, and you better believe I'm in it for the long haul...  As someone said recently, there's NO freakin' WAY you're leaving me alone with these kids!!

(Happy Anniversary, Jeremy!  Love you!!)


Dear Mackenzie

Dear Mackenzie,

You're my funny, funny girl, and you know I love you very much, right?  One thing I love about you girls is our schedule.  From the very beginning, we've had a good routine for our little family.  I appreciate that you and your sister eat at the same time, sleep at the same time, and yes, usually even poop at the same time.  It simplifies my life, ya know?


However...  This week, your scheduled poops have moved from the morning to the evening, and it's not working out so well for me.  Addison has got it figured out; she goes right at the end of dinner, just before bathtime.  But you, my sweet girl, you insist on waiting until you're IN the bathtub, all nice and soapy, before deciding to do your daily deed. 

I understand that sometimes the urge hits and you just can't wait, but seriously, kid TWO NIGHTS IN A ROW is too much bathtub poop for me!  I'll give you one more chance, but if there's one more night of pooping in the tub this week...you might be getting sponge baths until you, um, regulate that schedule.

Stinky or not, I love you bunches... but you're way more fun when the poop stays in your diaper where it belongs.  Let's try to work on that!




10-lb. Weekend

I feel like I might have gained about ten pounds yesterday, but it sure was a good day! 

Jeremy and I celebrated our fourth anniversary this week, and we got to have a date day all by ourselves.  We headed over to Huntsville, where Jeremy's parents met us to pick up the girls for the day.  They went to McDonald's for lunch and playtime, and Jeremy and I headed to Little Paul's, a downtown BBQ restaurant for lunch.  I had a delicious chicken-stuffed potato, and we enjoyed a relaxing lunch without having to retrieve sippy cups or shield our plates from little fingers.

Photo Credit:  Gigi's Cupcakes

After lunch, I talked Jeremy into stopping by Gigi's Cupcakes for dessert.  Oh. my. goodness.  Those are some serious cupcakes.  I wish I could have sampled everything on the menu, but I decided to go with the Strawberry Shortcake and Jeremy chose Red Velvet.  It was good, but VERY rich.  Seriously, I was almost sick by the time I ate half of it.  I don't even want to know how many calories were in that cupcake.  Still, it was a fun, indulgent afternoon treat and I can't wait to try another variety next time.  Orange Creamsicle is next on my list!

After Gigi's, Jeremy and I headed to an afternoon movie.  We saw The Other Guys, which was ridiculous and a waste of money (Christina, I should have listened to your warning against it!).  Still, it was nice just to be out watching a movie, without any interruptions. 

In case you haven't picked up on the theme of this post yet, of course I had to get popcorn for the movie...I think I'm physically incapable of sitting in the theater without it!

When the movie was over, we walked around Bridge Street, browsing in stores and just enjoying being out and about, kid-free.  Just before we left, I ran into a sweet blog friend!  Even though we'd never actually met before, Iana and I recognized each other instantly.  It was such a neat experience to meet someone I feel like I already know so much about, and her beautiful babies are even more precious in person!  I am such a bad blogger, though, I didn't get a picture of the occasion.  : (

We had a little time to kill before dinner, so we went to Hobby Lobby (Jeremy didn't last long before skipping out in favor of the Best Buy across the street!).  I have a craft project in mind, so I picked up the fabric and supplies I needed.  It was nice to browse without having to rush, knowing the girls will only last a limited amount of time in their stroller.  Now, if only I had the time for all the projects that store puts in my head....

Finally, we ended the night at Mikato, our favorite Japanese restaurant for dinner.  We haven't been since we were at the beach in May, and it was yummy, as always.  I almost convinced Jeremy that we needed Krispy Kreme donuts to top off the day, but thankfully, I came to my senses...or I might have actually gotten sick on the way home.

We picked up our sweet, sleeping girls and headed home.  Thankfully, they stayed asleep when we put them down and stayed asleep, despite having colds and runny noses (darn daycare...they only went TWO days and got colds!!).

Despite the 10,000 calories I probably consumed on Saturday alone, it was a great day, and I'm thankful to be celebrating four years of marriage.  We were all home and in bed by 10:00 p.m....my, my, how our idea of a good date has changed in the eight years since we started dating!!


First Day

The first two days of school are behind us, and truthfully, neither was as bad as I had feared! 

1st day of MDO
Sorry for the funky haze in the picture.  It's August in Alabama, which means it's hooottttt and huuuuumiiiiiidddd...and yes, i'm whiiiiiiiining.  This was the best I could do.

On Wednesday, the girls and I were up early to get ready for the day.  I wanted to take them myself on the first day, so I went to work a little late.  We had breakfast and played for a little bit, then started getting dressed.  A & M spotted their dresses, which they haven't worn in awhile, so they were excited to put them on.  When we put the little leggings on underneath the dresses, the girls thought they were hot stuff.  They're so trendy! 

We woke Jeremy up to go with us and headed off to school.  The preschool director had warned everyone that their kids would probably cry, but they asked us to just drop them at the door and get out of sight... they welcomed us to stand in the hall and listen as long as we wanted though--doesn't that sound like a tempting offer? 

On the way in, the girls were just taking everything in and watching all the other kids milling around.  When we got to the classroom door, the teacher took them in her arms.  They started to cry and cling to us, but we did as instructed and got out the door!  We stood for a minute, but they quieted down pretty quickly, so we headed out.

It was odd to spend the morning knowing my girls were at "school" rather than at my mom's, as they have been practically almost every weekday for the last year.  I thought about them a lot, and prayed they were having a good day and weren't too scared or upset in their new environment.  I almost always go see them at lunch at my mom's, so it was a little weird to be on my own for lunch again...though I think I can get used to that part pretty quickly!  (I can run a lot of errands on my lunch break, so that's a plus.)

Just before 2:00, I left work to go pick them up.  I admit, I was eager to hear about their day and see how they handled it.  When I got to the classroom, another mom was standing in the doorway talking to the teacher.  Mackenzie spotted me and immediately started grinning and pointing (love that feeling!!).  When I couldn't get over to pick her up (because of the gate in the doorway and the other parent standing there), she got distressed and started crying.  That brought Addison over to see what the trouble was and she started fussing too, thinking I was going to leave again, I guess.  So that wasn't the most fun reception, but it was nice to have my girls in my arms after missing them all day.

The teacher said they had done really well for the first day, and insisted there hadn't been too many tears.  Addison laid down on her mat and took a good nap on her own.  Mackenzie needed some rocking, they said, but slept pretty well too.  They hadn't eaten a great lunch, but I kind of expected that for the first day of a different lunchtime routine. 

All in all, I counted it a pretty successful first day!

My mom took them this morning, and she said they slipped their little lunchboxes on their arms and marched proudly down the hall... until they got to their classroom...  Then they wanted my mom to pick them up, but she said they didn't really cry when she left.  I picked them up again this afternoon (the church is only about two minutes from my office and ten minutes from my mom's), and it seemed like they had an even better day.  Before they saw me, I spied A & M sitting in the teacher's lap in the floor, eating goldfish.  They looked pretty happy to me!  Mackenzie started crying again when she saw me (what is with that?!), and they both ran to the door.  According to the daily report form, they had a good lunch and nap.  They were worn out this evening, so I'm guessing they played pretty hard today. 

It's funny, but my mom and I both thought they just seemed a little more grown up yesterday afternoon.  And they are already "talking" more (even Addison!) and making different sounds, which I'm guessing is the effect of being around the other kids.  My babies!  They're getting so big!

So far, this preschool thing seems to be a good fit for our family.  Though I'm still praying for a quick adjustment period, I am excited about the things they will learn and the new little friends they will make.  Who knows....there could be a couple of future boyfriends in these nursery school classes!  It wouldn't be the first time that's happened in our small town.  (Jeremy:  calm down, I'm just kidding...I know they aren't allowed to date until they're 25!) 


We're Ready

Tomorrow is the big day...Addison & Mackenzie's first day at Mother's Day Out.  We are as ready as we can be, I guess. 

We've been practicing our reading....


And trying out the new nap mats...



And mama has been praying her baby girls don't cry all day!

They did really well at the open house on Sunday.  Besides being a little clingy when we first got there, they mostly ran around the room, checking out the toys.  We ducked out for the short meeting without them noticing, and the teacher said they never cried when they realized we were gone...just a bit of whining.  We came back to find one of them (can't remember which it was!) sitting in the teacher's lap and the other playing happily.  I'll take that as a good sign!

Tomorrow the girls will be wearing the dresses from their first birthday, the ones that clearly show their names.  We plan to dress them differently and in monogrammed clothes as much as possible for the first few weeks, to give the teacher a chance to learn to tell the difference.  There are only five kids in their class until January, when the sixth will join them.  They will also get some interaction with the other one-year-old class, which has six kids.

first day clothes

They are excited about their new Dora lunchboxes, but I'm a little nervous about how well they will eat in a different setting.  They have to take finger foods that don't need heating for lunch.  Tomorrow I'm going to send peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (half for each of them), peas and carrots, and mandarin orange pieces.  All are foods they like, so maybe it will be a hit.  Any suggestions for easy-to-pack finger foods?  Both girls adamantly refuse any kind of pasta (who knows where they get that?!), so all those ready-made toddler meals are out.  They do love hot dogs, so at least those are easy to cut up and pack.

I can't believe I'm packing a lunch to send with my BABIES to "school" tomorrow!  I am excited for them to make new friends and get to play with the other kids in their class.  I really, really, really hope they love it.


Sixteen Months

16 Months

Oh, my girls...Sixteen months already?  And yet, it feels like you've been with us forever.  I almost can't remember our what our family was like before you were in it.  You consume us...our days, our nights, our thoughts, our hearts...it's all about you two, all the time. 


At sixteen months, you are...

Sweet and loving (when you want to be)
Becoming more and more independent

Busy, busy, busy

My girls

Beginning to "talk" a little more
Good, healthy eaters
Messy, messy, messy
Dora fans


Clingy and whiny when you're tired
Champion sliders
Book lovers...even if you still mostly chew on them
Good little mommies to your baby dolls


Loved...always, always LOVED.

pretty girls


Mommy Time-Out

We have tried time-outs a few times with Addison and Mackenzie, but I don't think they quite get it yet.  They generally end up standing up in the chair I put them in and laughing at each other.

The point of time-out is to take a few minutes of quiet time to think about what you've done wrong, correct? 

Do you think maybe I could get a mommy time-out?  Maybe I haven't necessarily done anything wrong (though I'm sure I could come up with a few things if I thought about it long enough-ha!), but the idea of sitting quietly, with nothing expected of me except to think for a few minutes sounds pretty good to me!

I hear that some kids get sent to their room for time-out.  Can I be sent to my bedroom for a time-out?  Pretty please?

There isn't even a tv in there anymore, so all I would have to do is sit quietly and think.  If I could take my Kindle, I would gladly stay in there for hours and hours, just reading.  If my time-out went a little too long, I would just curl up in my big, soft bed for a long nap.  I haven't had nearly enough of those since my little stinkers came along 16 months ago.

Maybe Addison & Mackenzie have the right idea...maybe this time-out stuff doesn't have to be a bad thing.

Anyone want to come watch my kids so I can have a nice, long time-out?!

Mama's Losin' It