Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Christmas Giveaway Gifts 240x240

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Another Babylegs contest!

So go here and enter:
Good luck!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Waldorf Style Hand-crocheted Dolls

As a little girl, I always loved dolls. I had quite a collection from porcelain dolls to cornhusk dolls. Some of the ones I enjoyed the most were very simple dolls that gave my imagination plenty of room for creative play! My grandmother taught me to crochet years ago, and now I have created a very simple Waldorf-style doll just like the kind I would have loved as child. Since this is my pattern, it is unique and each doll is one of a kind, crocheted with cotton yarn and “huggably” stuffed to the perfect softness! My daughters and I love them! I am selling these dolls locally now for $12 so that I can buy more yarn to make more dolls. Eventually, I would charge more for them, because each takes about three hours of time from start to finish, plus the cost of materials. I can provide pictures of some of the other dolls I have available, but here is an example. (For $16 I can custom make a doll with specific color choices for dress and skin tone. It may take up to one week to complete.) Thanks for looking! Please e-mail me with any questions.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Win Babylegs!!!

This is one of my favorite new to me anyway. Babylegs are so adorable and practical! Here's a contest to win a pair or two. Check it out:

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Advice to my dear pregnant friend....

(let's call her Julie)
for whom I am VERY VERY excited!
I'm compiling some advice for you and whoever else is interested:
Obviously, every family is different and to a certain extent you’ve really got to make choices based on your own situation. But, I have really gotten a lot of useful info from other parents and reading reviews has helped me a lot (although eaten up a lot of otherwise valuable time).
A huge piece of advice that I have found helpful is buy used when possible. For instance, my dad bought a swing for us for $15. It was absolutely invaluable for a very short time. I would have been frustrated to shell out $60 on it, but for the price it was great. We were able to re-sell it for the same. It’s a good idea to decide what you want new and what you are open to buying used. The consignment sales will be coming up in the next few months and they will have tons of great stuff, some barely used, but it is mind-boggling if you don't decide ahead of time what you are looking for.

Here are a few “biggish” things that I think you will need one way or the other:

1) Crib---several options: convertible, or not; there are even these awesome round cribs, some sides raise and lower, others don’t. You may not need this right away, and could use a pack ‘n play or bassinet for a couple months before investing in the crib. Obviously, you know all this, but anyway…

2) Carseat---several options on this front too. Most people get infant car seats with the handles, and then a bigger one down the road. Other people get convertible car seats that can go from infant way up through toddler. It may depend on the size of your baby…mine were too little for those at first. Personally, I think having a handle so you can carry the whole seat while baby is asleep is invaluable. Many different price points and safety features. You’ll probably need to research this.

3) Breast pump---you will probably want to get one of these ahead of time. They can be rather expensive and if you are going to pump while at work you want a pretty good one. Double electric is the way to go. Manuals are stupid and singles are stupid. Single manuals are just idiotic (in my humble opinion ;-) Mine wasn’t that great but you are welcome to borrow it; you buy all the fresh tubing and pump parts so it isn’t gross to share!

4) Pack ‘n Play----most everyone needs one of those these days. Depends on how much you may use it on the features you will want. If it’s just for traveling, a simple cheap one will work fine. If you want to use it a lot at home too, then they have nifty ones with changing tables, mobiles, diaper stations, bassinets and tons of cool stuff.

5) High chair----of course you won’t be using this until baby is 6 months old, so you can hold out and look around. I really really wish we had bought nicer convertible chairs that could be used for a long time:

6) Stroller---another thing you will want to research. So many options are available, especially for singles. Some important functions for me are lightweight, basket underneath, cup holders, and maneuverability. Also, consider air-filled tires (like bike tires), v. plastic tires. It’s important to have a good canopy that actually covers the baby. You may want two, a cheap-o umbrella stroller, and a more heavy-duty jogger for outdoor use. Travel systems allow the infant seat to snap in to the stroller, which is pretty awesome. Some jogger’s have this option as well. Here is one that intrigues me:

7) Diapers: Cloth vs. Disposable. A lot to consider here too. A big issue is who/where you will be getting childcare. Some people are NOT into doing CD, and may insist on “’sposies’”. A neat place to learn about CD and other natural baby options is: You will have to register to ask questions and make comments but it is quick and free. I’ve gotten a lot of useful info here. Two other ones I frequent are: and My user name is Melaine if you want to look for me there.

8) Bathtub---here is the one that we have and LOVE: We still use it today.

9) Changing table----we just put a changing pad on top of a dresser. Works great. Most of the time we changed them on the floor, anyways, and at least this is a piece of furniture that will be functional for a long time.

10) Nursing pillow---we had boppys, they are great. You are welcome to borrow “my breast friend” which is great for BFing but isn’t useful for tummy time, etc. like the Boppy.

11) Bedding, etc. you will need crib sheets. They have nifty ones that zip on and off but they seem pretty expensive. We got most of ours used so we would have plenty all the time without shelling out the cash. We used the same sheets for the pack ‘n play; most worked just fine. Receiving blankets seem like a popular gift, it’s nice to have about 8. Whether or not you’ll need thicker ones, I don’t know, since your baby will be a spring baby. SwaddleMes and Halo Sleep sacks are also great. We loved them and still use Halos ALL the time. You will need burp clothes, the cheap-o cloth diapers work great for this. Also bibs, you can start out with just a few and see if your child needs 1000000 like mine did. Maybe you’ll be lucky and 5 will be enough.

to be continued....

Love, Your Baby Consultant Extraordinaire

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Another fun contest....

Check it out, you can win one of the Oopsy Daisy baby products; it's very easy to enter!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Win A Klean Kanteen!!

You guys should totally enter this know how great Klean Kanteens are, right?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Magic Amber Beads

As I was browsing one of my mommy forums this morning, I came across a product, new to me, that I found totally fascinating, amber teething necklaces for babies and toddlers. I first saw the cute little ones wearing these beautiful natural necklaces and thought, "what in the that safe?" I began reading up on it, and found this info:

"Among other things, Baltic amber is a natural pain reliever, an anti-inflammatory, and an anti-oxidant. It is beneficial to the immune system, and helps combat infection and skin conditions. Amber has been used in Europe as a natural and traditional remedy and curative formany ailments for centuries. Long ago it was considered one of the leading ‘medicines’ of its time. "

Since I am totally interested in natural remedies of all kinds, I continued to read and found that the necklaces can also help adults with arthritis and other chronic pain conditions. Even migraines. And they are so pretty and nickel-free which is fabulous to me now that I can't wear most of my jewelry due to the allergy.

The necklaces for the little ones are made with knots in between each bead, so that if it were to break the necklace would still stay intact. Obviously you wouldn't put the child to bed wearing this or leave them unattended, but apparantly most children quickly get used to them and forget they are there. The "best" place to buy, according to my mommy sources is here:

I see that they offer a 20% disount on co-ops and we could each order individually, so I am wondering who else is interested? The necklaces seem to run $10-$15 and they also have bracelets and anklets. I want to get a necklace or two for myself, one for each of the girls and may get a few more for gifts. If we can come up with 25 items total we'll get the discount (and I will get a free piece of jewelry, :-D).

By the way, it may seem weird to put a necklace on a boy, but I saw pictures and they were totally adorable. Some of them look kind of like those chunky beach-y looking necklaces that guys wear. Apparently, even adult men wear them too. (Of course, my husband would have to be in more than just pain to put one on himself....)

Any interest? Or do you think it's totally crazy? Let me know!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Tapestry

As the cock crowed, sunlight leaked through the wooden chinks of the log cabin and a gnarled old woman lifted herself from the quilted bed. She slowly made her way to the corner where stood her loom. Painstakingly polished and oiled, the loom was in perfect order, ready to build, to create; ready to perform a miracle. Around the loom, in meticulously twisted loops and balls, was the thread, a myriad of colors piled high in deep rainbow mounds. All the colors of sunlight shone there; there sparkled every shade of the sea. And there, the woman sat down to start working. Deliberately, she began her magic, weaving together the separate threads to build what would be a glorious whole. As she worked, the front door creaked slowly open. Two wide, curious blue eyes peered around the threshold, followed by a shock of unkempt, rough blond hair. Slowly, the boy crept into the room and crouched quietly beside the old woman. Nevertheless, she continued her work, unbothered by his steady gaze. For hours he watched her, staring at the jumble of threads and the rough confusion that began to develop from the rainbow fibers. The boy watched, fascinated, until the sun was sucked down over the horizon and darkness consumed the daylight. The very next morning, the boy returned to watch the woman take her place at the loom. The next day was the same, and the next, and the next. Always silent and attentive, he studied her every move as her hands slid among the fabric with strength and grace. Her project seemed a mystery to his young eyes. How would her swiftly moving fingers along with the steady rhythm of the loom ever transform single threads into a whole fabric? Again and again he visited the little cabin and slowly, but surely, her creation began to take shape. The work went on for days, it continued for weeks, and finally it stretched into months. At last, for the first time, the old woman spoke. Firmly, quietly, and with full confidence she uttered, “It is finished.” Tenderly, lovingly, she laid the cloth over a chair and leaned back with a sigh of pride. Somehow, however, it wasn’t what the boy expected it to be. In fact, he somehow felt frustration welling up inside him at the sight of the finished product. He could only stare at it. The woman turned to him, “What is wrong, child?” she asked. With disappointment so strong, he could almost taste it, the boy shook his head. “It’s done?” he demanded, incredulous, “That’s all?” The woman only nodded. The boy was obviously disturbed, even upset. “’s a mess!” he ran his fingers over the tangled web of knots and snarls. “You spent so many hours....and this is all?” He rushed to the piles of thread. “Why did you use these ugly colors?” he demanded “Maybe that’s why it’s so, so....ugly.” he held pieces of thread in his hand: a rough brownish orange piece and a dirty olive green strand. “Some of these pieces have even been knotted together where the thread broke.” For some reason the boy felt deep concern for creation that wasn’t even his own. “But Child, I also used lovely, whole pieces.” the woman reminded him softly, patiently.“Look” she held up to the light an iridescent silvery strand that caught the sun and threw it back, a beautiful, shining piece of moonlight, dangling from her fingertips. “It is the many different pieces together that make the masterpiece. Until now, you have never seen my work from my side of it. Of course it is a mess to you, but I will show you how things really are.” Carefully, she lifted the cloth and turned it around. There lay the most magnificent tapestry he had ever laid his eyes upon. Words could never describe the brilliant colors blended together in perfect harmony....a masterpiece such as few have ever seen. All the boy could think was that this, this was undoubtedly a precious treasure fit for a King.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.”-Romans 8:28 God uses the good, the bad and the ugly in our lives to make us into the beautiful creations He has planned us to be. While all we may see is the tangles and knots of our confused existence, God sees the whole. And it is good. For He has dreamed glorious things for you and He will make it happen in your life. So do not despair in the heartbreak and do not grow faint in the fire; He is melting your heart to reshape it into the very heart of God. For He has began a good work in you and He will carry it on into completion. Praise be to His glorious grace!

Monday, June 16, 2008

More crocheting

I crocheted covers for the girls' little Klean Kanteen sippies and for the big one I got for my birthday. They were really easy to do, and I think they turned out very nice. I still claim that I am more likely to drink water if the container is pretty.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Is an interesting phenomena. As with any child, twins learn to speak by listening to those around them, and imitating the sounds as best they can, substituting sounds they can handle for ones they can't yet articulate. Since they are so closely bonded together as twin siblings, however, they more quickly pick up sounds and words from one another than from any of the adults in their lives. In other words, Curly makes a sound like "awwsigh" when trying to say "outside" and Red mangles and shortens it even farther :"sigh". So, their language can drifter even farther from the traditional English most adults may be familiar with! They may understand one another perfectly but good luck to the rest of us.
Here are some words that the girls say relatively coherently. There are probably more that I have yet to decipher:
mama, daddy, sissy, dessy, doggy, baby, uh-oh, bye-bye, no, yeah, hi, hey, pray, gone-gone, go, car, cookie, cracker, coffee, banana, bread, ok, bear, frog, bunny, puppy, kitty, bird, turtle, duck, quack, cow, moo, go away, ball, yo-yo, bug, yummy. We have really been working on "I love you", and sometimes it sounds almost recognizable. A few other words have come and gone and I'm probably forgetting some, but you get the idea. They are 20 months old as of's hard to believe!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Isn't it great...

to have family? The girls and I just spent such a lovely time with my parents, my brother and my sister. We ended up staying for a week. The little girls were so sweet, they slept well and ate well and were just adorable for everyone. We took the girls to church, to the park and a concert, shopping, and even got a chance to swim, which they are learning to like. This is the first trip I took that actually felt like a vacation with them! With so many hands to help, I even got to read an entire book from cover to cover over the week. Imagine that! Of course, it is extra endearing to see how everyone loves your children, and dotes on them endlessly despite all the trouble they get into. My mother is stepping into the Grandma role just perfectly, cooking up delicious meals and even smoothies, which her grandtwins just love! All in all, a very good trip.
Then to come home to a much-missed husband and father who has cleaned the house and left a 2 liter Dr. Pepper on the kitchen table! (Did I mention I gave up the soda-fast?)
It doesn't get much better than that!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Yarn blossoms

I finally took the time to try crocheting flowers. I'd been wanting to do it for awhile, but never have the patience to study the patterns. It's a nice way to use up those little scraps of yarn, and you can use them to decorate lots of other projects. I'd like to glue some to hair clips for the little monkeys to wear! Here's where I found the basic directions:

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

10 days Soda-sober...with one small misstep...

That's right...yet another attempt at carbonation de-tox. Yet again, I decided that I am consuming way too much of the poisonous (high fructose corn syrup---google it) substance, and realize that limitations are not possible in my world. It's all or nothing (remember the disasterous and ineffective coffee de-tox of '05?) so it, apparently, must be nothing.

My strength has been surprisingly unwavering. Well, yesterday when I unwittingly ordered a cherry limeade at Sonic was the exception. Did you know those are fizzy? I pictured limes and cherries instead of lemons like in lemonade; NOPE! It's a suprisingly strong addiction for me, I find it difficult to focus on anything else when in the presence of the substance, it's draw is so strong and intoxicating. I think of how happy it will make me feel and the instant high of caffeine seeping into my bloodstream. Ahhh...I'm making my own mouth water!

But, I have to do this....for my childrens' sakes. One day, I will sit them down for the talk about addiction. "Don't even experiment with this stuff", I'll say, "It may taste good, but risking a lifetime enslavement is just not worth a few moments enjoyment. You just don't know what your own weakness will be: something like Mountain Dew can immediately bewitch your sense, or even the seemingly harmless Sprite could become your downfall!"

Until that talk, I'll try to walk the walk, and order more intelligently during Happy Hour at Sonic.

My name is Melaine....and I'm a Dr. Peppaholic.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Klean Kanteens with their annoying "kutesy" trademark

Update on the water bottle controversy. We decided to throw our financial caution to the wind and invest in a couple of Klean Kanteens for the girls. We got them the 12 oz. bottles with sippy adapters, so they use the regular old Avent soft-spouts. They look nice and the girls could immediately sense their value as I introduced them to their new “big girl cups”.
I noticed right away that the cups are very cool to the touch even without ice. So, I was pleased to discover that those old promotional can cozys fit them perfectly and also distinguish between which belongs to Red and which to Curly, although there will no doubt be confusion on that topic in the future. They might be a little large and heavy for a younger child to grasp, but at 19 months my girls don’t seem to struggle, and the design is functional in shape, allowing for little hands to grasp right under the mouth. They have been very easy to keep clean so far, although I’ve been washing by hand rather than the dishwasher. I really like that we can switch out the caps and they can use them I think we've found a winner here. We ordered a second set and I intend to get rid of all the old plastic sippies. Oh what a relief that will be!

Blogging in the dark

Yes, I am blogging at 1:51 AM, and don’t be silly, of course I didn’t stay up this late. I’d been asleep for hours when I was awakened by the sound of silence. Yes, I was actually in a deep sleep (even dreaming) and I knew before I sat up in bed exactly what was wrong. The power had gone out, taking my fans and sound machine with it. This was completely devastating for someone like me who is self-admittedly a white-noise addict. You see, quiet is far different from silence. Quiet is the peaceful, calm and repetitive drone of air flowing, whereas silence is so loud that a pin dropping could deafen you.
Originally, I started sleeping with these “tools” in order to mask the other sounds around me and combat my identity as a severely light sleeper. I bought my first sound machine when I was in my early teens. The white noise would cover the sound of the dog clicking around on the hardwood floor with his little nails, or my dad waking up early-early to go in to work, or my brother sleep-walking around the house, mumbling and tripping on stuff. Then the addiction set in and now I cannot even sleep in what most would consider a completely silent environment. In fact, like most addicts, I am not even satisfied with what I am currently using. I am always pondering the idea of more fans, bigger fans, or a better sound machine. I am convinced I could sleep better and have a higher quality of life if I could just lull myself into slumber with even more quiet and less silence.
So now, I am trying to log online to e-mail the power company after 18 minutes of this infernal silence. Then I realize even the internet doesn’t work in total absence of power. Rats!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Two little helpers

Over the last few days, while our internet was down, I was able to get a lot done around the house. Some random and desperately needed mini-cleaning and organization projects (the major ones are still being put off to a future unknown time of abundant boredom or intense motivation). All this is a little discouraging as it becomes more obvious how quickly things go from clean to dirty these days. Still I am left with a sense of satisfaction; and the ever-present feeling of guilt associated with spending to much time with the computer and not enough time with a mop, is temporarily abated.
The girls have been trying to “help” me by unloading the dishwasher (I may need to look into steel-toed shoes), pushing the laundry into the dryer (they particularly enjoy slamming it shut), and occasionally even putting a toy or two away. I’m catching a glimpse of how truly helpful they will be in a few years, and find myself imagining what wonderful little baby sitters they might be to a future child.
Ahhh…my always overly optimistic expectations of the future.

Hand in hand

The twins get absolutely giddy when riding in the car. They squeal and giggle and kick their feet in hysterical anticipation of our trip to Target or to eat at Moes on Tuesday nights (kids eat free). (Those are the main two places we take them on weeknights, which is when they seem to be in the best mood). A few evenings ago we stopped by Dicks Sporting Goods to check on BPA-free water bottles (the selection turned out to be limited to a few Camelback bottles in the camping section). On the way into the store, Craig and I each had one of the girls by the hand, and they were bounding along in between the two of us, when they reached out and grasped hands. As they walked toward the store holding hands, I was overjoyed to see that adorable sister-bond. It was a milestone for me, a sign of their growing up into children that will learn to lean on each other, support one another and love one another. It was a moment I had pictured from the moment I first heard, “there are two in there”; and seeing it was just as thrilling as I had imagined. It is moments like these that make all the diapers and laundry and dishes seem irrelevant. And I can just be thankful for the blessing that is---twins.

Monday, May 12, 2008

BPA is giving me an anxiety attack...
Not that those are all that rare. If anyone hasn't heard about this, just google "BPA" (Bisphenol A) and you will be overwhelmed with confusing and frightening info. If you'd rather remain blissfully ignorant and continue to drink out of your Nalgene bottle, then please DO NOT continue reading this entry.

Apparently, some kinds of plastic are ok, so aren't. This involves a rather complicated and not always applicable number system you can try to find on the bottom of the bottles or cups. I've decided the simplest and least stressful option for me is to try to eliminate all plastic, however slow this process may be. After reading tons of stuff and simply trying to find something A) safe and B) relatively inexpensive for me and kids to drink out of, I found a few possible options:

These are probably my first choice quality-wise, with no ambiguity about their ingredients and highly recommended from consumers. Stainless Steel, pure and simple. Unfortunately, they are expensive from $15-$20 each and possibly involve extra accessories (sippy lids for the kids). However, from what I can tell they do accomodate Avent lids which is a good thing, however you still need to purchase the "sippy adapter" which will run another $4 or so. I am trusting at this point that the Avent sippys I have are safe according to what I have read. By the way, these Klean Kanteen seem to be selling out all over the internet, but I still have a lot of trouble getting past the "K" spelling. I HATE when people do that.

These are undoubtedly the coolest and prettiest that I saw and seem to have a huge following of dedicated users. However, I found just a little too much controversy about the lining to be completely sold on this option. Just too ambiguous for me to buy for the kids (although the patterns are SO cute) since the manufacterer refuses to reveal the specifics of the liner while still maintaining it is completely safe. These will still run about $20 each anyway.

Those first two options were easy to find and are both very popular. Now, here are the ones that required a little hunting and, for all their apparent virtue, unfortunately have less reviews to determine long-term quality and customer satisfaction., they deserve a closer look!

These are also stainless steel with NO inner liner and come in really cute patterns. I was excited when I saw them because they seem to have the pros of both Klean Kanteen and Sigg bottles, and their own fabulous pro of being only $10-$13! They also carry "wrapz" (again "cute" spelling that drives me nuts) to insulate, grip, and further personalize the bottles for only $2.50. Each bottle includes a clip to carry it, which is a nice feature. My main concern is when looking it up I found virtually NO customer reviews, (presumably because the product is new). Also, the company seems to carry only

These are also stainless steel, come in different sizes and are reasonably priced at $10. I did read a few complaints on Amazon about the painted outside wearing off. Then there were other fans who had never had the problem. My response would be to purchase the solid stainless steel to avoid this possible issue. They also offer a 12 oz cup that looks identical to the small Klean Kanteen for kids, but without the option of sippy cup. I am trying to determine via e-mail to the company whether the sippy lids might still be compatibleThe reviews on Amazon were not as positive as those for Kleen Kanteen, however I'd rather buy two $10 bottles then one $20 so that I will have a back-up on at all times. I found these on clearance online for even less, and will send the link in anyone is interested. . The icing on the cake (for some people anyway) is these were recently featured on Oprah during Earth Week. I expect her only endorse quality products, so I'd definitely be willing to take the plunge.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mothers Day

Something extraordinary happened today. Well, several things actually. We woke up at 8:30 and heard complete silence. Normally I wake up around 7 to yelling or whining, but this time we crept in to find the girls were awake and cheerfully playing in their cribs! They never ever do that; so Happy Mother's Day to me! The other remarkable thing is that the girls spent like 20 minutes actually playing with their dolls. I guess they know how much I love dolls and how I have always tried to get them to play with dolls, and for once they decided to indulge my girley dreams for them! It's so funny how the littlest things can give me so much joy when it comes from those two little cuties!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Potty training Day 1 (of what will be a 1000 day program at this rate)

A few months ago I found a couple of little potty chairs at a dollar store near my parents' house. They are almost identical in shape to the Baby Bjorn potties that get great reviews on Amazon. Since they were only seventy-five cents, I figured I couldn't go wrong. Yesterday I bought a pack of Huggies Pull-ups (Disney princesses!) on clearance with a coupon, so I guess we essentially have all we need. Have I mentioned in this blog that I am a sucker for a good deal?

My girls have no concept of pottys or bathrooms other than a place to take baths, so this may be a long road. And I don't have any delusions of "elimination communication" or early pottytraining, just a desire to end the use of diapers by age 3, which seems reasonable. Today however, the girls seemed very interested in the picture of the little girl on the pack of diapers, sitting on her little purple potty. So I explained that she was a big girl and sitting on a potty, then whipped out the little potty chairs and asked if they wanted to sit on them. Red, as usual was interested in obliging and started by putting her foot right into the seat. Curly tried sitting down and, finding it uncomfortable, jumped into my lap and started reading a book, as if to distract me. After I helped Red sit on the seat in the traditional way, she seemed to find it quite funny and spent a few minutes there pointing to the pack of Huggies and the "big girl" on it. Then we tried letting the baby dolls potty, then the big pink and purple doggies pottied. All very amusing to Red, who pointed and laughed, while Curly seemed suspicious that I was trying to trick her into something not in her best interest.

I think the next step will be to buy a couple of books about going to the potty. And who knows, maybe someday they'll even be willing to sit on the potties without their diapers. Until then I guess we'll continue to prop their baby dolls up and praise them endlessly for "going potty".

By the way, here is a link to the Pull-Ups Potty Training free DVD offer:

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


When you first become a parent, you anticipate so many new changes and experiences. Like the familiar phrase: "Having a baby changes everything". Some of those changes are wonderful (seeing the first smiles), some a little less wonderful (changing the 1000th diaper), and some completely catch you by surprise. Something that has really amazed me is how my perspective on so much has changed. Recently on a trip with the girls to the zoo, I was pointing out the tropical fish in the aquarium. Watching those little blue eyes widen at their first glimpse of jellyfish, coral reefs, and sharks, I could feel the awe and amazement they were experiencing. I actually felt my heart quicken with wonder as I looked at those creatures for the hundreth time. Imagining all of this through their eyes, I was able to grasp the beauty and wonder of it all over again. God has truly created a magnificent world!

Red and Curly have really been into bubbles lately. They haven't learned to blow them yet, but they tirelessly chase the ones I create and beg for more"bublleles". Last week, as I was blowing my little heart out, I started to look at those beautiful and really amazing they are! Translucent and full of rainbows, they glide along into the sunshine and out of sight over our roof. They seem lighter then air, yet have an extraordinary strength for something formed of water and soap!

I guess what I mean by all of this, is that becoming a mother has given me the gift of taking a second look at common things that never used to impress me. It causes me to ponder what God meant in the gospels about having the faith of a child. Everything seemed so simple when I was a child. It was so easy to take the Word at face value, and simply follow it. I pray that the Lord will help me re-discover that simplicity of faith, and that the joy of the bubbles and fish will remain on my mind!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Happy Cinco De Mayo!

Ok, I admit that the only reason that I actually noticed it was May 5th today, is the date has a different meaning to me than, well, whatever it is that Cinco de Mayo actually is all about. It just happens to be the day that Craig and I started dating, way back in 2001. That's right, it's been seven years! Of course we celebrate our wedding anniversary, and in passing mention Valentines Day to one another each year, but that day is particulary special to me.

Starting our dating relationship was a very serious decision for us. We knew how we both felt about dating, relationships, and marriage, and how much weight we put on friendships in general. Moving to that new level was a big step for us, one that we didn't at all take lightly. In turns out, for us dating was almost a bigger decision than marriage. Don't misunderstand me here, what I mean is: we put a lot of time and prayer into the decision of becoming a couple at the beginning, and God really blessed that for us. It wasn't long into our relationship that we both realized we had found "the one" we were meant to be with. I was really thankful that God made it crystal clear to me, and for once in my life, I didn't feel indecisive! So happy Cinco de Mayo, and may God give you clarity in all your relationship too!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Spring Cleaning....garage sale-ing...

Spring cleaning has been on my mind since, well, New Year, really. I've made some slow and steady progress, but as I filter through our possessions, I am finding that it is time to reduce the clutter and have a YARD SALE. Those of you who know me probably are aware that I love going to garage sales. Knowing that you may find anything for a fraction of its value is so enticing, and have you watched the Antique Roadshow? Half those people bought their treasures for $3 at a yard sale and now have items valued at thousands! The problem with yard sales is that it can become something of an addiction, and you end up having to have your own yard sale, because of all of the knick-knacks you've collected! Which brings me to my point: it's that time of the year!

So, as I gather the clutter and pile it into our garden tub (sadly out of use since our water heater can't keep up with the demand), I am reminding myself of what I learned as a yard sale customer, now that I am becoming the yard sale retailer:
1) Be neat and organized. Nobody wants to kneel on your driveway and sift through the wrinkled clothes you stuffed in an old box. Sort by category and do your best to hang clothes or at least fold them by size, gender, etc.
2) Signs can be vital. Use big, neat writing and HUGE arrows pointing in the direction of your home. Don't clutter it up with lots of descriptions and lists. Just make sure they can see it and follow it to your location.
3) Organize items by price: This box 25 cents, this table every item is $1. Offer a discount on bulk purchases (buy 5 shirts, get 1 free). Random, mismatched or repairable items can be placed in a FREE box close to the road to draw in customers.
4) Don't forget to have LOTS of change; or the first customer may give you a twenty for a $.50 item. As a general rule, it is a bad idea to take checks. Offer to hold an item for someone to go to the ATM and get cash.
5) Price reasonably. Hardback books 2 for $1, softbacks 4 for $1. Pants $1, shirts 50 cents. If you have more valuable brands or collectibles, it helps to print out a price from the internet or ebay to give a customer an idea of it's value. If you have an electric outlet available to test items, you're more likely to sell them at your price. When it comes to completing the sale, always be willing to negotiate. Yard sale-ers are expecting a bargain and won't be shy about asking for it.

Those are just a few tips for planning a yard sale. It's kind of overwhelming, but it can be worthwhile, and actually fun. You may meet some really interesting people too! I've had some really insightful and encouraging conversations with people I've met along the way. At the very least, you'll make some cash and clear out some space so next Saturday you can haul in your own treasures!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Searching for a high chair? I could go on and on about how obsessed I am about this, but I'll spare you. (My husband wishes he were as lucky). After the frustration with the cheap plastic Safety 1st versions we originally chose, and a lot of research, I have surely found the perfect chair. (I said I found it, not that I can afford it). This definitely tops my wish list at the moment and if we had a few spare hundred I would buy two in a second. For those of you who have the money, or by chance, only one child in need of a high chair, or maybe haven't already wasted eighty bucks or so on cheap fixes: here, my friends, is the highchair of your dreams and mine.
Yes, it is gorgeous. It is adjustable, holds from baby to an adult, comes in many colors, and is made from beechwood (eco-friendly) in a country that is not China! I'm not going to go into all the details of my research but a few alternates to check out if you are interested: The Hipposmile chair is the closest copy-cat of the original Stokke. It looks virtually identical and will soon (next week I'm told) have very similar color choices. Apparently the only place to find these in the US is on Ebay. The Keekaroo is also similar but comes in only one color (not as pretty). It does have an optional tray (they run a free tray promotion often as well) which might tempt parents of younger children. Kettler makes a couple of options: the Tipp Topp, and the Junior chair. These are quality products worth looking into, but the price point is a little high for what is still a lookalike of the original product.
Well, you see where I spend my time! Hopefully someone searching out the options will take a look and find them all in one place!

Blogging from my bedroom...

...Ahhh, the perks of being a SAHM...while the girls are napping I may actually get to lie down and relax for awhile! Of course, there are also downsides to my chosen profession. For instance today I looked down just in time to see Curly use a strand of my freshly washed hair to wipe her nose. If you knew how rarely I actually wash my hair in the first place you might grasp my frustration. Another disappointment occurred after I took most of the morning getting ready for a simple trip to the grocery store, got the kids in the car and set off. After loading them into the double stroller (this alone will cause you to break a sweat), pushing it into Publix and finding a way to balance the groceries in the shockingly small storage basket, I made my way to the checkout lane, where I discovered a small problem. That's right. I remembered the sippy cups, diapers, wipes, cheerios, pacies, loveys; yes, even the first aid kit was carefully packed into my 10lb diaper bag. The one thing missing was the wallet with which to make the purchase.
And for those of you I know and love who feel terrible whenever you confuse my little look-a-likes, please, let go of your guilt. Today, I actually started administering Curly's antibiotic to Red at the kitchen table. Fortunately my dad happened to be present and noticed my mistake. Also fortunately those little eye-dropper dispensers are ridiculously difficult to use so I hadn't actually gotten very much out yet. If anyone finds an antidote to Mommy Brain please pass along the secret. Assuming I wouldn't give it to the wrong person.
But at least I get to lie in bed in the middle of the day---sometimes.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Selfishness or sisterly love?

The choice of titles for my blog seemed pretty obvious. At one and a half, my girls are the epitome of the phrase, "monkey see, monkey do" (I really want the shirts that say this for the girls at CafePress: As parents, we so want to teach them to share with one another and take turns but it is an uphill battle! Although they have fits of selfishness, most of the issues we encounter are actually signs of their sister-bond, not their self-will. Playing with the same things, at the same time, even wearing the same clothes, seems to be imperative right now. They follow, mimic and watch one another's every move. Red grabs a doll stroller, and her sister abandons her book to follow suit. If Curly is scooting along on her trike, Red completely loses interest in the ball she wrestled away from her twin in the first place. Because of this, we have found it simpler to have sets of two of almost everything. This seems to be the concensus of most twin parents I've encountered, although perhaps a little less necessary for boy-girl twins. Although it's frustrating at times, I'm choosing to rejoice that my girls are close and want to join each other in everything! I'm happy to watch them become the best of friends as they grow older.

Earth Week...

So far we have simply managed to recycle on the most basic level, by tossing paper, plastic and cardboard into the bin and shoving it to the street once a week. Not a whole lot of thought or trouble goes into this. But, with all the talk about Earth Day this week, I've been wondering what else we can do that will make a positive difference. It's pretty exciting to see how many "green" choices we can make that are not only effective, but FREE, PRACTICAL, and SIMPLE. Let's face it, they better be or I just won't get around to it at this point in my life. Here are the three most obvious changes that I plan to start this week:
1) My first plan is to use fewer disposable grocery bags. I was really surprised how much you can put into the larger reusable totes and how much more comfortable they are to carry then those flimsy plastic ones. Kroger is having a design a bag contest, and you will receive a free bag just by designing one. It's fun! By the way, Kroger has a fabulous organic foods and produce section, and my very favorite thing is their grocery carts hold TWO toddlers!
2) My second plan is to start composting our food scraps. I'll just throw them in a plastic container (with a lid; probably an old coffee container) until I put them on the pile in the back yard. Ok, it's true that I don't exactly have a green thumb (despite those years pulling weeds at the Nursery) but it will STILL reduce the garbage we send to the dump each week. Also, it occurs to me that leaving those items out of the trash will only decrease the odor of the trash can. Fabulous! tips.html
3) Here'a a great tip to save money and protect the earth: alter your cleaning habits. Vinegar is one of the best cleaning agents available, and it's so much safer for kids than those overwhelming fumes of expensive cleaners. Here's a website with some other helpful green-clean recipes!
I feel better already! One change at a time....things are looking up!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Two little monkeys...

How would you feel if you woke up one morning, looked out your window, and saw that your car had suddenly been duplicated? After leaving only one Ford Taurus in your driveway last night, you are amazed to find a second one, just like the first, parked neatly next to it. You are overwhelmed with confusion: "This doesn't happen often does it?" and excitement: "Now I have two cars, that could come in handy!", also concern: "More gas, more oil, more repairs, more cost." and disbelief: "I can't believe I was the lucky one to find the free bonus car parked in front of my house!"
Comical, yes, but those feelings may come close to the way my husband and I felt when learning at my 20 week ultrasound that I was having not one baby, but two! Shocked, thrilled, and frightened, only begin to describe the emotional rollercoaster we were embarking on as new parents of twins. Looking forward to all that we would experience, we couldn't begin to imagine what having two babies at the same moment would be like! The fun was about to begin and we had no idea what to expect!
Now my little monkeys are 18 months old, and I have to say they are the most adorable little girls in the world. As their mother, I can truly say they are also two of the biggest challenges I have ever been faced with. I want to share some of the things I've learned so far, some of the new things we will be dealing with soon, and the lessons that probably apply to all parents anyway!
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