I can’t believe that today you turn four years old. Four years ago today we became parents for the first time. We went from having no children, to having two children. We considered ourselves blessed to get to experience what it was like having twins. Before you were born your Daddy’s common phrase was, “Can you believe we are having TWO babies!?!”
You have brought us endless amounts of joy. Our lives shifted in HUGE ways after you were born. You teach us on a daily basis what is important. Something about having twins threw us full force into family life. We could not pretend to be able to do the things we did before you in the same way. God made it clear that our life was to change. He had something better for us. We longed for you. We waited for you. We were happy to accommodate.
You have been best buddies and partners in everything from the very beginning. You slept better together as newborns, entertained yourselves happily together as babies, shared your precious animals crackers with each other when we expected you to keep them for yourself, put your brains together to scheme up crazy antics as young toddlers, and became full-fledged best friends as older toddlers. Now you are four, and will continue to define what it means to be brother, sister, and share the term and bond of “twins”.
When you were younger we would try to do “special” things with each of you separately from time to time. We were often surprised to find out that you really seemed to have less fun without your twin. Now that you are a bit older you seem to be able to appreciate it for short amounts of time.
We go through our day-to-day activities and aren’t fully aware how you being twins and close friends affects our life. When you are separated from each other or we go into a new situation we sometimes get glimpses.
As I was preparing to take you (Little Man) for a “Mommy date” you say to your sister, “I don’t know what to order at lunch! Can you tell me what to order?” I thought it was such a cute window into the security you have in each other that I often miss. You were feeling apprehensive about doing something you normally have no fear over. You knew you would be fine, but wanted your sister’s help.
When offered something special, you often want your twin to get the same things as well. If it is good, you know your sibling would want it too.
Being a twin is a special thing many don’t get to experience. I am so glad that you guys have fully embraced the bond. You love each other, value each other, take different roles, then switch roles seamlessly when a change is needed, and share most things like it is just the way it’s supposed to be.
You both are a little preoccupied about the future. You both want to know who you will marry. You both think it makes perfect sense to marry each other. You are partners now, and I love that you want to be partners later. Even though you will someday start lives on your own, I pray you will always be close and share this special bond.
What a twin Birthday means at our house.
Two times to sing Happy Birthday. Everybody deserves their own little song.
A special meal of choice. Usually you agree on the same thing. If not, we make sure everybody has something they enjoy.
A choice of dessert. Often cakes. Something for each twin to “blow out.”
A couple presents. This year a couple smaller ones and a big one to share. I feel sharing gifts only helps you learn and creates less fights for the future. Nobody can say “Hey that is MINE” when they know it is “ours”.
So far you have absolutely no issues sharing your birthday. I kinda think you prefer it this way. What could be more fun than sharing a special day with your best friend?
We love you precious our precious Littles! Happy Birthday!
It is time to try and institute a schedule into our days. I am sure we will stray from it here and there, but I think it will help our days have more purpose and organization. I also think my house will thank me for it. We have been improving in certain areas, but things still seem a bit chaotic at times (okay…a lot chaotic at times). This should help a bit.
In case you don’t know us personally, I am a stay at home mama of 3 little ones. We are slowly entering our homeschooling years. The twins are 3 (almost 4) and our babe is 18 months.
The schedule only has a couple actual times on it. It is more of an “order of operations” rather than a “schedule” I suppose. I prefer to have it a bit more free-form and then make sure the main things like meals and naps occur at close to the same time everyday.
Basic schedule goal for M-F (exceptions based on the focus of the day and activities/visitors)
Breakfast for tots and I.
Read Proverbs to kids and work on a memory verse.
Clean up breakfast.
Go get little one when she wakes. Start a load while upstairs.
Nurse/feed little one.
Start school if she is happily eating in highchair and go as long as we can.
School (alphabet, writing, counting/sorting, art project, educational busy bags, flash cards etc.)
Clear her breakfast.
Get dressed with clothes I brought down after kids bed time the night before. Do this right after twins eat if little one is still sleeping.
Kids play in play area. I shower and switch laundry.
Small treat if they stayed in play area and played nicely.
Start preparing lunch at 11:55.
Eat lunch together.
1-1:30 Potty, pray, put Little Man down, Little Lady, and Sweet Baby.
Make our bed if there has not been a chance before.
Clean up any remaining lunch/kitchen mess.
Check email etc.
Attempt nap if lack of sleep.
Do paper work stuff/work on project.
Cuddle with kids individually as they wake.
Give snack and let them watch shows for a bit.
4:00 Read books together
Kids play while I prepare for Hubs to come home and work on dinner if he is not cooking.
Daddy play with kids (while I sometimes work out)
Take any dirty clothes or things that need to go upstairs.
Baths if needed/get ready for bed.
Family worship time-Read Crossroads to Character, sing, read Bible. (Consider moving to right after dinner and try to find our “Truth and Grace” books).
Kids in bed by 8:00.
Bring down clothes for kids for the nest day.
Straighten up kitchen and catch up with Hubs.
Insert into day when appropriate.
Character quality flashcards. The kids LOVE these.
Children helping with chores-right now we are trying to teach joyful helpfulness and skills to complete chores. I am hesitant to put them into the schedule. I want to have the kids get excited about helping me throughout the day and teach them how to help (rather than assigning chores and having a specific time to do them). As they get a bit older we will add this to the schedule. Right now they know how to fold some clothes, vacuum with the light wt. vac on hard surfaces, scrub with a towel, pick up while focusing on one thing at a time (sometimes), lining up shoes by the door, gather dirty clothes and take to laundry room, and a few other things I forgot.
(More as I think of them)
Daily focus tasks
Monday-Coupon organization, look at ads, make lists.
Tuesday-Kids and I upstairs to do laundry and put anything clean away.
Wednesday-Bathrooms and garbage.
Thursday-Extra School or sometimes go see Great Grandma and Great Papa.
Costco on a Saturday morning…why not? We headed out the door and found our favorite store filled with sample hungry shoppers. People complain about Costco on Saturdays, but it is really not all that bad. After pushing a beast of a stroller through that store for years with the twins, I almost expect to not be able to navigate very smoothly. But, it was no big thing with all registers open and parking for everyone. In fact, the only thing that slowed us down on this trip…ME! The shoppers (and my husband) must have thought I was crazy snapping pictures of price tags every few feet. I heard my husband explain to one male shopper who questioned us, “She has a blog”. I am not sure if that helped explain, or confirmed the fact that I am actually crazy. Some people don’t get the “blog” thing. Some people also don’t get having 3 kids 3 and under. Call us crazy.
Here is a list of my findings. This list is not exhaustive. Also remember that Costco’s stock changes quickly. Sometimes an item will be carried for quite some time, and other times it is just making a brief appearance.
UPDATE BELOW with my findings on my most recent trip in early Jan 2013
This price list is from the Salem Oregon store. Prices and stock carried can vary by store and region. The reader tips are likely from a different store. An astrix (*) at the end of the price indicates that it is their last shipment. Stock up if it is something you love.
Organic and Natural Products roughly broken down by category and area of store
Bybee Foods Organic Frozen Petite Pea 5lbs $1.178 per lb $5.89
Bybee Foods Organic Green Beans 5lbs $1.198 per lb $5.99
Bybee Foods Organic White Cute Corn 5lbs $1.118 per lb $5.59
Firestone IQF Organic Dark Sweet Cherries 4lbs $3.173 per lb $12.69
Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend 3lb $9.69 (good price for these berries although keep in mind that some come from out of country and I am more leery of organic produce from outside of the US because of the possible lack of regulation)
Kirkland Signature 2% Organic Chocolate Milk 24/8.25 oz $14.99
As much as I love the cheap and colorful Ikea bowls (that are supposedly BPA free), I am quite simply drowning in them. By the end of the day the sink is FULL and between all 3 kiddos we have gone through a pile of them. Yesterday we did our coffee filter craft again and I was reminded of a trick my mom used to use with us. Use them for easy disposable snack bowls! They are dirt cheap, have just the right shape, and can wad up miraculously small. Over the years we have moved away from quite a few disposable items, but I will let these pass.
The Hubs has been working hard making my dreams come true the past few days. After a trip to Home Depot he had the supplies to make 3 storage systems for laundry baskets. I have seen these called “Laundry Basket Dressers” and have not been able to think up a cuter name. The only thing better than one really cool laundry-basket-holder-thingy is …three! One would not have done us much good. We have LOTS of laundry around here and I am a bit compulsive about my numerous categories.
Here are some basic iPhone pictures to give you an idea of the process.
This sweet girl was so thrilled to help Daddy that she was on a high for hours after.
Little man testing out the “elevator” as they liked to call them.
Here is the finished dresser without the baskets and before it was painted.
Here is the one that is going in our room. We did not want to buy paint for this project so we just used colors we had. The ones for the laundry room are a soft green (but not as soft as it looks in the last picture) and the one for our room is a bit deeper green.
Here are both beasts we squeezed into our laundry room right after Hubs carried them up.
Now instead of having a huge pile of laundry on the floor in my laundry room and digging through it each time I start a load, I can categorize it perfectly and when the basket fills up I know it is time to do that load. The set in our room will likely be used for clean laundry (per hubbys request). Since things rarely all get folded and put away immediately, this will be a nice clean place for it to await its next home. Maybe someday I will go into more detail about my laundry process (I won’t call it a “system” because I have in no way mastered the laundry beast around here). I have found a couple things that save me some time…and a few things that don’t save time but do save wear and tear on our clothes and money.
The main thing we changed from other designs we found on the web was making them for the bigger laundry baskets. I did not see a purpose in creating storage for baskets that would not really hold a full load of laundry. The only downside is that by making them this size they really can not be stacked on top of each other and easily accessed. They pretty much have to go side by side. He also left a gap at the top of each basket so that things could be thrown in without having to pull the basket out every time.
Here are some basics
Laundry baskets-Sterilite 2 bushel, shiny tan colored. Found Walmart for $8.99 each (regular price…I know. Kinda killed a little part of me to pay for 9 regular priced laundry baskets. Actually the lady did not charge us for the first 3 we bought….when we went back to look for 6 more they only had 5 and we had her charge us for the first 3 too…and we still need 1 because they did not have enough. Did you follow that?)
Wood for all 3 cost about $64. He used (2) sheets 3/4″ plywood for the top, sides, and bottom. (1) sheet of 1/4″ plywood for the backs. For the rails that hold up the baskets he used (4) 8 foot 2×2’s.
After be built them he sanded, primed, and painted with one good coat. By rolling on where you can you will be able to paint them faster and get a smoother coat. You can also use wood filler after sanding and before painting to get a more finished look on your plywood.
Tools and supplies used-wood, circular saw, drill, sander, level, 2 inch wood screws, 1/4inch screws for the back, wood filler, primer (if you have it), paint, paint brushes and roller.
I am sure I totally left something out. Just wanted to get this post up for people who were curious to see what these looked like. Let me know if you have any questions. I will try to get Hubs to provide me with some more detailed dimensions for this project. Maybe even some fancier pictures of the finished product.
Last year I asked for a planner for Christmas. My mom and I both share a love for organization and office supply type things. She and I decided on the Mom Agenda Desktop planner for me. Although there were pockets of time I did not keep up with it out of laziness, I still LOVED it.
My husband has tried to convince me to use Google Calendar more times than I can count. I really don’t think it would work for me. I really like having one thing in my life that still exists on paper. I love being able to physically flip through our schedule and have something to scribble notes onto.
Last year my planner was pink. This year I chose zebra. I would have chosen the killer giraffe one, but it was out of stock. The fact that I chose this one two years in a row says a lot.
It comes in cute colors.
The layout is spacious and has room for all my lists.
It is “week at a glance” for the main part of the planner and also has a month by month view.
It has room for all my lists I make.
It is a bit bulky
There is no pen holder
What planner or program do you use? Are you a paper planner girl too?
I believe I can email you a 10% off code if you are interested. Just leave me a comment or email me and I will forward it along. Sales come and go often. I believe my mom got mine for 50% off…but that might have been a Christmas special.
*momAgenda has no idea who I am. I was not compensated for this post in any way. These opinions are my own.
Sick…that is what we have been over here for a large chunk of the fall and winter. We have had something like 7 full blown viruses since the very start of fall. It is kind of a joke. A sick joke.
I am actually not sure what I think about it. I am still trying to sort it all out. I am sure God is trying to teach me something, so I am trying to pay attention. Something about relying on him. Something about how I can not keep my kids healthy. Something about how he is in control…not me. So I am just going to try and deal with it.
I have always said I would rather have it be me sick than my kids. Well that has happened too. The kids seem to bounce back between bugs…but I do not. I have asthma. I can’t eat half of the healthy things my family eats because of food allergies. It all plays a role. My lungs have been messed up EVERY single day for almost 4-ish months. I am not dying. I am not in severe distress. I am just trying to get through. I have had 2-3 likely sinus infections, but thanks to the neti-pot and some serious steam breathing, shower taking, bla bla bla I have kicked them. I am so thankful I did not have to take antibiotics. Antibiotics. They are bad for you. Extra bad for people with a handful of weird health issues like I have. Don’t feel bad for me. I am fine. But yeah. Still have the junked up lungs.
Kids currently trying to get healthy. Thought I had this cold already a few days ago…woke up today with a more sore throat than usual…NOW I might actually have it. Great. Hoping that by the grace of God, this one won’t set me back much. What has been happening is I catch a cold…kick most of it after about 3 weeks…and go back to where I was with my lung/asthma stuff. I have been seeing a naturopath for the first time. I know, kinda weird…kinda awesome. I have gone twice and have a whole arsenal of things I am trying. I am all about actually healing my body and getting it better rather than just taking stuff to mask the symptoms. I am am also totally for “modern” medicine when it is needed. But, I want to have a healthy body. I want clear lungs, and I would love to eventually be off of my daily inhaler. Because my asthma started up “randomly” after the twins were born I think it is possible to reverse some things and maybe not have to deal with it as much.
It has been a weird week. We actually planned a couple fun things with friends and had to cancel it all. My mom and grandma had other plans for all of this week and part of last so our “regular” grandma times that break up the week are missing. So here I am. Just me and my sick kids all day every day. And most of the time I can totally handle it. When your kids are uber grumpy, snotty, and needy and you are the only one to deal with it for most of the day…you just do. You are a mom and it is your job. God made us for this. Never easy, always worth it.
-Baby (17 mo) is actually sleeping through the night most nights (for the last few nights). See how loosely I refer to all of this? The decent sleep I am getting most nights this past week has been a huge blessing and a large part of why I am still sane.
-my Birthday my mother-in-law is bringing over a sweet cleaning lady to clean my house tomorrow (I don’t know her, but any lady who comes to my house to clean is “sweet”). Any guess what I have been doing for days to prepare? Clean. Nothing like the motivation of having two ladies in your home to get things moving. Cleaning right now=killing clutter piles and half dusting so that it looks like you might actually dust on occasion. Very excited and totally nervous.
I will leave you with some recent quotes.
“Mommy am I going to be sick on my BIRTHDAY???” Quote from my melodramatic 3 year old son whose birthday is not until February.
“Mommy, my head hurts…a little bit all over…I think it is a headache, but I will be easy going about it (in a fairly cheery voice)” Quote from my 3 year old Little Miss.
It’s that time of year again. The time when we all bribe our kids in attempts to get the “greatest family photo of all time” to send off to loved ones. On Saturday one of our friends blessed us by offering to take our picture. Our kids were not feeling well and it was cold and windy…but I am sure there are a few gems in there anyway. Our photographer used a tripod. Tripods always equal success.
When I heard about a program from Tiny Prints for bloggers to get 50 free photo cards I was thrilled. We have never used them before, but their cards look amazing!
Here are a few of my favorites (click on images for links)…
Which one am I choosing? NO IDEA! There are too many I really love. One thing I really liked about Tiny Prints was the number of types of cards you can choose from. They have the traditional rectangular and long photo cards, but also adorable tri-fold folding, and round. You can even get the corners rounded on your rectangular cards. If you go with one of the traditional cards I LOVE the rounded corner option. Many of the cards also have super cute printed backs that coordinate.
If you are shopping for cards their current promotion is save 20% off your entire order with the code 20SAVE (ends 11/15). I will watch to see what their next promotions is and update this post!
What are your tricks for getting a great picture of your family? Do you just pick the best picture from the last year and call it good, or have pictures taken specifically for your cards?
What to do when you have the itch to go out for a nice evening on the town, but don’t have a babysitter (I mean grandma) lined up? Dress the kids up and go anyway!
You make reservations so you don’t have to waste precious time waiting for a table.
You request “al fresco” so you don’t have to worry as much about noise or crumbs.
You walk a few blocks to get some gelato and let the tots ogle the selections a bit to build the anticipation.
You make them pose with you on a bench to try and get the perfect mama/child shot on the perfect shade of green bench…and then give up.
You ask for extra cups to split the yumminess and you dive in.
You find that the local book store is still open and the pull is too strong to resist. You try to explain to the twins why you are supposed to talk softly in a book store. Cultural norms are confusing to 3 year olds.
You find them both separately assuming the same posture in different parts of the store and realize that yes, they really are twins. And also growing up.
You attempt to get a family shot. Fail. And call it a night.
Admit that it was more fun with the kids than it would have been without.