All posts by Mommy

Veggie Time

 The other evening my mom was over playing with us while Chad was at church.  After some time of playing dress up…


and trying on hats…

 and riding our horse (with more hats)…

We were ready for dinner.

We like to play some games during dinner.  Our favorite game is called, “Whose milk is that?” whereby we ask the girls, “Whose milk is that?” and they identify it as “Mommy’s milk” or “Daddy’s milk” or “Tessa’s milk” or “Nor Nor’s Milk”.  It’s fun and we go around and around the table.  Since Grammy was sitting with us that night, we were able to practice “Grammy” which is just starting to sounds like “Gra”, but we’re working on it.  They also like to tell each person when they are “all done! all done!”

We made up a variation of this game called, “Boy, is this milk delicious” whereby a person takes a swig of their milk and they follow it with a loud and refreshing “AHHHHHH!!!” sound.  Everyone got multiple turns.  As I noticed that the girls were not eating their carrots, I decided to take this game one step further.  So, I took a carrot off of Tessa’s plate and made a big deal rubbing my tummy and saying, “Mmm Mmm DELICIOUS!”.   Then I pointed at Grammy–her turn!  “Mmm Mmm DELICIOUS!” she said.  Then I pointed at Tessa, who is not adverse to vegetables but chooses normally not to eat so many of them, and she popped one in her mouth and smiled, rubbed her tummy and said, “mmm mmm”.  Not totally convincing, but she DID eat a carrot.  Then, it was Nora’s turn, who also enthusiastically popped a carrot into her mouth.

Her face dropped.  Half gagging on the disgustingness that is a carrot, she thrust the half chews bits back out of her mouth with her tongue as Grammy and I roared with laughter and shrieked, “Don’t laugh! Don’t laugh!”

That kid genuinely does not like carrots.

Oh well.  Sorry baby.


Yes.  We are still here.  This blog is still alive.  It has just been crazy. Too crazy.  And the thoughts and the memories slip away and things change before I can post them…So, let’s get back on track. 

The girls turned 18-months-old on Valentine’s Day.  I love that.  It just seems so fitting that the two people who have their arms wrapped tightly around my heart have a 1/2 birthday on V-Day.  They are so sweet.

Right around Valentine’s Day we had a LOT of people asking us how many words they say.  As if I have the time (or the thought) to sit down and COUNT their vocabulary.  So, I started counting and here’s what we came up with as of 18 months.  And, in full disclosure, the girls have always seemed to progress through milestones at the same time or within a week or so apart.  Variances are otherwise noted herein (god–do I sound like a lawyer or what?).

I divided their vocabulary into three categories: words they can actually say, signs that they can make and animal noises (or object sounds).  I’m sure I missed some, but here’s the bulk in no particular order:


Toe (this is their favorite song thanks to Cassie and Mackenzie!), Snow (they scream with enthusiam as it falls and falls and falls out our window), No (no comment) , Yes (mostly nodding, but they do say it when prompted), Nora (Both girls can say “Nora”, although Tessa has it down to an art-form.  Tess says, “Nora” ALL THE TIME.  She clearly knows that it’s her sister’s name, but she also uses it arbitrarily in other contexts.  It’s odd.  Nora can also say her name, but she calls herself, “Nor Nor”.   I think that’s adorable…)

Tessa (Again, both girls can say this although sometimes it sounds like “Da Da”, so you have to pay attention.  For awhile it sounded like Tessa was calling herself “NoraTet-Ta”, but I think I figured it out.  It’s goes like this:

Me: Tessa, what’s her name? [pointing at Nora]

Tessa: Norrr-A.

Me: Good.  What’s YOUR name? [pointing at Tessa]

Tessa: NoraTeta.

Me: No, you’re Tessa.

Tessa: No-you’re-Teta.

Get it?  NoraTeta and No-you’re-Teta.  I thought she was confused that her name was Nora also so I kept correcting her telling her “no, you’re Tessa,” so she’d repeat me saying “No-you’re Tessa”.  Oh geez.)…Now she just says “Tet-Ta”.

Shoes (sounds like “chews”), Barbara, Da-da, Ma-ma (although it’s usually in triplicate “Ma Ma Ma”)…


Baby (OBSESSED WITH THE BABIES LATELY), Elmo (with variations of Mo and Melmo), Big Bird (although they can only say Elmo and Big Bird, the can identify every single Sesame Street character by pointing.  We have these old books that have all the old characters and they know and LOVE all of them), Down, More, Oranges (Tessa only once said this, and she totally over enunciated it–which was hilarious), Ball, Pa (for paci), Go (they repeat this a million times when Grammy comes over because they think they get to “go” somewhere with Grammy), Bye bye, Balloon (although it sounds more like “Baoon”), Cracker (with a “gra-crack-car” being a variation on graham cracker), Pa Pa (for Papi Jerry), Cheese (for the food and the smile)…


Go dog go (their all-time favorite book thanks to Alex and Jacob), Zebra (Tessa only), Nite nite (mostly Nora), Coat (with a silent “t” for coat),  Water (really, wa-wa)…


 Dora (Tessa says this clearly and distinctly from “Nora”, and I think Nora calls her more like “Doe”).


Cat (all time favorite animal), Dog, Duck, Cow, Sheep, Snake, Rooster (this one is hilarious “ca-ca-doogle-do”), Witch (they’ve got a cackle down), Horse


Bear/tiger, Fish face (fishes make faces, not sounds, sillies!), Elephant (we got a hand gesture down for the nose on this, too)…


 Owl, Frog (we do a side-to-side tongue thing, not “ribbit” because that’s what our books says), Monkey (with arm-pit scratching effects), Cookie monster (we can put away cookies like that dude), Seal (arf! arf!), Car, Burr (cold), Airplane (with sign), Microwave (boop boop boop boop boop! as they play on their toy microwave in their toy kitchen–also a variation on elevator buttons–I desperately wish I had a picture of them playing with their microwave).


Milk, Eat, Cookie (we get a little sound with this, “cuk”, but not really a word), All done (we do say “ah dun” with this), Dirty (so cute), More (ok, we say this CLEARLY, but it is a prominent sign), Diaper, Bath (Nora says “Ba” with this), Bed (Nora now says “nite nite”), Hug, Baby (we can say this, but we furiously sign for it, too), Sick, Help, Airplane, Book, Cold, Car, Please (we can say “peas”), Thank you, Clap (for good job), Brushing teeth, Wipe-nose (we scrunch up our nose and blow)…

Share (I made this sign up because we need a sign for it).

So, it was a pretty good vocabulary of words/signs/sounds for 18 months… 

But since February 14th, we’ve really seen an explosion of annunciations of new words.  They can repeat a lot of words when asked.  New words that they’ve never said before.  More than I can list.  Some require prompting, some are spontaneous.  It’s incredible to see them on the verge of something new, something exciting, something liberating.  I was really pleased with the signs that they knew before they were verbal.  I remember seeing the relief in Tessa’s face when she signed “milk” the first time and I handed her the cup of milk.  It was this expression of “Oh, lady, you totally know what I want.  Eureka!”  The animal sounds starting coming along and I would just make their sounds into sentences.  Nora would “meow” and I’d say, “Do you see a kitty-cat?  Kitty-cats say ‘meow.’ ” And then the words started to flow.

It’s fun.  And I’m so proud of them.  The next ride is about to begin… 

I do not like this time of year, Sam I am, Redux

I do not like this time of year,

I do not like it in my ear;

[Read: we are all sick sick sick with crud]

I do not like the cold and snow,

I do not like it cause it blow(s);

[Read: we cannot go outside because the windchill is minus 30 everyday and we’re getting cabin fever]

I do not like the cold and flu,

I do not like it in my shoe;

[Read: did I mention illness?]

I do not like no pictures to post;

Because I ate them with my toast.

[Read: Illness + Cabin fever = Bad Photo Ops and Bad Blogging.]

Although these two pictures (Tessa and Nora, respectively), make me very happy every time I look at them–even if they date back to November:

Whipping Crayons

One of my favorite things about the one-year-old crowd is that you never know what it is that they are going to find fascinating.  You could be in a warehouse of toys and somehow, I believe, my children would gravitate toward the used plastic food containers with lids.

Behold, the CoolWhip Free containers:


I’m not going to lie.  We eat a lot of CoolWhip Free.  Actually, I think I eat most of it.  Of course, it is consumed in the name of providing my children with life lessons of opening and closing containers and putting certain objects inside and outside of said containers until the cows come home–so it is a sacrifice I feel is worth the extra poundage.  Add eight fat crayons to these glorious buckets-o-fun and you’ve got yourself near 30 minutes of unfettered creative play.


We open them; we close them.  We shake them; we carry them.  We take the crayons out; we put the crayons back in.  Of course, like all things around Walmer Street–there are a few rules.  The crayons do not leave the picnic table unless they are in a closed container.  You may walk around with them in the closed container, but once the container is opened you must return to the table.  The other day a crayon inadvertently rolled off the table and Tessa reeeeached for it while still trying to keep her bottom on the bench.   Tess = rule-follower.


We grab our crayons by the fistful and scribble like mad.  We are mostly into the “dotting” method of coloring whereby we slam the fistful of crayons into the paper to get the most dramatic granular, broken, and flickering effect – qualities not unlike those found in the impressionist works.

The picnic table has taken a few hits that are a necessary consequence of the “dramatic” arts that is our coloring, but we like to think of it as an extension of our art.

We’re serious about this, you know.  Verrrry serious, indeed.

17 Months

I was at work today (I have been at work a lot lately) and this partner (who has two small kids of his own) says to me, “How old are your girls now?”

“17 months today,” I replied without hesitation.

“Wow,” he said.  “I can’t believe you still keep track of that stuff.”

“Well,” I thought silently to myself, “they are my world.  How could I not…”


Mid-Winter Cleaning

I’ve had a lot on my mind lately.  I’ve been overwhelmingly busy at work.  The holidays, and all of the parties and food and stuff, seem to be upon me before I realize it.  I have not had much time to write, and, therefore, it all just starts getting crammed in my head and I need it out.  I need a break, a vacation.  I try to rest, but I always seem to have something pulling at me.  And so this weekend I sat down to make a list.

The other day I came upon an old list.  A really old list.  A list of stuff to do, things to buy, stuff to clean and organize.  I love lists.  Chad–not so big on the lists, but he understands my need to list.  It is the genesis of organization for me.  If I have a list, I know what needs to get done and then I can cross stuff off my list when its done.  It feels good. 

Just after having the girls, I remember writing a friend, a fellow mother of twins about how hard everyday was.  Those first few months are tough.  The three hour patterns of feedings, diaper changes, crying, rocking and trying to get some rest before starting it all over again and again–it starts to take a toll and it’s hard to do much in between for yourself or the house, much less think about anything outside of the four walls of your home.  And so I mentioned to my friend how hard it was.  And she said, it’s not that the work is hard, so much as it is constant.  She was right.  It is the constant-ness that makes it so exhausting.  It’s the same stuff over and over and over again.  Every day. Every week.  Every month.   It’s the laundry, the food, the clean-up, the naps, the tears, the games, the challenges.  Winter brings its own set of obstacles with the snow, the icy roads, the cold and the feeling of the inability to escape the constant work that needs to get done.  And then for me to work full time–work hard–on top of all this.  It’s a lot. 

Then, the other night Chad and I went to see a movie.  A break from the kids, from the holidays, from the rush.  The previews forecasted a new movie called The Bucket List.  The idea is that these two old guys are late into their life and they make a list of the things they want to do before they kick the “bucket”, thus–the Bucket List.  Love this idea.  Chad and I haven’t really had the chance to travel in the past few years since we moved here from Chicago, got pregnant, took another bar exam, had to work, had two babies, am raising two babies…so I thought it’d be fun to make a list of the things we still want to do as the girls get older, as we get more comfortable with our resources.  I mentioned this to Chad on the way home and he said, “We can do that, but I’ve already done everything I want to do on my ‘list’.  I married you.  We had the girls.  I’m set.”

As I look into the long stretch of 2008, I start to think of the things that need to go on a list, things that go beyond the everyday chores that need to get done.  And I get overwhelmed.  Because I am tired.  And when I come across an old list, a list that has been completed long ago, I think of all the energy that went into completing the tasks on that list and how the things on that list don’t matter to me anymore.  And I look at my new list and think, does this stuff matter?  Do I care enough to devote the little energy I have on the couple of days that I have off from work to do these things amongst taking care of the girls, and the feedings and washing and cleaning and holiday stuff?  What I like about lists is the organization it gives me–the tasks are concrete and achievable, and the satisfaction of crossing it off.  But when my list is constant, bottomless, perpetual, the list does not serve its purpose for me.  And when I see an old, useless list, I begin to realize that I need to remove myself from these burdensome feelings.  I need to break free of the lists. 

I think about Chad’s “bucket list”.  About its blankness, it’s freeness.  The void of Chad’s list is the very satisfaction in itself.  It does not need to exist because it is complete.

So, as I think about 2008 I try to imagine the feeling completeness, of satisfaction, of a life without lists.  And I resolve to embrace that feeling.  To give thanks for what I have.  To take some satisfaction in winging it and letting some things go.  To relax.  To enjoy.  To give thanks for all of the help and good health that we have. 

And while I cannot let go of my lists, I can make them shorter; I can prioritize what needs to be on that list and what doesn’t matter–what won’t matter–so I can focus my energies on the things that matter the most right now.

Happy New Year.

A Christmas Letter 2007

This is Tessa, one year ago, on Christmas morning 2006:

And this is Nora:

And this is us now, Tessa and Nora, respectively:

I would not believe it if the pictures were not right in front of me.

Our bottles are a thing of the past. We can run, not just walk. We talk and sign and hold our own spoons. We kiss and laugh and smile and chase each other around and around. We are best friends.

We sing and dance.

We shake rattles. We ask for more.

We play together and apart. We have our own preferences, our own tastes, our own individual personalities.

We love animals and books and music. We love to ride in our wagon. We can color with crayons. We can put our baby dolls to sleep and kiss them good-night.

We shout and scream and giggle. We pre-brief at the beginning of each day and post-brief before we fall asleep. We wear our hearts on our sleeves.

We are warm and friendly and inviting. We love other kids. We are very, very busy.

We share. We apologize. We are gentle.

Sometimes we have bad days, or we are sick or sad.

But mostly we are happy and we have fun.

And we are in love…

We can’t wait to see what 2008 brings.

Things I Don’t Want to Forget…

The girls love Elmo.  I don’t know why.  They call him “Mo”.  They also call all other Sesame Street characters “Mo.”  I think we’ve watched Sesame Street only about 5 times in our entire lives, but we do have lots of Sesame Street books and we read those every day.

 Yesterday when we were playing on the slide we were practicing taking turns.  But when Tessa went down the slide, she wanted to come back up the slide while Nora was trying to go down.  We told her to “go around” and she would stand up and run “around” in a circle.  It was hilarious.

The baby dolls get more kisses and hugs than anyone else.  I am often jealous.

Books are often read simultaneously and are frequently read upside down.  It’s a skill.

Nora loves to try on clothes (see below) and mix and match shoes and socks, but this morning when Daddy went into the nursery to get the girls up, Nora had somehow managed to take off her shirt and was giggling uncontrollably.

Tessa loves to hide in the tunnel.  The girls touch hands through the tunnel and giggle and giggle and giggle, like there is some mysterious creature on the other side.

Every day is a new adventure.

A Wedding and A Bond

Congratulations Layne and Greg!

This past weekend we were honored to attend the wedding our cousin Layne, and her very strapping husband, Greg Potter. 

This weekend was a “first” of many things for us.  Our first airplane ride, our first night away from home, our first three-day-pass to pacifier heaven…

We got to play with so many of our family members.  And, I have to say, the girls were marvelous. 

We got to see our great Granny again and we made quick work of all her magazines and breakables.  She was so gracious to allow us to spend some time with her in her cozy home.

We got to eat cookies, cookies, cookies!  Tess:


Tessa wanting a bite of Nora’s cookie:

The wedding was beautiful for so many reasons.  It was beautiful in its own right–as two people share their love for each other with their community of family and friends–and it was beautiful in the thoughtful details and the labor of love that it took to piece each part of it together.  Layne and Callie, Joyce and Mike, were all so gracious to us and so patient with us.  And we appreciate it and give thanks to them.  It seemed like such a whirlwind of a trip to us.

But I did take one moment to look over at Layne and Callie at the reception.  And in the midst of all of the excitment, I caught a glimpse of the future.  As the two of them leaned into each other to tell a story, to make a comment, to whisper a secret—I saw my girls. 

There is a unique bond between twins that is so incredible I cannot find the words to describe it.  But I can see it. 

And, as we raised our sippy-cups to Layne and Greg in celebration of the wonderful life that they will live together…

I was also reminded of the life that my girls will share with each other and allow us to be a part of.  We should be so lucky and blessed to have such beautiful, wonderful girls as Callie and Layne…And for that, I raise my glass.