Monday, August 29, 2011

I Can't Wait to Get to Heaven, Because in Heaven There Won't Be Any __________________ (fill in the blank)

How do you answer that question?

My answer has recently changed.

It used to be mosquitoes. Those pesky little devils sure know how to ruin a good time. And I still look forward to a mosquito-less heaven. Can I get an Amen?!


There is a new creature that has made it to the top of my list.

A creature so vile--it represents everything that makes my skin crawl.

The maggot. *shudder*


Brad was out of town all week last week. When he's gone, I try extra hard to stay on top of things to make life a little easier. 

On this particular day, I walked out of our bedroom and smelled a terrible smell that led me to our trash can. The next day was trash day, so I assumed that things had just gotten a bit ripe, and quickly took out the trash before the girls woke up.

The smell lingered.

The girls finished eating breakfast. I got out a dust pan to sweep up a few crumbs, and that's when I saw them.


Maggots in my dust pan. I resisted the urge to hurl my breakfast all over them.

My search led me to a very small piece of steak, from our dinner a few nights previous, accidentally dropped behind the trashcan, and left there unnoticed.

There they were--huddled around the stink. There wasn't much left, though.

I began to notice their friends--all pale and writhing--wiggling their way across my kitchen floor.

That's when I waged war. Cursing each and every one of them under my breath as I sucked them up in my vacuum cleaner (good thing our Hoover is loud, so my girls didn't hear).

I then  proceeded to scrub every inch of our kitchen floor with anti-bacterial wipes.

Then it hit me. I can't think of anything to be thankful for in this situation. We're supposed to be thankful in everything, but I was drawing a blank.

Sorry, Ann and Jesus, but my kitchen was crawling with what is, arguably, the ugliest creature on the planet.

So, I called Melissa.

The conversation stared out like this:
Me: Hi, I need you to tell me one thing about maggots I should be thankful for.
Melissa: I thought you only drank wine in the evenings....
Okay, so she really didn't say that.
What Melissa really said: Well, they wiggle, so you can see them.

Wiggle, you dastardly wretches. Wiggle so I can find you and destroy you, ugh!

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. ~Philippians 4:6
Thanksgiving. I don't have to be thankful for maggots. Because I'm pretty sure there is no one, in the history of the universe, that has ever been thankful for maggots.


I'm called to thankful for God in the midst of my one and (please, God?) only maggot infestation.

So, here is my maggot thanks, and may I never have to type or utter the word maggot again after today!

P.S. I don't blame you one bit if you are thoroughly disgusted by me and our home, because I am.

P.P.S. It's a really bad idea to have rice for dinner the same night you just killed a bunch of maggots.

P.P.P.S. So, Brad just read part of this over my shoulder and said, "You're still talking about the maggots?" I don't think he understands the trauma that those pale, wiggly creatures have caused me. He should be grateful for this cheap therapy!


Maggot-related thanks:

848. Maggots wiggle, so that you can seek and destroy them easily (thank you, Melissa for that perspective!).

849. Our kitchen is separated from the rest of the house, so the girls had no contact with them.

850. Maggots make a satisfying pop when you squish them.

851. My kitchen floor was spotless.

852. You could eat off my trashcan.

853. The girls played together, really well, while I was killing and cursing the maggots.


Something other than maggots:

854. Brad's recovery from food poisoning.

855. Sushi.

856. A visit from Ab.

857. Ab helping out with the girls, so Brad could rest.

858. Kris.

859. People praying.

860. Prayers answered.

861. Wisdom from Alice.

862. Hard conversations.

863. Trip to the farmer's market.

864. Sitting outside, enjoying snacks from Artisan Bakery.

865. Finding a book I wanted to get the girls at the used bookstore for $3.

866. The girls' first story time at the book store.

867. The girls remembering not to throw food on the floor during mealtimes!

868. The peace of nap time.

869. Blowing bubbles.

870. Putting away pool toys.

871. Brynne's ponytail.

holy experience

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Mama Loves: Bird Watching

Welcome to another fantastic week of Mama Loves! This is a linky party where mamas can share anything that has made your life easier as a mama.
Maybe you've found:
  • a toy or book that captivates your child(ren)
  • gear you just can't live without  
  • a recipe your choosy toddler gobbles down  
  • a parenting book that you've found perspective changing
  • an activity that wears your kid out (these lead to good naps, which we all love)
  • an outfit that flatters your post-baby body and makes you feel fabulous
Share it with us! Blogging has made me a better mama, because I've learned about all kinds of great things, like those listed above, from mamas just like you. Here's your chance to share it with all of us!

To link your post up, click on the linky tool at the bottom, and follow the directions, it's really easy. You can also add this beautiful button to your post. Just grab the code in the box, copy and paste it into your post. Easy.

Manic Mother


If you'd told me a year ago that we would be a bird-watching family. I might have thought you were insane.

This is what I think of when I think of bird watchers:


We aren't "carry-a-canteen-of-water-and-big-binoculars" bird watching family but we do love watching birds.

Right outside our livingroom window we have a two-sided hook, where we hang a plant and a hummingbird feeder. It's kind of hard to explain, so here you go:

This summer the girls have loved spotting the hummingbirds at our feeder! They will stop what they're doing and run to the window, signing "bird" the entire way there, just to get a closer look.

Of course, this typically scares away the hummingbirds, so they wave goodbye, and wait for the next one to come along. This is never discouraging for them--I love their tenacity for bird-watching!

I noticed our daughters' love for hummingbirds, and recently decided to add a finch feeder to our little display outside the same window. (Notice it in the above picture to the left of the hanging plant).

For several days we didn't get any birds at our feeder, and I'd begun to think my purchase was a huge mistake.

Then, we saw them! 

They've continued to visit our feeders, so much so that we're refilling them at least once a week.

Our girls love spotting the birds at the feeder--it's so much fun to see their delight. They run at the window and pound their greeting to the birds on the glass. It sends the birds flying away, flashing their vibrantly colored wings about, of course, but the girls never lose their enthusiasm for spotting the birds.

I'm so excited to teach them about the different kinds of birds that visit our feeders, as they get older too--I consider our canteen-less and big binocular-less bird watching to be a great teaching tool.

If you have a window at your children's eye level, I'd urge you to consider feeding whatever local birds you have living there.

We've had so much fun doing it this year!

Can't wait to see what you're loving this week!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Monsoon Season

I hasn't rained, really rained, here in a very long time.

Our yard is yellowish-brown with a touch of green sprinkled in, and the earth beneath is cracked and dusty.

But, as far as my garden knows--it's monsoon season.

I water all the time!

Our tomatoes are going nuts, the herbs look great, the sweet potatoes are almost ready to be harvested, and my flowers look amazing!

Lately, I've been picking  flowers from the garden and arranging them to put around our home.

I've learned that arranging flowers is not as easy as it looks. I see those gorgeous bouquets at the florist's or even just the grocery store, and I think--surely I can do that at home!


Not so much. Getting flowers tiered just perfectly is hard! I am getting better though. It makes me happy to bring pieces of the garden inside to enjoy.

A friend of mine always reminds me:
This is why we garden!
I've love tickling that creativity within me. Here are some of my latest efforts:

Thanks to Marcia for hosting this this opportunity to encourage creativity in all of us!

What's something you've done lately to be creative?


It's not too late to link up your Mama Loves for this week! Have a book, toy, recipe, beauty product, activity, gadget that you're loving and makes "mama-ing" just a wee bit better/easier? Link it up!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

You Can't Always Get What You Want

Hadley, come get a bite.
I call to her from the kitchen.

She looks up from her play, hesitates, but doesn't make a move. I could see her weighing her options about something, a perplexed look etched on her face.

I assume she's ultimately decided that she doesn't want a bite of her favorite breakfast food, and go on about emptying the dishwasher.

A few moments later, I see her coming for that bite, dragging a large, cumbersome rocking horse behind her.

You see--Hadley just couldn't bear to leave the rocking horse, even for a moment, because her sister might "get" it.

I laugh, and sigh.

Each time she comes for a bite, she stubbornly, and determinedly drags the rocking horse with her, keeping a protective hand on "Howard" while she opens her mouth for a bite.


Lately I feel like my girls are in a gladiator ring, each on a mission to take the other one down.

I've broken up some pretty terrible fights between my sweet daughters. One look at Brynne and Hadley's arms reveal their battle wounds--bruises and bite marks blemish their soft skin.

Our pastor wasn't kidding Sunday when he said parenting toddlers is like taming an undomesticated wild animal.

At the heart of my two toddlers are two questions.
Am I loved?
Can I have my own way?
The answers are:
Hadley drags Howard with her to get a bite, because she's fighting to have things her way.

The girls bite and hit one another, because each is impeding the other from getting their own way.

In walks discipline--that's me (mostly), Brad and my sidekick Jesus.

We have the very hard job of telling (and showing) our daughters that they are loved unconditionally, and in the same breath we are telling (and showing) them that they can't get their own way.

It's tough.

I struggle and I flail. Especially when it looks like The Gladiator, minus Russell Crowe, up in here.

I'm working on finding that balance of love and grace and discipline and correction.

My wild animals need it--they need all of it.

And I need a glass of wine!


One of the scariest things I've ever had to do was to get through this high ropes course.

I was terrified!

I mean, really terrified.

I felt like I'd lost all control of my body---my legs were shaking, and I think I might have even heard my knees knocking together.

Even though we were told not to, I kept looking down at the ground really, really, really far below.

I started crying.

You see, the way to get through the course wasn't to look down at the ground. (even though I was harnessed in and had a death grip the ropes holding me skyward).

The way to get through the course was to look strait ahead--it steadied my steps and improved my balance.


Hadley walks towards Brynne.

Her arms are full.

She's carrying a green ball and a pink ball.

She gives the pink ball to Brynne.

Hadley looks at me, and signs "share". 

They laugh, and run off together.


I'm keeping my eyes strait ahead.

And giving my sidekick, Jesus, a high five.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Blueberry Cobbler + Frozen Custard = Bliss

I'm so thankful for a fantastic week--free of fire trucks, black eyes and 5AM wake-ups!

833. Sharing my blueberry cobbler concrete with Brynne and Hadley--they loved it! Thank you, Bobby's!

834. Brynne throwing her shoe out of the stroller, so that we had to turn around.

835. Seeing a mama deer with her twin fawns for the second week in a row while picking up Brynne's shoe.

836. The girls wearing our diaperbag backpack.

837. Finding Hadley, in a little nook, stacking shapes.

838. Phone call.

839. Prayer.

840. Answers to prayer.

842. Getting a run in this week!

843. Talking with Kris.

844. Email from Alice.

845. Girls sleeping in.

846. Mama Loves.

847. A sermon on discipline, just when I needed it!

holy experience

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Mama Loves: Splash-tastic Bathtime Fun!

Welcome to another fantastic week of Mama Loves! This is a linky party where mamas can share anything that has made your life easier as a mama.

Maybe you've found:
  • a toy or book that captivates your child(ren)
  • gear you just can't live without
  • a recipe your choosy toddler gobbles down
  • a parenting book that you've found perspective changing
  • an activity that wears your kid out (these lead to good naps, which we all love) 
  • an outfit that flatters your post-baby body and makes you feel fabulous
Share it with us! Blogging has made me a better mama, because I've learned about all kinds of great things, like those listed above, from mamas just like you. Here's your chance to share it with all of us!

To link your post up, click on the linky tool at the bottom, and follow the directions, it's really easy. You can also add this beautiful button to your post. Just grab the code in the box, copy and paste it into your post. Easy.

Manic Mother


Bath time around our house is a big event! Our girls love to take baths.

Do you guys subscribe to Mama Bargains? They have a great deal on one item till its gone. You can like them on facebook, if you don't want the emails filling up your inbox, but they just might have something you want, at some point. What I love about them is that they often feature stuff from little companies--great stuff that you're not going to find walking the aisles at Target. If I can't buy local, I love supporting the little guy.

Anyway--one night they had a deal on bath toys by ORE. The company's tag line is Happy Products for Good People, so I figured trying their stuff was worth a shot.

The girls have had the same bath toys since they were born, so I decided to take advantage of this great deal, and add some new bath toys to our bin.

Let me just tell you, it was the best $7.99 that I've ever spent!

Brad and I (mostly Brad) have this thing for pirates. We really love words that have the letter "arrrrrrrr" in them. So we got this one for our girls:

The the numbers and shapes punch out and they stick to stuff when they're wet. The girls stick them to the bath wall and stick them on each other. Then they knock them all down and start again. You wouldn't think so, but it really is lots of  splash-tastic fun!

And, I mean--how else are you supposed to teach your kids about treasure maps and treasure chests?

If pirates arrrrrren't your thing, your life must be pretty boring, there's this other one below with cute little animals:

This alphabet one is pretty fantastic too!

All these products are made to resist mildew, and they're non-toxic in case your kid mistakes them for cookies.

Can't wait to hear what all of you arrrrrrr (see how much fun that is?!) loving this week!!

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Two-Minus-One Pregnancy: This Twin Mama's Perspective

I don't claim to be a controversial person. Honestly, controversy makes me twitch uncomfortably.

The Two-Minus-One Pregnancy article in the New York Times Magazine has sparked tons of controversy among the multiples community and the Christian community.

If you don't know anything about the article, here's a quick summary:

Any woman going through assisted reproductive therapy (ART) knows there is a great chance of conceiving multiples. A growing trend among those twin pregnancies is to reduce the pregnancy from two babies to just one baby.

A quote from the article states:
Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, one of the largest providers of the procedure, reported that by 1997, 15 percent of reductions were to a singleton. Last year, by comparison, 61 of the center’s 101 reductions were to a singleton, and 38 of those pregnancies started as twins.

So, about not being controversial....

I am the mama of twins.

Of course, my husband and I believe our girls are the most beautiful creatures to ever walk the planet.

As a stay-at-home mama, I'm the curator of these two priceless works of art.

I live the hard stuff. I had a rough pregnancy, and now I'm out-numbered with two toddlers. I can do hard things, I tell myself over, and over, and over.  

Too, I see the joy; the gifts Brynne and Hadley's very being is to our lives. Just last night we watched the girls make a game out of kissing each other in the bathtub. Giggles galore!

My heart swells, and the hard stuff fades.


If you haven't stopped to read the article, this is how it starts out:
As Jenny lay on the obstetrician’s examination table, she was grateful that the ultrasound tech had turned off the overhead screen. She didn’t want to see the two shadows floating inside her. Since making her decision, she had tried hard not to think about them, though she could often think of little else. She was 45 and pregnant after six years of fertility bills, ovulation injections, donor eggs and disappointment — and yet here she was, 14 weeks into her pregnancy, choosing to extinguish one of two healthy fetuses, almost as if having half an abortion. As the doctor inserted the needle into Jenny’s abdomen, aiming at one of the fetuses, Jenny tried not to flinch, caught between intense relief and intense guilt.
I'm all for grace, and seeking understanding. I've never walked in Jenny's shoes. I can't imagine what it's like to be her. What's described above sounds gut-wretching to experience. In fact, it leaves me on the verge of tears.

But not for Jenny.

Jenny's decision was based on a lifestyle choice:
Jenny’s decision to reduce twins to a single fetus was never really in doubt. The idea of managing two infants at this point in her life terrified her. She and her husband already had grade-school-age children, and she took pride in being a good mother. She felt that twins would soak up everything she had to give, leaving nothing for her older children.
I think about the twin who gets to live without knowing the joy of playing kissing games in the bathtub.

Because, he (or she) is a twin, even if he's the only one living.

Okay, so I am sad for Jenny too. I think about what she's missing, what she lacked the courage to experience. Those kissing games in the bathtub are priceless. My daughters are masterpieces.

Jenny didn't just destroy a shadow on an ultrasound, she destroyed a masterpiece.


We have a dear friend with a 3D/4D ultrasound business. From the time our girls were 12 weeks, their celebrity status rivaled those Twilight kids. We, the paparazzi, desperately wanted to see the two works of art God was knitting in my womb, to see to see their little faces.

I want to show you some of the pictures from when the girls were 14 weeks. Our masterpieces.

I can't help but wonder what Jenny's decision would have been if she'd seen her little ones this way.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sidewalk Chalk

Last week Papa took a day off from work to hang out with us.

We decided that with both Mama and Papa around, we should introduce the girls to sidewalk chalk on the driveway.

They love it!

Good ole washable, non-toxic fun! You should definitely let your toddlers give it a whirl! Then, you can photograph their beautiful artwork!

Project 52: Glimpse Into Motherhood

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sweet Simplicity Design Winner!

Hey there! The girls and I were busy tonight announcing the giveaway winner for the Sweet Simplicity Designs, Simple Blog Makeover winner.

Check it out!

Here are all the contestants (the girls had to decorate all the cards):

Then we folded all the pieces of paper and placed them in here:

Hadley did the honors with Brynne looking on:

We had to pratice unfolding paper in order to get this part right:

It took awhile:

And the winner is:

Eeks! Sorry! She wouldn't hold still!

The winner is Sara from To This You Were Called.

Congrats, Sara! I'll pass your email address along to Liz, and she'll take it from there.


I'd encourage all of you to follow Sweet Simplicity Designs. She, periodically, offers free background and great blog tips!   

Sweet Simplicity Designs

On Blogging

A big, huge thank you to Melissa at MaMe Musings the Blog on Fire Award. And thank you for mentioning Mama Loves!

If you never have, you should go check out Melissa's space over at MaMe Musings, where she celebrates her life as the twin mama to Emily and Drew. Melissa is funny, honest and a little bit rock n' roll! You'll love her! You should definitely check out the black and white picture of her family in her header--it's just breathtakingly beautiful!


I decided to share with you seven helpful blogger tips. Some of you will know this stuff, and I am not (!!) an expert, not even a little bit.

1. You know what makes me sad? No-Reply. Let me explain.

When someone comments on my blog, it comes to my email, and I hit reply to send a message back to her (I've met so many great bloggy friends this way!). Sometimes, I'm type-type-typing away when I realize that the reply email address is Boo! That means I don't have a way to send them a message back.

To make sure people can email you back, go to your dashboard, then edit profile (right there by your little thumbnail picture), make sure the "show my email address" box is checked. That's it. Easy.

2. A while ago I turned off my word verification for people leaving comments. I had it turned on, because that's what Blogger suggests that you have. Then I read this great blog post, and decided to turn it off.

I'll say this, I've only had a few spam comments, and I just delete them. Most of the time, the spam comments just go into the spam folder, and not onto my blog anyway. It's easy. And--it makes commenting so much easier for your readers!

3. Add pages to your blog--the tabs across the top: About Me, Contact, My Favorite Blogs, etc. (you can get creative with the titles). Ashley at Little Miss Momma has a great tutorial on how to add pages to your blog.

This way, when people happen upon your niche of the Internet, they can quickly find out who you are, and how they can get in touch with you.

4. I just read a statistic the other day that said 1 in 12 people IN THE WORLD have a facebook account. Isn't that amazing?! All that to say, consider creating a facebook page for your blog. Sometimes people want to follow you, but they don't want to create a blogger account to do so. Chances are (1 in 12) that they do already have a facebook account, and wouldn't hesitate to "Like" your blog page.

To create a facebook page--go to the bottom of your facebook page, there's a tab there for "Create a Page" and follow the directions. You manage it out of your personal facebook page, so it's easy!

Also consider getting a Twitter account. I'm still very new to Twitter. It scared me for a long time--it's kind of its own beast (with its own language that I still don't understand completely). I'll be the first to say that I'm still not sure I know what I'm doing, but it's definitely another way for people to follow you. And, you can have some pretty fun conversations on Twitter!

5. Contact bloggers you enjoy reading! I "met" one of my very dear bloggy friends, because I emailed her about the play kitchen she bought for her twins last Christmas. And, because of her, our girls will be getting that kitchen this Christmas! Thanks, Mandy!

Another dear bloggy friend emailed me with sleep advice for the girls, just when I thought I was going to keel over from lack of sleep. I thank God every day that she did!

6. Natalie at Mommy of a Monster and Twins has two great articles on blogging that you definitely should check out. Blogging Must Haves (And Have Nots) For Newbies and More Blog Tips.

Natalie is fun, and very approachable if you have questions, she's more than happy to help you out!

7. Link up! Often blogs will have opportunities for you to link your blog post on their website (called a meme). For example (shameless plug!) each week, I'm hosting Mama Loves.

Manic Mother

Write about something that fits into the topic of the meme, and link your post! Your post gets all that blogger's traffic. It's a great way to get new readers, and to find some new blogs to read!

*Just a reminder, if you haven't already, there's still time to link up your Mama Loves! Can't wait to find out what your mama must-have is this week!*

I hope this was helpful to someone. I've learned a little about blogging in the past year and a half, I thought I'd spread around the few things I've figured out.

Now, to tell ya'll about some hot little blogs I enjoy reading!

Sara at To This You Were Called. Sara writes about being a mama to 20-month-old Silas, a nurse and a wife to a pharmacy resident. She's witty and fun--I enjoy stopping by her place!

Liz at Sweet Simplicity Designs. Definitely check this blog out! Sweet Liz was the designer behind my new look, and she generously offers free backgrounds and printable downloads from time to time, as well as blogging tips. There's still time to enter my giveaway for a Simple Blog Makeover from Liz.

Melly at Taming Monsters. She is hilarious! Mama to Phin, wife, daughter, sister friend, and she is one classy gal! Definitely worth a read!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Ears of Corn and Black Eyes

Wow! It's been quite the week around here! Black eyes, visits from the fire department, early morning rising, shots and crazy hair.

Counting the gifts of our week. Finding God in the middle of it all. 

812. Cooler temperatures.

813. Walks outside.

814. Squiggles of chalk on our driveway.

815. Playing with sidewalk chalk on a Thursday morning.
816. Going for a walk with Becca and the twins.

817. Girls chatting through a screen.

818. Brynne trying so hard to raise her shoulders like a buffalo.

819. A teething Hadley resting her head on my chest in the early morning hours.

820. Great 18 month well check-up.

821. Brynne getting a black eye at the pediatrician's office.

822. Ice pack shaped like a penguin.

823. Carbon monoxide detectors.

824. Fire and rescue truck parked in front of our house.

825. False alarms.

826. Rockstar-crazy hair.


827. Eight ears of sweet corn harvested.

828. Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes!

829. Zinnias on our kitchen table.

830. One nap going so, so, so much better!

831. The girls playing with their grandparents.

832. Diapers drying on the line.

holy experience