Tuesday, August 31, 2010

It's Called PRESCHOOL . . .

. . . not daycare.  There is a difference (I think).  Mainly, daycare costs more.   In actuality, there doesn't seem to be a right or wrong answer to which is better; but merely a judgement call by the parents.  Here's some interesting editorials on daycare vs. preschool.

Regardless, we're super excited about preschool in this house.  We went to the Open House  last night.  Finn was quick to jump into the action and play with the other kids, Belle was a little more bashful.

I'm sure there will be issues of separation anxiety, but this program is a great opportunity for the babies to learn social awareness skills, sing, dance, play and possibly learn table manners (one can only hope), and of course begin their educational journey with shapes, colors and numbers.

Here's where I lucked out being a twin mom.  I at least know neither child will be completely alone at school; if they get uncertain, they've only to look for their sibling.  Of course, this will eventually have it's drawbacks down the road . . . but really folks, why dwell on the negative?

First day of school is this Thursday!!  I've got to organize their backpacks (dead serious) with a change of clothes, diapers, ziplock bag, and extra shoes.  Then, at the end of every school day any important papers and artwork will be placed in their backpacks for me to review (yawn, for all you 'seasoned' parents out there).

Here's some pictures from Open House:

Monday, August 30, 2010

Living Like Tourists

Dave's family spent most of August with us (i.e. the babies were spoiled rotten and I didn't have to cook).  Late last week, Dave's sister and her family cruised through for a long weekend, part of what they lovingly called 'The Southern Relativity Tour'.

So, while they were here we lived like tourists and rode the horse-drawn trolley through historic downtown.  I'm surprised to say it was actually entertaining.  Aside from Finn's nearly successful escape attempt before the tour began, the babies had a fairly decent time.

Don't let the look on Lady Belle's face deceive you, she had a lovely time.

Bob & Mike, our tour guides

Finn, clearly plotting his chance to escape when I'm least aware.

The next day we drove to Topsail Beach to visit the sea turtle hospital.  It was amazing.  Unfortunately we weren't allowed to take photos inside the hospital.

Outside the hospital waiting for our turn to tour the facility.  

The remainder of our time was divided between cooking heavenly meals (I actually helped) and hanging on the beach.  We had a blast and the twins already miss their cousins.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

We'll Make You Pay

Mirabelle's new favorite trick involves taking off her pajama bottoms and throwing them on the floor.  Here's how we found her over the weekend:

This is the punishment for throwing your pajama bottoms on the ground:

Because there are two, we didn't want anyone feeling left out:

To all future houseguest (and certain adult members of the household), this will also be your punishment if we find you walking around the house in nothing but your underwear.  In fact, next week Dave plans to install some Greek letters above our front door and permanently install a slip 'n slide filled with Jello along the back hallway.

Mommy & Me Time

It was bound to happen.  I was told early on in twin parenthood there would come a time when you'd struggle with dividing your attention among two very demanding children.  I never felt this mother guilt until recently.

Honestly, when they were infants I relied heavily on their short term memories, or lack thereof, to maneuver around the guilt associated with showing the demanding/needy child more attention over the other.  Unfortunately, my little monsters have now developed a new skill:  they can express more than three simple feelings (sleepy, hungry, angry).  Now there's needy, possessive, greedy, cranky, defiant, silly, selfish, and curious.

The hardest part is leaving the house to put them in the car and choosing who goes first.  It never fails, the one left behind stands dumbfounded for a few seconds, then begins to cry, followed by a pitiful dash to the laundry room door, where they struggle to reach for the door knob and finally, for the grand finale, fall into a pathetic heap of despair (eventually resurfacing in fifteen years as deep-rooted abandonment issues and 'mommy issues').

So, my new strategy is Mommy & Me time.  When possible, I'm taking just one baby out for Adventure Time.  This only works when I've got grandparents in town or it's the weekend and Dave can have some 'Daddy & Me time as well.

Last week, Lady Belle and I went to a yoga/storytime at the local library.  We met our good friend, and her daughter, there.  Afterwards we had an early lunch.  Fear not, Finn was spoiled rotten by Nana and has yet to realize I exist.

Belle with her girlfriend

Over the weekend, Finn and I had joined my girl, Aunt Ash, at a seaside restaurant for a late afternoon snack while Mirabelle show Daddy how to properly play with all her toys.  I'm not sure if they liked Mommy & Me time, but I did.  I think we'll continue this whenever we can.

Aunt Ash feeding Finn some Key Lime pie

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Full Circle

Roughly this time last year, I ventured out on my own with the twins for the first time.  One of the first places we visited was Chuck E. Cheese, to meet some other mothers in the area.  Here's the post.

I remember being more than a little skeptical about taking my newborn infants to such a seemingly obnoxious place (would it be clean enough?).  I must have looked ridiculously pitiful because the moms I met that day were super sweet and awesome.  I even had another twin mother come up to me and give me a card to join the local twin mom club (we're in the same playgroup!).

Now, a year later, I'm still friends with the same group of women I met that day at Chuck E. Cheese (the last place on Earth I'd ever think to make a few friends).  Last week, In honor of this milestone, we all ventured back to the big C for some overpriced pizza and ADHD-inducing fun.

For old time's sake . . . 

Not so interested in riding any rides, but loved watching the big kids play video games . . . unfortunately the big kids didn't find the twins' curiosity equally as endearing (kids these days).

Have now decided every meal will be served on a pizza.  They will eat ANYTHING, as long as it looks like a pizza, or smothered in ketchup.

Friday, August 20, 2010

If The Shoe Fits. . .

Yesterday's mission:  Shop for new 'back to school' shoes for the twins.  Of course, I'm fully aware of how ridiculous this sounds considering the twins have only been walking on this Earth for a little over 45 days.

Regardless, I want them to have some waterproof type shoes for preschool since the suede soles of their current Robeez can't handle early morning walks through wet grass.  However, since they've only been walking on this Earth for a little over 45 days, I don't want to give them hard sole shoes that could alter their continued foot development (see how difficult parenting can be when you over think every decision).

So, before I could begin the search, I needed to get their feet measured.  We drove to the ONE and ONLY children's shoe store in town:  Stride Rite (sadly, with a touch of irony, the owners are closing their store in a few weeks).  We measured the twins' feet and tried on what was left of the paltry shoe inventory (and somewhere the Patron Saint of Shoemaking  sheds a tear).

Finn was not happy with the shoe selection at all . . . or rather, Finn was not happy with the shoes period.  He tried on this shoe and after exploring the back stock room, while I helped Mirabelle get her shoes on, he then sat by my legs rubbing his feet on the ground, crying for me to remove them.  Since they were $50 I gladly obliged (I repeat THEY WERE FIFTY HUMAN DOLLARS for a shoe my child will out grow in roughly three months).  No wonder this store is going out of business.

Let's be clear about something, I'm crying on the inside at the moment.  Where is my candy land of shoe options?   Where is my place to look, touch, and smell rows and rows of tiny baby feet shoes?  Where is that place a mother can find the most stylish, yet developmentally sensible (because this house parents under the path of 'least guilty conscious') shoes for under $30?

Apparently that place is online.  After hours of researching various infant/toddler shoe companies I settled on a brand that is not endorsed by the American Podiatrist Medical Association (guilty conscious be damned).  A friend recommended I try Rileyroos.  They have  a more water-resistant leather sole than our current Robeez, with some added grip sections to slowly introduce the idea of walking with a harder soled shoe.  Let's not forget they are ridiculously stylish.

Lady Belle opted for the traditional Mary Jane in Cherry, following the golden rule of fashion accessorizing:  that which goes with nothing goes with everything.  She was going for the sporty, yet feminine, casual look.  The girl who can play with the boys but still drink tea with the ladies sort of look.

Mommy likes these shoes because the soles are extremely flexible (or so I'm told, since I could only virtually shop, half as satisfying).

Finn opted for the super cool Dakotas in Orange Swirl because he is not afraid of a little color.  Even though they were advertised for boys and girls, he's comfortable enough with his masculinity to rock these bad boys all over the playground this fall.

Mommy likes the part sandal, part sneaker construction for those hot summer days that will eventually turn into milder fall weather (a girl can dream).

Last but not least, we bought our new shoes from a website called Shoebuy.com.  I must admit this is my new favorite place to buy shoes (sorry rest of the Internet).  Their prices were very reasonable and they offer FREE shipping with no minimum order required, NO sales tax and FREE returns.

After placing the order I received a $10 off coupon for all my 'friends' to shop.  If five people actually use this coupon I'll receive a $100 gift card (more shoes! more shoes! more shoes!).  While this little incentive doesn't fully replace the euphoria of actual retail shopping, it is a small consolation.  At least the mail box will be filled with more exciting items than blah blah bills and pizza flyers.

With that said, if you're in the market for some new fall shoes, check out my previous post.  It has a link to the $10 off coupon.  The website is also offering 15% off everything right now (swah-eet deal).

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Here's $10 off at Shoebuy.com

"I just bought the twins 'back to school' shoes. This website is pretty awesome. You can't beat free shipping, no sales tax, no minimum order required and free returns. So, dear readers, my gift to you is a $10 off coupon to give this website a try. "
Save on shoes, accessories, handbags and apparel at Shoebuy.com. We've got something for everyone and for a limited time, you can save $10 on that special something. Valid on purchase of $50 or more.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

On The Move

For the past two weeks I've been getting the babies out of the house right after breakfast for some super fun morning activities.  Our goal is to move from two naps to one nap a day.  This has caused a slight reorganizing of the chaos I lovingly call 'structure'.

I love our new routine.  It gets us out of the house early enough to enjoy all the Mommy/Toddler activities around town.  We're usually home before the oppressive summer heat turns nuclear and I'm getting a good solid 2 - 3 hour afternoon nap out of the twins.

It is a lot of work, but for the most part it's worth it.  So far we've done a Mud Day at the Children's Museum, a few play dates at Fit for Fun, a TON of grocery trips, Yoga/Story time at the library, a free Kindermusik class, a lot of morning beach outings and I joined the local YMCA which has a decent childcare option.

Here's some highlights from our adventures:

Finn at Kindermusik, it was hosted by our local Learning Express toy store.  The class was a bit cramped, but still a lot of fun.

Finn & Belle at Mud Day.  They had a blast!

The Children's Museum had various swimming pools filled with water, mud, sand, corn starch, etc. and a few slip n' slides hooked up.  

Mirabelle loves the beach, as in I'd rather drown than be afraid of a few waves and sand should officially be a part of the USDA's Food Pyramid.

Finn loves the beach also, though it is the one and only place he will exhibit a modest amount of self control.

This happens a lot on the way home from our morning Adventure Time.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Another Shameless Plea For Your Help

Dear Readers,

I entered the twins in a local cutest baby contest with our favorite photographer, Katie Matthews.  She's running the contest through her Facebook FanPage.  If you have a Facebook account (half the world does, so you really need to get on it if you haven't already) then help a sista' out by doing the following:

Visit Katie Matthews Photograhy FanPage on Facebook

Press the 'like' button at the top of the FanPage.

View the album:  2010 Cutest Kids Contest

To vote, simply leave a comment with the word 'vote' under Finn & Belle's photos.  Look for these two photos:

You get 5 votes total and you can use those votes on one single picture, so pretty PLEASE, leave five 'vote' comments on one or both the twins' pictures!!!

Thanks, in advance, for your help.  Please encourage all your friends and family to vote because Finn & Belle are fragile and don't handle rejection very well.


World's Most Shameless Mommy

Thursday, August 5, 2010

All You Need Are Backpacks

Monday we previewed some part time childcare options.  After looking at a few preschools and daycare facilities, we picked a preschool program recommended by a trusted friend.  It helps that Finn & Belle already know at least one of their classmates!!

The program is run by a local Methodist Church and the director did a phenomenal job easing my 'separation anxiety' (the twins could care less if I'm around).  So beginning in September, the babies will spend two mornings a week at school learning basic skills appropriate for their developmental age.

Apparently all they need is a backpack with diapers, wipes and a change of clothes (say whaaat!?!).  My barely walking babies already need backpacks?  The director said buying the twins a backpack gives them a sense of ownership.

So, Dave and I did a little online shopping this week and found Finn & Belle's very first backpacks (at the risk of embarrassing my man, folks, he was super excited about shopping for these backpacks).

We finally agreed on two backpacks from Sugarbooger by o.r.e..  Finn gets this Retro Robot pack.  He doesn't know it yet, but robots are cool.  Lady Belle gets the girly Flutterby pack that has just a kick of hip to match my baby girl's style.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Finding A Cure

Last week I complained a good deal about being a stay-at-home mother (the fact I actually paid human dollars for this privilege is not lost on me).  Sometimes it's hard to find the right balance between loving these kids so darn much I'm almost certain a third one was left behind and trying to scratch it's way out of my chest, because there's no other explanation for this achy feeling, and wanting to lock myself inside a small dark space where no smell of pee or poop can find me.

Luckily I think I've found a cure for those lackluster days, it's called visiting a 3-star daycare facility.  Yesterday I carted the babies around town and researched part time daycare and preschool options.  I'm now completely confident I can speak for all working mothers when I say no daycare facility, regardless of star rating, can ever make a mother feel 100% comfortable in handing over the most important thing she's ever created in her entire life.  Which lends itself to the very satisfying realization that maybe I'm not doing such a bad job  after all as a stay-at-home mama.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Still Chasing Boys

We drove to Myrtle Beach on Friday to reunite once again with The Gang.  These are the friends I've known for over 20 years (as if having children didn't make me already feel old, publicly associating myself with the number 20 surely does).

Anyway, twenty years ago we were chasing boys in junior high.  Twenty years later, we're still chasing boys . . . these just happen to be our own and an all together more pleasant experience since any tears shed were coming from the 'other team' as we pretended to roll our eyes this time around.

Meighan and her baby flew home for a little summer siesta (this time her baby was on the outside of her belly); so we all packed up the umbrellas, slathered the SPF 185 and carted our kids to the beach for a day of fun and sun.

I enlisted the support of my sweet friend Ash to help even out the adult/baby ratio.  Otherwise, our reunion would have been confined to a series of events involving high chairs and strollers.  Instead it was perfectly amazing.  Thanks 'Aunt Ash' for joining us and selflessly helping parent my children for the day . . . it was a true gift!

Word to the wise, if you smell a poopy swim diaper, change it immediately.  While this may seem obvious, unfortunately I learned it the hard way.