Thursday, July 31, 2014

big kid beds

This happened last weekend:

I must admit, I actually cried as we took their two sweet Jenny Lind cribs apart. We had been talking about it all summer, but the act of seeing those baby beds dismantled and these full size beds in their place was quite overwhelming. My babies are people. People who sleep in beds! And to top off the emotional onslaught, that night they informed us that big kids didn't need sleep sacks. So, down with the cribs and the sleep sacks all in one day. 

As with basically every transition in their life, they were far more prepared than we could have imagined. We let them take part in the whole thing...helping to pick out bedding and pillows, disassembling, re-assembling. Barnes was very into his role as helper...he takes tools very seriously:

Frances, though, was more about holding a tool and smiling. Just as she usually gets "tired" when it's time to clean, she somehow managed to avoid all hard labor:

Somehow traditional gender roles prevailed in the crib dismantling:

And as soon as her big girl bed was ready, Frances immediately became a teenager, lounging in bed and checking instagram (her favorite social media outlet):

They have done incredibly well in their "new room" and love the freedom to play on their bed whenever they want. They insist on showing each visitor their big kid beds and have even allowed a few stuffed animals to be moved from the beds to the dresser. And as strange as it was to watch the change, I love seeing them stretched out. I love how long and big and independent and smart they are getting. I love that they could tell me what kind of bedding they wanted. I love that they like things a little different from each other, but that they still feel safer and happier when their twin is in the room. And I love how proud they are of themselves with each new life skill they acquire, even if it is as simple as sleeping in a real bed. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

a lesson in "yes"

Today was one of those "this is why I'm a stay at home mom" kind of days. but not because it was perfect. I mean, it was kind of close to perfect...a cool day in July, a few hours outside, a traditionally delicious Southern dinner. Today was great for all of those reasons, but also for an even bigger one. Today I was reminded, quite vividly, that while I usually see myself as my children's teacher, they so often teach me invaluable lessons. And while my lessons to them may include the all-important ABCs, their lessons to me many times make me not just a better mom, but a better person and a better follower of Jesus.

This afternoon we decided to check out a play area a friend told us about at Edwin Warner Park. She had warned me that it was essentially a mud-fest, but I was unprepared. It was essentially several piles of sand, a mud-covered playhouse, a mud creek, a water spicket, and shovels and buckets galore....a toddler's dream, but a slightly frightening sight for a mom who somewhat enjoys order and cleanliness. After a little encouragement, the twins were unstoppable. They dug, they pumped water, they poured, they used their hands. They did all the things kids should do in the summer. They got dirty. Really, really dirty. And while a part of me was freaking out, thinking their shoes would never be clean-ish again, I held that part in. And when they asked if they could fill another bucket, I said yes. And when Frances came over to tell me she was completely drenched (literally head to toe, y'all), I assured her that it was even. And when Shep wanted to crawl in the dirt and get it between his baby toes and on his beautiful face, I let him.

Y'all, the normal me was cringing a bit. Several times I almost declared park time over and pulled out the giant purell. But instead, I focused on saying yes. And I got to watch my kids have a magical time. And when I said we were leaving in five minutes and the twins begged to stay, I remembered that our "schedule" was completely self-imposed. So we stayed. And played. And got even dirtier, if that was possible.

I'm so grateful to spend my days with these three little ones. They remind me to slow down. To enjoy the dirt and the trees and the simplicity of creation. They are teaching me to not immediately jump to "no" when things seem a little inconvenient--that, in fact, the inconvenient parts of life can be the best parts. And they are helping me to remember that sometimes a day in the park can truly be the best day of all.

thankful for phone pics to capture unexpected sweetness

Sunday, July 13, 2014

from gingham to graphic tees

I love dressing Shep. Many moms think dressing a boy is less fun than a girl, but I truly love putting my little Shepherd in his precious jon jons and short alls and smocking. And I shudder to think that one day, like his brother, he will fight me like a mad man to wear a graphic tee to church.

When the twins came into the world, I tried to be reasonable. I loved dressing them in sweet, southern, matching outfits. I am a lover of all things smocked and appliqu├ęd. But I tried to be realistic. I reminded myself that all white wasn't necessary when rolling on the floor or trying to learn to feed ourselves. I let the onesies fill our drawers...trying to buy the most solid, least offensive ones (to my personal tastes) I could find, but slowly words and pictures crept in. Thoughtful gifts from others. A shark shirt at Target--B just loves sharks. A purple shirt with a snorkeling dog--y'all, it really is cute. Suddenly my littles had items in their closet that didn't exactly meet my picture perfect vision of dressing my children. And, at around 2, suddenly my littles were very vocal about what they would wear.

Frances still has her moments. Many days, like today, she will announce that she will only wear a dress. She may not choose one of my favorites, but at least it looks like we're trying. She seems to kind of get that there are times for a t-shirt and shorts, and there are times for our "good clothes." Barnes, on the hand, has become a fashion rebel, clinging to the bane of my mommy existence-- graphic tees. Y'all. He loves graphic tees. If it's a t-shirt and it has a picture on it, he thinks it is awesome. His current favorites are alligator, dinosaur, bicycle, yo-ho (pirate ship) and shark. And he wants to wear them ALL. THE. TIME. Despite all the other adorable options in his closet (monograms, button ups, smocked tees, polos), he goes for the graphic tee every single time. He was just certain that Jesus would love his shark shirt this morning, and trying to convince him that church called for a little fashion step up was like an exorcism. In all fairness to him, he's probably right. Jesus probably would like the shark shirt. I's a shark eating a hot dog that is holding a sign that says "help me." Right up Jesus' alley.

Really, though, I look at pictures of my sweet, tiny babies who lacked clothing opinions. I see how cute they always they let me dress them like they coordinated on all major outings and many minor outings. And as cute as they were, when I really think about it, maybe I don't miss that at all. Seeing them pick out their clothing, seeing what they love and what they feel comfortable in, it's just another aspect of watching their personalities blossom. Think about tend to choose clothes that make you feel more "you." The thought of getting a window into what makes B&F feel like themselves is mesmerizing. And if wearing an alligator that says "chomp" on it somehow makes Barnes feel happier and more comfortable, why in the world should I care? Surely my son's sense of self is more important than the image we project, right?

So I'm trying, trying to embrace the t-shirts. I even let them accompany me to Target and pick out a few themselves. I know individuality is so important, especially with twins. But that doesn't have to keep me from dressing Shepherd like a proper Southern boy for as long as he'll let me.

Monday, July 7, 2014

happy birthday to me

Ten years ago today, Andrew and I were sitting alone at Chili's on the strip. It was happy hour, and seeing as it was my 21st birthday, I was having my "first drink" there. I vividly remember that I had two frozen strawberry margaritas, he had two beers, and he gave me a panera gift card (I had literally never had a bagel and that completely baffled him). I also vividly remember that he declined the invitation to go out that night with my roommates and other friends. Andrew had just gotten out of his longest ever relationship, which didn't really end well. We had been friends for a few months and had fun each time we were together. I'm pretty sure I already had a crush on him...and I'm positive he did NOT have a crush on me.

Fast forward ten years, and we are together again celebrating my 31st birthday. In fact, other than the summer I was in China, we have spent every birthday since that faithful Chili's outing together. Most things have changed a party yesterday was filled with babies and toddlers and inflatable pools. Tonight's birthday dinner was at 5:00 pm and didn't include alcohol. But as boring as all of that might have sounded to my 21-year-old self, the changes have actually all been for the better. Each year truly is richer. And the most important things haven't changed a bit. The fact that there is no one I would rather be with on July 7th. The fact that ten years later, two of my 21-year-old self roommates are still coming over to celebrate, now with their kids in tow as well. And the fact that sweet Andrew still tries to make each birthday better than the last.

a little candle help 

a few college and law school friends

water fun, with a "lifeguard" in the back