Gratuitous Kid Pictures {Fancy Dress Style!}

Last weekend, Addison & Mackenzie attended their first wedding AND got to be flower girls!  I was a little nervous, mainly because the wedding was in South Alabama, which meant a weekend of pretty substantial travel for us.  I was afraid the girls might be so tired from the long trip that they might not be on their best behavior.  Plus, this would be only their second time to stay in  hotel, which could mean less sleep than usual.

Love, love, LOVED our historic hotel!

To my surprise, the entire weekend was better than I dared to imagine.  We packed in the car early Friday morning and had a very uneventful trip down to Mobile.  It was about six hours and we only stopped for breakfast and gas, and Addison & Mackenzie even took a pretty good nap.  A success!

After a quick rest, sandwich, and change of clothes, we turned around and headed thirty minutes north to the rehearsal.  A & M complied well, but quickly grew tired of all the standing around and waiting the rehearsal itself involved.  I assured them that the next day would be better--they would only have to run through the process once and it would be finished!  At some point, the girls started holding hands as they walked down the aisle, which of course, was completely adorable.  I asked if someone told them to do that or they did it on their own and they told me they just wanted to hold hands.  Melt my heart!


With the groom on the morning of his wedding

We were able to spend some time exploring downtown Mobile on Saturday morning, along with Auntie LJ, who came over from Baton Rouge for the wedding.  (We crammed six of us in one hotel room--me, Jeremy, Addison, Mackenzie, Laura Jo, and my mom--and it worked beautifully.  It was actually pretty fun!)


Addison was terrified to stand on the wall



They seriously spent nearly an hour in the hotel lobby, watching Mickey Mouse on an iPhone.  Ha!

I'll just let the pictures speak for the rest of the day.  I pretty much put my camera up once the wedding started and didn't even take a single picture at the reception, but everything was absolutely beautiful and we all had a blast.


Hands on the hips!




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A little blurry, but I still love it.

After a delicious brunch with the bride, groom, and some other North AL friends on Sunday morning, we took a few last pictures with Auntie LJ and started the trip home.





I love this moment!

Again, the trip was fantastic, with only one stop this time and some pretty great naps for the girls.  Jeremy drove the entire way (thanks again, honey!!) and I was able to get cozy in the small third row and read most of Looking for Alaska. It was probably our smoothest car trip yet.  Wedding weekend success!


"But we're the SAME!"

Several months ago, I pondered how my children might begin to grasp the concept of their twinship.  I wondered if they knew that their relationship was different from other siblings' relationships, if they realized at all what it means to be a twin.

Since I wrote that post, a couple of incidents have shown me that while they might not know how different their situation is, Addison & Mackenzie are definitely developing an understanding of their relationship to one another. 


The first incident occurred sometime over the summer.  The girls each had a sucker and Mackenzie's got stuck in her hair.  After working to untangle it with minimal damage, I told M we would have to throw her sucker away, since it was now covered in strands of hair.  Naturally, that didn't go over too well and she burst into tears.  I felt bad that she was so upset, but it was a learning experience about being careful with candy. 

At some point in her crying, Mackenzie began urging me to throw Addison's sucker away as well.  I explained that no, I wouldn't throw Addison's sucker away because she didn't have hair on hers, since she was handling it the right way.  After a few minutes of this conversation, Mackenzie exclaimed, "But we do the same things!!!"  She began repeating it over and over:  But we're the same!  We do the same things!

As astonished as I was at the direction that incident took, I couldn't help but feel a little sorry for my girl.  Mackenzie is so accustomed to being treated the exact same way as her sister that she couldn't believe Addison could continue eating her sucker when she no longer had one. 

I just don't know exactly how to feel about that situation.  Proud that my girls are treated so equally that it's such a travesty when they don't get to do the exact same thing?  Glad that they have no concept of preferential treatment?  Or maybe a little sad that they see themselves as such a single unit that M really couldn't understand why I wouldn't make A throw her sucker away as well?  I've done a lot of thinking about the concept of individuality for my girls, and it seems I have a lot more to think about in this area!


Another incident occurred on the way home from Mobile this past weekend.  When we stopped at a favorite shop in south Alabama, my mom let each of the girls pick out a toy.  They both chose small plush dogs that came stuffed inside a little carrying purse.  They each grabbed one quickly--Addison had a white dog and Mackenzie a brown one.  I pointed out several other options, including a precious monkey-in-a-purse, but all were quickly dismissed.  

Everything was great for a couple of hours after we resumed the drive home.  We removed the tags from the toys (though the saleslady couldn't believe we wanted the tags cut off...she was worried about preserving the authenticity...of the TOY my children couldn't wait to PLAY with.  I guess they're like beanie babies and lose their "value" once the tag is removed??) and the girls both fell asleep holding their new friends.  

Sometime after they woke up, Mackenzie decided she wanted to see Addison's dog.  Addison did not want to give hers up, even for a temporary swap, so we told Mackenzie she would have to settle for playing with her dog for the time being.  After some fussing, Mackenzie began insisting that they toys belonged to both her and Addison--"We share these doggies, right sissy?".  Jeremy, mom, and I reminded her again and again that they had each chosen the toy they wanted and Addison did not have to share hers if she didn't want to, nor did she (Mackenzie) have to share with Addison.  

Now, we have more toys than we know what to do with and there is virtually no sense of individual ownership between the girls.  It's not usually a big deal, since A & M switch between toys at the speed of light anyway, and more often than not, they are playing together happily.  There are a couple of items--a bear, a stuffed cat--that pretty much "belong" to one or the other of the girls, but for the most part, everything is joint property.  Still, it was kind of funny to hear M keep insisting that "these are both ours, right?", just waiting for someone to agree with her.  (We didn't.)

I had been thinking of ways that I might begin to give them some sense of ownership over certain items, maybe begin to encourage their different interests a bit, and yeah, the fuss over the sharing of the dogs reinforced that plan.  At the very least, I want to pick out a small gift for each girl at Christmas that will belong solely to her.  Not just a duplicate or slight variation of the same item, but a gift that has meaning for each of them, something that reflects an individual interest.  Now, just to figure out what those gifts might be...


How much do your children share?  Do they have possessions of their own, or is it a free-for-all?  How do you encourage their different interests?


The moments that matter

So last week I was all, "Hey, of course I can find five minutes to put down a few thoughts now and then.  No big deal!"  And yet here it is, more than a week later and I've made no more progress.  I knew this month was going to be ridiculously busy, but wow...some days I feel like I am just spinning my wheels.

I am drowning in a sea of laundry and haven't seen the bottom of a laundry basket in weeks.  Wilting ferns are still lingering on the front porch, as I haven't yet picked up the mums and pumpkins to replace them.  Last month, I bought a new shower curtain and bath mat for the girls' bathroom...and it's still sitting in the bag under the counter.  Every night I have plans to cross something off the to-do list, something in mind to accomplish for the day, but by the time the girls are in bed and the kitchen is back in order, all I want to do is crash on the couch.

But you know, when I consider the things that have gotten in the way of these seemingly important tasks, I just don't feel that badly about it at all.

These last few weeks have been full of birthday parties, a Homecoming parade, visits with A & M's great-grandparents, and movie nights on a pallet in the living room floor.  We made a trip to the library and had breakfast at our local bakery.  There have been loud, rambunctious dinners out with family and lots of (relatively) quiet dinners at our kitchen table.  We tossed a football around the yard and watched the girls learn to throw their very first softballs--pink softballs, at that. 

Homecoming Parade!

Cupcake face

In short, we have been busy living, so really, what are a few baskets of laundry or dead ferns in comparison to all the memories we've made?  The things we are busy doing while we aren't cleaning the house are the important things.  When Addison & Mackenzie think back to their childhood, will they remember the piled up laundry or that their mama didn't get fall decorations out, or will they remember the day we covered the shower walls with shaving cream and 'fingerpainted' for an hour?  Judging by the way they kept squealing with laughter and Mackenzie's declaration that "This is so much fun, Mama!!", I am guessing it will be the latter.


Yes, this is the good stuff, the moments that matter. These are the times when memories are made...and I'll take those over an empty laundry basket any day.


Sad Desk Salad by Jessica Grose

The first thing that caught my eye about this book was the title:  Sad Desk Salad.  Unique, right?  When I received the book, I was struck by the cute cover.  It's exactly the type of book I can't resist picking up, just to see what it's all about.

Alex Lyons is a writer for Chick Habit, a fictional Gawker-type website.  Alex spends the day working from her couch, tied to her computer and smartphone, always looking for the next big story.  Eventually, Alex realizes she has become so embedded in the online world that she may be losing touch with the real world. 

I found many parts of this book to be so fascinating.  I read websites that update throughout the day, with commentary on gossip and current events, but rarely have I thought much about the writers churning out those trendy articles.  The first half of the book in particular was an insightful look into how a day in the life of a gossip blogger might look.  The author, Jessica Grose, apparently used to write for Jezebel, and it's pretty to imagine that some of her experiences there are relayed in the book, at least in some form.  I really enjoyed the glimpse into this "writer's life" that is so different from mine.  Though Alex Lyons's type of lifestyle can seem glamorous at times, Sad Desk Salad certainly exhibits the darker and decidedly less glamorous side of things.  I could probably count on one hand the number of showers Alex took during the entire book, and the description of the disgusting muumuu she wore over and over was really quite depressing.

Ultimately, it is those fascinating behind-the-scenes details that make Sad Desk Salad worth reading.  The rest of the storyline--hot story that might ruin a young girl's reputation, a Chick Habit hate blog, and the requisite relationship drama--were kind of forgettable.  But for a quick, indulgent weekend read?  Get sucked into Alex's online world and give this book a try!

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I received a copy of this book from TLC Book Tours and the publisher for review.  All opinions expressed are entirely my own.  For more reviews and information about this title, check out the full tour post here.


Five Minute Monday

(I've been having a bit of trouble getting back into the writing habit lately, so I decided to just go with it tonight--just write something and publish, as random as it may be.)

A few random things for this Monday night, free-association style:

It was cold and dreary here today, my favorite kind of early fall weather.  I like the chill right now while I'm still excited at every opportunity to pull out a sweater, jeans, or boots.  Plus, it was a holiday so the girls and I spent the entire day holed up at home, watching movies, reading books, painting with shaving cream, dancing, and napping.  It was glorious!

Related:  My favorite affordable item of clothing for fall/winter is a Target cardigan.  I wear a cardigan at least 3-4 times a week...I'm sure my coworkers are tired of seeing them, but I just can't help myself.  How else can I extend the wearing of my summer tank tops all the way into December?

What is your favorite cold-weather piece of clothing?  

I pulled out my favorite ratty, tattered Alabama sweatpants today, and I smiled about it all day long.

One fall trend I do NOT get into is the pumpkin craze.  I love the pumpkin patch (dying to take the girls, but I'm not sure it's going to happen this year!), pumpkins and mums on the front porch, and of course, Halloween jack o' lanterns.  But pumpkin pie, pumpkin cookies, and pumpkin spice lattes?  No, thanks.  Luckily, Jeremy's relatives step in and make sure he is covered with at least a couple of pumpkin pies every fall. 

Are you a fan of all things pumpkin?

 In very uncharacteristic style, I have already started making plans for Christmas and ordered one of Addison & Mackenzie's gifts.  What's happening to me??  I'm just so excited for all that the next couple of months bring; I just can't help myself.  I rarely pick up the computer on weekends, but yesterday I happened to check my email and realize that Rosalina was on Zulily.  Again, in a quite uncharacteristic move, I clicked over, saw a dress I loved and bought it within thirty seconds.  (When I clicked, there were only two left in the girls' size, so I pretty much HAD to buy immediately, you know?  And, the two of them together were the same as one regularly-priced dress, so Jeremy was totally on board.)  So, Christmas dresses...done.

It seems my five minutes are up (plus a few!) and I have an episode of Revenge waiting patiently on the DVR.  Happy Monday evening!


Three and a half

Tuesday marked Addison & Mackenzie's half-birthday.  My babies are now closer to four years old than to three.  FOUR!

"Stand in front of the pretty flowers and smile, please"
"Stand in front of the pretty flowers and smile for me"...and this is what I get.

My girls at three and a half are so absolutely hilarious.  It is such a joy to watch them develop their own sense of humor.  They have learned what makes us laugh and are quickly developing the ability to do it just when they're on the brink of getting into trouble.  Addison often cracks herself up and giggles like a maniac at her own jokes.  Such beautiful sounds!

Both girls love books right now, a love that I hope will only continue to grow.  As their interest and listening skills improve, we are able to read longer books, which is a lot of fun for me.  Gone are the days of the five-word-per-page board books, thank goodness!  I can imagine a day in the not-so-distant future when we might begin to delve into short chapter books.  I can't wait to read things like Ramona Quimby and The Boxcar Children with my girls.


Addison & Mackenzie have both mastered the tricycle and can speed around the driveway with ease.  Addison seems to enjoy riding a little more, and is picking up on the bicycle (with training wheels) pretty quickly.  I am fairly certain there will be plenty of bicycle races by next summer.

I think we may be easing into the "question" stage.  The girls ask questions about all kinds of topics, and once they get started, the conversation can continue for hours.  I am amazed at the depth of their thoughts, and I struggle to find a good way to answer some of their most difficult questions.  I am definitely getting what I deserve in this department, at least according to my family who graciously put up with my constant chatter and answered my never-ending questions.  Though I can get frustrated trying to explain difficult concepts, I love the new depth to our conversations.


Three and a half definitely has its share of challenges, particularly in the attitude department (oh, the attitudes!), but for the most part, it's a blast.  Somehow, this parenting thing just seems to keep getting better.


State of Affairs, September Edition

We kicked off September with a trip to Atlanta to see the first Auburn football game of the season.  Though I can't quite bring myself to cheer for AU, I don't exactly cheer against them either, and it was a fun day with friends.  Addison & Mackenzie had a great time with their NiNi & Grandpa, as always.

From the AU game in early September... #latergram

The big event of the month, of course, was our beach vacation.  Not much left to say there....except it stinks we have to wait an entire year to go back.

Last Friday night, I went with two friends from work to the Atlanta Braves game.  The season is winding down and this was our last chance to see Chipper Jones, a player we have all watched since childhood.  I was bummed that Jeremy didn't get to go (work--boo!), but it turned out to be a fun girls' trip.  I need more nights like that in my life, I think!

Books read: 5
A Wilderness of Error: The Trials of Jeffrey MacDonald--A fascinating look into the life of Jeffrey MacDonald, the so-called "Green Beret Killer".  Did MacDonald kill his pregnant wife and his daughters?  Maybe.  Did he get a fair trial?   Definitely not.  If you're interested in legal dramas or true crime, take a look at this book.  (Full review here.)

This Lullaby--Sarah Dessen knows her craft, and she does it so well.  This wasn't my favorite book of hers, and the plot was pretty forgettable....but still, it's always a joy to experience another Dessen book for the first time.

The Candidate--Not as great as I hoped it might be, but a fun look at some of the behind-the-scenes aspects of national politics.  (Reviewed here.)

The Guy Not Taken--A collection of short stories by Jennifer Weiner.  I suppose it says something about my opinion of the book that I didn't realize I had read it before until I was halfway through the first story.  I have a lukewarm relationship with short stories--they have to be really outstanding to make a lasting impression on me--and nothing here struck me as extraordinary.

Sad Desk Salad--An interesting first novel from former Jezebel writer Jessica Grose.  Review to be posted next week.

All hail the return of fall tv!  I'm cutting down to only the shows I really enjoy and deem worthy of my time, but I am super excited for the return of my favorites.  (For the record, current favorites would include Grey's Anatomy, Revenge, New Girl, and The Big Bang Theory.)

The new Mumford & Sons album was my splurge purchase of the week, and I'm loving it right now.


-- The dynamic duo spent their first night ever in a hotel.
-- I made my first semi-long-distance drive alone with the girls--from home to Montgomery.  It was just fine, not really a big deal at all, but I realized that was the longest trip I'd made with them by myself with them in the car.
--A & M tried calamari for the first time at the beach.  Addison liked it quite a bit and kept eating even after she found out what it was!
--Addison also had her first run-in with a crab at the beach.  We were playing in a small tide pool, looking at shells and little fish, when A saw the tiny legs of a sand crab poking out a shell she was holding.  She dropped it quickly and was ready to run, but finally calmed down and examined the creature from a slight distance.  It was pretty amusing.  : )

How was your September?