.: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! 😉 😉

.: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!

 

.:18:. Moving on.

{The Beginning . Fall 2007} we became first time home owners of a cute town home!

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pre-kids, we actually ate outside a lot, played some intense games of Yahtzee, enjoyed the lovely sounds of cars driving by as well as the millions of large bees that hung out in our only tree.

Easy downtown bus route for the hubby’s job, walking distance to park, farmers market, shops and restaurants. Just outside of downtown to feel busy and quiet at the same time. We had a heated garage (huge bonus in MN), and belonged to an association that kept our grass green and neat and our stairs shoveled (at 2am… shoveled nonetheless!).

While residents of our new town… we got married, bought a dog, had a couple jobs, took some awesome trips, met some wonderful people, had two kids and now we’re ready to proudly mow a lawn and tackle some snow with our own hands (I have a feeling I will not be as excited as that probably sounds)! We enjoyed the town fair, fireworks view from our front windows, meeting neighbors while walking our dog… or meeting their dogs (truth: funny how you end up knowing the dogs names vs. the neighbors names). I will really miss Sparky + Lulu – they were awesome neighbors.

::The (actual) Neighbors:: became comparable to the movie, “Neighbors”. The basis of the movie is ridiculous and very unreal, for the most part. However, certain scenes were uncomfortably real for us. Ok, comparing us to this movie is a bit of a stretch but their were more similarities than any normal person would care to accept. For many years we were calmly sandwiched in between a very nice man who kept to himself and a young couple who we rarely saw. Really, our entire development was full of yuppies, retirees, or road warriors who called their town home a 2nd place to live. As we were just getting used to life with two babies, our nice calm neighbors moved and we were blessed with a hip young guy and his lady friend. They introduced themselves along with their friends on the week they moved in and on a day they had to get to a concert and use our printer for the tickets.  We were like, “of course, yeah that’s totally cool, cause we’re totally cool and hip and oh yeah… I need to go breastfeed my screaming twin babies quickly, but please help yourself and no need to take your shoes off or leave your cigarette outside.  We’re super cool, so whatever.”. We actually did try to come off this way initially, while throwing looks of “what are we doing?” at each other. I think it was the dirt left behind or the cigarette smoke that lingered in the air or even the mesquitoes that made their way in, as the angst party crew sat in our doorway.  All of this got to us quickly and we knew we were in for some “real fun”. Fortunately, they were very nice. When we asked if they could please turn their music down, they would apologize and turn it down. When we complained too may times, we received a nice bottle of wine – who knew?! A final straw seemed to calm things down a bit… An attempt to politely (again) ask for them to “keep it down”, I almost walked into a contradicting house plastered with Miley Cyrus and her infamous wrecking ball on one wall, Our (blessed) Saviour on another wall, a billowing cloud of smoke and a naked dance party. A quick glance into the house made me turn around and just pray someone else says something. Luckily, I wasn’t the only neighbor who was annoyed.  We finally had some peace (for a little bit).

::Wednesday nights:: is beer pong night! Yep, of all nights. The middle of the week. Not a Friday, not a Saturday… a Wednesday! They would loudly congregate outside right when we had to get the girls to sleep (their front door and the girls’ bedroom window were just feet from each other). They amped up their base so the neighborhood would know where the cool kids were. I used to think our walls were thick and kept sound in very well (this was probably a selling point when we bought). That sound barrier was quickly broken and we very slowly got used to hearing the repetitive bounce of the ping pong ball, followed by loud cheers filled with laughter and cursing.  …you know, kind of like a lullaby. I say this because our nursery shared the closest wall. This was a huge source of frustration in our new parent life and then (when I knew their was really nothing I could do about it)… I dug really really (really) deep, to look on the bright side. The sounds became fairly similar to that of a heartbeat and faintly comparable to life in the womb (I assumed).  For my children… I ran with this positive spin.  For me and my husband, we didn’t sleep very well for the past year and we quickly became irritable on Wednesday nights/Thursday mornings when guests were leaving and shameful walks began… Needless to say, we were very anxious to move.  Funny, our girls were great sleepers through it all and they still are (should I thank the neighbor for this??).

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After months with our house on the market… something had to be done. This was that “something”. Probably not what sold our house, but this was our fridge the week we found our buyer!

::Showings:: are not easy with two kids and a dog but I didn’t know how hard it would really be to present my home as if I didn’t have two kids and a dog… on a moments notice.  Ok, we did get some notice. Just enough time to clean up and display our life as semi-perfect and neat (and I prayed they wouldn’t open up any cabinets or closets – ha). But it was exhausting and challenging trying to coordinate naps and meals around showings. Silly to think I could keep my house ultra clean with two toddlers –  I even had a very real nightmare that everything was perfect besides an open poopy diaper in the middle of the floor. It was comical wrangling my gang out the door while I wasn’t suitable to be seen in public (heaven forbid I remember my bra or matching socks), where was the time to get myself ready?? A calm sense of hope would quickly come over me, always thinking “this could be our buyer!”.  Until they opened up our cabinets or closets. I learned quickly that clutter can easily be misinterpruted as poor maintenance.  Well, thanks to some very persuasive fridge magnets the right buyer came along and not shortly after… we found our next home!

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these were just the first few boxes 🙂

::Packing up 7 years:: of our life is really bittersweet. So much nostalgia emerges, along with a lot of dust and junk. But I hold on so tightly to memories. I had moments of reminiscing where all my senses would awaken bringing me back to those moments… I could smell the rosemary bread (“bun”) in the oven as I thought about the night I told my hubby he was going to be a Dad, or I felt the warmth of layered cozy clothes when we lost our heat in the winter, I paused remembering the simple sounds of busy cars flying down our street or of our sweet new babies sleeping for the first time in our home (baby snorts and all sorts of unfamiliar new sounds), and I was overcome with emotion at various times re-envisioning my girls’ “firsts” in this house. Well, if you haven’t caught on, I’m a bit sentimental and probably reminisce about as much as a teenage girl tries to fix her hair… ha! Remember those days? Ugh my hair and that silly cowlick gave me so much unnecessary stress. Oh memories!! … ok, enough reminiscing. Where was I?…

…Packing up our life. Packing in general “sucks”, as my husband would say. I have to agree (for the most part). Packing is also a great opportunity to TRY to declutter. We started out really strong and just didn’t care in the end – we may have packed a couple boxes of garbage (I don’t remember).

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the girls found many uses for the boxes… they were especially great to color and climb on.

On top of the basic task of packing up a house, packing with children is like putting an open box of treats in front of a litter of puppies. Most boxes we shut were reopened and quickly unpacked as if the most amazing toy they’ve ever seen was hiding at the bottom. If they weren’t emptying, they were excited to help by filling boxes with anything they could find (ie. socks, crayons, food). I already know we’ll be excited to unpack once we arrive at our new home and I’m sure we’ll be surprised at some of the things we’ll find… thanks to our very helpful mini moving crew.

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I double checked, and no I did not pack either child. However, our boxes were labeled appropriately, just in case.

::Moving on:: is a thrilling experience. A shiny new home – we’ll be the first to step inside and say “this is ours” but oddly that isn’t what excites me the most…

A place to hide a garbage from my mini dumpster divers (yay for cabinets made for this), a driveway ready to welcome any chalk graffiti artists, a front view of a peaceful neighborhood – unlike the businesses and busy road that blocked us from a larger busy road, a lawn to mow… ok, more like – a lawn to plant on/build a snowman on/pitch a tent on/do some cartwheels on – you know, all the basic turf play that requires more than a 4’x2′ plot of grass. Another bonus that I’ve never had in my adult life… a basement with a lot of potential – first: to contain all the “stuff” we’ve collected over the years that has no place besides an actual basement. Lastly, just general space. Happy to have a place for guests (aka Grandmas) to comfortably sleep and shut a door for privacy… happy to spread out my girls’ toys so it doesn’t look like a daycare in the entire home… happy to finally feel home.

But really, I will miss the “home” we grew to love, where my hubby and I started our life together, where we regulary sat on the front patio in the summer to eat, listen to the busy city and play a little Yahtzee – kind of like we’ve been married for 50 years. but I’m so much more excited for the home we will make the most amazing memories in, as we watch our little ones grow!

goodbye

Saying goodbye to Golden Valley. The last day in our first home. March 2015.

{Life Continues . Spring 2015} Our first home, with a lawn and a basement – yippee!

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::Our New Home::