For Memorial Day this year, we spent the afternoon over at Grandma and Grandpa's house swimming and eating typical American Memorial day fare of hot dogs, hamburgers and chips and dip with chocolate pie to finish it all off. The girls were excited to play with Sabrina and they ran off to the toy room and played together for some time all three of them. After dinner, Sammy even played with them for awhile with play doh. It was so neat seeing the cousins all getting along so well.
When we got the kids dressed to go out to the pool, Sammy of course jumped right in. Sabrina was next and she was fearless. (But truly, didn't expect anything different from my niece!) Maddie and Izzie were a bit more hesitant at first. But once they got the courage up to get in the water, they LOVED it and it was hard getting them out of the water! We are definitely going to have a fun summer in the pool this year!
My mom is probably sitting at home thinking, "I told you so!" She wanted me to go to the doctor again yesterday since they had hours until noon but I didn't want to go. But after another miserable day, I'm ready to go back to the doctor. Tomorrow is a holiday so the earliest possible for me to get in is Tuesday. (Assuming that Mom will be willing to babysit the girls while I go.) I think I have a sinus infection. I don't know. I'm not a doctor, obviously, but I just want to be better! This is going on week THREE of this horrible cough/sore throat/stuff nose/headachy/ick ick ick! Okay, thanks for listening to me whine and complain. I normally don't spend much time whining here on my blog, but my mom told me that if I didn't go to the doctor yesterday that she didn't want to hear me complain any more.
In other news, Izzie was very brave at the doctors office this afternoon. I took her in to get the stitches removed, which turned out to be NOT a fun experience. The nurse said it wouldn't hurt, but Izzie was screaming her head off. I felt so bad. I was holding her hand, singing to her, trying to get her to calm down and not panic. It seemed like it took forever, but I guess it wasn't that long. At least they are out now and her finger is looking great.
Rhonda giving Maddie and Izzie their first mani-pedis!
Yesterday, my sister Rhonda came over armed with girly tools! She wanted to give Maddie and Izzie their first manicure/pedicures. I kind of think two is a bit too young, but since John, Rhonda and even Nanna thought it was all in good fun, I relented saying it was a special treat. Izzie and Maddie ate it right up! I can't believe how patient and still they sat waiting for their turn. (Not to mention how incredibly patient Rhonda is with them!) Izzie of course chose pink and Maddie chose purple, no surprises there!
After getting their nails done, the four of us went out to lunch. Both girls were so cute with their painted fingernails. We had to convince them that their nails were dry and it was okay to touch things. They took Rhonda seriously when she said to not bump things until they dried.
After lunch, Rhonda helped me put the girls down for nap and for the first time in a very long time, they fell asleep immediately and then slept until 4pm. Of course that meant at bedtime they weren't very sleepy!
Rhonda painting Izzie's thumbnail.
Pretty pink toenails!
The girls were so precious and super excited to show Daddy their pretty fingers and toes. They even wanted to put on their sunglasses so they'd be just like Aunt Rhonda. (Maddie has the yellow sunglasses.)
Maddie and Izzie showing off their nails one more time.
This morning Nanna & Popo watched the girls giving me a chance to run some errands and get my first mani-pedi of the year. Usually when they spend the morning over there, I'm guaranteed a good nap from the girls. That wasn't the case today. The girls talked all during nap. Finally I let them read books in their cribs for a bit, just trying to extend the rest period.
After naptime, we headed outside for a snack of melted cheese on homemade wheat bread. Then we hit the sprinkler for the first time this summer. I don't think the girls remember it from last summer and they were timid at first but they got into it. I put it on their little green slide at one point and they loved sliding down the wet slide!
Izzie and Maddie checking the sprinkler out on a low setting.
After putting the girls to bed, I decided their toy room needed a bit of refreshing. It's had the same layout for awhile and I've noticed that moving some stuff around makes old toys feel new again. I can't wait to see what they think of it. I've always had dreams of a Pottery Barn playroom. But really, it was just that Pottery Barn has some really good systems (and expensive ones at that!) for organizing toys. That's what I wanted more than the look, the organization. The IKEA systems are cheap enough that you don't have to worry, after all it is a playroom! They are durable and they look great. I really like the way the girls playroom has grown and changed over the years. I remember when it was one crib where the Trofast system is and a changing table where the toybox is. Things have come a long way!
I turned the dollhouse sideways and then backed the kitchen up to it. Even though it comes out into the room instead of being flush up against a wall, the room feels bigger. (Those mirrors caught the flash and they are way more smudged than I realized! But then again, two, two year olds admire themselves quite often in them!)
This is my IKEA Trofast system that I love, love, love. I printed out labels for most of the bins and the girls are great about putting their toys away. They are two, so they are by no means perfect, but they enjoy knowing where everything goes.
I bought this little Ikea Trofast shelf at the same time as the larger system, but didn't assemble it until today. I have one more exactly like it that I'll probably stack on top of it. It's great for some of their smaller toys. The table on the left is an IKEA Norbo table. I painted it with a magnetic paint and then finished it with a chalkboard paint.
This is the kitchen side.
The doll house side.
And for some pictures of the girls... here's Maddie sporting her famous pout.
And Izzie reaching up for a hug just as I took the photo!
I'm finally feeling better, or perhaps it's just positive thinking. My cough is still lingering but I have so much more energy today that I think I'm finally on the mend. I can hardly believe it's already after two, today seems like it has flown by. The morning started off great with the girls helping me to make eggs for breakfast. They each got a turn whisking the eggs before I cooked them on the griddle.
After breakfast they played while I caught up on some emails and then we headed to Kid-to-Kid. Yesterday I bought the girls each their own Leapfrog Leappad. Well one of them wasn't working so we needed to return it. I was worried they wouldn't take it back, I wasn't sure what the return policy was on used items like this. The manager was extremely helpful! She got me a new (used) leappad and we were on our way. Next was a quick trip to the grocery store. Maddie and Izzie love to help me shop, especially the fresh produce isle. They help me count the apples, oranges and various other produce as we put them in bags. Maddie specifically asked for zucchini, which I thought was pretty funny. We picked out our zucchini and headed on. At the checkout lane the girls love helping me empty the cart by placing items on the conveyor belt. They are so cute reaching up on their tippy toes to put the food up there, I wish I had thought to snap a photo! Maybe next time...
Back home as I was fixing their lunch Maddie said she wanted zucchini and watermelon for lunch. I thought that was interesting since those are two foods she's not fond of. (I can't believe a daughter of mine doesn't like watermelon!! One of my favorite fruits.) I turned the zucchini into a bit of a coleslaw, grating it with some carrots, plain yogurt and honey. Izzie ate a few bites of it, but Maddie turned her nose up after tasting it. I told her it was the zucchini she asked for, but she wasn't interested. At least they are talking about vegetables and willing to always try one bite of things. A lot of times (as was the case with Izzie) they end up eating more after that first bite.
I don't do well with itty bitty pieces of things floating around my house. Ever since the girls graduated to toys that have a million pieces I feel like I've been loosing my mind. The play food is the biggest example of a toy that drives me crazy. With most of their many piece toys (lego's blocks, colors, etc) they play with them and then put them up when they are finished before moving on to the next toy. No, they are not always perfect, and yes, this usually has John or I "reminding" them to pick up. But they do it. They know the drill and rarely do they pull a fit. With the food, this hasn't happened and it's been driving me insane. That stuff gets EVERYWHERE.
So while they were napping yesterday, I went on a food hunt and found every single last piece of toy food (ha! who am I kidding? I did get most of it though) and I put it in the food bucket and I moved the food bucket up high where they can't reach it. What a shock it was when they came downstairs from nap and couldn't immediately dump out their food. I told them the food had a new rule. It had to stay in the toy room unless: 1) they wanted Momma or Daddy to taste something or 2) They were "shopping" (pushing their strollers around with food in their baskets) But that when they were done the food had to be put up before playing with a new toy. And by-golly, it worked! (At least as far as this posting.)
The other good surprise is their tea set came down in it's place and they had a great time playing with an new again old toy. They spread their blankets out and and had a picnic with bunny and teddy. The big jugs of water in the photo, those are my water bottles that they've somehow claimed, but as you can see (by evidence of Maddie's wet dress) they are still trying to figure out how to use.)
Like my friend Jessica has also discovered, a clean toy room gets more use. She told me a long time ago, that she makes sure the toy room always gets cleaned before she goes to bed. I'm only partially good at this. But it's so true, when kids know where things go and help with the clean up, they actually play more in their toy room. Kids like order. Plus it's much more fun to play with a toy that has it's pieces together than to have to spend time "hunting" for the pieces.
When I was a little girl, probably the same age as Maddie and Izzie, my very special talent was being able to touch my toes to my nose ... drum roll please.... without using my hands to hold them there! It was the ultimate in flexibility exercises. I'd show off this skill to anyone who would sit still long enough to watch me. So when my Mom was over the other day and she asked the girls if they could touch their toes to their nose, it brought back a flood of funny memories.
Nanna cheering Izzie and Maddie on as they attempt to touch their toes to their nose.
In other athletic news, Nanna also bought the girls a t-ball set at Christmas time and I pulled it out yesterday. Maddie loved it immediately! Izzie was more like me, wanting to dance with the bat, but you know... each their own. Maddie was very determined to hit the ball and when she managed to hit it and have it roll 3 feet away it was like she hit a home run. The crowd (that'd be me...) went wild!
Maddie teeing up to bat.
Maddie and Izzie checking out their new t-ball set.
I got sick on the night of the 16th. That's over a week now. Last Thursday I felt so bad, I went to the doctor. She gave me a shot and I felt so much better on Friday and Saturday. Then last night my throat started hurting again. This morning I'm all stuffy headed and coughing, etc. The cold medicine didn't even seem to help at all. Don't you hate that? I wish I had taken a different brand, but once you commit to one you can't just keep taking everything until you feel better.
Luckily the girls are doing great this morning. Thank you so much to everyone who asked about Izzie. She's been a trooper with her "BIG boo-boo!" She's hardly letting it slow her down at all. She's being very careful about keeping it clean and not letting sissy touch it. This morning they've been playing very happily and quietly together, thank goodness! We did all play Mr. Potato heads together, but truthfully, once I sat down to join them they lost interest! They wanted to play without Momma! But a little bit later they curled up on the couch with me and we watched Sid the Science Kid, their new favorite show.
After lunch was a dress-up extravaganza with multiple tutu's, feather boas, sunglasses and several bags. Now there are feathers from the feather boa strewn all across the house. Now they are supposed to be napping, but they aren't so I'm going to stick my head in and see if I can get them to lay down. Yeah... right.
Advice has been given to me about making sure to spend one-on-one time with each twin. This comes directly from adult twins. Their arguments are convincing and I really do see the benefits. The getting there, has been difficult. It's easier to do in small quantities around the house. Like taking Izzie up for a bath while Maddie stayed downstairs with Daddy. Or one girl watching a show with Daddy while the other reads a book with me. The leaving the house with one parent, so far, not going so well. It's been almost a year since we've even attempted it.
Well Maddie has been in a super I-want-Momma/Anti Daddy mode lately. So today John was going to take Maddie to get ice cream and I was going to spend some time with Izzie. Then tomorrow, we were going to switch. John left the house with Maddie and Izzie had a super duper meltdown. She was devastated that she didn't get to go get ice cream. And yes, we did tell her that Maddie was going to get ice cream. It wasn't supposed to be a secret, we wanted Maddie to be excited to spend time with Daddy. I tried to explain to Izzie that she was going to get to go tomorrow and that her and Momma got to spend some time together. I asked her if she wanted to play in my art room, help me make bread or play wit a new toy. Everything was a no-no-no! I decided to try and open the new toy to get her distracted. I got a sharp knife out to open the hard plastic shell and Izzie lunged at me saying, "NO Don't want toy!" And she grabbed the knife before I could stop her. She ended up cutting the pad of her right-middle finger pretty deep. I called John who had only been gone about 2 minutes for him to come home. I could tell the cut was really deep and we were having trouble getting it to stop bleeding. We decided to go to Acute Kids.
I sat in back with the girls so Izzie wouldn't move her hand and John drove us there as fast as we safely could get there. John stayed in the waiting room with Maddie and I went back with Izzie. The doctor took one look at it and said she had to get stitches. That was a very hard thing to have to go through with Izzie. We bundled her up in a blanket so that her left arm was restricted. Then the doctor gave her a numbing shot around the cut. Even when there wasn't any more pain, Izzie was still scared so she cried a bunch. I sang several soothing songs and wiped her face down with a wet wash cloth. She was able to drink some water from her sippy cup and she finally calmed down. The doctor gave her seven stitches and we have to go back in 7-10 days to get them removed.
John said Maddie heard sissy crying from the waiting room and she told him that the doctor was hurting her sissy. John reassured Maddie that the doctor was fixing her boo-boo. After it was all over we ended up going through a drive thru for dinner and got the girls a chocolate shake to split. We figured after all that they should get some type of ice cream!
Pictures below, slightly graphic...
After we unwrapped her from her papoose. Now she has a big oversized pink wrapping all around her finger.
Meet the newest members of our family. They are known as the "Sock Puppet Gang." Prince Wilbur is always worried, Sophie is just a big shy. Dorie knows everything (just ask her!) and Socksy is just a bit Silly.
Sophie is just a big shy, but she's learning to be brave.
Prince Wilbur is reading a book to the girls. He's worried they won't listen to the story, but they did! (Maddie, Izzie and Momma.)
Izzie and Sophie having a discussion.
Maddie loves Dorie (but then again, she does have purple pompoms on her head!
The past couple of days the girls have asked to wear socks in the morning. I found this wasn't because they wanted them on their feet. Every morning after breakfast, they'd take off the socks I had put on and put them on their hands. I decided it was time to make sock puppets. Yesterday after nap we went to the "Orange Hobby Store" (Lately every store has a color, their favorite being the Red Target store that gives out cookies!) And I bought a few googly eyes, pompoms, and felt. Since my art room is a growing mecca of other odds and ends we were set for our craft.
This morning we got out 4 socks and set out to make our new friends. Momma was in charge of the glue (I got E6000, so that hopefully things won't fall off easily, it's a pretty heavy duty glue.) And the girls helped me decide where to put all the features. The puppets even have tongues on the bottom side. We had to let our new friends dry (which was easier done by putting them night-night out of sight) and then a few hours later we got to play with them. Maddie and Izzie really loved the puppets! They kept asking them to read stories, and a few of them kept trying to eat their hair. What silly fun we had!
I've been really focused on giving the girls choices lately. I've done it all along to some extent, but I'm starting to give them some bigger choices now. Sometimes they are still small things, "Would you like a banana or yogurt for snack?" "Would you like one ponytail or two?" The girls love to get to make small decisions like that that usually the mom just makes for them without thinking twice.
Now I've moved it into the emotions realm. When the girls pull a temper tantrum, I tell them, "You can choose to cry in your room, or you can come here and be happy." Sometimes they choose their room and sometimes the tears dry immediately and they come along happily. A few days ago in the car, I told Maddie she could cry all the way home (which isn't much fun!) or we could sing silly songs all the way home. She said she wanted to cry. I jokingly told Izzie that we should probably cry along with her. Then I made fake tears. Izzie looked at me like I was crazy and then told me that she was happy! So I looked over at Maddie and said, "Oh no Maddie, now we have to be happy, Izzie said so!" Well somehow that worked and it tickled both the girls and we giggled and sang all the way home.
Last night wasn't a scheduled bath night. Due to dry skin, we usually give the girls a bath only every other night or on days that we spent a lot of time outside. Well last night the girls were playing and I spontaneously asked them if they'd like to go "splish splash" fun bath with no hair washing (that's a key part of the equation) or would like to play for 20 more minutes before bedtime. Izzie said she wanted to take a bath and Maddie said she wanted to play. So for the first time ever (well, not including a rinse off bath here or there due to poop, or the cool down bath due to fever) Izzie took a bath all by herself. Maddie stayed downstairs playing with Daddy. Izzie and I had a good time. We lined up all the cups on the side of the bathtub and made a choo-choo and put little animals in each cup. Then Maddie came up stairs to get ready for bed and she got upset that she wasn't taking a bath (especially when she saw the "new" choo choo. I reminded her that she choose to play with Daddy and to NOT take a bath tonight. She was actually cool with that. And off to bed they went.
This morning we had a playdate scheduled at the park. About an hour before we had to leave I heard crash-bang-boom. I went in the toy room and they were systematically dumping out all of their toy bins (a no-no around here!) We have a 1 to 2 bins down at a time policy. I told them that they had to clean all their bins up before we went to the park. Izzie started fussing big time. I told her she could choose to pick up the toys quickly so we could spend more time at the park or she could fuss and whine and take forever (and ever and ever!) and we might end up missing our park playdate. The toys got picked up pretty quickly after that.
Izzie and Maddie. Maddie swung in the big girl swing for the first time today! Izzie tried it but she didn't like it so much. She ended up pushing Maddie.
Both girls loved the rings. Here's Izzie hanging all by herself!
Maddie's turn! I can't believe how big they are!!!
Last night as I was trying to come up with something to feed the family for dinner, the girls kept getting underfoot. Normally, I really try hard to include them as much as possible in the dinner preparations, even scheduling an extra 15-30 minutes to make sure I don't lose my patience and that our cooking experience becomes an experience and not a mad dash to eat. But lets face it, that doesn't happen every single night and last night since I was sick, it sure wasn't happening. John tries to distract them as much as possible when I'm in a hurry to cook, but few things hold the allure that the kitchen does. So last night I was just trying to put something together that was mildly edible and as I was getting frustrated with their continued "help."
Suddenly my mind clicked onto an image from a book* my mom bought me at Christmas (I need to find that book.... hum...) anyway it's a book about Montessori activities you can easily do at home. They had a tray with two small bowls and a small spoon. One bowl was filled with rice. The object was to spoon the rice from one bowl to the next, until you emptied the one on the left and filled the one on the right. I wish I remembered what the lesson was supposed to be about (I think fine motor control? I'll have to ask my sister Rhonda.) I paused my dinner preparations and quickly assembled the needed supplies out of small bowls and tupperware. The girls took to it right away. They sat there concentrating so hard working on filling their bowls. When they made accidentally spilled, I told them to lay their spoon down and pick up their hand broom to sweep up the fallen rice before continuing. (Using a hand broom is a Montessori skill too, I think.) It became obvious that the pink kiddy spoons they were using were too easy, so I switched them out with these novelty measuring spoons I had in my kitchen drawer (they are labeled: pinch, smidge, etc.) They enjoyed that but it was a bit too slow and they wanted to "cheat" by using their hands. Luckily dinner was ready and I was able to distract.
This morning we tried the game again, and I told them the rules again. When they wanted to use their hands, I told them that wasn't how we played this game. When it became obvious that I'd lost their focus, I asked them if they wanted to play with the big rice box. I haven't pulled it out in a while so it became a fun treat this morning. It still has rules, (the main two being: 1. don't throw the rice and 2. Keep the rice in the bucket as much as possible and on the blanket no matter what.) They really enjoy burying their toys, hands and feet in the bucket. They love the scoops and measures. It's a great (cheap!) toy for sure!
I just read a great idea over at Twinsomnia. It's called Mommy & Me Mondays. Every Monday you have someone take a picture of you with your kids so that when they grow up they have proof you existed. Yep, Momma's always seem to be the ones taking the photos so they are rarely in the photos. It's brilliant... now I just have to remember to do it come Monday!
Despite being sick, Maddie, Izzie and I did manage to squeeze in some fresh air this morning. They are playing in buckets that I filled with water.
I hate being sick. I mean, I know no one actually enjoys being sick, I'm not crazy. But when you get sick everything gets out of whack. I had a rhythm going. I thought I was going to finally get caught up on laundry. The bathrooms were clean and I've been on a roll cooking homemade nutritious dinners. But when three of the family gets sick, things come to a crashing halt. Well a crawl, because lets face it, when Momma gets sick, the house still has to keep on keepin' on. Don't get me wrong, John is great when I get sick. But he's swamped at work so by the time he gets home, he doesn't have much energy to do my job too!
That being said, when sick, scale back. Dinners get really weird/creative and simple. The bare minimum of laundry gets done and arts and crafts are out the window. The thirty-minutes-of-TV-a-day rule gets bent and we take two baths a day. I found that bubble baths for kids when sick are great. It keeps them relatively still (so they don't get overheated), it keeps them happy for a whopping 20-30 minutes at a time and it lets the sick Momma lay down on the tile of the bathroom floor and just be STILL for the 20-30 minute duration. Of course I found AFTER the bath, the kids are feeling all refreshed and energized so sitting still to read books for 20 minutes before naptime was pushing it.
The projects that I can't wait to get started on are on hold. I can't wait to paint the Adirondack chairs that Uncle Ted made the girls. Much less stain the deck, paint the top of the sandbox and stain their little wooden picnic table. Those are the outdoor projects on my mind. I have a few indoor projects I'm working on too. I know I sound ridiculous. I've only been sick for two days, but I'm the type of person that can't sit still for too long so two days seems like forever. But from experience I know I can't over do it. I'm just thankful that all I have is a minor cold that will be over in a few days time.