Monday, December 17, 2012

Life Lesson #107: It's Not Just About Parties

Years ago, before we had troubles having a baby, I remember telling Scott we couldn't *try* between March-May because then we'd have a Christmas baby. I still thought I could plan these sorts of things and didn't want his/her birthday to be overshadowed by the holiday. 

But then we had troubles and I gave up caring what time of year -- just as long as I could have a baby.  Then, we ended up having two babies on the day after Christmas. 

Oh, the irony. 

But you know what? I could care less that their birthday is Dec. 26. I felt (and still feel) so immensely grateful for them, that any day of the year would have been perfect. 

I know someday it won't be perfect -- at least to the girls. I know someday they'll feel cheated because they share their day with a holiday that spans from November to January. They'll plan parties that their friends can't attend and friends and family will combine their Christmas and birthday gifts into one. 

But I'm hoping that I can head it off at the pass and teach them what's truly important about birthdays and Christmas. It's not just about the presents. It's not just about parties. Not that those things aren't an important part of growing up, but as long as they're happy, healthy and spending time with those they care about, I hope they can feel as grateful for their birthday as I do.   

Friday, December 14, 2012

Dear Santa ...

Last night, we helped the girls write letters to Santa. They didn't really understand what we were doing, but I hope it's a tradition we can keep for years to come. 

Scott: What do you want Santa to leave you under the tree?
Grace:  Presents. 
Me: What kind of presents?
Grace: Lots of presents.

After some more digging into what "lots of presents" means, we ended up finding out they want the following: 

We added the "I'll be very good" part. Wishful thinking, I guess. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Real Deal

We've been practicing for weeks now, so we finally went out and got the real deal. The girls were pretty crabby before we got there, but once we let them loose among the rows of trees, they perked right up. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Bumper Cars

While waiting in the drive-thru at Arby's, the girls were SO thirsty they were begging me to move the cars in front of us. 

Grace: Mama, move those cars!
Claire: Move, move, move those cars!
Me: And how am I supposed to move them?
Grace: With your feet!
Claire: No, no, no. With the car, Mama. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


My older sister got glasses when she was five. 

My brother was 3. 

My little sister was 18 months. 

And Scott's vision issues were discovered in Kindergarten. 

If poor vision is linked to genetics, the odds were against the girls from the beginning. 

The eye doctor says that Claire is farsighted in both eyes. If you pay close attention to pictures of Claire, you may have noticed that one of her eyes usually turns in. Apparently, if she starts wearing glasses now, we can train her eyes to work together, so that she doesn't develop a lazy eye. 

As if potty training wasn't a tall enough task, it is now our challenge to convince the most stubborn child since her father was one himself to wear her glasses all day long. Every day. 

I think I'll go eat my Wheaties now. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Izzy's Story

Almost six years ago, there was a very large, very uncomfortable great pyrenees laying on her side in a barn, breathing in and out and slowly counting the days until she would give birth to a litter of puppies. 

Those puppies would come out part Pyrenees, part St. Bernard and would melt the hearts of everyone who met them. 

A couple of months later, a very tall and loving man would learn of these dogs and would suggest to his very short and neat wife that they take one of them. 

Wife: But I don't know much about those kinds of dogs. Will they bark? Slobber? Get very big?

Husband: She won't bark or slobber much. And she won't be all that big. 

That folks, is what we call dramatic irony. 

Izzy went home with the tall man and short woman and was quickly loved. On one of her first nights at the house, the tall man kneeled down next to her and whispered how much he loved her. "Goodnight, Izzy."

For the next few years, she would ping pong between the most lovable dog and the white terror. She tore up flowers, blankets, pillows and walls. But she also warmed our hearts with her loving personality and puppy dog eyes. 

Just a few months ago, the tall man and short woman decided to leave their country life and move into a neighborhood in town. Although they searched for a house with a fence, the house that found them did not have one. Building a fence would cost thousands of dollars and still not allow Izzy to roam like she yearned to do. 

So, they weighed their options and decided that the best thing for Izzy would be to find her a home in the country -- with miles of room to roam and explore and have the adventures of a true country dog. 

And then, after what seemed like forever, they found the most perfect home for Izzy. In the country, with a dog-loving couple who have a Pyrenees/Lab mix themselves. 

With tears in their eyes, the tall man and the short woman said goodbye to their good friend and wished her many adventures and a happy life. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

In Training

A few days ago, I was reading the girls a book about going potty and when I finished, Claire said "I want to wear underwear."

Did you hear that? 

That was the sound of me dashing out of the room to find the underwear we bought months ago. 

I've been waiting for a sign that they were ready. They're coming up on three and being potty-trained is a must for the preschool we're looking at, so Scott and I have been ready for awhile, but I was reluctant to force them into something they weren't ready for just because I was.

I was worried I'd be setting them up for failure, but I was also worried that I was trying to protect them too much. That's a mom's life for ya -- guilt either way. 

But that shining moment when she uttered the words "I want to wear underwear." That's all I needed. 

So, we're full-on potty training now. We've been doing it half-heartedly for months now, but we've ditched the diapers (except at bedtimes) and it's going really well. 

Grace -- in typical Grace fashion -- wanted nothing to do with using the toilet about six months ago and now she is sprinting toward the finish line. She doesn't even stop to tell me any more when she has to go -- she just runs to the bathroom. 

Claire -- in typical Claire fashion -- has been interested in using the toilet for some time now, but needs a few reminders throughout the day. 

We still have a ways to go, but I have to say I'm so impressed by these girls. Sorry, I doubted you, my dears. I guess I'm in training, too. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Christmas Spirit

I channeled my Christmas spirit and my inner preschool teacher and whipped up an indoor activity that would make my old co-workers proud. 

And my kids like it. So, there's that, too. 

Can you tell she just woke up from nap?

Friday, November 30, 2012

Moving on Up

I've been neglecting you, I know. 

I feel bad about it, but then I find something to do, like sleep or shower or eat, and it eases my guilt. 

A couple of weeks ago, we made a big leap. It may not seem like a big leap (or maybe it does if you are as scared of change as I am), but for two parents who work from home and crave structure and sanity, it was a big leap. 

The girls have been ready for big-girl beds for awhile now, but things were so busy and hectic with the campaign and work and raising two toddlers that I kept putting it off. 

So, we agreed that after the election, we'd suck it up and make the move. 

The girls knew how to get out of their cribs and weren't shy about doing it, but I knew there was a psychological barrier with the crib that would be gone with the beds. There have been good nights and bad nights -- nights that I have wanted to scream with frustration when I put Claire back for the 400th time. But overall? It's gone really well. (Mom, knock on some wood for me, will you?)

At nap time, Claire will get out a few times, but usually by the third time she settles down. And after a week or so of testing things out, Grace hardly ever gets out once she's in. 

There was one minor hiccup though on the first night. Scott and I were sitting downstairs watching TV when we heard this really loud thud. 

Background: My parents had these toddler beds that they were kind enough to give to us and only one came with a side rail. I decided to give Claire the bed with the rail because she moves around just about as much as her father. Grace, on the other hand, lays as still as her mother, so it was an easy decision. Or so I thought. 

Before we tucked them in, I stuck a pillow under Grace's mattress, thinking that if she rolled, she'd roll into the wall. Gravity and all. 

Cue the thud. Then loud crying. Then Mom and Dad buying a side rail the next day. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

They Literally Have Everything

Claire: I want to see Santa Claus. 

Me: We can't see Santa until winter -- when it's cold and snowing. 

Claire: Where's Santa?

Me: He's at the North Pole making toys. 

Claire: How can we see him? 

Me: We can't. 

Claire: Why?

Me: We don't have any reindeer.

Claire: We could buy reindeer. 

Me: They don't sell reindeer. 

Claire: Yes, they do. By the dog food. 

Touche, little one. 

P.S. Don't judge my pony-tail skills. You try putting piggy tails in fuzzy/tangly/too short toddler hair while they are strapped in the car seat trying to look around you as you frantically search for wisps of hair that have fallen out. Also, most days we're lucky to get out of our PJs, so this is a HUGE success. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Tiger's Doghouse

You know that episode in the Brady Bunch where things keep going missing and after many comedic moments, they found out their dog Tiger has been hoarding all of their belongings in his dog house?

Well, Claire is Tiger. And this is her dog house. 

Things I've found in Claire's secret hiding place:

1. A three-day old half-eaten apple
2. A candy wrapper (minus the candy, of course)
3. Grace's favorite plastic elephant 
4. The salt shaker
5. Cupcake sprinkles (half in the bottle, half ALL over the floor) 

What do all of these things have in common? At one time or another, she was told she couldn't have them. So, naturally, she took them anyway and snuck them into her doghouse. 

So, last night, after three minutes of pretty intense searching for the salt shaker, I asked Scott if he'd seen it. 

Me: Have you seen the salt?
Scott: Last time I saw it, it was on the floor.
Me: And you didn't pick it up?
Scott: No I didn't. I was trying to feed lunch to two screaming toddlers. 

That's when it hit me. A forbidden item. A chaotic moment. 

Behind the chair. It had to be behind the chair. 

She's a tricky one, I'll give her that. But at least (for now) I know her tricks. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Halloween 2012

So, I made the girls' costumes this year. (Again) When I say "made," I don't mean sewed, like most people might think. 

I "made" them using a combination of hot glue, double-sided tape and safety pins. 

I thought I'd be smart and frugal and save the money on costumes by buying sweatsuits and temporarily turning those into costumes. 

It (mostly) worked. And the girls are only two so they didn't know any different. And it was dark out, so my flaws were hidden fairly well. I call that success. 

Of course, there was the normal Gracie meltdown prior to hitting the streets. (1st Meltdown, 2nd Meltdown) It went something like this, "No tail, no tail, no tail, no tail, NOOOO TAAAAIL!!" 

So, what you're telling me is you don't want to wear your tail? 

Good thing it's only attached with a safety pin. 

Off came the tail and everything after that was smooth sailing. 

Although a little confused at first, they quickly picked up on the idea and LOVED trick-or-treating. For the first six or seven houses they just kept asking "We get more candy?" 

Yes, yes, you get more candy. (Ahem, your dad and I get more candy.)

 Claire also sufficiently creeped out at least three of our neighbors by saying "Trick-or-treat … can we come in??" 

The neighbors who know us just laughed. The ones who don't, just had this awkward expression on their faces as I tried to quickly back out of the driveway. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012


To call our lives "crazy" these past two weeks would certainly be an understatement. The end of the month is ALWAYS busy for me, but this month, it was downright crazy at work. Add in the work Scott's putting in for his run for county commission, and we're hanging on by a thread. 

Well, ok, that might be an exaggeration. 

But still. It's crazy. 

TGFOP. (Thank goodness for our parents.)

Our Mom's have taken turns helping us watch the girls so I can work and Scott can campaign. They are lifesavers. Seriously. 

Thank you, Moms! 

Speaking of lifesavers, Halloween pictures to come soon!!! For now, you'll have to settle for grandparents at the zoo!

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Most days, getting ready to leave the house feels like a real punch in the face. 

Where are Grace's shoes? Her socks? No, put that down. Stop kicking your sister. Claire! Scott, have you seen Claire's other shoe? Where are my keys? Grace have you seen my keys? Gah. Seriously, do not even think about pushing her. Or taking her babies. Grace, stop screaming at Claire. Scott, did you find that shoe yet!? 

That goes on for about 15-20 minutes usually. 

Then we have to actually get out the door. Claire's only "issue" is that she must be the one to open the door. Grace, on the other hand, … 

Ma, where's my pursh? Can I take my babies? Where's my bag? I need your pone. (Me: my what?) Your pone. To put in my pursh. Ma, where's your keysh? I need your keysh. For da car. 

Finally, we are out the door, loading into the car. As I'm buckling them up, they go back and forth. 

Claire: I want cannie. Can I have jelly beans? 
Grace: I no want cannie. I want cheetos. And water. 
Claire: You can't have cheetos. Only I have cheetos. 
Grace: *crying*

Once they are settled in with a snack and drink, we hit the road. And I'm exhausted before we even leave the driveway. 

But there are some days, that once we get to our destination, the endless questions, demands and fights are totally worth it. 

Our trip to the pumpkin patch and the girls' first time on a horse. Look at how brave they are!

(It should also be noted for the record, that on this particular day, we went through the same routine that's outlined above, but had the bonus of not being able to find my camera. Which was 10 frantic minutes of trying to find the darn thing before I finally gave up. A nice family took these pictures and emailed them to us. I was so thankful I almost hugged the woman.)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Night and Day

The most common question I get after people find out we have twins, "Are they alike?" 

The first time someone asked, I almost choked on my drink. 

"As alike as night and day." 

But they are cute, aren't they?