Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Lately my mind has been a piece of abstract art. Full of splatters, swirls, swooshes. Sometimes brightly colored. Sometimes in shades of gray. Sometimes pretty. Sometimes confusing. 

This is my attempt to share the artwork with you. It's on the long side. So feel free to read it in chapters. Or not at all. Up to you!

On growing up…

Every day, and lately multiple times a day, I look at my girls and it feels like someone punched me in the stomach. The best punch in the gut you could ever imagine. I watch their interactions, their flaws, their strengths and can't help but wish I could just slow time a bit. Claire has started this new thing where she says "like baby" and then she hands me a bottle and wants me to feed her "like baby." Or rock her "like baby." I gladly pretend that she is a baby because I know the days when I can hold her and rock her like a baby are numbered. Yesterday after a few seconds of rocking her, she said "No baby. Like big girl." 

On being different … 

We've been on a few outings lately where strangers will say, "are they twins?"

I can't really blame them. Other than being nearly the same height and having red hair, they are such different little girls. They look so different -- Grace with her blue eyes, strawberry-blonde, curly-sue hair and Claire with her chocolate brown eyes, straight-as-a-rail auburn hair. But the differences don't end there. For example, the other day when I gave Claire a full banana (normally, I cut it into chunks), she looked at it, and took a bite right off the end. When I handed Grace hers, she looked at it, turned it on its side and ate it like it was corn on the cob.

I love how different they are. From very early on -- 6 or 7 months old -- I noticed that Grace read her books upside down, and I knew she was going to look at the world in her own unique way. She will be a great problem solver some day. She will take a problem that makes the rest of us bang our heads on the wall and she will flip it on its side and immediately find a solution. And naturally, Claire is different. She sees the world in much the same way that I imagine most of us do. But this girl's intelligence astonishes me every day. She will grow up, see what's already established and push it beyond anyone's wildest dreams. I give her another few years before she's smarter than me. 

On parenting twins …

As they grow older, I have decided that in a lot of ways, having two the same age actually makes life easier than I imagine it is for parents of singles. I don't really know, of course, but I was pretty sure that when I was waking up in the middle of the night to feed one, feed the other and then go pump (it was like having triplets), that I had it worse. Now, though, I think I've got it easier. They play together, sleep at the same time for the same length of time and learn from each other. I do have a story though that debunks my theory. We were eating at a restaurant the other day, when I took both girls to the bathroom for a diaper change. I'm in the stall with the baby-changing station and I'm in the middle of changing Claire's diaper when Grace attempts to dunk her hand in the toilet. I yell at her to stop before she does the deed and so, she moves on to the trash can. 

Again I yell "Grace, no!! Yucky!!" She listens and moves on ... to the stall door. I've still got Claire's bare behind to deal with when Grace tries to make a run for it. I spend the next few seconds trying to figure out how I can finish changing Claire's diaper without Grace bolting out into the bathroom and getting stolen by the nearest crazy. (Good luck with that one, Crazy. We don't call her the Screamer for nothin'). So, here I am finishing with Claire, while holding the stall door close with my leg kicked up in the air, thinking how lucky Grace is to have such a patient mother.

I put Claire on floor and switch to changing Grace's diaper. Claire looks around, clearly evaluating her options while Mom is preoccupied. She tells me the toilet is yucky and I think maybe I can get through this diaper with no problems. Then she makes her way to the toilet paper. And pulls on it. And pulls on it. Until there is a heaping pile of toilet paper on the bathroom floor. Good grief. I'm pretty sure I left the bathroom sweating. 

On having a career and being a stay-at-home Mom … 

Every weekday my alarm goes off at 3:45 a.m. Beep. Beep. Beep. I hit snooze once or twice and then drag myself out of bed. Yawning and rubbing my eyes, I make my way to the office (in the next room). I pull on my warm clothes -- it's cold in the dark of this February morning. I work for the next several hours, quietly at my computer, occasionally remarking to Scott about something interesting in the news. Then, just as my work shift is nearing its half-way mark, the girls start to wake up and I grab my juggling hat as I prepare to toggle between being a Mom and being an employee. 

There are moments when it seems like I can't possibly do both, but with the help of both Scott and our Moms, we have made it work, and it's getting easier as the girls get more independent. These days are long. 4 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day. And the only break I get is about 45-90 minutes during their nap in the afternoon. 

There are days where I'm certain I will fall over with exhaustion. But not a single day goes by that I don't thank my lucky stars that I work from home. 

I'm one of those people who starts to get stressed during the last couple of days of vacation -- worried that it's ending too soon. I know that I will feel that way later in life -- that their childhood ended way too soon. And when those days come that I'm listening to sentimental country songs and flipping through their baby albums, I will reassure myself that I soaked up every last second I could. That calms my panic now, but somehow I doubt that will ease the pain later in life. Mamas will always miss their babies. 

Friday, February 10, 2012


Lately, whenever the girls see a cell phone, they pick it up, hold it up in front of you and say "smiiiiiile." Little photographers in the making. It's adorable.

Now, whenever I ask the girls to smile for the camera, this is what I get. Also, adorable. And hilarious.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Part 2: Be Kind, Rewind

Soooo ...  I finally found my SD card for my camera. And without further ado, let's rewind.


Dear Grace & Claire,

This letter is about 6 weeks late. I'm so sorry for the delay, but can promise you that later in life you'll understand.

You'll understand that sometimes hiding from Daddy under our make-shift blanket fort is more important.

Sometimes making lego towers and kicking them down and rebuilding them again for the 75th time is more important.

Sometimes making snakes and snowmen out of play-doh is more important.

Sometimes snuggling in the recliner watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is more important.

Sometimes letting you ride on my back while I pretend to be a horse is more important.

Sometimes sitting in our bean bags and reading you "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" is more important.

Sometimes rocking your babies while singing "Rock-bye-baby" is more important.

Actually, I take that back. Those things are always more important. Even if it means your birthday letter is a little late.

About six weeks ago, you turned two years old. TWO years old. I still have a hard time believing it has been that long already. These years have been the best — and most difficult — years of our lives. Years that have pushed me to the limits of both frustration and happiness -- usually on the same day.

And while some things are getting easier, like eating and sleeping, some challenges are just revving up, like when Claire uses Grace as a punching bag. We're doing what we've always done -- relishing the good days, surviving the bad ones and hoping that we're teaching you something along the way.

You both are incredibly smart, beautiful, hilarious little girls. Thanks for the two most wonderful years a Mom could ask for. I can't wait to see what this year brings.

Love you,

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Baby Cows

One of our neighbors has about 20-30 cows in the pens near their house and it has been one of our favorite activities to walk down the road and see the cows. When they were just itty bitties and I was pulling them in the wagon, the moment we crested the hill and the cows came into view, the girls would start excitedly waving their arms and mooing.

Yesterday, as we were walking away from the cows, I said to the girls, "Say bye to the baby cows. And the Mama cows. And the Daddy cows."

As we headed back the house, the cows no longer in sight, Claire says ...

Bye Baby cows.

Bye Mobby cows.

Bye Da-yee cows.

(A couple of seconds pass.)

Bye Grace cows.

Bye Claire cows.