Friday, December 31, 2010

Wait! What happened, the year is already over?

This is always a hard post! Trying to think back at all the fun we had in 2010. It was a busy, fun filled year. We were on the go a lot, from vacation in a four-van caravan across the country, to playdates, puppet shows and story times. There was a lot of snow in the beginning of the year and of course a lot of heat in middle. We went from toddlers with pacifiers to being "almost" potty trained.

As for myself, it's been a year about food discovery. I've spent the first part of the year frustrated with my health and the second part learning what I could do about it. I discovered the Real Food Movement and am learning to leave all processed foods behind in favor of real healthy foods. It's been a huge part of my life the past few months, learning how to make foods that my great-great grandmothers probably made in their kitchens and getting back to basics. I didn't get to go on the second vacation that I wanted to go on with John, but we are making that a priority in 2011. On our house, we half finished the master closet out, bought a new kitchen table and we are in the progress of turning the game room into a family room (removing the pool table and we bought a couch.)

Here is a recap of some of my favorite times:

JANUARY:
The girls went to their FIRST gymnastics class!
The Paci Fairy came to visit us.
This is one of my favorite toddler learning moments. The Heavy Banana.

FEBRUARY:
I decided to become Vice President of PAMOM.
It snowed, ALOT.
The girls started cooking in the kitchen with me.

MARCH:
First Pigtails
I hosted a Pampered Chef party.
It snowed, AGAIN.
Sometimes, hanging with family was just fun.

APRIL:
Identical, but distinct
The girls cooked their first meal all the way through (with lots of help!)
I started learning more about REAL food.
Cousin Lucy turned ONE!

MAY:
Visiting Mema for Mother's Day
Officially the Vice President of Helping Hands for PAMOM!
Izzie got SEVEN stitches!

JUNE:
Our Wisconsin Cross Country caravan starts!
One of our favorite days in Wisconsin.
Our first swim class.

JULY:
First trip to the dentis.
Making cookies with Daddy.
Interview with a TV show!
Maddie and Izzie spent the day at Grandma & Grandpa house.
Trip to the Farmer's Market with Nanna and Popo.

AUGUST:
Enrolled in Gymnastics Classes.
A favorite photo.
A huge milestone for a Mom of twins: Shopping stroller free!

SEPTEMBER:
Science Museum with Daddy.
Yep... they were two... and being terrible.
But I LOVE them so much!
We logged a lot of storytime hours and did a ton of crafts this year!

OCTOBER:
When the weather was nice, you'd find us out at a park.
Pumpkin Patch of 2010!
Family vacation at the Cabin
Trick or Treat!

NOVEMBER:
John went to Hong Kong
Fun in Muenster, Texas
They loved visiting Daddy at Work.

DECEMBER:
John made the girls their first computer
Our very last story time at Rita Smith Public Library (it's moving locations in 2011)
Picture with Santa
Turning THREE!
First Birthday Party with Friends.
Dana & Cody announce that they are expecting a baby!

Well that was our year, and it was a great one. Here's to another terrific year in 2011!

Aunt Rhonda Came to Play

 Izzie eating frozen yogurt (with a cherry on top!)
Maddie eating her frozen yogurt with Aunt Rhonda.

Today, my sister came over to babysit/play with the girls so John and I could go to IKEA for a new couch. IKEA is a child friendly place but unless we wanted to bring two cars (one to bring home the couch and one for carseats) we had to leave our kiddos home. It worked out great because the girls love spending time with Rhonda. She is a Montessori teacher and has a million tricks up her sleeve of fun activities and such. Not to mention her endless patience with kids. Her patience does seem to end with her big sister (me!) though. Anyway, they had so much fun. Before she even got here they told me all the things they were going to show her and do with her. They wanted to show off all their new toys and play candyland.

Rhonda said they played with toys for awhile, ate some lunch and then (with my permission) she took them to go get frozen yogurt for a belated birthday gift. They even got to go to Target to pick out a present. They thought it was their birthday all over again! Tonight at dinner all they could talk about was Aunt Rhonda bought them a new present (sunglasses) and they were so happy.

John and I procured our couch. We went in thinking to buy one couch and left with another one. They were extremely similar styles. The main difference being one had a removable slip cover (not the one we got.) But the one we got was $300 less, which let me talk John into some absolutely adorable cute new chairs for the girls! Which they of course LOVED.

 Maddie and Izzie sitting in their new chairs, next to the new couch we bought. This is our new family room (a work in progress.)

 We let them watch a show upstairs in their new chairs, they were very excited about that! (Maddie, Izzie)

Had to add one photo of Ripley in here. The past 24 hours I've had beef stock simmering away. My friend Nicole R. got me some beef bones that I roasted in the oven and then simmered for the past day and night to make homemade beef stock. Poor Ripley had to endure the smell all along. Tonight as I was removing the bones, I saved one back for him that was still full of some bone marrow. He was SO excited. Notice his normally curled UP tail is straight down and he's going to town on that bone!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Playing

video
Izzie and Maddie singing the ABC's.

 Izzie and Maddie modeling the new dressed I picked up for them at Target. They were twirling and twirling in them. Then they put on a show for me singing, Head Shoulders Knees and Toes, The Itsy Bitsy Spider and the ABC's.
 We've been playing with Christmas presents this morning. This is a puzzle book from Grandma and Grandpa that Izzie is working on.

 Maddie is playing with the tractor set that Alison gave them for their birthday.

She was picking up bits of trash off the floor and putting them in the mini dump truck, she thought that was pretty clever!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Making Maracas

Maddie and Izzie making maracas out of toilet paper rolls and dried beans.

We've been stuck in the house most of the week due to crummy weather. We did make it out to Target for a short shopping trip this morning which was nice, despite the rain. It was just good to get out for a bit. After lunch, I decided to have the girls make maracas. I used it as a lesson about funnels too. I taped construction paper circles on the ends of toilet paper holders and then the girls used a funnel to pour beans into the tube. I quickly sealed off the other end and wrapped the tubes with more construction paper for the girls to decorate with stamps and stickers. I've found age three is a good age for stickers. You can get foam stickers in bulk at Hobby Lobby and these work on fine motor skills as the girls pry off the paper backing. They had fun making their maracas!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Nicknames

A conversation I overheard the other day and never wrote down:
Izzie to Maddie while working on a puzzle: "That's the wrong triangle, use this triangle, honey."
Maddie: "Thank you, sweetheart"

I just thought this was so precious. I call the girls: Sweetheart, Honey, Sweetpea, Sugar, Baby, Boo-Boo (Izzie) and Honey Bunny (Maddie) all the time. They've picked up on those nicknames and sometimes use them when talking to me and John. It doesn't bother me because they are using them in a loving way. For some reason it bugs my mom, she thinks they should only call me Mom or Momma. I sure don't just call them Isabelle and Madeline so I don't mind the loving nicknames. One mention though, I used to call Izzie Boo-Boo which was shortened from Isaboo and Maddie I'd call Boo-Boo Bear. But Maddie likes bunnies and Izzie likes bears so Maddie asked me to call her Honey Bunny instead of Boo-Boo Bear. I liked how she thought about it.

 Izzie working on making circles.

 Maddie working on circles.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas

I know it's a few days past Christmas, but I've been one, recovering from a stomach bug that Maddie and I both got, and basically ignoring my camera and the blog. We've spent the past two days just playing with new toys, sorting presents and just hanging out since John is on vacation. Christmas was split again this year. We celebrated with my side of the family the weekend before Christmas and on Christmas Day we spent with John's family.

Christmas morning, I actually woke up a bit before the girls, which I could hardly believe. But they soon woke up and we went to go get them, asking them if they thought Santa had been there yet. John went downstairs to get the video camera and the girls and I followed. They were so confused. They were looking for Santa. Izzie looked at the front door and said it was closed. Then they remembered he was supposed to come down the chimney. They ran over there, never even glancing at the tree. Finally they got that Santa came while they were sleeping and left them some presents and the unwrapping commenced. They were very excited about their Dora Books and the PlayDoh scissors that Santa brought. They got some sit'n spins and two of the Snap 'N Style Dolls. Izzie got Themina and Maddie got the Erika doll. They really love these dolls as they are easy to change clothes. They are basically 3D paper dolls!

After a quick bite to eat, we got in the car and headed over to Grandma and Grandpa's house. After everyone gathered around, the playroom doors were opened and the kids stared in awe at the plethora of toys spread around. I can't list everything off the top of my head but there was Raggedy Anne Dolls, Princess crafts, gardening toys, pianos (keyboards), Dora castles, books and a bunch of other items. The girls were very excited and kept saying thank you to everyone.

Following kids gifts, was the huge breakfast brunch feast. Followed by visiting and then the adult presents. All the presents were opened over the course of the morning and lots of visiting. Then there was hunt the pickle. A game that started a couple of years ago. Jackie hides a pickle ornament on one of her many trees and the first person to find it wins the pickle pot. It is usually a gift card or cash worth about $10. We all get pretty in to the pickle hunt though. I was finally starting to feel better by mid afternoon, but Maddie (who threw up Christmas morning, poor thing!) was either really pumped up, or curled in a corner somewhere. At some point more food was spread before us and we ate again, a terrific meal of smoked turkey, ham, casseroles and the like.

We didn't make it home before the girls were sound asleep, and we ended up putting them to bed a half hour early. Christmas was successful and it tuckered us all out.

Oh, and the best news of the day? My Sister-in-Law, Dana, announced that Lucy is going to be a big sister in 2011! Of course the gender and the names will be a surprise until the delivery, so I'm already on the edge of my seat!

 Taken Dec 23rd, when we went to look at Christmas lights and had hot cocoa for the first time! This is Izzie.

 Maddie drinking her hot cocoa.

 They didn't finish it in the car, so I let them stay up a bit to finish their drinks.

 Izzie finding the presents.

 Daddy videoing. Izzie standing right next to the presents, still looking for Santa.

 Unwrapping starts. Izzie and Maddie.

 Izzie opening her stocking.

 Maddie opening the playdoh scissors.
 Izzie

 Maddie
 At Grandma's house. Lucy is wearing a shirt that says, "Lucy Jane 2011, Big Sister!"

Izzie and Maddie's presents from Grandma and Grandpa!

 Maddie
Izzie

 Maddie saying Thank You to Grandma. Izzie was signing it.

Julie, Sammy, Maddie, Izzie, Grandma and Sabrina doing the Nativity scene.
 Sabrina, Izzie and Maddie.

 Maddie snuggled in Grandma's bed when she wasn't feeling well.

 Maddie, Izzie, Sabrina and Sammy (Lucy was taking a nap.)

 Opening presents!

The older girls wouldn't take a nap so we gave them some down time watching tv in Grandma's bed. Izzie, Sabrina and Maddie.

The guys watching sports. John and Cody.
Dana all glowy from her news!
And a Christmas shot... Baileys with some fancy liquored whipping cream. Yummy!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

Daddy and Izzie getting ready for church.

What an unusual Christmas Eve it has been. Seriously. Last night as I got home from my mom's house, I barely made it inside before I was sick. I won't go into details but it looked like I got hit with a stomach bug. I dragged myself up to bed and slept restlessly all night. This morning I woke up very weak and shakey. Maddie was complaining her stomach hurt too, and sure enough she got sick all over Daddy. What a trooper he was!

At one point I looked at the clock and seeing how it was only 9:30 am, I knew we had a very, very long day to get through. Izzie, Maddie and I laid on the couch and watched Dora the Explorer and the movie Up. Izzie wasn't sick but she wasn't feeling 100% either since she asked to go take a nap at 12:30 and neither girl ate much lunch. John took Izzie upstairs and I took Maddie upstairs and both girls fell asleep right away. We woke Izzie up at 2:30 to get  her ready to go to church with John. Since she was feeling good, we didn't want her to miss out on getting to go to Nanny's for the family Christmas Eve celebration. John said she was great at church and excited to see all the family.

Maddie woke up at about 3:15 and it was just the two of us pattering around the house for the afternoon. We colored, read lots of books, took a bath to feel better and in general just hung out. She kept saying things like, "Momma and Maddie." Even not feeling well, I think she enjoyed being home with just me. By the end of the night I think she was feeling a lot better. I hope we all get a good nights sleep because tomorrow is Christmas Day and Christmas at Grandma and Grandpa's house.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Playdate Birthday Party

I know, another birthday post, but it's the last one! This is all about the girls first birthday party with friends this last Tuesday. I invited their playgroup which is 2 sets of twins and a set of triplets along with one other friend's twins. For those who lost count that is 11 kids total including my girls. Four sets twins and one set of triplets. In attendance was: Alison and her boys: Jake and Ford, Melanie with her girls: Madison and Sydney (and her Mom, Pam, who is visiting from California), Ashley with her girls: Lila and Zella, and Jessica with her kids: Hayden, Madison and Payson. It was a full house that is for sure! John decided to work from home that day because even though he didn't really want to get entangled with that many kids and women, he didn't want to miss out on their birthday celebration either.

The girls woke up at 7 am, but the party didn't start until 10. That was THREE hours of anticipation and excitement. When Melanie arrived they were just about bursting. Then Ashley, Alison and finally Jessica all made it. The kids played for a few minutes and the moms sort of got to catch up a bit before I bust out the craft. I made Princess Cones and Prince Crowns for the kids to decorate. (Mema helped me a few nights prior to staple them all together. Thanks Mema!) In retrospect I should have done Party Cones and made them gender neutral. They boys wanted the cones over the crowns. Payson kept saying he wanted a Party Cone... leave it to an adult to think in gender roles, when kids just want to have fun! Eventually the boys got into the craft just as much as the girls. I basically made plain cones (and crown shapes) out of poster board. Then Mema helped me staple ribbons out the top of the cones. Then the kids got to stamp, sticker, and glue gems all over the cones. I put out colors too, but none of the kids really cared about that!

 After the craft, since it was a crazy 83 degree day in Dallas (at the end of December!) we sent all the kids outside to play while we got lunch ready. I made chicken satay, sugar snap peas, buttered noodles and fruit skewers, with of course cupcakes for dessert. The meal was a hit I think. It's always hard to judge with toddlers. Most of the kids loved the peanut butter sauce (I made a non-spicy version for the kids.) I'm pretty sure everyone left full and  happy.

After lunch, we did cupcakes outside, but by then it was so hot (everyone was in long sleeves since you know, it was supposed to be winter) that the kids didn't stay outside long. But that was okay because the party was winding down and kids were about ready for naps. Maddie and Izzie opened their presents and then said goodbye to all their friends. It was a successful party and I think everyone had a great time.

 Izzie and Maddie
 Madison, Lila and Zella
 Craft time! Izzie, Pam, Madison, Sydney, Melanie, Maddie, Jake, Ford, Alsion, Lila, Ashley, Zella, Hayden, Payson and Madison (sort of in order...)

 Izzie, Pam and Madison
 Maddie working on her crown.

 Jessica with Madison and Payson.

 Ashley, Lila and Hayden.

Maddie, Sydney, Madison and Payson.

 Zella, Ashley and Lila.

 Madison, Sydney and Izzie showing off their Princess Hats.

 Maddie

 Lunch.

 The boys all sat at one table: Payson, Ford and Jake.

 The girls sat together: Hayden, Madison, Madison, Sydeny, Izzie, Lila, Maddie and Zella.
 Cupcakes!
 Izzie
 Maddie
 Jake had to have his crown on to eat his cupcake. I like how the crown is almost as big as he is!

 They had to take a break and get their cones, but they came right back to finish: Izzie and Maddie
 Maddie and Izzie opening presents..


A Dora Doll from Melanie to Izzie!

 Maddie looks tired from opening so many great gifts! Izzie is opening a tea set from Ashley.

 A doctor kit and kitchen set from Jessica to Maddie and Izzie. Payson is telling them it was from him.

 After presents it was time to hug our friends goodbye.