.:28:. Like a gust of wind ~ Hello Again!


I walked outside this morning to (finally) put some Halloween decor away and a gust of wind hit me. With a deep breath I reminded myself that the week was 1/2 way over and then as a chill ran over my bare feet (true Minnesotan here) I realized that winter is right around the corner. Meaning… where did the summer and our always-too-short Fall go? I can’t even believe it’s November and we’ve already built a snowman, and the blur of the warm summer months have left me wondering what we did this summer…
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Have you blinked lately and went from one month to the next seven? Well, that’s me today.

So, Hello Again!

Today I’m choosing to sit and thoroughly enjoy some silence while my girls nap. I’m not running around cleaning up, finishing laundry, putting dishes away, decluttering… per the norm. Nope, I have my feet up and words in my head, just for this spot. I love to write and try to figure this whole motherhood/parenthood/life thing out through run-on sentences, more than enough exclamation marks and probably too many question marks!!!??!!

This summer with 4 year olds was really kind of like a swift gust of wind. A breeze that can’t decide which way it wants to blow. An unpredictable breeze filled with high expectations, surprising demands and pure joy in the midst of little plans. I very vividly remember the baby days, staring at their tiny little everything, wondering what they’ll be like as walking-talking people.

Welp, here we are!


Mid summer, I had a realization. This just may be one of the last summers I really have with them. To be plan-less and pokey with long pj wearing mornings. I have a confession, we really had zero regular commitments. No planned activities. Besides a couple small trips, we had a lovely empty calendar, uncertain of where we would go and how each day would unfold. Like the rapid pace of our carefree and plan-less summer, I know we will soon be chasing the clock from one activity to the next and I chose to embrace a laxidasicle summer, enjoying my wild and sweet girls in their element. As parents we are under such pressure to keep our kids busy, stay active in the community, always participate, volunteer, bake, create, and more. We’re often running around racing each other. I’ve done that and to be honest, I don’t always mind the hustle and bustle of being busy and involved but I only recently learned that the unnecessary pressure can wear us out and spread us so thin that we have zero energy to enjoy the simplicity of life that really needs our attention! If it’s hard for us adults to handle at times, how do our kids feel?! So I’m waiting just a little longer for that busy-ness in life to set in and push us when we just want to sit. I will not force it. I needed this realization and I believe it’s made me a better and happier mom.

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As carefree as this summer was, I found myself immersed in a foreign stage of life – not like the other stages with my girls…

I braced myself for the terrible twos but my husband and I agreed that age three was better suited for those expectations. Then, age 4 snuggled into our hearts so sweetly with a much bigger vocabulary and imagination, leaving us belly laughing and in awe of their profound curiosity. Then when we least expected it, this sweet age of 4 melted to the floor, flailed it’s arms and whined about everything under the sun… including the sun! And I’m not talking about a little bit of whining. On a sweet silver platter we have been served a large helping of whine, stuffed with whine, paired with a lovely side of whine and a dash of more whine… we accept our serving, and we think we can take it all, that we can handle it. Until we’re stuffed. Then we find ourselves ready for a very large glass of wine.

But seriously. What’s with all the whining?

So, I need to clarify… The terrible two expectations were dismissed by threenagers who busted down our walls, walls that lead directly into the exciting and crazy flames of wacky, wildly emotional, sensitive and strong willed 4 year olds.

Now, this is just our experience. I must say that age 4 isn’t only serving whine. It has been fun and so cool to see them grow – especially together. So, I’m not complaining about it all. It’s the emotions and power struggles that we’re dealing with – that yank our heart out one moment and want to snuggle in that very same moment. Like, who really is in charge? Every age brings its beauty and surprises us with its beast… just when we get comfortable and confident in our parenting ways.

I am so grateful for our lazy summer and hope I can find my bag of tricks while winter sets in for the next 5 months or so. And, like a gust of wind we will be singing the Birthday song to five year olds – I hear that’s a fun stage! 😉 😉

.:25:. PLAY, It’s simple.

 This morning I woke up with my girls and asked (as I do every morning), “what do you want to do today?”, and (as they do every morning), they excitedly responded by saying, “PLAY!!!”.

In the complex and constantly developing mind of a child, play is simple. It’s basic and requires minimal effort to ignite joy and fulfillment. Encouraging imagination isn’t complicated… with the use of tangible or intangible tools, PLAY is happening all the time in the mind of our kiddos and it becomes even more exciting, fulfilling and memorable when we also participate. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t “play” with my children every second of the day and they don’t want me to. They need to play with others and they definitely need to play alone. This is all part of their development.

However, too many parents get carried away by it all and (at times) I am one of them. They structure the day so tightly that they forget that play has to happen naturally. I reflected back on a day last week. Someone asked what we did and I blankly said “nothing”. I felt a bit unproductive, like a bad and lazy mom, and slightly embarrassed that we didn’t do anything on a beautiful day. But wait!!! We did so much more than nothing.

Danced and tumbled in the grass. We practiced somersaults and rolled down the hill, made angels in the grass and compared it to the snow that will come before we know it! We looked at the clouds while talking about the scratchy grass on our backs, and noticed the smell of summer in the air. Practiced whistling like the birds and counted the small planes departing from the local airport.

Read. They listened to my words attentively and made visual connections with the shapes of the letters and the imagery in the book. They recognized when I skipped a word, pointed out the yellow hat on the man, and counted all the fruit that very hungry caterpillar ate.

Pretended. We are at a fun stage. My girls love pretending. They acted out scenes from a favorite story, they made up their own story with an exciting “once upon a time” and a joyful “the end!”, they pretended to be the animals at the zoo, a doctor to their toys (fixing ‘owies’ and checking hearts) and they sweetly rocked and changed their babies like the little mommies they are.

^ This may seem like nothing, but to your child it’s exactly what they want and need!

Parents!!! Enough with the pressure. You don’t need to go places all the time. You don’t need to be so busy. You don’t need to have the best and biggest toys. Play does not require a plan. It’s doesn’t require a location, a certain day, and it definitely doesn’t require a reason! Play happens every single second of the day for children and it’s important that we recognize this with encouragement and support. I am not doing “nothing” when all of the above is accomplished in one morning. We are busy bonding, building brains and making memories.

With all of this in mind, I love going places with my children and I appreciate the importance of learning and exploring other places than home. But, what I’m also learning is to ignore the pressure and not feel so bad when we do stay home to PLAY. If you’re the type of person that needs to get out all the time, I commend you and I am sure you are making wonderful memories… but just know that when you stay home, you are still surrounded by many opportunities for your kids to PLAY, explore, learn and simply be happy.

Some days it’s just too much to expend all my morning energy into packing a car for two kids, quickly dressing pokey children, eating on the run, and skipping naps. It’s just not always worth it.

I encourage you, you reading this, you with the to-do list in your hand and the plan ready to be implemented. STOP for a moment and just let your littles PLAY at their own pace.

One day, they will leave the house and you will beg for them to come home as much as they can. Enjoy these days, these simple days of PLAY while it lasts… and go roll in the grass with them!


THAT is what PLAY is all about. Simple, beautiful, PLAY.

.:23:. // hibernation \\ 

^Bear cub A (Lainy) – – – – Bear cub B (Hannah)^

A few months ago (right before the real cold set in), I went on a chilly walk with my two little ones. We strolled past a grassy den-like cove, that looked as though it could be a perfect spot for a bear to fluff her pillows and chill until spring. I discussed this scenario with my girls – how bears hibernate, taking long naps until “the snow starts to melt and pretty little flowers bloom!” I made it sound very desirable with subtle persuasive cues alluding to how wonderful sleeping is.  …praying they would take a nice long nap when we got home.

Then I had one of those moments, as we continued our walk in silence… One of those daydream moments. I imagined myself nestled in that cozy spot, laying on freshly fluffed pillows, getting a wonderfully long nap… Just like a mama bear (in my story, bears love fluffy pillows). I imagined someone graciously bringing my girls home to their beds while I snuggle up in that den and get lost in sleep. Unfortunately,  I’ve been cursed with a terrible ability to nap – I’m not typical mama bear material… but the “daddy” bear I share my fluffy space with has a pretty comfortable relationship with hibernation ;).

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taken by one of my children and very fitting as this is the typical view of my lower half…

As a Minnesotan, I’ve proudly worn my puffy parka and big-ole-furry boots to the grocery store. I love when big pretty snowflakes fall from the sky, I can handle below zero weather and dark winter mornings haven’t kept me from being a morning person. – – – But as a mama in Minnesota, I now have my puffy parka pockets full of Kleenex, bandaids, disney chapstick, extra tiny gloves, crumbs of some sort, something sticky or just plain unknown… My big-ole furry boots once looked cute when I wore my sassy skinny jeans but now they stare up at me partially covered by my yoga pants and yell “get a hold of yourself! What is happening here?!”. Oh, and mornings… I’m still (what some might consider) a morning person. However, sluggishly rolling out of bed has become a more common introduction to the day. We push ourselves out the door like a roll of Pillsbury dough… you know the ones that “POP” open when you peel them and hit the container against the counter (release of aggression, EH?). Well, I’m not aggressive… and I’m not Canadian but their is a small sense of fulfillment when that tube pops open.  Where in the world am I going with this? This is exactly how we get out of the house. After all of the getting un-dressed/dressed/brushing teeth/throwing little tantrums/trying to look like tame sweet bears… once we “POP” out of our cozy den of a home, their is a huge sense of fulfillment + accomplishment. Really? Yes, with two toddlers who love playing in diapers and have a strong sense of determination when it comes to dressing themselves – inside out . upside down . slowly but surely – getting out of the house feels like I completed a marathon some days, and I only have two!

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Me + my bundled little cubs, just to walk into the mall…

Motherhood is tiring. Just ask any mama bear… Go ahead, she’ll tell you exactly why she naps for so long. Because she NEEDS it! Or she’ll growl and claw at you, due lack of sleep and frequent interruption of the hibernation she’s seeking.

>Funny story<<

Their once was a tired mama bear who never hibernated and she was extremely exhausted, and possibly a little irritable. With a smile and many sighs, she did what she could to keep her ‘coat’ clean and fluffy, her den in order and her cubs content. However…

…some growls and sharp claws may have come out a few times……..maybe.

The end.<<
Unfortunately, us mamas don’t get to nap like real mama bears, but we definitely deserve a break and time to ourselves. We need a little R&R, we need to slow down, take deeper breathes, fluff those pillows and chill until spring. Winter can really drag a mom down and wear her out – especially after months of being continuous toddler entertainment, while (mostly) indoors.

Now, excuse me while I go fluff my pillows in my den and close my eyes for a few months…

…or minutes. (very easy to get those two confused).


 

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I’ll let daddy bear take over.

 

 

 

 

>Follow Ladybugs + Jumping Beans :: LBJB on Facebook too https://www.facebook.com/ladybugsjumpingbeans/

.:21:. switch :|: flipped


Almost 3 months ago we celebrated 2nd Birthdays!

I love planning these little get togethers, and going a little overboard for our little ones that still know very little about the world. Although, it was fun planning and joking that… if Pinterest didn’t exist we would all just be staring at each other and wondering: what the theme was, where the mason jars and chevron patterned napkins were hiding and why I didn’t build a life size wooden ark out of old pallets (throat clear) – our theme was Noah’s Ark Two by Two… and no, I did not build an Ark.

>>I would say less than 24 hours after 8:30am and 8:32am on 6/29/15 – something changed…

Summer had already begun but our official welcome to the sunny days ahead was that of two year olds that took over our world, with open arms and sticky fingers. I remember one night after they turned (two), my husband and I had just collapsed on our bed after a challenging bedtime routine. I imagined my sweet girls slowly morphing from fluffy pink princess gowns and smiles, into chains and leather flashing me their gang signs and gold teeth… yelling, “what? you can’t handle this?! well, get ready cuz we’re TWO!”  Little did I know this envision was kinda-sorta a premonition. After that sweet day of celebration filled with good company, yummy food and a song or two, I feel as though it’s safe to say that the switch has been flipped. You know, the “I’m a toddler” on/off  switch. It’s technically on auto-pilot and after reading the instructions, a special set of skills (along with major growth and development) is required before it can be turned “off”. I hear this can take years… err, maybe that’s just what it feels like. Well, due to small clues and warning signs… I had a feeling this phase was approaching – kind of like a flickering light during a storm. As if to say, “find shelter, it’s about to get loud, scary and dark! …and their is nothing you can do about it.”

 

from…

 to…

looks at those faces >>total gangsters<<

With two little ones (especially twins), I’ve been given more advice than I ever signed up for. Recent advice has revolved around this infamous stage ~  the “terrible twos”. I’m told it actually begins at age three. Which, by the way, is not something a mom of twins wants to hear. Ok, let’s be real… nobody wants to hear that, especially while already lacking sleep and trying to “shhhhhush” a screamer or two in the middle of the grocery store. I’ve been told that it’s going to be “so hard with twins” (while getting a quick pat on the back followed by a semi-serious thumbs-up and a dash to get away as if I had a terrible virus). I’ve also heard that it’s really a “trying time”, a true “test of parenthood”… a struggle, a challenge and the list of partially negative descriptions goes on.

WELP, we’re “on”. We’re live, the doors have been kicked open (and kicked and kicked, and pushed and kicked) and there is no turning back. You know back to those warm cuddly baby days – when they just cooed and stared deeply into your eyes until they fell asleep. Or those days when I could tell you exactly when I was going to get a break because naps were predictable. Oh wait, even those days when I could eat a meal without two sets of hands playing with my food – because when you’re two, you’re way too good for highchairs (at least that’s what our girls have decided).

 

goodbye high chairs > bibs + shirts are optional.

Here’s the catch – they are growing and developing like any other human and it’s not suppose to be easy. But it sure puts a cramp in my ‘chill’ style. Yes, as a mom I feel fairly ‘chill’ on occasion. I have days that I think, I finally got this and everything is “kinda-sorta” under control. I’m not trying to make any moms feel bad, because I know not everyone feels this way. I will tell you that this feeling or moment has been short lived lately, but it still gives me a nice little boost. Now, (more often) I am exhausted and trying to keep up with the pace at which my little ones are changing. I’m not sure how to exactly explain this but if you add some bad hair and bags under the beady/perky eyes of the “one eye shut/tongue sticking out emoji” >>> that’s me to a “T”! My two 2-year olds have successfully figured out how to make me look like the crazy emoji.

>> 😜 << like that, just like that!

The SUMMER OF 15 has been quite the intro to this new stage of life. 1. Language development and communication have blown my mind and 2. the emotional side of (probably) raising girls has slapped us in the face and definitely 3. strength and confidence have decided to be BFFs, but they rarely agree with each other.

:1.Language: It’s fascinating to watch my own children learn how to communicate, try to understand and listen to them repeat every word they hear. Oh, I’ll back up <<<< EVERY word they hear. We don’t (really) have potty mouths, but I’ll just let you imagine (anything anyone says, wherever we may be… they say and then they repeat it 10 times – – – or 30 times). I can understand most of what they say, but when I don’t… it’s A. just a cute, fun little guessing game or B. a sad and angry little face that says “you’re MY mom, you should know what I’m saying”… I’ll admit, they’re doing a great job with clarity and pronunciation but when we don’t understand what they’re trying to tell us, it’s as if we’re the alien on their planet and if we can’t translate within the next milisecond we’ll be sent back to a horrific planet (probably filled with DINKS basking in the sun – – oh, I remember those days).

BUT, at the end of summer I was proud to hear my little ones count to ten, recite their “ABCs”, politely ask for things using the highly desirable “please” and “thank you” and actually have a conversation (“kinda-sorta”).

:2.Emotions:

 

Tantrums and crocodile tears will appear with no warning… over lack of song singing, too much singing, being too clean or too dirty, broken crackers, lack of sharing, the natural and competitive nature of twins who enjoy copying each other but also want to be the one that did it first. This whole “copying each other” is pretty cute… While CUTE, it’s also deceiving. I have a couple dramatic princesses. Many times I have thought about counting the frequency of “whiny moments” and then I realize these moments are sometimes too hard to separate. I’m sure this is probably the thought running through their heads, on repeat… “It is so hard to be a child, a child living in a safe home with fun toys, healthy food and happy parents who love me.” But really – what is with the whining? It is the current soundtrack of my life and I’m not sure if this is wise for me to admit, but I’m starting to dance to it – – because it’s the only way I can remain sane (along with a glass of wine). I think… if I’m dancing to their cries+screams (after trying every way I know to solve the problem) then they’ll eventually calm down and dance with me! Better than getting angry, because… I’ve also been told that this stage will really “challenge your emotions as a parent”. I’m not saying I’ve never been angry or exposed my frustration to my little life learners but I try to remind myself that this is going to be a very very distant memory someday (sadly) and when I can look on the bright side and tune out the craziness, life is so much better!!!

:3.Strength + Confidence:

Strength >>”Oh, hey there! I’m really super strong (I think).”

Confidence >>”Hey! I’m incredibly confident, we should be BFFs.”

Ok, so I wasn’t there when this decision was made and handshakes were exchanged between these two valuable traits… traits that I’m proud my two year olds uphold, but need a little lesson on managing them as a unit.

At times my children (like most) believe they are invincible and indestructible, climbing anything, diving into and off of everything… I love watching my girls explore and really use their imagination but we have yet to learn about fear and danger. However, I do have one fairly cautious gal (Hannah) and one who takes the lead (in many cases) and attempts “the impossible!”. As stated above… one thing about having two is that they do “copy each other”. So, cautious Hannah will watch and observe the accomplished or failed feat of her brave sis, Lainy, and then make a decision based on the results. Sounds like a simple and smart move. Then, she just goes for it in her own invincible way… because why would she miss out on that opportunity?! Luckily, cool bandaids and kissing ‘owies’ have been a pretty good cure so far.

However, I’d like to have a word with our pals, Strength + Confidence and say… “first of all, thank you for befriending my children but can you please play well together, be patient with each other and don’t over do it?!” All I want is a little more balance in this area. HA! Toddler life doesn’t have much (if any) room for balance.

>>As we welcome fall, I reflect back onto this new stage we’ve entered and I’m in awe at how our babies have turned into walking talking (sometimes sassy) people, right before our eyes and ears, and in such a short time!

We lost a little more sleep in these past few months, we’ve been challenged with the (expected) language barrier, we’re working on maintaining our sanity through unpredictable emotions, we’ve started potty training (kinda-sorta) and watched our two monkeys tackle strength and confidence while learning how to climb in and out of their cribs and release themselves into the world with little warning. We learned that car rides longer than an hour can quickly increase our heart rate and make earmuffs very desirable, even in the summer (our 6+ hour road trip this summer was a joy 😜).

Numbers, words and new sentences fall out of their mouths like cracker crumbs along with very high pitched screams. Their little minds are constantly ON. I anticipate a fall and winter filled with even more energy, excitement and probably a little more whining (and wine), but I want to thank Summer for welcoming us into this crazy world of #toddlerlife…

~~~>(sending good vibes to all who will be cooped up with toddlers this winter). To all parents ready to enter this stage or already in this stage… hang in their, hold on tight and know that their is a bright light at the end of the tunnel. Eventhough it’s hard to see at times, this is a fascinating period of growth and development.

Embrace it as much as you can… especially before the chains and gang signs come out!

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>>the best part about his stage (as crazy as it can be), we are making so many great memories!!<<

you can never take enough pictures!