.: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.

.:24:. To Err.

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:: when life gives you a lemon plant, have patience and watch those lemons grow!


During pregnancy or preparing for baby and the first years that follow, parents turn into walking talking teaching machines (and many years after). Trying to avoid error in parenting, perhaps? Unfortunately, error is inevitable.

| To err is human; to forgive is divine.” |                            – Alexander Pope

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Well, thank you Mr. Pope but forgiveness to oneself can be difficult and doesn’t feel very divine when I can’t seem to figure out my newborn’s needs, when I’m up all night with an uncomfortable child who can’t tell me what’s wrong, when a kiss on a boo boo is not the answer, when I first heard the words, “I don’t want you, mama.”

>Where did I go wrong? <<

What happened to my machine… that teaches “right” and “best”. How did I err and why does it not feel human?

This is so easy to think and so easy to point the finger at yourself. “Going wrong” is just not the route I thought I took. From the start I did what I was suppose to do.

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Per the suggestion of some psychologist somewhere I remember reading children’s books out loud while my little girls developed inside me. Even before that I quickly had my hands on parenting books – making sure my husband and I were well prepared to raise smart, curious and wonderful little people.

>This is where I went wrong.<<

Well, kind of. I’m not saying being prepared, educated and excited is wrong but…

I didn’t allow myself to just be. I found myself referencing every “how-to” book and following steps like a puppet. When I let certain things work themselves out and I relied on my gut for answers – those were the moments we I learned so much more. To watch in awe as their little brains developed. Physiological and emotional growth cannot be fully controlled by anyone else, but that being. It’s a beautiful thing that we (parents) think we have so much control over. We have a little more control at the beginning and then we pray (really hard), that are teachings help them decide what is “right” and “best” as they go from scooting to running a marathon right before out eyes. While they are figuring it all out… they will ERR and it will be ok – especially if we are there to tell them that it’s all ok because they are HUMAN.

We don’t get a report card to see how we’re doing with our children. We don’t get to meet with a coach who high fives us for our victories or benches us for our faults. What we get is this…

>without request, unprompted<< children who say “I wub you mama”. who look you in the eyes and say “thank you”… and then “you’re welcome” – because that’s how they hear it ☺️.  Who joyfully sing their ABCs and really everyother song you sing together. Who surprise you by counting past 10 one day (did I teach them that?) and curiously ask and tell me what color everything in the world is.

They are determined to complete tasks on their own, gently pushing me away… This is new to me. I’m proud but a tiny bit sad that my babies have hit the ‘no mama, I can do it’ stage. They are particular when it comes to colors and specific when we choose books. Decisions are complicated but powerful. When they make one, their excited eyes delight with joy and confidence… “I will brush my own teeth, mama!” “No mama, I will read the book.” “I don’t need to hold your hand, mama.” “I can do it ALL by myself.” This confidence amazes me. They can’t be trusted to do all the above by themselves just yet, but I can’t get in the way of letting them err.  We’ve all heard this and have probably said it before but, they need to fail before they succeed. The common conflict and result from failure is the fear to keep trying, the fear that failure may occur again. We can’t allow this fear in our children and at the same time, we can’t allow this fear in ourselves. We are HUMAN and we need to watch our little ones err, praise them for trying and encourage them to continue, while showing them that we also err and keep going.

As a parent, the most difficult part for me is knowing that they can keep going through failure in all aspects of life. That they can forgive themselves and others who may fail. I will not always be there to offer a helping hand or a wise word when someone shames them for failing, when someone discourages them or denies them the ability to succeed. But I can give them the best tools to embrace err, positively respond to negativity, succeed in their own way and be happy and confident little people.

Thank you Mr. Pope for shedding so much light on us humans – even before your fellow innovator, Mr. Edison, brought us an actual light.

Now, I must get on with my day… embracing err along the way.

 

.: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/

.:22:. >>2016<< a new year | a new version | no need for resolution.

 

my mini juviniles : Lainybug (L), Hannah bean (R)

–>> a H A P P Y new year.

ball drops | clean slate | the year is NEW and so are you!

The year of chalk art, glitter + selfies has ended… Ha. Just kidding! I’m pretty sure all of the above will just become more 2016ish.

I’m not really one for resolutions.  However, the idea of them is exciting and trying to work on something NEW is great, but I’m fully aware and accepting of the fact that in many ways I may return to myself from the previous year and continue with the routine of life that I’m comfortable with. If you can believe it, I do consider myself a very optimistic person (even though this may not read that way)…

I’m not saying I can’t or won’t start something new, I’m not saying I won’t make or accomplish goals and I’m not faulting those who do make huge changes. To be honest… my belief is that a change of a date and the transition of a new year shouldn’t be what ignites significant change. BUT, our society says it should and well… it works for many people. On the flip side, a new year can leave some people dissapointed, ashamed, doubtful, and unhappy that they couldn’t follow through… that they couldn’t make a real change… that they didn’t see purpose for anything new in their life. Sadly, this view is reality for more people than you might imagine.

So, my plan is to make it simple by taking a general+neutral route and be OK with what will happen this year and what will not happen. I still have goals but the result of accomplishing those goals is not fully dependent on a single date (for me).

If I really had to put these thoughts in the form of a Resolution it would probably go something like this…

In 2016 : Unpredictable, exciting, and sometimes planful events will define the 2016 version of myself and (honestly), my goal this year is… to be OK with however that may happen.

 

Much of what I’m saying, or trying to explain has almost everything to do with the mini juveniles I’ve happily shared a roof with for the past two years. These two (lady bugs and jumping beans) have truly molded me into the person I am right now. Just as they do with their play dough – today I stand tall like a lime green tree and tomorrow I may be a colorful blob on the floor. As a mom of two toddlers, my goals/my plans/my life in general is wholehartedly unpredictable now. Ok, we still make “plans” per say but I’ve learned to roll with the punches more than I ever imagined. My past “go go go” way of living hasn’t fully left me, but I am noticing the need to slow down – especially for my two peanuts whose little leggies can’t keep up with mine all the time.  Now, I’m learning to stop more often and rest with my girls – even when we should be moving and getting things done. I’m taking more moments to really look my children in the eyes when we talk and truly see them learning, understanding and discovering something new!

Prior to children, I had big goals – I made resolutions – and at the end of the year I found myself with mixed feelings… content with the achievement of certain attainable goals as well as disappointed for not reaching goals that I said I would reach. I don’t want my children to see this side of a new year. I don’t want them to think that a date really has the power to make them someone else, give them the ability to be superwomen at the “drop of a ball”, let them make unnecessary changes – just to make a change, I want them to be happy with how life unfolds. I want them to know that they can be superwomen without huge changes, even without telling the world about it… and that’s OK.

My Type A side : has made goals and loves making “to-do” lists of lists… of lists. The realist in me understands how these lists will work – they will be rewritten and rewritten. At the end of the year, I can look back and say…

…I made some pretty great lists and well, I am OK with that.

…I accomplished x y z and well, I am OK with that too.

…I watched my two little people grow, learn and explore a world filled with crazy expectations and well – – – we will all be ok!

Their is something to say about looking back onto a year and simply being content with all that it had to offer and in many ways surprised by unexpected successes!

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.:20:. This Mom life. {I’m getting it}

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More experience, longer amounts of sleep, a little more patience, thicker skin and a lot of emotional exposure…

This Mom life – – I feel as though I can say I’m getting it!

…at least more than I could say last year and much more than I could before I became a mother.

I get that it’s hard, stressful + exhausting. I get that it’s perfect, wonderful + absolutely amazing. Whether you have one or ten kids, chaos + beauty have no limits, they can be hard to separate and will change in definition each day.

In the past couple years I can say that I’ve found myself inpatient, fearful, concerned, overwhelmed, weak, helpless, exhausted, protective, critical, defensive, offended, stressed out, defeated…

But mostly and overall I am grateful, proud, amazed, blessed, strong, incredibly thankful, and so very much in love.

You might wonder why I would even share my negatives… Thankfully, these negative moments are shallow and short lived and tend to be graciously followed up by a deep positive that remains constant. Admitting to all the negatives is a little uncomfortable and yes, we can control our feelings. But I don’t believe I’m alone on this and if anyone tells me that they’ve felt none of the above (as a parent or mom), then I would love to know where you get your magic potions, which planet you reside on and I assume you click your heels and twitch your nose.

I think it’s necessary that we (mom’s) shed a little light on the truth. It’s not easy. Nobody understands our job, our role, our day, our struggles, our feelings besides us. We can seek advice or help and find a quick fix, a moment of encouragement or feeling of confidence but what nobody will ever understand is what goes on in our minds and exactly how our hearts and souls feel. In all our moments of glory and every moment of loss, WE may not even understand. But what we do know is that eventhough we hold the same title as “mom”, our motherhood experiences differ vastly.

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…even when we don’t think we have the time.

Whether you stay at home or seek balance between work and life… we all need to think twice before we judge our fellow Moms who were “called” for this role, just like we were. It can be so easy to misinterpret what we see on the outside, and (at times) difficult to look past perfection or disaster. We are all doing what we were meant to do. We are being the best MOMs we can be in the best way we know how – faults and all.

So, at the end of the day, when the kids are in their cozy slumber and all is calm – I’m learning to take a deep breath and know that all the good, bad and ugly I encounter from compliment to judgement… is just part of the formula that makes me MOM and how I handle it is what makes me human.

 

This Mom life – – I love it! Yes, my hands are full but my heart is overflowing…

From one {grateful, proud, amazed, blessed, strong, thankful and so very much in love} mother to another.

>>>Happy Mother’s Day<<<

.:19:. This thing called “bond”.

 

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Alaina (left) + Hannah (right): 20 months

April 10th marks National Sibling Day (according to someone, somewhere). I like to jump on bandwagons sometimes and celebrate random things. But this to me, this isn’t as random as one might think. I truly think this is something to be celebrated. The blessing of a sibling is amazing. We are born adoring our family, defending, protecting, and looking up to them. We soon find our own identity, we make our own choices and at some point we branch out and form our own life and family. But we never forget where we began. We may have our differences, strong views and perspectives in life, we may even lose touch or drift apart, but something holds us together – a memory, a story, a person… weak or strong, we always have a BOND.

I may be a dreamer, as I imagine my girls will remain best friends for the rest of their lives, thinking about how they’ll make the news… “90 Year Old Twins, Still Best Friends” (as they giggle over tea and hold hands).  Of course, my husband and I will be 120 living in a glorious place probably learning about such news via SKYpe (get it?). ah ha, ok (and I will not be a retired comedian).


Since day 1, I have been fascinated with this world of twins.  How special it is to raise two at once.  Chaotic and challenging in it’s own right, but this unique bond is simply amazing. I really wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. I am always surprised, taken aback and even a little offended (but I get over that quickly) when I get those looks of “good luck” or “no thank you”, as if raising twins would be the most horrible thing ever. I’ll tell you, it is not. Watching them grow up together is really the best thing ever.

{the beginning}
I recently found myself reflecting back on day 1, when my girls came into this world together, well… 2 min apart.

After a shocking welcome, followed by gasping screams of “I’m here!!!” my babies’ fears seemed to subside when they were near each other. When I first held them together, it was beautiful… and when they made eye contact, as blurry and non-identafiable as I’m sure it was, I could see their heart rates increase on the monitors. As a first time mom, with preemies, and in the Special Care Nursery, I was actually scared “what was happening?”, but I quickly understood.

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Eyes locked. hearts raced. hands touched. tiny coos emited from the mouths of two. two babes. sisters. twin sisters.

As I stared at two sets of tiny everything, my mind raced with wonder.

Do they know…

they lie beside a tiny shoulder they will someday cry on, another set of feet they will run and dance with, another mouth to chat and giggle with, hands to hold and hug each other with?

what fun they will have exploring this world together?

how much they love each other?

how much they’ve changed our lives?

{and the rest of their life}
I cannot predict their future, but I can pray that they remain beside each other. I pray they find comfort on each other’s shoulders when that time is needed.  I hope they can keep up with each other and wait for one another…even when one wants to go fast and the other wants to slow down. I hope they can speak the truth and advise each other while holding back words of regret. I pray they can support each other as they sometimes “learn the hard way” and as they make those big life decisions (college, career, love, family). Through thick and thin, good and bad.  Sisters, siblings, what a wonderful bond.

Watching my two innocent sweet baby girls grow right before my eyes, is more than a blessing, it’s an honor to be their “mama”.  I am determined to guide them together, teach them to love each other and always have each other’s backs. Partners in crime (to be expected), both of my social gals are beautifully unique; outgoing, silly, wispy strawberry blonde (Alaina) and timid, serious, clever, brunette (Hannah). It is so awesome to watch them teach and learn from each other as they explore the world in their own way. They had one another before I even knew them and I pray this amazing and unique bond will only strengthen throughout the years.

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tummy time + learning to sit is pretty fun with a partner.

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“I wub sissy” is a favorite phrase.

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Now, at almost 2 years old, I watch my once preemie girls learn to comfort and defend each other. With caution and delight I witness their precarious wobbly run as they excitedly chase one another. I can’t help but belly laugh along with them as they roll around on the floor or dance their little hearts out – clapping, screaming and stomping their feet ~ I’ve never seen such passionate little dancers. Waking up to their chit chat/giggle sessions is simply wonderful. And the hugging… Well, it may result in a tackle on the floor but it’s all good intentions!


This thing called BOND… I think they’re getting it.

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::Happy National Sibling Day::