Thursday, September 29, 2011

Patterns and Puppets


 Fun photo of me.
 Izzie playing in her fort.

 Maddie
 Maddie and Izzie.
 Just hanging out.

 Pattern game I made for the girls. I made lots of extra shapes and we can create patterns either by using color or shape.
 Our table was a bit dirty this morning, the most fun way to clean a dirty table? Shaving Cream. It really works! This of course is Izzie before she dives into her "I."

 Maddie got a big "M."
 And SMOOSH. I didn't put smocks on them because these nightgowns needed to go in the wash anyway. We practiced making letters in the shaving cream. When you are done you just rub and rub until it disappears. You are left with a clean table.

 Our first puppet show at home. This is Izzie

 Izzie and Maddie
Izzie and Maddie.

For the puppet show, I just bought a tension rod that would fit in our office doorway and then I threw a blanket over it. I may get fancy one day and sew up some fabric and decorate it so it's a "fancy" theater. You can also add a second tension rod to the top to make a curtain to pull back. But this was a fast and fun start. I showed them how to hide behind the curtain and hold the puppets up (they need practice on that, obviously!) Then when I asked them to put a show on for me they didn't know what to say. So I got them to read me a book. Both girls "read" books to me and had a blast putting on a show!


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I wish this was the worst it will get

Maddie: Momma, I know a bad word. Izzie said it to me.
Me: Uh... what was the word?
Maddie: DISGUSTING. Izzie said a bad word.
Me: What is a bad word?
Maddie: One that you aren't supposed to say.
Me: Do you know what disgusting means?
Maddie: No, but Izzie said the dirty water outside was DISGUSTING.
Me: Disgusting is a great descriptive word for dirty water. If water is very yucky and dirty, it sure IS disgusting!
Maddie: Giggles.

Monday, September 26, 2011

More creative outpouring

What have we been up to lately? I can't believe I haven't posted since last Wednesday! I guess I've just been busy living life. Like I posted recently on my Happiness post, I've just got so many ideas popping in my head that I can't keep up. I haven't been at my computer as much lately the past few days. If I have a spare 10 or 15 minutes you'll find me up in my art room. I'm crafting like crazy. I'm working on prototypes for things that I eventually want to start selling. Some of the things I've been working on are personalized towels, kid friendly picture frames for art work, cute pin cushions and more. My sewing machine is getting some serious mileage. It needs an odometer!

I even planned simple recipes to do in the kitchen this week because I'm so focused on art room that I'm not in a cooking "space." (As followers of The Frickin Chicken probably have noticed!) I even took out time to create a fun space for the girls to spend time with me in the art room. I painted an old dry erase board that no longer erased with chalkboard paint so they have a chalkboard to play with. I put little desks in there and crayons and colored pencils. I'm working on a cute storage system for their space but am gathering supplies to make it happen. And since I need a clock in that room and the girls have been loving to talk about time, I'm making a clock designed just for a toddler. I saw the idea on the internet somewhere and adapted it to my liking. I glued a hummingbird on the very fast second hand, a turtle on the slow hour hand and a bunny on the minute hand. I'll post a photo when it is complete. I know the girls are going to love it!

Over the weekend, John's parents came over to visit and help us install the dishwasher they bought for us. That was a huge surprise and we are so thankful for it! I was super impressed with both Tom and John with their installation attitudes. Both of these men are known for getting more than a bit frustrated with projects that don't go smoothly. But there wasn't a cross word said during the entire process, which included water spewing across the entire kitchen, up on the ceiling and almost flooding the floor. Besides that, mishap, it went smoothly and now I have a new shiny dishwasher! 

Today is my Mom's birthday! We went to Hobby Lobby with her this morning to browse around and gather art supplies. Then we met Chris for lunch. We took the girls to Dim Sum for the first time. Since it wasn't like anything they were used to, we tried to explain what it was like before we got there. Dim Sum is sort of like Chinese Tappas or Appetizers. The waitresses push around carts and on the carts are little plates that have only about 4 small bites/dumplings on each one. You pay per plate. What we forgot to mention to the girls is that they don't serve silverware to the adults. When the girls saw all of us pick up chopsticks and start eating they were completely shocked. They could NOT figure out why we were eating with sticks! I told them we'd get them some little kid chopsticks so they could practice!

Tomorrow I'm going to tour a Montessori school that is nearby. My sister is a Montessori Teacher (unfortunately not close by) and I've learned a lot about the Montessori methods over the past couple of years through her. I really, really love everything I've learned about Montessori. Unfortunately they are usually expensive, but I'm going to see what the actual cost is and if perhaps there is scholarships, sibling discounts, ect. This is just an inquiry, right now our plan is to keep the girls home during pre-school. I am doing lessons with them often to get them ready for kindergarten. Anyway, it's a fun activity for us tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Park Weather!

 Yesterday I took the girls to Pirate's Cove Park in Wylie, Texas. We used to come here when the girls were little (there is a baby section of the park) but it's been closed for a year and a half for construction around the park. This time we got to play in the big kid part! This park isn't that easy to find in the first place, but they moved the entrance and I ended up on some service road trying to find the parking lot. It was quite hilarious. I ended up having to get two maintenance workers to move their trucks and show me how to get out of the "restricted" area that I somehow got us into. Appropriately I need to figure out who is in charge of Parks and Recreation in Wylie and write them a letter about proper signage! We did make it to the park and the girls had a great time. It's pretty big and they didn't even know where to start!

Maddie climbing the spider web.
 
 Izzie. This was challenging enough to be very fun, but not too much that it was frustrating.

 My girls love "spinning wheels" as they call them and this one was BIG and made rain noises when you turned it. Way cool.

 They loved all the nooks and crannies this park has and called them "houses."

 Isn't it GREAT to have a twin sister? Izzie is helping Maddie on the moving balance beam.

 Maddie helping Izzie.

 This was almost too challenging for them, but they made it across!

 Park in the morning, over to Nanna's house to ride tricycles in the afternoon.  Here is Izzie.

 Maddie
 Love this shot!

 Taking time to draw some funny faces on rocks with chalk.


 Making Soaked Wheat Pancakes for breakfast this morning. Maddie is taking her turn in stirring the batter. We learned a new word. Gloppy. 

Izzie. By the way, this whisk I got for Christmas this last year from my mother-in-law is awesome for stirring batters. It is just right in breaking up everything without overworking the batter.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Happiness


My girls  made their beds this morning. All by themselves without me telling them to. Will they do it tomorrow? Who knows. I really don't care. What I love is that they are learning by example. The example I am trying my best to be for them. I never used to make my bed. I didn't get the point. It used to drive me crazy when I spent the night at my Mema's house and she'd make the bed almost before I was even out of it in the morning. And then you couldn't sit on the bed much less lay on it ALL day long, until bedtime. But when you are a kid at Mema's house, crawling in bed with a book, or to watch tv in her bed are just fun things to do. It drove me crazy that she made the bed every morning!

Mom never made me make my bed and that was cool with me. She was a single working mother for most of my childhood and she knew she had to pick which battles mattered. I totally get that. And we were a happy, healthy family with unmade beds. (Mom, I'm so glad you saw that there are more important things in life than a made bed!) So you are probably wondering why I'm excited that my girls made their beds this morning without me saying one single word about them making a bed.
I like having an orderly house. I feel more creative, calm and at peace when there is no clutter, few nicknacks and empty spaces. This isn't for everyone, but for me, having a clean home works. For some reason after the kids came keeping my house clean and orderly became hard. The excuse, "well duh, you just had twins" only was partly true. I think the societal excuse that "I just had twins" made it true for myself. And yes, in the beginning when they were little infants, some household chores did drop way below the important level just because lack of sleep was a major operating concern. But as they've gotten older, "having twin toddlers" was just an excuse and I was buying into it. I wasn't happy that my house wasn't clean and I thought I deserved someone else to do the work. How funny.

Then I was in a seminar at Landmark Education and during one of the exercises we were doing, I declared that I was going to BE HAPPY. I didn't know what that meant, I just knew that I was complaining a lot and I thought I was happy but I really wasn't. I was waiting for someone else to MAKE ME HAPPY. What I learned is that it's my life and I'm 100% responsible for it. I choose happiness. The next week, I was flying around my house, doing laundry, singing songs, picking up clutter, vacuuming, humming and thriving. Housework was no longer the enemy. I was happy cleaning and the cleaner my house got the happier I was. And then the creativity struck. With the stress of "having to clean today" gone, ideas and projects have been POURING out of my being like never before. I can't even keep up with the inspirations that I keep having. I finally sat down and wrote them all down, took a deep breath and am prioritizing them. The funny thing is I'm doing more each day now that I ever was before. At the end of the day, I can't believe how much I have accomplished.

So like I said before, growing up I never did get the point of making a bed. What I understand now is that there still is no point. BUT if it makes you happy and at peace to walk into a bedroom and see order, a calm space and tranquility, then there is a good  REASON for making your bed. So for the past few months I've been waking up and making my bed before anything else. It's a sort of reminder to myself that I'm starting THIS day off BEING HAPPY. It's a reminder when I walk in or past my room that I am responsible for my feelings and it takes work. No one gives you happiness, aliveness or self expression. They are created by you. I could just have easily chosen some other ritual as a reminder, but I chose to make my bed.

A few weeks ago, the girls started noticing that I was making my bed every morning. They asked me why. I just told them, "It makes Momma happy and proud of her room when I make the bed fancy." They'd run off and go play. Just like my mom, I did not want to have a battle about making a bed. Making the bed has become a symbol for me, it has meaning to me. It took me 31 years to make my bed. And just because I had an epiphany about it, doesn't mean I think it's important. If I made my kids make their beds, they'd grow up resenting making their bed and probably would not make their beds as adults. But they made their bed today without me saying one word. They didn't even brag about it and tell me. I just noticed it. I told them that they did a beautiful job making their beds this morning. They told me they used teamwork. They said they were proud of their fancy rooms and they were proud to use teamwork. THAT is the lesson I want to teach and I want to teach it by example.
Maddie and Izzie

Monday, September 19, 2011

Knock Knock

My kids are trying to understand jokes. I think I'm going to be checking out a book of toddler jokes at the library this week. They need some help.

Izzie: Mom! I'm going to tell you a JOKE.
Me: Okay, tell me!
Izzie: A Walking Flower! Hahahahahaha!!!
Me: That's your joke?
Izzie: Yes, silly, flowers DON'T walk! hahahahaha!!

You've got to admit... it' was pretty funny.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Photos

 Maddie Daddy and Izzie.

 Maddie and Izzie coloring in my art room.

 Took time to take some awesome photos on my bike ride. Too bad I didn't have my real camera, just my cell phone. This cloud was AMAZING.

Pretty sunset.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Painted Bathtub


I made the girls some bathtub paint today and let them play in my bathtub. This is so much fun! Two nights ago Maddie got bitten up by mosquito and it's been pretty miserable. We've tried various itch creams and even gave her some benadryl at night time. She still ended up waking up about 10 times during the night. This morning she was still itchy, so we thought a long bath might help. I also put some lavender essential oil in the tub along with a sock full of oatmeal. You squeeze the raw oats and the starch that squeezes out is supposed to help soothe itchy skin for eczema. I figured maybe it'd help Maddie out some. Not sure if it was the paint as a distraction or the oatmeal/essential oils, but the bath did help for a little while.

After the bath, she was feeling better and it was close to lunch so we sweet talked John into going to Brooklyn's Pizza with us. It was a fun outing and delicious one too! The girls still were in a painting mood when we got home so I broke out the watercolors for them to play with. That entertained them for a full hour until naptime!

Naptime was a bit crazy for me, since I decided to make a quick run to the grocery store. It's about 15 minutes from the house. I got there and realized I didn't have my wallet. That meant back home and back to the store again. Hopefully I learned my lesson! After our pizza lunch, no one was super hungry for dinner tonight though, so I just made the girls a light dinner and now they are out playing outside again.

This time I equipped them with some homemade bug spray that I got off my new favorite website, Crunchy Betty. It's really simple to make: 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/8 cup rubbing alcohol, 1/8 filtered water, 25 drops of essential citronella oil, 25 drops of essential eucalyptus oil and 50 drops of essential peppermint oil. Mix together and spray away. It smells nice and has no icky chemicals.

Oh, and as for the bathtub paint, it's simple to make too! A couple of tbsp of cornstarch for each color and a few drops of food coloring. Mix with just enough water to form a loose paste. It wipes right up. This would also be awesome for sidewalk paint, which I plan to use with the kids soon!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I'll always be needed

Maddie, "Me and Sissy are getting so good at doing everything all by ourselves! Oh, but don't worry, sometimes we will still need you and dad."

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Puddle Jumping

When we last visited Mema's house in towards the end of July, she bought the girls some umbrellas. They have been waiting to use them since JULY. It did start to sprinkle one day a few weeks ago, but before we could even blink it stopped. Well today, we were all cuddled up on the couch reading through the huge stack of library books we checked out this morning when rain starts falling from the sky. As quick as we could we got out our umbrellas and ran outside. The rain lasted maybe five minutes, but the girls didn't care. They were twirling and dancing and having a great time with their umbrellas. Plus there was just enough rain to put down some decent size puddles. The had fun splashing, jumping, skipping and running through them. Izzie even tried to swim in one.

We stayed out there for a good 30-40 minutes, at the end of which I was drenched. Not from the rain, but from the humidity! But it was good fun. There is more rain scheduled for later this week so hopefully we'll get a chance to really dance and sing in the rain. I have too many favorite photos of our little adventure, so I'm just going to post them all. Izzie is in the flower dress and Maddie is in the red dress.












On sharing

Morning monitor conversation:

Background:  the girls have a clock that turns green at 7 am signaling they can leave their room and play in the family room until I get up.

Maddie woke up first and was playing with a dollhouse doll. She took him in the room where Izzie (was) sleeping.

Izzie (not all the away awake): That is MINE!
Maddie:  no mine! I had him first!
(Back and forth about 20 times.)
Maddie (came in my room): momma I had him first!
Me: tell sissy he was yours since you had him first and she can have him when you are done.
Maddie: OK
She goes tells sissy. Then comes back to me.
Maddie: sissy wants him now.
Me: you woke sissy up, she's a bit grumpy right now. Stay out of your room until she's up.
Maddie (to Izzie): you can have the doll now, I'm going to go play with my leappad book.
Izzie: NO! I want to play with the leappad book!!!
Maddie ( in a very calm soothing voice): Izzie its okay. We have 2 of those....

Monday, September 12, 2011

On time management

Izzie: Maddie, please share that toy.
Maddie: okay I will, in 20 minutes.
Izzie: But Maddie, 20 minutes is too long. It's all the way to Christmas. Do you really want to wait all the way until Christmas to share that toy?
Maddie:  no, that would be long. That's even after my birthday.  Maybe I'll share it in 5 minutes.
Izzie: okay, I guess I can wait THAT long. *deep sigh*

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Happy Birthday to Grandpa!

 Maddie and Izzie enjoying a windy day.



 Maddie and Izzie showing off their NEW leotards. I had to get a size 6, apparently leotards are sized differently than normal clothes. Even these 6's didn't leave THAT much growing in room! But they are made of a velvety fabric and the girls love how soft they are.

 I was excited to find coordinating leotards at Kid-to-Kid!
 Maddie and Izzie playing at Nanna's house today.

 My latest project! I made the girls each their own bath/beach towel. I had a towel similar to this growing up and I still have mine. I took the girls to the fabric store and they each picked out their colors. Maddie surprised me with this blue patterned fabric, but I love it!

 Izzie chose plain pink, so I tried to snazzy it up with blue thread and a green towel.




Is it already the end of the weekend? It was a fun and productive weekend at least! The girls and John spent the day together yesterday while I went to a training at Landmark. They had a really good time together and even went out for ice cream after naptime. They both told me this morning that they had Birthday Cake Ice Cream with M&M's, Cherries and Peanut Butter Cups. It was the highlight of their day with Daddy. My highlight was coming home to a deliciously cooked steak! What a terrific husband! Who could ask for more?

Today the girls and I went over to Nanna's house to learn how to can peaches. Except we never got that far. Canning peaches is apparently a very involved project. We did end up peeling half a case of peaches and we made a peach crumble. We started cooking the peach butter, but it wasn't finished by the time we needed to head home for some rest. We are going back over there tomorrow morning to finish our project. I brought home a bunch of peaches to turn into peach "raisins" and peach fruit leather in my dehydrator.

Shout out to Tom Dittlinger, my wonderful father-in-law. Today is his birthday! Happy Birthday, we all love you!