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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Way back when-sday: Rebel Without a Cause Edition

It will surprise probably none of you to know that I was a goody-goody growing up. In fact (I can't remember if I've shared this on here or not?), I volunteered not once, not twice, but THREE times to go on undercover police stings in high school wherein people that knowingly sold alcohol to a minor (me, using my actual driver's license stating that I was 16) were arrested. So, yes, it's safe to say that I like to follow the rules.

But we all had our youthful indiscretions, and although mine were probably small in comparison to some of my more rebellious peers, they were still a HUGE deal to me at the time. And so, I shall now share with you the list of times I got in legitimate trouble growing up (or at least the most memorable ones):

1. In 8th grade, my Spanish teacher caught me chewing gum in class. Normally when she caught someone, she asked the person to throw the gum away and might be give him/her a warning, but she was so caught off guard by my rebelliousness, apparently, that she insisted I come in after school for detention. She even wrote on her chalk board, "Amanda N. received detention for chewing gum in class," and laughed about it in front of the class, which of course MORTIFIED me. My face is still red just thinking about it.

Here I am in 8th grade, probably thinking, "What the heck, SeƱorita Blum?!"

2. In 9th grade, Allison and I became fast enemies with a new girl that moved into town- think a less attractive and more manipulative version of Jen from Dawson's Creek. As was the case with all important social activity at that time, most of our fights occurred on AOL Instant Messenger. At one point, her younger brother decided to get involved in the exchange of words, after which he decided to copy and paste pieces of the conversation (to look like we were picking on him out of nowhere) and gave them to the Assistant Principal.

Allison and I were pulled out of our respective classes the next day to go to the AP's office to discuss the issue. Allison was a basket case and as I recall, spent the duration of our discussion crying inconsolably, leaving me to defend us (thanks, sis ;). Parents got involved and eventually the truth came out that this girl and her brother were not, in fact, helpless victims and the whole issue eventually fizzled, thankfully. Nonetheless, it was an early lesson learned to be careful what you put in print!

I don't have any pictures with that girl (for obvious reasons), so you'll have to settle for this picture of me with two of my friends on the last day of 9th grade.

3. I didn't directly get in trouble for this, but a t-shirt idea I inadvertently came up with was banned from our school campus. When I was on the freshman soccer team, the Varsity players always made us round up ("shag") the loose soccer balls after practice. So when we were trying to think of a team t-shirt slogan, I thought we should poke fun at that ritual, so I innocently suggested, "We're not just players, we shag balls, too!"

I honestly didn't mean anything by it, but the moment the words came out of my mouth, I realized how terrible it sounded, but it was too late- everyone decided it was hilarious and to go for it. And so we sported them to school on the day of our first game, and imagine our surprise when the principal informed our coach that we were no longer allowed to wear them. And imagine my embarrassment when the word spread that I had come up with the idea... oops.

Here's a pic with me and two of my teammates our freshman year. We later went on to be co-captains of the Varsity team when we were seniors (and yes, of course we still made the freshmen shag the balls)!

4. And speaking of t-shirts, in 11th grade, I wore a v-neck red shirt from Express to school on Valentine's Day. In hindsight, it was probably a little revealing, but I generally dressed pretty conservatively and it's not like I had much to show off, so I never gave it a second thought.

Apparently, however, my pre-Calculus teacher decided it showed too much cleavage when I was laying my head down on my desk, so he reported me to the office. I was called in the next day to the Assistant Principal's office to be reminded about wearing appropriate attire, which was ironic, considering I was wearing my anything-but-revealing soccer warm-up attire at the time.

Here's a pic of me wearing the shirt a year later (I'm the twin in red), so yeah, I guess I can see his point!

So now it's your turn: what did you do that got you in trouble when you were growing up (that you'll admit to on the internet)?

Monday, April 27, 2015

Lots of pictures of my children

I could get creative and come up with a catchy title for this post, or I could go ahead and call a spade a spade, which is what I opted to do!

We had another fun-filled weekend- birthday season is upon us for our family, and it seems that birthday party season is also picking up for the twins' friends, so that means we've been spending a lot of time at celebratory meals and we've eaten a lot of cake. No complaints here!

Before recapping, however, I need to share two pictures from last weekend:

I posted a similar pic on Instagram, but being that they were both looking at the camera and half-smiling, I had to share this one, too. Such committed Aggie parents, aren't we?

This little one is our budding artist. She drew this series of squiggles and proudly declared it to be a star (duh)- I just love how happy she looks :)

Ok and back to this past weekend. One of the twins' best pals at daycare (the one transitioning with them to the new room) had a party on Saturday and although it took Clara a while to warm up (a separate post on that to come, perhaps), she and Colby both had fun playing with someone else's toys and running around like wild banshees.

Clara's lunch consisted of a bag of Cheetos and 2 cookies. When in Rome...

The party was apparently so fun that even this guy took a nap afterward, and an almost 2-hour one at that! (Don't worry, he did not follow suit on Sunday and went all day without sleeping a wink.)

Brian's mom also celebrated a big birthday on Saturday, and we managed to surprise her by having Brian's grandparents and aunt/uncle/cousin join us for dinner. Once again, Clara took quite a bit of time to warm up, but once she talked herself off the ledge, all was well and we actually had a good time. 

Brian's dad ("Granddaddy") has a special bond with Clara- he is one of very few people that can handle her when she's in one of her moods

Despite what the less than impressed expression on his face suggests, Colby is a big fan of his Mimi

After dinner, we headed back to our house for some key lime pie for the birthday girl and bedtime for Colby and Clara. Auntie Shannon had her fancy camera with her and snapped lots of great pics, so you know what that means:

Thank God for patient dogs!

Oh my gosh, don't you want to eat him for dinner?

Bath time!

This look captures her personality so very well!

Not sure which I love more: Colby's sweet expression or Clara's manic one...

For real, I can't stop myself. He is just so handsome!

If you know Mimi, then you know there could have been no more perfect ending to her special day!

Hope your weekends were equally full in a good way and not in a "I need another weekend to recover from this weekend" kind of way. It always amazes me that when Sunday night rolls around, I am simultaneously so ready for a break from chasing toddlers around and so dreading not getting to spend all my time with them. 

We'll be celebrating three more birthdays this coming weekend (including Davis & Brian- see what I mean about birthday season?), so prepare yourself for some potential deja vu!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Moving on up... again

In case you missed it, Allison and I had the opportunity to write a guest post for the Houston Moms Blog yesterday as part of their National Infertility Awareness Week series, so be sure to check it out!

In their short two years of life, Colby and Clara have already "graduated" twice. The first time, they graduated from the Infant I classroom to the Infant II classroom at daycare and joined the world of crawlers and climbers. The second time, they graduated from the Infant II classroom to the Toddler classroom and joined the world of eating at a table (rather than in a high chair) and napping on mats on the floor.

As you might recall (although I don't think I documented it fully), the move to the Toddler room was a little traumatic for Clara. She spent the better part of their first week in the new room crying, and by the time we picked her up in the evenings, she was exhausted. Thankfully, she bounced back quickly and found her new groove after the first week.

Last Friday, we were notified that graduation #3 was upon us and that the twins would be moving up to the Young Pre-schoolers (2-year-old) room. Fortunately, this room is pretty similar to the Toddler room, so the change isn't quite as drastic. New and terrifying exciting things we have to look forward to in this room include: drinking out of cups without lids and (gasp) potty-training.

[And on that note, in case you're wondering, we have made basically zero effort toward potty-training thus far. I don't think either one of them are ready for it yet, so I'm going to once again take advantage of the magical powers that the daycare teachers possess and wait until they tell us it's time. Outsourcing parenting responsibilities for the win!]

Anyway, as far as we know, the first week has gone fine for the twins at school. One of their friends is also making the move with them, so I'm sure that helps. However, it's pretty clear that the whole thing is throwing them off a bit and they have both been fairly exhausted.

If we're being honest, it's pretty normal for Clara to behave, shall we say, erratically. Colby, however, is generally pretty steady, but thanks to 2 days in a row without naps (which is not typically the case for him at school, even though he protests naps on the weekend), he has been a bit of a mess himself.

Here's Colby on Wednesday night. Immediately after this picture was taken, he allowed Brian to carry him up the stairs like a baby, took a short bath, and then fell asleep the minute we laid him down in his crib. Poor, sleepy guy!

Oh, sweet Clara. This was Thursday morning, after she lost the battle to wear her pajama top to school but won the battle to wear two bows in her hair at one time. So much personality in such a little body...

But just as is the case when little ones are sick, even though you hate that they aren't themselves, it's only fair as a mommy to take advantage of their pitifulness and steal all of the affection you can, right?

So it's onward and upward we go. Before we know it, it will be time for their high school graduation and I have a sneaking suspicion that when that time comes, they won't be willing to climb up in my lap together to rock away their worries (though the visual is pretty amusing)!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

You are not alone

Sunday kicked off the start of National Infertility Awareness Week, and in honor of that occasion, we attended the Texas Walk of Hope, which is where the pictures below were taken. RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association, also encourages bloggers to share posts about the topic of infertility this week centering around this year's theme, "You are not alone," which is what inspired my post below.

I've often said that having a twin has rendered me incapable of doing things by myself. I don't like to do much of anything alone, and if you think I'm exaggerating, then you should know that I used to ask Brian to go to the grocery store with me not because I needed his help, but just because I wanted to have some company. (Then I had children and realized that going to the grocery store alone was sort of like going on a vacation, so I changed my tune a bit, but that's sort of beside the point.)

So when we were going through infertility, a process that, much like any other major life trial, forces you to experience a pretty wide array of emotions (typically in a cyclical manner!), one of the hardest parts for me to deal with was how lonely and isolated it sometimes made me feel. Isolated from my friends, who were getting pregnant like it was going out of style, and as a result, didn't always know how to act around me. Isolated from my co-workers, because people can only deal with you crying at your desk so many times before it starts to get awkward. Isolated from pretty much anyone that hadn't struggled to get pregnant, because I was convinced they couldn't relate to what we were going through. 

I truly do think God puts us in situations where we can't rely on others to sustain us because he wants us to rely on Him instead... and it's a good thing, because news flash: people are HUMAN and are therefore simply not capable of filling that void (throwback to Plumb's "God-shaped Hole," anyone?). So at least for me, one of the less obvious ways that I dealt with the isolation was by training myself to pray and cast my burdens on Him first... and if we're being honest, a lot of times that involved me turning on songs like this one and crying for embarrassing amounts of time when I was alone in my car. 

But with all of that said, I also know that God never intended for us to go through life's trials alone, or else He would have created Adam and let that be that (...and that would have made the Bible really short and boring). I know many of you have had the same experience, but I can say with confidence that having friends (and sometimes even strangers) traversing the ups and downs of infertility with me made carrying that load infinitely lighter, and believe it or not, sometimes even enjoyable.

I was, of course, always so appreciative of the love and support received from my real life friends and family, but I was also blown away by the outpouring of concern from people I met on the internet, and sometimes from friends of friends of people I met on the internet! Yes, writing about what we were going through was therapeutic in and of itself, but making the connections with other actual people through blogging was really something I never expected.

Although it happens less frequently than when we were mid-treatment or even newly pregnant, I still get contacted from time to time by people- some I know, some I don't- who have read my blog and are going through a similar struggle to get pregnant. Some are asking for advice, but I think in most cases (as was the case for me when I was on the other side), they are just looking for someone that can relate to what they are experiencing and say, "I've been there. It sucks. But you'll get through it!" 

I may be 2+ years removed from my own journey, but the pain is still fresh in my mind, which is why my heart breaks every time I learn of someone new that is facing infertility. But I can honestly say that it also provides me so much comfort and encouragement to know that because of what I went through, I'm able to say to that person truthfully, "you are not alone."

To learn more about what infertility is (besides a convenient excuse to befriend strangers on the internet, overindulge in desserts, and listen to mopey music), click here.

To learn more about NIAW, click here.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Five on Friday

1. We are moving very slowly through Parenthood, but can I just tell you that I simultaneously love and hate how much I can relate to Julia Braverman (Erika Christensen's character) so far? Not only because she's a working mom, but also because she's pretty opinionated and seems to have a reputation in the family for her straightforwardness and sometimes unapologetic behavior.

And on a related note, I'm sure you're surprised to learn that I kind of think everyone on the show is a little hard on Julia... :)

2. Baby Center e-mailed me recently and suggested that I enter my children's information into their "child height predictor" to see how tall they're supposed to be ate age 18. The results? Colby will be 5'10" and Clara will be 5'5". I'm putting about as much faith in this thing as I would a magic eight ball, but perhaps I'll still have this blog in 16 years and I can come back to let you know if they were right?

3. Have y'all seen this article going around about the couple that (spoiler alert) kept the fact that they were pregnant with twins a surprise from all of their friends and family? I mean... wow. I can't even keep what I ate for breakfast a secret (english muffin with cottage cheese), let alone that I was gestating two humans at the same time. Clearly they do not have the same over-sharing disorder that I have!

4. My kids got their first tats this week:

5. I mentioned one of these on facebook earlier this week (and, in turn, received a record number of 'likes,' for some reason?), but Allison has done the following for me in the past week:
       (1) brought an apple to me at work when I forgot to pack mine in my lunch bag
       (2) helped me take care of the twins one evening when Brian had to unexpectedly work late
       (3) brought me a cookie at work for no other reason than because she needed an excuse to get out of the house with the kids on a rainy afternoon  wanted me to feel loved

Conclusion: having a thoughtful twin sister is great, but having one that lives less than a mile away is even greater!

Monday, April 13, 2015

No rest for the weary (aka: parents of small children)

I'm sure I'm not alone in this, but I spend a lot of time fantasizing about sleeping. I love a lot of things about the weekends, but getting to sleep past 5:14 am (yes, I wake up at 5:14, that extra minute to get ready counts) is most certainly in the top 5. I have sadly discovered, however, that the extra sleep I get on the weekends does not equate to extra rest. I'll give you two guesses as to why that is...

All that to say, we had another busy weekend and I'm really wishing I could take a day off from work/parenting/life right about now. But alas, the bills insist on being paid and the twins insist on being cared for, so bring it, Monday!

I typically spend my Friday afternoons running errands and, let's be honest, enjoying a little alone time. This past Friday, however, the twins had their 2-year well visit with the pediatrician, so the weekend got off to a slightly more chaotic start than normal. Are well visits only crazy for us because we have two children, or are they like that for everyone? I swear those things wear me out, and yes, the vaccinations and finger pricks do have something to do with it!

Thankfully the twinkies are healthy (minus Colby's double ear infections), but they most definitely spent 90% of the visit acting like they were certain we were going to abandon them there forever. Fruit snacks and teddy grahams helped calm their fears, but we felt like human jungle gyms in the meantime.

On Saturday, Allison and I made a whirlwind roundtrip drive to College Station to attend part of our sorority's 40th reunion. We had fun seeing old friends, visiting the Chi Omega house, and eating at one of our old stomping grounds. And speaking of eating, we couldn't get over how many new restaurants there are in the BCS now. I don't feel like students that attend A&M now really understand the struggle we former students once faced...

Pledge sisters + Blue Baker = winning combo

We're so old that our composite pic is now in the upstairs hall. Here we are senior year!

Meanwhile, Brian held down the fort at home and was even kind enough to comply with my request for pictures while I was gone. I know I've bragged on him before, but seriously, he is such a great daddy and is always such a good sport about taking on solo twin duty, and for that, I'm very thankful.

A rare moment of playing together where no hitting or pushing was involved

Love this pic of Davis, Avery, Colby, & Clara (at lunch with the dads and Pop Pop)

Reunited and had to take a selfie with Colby and our pastel attire

Sadly not pictured: early birthday dinner for Brian's dad, who turned the big 6-5 yesterday!

We spent Sunday morning being far more productive than any of us would have liked before heading to church, but it paid off because we got to take it easy for most of Sunday afternoon/evening. Allison and I attended a baptism lunch for our friends' sweet baby, Campbell, while the twins napped (and again, Brian held down the fort), but that is sadly also not pictured!

Clara attempted to wear my shoes for the first time, so of course we had to document it, but I felt sorry for her for picking such a difficult pair to stand in (let alone walk in)! Also, this better be the last time in her life she walks around in heels with no clothes on ;)

Enjoying a pre-church snack

I know I've said it before, but seriously, it's just like photographing Big Foot... make that Big Feet, actually.

I posted about this on Instagram, too, but we decided to bust out my troll doll collection for the twins yesterday, and it was a big hit with both of them! Next up: beanie babies

So that was that. And now I'm going to go count the hours until I get to go to sleep again. Happy Monday!

Friday, April 10, 2015

2nd birthday fun

There are a lot of positives about sharing your birthday with a holiday (activities already planned, easy celebration themes, an already abundant supply of candy/dessert, etc.). But I have to say that when you're a type A mom that likes to make a big deal out of birthdays and holidays, the combination has the potential to be a little dangerous. Let's just say that I have a tendency to set unrealistic expectations and then lose my cool when they are unmet.

With this being the case, the twins' 2nd birthday got off to a bit of a rocky start, because even though I know you'll find this hard to believe, they did NOT, in fact: wake up in good moods, cheerfully eat their breakfast, willingly put on their Easter attire, and sort through their Easter loot without demanding to eat the candy IMMEDIATELY. 

Thankfully, once we got past the morning, the day only improved from there and actually ended up being enjoyable for all 4 of us, so I'll call it a win!

Birthday breakfast = chocolate chip waffles, banana, and thanks to the Easter bunny, sweet tarts

Easter baskets

Checking out the goods

This is the third "Duck & Goose" book we've added to our collection and it was also a hit!

When I was younger, I apparently made this same face when I was mad about something (which was allegedly fairly often) and my parents referred to it as "the goose face." So glad Clara inherited that lovely trait!

At church before we dropped the birthday boy and girl off at childcare

As I mentioned before, we opted not to do a party this year, so after church, we had brunch with our family at our house instead. I still wanted it to feel like a celebration, though, so I did do a small amount of decorating:

Letter 'C's reused from their 1st birthday party

'Happy Birthday' banner also reused from their 1st birthday party

Hanging out with Davis & Avery before eating

My favorite boys

Colby & Avery enjoying an episode of Tutitu while Brian attempted a nap

Meanwhile, Clara was throwing a massive tantrum in response to being sent to timeout for THROWING CHAIRS at people. I, of course, had to take a picture, and when she realized what I was doing, this was the look I got in response. Am I the only one that thinks she looks like she's around 16 here?

Colby decided it was his turn to hurl himself on the floor a few minutes later, but managed to handle it a little less dramatically than his other half.

The spread!

The guests of honor eating brunch (and by that, I mean that they ate only the fruit salad and then demanded more candy from their Easter eggs that I stupidly left on the table)

Brian's parents & sis, my mom, Allison, & Brian

Not sure how this worked out, and I'm sure it's confusing to those of you that can tell us apart, but somehow I ended up sitting next to Wade, Davis, & Avery, along with my dad and the twins

The gifts, including this cute new table/chairs from Brian's parents!

Clara got 3 new pairs of shoes and each time she opened a new one, she immediately took off whichever pair she had on and insisted on putting the newest pair on- she is serious about her love for accessories!

Opening the present from their sweet (former) daycare teacher

Family pic- please note that Clara is now attempting to put on a pair of Colby's shoes

The cake! Inspired, of course, by pinterest (thanks to Allison for frosting it!) 

When we sang 'happy birthday,' Colby hid his head most of the time (introvert) while Clara smiled proudly (extrovert)

Blowing out the candles

They loved the cake, as proven by the fact that a bath immediately followed!

An Easter miracle occurred and after at least an hour of playing in their cribs, they finally both took a nap that afternoon! We spent the next couple of hours playing with the Olivers before finishing up the big day with dinner at Chuy's, one of the few restaurants where the twins will sit still and actually eat.

My sweet blue-eyed boy

And my sweet green-eyed girl

Davis and Colby bonding over "Frozen"

They were both testing out the new crayons, but clearly via different methods...

Someone was excited about birthday dessert #3 of the day...

... as was Colby!

They ended the day in really good moods and although we both got a little sentimental when it was time to put our big two-year-olds to bed that night, I couldn't help but smile about what wonderful little people these once tiny babies have become (likely because I had already done enough crying about it the weekend before).

And with that, Colby & Clara's second birthday was a wrap! It was nothing big or eventful, but it was overall a great day with some of our favorite people, and you really can't beat that, now can you?