Monday, February 27, 2012

Photos

I'm back! I did not intend to take an almost two week blogging break, but I did it anyway. Things have been good around here, but even after almost a month of John being home it's still hard to find a rhythm some days. I will say one thing, my house is looking pretty good. Having John home to help with some of the chores has made keeping the house much easier to do. I'm about to start tackling some big clean out projects, like the guest room closet. It's gotten pretty scary over the past couple of years. I know all my camping gear is in that closet and I need to take it out and inventory it. I will be camping this spring! I keep saying that I want to take the kids camping but I've yet to do it. I'm determined to do it though. Well... here is some of what went on the past two weeks...

 Izzie with Coach Michael learning a new trick on the bars.

Maddie's turn!
 
  
Valentine's Day party at Melanie's House: Izzie, Ford, Madison, Maddie, Sydney, Gabe and Jake.
 
 
 Maddie loves playing with the Davis' twins double doll stroller.

 Lunch time! (Izzie left, Sydney, Ford, Gabe, Jake, Maddie and Madison.)
 Madison and Maddie like to play together.

 You'll find Izzie with Sydney most of the time.

 Just for fun, a few nights ago, I pulled out some chopsticks with kiddie helpers on them. I was serving a grilled chicken salad but the girls had a fun time eating their salad with the sticks! (Maddie, Izzie.)

 Last Saturday was Jake and Ford's 4th birthday part at the Frisco Fire Department. This was pretty cool. They got to see a fireman dress up in his uniform and they got to go on the fire truck. It was a fun party!

Happy Birthday to Ford!
 
 
 And Jake.

Maddie climbing up in the firetruck.

 One rainy day last week, I helped the girls build a fort in the living room. Izzie popped her head out to say hi!
 
 
 And then for a super extra special fun spontaneous treat, we let the girls have a sleep over in the family room. This was of course very exciting! I snuck in after they finally fell asleep and snapped a photo of them on their pallets. I wanted to put up their little tents but they just wanted their pallets. (Maddie, Izzie.)


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Flexibility and Growth

When we moved into our house, I knew we were planning on having children. I kept that in mind when I was house searching. I wanted all the bedrooms on one level. Somehow, intuitively I knew that walking up and downstairs in the middle of the night wasn't something I wanted to do. I had no idea that even at 4 they still need us to come in the middle of the night to check on them. I wanted a kitchen that had space for kids to help cook and I wanted a toy room on the main level so that they could play and be part of the action. The house we bought is an almost perfect layout. I love it. As soon as I saw the formal dining space, I knew that there would never be a formal dining room table in there. Before we had kids, it is were my pet turtle lived and we thought we'd put up some book cases and have a library. 

That never happened and soon we found out we were having twins! Here is a photo story of how our "formal dining" room space has evolved over the years. 
Before kids. We didn't even have curtains up. My pet turtles lived over there on the left.

 Twins! We decided to have a temporary nursery downstairs along with their nursery upstairs. One crib was down because they took so many naps during the day, and I didn't want to have to go up and downstairs, escpecially at first holding two itty bitty babies. We also had a changing table downstairs.

 Around 7 months old, we took the second crib upstairs because they were finally big enough to sleep in two separate cribs. By that time they were taking all their naps upstairs anyway.

 Around 10 months when they started crawling, we put a baby gate. The playroom effectionally became known as "The Pit."

 When they started pulling up on stuff and getting into things, the changing table came out of the room. The toys also of course changed over time.

 Before their second birthday I bought this Trofast system from IKEA. By this point they were starting to get toys with more pieces and keeping things together was getting hard!

 I added a bridge for stuffed friends and wires to display artwork.

 On the other side of the room we mounted a chalkboard/magnetic table and a smaller trofast unit. The table flipped down out of the way. It is also IKEA.

 They got a dollhouse and a kitchen set for Christmas and they were in the toy room for a while.

 The wall table didn't end up working the way I wanted so a smaller table that had been in the kitchen moved into the playroom. The doll house never got played with, so it went up in storage.

The room looked like this for a long time.

Then right after this last Christmas we have now converted the playroom to a school room. We turned the family room upstairs into the playroom. Now they go upstairs to play and down here for art and school lessons. I love how flexible this room has been for us! I have two kidkraft desks for the girls to art and work at, and that little table is currently holding their computer. I love having a bit wide work area for kids this age. They need elbow room and plenty of space to sprawl out their work. It's working great for us so far! I have ABC's mounted on the wall, so they have a reference when trying to write their letters. The bins contain, scissors, markers, colors, pencils, games like: go fish, old maid, candyland, hi ho cherry o. There is playdoh, lacing cards, different size beading activities, magnetic letters and animals, coloring books, blank paper, reading books and painting supplies. Some they can access whenever they want, and some things we only get out as a "project."

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Groups

 Izzie working on the Letter F for our Alphabet Book.

Maddie working on her Letter F. They came up with lots of good F words all on their own: Fun, Fox, Fire, Feather, Fish, and Frog. I was impressed by how fast they were just rolling the F words out there!

I was commenting to John this morning that in college I wasn't very active as far as clubs went. I was not exactly a joiner. I had my small group of friends and my classes and for the most part I was content. After getting married I started looking for groups. Maybe because as an adult it is harder to make friends, especially if you don't work in a big company. (When we were first married I did lots of random jobs: daycare teacher, summer camp counselor, riding director, graphic artist working with one employer.) So, like I said, I got involved with groups. Starting out first I found a home with Landmark Education. I love their programs and their leadership training program. Then after we moved into our house, I started volunteering at Equest, which is a therapeutic horse facility that does great work with people with special needs.

Then I had kids. Next think I know I'm joining Mommy-Clubs left and right! One of my first clubs to join was PAMOM (Plano Area Mothers of Multiples) I love them dearly. They are a great support group for those first years with multiples. The problem with PAMOM is that the club has a hard time retaining membership past kindergarten age kids. I'm on the board and we are actively trying to find a solution but it's a problem. Even currently as we are trying to add more programs for older kids, there isn't enough. I also belong to a smaller mom club for my city, but it has pretty much slowed down to a facebook page. We never get together anymore, but it still nice to have close my moms to chat with.

So I am branching out. Since I am doing homeschool preschool, I've decided to look into some homeschool groups around town. I want the girls to still be able to do socials/playdates and a lot of their friends are now in preschool. So it is a great way to meet new people that are doing similar things as us. I checked out SELAH, which is great because it is really close by to my area. But they don't offer as much as the one I checked out today, SAIL. Which is a county wide group. The problem with them is most of their meetings are on the other side of town. But they do a lot more things. I don't think I want to join both groups, I think that'll spread myself too thin. Decisions decisions!

I'm still active in Landmark, they are all about personal development and growth and nothing directly related to being a mom. (Although, once you are a Mom, everything is about being a Mom, really!) Once my girls get old enough, I'll be joining Girl Scouts again. I'm still mad at myself that I didn't keep my dues up over the years! I'd love to say that I've been a member since 1985! I have been in heart, if not on paper.

Anyway, I'm not sure where I'm going with all of this. Just mostly thinking out loud. Over the years I've learned that surrounding myself with people who can offer support and friendship is the way to lead a fulfilling life for myself. Even when sometimes just liked loved ones, my friends can drive me crazy and some days I just want to stay curled up in bed with a good book for a friend!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Activities around the house

 Maddie holding the dough hook and Izzie looking over her shoulder.

Today was a rainy dreary day so I had to come up with lots of fun stuff for the girls to do. We spent the morning curled up on the couch watching Princess and the Frog together. It was a cute movie, although the girls were disappointed that the Princess was a frog for most of the movie. They kept asking when she'd be a princess again.

After lunch, I decided to have them help me make a loaf of bread. I used to make bread about once or twice a week, but I've gotten out of the habit of it. They did a great job of measuring and pouring. When the honey drizzled on the cabinet they were really great about helping lick up that mess!

Then this afternoon I made the girls blank mini-books, to illustrate and tell me a story to write in them. These little books are super easy to make, I came across a homeschool blog that had the tutorial on how to fold them out of one sheet of paper. I see many more of these little books in our future! They did these right before dinner and I could tell that they were distracted by the thought of dinner. Izzie's story wasn't as strong as she usually tells and Maddie got a bit lazy with the illustrations. I think we'll do this activity again when they aren't so hungry!

Here is Izzie's book:





And here is Maddie's book:
 (Winnie the Pooh is upside down because we read the book where he discovers gravity. In that book, he falls out of a tree because of gravity, so he's falling out of a tree here too.)


 (As far as I could tell, this is the knot hole of the tree.)


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Princess Birthday Tea Party

Madeline and Isabelle were invited to a very special Princess Birthday Tea Party for their good friends Madison and Sydney, who are turning four tomorrow. The party was put on my Wishes Upon Wishes and it was amazing. It was so girly and pink and sparkly and ah-maz-ing. Every young princesses dream. They say a picture is worth  a thousand words. Well I think I took a thousand pictures... here are some of the highlights. Okay, maybe more than some.... here are a ton of photos!

 Izzie
 Craft table
 Izzie and Maddie.

 Izzie and Maddie with Rapunzel.

 Maddie getting shimmery make up.

Maddie icking out jewels.

Maddie and Izzie



 Izzie's table setting.

 Jewels, crowns, shoes, dresses galore!

 Maddie's table setting.

 Princesses getting dressed.



 Princess school. They learned how to wave and curtsey.

 Getting crowned as princesses.

 Working on their craft.

 Melanie and Garrett, the Queen and King of this spectacular party.

 A tea setting to swoon over.

 So many princesses!

 Izzie and Maddie

 Maddie watching what to do with her napkin and tea cups. They got ettiquette lessons.







 Princess Madison one of the birthday girls.

 Princess Sydney, the other birthday girl.

In a circle to play a princess game of Pass the Cupcake.